Code Name: “Sunflower”

Seriously, does anybody really talk this way? Somebody needs to get a memo out to the Phanar pronto and tell them that the Byzantine Empire ended five hundred years ago and there is no market for sycophants and eunuchs.

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News Release
Stavros Papagermanos


Press and Communication Office


The Lesser and Greater Minima (Announcement) of the new Archbishop of America In the presence of the Ecumenical Patriarch  and the Members of the Holy and Sacred Synod

          In the presence of the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Members of the Holy and Sacred Synod, the new Archbishop of America, Elpidophoros, appeared today, May 11th at noon, to accept his election by way of the Lesser Minima.

The Ecumenical Patriarch addressed the new Archbishop of America:
            “All of us know that the Great Church of Christ, as a true Mother, embraces with affection and care all her spiritual children throughout the world, where they live, work, and excel. Thus, in regard to the great Eparchy of the Throne in America, we, and the Hierarchs of the Holy Synod, have been concerned and have numerous times discussed at length its problems during the last sessions of the Synod, seeking ways to improve the situation and restore the Holy Archdiocese of America to its former glory. And now, since its primate, Archbishop Demetrios, has submitted his resignation, due to the urgency of the situation, we sought to find a worthy successor who would be able to bring back good order to the life and function of the Archdiocese, inspire confidence in the flock of the Archdiocese to the Church, strengthen the bonds of the flock with our Holy Patriarchate, and make the Patriarchate proud again of its greatest Eparchy, which today is in need and is suffering.

             “To this end, Most Reverend Archbishop of America, we are looking to your love as a young and dynamic Hierarch. For you are, well educated, a man of languages, active and efficient, dedicated to Mother Church, in whose bosom you grew up and where you were schooled in the things of the Church, and initiated into the mystery of the Church. We  look to entrust upon you this great and difficult task, with the certainty that you will succeed, that you will honor the vote and confidence of the Hierarchs of the Holy Synod and the expectations of your Patriarch, who embraces you with paternal affection and respects your values and devotion, which he was able to see in you during your lengthy ministry in this Holy Patriarchal Court under our command.”

          Subsequently, His All Holiness emphasized that the new Archbishop knows the issues of America and even of Europe, and added:

         “You are an academician, a teacher with zeal and knowledge, and you will be able to rebuild the Theological School of Holy Cross, which is going through difficult times, and also collaborate with American Universities for the promotion of our historical learning and our cultural inheritance.

            We expect from you to strengthen the holy bonds of your Archdiocese with the Center of our ecclesiastical foundation, to organize pilgrimages here from time to time, as your predecessor Iakovos of blessed memory used to do, to come back here often to keep us informed, be re-baptized in our springs of spirituality, and collaborate with the competent Synodical Committee for problems you may encounter there from time to time.

            You will cultivate good brotherly relationships with our heterodox brothers – for you have been involved in the ecumenical movement for a long time – but also with other faiths, with Muslims and Jews, with whom the Ecumenical Patriarchate has been in academic dialogue for many years. Your experience and knowledge of Islamic societies and their culture will be especially useful.

            Brother Archbishop of America, you have many, too many things to do and offer. And you can! We trust you and send you off with good hopes and expectations. You must glorify the Throne of your Eparchy, but also this Holiest and Martyred Throne, which raised you, nurtured you, and honors you today in an exceptional way.

            May you excel as an Archbishop of love, of peace, of humility and of unity. Axios!

 In his response, the new Archbishop of America expressed to the Ecumenical Patriarch and to the Members of the Holy and Sacred Synod his wholehearted gratitude for his election.

             “Your All-Holiness and Master, I feel the great responsibility which Mother Church places upon my shoulders, beyond the great honor and confidence by which Your Holiest Person embraced me even today in the Synod. As Your spiritual child, as a newly-planted olive tree in the Patriarchal Court, as the least vine of the spreading grapevine of the Ecumenical Throne, and even as a simple sunflower, I shall ever have my eyes turned toward You, the August First of Orthodoxy, for only in this way shall I be able to bear fruit, for I know that only around Your Altar shall I yield a harvest, and cut off from this life-giving Vine of the Great Church, I shall risk being cut off and thrown into a fire of ingratitude and destruction.

            “I promise, Your All-Holiness, at this holy and solemn moment, as also do the rest of the Archpastors of the Ecumenical Throne, that this great Eparchy of the Throne, the Holy Archdiocese of America and her Metropolises, shall be girt with the robe of ministry to Mother Church, the Omogeneia here, the apostolic work of the Eparchies of the Throne, and every other need of the Holy Center of Orthodoxy. Because we all know that if the vine brings fruit, it is on account of the vineyard, to which it is connected. If the olive tree is rich with fruit, it acquires this value because it is planted around the Holy Altar of the Phanar. When the sunflower blossoms and yields fruit, it is on account of the light of the Sun of Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Throne. With these humble thoughts, in infinite gratitude I accept the position on today’s date on which we celebrate the inauguration of Constantinople. I thank God, the Giver of all creation, the Most Holy Theotokos Who guards this Holy City of the Lord and I thank Your Divine All-Holiness, my Sovereign and Master, because from my youth you shaped me, who was the least, with much patience, love, and skill, and benefitted me as no one else. I thank the Reverend Holy Hierarchs, the Members of the Holy and Sacred Synod, who honored me profusely with their honorable vote and confidence in my humble person.”

 Afterwards, in the Patriarchal Church of Saint George, in the presence of the Synodical Hierarchs, the Patriarchal Court, and also other clergymen and lay pilgrims, the new Archbishop of America celebrated the Service of the Greater Minima, during which his election was announced in church, and he responded with the text of Thanksgiving for the election of his person by the Church, accepting the position in a state of emotion and gratitude.

After the completion of the Greater Minima, Archbishop Elpidophoros accepted the congratulatory wishes of all present.          


  1. Greatly Saddened says

    Please excuse and forgive me, but all this makes me want to vomit. Plain and simple!

  2. To me, these statements are an abomination. Fidelity to the patriarchate is the number one priority. There is no mention of Christ, the Great News, the Great Commission or the sacramental life of the church. What the GOA needs is a return to “the First love” –Jesus. We need the “one thing needful”. Revitalization of the GOA can only happen through grace and grace is activated through repentance. An educated charismatic polyglot is not the answer. We need a man who puts Christ first not loyalty to the patriarchate.

  3. “When the sunflower blossoms and yields fruit, it is on account of the light of the Sun of Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Throne.”

    The Paschal stichera must be changed to add this line.

    Or, maybe better, a new Divine Liturgy Prokeimenon? Too bad the Psalter didn’t have the foresight to add this line to the Psalms back in the day.

    Can we envision it? We must add this new liturgical exchange before the Epistle reading:

    Priest: “Wisdom, let us attend!”
    Reader: “The Prokeimonon is in the 4th tone, When the sunflower blossoms and yields fruit, it is on account of the light of the Sun of Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Throne!”
    Reader: “The Patriarch of Istanbul is great and mighty, He is the Sun of Light!”
    Choir: “When the sunflower blossoms and yields fruit, it is on account of the light of the Sun of Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Throne.”
    Reader: “We must keep pretending that the Eastern Roman Empire did not end more than 500 years ago!”
    Choir: “When the sunflower blossoms and yields fruit, it is on account of the light of the Sun of Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Throne!”
    Reader: “When the sunflower blossoms and yields fruit…”
    Choir: “…it is on account of the light of the Sun of Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Throne!”

    Seriously, though, no one beats compromised, schismatic, and corrupt Orthodox hierarchs at blowing smoke up each other’s rear end. They need the delusional “positive” feedback so that they don’t have to live in reality. This is beyond nauseating.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      This is too funny, Anon 2!!!!

      • It’s classic wooden language worthy of a communist ideologue putting forth the five yr plan. Delusional play acting.
        Look bring on the bulgarian Stallions, Phone up manuella!! Make it real.

        God forgive me.. What delusional crap.

    • Greatly Saddened says

      Anon 2 … spot on and may I add, a great sense of humor. With all this, I needed a good laugh. We need to start pulling up our bootstraps, because the you know what is really getting deep. Thank you ever so much!

    • Nektarios says

      You win the Internet for today

    • That would be even funnier if Greek parishes actually DID the prokeimonon before the epistle, but it’s lost on 99.98% of people. They’ve never heard it before. Excellent composition.

  4. Constantinos says

    Dear George,
    It’s a good thing I have a very strong stomach, otherwise, I would be retching and vomiting right now. Looky, looky, what do we have here? “Your All Holiness and Master,” ” I thank you Your Divine All- Holiness,” ” The Ecumenical Throne.” You heard it right here, folks. No need for the Holy Trinity or the Theotokos, we have His, Divine All- Holiness sitting on the Throne of his Glory. He places himself far above our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May the wrath of God come down on such demonic delusions of grandeur. Forgive me for my profanity, but I say to you Your Divine All – Holiness, F##k you, Bart! As Lefty Ruggeiro said to Donnie Brasco, ” Hey Bart, get off your high horse.”

      • Constantinos says

        I watched that race; that was one of the funniest things I’ve seen.

    • Constantinos, George, Nikos and all people of good will on this blog. Constantinos offered kind words for blessings for me and my family in the past day or so. This post is out of order but I beg all of your forgiveness for that and ask for your collective prayers.
      Five months ago my family took in our fifth young rescue kid. All over 18 and under 30. We got and kept him clean from heroin for nearly five months. It was not easy, holding him through long days and nights of sweating, vomiting and crying while he was dope sick from the heroin leaving his body.
      This Sunday he relapsed. I know the odds are great that this will happen more than once on the road to recovery, but after five near perfect months we are heartbroken. We are not kicking him out, we are picking up the pieces and starting the recovery process again.
      I, and more importantly he, needs the prayers of everyone who reads this for his recovery and for the hand of God to hold him up and bring him back to sobriety and peace. I am grateful for anyone who will offer a prayer for him in a difficult moment. He is not Orthodox, he does not even believe in God, but I pray daily that when he feels the healing power of God over addiction, he will find the Lord!
      His name is Brad if anyone would like to add him to their prayer list.

      • Constantinos says

        Dear Michael,
        You are absolutely doing the Lord’s work. You are a shining example of God’s love, and really working in the trenches. It takes a special family to have such amazing compassion for people suffering from this addiction, I will most certainly keep you, your family, and Brian in my daily prayers. You are one of God’s true Saints.

      • Michael, thank you for letting us know about Brad. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May the Lord give you “grace to help in time of need.”

    • Costa lit candle for you yesterday. Look they have NO INSIGHT into any of this play acting. They living in their la la land That is fine but they want you to pay for it.
      They like the Manchu last chinese emperor, Pi Yu ( good film by the way) play acting as emperor in the forbidden city from 1912 revolution to when kicked out in about 1920 by Christian war Lord. Lost in a game of Fantasy

  5. So the Phanar, his altar and throne have replaced Jesus as the true vine. Does not bode well.

  6. I have a summary translation of the first section:

    “We know you (Elpidophoros) do not have much pastoral experience, but you are an academician, so we are confident that you can pull the wool over the eyes of the Americans while raising lots of money for HCTS and St. Nicholas Shrine while continuing to support the heretics at Fordham with their campaign of misinformation and propaganda. Also, make sure you report back to us regularly so that we can squash any signs of disobedience to the throne of Constantinople. One of the reasons we chose you is because you are an arch-ecumenist, and we expect you to continue to further the pan-heresy of ecumenism.”

  7. Koras Manalopas says

    When a Paleologue visited Athenagoras, the patriarch took off his crown, put it on the royal and seated him in the throne the patriarch uses. That is why the eagle is two-headed. You didn’t like the Ukranian icons slayed the two headed eagle?

    • Joseph Lipper says

      On the Sunday of Orthodoxy we celebrate St.Tarasius, the Patriarch of Constantinople, who presided over the Seventh Ecumenical Council. Of him we sing in Troparia: “You shone forth as a light of the Spirit”, and also in Kontakia: “You illumined the Church with Orthodox doctrine, and taught all to venerate and honor the precious image of Christ”. Indeed, St. Tarasius was a “light of the Spirit” who “illumined the Church with Orthodox doctrine.” It is not such a leap then to say that St. Tarasius was himself a “Sun of Orthodoxy” whose light has yielded endless fields of “sunflowers” blossoming forth and yielding their fruit. Today the Ecumenical Throne upholds and defends the light of St. Tarasius, and in this way is also a “Sun of Orthodoxy”, now yielding a “sunflower” in the person of Archbishop Elpidophoros.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Koras Manalopas,

      Yes, the two-headed eagle is a strange symbol, a strange genetic mutation even, and thus a symbol of a fallen world. Yet the Orthodox Church always prays separately for the head of the Church and for the head of the State, recognizing that God has placed these “two heads” flying over us for our own good, and no matter how awful and fallen those heads may seem to be. When we honor the “two heads” of Church and State that are over us, then we also honor God.

  8. Lakis Velotris says

    But his is the curse of the Ochrafux Cherks, you are beholden to the self-same evil empire that killed Jesus and stole his religion. The old calendar was devised by Caesar. Need I say more. Look at the mirror. You are all satanists

  9. Tim R. Mortiss says

    Well, it could have been the Greater Maxima…..that would have been something!

  10. John Couretas says

    Thanks for posting, George. The florid ecclesiastical bunkum from the Phanar’s ghostwriters can’t cover up the terrible reality: Nothing at all will change. The institutional narcissism displayed in this document is appalling. A couple of observations.

    1) Omogeneia: The disastrous, confusing Hellenism & Orthodoxy ideology will continue unchecked, obscuring a deeper understanding of the Gospel. The dhimmi Shepherds of the Hellenic Master Race in Istanbul, who prattle mindlessly about the omogeneia, seem not to have noticed that the flocks have scattered. And most of the sheep and lambs are not returning to the fold. If the shepherd loses his flock, what kind of shepherd is he? Competency is not a criterion apparently. Still, the immature, clueless rubes in America, wandering the Hee Haw diaspora in their crumpled straw hats and bib overalls for more than a century — yet preserving their folk dancing and culinary skills — pine for the Great Mother in Istanbul. Or so the shepherds tell us.

    2) Perverse priorities: The ruinous “shrine” at Ground Zero, Christianity’s greatest vanity project, sits boarded up, a high profile witness to the corruption and incompetence of the Archdiocese. Is there a greater scandal and humiliation ever from the Orthodox community in America? The “shrine” is the $80 million Taj Mahal of Orthodoxy, a white marble mausoleum of the spirit. And that “nondenominational meditation room” open to all? What could possibly go wrong? The new regime, I’m sure, is plotting how to come back to the parishes for more dough. After all, as our former archbishop helpfully observed, the Greek church has a lot of millionaires and billionaires in its ranks. And the hayseeds in the pews? The shepherds understand that a disinterested and apathetic laity may also cough up some more greenbacks. They just might get it.

    • Antiochene Son says

      They should have just built a normal church.

      I believe the project was cursed by the addition of that chapel of wickedness. God’s Spirit will not dwell in such a place.

  11. What would it be like if there was no archbishop “over” the US? A lot more solvency, less embarrassingly stupid rhetoric, more credibility. He will be accepted only if the laity let him be. And so they deserve what they get. Some day they’ll get it and refuse what they get, then they’ll get something different. Maybe today? There’s plenty of time to say “no”, the Greeks even made a great comemmoration of someone saying that to tyranny. This time the regular people have ALL the cards, the tyrants have NONE. Act like it.

    • Hellenic Overload says

      Imagine there is no archbishop
      It’s easy if you try
      Only Hell below us
      Above us only sky……

    • “No” was a poor trade for what could have been the celebration of “Alors, c’est la guerre.”

  12. Fr. Ioannes Apiarius says

    Besides the inappropriate and false reference to the EP as “Your Divine All-Holiness, my Sovereign and Master” I noticed something troubling. Nowhere in those exchanges are Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Trinity even mentioned or acknowledged, let alone praised or glorified. He does “thank God” and there is one instance where the word “Christ” shows up in referencing the Mother Church as “the Great Church of Christ, as a true Mother.”

  13. Damian Vansuch says

    With all due resoect Bart, these issues also happened on your watch and you did nothing about it.

    ” You will cultivate good brotherly relationships with our heterodox brothers – for you have been involved in the ecumenical movement for a long time – but also with other faiths, with Muslims and Jews, with whom the Ecumenical Patriarchate has been in academic dialogue for many years. Your experience and knowledge of Islamic societies and their culture will be especially useful.”

    On the above quote, who are the heterodox brothers?? Is that non-Orthodox or non-GOA? If it is non-Orthodox, it is very troubling that there is no charge from the EP to have brotherly relationshiops with non_EP Clergy.

    Anon 2 – your new Prokeimonon is legendary!

    Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

  14. I couldn’t get through it.

    • Ronda Wintheiser says

      Nor could I, Lina.

      The comments tell everything we need to know. Although… not really anything we didn’t already know.

  15. Alfa and Omega says

    These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. You have a few names… who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

  16. St. John of Tobolsk (a distant relation to St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco) from his book entitled : ‘The Sunflower’:

    “As a symbol of this turning to God we may use the growth of the sunflower; let it be ever before our eyes.

    “Christian! Observe once and for all how the sunflower even on gloomy days pursues its circular course, following the sun with the unchanging love and attraction natural to it. Our sun, illuminating our path through this world, is the will of God; it does not always illuminate our path in life without clouds; often clear days are followed by gloomy ones: rain, wind, storms arise. But let our love for our Sun, the will of God, be so strong that we may continue, inseparably from it, even in days of misfortune and sorrow, like the sunflower on gloomy days, to navigate faultlessly on the sea of life, following the indications of the ‘barometer’ and ‘compass’ of the will of God, which leads us into the safe harbor of eternity.”

    • Joseph Lipper says

      What a beautiful metaphor! The sunflower is also the National Flower of Ukraine where it grows in endless fields in the heartland. May we all be like sunflowers!

      • LOL! Good sarcasm Mr. Lipper!

      • The levels of pretentiousness here are astounding. To so wrongly apply a quote of St. John of Tobolsk to justify the terrible ideas the new Archbishop is promoting is tone-deaf at best and blatantly insulting to the church at worst.

      • It is beautiful, Joseph, as long as “Our sun, illuminating our path through this world, is the will of God.”

        Instead, it was said…

        “…and even as a simple sunflower, I shall ever have my eyes turned toward You, the August First of Orthodoxy, for only in this way shall I be able to bear fruit…”

        “But I, brethren, could not address you as spiritual men, but as men of the flesh, as babes in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready for it; and even yet you are not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men? For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely men?

        “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apol′los watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are equal, and each shall receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

        “According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.”

        • Joseph Lipper says

          Brian, yes, the will of God is also that we honor our father and mother, and as St. Paul exhorts the Church in Corinth, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”. Like “sunflowers” then we can also follow our spiritual fathers and mothers who give us the light of Christ.

          • Joseph, please don’t mix up things, just to defend your hero:

            1)The same Apostle Paul says to the bishop of Ephesus Timothy:
            “1 Timothy 5:1-2 King James Version (KJV)
            Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
            The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.”

            So even Bishops (of any additional man-made “title”) must consider the elders as Fathers or mothers, and the other people as brothers!

            So even Bartholomew must intreat an elder as father!!!!

            2) How can a devout (but not naive) Orthodox be a follower of Bartholomew, when Bartholomew donated and named the “Holy Quran” when that book rejects the Holy Trinity, the Crucifiction and Resurrection of Jesus Christ? You don’t seem to care about that, at all. Do you?

            Is this really a case of a
            “spiritual father who gives us the light of Christ”?
            Are you joking?

          • Joseph,

            He also said, “Any man who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of Me.”

            I am not otherwise arguing with what you’ve written, but we are tasked with discerning the light of Christ – not blindly following out of personal benefit or sycophancy.

  17. Your talk about spoons and gagging someone with a spoon reminds me of the way the priest gives Communion at the church in Kenosha, Wisconsin. If only I had the video!

  18. Petros Malinas says

    I suggest you find the Anthology of Neohellenic Poetry,
    wherefrom you will understand
    how these folks grow up thinking

  19. Kapas Namosikas says

    Suffice that the Battle Hymn of the Republic was inspired from Greece via Hellen Keller’s tutor. This is the way Americans wrote poetry as well in Lincoln’s time.

  20. Johannes says

    Saint John of Tobolsk, who went from Ukraine to preach the Gospel in Siberia, wrote a nice book called The Sunflower. In it he says:

    “Christian! Observe once and for all how the sunflower even on gloomy days pursues its circular course, following the sun with the unchanging love and attraction natural to it. Our sun, illuminating our path through this world, is the will of God; it does not always illuminate our path in life without clouds; often clear days are followed by gloomy ones: rain, wind, storms arise. But let our love for our Sun, the will of God, be so strong that we may continue, inseparably from it, even in days of misfortune and sorrow, like the sunflower on gloomy days, to navigate faultlessly on the sea of life, following the indications of the ‘barometer’ and ‘compass’ of the will of God, which leads us into the safe harbor of eternity.”

    Long ago I remember being with some Jewish friends trying to explain their faith to an old woman in a farm town in Italy. She listened for a while, but finally shook her head and said: “Look, I understand being an atheist, but if you believe in God, you have to believe in the Pope.”

    Was she right?

    What is left of Orthodoxy if we accept the ecclesiology of the Phanar, which identifies the will of the Ecumenical Patriarch with the will of God? Don’t forget that the other two major issues that divide East and West, concerning the filioque and the nature of Mary, are both ones on which the Roman church allows the Orthodox interpretation as fully legitimate. Granted that that is not good enough; they have to reject and repudiate the false interpretations of these things they also allow, and have affirmed at many councils of their parasynagogue; but Orthodox councils have affirmed things contrary to the faith too, always later being corrected, sometimes gently when we listen to the Spirit of God in love and faith, and sometimes with Sultan Mehmed when we do not.

    Once long ago Rome was an empty shell captured by worldly potentates. It identified the will of God with the will of the Pope and scattered the majority of the world’s Christians throughout Assyria. Will we follow them into our own Babylonian captivity?

    I know that the human race will destroy itself with fire eventually. The one who perseveres to the end shall be saved. Flee to the mountains.

  21. George, not quite seeing a sunflower in all this. Could I suggest a Venus FlyTrap?

    • George Michalopulos says


      Anyway, the sunflower analogy re St John of Tobolsk, states that the “sun” which is the object of the sunflower’s adoration is God Himself, not any man. It’s preposterous to believe otherwise.

      As for my Catholic brethren (who I do, indeed love), I am beginning to understand how they believe that the Papacy is an office “created by Jesus Christ Himself” (as Judge Andrew Napolitano has written on occasion). If this is true, the Catholicism is rightly called “Papism” because the object of adoration is the Pope, who according to flawed ecclesiology is the successor of St Peter.

      This of course flies in the face of historical fact, as St Peter went to preach in Rome to the Church that was already established there. One cannot found a Church that already existed. So-called petrine theology therefore is spurious.

      Luckily for us, even in the greatest delusions of the Phanariote acolytes, they never dared to posit an “andrine” doctrine to the Church founded in Byzantium. Even if there was a solid foundation, it still doesn’t justify the sycophancy that is being emitted from that city which no longer exists.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        And at least Rome has the distinction of being a city that still exists; a bustling one, in fact.

        As for St. Peter preaching to the church at Rome that already existed (as St. Paul also wrote to it), don’t forget the view of a regular poster, who claims that there wasn’t a Church at Rome, just a ‘gathering of Christians’ or some such…..because some latter-day figure said that they ‘founded it’. Thus, it must not have been a ‘church’ before…

  22. Michael Bauman says

    I live in The Sunflower State. Sunflowers here are considered decorative and they are quite pretty, but they are also routinely mowed down and replaced with more productive crops. They are not difficult to eradicate as their root system is not extensive or deep. The sunflowers that produce the best seeds which you can see in great abundance in western Minnesota and other places, are annuals. They have to be replanted every year. The perennial sunflowers are pretty but do not produce seeds for human beings, only to reproduce themselves.

    So, what is the dear bishop really saying or is it just an ignorant as well as bloviated metaphor?

    • George Michalopulos says

      My gut tells me that LP basically an annual or biennual. Basically, he just needs to keep a lid on things and then he’s off to Istabul, because by the he’s had a few years of “pastoral experience” as “Archbishop of America”.

  23. Ask for the intercessions of St. Ephraim. I prayed to him to help with the son of a Catholic father who approached me in a restaurant not too long ago. There was improvement.

    Ephraim of Nea Makri

    St. Ephraim and the Greek-American Drug Addict

    • Father Hans,

      Thank you for posting that link. Hopefully my post/thanks helps bring more attention to it, in case your post/link was lost in the tsunami of posts. The negativity sprouting against our monastics by many Orthodox is unfortunate.

      The Greek Orthodox monasteries will preserve us Orthodox here in America. Their prayers are powerful.

  24. John Pappas says

    These letters use the language of scripture but strip it of its Christological content in order to apply it to themselves. Hubris?

  25. Is it any wonder that so many Protestants look at us as blasphemous idol worshipers.

    • George Michalopulos says

      No Tanya, it’s not. And that’s why the Lord will bring us to repentance, so that we never act this way, or put such men in place of authority, again.

  26. Congrats George on the perfect meme.

    Never could I have imagined a cat could convey so eloquently feelings that would take me several hundred words to express.

  27. Horrifying is an understatement. I live my GOA priest but at some point one has to ask whether the GOA as a whole is even related to Christianity.

    • Greg, I must agree. The GOA is more like a Greek club that does church services than the Body of Christ. Ask most any member of the GOA what is the most important event in their parish and they will say the festival, not Pascha or the Nativity. Likewise, the most important youth activity is Greek dance.

      • Greatly Saddened says

        Hear … Hear … So sad and yet, so true!
        The recipe has been and is, Greek festivals, Greek language and Greek dancing classses, with just a dusting of Jesus Christ. Very little to say the least!

      • George Michalopulos says

        JK, I was told once (when I was actually president of the parish council) by a thoughtful parishioner that “we were a church in support of a festival”.

        That wounded me as it was true.

        • My parish is the Church dog being wagged by the Hall tail. A Greek wannabe bigshot arranged it thus to aggrandize himself with a Naming Opportunity (in 12” letters on the wall). The temple mortgage had been paid but the Metropolitan didn’t come out to Podunk to perform the Thryanixia (what normal people call a Consecration) and the construction of the Hall put the church corporation into long-term 7-digit debt so no consecration is likely in my lifetime…
          The Festival does dominate the year and many people marginal to Parish life only show up to help run it and are never seen otherwise.

  28. Matthew Panchisin says

    Dear Greg,

    There a so very many pious Priests in the GOA as a whole that it is exceedingly difficult for me to understand your comment.

    I’m quite certain that if I was on my death bed or if I’m in need of more help I’d have no problem with any of the GOA Priests that I know taking care of me.

    I don’t think the E.P. can stop them from being venerable.

    I saw this at Bishop Alypy’s funeral recently when a GOA Priest who I’ve known since my youth as he is my fathers best friend (they went through a lot together over the years) walked down the sidewalk into the Cathedral, it was with much Christ like humility that is in him and could be seem by us. He has many Russian Orthodox friends that love him very much indeed and he remains a Priest forever (at this time a victim) in the eyes of many.

    • Papouli Theodore says

      Christ is Risen!

      Thank you Matthew!

      One of the saddest aspects of this storm is brothers judging brothers, and turning away from the dictum of love to one of anger, despair, and faithlessness.

      Everything in this created world, even schismatic bishops, heretics, atheists — even every wicked person — is a creation of our wondrous God! Their failures and sins will be exposed at the end of time, before the glorious Judgment Seat, when all things are laid bare.

      And so will our sins and failures. We must take care! Condemning the unrighteous does not make one righteous.

      During the dark days of the Turkish Occupation and the communist scourge, the Church was hidden underground, in hearts that remained aflame for Christ, in spite of the most difficult circumstances.

      Only our Lord knows who collaborated with the enemies of Christ, and only He will judge.

      Until that Day, we would do better to carefully pray for all of our brothers who find themselves tossed about by this present storm.

      It takes little effort to find fault with the foolish, but it takes great effort to pray with an open heart towards God’s providential will.

      If we are workers of the field, then let us work! Let us pray! Let us cover the sins of others with our love! Let us bear Christ in our hearts!

      This is what our dearest Father in the faith, the Heaven Realer, Basil the Great teaches us in the Holy Liturgy that bears his name: “In your goodness, keep those who are good. In your kindness, make those who are wicked good…gather the scattered; bring back those who have gone astray, and join them to your holy, catholic and apostolic Church…Remember, O God…those who hate us and those who have asked us, unworthy though we are, to pray for them.” “Visit us in your goodness, Lord…end the schisms of the Churches; quench the ragings of the nations; speedily put down the uprisings of heresies by the POWER OF YOUR Holy Spirit.”

      Not by the power of our acerbic and sarcastic tongues, but YOUR Holy Spirit. Amen.

      Christ is Risen!

      • And thank YOU, Papouli, for this. AMEN!

        I, too, agree with Matthew that there are many, many godly priests in the GOA who hold fast to the faith of Christ, any leader past or present notwithstanding. May God protect them.

      • Truly He is Risen!

        I agree with what you say Papouli. And I am one of the worst offenders when it comes to not being able to hold my tongue through passing judgement and permitting the passions to take a stranglehold of me. But I have a question. When someone shows themselves (or writes discourse) to be blatantly heretical, (such as the new archbishop’s language regarding “first without equals”), are we not called to vigorously defend the faith? Should we not expose the heresy so that others are not led to destruction?

        • Papouli Theodore says


          Christ is Risen!

          Do not despair! We make the job harder than necessary. What the Lord demands of you is a prayerful heart bent on love for every enemy who abuses you and whatever is good.

          He does not demand that each one of us become an independent Eugenikos! Have we been made holy by asceticism? Have we seen the Taborian Light? If not, and are still on the Ladder ascending, then we would do better to pray, than to pretend we are a Holy St. Mark who had been perfected in holiness, thereby guaranteeing a painful fall.

          Let’s concentrate on that struggle! First to be holy through the martyrdom of asceticism. Maybe then the Lord will give us a word to speak, worthy of Him, as our Father Symeon the New Theologian teaches:

          “You yourselves, too, if indeed you want to, can suffer and be tormented for Christ’s sake, and be a martyr every day just like those men were, and not only in the day, but at night, too, and at every hour. And how might this be? If you, too, rank yourselves in battle against the vicious demons; if you take your stand by continually opposing sin and your own will.”

          Christ is Risen!

      • Truly He is Risen!
        Papouli, you wrote:
        “It takes little effort to find fault with the foolish, but it takes great effort to pray with an open heart towards God’s providential will.”

        “even schismatic bishops, heretics, atheists — even every wicked person — is a creation of our wondrous God!
        And so will our sins and failures. We must take care! Condemning the unrighteous does not make one righteous.”

        Application of your thoughts can practically mean e.g.:
        “Let us leave Bartholomew alone to do what he likes, and just pray for him, period”

        With respect, I think that your text does come too close to misunderstanding, and I trust you do not mean to do that.

        Papouli, you and all of us should be very careful not to come close to meta-patristic agapologia (ἀγαπολογία) and indeed vagueness and confusion between the terms Sin and Sinner.
        Surely, we must not condemn the unrighteous
        but we must condemn the unrighteousNESS, the SIN, not the sinner.

        Very quickly, this is said by St.John Chysostom, e.g.:

        “he that praiseth the sin is far worse than even
        he that trespasseth”
        Saint Chrysostom: Homilies on the Acts
        of the Apostles and the Epistle to the Romans
        Homily V.
        So, we must rather CONDEMN THE SIN, NOT THE SINNER.

        “There is no evidence of friendship so true as never to overlook the sins of our brethren. Didst thou see them at enmity? Reconcile them. Didst thou see them guilty
        of covetousness? Check them.”
        Homily XVIII on Ephesians v. 5, 6

        So, we must e.g. condemn Bartholomew’s meta-patristic or ecumenist ouvertures and not overlook them, pretending we have great love for him.

        • Papouli Theodore says


          Christ is Risen!

          I do not see where I praised sin. God forbid!

          The truth is, my brother, that you must have great love for Patr. Bartholomew, and even all men! Not pretend love, but authentic, Christ-like love.

          The Lord teaches that we are to love our enemies in Matt. 5:44 and Lk. 6:27, as does our Father among the Saints, John Chrysostom, whom you yourself quoted:

          “The Lord said, remember, “ ‘Love your enemies, bless those who persecute you, pray for those who abuse you,’ ” since these directions were very demanding and aspiring to the very summit of perfection, he added, “ ‘so that you may be like your Father in heaven, because he makes his sun rise on good and evil, and sends rain on just and unjust.’ ”Do you see whom that person resembles—as far as is humanly possible—who not only takes no vengeance on those who harm him, but EVEN SHOWS ZEAL IN PRAYING FOR THEM? Accordingly, let us not deprive ourselves through indifference of such gifts and rewards surpassing all description, but rather evince enthusiasm for this kind of virtue by every means and, by disciplining our thinking, respond to God’s command.”

          We would all do better praying for anyone who has lapsed into heresy, and at the same time begging forgiveness FOR OUR MANY transgressions, since we deny Christ by our deeds, and will be convicted by our thoughts on the manifest Day of the Lord, as our Father Symeon the New Theologian warns:

          “On hearing ‘sons of the light and sons of the day,’ (1 These 5:1-6) beloved, do not say in your heart that as many of us as are baptized in Christ and believe in Him, and worship Him as God, have also been clothed with Him, and that we are all, completely without perceiving it, sons of the light and of the day and not of the night and darkness. Neither say nor imagine this, and then spend the rest of your days in negligence and carelessness, merely imagining and fancying yourselves to be something when in fact you are nothing.

          Christ is Risen!

          • Truly, He is Risen!
            Papouli, you wrote,
            “I do not see where I praised sin. God forbid!”
            Then, I say:
            “I do not hate Bartholomew. God forbid!”
            Thus, I do not understand your expanded “sermon” on loving and not hating.
            Unless you interpret my checking of Bartholomew’s actions as hate.
            If so, I am sorry but you choose to ignore Chrysostom’s words that I sent you above:
            You write:
            “We would all do better praying for anyone who has lapsed into heresy, and at the same time begging forgiveness FOR OUR MANY transgressions…”
            That’s your opinion.
            You do not “waste” time to say what the results of the heresy are. Just talk about love. Just like the meta-patristic, but I trust, you are not one of them!
            That’s s your opinion, but I prefer Chrysostom’s opinion already sent above, namely:
            ” “There is no evidence of friendship so true as never to overlook the sins of our brethren. Didst thou see them at enmity? Reconcile them. Didst thou see them guilty
            of covetousness? Check them.”
            This is my thesis, love Bartholomew and all humans but check them if you notice something bad in their actions. And they should check ME.
            In other words one brother helps the other.
            Or, are you saying (contrary to Chrysostom) that real Christian love is to leave your brother alone to do and say ANYTHING he likes, thus going to hell and taking others with him, and only pray for him? So, then you have proven Chrysostom wrong! Well, I am waiting for your Divine Liturgy to replace his…

            • Ioannis,

              Because of the ‘namby-pamby’ manner in which love is commonly understood in our time, I think it is very easy to misunderstand words such as Papouli shares.

              I don’t take him to mean that loving and praying ‘for’ our enemies in any way implies acceptance of evil, nor a prohibition against rebuking it. When we pray ‘for’ anyone we are praying for their salvation and not their ‘success’ in furtherance of sin since that is precisely the opposite of their salvation.

              What I understand him to be saying (and it is true) is that loving our enemies (whether they be ecclesial, political, governmental, or personal) and praying for them is an infinitely powerful means of either bringing them to repentance or of making them cease from sin (against their will) by God’s own power and judgement. Only He loves them perfectly and knows which of these is appropriate for the person in question according to their willingness (which, again, only He knows) while, we, on the other hand, are mostly ruled by our passions.

              Thus, if we want to overcome the evil of our enemies – while at the same time overcoming it in ourselves, there is no more powerful way (though it is not the ONLY way) than by loving and praying for them.

              Some interpret this as an excuse for silence in the face of evil; but it is not so, as you otherwise rightly point out.

              • Thanks, Brian.
                I agree with your explanation.
                The problem is that there is a misleading ambiguity very often.
                As St.Chrysostom explains, in many cases it is not “either or” but “both”!
                It is not important to deal either with the sin OR the sinner, but both!
                So, if, e.g. you talk about loving Bartholomew and you do not mention the ouvertures he does, the listener thinks there is no problem, just pray for him, period.
                This is not what John the Forerunner did about Herodes,
                and neither is it what the Golden Mouth teaches as, as I have quoted above.

                BTW you probably know about an ecumenist movement by some theologians and clergy in Greece, who talk about love and more love and prayer, in extreme cases even love and prayer for the Devil. They are exercising Ἀγαπολογία – “Agapology”. I AM NOT IMPLYING Papouli is doing that!

                To put it in a nutshell:

                We must use very clear language, for instance:
                Yes we love Bartholomew and all other people and we pray for them, BUT
                we also check their wrong actions!

                This is what I missed from Papouli’s words.

              • For Papouli and Brian:
                Following my replies above, I just read a small relative ecent article with appropriate advice from

                Here is a free translation:

                “In the last times the evil and the heresy will be so widespread that the believers will not find a priest and pastor to protect them from the fallacy and to advise them on salvation. At that time, believers will not be able to receive correct instructions from humans, but their guide will be the texts of the Holy Fathers. Especially at that time, every believer will be responsible for all the crew of the Church. Brothers, it is time for all of us to take the responsibility towards God and History. Do not tolerate any other detours and fallacies your priests and hierarchs! Do not turn the blind eye, you are co-responsible! The Saints are warning you … ”

                Original text in Greek: 24th May, 2019:

                I hope this together with the quoted words of St.Chrysostom,
                will convince all of us that,
                1) We must love ALL other people, AND
                2) We must check them if they do/say bad things.

                • Correction:

                  Do not tolerate any other detours and fallacies from your priests and hierarchs!

                  • Thank you for posting St John’s words, Ioannis. I have seen this before. I believe we are nearing the time that he is referencing.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      But not yet there.

                    • Papouli Theodore says

                      Christ is Risen!

                      With all humility, the translation is somewhat lacking…

                      I might suggest the following:

                      “In the last days, evil and heresy will have spread to such an extent that the faithful will be unable to find a priest or shepherd to guard them from error and admonish them in the ways of salvation. When this comes to pass, the faithful will be unable to receive reliable guidance from men — their guide will be the texts of the Holy Fathers. This period will be especially characterized by this — the faithful person will be accountable for the entire fulness [of the truth] of the Church! Brethren, the time is coming for us to take responsibility before God and history. Do not condone misdirection or error from your priests and hierarchs! Do not turn a blind eye [to these things], because you are also responsible! The Saints have warned you before it happens…”

                      Christ is Risen!

                    • Thank you Papouli for taking the opportunity of correcting some translating mistakes.
                      English is not my mother tongue and I have done my best to translate it, not in a beautiful literary language but rather in grammatical accuracy. I see you have added some interpretation which I did not see in the Greek text. I guess you know better, or you have the real original test in Russian?
                      Anyway, to be sure, here is the Greek text for those who can read it, to draw their own conclusions:

                      «Στά ἔσχατα χρόνια τό κακό καί ἡ αἵρεση θά ἔχει τόσο ἐξαπλωθεῖ πού οἱ πιστοί δέ θά βρίσκουν ἱερέα καί ποιμένα νά τούς προστατέψει ἀπό τήν πλάνη καί νά τούς συμβουλέψει στή σωτηρία. Τότε, οἱ πιστοί δέ θά μποροῦν νά δεχτοῦν ἀσφαλεῖς ὁδηγίες ἀπό ἀνθρώπους, ἄλλα ὁδηγός τους θά εἶναι τά κείμενα τῶν Ἁγίων Πατέρων. Ἰδίως σέ αὐτή τήν ἐποχή, ὁ κάθε πιστός θά εἶναι ὑπεύθυνος γιά ὅλο τό πλήρωμα τῆς Ἐκκλησίας. Ἀδελφοί, καιρός νά ἀναλάβουμε ὅλοι τίς εὐθύνες μας ἀπέναντι στό Θεό καί τήν ἱστορία. Μήν ἀνέχεστε ἄλλες λοξοδρομίες καί πλάνες ἀπό τούς ἱερεῖς καί ἀρχιερεῖς σας! Μήν κάνετε τά ”στραβά μάτια”, εἶστε συνυπεύθυνοι! Οἱ Ἅγιοί σας προειδοποιοῦν…»

                      BTW, for future reference, do you speak Greek?

                  • Papouli, I am taking the opportunity from your recent reply
                    “With all humility, the translation is somewhat lacking” for which I have thanked you.
                    Two days have passed from my MAIN msg on May 26, 2019 at 5:28 am, and you have only reacted about the “somewhat lacking” translation, but not about the initial main point.

                    May I, then, assume that, tacitly, you do agree with the points in that msg, i.e. that:

                    1) We must love ALL other people, AND
                    2) We must check them if they do/say bad things.
                    And that you of course denounce the “Agapology” exercised by a few Greek Hierarchs and Theologians?

                    • Papouli Theodore says


                      Christ is Risen!

                      Yes, I speak Greek, though I am not an expert in anything, save sin, of which I am the first in knowledge.

                      In my translation of the text you quoted from St. John, I have used [brackets] to in show places where I interpreted beyond the words of the text. I do not speak Russian, nor do I have access to that version.

                      If you feel I have erred in my translation, please do let me know. There were a number of places in your version which I attempted to improve. For example, you translated pleroma as “crew,” which doesn’t seem like a good choice. It implies fullness, and of course is found in Holy Scripture in various forms, including Mt. 9:16; Mk. 2:21; Rom. 11:12, 11:25, 13:10; 1 Cor. 10:26; Gal. 4:4; Eph. 1:23, 3:19; Col. 1:19, 2:9 (among others) and is most often translated as fulness, fulfillment, the full measure, etc. Also, proeidopoiw, is not simply “to warn,” but is an advance warning.

                      Concerning the other matter, I must say, dear brother, that you have not understood my point in the main.

                      I am not a saint, I am not sanctified. I am not a holy person, and therefore, it is not right for me to make theological pronouncements about another, even if I think I know the truth. A theologian is a person who has seen God and entered into a living communion with Him! What can I say, but that I am far from such an experience of Divine Light. I know from the witnesses of the Truth concerning the Truth, and I am in full agreement with them on every point. But to speak boldly of another person’s theological errors is a grave responsibility, that must be left to those who are in a constant state of illumined sanctification.

                      If I see a person steal a loaf of bread, I can understand that they are breaking the Mosaic law not to steal. On the other hand, what can I say about his reason for stealing the bread? Nothing. I am not a clairvoyant saint, nor a person who is free of the guilt of sin. So what can I do? I can pray for that man, that the Lord of Heaven fulfills his need, according to His limitless wisdom! I can love him with my prayers. But I am not ready to pass any judgment on that man, since I do not know the contents of his heart. If he were to ask me, I might tell him, “Brother, why did you steal that loaf of bread? Instead, let me give you something to eat.” Perhaps this is offensive to you.

                      Heresy is sin related to the particularization of theological teaching, such that it becomes wrongly emphasized, and thus leads a person away from the balance and truth of Holy Tradition and Apostolic teaching. I will let others decide how to recompense a person who strays from the firm foundation of the truth. Who am I to pass a judgement on another’s “theology”? I am no one and I am nothing. The holy ones can speak the truth, those who have seen, who have heard, and whose hearts are aflame with the love of Christ.

                      And do not be deceived: St. John Chrysostom’s admonition is not to encourage everyone to be teachers, evangelist, prophets, etc, just as his beloved master St. Paul taught (Eph. 4:11).

                      Who is the Lord of the Church, Ioannis? Are we the lords of the Church, or is the Triune God in the heaven the Lord of the Church? Are we so fearful, so lacking in trust in God’s providence, that we cannot allow the course of this story to reveal itself without jumping to the front of the band of men carrying stones? I prefer not to stone anyone, Ioannis, lest I receive a terrible punishment from God. I will not receive the condemnation of the outer darkness if, in my sin, I humbly pray for another man’s salvation. But, if I make a judgment and speak out of turn, saying what is not mine to say, like some deceitful hypocrite who sins in private, but in public acts the righteous man, then I will certainly find myself with counted with the goats.

                      Perhaps I am a fool.

                      Christ is Risen!

                    • Truly, He is risen!
                      Papouli you are indirectly saying that, in practice, we cannot apply the words of St.J.Chrysostom and St.John Maximovich!

                      Papouli, you wrote 5 paragraphs concentrating on the complexity of theological errors.
                      So, either I did not express myself clearly or you chose not to understand my main point and ignore it:

                      Right here and now, please give me just one link address of what you have ever written to check Bartholomew about naming and donating the “Holy Quran”. Even a child can understand that this action is not allowed if you tell the child that the Quran rejects the basis of our Faith, the Holy Trinity the Crucifiction and the Resurrection!
                      Really, do you want me to explain more about my question?

      • Αμήν Παπούλι!!

    • Matt, undoubtedly there are many faithful clergy in the GOA. Yet the dominating narrative is, “being Greek” not Jesus the Christ. Ask young people who graduate from catechism about their identity and they will state I am Greek, not that I am an Orthodox Christian. For many years people have parroted the statement that being Greek and being Orthodox are the same but reality is different. Atheism is rampant in Greece and among Greek Americans. Many Greek Americans have embraced other faith traditions.

      • Agree broadly. I would not say atheism is rampant in Greece. Far from it. Statistics show otherwise. What is rampant is a distrust and dislike of the clergy at an impersonal level as business Men devoid of spirituality but respect for clergy on personal level and same for monastic.

        It’s classic greek schitzophrenic attitude.

  29. XB
    I saw a good article
    here the link
    It is like my God Mother always said:
    when we receive a blessing and kiss the hand,
    we receive the blessing and kiss the hand NOT of that person,
    but of Christ who blesses us through the priesthood.
    That is why she ( a countess by birth and marquise through marriage,)
    always reverently took the Blessing and kissed the hand of our rather simple
    peasant parish priest who smelled of garlic,
    and taught me to do the same.
    (As a child of the Russian Church I am totally opposed to the actions
    of “this divine sunflower” in the so called Ukraine, but I have no problem
    with the new title, I like sunflowers, they are nice.

    • taso, I have replied to that article with the following:

      Dear Anna, your well-meant words can be misunderstood in practice, e.g:

      Why is it OK to say “Jesus did this, Jesus said that…” but,
      it is wrong to say “Bartholomew did this, said that”?

      Why must we call Bartholomew “Παν-αγιο-τατος” = “All-most-holy” two superlatives,
      and simply sing “Holy is God”

      Chrysostom says the more titles, the less value.
      Chrysostom was called just Archbishop, Bartholomew: Ecumenical Patriarch.
      Chrysostom says we must not bend our head to a bishop who wanted to become bishop!

      Why does Bartholomew always refers to his “Mother Church” to intimidate others,
      whilst we sing “Rejoice Holy Zion,Mother of the Churches” with Bp James the brother of the Lord?

  30. Gerry Colitas says

    Actually Sunflower also has deep Kabbalistic meaning

  31. Kepas Namitas says

    Wait until you see the Deaconesses at the Enthronement

  32. Since I cannot directly comment on Papouli’s last post, I will do so here.

    Papaouli, I am unable to argue or disagree with the truth that you written. Like you, I have not experienced God, and therefore, I am the furthest thing from a true theologian. I have not even come close to the state of purification (let alone illumination or theosis). My nous remains darkened and I have no place to judge the sins of others… own sins being more heinous everyone. However, I grieve for what has happened in Ukraine….especially for the people in the canonical Church who are being persecuted on a daily basis. I find myself unable to attend any Orthodox Church of which I am aware that the priest supports the actions of the EP in Ukraine (these are mostly Churches under the EP). My conscience will not allow it. May God forgive this wretched sinner.

    • Papouli Theodore says


      Christ is Risen!

      Grieve and pray, but be mindful that they have not been abandoned! The Lord is with them! Whatever they suffer today, it is for their growth in the Spirit. There is no fate and their is no purposeless tribulation. But everything is for the glory of God, and that every knee should bow to Him, on earth, under the earth, and in the heavens!

      Do not judge the hearts of those entwined in the deceptions of others, lest you also be judged. Please have pity on the clergy! They are already accountable for so great a judgment.

      And may I also, humbly and with deep love, encourage you not to infer things based on your own mind. If a priest supports wickedness, he will be judged, but none are worthy to stand at the Holy Table. Ever. Each priest is only one soldier in a great army. Whether he has become complicit with the enemy is for He who judges hearts to discern.

      But let’s not cast them away just yet, before the manifest day of the Lord.

      Christ is Risen!

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Papouli Theodore, I disagree with you.

        1 Corinthians 5:12 tells us we ARE to judge people in the Church, which of course would include clergy; however, one could make the case that Batholomew, and those who follow him, are NOT clergy because to be clergy one must be in the canonical Chruch and to be in the canonical Church, one cannot commune with schematics.

        Secondly, we are also to expel the wicked. I invite anyone who has a better understanding of what the Biblical term “wicked” means to correct me, but I was taught wicked meant a mental disregard for justice, righteousness, truth, honor, virtue; evil in thought and life; depravity; sinfulness; criminality. In my opinion, and more importantly, in the opinion Bartholomew’s fellow hierarchs, he has shown a total disregard for the truth, as evidenced by his reimagining the past and his place as first AMONG equals, honor, with respect to ignoring his brother bishops admonishments, doing what he damn well pleases, and virtue, as evidenced by the promiscuous lifestyles led by those whom he elevated.

        Several of the Local Churchs have gone to Batholomew, separately and collectively, about his path in Ukraine. Sadly, we are now at the point where Bartholomew must be removed. He sinned against a canonical bishop by invading his territory. . .

        Matthew 18:15-17 (ESV) “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

        Patriarch Bartholomew refuses to listen to ANYONE.

        Sometimes coming from an Evangelical background where Bible study is encouraged proves helpful in getting to the heart of the matter. Nothing trumps Scripture.

        • Estonian Slovak says

          Oh, really. When a certain person harassed me for being against Masons, the Papacy, in other words, standing up for the church, what did you do? I was standing up for the faith and I didn’t see you support me.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            I didn’t see anyone harassing you, but if I had I would have asked George to intervene again. I saw it coming and I have asked George several times to address it. He is in the best position to discuss this because he was a mason for years. Right, George? There are hundreds of comments coming across this blog every day that I don’t see, nor do I enter into every discussion, because there are people better qualified than me who should have the floor. Bringing negative attention to one our readers, who is obviously struggling just to remain Orthodox, is not high on my list of priorities, as I know, from personal experience, that aggressively confronting him is not the way to go in terms of helping him to protect his salvation. I am not as worried about yours, ES, because your feet are firmly planted in the Church. – I would and have stood up for you. You know that.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Gail, ES, Costa, et al:

              Forgive me for being derelict in coming to the Church’s defense when it comes to Freemasonry. Gail has gotten a hold of me and rebuked me for being reticent to come to the Church’s defense regarding Freemasonry. (Partly this was because several dear male family members were or are still Masons.) Anyway, I did write an essay regarding Freemasonry a few years ago so I thought the matter was settled. It’s right here:

              However, I did drop the ball in that I never followed up on the subject. (In fact, this was Part 1, so as this was posted back in 2017, I really did drop the ball!)

              The problem a this point however is not Freemasonry per se but our love for each other. To my mind, this includes us being gentle in our rebukes but being stalwart when it comes to standing up for the Church. I ask all of us to remember that what we say here about the Church and a struggling brother or sister is very important.

              I know I’m gonna get a lot of flak for what I’m about to say next but here goes: I’ve been told by a few people (priests and laymen both) that this blog and others like it is the closest thing that some of us have to being a member of a church. For whatever reason (distance, disruption, prejudice, the inability to stomach egregious degrees of corruption, etc), a growing number of people are flocking to this and other blogs for respite.

              I learned several years ago during the tumultuous time when Metropolitan Jonah was being hounded out of the OCA that I oftentimes made things worse for some of our readers because of my argumentation (which can be acerbic at times). It may have resulted in some people leaving the Church. Not good on me. Therefore, I’ve toned down significantly my own stridency and even going so far as to not replying to every comment or even every day. (The Lord has been good to me because Monomakhos actually has an editorial staff to help me in this regard.)

              Regardless, I would all like for us to take a step back and remember that we must strive to love one another. If we do the first, please try and frame your arguments with the idea that you are trying to answer a brother in Christ.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Thank you, George.

              • Constantinos says

                Dear George,
                With all due respect, I thought your article was very poorly researched, replete with errors, and misinformation. As a historian, I would honestly expect better research from you. If someone like you can write a column like that, what hope is there for anyone else?
                I don’t want to get into all the errors and misinformation in your column, but with all due respect, you really don’t know the first thing about freemasonry, and “Monk James” certainly doesn’t have the faintest clue.
                Just one small point. Albert Pike has no authority in the lodges. He was not a member of the KKK. He was the head of the Southern District of the Scottish Rite. Now, about this nonsense of him “worshipping Lucifer.” Anyone with a basic understanding of the Scriptures should know that Lucifer was not the devil. Lucifer is a Latin translation for the morning star, the planet Venus. The references cited in Ezekial and Isaiah are speaking to and about the King of Tyre- no one else. This nonsense about these being passages speaking about the devil started in the 4th century. Even the Orthodox Study Bible does not make any assertions that these passages refer to the devil. Also, Albert Pike never worshipped the planet Venus. See how such nonsense gets started?
                The complete and total ignorance of the Orthodox is breathtaking. If the views of “Monk James, “and other posters to this forum are mainstream Orthodoxy, then Orthodoxy is dying a slow death. Very, very sad! It seems like ignorance reigns supreme on this forum. Over and out.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Costa, you are right: I did that article from the top of my head with a heaping dose of gut instinct. To be truthful, a good history of Freemasonry and other such fraternal orders is well-nigh impossible, so steeped are they in secrecy and legend. The only thing we know for a fact is that four “gentleman club/lodges” joined together in 1717 and created the first Grand Lodge. At the very least, this means that they preexisted 1717 (just like the Church of Rome preexisted St Peter who went to preach there).

                  There is a heavy gnostic impulse within such lodges, fraternities, cults, whatever one wishes to call them. The idea that they are an elite which has a “higher knowledge” than those who live in the mundane world. This invariably leads to occultism, kabbalism, neo-Platonism, Catharism, dualism, and some such non-Christian ritual and doctrine. I’m sorry but that inevitable.

                  Therefore to try and find some glittering jewel in such a pile of anti- (i.e. “instead of”) Christianity is a vain effort. Please note: I did not say that there were no good men within these sects, cults, lodges, fraternities –far from it.

            • Estonian Slovak says

              I may be in the church, but I’m a sinful man. I apologise for leading, you, George, or anyone else into temptation.
              I was accused of being the type of Orthodox who turns people into atheists. Perhaps so, though it’s unfortunate someone’s faith might be so weak that a remark could push them over the edge. If I’m not mistaken, you really have suffered for the faith. Not only from words, but from damage to your personal property, and possibly threats of physical harm.
              Perhaps, I have led people into temptation, but some of the modernist opinions expressed by some folks here led my spiritual father to bail out of the GOA years ago. He found refuge, first in the OCA, later in ROCOR. Another spiritual father left the GOA for the Serbs, later for ROCOR as well.
              He reposed almost 30 years ago.
              Forgive me, a sinner.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Well, Estonia Slovak, you’re in good company. We all run that risk. My own daughter, who is more important to me than anyone on this planet, wants nothing to do with the Church because of what I went through. In retrospect, I wonder if it was all worth it. My daughter’s salvation is in question and I’ve taken a financial loss of almost $100,000; money I could not and cannot afford to lose. Why? Because I had the audacity to write a letter and was impertinent about our tithes going to terrorists. That was my crime.

                As a follow-up, after stealing several thousand dollars from the parish that was intended to go to an iconographer in Lebanon AND pretending to be the parish priest so that a couple who were COUSINS could get married, Anthony Gabriel was barred from the parish. He then went to the Greek parish and later down to one of their missions until it was discovered that he wasn’t supposed to be there either so now he does YouTube clips on Facebook. He and his friends made things so uncomfortable for Father Philip, he retired and weeks after my apartment was broken into (twice) Father Philip suffered a home invasion where the intruder put a gun to his wife’s head. The gunman wore no disguise and his gun was loaded with the kind of bullets that explode in the body so I’m guessing he intended to kill them. It seems someone told the gunman that Father Philip had some money stashed somewhere which, of course, he didn’t. With God’s help, Father was able to wrestle the gun out of the gunman’s hand and the gunman took off. They don’t know who it was but the police said it was unlikely that it was “random” home invasion given the details. The Philip’s put their house up for sale and God willing are out of there now.

                THIS, however, is tolerated. The guy is still in operation because Metropolitan Philip made him Economos shortly before he passed and he continues to refer to himself as “Father.”

                • Gail I cannot find words to express to u. Makes my little experience nothing.
                  One asks ourselves, do these people act like it because they have no faith and are con- artists?
                  I somehow in general say no. I believe they have fallen for the Orthodox temptation of BEING TOO FAMILIAR WITH GOD, they can do no wrong.
                  In my career in health in Uk I had to investigate abuse of elderly on a ward. I spent a night with staff. Who i saw abusing patients in front of me..
                  Why? Because it had become second nature and not seen as wrong so staff. were oblivious of me. It’s something similar.

                • Constantinos says

                  Dear Gail,
                  If I was your daughter, I would feel exactly the way she does, only much more vindictive. If what happened to you had happened to me, I would want retribution.
                  I have an immensely difficult time forgiving bad people for rotten past actions. One of my blessings and curses is that I have a photographic memory. It’s a blessing in remembering people’s names, and in learning extremely difficult sciences, and math. Combining that with speed reading, I’m an accelerated learner.
                  Now, the really bad part is that two of my female cousins, and a rotten aunt caused my extended family severe damage, I found out a very close friend at one time had passed this last November rather suddenly from colon cancer. He felt ill on Halloween, and died on November 6th. I called his widow up the next day, and she told me about the treachery of my loathsome cousin and aunt who destroyed her family. She used the same dirty, low , underhanded, illegal tactics that she used on my extended family. I was so outraged after talking to this widow, I reinforced my burning desire to destroy her business. In fact, it has been one of my missions to bring her down in ruins. No matter how much I’ve prayed, been to confession, I can’t come close to forgiving her for her transgressions. My aunt fell down and broke her hip, my response was “too bad she didn’t break her head.” I try to forgive her, but deep in my heart, I want her to die. I almost pray for her demise. This widow asked me if my aunt was still alive, I said unfortunately she is.
                  For the life of me, I don’t know how you can forgive these people. I’ll never be a saint because I’m much too vengeful. Do you have any advice for me? The Lord said to forgive our enemies, but my instincts are always to destroy them. Thank you.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    I’m not trying to sound pious, Costa, but the whole meaning of forgiveness is lost on me. I just don’t feel resentment or vengeance toward people. I see their transgressions as more spiritual than human. There is nothing to “forgive” or let go of with respect to the human being. I even took the Eucharist from Fr. Gabriel because, for whatever reason, God allowed him to serve at the parish he later would rob. I don’t hate him. It’s the evil I hate. I want to protect the Body of Christ. I do not want people who inflict hardship on the Body to be in positions of authority. Sadly, this has become a “passion” for me. I despise bullying and anything connected with it within the Church. That some can say they love the Church and not defend her is a complete mystery to me. For me, it’s like taking your newborn and wrapping him up in a blanket infected with varments. – This is not to say I haven’t been hurt by all this. I truly have but frankly, I am more hurt by the people who do nothing than the transgressors. Figure that one out!

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Costa, being more like you than Gail, I can only say that our desire for vengeance and retribution only binds us to those who have harmed us. The act becomes as a burrowing worm that that goes deeper and deeper into one’s soul. Taken to the extreme, it becomes like a suicide bomb.

                    It is especially difficult when the perpetrator is still in your life and continues to offend.

                    St. John Chrysostom tells us that God honors the intent as well as the success.

                    • Constantinos says

                      Mr. Bauman,
                      I’m starting to get a very small victory in this area just by asking God to forgive me for my hardness of heart. “Vengeance is Mine” says the Lord.
                      Okay, brother, may I ask you a question. You know the grandiose ideas the Ecumenical Patriarch, and how he is destroying the Greek Orthodox Church, is it a sin to pray that God would take him? Thank you, brother!

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Costa better to pray fervently for the Church to be ordered in accordance with His will. That leaves room for the repentance each of us needs, whatever that may be.

        • Gail, the Holy Fathers (by consensus) interpret and apply Scripture for the Orthodox Faithful with their saintly wisdom, steeped in and radiating the fronema as the rest of us may only aspire to absorb. Very different from interpretations and even the translations in Evangelical Bible Studies much less our own individual ones, all of which are inappropriate and inaccurate. The consensus of Holy Fathers as the only valid interpreter of Scripture is a pillar of Orthodoxy albeit appently less known and taught in the west.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Correction, Nicole: can be inappropriate and inaccurate. I say this with all due respect because it is SO easy in our world to dismiss the obvious. I’ve done it myself. Scripture is not rocket science. It was never intended to be. It was intended to speak to those who have a heart for God. Certainly, the Holy Fathers, but not only the Holy Fathers, to the degree that one’s interpretation is consistent with the Holy Fathers and the teachings of the Church.

            I think we all can agree that the “pillar of Orthodoxy” that we have with us here, today, is the consensus of the canonical Church. The hierarchs have been clear: Bartholomew crossed a line with Ukraine. Even if they found a way to normalize the OCU (Russia would never accept it, BTW), it would not solve the problem of Bartholomew. When he walked away from his brother bishops, he walked away from the Church. They’re going to have to deal with that because he has shown no inclination of changing.

            • Yes, Gail. Bartholomew is out of control and he continues to dig the hole deeper.
              His latest comments sicken me to the core.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                You’re right, Mikhail. In fact, this is SO bad (and so revealing), I’m going to reprint it here so no one misses it:

                * * *

                The Patriarchate of Constantinople restored the canonicity of the people that was outside the Church for no dogmatic reason, the head of the Phanar said.

                We consider it a great blessing from God that the Ecumenical Patriarchate managed to restore the canonicity of an entire multi-million nation, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople said in an interview about his activities in Ukraine with the Bulgarian news agency “BGNES”.

                At the same time, the primate of the Phanar assured that the multi-million Ukrainian nation “was outside the Church for no dogmatic reason”.

                “Thank God! So, the decisive factor that made the Ecumenical Patriarchate grant Ukraine autocephaly is the healing of schism and the restoration of church unity,” said Patriarch Bartholomew.

                According to him, thanks to the Council of Chalcedon, the Patriarchate of Constantinople allegedly has the privilege of accepting appeals against the decisions of other Local Churches, and in the decision to grant the Tomos of independence to newly established Churches, it is not obliged to take into account the opinions of others on this issue.

                “The Ecumenical Patriarchate, guided by the sacred canons (including the 9th, 17th, and 28th canons of the IV Ecumenical Council, the 36th Canon of the Trullan Council, and 1 Canon of the Council of 879/880, which was held at the Hagia Sophia Church in Constantinople), assumed responsibility for granting the Tomos of autocephaly to all Churches, turning them into archdiocese or patriarchs, without discussion or cooperation on this matter with other Churches,” Patriarch Bartholomew stated.

                In his opinion, the legalization of schismatics from the UOC KP and the UAOC without their repentance fits into the framework of this practice.

                “In the case of Ukraine, we did nothing else. We used the same practice we have followed in recognizing all newly established Autocephalous Churches,” said the primate of the Phanar. He also reiterated that he considered Filaret and Makariy canonical bishops, despite the numerous testimonies of the hierarchs of the UOC and the ROC, that Makariy never was a bishop in the ROC but fell into schism as a priest.

                Patriarch Bartholomew finds the ROC responsible for Filaret Denisenko and Makariy Miletich’s schism.

                “The schisms that were created in the past century and arose mainly from the desire of the Russian Church to prevent the church independence of Ukraine.”

                He is confident that the presence of the Moscow Patriarchate in the country is detrimental to the Ukrainian people.

                “The shocking political events through which new, completely different geopolitical conditions were formed made the presence of the Moscow Patriarchate (in Ukraine – Ed.) undesirable and detrimental to the interests of the Ukrainian nation and the unity of the Ukrainian people. For this reason, it is understandable why most of the Ukrainian people want a church liberation from the Church, which helps or even serves the interests of the state that is in conflict with Ukraine,” he concluded.

                Earlier, the Greek theologian Pavlos Trokados explained that the Pan-Orthodox Council can be convened by the head of any Church, and the Primate of the Phanar has no special prerogatives or “primacy”. “All Primates are equally” first “in modern reality with many states and should equally care about the stability of the Church. Therefore, they are jointly responsible for the convocation of the Pan-Orthodox Council since the Patriarch of Constantinople is only one of the members of the Council (as has been said about the Apostle Peter). Or maybe Patriarch Bartholomew is already superior to the Apostle Peter?” he stressed.


                • Gail. THIS IS CATHOLICISM IN BAD TASTE.
                  And his words on Mr Denisenko disgusting. What does he think Onouphrios and the autonomous church are? I am shocked beyond words.
                  There may be those here who say this is a quarrel far away nothing to do with Americans, and I wish they were correct. But to anybody who is Orthodox it is clear this man is a papist in bad taste.
                  Those who keep quiet are enablers whose Silence is golden to him, such as the clergy. I feel sorry for them but are they in worse position than the Russian clergy in 1920s who witnessed against the so called living church? I do not think so.
                  This is not only papal pretensions to bolster a dying present, but based on pretending we are in the 7th century still. Yet when Russian church granted it’s former archdiocese, autocephaly, (OCA) there was hell to pay. Yes because it pointed the way.
                  I make no comment of the status of sacraments in Phanar churches etc, that is for God as it were, but for me the Phanar is not Orthodox.
                  I have already earlier expressed my opinion as an Orthodox believer about the overwhelming ideology of the greek archdiocese being a sort of byzantine protestantism with, generally, pseudo byzantine worship, neither fish nor fowl. Granted this is what majority have habituated to for generations now, so they may regard my words with indifferent attitude.
                  It is strange how disaster can bring good. Just as the 1917 revolution brought Russian Orthodox intellectual and believers to west, so wwii brought to degree an easing on persecution in USSR, while the Smyrna catastrophe and its million plus refugees brought a authentic spirituality and worship and liturgical singing back to Greece whose Church in venizelist and Metaxakis hands was moving western in assimilation in worship and theology, later typified by Zoe organization that loathed monastics and Orthodoxy outside of a German lutheran model. I well recall my Godmother’s opinion and family. In Athens. And the scholastic theology of Trembalas. It was this mentality that the greek american elites brought with them and whose agenda they ACTIVELY worked to.
                  Now with the death of a united greek american community in any meaning way, this institution is dying. Helped in by it’s own euphanasia of corruption and secularization of the altar as the late fr Alexander Schememn wrote well on.
                  They say that 90% of former members no longer in Communion with it.
                  And of course the refusal to psychologically live as if it is in USA, with it’s money and eyes looking towards Turkey bathed in pretensions and fables and play acting.

            • Well put Gail, bravo!

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            No wonder the churches St. Paul founded and wrote to couldn’t make head nor tail of what he was saying– they had no Holy Fathers to interpret for them! Heck, even Peter found the going hard sometimes….

            (I read that somewhere…..)

            One of my favorites is where one of the Fathers ‘explained’ that Sts. Paul and Peter really had no argument or controversy at Antioch; it was just a bit of stage-business. (I can’t recall the reference, maybe somebody can give me the citation….)

          • Gail, who determines the consensus of the fathers? Fathers of the Church interpret passages from scripture in radically different ways. Several years ago, I read an exegesis of the passage “thou are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church.” If my memory serves me correctly, there were at least 6-7 different interpretations from different fathers. I do believe the tradition of the church plays an important role in interpreting scripture but the idea you present is too rigid. My parish priest frequently precedes statements with “the fathers of the church say” and I wonder how he can explore the fathers and determine their consensus for each of the statements he makes. This preceding of statements with “the fathers
            say” has become a form of false piety.The idea you present has been used to discourage reading of the scriptures;thus, the average Orthodox is biblically illiterate. Scripture can stand on its own authority. I have read a significant amount of the writings of Chrysostom and he never quotes a father.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              My point wasn’t that Scripture can’t stand on its own authority as I, too, made the point that it was written for those with a heart for God. However, if the individual interprets Scripture in a way that is inconsistent with the teachings of the Holy Fathers and the Church, it becomes meaningless. Scripture can, and has, been twisted by many.

              The Church does not usually hand down teachings where there is no consensus. This does not mean the Holy Fathers haven’t or won’t disagree. Where there is disagreement, the Church’s position is usually this: “We don’t know, but this Holy Father said this and that Holy Father said that.” The Church strives for consensus, i.e. “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us. . .”

              In contrast, notice how often Patriarch Batholomew says, “It seemed good to me. . .” or “it was for my pleasure . . .” This should tell any astute observer that he has walked away from the Church.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                I should add, with regard to the specific argument you raised about Peter and the rock, the Orthodox Church teaches that the rock is Christ, not Peter.  

                • Also possible that Christ was simply refering to Peter as Peter and not to any after succession. But to the role Peter in his life time would play.

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says

                    That’s what I always figured from the beginning. I never saw anything about successors in the statement.
                    Especially since there didn’t particularly seem any need for said successors at the time.

                • Papouli Theodore says

                  Christ is Risen!
                  This is not uniformly true. The Holy Fathers do interpret this passage in more than a single way.
                  Christ is Risen!

      • Papouli,

        I certainly understand what you are trying to say…and I will leave the fjnal judgement of the schismatic supporting priests to God alone. However, if I were to attend a Liturgy being celebrated by one of them…it would be tantamount to my approval of their support for the persecution of my brothers and sisters in the Ukrainian canonical Church. My conscience will not allow it

        • Totally correct Michael

        • Joseph Lipper says


          Persecution should not be tolerated in Ukraine, and I believe Vladimir Zelenskiy wants an end to any religious persecution, and this includes the protection of church properties. The recent 73% landslide election of Vladimir Zelenskiy in Ukraine suggests the vast majority of Ukrainians want peace, and they want a Ukraine that supports and respects both the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Vladimir Zelenskiy is not a member of either, so I think he is unbiased. His main message seems to be that Ukraine should be independent and not part of the Russian Federation. He wants the return of Crimea and occupied Donbass to Ukrainian sovereignty. Apparently most Ukrainians agree with him.

          Both the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) and the Orthodox Church in Ukraine should be able to coexist peacefully in the same country. There is no good reason why they can’t. For the most part, they already do.

          Ukraine has been an independent country since 1991, about 28 years, and the schism of the Ukrainian Church is just about as old. It’s not a new thing. It seems apparent now that most Ukrainians want peace, and they also want an independent Ukraine. Will the Russian Federation respect this and allow for Ukraine’s independence?

          • George Michalopulos says

            That’s what Zelinskiy wants but he’s already been hamstrung by Poroshenko who on his way out the door got his cronies in the Rada to clip the incoming president’s wings. Don’t get me wrong, I wish him the best and there’ll be hell to pay if the Old Guard continues to play their anti-Russian games but he’s set up for failure.

            In any event, you’re idea that these two sects can live together in a land as hopelessly divided as Ukraine is pollyannish. I don’t mean to be cruel but there’s just a lot of bad blood between east and west in Ukraine.

            God I hope I’m wrong.

          • Joseph,

            They do not co-exist peacefully. Bartholomew’s schismatic OCU continues to cut locks, confiscate Churches, and beat parishioners and clergy of the Canonical Church…..with the full support of Bartholomew.

          • “Persecution should not be tolerated in Ukraine.” Yet it is tolerated.

            And thus far (as I have noted previously), I have seen nothing in print (though perhaps it exists – of so, please reference) that indicates any condemnation of such by Bartholomew. In fact, the only words I’ve seen that have spoken against it have been those of Philaret whose motives are expressly political in that he has indicated that the persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) by the OCU (or is it “his Kiev patriarchate”) to provoke a backlash.

            I find it very troubling indeed that Bartholomew is silent on evils that serve his own interests. Nevertheless, until he is deposed or censured by his brother bishops he remains among the “anointed of God,” and we must behave toward him as David behaved toward Saul – fleeing from his evils and schemes, waiting upon God to deal with him in His own perfect way, and not rejoicing in his downfall when it comes.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Pat Bartholomew believes that “generally speaking” the Orthodox church is against persecution.

      • Papouli Theodore,
        I disagree with you too.

        -Gail, our beloved sister in Christ told you 1 Cor.5:12
        -I quoted St.John Chrysostom and St.John Maximovich
        All these three prove that we are to check deeds.

        I am sorry, your previous answer to me and now to Gail is a manoeuver to avoid the main issue, to practically neutralize the three quoted sources. You write many paragraphs one-sidedly about love and more love and ignore the action of checking!

        Please, please, PLEASE after 3 days, can you give me a STRAIGHT AND DIRECT ANSWER on these points 1), 2) and 3) which I have already asked you:

        Please saty with a single YES or NO whether you agree with the following:

        1) We must love ALL other people, AND
        2) We must check them if they do/say bad things.
        3) And that you of course denounce the “Agapology” exercised by a few Greek Hierarchs and Theologians?

        • Papouli,
          why are you silent?

          • Papouli Theodore says


            Christ is Risen!

            I have written my answer. I am sorry if it is not satisfactory to you. “Exposing” evil, bad behavior, etc., is not the primary purpose of the Orthodox Christian life, but rather one’s illumination and sanctification—to become the clearest reflection of our sweet Lord and Savior.

            Those who have reached a pure state of heart can judge, but I cannot, since I am a sinner.

            Christ is Risen!

            • Sorry Papouli, you have not answered.
              There are 3 STRAIT questions and
              i begged you for 3 STRAIT answers.

              Here they are, once again (omitting the introduction):

              Please, please, PLEASE after …. days, can you give me a STRAIGHT AND DIRECT ANSWER on these points 1), 2) and 3) which I have already asked you:

              Please say with a single YES or NO whether you agree with the following:

              1) We must love ALL other people, AND
              2) We must check them if they do/say bad things.
              3) And that you of course denounce the “Agapology” exercised by a few Greek Hierarchs and Theologians?

              • It’s matter of degree. Papiuli is right that we should not judge, the individual and so often this judgement is poison that kills the soul, but when ACTIONS are so wrong, so evil,  ie  nazis,  murder, corruption,  hate speak etc. And to stay quiet is to aid it,  then we have a duty before God. Pastor Niemoller in nazi Germany comes to mind  and St John Chrysostomos himself,  to speak up and condem the actions. 
                Too often in Orthodox, passive in face of evil has been blessed as Holy. 

  33. Matthew Panchisin says

    Dear Mikhail,

    I agree with your prior comments, if men appearing to be bishops and priests sincerely openly support what the E.P. is doing, the theft of Churches, violence against Christ’s Church with Pontius Pilate like acquiescence, the first without equals movement, then they are schismatics, hirelings and wolves in sheep’s clothing. I don’t think that is a matter of judgment, just common sense and a recognition of reality. Anyway, all thieves have always had a steadfast tradition, they discard that which is most precious see Bartholomew and his so-called synod. It’s much worse than bonafide farce.

    My mother is 91 years old and wants to be buried along side my father in a Church under the E.P. she is aware of what’s going on and mentioned “in sickness and in health” relative to the subject matter.

    I however share your sentiments but with some circumstantial limitations, I’m just going do what my Priest says when my mother reposes. The last time I mentioned it to him he said it is a very pathetic, a sad and fluid situation now, so just wait and see what happens.

    Bartholomew the so-called spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians has created way too many spiritually disturbing situations, I actually thought the Greek clergyman would rise up against the Phanars’ tyranny by now understanding that they are very sick, it seems I’m just naive, reactions are slow, what I’m I supposed to do? I think they can only support the sicknesses so long before conscience will not allow it anymore. Then again I’ve known people when it never kicks in, at least in this life but those situations are much different.

    May the Lord God help all of us.

  34. John Couretas says

    Archbishop of America Elpidophoros aims to rebuild Church’s credibility

    A couple snips:

    As for the challenges being faced right now, the greatest one is a lack of credibility. Our diaspora basically has to prove that it is once more capable of dealing with major issues effectively and without there being any question of transparency or any other doubts that could arise. The Church of Saint Nicholas is pivotal. It is a matter of national pride and a question of honor for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. It is an issue that will be solved immediately, right now. Before I even go to America. Before I am even enthroned, this issue needs to be dealt with swiftly, because it reflects on us, it is our image, our face to American society, because it is being built at an extremely significant location for American society, at Ground Zero, where so many people perished, victims of terrorism, and we need our presence there to be a dignified one. I think this will also serve strategically to solve a lot of other issues, because once we start restoring our credibility, we will also be able to deal with the second big issue that is important to our archdiocese. That is the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Boston, which is our nursery of officials for the archdiocese, the place where we shape and educate our priests before sending them out across America to become leaders, if you will, spiritual leaders, priests who will inspire their flock and bring it back into our churches and our community. The third big challenge is the archdiocese’s overall financial problems.

    [ … ]

    I have been taught by the Patriarchate that the money someone gives the Church is sacred. It is sacred because it has been earned the hard way. It comes from the sacrifice of the people offering the money. It is money they are depriving their children, family or business of. Therefore, the Church has a duty to handle this money with the same sanctity and respect it reserves for sacred objects in the Church – that is with the fear of God. And that is something that every benefactor, every person making an offering, every Greek, every Orthodox person should feel. They need to understand that the Church respects the money, and once they do, they will offer even more. This cannot be based only on moral trust generally; there needs to be transparency. As we all know, being moral is not enough; we also need to be seen being moral, we need to be convincing. Therefore, we will follow the same path that every public organization in the United States follows by carrying out an audit so that we know what happened and what we are taking on. I promise that the management will be transparent and everyone will know just how the sacred money they give the Church is being spent and with how much respect we treat it and how we are using it to address real needs.

    • Words come cheap. Very cheap. even when coming with hope!!! ? Lets see the action. And if the St Nicholas church fiasco is sorted like NOW!! How was that not possible last week as it were??
      And his greek emphasis. So i presume he does not realise he has a church of american citizens who mostly do not know a word of greek. And of course the 1 million dollars has nothing to do with it.

      • Bravo, Niko!

      • Ιωάννη.  Thank you.  But there is more. I re – read Elpidiophoros and getting more irritated.  He described you guys as the ‘diaspora’, HOW ARROGANT AND MISPLACED AND CONDESENDING. HE IS THE DIASPORA. 
        I have said some  harsh home truths, as I see them, about the greek -american community. But, and to be fair he partiallyw acknowledges this;
        that is the dedicated and hard work and sacrifice put in to building up the communities, from people themselves struggling to make a new life, now these communities are struggling to hold their own.   And why?  Because bluntly put, in general,  the grand kids and great grand kids, feel unrelated to it all and not greek mostly, or by name only, and not entering the doors, or briefly for a ten minute candle lightening  with probably a full meal in their stomachs. 
        I remember my late mother who worked as a nurse in Uk coming across couple, patients, with greek cypriot surnames, who had nothing to do with the Church, or even knew it was there in the city. These people, YOU, are not the diaspora. USA, Uk, etc are yr homes.
        When the biggest congregation is at funeral, then you understanding fully. 
        Yes there is  today in Europe a modern Greek diaspora, of often EU professional people, doctors,  nurses,  etc who mostly are looking to go home but how many may not?   And I would hazzard a guess that their religiosity is generally  markedly lower than that of several generations ago. But in general Elpidiophoros is calling a diaspora, people who are USA  citizens.  Why?  Because he wants you never growing up. WHY.? MONEY, YOURS,GOING TO TURKEY. 

        • Nikos stone says

          To add interesting to see that the Romanian emmigration to western Europe, uk, has high degree of religious belief and they fill the Romanian churches.  Many are professional people too.  
          My interaction with Romanian church in Romania and in Uk has been positive.   In the newly founded Southampton, uk  Parish, the priest who came from Spain, works as engineer  .  A very Very good man and impressive liturgist. Very alive Parish. He speaks fluent english, and spanish and italian and French!!  Apologised for not knowing greek!! ? 
          The Southampton greek priest  12 yrs now in Uk does not utter one word of english in the Church. 

    • Joanne Trihoyos says

      We need to show the Helladists they cannot use such vile offensive terms like disapora, xeniteia, expatriate (apodemoi) and the totally nazi homogeny (omogenia). We should engage in a racketeering lawsuit against SAE for  trying to deprive us of our American Birthright. We should attack Greek agriculture, tourism and “national matters”,  exposing stomper foot fungus in oil & wine, filthy beaches, banning flushing toilet paper, gyro mystery meat.

  35. Consider: two drastically different views of what the Orthodox church in North America must be, in spirit and in mission. The dichotomy is too strong to forego mentioning.

    There’s the vision of St Herman of Alaska, of St Innocent of Alaska, of St Sebastian (Dabovich), of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco, of St Jacob Netsvetov of Alaska, of Archbp Dmitri of Dallas (of blessed memory), of the OCA, of all of the many ROCOR mission parishes, of the Antiochian Archdiocese mission parishes, and probably also of other Orthodox jurisdictions in North America that I don’t know very well.

    This vision states that God sent the Orthodox to North America to spread the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to any American of any background who is interested and is willing to hear and to “come and see.” We love Americans of all backgrounds, we love who you are, we want to get to know you and your culture so that we can work to bring Christ to you. Christ always meets us where we are, when we genuinely approach Him, and we want to meet any American where he/she is to help them to know and to grow in Christ.

    The second, contrasting, vision of the Orthodox church in North America seems to be that of the new Archbp Elpidophoros (the ironically-named “bearer of hope”) and of the Patriarch Bartholomew: The goal of the church in North America is to “restore the Holy Archdiocese of America to its former glory,” to “strengthen the bonds of the flock with our Holy Patriarchate, and make the Patriarchate proud again of its greatest Eparchy.” So the American Church exists to make the Patriarchate of Constantinople feel better about itself? No mention of understanding the vast cultural landscape of America, no mention of working to meet any American who is seeking Christ where he/she is to help him/her grow in Christ, no mention of mission to America. Simply to restore the Greek Archdiocese to “its former glory” (what former glory?!?) and to “make the Patriarchate proud again of its greatest Eparchy.”

    The Patriarchate of Constantinople is stating to its daughter Archdiocese: grow and succeed, so that I feel better about myself. That, my friends, is the essence of a dysfunctional family, in a nutshell.

    These two contrasting visions of what the Church in America must be are too stark to ignore. I don’t doubt that there are Christ-loving and mission-loving clergy and faithful in the GOA, however I don’t see how any Christ-loving and mission-loving faithful could support the debauchery and dysfunction coming out of Istanbul.

    • You forgot one thing. The way Cpole will once again feel better about itself is too get the cash cow back on the dairy farm.

    • Greatly Saddened says

      Amen, Anon 2 and Mikhail!

    • Exactly. Important to know there is arrising in USA an authentic Orthodoxy grounded in all the traditions it has received, in ENGLISH, but spanish and aleut and any other languages needed, but living the reality of american society today whose eyes are not looking towards a dying foreign suspect Patriarch . It us found in OCA, Antioch and where ever there are parishes authentic in their witness to Christ and the Church. It is alive and dynamic. And in it’s authentic monasteries as opposed to pseudo ones mired in sexual scandal.

  36. Nikos: “a dying foreign suspect Patriarch”

    I would use a different word order – “a suspect dying foreign Patriarch”Unless the main adjective is to be “suspect”? I could not resist. 😉

    • Martin you go for it!! ?  
      Yes.    You guys need an Orthodox Lexington and declaration of independent action.  You have the OCA so  legal good order, etc will not be in doubt in moving  ahead. And is not the OCA a good example of how to come out from the swamp??   And why? Because good and bad,  they were all american citizens with it beginning and ending there. The solution came from within. 
      Bartholomaios very devious. The greek church in USA not even autonomous in reality, does not exist except in separate Metropolitan areas directly answerable to Bartholomaios. You don’t even get to chose who is the the boss or even put names forward.   He wants to reduce the entire church to that level to push the papist,  liberal agenda ( and no I am not supporting hate filled other extreme either) and trying with Greece now.  
      God bless yr struggle.  
      By the by can i plug Eikona,  the three lady trio putting out beautiful acapella byzantine recording  in english that could be used ( music) by the smallest Parish. 
      They give one hope. And by putting tradition in english it is carried on as a living stream, as here in Bulgaria, when I hear the slavonic byzantine chant. 

  37. Lon Colefas says

    Sycophant means slander in Greek and French but flatter in English

    • George Michalopulos says

      Syko (fig) + phaneis (appears). I’m not sure if this comports with ancient usage but in modern idiom, fig is a pejorative for homosexual.

      • Yes. Τα σύκα!! ?   I had an english friend who stayed with my uncle in Athens when we students and he  was made about  fresh figs and had a feast as four fig trees in garden .  On leaving  he proudly said in the greek the he  had gained in three months summer stay;  that when he thought of my uncle, who was a army officer,  he WOULD THIΝK OF Ta Σύκα!! And thst foe him he was a fig!!   ? Went down well!!!. 

  38. Melas Karaskinas says

    No, it shows that Orthodoxy must remain in Greek, because English fails:

    • Monk James Silver says

      Like any language attempting to translate from Greek, English fails only at the hands of incompetent translators.

      As a matter of translational principles, it is a given that anything which can be said in any language can be said in any other language. Perhaps not always directly and perhaps with a phrase instead of a single word, but it’s always possible.

      It all depends on the skill of the translators, who must not inly be thoroughly educated in Greek language, but also be masters of English.

  39. “Monk James Silver”
    You are right in broad lines.
    However there are quite a few difficult words, the difficulty being that
    they have 2 or more different meanings e.g.
    Λόγος , Logos = word / reason / logic
    Δόξα, Doxa = Glory / thinking, idea
    Ἂρχω Archo – to be the first in sequence / to lead
    Καλός, Kalos – Beautiful (more ancient) / Good (more modern)
    Ὀρθός, Orthos – Upright / correct

    You might think it is easy to keep one meaning and ignore the others.
    But, sometimes, more than one meaning is implied, e.g.
    Orthodoxy = Correct or upright glorifying or thinking.
    It isn’t always practical to use a long phrase instead of a single word.
    In fact some Protestant theologians advise their people that,
    in difficult cases, the only solution is to study the Greek text.

    • Monk James Silver says

      I’m so gratified to see that someone is paying attention to my poor words! God bless him!

      First, although I am among the first to exalt the Greek language for its richness and subtlety, I must also insist that the English language is capable of nothing less — it all depends on the skill of its writers and translators.

      In Greek, for instance, we have the word _proskynesis_.

      Does it mean ‘adoration, worship, or veneration? English requires some distinctions here, where Greek does not . This isn’t a problem, just a difference, and that difference in usage must be acknowledged.

      In as much as words have different meanings and implications in English (and in other languages), just as much they do in Greek, it’s unreasonable of us to insist that every single Greek word be translated into English (at least) by the same single word.

      There are not only differences in meaning which must be acknowledged in translation, but also nuances.

      Let’s be careful, then!

      • “Monk James Silver” you wrote,
        “I must also insist that the English language is capable of nothing less — it all depends on the skill of its writers and translators.”
        Well, I have NOT said that English is less capable than Greek and I am not interested in such things.
        If you like, I’ll give an APPROXIMATE analogy:
        Say you want to pay somebody in U.S.$  for some amount in a different currency: you calculate the correct $ amout which is say $55. You have no smaller notes or change and you can only pay either $50 or $60.
        An amicable compromise is invariably found.
        This very bad examples tries to illustrate that there is sometimes NO EXACT equivalent. No question which language is more capable.

        • Monk James Silver says

          Please spare me the quotation marks around my name. I use them only for our correspondents who use false or incomplete names, such as ‘Ioannis’, but I have always identified myself by my full name.

          Anyway. There is ALWAYS am exact equivalent, although it might not subsist in a single word.

          Both English and Greek are equally capable of subtlety and nuance, and of precision in meaning.

          Repeating the truism, whatever can be said in any language can be said in any other language — it all depends on the skill o the translators.

          As English-speaking Orthodox Christians, we have, for far too long, been afflicted with inaccurate translations. Some of those mistranslations have become lodged in people’s minds, and trying to dislodge them with the truth is very difficult. People like their ‘comfort zones’, the truth be damned.

          Now that I have learned how to do this work, I hope to contribute to its improvement. May the Lord give me time and strength and co-operative bishops!

      • “Monk James Silver”
        If you want another very good opinion about the importance of studying the text in Greek, please watch the really fantastic lectures by
        Fr. Deacon EZRA HAM       

        Latest upload:JOHN The Mystagogic Gospel
        Fr. Ezra, a very humble and wise man, in his seventies, and still a deacon(!) has shown the sad theological results of wrong translations in the West. 

    • Papouli Theodore says

      A good translation must not read as if it is a translation, but as if it was actually written in the language it has been translated into. Therefore one cannot produce a word-for-word translation. Instead, one should aim at ACCURATELY reproducing the spirit as well as the meaning of the text.

      Notwithstanding the advice of Protestant ‘theologians,’ it would be incorrect to say that something in Greek cannot be expressed in English.

      Linguistic contextual possibilities does not mean that a single written thought is actually a jumble of endless connotations. If that were the case, language would be unable to express concrete ideas.

      • Papouli, I am sorry, is this the way you want to correspond:
        -You did not give me a straight yes/no reply on my last straight question, I am still waiting,
        and you carry on with a different subject.
        Is this how you will do things here?
        This is a kind of ONE WAY STREET.
        Why, is this because you are called Papouli or what?

        • Papouli Theodore says


          Dear brother, your tone has become acerbic.

          You only seem to be satisfied with an answer that meets conditions that you have set for me.

          I have made my answer. If it isn’t to your liking, then simply discount it, account me among the heretics, and cast me into the fire. 

          If you read what I have written, you can clearly see my view on the previous matter.

          • Papouli, you wrote,
             “If it isn’t to your liking, then simply discount it, account me among the heretics, and cast me into the fire. ”

            But you have already done that to me (cast me into the fire):
            Read below how you characterized my tone:
            In the best case your word “acerbic” is very vague/ambiguous, it can mean something very light or something very, very bad (choose between bitchy, sardonic,  vitriolic,venomous, waspish, poisonous, etc).
            It is just like your previous reply to me: Vague or ambiguous!
            That is why I asked you again and again for a STRAIGHT Y/N reply (and not a vague diplomatic one). But you avoided it like ..what?. WHY?
            If you reply to me in an vague/ambiguous manner, don’t  I have the right to insist on a 100% clear cut reply YES OR NO? What is so “acerbic” about that. Are the words Yes/No dirty ones? Our Lord Himself told us “Your Yes must be Yes…” And to decisively avoid the straight and CLEAR reply, you imply that I may be anything of the Synonyms listed below?


            sharp, sarcastic, sardonic, satirical, scathing, cutting, razor-edged, incisive, penetrating, piercing, biting, stinging, searing, 
            keen, caustic, trenchant, bitter, acrimonious, astringent, harsh, 
            severe, devastating, abrasive, wounding, hurtful, unkind, cruel,
             vitriolic, virulent, mordant, venomous, waspish, poisonous, 
            spiteful, vicious, malicious; 
            informal: bitchy, catty; 
            informal: sarky; 
            informal: snarky;
            rare: mordacious, acidulous

            sour, acid, acidic, acidulated, tart, bitter, unsweetened, 
            sharp, acetic, acetous, vinegary, pungent, acrid; 
            unpleasant, distasteful; 
            rare: acidulous

            • Ioannis,
              As Papouli wrote, “If you read what I have written, you can clearly see my view on the previous matter.”
              Here are just a few hints he has offered – emphasis mine…
              “I will let others decide how to recompense a person WHO STRAYS FROM THE FIRM FOUNDATION OF TRUTH.” 
              “…it is not right for me to make theological pronouncements about another, EVEN IF I THINK I KNOW THE TRUTH…”
              “Do not judge the hearts of those entwined in the DECEPTIONS of others…”
              Papouli clearly has eyes to see, but he prefers not to sit in the precarious seat of final judgement.  Let us respect his choice.

              • Brian, thank you for your kind and meaningful contribution. I value your words a lot but I can not agree on these words of Papouli’s, as you quoted them:
                “I will let others decide how to recompense a person WHO STRAYS FROM THE FIRM FOUNDATION OF TRUTH.”
                “…it is not right for me to make theological pronouncements about another, EVEN IF I THINK I KNOW THE TRUTH…”

                If we all apply that as a “golden rule” then there is NEVER going to be any checking of the deeds of our Hierarchs or indeed of anybody else.Thinking that we are practicing the apex of humility love and sainthood we will passively encourage all sorts of deeds and antichristian theories to corrupt everything in the Church. Even if a Orthodox Patriarch becomes a de facto Pope or indeed a muslim mufti, we shall not say noe word against this. Everybody will let “somebody else” do this checking.

                Papouli chooses to ignore that it was the insistence of people (contrary to the quotations above) who criticised the Hierarchy and pronounced Nektarios of Pentapolis as Saint Nektarios!

                It is exactly what you quoted above that troubles me.I have proven to Papoulis e.g. what Chrysostom and the bible says about our function.I could could more texts but Papouli does not listen.
                There are those few Hierarchs and Theologians out there which practice Ἀγαπολογία, Agapology, who allow anything wrong to happen in the Church,without checking the “perpetrator” because they are “full of love”. In extreme cases they go as far as implying that they have more love than our Crucified Lord. It is funny, but these same people who are “full of love” take out their intellectual swords and castigate anybody who speaks against their agapology.

                Is it not striking,
                that Papouli, with all his mentioned love, and the quoted words hereabove DOES attack my tone as acerbic (some synonyms: bitchy, sardonic, vitriolic,venomous, waspish, poisonous, etc)?Why then is he “as silent as a fish” regarding Bartholomew’s donating of the “Holy Quran” when that book rejects our foundations, the Holy Trinity, the Crusifiction and the Resurrection?He certainly thinks that my tone is worse than that, and worthy to critisize, even if “he prefers not to sit in the precarious seat of final judgement”.

                Is it not striking,
                that when I ask him REPEATEDLY to state 100% CLEARLY with one word whether he agrees on the key issues, he refuses to respond and says, “You only seem to be satisfied with an answer that meets conditions that you have set for me.”I do not want to be satisfied and neither do I set conditions. I just want to FULLY UNDERSTAND.Suppose you want to know whether Mr.X did or did not go to that place. He writes pages about his trip but he avoids that information.Is it acerbic (bitchy, sardonic, vitriolic,venomous, waspish, poisonous, etc) of you to ask for an Y/N reply?
                Does he or doen’t he reject the quoted texts of the Bible & Chrysostom? Yes or No!Does he support the super-Orthodox agapologists Yes or No?
                This question does not “set conditions”, it simply asks for absolute Y/N clarity, because the matter is VERY IMPORTANT Brian!

                Last but not least,
                if Papouli really believes his above quoted own words, then WHY DOES HE NOT APPLY THEM HERE to us too, and stop judging me and the others here? WHY?

                • Papouli Theodore says


                  I apologize if I upset you, however you seem to have misunderstood my comment.

                  “Acerbic” is an adjective that especially refers to manner of speech. I made this clear by saying that “…your TONE has become acerbic.” Making an observation about your tone of speech is not a judgment (eternal or otherwise) against you.

                  Of course, my observation is mine alone. I don’t mind if others disagree or find my characterization of your TONE incorrect.

                  You do seem to mind, however, that my views are different than yours, and have repeatedly demanded that I answer questions you have posed, with a seeming intent of forcing a kind of confession from me.

                  I have already confessed my sinfulness. I will confess it again. I am a sinful person, and have no right to judge another’s theology. I will leave that up to holy persons, whose discernment has been sharpened by their consuming love of Christ.

                  • Papouli, for your convenience (and mine) here are my numbered comments:

                    1) You used the strong term acerbic which has serious connotations/synonyms: bitchy, sardonic, vitriolic,venomous, waspish, poisonous etc.
                    But you insist that only my TONE is so, but I (me) am not affected, e.g. I can be an angel!
                    So, a (good) angel can emit venomous remarks!
                    Very interesting explanation.

                    2) That msg of mine had seven (7) short lines ONLY. Please: Name one of those lines or one of my words which was “acerbic” etc.
                    You did NOT HEAR my voice, you only read my words.
                    Now then, I am waiting… where is the “acerbic” part? Please avoid vagueness and ambiguity.

                    3) Some things may “seem to you”, but they are not necessarily happening:
                    I DO NOT mind that your views are different than mine! I have said it twice, please understand it: Your views are different than what the bible and St.Chrysostom say!

                    4) You have managed to deflect the main point of my initial msgs to you, away from the important substance, to other matters like the tone of the voice. The main point here, repeated for the nth time is:
                    You are preaching: no checking even of the worst actions of others (and especially superiors in the Church) and “let other really holy people deal with that”. But the holy people do not believe they are holy… so,
                    at the end of the day, (if they follow your advice)
                    nobody will say a word, nothing will be done for the bad actions. We’ll become atheists, muslims etc before we know it!!!
                    It is paradoxical: The agapologists out there, preach love and more love to all, but they angrily attack the people who do not share their theory of love to all!

                    For the nth time then,
                    Do you agree with the Agapologists?
                    Why is it so difficult for you to say Yes or No?

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      I will again attempt to express my concern regarding the badgering of Papouli Theodore, if only for the fact it continues despite the fact that he clearly resigned from the argument.

                      After reading the entire conversation, it seems to me that the presumption has been made that the quotations offered from Sts. Chrysostom & Blessed John of San Francisco are somehow “definitive” and a consensus of the Holy Fathers, and ultimately emblematic of the theology of the Church. I would strongly suggest that this is hardly the truth. As St. Vladimir’s Seminary Professor of Dogmatic Theology, SS Verhovskoy, of blessed memory, stated, “We are not the Church of St. John Chrysostom, but he happens to be abundantly available in English…” I would suggest that a simple alternate reading of St. John Climacus – in particular his own account of the shame he felt “misjudging” his brothers – and his warning that, despite the fact that I might personally “witness” the sins of another, I should consider the devil’s mission to blind and confuse us. In the end, better to leave the matter of judgement to our God. This powerful observation of St. John Climacus agrees with what St. Chrysostom asserts in his treatises, “If Your Enemy is Hungry, Feed Him,” and “Against Publishing the Errors of the Brethren.”

                      I believe there is a curious argument being made, attempting to frame what was intended as the “soul-saving” instructions of the Lord in regard to those who offend us as being “non-judgemental.” In my observation, there has been nothing short of a “feeding frenzy” regarding the sins of hierarchs, replete with name-calling & flat out hatred & disgust. Again relying on Prof. Verhovskoy, we have developed a “dependence” on cherry-picked quotations from the Holy Fathers, rather than relting upon the unambiguous words of the Lord Himself in the Scriptures.

                      Certainly the Lord was emphatic in His instruction regarding those who “trespass” against the Church: “It is impossible but that offenses will come: but woe to him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” (Lk. 17:1-2, and paralleled by Matt. 18:7-9: “Woe to the world because of offenses! For it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! Why if your hand or your foot offend you, cut them off, and cast them from you: it is better for you to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if your eye offend you, pluck it out, and cast it from you: it is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.”) Nevertheless, it seems to me we are all too familiar with these words, only to stop listening as the Lord completes His instruction, even when He purposely instructs us to “pay attention”: “Take heed to yourselves [προσέχετε ἑαυτοῖς]: If your brother trespass against you, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to you, saying, I repent; you shall forgive him.” (LK. 17:3) This clearly indicates that the Lord was instructing that the mission & goal in approaching the one who has trespassed is to elicit their repentance; that they, in fact, acknowledge their error as misguided and turn from it, for “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents.” (Lk. 15:10)

                      Anyone who has read the accounts of the Holy Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils knows that the worst heretics were nevertheless always given “their day” before the Fathers, and were fully heard as to their opinion. Quite to the contrary of what is presented here – which would seem to promote the singular, apocryphal story of St. Nicholas striking Arius for his blasphemy as somehow “appropriate” – the Fathers instead made every effort to attempt to turn the heretics, even to the point of openly mourning & weeping at their inability, and ultimately resulted in the loss of the “offender.” It was only then that they consistently reached a decision that was obedient to the unambiguous words of the Lord in conclusion: “If he [the brother who has trespassed] will not hear you, then take with you one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it to the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be to you as a heathen man and a publican.” (Matt. 18:15ff)

                      Before concluding, I would point out two things: the Lord directs us specifically, “If your brother shall trespass against you, go and tell him [ὕπαγε ἔλεγξον αὐτὸν] his fault between you and him alone.” Sadly the internet affords anyone the opportunity to stand in judgment anonymously and from a great distance, without both the discomfort of the confrontation, or the responsibility for one’s own words. While in the Ancient Greek the word ὕπαγε frequently meant “to bring one before a court” [ὕπαγε τινὰ ὑπὸ τοὺς ἐφόρους] or “before the judgement seat” [ὕπαγε τινὰ ὑπὸ τοὺς ἐφόρους], in simple frequency of occurrence, it most often refered to “leading/leading the way” [e.g. “Then said Jesus to them, ‘Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go to him that sent me,’” (Jn. 7:33) with the obvious explanation that “I go to prepare a place for you.” (Jn. 14:2)] It seems to me essential to appreciate both the courage and the risk of “leading the way.” In the end, “if he shall hear you, you have gained your brother,” an outcome that is not simply “favourable,” but, in fact, transcendent. My thought is that it is far better that Orthodox Christians reserve their “fervence” of argument for how we might most effectively satisfy the demands of the Lord as found given to us in Matt. 25, rather than to chastize over actions – judgment & “justice” – that belong to the Lord alone; our God who has promised He will not suffer indignation against the righteous.

                    • M. Stankovich,You have escalated the discussion by you msg of more than 100 lines. Like the others, you have deflected the main point to all conceivable directions except the main issue. Please let us make life easier: For the nth time I shall write the main point as simply and briefly as I can:

                      MAIN POINT:
                      One the one hand a bishop can say anything he pleases (even donate the “Holy Quran” which rejects H.Trinity, Crucifiction & Resurrection).On the other hand we, the others, must exercise Love, and leave the Bishop alone to do as he pleases, even if that means that we could slowly become muslims!
                      (1) The argument is,
                      “We are not holy, let the holy ones do that”.
                      (2)The answer is,
                      “But the holy ones do not think they are holy, thus nobody will say anything to that Bishop”.
                      The main question here is: Do we think that (1) is the correct action Yes or No?

                      I have said that (1) is wrong and I can document it.I have insisted, just to make it clearer.That has been characterized “acerbic” and now “badgering”.That is a very clever way of winning an argument.
                      Thank you so much.

  40. Monk James Silver, you wrote:
    “There is ALWAYS am exact equivalent, although it might not subsist in a single word.
    …Now that I have learned how to do this work…”

    How would you translate the following, ALWAYS preserving the corresponding word-play:

    ” Εὐθυμεῖτε ἒλεγε…Πάτερ Εὐθύμιε ” 20th January

    ” Ἡ γρήγορος γλῶσσα σου … Διό Γρηγόριε Θεολόγε… ”
    , 25th January.

    • Monk James Silver says

      These are puns on the names of the two saints, not mere wordplay, and they wouldn’t make sense unless (as sometimes happens) the names themselves were to be translated.

      So, for instance, if we left out the name ‘Gregory’ and used ‘Watcher’ or ‘Watchful (vigilant) One’ instead, we could build a pun structure in English. The meaning would be preserved, but the English version would have its own beauty: ‘Your vigilant tongue (language)…(VERB OMITTED) therefore, vigilant theologian….’ (reading from only this brief excerpt).

      The translation of the name might be footnoted in order to clarify what has happened here, but the translation is still accurate.

      • Exactly. Thank you.
        To put it in a nutshell:

        The puns on the names of the two saints  wouldn’t make sense unless the names themselves were to be translated.
        An additional footnote would clarify the translation.

    • Papouli Theodore says

      These are word-plays from the verses of the Synaxarion.

      One could translate this, “Be of good cheer”…”Father Efthymios whose name means ‘cheerful’…”

      I’m not sure understand your point, Ioannis.

  41. Sanis Karisotas says

    Perhaps he should view the real manifestation of Disapora Hellenism: