Greek Eparchial Synod: A Conversation

As you may recall, we have intimated that we were going to do more interactive formats, as the need arose.  Today, Gail and I had a “conversation” about the Greek Eparchial Synod meeting yesterday.  

As always, your comments are encouraged. 


(Takes a few seconds to kick in.)


  1. I enjoyed this form of communication. Aahh, the spoken word with all it’s inflection, tone and subtlety.

    Gail, I think your theory that this event was necessitated by the loss of the tax exempt status makes perfect sense. If you theory is correct, what part do you think it plays into the actions against those 2 particular bishops?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Thanks, Tanya. – I think those particular bishops were a convenient means to an end. He had to go in there showing some muscle and he used them to do it.

      • I know several priests in the Metropolis  { ?} of New Jersey and they are not exactly crying over the “firing ” of Met Evangelos. This may be a good thing for the Church in that Metropolis.

      • Word on the street is that Metropolitan Evangelos has refused the transfer to the Metropolis of Sardis and has retired.

  2. Abp. Elpidophoros made an example (threw them under the bus) of the two other bishops (suspending Metropolitan Methodios of Boston until Christmas and firing through transfer to Turkey of Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey) to insure compliance from the remaining bishops. Machiavellian tactics used to intimidate weak bishops.

    • Gail Sheppard says


      • Why was Met. Evangelos sent to Sardis? I mean, what did he do to incur the EP’s wrath? Like was he making common cause with Met. Methodius in opposing Abp. Elpidophoros? Was he involved in financial schemes like the NYC controversy?

        • A theory in the Pappas Post goes that Met. Evangelos could have been removed due to his encyclical that he sent to priests according to which the parishes in his Metropolis should listen to him rather than to GOARCH. According to the idea in Met. Evangelos’ letter, authority belongs in the Metropolises like his. His letter is here:

        • anonimus per Scorilo says

          Why was Met. Evangelos sent to Sardis?
          Why not ? 🙂   
          It’s an EP diocese as vibrant as any 🙂
          I think the motives are much more pedestrian. He was not very liked by the locals, and some protopresbyter Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas with lots of dough and lots of archon friends probably put up a good word with Black Bart.

          • What was he doing that the parishioners didn’t like? I am not familiar with the issue.
            And why is the EP called “Black” Bart?

          • George Michalopulos says

            ApS, word on the street is that by “transferring” Evangelos to the extinct See of Sardis, he is being “preserved” for the future.  How so?  Because as “Metropolitan of Sardis” he would be on the actual Holy Synod of Cpole.  As opposed to the other soon-to-be-demoted/retired GOA metropolitans.  

            Then, when it’s time for Elpi to ascend the Cpolitan throne, the HS will “elect” Evangelos to be the new GOA Primate.  

            • Transferring a bishop from a living to an extinct church
              seems an odd way to ‘preserve him for the future’.
              Unless, of course, the future involves a museum;
              like the Phanar.

            • Met. Evangelos claimed that his removal without him being notified first by the EP Church was the first or second worst thing that the GOARCH administration has done as of late. Obviously there were much worse things, but it shows that he is not happy about it. If he was removed as a beneficial act in order to put him on the Synod, why would he be unnotified and upset.

    • Gail, I can “see” the recording to play but it’s empty and nothing happens.  Any ideas?  Is it a particular app (like vimeo)?  Any tech advice appreciated!  Thx!

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Wait 15 seconds for it to kick in.

        • MomofToddler says

          Just FYI, I was not able to listen on my iPhone but could on my laptop.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Interesting. George has an Andriod and it loads on his but not on my iPhone. It is probably a setting or something. Not sure.

            Next time, we’ll get these out on YouTube and publish the link.

  3. I really like the conversation formate, really awesome. 
    Agree with ya’ll on all points. I guess we will have to see how things play out. I don’t see the Antiochians/Serbs/ROCOR/Ephraim monasteries going along with this. And the fact that there is 100% unanimity on it is fishy just by itself…either they are all actually for it, or, they are saying “yes” in person while saying “no” behind the scenes.
    It will be interesting to see how long it takes them to come out with this new charter. If it’s very quick that would probably tell us that they did not take any insight from the laity or metropolitans and that this was concocted before all of this happened. 

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Thanks, Petros. – I think you’re right about the fact that how quickly this ensues will be revealing. My bets are on the charter is done deal. What do you think? Is that charter written and ready to go?

      • I side with the “written and ready to go” camp.

      • I’m with you, I think it’s a done deal. All of this didn’t come out of a vacuum, it was clearly planned out in advance. I’m guessing they have had this laid out for a while and were waiting for their chance to strike. 
        I’d love to be a fly on the wall and know what Met. Joseph has to say about all this. 

      • I’m wondering…
        The new SCOBA 2021 plan is out and there is a lot of “how can we all be the same” goals on the agenda. 
        If the new charter is already written and ready to go, then I’m sure the SCOBA document is designed to help facilitate it.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          We said a few days ago that the: “. . . Committee for Canonical Regional Planning (CCRP) within the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America (ACOB), under the authority of Archbishop Elpidophoros, passed a model of aligning the country into one administrative structure.”

          I saw the plan. It was on their website. Today it is not there.

          • George Michalopulos says

            What do you think that means?  That the other primates balked?  Or that they’re scared of the backlash from their laity?

          • The canonical EO churches in the US have a hard enough time uniting even without the EP’s desire for them all to be under the EP.
            Take for instance ROCOR and the OCA and ACROD and the UOC-USA. They are close enough that canonically they should be united. But due to “church politics” and issues of power and identity they don’t want to unite. And that’s before we even talk about uniting with the Serbs and Antiochians.

        • What irony it will be that after having not produced much anything of substance THIS is what SCOBA actually succeeds at…SMH 

  4. Gail, this is the document I was talking about

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I can’t access it for some reason.

      • Fr. Raphael Barberg says

        Me neither

      • “I can’t access it for some reason.”

        There should be a 2nd “R” in that domain name is why.  Try:

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Thanks, Myst!

          This is what they say they’re going to do but there is another document which seems to be missing, which they said was “passed.”

          It reads something like this: “The Archdiocese is to be subdivided into several ecclesiastical provinces. Each province would consist of one archdiocesan/metropolitan see and several dioceses. Each diocese would consist of all local parishes (of all ethnic backgrounds). There would be a national synod chaired by a national primate, and provincial synods chaired by the head of each of the ecclesiastical provinces. In each province, there would also be ethnic vicariates, informal associations of parishes of the same heritage to maintain ethnic identity and culture.” It even says they produced 300 pages of research and analysis. It’s now gone.

          Bet you anything, this forms the basis of this new charter.

          • When I was in Primary School, I used to amuse myself
            by drawing maps of imaginary countries on my desk.
            But I grew out of it…

          • Gail,

            It’s still there.  It’s under the 10 year history part:

   Vision FINAL.pdf

            “SELECTED PAST ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Since its first meeting in New York City in 2010, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA (“Assembly of Bishops”) has achieved a number of significant accomplishments to promote Church unity in the United States:

            1. The Committee for Canonical Regional Planning (CCRP) developed a proposed model of aligning the country into one administrative structure of ecclesiastical provinces – each consisting of one archdiocesan/
            metropolitan see and several dioceses of parishes of all ethnic backgrounds, formed on the principle of locality – with a national synod chaired by a national primate, and provincial synods chaired by the head of each of the ecclesiastical provinces. In each province, there would also be ethnic vicariates, informal associations of parishes of the same heritage to maintain ethnic identity and culture. In working to create this model, the CCRP produced 300 pages of research and analysis.”

            * * *

            I’m not sure when the work was done or if it has somehow been resurrected for the present circumstance. This may have been the proposal done before the survey of the churches was taken as to which ones wanted to unite. I think this was back in 2013. ROCOR declined, of course, but the letter to Abp Demetrios began thus:

            “During our recent Fourth Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, a ‘Proposal for Canonical Restructuring of the Orthodox Church in the USA’ was presented by the Committee for Regional Canonical Planning, chaired by Your Eminence, in which four possible approaches to future restructuring were offered, the fourth being the main recommendation of the Committee . . .” –

            Perhaps they want another go now that those wascally Wussians are out of the picture.

    It’s on the first page

  6. And she suddenly switches into Robin Williams mode with a Jack Nicholson impression…..” error? error? You can’t handle the error!

  7. I like it.  Very cozy.  I like the Zoom idea too.

    You’re right of course, there are some who will go down the sine paribus rabbit hole and some who will wisely abstain.  

    From past actions, despite whatever participation some of their clergy might have had in Assembly deliberations re a united archdiocese, I doubt very much that the Antiochians or Romanians will go down this road.  That is based on Romania’s participation in the synaxis at Amman and its call then for a follow up gathering before the end of the year and on the fact that with Constantinople and Alexandria out of the way, the Patriarch of Antioch (where believers were first called “Christians”) would be highest ranking in the diptychs, first among equals.
    If either of these local churches allowed their American franchises to join with GOARCH, they would be burning their bridges with Russia, Serbia, Jerusalem, etc.

    The OCA is anybody’s guess.  I’m sure there are people in the same parish who would go different ways if the die were cast.  There is a strong pull toward a united autocephalous local church which would attract some.  Others would realize that such a local church would immediately face canonical problems to the extent it recognized the OCU.  

    It is, of course, a Trojan Horse that would destroy everything that the other jurisdictions in America have built up in the last hundred years.  If you’re wondering who would run it, it’s the same people that ran GOARCH into a ditch. 

    Take the issues of Archdiocesan dues or priestly salaries, for instance . . .

    • Misha, in my mind, just by the very fact that the GOA has been run into the ground, and where there has been gross financial malfeasance, and God knows what else…I just can’t see the OCA hitching wagons to a Greek-led wagon train. Sure, you many have a few strays that wander into that orbit, but not the majority of the OCA. Trust me, the majority of the OCA will not be going. (Like I’ve stated on different threads…my bishop and I have had some hearty laughs about this topic recently.)

      • Alex,
        So hope you’re right, but can you or anyone explain why Met. Tikhon and those who run the website seem to have a huge crush on Abp E and the GOA?  
        Why does this part of the OCA leadership publish its blatant amorous overtures toward the GOA so frequently and so shamelessly?  
        This angle of the story contradicts what you state – and what most of us hope is true – that the bulk of the OCA would never recognize the fake Ukrainian “OCU” and would never hitch its wagon to the GOA train. 

        • Concerned as well, FTS.  

          • George Michalopulos says

            As me as well.  
            The high point of the OCA was when Jonah was elected metropolitan.  When he gave his barn-burner of a speech in Dallas in 2009, in which he declared that there already was an autocephalous Church in America, that pretty much sealed his end as far as Syosset is concerned.  (That and the fact that he was one of the first signatories of The Manhattan Declaration.
            It seems like there is only so much autocephaly that liberals can stand. 

        • FTS, I really have no idea why Met. Tikhon ‘gushes’ over the EP and the GOA? Perhaps it’s because they really haven’t paid much attention to him and the OCA in recent years. Then, all of a sudden, they do pay attention to him and the OCA. It may all just be psychological; the ‘cool’ kids in school that never even looked my way…are now looking my way…so now, I’m kind of cool!
          I personally think that the OCA is being used by the EP/GOA in order to stick it to the Russian Church. It’s basically a big game. Though, rest assured…if the OCA does decide to recognize the fake, and unholy Ukrainian church group based on some promises that may be made to them…there will be a big whiplash. A big whiplash.

        • Actions speak. In what jurisdictions were the laity most compliant with the covid church closures?
          Which churches remained open?
          Would anyone have believed a year ago that the laity would have gone along with what happened without a real fight?
          So what kind of stink do we seriously think any would put up if the OCA went under the Phanar/Greek plan?
          ‘Just close your eyes and go with the flow’ is now the post covid mantra.
          Lukewarm. God forgive us.

          • Sorry, Tanya. I’m still not buying it. I’m not so sure that the OCA was the most ‘compliant’ during C-19. I’ve heard very reliable stories where they’d take your temperature at the entrances to some Antiochian parishes, then give you a hard time about where to stand once inside. In fact, I believe that someone confirmed that just a few weeks ago here on Monomakhos. In the diocese where my OCA parish is—that never happened. So, what’s real, and what’s not?!

            • Tanya Hoadley says

              Alex, I’m glad that you never experienced anything like that in your parish. Please allow me to inquire, were you able to attend services and receive Holy Communion during Great Lent, Holy week and Pascha?

              • Tanya, we had a rotation system set up so that a maximum amount of parishioners could attend services under local civil guidelines. And yes, I was able to receive the Holy Mysteries. Though, I’m one of the fortunate ones. I hear that many parishes—GOA, OCA and AOCA—across the country were not that blessed.

                • Thanks for the response Alex. I’m glad that you were able to attend services. I think we all know churches in various jurisdictions that were more or less closed. I too was fortunate to attend.
                  But not the local OCA church. I won’t even attempt to express my deep pain and shocking disappointment there.
                  Where was the push back? Who stood knocking at the door?
                  I don’t think that most orthodox in the US even know about what happened in the Ukraine much less care. Those who remain ignorant don’t bear the responsibility when it comes to making a choice.
                  There is no hope in man. Thank God.

                  • Tanya, regarding the OCA (and others), it basically comes down to what area of the country (or Diocese) you’re in. Some people found disappointment at what happened, others were more fortunate. We must pray that this stuff never happens again.

    • anonimus per Scorilo says

      I do not think the Romanians under Bucharest even have a clergy pension plan (maybe they got one recently). So the fact that the GOARCH pension fund is badly managed should not be a problem.
      As the saying goes “a bad (pension) plan is better than no (pension) plan”

  8. I can’t access “conversation”, but of course  all the comments … Feeling left out. 

  9. Was the audio taken down? I can’t seem to access it. 

  10. Before you say the Serbs in the USA are not in line with any of this You need to to look at the issues of the New Constitution/Ustav and property transfers from 2017, 18 and 19 the issues are still not resolved.
    Much is documented here
    You have to go back to 2019 to see the original issues then move into 2020.
    It will be enlightening. A constitution that violated the not only the SPC Ustav but also the revision process for the NA Ustav and land transfers into the hands of the bishops through the quite deed process, and forming of new Diocesan corporations with out the peoples knowledge.

  11. It’s a ruse, folks. Nothing more. Why would the Ecumenical Patriarchate ever agree to an autocephalous or autonomous Orthodox Church in America? Kill its cash-cow? Not gonna happen. All the “mother” church in Istanbul cares about is that its “children” send money and remain Greek. Aware how the Greek-American community is constituted today with its longing for a Pan-Orthodox Church or, at least, autonomy, the Phanar has come up with a diversionary tactic to placate the Faithful by suggesting a consolidation of Orthodox jurisdictions in America as it goes about dismantling the metropolises, knowing all along, its purported scheme of unification would fail in light of pervasive ethnophyletism and diverse agendas that exist among Orthodox today.  Moreover, the majority of hierarchs, themselves, are averse to change and understandably so. Who among them would want to risk ending up as “Bishop of Oshkosh” if canonical order were ever established?  Meanwhile, under a cloud of Byzantine deception, Bartholomew and Elpidophoros, with help from a select committee of sycophants, will create a charter calling for a return to the diocesan form of organization that existed when the GOA was established, along with strong central governance under one archbishop.  

    • J-RO, I think that you’ve hit the nail on the head. Most of what you say sounds so very accurate—at least in my head. Orthodox unity in the U.S. may hopefully come some day. But it won’t happen under these present conditions. I think it more logical that it would happen in small ways, as in the OCA and AOCA merging together. That would be the way to go. (Perhaps the now-defunct Joint Commission on Canonical Unity could be resurrected between the OCA and AOCA…that would be wonderful!)

  12. Electing Metropolitan Evangelos as Archbishop of the GOA could very well be the absolutely worst decision regarding the future of the GOA. It’s possible there would be an uprising from clergy and laity alike protesting such a decision.

  13. George and Gail,
    I would love to participate in a Zoom conference if you ever hold one. Let us know.