Happy “Fourth of July”

If there was any doubt in my mind that the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is regressing into an ethnic ghetto, it’s been put to rest by Archbishop Elpidophoros.   This is his encyclical, which is to be read in all parishes of the GOA this Sunday:


Notice, it makes no mention of Independence Day, or even American independence, per se.  Shades of “submitting to the Ecumenical throne” and all that.  No, in his mind, Fourth of July is just a National Holiday.  One where banks, schools, and many businesses are closed for the day.    

There is more going on there than merely a historical oversight said by an immigrant who is unfamiliar with American history.  It’s ironic because His Eminence is part of the American Establishment and as most flag-waving Americans know, said Establishment is far from patriotic.  

All one has to do is look at the ruling class of America and know that traditional American values are pretty much a dead letter as far as they’re concerned.  As it happens, some Republican candidates for President are indistinguishable from your typical Rainbow Marxist.  People like former Vice President Mike Pence, an Evangelical Christian, are fully on board with transgenderism.

Yes, you read that right.  He’s fine with puberty blockers for children!  After all, one of the cardinal criticisms hurled against traditionalists is that, “Jesus never said anything about negative about homosexuality” so He must have been OK with it.  Jesus never said anything about puberty blockers, either, but I doubt He’d be OK with it.  

His Eminence lives in a secularist bubble; the one in which the rest of the Establishment lives.  So why would he talk about the Boston Tea Party, or the defining battles of the Revolutionary War?  Or liberty?  Or the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, for that matter? 

They don’t believe in the importance in talking about any of these things.  He was selected by an overseas potentate to suppress American independence, not enable it.  

What’s particularly galling is the fact that the Greek-American population comprising the GOA is one of the most patriotic demographics in America.  We love America.  She took us in and gave us refuge when we were desperately poor.  It wasn’t a cakewalk –no immigrant group had it easy–and yet we made it.    

And we are bloody grateful.  

You would think the GOA would be up in arms over this oversight (if indeed, it is an oversight).  But they’re not.  Instead, they bitch and moan about the scandals that engulf the GOA while doing nothing about it.    

The nickels and dimes that our great-grandparents put in the trays that were passed out every Sunday made our churches possible, while millions were squandered away on the eyesore known as the St Nicholas Shrine, which passes without comment.  

The apathy is astounding.  

I, for one, will ignore the platitudes put out by the Ruling Class.  I have unfurled my flag and put it out on the front porch.  I imagine many of you will be doing so as well.  

In the meantime, please take the time to listen to “God Bless America” (courtesy of my cousin, Chris).





  1. Christine says

    Happy Independence Day! We just returned from a pilgrimage to Scotland, and ended our journey by trekking to the annual St. John’s Day at Holy Virgin in San Fran. It is always an incredible experience to venerate an American saint, but yesterday it was particularly powerful to be in the presence of thousands (yes, thousands) of devoted Orthodox venerating an American saint. During this Independence Day, let’s continually ask our beloved Saints of North America to pray for us our our Holy Church.

    Here’s the Livestream for those who wish to participate:

    • “We just returned from a pilgrimage to Scotland…”

      I hope you went to Iona

      • Christine says

        We did! St. Columba’s relics had been there just a few days before we arrived on the island! The Orthodox monks from Mull Monastery were included in venerating his relics and participated in bringing the relics on/off the island. While we didn’t visit the monks, I had the opportunity to spend my saint name’s day (St. Fevronia of Nisibis) on Iona. It was indeed a place unlike I’ve ever been in my life.

        • Dr. Samuel Johnson: ‘That man is to be little envied, whose patriotism
          would not gain force upon the plain of Marathon, or whose piety
          would not grow warmer upon the shores of Iona.’

  2. Beautiful rendition of God Bless America!
    Now here is some more breaking news from Athens. This article is on Tass News right now!

    MOSCOW, July 2. /TASS/. Eugeniusz Czykwin of Poland has been elected President of the Interparliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy (IAO) to replace Sergey Gavrilov of Russia, a source in the IAO told TASS on Sunday, adding that delegations from Russia, Belarus, and Syria were not allowed to take part in the meeting of the IAO General Assembly.

    “Delegations from Russia, Belarus, and Syria were not allowed to take part in the session of the IAO General Assembly chaired by the Greek side under the pressure from Ukraine, which was supported by American diplomats and loyal media. Eugeniusz Czykwin, a member of the Polish parliament, was elected IAO President,” the source said.

    According to the source, Ukraine demanded that Sergey Gavrilov, a member of the Russian State Duma (lower parliament house) be removed from the post of the IAO President he has been holding since 2018 and that Russians be ousted from the assembly’s governing bodies.

    “These demands were repeated in the local mass media, including those close to the Constantinople Patriarchate. Thus, the Orthodox Times joined the anti-Russian position having condemned ‘Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.’ It said that Russians should not be represented in governing bodies of a European organization. The Russian Orthodox Church and Patriarch Kirill, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin were subject of severe criticism,” the source said.

    The source noted however that although provisions about Russia’s “invasion of Ukraine” were included into the IAO General Assembly’s final declaration, its members avoided criticism of Russia and its president in their speeches. In general, the session demonstrated the inability of European parliaments to defend their national interests and independence, including in the religious sphere, the source added.

    “It is highly probably that following such developments, the IAO will no longer be interesting for lawmakers, since it will lose possibilities for partner relations with the leading Orthodox countries – Russia and Belarus entailing the weakening of historical ties between nations,” he said.

    The 30th session of the IAO General Assembly was held from June 29 through July 2. Headquartered in Athens, the Assembly unites Orthodox lawmakers from 20 countries, mostly European.

    • Yes, Orthodoxy is dividing. Or, more accurately, the Fanar and its cohorts are splitting from Orthodoxy. Soon, there will be Greek “Orthodoxy” (Hellenistic Uniatism) and “Russian” Orthodoxy (the Church). And the rest will be left to decide. The ROC should not coerce anyone but simply lead by example and let the chips fall where they may. The Fanar will probably continue twisting arms with the help of the US State Department.

      The familiar phrase, “Become as you once were.” will be the touchstone of the wise.

      • I’ll add my two cents for what it’s worth.

        IMHO I don’t think Orthodoxy is dividing, I think Greek Orthodoxy is dividing internally.

        Most of the Orthodox world is united against Bartholomew & Co.

        The current ills that plague world Orthodoxy are really only concentrated around the Greek-speaking Church, and even then it’s mostly their hierarchy “political class.”

        Usually I agree with you, but, this time I’m going to have to disagree that Orthodoxy is dividing. Those within the Greek speaking Churches will separate themselves, but, a large contingency of laity, especially within the Cypriot and Greek Churches will remain with Orthodoxy. For people on here who are familiar with Orthodoxy in Greece & Cyprus, good luck getting them to go with Bart to Rome or further down the road to heterodoxy. There are still very, very devout Greeks and it would be a mistake to equate GOARCH American Greeks with their motherland counterparts. Not even the same ballpark.

        Other than that, I think the rest of the patriarchates see it the same way. Antioch, Jerusalem, Poland, Serbia, Russia, etc., will obviously not be going the way of Bart and Co.

        • I see this, too, Petros.

        • My guess is that the Greeks, for the most part, follow the mother ship. What ties them to the Fanar is more important to them than doctrine.

          • I can’t disagree with you but I think this prognosis is too simplistic. What I see is that the majority of the Greek-American population lives east of the Hudson River. In other words, in the same cultural bubble that most everybody else who lives in a Blue State lives in (i.e. Maryland, Delaware, New England). From my own interactions with people from the East Coast, regardless of ethnic origin, they are totally cool with the present zeitgeist.

          • That’s quite possibly true for Greeks in the U.S., doesn’t seem to be the case with Greeks, at least the laity, in Greece or Cyprus

          • George P. says

            Misha, perhaps you are not intimately familiar with these communities specifically the Hellenes living abroad, but you are most assuredly off the mark with this assertion that the Greeks will sway from Orthodoxy. We’ve been through far greater threats throughout our history and by the grace of God have persevered, we shall again rise up to meet these challenges and be better for it.

            • I don’t think Misha made that assertion. He said the Greeks will not sway from the Phanar.

              Bartholomew’s brother bishops told him NOT to go into Ukraine. The bishops are the Church and he ignored them. He CAUSED A SCHISM over Ukraine and these unordained schismatics are now persecuting the canonical Church!!!

              If not an attachment to the EP over the Church, how does one explain the GOA’s silence on these matters?

              • George P. says

                I see what you are saying. The bishops can only push so far though before there is a backlash which if things keep going the way they have is probably not too far off in the future. The bishops are the church to a degree, without the faithful laity there is no church. In Greece as in the GOA, many are furious with what the patriarch and archbishop are doing. Once the monastic communities in America turn against the progressives many will follow their lead. A big problem in the states is that elpidophoros has brought in and ordained many like-minded celibate clergy to continue the fight long after he is gone, this struggle will not be over soon. Gshep and Misha, I always appreciate your comments and this back and forth here. Honestly this site and Helleniscope have been incredibly valuable resources these past years both due to the insightful, passionate authors as well as the readers/comments.

              • I don’t think Misha made that assertion. He said the Greeks will not sway from the Phanar.

                If Misha was speaking of GOA Greeks, then I would unfortunately have to agree.

                If he was speaking of all Greeks in the old country and Cyprus, then it’s not even remotely the case. Bart enjoys far less popularity among actual ethnic Greeks in Cyprus, Greece, Athos, etc.

                Basically being Greek in the GOA means you can say “spanikopida,” you don’t speak Greek but you do go to the GreekFest every year. Religious-wise they are a world and an half away from Greece, etc. That’s of course a generalization of the GOA but I think that applies to all of the “movers and shakers” in GOARCH.

          • My experience is with the Greeks in America, whom I love, btw. Even in the upper South the culture among them is very cosmopolitan. I simply think they’ll follow wherever the Fanar leads them. Some won’t like it, but it’s a blood thing, not a doctrinal thing.

            Now Greece may be different. But I notice that, at the end of the day the leadership sided with the Fanar and recognized the OCU. If they can do that, they can enter a Unia. They’ve done it before.

            Beware of wishful thinking.

  3. TASS. Breaking News

  4. Antiochene Son says

    The kind of freedom he’s talking about is the freedom to be gay and the responsibility of the rest of us is to celebrate that gayness.

    Elpy isn’t an American and it’s comical to see him pretending once again to be one.

    Hello, fellow kids.

  5. Several years ago, while still an archimandrite, the Archbishop visited HCHC. After vespers in the chapel he went to the pulpit and began his talk saying he was speaking on behalf of the Patriarch. He then began criticizing the teaching of Greek at the school. This was a surprise to everyone. He had not spoken about this in advance to the President, the Deans or any of the profs in the Greek program. Admittedly, GOA priests should be conversant in Greek and be able to do services in Greek, especially in certain parts of the country, But he certainly didn’t make any friends that day. He was approached at a reception that evening by a graduate of the school, and, speaking in very good conversant Greek, introduced himself as a graduate of the college and the school of theology. Obviously surprised, and perhaps immediately cautious, he asked when the graduate had finished his studies at the school. When the answer indicated it had been quite a few years, he got a snarky smile on his face and said ah, that’s why your Greek is good. The so-called “mixed” marriage rate in the GOA has been about 75% for quite a few years and the Greek language is what’s foremost on his mind!!?? “Nuff said.

    • PS…my father came to the US from Greece in 1920 at age 11 and lived to be 91. He never forgot going on deck as the boat entered New York Harbor so he could see the Statue of Liberty.

  6. “Freedom is not guaranteed by weapons, no matter how sophisticated.” Coming from a supposed Apostolic Successor, but who in reality wants to be a successor of the CIA Asset at the Phanar. Elpidophoros likes to lecture Americans the same way he lectured at the National Intelligence University. No thanks. I too, will fly my Star Spangled Banner and sing our National Anthem just like my Slavic and Greek immigrant grandparents did – who LOVED America.

    • George Michalopulos says

      GS, the idea that he believes that “freedom is not guaranteed by weapons” shows how historically delusional or how mendacious he is. Could be either one or the other –or both.

      Just like the kleptoocrats who rule over us.

      • Fr. Peter Andronache says

        I have often found myself disagreeing with what thr archbishop has said. However, here I think he has a point. The ultimate freedom is the freedom of the martyrs, who went to their death rejoicing that they would suffer for Christ. That freedom is neither won nor guaranteed by weapons

        • George Michalopulos says

          Fr, I see what you’re saying. In fact, I can’t disagree with you. However what bothers me is that there has been very little else that has come from His Eminence –BLM, pro-life equivocation, multiple spoon, etc–,evidences such a level of spiritual erudition.

  7. Yes, it irks me when people say Happy 4th of July, instead of Happy Independence Day. When I was younger I remember the trick question, “Does Britian have a 4th of July?” Most people would answer no, because they couldn’t distinguish between a date on the calendar and the actual name of the American holiday celebrating our independence.

    We sang God Bless America after Divine Liturgy today.

    • Christine says

      Saying “Happy Fourth of July” is like saying “Happy 25th of December” instead of “Merry Christmas”, or “Happy 14th of February” on St. Valentine’s Day.

      • Of course, “Happy Holidays”,
        in place of “Happy Holy Days”,
        covers everyone, atheists and all;
        ‘always, now and forever’ or so they hope.
        Similarly, the Scottish Parliament is almost always
        referred to as “Hollyrood” instead of “Holyrood”
        by those who would forget the origin of the name,
        which comes from the old Abbey ‘Kirk o the Haly Rude’
        (Church of the Holy Cross) in whose grounds it stands.
        You see, ‘Holy’ is not an inclusive word
        and we must therefore exclude both it
        and those who would use it because
        we will allow no discrimination whatsoever
        except (of course) against those we exclude;
        the which is not ‘virtue signalling’
        so much as it is ‘virtue dripping’

  8. Deacon John says

    It seems that some people don’t want freedom from sin but freedom to sin

  9. Fr Chris Moody says

    Happy Independence day. I am pcsing to fort Sill this weekend. Our follow on assignment will be to teach ethics at the Army center of Excellence. We can go down fighting.

  10. Illumined says

    I go to a GOA parish and this wasn’t read out, in fact I had no idea it even existed until I read about it here. Instead at the end of the Liturgy we did a doxology of thanksgiving to the nation.

    By the way, maybe I missed it but did you ever cover the OCA’s ultra-ecumenistic info pamplet? The one that says among other things that the Jews worship the same God we do?

    • George Michalopulos says

      I did not cover it. We’ve got a backlog and it’s hard to keep up. I’ll look into it.

  11. Once again, as has been its custom for many years, the Boston Globe editorial today is the Declaration of Independence.

  12. Whiskey Six says

    Just a heads up our church didn’t read his letter and it didn’t get posted or emailed out. I am sure this is the case in a lot of GOA churches if not the majority. Unlike the Antiochians the Greek priests tend to do what’s right for their flock vs blindly following the orders of a foreign despot. (Mandatory masking and reservations during Covid in Texas in the Antiochian church because despot Joseph said so, no masks no reservations in GOA because the priests did what was right)

    • I’m guessing you sat COVID out at home because if you had been in Church, any Church, you would have received or heard about the guidelines disseminated by the Assembly of Canonical Bishops, as the bishops were lock step in this regard. – You certainly weren’t in any Antiochian parishes if you believed their priests weren’t pushing the envelope to take care of their flock!

      • Whiskey Six says

        No I did not as a matter of fact I got in plenty of priests faces. In a Texas Greek churches were back up and open May 2020. We could kiss icons (I never stopped) and take communion. Antiochians no kissing icons, reservations and multiple spoons. My family and I went to church as often as we could. The Greeks were the only ones welcoming. We moved from a blue complete lockdown state to Texas in the April of 2020. Going to an Antiochian church in Texas 2020 was like living in a blue state. Home Depot was less restrictive.

        • Being that I’m of Greek descent myself, that’s good to hear. What Gail and I have described is not an “all or nothing” scenario during the Plandemic. There were stalwart priests in the bluer jurisdictions and there were simps in the redder ones. It wasn’t clear-cut.

        • We need more people to stand up like you and your family did. Thank you.

  13. I’m in the western US and that letter was not read at my parish. ☺️

  14. Looks like Elpi is yet again making more enemies, this time in the Church of Albania:



    Archbishop Anastasios, who is well respected throughout the Orthodox world, has already been critical of Bart and his incursion into Ukraine. Now, it looks like Elpi is on the receiving end.

    As a side note, why there are two separate Albanian eparchies in the U.S is beyond me. There is already one under the OCA that is much larger, though small by other jurisdictions standards, and with its own bishop. Why is there a need for a GOA one?

    • Petros, I read an article a few months ago about how those two Albanian parishes came to be under the GOA umbrella. It had to do with the Cold War, CIA and the fact that the U.S. government didn’t like the political outlook (or leanings) of the late Archbishop/Metropolitan Fan S. Noli. He apparently kept in touch with the Albanian government after the Communists took over there. (Not that he was a Communist, but he just had acquaintances who just happened to be Communist or Socialist.) If someone out there can flesh out my explanation, please do!

    • George Michalopulos says

      Someone needs to send him Dale Carnegie’s book.

  15. This is Garland Nixon, whom I respect on certain subjects, discussing why NATO won’t actually go to overt war in Eastern Europe. The relevant part starts at about 13:00.

    Essentially, he’s saying that the NATO buildup in order to go in would take so long that the Russians would take out all the bases surrounding them and pick off the assembling forces piecemeal. That’s probably close to accurate. Which is why I consider the war in Eastern Europe to be WWIII already. It’s the only WWIII we’re going to get.

    Ain’t gon’ be no nuclear exchange. Ain’ gon’ be no NATO combined army or full US military onslaught in Ukraine. The powers that be here know better than that. It’s all theater at this point. They are already throwing everything that they dare throw at it. Oh, you may get some different aircraft in there. Same difference.

    This is why Xi made that public remark to Putin on his visit to Moscow about them doing something that has not been done in 100 years (i.e., a change in global hegemony). They are winning WWIII now.

  16. https://www.romfea.gr/epikairotita-xronika/57701-synantisi-zelenski-vartholomaiou-sti-skia-ton-diokseon-sti-layra-tou-kievou

    The confiscation of the building facilities of the Lavra of the Caves by the monastics of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church continues.

    According to information, the pressure on the Holy Monastery became more intense on the occasion of the expected meeting of the President of Ukraine Volodomyr Zelensky with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew tomorrow, Saturday, July 8, 2023 in Fanari.

    According to information, during the meeting the issue of “handing over” the status of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the Lavra of the Caves of Kiev and other actions for the “unification” of Ukrainian Orthodoxy will be discussed.

    The same information states that the monks of the Lavra neither wish to switch to the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine, nor to accept the status of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s crucifix, and this is what makes the talks difficult.

    Yesterday, Thursday, July 6, the buildings of the Monastery were surrounded by officers of the police and special services of Ukraine, who were armed with automatic weapons.

    The employees of the museum “The Lavra of the Caves of Kyiv” broke down the door of the residence of the Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Mr. Onufriou and illegally occupied the entire building.

    Also, breaking down the doors, they grabbed and sealed two other buildings.

    For the believers, the management of the museum blocked the entrance to the Lavra even under the pretext that they are closing “for technical reasons”.

    For this reason, the Divine Liturgy in Moni was celebrated without believers, while the Holy Communion was delivered through the bars: ( https://t.me/antiraskol/18118 )

    During the day, the police carried out mass arrests of worshipers, while incidents of violence and beatings were recorded.

    Watch here: https://t.me/robota_e/379
    Watch here: https://t.me/antiraskol/18119
    Watch here: https://t.me/ASupersharij/21287?single

    The Legal Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in a statement, referred to the illegal nature of the actions of the museum management and the police.

    According to the announcement of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the agreement between the Museum and the Monastery was terminated in violation of the law and remains in effect to this day.

    Lawsuits over the deal are being heard by the court, but no decision has yet been made on them.

    Also, the actions of the Authorities and the police to limit the access of the faithful to the holy procession are unconstitutional, “there were incidents of people being beaten, who tried to prevent the grabbing of the sacred respect” .

    It is worth noting that the Professor of the Lavra Metropolitan of Vysgorod and Chernobyl, Mr. Pavlos, had his sentence extended for another two months under house arrest.

    During the court session, Metropolitan Pavlos stated that representatives of the Security Service of Ukraine and the museum urged him to cooperate with the investigation: “They told me that if I do not protest against the Epiphany and support the transfer of the monks of the Lavra to the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine, they will close all files concerning me.”

    Today in the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine out of the 200 Monks of Lavra, only one Archimandrite by the name of Avraamios Lotis, whom Epiphanius appointed “Professor” of a non-existent new Confraternity of Lavra, switched over.

    Finally, the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine supports the expulsion and eviction of the monks from the Lavra and demands the surrender of the building facilities for their own use.

    • RE: “According to information, during the meeting the issue of “handing over” the status of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the Lavra of the Caves of Kiev and other actions for the “unification” of Ukrainian Orthodoxy will be discussed.”

      The ultimate betrayal of the canonical Church. If this happens, Bartholomew will be called Black Bart because he will be a a pirate stealing from the canonical Church! He will lose whatever “holy status” he has. “Speaks for no one (never did)” will follow him wherever he goes even if it’s into the next room. The whole world is beginning to see his ilk for who and what they are. Let him stand front/center among his dastardly friend. It’s where he belongs. Can’t wait to see the picture.