Holy Cow!

Holy cow, Batman!  Things are spinning out of control.  Gail & I can hardly keep up.

But we’ll try.

As you all now know, the apologia penned by Rev Dn John Chryssavgis only made things worse for Archbishop Elpidophoros.

That said, one must remember Chryssavgis was not the instigator of this spectacle –Elpidophoros was.  The good deacon was merely playing the part of the man who cleans up after the elephant in the circus.

So rather than rehashing the arguments about his response, we need to move on and get to the heart of the matter.

And wouldn’t you know it?  All twenty abbots of Mt Athos did exactly that.  Eloquently, I might add.

You can read it for yourself here: https://orthochristian.com/147460.html 

Remember, these men serve at the pleasure of the Ecumenical Patriarch. What they did was nothing short of declaring open rebellion against his authority over them.

Apparently, even Pat Bartholomew is not immune from criticism.  Nor should he be.  He probably engineered this thing from soup to nuts.   I’m guessing certain bishops in the Church of Greece knew about it ahead of time, too, maybe even the Metropolitan of Glyfada.

However, when all is said and done, these kinds of scandals are inevitable in institutions in which sodomy is rife.    

This will not end here.  Nor will it end well.  Not for the Phanar anyway.  This is God’s Church and He’ll make it right –one way or the other.  The question is whether the Greek-Americans and the Archon/L100 class will do anything about it.

If not, their house will become desolate.  And they can take their precious Patriarch Athenagoras Human Rights award and give it to some other unworthy recipient.

No, it won’t be until there are fewer and fewer people to man the festival booths before they start scratching their heads wondering what the heck is happening.


  1. If not, their house will become desolate…

    No, it won’t be until there are fewer and fewer people to man the festival booths before they start scratching their heads wondering what the heck is happening.

    I think many a GOA parish is already asking itself this as droves have already left.

    Axios to the monks of the Holy Mountain for standing up for the Faith and standing up against Bartholomew and Elpidophoros.

    Axios to our bishops here in America as well.

    From the OrthoChristian article that references TNH it seems every eparchy of the EP is in the firing squad from laity experiencing righteous indignation.

    Covid and all the recent events truly have shaken the Church awake. Perhaps this is the “new crew” getting started.

    • Also, seems like we’re about at the critical mass of the laity across the entire Church rising up against the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the other patriarchs should take this opportunity to call a council and condemn the errors of the EP.

      It’s gotten to the point that it can no longer be ignored.

      With how the Church of Greece and everyone else has reacted to this baptism, I have a very hard time believing they, or anyone else, would follow Bartholomew into schism with Rome, I think that is very much dead in the water.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        The Rome thing died. It’s nowhere to be found.

        • Thanks be to God for that

        • Colmcille says

          I’m thinking that, a combination of the failure for Bart to have a successful “Council” a few years ago, the Roman Catholic Archbishop Vignano called upon the Moscow Patriarchate, the “Third Rome” (https://www.monomakhos.com/an-appeal-to-the-third-rome/) to straighten out the Pope and the EP, the Ukraine war “narrative”, the skat storm Elpi has caused, and now the Holy Mountain putting Constantinople “on notice”, scared the b’jeezus out Bart and his minions. What little influence the EP may have had is gone.

          It took years to “weed out” the heretics during the era of the Great Councils.” I see this happening again.

          • …scared the b’jeezus out Bart and his minions. What little influence the EP may have had is gone.

            Yep. I *think* he now officially realizes the entire Church is not on his side. Also, the failure to even address the baptism issue at their recent synod speaks volumes.

            It took years to “weed out” the heretics during the era of the Great Councils.” I see this happening again.

            Good point. We may be anathematizing the “Bartholomites” at a future Sunday of Orthodoxy.

      • You mean the heretical archbishop of Istanbul. He’s no patriarch and Constantinople doesn’t exist anymore, no matter how much sentimental attachment one may have to it. Time to start calling a spade a spade.

        • “Time to start calling a spade a spade”

          …and not a manually operated
          (sorry: personally operated)
          earth turning implement.

        • I think that is indeed what has, and is, happening.

          Creating the OCU (who constantly draw attention to themselves) and now Gaygate with Elpi the EP has done what all ideologues and liberals do, they overplayed their hand. Had he not done so he could have quietly kept going on.

          Now the spotlight of the entire Church is shining like a spotlight on them and in panic mode they are making worse and worse decisions. Even now, the people of GOARCH are realizing what all the rest of us in the other jurisdictions have long known: the emperor has no clothes.

          Even the Greeks, and certainly the Cypriots, have abandoned him. He’s an aged and out of touch ethnarc and what tiny amount of spiritual capital he had has now been way past cashed and his account is overdrawn.

          There will be no Crete 2.0…No union with Rome….no council against the Russians with the “ancient patriarchates.”

          What he HAS done is unify the entire Orthodox world against him and Elpi has unified all Orthodox in America against him as well.

  2. What the AB did is so egregious that his authority as a teacher is beyond compromised and his words and actions are no longer trustworthy (this has been known to many long before this moment) … it is time for a “new crew” as Saint Porphyrios said thirty years ago would come to pass. The Faithful need to speak up to their Bishops, in every jurisdiction and make a clear defense for the Church, the Gospels, the Faith of our Holy Fathers. The AB actions were an attack on the Church as a whole, undermining the Sacrament of Baptism and Marriage .. and because of this … every Orthodox Christian must become a flame, a fire wall to protect the Body. This is the calling of the Faithful, to know the Truth, to live it and defend it from the tormentor of our age.

    • Chris Banescu says

      re: “The Faithful need to speak up to their Bishops, in every jurisdiction and make a clear defense for the Church, the Gospels, the Faith of our Holy Fathers. The AB actions were an attack on the Church as a whole, undermining the Sacrament of Baptism and Marriage .. and because of this … every Orthodox Christian must become a flame, a fire wall to protect the Body. This is the calling of the Faithful, to know the Truth, to live it and defend it from the tormentor of our age.”


      Deep corruption and depravity are evident in the GOA leadership. We can see this by their dark and worldly “fruits.” There’s no trace or hint of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in their actions. They use the Orthodox faith as window dressing, but their ethos is secular and their conduct (especially behind close doors) is worse than the atheists. “Profession to be wise, they became fools,” comes to mind!

      Egotistical, proud, hypocritical, and duplicitous individuals like Apb. Elpidophoros and other hierarchs who share his compromised and lukewarm (dare I say woke) “vision” are not legitimate bishops of the Holy Orthodox Church or righteous shepherds of Christ. They are betrayers and false teachers. They are dangerous impostors intent on destroying the Church, scandalizing the faithful, and scattering the sheep.

      I am reminded of the warnings of Fr. Reardon:
      “Alas, it is a demonstrable fact that the people of God, when they fall, often enough do not fall to the level of good paganism, but much lower. They sink down so far that even the law-abiding pagan is bewildered.” ~ Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon


      • George Michalopulos says

        Wise words indeed from Fr Patrick! (He has given me some inspiration as I am working on something for The Northman!)

      • “Alas, it is a demonstrable fact that the people of God, when they fall, often enough do not fall to the level of good paganism, but much lower. They sink down so far that even the law-abiding pagan is bewildered.”

        It seems like we’re watching live what happens when a Church becomes schismatics and/or heretical with the PoC. In recognizing and communing with schismatics, they have made themselves schismatic. Obviously I’m not God and can’t speak for what is going on but it seems like Constantinople is slowly losing Grace, and it’s noticeable to the entire Church.

      • Fr. Reardon is spot-on. I follow the former Catholic Joseph Sciambra. He was groomed and sexually abused by a Catholic priest when a teenager, left the church and fell wildly into the gay lifestyle in San Fransisco for 20 years until it nearly killed him, came back to Catholicism only to find gay clergy culture rife there and grooming of young people continuing (as it does to this day regardless of what they say publicly, they’ve just shifted their methods). He spoke out against it for many years, was ignored and shunned by bishops, and now has left the RCC for Orthodoxy.

        What he saw in the RC gay clergy community: the most depraved and sick homosexual behavior he’s ever seen anywhere, far worse than anything in the non-clergy gay community in SF. Having studied the issue myself (I was a longtime teacher in the Catholic world and needed to understand what was going on if I were to remain in clear conscience), I can only concur, the things that have come to light are truly sickening, horrifying and revolting. And I too am no longer Catholic. Though what I see beginning to happen in the Orthodox world is also very, very alarming. But thankfully here lay people do seem to have more of a voice, they have no voice at all in the Catholic Church. And we should absolutely use it.

        • For those who are interested, read “Sacrilege: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church” by Leon Podles. It’s not for the faint of heart – it goes into detail – but it does outline how faithful Catholics has their church turned upside down by the sexually confused and – more importantly – by leftist bishops who valued image, money, and appearance over fidelity to Christ and the safety of boys and men in American Catholic Churches.

          By far, the largest “religious group” in America is “former Catholics.” While we may vehemently disagree with them on ecclesiology and matters of faith, we have to have compassion for former Catholics who can’t stomach what their church has become and have left.

          We can laugh about it all we want, but this is video the reality of modern Roman Catholicism for many American Catholics (this video is real):


          Churches run by hippie, gay, leftist boomers and “groomers” of our young kids. No thanks. It’s an insult to God, in my opinion.

          The Greek Archdiocese is playing with fire. May they repent and become a church that St Nectarios would recognize.

          • I’ve read it. Couldn’t get through it on the first try, came back a long time later and finished it. A very difficult read.

            Also read Potiphar’s Wife: The Vatican Secret and Child Sex Abuse, written by a lawyer and student of canon law, documents the policy of all the Popes of the past century in covering up child sex abuse, preventing bishops from going to the police on pain of excommunication, forcing them to hide abusers and shuffle them around from place to place and parish to parish. And the work of psychologist Richard Sipe, specialized in the Catholic priesthood for decades and was an expert witness at 200+ clergy child sex abuse trials. Through testing thousands of Catholic priests, he found the vast majority are not celibate, creating a culture of secret clerical sexuality in which child sex abuse can more easily take place. He has several books on Amazon about it.

            The celibacy mandate itself historians are discovering has largely been a failure from when it was first imposed in the aftermath of the schism with the East (they never would have gotten away with imposing it had there never been a schism, the East wouldn’t have gone along with it). And not just a gay problem, the “celibate” priesthood has left a trail of female prostitution, confessional secrets used to manipulate women into sex, mistresses abandoned with illegitimate children or taken for abortions, rape of nuns in third world countries. It has all been documented.

            The Catholic world is a very sick place, though there are still many devout people there who don’t know how depraved the hidden of life of priests really is, and a few good priests struggling to live their vocation in impossible circumstances, forced to be silent about what they know – or be removed and defrocked if they try to speak up. And even those who know the truth really struggle, especially cradle Catholics, they have been so deeply conditioned about the “True Church” and need to follow the Pope, the bishops and Magisterium of the Church for salvation. It is very difficult for them to imagine not being Catholic, and they really feel trapped. So yes, compassion is called for. But also truth.

            • Pennsylvania had a wave of arrests of Catholic clergy over sex abuse of minors about 5-8 years ago.

              • Pennsylvania was one of the worst, 900 clergy I think uncovered by their attorney general. But even in my “conservative orthodox” diocese with a beloved bishop, considered an island of safety against this stuff, the attorney general investigation turned up groomers and sex abusers in office at high levels in the seminary, the tribunal, the top parishes, the cathedral I trustingly attended for years, with bishops implicated in coverup.

                Anyplace that’s been investigated, this stuff has been going on, in greater or lesser numbers, all covered up according to papal mandate. Remember in the Catholic world, bishops take vows of obedience to the Pope, and priests take vows of obedience to the bishops. Keeps everyone in line and silent, and the ones who disobey get removed and defrocked. Pretty sick.

                Whereas Orthodox clergy do not take vows of obedience that I know if, at least not in the Antiochian Orthodox Church. Makes it a little easier for clergy to speak out, one pastor told me he and his brother priests will sometimes get together to reprove their bishop if he’s off on something. That is unheard of in the Catholic world, there is almost no accountability there.

  3. The monied elites won’t budge- protective- and politically correct-allegedly much higher percentages of elites- allegedly have close ones -who are in non-heterosexual unions–so- the monied may want to protect their own interests. The vast number of parishioners are too scared to speak. They can show their discomfort in many non-verbal ways…

    • Just a Dad says

      Re: “….The vast number of parishioners are too scared to speak…”

      I hope and pray this is true, however I worry that it is not. My concern is that for every parishioner (in the GOA and especially other jurisdictions) who are “too scared to speak”, there are 4,5, or more who don’t really care all that much. This attitude that matters such as this are “none of my business” is a horrible disease in general, and worse when it occurs within the Orthodox church.

  4. Using surrogate mothers to get children should also be condemned. It is highly unnatural and not according to God’s design. Imagine the effect on the children when they grow up and find out how they were conceived! So selfish of people to get kids that way, instead of humbly accepting the limitations of their circumstances. What a sick world.

    • Colmcille says


      This is a very difficult topic. You bring up a valid point. Yet, I personally know folks who have gone this route. When science has developed a way for folks to have their own children by another means, vis-a-vis, surrogate mothers, some would see this as a “gift from God.”

      I think of Abram(Abraham) having Ishmael from his slave Hagar on the request of his wife Sarai(Sarah), who was barren at the time. I’m not sure that God was angry about this because He promises Hagar that Ishmael will be cared for.

      And after God tells Abraham Sarah will have a son, He asks God about Ishmael. And God tells Abraham:

      ” And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.”- Gen. 17:20

      I guess the only difference here is that Abram and Hagar had sexual relations as where surrogates have the fertilized egg placed in their wombs.

      I’m not saying whether or not this is right or wrong. I’m just saying it’s a difficult situation.

      • It is wrong, and always wrong. Remember: those biblical stories are prior to the giving of the Ten Commandments, teachings of the book of Leviticus, and prior to the death and Resurrection of Christ which raised the standards of perfection to that of God: be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. We have the grace now to strive for that in a way Abraham and ancient Israel did not.

        I also know a lot of people who got children that way, and had a childhood friend who was a product of IVF (he was really messed up, and died of cancer in his 40’s, not uncommon for such children, many of whom suffer emotional problems as adults and are not as healthy as normally conceived children). As a longtime teacher in the Catholic Church before becoming Orthodox, I’ve had students, mothers, who got their children via IVF. I’m a thorough teacher, and include teaching on these kinds of moral issues in my classes (since priests rarely address them, I suppose because afraid of being attacked, or the collection plate going down). I do it gently and with a lot of preparation, but I still do it as people need to know it.

        In all those years teaching, I never had one person get angry with me. Rather they were upset they had never heard these teachings before, it came as a shock to them. For clergy and bishops not to address this with their people – and I’ve yet to find one who does in the Orthodox world – is a great disservice that exposes people to spiritual harm. They deserve better and we need to educate them as a matter of love, for the sake of their souls and for the good of the Church itself.

  5. Joseph Lipper says

    I’ve read this Athonite statement, along with several statements from the OCA against “gay marriage”, as well as the Assembly of Bishop’s 2015 statement.

    Yet not even one of these statements forbids the baptism of children whose legal guardians are a same-sex couple.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      The Church doesn’t TEACH this, Joseph, nor is it part of our Tradition. In these cases, we cannot say, “For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us. . .” because that would be untrue.

      There is not enough paper in the world to write down everything that is forbidden. If something flies in the face of the Church’s teaching, however, whether it’s in a statement or not, it’s forbidden.

      The Church has revealed all that she’s going to reveal and it is the Church’s responsibility to reveal it to us. There is no room for revision.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Gail, I understand sometimes the Church is put into situations where clarity is needed. Is this not one of those situations?

        The Athonite monks have had full opportunity to respond to this baptism and be very clear about whether these children can be baptized into the church. Yet they avoided addressing this, instead making statements about how same-sex couples with children do not constitute a family.

        Well, orphanages don’t constitute a family either. Does that mean orphans can’t be baptized?

        If, let’s say, a group of orphans came into my parish church, I would hope that my fellow parishioners would embrace the orphans, recognizing their lack of having a family, and instead of condemning them for this, try to be as a loving family to them.

        “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless [orphans] and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27

        • Apples and oranges, Joseph, but you know this already.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            Basil, how does one properly view the ontological reality of children under the legal guardianship of a same-sex couple? I’m looking for some clarity here. Are they ontologically orphans, the child of a single parent, kidnapped hostages, the spawn of Satan, or maybe something else? You tell me.

            As sort of a personal anecdote, for what it’s worth, I have a friend who was raised by his two “moms” in the 1960’s. He’s actually a pretty conservative guy, married to the same woman for over twenty years, and with two now-adult kids. He’s not so bad. His “moms” were kind of crazy hippies though, and they still are, but they are very loving and still together. I think my friend generally compensated growing up by finding positive father figures in his life.

            • Colmcille says


              I think you and I both know that God in His infinite wisdom will deal with each and every person according to His justice and righteousness not ours. So those children who cannot receive baptism, especially those situations you mention, are left to God’s infinite mercy. Is that bad?

              The two gay “parents” posted this as a “victory” for LGBT rights, not as two humbled “parents” of a newly baptized child. Children of believers were baptized in the NT because of the devout faith of their parents, for St. Peter said in Acts 2:39, “For the promise is unto you and your children,…” This is Holy Tradition.

              Had this been a single gay or lesbian parent who acknowledged they were but were celibate and striving to live as Christ taught, I’m sure the discussion would be quite different.

              As I stated above this was posted as a “victory” for LGBT. It was prideful and arrogant. Neither one of these are characteristics are Christian.

              We seem to forget that besides being a God of love, He is also a God of righteousness and forgiveness.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Colmcille, thank you for your response. Yes, I agree that the portrayal of this baptism (made not by the Archbishop, but rather by the two “gay parents”) as a victory for “gay rights” is completely wrong-headed. This was not a “gay baptism”. It was not a victory for “gay rights” either.

                It’s also quite evident this couple is not trying to live as Orthodox Christians, so I take whatever they say as a grain of salt. They were not even directly involved in this baptism anyways, other than providing their consent and getting their picture taken afterwards.

                Rather, what I see in this particular situation is the grandmother wanting to have some spiritual influence in these children’s lives. These children will grow up inevitably realizing that their two “dads” are not so normal and that something is missing, namely a mom. It’s likely they will seek out positive mother figures to compensate.

                A grandmother’s faith often has a profound effect on her grandchildren. Given the deficiency of having a mother, I see this baptism as grandmother’s gift to them. Hopefully these children will eventually realize the great blessing and love they received, not only from God, not only from the Church, but also from their grandmother.

              • Katherine says

                Had this been a single gay or lesbian parent who acknowledged they were but were celibate and striving to live as Christ taught, I’m sure the discussion would be quite different.

                Once again, this is part of the problem. There are no gay or lesbian parents.
                Orthodox people have to stop using the language which only serves an evil agenda.

                • There are parents who practice gay or lesbian activities.
                  However, they did not become parents
                  by way of gay or lesbian activities.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Katherine, I must agree with you. There is no such thing as essentializing one’s identity based on a sin. Whether that sin be glutton, sodomite, fornicator, gangster, gambler, etc. That’s one of the things I’ve come to appreciate about Orthodox cultures, there is no “what do you do for a living?” or “how much are you worth?”

                  One is a human person created in the image of God. Fallen, yes, but still an icon of God.

                  No Christian (of whatever denomination) should have ever acceded to the language police –ever. One is “pro-abortion,” not “pro-choice.” One is against the licensure of homosexual couplings, he is not “a homophobe” or against “gay marriage,” (which is a contradiction in terms.) One believes in marriage, not “marriage equality.”

                  But, because we accepted the terms of the Enlightenment, that is to “be nice,” we had already lost the battle before it even started.

                  • As a deacon in the Pacific Northwest, I work with a ‘transgender’ individual, a young man who suffered unbelievable trauma at the hands of a homosexual when extremely young of age. When his girlfriend in high school got pregnant, this young man was very happy and looked forward to having a child himself. However, the girl – without his consent or initial knowledge – got an abortion and moved onto the next available guy.

                    This devastated the young man, and with the encouragement of our culture, and other predatory factors, he got involved with older men and they got him into meth. Now he used Grindr to search out male strangers, plays video games constantly, and three years into the meth, he’s missing teeth, thinks he’s possessed by aliens, and insists he’s a woman, taking chemicals “that will castrate me.”

                    Very broken and lonely, sweet and intelligent, but clearly disassociating. This is, ultimately, I think, why transgenderism is gaining traction with many young men. Many of the young men caught up in the trans movement are also ‘gamers’ and diving into the drug culture.

                    Don’t get me started on the woes of grown men playing video games. We have enough issues out here, but ultimately, a lot of young men don’t have healthy, supportive male role models. Nor can anyone carry out a meaningful conversation about what a man is, and isn’t, and why men are important to each other.

                    • “Nor can anyone carry out a meaningful conversation
                      about what a man is, and isn’t, and why men are important to each other.”

                      I think such conversations go on all the time, the world over.
                      But they can only occur where there is shared meaning,
                      whether religious or cultural etc, between the participants.

                  • Katherine says

                    Thank you, George. I think that as long as there are Orthodox people like you and Gail the war can be won, with the help of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

        • Joseph,
          as always, you avoid making any negative comment against Bartholomew and/or Elpidophoros.
          In this particular case,
          do you imply that Elpidophoros has handled the matter correctly?

        • I would sincerely hope that if a group of orphans came into your parish that families within the church would step up and adopt them! 🙂

          • Joseph Lipper says

            Orphanages became extinct in the U.S. when foster care became a government-supported program in the 1960’s.

            In my parish, there’s an older single woman who takes care of foster children.

            In other parts of the world, Orphanages still exist:

            “The Hogar Rafael Ayau orphanage in Guatemala City is home to neglected and abandoned children who have been brought into the Hogar family and raised in a warm and loving Orthodox environment, under the care of Orthodox nuns. For over fifteen years, the Hogar has been home to over one thousand children.”


            • By Guatemalan government ordinance, they no longer have children. I stopped sending money to them.

    • I thought their statement was very clear, if a bit indirect. “The effort to live according to the Holy Gospel and the law of God ensures the conditions for participation in the Sacraments of the Church.” A gay couple cannot possibly do this, therefore the conditions for participation in the Sacraments is not there.

      The Archbishop, if he truly cared for their souls, would have urged the two men to repent of their sins, separate from each other, and agree to live a chaste Orthodox life. And also repent of the grave evil of using surrogate mothers to get their children. Then it would have been right to have the children baptized. As it is, the children are now exposed to even graver spiritual harm, by the Archbishop’s signaling of approval for the gay couple’s state of life, making repentance and change even less likely.

      But what is even more concerning to me is the number of Orthodox people who do not understand the grave evil of what occurred, on several levels, and think baptizing the children in those circumstances is fine. This is a real failure of the Orthodox Church to properly catechize her people.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Very well said, Theo.

      • Chris Banescu says

        Those are wise and true observations, Theo. They are more Orthodox and scriptural than anything of the lukewarm distortions and nonsense the Wokeodox “academics” and “theologians” keep putting out.

        • I have been Wokeodox since 2018, when I woke up to some top level clergy. Thanks to Monomakhos and Helleniscope for putting important information out there that would be staying much more in the closet and behind cloors doors without them.

    • Antiochene Son says

      “Yet not even one of these statements forbids the baptism of children whose legal guardians are a same-sex couple.”

      This is on the level of “Jesus never condemned gay marriage so it must be OK.”

      • Joseph Lipper says

        No, that’s not true. All of these statements are very clear that “gay marriage” is not blessed and is not recognized in the church.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Or how about this: “Jesus never said anything about wife-beating either, so I guess that must be OK as well.”

        The argument from silence goes only so far.

        • Good analogy. There’s a “Christian” marriage movement called CDD based on this kind of reasoning. We are dealing with the practical equivalent of an Abp. openly blessing a CDD marriage session, because one of the pre-requisites to Orthodox baptism is that the child will be raised in an Orthodox way. The implication of the Abp.’s appearance in the family photo is his stamp of approval.

        • LOL spot on! Your blog seriously needs like buttons and emoticons.

  6. I was impressed that a member of the GOARCH Archdiocesan Council wrote an anonymous letter for Helleniscope criticizing Abp. Elpidophoros’ playing fast and loose with the rules, mentioning also the Bousis-Dundas event:

    I often visit a nice Greek parish for services. About 15 years ago, they had an Episcopalian serve as church secretary, and she had a cross with a rainbow banner wrapped around it on her door in the church offices. I didn’t say anything, partly because I don’t belong to the parish and didn’t want to rock the boat with them, feeling myself a bit too much of an outsider, and expecting to get rebuffed. In life, plenty of people get rebuffed by higher-ups and collectives over normal stuff in cases where they did nothing wrong or didn’t even object to anything.

  7. Illumined says

    And here come the liberal hitpieces:


    “18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’[a] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’[b]”

    John 15:18-25

    • Too bad they don’t have a comments section. The author sounds Greek, Kelaidis.


      Whatever one wants to call the OCA statement, like “homophobic”, the OCA statement is not “Christian Nationalist”, as it nowhere mentions legal or governmental measures or policies. Just because a Church opposes some practice doesn’t mean that the Church is promoting theocracy.

      Similarly, the GOA, arguably the most progressive Orthodox body in America—“progressive” being a relative term—remains almost exclusively composed of ethnic Greeks. Focused on their own ethnic political concerns, including the position of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in the modern Turkish state and the preservation of the Greek language in America, the GOA has remained a relatively inhospitable environment for converts, a feature not terribly great for Christian evangelism but which probably offers a something of a firewall in the current climate.

      I am skeptical that with this description, the GOA is in its essence the most “Progressive” or for that matter liberal, Left etc. jurisdiction. To give a comparison – one nice thing about the Catholic Church is that their parishes and dioceses have tended to be pretty inclusive of a range of ethnicities for a very long time. On contrast, Protestants often have split their congregations along racial lines, the AME Church vs. the Methodist Church being one example. If your parish is just focused on helping people of your own ethnicity, I question how Progressive it really is.

      I am inclined to think that a reason for this inwardness isn’t really focus on “the position of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in the modern Turkish state.” Certainly Greek Americans care about the CP’s status under Turkish rule, but I don’t see it as being such an important issue at the parish level that it has stymied outreach for decades. By analogy, Arab Americans are certainly concerned about the status of Arab Christians in the Middle East, but it’s hardly been a cause for the AOCNA to stymie outreach in America.

      The author of the article criticizes the OCA for failing, in her view, to criticize the Russian war with Ukraine enough. The OCA actually has made criticisms, but more importantly, I question whether ramping up bellicose statements against Russia is actually a truly “Progressive”, “Left” position. It seems that rather the true Left position would be to advocate for reconciliation on both sides in a way that meets the needs of both sides of that conflict.

    • Yes, with the usual suspects authoring the hit pieces. I think even Riccardi-Swartz bizarrely claims to be an Orthodox Christian. She’s the deceptive, two-faced “journalist” who ingratiated herself to the monks and faithful in West Virginia, then turned around and wrote a hit piece on them. I pity those who must live with her. May God have mercy on her troubled soul.

      ROCOR is used to being in the crosshairs, so I’m sure they don’t care what’s written about them. There are some segments of the OCA that are very sensitive to “how society perceives them,” but they are mostly boomers who (hopefully) no longer run the OCA. These elements in the OCA need to get past their insecurities.

      The days of decades past, when we American Orthodox Christians hid behind the protestants and Catholics (or were essentially ignored), are probably gone.

      Good news is that these attacks simply strengthen us – the more we suffer, the stronger our faith in Christ grows, and the stronger the Church becomes. We will be here to build up from the ashes when America culturally collapses. I have no doubt.

      Orthodox Christianity is to modern post-protestant western secularism what ROCOR used to be to the communists who ruled the USSR: A grievous thorn in their side whom they relentlessly attack, and whom they try to hurt because they *need* us to disappear.
      Riccardi-Swartz and her compadres truly fear Orthodox Christianity, have no doubt — the emotion underlying their attacks on us is fear that God is stronger than they, which causes them abject terror, mostly likely.

      But Christ’s church will not go away. Americans searching for Truth and love and fidelity are flocking to it. Thank God for that.

      • If Protestantism is so bad, why have so many Orthodox Christians come to this country?

        • Simple answer: Freedom. Freedom to worship, freedom to do their own thing, to build churches, raise families, work, etc. Freedom to not be persecuted in the countries they were fleeing. For most of the 20th century, the only “free” predominantly Orthodox Christian country was Greece.

          Back in the day, 100 years ago and for most/all of the 20th century, in the United States, all you had to do was pay taxes and obey the law, and the authorities left you alone.

          Things are changing as in the civil authorities are now paying attention to *what* churches teach, and if they don’t like it, many of our authorities would love to come after us.

          Like in the hit pieces highlighted above. For Riccardi-Swartz and those who agree with her, they’d like nothing more than to restrict what Churches teach and make Orthodox teachings comply with their vision of what is needed for a “healthy public order.” Any mention or encouragement for the faithful to work to live in communion with God, to live in communion with the Divine Order of things — if it is in opposition to wokism or to LGBTQism — is not OK with them.

          Recall that in the Soviet Union, two things the Soviet authorities taught young people at the time:

          1. This Orthodox faith may have been for your grandmother, but it’s not for you. It’s antiquated and outdated. You and the Church need to “get with the times.”

          2. This Orthodox faith is impeding you from realizing your full potential, from being “who you really are.” It’s holding you back.

          Modern western popular/secular culture (and most of our government) are teaching these exact same things that the Soviet authorities taught 100 years ago. That’s unnerving, and eye-opening.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            More and more it’s looking like the Orthodox Church is close to becoming #1 on the liberal hit list.

            • I hope our bishops have realized that and that’s the reason for the recent statements from the OCA/Antiochians and their strong rebuke of Elpi.

              I’ll give them the benefits (though not 100%) on covid. We were all caught off guard…But….I guarantee they, at least I know Met. Joseph, know all about Fordham, Public Orthodox and their ilk and know we are on the hit list.

            • Illumined says

              Good, it means we’re doing something right.

              • You can judge the quality of a man
                by the number and (lack of) quality of his enemies.

        • Michael Bepotis says

          Exactly, Lina. The Protestants and their interchurch movements and their freemasonry are exactly what made America so hospitable to Orthodoxy, but these anal aggressive look the gift horse in the mouth. See how Episcopals helped Orthodox in America because the Orthodx helped them in the Holy Land: http://anglicanhistory.org/orthodoxy/emhardt_historical1920.html

          • Another reason that Orthodox Christians found America so hospitable during the 20th century may have had to do with the Methodist Church.

            We know that the Methodist church was founded by the Wesley brothers, who used sources from the Church fathers for much of their foundation. Though clearly protestant, much of Methodism comes from the Church fathers, which resonates with Orthodox Christianity.

            And the United Methodist Church was a firm foundation of small-town America. Nearly every small town across the American South, Midwest, and heartland, along with the coasts, had a United Methodist Church, sometimes as the only church in the town.

            Sadly that was a far cry from the UMC of today, which is now fractured and suffering from all of the trauma and drama that afflicts all of the protestant churches.

            But having been a foundation of small-town America and built itself on the teachings of the Church fathers, American Methodism may have been a reason that Orthodox Christianity fit in pretty well into the American faith landscape during the last century. Yes, many Americans ignored us, but many also respected us for loving and preserving our faith after being persecuted over most of the traditional Orthodox world.

            • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

              Right you are, FTS. John Wesley’s controversial advocacy of “perfection” in his book A Plain Account of Christian Perfection published in 1777 reflected, in part, his scholarly familiarity with our Orthodox doctrine of theosis in particular!

  8. In a spot of good news. I’ve seen on some Instagram accounts I follow that Jordan Peterson and his wife attended Liturgy with Johnathan Pageau. Thanks be to God.

    • JBP would make a great Canadian Prime Minister but I think the never-ending hatchet jobs have already killed any prospect of a political career. I’ll be very happy if he continues in his prophetic role, especially, God willing, while a member of the Orthodox Church.

  9. Henry Bellman says

    I really think Joseph is trying to be kind here. But at the end of the day, it is the one performing the sacrament that has to make a pastoral decision. Granted, the grandmother wants this, but the grandmother isn’t raising this child. Two homosexual men are, who will in no way, raise this child in the Orthodox faith. Its just like if somebody came to receive communion and the priest knew the recipient would spit it out and defile it, he can refuse to administer. He is the protector of the sacraments. They are using the Church as a platform to further “acceptance” of this in the Church. Thats all. Thats all it ever was. That alone should have made Apb. Elpidophoros refuse to administer.

    Ill even say this. If the Archbishop made a statement saying, “I do not approve of this lifestyle, and I am in no way approving of it, but am giving this baptism for the salvation of this child” I would at least respect the Archbishop’s decision. He didnt say that. He said nothing. He just smiled in the picture, secure that his virtue had been signaled.

    At some point, you can not continue to give someone the benefit of the doubt after a long and storied history of supremely questionable decisions. The Archbishop should be at least removed from his position, and at most, defrocked completely for defiling the sacraments.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Henry, from what I have observed in Greek culture, the grandmothers often have a primary role in the spiritual upbringing of children, often taking their grandchildren to church, and teaching them about the faith. From what I’ve also heard, in Greece it is often the grandparents that have an understood right to name the child. So I don’t think it’s generally wise to underestimate the grandmother’s role in this particular baptism and in Greek culture in general, unless you want to mess with that yiayia.

  10. I very much agree with you about grandmothers, Joseph. But as I understand it, Yiayia lives in Chicago, and the child lives in Los Angeles. Yes, she is wealthy and doubtless can travel at will, but the distance is not at all conducive to the type of relationship you describe.

    Henry’s other observations stand on their own.

  11. The archdeacon is back with more. He now presumes to stand in judgment of the monks of Mt. Athos. How pathetic that he is the “theological advisor” to the GOA..and how very telling.


    • Joseph Lipper says

      I keep reading comments, though, essentially criticizing the Athonite monks for having been too indirect in their statement about the baptizing of children of “gay” parents.

      Perhaps a much better response (than the archdeacon’s) to the controversy surrounding this baptism was by Anastasios Vavouskos, the theologian and lawyer of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. He asks:

      “Why does the Orthodox Church baptize:

      Children of divorced Orthodox parents

      Children of estranged Orthodox parents

      Children of a single-parent family, i.e. a family where there is only the unmarried mother

      Children orphaned by one or both parents

      Children, living in an Institution

      Children of non-religious, non-religious or atheistic parents[?]

      “Are all these cases a model family according to the Orthodox Church according to the opinion of Metropolitan Glyfados? Not exactly, but because we accept as the Orthodox Church, that the protagonist in the sacrament of baptism is the baptized person and from the side the sponsor, we accept all the above cases as a ‘family model’.

      “Therefore, it follows that for the Orthodox Church, a family, whose children are baptized, is what the law of the Greek State defines and accepts as a legally existing family, and the same-sex couple is no longer such – whether one agrees or disagrees – either.

      “Of course, the same-sex couple in Greece is not allowed to ‘have’ children, but the couple in the critical case came from America, where it is legal to ‘adopt’ by same-sex couples.”


  12. Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

    Thank you, Brian, for that link to Archdeacon John Chryssavgis’ anti-monastic screed on the Public Orthodoxy website. That is one of most breathtakingly arrogant, pompous, self-important, insulting, and downright erroneous articles I have ever read by an Orthodox clergyman.

    This sentence alone is enough to deter any of us serious, traditional Orthodox Christians from taking seriously anything he says or writes:

    “The premise of Scripture and promise of the church lies first and foremost in community and Communion, not conventional or social constructs of marriage and family.”

    I suspect that the Archdeacon is thrashing about in a turbulent sea of willful denial of reality and moral heresy as his autocephalous Orthodox Church and its patriarch are losing touch with Orthodox reality.

    Here’s a book chapter I wrote a few years ago that demonstrates how the so-called “nuclear family” and the “extended family” (each centered around a husband, wife, and children, and, in the case of the latter, grandchildren and perhaps aunts, uncles, nieces, and / or nephews all of whom knew or know their proper divine-created identities as male or female) are the only norms for Orthodox families:

    “Icons of the ‘Nuclear’ Family,” in David C. Ford, Mary C. Ford, and Alfred Kentigern Siewers (eds.), Glory and Honor: Orthodox Christian Resources on Marriage. Yonkers, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2016, pp. 171-182.

    That entire volume, by the way, is an indispensable resource now more than ever.

    • The Rev Archdeacon Dr John writes:
      1) ‘Women are prohibited from visiting Athos. So too are female animals
      and beardless young boys, who could be mistaken as feminine.’
      Is this a pecking order?

      He then tells of:
      2) ‘…two children born to a gay couple via surrogacy.’
      Children are not born to gay couples. Period.

      Finally the good Archdeacon claims:
      3) ‘Monasticism receives and welcomes “all people without discrimination”
      as members of Mount Athos’ community and citizens of its polity.’
      Are ‘…women…and beardless young boys’ [see 1) above] not people then?