Is Holy Cross Seminary on the Skids?

It appears so, given this latest story by Theodore Kalmoukos in The National Herald.

As in the political sphere, they say that institutions release bad news on Fridays. It seems to soften the blow, so to speak. We see this for example with the interminable Mueller investigation. Only here, the bad news was for the Democrats and NeverTrumpers who expected to see Federal Marshals go to the Oval Office and drag the President out in shackles.

Didn’t happen. Oh well. More will be said on this later. For now, the bad news as far as those of us Orthodox here in America is that Hellenic College/Holy Cross is in very real danger of closing its doors.

This isn’t surprising. What is surprising is the degree of decrepitude that has overtaken this college. My fear is that this is not undesired by the Phanar as it will continue to paint this dire picture of the GOA and why Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis needs to be “retired”.

Waiting in the wings to take up the slack will be the theological school at Halki, which was shuttered back in 1972 by the Turkish government. This of course will be a horrible prospect as it will further erode any move towards American Orthodox unity. Academically it won’t be any better than Holy Cross (which is a charitable way of putting it). In fact, it will probably be worse. Even in its heyday Halki was never known for being a stellar institution. And rumors abounded about the quality of many of its graduates. (You can read between the lines on that one.)

Anyway, as you can read for yourself below that the handwriting is on the wall. It’s certainly possible that some in the Phanar believe that the closing of HC/HC will force the hand of the Turkish government to reopen Halki.

We’ll see. In the meantime, the downward trajectory of American Orthodoxy continues apace thanks to the millstone which the GOA has become ever since the forced departure of Archbishop Iakovos Coucouzis back in the mid-90s. Indeed, I don’t foresee any type of renaissance here in America as long as the other scandals on the other side of the Atlantic continue to fester.

Lord have mercy!


Source: National Herald

By Theodore Kalmoukos

BOSTON – The faculty of the Holy Cross School of Theology wrote a letter dated March 8, 2019 addressed to Archbishop Demetrios of America and to the chairman of the Board of Trustees in which it expressed its great concern regarding three ‘notations’ imposed on the School by The Board of Commissioners of the Association of Theological Schools Commission on Accrediting.

The professors wrote to the Archbishop “these three notations is of great concern to the faculty of Holy Cross.”.

They are also asking for a financial audit: “The first steps to address this notation would be to conduct a transparent audit, by outside experts, of the structural budgetary operation of the institution. This audit should be shared with administration, faculty and staff as well as trustees. We also recommend the immediate recruitment of highly qualified past and new high impact board members, either to serve on the board of trustees, or even as part of a presidential financial advising committee to assist in the strategic planning process with the board.”

The faculty’s letter is printed in its entirety below.


A Letter of Concern from the Faculty of Holy Cross regarding the Imposition of Notations by the Association of Theological Schools Addressed to His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America,Chairman of Hellenic College Holy Cross Board of Trustees

We greet you in the spirit of humility and forgiveness associated with the beginning of the Lenten season. It is with our deepest respect for your ministry to the Church of Christ and our acknowledgement of your love and concern for Holy Cross that we ask for your archepiscopal blessing and provide you with this letter.

The recent decision (February 7-8, 2019) by the Board of Commissioners of the ATS Commission on Accrediting to impose three notations is of great concern to the faculty of Holy Cross. The imposed notations highlight three significant areas of concern, namely, finances, governance and institutional planning. These decisions are based upon the comprehensive evaluation conducted by peers from ATS Schools who visited Holy Cross from November 12-15, 2018, for which Holy Cross produced a detailed self-study.

In response, the faculty has met several times (Nov. 20th, 2018; Dec. 11th, 2018, Jan 8th, 2019; Jan 29th, 2019; Feb. 26th, 2019), in regular and special faculty meetings, to discuss the November 2018 visit, and to carefully examine both the ATS Report of a Comprehensive Evaluation Visit for Reaffirmation of Accreditation 11/12/18-11/15/18 (Visitation Report) and the decisions of the ATS Board of Commissioners (ATS Commission Letter) dated February 15, 2018.

Based on our understanding of the assessment and accreditation process, we recognize the seriousness of the three notations we have received as an institution (N1.b; N7.a; and N8.b). As a faculty we are committed, as Your Eminence is, to the success of the School and recognize that these ATS notations require immediate and comprehensive action. Per the ATS Report, failure to immediately and properly address these notations within the next 19 months (no later than November 1, 2020) will result in “an adverse action [i.e., withdrawal of accreditation]” (ATS Commission Letter, p. 3).

We are alarmed because we do not see proper and appropriate steps being taken by the leadership of HCHC and the board of trustees to respond to these notations in a manner consistent with the expectations of ATS and best practices in higher education. We have yet to see the administration provide a plan of action to address these compliance issues and we are frustrated due to the lack of communication between the administration and faculty on common issues related to the ATS report. Further, we are disheartened in that Holy Cross had previously received a notation from ATS on insufficient institutional strategic planning processes in 2012 that ATS removed in 2014 only to have it reinstated in 2019. We are concerned that we do not repeat the very practices and mistakes that ATS has identified as insufficient and ineffective.

We understand that the current administration is under enormous pressures to attend to the immediate financial concerns of the School, also noted by ATS (ATS Commission Letter, p. 2, no. 7a). These immediate and urgent financial stresses have the potential to distract us from the important and urgent issues raised by ATS. Based on our years of work with ATS, we know that we can implement a comprehensive process of responding to the important issues raised by ATS. A proper response to the issues raised by ATS is the most effective means of addressing the immediate financial concerns of the School.

At this time, the faculty has put in place a process for responding to those aspects of the ATS Visitation Report and the ATS Commission Letter that fall directly under our responsibility. Specifically, we have taken the following actions in response to the Commission’s decisions regarding assessment of student learning and program assessment:

  1. Adoption of a summative exercise to incorporate into the MTS program along withreview of MTS program goals and learning outcomes. Report on adoption of a MTSsummative exercise is due, October 1, 2019 (ATS Commission Letter, p. 2., no. 7.a).Additionally, we will review program goals and learning outcomes for the ThMprogram along with consideration of additional summative tools for the ThM. Areport on MTS and ThM program goals and leaning outcomes is due, April 1, 2020.
  2. Establishment a committee to develop a timeline for faculty to address educationalassessment (Educational Standard, section ES.6) to complete the work of the Facultyregarding learning outcomes, assessment tools, rubrics and benchmarks, andevidence of assessment-based changes within each degree program (ATSCommission Letter, p. 2, no. 7.c). Report due, April 1, 2020. Further, we intend toprocure the assistance of an assessment consultant who can provide clarity as to thebest practices and assist faculty in developing appropriate benchmarks andmeasures for formative and summative student learning outcomes.

We acknowledge that the responsibility for addressing the imposed notations (N1.b; N7.a; and N8.b) falls upon all of us who are invested in the institution: the faculty, the administration, and the board of trustees. ATS understands the process of responding to notations to be a collective response by the major stakeholders that must include the board of trustees. Below are some of our thoughts concerning the three notations issued by ATS and some of the parameters within which the School’s response ought to be undertaken.

Notation N1.b:“The Institution’s planning processes are insufficient or ineffective.”
In the Visitation Report, ATS identifies their expectations for proper strategic planning as well as their concerns about our insufficient and ineffective institutional planning processes.

“The Institution is encouraged to develop an institutional strategic plan including relevant, prioritized, and measurable goals that are linked with a long-term financial plan, and a revised system of ongoing institutional evaluation that will assist administration and board of trustees in the effective decision-making processes essential to the future success of the institution.” (Visitation Report, Section 1)

Further, the report indicates our intent to develop a 2019-2024 strategic plan which is “under consideration by the board of trustees who will appoint a steering committee as well as subcommittees responsible for new strategic initiatives and goal structures.” (Visitation Report, Section 1) We see little or no evidence that a strategic planning process has been initiated either by the president, the administration, or the board of trustees.

We, as a faculty, are alarmed because a process of developing a strategic plan should have been initiated in 2016. The previous 5-year plan was for 2013-2018, and a proper process for developing a new strategic plan requires an 18-24 month process of active involvement of the board of trustees, faculty, and administration through a deliberative process that reflects best practices.

Properly responding to this notation would consist of initiating a strategic planning process that reflects best practices, and engages the faculty, administration and the full board of trustees. This would require, initially, such things as the establishment of a genuine steering committee, in-depth conversations with the faculty regarding current and future academic programming, the hiring of a strategic planning consultant, the establishment of subcommittees, and the development of a time-table for a proper strategic plan.

Information on the process of strategic planning can be found at the website of In Trust, an organization focusing specifically on developing board of trustee leadership for theological schools ( A Letter of Concern from the Faculty of Holy Cross March 8, 2019
Notation N7.a“The institution does not adequately or appropriately define, exercise, or implement the roles, responsibilities, and structures of authority and governance.”

ATS has demonstrated a respect for the unique relationship between the School and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. From our vantage point and that of the ATS Visitation Report, this notation indicates that we as an institution have failed to clearly define and adequately implement the roles of the board of trustees, the president, the deans and the faculty within the overall context of shared governance (see Section 7 of the Visitation Report).

ATS has expressed concerns, that “…the board may not be exercising its authority only as a group (Standard 7, section, and found inadequate evidence that the board has created and employed adequate structures for assessing the performance and accountability of chief administrative leadership (Standard 7, section” (Visitation Report, Section 7). In Trust provides guidelines on how to effectively evaluate an institution’s chief executive officer ( In addition, ATS noted their concern that the board of trustees did not exercise “adequate financial oversight” of the School (Visitation Report, Section 7).

The ATS evaluation committee recommended “the institution would benefit from a review of the operative structure of governance to ensure it is clear where the authority for maintaining the integrity and vitality of the school resides, and how that authority is exercised in actual practice” (Visitation Report, Section 7). We as a faculty welcome such a review and encourage that such a review would incorporate the review of the Faculty Handbook which Hellenic College and Holy Cross faculty began in Fall 2017. Further, we encourage the board of trustees to read carefully Section 7 of the Visitation Report.

Properly addressing these concerns would include such things as: an assessment of board membership to ensure adequate depth and expertise on the board to guide the work of the School; detailed reports informing the board on all aspects of the issues currently facing the institution (ATS notations, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, NEASC/NECHE, etc.); and special meetings of the entire board to address the immediate and long-term issues facing the school (Bylaws of Hellenic College, Inc., 2014, Article 2, Section 10).

These initial steps related to the expansion, education, and engagement of the board represent significant and critical first steps in addressing all imposed notations. We fear that failure to implement even these basic steps is evidence of repeated poor practices.

Notation N8.b.“The institution’s financial resources are not adequate for long-term institutional viability and there is no credible plan to address this in a timely and effective manner.”
While the administration is taking action to address the short-term financial issues at this time there is no evidence of any steps toward long-term financial viability. ATS explicitly identified the failure of the board regarding the long-term finances of the school: “Although the president has implemented austerity measures to bring expenditures in line with revenue, the team saw little evidence of board actions to address the long-term viability of the institution” (Visitation Report, Section 7). As Your Eminence is aware, this particular issue is not new. This was identified more than a year ago by former members of the board of trustee and reaffirmed by the ATS review committee.

The first steps to address this notation would be to conduct a transparent audit, by outside experts, of the structural budgetary operation of the institution. This audit should be shared with administration, faculty and staff as well as trustees. We also recommend the immediate recruitment of highly qualified past and new high impact board members, either to serve on the board of trustees, or even as part of a presidential financial advising committee to assist in the strategic planning process with the board. ATS expects that we would recruit, in addition to clergy with pastoral experience, experts from various fields, committed to the life and ministry of the Church and School, who possess expertise at taking vision and mission and laying out an operational plan to meet those goals (ATS Standard 8.2.3). These individuals would have expertise in, for example, finance, strategic planning, real estate, higher education, administration and operations.


ATS has indicated that they are keenly aware of our inadequate processes and our pattern of failing to engage in best practices, or take proper steps, specifically regarding strategic planning, governance, and finances. Any deviation from their expectations of real and appropriate action, at this point, will most likely result in the withdrawal of accreditation, independent of the shortterm efforts currently underway. These simple and basic first steps, at this time, represent the critical steps necessary to respond to ATS.

The faculty is prepared to participate in, and contribute to, an appropriate, open and transparent process of responding to the ATS notations. Time is of the essence. We would welcome a meeting with Your Eminence to discuss any of the issues we have identified.


The Faculty of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology
cc Vice-Chair, HCHC Board of Trustees
Executive Committee, HCHC Board of Trustees
Full-time Faculty of Holy Cross.


  1. Well re Holy Cross. Nice to know not just secular Greece in the… !!!! They all must come from the same school of how to f.. It up without trying, excuse my bulgarian!!
    What a sad state of affairs.
    But obviously what sadder is the reflection on state of greek church in USA. And that word, Greek church, sorry no greek church in USA, nor in Bulgaria. There is in USA a church of decendents of Greeks and those married in and joining. And it obviously is in decline apart from Pascha night.
    Now it will come down to individual parishes that will thrive with good clergy and active people who have more than one church calander date in their church going.
    The other point is from reading greek- american stuff and terminology I detect a very protestant ethos Not surprising given that is default, even secular USA Culture.
    There is a very good in many ways prayer Team daily mailing from Greek Florida Parish.
    As i read them I just get a very protestant mentality. Not that any one mail in itself or that they do not say relevant and valid things. They do and I think a very devoted and hard working priest they have. Even if he is on the razor and organ side of the Church. But happily I do not have to listen to the choral cacophony or admire the ‘frangopapas ‘ do i!??
    And finally what is all this Geron of America rubbish ? If i turn up in new York I can sadly now claim same title!! ? Geron Nick of New York. And while i am there I recall the 100dollars, and thst was going on five yrs now, for a plate of Kolliva!! I did look to see if gold dusted.

    • Lana Feguza says

      Anyone fawning over Pastitsios is either nursing hangover, needs parietal lobe resected or criminally pedophilic.

      • That is all we need. A Catholic dose of paediphilia to make the cup run over with good things.

      • Who is Pastsitsios?? Enlighten me!!

        • Lana Feguza says
          • Thank you

            • Interesting read. Yes charging someone for blasthemy is always silly and glad that the Bishop of Thessaloniki opposed it because his intervention have not always been sound.
              Elder Paissios? Time will tell but as it stands now the Church has declared sainthood. I personally look for more than miracles to revere a Saint. Indeed I find this tendancy to approach God with a ‘shopping list’ totally naff! And spiritually empty.
              Yes miracles happen of course but as with those of Christ they are a by- product of what we are being called to witness, which is the monentary showing to us how the Universe, we, can be if healed and whole with God. So in reality, there are no miracles, as strange separate events, but just a wider consciousness and reality that because of our fallen nature we fail to see or cannot without the aid of God. .

  2. Re archbishop Dmitri. I have only observed from afar and liturgically twice at Holy Trinity. Let’s leave thst alone! Not him but Holy Trinity.
    But my impression is of a good, devout man speaking good english and warm human being.
    Now as the boss, the buck re Nat Shrine etc etc etc, does stop at him. But in wider context he has to rely and trust others and not be shafted in the back every week by Phanar. And he is not the Chief accountant but Archbishop. Plus he is 90 so should be thinking about retiring.
    I do not know but once Iakovos left it all seems to have slid. Is this because only He held it together with his very good and bad sides, or that under the surface, the decay was hid? I do not know. I do not live in USA.
    If u are due the Phanar bureaucratic machine from Paris expect no good but that not news is it??

  3. Greatly Saddened says

    In my most humble opinion, the so called religious institution referred to as the “Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America,” continues to be one total embarrassment to itself and to its parishioners. Not to mention, first and foremost, to “Christ” himself!

    It is a sure sign that this continuous failed institution does not care to improve things at any level. These so called hierarchs, have been and continue to be one “BIG” failure and disappointment. Along with their groups of sycophants to include: the Archdiocesan Council, Leadership 100 and the rest of the other sad groups which are affiliated with this “joke” of a so called religious institution.

    This organization lacks any leadership from its hierarchs and its other lay organizations. There is absolutely no forward vision, planning and of no surprise to anyone, a total lack of “accountability and transparency.” Everything this so called religious institution attempts to do or involve itself with, “fails” and miseraby too!

    And let us be perfectly honest, its primary function and responsibility is to be “Christ” centered and it continues to fail at that!

    In reality, its true and main purpose is to be a cultural center for “Greek” dance and language. Forget about anything having to do our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! It has been and continues to be one complete failure and can’t get out of its own way! It is one “BIG” disgrace. Especially since it sadly attempts to align itself with “Christ!”

    Sad to say, this failed institution doesn’t deserve any respect, nor any more monetary support. Shame on you. Since you say you are a so called religious institution, why not try a dose or two of humility and some repentance. That would be a good start!

    • Greatly, much of what you say is true. Nevertheless, the GOA is part of the Body of Christ and not an “institution ” as you choose to call it. Repentance and return to the true master of the Church-Jesus is needed. For all of you Ephraimites, rember those monasteries are still under the GOA.

      • I am not a prophet. But I am guessing that the monasteries of Elder Ephraim will not stay under the GOA for much longer. Just a hunch. By the way Jk….the people that frequent the monasteries of Elder Ephraim are not called Ephraimites….they are called Orthodox Christians.

        • John Sakelaris says

          Wow, as if we do not have enough potential rivalries going on within Orthodox Christianity….Will someone please explain just what the Elder Ephraim group is and why they might present a challenge?

          • I know enough from a big fan of Elder Ephraim (of Arizona) to say that this man will likely be a saint, thanks in part for being one of the few spirit bearing elders alive today. He has set up about 18 monasteries in America, and however many in Greece. If we look him up online, we’re likely to find more slander than anything else, calling him a cult leader and whatnot. This however can be put down to how the devil very much hates monasteries, elders, spirit bearing elders etc. Nobody who founds so many monasteries can be guilty of what he’s accused of. America is very fortunate to have him. If orthodoxy is in a sense thriving there, the Elder and his contribution has played a good part in it. Also worth noting is that his monasteries – or at least the one he spends his days at now [he’s quite old and not very well] – is nice and traditional.

        • Arthur Samouris says

          Thank you Mikhail.

        • Mirkos Catepsis says

          Ephraim is not under the GOA, but directly under the EP. They got their visas under Spyro Gyro and Cake Fart as religious workers and unless you can find false claims in their green card applications, they are here to stay. Only RICO racketeering can shut them down.

          • John Sakelaris says

            Still not enough hard facts have been presented here by either the supporters or opponents of Ephraim. Some details please.

            • What information are you looking?

              As regards Elder Ephraim’s holiness, which I assume would be one thing a person would want to confirm or deny for himself, Hieromonk Kosmas (not that that name will mean anything to you) is quite convinced by the number of monasteries he’s opened. He says that if the spiritual achievements, effort, and dangers associated with opening just one monastery are more fully appreciated, then that associated with opening between 18 and 25 should bowl us over.

              Simply put, he thinks that not too many Orthodox poseurs, fakes or imposters have opened one monastery or more. He therefore takes it to be a good, reliable measure, which could be considered one of the hard facts you were looking for – albeit hard from an Orthodox spiritual perspective.

              • John Sakelaris says

                Okay, Steven, that helps a little.

                Any other views out there? Why are so many of the comments about Ephraim on The National Herald comment pages so negative?

                • George Michalopulos says

                  John, my own experience at two of his monasteries has proven to be spiritually fulfilling.

                  • Agreed, George, for five of his monasteries in the United States. They simply promote and offer what can be found in the writings of the Holy Fathers and the Saints in my experience.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  John, part of the problem is that all evidence is anecdotal. I have never gone myself but I know a number of people who have and are quite uplifted. Most of these people I know well and trust their discernment.

                  I would expect that those predisposed to not like the monastaries will still not like them if they go.

                  It may be a bit like the Protestants who attended a Paschal Liturgy after Hank Hanegraff coverted. They were so scadalized by Hank’s conversion that they were wholly unable to actually observe and experience the reality.

                  I gave a Cathedral tour many years ago to a devout RC lady. Everything I said was followed by the comment, “That is what we believe”. By tour’s end I felt I could have said, “the Pope is a heretic” and she would have responded the same way.

                  I would suggest that if you want evidence: fast, pray and visit a couple of times with the blessing of your spiritual father.

                  • Mike,
                    This is, by far, the best response I’ve seen to criticisms of Elder Ephraim, his monasteries & “Ephraimites”.

                    Well said, my brother!

                    • Look to yr organ and pew coffee hourGREEK Orthodoxy, being faced with the traditional Orthodox praxis and faith IS A NASTY SHOCK. Nothing there
                      difficult to get yr head around. My god mother in Athens, often called monks dirty and not like those nice Catholics, shaven and modern. She was close to Athenagoras Kokinakis, the Bishop of San Francisco I think, who become head of greek church in Uk. He tried to americanise but met with total resistance by cypriots.

                • John: Why are so many of the comments about Ephraim on The National Herald comment pages so negative?”

                  Simply put and without making any judgments, there are three reasons that I have discerned from the many opinions I’ve seen expressed.

                  1.) His monasteries are extremely traditional. Far too traditional in the minds of some.
                  2.) His monasteries are seen as siphoning off both parishioners and money that would otherwise go to the GOA and its local parishes.
                  3.) His monasteries (again, in the minds of some) cause some to question the legitimate authority/Orthodoxy/praxis of their ‘normal’ GOA clergy.

                  Make of this what you will.

                  • Claes vanOldenphatt says

                    Sounds good to me on all three counts. Why throw good money after bad?

                    I just hope they do better at the monasteries in the transparency department as any hint of shenanigans could eventuate RICO proceedings.

                    And I wish they would start doing services in English. We aren’t in Greece anymore.

                    • The Ephrem monasteries are as Greeky as the GOA. It seems that most on this site overlook the fact that the monasteries worship in a foreign language. Is this consistent with the tradition of the church.
                      The women’s monastery in WA manages a Greek restaurant. Just like a Greek parish festival but ongoing. By the way, the food is exceptional but it is unusual to see monastics running a restaurant.

                    • Yes english. They have produced extensive on line hymnology( byzantine and western notation) in english for use.

                    • I guess the monasteries want to keep the language connection but they should use english too. As I said they do extensive work to put byzantine music into western notation and english.

                      The restaurant? I see no problem there as means of finance, and witness to degree and as you say, The food is good!!

                    • It is a mystery of the Eastern Church that the nuns will only use Greek in church, but they speak English quite well when asking for donations. I wonder why the fundraising part of the website is always in English, not Byzantine Greek? Hmmm?

                  • As i just said. A living reproach.

                    • Nick, you actually believe it is appropriate for nuns to operate a restaurant.

                    • Jk. Re restaurant. No I don’t think nuns should be waiting at table although in feeding people they actually do in giving hospitality in monasteries.
                      But in funding good causes having a restaurant staffed by lay people, not nuns, is not the worse horrendous thing I have heard.

                  • In Uk is the famous monastery of St John the BAPTIST in Essex near London, (+1989 Fr Sophrony, disciple of St Silouan of Mount Athos) it is a God filled place of amazing peace and maturity with nuns as well as monks which i especially like. However it draws coach loads of especially cypriot greek Orthodox and many make it their Parish. Speaks volumes for the lack in the parishes.
                    It’s not an extreme place at all and under EP. I do not know their attitude to current matters as i am not in Uk. But lots of same criticism if milder.

                    • Mark Fetunas says

                      Monastics, unlike priests, are allowed to kill in battle.

                    • Monk James Silver says

                      Mark Fetunas (April 4, 2019 at 12:06 pm) says

                      ‘Monastics, unlike priests, are allowed to kill in battle.’
                      Whence came that particularly odd bit of fantasy?

                      Apparently, Mark Fetunas has not received monastic training, at least not as an Orthodox Christian monk.

                      Or as a Buddhist monk or a Hindu monk, for that matter. Sure, there are renegades even among monks, but that is not how we are trained and expected to live.

                    • Hello Nikos and jk: Re the Goldendale women’s monastery in WA, their cafe is a wonderful, hospitable and grace-filled spot for truckers, travellers and people visiting for retreats to find lovely icons, books, and recordings in a calm and uplifting environment as well as to have a cup of coffee and sit to talk. A beautiful contrast to Starbucks or a truck stop and a true work of mission and evangelism in a discreet way. Also having nuns present eliminates many misconceptions about them. Their warmth and kindness offsets what the liberal media and liberal Orthodox may say to misrepresent them. I loved being there and so did the various assorted people who came through. If one lonely, despairing person enters and has a change of heart or sees hope, how wonderful. To me it is a great and wise exonarthex so to speak which invites people to come and see…and be healed.

                • Because he challenges there nice secular pews and organ and no fasting, but Greekness and baklava club.

                  • Solitary Priest says

                    Again with the pews and the organ. We have heard it 290 times by now. Our church has no organ, never did . We have pews; the former rector tried to eliminate pews when the new church was built. He didn’t succeed, but at least he got rid of the Western icons for more traditional ones. We are New Calendar, but I agree with St. Nicholas Plan As who said, “From obligation the new, from conviction the old .” We maintain the fasting rules, do most of the services. From the Eve of Lazarus Saturday to Bright Monday morning, at least one service every day.
                    I don’t know if the above person was addressing you, but I DON’T think monks and nuns should operate restaurants. There is a male monastery here in the states that has one. If I retire to a monastic community to save my soul, I don’t want to see well-dressed women coming to dinner on monastery grounds. Maybe some monks are not attracted to the opposite sex; I’m not in that category.

                    • Solitary Priest says

                      St. Nicholas Planas, stupid cell phone!

                    • As u don’t have any we can move on. My job done. ThankGod. But sorry to have just been witnessing to the 2000 yr old tradition of the Church. Thank you Fr.

                  • Solitary Priest says

                    You don’t have to apologize, Niko. It’s not so much that I have an issue with what you say. It’s just that I feel you’ve made your point. One need not say the same thing over and over. If we really want to go back almost 2000 years, we would be serving the St. James Liturgy. You seem to be championing beards, no pews, etc; but you also seem to support the new calendar and the St. Vladimir’s modern way of serving.
                    Perhaps you ought to become a priest to see what we have to go through. I’m not just talking to you. It could be Mr. Lipper, or Mr. Klancko, or anyone else who thinks they know how things ought to be. I wish I’d remained a deacon. I believe many priests out there agree with me.

                    • Father,
                      Not to derail this thread, but what do you mean by “St. Vladimir’s modern way of serving”?

                      I’m asking as someone who is interested in seminary and would like to understand the ethos of each.



                    • Solitary Priest says

                      Lee, I know my answer will anger many, but I have an issue with reading the priests silent prayers out loud. Likewise, with keeping the royal gates open through the whole liturgy, which appears to be Greek practice in America. At least one Serbian bishop requires this of his priests. I must point out that these aren’t issues of dogma. I don’t tell other priests that they can’t do these things. However, I will continue serving in the traditional way. Today, we remember St. Tikhon the Martyred Patriarch. Reading the priests prayers out loud was a practice of the Living church. This is the group which sought to oust Patriarch Tikhon. I serve the traditional way and my people have no problem with it.
                      Like Mr. Nikos, I do have my own biases. I’m not a big fan of the Russian practice of giving the miter to some priests. Oddly enough, that is one Russian innovation which even Ukrainian Uniates are on board with.
                      Now that I’ve had my rant, let me say it is a blessed thing to aspire to the priesthood. I would suggest to any prospective seminarian to get some type of trade or work before ordination. I would also suggest remaining a deacon for as long as possible, preferably until age 30. I know three fantastic priests, one OCA, one Serbian, and one ROCOR. All were deacons for a while, all had fantastic priest mentors. May God guide you!

                  • Nicole what a beautiful post and that is what I had in mind. Ditto in terns of warmth etc with nuns in St John Baptist monastery in essex UK and also in Greece. And monks too. It is contact with such warm human spirituality and love that has been a saving ark for my poor weak faith.
                    And the Jesus Prayer in Essex monastery. GOD BLESS

                    • Nikos stone says

                      Nikos to solitary priest. Yes I have a few biases!! but seriously Fr on reflection I am tension to agree with you.
                      Having the gates open all the time and reducing the iconostas rwo a low barrier in some historical reconstruction does nothing really except to pander to Vatican two!! I am opposed to the other extreme also.
                      As in everything the ‘ Royal way of moderation ‘

    • Fr. Deacon John says

      I pondered whether to reply or not as it has been quite some time since I weighed-in on any of the topics discussed on this forum. However I feel the need to ask a question or two and then comment on the post by Greatly Saddened.

      1) Do you, GS, have skin in the game? Are you under the GOA? If you are, what are you doing to help the situation you so easily criticized?

      2) If you do not have skin in the game, and you are not doing something to effect meaningful change, your sharp tongue and criticism is not appreciated by those of us who do and are.

      We are losing our young people to the tune of 2 out of 3 who go off to college never to be seen again. HCHC is struggling because the average Greek Orthodox parishioner doesn’t see the value of the seminary, and most likely won’t until it is gone. They say they want more Greek in the services yet the very Greek Orthodox seminary that prepares their priests is left financially high and dry.

      The Archdiocese surely has its problems, financial, leadership, you name it, but I believe they have been working hard to fix what was broken. The damage may be insurmountable but as long as naysayers continue to pound them with negativity, the uphill climb gets steeper. I admit my own frustration at the slow pace of the rehabilitation but it wasn’t broken in a day and certainly won’t be fixed in one either.

      Full disclosure – I am a volunteer. I accept no pay for my service to the parishes, Metropolises or the GOA. The skin I have in this game is not what would be going into my pocket but what is coming out in terms of time and treasure. My wife and I do so willingly and with resolve and humility. We are not alone as there are many others doing likewise.

      To all the naysayers out there, to me it is simply this: Push, pull or get out of the way……

      • Former GOA, staying out of the way says

        Fr Deacon John,

        I got out of the way about 30 years ago, when I left the GOA. I wanted a church that challenged me, that would help me constantly answer the “Who do you say that I am?” question that Christ asks all of us and that every serious Orthodox Christian must pursue every day to answer.

        But from the lack of any semblance of the cycle of services to the lack of confession to the silly Greek dances to the Greek festivals, it became abundantly clear that while there are some strong, obedient Orthodox in the GOA, they are a small monitory when compared with those who want the GOA to remain the propaganda arm of the Greek embassy.

        It’s such a stark contrast with some of the other Orthodox jurisdictions in America, who venerate their ethnic heritage only to the extent that it glorifies Christ. And many/most of these ethnic jurisdictions (OCA, Antiochians, ROCOR, etc.) are clear that their purpose in America is foremost a missionary one – to draw people to Christ. The GOA will take willing converts along for the ride if those converts want to go, but the GOA is pretty up front that their chief role isn’t missionizing America. I’m not making that up, the GOA leadership has said it.

        Faithful Christians won’t support milque-toast ventures. All milque-toast “mainstream” modernist churches are dying, if not already dead. The GOA, by the way of the EP, has tied itself into modernism, as clearly manifested in this Ukraine fiasco. The lines drawn in this Ukraine fiasco match up exactly with the modernism vs traditional Christianity fault lines in the Orthodox world. That ain’t no accident.

        Contrast the GOA’s seminary financial problems with ROCOR’s HTS recent fundraiser. ROCOR is dirt poor compared with the GOA, and always has been (possibly a sign of its spiritual might?). Yet faithful Christians, building on the intense spiritual foundations that ROCOR has built over the last century with its many saints and holy people, raised more than $150,000 for HTS in a matter of months. No less than astounding.

        Where are the canonized saints that the GOA has produced since its inception nearly 100 years ago? Not being facetious here, but I really don’t know of any. (Not including Elder Ephraim’s monasteries, which many movers and shakers in the GOA can’t stand.).

        I don’t think it’s wise to shame and blame the messenger for pointing out the elephant in the room, or as you call them, “naysayers continu[ing] to pound… with negativity.” Faithful American Christians are a generous people, but when you shame them as “naysayers,” it sounds like you want them to just shut up and write a check.

        I’ve not always been some outside, detached observer. I was baptized into the GOA. Yet from my end, it’s clear the GOA leadership is compromised with no interest in healing. This latest Ukraine disaster and everyone lining up behind the EP simply because of their Greek ethnicity takes the cake. I, for one, am praying for the day that the OCA/ROCOR create Greek language parishes for faithful Orthodox yearning for Christ and His church, not the modernism that passes for Orthodoxy in much of the EP/GOA today.

        Also, Fr Deacon, one must have his head in the sand if he doesn’t really see that the EP’s ultimate goal is to unite with Rome (by 2025, as he said), and you can bet that the EP plans to take the GOA with him to Rome. Why should any discerning Orthodox Christian support HC/HC when in 5-10 years it’s destined to be the newest American Byzantine Catholic seminary – or I guess “Greek Catholic,” as they used to be called. In this case, truly “Greek Catholic.”

        Fr Deacon, it’s tragic all around, but it ain’t the faithful “naysayers’” fault. The fact that the GOA leadership continues to blame the “naysayers” demonstrates how out of touch they are. It’s nauseating and tiresome.

        I pray that the GOA doesn’t crash its train, but I’ll continue to stay out if the way since it unfortunately seems that y’all are fully intent on doing just that.

        • Greatly Saddened says

          Former GOA, staying out of the way,
          All I can say is, God bless you and beautifully stated. Thank you!

        • So true inspite of the genuine few. But as i always say here they do not even keep outward form of Orthodox worship with organs and rest and a mentality that is NOT EVEN CATHOLIC but Protestant. ENTIRELY PRORESTANT. The inner essence is dead, dead, utterly dead.

          • As for two out of three kids disappearing post college. The rot was there before they went and I would say because they experienced nothing at home that taught them a lived faith and at church experienced a more boring drawn out old fashioned version of ritualistic worship with old fashioned organ etc .
            During communist times here in eastern Europe and for my own family, faith was expressed and lived in the family.If not there and if worship is substandard, then expect nothing more outside of the grace of God.

            • Where will you see in greek America the lenten prayer of Ephraim with FULL PROSTRATIONS to floor and the deep spiritual feeling this brings? Just to name a small case.

              • Nikos, many places–my parish for one.

                • I rejoice. And there fore you understanding fully what i am saying. Thank you and God bless. I think America and its Culture a hard place for Orthodoxy which often stands for opposite but this is OUR OPPORTUNITY and as in roman empire and I have ultimate faith in the deeper search of some Americans for a deeper, more profound spirituality and Christian life away from Politics and Culture wars and hate. To peace and love and Christ amongst us.

                  • And from what i have known of New parishes founded and even some GOA ones and Rcor, this reality of a growing american Orthodoxy founded on solid ground is growing if slowly. I think of St Tikhon monastery and its work and Shehan, it’s choir direction and his work in english in composition and St Vladimir seminary and much else. We must never despair but also while remaining open and respectful to all, never give in to zeitgeist of the age.

              • Nikos: “Where will you see in greek America the lenten prayer of Ephraim with FULL PROSTRATIONS to floor and the deep spiritual feeling this brings?”

                You get the organs instead. Or go to the Old Calendarist parish.

                • The prayer of St. Ephraim is sometimes (I couldn’t believe it) done as a communion hymn. Background muzak. But it WAS in English, albeit in a translation (Narthex Press. Ugh) that makes it more of a parody of the liturgy.

                  • A sort of Orthodox version of amazing grace!! Do i cry or laugh or walk out the door?

                    I attended the solutions service with the St Ephraim prayer last night, with the full prostrations here in Bulgaria.
                    All prostrate for the greekfest in lenten greek America. A church totally bourgeoise and NICE!!

                • Yes for all their other issues in old calandarist parishes u get Orthodoxy lived. I am not an old calandarist and I dislike their obscession and loss of focus, but agree they have church calander and worship. No it won’t bring modern America flocking in cos the mentality of modern America as west, and west is psychological, not geographical state, is consumerist and what is in it for me. I see this from the reasons given on Papas post that i read for crisis. Yes valid in themselves but from people who have not even a base cultural Orthodox feel. And above all irritated by the Church claim to be the Church. Yes we can claim this in arrogant disrespecful way, that needs calling out. But it’s beyond this. Fr Alexander Schememn wrote so will about all this decades ago he could see coming.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            I’ll insert here for lack of a better place my experience last Sunday at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Pittsburg, Penn. My wife and I were on a trip from our home in Tacoma to Philadelphia, so we started in Pittsburg and worked our way across Maryland and West Virginia, and Maryland again, to Philly.

            Anyhow, I figured Pittsburg would have some Orthodox churches. Our hotel was right at the University of Pittsburg. Strolling around, I found the Cathedral right away. It is an impressive Classical Revival building, well re-purposed into an Orthodox church inside, I would say, from the standpoint of the dome, apse, and inconstas. So I went to Liturgy the following day.

            It was a real contrast to my experience of the GOA in my parish. There, the chanters sung the litany responses, and the congregation did not. Not only were there pews (no surprise; we have them), it was a sloping auditorium. But not until the Trisagion did I hear the full choir from the loft above and behind, sung only by the choir, to the swelling tones of the….organ.

            It struck me as strange; sort of an Orthodox/western fusion, in feel at any rate. While I have heard such things here and other places, I will say that the experience was very different than ours at our parish. Our organ was pulled out over 30 years ago. Our building was built as a proper Orthodox church 100 years ago. We do indeed have pews, but other than that our services are much more traditional in feel than I found in Pittsburg. It would not behoove me to make any statements about that congregation except one– there appeared to be no idea of getting to church on time. As the liturgy started, there were few there, and I thought that maybe it was a moribund urban congregation. But no; within a half an hour the place was crowded.

            • Tim very sad. It seems to me there are two GOA, yr home Parish, where? And this experience.
              I experience same in Holy Trinity New York. I wanted to leave as could not worship. I felt angry and irritated. But I stayed and witnessed Verbally and politely at the end.
              They looked at me with eyes from another planet maintainance that american politeness that i now know means nothing. .
              If any body on this blog comes back at me to say I am obscessed with this issue, i simply will say now,that in spirit they are not Orthodox. Anybody who ones needs to argue the toss over this simple fact of Orthodox worship, well, nothing to say.
              It is so sad when Ukrainian uniates at least in outward worship tend to be more Orthodox than the GOA.

              Tim a question for you? What so you think is the reason for yr Parish and this experience.? As a point of interest was the priest young or old, shaven, dog collared etc.
              It’s interesting thst western christians I have explored this with or they have experienced, are all quite negative to it. I bet the organist was a lady and the choir in clerics type robes??

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                The organist was a lady per the bulletin, but the organ and choir were out of my sight in a high rearward loft.

                Our priest, Fr. Seraphim Majmudar, is US-born to a Hindu family. He converted to Orthodoxy in California, simultaneously with becoming Christian. He was ordained in Jerusalem under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and, per my understanding, came under GOA jurisdiction here as part of the ‘evaporation’ of Jerusalem here (I do not know the circumstances; it’s my term).

                He spent his first years as a priest on Cyprus. He is a very traditional Orthodox priest indeed. Given his unusual background, there is a fair amount about him on the internet, including a very interesting interview concerning his journey from his family’s Hinduism.

                He is in his mid- late- 40s; bearded, always in full priestly garb in all situations.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Tim, hearing stories like this makes me joyous.

                • Tim thank you. This is the future. Ye Parish. Mine here in Bulgaria, growing and full of all ages, we are the future of the Church. Yr priest sounds a great man, God Bless and thank you.

                • Prospatho says

                  Fr Seraphim was a layperson in a group of people that left the Antiochians at a church in California on bad terms. The priests in the group were defrocked by the Antiochians. Since this group was priestless Fr Seraphim was somehow sent to be ordained in Jerusalem. He later went to seminary and became a priest in the GOA.

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says

                    I have read very little about the Ben Lomond problems, but my recollection is that a number of priests were laicized for various reasons that would not involve the implication that ‘defrocked’ may have. I am sure there are many here who know quite a bit about it.

                    As for Fr. Seraphim, he was never an Antiochian priest. He was ordained in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. Several of us had the privilege of traveling with him to the Holy Land, including Jerusalem, of course, just this last October. We went on to Cyprus, and visited many places, including monasteries, where he has many friends. These included the women’s monastery where he had been the priest. You should have seen the joy and enthusiasm with which he was received there!

                    • Yes. And the Ben lomand situation as i understanding it was really the clashing of two Cultures. That of zelous converts trying to live a monastic type typikon and the classic local ethnic Parish partly secularised set up where the lenten dinner dance with chicken is excused on Palm.Sunday evening!!! As example I know personally in Uk.

                  • What ever the ins and outs of the situation he as a lay person went to be trained and ordained in a cannonical Patrarchate and since then has led succesdfully a good Parish with no extremes of either side. All that needs to be said.

              • Organs don't kill Orthodoxy, people do. says

                The Western Orthodox experience will always evolve. Some enjoy choirs, organs, and pews, some don’t. Let the parish decide for themselves, the style of their church. So wrong and anti evangelical, to say that those that do enjoy Western style Orthodoxy, are not Orthodox in spirit. IMHO, this attitude is not a Christ centered spirit.

                At a time when Orthodoxy in America is losing more members than attracting, lets let the International Orthodox bishops/politicians, and ultra Orthodox righteous worry about World affairs, and Orthodox Theology. Leave local styles alone to adapt, or not to their environment, which will attract more to His Church.

                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  Certainly true on one level. To me what was jarring was the importation into Byzantine rite of significant Western aspects, to the advantage of neither.
                  Of course, it would be impertinent of me to draw any inferences from this about the piety of the people; that would be quite wrong. The church pretty much filled up, after all.
                  One thing I did notice, which might relate to this, was that there was much less singing by the congregation of responses and hymns: no kyries or supplications in the litanies, for example; they were sung only by the chanters. Only the choir sang the Trisagion, to the organ music. I did not stay for the entire service; just through the Great Entrance. I had to meet my wife at a museum…

                  I speak from very limited experience. I’ve been to a great many OCA services over the decades, and a couple of Antiochian. But I’ve only been to two Divine Liturgies in GOA churches besides my own parish, strange as that might seem. One was Hagia Sophia in Washington DC, years ago, and the other was the Pittsburgh one described above. I lack all authority!

                  • Tim you replied to the other guy for me very well.
                    He sets up a straw man. U may as well then says, well remove iconostas, cut service, introduced guitars, Renaissaince icons. What ever does.
                    And as u say what you noticed was the passive nature of the people at the service.
                    Yes there are things that we may not like but can live with. I am no fan of rows of pews but there they are and if spaced, one can move and prostrate and they are better than chairs.
                    All I can say if after attending a Slav liturgy or OCA liturgy one does not understand, then there is nothing to be said NO I AM NOT small minded or outward obscessed THEY ARE.

                    • Organs don't kill Orthodoxy, people do. says

                      Western Orthodoxy style has been here a least sixty years now. Please do not inflate the topic of styles here for decades with new guitar intros, and Evangelical concerts. The evolution will bounce back and forth from traditional Eastern, to modern Western Orthodoxy, that is all, in regards to my point.

                      More importantly Nikos. To state that those of us who do not adhere to your style of Orthodox worship, are “in spirit not Orthodox”, is wrong in so many ways. If you cannot see your comment as wrong and un-Christian, what more can I say?

                      In the United States we have many Orthodox Churches to worship in, and in the different styles and traditions they offer, that suits us best. The same cannot be said in many other nations, such as Bulgaria, or Greece.

                      This American tradition like so many other great traditions, choices and opportunities this nation offers, can only be experienced in the United States. Personally I prefer it this way, and is one of the many reasons I love this country.

                      What is worse or better? To arrive at church late, or not at all,(Orthos?)Pews, no pews, prostate or not prostate, organs or not. Such worries we have! What are we distracting ourselves from? I wish the organs could distract the sins I bring to our spiritual hospital.

                    • “Western Orthodoxy style has been here a least sixty years now. Please do not inflate the topic of styles … Pews, no pews, prostate or not prostate, organs or not. Such worries we have! … I wish the organs could distract the sins I bring to”

                      What about drive-in church with a preacher jumping up and down? I think it might distract a guy from his sins 😉

                • I replied elsewhere but straw men u setting up as if to defend liturgical correctness is to be automatically narrow etc. Same for icons as the music is a audeo icon as it were.
                  Nor is it anti west. U quite right Boston is not Patras and Veliko Tarnovo where i am in Bulgaria is not Athens. But there is with varying style a universal Orthodox voice. VOICE BEING THE WORD..
                  Nor am i anti -western. I actually love organ music in a great Anglican Cathedral of Bach or Poulenk or Fare. And Polyphony of Talis,byrd etc and gregorian chant.
                  So my question is when you have this glorious western acapella tradition to take, why would you imitate some 19c kitsch musical style?? Same in korea Sadly. We have Orthodox korean attending university here who say how much better is experience of acapella congregational worship. .
                  I have in Macedonia attended the lamentatiobs around Epitaph with traditional stringed instruments. Superb. All else acapella. If u must, stringed instruments are superb
                  And have you ever attended a Russian liturgy with the congregation singing Creed and our Father.?
                  All westerners I have discussed this with or experienced greek american entertainment, agree. Could be why people leave in part.
                  No it’s anti cannonical, negative to prayer and congregational inclusion and to be blunt just bad art and kitsch and CRAP

                  • That you have something does not make it right! We do not have it in Bulgaria, Greece or in Orthodox world because we recognise it as unorthodox for many reasons down to aesthetic and for the liturgical reasons I have explained . And as for Bulgaria we have polyphony and byzantine chant as Serbia too and Romania.
                    Organs were introduced as a cultural effort to merge with the prevailing protestant ways of worship and from sense of cultural inferiority by greek immigrants and leading on from the early 20th c westernization move in Greece that was reverted in Greece but not in USA.
                    I have nothing against polyphony nor the Church and USA has produced some excellent acapella greek compositions and bayswater London uk greek Cathedral has superb polyphonic choir alongside byzantine.
                    Interesting that equally ‘proud to be american’Slavs never adopted it. As for yr arrogant put down of Bulgaria and Greece and by extension rest of Orthodox church holding to it’s 2000 yr old tradition, HOW ARROGANT AND PROVINCIAL.
                    But once you please yrself and decide organs. Electric harmonium are ok, than I can ask for what i would like, ok?, rebettiko liturgy, orchestral liturgy? Why not? Because you disagree.? Well I disagree with you. Catholic free for all currently limited to 19c old fashioned!!
                    That you have produced a secularised strand of Orthodoxy in USA, the late fr Alexander Schememn wrote about.Well enjoy it friend. It does not seem to be doing well does it.?
                    And again the straw man set up of if i oppose it I must be a bigoted fundamentalist who does not have any spiritual Insight. My entire career was in health caring for people so i do not come at this as some academic pendant.
                    Yes people can worship with italianate icons as did but does not make it correct for theological reasons.
                    Well friend if i am considered bigoted and narrow because I defend Orthodox liturgical practice of 2000 yrs over yr superior secular greek american superior ways, then i wear the badge proudly and will continue to wear it as the Orthodox in western Europe and Australia etc too.
                    And as an aside there is now trend to remove as has happened with the marvellous Buffalo Parish and in Paulos Heights and Bay ride. Or are these folk not american enough for you?? ?

                  • To add u make re organs etc the excellent point that is so american as a consumerist you wanting choice, so you can shop at the Orthodox church of yr taste. You SO WELL ILLUSTRATE the profoundly UN Orthodox mentality you have. So well discussed by late fr Alexander Schememn.
                    I could not critique better. THANK YOU.
                    Well I am happy to remain an ignorant Balkan peasant or perhaps Russian one who endured 70 yrs of communist persecution as opposed to yr superior american shopper.

                    • Lana Feguza says

                      The “traditions” you speak of aren’t Orthodox. These were innovations (neoterisms) imposed by the Ottomans and other muslims.

                    • Land u TOTALKY WRONG and this Ottoman story of our worship I recall when young in Greece from Zoe organization type people.
                      On the contrary the Muslims adopted much of their worship including the frequent prayer times from eastern Christians.
                      While it may be so that during the Turkish domination monastic tradition influenced Parish clergy, such as the full uncut beard and hair of monk as opposed to normal longish hair and a full but trimed beard, to name one.
                      But to keep it at this level is to lose the point.
                      The way we worship is profound and often understanding better by non Orthodox who see. Lex orandi, Lex credendi , As we worship we believe. Outward expression, action expressed inward feeling. As in every day life.
                      But please leave that 1960s Zoe type pietistical denigration of monasticism and our worship as Muslim, at the door please. That cycle has been washed and dusted and put in bin.

                  • Prostrations. I was seriously concerned that u call this style.
                    To prostrate yr self to the ground is psychologically transformimg. It’s interesting thst secular uk Guardian newspaper journalist observing Russian Orthodoxy. found the prostrations in worship especially upsetting and linked it in to slave mentality.
                    U see seeming small outward things, style as u call it, have intense inward meaning . I see clearly that although technically we belonging to same church, spiritually WE DO NOT AND NOT SPEAKING A COMMON LANGUAGE.
                    Why not Baptism by sprinkling? Much more simpler, easier, and less dramatic for infant or baby!! And we recognise western use of as valid And and and. Of course you would say no body is saying this yet. Why not? And I do not doubt beards come under yr review of our peasant retarded tradition.
                    Maybe don’t Cross one’s self too often either? Well thst already happening I noticed.
                    Add the EP papal dogma and u have yr byzantine kitsch new model church. Just count me out. I would for sooner attend Catholic Mass, easier, shorter and more dignified.

                    • Less pompous too.

                    • Organs make the faithful not spiritually Orthodox & pompous, declares Nikos! says

                      Pompous? I do not personally attack you. I state that you declaring most of the Greek Orthodox, “Not spiritually Orthodox” wrong and not of the spirit of a humble Christian. So then who is pompous?

                    • “Organs make the faithful not spiritually Orthodox & pompous, declares Nikos! ”

                      Nikos is right. More, organs and pews are abomination 😉

                    • Friend of course organs, pews or not do not make some one pompous or spiritually evil or what ever and u can prostrate yr self all day and be a bastard. Yes of course. It is THE mentality behind it that bit by bit destroys the essence.
                      And yes I am not calling for four hour liturgy etc. Parishes are not monasteries!!
                      And even in Greek context I would even as an economia allow the organ to be played by itself during say Communion,, at end of service or at beginning etc, byzantine hymn melodies or as drone for cantors. I would have though that any organist would see this as greater skill that accompanying a full choir which is like building a house and leaving the scafolding up. Aesthetically ugly and unprayerful.
                      I took the trouble to listen to the Tikey zes liturgy and the Holy week recordings from OAKLAND OREGAN, of organ and choir music. Now this is the tip end with skills voices and high standard organ as opposed to harmonium and compossors of the ability of Tikey zes who has written beautiful choral music for church, acapella often,
                      As music in part very good . The Trisayion section of Zes liturgy like music of Gabrielis of 17c Venice as herouvikon but large section washing could be switched off and could not pray with it. The Ascension OAKLAND cd even more so. Excellent voices, children and female choir and good byzantine music but with this continual nous in background washing turned of. Take away the organ and it will be beautiful. I sm not even at liturgical art level a traditionalist who only recognises use of two cantors. And yes I have stood through several hours of bad chanting. Not recommended.
                      Let their be chanting, let there be polyphony, even in greek american context limited use of organ in way i mentioned in those parishes feeling they need this burnt what happens now.
                      And in Little Rock Arkansas as it were, Bettsy Stavrou on the harmonium and the choir are not Tikey zes and Capella Romana choir or OAKLAND Ascension Cathedral with notes choir directors.
                      I am aware all this is very on surface and there are deeper aspects I want to say that may next time.

                    • Solitary Priest says

                      “U” and “yr” are abbreviations which I don’t care for. As my Russian teacher used to say in her accented English “DON be lazy.”
                      But that’s really not what I I want to address, Niko. You seem to be all over the place. You go on and on about organs, pews, beards,etc. But you seem to be ok with attending heretic services; Uniate, Roman, and Anglican. You also seem to be believe in the Branch theory. No, the mysteries of the Romans aren’t valid, that term itself is Roman. If the Orthodox church sometimes accepts Latina and Uniates without rebaptizing or reordaining, it does not mean accepting Sacrements outside of the church. It means the church is using ekonomia. Surely as a Greek you know that the Church of Greece rebaptises converts from the Roman and Protestant churches. Not the Old Calendarists only, but the State( New Calendar) Church.
                      Also, you should know that the Serbian church often baptizes by sprinkling. I have witnessed it myself. It caused one Romanian lady I know to quit the Serbian church.
                      Again, I don’t want to offend during Lent.

                    • Lana to add yr attitude was one brought to USA by immigrants influenced by the westernized trend underway in Greece in 1900s-20 that was the zeitgeist of the period.. The Asia minor catastrophe changed this but not in USA. Sure there were and are things that were islam influenced. The attitude to females for one. And no I am not dog whisling for female clergy ao that straw man need not be put in place.
                      I feel the difference between the Slav intergration in USA society etc, especially Russian, has been that they were in sense, anoculated against western influence by centuries of exposure. Where as Greeks were like natives exposed to the common cold for first time.

                    • Nikos is finally correct about something! Your religion begat Islam! Ohlig & Puim, Hidden Origins of Islam, shows the name Muhammad first appears on coins in Syria bearing Christian iconography and revering Jesus, as Islam was really a pre-Nicean, Syrian Christianity. Clearly Ohlig, Puim and indeed, Toynbee all showed Chrysostom was the first muslim, eager to consummate the evil works of his Seleucid forefathers at Channukah. Such was the dark mind that led Justinian to abolish the universities and Olympics and bring on the plagues. Ibn Warraq, Ohlig, Puin and Toynbee show that the Arab conquerors of the seventh century were Syriacs not from the Hijaz, who three centuries later invented Islam from miaphysic mythology and that their choice of 622 was really the collapse of the Sassanids.

        • Claes vanOldenphatt says

          Former GOA,
          I have to say you nailed it, and what you describe is parish life defined by priests who graduated Holy Cross. They are largely to blame for the diminution of Tradition in Greek Orthodoxy here, them and the hierarchs who promote them and the Lay Leedurz who patronize them.

          We should look at the threat of HCHC’s closure as a gift from God. The Accreditation Board’s notice is just one dimension of the Sword of Damocles that hangs over the GOA and its seminary. That they have been thoroughly weighed and found wanting, seems to be the opinion in these parts.

          I recently heard Metr. Gerasimos make an appeal to HCHC alumni for them to do a better job promoting ‘the beloved scholé’ in their parishes. Just this week he has sent out an encyclical enjoining Metropolis clergy to take up a second collection at Liturgy this Sunday of the Cross. He stated to the HCHC alumni that there is not only a shortfall in finances but a concurrent insufficiency of enrollees – which clergy must remedy by encouraging altar boys to enroll at HCHC.

          The palpable desperation points to the conclusion that the school is redundant. If the GOA is the largest Orthodox jurisdiction in the country with such a strong constituency, and a real need for clergy now and in future, why is this the case? Why do not Greek American families not want their sons to become clergy, even with the great compensation package encardinated priests receive? Is the bloom really off the rose?

          Appears so to this xenos. If the homogeneia cannot put forward a tithe of its young men to serve in sacred orders, then it is found wanting, spiritually sterile (where are all the canonized Greek Orthodox saints of North America?) . No matter how vituperative the diatribes of Metr. Elpidophoros Lambrianides, Greek parishes are not going to produce vocations because the majority of young men go out from them and do not return, and hardly any of them want to be the guy (HCHC Alum) that feeds them the spiritual pablum they find so unappetizing.

          The financial burden placed upon shrinking, aging parishes by full compensation packages for matriculated tenured priests as mandated by Metropolitan rules is unsustainable and is causing parishes to opt for clergy who didn’t graduate Holy Cross. They are changing the tenor of parishes they serve, away from vanities and toward essentials of Orthodox Christianity, without financial security or luxurious pension plans.

          The twilight of Greek Orthodoxy in America is already upon us. Now the signs are becoming obvious. When HCHC closes, those with investment in Hellenism will be very sad indeed. But it’s not as though there wasn’t a superior academy already forming priests in the state of New York. The xenophobia (interpreted as Russophobia) rife among GOA leading lights obfuscates the option for SVOTS for forming Greek clergy. It’s heresy! – how would they learn both Koine and Demotike along with Byzantine chant at the school ‘run by the Russians’?! How could we maintain our liturgical identity?

          To me the answer is Darwinian. The GOA and its academy don’t make the cut because Christ doesn’t have any use for Hellenism in XXIc. North America.


          • Exactly and u answersed my questions to Tim. Byzantine chant?? With the organ.!! Give me a comedy show in banality.
            Yes St Vladimir seminary with it’s superb worship is an example to all.
            These ageing greek parishes with their bourgoise respectability and ‘ niceness ‘ and pseudo Orthodox worship, are neither fish nor fowl and cannot answer the needs of their young in early 21St c USA. U cannot maintain Greekness beyond the second generation in any meaningful form. I saw this with the cypriots in Uk whose parishes showing same decline that Brexit….. When it happens!! will speed up as Greeks from Greece move elsewhere in Europe to work and the decline in english born cypriots seen. I sense this already in London parishes. Bishop Anthony Bloom understood that Russian kids now growing up in Uk will go through same process if english is not used, not as taken but as main language.. In an english speaking environment the Church has to be that, what ever else language it uses, not because this is a magical panacea, No, will not be. Hard work is called for. But because otherwise Christ is lost. It’s the obvious feeling that their heart is elsewhere. I love rebettiko music, greek literature, the liturgy in greek, but here in Bulgaria I take part in church life and worship in bulgarian cos it’s BULGARIA HALLO.
            My experience of Greek America was from the official horrendous of Holy Trinity New York and Tampa Bay St JOHN BAPTIST ( decent priest and hard working but very protestant and full on organ crap) to Holy Cross Bayridge, and St Spyridon Paulos Heights, Chicago suburb. Very greek, and no organ or rare muted use u could almost ignore. To Buffalo, no organ and good priest from UK that i know Hard working good man.
            Seems to me his Parish will survive and thrive and others like it but the Pitsburgh type will fade. That obscenity of a gin Palace know as St Sophia Hollywood, even has a comercial extolling it’s expensive organ.!! Let them enjoy. I have nothing to say to them.
            This type of bourgoise 1950s model american greek church is dying on it’s feet. Let’s hope death is soon so we can move on and save who we can.
            Unless Orthodox spirituality is lived and experienced in full and depth, this nice coffee hour piety will fall before the mega church starbucks and worship music. And of course Holy Cross just the symptom. And National shrine. Fitting name indeed.

            • To Solitary Priest. Point taken about u etc. As someone once said when asked why they hated Shakespeare, ” “Because he reminds me of what i do to the english language. ”
              As to other points.

              Heterodox services. I have attended over the yrs funerals and Baptisms and weddings of friends and colleagues so have been able to experience.
              Re greek Catholic. I have close Greek Catholic Ukrainian friends whose wedding and Baptism of daughter I attended as guest and in 2014 April, the funeral of husband’ s mum and til I left uk the memorials as she was a lady I was very close to. So i witnessed the worship and ethos. And as you in USA, while living in Uk that was the nominal Culture, fading but nominal.
              Baptism. Yr story about the Romanian lady shocks me but what can one say? I know from some photos I have seen, the Russian church does too. By sprinkling. Does not validate it. What does do as with greek american liturgical vandalism, it asks the question what are bishops doing??
              The patriarchate of Constantinople, has received up to now Catholics by Christmation only which the Russian church did while the Greeks of Greek church of Greece by Baptism.
              Only one incidence of the different practices between us. As with reception of Holy COMNUNION and degree of fasting and confession.
              We are a confused bunch.

              Validity of sacraments.? I would rather leave to God the relationship of Catholic sacraments to Catholics.
              They are outside the Church now as heading that way the EP.
              All we can say is where the Church is and that we cannot receive the sacraments out side of the Church. We need to concentrate on ourselves rather than attacking others. Let God sort that out.
              As for beards etc. It’s rather sad all this has to be gone over as one would hope Orthodox fundamentals a given and we could be discussing here how to witness the Faith in our daily lives and in society and the many dilemas experienced in life in living our Faith.

              • And to add. For Solitary priest.
                Most of others at the lady’ s funeral and memorials were actually greek cypriot neighbours in the very greek part of north London she lived in, called Palmers ‘Greek’ (Green) and Serbs. The family’ s Ukrainian roots were from Croatia, as where Anna from. The old Austro – hungarian empire had spread people’s far and wide.
                Indeed Anna used to sometimes attend the Serbian church as felt close to it and even on occassion the Russian, with us. And her son’ s wife is Serb and from Croatia, and I guess nominal Orthodox but had to be baptised to marry so imagine she was unbaptised . But non of this my responsibility as i was not a best man etc. They asked me but I said i could not or be Baptism sponsor. They understanding, totally.

          • Will the last GOA member unplug the organ on their way out???. Sorry, could not resist.
            On serious point I just want to say and I am greek, The Church in USA needs to be english worshipping and USA rooted. You can have as many ethnic customs, dance and food, why would u stop these background social things if enjoyable and fun and tasty? But firmly centred in the USA here and now. Naturally in this day and age of multiple language skills and Orthodox emmigration of educated level, if greek or slavonic etc wanted it should be supplied. I personally prefere to worship in greek but happy to in english, slavonic or bulgarian. And in USA default language and centre of life should be USA and English
            Bishops should be from USA. And clergy training and it should be first class and monasteries should be source of support for parishes in liturgy, music etc and for clergy to have retreat..

            The scandal of duplicated resources and same city bishops needs to stop NOW.

            • Exactly friend. The GOA has gone on the principle almost anything goes in this pseudo semi western 19th century style as long as it’s in Greek.
              Greekness or any other, can only in reality exist in the first and second generations, even without marrying out. After that it’s like Warren and her Indian blood.
              And in any are it should be no concern of the Church. One can understand this in the first few generations but now????
              The Church should be there for Christ. Not for baklava. That can be got at a greek style bakery.
              The big joke these guy’s do not get is that i as a greek find my faith and tradition within the Rcor,the OCA to great degree, not with them . When in NY I took friend’s parents to my name day liturgy, we went to OCA church in Whitestone, not to near by Greek one,newly built. My suggestion, not theirs. A spiritual tradition now bastardised in many areas and water down , in a language not understood, will hold few young beyond a cultural relic or badge.
              The evidence in numbers now is in front of one’s eyes.
              Do not get me wrong, to plant Orthodox church in USA Culture is going to be an uphill and thankless task at best of times, let alone the way it’s trying to be done.

        • Sadly all so true. The pseudo bourgoise greek pap offered by average Parish outside of coffee hour and doughnuts, which not very healthy, offers nothing more than a warm glow and baklava. The nearest mega place offers starbucks and clubbing!!!
          And active parishes like St John in Tampa Bay offer a sort of Orthodox protestantism.

        • Minor point Greek dance is not silly!! That is insulting to a Culture. It is enjoyable and fun. But totally agreed the Church is not a dance or a baklava making club only.
          It’s a matter of degree and emphasis and its social activities should reflects it’s membership.
          A Orthodox community with just a coffee urn and earnestness would be dull indeed. God needs Joy and dance too, but yes totally agree with yr serious underlying point.

        • Former GOA, staying out of the way
          God bless you!
          Keep up the good work!

          Having said that, I must say that I have a lot of sympathy for the Deacon because he is a volunteer. He receives no money from GOA. He seems utterly honest and devout.
          I hope he will remember Christ’s words:
          “be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Mat.10:16)
          The Deacon is certainly as harmless as dove, but:
          How can he trust the big boss, B. who gave the “Holy Quran” as a gift in Texas a few years back, when that book clearly rejects the very foundations of the Church, i.e. the Holy Trinity, Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, His Crucification and His Resurrection?
          What further need have we of witnesses?

          • Ioannis I did not know re Quaran and Bartholomaios. That is terrible. But classic Phanar in hope Erdogan will smile on them. Yes we must respect the Muslim view as they ours but not to treat it as SAME. They would not.
            This is difference between respectful disagreement and acknowledgement of other view AND SEEMING AGREEMENT . For centuries Christian and Muslim society lived side by side knowing they disagreed. I have Muslim friends and former colleagues who know my Faith and I, theirs. If they came for meal we would cook halal meat for them etc out of respect but have wine on the table for non Muslims and the Icons would be on the Wall. As I recall at one meal it was my Muslim Iraqi shia psychiatrist colleague only who knew what icons were and could point out Christ,St Nicholas etc.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Fr. Deacon John, God bless you and your wife for your service but I have to say the notion of any human being being an “agent of change” within the GOA or any other jurisdiction is one of the great seductive falsehoods of the modernist heresy.

        The myth of progress is the essence of the modernist mind. It is a lie and a damned lie.

        Jesus is head of the Church or He is not. If you are even the slightest bit inclined to give any precedence to the “Greek” (or any other ethnic modifier including American) to Orthodox, you are giving room in your heart for a lie. That includes the pernicious notion of synergy between the Church and the worldly government.

        Do you have any idea how many people are corrupted, weakened and made ineffectual by this approach?

        • Greatly Saddened says

          Amen, to that Michael. There is only “one” head of the Church. And that is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

      • George Michalopulos says

        Fr dn John, I for one applaud yours and your wife’s service.

      • I agree that criticism minus constructive offering is a bit like current uk Parliament and Brexit. NO NO NO NO of a two yr old.
        However those of us who are Orthodox here or wish it well, do have skin in the game, our Faith.
        The dangers for us Orthodox are hubris, winging it in the modern world and being caught out, or denying the reality around us.
        A classic is the proud. ” we never had a Renaissaince, Quite. Well the rest of european world DID.

  4. Xenophon Savvakos says

    The theology professors serve two masters. They pretend to serve Orthodox Christianity. But their real master is American Academia, where they can get jobs as “experts” when they fall out with their bishops. It’s all about the gig, IOTA and PO is their union card.

  5. Ron Terkley says

    I am a lot more cynical. Bart canonized Paisius just days before the election won by Tsipras. Bart wanted to elect Tsipras. For what real reason we cannot be sure.

    • Not quite sure how Paissios played on the mind of yr Tsipras, syriza party average voter?? Or even if knew, what difference? .
      I voted for him as we had tried the rest of the crooks and robbers and they, and communists who hate each other, were only ones left. And i somehow did not fancy the communists.

      In passing.,Greece compared to western Europe or even Bulgaria, is a far more religious country. But for those who not, they are as estranged from Church as any French secularised citizen.

  6. sub deacon robert john john klancko says

    Perhaps it is time to see reality and create a world class theological institution the era of mom and pops strapped for resources is over. Combine holy Trinity, holy Cross, st vlads, and St tikhons and create a theological University. Combine assetts, dispose of inferior physical plants, bring on recognized world class faculty and include the Oriental orthodox. ,,, For the first time do it right and do it with vision be and that Eastern orthodox despicable word COOPERATION, it needs yo be included in our vocabulary

  7. Greatly Saddened says

    Father Sub Deacon John,
    In respectful response to your question. Yes,
    I have volunteered my services for many years at the local parish level and may I add, not at just one parish either. Like many others, working and volunteering many countless hours to help keep my parish afloat.

    I have also unfortunately seen the small mindedness and quest for power by many of the laity. Many say they are tbere to help the church, but sad to say, are there to help themselves. To be seen, to make a name for themselves and to show power.

    I also found that many parish council members and active parishioners seem to know very little about our own Eastern Orthodox religion, not alone the Bible.

    Many seem to go along like robots, following our parents and grandparents and really not knowing the true meaning anr significance of why doing so. It is sad, yet true.

    As for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, or as it was known prior to, as the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America. Before of blessed memory, His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos was forced to tender his resignation by his sister’s Godchild, Patriarch Bartholomew.

    After the Pan Orthodox meeting of bishops in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, back in 1994. Patriarch Bartholonew requested the bishops resind their signatures and this was the kiss of death of this once glorious and respected religious institution.

    In my humble opinion, this was the beginning of the demise of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese here in America.

    As I stated, from that point on, Patriarch Bartholomew felt threatened and decided to break up the then existing archdiocese. The old “divide and conquer.”

    He then decided to send us Metropolitan Spyridon of Italy. Who happened to have been born and raised in the U.S., but then left for Europe.

    Metropolitan Spyridon was sent here by Patriarch Bartholomew, if my memory serves me correctly without any prior administrative or liturgical experience with the church here in the states. Not to mention, being thrown in to a den of seemingly hierarchal vipers who were upset that none of them were selected.

    How strange must it have been for then Archbishop Spyridon to come here and not consult with of blessed memory, His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos. What a most difficult and uncomfortable position he must have been put in.

    We were also told by Patriarch Bartholomew that Archbishop Spyridon would be our Archbishop for life or something to that extent.

    Boy did things quickly change after the laity began to complain and the monetary giving began to be curtailed.

    I feel awful knowing that Metropolitan Spyridon was sent here on a personal special mission by Patriarch Bartholomew. He was obedient to his boss and for that he was thrown to the wolves and forced to resign!

    Then comes Metropolitan Demetrios from Greece. I believe he was told he would be sent here temporarily to help unite the then divided church. I understand then Metropolitan Demetrios stated to Patriarch Bartholomew, either you send me as the new archbishop or don’t send me all.

    Well, to his credit, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios was successful in bringing the church together and uniting us.

    Let us not forget where back in 2003, Patriarch Bartholomew forced a new charter on the archdiocese. Even further limiting the say of the laity.

    And, in order to get the new charter passed, offered to elevate the then bishops of ancient defunct ecclesiastical juristictions and making them metropolitans of their present sees. In addition, they would be answering directly to Patriarch Bartholomew, rather than to the Archbishop here in the U.S.. Unfortunately, they sold their souls to the Patriarch.

    From this point on, it has been one crisis after another. Where is one to begin?

    All I know is that in the last 23 years since the forced resignation of blessed memory, His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos. The financial matters of the archdiocese have continued to erode.

    There seems to be a lack of trust, accontability and transparency, among many other things. May it be Hellenic College, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Saint Nicholas National Shrine at Ground Zero and on and on. Mismanagement and malfeasance galore.

    There also seems to be a lack of leadership at all levels of the archdiocese. This includes hierarchs and laity.

    The question which still goes unanswered is. Where did the missing funds go and who are the parties responsible for making these so called transfer of funds?

    It would be wise to concentrate on being “Christ” centered, rather than being so politically and ethnically centered.

    Christ, first and foremost!

    • Greatly Saddened says

      Please forgive me. I meant to address the above to Father Deacon John.

      • Greatly Saddened says

        Father Deacon John,
        In addition, all the volunteering in the world at the local parish level, will not have any bearing on the mismanagement and malfeasance at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

        The parishes are doing their very best in attempting to keep their head above water. As the Archdiocese and the Metropolises continue their out of contol spending. Which for the most part and sad to say, seem to go unaudited.

        There is and has been a lack of financial responsibility and control at both these levels. Not to mention the continuous lack of accountability, transparency and oversight.

        Can you please be kind enough and tell me who is overseeing who?

        It’s like the fox watching over the hen house!

        As the saying goes: “The fish smells from the head down!”

    • GS, I remember Spyridon. If you need a refresher, it might be possible to find a recording of him. Many years ago Talkof the Nation on NPR interviewed him. Poor Ray Suarez attempted to get answers to slow pitch questions…..Well, the guy just couldn’t speak in complete sentences. A very low IQ. The product, I think of Halki? Give a listen, and cringe:
      This kind of embarassing person is typical of the cult of celibacy and the cult of ethinicity to replace Christ. It’s the kind of thought that decides to build a brand new ruin next to where a humble church used to be, to “honor”the victims of 9/11.

      • Greatly Saddened says

        In my most humble opinion, I personally did not think Metropolitan Spyridon of Italy would be a good fit here.

        He may have been born here and lived here up and through high school. But after that, he left the states for Europe. Basically speaking, he had no administrative experience with the inner workings of the archdiocese here.

        Basically speaking, all of his prior administrative and liturgical experience was outside the states, in Europe. And I would think, much different than here. Not to mention, he was being sent here by Patriarch Bartholomew. Where the then bishops of the synod here, had either been passed over or in the case of then Bishop Methodios, supposedly was asked and declined.

        I do believe he was being sent here on a most difficult mission. After so many years, His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos, of blessed memory, was forced to retire by none other than his sister’s Godchild.

        Truth be told, no matter who would have succeeded His Eminrnce Archbishop Iakovos, of blessed memory, would have found it most difficult.

        What I really couldn’t understand was the fact I would have thought His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon would have sought counsel and guidance from His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos. But unfortunately that did not seem to be the case. Not at all.

        Sadly, it seemed rather obvious to me, as if he had been told to keep his distance. What a terribly awful position to be put in.

        • It is much more basic. People need to listen, closely: Spyridon is not an intelligent person. Got that? Listen to the NPR interview. A person who read Timothy Ware’s book as a catechumen could answer his questions. Spyridon COULD NOT. Not even answer in complete sentences. Suarez is clearly at a loss what to say next; he’s trying to interview a cinderblock. This was when a fellow named Alphonse Vinh, an Orthodox layman was a reasearch librarian for NPR. He must have given Suarez some questions to ask the “archbishop”. They’re good general questions, but the subject being interviewed had the the one and only qualification for the job: He was single. When that’s the height of the bar you get what you get. It wasn’t because Iakovos was a hard act to follow, it was and IS because the few are called and all are chosen for bishop. Anyone trying to get people interested in Christ instead of being Greek and having a body temperature is going to have a tough time.

        • Bob u put it well. And me thinks hinting there somewhere will be same problems as Catholics have had.
          I believe bishops should come from married clergy as well as celibate ones and celibate ones should live in a monastery

          • r j klancko says

            If you were not married you cannot understand a normal home life and it’s challenges. A celebrate clergy man lives an artificial life. In fact most celibates I have met are escaping from life and many need strict rules and supervision. Some of the best bishops I have met were widowers

            • Estonian Slovak says

              Celebrate? Celebrate? Come on, Klancko, you are an ordained Subdeacon , are you not? Must you perpetuate the stereotype of the dumb Hunky?
              Why don’t you go for the priesthood, since you know so much? My wife would have told you off in po-nashomu, but I will refrain, since it is the fast.

            • Broadly agree and by definition the celibate life not for all.
              I think the supervision bit vital,why monastic order, and the lack of this “infrastructure” for celibates in the world, is what is doing the moral damage

    • U say it all Answers????

    • The EP by it’s situation promotes church governance that is poor and open to abuse as we see.
      In Southampton Uk the greek Parish of St Nicholas has not had elections for yrs, well who cares? The finances are used as a tax avoidance scheme and the Church president a Mr Nicholas Hannides, yes I name and shame publically, attends on his/ it’s name day and Great Wednesday for annointing and I am not totally sure if seen Pascha night. English wife and you can imagine the Church going commitment of his children can you not?
      The disgrace is not his church going. That is his private matter, but that HE IS THE PRESIDENT.. His bro into Politics in tory party, attends as local election dictate.

      Yes of course you will find, maybe even on these page, a small group to spring to defense and accuse me. But I know the reality that the vast majority of young greek cypriots totally anglicissed and just, if., turning up at Good Friday to gawp at some strange ritual and Easter night for fun for a bit. The Piety provided by elderly, HOPEFULLY, and some but not all of the greek ex- pats.

      Many of those are as estranged, even given the language used,as the locals. In this mix each Pascha the priest reads the encyclical of Bartholomaios, a load of abstract abstraction that nobody listening to.

      Add to mix that even more than USA, uk is a totally secular society, the only neighbours they might know who religious, would be Muslim, sikh, or evangelical with a few trendy buddhists
      The reasons we in the….? Well some the result of immigration generations change and wider secular Culture, but most because none of the priests, except in this case, one possibly, had the training, education, english language, understanding, to do anything about it. They regarded second and first generation greek cypriot kids as Greek or if understanding they not, as a lost cause. The only activity being greek school that teaches no one to read or speak greek. with teacher never attending liturgy. . Well given state of Greece today, that not a sure bet that ex pats will head for church either. We have on balance a woefully under prepared clergy with a passive people expecting ‘ they’, them, to supply the priest and do it for them.
      I am sure there is belief, there are sacramental graces and there is God. Just as well.
      Am i too negative? Yes and No. But I am the message and if i wrote the message, it is but just a description.of reality in one small Parish that i knew well. The ‘ semi Christian cultural background of uk is no more as it seems of USA. Certainly 7-10 USA young volunteers I met in Romania had no faith, the the 2-3 evangelical.
      The solution. ? Able clergy, probably working to have some independent action from the ubiquitous lay management whose wish is to keep the club going only, who can preached and teach and speak english and can pray in it too.
      And a Parish life that firms community not war!!

      Sadly I saw none where as the newly founded Romanian Parish with working priest was active, organised and vital. Ditto Russian.

      • To add my late educated and deeply believing mother often said she would attend another Orthodox church if was one or if another Greek. This has now happened with Russian and Romanian, but Sadly she died (2011 July) just as change happening.
        She attended until unable physically, every week and saw with pain.

    • Saw this petty power grabbing in Uk greek parishes. Often the involved laity are the biggest obstacle to anything good.
      Not all it must be said. The fault is that all of us are fallen and prefere to remain on the ground as easier as when we sit up, the others seem more fallen.

    • Judt so Christ and Orthodox church centred in english and run by Americans.
      Accountability. You have had none. As u say some one must know who pressed the key to take out or transfer cash.

  8. Greatly Saddened says

    Sub Deacon Robert John … I have been saying this for the longest time. How is it the OCA can run three theological institutions and the GOAA can barely run one, if at that? I guess perhaps the GOAA wouldn’t want to give up home rule and it would be a blow to its ego as well.

    • r j klancko says

      Our problem is that collectively bishops,clergy,laity ,,,we are not Christian’s because we all have lost our humility,,,our egos keep us from playing nicely in the sandbox,,,our definition of humility is if it is our way and our definition then it is correct,,,,,,my question is are we all doing what Jesus would do or ate we doing what our biased definition dictates,,,,,,,,we let ethnic politics hinder what is correct,,,,,time to rethink our priorties

      • Yes ethnic Politics, apart from the period up to 1917, it has been ethnic Politics and ethnic life frozen in time, ‘not as in real world back home ‘, that rules the roost.
        Every body has a reason to do nothing but talk

  9. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Saturday on the Byzantine Texas website.

    Saturday, March 23, 2019
    Woes at Holy Cross continue

  10. A friend of a friend is a seminarian at Holy Cross right now. He reports this conversation:

    My friend: “Are the professors there good?”

    Seminarian: “The Orthodox ones are.”

    My friend (surprised): “How many are those?”

    Seminarian: “About 25%.”

  11. Exactly friend. The GOA has gone on the principle almost anything goes in this pseudo semi western 19th century style as long as it’s in Greek.
    Greekness or any other, can only in reality exist in the first and second generations, even without marrying out. After that it’s like Warren and her Indian blood.
    And in any are it should be no concern of the Church. One can understand this in the first few generations but now????
    The Church should be there for Christ. Not for baklava. That can be got at a greek style bakery.
    The big joke these guy’s do not get is that i as a greek find my faith and tradition within the Rcor,the OCA to great degree, not with them . When in NY I took friend’s parents to my name day liturgy, we went to OCA church in Whitestone, not to near by Greek one,newly built. My suggestion, not theirs. A spiritual tradition now bastardised in many areas and water down , in a language not understood, will hold few young beyond a cultural relic or badge.
    The evidence in numbers now is in front of one’s eyes.
    Do not get me wrong, to plant Orthodox church in USA Culture is going to be an uphill and thankless task at best of times, let alone the way it’s trying to be done.

    • Brethren,
      Which is more important, Nationality or Faith?
      General Theodoros Kolokotronis (not a clergyman) said in 1821,
      ” We shall fight for the Faith (Pistis) and the Country(Patris),
      and we said for the Faith first…”

      If you believe mainly in the Country, do what is politically correct in America, or if you prefer stay with Greek souvlaki and baclava (origin is probably NOT Greek).

      If you believe, in the TRUE FAITH, then stay 100% Orthodox in the Faith of the First and Genuine Church.

      • Greatly Saddened says

        Yes, indeed. Faith … first and foremost. Above all else! There is only one head of the Church and that is … “Jesus Christ!” and absolutely no one else!

      • And how correctly that faith is witnessed in worship and life within society one is in.
        And that if one keeps the faith relevant to where one is, the connection to it’s well -springs will never die or need to be artificially maintained. Nor would we have to listen to” wooden tongued ” encyclicals with the dead language once found in communist party publications.

  12. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday in The National Herald. Unfortunately, the article is locked and doesn’t appear in its entirety. I will continue to be on the lookout for the article in its entirely, and if found, I will post.

    Alarming Letter from Massachusetts Department of Higher Learning to HCHC
    By Theodore Kalmoukos 
    April 2, 2019

  13. Monk James Silver says

    George Kender Comney (April 7, 2019 at 10:29 am)says

    Nikos is finally correct about something! Your religion begat Islam! Ohlig & Puim, Hidden Origins of Islam, shows the name Muhammad first appears on coins in Syria bearing Christian iconography and revering Jesus, as Islam was really a pre-Nicean, Syrian Christianity. Clearly Ohlig, Puim and indeed, Toynbee all showed Chrysostom was the first muslim, eager to consummate the evil works of his Seleucid forefathers at Channukah. Such was the dark mind that led Justinian to abolish the universities and Olympics and bring on the plagues. Ibn Warraq, Ohlig, Puin and Toynbee show that the Arab conquerors of the seventh century were Syriacs not from the Hijaz, who three centuries later invented Islam from miaphysic mythology and that their choice of 622 was really the collapse of the Sassanids.
    George Kender Comney doesn’t tell us what ‘religion’ he believes, but — given the time stamp of his post — he might not have been at the Divine Liturgy among the Orthodox this morning.

    It is a bit unfair of him to assert that the ‘religion’ of the Orthodox Christian ‘Nikos’ ‘begat Islam’. That would need some development here before Mr Comney could be taken seriously as a contributor to the conversation.

    At the same time, we Orthodox Christians are aware of a comment made by the eighth-century Syrian government official John Mansur (later known as the monk and hymnographer St John of Damascus), observing that Islam is a Christian heresy.

    • Thank you. I leave the standard of other comments to stand for themselves.
      Any one who looks at islamic practices can easily see where they came from (eastern Christianity, judaism and local arab moon worship ( Kabal)
      Shia Muslims of whom in Persia variety I know well are even more pseudo Christian. They have the 40 day memorial as instance and the martyr Culture of Husein .
      There in late yrs have been the discovery of Koran at very early date in Greek and the growing sense of the more difuse and varried formation of Islam thst academics afraid to persue for obvious reason today

      On a more spiritual point I often wonder why Islam in God’s scheme but believe it was for our judgement as christians and also in another way spread monotheism, but mainly for judgement.