How I Spent My Hawaiian Vacation (Love Elpi)


Let me get this out before I continue:  I did not Photoshop Metropolitan Gerasimos’ right hand out of the picture (left) because it looked as if he was holding Archbishop Elpidophoros’ hand.  I’m guessing the Archdiocese’s press office did that.

And I don’t begrudge anyone for wanting to visit Hawaii during peak season.  Oh, sure, there’s the additional cost and all that, but it’s only money and paying a “solemn visit to the Pearl Harbor National  Memorial” is a priority.    

OK, scratch that.  I am trying to put a pretty face on this and I am failing.  They don’t look all that solemn outside the Pearl Harbor Memorial (above) and it’s not a priority, as they could have just said their prayers at home.  But, hey, it’s Hawaii and they should be able to “yuk it up” a bit on their little vaca archpastoral visit.  Oahu was just their first stop.  They were on their way to a small mission of around a dozen or so members whom I am sure are (not) badly in need of the new archbishop’s pastoral guidance, given the “guidance” they’ve already received from a number of other clergy who have ALSO made pastoral visits to this little slice of heaven known as Maui: 

  • Metropolitan Gerasimos (Metropolitan Greek Orthodox Metropolis, San Francisco, CA)
  • Archimandrite Apostolos Koufallakis (Chancellor Greek Orthodox Metropolis, San Francisco, CA)
  • Father Theodore Dorrance (Director Missions & Evangelism Greek Orthodox Metropolis, Denver, CO)
  • Father Photios Dumont (Priest St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Seattle, WA)
  • Father James Retelas (Priest Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Sacramento, CA)
  • Father Ion Coman (Priest Saint John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, Monterrey County, CA) 
  • Father John Kuehnle (Priest SS Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Honolulu, HI)* 
  • Father Alexander Leong (Priest SS Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Honolulu, HI)*     

The Theophany celebration is particularly popular with Metropolitan Gerasimos and Archimandrite Apostolos Koufallakis, who visit almost (if not every) every year, and now they can add the grand Pooh-Bah, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros Lambriniadis of America, Most Honorable Exarch of the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean (say that 5 times and get it right) to the mix.  It doesn’t get any better than this.

If the GOA is hurting for money, they sure don’t show it and I suspect this little mission is doing just fine without all this “help,” as they’ve got the right idea about serving visitors from all the jurisdictions.  They’re fine.  The GOA?  Not so much.  

So what’s my point?  I don’t have a point.  I’m just stating the obvious.  File this under “inquiring minds want to know.”  

*These priests probably have a reason to be there.  Father Alexander serves once a month.



  1. Some corrections, George:
    1. It is now Bishop Apostolos of Medeia, Chief Secretary of the Holy Eparchial Synod at the GOA in New York. He is no longer Chancellor of the Metropolis of SF.
    2. Met. Gerasimos’s hand is in the pocket of his cassock. It has not been Photoshopped out. He was not holding hands with anyone.
    3. It is likely that the entourage had the use of a private jet of a member of the Archdiocesan Council. If so, this trip cost less than you suggest.
    Some answers for inquiring minds …

    • Gail Sheppard says

      When Bishop Apostolos visited them, he did so as Chancellor, or so they reported on their website.

      Presumably, George was being funny about them holding hands but I’ve got to say, they stand awfully close together in these pictures, don’t they? Just saying. . .

      What things cost is not the issue. It’s the GOA falling apart because the money has dried up and yet seeing there is enough money, somewhere, to send clergy on mini-vacations. No little mission like this requires so many pastoral visits and the Archdiocese should not be suggesting Elpi went to Oahu to say prayers for the USS Arizona (he was on a tour) or that he went to Maui for a pastoral visit with the parishioners of the “Greek Orthodox Mission” of Maui on any given Wednesday. If you look at their calendar, it’s empty for the entire month of January. They don’t even call themselves the Greek Orthodox Mission. They call themselves the Maui Orthodox Christian Mission because they serve Orthodox from ALL jurisdictions.

      This is all just another example of the GOA inflating their importance and frankly, many of us are tired of it because it presumes we’re stupid enough to believe it. It’s time for the GOA to get over itself. I am now Greek by proximity so I can say whatever I want and not be accused of bashing the Greeks anymore!

      Greeks = Good

      GOA = Needs Improvement

      • Joseph Lipper says

        It’s actually socially accepted and customary for Turkish men to hold hands. 

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Good to know but they’re not in Turkey.

          • Gail neither are they turks. Although greek Men hold hands, not so much but that minor hot air. I wonder if a same little mission in Anchorage would get a Theophany visit!!!!!! ? ? ? …. Ok. I love SNOW, I WOULD GO!! WHY IN BULGARIA. And we not getting any so far!! Still february abd march to go.

            • Elpidophorus IS HALF TURKISH AND REPORTED TO HAVE TOES EITH THE TURKISH CIA.   Read to enlighten yourself!

              • As nearly as I can tell, both Abp Elpi. and Met. Geras. were both on the West Coast rather than the East Coast for the March for Life in DC January 24. Quite a message by priorities if so. Would love to learn I am wrong.

        • Good point Joseph,
          Most important: These men are Turkish, anywhere!

          • Greatly Saddened says

            Please forgive me for pointing this out, but I do believe His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos is from Kalamata, Greece.

        • Greatly Saddened says

          Please forgive me for pointing this out, but I do believe His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos is from Kalamata, Greece.

      • Gail: ” I am now Greek by proximity”
        A delightful description.

      • Gail wrote: ” they stand awfully close together in these pictures, don’t they? Just saying. . .”
        Really? Innuendo? Because people stand together for a photo, like pretty much everyone in the whole world?
        Titus 1:15 applies here: “To the pure, all things are pure, BUT …”

      • Wonderful response @Gail Sheppard, we like George’s tongue n’ cheek comments. Elpi on Pastoral Tour in Maui to visit all 12 or so parishioners!  So much for Elpi and Bart’s Carbon Footprint wether private or regular cattier. Of course First or Business Class only. 

    • M. Ross-If you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig. Nice try anyway.

      • Enter the boss.
        He says,
        “it is not a pig no more and it can fly too,
        who are you to say otherwise, hm?”

        ? Winking Face With Tongue

    • Private jet – are these —— not the ones lecturing us and our kids about climate change??? We got lectured on September First about sinning against the environment. Like all do good liberals they want the masses to do one thing and they do another.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Good point. I believe Ricky Gervais had a critical point or two to make several weeks ago about all the Gaia-worshipers who congratulate themselves on their raised consciousness.

        • And Harry et all on their private jets and numerous homes etc.  Just elite crap. Yes I believe we are in a crisis with changing climate but does not need all this self  consciousness and pseudo – religious bilge. All we need is Gweneth Paltrow.!! ? 

      • Michael Bauman says

        Not to mention the horrible pollution created in China by the production of batteries and the environmental horror to come when all those batteries have to disposed of for “Environmentally Friendly” electric cars and trucks.

        Like everything else, the destruction of the environment (climate change aside) is a spiritual problem, a symptom of our sin. So want to do “One Thing” Repent and give alms. The rest is nonsense.

  2. He’s looking for another island school with no students to care for.  Perfectly reasonable business for an archbishop.

    • Now Bob, Charity in all things ?????     There is a little monastery in Alaska he might like. kodiak Island!!    Take care!! ? 

  3. Goodness gracious. If Greek Orthodox bishops even breathe, you write an article criticizing them. Lord have mercy. 

    • Breathing?
      They are written about when millions of dollars disappear. They are written about when they tell their priests they cannot wear cassocks outside of the Church.  They are written about when they recognize unrepentant schismatic laymen as hierarchs of an “autocephalous church.” They are written about when their seminary is on the verge of losing accreditation. They are written about when they take frivolous vacations to Hawaii under the guise of visiting a tiny mission. They are written about when they give more attention to so-called climate change than than they do the horror of abortion.
      I could go on…but I won’t.

      • Greatly Saddened says

        Well said, Mikhail. Bishops are held to a higher standard as they should be and should be a shinning example for all of us.

        • Bishops face greater temptations than the rest of us, to be sure. And many wolves have come in shepherds’ clothes. But a good bishop is a great gift from the Lord.

        • Greatly Saddened” “Bishops are held to a higher standard as they should be and should be a shinning example for all of us.”

          Supposedly, but the Church is made from the bishop AND the faithful. The faithful need to support and watch bishop to make him stronger. Bishop cannot face the world alone, and people are responsible too. Gifts of Holy Spirit are available to everyone in the Church

    • Did u say breathe.??   Whose paying for it??  ? Seriously, yes some things over the top, but re this, a valid point made.
      If it was somewhere in Alaska would u see all this attention? The priest of Tampa Bay Parish has over 1000 parishioners and no help. They might support there a bit AND ITS WARM TOO ???

    • Matthew Panchisin says

      Dear Gregorios,
      The GOA bishops can breath but we are against them when they go on vacations, huff and puff or puff up, see “first without equals” written by Elpidophoros. That’s his vacating article that goes well beyond criticizing Orthodox ecclesiology, goodness gracious?
      God help them.
      As a matter of significance, sure, shame on George for his article! At least those whose behavior you are for are not petty authors like George!

      Pardon my sarcasm George.

  4. Antiochene Son says

    Am I the only one who thinks that bishops posing for snapshots this way is cringey?

    I always liked how Jude Law’s “The Young Pope” never allowed himself to be photographed from the day he became a bishop.

    • The grinning in front of the memorials (Pearl Harbor) of fallen American heroes is a bit off-putting to say the least.  
      In 1941 the Japanese signaled to their commanders that they had achieved complete surprise in their attack with the codewords: “Tora! Tora! Tora!”
      Perhaps Elpidophoros is taking his island vacation to celebrate his “wins” of the past year, but he should learn from Admiral Yamamoto who led the attack against the US Pacific Fleet in 1941.
      When he learned that the attack occurred before Japan’s declaration of war was delivered to the US government – he rightly feared the American wrath that would follow such treachery.
      Yamamoto stated:”I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
      I think Elpidophoros – Bartholomew should learn from this history and rightly fear the coming wrath of the Orthodox Church (“Awake O my Church! Why are You sleeping?”) when we will respond with force:
      Anaxios!  Anaxios!  Anaxios!

  5. IndoPacomCommander says

    You didn’t go far enough in condemning this sunny, breezy winter junket. Low priority, high overhead, marginal results, wrong message–period. With all that’s going , this is indefensible and inexcusable. Period. End of story !  

  6. When any faithful Orthodox Christian – particularly an Orthodox bishop – visits O’ahu, a must-visit is the Holy Theotokos of Iveron parish in order to venerate the miracle-working and myrrh-streaming Hawai’ian Iveron Icon.

    Surely Abp Elpidophoros received a blessing from Abp Kyrill of San Francisco to visit Fr Anatole Lyovin’s wonderful parish in Honolulu in order to venerate this icon.

    I look forward to seeing the photos of Abp Elpidophoros venerating the miracle-working Hawai’ian icon.


  7. RE: “Most Honorable Exarch of the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean”

    Easier just to call himself: “Aquaman.”

  8. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Times website.
    Home > Orthodoxy > Patriarchates  > Patriarchate of Romania
    Archbishop Elpidophoros in California on Saturday
    Jan 24, 2020 | 12:48

  9. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Wednesday on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America website.
    January 22, 2020
    Archbishop’s Pastoral Visit to Honolulu

  10. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald.
    Archbishop Elpidophoros Visits Annunciation Cathedral of San Francisco
    By Theodore Kalmoukos 
    January 30, 2020

    • Not so funny that the NH neglected to mention Elpidophoros’ visit to Holy Virgin Cathedral where he pressed his lips to Vladika St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco’s head, the same St. John who wrote this:

      “The Ecumenical Patriarchate, in theory embracing almost the whole universe and in fact extending its authority only over several dioceses, and in other places having only a higher superficial supervision and receiving certain revenues for this, persecuted by the government at home and not supported by any governmental authority abroad: having lost its significance as a pillar of truth and having itself become a source of division, and at the same time being possessed by an exorbitant love of power—represents a pitiful spectacle which recalls the worst periods in the history of the See of Constantinople.”

  11. While I cannot speak to a particular visit to a parish, Fr Ion is a very fine pastor and an exemplar of Christian sincerity. He is well respected across jurisdictions and I can scarcely think of anyone more dedicated to Christ.

  12. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald.
    Archbishop Elpidophoros Officiates at Buenos Aires Enthronement
    By Theodore Kalmoukos 
    March 4, 2020