Those Pesky Bylaws

This just in. . . 

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Friday, May 17, 2019


Will a Temporary Injunction be Filed Against GOA?

Earlier this week, Mr. Greg Pappas – a former member of the Archdiocesan Council – asked an important question. In his opinion article about the new Archbishop, Pappas made the argument about how the Greek Church in America needs to stop blaming our former leader for the issues that plagued are the GOA in the past in order to move forward. However, Pappas also stated that we can ignore the reality of our situation by asking,  “What about the federal and New York state attorney general investigations of the misuse of funds?”
As we all know, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation in the United States with a EIN #13-1632516 that is was allegedly under investigation for the misuse of funds by the Federal government and the New York State Attorney General.
These investigations are not the result of the actions of one person, but rather, by everyone who was in the inner circle (i.e. the Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council and Fr. Alex Karloutsos). What is the point of changing the “figure-head” of the Archdiocese when the same people are going to remain in the inner circle? As long as Fr. Alex Karloutsos and the members of Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council are in a leadership position, the problems will continue to persist. Fr. Alex is supposedly going to be able to get millions of dollars all of a sudden to build St. Nicholas and replenish our ministries. How? He has been unsuccessful for the past 5 years because he was too busy ensuring that there were banquets in his honor and meeting with politicians! Apparently, Fr. Alex sets an example of what it means to be THE “priest of priests.”
Even Archon John Catsimatides is smart enough to know that to fix this problem, Fr. Alex Karloutsos needs to retire. Catsimatides was quoted saying that the big donors will not give to support the St. Nicholas Shrine “if the Archdiocese is in charge.”
However, beyond the need to see more retirements, there are rumblings that some members of the Archdiocesan Council are very upset with the Ecumenical Patriarchate for not properly adhering to the Regulations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese when selecting the new Archbishop of America.
In a new legal battle that may be happening in the near future, there is a group of laymen who will be allegedly filing a temporary injunction against the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese to question if U.S. law was violated, in relation to the operation of non-profit organizations – with members who pay a subscription – when a foreign corporation outside the United States (i.e. the Ecumenical Patriarchate) disregarded the bylaws and regulations of the GOA when “selecting” the new leader/President of a non-profit organization within the United States. 
The group recognizes the separation of Church and State in the USA, but will be making an argument that because the “members” of the non-profit/Church are citizens of the United States who pay a “subscription” or “membership fee” to participant in the non-profit organization/Church, the injunction will ask the Court to determine if a foreign legal entity can impose on a non-profit organization their new President without needing to follow the approved bylaws/regulations of the non-profit organization. We know the Patriarchate does not need to adhere to the recommendation of the United States, but that does not mean they can blatantly disregard the bylaws of the organization.

A new argument can be made that the laymen do not need to follow the regulations set forth by the G. O. Archdiocese because the new precedent set by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

We will share any further developments as they become available.
About GShep


  1. The last paragraph implies what? That parish corporations be able to argue successfully that since the Fener has abrogated the Bylaws and rendered them null and powerless, that their own parishes may disaffiliate from the Archdiocese at will and that no President or overseer may prevent them from doing so? I sure hope so!

  2. Might it be time for an “Ode to Nikos”? No offense to him but his comments are generally half of the comments given on a daily basis pushing down some who may only frequent rarely and never seen in the shuffle.

    • I send in my thoughts and they can be published or not. Not up to me. God bless. I don’t need an ode to me by the way. Thank you.

      • Constantinos says

        Dear Nikos,
        Have no fear, brother. I enjoy every one of your posts. Please keep posting. Personally, I wouldn’t mind An Ode to Nikos. That way I would be certain not to miss any of your sublime posts. You have humor and intelligence. Great job, brother. You keep it real, and tell it like it is.

        • Κωστή, χρόνια πολλά για τη εορτή σου αύριο και για τα λόγια σου.
          And the same for yr posts that i love and show a genuine man with emotion and humanity. God bless

      • Nikos you are a prolific poster, and like Constantinos I truly enjoy every one of them. You truly bring a unique perspective to these discussions which is distinct from anyone else who posts here. While many of us here are of Greek parentage but living in America, I very much appreciate the perspective of a fellow Greek living in a Slavic land. Keep sharing with us my friend, you are much appreciated! God bless you and may your beloved patron Nicholas the Wonderworker and Myrrh Streamer always keep you in his intercession.

        • Thank you. I am humbled. I try and do just that and I deeply appreciate the views and Insight of you guys there as i, although I know USA, with friends, family etc, and travelling there, i cannot have the Insights of you guys and I learn alot and share yr pain.
          And yes I hope my views from Bulgaria as a greek with experience of uk, helps u guys get other Insights.

          I have Passion but my only care is to advance the Church world wide and in USA where inspite of all the problems there is great opportunity and freedom.
          But we can do nothing if we are drowning in corruption and spiritual malaise.
          To form all the Orthodox communities in USA, there was from simple poor people much effort and sacrifice and hard work.
          To see this abused and wasted and turned into a business gives me great pain.
          Thank you friend. I will continue to post and if George, who doing great job, publishes, then you can read. God bless always. .

          • Κωστή, χρόνια πολλά για τη εορτή σου αύριο και για τα λόγια σου.
            And the same for yr posts that i love and show a genuine man with emotion and humanity. God bless

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Keep on truckin’, Nikos!

    • Dino χρόνια πολλά για τη εορτή σου αύριο.
      God bless always.

  3. A lot of bad news coming out lately about the GOA, it’s issues, and it’s weird new primate. But, I thought I would share some really good news that I have read of lately regarding the Ukrainian Church issue.

    Hopefully (knock wood) this results in a healing of the divisions we see today in the church.

    The Archbishop of Cyprus has really been picking up the slack lately, and doing a wonderful job as a mediator between the local churches on this issue.

    “Following his meeting with the primates of the ancient Antiochian, Alexandrian, and Jerusalem Churches one month ago, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus has announced that he will also visit the primates of the Greek, Serbian, and Bulgarian Churches in the coming days to discuss the Ukrainian issue.”

    “a report published by yesterday states that Abp. Chrysostomos plans to visit His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to propose that Synaxis of the Primates be called at which Pat. Kirill would propose offering autocephaly to the canonical Ukrainian Church His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine. This would hypothetically happen after the ground has been prepared for Pat. Bartholomew to accept such a proposal.

    However, according to the report, Abp. Chrysostomos acknowledges that it would be very difficult for both patriarchs to accept this plan.“

  4. News from Bulgaria. Today after the liturgy during time for coffee ( and wine and rakiya!! ?) there was a talk by our theology professor. Lovely Straight talking man who suffered much under communist system as Fr was priest.
    He talked about Phanar.
    And interestingly enough as did later bulgarian tv, where compramat and provocation as description.of Phanar’s Ukrainian action were words used
    Our professor said catagorically that Constantinople is in wrong morally, legally and doctrinally. He had some criticism of Moscow but these were of procedure and not of substance. But his criticism of Phanar was withering.

    What was for me eye opening was the spontaneous criticism. from the floor of bishops in general. There love of wealth,of robes, indifferent to people and other issues. Love of politics etc .
    Now there will be bishops not like this but instructive that this was the spontaneous reaction. FROM BELIEVERS!!
    Apparantly the archimandrite in local Parish from communist times openly says he has no belief in God and bishop refuses to act. Bishop is from communist times also.
    They also brought up the accusation that George has posted So these re France gaining wider audience.
    I read the very good article by fr Andrew Philips in Uk, very good! And have to sadly agree. I feel sorry for the decent clergy in USA greek church who wish to pretend things are ok there, and understanding of their situation as family Men mostly ( i am assuming as should be?)but we have crossed the rubicon..To remain as we are to pretend only the deck chairs need changing, is to be blunt, to be supporting corruption and spiritual decadence, no matter what PR fig leaf it’s given.
    There is a wide spread corruption in the Church that will bring it down if not tackled. We need at secular level at least, open and transparant governance. At spiritual level, a revolution and an end to Fantasy medeval world ruling the Church

    • If the GOA and all the satrapies of the Fener collapse, will this necessarily bring about destruction of the canonical churches? I know the Turk and Yank would like that to happen, but if the OCA keeps its nose clean I should think it would stand to gain more credibility.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Any word on the Bulgarian stallions who were mentioned in the AP story?

      • Do you have any idea whether these things are going on anywhere else amongst the leaders of Orthodoxy worldwide? Please don’t tell me if you do! A group of men are setting out to stone a woman caught in adultery…

      • George, where are your stallions mentioned in any AP story?

      • Thank you. I am humbled. I try and do just that and I deeply appreciate the views and Insight of you guys there as i, although I know USA, with friends, family etc, and travelling there, i cannot have the Insights of you guys and I learn alot and share yr pain.
        And yes I hope my views from Bulgaria as a greek with experience of uk, helps u guys get other Insights.

        I have Passion but my only care is to advance the Church world wide and in USA where inspite of all the problems there is great opportunity and freedom.
        But we can do nothing if we are drowning in corruption and spiritual malaise.
        To form all the Orthodox communities in USA, there was from simple poor people much effort and sacrifice and hard work.
        To see this abused and wasted and turned into a business gives me great pain.
        Thank you friend. I will continue to post and if George, who doing great job, publishes, then you can read. God bless always. .

      • George if i hear anything about them here in Bulgaria will let you know. Hopefully some newspaper may pay them enough to spill the beans. You can’t keep this secret.

      • Which AP story? I really am asking.

  5. The canons of the Church about procedure are not dogma They can be altered by a Council and the basic assumption that governs, that we are living in 10the or earlier needs sweeping away, and the Church made fit for purpose cos at moment it is not.
    People may say this is a secular view and yes is, and yes the malaise is spiritual, but if the Church is not given the mechanism to function in this world and not that of 10c with barbarians lands etc, there is no possible way the Church can be effective.

  6. Спасибо за информацию!!!!!

  7. Constantinos says

    Hi George,
    You, like Pat Buchanan, are a great student of history. I’m only a student of history in so far as I’m able to apply historical events to my own life. Now, these are my favorite historical figures: George Washington, Ben Franklin, Albert Einstein, and Leonardo Da Vinci. I’m not a big fan of monasticism at all. I think it is basically a waste of time and life. I read The Ladder of Divine Ascent, and I’m horrified.
    In any event, it seems to me, that as Americans, we should seek to emulate Ben Franklin. Don’t worry: in his autobiography, Ben said to emulate Jesus. Instead of getting a person’s shorts in a bunch over a faraway church that only meets once a week, it seems that the best way to serve God is to serve one’s local community. Care deeply about your family, your career, and your hometown. The church is not your local community. There are so many worthy causes to be involved in your own hometown, that’s the best place to start.
    Remember, your church did not pay for your college degree, they do not put food on your table, pay for your hospital bills, or really do very much to help mankind. The Church hierarchs and priests are very deceitful when they say they are the repository of “God’s money.” The Apostle James made it very clear that the church is in deep sin when they act like the Greek Orthodox Church with their Leadership 100, and their Archons of the order of St. Andrew. It is not the responsibility of the laity to protect or do the bidding of the Ecumenical Patriarch. We serve God by serving mankind, not by serving selfish, greedy clerics, and pompous, evil, corrupt people who call themselves ” the first without equals,” or “his Divine All Holiness.” Our Lord’s judgement against the Orthodox Church along with its Bishops and Priests is going to be most severe. If you want to know who the wolves in sheep’s clothing are, look at the men wearing mitres, Byzantine Crowns, and black dresses. The way they take advantage, use, and abuse the laity disgusts me. For a change, instead of “giving sacrificially” to the undeserving faraway church that uses unconscionable, dirty tactics to fleece the flock, take your family on a vacation to Disneyland. You deserve it. You earned it.

    • Constantinos this post is brilliant. It points to a conclusion that I have been coming to over a long time. We have missed the boat. Our dear Lord never acted like these princelings. He certainly never called himself His Divine All Holiness Without Equal. Blasphemy!! He never talked about canons or fine points of law and discipline like the Pharisees of His time.
      And He gave us all the instructions we need to spend eternity with him: when I was hungry you gave me to eat, when I was thirsty you gave me to drink.
      The rest of it, including Archons and Ecumenical Patriarchs and Barbarian lands and thrones and mitres is all medieval bull crap to dazzle the peasants and reinforce political privileges. The Phanar could burn to the ground and Orthodox Christianity would be better off. Would be quite entertaining to see how the princelings would survive if not fleecing us for money to hire their rent boys.

      • Constantinos says

        Dear Michael,
        I wholeheartedly agree with your keen insights. Thank you and may God continue to bless you and your family.

      • Μιchael, Constantine u hit nails on the head. Although it is not the Church per se which is wrong because we need it and its worship, sacramental life WHEN THIS IS REAL but I some time ago in discussion with a protestant friend he said in refering to Orthodox church and others that the Church was turned on it’s head with the people serving and keeping the bishops, instead of other way round. Inverted pyramid!! While they play act their mock humility with my Humbleness and all that crap. We need monasteries but the medeval model may not be the only one.
        Fr Alexander Schememn advised any one wanting a monastic life to simply live simply, have a humble job and pray and help people.
        What i am hearing is that we know and understanding that this mock byzantine play acting and over ornate churches that do not see the poor, this is dying on it’s feet.
        Mitres and pseudo royal robes and memorial churches that will glow in the night, THIS IS DEAD PAGAN RIRUAL.
        I am not calling for a protestantism. No. But for a simplicity in church life and worship and where the bishops are humble servants not pseudo bachelors dons or arrogant frauds acting out a long dead empire’s royal ritualistic farce. Where we have lived this simple church it has come alive. The culprits are the bishops and while elsewhere too, the Phanar is the biggest example of a collection of crooks and deluded Men . They cover Christ in so much dust He cannot even be seen

      • Yes Michael if they all disapears no one would notice. Why do not they take in some of the Christian refugees, follow the example of St Mother Maria of Paris. ?
        Sadly from what George was saying about the conference call with our man from Bursa and his clergy, they afraid to challenge anything. And why is Karloutsas still given any respect and not run out of town?.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Constantinos, I agree with you but there is more. The sacramental life of the Church and the devotion to the Theotokos is what brings the efforts you mention to fulfillment in Christ.

      As to monasticism: There is a certain monk, abbot of a monastery in the U.S who is a father confessor and spiritual intercessor for many inside and outside the monastery. He struggles with all of those under his care, helping them bear their burdens and holding them to account as he is able. Just one story: there was a man who stayed at his monastery for awhile who was struggling with the basics of good societal behavior. His stay in the monastery help stabilize him but he started to go back the other way when he left. Far away from the monastery and not even thinking about it, he was in a challenging situation once again. Suddenly, he felt a deep peace and experienced the aroma of roses all around him. Not being stupid, he called the abbot and ask what was happening. The abbot simply said he had been praying a rope for the man before the Blessed Theotokos.

      You are a practical, capable man and you are to be commended for that, but do not forget that there is more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in your philosophy. It is said that at any given time the fervent prayers of a couple of anonymous monks are all that keeps us from total disaster allowing us the time and space to enter into our salvation. A salvation which includes doing many of the acts you recommend. It is not an either/or situation. It is a both/and like much of our life in the Church. We are all paralyzed. Jesus asks each one of us: “Do you want to be healed?”

      I find my self answering the question most often as Augustine did, “Yes, but not yet” Most of us revel in our own paralysis I think. We have to rely on others to carry us before the Lord, even breaking through the roof so we can be placed at His feet. Monastics are not the only ones to do this, but they are certainly significant.

      • Constantinos says

        Mr. Bauman,
        You are a man of wisdom; I appreciate your insights, but many of the things you say monastics do, the laity are their equals. Is there not a plethora of Orthodox saints amongst the laity? Mr. Bauman, according to my Bible, we are all called to be saints, not just monasticism. Some of videos of the way people act toward these ” holy gurus” is scary, and very cultic. Mr. Bauman, I have met real, authentic saints, and not one of them was from a monastery.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Most monastics are lay people but you are right, not all saints are monastic and not all monastics are saints. All I am saying is that monasticism is a critical component of the Church. Schememan I think recommended that anyone who wanted to be a monastic serve humbly in their parish for ten years and then see if he wanted to go on.

          Like the rest of the Church monasticism has regressed but holiness is still there.

          • Monk James Silver says

            While few monks and no nuns are ordained to the priesthood, that does not mean that we are ‘lay people’. The canons, in fact, direct that monastics be regarded as clergy and treated as such.

            It’s not at all clear what Michael Bauman means by writing ‘Like the rest of the Church monasticism has regressed….’, but my instincts are to disagree with him on this point.

        • Monk James Silver says

          Constantinos (May 20, 2019 at 3:08 pm) says:
          ‘I have met real, authentic saints, and not one of them was from a monastery.’
          Like Jews reading the Psalms and the Prophets, ‘Constantinos’ says that he read ‘The Ladder’ and foun it unhelpful.

          Now he writes to say that none of the ‘real. authentic saints’ he has met ‘was from a monastery’.

          As a proverb says, we find what we’re looking for. In cyber-age terms, The proverb’s corollary, of course, is that the underlying reality which we truly need is usually staring us right in the face, but our search parameters are faulty.

          • Constantinos says

            Monk James,
            Please me to give you an example of what I am talking about. Take St. Symeon the Stylite. In my opinion, he was mentally ill. Living on top of a rock all those years, and putting maggots back into his body. That is false piety. Our precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ lifted people up with affirmative statements. “Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah.” To the woman caught in adultery, “Woman, does no one condemn you, neither do I- go and sin no more.” You are a city upon a hill,” “You are light of the world.” “Peter, when you are reconverted; go and strengthen your brethren, etc.”
            To keep moaning about sins the Lord has already forgiven us of is an indication of a lack of faith. He forgives us; we are to go and sin no more.” The Lord never told us we were worthless worms. The Lord forgives and forgets our sins, and we should do the same.
            I thought The Ladder of Divine Ascent was horrifying. That’s because monasticism is not for the laity. I don’t necessarily consider these “rock star, gurus” to necessarily be Saints. It really comes as no surprise to me that many monastics go insane, and suffer from severe mental illnesses. The most saintly woman I ever met was a devout Charismatic Catholic lady. She is recognized in my hometown by the people who knew her best as a saint. Now, she’ll never be canonized, but she’s still a Saint, nevertheless. The late Kay Valone will never be canonized, but she was more saintly than anyone on Mt. Athos, and she did more good for the world than any of the “holy” monks. Personally, I think many monks are just plain lazy.

            • Monk James Silver says

              That there are excesses i hagiography — a notoriously unstable genre– is not at issue here, ‘Constantinos’. Nobody takes these stories seriously, except the most gullible among us. For you to adduce the story of St Simeon Styites is therefore unhelpful.

              Rather, I and other correspondents are resisting your general rejection of Orthodox Christian spirituality, the way in which we strive to be faithful followers of Christ as members of His living Body, His Church.

              There might be wonderful Catholic and Protestant people in the world, and they might do many good things, but they are NOT members of Christ’s own Body, His Church.

              It’s excessive of you to compare such people to the monks in Athos. Or are you so well acquainted with life on the Holy Mountain that you can surely say that the men struggling there to be like Christ are somehow inferior to the heterodox examples with whom you are familiar?

              Myself, I have heard of some ‘lazy’ monks, but — in my more than forty years as a monk — I have never met one.

              You write more as a Mason or a heretic rather than as a Christian. I pray that our Lord Jesus Christ will knock you off your horse just as he did Saul of Tarsus, who later became our great saint and teacher, Paul.

              • Constantinos says

                Monk James,
                Your statements are way beyond the pale. Who are you to judge a servant of the Lord? Where’s the heresy? I believe in the Nicene Creed, the Ecumenical Councils, and all that the Orthodox Church teaches. I have not made one heretical statement. To criticize Orthodox etiquette is not antinomianism.
                Who are you to say where God’s grace stops? For your information, I suggest you read The Cross and Switchblade by David Wilkerson, and tell me he was not powerfully used by God. He puts you to shame. How about Corrie Ten Boom of The Hiding Place fame? She is listed in Yad Vashem as a righteous among the gentiles. She went to a Nazi Concentration Camp for hiding Jews during World War Two. Both of them have done more for God than you will ever do in ten lifetimes. You act like you are a member of the Spanish Inquisition. For some reason, George probably won’t publish this post, but it is his web site, and I, for one respect him as a man and as an Orthodox Christian. To me, your intolerance of opinions that differ from your own, and acting like some kind of unappointed tribunal speaks more about you than it does me. As Dr. Stankovich said one time, he could smell a fraud a mile away in reference to you. As for me, I know whom I have believed, and He is able to protect that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day. When it comes to questioning my salvation, remember our Lord said, “Judge not that you be not judged.” It’s time to be a real monk and get off the computer. You make Orthodoxy sound like an intolerant, bigoted religion. I ask you to apologize and repent for your sinful calumny against me. George, if you don’t allow me to respond to his vicious slander, I will be disappointed in you but nonetheless, I believe that God’s gives you great wisdom in your website. I trust that God has given great wisdom and insight. Regardless, I still love, respect and consider you a dear brother in Christ. Thank you.

                • Monk James Silver says

                  Obviously, ‘Constantinos’, you don’t like it when your ideas are challenged. It’s not unusual for people with strong opinions, even wrong opinions such as you express, to lash out at their critics.

                  In order for you to keep your pride of place, you should just retract some of those wrong opinions rather than demand apologies from your critics. On the other hand, if you continue your wrong-headed assault on Orthodox Christian practice, you can expect continued criticism from me, at least, and probably from other people.

                  You adduce heterodox Christians as example of virtue, as if that somehow proves something about deficiencies in Orthodox Christianity. It does not, but it suggests that you haven’t learned enough about the holy lives and great goodness of the Orthodox, laity, clergy, and monastics. You’re just out to magnify everyone but the Orthodox, and this is a distortion of reality and an attack on The Church.

                  Here, in addition to your disingenuously pleading ‘innocent’, you set up a false opposition between monastic practice and the use of computers. Perhaps you’d be more accommodating if we were issuing hand-written materials instead of cyber briefs.

                  But I’m here to remind you that we monastics have continually made use of the media available in every age to preach and teach. Were we having this interchange a thousand years ago, you and I might be debating each other in the town square or posting handbills in public spaces. I suppose you’d consider us monks ‘lazy’ if we didn’t use computers now that they have replaced many older venues of dialog.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Constantinos, it is quiet possible to recognize the heresy in the statement of someone without saying that person is a heretic. There are a tremendous amount of heretical beliefs that often masquerade as the truth. We are each subjected to them daily. We each suffer under such beliefs to on degree or another. We must rely on others to kindly and gently point such things out to us.

                  Whether you agree or not, Freemasonry partakes of heretical beliefs. Protestantism is heretical in nature, so is the RCC. Secularism and the mind of modernism is even worse, partaking extensively of the demonically inspired notion of nihilism dressed up as “Progress”.

              • George Michalopulos says

                I agree with you. Let’s say for the sake of argument that some great ascetic-saint was “mentally unstable”. So what? Is it possible that his rigors was what was necessary for him to be brought closer to God? I believe so.

                I’m gonna pull some rank here folks: as a retail pharmacist for over 3 decades, I can honestly say that there is much more mental illness than you laymen believe. Seriously, I wonder how so many of my patients are even allowed to drive a car.

                Of course, this leads us to a chicken-and-egg conundrum: are the on medication because of mental illness or are they mentally ill because they’ve been put through the pharmacopeia mill?

                • Monk James Silver says

                  It’s just as possible for people suffering mental illness to become saints as it is for people with physical disabilities.

                  The differences are only apparent, not ontological, and they do indeed sometimes show God’s mercy in our lives in ways which theoretically ‘healthy’ people can’t begin to imagine.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Agreed. My response was to those who view the aberrant behavior of some of our saints as irregular. At this stage of my life, I view Christianity and its attendant sanctity/grace as very antinomial, mainly because some of our churches (and Churches) have become “whited sepulchres”.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  George, not to be too picky but what is “mental illness”? It such a vague term that it can mean almost anything–including being a Christian and having an encounter with Jesus Christ, Mary, the Angels or the Saints.

                  The reports from people I know who have been on various types of psychoactive meds leads me to believe that we have not really gotten beyond using a straight jacket as “treatment” It is just a chemical straight jacket now.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Of course. I learned long ago that invoking the two magic words mental and illness is a wonderfully inexpensive way used by elites of controlling people. It worked wonders behind the Iron Curtain.

                • George as someone whose career was working in mental health in acute care in Greece and uk. Yes mental illness much wider than we think and depression rampant today. As people are told by our sick Culture that u must not suffer any emmotional pain, not knowing as physical pain, it can be a life saver and warning of danger. How we learn in life.
                  All too often it has been defined as ‘ being different ‘ and used by dictatorship and communism as means of control.
                  For decades now it has been led not by illness but as with so much around gender etc, by sociology and dogma.
                  I would say it is not what peopke do as such but if it disturbs them or causes injury, physical and emmotional, to those around.
                  It’s to do with delusional and illusional behaviour. Well used to be but now with gender, one can be delusional and under an illusion and considered ok!!
                  It has always been sociologically led. And of course different societies have seen the same phenomena in different ways.
                  Spirit pocession etc. I attended a interesting seminar on this.
                  All churches have their collection of mentality ill and I would say it’s a Mark of the spiritual level of the community, to how they respond.

    • …yet another cogent argument in favor of the OCA: Local, relevant, accessible, transparent sincere and humble.
      The Oriental potentates offer strange fire and a toxic melange of bizarre ideology masquerading as ecclesiology. History, and I hope a Council of Primates will judge them for the dastards they are.

      • Claes yes. I have visited St Tikhon monastery and attended liturgy there and felt a peace and a Joy abd a connection with american Orthodox roots, related to where we are now. Beautiful singing in english.
        I am not a user of abuse but agree with you these Phanar potentiate and others of their ilk are genuine corrupt bastards. So corrupt they do not even know it. We need to send them packing. Tell them to go and get a job like every one else

        • Johannes says

          Saint Tikhon’s seems ok but there is a lot of rot at Saint Vladimir’s although the new president seems like a step in the right direction. As a start they should be made to break off collaborating with Fordham. I am still hopeful for the OCA but there is a lot of purification we need to pray for still.

  8. Michael Bauman says

    Just another story: When I first met my wife, her best friend was an Alaskan Native named Adam. He had spent most of his life far away from his people and suffered great hardship and became an alcoholic. I introduced my wife to St. Herman of Alaska one night, St. Herman being a renowned monastic BTW, when Adam was struggling, unbeknownst to us. We stood before my icon table as she prayed to St. Herman for her friend. A short prayer, but my wife is connected. As soon as we had stopped praying, Adam called her and asked her “what was going on, what was she doing? ” She simply told him she had been praying to St. Herman of Alaska for him. His comment was, “O, that explains it.” That is all the comment he ever gave.

    From that day on, try as he might, he never was able to drink alcohol again, Too late to overcome the physical effects of his addiction. He died from those a few years later. I had the honor of helping him die. In the midst of his distress he was grateful for that and for the fact that I was there to take care of his friend, my wife, to whom he was devoted.

    Real monastics do that all of the time because they have a connection with God, Jesus, the Theotokos and the angels that is far deeper than my wife’s (perhaps) and we are mostly unaware of it.

    That is part of what I mean when I say all of the works you mention and recommend are only fulfilled in the Church though the Sacraments and the prayers of the faithful. Especially the faithful monastics. Irrelevant and wasteful as they seem to you.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Profound. God exists in His saints. Of this there can be no doubt.

      • For THEO. THEO I misled you on film name. It’s called Before the rain. If you type in macedonian film. Before rhe rain, it will come up. Let me know. It’s a superb film and having spent two weeks there in September 2017, brought it home to me.

        • Nikos, you are funny! Thank you. I found it. I also found it on YouTube, but without English subtitles. But with English subtitles, it can be watched online at the Criteria Collection. They have a 10 day trial subscription for $1, I may try that. Thank you again!

          • Yes my daughter says so. I tend to like to actually buy the Dvds of films I love and like as with cds. I have streaming and for music too but for me not same. Same with books. I have kindle with many many books on but a book case with my favourites in!! ? God bless.

    • God bless you brother Michael Bauman.

    • Michael moving story and yes God EXISTS in his Saints.

  9. Legal proceedings would be pointless and painfully expensive. See generally, Serbian Orthodox Diocese v. Milivojevich, 426 U.S. 696 (1976).

  10. Constantinos says

    Hi George,
    Humility! In my humble opinion, this is the most difficult virtue to obtain. I consider you to be humble in a good way. Mr. Bauman and Gail are also two fine examples of humility, although I am very leery of talking about oneself the way Mr. Bauman does. The reason it makes me leery is because that kind of talk will destroy you in business. For example, over forty years ago, I read The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. In it, he said to never put yourself down because people will take you at your own self appraisal. Do you understand me, brother? You don’t go around saying, ” Don’t do business because I’m a worthless, covetous, greedy thief. I’ll rob you blind if you let me.”
    Okay, now on to my major points. My hometown just voted for two members for the Board of Selectman. It amazes me how such a puny position has gone to so many people’s heads. By the way, that’s one reason our country needs term limits.
    My major point is one of the things that drives me crazy about Orthodoxy is the fancy titles the priesthood uses for itself. To me, if a priest calls me by my first name, I call him by his first name. I loathe this his eminence, his all Divine Holiness, and all the other laudatory names the priesthood assigns to itself. Our Lord specifically criticized the Pharisees for the way they paraded around in the streets, demanding honor and praise while calling themselves by fancy names. Our Lord said the greatest among you is your servant.
    None of the disciples and apostles used fancy names to describe themselves, neither should the clerics. How about knocking it off with the Very Reverend crap? These clowns are sinners saved by grace, just like the rest of us. I absolutely refuse to kiss any man’s hand. I find it repugnant. Also, asking the priest for a blessing. We exalt the priesthood and destroy our faith in the process. I want to see the clergy humble, and poor. After all, did not our Lord say that, ” The Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head?” Also, this idea of kissing the feet of icons is odious. Brother, I don’t kiss anyone’s feet. By the way, I watched a “holy guru, Saint,” on youtube, and the people were literally bowing down to him and kissing his hand. St. Peter would have none of that, and neither should we. All that reverence should be reserved for our precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, never, ever for a mere man, no matter how saintly this man is presumed to be. Don’t forget, many of these Orthodox Saints were flagrant anti- semites right up to this present day. Remember, Adolph Hitler’s picture is still prominently displayed on the so called “Holy Mountain.” The bottom line, if you are an anti- semite, you ain’t no saint. Thank you.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Speaking of hand kissing, take a look at this. Very bizarre. Those poor people probably went home and wondered what they did wrong. Sometimes he lets people kiss his ring and sometimes he doesn’t.

    • Monk James Silver says

      Constantinos (May 21, 2019 at 6:12 am) says:


      ‘if a priest calls me by my first name, I call him by his first name.’


      Most priests wouldn’t skip a beat if they were addressed by their first names. They would merely assume that the speaker was poorly informed, has psychological or sectarian ‘issues’, or is just being rude.

      The Gospel well attests the truth of the saying that ‘even the devil can quote scripture’, so the attempts by ‘Constantinos’ to back up the points he identifies as inconsistent with the teaching of Our Lord (how’s THAT for a title?!) Jesus Christ are risible. Not only are they easily seen for the red herrings they are, but they are just as easily refuted, no matter what some Protestants say. i won’t bore the good readers of this blog with those refutations, but they aren’t hard to find.

      Such irritation as ‘Constantinos’ expresses does not come from within The Church, but from somewhere outside of it. It’s source is not love of The Church, of The Tradition and of The Bible, but originates in some sort of demonic delusion.

      May the Lord be merciful to His servant, ‘Constantinos’, and lead him to Christ.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Constantinos, I have worked successfully for 39 years in a business dominated by Alpha males. I manage every once in awhile without trying to intimidate a few of them.

      The interesting thing about real humility, which I have been graced with seldom, is that it tends to make one invulnerable. It is a gift of grace. I can think of nothing more oxymoronic than “striving for humility”.

      • Hi Michael Bauman! Isn’t Saint Ephraim’s prayer a “striving”? “Striving to please Him in all that I do”? One of my favorite oxymorons is “thunderous silence.”

  11. Constantinos says

    Hi George,
    I forgot to add when we Orthodox call priests, “father,” we are sinning because we are disobeying our Lord’s injunction against calling anyone on earth “father.” Neither are we to call anyone ” holy.” He said we have only one Father, which is in heaven. There is only One that is holy, which is in heaven. Why do Catholics and Orthodox do it? Because we don’t know the scriptures. We sin by not knowing the scriptures.

    • This IS a jest, right? Takes scant effort to look up why it is proper to address an Orthodox priest as “Father”.

      • Constantinos says

        No joke at all. What did our Lord and Savior say? Call no man your father; you have one Father in heaven. It’s not my fault that you don’t know the scriptures.

      • Constantinos says

        I don’t really have a problem with calling a priest father. I don’t see why we can’t call him by his first name. That’s the way he addresses us. Anyway, I shouldn’t say it is a sin; I just don’t think it is a good practice Priests are no better than the laity, and they should never be put them on a pedestal. My heart is with the laity. There are a lot of wolves in sheep’s clothing out there, and the laity needs to be protected from them.

        • Thanks for not being snippy, as many people would have been. (I appreciate that.) We do address a priest by first name — as “Fr. John”, “Fr. Paisios”, etc. One uses the title proper for the role. I may not think much personally of a criminal court judge, but I shall address him or her as “Your Honor”. I definitely believe that we are suffering painfully from one of the worst U.S. Presidents of all time; however, I still refer to him as “The President”. Without referring to the religious correctness of addressing a priest as “Father”, I refer to the secular-and-religious correctness of honouring the office — which includes using the associated title.

          When it comes down to God granting (or not) an individual’s salvation, of course all people are equal. Nobody is without sin; any person can repent genuinely. Orthodoxy clergy, however, are held to an everyday life standard that is higher than that for laypeople. A layperson may, for example, remarry. A priest may not. At least, that is the standard which, only within recent memory, was trashed by some innovations with which most of us are familiar. The clergy are expected to model the best possible Christian lifestyle and choices for the rest of us, to encourage us to do the same. If someone (and I do not say you, Constantinos) considers that requirements places a priest on a pedestal, then that pedestal is a downright uncomfortable pedestal of relentless scrutiny. I would not want to be on it! The least I can do is respect that priest by using his God-bestowed title of “Father”. That is “a good practice”.

          As for “wolves in sheep’s clothing”, during over forty years since my conversion to the Orthodox faith, the laypeople meriting that label outnumber the clergy meriting same by an immense numerical factor. As I noted above, sin is no respecter of persons.

          Christ is Risen!

  12. Constantinos: “we are disobeying our Lord’s injunction against calling anyone on earth “father.”

    Is it what your lodge brethren think?

    “Why do Catholics and Orthodox do it? Because we don’t know the scriptures. ”

    Who are those “we”?

  13. “Call no man father” has a variety of Protestant misinterpretations. Much of Protestantism knows nothing about Holy Scripture because of the principle of “every man for himself”, combined with the prideful assumption that the Holy Spirit enlightens the individual — which, in practice, insults the Holy Spirit because of the cacaphony of incompatible scriptural interpretations resulting. I ignore these manglings of the Bible, and they have no authority over Orthodox Christians. We have sound Bible analyses from the Patristic authors, and from more modern writers who respect the Patristic wisdom.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I completely agree with you.

      As much as I love and respect most of my Protestant brethren, especially because of their Scriptural literacy, at the end of the day, “every man is a pope”. My simple response to them is: “Is the Holy Spirit the Author of division? I think not.”

      “Cacaphony” is the correct word.

      • Matthew Panchisin says

        Dear George,

        “As much as I love and respect most of my Protestant brethren, especially because of their Scriptural literacy, at the end of the day, “every man is a pope”.”

        Orthodox Christians these days often say things such as what you have written above, however at the end of the day many of the Protestants have no problem “converting” Orthodox Christians into their numerous sects and thus they remove those with less so-called “scriptural literacy” from the chalice. As such it is difficult for me to understand the rendering of respect for such ingrained behavior against
        Christ’s One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and the faithful. They are comfortable protesting and pursuing, often times with much determination.

        I think the essence of their ethos is division, having said that I have several protestant friends, their comments often seem to be some sort of juvenile delinquent type of understanding of scripture. They remain
        with good intentions but they are seriously misguided. I have not been able help them out much, they like and prefer what they have chosen to believe and I agree it is a “Cacaphony”.

    • I can name a hundred Protestant Christians who are so holy it could make a person weep. Is there anywhere grace isn’t?

      • George Michalopulos says

        I agree too, Beryl. In fact, I worry about my own salvation daily. Having said that, the polymorphous, divisive critique of the cacaphony that is modern Protestantism still stands.

        I’ve studied Luther; you do not go easily from him to Tammy Faye Bakker, if at all.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Beryl, there is no place, even the depths of Hades where Grace does not abound, but for living human beings that Grace comes through the font of the Orthodox Church, as bad as we are.

        She is the headwaters for the life of the world. Pinched, polluted, stinky at times, but nevertheless, the headwaters. With Her the river would dry up. At times, it seems that those down river are more appreciative and partake of the water more than we do but that does not matter. No matter what we do, or do not do, the waters will never cease.

        Christ is Risen!

      • Beryl: “I can name a hundred Protestant Christians who are so holy it could make a person weep. Is there anywhere grace isn’t?”

        I am sorry, but I detect a false tone in your statement. Are you an expert on judging holiness?

      • Monk James Silver says

        Beryl (May 22, 2019 at 1:44 pm) says:

        (I can name a hundred Protestant Christians who are so holy it could make a person weep. Is there anywhere grace isn’t?


        It would take a very specific example, probably with a very good definition of the term ‘holy’ for me even to begin considering this a true statement.

        There are indeed very sad, concrete examples of the absence of grace, especially in the persecution and oppression and even martyrdom which some human beings inflict on others. Any grace at all in such situations is to be found in those who suffer, not in those who inflict suffering, and that is an perfect demonstration of its absence.
        Even bearing in mind the warnings which our Lod gives in the 25th chapter of St Matthew’s gospel, or the blessed example He offers us in the allegory of the ‘good Samaritan’, we must look elsewhere for concrete examples of the unexpected action of divine grace.

        One outstanding example of human response to that ambient grace is that of the fortieth martyr at Sebasteia: one of the Christians abandoned his faith, and one of the persecutors was so deeply moved by the fidelity of the other thirty-nine that he took that apostate’s place, and is now venerated as a saint.

        Like the ‘wise thief’ on the cross next to Christ, that man was baptized, so to speak, in his own blood by a direct intervention of divine grace. But these are exceptions, not examples available for asserting that grace is everywhere.

        This distinction hinges on a properly expressed theological understanding of the difference between divine essence and divine energy. St Gregory Palamas wrote extensively on this when refuting Barlaam of Calabria and the Roman Catholic understanding of grace.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Monk James, that many people adamantly refuse to recognize and enter into Grace is not the same as its absence. “He is everywhere present and fills all things”. The natural world testifies to Him and His presence continually.

          I was in Indianapolis several years ago to visit my brother and his family. He was out of town when I first got there and I went looking for some food. I ended up in a Dairy Queen because I loved their cheeseburgers. I had put in my order and was waiting for it when this black man walked in. I took one look at him and knew he was a lover of Jesus and a man of God. He was a bright penny. He was quite literally brighter than anyone else in the place. Suddenly, I got an inner direction to “Talk to the man”. So, totally against my normal behavior with strangers in public, I went over and introduced myself and confirmed that he was a minister, told him that I respected that. Conversation ended. I got my order and left. A few blocks away a much louder and stronger voice, the same person, said, “That’s not what I meant, go back and talk with the man!” So I turned around and went back.

          Sam, as I learned was his name, was sitting at a table eating. I came over and started to talk with him. We began sharing our respective stories of our life in Christ including some struggles and our beliefs. The conversation went on for quite some time. He was a minister in a nursing home originally set up by his denomination to take care of former missionaries of his denomination. Economics dictated that they start opening their services to other former Christian missionaries and other Christians, i.e. Protestants. He told me he had to learn to become much more flexible in his doctrine because of that. Not judging the beliefs of others.

          One of the things I shared with him was Mary. Toward the end of the conversation he asked me a very astute and humble question. He asked, “Is it necessary for everyone to believe about Mary as you do for salvation.” I said, that at the very least one must call her blessed, just as the Bible tells us to. (Of course, once that begins, she will take care of the rest.)

          Then he suggested we pray and asked me to lead the prayer. So, a black fellow Christian an I linked hands and prayed together in the name of the Holy Trinity, in the middle of Indianapolis once home to one of the largest KKK groups in the country. Brothers.

          Sam had an aura of holiness that is beyond anything I have for sure. I left blessed and I will never forget him.

          Still, regardless of the state of his soul and his interrelationship with our Lord, only in the Church could he ever know the fullness of that love affair in this world. The widespread Protestant rejection of Mary and even blasphemy because of that rejection, leaves them in a perilous state. Sam’s question was on point. I am sure he has looked at Mary far differently since.

          Some of the comments here seem to indicate that holiness is a zero sum game. If there is holiness here, it cannot be there, etc. Nothing can be further from the truth. The Holy Trinity is the source of all holiness and it is revealed in us by the Holy Spirit who “blows where he likes”.

          Thus, there are holy people everywhere, they are servants of our Lord Jesus Christ who shine with His Light, but I know that even in my unholy state, it is the presence of the Church in this world and the Grace she is given, that pours through her, that allows for such holiness. The Church is the seat of repentance and resurrection. The Church, the one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church we now call Orthodox. Not the RCC, not the schismatic bodies of various names and nationalities, not the Protestants most of all. Part of our repentance is to ruthlessly root out the heresy in our own hearts and proclaiming the reality of God with us so that others may see their own by His Grace.

          Christ is Risen, trampling down death by death and upon those in the tombs bestowing Life! And my brothers and sisters we are all in the tombs. A wise man I know says frequently, Jesus Christ did not come to make bad men good, but to make dead men live. The more we allow His life to transform us, the more human we become, the more human we become, the more holy we become because He came down from heaven and by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary became man.

          • Constantinos says

            Mr. Bauman,
            These words you have written are holy. I wish Monk James had just one tenth of your wisdom and grace. I benefit greatly from your posts even when I may disagree. As I stated previously(it wasn’t published), but it was still good, you, George, Gail, Nikos, Mr. Mortiss, and the brilliant lawyer Michael can criticize me anytime. I am a better man because of your admonitions and corrections. I’d be a fool not to listen to people who are wiser than I am. I welcome intelligent criticism because I’m frequently wrong. I wish Gail would criticize me more often because I have so much respect for her, and the aforementioned names I have cited. I know when Gail criticizes me it is for my own good. In any event, I think this is your finest post. In baseball parlance, this is a grand slam homerun.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Constantinos, thank you, but what I have written, if it is true, is due to my teachers in the faith as I am merely articulating in my own words what I have learned from them.

              I have met five people in my life whom I consider to be deeply holy. The first was a RC priest in Fargo, ND in 1975. He had been a priest for 50 years at that time and was posted serving the spiritual needs of a nunnery just across the river in Morehead, MN. He emanated a deep peace and joy; the second was a simple Orthodox parish priest who came to my parish as a last minute fill-in for some other more well known speaker. I was in conversation with him and another person between sessions and he started speaking about some aspect of Christian life and it was as if we were all suddenly lifted up. Interestingly enough, I have no clear memory of him or his name or even what he said, but there was that moment in which we were all in the undeniable presence of the Risen Lord somewhere not of this world; the third is Elder Zacharias of St. John the Baptist monastery in the UK; Sam was the fourth and the fifth is Met Joseph, the retired Met of the Patriarchal Bulgarian diocese of North America and Australia. There is another man whom I could mention, but he does not like it if I or anybody does so. There is yet another who I know is especially beloved of God, but I cannot say other than that.

              The common trait with all of these people is that they love without respect to persons and without shame. Simply being in their presence made me focus on the life of Jesus Christ in a more complete way and thanksgiving comes easily to my heart and lips.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      “Much of Protestantism knows nothing about Holy Scripture…..”

      And ‘much of Protestantism’ knows something about it.

      I myself read Scripture very frequently, and go through the NT a few times a year. I regard this as entirely an Orthodox thing to do, although I developed this practice decades before I became Orthodox. It is true that “biblical literacy” is emphasized in Protestantism, but I’d warrant the practice is not nearly as thoroughgoing as some may think.

      I admit I read some parts more than others. St. Paul’s letters several times per year; I never get tired of reading them. The Gospels through maybe 3 times or so; same with the non-Pauline letters. Except Hebrews, maybe once a year. Revelations no more than once per year, and then only ‘on principle’, so to speak. Acts once per year.

      I’ve always been rather weak on the Old Testament, apart from the Psalms, Proverbs, large parts of Job and Isaiah, which are regulars. I could do much better there.

      In the intertestamental books, Sirach I read often; the others I’ve never read more than a couple of times and don’t expect to again. Lots of real good advice in old Joshua ben Sira….

      One hears much talk of “interpretation”, but I find most of it rather straightforward; not all, of course. Especially if one is not troubled by inconsistencies and contradictions, as I am not. As an old lawyer, I find contradictions and inconsistencies to be strong evidence of the truth of the testimonies. If all testimony is consistent and ‘in order’ amongst witnesses, its credibility is very doubtful!

      • I wish to offer an appropriate apology for some poorly-expressed thought on my part. Protestants are renowned (this is a compliment) for the amount of time they invest in studying the Bible, and often for the amount of memorized passages. I respect this greatly! So I apologise for the “knowing nothing” remark — within that specific context.

        Where I have to remain firm is in revering the Holy Fathers as the primary font of accurate Biblical understanding. (as well as in rejecting the notion of private interpretation, explicitly rejected in II Peter) We have Orthodox “scholars”, for that matter, who sometimes impose some unsupported meanings onto the Biblical text.

        As for a comment made about Protestants being able to reflect the grace of God, I neither thought nor wrote anything at all about that separate topic.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          .The ‘biblical literacy’ of Protestants vs. Orthodox can be greatly overstated.

          An Orthodox liturgy contains much more Scripture than any Protestant service, and vespers in particular are heavily scriptural, way more than any corresponding Protestant service.

          Most Orthodox can probably recite Psalm 50/51 in their sleep, and many another, or parts of others, too. Starting with the first: “The Lord knows the way of the righteous…..but the way of the wicked shall perish.” So many more….most ‘ordinary’ Protestants cannot get close.

          Almost all of the Epistle and Gospel readings during Protestant services (and Roman Catholic ones) are short excerpts, in contrast to the Orthodox liturgy, where long passages are the norm.

          I have emphasized the scriptural basis of vespers services to Protestant friends, and found them amazed at such services. There is a drawback– speed and chant, which interferes with the content of the text to the ordinary listener, but which is of course is all there when one pays careful attention.

          In short, one can easily win the “Scriptural argument” with Protestants if one tries, and cares, etc…..

          I introduce friends to Orthodoxy by taking them to Vespers. These are short, beautiful, and deeply scriptural. “Gladsome light” is always a knockout…..

          • Michael Bauman says

            Tim, great comment. My experience with Protestants is they are a bit like the old College Bowl TV show in which the host always gave the disclaimer that the format favored those who had quick recall of specific fact and not overall knowledge.

            Many Protestants are quite good at saying chapter and verse but do not always grasp the meaning and the context.

            But I am sure that is over simplifing.

      • Re inconsistencies. Yes. The Mark of truth. Psychology experiments shown this along time ago.
        Reading the Gospels in greek currently, that i started in Lent I am struck by the forcefullness of a reality, of a Person.. This does not come from pre conceptions as I did not expect this from the Gospels and I see have many translations are so weak. And I remember the words of Bishop Anthony Bloom when he picked up the the Gospels as an atheist teenager with anger and only wanted to mock what he read, when he said he was presented as he read, Mark I think ,
        with Christ opposite him.

  14. Micahel Bauman says

    Without her, the river would dry up.

  15. Constantinos says

    Since I’ve decided to retire and turn my businesses over to my children, I’ve been pondering how I can best serve my community. By the way, I believe that a person should leave an inheritance for his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
    In any event, I want to look into bringing an Antiochian Orthodox Church to my town. I’ve started looking for some land to buy for this project, In my opinion, it has to be located in the downtown area. The perfection location for it would be where the Catholic Church is situated. It’s got loads of parking, easy access, and it is centrally located. I think this a brilliant idea, and an Orthodox Church is sorely needed in my town.
    Anyway, I was wondering if this a heretical idea or a masonic one. As you know, the Antiochian Church has no hostility to freemasonry, and is not filled with religious intolerants or holier than thou bigots. I’m very serious about this idea. This would also be an excellent opportunity for me to serve and give back to my community.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Costa, next to raising good children, there is nothing more pleasing in the life of a layman than to build a church.

      A couple of stipulations:

      1) make sure that Christ, His Mother and the saints are always the focus

      2) pray constantly (because you’re painting a big target on your back)

      3) keep it local, don’t go global; i.e. that means focusing on the people in the immediate area

      4) make sure your priest is not a hostage to the financing and as you grow, reward him

      5) make sure you have enough dedicated laymen who will assist the priest in all matters ecclesiastic (i.e. altar-servers, readers, cantors, wardens, etc). Have dedicated women as well (choir director, Sunday school teachers, etc.)

      6) English mainly. Throw in a few Greek, Arabic and Slavonic “Lord have mercys” but that’s all.

      7) Provide more than one service per week. Here in the South, people go to church Wed nights. Make that a vespers. To give the priest off, consider a Reader’s Vespers.

      8) When the time comes for the priest’s vacation (and he must take one), don’t close the church. Ever. Have a Reader’s Typika service. Besides a vacation, your priest should take a yearly one-week sabbatical, preferably to a monastery where he can recharge his spiritual batteries and be under the mentorship of a spiritual father. (Again, when he’s gone, Typika service.)

      9) everybody in the leadership position must give a confession at least once every quarter. They should be the first to line up to give their confessions.

      10) Tithe.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Constantinos, be sure, at some point, to get the blessing of the Antiochian Bishop for your area, If you are on the west coast, as I believe, that is still Met. Joseph. Bishop Basil’s diocese is basically the Louisiana Purchase plus Texas.

      You can always visit to find out contact information.

      At some point though you will have to come to terms with the incompatibility of Freemasonry and the teaching of the Orthodox Church. As a simple congregant, it is less of an issue than it would be in one who wants to build a parish.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Costa, just because one criticizes Freemasonry (or Rotary, or Kiwanis, etc) doesn’t necessarily make one a bigot, nor “holier than thou”. None of us btw should ever be holier than thou regardless. It’s stinging at times to be rebuked by a priest or to set aside one’s prejudices when starting a mission. But one must, otherwise, it will fail.

      • Constantinos says

        Dear George,
        I really want to stop talking about freemasonry. It’s not my job to condemn nor promote it. I will say this about you personally. The one thing I have noticed about you is that you have integrity among many other laudable qualities, but it’s the integrity that really stands out to me. If I’m not mistaken, I believe that at one time you were a mason. If you were, it is probable that you demitted from your lodge. As a man of integrity, you have conducted yourself in a manner that all should emulate. In other words, you are not a two faced back stabber. You have acted in accordance with your beliefs. You are not a member of the Orthodox “thought police.”
        It’s funny that you say it is not easy to be rebuked by a priest because there was a whiny former Orthodox priest who was complaining about the canon that says a priest cannot remarry. He remarried after a forty plus year first marriage that ended with his wife’ s death from cancer. He was whining about how the Ecumenical Patriarch was being mean to him. This was on the OCL website. I rebuked HIM, and told him to stop his whining, that it was unseemly, and unmanly. I really let him have it for his sense of entitlement. Some of the other posters said ” how dare I talk to a priest that way.” My response was that I will talk to a priest any way I want. He’s just a person like everyone else.
        I honestly don’t care what other people think. Never have. That doesn’t mean I won’t listen to advice, I do, but ultimately the buck stops with me. In my opinion, any one can rebuke me, but if they are stupid, I may not take it very well. I’m extremely intelligent, but I act stupid at times. I have many good points, but an equal amount of faults. For example, it is very hard for me to forgive. I’m also very ruthless, and vindictive. However, I don’t go around lying about others or slandering them. I won’t take unfair advantage of anyone. My role model is Sam Walton. He destroyed his competition by out performing them. His will to win was second to none, but he was never underhanded. I always win- always, but not at any cost. I only encounter minor setbacks, but never defeats by anyone, and I don’t lie and cheat to win. So in essence, I don’t really care about other people’s opinions, In my world, it’s my thoughts that count, but this is your forum, and in this forum, you reign supreme. I defer to you, my brother.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Costa, no priest worth his salt is going to lose sleep over an occasional criticism and you have probably noticed that the moderators on this blog have been diligent about keeping to the 40/60 rule. If more than 40% of a comment is directed toward another reader in chastisement, it doesn’t see the light of day. It’s great that George does this because we have all said things in the heat of the moment that we later regret. I don’t recall seeing your “whiny priest” comment so that priest, whoever he is, probably never saw it either.

          If I may say so, Costa, you have a lot of people who care about you on this blog. How do I know? Because the readers, especially those who have the most to offer you, have taken the time to respond to your concerns in a meaningful way. After being on the blog for a while, most of us feel like family and we want to help one another. I see that happening with you. We know you have strong opinions and we know you have questions. It’s OK that your delivery is straightforward and honest because that’s just you. I, personally, wish you didn’t get so upset with other people, though. I don’t worry so much for them but I do worry about you because I sense what they say may hurt you. If I could offer a tiny suggestion: try not to react to the person who is saying something critical. Just hear them and accept it or reject it. Try coming back with something kind, even if you don’t feel particularly benevolent at the moment, because it diffuses the situation and you will have fewer regrets. I’m going to challenge myself to do the same. I have seen you do it on multiple occasions so maybe there is hope for me!

        • Michael Bauman says

          Mr. C. The only reason I comment on Freemasonry is because you bring it up.

    • Monk James Silver says

      It’s a good thing to want to build up The Church and to establish parishes, as you want to do, ‘Constantinos’, but you must be very careul that you are building on only on the true apostolic foundation of The Church, whose Head and Cornerstone is Christ.

      We cannot create The Church at all — our Lord Jesus Christ did that once and all — but it would also be a seriously arrogant thing for to think that we could create even a parish of The Church in r own image rather than in His.

      Too often, human vanity causes people to think — with no help from God or from any human being — that they are doing something good by using their talents and their treasure to start a parish or build a temple. But this rather low and selfish motivation rarely produces anything useful, and even the buildings which result from it often serve merely as massive demonstrations of wasted effort.

      In the 1970s, George DeMet (Demetropoulos), a man who legitimately made a fortune with his ‘Mars Candy’ company, decided that an Orthodox church was needed on South Stony Island Avenue in Chicago. It’s not clear to me if he sought and received his bishop’s blessing for this project, or if the local Orthodox Christian clergy were consulted, or if he had any demographic input.

      The fact remains, though, that everyone but Mr DeMet sed to know that this venture was doomed to fail. The temple itself was magnificent, designed as a replica of Constantinople’s ‘Holy Wisdom’, and a priest was assigned. But almost nobody came to services there, being in (as is euphemistically said) a ‘changing neighborhood’. Perhaps Mr DeMet thought that centering a parish there might reverse that trend, but that’s not what happened.

      After an astonishingly short life as a parish church, that temple was abandoned by the Orthodox and sold to Elijah Muhammad’s ‘Black Muslims’. It was unconsecrated (maybe that’s a word we can use when we voluntarily withdraw a blessing, a bit different from ‘desecrated’), and the ross of Christ on its golden dome was replaced by the Muslim symbol of the crescent moon. (How that became a symbol of Islam is another story, very interesting, but for another time.)

      The point of this true morality tale is that our personal ambitions are often delusional. We must submit our every thought to Christ, Who will keep it captives St Paul teaches us. And only then must we allow ourselves to be guided by The Tradition and by common sense rather than our own feelings alone

      Now, if an Orthodox Christian parish really is needed in that part of your town, ‘Cionstantinos’, are you sure that you are the only man in the world who noticed this? If other people have noticed this, do you think that it’s a mere accident that such a parish has not already come into being?

      What does you bishop say? What do the local clergy say? Where is the population center of this prospective parish?

      On another level, you are dead wrong with your impressions of the Antiochian archdiocese’s being somehow more likely to indulge the foolishness of Freemasonry than the other Orthodox Christian ‘jurisdictions’ now operating in the United States. The fact is that all of us pretty much agree that — whatever misunderstandings we might have been deceived by the Masons into believing the past — Freemasonry is its own religion, and it is incompatible with Orthodox Christianity.

      Here are a few links to websites which will help you to understand this:


      • Constantinos says

        Monk James,
        Some of what you say is good advice. Some not so good. This idea is something that has been on my mind for years.
        Now, about this freemasonry thing which I’m really getting tired of discussing. Nearly forty years ago, I was on the board of our local chapter of FGBMFI. A fellow board member mentioned his experience with a brother church member who was a mason. He gave me some anti- masonic tapes to listen to. After listening to them, I have probably read every anti- masonic book ever written. One was from a supposed thirty third degree mason, the notorious Jim Shaw. It was very easy for me to see how preposterous these books were. After reading probably 100 anti- masonic books, I said to myself, “This sounds like a great group that does many charitable deeds.”
        I believe that ninety nine percent of these books are just plain silly. I’ve read all of the anti-masonic articles by Orthodox sources, and find them totally unconvincing.
        I remember when I was a fairly young boy, my grandfather said to me,” when you and your brothers are older, I hope you join the masons; it’s a wonderful organization.” I later asked my father, ” Hey Dad, how come you are not a mason?” He replied, ” Ah, I’m not a joiner.” After many years, he confessed to me the real reason he never joined was because my grandfather told him the masons would not accept him because of his drinking. He was an alcoholic.
        When I was five years old, he went to AA once, and never took a drink again in his entire life.
        As you know, many of the Orthodox have been and are masons. The late Metropolitan Antony Bashir was a mason. Look up Antiochian Orthodox mason obituaries, and Greek Orthodox masons obituaries; you will be astonished. I know that many Orthodox jurisdictions are avowed anti-masons, but they are 100% wrong. I would say they have an anti-masonic bias, and have not done honest, intensive study like I have. I have read all these polemical attacks against the lodge, and they are risible.
        If it wasn’t for freemasonry, there would be no such thing as the United States of America. Our greatest American, George Washington, was a devoted mason, and he was no Deist. I believer that freemasonry makes an Orthodox Christian a better Orthodox Christian, a better man, a better husband, and father, a better citizen, and better member of his community. Now, in my town, the masons have no power at all. Absolutely zero. Zip. Nada.
        In my community, the big club is the Old Colony Club, and the Pilgrim Society. Naturally, you would disapprove of them as well because they are largely composed of protestants. I know you hate everything western, but the protestants created the United States of America. These anti-western attitudes are probably one of the major reasons the Orthodox Church has no influence in America. Sometimes, I think the Orthodox Church loves Russia more than they do the United States, however Russia is one of the least observant Orthodox nations in the world. Sometimes, I wonder how a person can be a devout Orthodox Christian and a patriotic American at the same time.
        Orthodoxy can be a great blessing and a great curse when it veers off into fundamentalism, and its anti-ecumenical nonsense. At time it seems like God and Orthodoxy are at cross purposes. Maybe that’s why Orthodoxy succumbs to totalitarianism so easily. I also believe that God’s hand of judgement is upon the Orthodox Church for its obscurantism , bigotry, and triumphalism. The only Orthodox priest who was on the vanguard of the civil rights movement was the late Archbishop Iakovos of blessed memory. His tenure was the halcyon days of Orthodoxy in America. In one generation, Orthodoxy in America will be virtually nonexistent.

      • I had a free mason ( unknown to me, as friend of a friend I doing favour for) as guest two yrs ago for Easter here and his hatred of Christ was palpable.

  16. Renos Galapis says

    Must read. If you don’t know Greek, use google translate.
    (It makes mistakes like “Queen Carluccius” which adds to the fun.)