Interview with Gail Sheppard: Part II

Well, there’s rarely a dull moment at Casa Monomakhos.

The interview that Yours Truly conducted over the phone with our dear sister-in-Christ Gail Sheppard has definitely stirred the waters. This should not be surprising given the maelstrom that engulfed the Antiochian Archdiocese during the last, tumultuous decade of Metropolitan Philip Saliba’s archpastorate.

The purpose of this interview is not to judge his tenure as primate of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America (which by all measures was probably the most historically significant episcopate of the late twentieth century). Nor is it to lay blame for the problems that are endemic to the Middle East. A fuller, fairer picture of the late Metropolitan is to be written by more adept historians than myself. As for the intractability of the violence in the Middle East, there is more than enough blame to go around. (And yes, that includes the CIA and the Mossad.)

Instead, we should turn our eyes away from overseas and realize that because we are still tied to overseas patriarchates, we’re enmeshed in their “old world” ways. Gail’s experiences are just the tip of the iceberg and these “old world” ways cross jurisdictions. We’ve seen similar pathologies in the GOA. If anything, the scandals which presently engulf the GOA are worse.

And that in my humble opinion is precisely the lesson that we must take from these interviews. We need a united, autocephalous and territorial Orthodox Church here in the United States of America. Otherwise, we can expect more such scandals.

Below is Part II of my interview with Gail. I apologize for the abrupt ending. I was up against a hard break.

Courtesy of Michael Stankovich, I included an audio link in case you have trouble hearing the comments.



  1. 'The Black Sheep' says

    Regarding Gail Sheppard’s interview, read David Pryce-Jones: The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs; pub.: Ivan R. Dee (Chicago, 1989/2002). It’s very informative regarding traditional Arab culture and society, which still operates in the Antiochian Archdiocese.

  2. Constantinos says

    I know this won’t be published so I’m not worried about it. I’m stunned that Metropolitan Philip didn’t excommunicate her. Who is she to demand his resignation? Is she trying to become the most notorious, hated woman in all of Orthodoxy. What must Frederica Mathews – Green think of all this? Frederica writes edifying books and columns about Orthodoxy while Sheppard dumps horse manure on all your readers and listeners. The title of these interviews should be called How to Make Monomakhos a Laughing Stock or How to Destroy the Credibility of Monomakhos. Don’t say I didn’t warn you about this folly.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Maybe he didn’t excommunicate her because she did nothing wrong?

  3. There is an eerie silence that troubles me. Is there a fear of our Church? Rooted from? And why do we allow it? Orthodoxy is not to be feared as if a organized crime syndicate (mafia). We must be Christ-like, worship and love her.

    Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He may sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.-Ephesians 5:25-27

    Pray, before our manifest thoughts come out in her defense. In that we do not defile her in vain.

    Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?-unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified. Now pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified.-(2 Corinthians 13:5-7)

    I must seek the truth, and be prepared to walk away. Their wall too tall, and too deep, to penetrate.

    And though the Lord gives you The bread of adversity and the water of affliction, Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, But your eyes shall see your teachers. Your ears shall hear a word, behind you, saying,”This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whether you turn to the left. You will also defile the covering of your images of silver, And the ornament of your molded images of gold. You will throw them away as an unclean thing;You will say to them,”Get away!”

    True Love, never comes from fear.

    • Sorry all, but I really miss the 1 hour edit feature. Last quoted passage was (Isaiah 30:20-22).
      Since here. I would like to comment, as again we have come full circle. We now are witnessing why separation of church and state is important. Kingdoms and ethno-any tribal worship corrupts Orthodoxy, splits and divides parishes. Arabs, and to a not much lesser degree, Greeks, have been poorly influenced by their Islamic masters.

      Regardless if one is a believer or not, all know Jesus Christ was a man of peace, and at the very least not a Warlord like Islam’s founder Muhammad. Muhammad converted by the sword, and fear. Jesus Christ converted by love of thy neighbor, men and women. Women to this day second class citizens, in Islam. Not so in Orthodoxy. Our Mother the largest icon with out-stretched arms as you enter most Orthodox churches. Respect of women, the largest difference between Greek and Arab.

      Yet the Islamic hostage mentality within Greek and Arab, and colonization of our collective soul is hard to shake, after centuries of Islam’s rule. Whether Greek, Arab, or Eastern European we must shake the lobby mentality of old world mentality. We must shake it off now, here in America, or witness Orthodoxy shrink to small ethnic circles.

      Hard enough to keep the younger generation, and invite future converts into our churches, if we have to warn them of the tribal, and political interrogations, before truly accepted to the parish. If Greek, Russian, Arab,etc. cultures are not lovingly adopted, you will not be fully adopted by the parish in many Orthodox Churches. Or worse a split will divide the church along those lines.

      Most cradle Orthodox churched do not understand the politics of Orthodoxy line crossing with international politics. So when the “ugly” of politics infects our Church, as it has, now, and in the past, more in laity will have another reason to leave, than stay, in organized Orthodoxy. Flee not just Orthodoxy, but in many cases Christianity as a whole. This is a great sin, and if bishops, and priests will not wake up to this reality, who will?

      Most do not have half the faith, and fortitude of a Gail Sheppard. Slowly we will lose it all if we don’t.