Breaking: More Fallout from Chicago, GOA Bishops go to C’pole

According to The National Herald, a delegation of bishops from the GOA Eparchial Synod is traveling to Istanbul where they will meet with the Ecumenical Patriarch tomorrow. (Story below).

According to the author of the piece, “[t]he goal of the visit is an attempt to reverse Bartholomew’s and the Synod’s decision regarding the cancelation of the election of Bishop Sesbastian of Zela to the Metropolitan [sic] of Chicago.”

Also according to this story, all of the bishops are traveling except for Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco who is unable to attend because of “health reasons”.

This is interesting because Gerasimos was the only bishop on the Eparchial Synod who voted for Metropolitan Nikitas Lulias (formerly of Hong Kong) for the vacant diocese of Chicago. The three-man slate (triproposopon) which was presented to the Phanar included Bishop Sebastian’s name and two archimandrites: George Nikas and Gerasimos Makris.

Word on the street was that Lulias’ was Bartholomew’s first choice, therefore the absence of his name was conspicuous. Although Lulias is popular in Chicago questions remain about the nature of his removal from Hong Kong. For whatever reason, the American bishops decided that discretion in this instance was the better part of valor and decided to nominate someone else.

This should have been the end of the story but Bartholomew’s rejection of the submitted slate clearly shocked the Eparchial Synod. Hence the hurried meeting to the Phanar, was facilitated in order to impress upon the Holy Synod the reasons for their refusal to nominate somebody other than the patriarchate’s preferred candidate.

To my mind, this means that things are reaching a boiling point in the GOA. Unfortunately for the Greek-Americans, Bartholomew will probably not back down. A red line thus has been drawn; too much is at stake. Entering into the EP’s calculus is the fact that Lulias has taken Turkish citizenship and is extremely loyal to Bartholomew personally. This is most likely due to the EP’s quick and efficient transfer from Hong Kong to the United States.

In addition, the Chicago metropolis is the economic engine of the GOA. Thanks to the revenue-sharing scheme set up by the GOA, the surplus revenues garnered from Chicago support the smaller dioceses of the GOA as well as its various national ministries. None of this would be threatened by Sebastian (or anybody else for that matter), however with Lulias at the helm, any talk of autonomy for the GOA and/or an amalgamation into an authentic American Church would be derailed given his loyalty to Bartholomew.

So what will the American delegation accomplish? Their refusal to accede to Bartholomew’s wishes is “unprecedented” It may be because they have no choice. According to this same report, the finances of the GOA are dire, “…to the point that it cannot meet necessary obligations.”

More to follow as events warrant.


  1. A product of the Church of Cyprus, Sebastian may not be thought of as a traditional son of the Patriarchate, having served in the independent Church of Greece and studied at a non-Orthodox theological seminary in the United States. His fealty to the Phanar may be a source of concern to men in black who have long depended upon support from an established cash cow—the Greek Diaspora. In other words, would Sebastian be inclined to act outside of the box or be averse to the think/speak of the EP? That said, the question should be asked whether Sebastian is really the best man now for the job in Chicago, a hot bed of politics and intrigue? A warm and gentle soul, a pastoral shepherd, the bishop is known for his calm and soothing demeanor, qualities every hierarch should possess. But is he prepared to step into a lion’s den?

    • Steve Allen says

      If anything, it sounds like he’s just the man for the job!

      • Latest report in the National Herald says Phanar not happy with the Archbishop and is seeking his “resignation.” More drama coming. So the entire Synod travels there to just here the EP say “no, go home,” apparently. Sebastian would be the best for Chicago, but that’s not what the EP wants; they want a “yes” man and an un-Iakovos.

        • Anthony

          Thanks for the update

          George, I do believe the Phanar is overplaying their hand. However, I think if push comes to shove, the EP could very possibly lose. If EP seeks Archbishop’s “retirement” I think a real break could happen – but I think maybe just schism for EP as I could see Orthodoxy coming together united against all this stuff packaged together (Crete, ecumenicism, eparchy “”diaspora”, etc).

          It is in the best interest of the EP for him to back down at this point – or the Russians will ultimately get to be able to take the lead as he always fears. Any GOA separation from the EP will be drawn to close communications with the Russian Church along with the rest of Orthodoxy. I could totally see the remaining Byzantine church then create some type of brothethood fellowship with Rome that will ultimately be consumated sacramentally between the two due to humanistic minded clergy

          I could totally be wrong, but I do see this as a possible outcome now. Sad, but kinda gives me hope because I think we dont really fully understand how bad things actually are at the moment.

          Im certainly not wishing for the loss of the Byzantine Church from Orthodoxy, I’m just thinking we may have no choice at this point – like how we really did lose the one time great champion of Orthodoxy – Rome

          Instead of wanting Rome to return to the Orthodox faith, the Byzantine Church needs to be admonished to purify its commitment to the true Orthodox faith before drifting too far

  2. Patriarch Bartholomew will not be able to meet with them. He is too busy drafting his next joint statement with the Pope of Rome regarding the horrors of climate change.

    • Mikail

      I agree

      Why is he called “The Green Patriarch?” Because “Secular Humanist Patriarch” is too wordy

      You know when your spiritual leader has seriously been infected by world ideology? He’s called the “Green” Patriarch, and he wears the title as a badge of honor. We’ve been to space. Can someone please inform our fearless leader that THE PLANET IS BLUE!!

      You really want to know why he’s called the “Green Patriarch?” Check your wallet on Sunday afternoon

      Stackin’ yo’ paper like a gangsta. Dresses in all black, wears a huge chain from his neck, has a thing for unusual headgear, literally has his own posse . . . Just sayin’

      Gift that guy a panda and a suitcase full of cash, maybe he will make you bishop of “Nowunderwaterpolis” located in “Asia Minor.”

      • Estonian Slovak says

        Well, maybe the Patriarch could convince the Pope and other Latin clergy to follow his example and stop shaving! That ought to help the environment, plus the money saved could go a long way to helping the poor. Just sayin…..

  3. The EP backing off? Don’t count on it. My guess is that Demetrios was urged by members of his own Eparchal Synod to confront the EP on this issue, betting all along the EP would ask Demetrios to step down, thus opening the way for one of the Synod to succeed him. Wishful thinking on their part. The person to replace Archbishop Demetrios has already been chosen and is waiting in the wings.

  4. J-Ro

    I certainly wasnt thinking the EP would back down, only that perhaps it would be in his best interest to do so because I think he over estimates his support

    Well, we know now for sure. The only question remaining is will the laity do something finally about the EP nonsense (as Ive been hoping might finally be the case), or will they roll over like they usually do?

    It’s interesting if his own peers had indeed set him up. How shrewd if true.