Dark Clouds Forming Over the Phanar

Thanks to the indefatigable Greatly Saddened, we here at Monomakhos regret to inform you that the rot within certain sectors of the Patriarchate of Constantinople is far deeper than we thought. Even if this story is partially true, then dark clouds are indeed forming over the Phanar.

Now, I am not one to broadcast the sins of others but already four other Greek news outlets have reported on the sordid details. If you would like to read them for yourselves, you may do so here:


Rather than comment on the particularities and personalities of this unfolding scandal, we should rather take a step back and look at the broader picture. Obviously, this bodes ill for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the rat’s nest that the new Archbishop is about to step in. But it also explains the matrix from which he was selected. We should not forget that one of the principals in this scandal was on board for being the next primate of the GOA but at the last minute, he unexpectedly turned in his refusal to Patriarch Bartholomew.

Perhaps it also explains why His Eminence Demetrios Trakatellis, the former Archbishop of the GOA was so reluctant to step down, even when he was being leaned on heavily for the last few years to do so. It is my considered opinion that Demetrios, for all his faults, tried to buy the Orthodox Churches in America some time to get our own affairs in order against a day such as this. Moreover, by holding out for as long as he did, he decided that events would prove him correct. Time has a way of allowing scandals to unfold, despite the best efforts of men to sweep things under the rug. (And this particular scandal does not have anything to do with the St Nicholas Shrine fiasco, of which more in due time.)

We here at Monomakhos have been taken to task privately as well as publicly by some critics for always coming to the former Archbishop’s defense. We are under no illusions that the GOA floundered significantly under his tenure. The budget exploded (as well as the resultant deficits), Holy Cross became insolvent, many priests were laicized and there were payments made to victims because of sexual abuse scandals. The trajectory of the GOA ever since the removal of Iakovos and the elevation of bishops to “metropolitan” status has been in the southward direction; that is to say even before Demetrios took the helm.

Unfortunately, given the dearth of spirituality and catechesis among the broad spectrum of the laity, these defects were baked in the cake so to speak. One cannot expect the GOA to produce holy priests or saintly hierarchs when the people themselves half-expect their parishes to be nothing more than social halls and sacrament factories.

This prideful nature was reinforced for several decades because the GOA was the largest of the Orthodox jurisdictions here in America and many Greek-Americans prided themselves on being the most assimilated and wealthy Orthodox in America. Monasteries and monasticism are viewed contemptuously by many secularized Greek-American laymen. To be sure, this arrogance began decades ago, almost from its inception back in 1923.

And of course, there is the unpleasant fact that the priest-to-episcopal track was the only acceptable venue for Greek-American young men who were not themselves desirous of the marital vocation. It was long an open secret among graduates at Holy Cross that the tiny minority who chose not to get married knew that they had the inside track to become bishops; all they had to do was get a degree, get ordained and in due time they would become “archimandrites” and then, bishops. To add insult to injury, their salaries and pensions would outstrip those of the married clergy. Neither academic brilliance nor spiritual asceticism was expected in the grand scheme of things. “Just wait your turn”. As such, the academic reputation of Holy Cross (which was never that high to begin with) atrophied almost to the point of insignificance.

And now (to use that tired cliche), the chickens have come home to roost.

Perhaps this is a blessing, the silver lining to this very dark cloud if you will. How so? I for one, don’t see how the new Archbishop can turn things around for the GOA. I can see how he can bolix things up as to regards to unity-coupled-with-American autocephaly, but not much else. His novel doctrine of “first without equals” makes organic unity impossible and if not challenged by the other bishops, puts the Phanar further into the pocket of the Western puppet-masters.

Perhaps this will all be too much for the American Orthodox populace to bear; Lambrianides’ febrile imaginings along with the continued decrepitude of the GOA may cause the minds of normal, uninformed laymen to simply say “Enough! It’s time to pick up the banner of Ligonier and create a truly united American Orthodox Church!”

Or perhaps we’ll just muddle along, hoping against hope that in time, things will turn around. Maybe our children won’t be the ones to leave or our parishes won’t be hauled before court because we wouldn’t perform a gay wedding for Manoli and Henrique. Or perhaps –like the ancient North African and Anatolian churches which no longer exist–we will wither on the vine.

When Lambrianides first came to America the first words he said were that all Orthodox in America “must submit to the Ecumenical Throne”. These are not the words of a servant-leader. I don’t ever recall reading in Scripture where Jesus spoke in such a manner. It certainly is completely ignorant of the American ethos. And then there’s the fact that we are all “barbarians” here (at least according to the discredited Canon 28 mythology).

Regrettably, I believe that with all this Phanariote triumphalism, it will soon become obvious that we have “we have forgotten our first love” (Rev 2:4). Perhaps this will be too much for the Lord Himself and that this is the reason why this scandal has exploded right on the very day that the new Archbishop was to assume the primacy. I for one, don’t see how much more we can withstand, both here in America or in the ersatz patriarchate that sits on the Bosporus.

Lord have mercy.


  1. George_S says

    All of this is very sad indeed. I’ve always been a fan of pan-Orthodox unity and having grown up in an ethnic jurisdiction (ROCOR) I’ve always connected with the idea of having an ethnic upbringing in the Orthodox church. When Hellenic Americans speak of wanting to have Greek language in the services and a strong Greek cultural component, I can totally connect and am very sympathetic. But then I hear some of the same voices claim that the Ecumenical Patriarchate = Byzantium of yore = our Hellenism and this very much reminds me of some of my own compatriots who equate the USSR with Russia, thinking that Marxism is compatible with Orthodoxy somehow (just as the Phanar’s devotees think globalism and Orthodoxy are compatible). It seems the biggest problem is that many of the GOA’s parishioners simply don’t understand what globalism is and why it’s a bad thing – to them it’s simply “democracy, human rights, free markets – isn’t that what we should be bringing the world?”. A sad state of affairs but then again, every historical epoch has its challenges for the Church. Thank you for your bold, well written, enlightening posts.

  2. Gail Sheppard says

    George, I was positively shocked by this and because it sounds so fantastic (clearly, not in a good way) I wonder if it could possibly be true. Do YOU think it could be true? If so, why? Have other people talked to you about this?

    • George_S says

      Hi Gail, could you be more specific about what you are referring to? Thanks…

    • George Michalopulos says

      Gail, I thought long and hard before publishing this. For one thing, the translation leaves a little bit to be desired. Secondly, I would rather not publish salacious details (and have done so only twice in almost a decade. I don’t like to broadcast another man’s sins.

      As to your question, yes, it is in the AP. Now I realize that not everything one reads in the paper isn’t true. (Russia Collusion anyone?) But I have sources outside the AP and have had for quite awhile. Truthfully, I’ve been inundated with scandals for several years now and I chose to ignore them. Unfortunately, this one is too hot to handle and as it explodes there will be world-wide ramifications.

      For now, I will say this and nothing more: in August of last year, Patriarch Kirill went to Istanbul and begged Patriarch Bartholomew to not go down the disastrous path in the Ukraine that he did. Something tells me that Bartholomew took this warning to heart (or so I hope so), being as it was a heart-full plea from a brother primate. Unfortunately, the neolibcons at the State Dept and the Western chanceries assured him that this was the path to go on.

      And let’s not forget, this new paradigm fit in rather well with his own globalist pretensions. Poroshenko as well assured him that this is what was needed for him to secure his reelection and he also knew what dire financial straights that the See of Cpole is constantly in. Bartholomew needed $25 million and fast in order to restart the St Nicholas Shrine and (more importantly) to keep certain key players in 79th St out of prison.

      Unfortunately, it all makes sense. And as I stated in this latest blog post, this is but one scandal, look for more details in the near future about the St Nicholas Shrine debacle.

      • Sorry but I don’t know what the “AP” is.

        Are you referring to the Associated Press newswire?

      • George like you one’s first reaction is disgust and shame. Total shame and disgust and anger. The clumsy language lends to me authenticity.
        But is it true!? I would love to say no, but my gut feeling as psychologist, as Greek, tells me yes it is. How can you expect people to believe? I feel sorry for ordinary married clergy but for too long we have clergy not up to it in modern world.
        And George I have only mentioned once, but my limited inner knowledge of Phanar circles tells me YES. I have good greek friend, lady from Drama, who was married to a bastard, now divorced, but he was close in with all the Phanar lot. And its worse now.
        My own personal recollection is from my Godmother’s son who was deacon to Athenagoras Kokinakis, 1963-79 uk archbishop from USA, San Francisco I think.
        I will say no more except to say we not talking celibate lives all round.

        The reasons for these scandals are Men in the closset and hopefully fewer of them now, that a good thing, and in these pretend patriarchates, total lack of governance, either of bishops or the wider organization. And the total wordly comfortable spirit that pervades parishes and church.
        Yes Dimitrios was the last true Patriarch of Constantinople . A humble sainted man.
        I totally apposed to Elpidiophoros but I do not know of any accusation against him in sexual realm but bluntly as my mother used to say to me, ‘ Tell me who you go with and I will tell you who u are ‘.

        George if there is not a full bringing to justice, we risk the Church. I have long felt we sitting on Catholic type scandal. I have seen over the yrs in Phanar juristiction, Men who are obviously gay and by their presence it’s obvious they sexually engaged.
        We need not witch hunting but to make sure that monks live in monasteries and are supervised and I would even support a married episcopate. Not because it will be a wonder cure but at least will bring some normality but I can see Russian church not happy cos of living church history. But at least an episcopate whose lives ARE CELIBATE AND MONASTIC.

        • There is very little need for a witch hunt (ask any Episcopalian) when the witches walk up, hold out their hands and say “How do you do, I’m a witch”. They may even present the hand to be kissed. It’s so obvious that it must be explained. The stupid and corrupt clerics and bishops were once stupid and corrupt laymen. When you start with this you end up with that. Notice the seminary, whether active and useless like Holy Cross (excuse me, Helleniccollegeholycross) or thankfully empty and useless like Halki, is not magic and doesn’t make stupid and corrupt into holy and effective. As long as the people are kind of dumb and put up with this it will continue, exactly as it has among Roman Catholics. Pretending that singleness makes a man “holy” and bishop material is and always was stupid. We will continue to have the bishops and patriarchs we do and their hand picked successors until the stupidity among laity wants to be cured. We are the problem because we want to be.

  3. Emmanuel of France was on the fast track to be the next Archbishop of America. It is obvious that something extreme happened in order for him to withdraw his name (or have his name withdrawn for him). This is very sad, if accurate.

    • Peras Laziklis says

      Karlootsos, the neurotic, ever-hissing snake, has been going around claiming his new puppy, Yelping Doofus, is going to be JUST like Athenagoras, going back as Patriarch with all those powerful American acquaintances. Well, for one, Athenagoras got to stay in America a lot longer, as Bart won?t. Then, what exactly was Athenagoras? greatest accomplishment as Patriarch? The pogroms of 1955! Karlootsos is so proud that he keeps stepping on his own member with consistency!

  4. GOARCH & Constantinople are just the Orthodox version of the Roman Church: scandals, laxity, Modernism

    It might just be best to cut GOARCH & Constantinople from the vine and let them wither. Not everyone within there is bad, and those that aren’t can come to other jurisdictions

    What you write about Orthodoxy in America dying like the Churches of North Africa is truly depressing because, unlike North Africa, the Church here ha never even gotten the opportunity to flourish

    • George Michalopulos says

      Stavros, believe it or not, but in the first 600 years of Christendom, North Africa was the backbone of the Church. Now it is a spiritual desert.

      • If I may, it is not a spiritual desert. Yes, we are non-Chalcedonian, but by the Grace of God, we’ve survived our sins and the Muslim invasions, and if you add us up (Ethiopians, Eritreans, and Copts), we’re probably somewhere around 60 to 70 million.

        • Have a huge amount of respect for the Copts and sometimes attend Vespers at a local parish. What the Church of Alexandria has gone through and still survived is nothing short of amazing.

          The only problems I have with the Coptic Church that I run into is the Christology (so co fused on what is actually believed) and the Protestant style worship that seems to have created into the Copts Church

          • Monk James Silver says

            We need to tread VERY carefully here.

            While individuals among pre-/non-chalcedonian Christians — even professors of theology personally known to me — profess faith in Orthodox Christian christology, their churches officially do not.

            The Coptic Pope Shenouda iii actually wrote a book defending monophysitism, and all of these groups venerate Severus of Antioch as a saint, although he is the major exponent of this ancient heresy.

            It will take a while for this to get straightened out (it’s been only fifteen centuries so far), but the Copts, Armenians, Syriacs, etc., can’t be considered Orthodox unless and until they accept and profess the doctrinal definitions of all seven Ecumenical Synods, especially Chalcedon.

            In the meantime, it’s to be admitted that they are much closer to us Orthodox in faith and practice than are Protestants and Catholics, and that their steadfastness in the face of endless persecution by militant Islam since the sixth century is to be respected, even venerated as an example of faithfulness to Christ.

            May the Lord grant us, with our better theology, to be so faithful!

          • STAVROS, φίλε, I know the Copts having had coptic medical colleagues and got to know them. From their service books to ignorant me they seem to be holding the same faith re Christ but expressed from different perspective. I hold of course to Chalcedon .
            What do you exactly mean by protestant worship creeping in.? Will appreciate you telling me. I have always found coptic worship moving but yes I can see in USA context they have a hard cultural gap, more difficult than byzantine one, to cross and may easily repeat the greek american disaster. I would be interested to know. God bless. Χριστός Ανέστη.

          • Savas Balinas says

            You would support Copts and other pre-Chalceonians
            over fellow-Trinitarians Catholics and Batpists?
            Just who is off base now?

            • I never said that. What i said is the wording in their liturgy seems to be not actually clearly monophysite. But until they openly declare for chalcedon, they are outside the Church.
              As for many western christians, they are nestorians or Arians for sure.
              But what I will say is these non chalcedon churches currently are bearing the blunt of islamic persecution and producing many martyrs for Christ. For thst I do have love and warmth and support.

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                If Western Christians were Arians there would be more hope. Arianism is one of those heresies that cannot exist anymore. If you could believe in a heavenly demiurge, exalted over all but nonetheless created, ordinary Christianity would be easy to swallow.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              Copts and Armenians and Syriacs are fellow-Trinitarians.

              Just another comment re the thread: Egypt is not North Africa. “Africa” and “Egypt” were always distinct. Christianity was pretty much made extinct in North Africa.

              • Yes of course they are trinitarians. Can that be said of many western christians, apart from on the label?
                And reading their liturgy they seem to be saying what we believe but in different way. I just ask anybody to read their service books. I’m accepting until they accept chalcedon there is a problem but…???

            • Michael Bauman says

              Savas, in a heart beat. What Monk James says: “In the meantime, it’s to be admitted that they are much closer to us Orthodox in faith and practice than are Protestants and Catholics, and that their steadfastness in the face of endless persecution by militant Islam since the sixth century is to be respected, even venerated as an example of faithfulness to Christ.”

              Is absolutely true and not just the part I quote here. He succinctly describes the problem.

        • Antiochene Son says

          I could be wrong, but I think George was probably thinking of Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Salaam, true that. I was speaking about chalcedonian expression. You people have taken it on the chin and survived.

          God bless you and forgive me.

      • Yep, that’s my point. North Africa gave us many, many great saints. Even though it was the backbone at one point, not any more. America hasn’t even had the chance to come close to the spiritual breath that North Africa was, which is very depressing bc Orthodoxy has so much to offer here. I’m really curious as to how all of this will play out for the other jurisdictions. I left GOARCH for AOAA for spritual reasons and feel safe at this point, I just don’t see the other Orthodox bishops getting along with the new Archbishop

    • Stavros,

      What would become of the Monasteries of Geronta Ephraim? Would they have any options if it came to a point where they would have to go under the omophorian of another hierarch from a different jurisdiction?

      • Really great questions, and one I would also love to know. I frequent Holy Archangels here in Texas and know how much hard work they have put into building the site. I just don’t know, and barring a pan-Orthodox council here in the U.S (and abroad) not sure if it will be resolved

    • Johannes says

      If Constantinople is an icon of the Church then maybe we need to keep witnessing to it and fighting for it instead of cutting it loose.

      • Rome used to be an Icon of the Church. Sometimes we need to prune dead branches.

  5. Greatly Saddened says

    George … You are a crusader for the truth and for what our faith should be all about. “Christ” … first and foremost! Rather than position in the Church, ethnic culture and traditions.

    In my most humble personal opinion, ethnic culture, language and traditions are important. But they should not take priority in relatiom to Christ and His Church!

    It seems to me that when Church and ethnicity are mixed together, the Church unfortunately seems to more often than not, take a back seat to ethnicity!

    Being brought up in the Greek Orthodox faith and fluent in Greek, time has come for the benefit of our children, grandchildren and for the future generations to come. To put our egos and pride aside and strive for an American Orthodox Church here in the United States. Where the language of the Church is English.

    I am certain it will not be easy task, but then again nothing worth while is. We can “always” find excuses why not to. The idea is to find the fortitude, courage and reasons why it would be beneficial to!

    God bless you and your family, George. I am extremely humbled to be apart of this most blessed and most wonderful Monomakhos family.

    With much humility, love and respect,
    Greatly Saddened

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thank you, I’m deeply humbled by your fulsome praise. But honestly, I couldn’t do it without you and people like you. I don’t know who you are but I imagine you are rightly horrified and zealous for our precious Church.

      • Fr. Demetrios Carellas says

        Dear to Christ, George and all Brothers and Sisters who may read my feeble words,


        In reading several of your comments, I feel you are most sincere in your love for our Holy Orthodox Faith and maintaining the Patristic Fronema through which our Holy Orthodox Faith has passed down the Apostolic teachings and dogma from the day of Pentecost until the Lord Returns.
        I also believe that “Greatly saddened” also loves our Faith, and I am thankful that we have such dedicated faithful. However, I must disagree with him regarding the need for an autocephalous American Orthodox Church. George, I have been blessed to serve as a simple priest in the GOA for over 44 years, and I feel that we are – and have been for at least the past 50 years – gradually becoming more and more like the other Christian formations in our approach to worship. And this causes me grief, much grief, within my sinful soul.

        As I am sure you know, Orthodox Worship is not centered upon helping our fallen human reason to understand and comprehend our worship services. That is the format of the West. As St. John Chrysostom reminds us, we can never gain true knowledge of God in our fallen reasoning. Such divine knowledge is only given to the heart — the heart that has be blessed with purity through tears of repentance and total surrender of one’s will to God. Orthodox Worship seeks to have us experience God within our hearts. That is why, when the envoys from Prince Vladimir, who entered Aghia Sophia during a Holy Liturgy – who had no knowledge of Greek – exclaimed: “We did not know whether we were in heaven or on earth, we just know that God lived there” ( I am paraphrasing, but I am close to the original.).

        Since I am 75, I can remember how different Liturgy was at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church in Savannah Georgia when I was in my middle teens. The pew racks only contained two things: A laminated card with the Creed and Lord’s Prayer in English and Greek, and a hand fan compliments of Fox Funeral home. There were no Liturgy books to read. Also, more people attended Church 60 years ago and more came on time. The prayers of the priest were silent. There was no exchanging of the kiss of peace (which today often turns into conversation exchanges as well), and the people did not say the “amens” during the consecration (In the history of the Church, that has never been done until the past 15 or 20 years.). The sermon was always given after the Gospel, most often 90% in English and a 10% Greek summary.

        Today, forgive me, I feel we are losing the Mystery: prayers of the priest are out loud; in some churches, there are even cameras in the Holy Altar; most GOA churches do not even have a curtain to close; perhaps at least 75% of the faithful are not aware that the closing of the curtain symbolizes the Righteous Joseph placing a large stone over the entrance to the Tomb. What happened from that moment to the presence of the Angel announcing the risen Christ to our Panaghia and the holy Myrrh-bearers is a mystery — the Mystery of mysteries! How I yearn for that to return! It would be so wonderful if we could teach our faithful that during that time they could all be silently in the Jesus Prayer, — entreating God to cleanse their hearts; so that when the priest opened the curtain, and called us forth – “with the fear of God, in faith and in love” – to receive the risen Christ, our hearts would be filled with joy and gladness that are beyond words — in any language!

        Forgive me, but I fear that, during worship in the Holy Liturgy, we are too focused on knowledge and understanding for our minds, rather than a true mystical experience of the living God within our hearts. Until we at least start to restore the “mysterion” of the Orthodox Holy Liturgy in the hearts of all the clergy and laity, I feel we are not ready to be an autocephalous Church. Furthermore, unlike the Orthodox Nations in Europe, Russia and parts of the Middle East, our ground is not saturated with the “blood of the martyrs” — not yet, at least. We still need a Mother to care for us and guide. I have no idea who that Mother should be, however. At the very least, I believe she must be a Mother whose words and actions incarnate the timeless teachings of our holy and God-bearing Fathers, whose hierarchs – even in their silence – personify the Orthodox Fronema, which this world – and all of us – so desperately need. May the Mother of our Life, the Mother of our Church and the Mother of us all, our Most Beloved Panaghia, lead us to that Mother Church, who will unite us into one body and nurture us in the holy Mystery of Orthodox Worship and Orthodox life! Then we can truly become that “city on the hill.”

        I have much more to say, but I know this is already too much. May our Panaghia help me to prepare an article to share, if it is blessed, in spite of my filth and unworthiness! Forgive me, if my poor words have cause offense to any brother or sisters!

        Your servant in the risen Lord Jesus
        +Papa Demetri

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Truly He is Risen!

          Father, your words are not at all feeble and I cannot argue with anything you have said for I have seen it myself and have even been guilty of it, at times.

          I don’t know of anyone who loves God who would be offended. When I hear a priest talk like you just did, I am so encouraged.

          People ask, “Where do we start?” We start here, Father. We start with you and with priests like you.

          Thank you.

        • Constantinos says

          Dear Father,
          There is great wisdom in your lovely, kind, gracious words. I hope you elaborate further on what your thoughts are regarding that “Mother Church.” It left me a little confused. I don’t know if you are talking about Constantinople, Moscow, Jerusalem or Alexandria.
          In any event, I wish all priests had your gentleness, and kindness. You are fine example for all priests to emulate. Thank you kindly for your edifying spirit of love.

        • Antiochene Son says

          Father, you write inspirationally about the Holy Liturgy. If it came down to a trade-off between Greek and all the wonderful things you described, I would choose Greek and Mystery. My own priest insists on saying the Epiclesis aloud and for the people to respond with the Amens, and it has never felt right to me.

          I don’t think it’s necessarily an either-or proposition, but as you illustrate, there are more important things than the language.

        • Fr Jim, I believe the mistake you make is a common one. The idea that what you experienced as a child in GA is what the church should be like. You long to relive your childhood experience assuming that is the absolute expression of Orthodoxy. Yet, we know that the faith has and will continue to change. Multiple accretions occurred during Byzantium–for example the outfit of the Bishop and the embellishment of churches which St Chrysostom condemned. He felt the money should be given to the poor.

          Furthermore, I am reminded of the words of St. Paul who said, it is better to speak 10 words in a known language than 10000 words in an unknown language.” Understanding is a necessary part of worship. Additionally, I don’t believe that the liturgy is the proper place for the practice of the Jesus prayer. Liturgy is meant for corporate worship.

          • JK says: I don’t believe that the liturgy is the proper place for the practice of the Jesus prayer.

            Amongst all the errors you proclaimed in your post, this one sticks out like sore thumb. Every place and everywhere is the proper time for the Jesus prayer. It saddens me that you said this.

          • Fr. Demetrios Carellas says

            Dear to Christ, Jk,

            CHRIST IS RISEN!

            Forgive me, but you seemed to have missed my point. Orthodox Worship is heart-centered, not mind-centered. At the turn of the 20th Century at least 95% of the multitudes that attended worship in Orthodox countries could neither understand the liturgical Greek nor the Cyrillic, but I assume they were experiencing God in their hearts. I feel that you quoted St. Paul out of context, and I disagree with most of your words, but I give thanks to God for your commitment to our Faith. May our Most Sweet Lord Jesus bless you and your family!

            In Christ’s love,
            +Papa Demetri

            • George Michalopulos says

              Fr Demetri, thank you for your insights. I intend to reread your original post for future commentary. I pray you continue to contribute to this forum.

            • Fr exactly. While I do not think the doors should be continually closed, and I believe the congregation should SING, NOT SAY, BUT SING, AS IN RUSSIA, THE CREED AND LORD’S PRAYER I also see the western, ‘ to be doing something ‘ mentality creeping in and the loss of liturgical beauty, outwardly and inwardly.
              It’s interesting that in re- examining western medeval piety ( The stripping of the altar) and medeval western church, they understanding now that the laity with their beads and bringing the baked loaf that was shared afterwardst as antidoron etc ,were not passive worshippers but active and involved in eucharist. Our world is in need of Silence. . As is mystery.
              I worship here in Bulgaria in bulgarian and some slavonic, (mostly in the hymns). I do not understand every word, although the main,Yes, but it does not matter. I know from the greek as same sung melodies, what they singing.

          • Matthew Panchisin says

            Dear JK,

            Your post exemplifies the differences between an Orthodox Patristic oriented phronema (that is obviously in the marrow of Fr. Demetrios Carella) and the western mindset that you have articulated swelly.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Matthew, I must protest somewhat. While I agree entirely with the heartfelt sentiment of Fr Demetrios, JK’s critique is not without merit. I worship in an OCA church where the English translation is Elizabethan and the piety that exists between the priest and congregation during the liturgy (e.g. the responses) is palpable.

              I believe the disconnect is because Fr Demetrios has seen a wholesale diminution of piety and mystery in the GOA. As for the Jesus Prayer, I believe that during the Epiclesis would be an ideal time for the laity to pray it repeatedly.

              • How any one can feel mystery in a Greek american church utilizing the harmonium and choir music blaring out none stop even for the Amens, I have no idea.
                Contrast with a proper Orthodox liturgy such as i know here in Bulgaria. End of. Or the feeling evoked by the wonderful St Vladimir seminary Ledkovsky led choir of Liturgy in english. It is a Joy to hear. As worship at St Vladimir or in numbers OCA and Antioch churches.

              • Matthew Panchisin says

                Dear George

                I was just a bit struck by JK’s post insofar as during the liturgy people often pray quietly in their hearts for a troubled child or sick friend or relative, the loss of a loved one etc., so there is always that piety that exists from the trails and tribulations of everyday life that Father Demetrios surely knows well. It’s a different perspective.

        • Monk James Silver says

          Fr. Demetrios Carellas (May 16, 2019 at 5:25 pm) says

          BIG SNIP
          I have much more to say, but I know this is already too much. May our Panaghia help me to prepare an article to share, if it is blessed, in spite of my filth and unworthiness! Forgive me, if my poor words have cause offense to any brother or sisters!


          Christ is risen, truly risen!

          Oh, Father Demetri! You should keep sending your words!

          It’s not that I agree with you 100%, especially concerning the audible reading of the priest’s prayers, and people could be taught how to be respectful while exchanging the ‘peace’, but your insights are always valuable.

          You might not remember me, but when I was still a twenty-something layman in the 1970s, you and I worked together to compile services to be sung during an all-night OCF retreat at Assumption Church in Chicago.

          When I asked if we should take some things in Greek, you (in your southern accent) said something like ‘If people like Greek so much, they should go to G land.’

          Obviously. I never forgot that. But I only recently learned (from another guy who attended that retreat with the woman he eventually married) that the pastor of Assumption parish gave you (his assistant priest) a lot of grief because we didn’t use any Greek language or sing in byzantine chant. (I hope that the parish corrected its name by now.)

          You asked me to help, so I brought what I could from our OCA Holy Trinity Cathedral on Leavitt Street where I was serving as choir director. You were OK with what I brought, in English and in Russian-style four -part chant.

          I remember you and your kindness, and Fr Anthony Coniaris, too, from that wonderfnight. I don’t remember the proistamenos at all. Funny how that works.

          You’ve always had three years on me, so, even now at age 72, I respect you, geronda Demetri.

        • Fr I kiss yr hand. All u say is true. And you have not mentioned, but the biggest destroyer, being the rigid rows of pews and harmonium etc. Note I do not say seating per se, as needed,BUT THE RIGID THEATRE LIKE ROWS, that have degraded piety to the occassional Crossing one’s self and with western obscession to be reading non stop through service with a truck load of books.
          I am glad you note the for ever open gates and NOISE. Biggest NOISE is the organ.
          I thank God for the Slav churches, again and again and again and for here in Bulgaria.
          As for autocephaly etc. It would not matter, if the ‘ mother church, ‘ was not an ’empty potemkin village’ facade, but a real church zelous to advance Orthodoxy in new world. Only the Church of Russia and blessed Patrarch Tikhon have done this.
          I am greek by nationality BUT Russian by faith to sort of mirror image paraphrase the Patrarch Nikon of Moscow mid 17th.

          • Every time I hear the people yelling out…..Amen…..Amen…..Amen, Amen, Amen…..I cannot but feel (for that moment) that I am at a protestant revival. It is quite unnerving! It is as if suddenly, everyone has been ordained to the diaconate! Also, the handshake (kiss of peace) that was adopted by some of the Greeks and Antiochians completely disrupts the flow of the Holy Liturgy. I have even seen some of the clergy and laity going from pew to pew as if it is a “meet and greet.”

            Lord have mercy!

            • George Michalopulos says

              Mikhail, while I consider myself to be very traditional, I have absolutely no problem with the laity saying “Amen, Amen, Amen” to each of these petitions. Even the kiss of peace I have no problem with. These can be done in an irenic and sanctified manner.

              Yes, we poke fun at our Protestant brothers but what they do right, they do right (tithing, missionary work, charity).

              • In my bulgarian Parish we say the Amens at consecration as at St John Baptist monastery in Essex Uk. But this nor usual in Bulgaria in general.

              • I must disagree with you George. The silent prayers are part of the Mystery. The people do not need to be saying the Amens (it is meant for the deacon…or the priest if a deacon is not present). The handshake is an unnecessary disruption…..very Roman Catholic-like. When I attend a ROCOR Liturgy (or Serbian, traditional OCA, etc) where the silent prayers remain silent….the difference is palpable. Some people will say that these prayers were said out loud in the early Church. The problem with that argument is that the clergy and laity in the early Church were in a state of purification, illumination and glorification. This practice was stopped for a reason. It was stopped because the people are in great need of the return of the Mystical aspect of the Liturgy….to help them return to the state of purefication, illumination and glorification.

                I am not poking fun at the protestants…..it is not customary for Orthodox Christians to be shouting out “Amen” during the Holy Liturgy.

                Fr. John Romanides used to teach (and Metropolitan Vlachos writes about it) that “the priest began to celebrate the Liturgy….. behind the curtain, because those who were not in the state of Illumination ought not to see the Mysteries. For the same reason….the prayers began to be said secretly. Because these prayers are for the Illuminated.”

                Are we all Illuminated now, George? Perhaps you are not as “tradtional” as you perceived?

              • Antiochene Son says

                I have to disagree. The consecration prayer is proper to the priest, and the “Amen” responses to the deacon. The choir is supposed to be singing “we praise thee” in response to “thine own of thine own.”

                As RC priest John Zuhlsdorf rightly says:

                SAY THE BLACK

                DO THE RED

                That is all.

                No experimentation is needed.

                The Liturgy isn’t “Mystery Science Theater 3000”.

                Many of the silent prayers are said in the person of the priest for his own unworthiness. Those certainly do not need to be heard by the laity.

              • Greatly Saddened says

                And may I add their knowledge of the Bible as well. We must give credit where it is due!

                • It is a very sad thing to say that we must give credit to the protestants because they know the Bible. Here we are…in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church…the Church which compiled the canon of Sacred Scripture and interpreted it…and we are giving credit to the protestants because they commit the Bible to memory! They often have the wrong interpretation…but they sure can recite chapters and verses. And what about those Orthodox who have the fullness of truth…but never even READ the Bible. Perhaps this is one of the reasons we are being chastised so severely.

                  • Greatly Saddened says

                    Mikhail … As sad as it may be, this is what I have found in my personal life experience with the Greek Orthodox Church of America.

        • Fr. Dmitri you the priesthood must take some responsibility for secularization of the liturgy.And above all the bishops! After all whose responsibility is the altar.? Whose responsibility is it to ensure liturgical singing According to the Church tradition of 2000 yrs and not the abomination you allowed?. Whose responsibility is it that you put aside the rason etc for a clerical suit to be like the rest. At least if you had reversed to normal clothes.?? And,And, And.
          The laity, trying to survive in new land, with no monasteries, and no guidance, did what they could. The disaster was 1917 and bolshevik revolution that destroyed the Orthodox unity and discipline in America.
          For all their problems and struggle, see what fruit the ROCOR produced.

          • Solitary Priest says

            I must jump in, Niko. You know, often here in the US, the priest would come from Greece or elsewhere dressed like a priest. The congregation would say. “No, Papa, we don’t do that here.” Not saying that is good, just the way it was in many cases.
            Because I had to work a secular job for most of my priesthood, there was a period of time when I couldn’t wear a beard. A Greek Old Calendarist got in my face about my not having a beard. I felt so badly about it that I went to my boss and said, ” If you can’t let me wear at least a goatee, I will have to find another job.” They allowed it, then two years later, company policy changed. I guess the Moslems are good for something, after all☺
            Then I grew the hair and beard out and promptly a lady from Serbia got in my face about looking old fashioned.
            “You can and you can’t, you will and you won’t. You’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t.”
            I just wish abstaining from sin was as easy as growing out the beard.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              SP, it’s definitely not easy living an Orthodox Christian life or to please everyone in the Church. That you and other members of our clergy try really counts with me.

    • Greatly saddened one wants to cry and turn from the Cross in shame. But yes until all this pseudo waffle is put to one side.
      I recall my late mother who was a witness to October 28th 1940 as school girl in Patras, and to occupation and rest and suffered rape and torture, i can remember her listening to Kostas Hadjipateras speaking in St Sophia Bayswater, London, on and on, about the heroic day, knowing full well he had been safe in Switzerland, student, the entire war!! We need an end to this crap.

    • Why not? says

      An ‘American Orthodox Church’ with English as it’s main language needn’t wait for the ethnic jurisdictional hierarchs residing in the US to come together as one administrative entity – just do it at the local parish level. In fact, an idea could be that a pan-Orthodox society within the canonical Church be created that parishes who join simply agree to add “American Orthodox Church” to their parish’s name to identify this ethos. It would let the ethnic bishops off the hook without having to dissolve their synods or governance of their parishes. Keep your calendar, keep your bishop, but worship will be in English. Why not? The pan-Orthodox unity in the USA could happen around the English language.

      • Greatly Saddened says

        Why not … it’s not as simple as it may seem. The old world parishioners still want Greek and seem to resist change. These same parishioners unfortunately fail to understand we have been and continue losing the youth. The sign outside the Church says … “Greek Orthodox Church!”

        • Yes. In America worship should be in english with other languages used as asked for or needed. But not just language. When the Church is bossed and directed by Turkish citizens of dubious moral and character, setting their needs as priority, and milking you as a cash cow, it really does not matter what language you worship in.

  6. John Pappas says

    Yes, it could be true. One problem the laity in the GOA have is that episcopal miscreants are never held accountable for their misdeeds. Every question hits a stonewall.

    Take Met. Nikita Loulias, formerly the Bishop of Hong Kong for example. He was removed from his post virtually overnight and parked at the Athenagoras Institute in Berkeley, California. Constantinople has never revealed why he was removed so quickly, or why the California position was opened for him. He remains on the American payroll (no one knows how much it costs to maintain him) basically doing make-work projects. Rumors are he got into sexual trouble but because of the rule that once a man becomes a bishop he remains untouchable by anyone (except other bishops of course), we are left in the dark.

    Meanwhile he still sits on the Constantinople Synod. We pay for his trips back and forth.

    Another example is Bp. Demetrios Kantzavelos, former chancellor of Chicago. His mishandling of the Jim Dokos affair (Fr. Jim was convicted of stealing money) threw two parishes into chaos and forced a good priest to move across country. Both Kantzavelos and Loulias personally profited from the Dokos theft (Dokos gave them money) but we have no idea whether these “gifts” were ever returned. Rumors are some of the money went to Constantinople but when you don’t get the truth all you are left with is rumors. Kantzavelos is on “sabbatical” for the time being traversing the world and appearing hither and yon.

    Once you get the miter, you become untouchable.

    • Greatly Saddened says

      This is absolutely disgusting, sickening and unbelievable all in one. It should not be tolerated, nor permitted to continue.

      It seems to be the old adage … get caught or be implicated … and get reassigned. As far as they are concerned, end of story. Please excuse me, but this BS needs to stop and untouchable my you know what as well!

      These people just like the rest of us, should be held liable and accountable for their actions. And by that, I do not mean by being reassigned either!

      • The Catholic church paying dearly, and the money the easier bit,for this hypocritical attitude.
        I trust we will too. I pray we will.

    • Good points, John. I agree. By the way, Bishop Dimitri, who longed to be the Chicago Metropolitan but only garnered one vote, is now working the Archdiocese in some sort of department called Social Media and Change. I guess he is well-rested from his paid (by us!) sabbatical after all the apparent financial shenanigans in Milwaukee, Glenview, and other areas of the Metropolis there. It’s a disgrace that a cleric who was involved in a scandal and who has never fully revealed details or returned the “gift” now is being paid by us at the GOA. They always seem to find a job for them.

  7. Greatly Saddened says

    From what I understand, His Grace Demetrios of Mokissos has recently been assigned to the Archdiocese in New York. This may very well change with the new Archbishop. Only time will tell for sure.

  8. Austin Martin says

    I don’t see the problem with elevating the American bishops to metropolitans. If there’s one central metropolitan bishop with a dozen auxiilary bishops, that’s just papalism with extra steps.

    You could make the argument that the GOA was stronger under that system, much how the Antiochian Archdiocese has flourished under it, but all that says is that it’s necessary as an initial step. It’s an argument from practicality, not philosophy.

    • George Michalopulos says

      All diocesan bishops are equal. The title of Metropolitan should be reserved for a regional archbishop. The US has 9 or so regions (e g Midwest, New England, the South, etc). No more than 9 metropolitans and perhaps 30 diocesan bishops.

      The profligate use of this title will lead to ruin.

  9. Antiochene Son says

    It might be better to further decentralize the Orthodox Church, like the Oriental Orthodox communion is.

  10. Reading this is like reading about Catholic scandals. No wonder the Greeks want unity with the Romans so much!

    But seriously, having lately come from the Catholic Church into Antiochian Orthodoxy, I believe decentralization is best, and would not hurry to create a single “American Orthodox Church.” Too much power in too few people, or in just one man, is a disaster.

    Or if you must, have several, like the “Rocky Mountain Orthodox Church, East Coast Orthodox Church,” etc. Or state by state, “California Orthodox Church, Texas Orthodox Church, New Jersey Orthodox Church.” Each small enough that lay people can have a real voice along with parish clergy, and actually know their bishop. Bigger is not better!

    Sometimes I wish we could go back to rioting to get rid of bad bishops, like the laity did in the early Church. Maybe the US Greeks should try that with the new Archbishop.

  11. I read Fr. Demetrios. OK, the GOA deserves every bishop they have and are about to get. Enjoy. If you want ignorance, silent prayers and the idea that the liturgy is some kind of “dramatic” replay of the life of Christ, fine. You deserve Holycrosshelleniccollege, you deserve the unfinished ruin in NYC, and the patriarch. You deserve abusive clergy. You deserve parishes closing and being sold as mosques. You have chosen to be the big fat Greek wedding joke. You deserve Narthex Press. Enjoy. I have zero sympathy and will ignore everything above the parish level.