More Fallout from Milwaukee

Fr. James DokosReaders will recall the post Breaking: DA Asked to Review Possible Theft from Church by Former Priest where Fr. James Dokos, the former priest of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was accused of misusing funds from a Trustee account in the parish. It looks like the thicket is denser than anyone first believed.

See: Former Wauwatosa priest suspected of stealing from his church

Fr. Dokos currently serves at Sts. Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church in Glenview, Illinois. The parish council of St. Peter and Paul, alarmed at the developments in Milwaukee, voted to request an administrative leave for Fr. Dokos until the matter in Milwaukee was resolved. Fr. Dokos’ activities are under criminal investigation by the Milwaukee District attorney and leaders in the Annunciation parish indicate that legal action may be pending.

Meanwhile, Metropolitan Iakovos of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago received the letter from the Sts. Peter and Paul Parish Council and responded by removing the Parish Council President, a heavy-handed move that is sure to inflame the conflict even further.

Bp. Demetrios KontsavelosHere’s the rub. Copies of documents recently obtained by Monomakhos reveal that Bp. Demetrios (Kantzavelos) of Chicago received personal checks from Dokos drawn from the account that Dokos allegedly mismanaged. These checks were made out to Kantzavelos personally and endorsed and deposited by him. No one knows the exact amounts but they run into thousands of dollars. Kontzavelos handles the day to day affairs of the Chicago Metropolis.

What should be done? The first step would be to restrict Kontsavelos from any authority in the matter. He needs to explain why he took the money, how much he took, and where it went. The second is to create an investigative committee to get to the bottom of this. Given that the hierarchy tends to cover for each other (the OCA has recent experience with this), committee authority should not rest solely in the Synod of Greek Orthodox Bishops.

Below are copies of the relevant documents obtained by Monomakhos. They include:

1) The copy of the letter by Sts. Peter and Paul to the Chicago Metropolitan.

2) The response by Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago removing the Parish Council President.

3) Copies of checks signed by Dokos and deposited by Kanzavelos.

3) Copies of checks signed by Dokos and deposited by Kanzavelos.

1) The copy of the letter by Sts. Peter and Paul to the Chicago Metropolitan.

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2) 2) The response by Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago removing the Parish Council President.

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3) Copies of checks signed by Dokos and deposited by Kantzavelos.

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3) Copies of checks signed by Dokos and deposited by Kantzavelos.

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  1. Fr. Peter Dubinin says

    As to what is presented here, Metropolitan Iakovos responded as he should have. Does the parish council have legitimate concern – yes; is there a more appropriate way to address legitimate concern rather than to make public statments – yes. No one is saying the parish council president cannot have an opinion of his own, even if it may not agree with His Eminence or the Metropolis, but as a leader in the parish community he needs to be more responsible with the manner in which he conducts his leadership. The letter to the Archbishop appears to be an attempt to maneuver a new priest into the parish; expecting that the parish council will be “consulted” in the selection and assignment of another parish priest. If the letter stayed within the bounds of “we have concerns,” and not proceeded to removal of present priest with posturing to get another one into the parish, then perhaps the parish council president would still be the parish council president. As a member of the military I have to weigh my responses and actions all the time; asking myself if this is something for which I am willing to fall on my sword? All members of the military must weigh their responses and actions in response to positions taken and expressed by our elected officials. It’s what we call – chain of command and deference to those in authority. The parish council president’s approach to the Archbishop seemed to presuppose the Archbishop did not know what was going on…. I can almost assure you, that is not the case. I pray this matter is dealt with rightly and with sober judgment and that the enflamed passions at work are reduced to the ash heap.

  2. Bruce Wm. Trakas says

    What incompetent action by the Holy Metropolis of Chicago’s Most Reverend Metropolitan. You would think Metropolitan Iakovos’ exceptionally lengthy tenure as Chicago’s hierarch would have given him the maturity to know that all he is doing is creating ill will in the community toward the Metropolis What a disaster. Sts. Peter and Paul is a jewel of a parish. The parish will decline while the Metropolis engages in its ill conceived combat with it, but in the end, will prevail over the excessively heavy handed “management” from its episcopal leadership. Hasn’t His Eminence ever noticed what happens to parishes after a hierarch takes this type of action, especially when it is wrongly based? Again, how ignorant, and how self-defeating. If the Metropolis chose not to place Fr. Jim on Administrative Leave, why not politely so advise the Parish Council President?

    About the only good thing about this is hopefully, their Right Revered Chancellor will get stained sufficiently to preclude his eventual nomination to the Throne of the Chicago Metropolis, though the other rumored contender, who resides in the West Coast and is not within the Holy Archdiocese of America, is likewise not well esteemed. Archbishop Demetrios had attempted to preclude the Chancellor’s episcopal elevation, but because he was not able to corroborate the allegations that had been submitted to him, unfortunately His Eminence failed in this regard.

    • friendofthepapa says

      Anyone who imagines that the letter to the PC President was written by His Eminence is rather naive. His Eminence is not administering the Metropolis and has not been for some time. Bishop Demetrios does all clergy assignments and runs all the business aspects of the Metropolis of Chicago. And anyone who knows him, can see his fingerprints all over the letter…for better or worse.

      • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

        Don’t you think, John, that Fr. Jim prompted +Demetri to dump the Parish Council President? That’s my thought because, as aggressive as is +Demetri, I don’t think he’s dumb enough to believe that the PC Pres. did anything that merits dismissal. The dismissal should not withstand the scrutiny of the Archdiocesan Administrative Appellate process. What canon, which UPR was violated, other than +Demitri’s apparent procedure, that correspondence to the Metropolis must be co-signed by both the PC Pres. and the Presiding Priest? A reasonable man will understand that given the nature of the letter about a legitimate issue, how could the Pres. be expected to secure the Presiding Priest’s signature? Wouldn’t a reasonable man also wonder what a parishioner is thinking while a priest who is under investigation by civil authorities for criminal wrongdoing is preaching about the message of the Gospel? What are such parishioners thinking when this priest is celebrating the Divine Liturgy, intoning, “Thine own of Thine own. we offer unto Thee, in behalf of all, and for all.” Much as the boys would be inclined to gather around one of their own, Archbishop Demetrios is aware of +Demetri’s liabilities. I always assumed that former Archdiocesan Council Vice Chairman Andy Athens of blessed memory, had facilitated the private critique of +Demitri that +Demetrios handed the Eparchial Synod when Metropolitan Iakovos brought his name up for elevation to the episcopacy. Sts. Peter & Paul was Andy’s parish. I assume there would be some faithful in the Sts. Peter & Paul congregation, who had been schooled with Andy’s substantial knowledge of administrative church work. There are some OCL leaders and members in this parish, too.

        There are enough Archons and otherwise heavy hitters in Chicago and its Metropolis, that I’m optimistic that +Demitri picked the wrong fight.

        We’ll see.

        • concerned youth says

          why would they send dokos to Glenview to cover this all up when you would think they would know that would be the wrong church to mess with because it doesn’t have the old school don’t question the bishop greek attitude and it has a lot of money to be able to fight with??

          in the sense of the archons and other wealthy of the community I was always told that they are all on the side of demetri for some reason I have never been able to understand. so that leads me to believe that they would not be against him but will defend him. why would they want such a man to lead our metropolis???

          • Good question: Why did Dokos go to Peter & Paul?

            It really seems like a misfit–a progressive, English speaking parish content with their (then) current priest. (In fact, they had three priests, before Dokos showed up; I believe there was a Russian Orthodox priest who left shortly after Dokos arrived.) So the bishops brings in a priest who introduces more Greek. What could possibly be the motivation???

            Oh, right…money. Anyone else remember going to Fanari Camp as a kid and seeing all the rich kids from Peter & Paul? Money would be thrown around at the snack shop like it was nothing. I don’t know what they pay the priest, but I’m sure it’s a boatload.

            Was the bishop rewarding him with a high paying salary in appreciation for the money Dokos sent him over the years? Dokos was all set to be the Dean at the Cathedral in New York, why did that fall through? My understanding is that it had something to do with housing or salary (though I I don’t know this for fact). Or, perhaps the bishop wants to keep him close–those might be more connected than we realize. Maybe there’s more to this than money…

      • E. J. Mammas says

        As a past President of St. Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Church, and also a steward of Sts Peter and Paul, rest assured I have had to deal with the Metropolis, and especially Bishop Demetri on several occasions on sensitive issues which have arisen in the past. Trust in the fact that the letters sent by the Metropolis were authored by Bishop Demetri and not by Metropolitan Iakovos.

        It is his “bullying” style to remove Mr. Gottreich as President of Sts Peter and Paul, much like he attempted to bully our St. Andrew’s parish council from the removal of then Rev. Michael Kontos for his indiscretions . . . which lead to his promotion to the “Dean” of the Cathedral in Columbus, Ohio. Demetri tried to make the St. Andrew parish council look bad, in the removal of Rev. Kontos . . . but history repeats itself, and Rev. Kontos had the very same indiscretions which lead to the removal of Kontos as a Greek Orthodox priest . . .

        Demetri himself was a beneficiary of certain checks issued directly from the very Trust which is in question in Milwaukee. The attached article reveals copies of the actual checks issued, no matter when the checks were written or the reason therefore, it so no wonder that Demetri would have his legal counsel write a letter suggesting that their review revealed Trust funds “were used in accordance with the provisions of the Trust” . . . . I, for one, as an attorney, would like to see who the legal counsel for the Metropolis was that assisted in the authoring of the letters . . obviously, there was no due diligence in the true investigation, and therefore, he too is equally as guilty in the cover up.

        This whole episode goes beyond Rev. Dokos, as his guilt or innocence remains to be seen . . but, as history does repeat itself, Demetri is again found to have his hand in the mix . . and this time, it is he who should also be investigated for his dealings with not only this matter, but other matters which have occurred within the Metropolis of Chicago both before and after he became a Bishop.

        • Athena Ames says

          I am appaled by Bishop Demetri’s high-handed response to the concerns of Sts.Peter & Paul council.
          It is apparent by the loss of membership of many long faithful supporters of the parish that our faith has
          been subjected to political maneuvering.

    • concerned youth says

      is the other candidate from the west coast nikitas?? and if so I have heard he has no interest in the job. also I have heard nothing but great things about him so how do you say that he is not well esteemed

  3. This is great documentation, George. Pray God that matters be put aright in that parish.

    Meanwhile, in our own recent OCA scandal, the priest of the following parish was caught in flagrante assaulting a woman when parishioners interupted his act. He is evidently arrested. Anyone have anything on this scandal?

    I copied this from the OCA Romanian website, deleting parts of phone numbers and email addresses of individuals

    All Saints Romanian Orthodox Church
    Address: 545 Danforth Road
    City: Scarborough
    State: ON
    Zip code: M1K 1C9
    Phone: 416-261-7656

    » Priest: V. Rev. Fr. Dr. Ioan Pop
    Address: xxxx
    City: Toronto
    State: ON
    Zip code: xxxx
    Phone: 416-444-xxxx; 416-275-xxxx

    » Choir Director: Teodora xxxx
    Address: xxxx
    City: Toronto
    State: ON
    Zip code: xxxx
    Phone: 416-356-xxxx

    » Parish Council President: Dr. Cristian xxxx
    Address: xxxx
    City: Toronto
    State: ON
    Zip code: xxxx
    Phone: 416-512-xxxx

    » Ladies’ Auxiliary (AROLA) President: Magda xxxx
    State: ON
    Zip code: L6A 3R3
    Phone: xxxx / -xxxx
    Email: xxxx@

    • Disgusted With It says

      It appears you were on a different website than the one you thought you were on. The website of the OCA Romanian Episcopate is, while the website of the patriarchal Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of the Americas is This information came from the latter.

  4. Pardon my ignorance of the US cheque system, but who/what is “Memo”?
    In the British Commonwealth, that would be where the co-signatory to the account would sign.
    Am I to understand that a priest can be sole signatory to a trust account held by a parish?
    If so, is that not asking for trouble?

    • Michael Bauman says

      the Memo line is simply a note explaining the purpose of the check. If an account requires two signature, there are two signature lines on the lower right.

      Yes, it is asking for trouble not to have multiple signatures on a trust account. It is an example of a failure of fiduciary responsibility on the part of all involved. Of course, the forging of signatures by priests and pastors even when such controls exist is not unknow.

    • The “memo” line on a check, at least for personal checking accounts, is where one can put a brief note about what was purchased, or why the check was written. The entry is optional.

      I do not know, however, if there is any requirement for a “memo” entry on a trustee account.

    • friendofthepapa says

      The memo is used by the check writer as a reminder or to designate for their own purposes, the reason for payment.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      Am I to understand that a priest can be sole signatory to a trust account held by a parish?

      This is common in the case of a Pastoral Discretionary Fund.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I’ve thought about that Fr. I am now of the opinion that because of the litigious times we live in, the priest should not have access to a discretionary fund of more than $1,000.00 and that it should be used only for alms. Basically an alms-box. Even here, I would ask that the PC appoint a bursar who is able to release monies together with the priest, thereby protecting the priest from any scurrilous accusations.

        Having said that, these checks raise further troubling questions: 1) can a priest be the sole executor of an estate? 2) Why does a priest need to send monies from said discretionary fund to a bishop?

        • Thank you all for enlightening me.
          I have to agree with George, while a priest may well have legitimate reasons for access to discretionary funds if a parish agrees, they should be limited and wholly accountable for. In any case, most Russian Orthodox parishes in the British Commonwealth are, in my experience, never wealthy enough to support such accounts. Alms are given to the poor in the form of vouchers for use in local grocery stores, since cash is open to misuse. At most, a modest cash “float” might be available to the priest for emergencies – people requesting petrol (gas) money for emergencies, money for prescription pharmaceuticals, and so on. But a lot of priests would meet these requests out of their own pocket. I certainly can’t imagine the amounts in question here – $500 each time – would be ever be countenanced, no matter who the beneficiary was. And I still can’t get over the shock of only the priest’s signature on the cheque – this would simply never happen in jurisdictions I am familiar with.

        • Rebecca Matovic says

          Just taking this opportunity to say, “I completely agree with everything you’ve written above, George.”

          Hey, you never know. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket.

    • I’m glad someone asked the question as to why only one signature is required for these checks. That’s not sound accounting.

  5. Dear George,

    Any info on our own OCA scandals from Canada, the arrested priests Storheim and Popp?

  6. The parishes of Annunciation and Sts. Peter and Paul need to launch full investigations regardless of what Chicago or New York tell them to do. Chicago is completely compromised by the evidence that Bp. Demetri took money from Fr. Dokos on checks drawn from the mismanaged account. They should read Chicago’s letters, then politely return them.

    New York needs to be treated the same way. Their first interest is protecting themselves, and to protect themselves they will have to protect Bp. Dimitri. New York should be informed of the findings but under no conditions should they be in charge of the investigation.

    Bp. Demetri should be put on administrative leave until the investigation is completed. In the meantime he should tell us what is mentioned above: why did he take the money, how much did he take, and what was it used for. Until those questions are answered he should not be in a position to make any other decisions concerning the Church.

    If Bp Demetri is removed, it is well known in Chicago that the former chancellor of Chicago Met. Nikita Lullios would like to replace him in order to become the Metropolitan of Chicago when Met. Iakovos fianlly retires.. Met. Nikita should not be placed here before the reasons for his sudden departure from Hong Kong are revealed..

    The usual way of handling scandal in the GOA is to remove the hierarch from public view. If it turns out that Fr. Dokos is accused of fraud and Bp. Demetrios was complicit somehow, the EP will want to get him out of the public eye as soon as possible by moving him to another country. That’s what he did with Bp. Paissios in New York when the allegations of child abuse surfaced (Bishops Behaving Badly).

    I have watched a lot of the hierarchical corruption in the OCA come to the light over the last few years. It looks like it might be the Greek’s turn this round.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      Met. Nikita should not be placed here before the reasons for his sudden departure from Hong Kong are revealed..

      Eminently reasonable suggestion, I believe.

    • Mr. Cellophane says

      Feel free to post this as a new message thread.
      —–Original Message—–
      From: Black, Lisa
      To: diosectary ; metropolis ; …
      Cc: Chachkevitch, Alexandra ; Black, Lisa
      Sent: Thu, Oct 3, 2013 12:46 pm
      Subject: Chicago Tribune request for information/Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago

      Dear Metropolitan Iakovos and Bishop Demetrios,
      We are reporters for the Chicago Tribune who respectfully request an interview with one or both of you regarding Rev. James Dokos and how he distributed the proceeds of the Franczak trust fund while and after serving as pastor at Annunciation Church near Milwaukee. As you know, the Milwaukee County authorities are now investigating whether there was any wrongdoing, raising concern among the Greek Orthodox church community.
      We have obtained documentation that shows that at least nine trust fund checks were written to Bishop Demetrios that total $6,750. These checks were sent by Rev. Dokos from the Franczak trust between 2008 and 2011.
      Can you please answer some of our questions? They include:
      – Why did Bishop Demetrios receive these checks from the Franczak trust? Was that money intended for personal use by Bishop Demetrios or did it go toward the Metropolis? Is this a typical practice in some way? And did the Bishop ever question their source?
      – Did Bishop Demetrios realize he was the beneficiary of some of the Franczak trust money when the Annunciation Parish Council asked him to investigate Rev. Dokos earlier this year?
      – Was Bishop Demetrios involved in the handling of the initial internal investigation? Should he have recused himself from the internal investigation because he apparently received checks from the trust fund?
      – Do you believe any of the Franczak money has been misspent? Why or why not?
      – Why did you not advise the Annunciation church leaders to report their concerns to police?
      – The documentation shows that Rev. Dokos also distributed some trust money to his family members, other Greek Orthodox church authorities and to pay numerous credit card bills. Do you believe he acted in an appropriate manner?
      – What is your response to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s investigation?
      – Are you conducting an internal investigation on this matter?
      We are preparing another article that could be published as soon as this weekend. Please let us know if you plan to respond.
      Lisa Black can be reached at 312-451-3408. Alex Chachkevitch can be contacted at 312-731-5927.
      Thank you very much.
      Lisa Black,
      Alexandra Chachkevitch,

  7. Gail Sheppard says

    These checks are YEARS old. There is something else “off” about them. Look at the signatures. The “J” looks different from check to check. The only writing that appears to be consistent is that of the recipient. I would argue that you may NOT have included “copies of checks signed by Dokos. . .” but concur 100%: “The first step would be to restrict Konsavelos from any authority in the matter. . .”

    • If there was a crime committed (and that’s still an “if” right now) the age of the checks is immaterial.

      But that’s an interesting observation about the signatures; I do agree they don’t quite match. However, if Dokos is being “framed,” wouldn’t he come forth and say as much? I would if I was being accused of a felony and my parish was requesting a leave of absence. And I wonder if that’s the crux of the issue at Sts. Peter & Paul—Metropolitan Iakovos, Bishop Demetrios and Dokos are not giving any straight answers other than we must not divide the “Body of Christ.”

      In reading the two past Peter & Paul monthly newsletters online, you can see Dokos hiding behind the “Body of Christ” again and again, it is quickly becoming a common theme. It is shameful. It is sad.

      Is Dokos guilty or innocent? Few currently have that answer. But it is clear he is not forthright nor is he honest.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I mentioned that these checks were old, because it surprises me the Parish Council is making an issue of it now, so long after the fact. To me, this is also suspicious.

        I can venture a few guesses as to why someone would not say they were “framed.” 1) On the advice of attorney, 2) out of a misguided sense of loyalty to the bishop and/or Church, 3) because there hasn’t been time (the letters are fairly recent) 4) because it’s not the “Christian thing” to do, 5) out of fear of reprisal, 6) because their spiritual father advised against it, 7) because they have been threatened. . . The list goes on and on. One can’t assume that because Fr. Dokos hasn’t cried foul, he is necessarily guilty.

  8. Metropolitan Jonah on Orthodox Unity says
  9. sad but not surprised says

    It truly is disheartening and destructive to see Orthodox hierarchs acting in such a ham-handed and un-pastoral way. Met. Iakovos has apparently forgotten (if he ever knew) that he is not a king, but rather a shepherd, a servant of the servants of Christ. His job is not to cover for potentially criminous priests, but to administer his flock with love. He has undoubtedly done grievous harm to the faithful flock of Sts. Peter and Paul by his iron-fisted action in removing the duly-elected parish council president.

    A similar event recently took place in Wilmington, Delaware. The much-loved and –respected priest at the Greek parish there became involved in promoting pan-Orthodox events with the other two local canonical Orthodox parishes, something that been happening in other locations across the country with great success. A small (but apparently wealthy and influential) group at the Greek parish complained to their metropolitan about their parish mixing with non-Greek Orthodox parishes. The metropolitan, who apparently is also upset that the OCA has its own bishop in “his” jurisdiction, responded by removing the priest from the parish, to the great sorrow of the Orthodox faithful in Wilmington, Greek and non-Greek. Here we have another example of a hierarch who should be acting like a loving shepherd, but who instead acts like the thief and robber who brings harm to the flock.

    Returning to Met. Iakovos, he seems to be infected with the spirit of clerical tyranny and papalism that has been so destructive in the Roman church. He is not alone, however. The sad litany of scandals in the OCA in the last decade, up to and including the illegitimate ouster of His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, has shown that clerical tyranny, and the excluding of the laity from any meaningful exercise of their rightful position in the ministry and governance of the Church, is an on-going problem in the OCA as well. Orthodox clergy and laity might well benefit from reading The Status and Ministry of the Laity in the Orthodox Church, by John Karmires, as a means to begin the purging of this destructive spirit and practice from the Church.

  10. Been There, Done That says

    Mr. Pappas,

    Although I sympathize entirely with your sentiments, the St. Peter and Paul Parish Council might be putting its members individually in significant legal jeopardy if it were to heed your advice. I’m not an Illinois resident, but I once had to learn the relevant statutes of another Midwestern state to protect myself. The civil law very likely defers to the hierarchy on the appointment and removal of the trustees of a parish corporation. If Mr. Gottriech were to ignore the bishop’s letter and conduct any business on behalf of the parish, the Metropolis likely could accuse him of fraud. If the business in question involved any banking transaction, he could be accused of bank fraud (a federal felony). Right now, none of the potential legal jeopardy in this affair appears to attach to the St. Peter and Paul Parish Council, and its members should endeavor to keep it that way.

    The questions for the Parish Council members and the outside attorney whom they should retain at their own, not the parish’s, expense are 1) whether Illinois law imposes upon them a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the parish corporation under a “rational man” or higher standard; 2) if such a duty exists, who has legal standing to bring action against them for a breach of that duty; and 3) what their D&O insurance would and wouldn’t cover in this case. They should not nominate a replacement for Mr. Gottriech until they have received competent counsel on these and any other relevant questions that Illinois law may raise. If I were on this parish council, I would resign post-haste and in writing unless I had a written legal opinion that I was absolutely immune from personal liability to either parishioners or civil authorities in Illinois for complying with the bishop’s instruction.

    This sad episode reinforces my own experience: Unless you have a priest and a bishop who are 1) completely devoid of avarice, 2) completely devoid of deceit, and 3) committed without reservation to compliance with the corporate and tax laws governing ecclesiastical corporations, don’t agree to serve on a parish council.

    • Rdr. James Morgan says

      One can easily learn from the Episcopalians how the law can be subverted in various instances. I think this is wise advise for the PC. There are ins and outs of the law that can be easily turned on one, like a dragon swallowing a dragonfly!

  11. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    I have no dog in this fight, but I feel that a word in defense of Metropolitan Iakovos would not be a crime. I’ve only met him once or twice. I remember him at a meeting of the American bishops in Washington, DC. over a decade or so ago. I am not a Grecophile by any means. I felt that Metropolitan Iakovos at that time was singularly devoted to his calling and to an Orthodoxy not warped by devotion to the glory of Greece, ancient or modern.
    I was GLAD to see it pointed out AT LAST, that Leaves of Absence are granted upon request and are not imposed involuntarily. True, one may be “forced’ to request such, but the request has to come from the individual to whom the Leave of Absence would be granted. If, as many think, and with whom i do not disagree in it, that the parish of assignment of a Priest accused of a felony should address that, then this should be done ‘decently and in order.’ The Priest is appointed by the Bishop and is FIRST OF ALL his representative. The Parish Council, by writing without the blessing of the Priest, i.e., of the Bishop, DID violate good order and taint any appropriate action by the Bishop, as we now see happening.
    The OCA’s Holy Synod, unless I”m mistaken in recalling it, has routinely done what is decried in the letter signed by Metropolitan Iakovos: imposed involuntary, forced leaves of absence on some of its members from time to time; so often, that many, including not only the Parish Council President, but people writing here, seem to feel such involuntary leaves of absence are appropriate!!!!! Leave is permission. You may permit someone to be absent, but only in response to that someone’s request.

    • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

      The Parish Council President, on behalf of the Parish Council, may have not necessarily used the proper terminology in their request to the Metropolitan and Chancellor, but in light of a public investigation of possible criminal activity by the Presiding Priest, this should have prompted the Metropolitan and the Chancellor (though the Chancellor may be rather compromised in this matter) to understand the valid concern of the Parish Council, and place Fr. Jim on an “Administrative Leave” pending the outcome of the investigation.

      Dismissing the Parish Council President is wholly without merit, and excessively heavy handed. Such action, when not warranted, creates division in the parish and likely among other parishes, significantly contributing negative attitudes toward of the hierarchal authorities in the Holy Metropolis of Chicago. If Bishop Demitri doesn’t know that, His Eminence the Metropolitan should.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        Bruce, when faced with a similar act of a parish council acting autonomously, in the case of the Denver parish of the Holy Transfiguration, Bishop Basil (Rodzianko) did more than Metropolitan Iakovos: he simply declared that the parish council was in a “state of canonical disorder”, and dissolved it. There are many acolytes of the ever-memorable hierarch contributing their encomia here: perhaps they will, therefore, be better disposed to the milder action of Metropolitan Iskovos in only addressing the parish council president. There is no canon, Bruce, against something as nebulous and politically fraught as “heavy-handedness.” No bishop should be frightened by the AWFUL prospect of contributing to negative attitudes towards any hierarchy, although expressing such attitudes is the forte of Monomachos.

        • Anon by Choice says

          Talk about tone deaf. The good bishop thinks the only issue is the regulation.

          Was Bishop Basil (Rodzianko) receiving funds privately from a restricted account from the priest of the parish when he removed the Council? I doubt it.

          If you removed a Parish Council for objecting to a priest involved in taking money while you secretly were a recipient of that money, you should be put on leave too. You are compromised regardless of what the regulations say.

          Like it or not, Bishops are not “autonomous” either. When they act as they are because they are confused about their role and responsibilities, great damage to the Church can result. The OCA debacle is a recent example.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            “Anon ‘by Choice” While you are right: regulation is not the only issue, Bruce and some others wrote as if it IS. I merely replied to that. Surely you don’t want ME to hold forth on all the issues involved in a process that has only begun?
            By the way, you are autonomous, i am autonomous, bishops are autonomous. No need to put the word in quotation marks: it’s an English word, found in the dictionary and in common usage.
            But I understand that you may agree with those OCA bishops who ACCUSED Metropolitan Jonah of acting autonomously!!!!

    • Rdr. James Morgan says

      Then why, Vladika, did not the ruling bishop suspend the allegedly errant priest, pending the civil procedings against him? that would have been prudent, considering that there was another priest in the parish who could take up the pastoral duties in the interim?

      Seems to involve money $$$$ in my book but then I’m not there and don’t wan to be.
      Happy and sassy in Olympia WA
      Rdr. James Morgan

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        I’ll bite, James! Why DIDN’T the bishop suspend the Priest based on an allegation of wrong-doing? You tell me. I mean, the Orthodox Church has always authorized such arbitrariness and assumption of guilt until proved innocent, right? Better yet, he should have demanded the police arrest him and throw him in the clink until all this got settled. I mean, he’s apt to continue stealing, stealing, stealing if they leave him there!
        Why, we Donatists KNOW that allowing a man accused of sinning (let alone ACTUALLY sinning) spoils the Mysteries for the People..Look at Carthage! Suspend him from all sacred functions before it’s too late, right? There’s sure to be someone waiting to replace him.

  12. Michael Kinsey says

    Ok. sometimes the OCA plays by the rules and sometime they don’t, based solely upon what ever works to get their own way. Lie when it’s convenient, and be honest when it’s convenient .This a manner of swallowing the camel and straining out the gnat which ever is most convenient. It is no show of virtue to speak of the right way of doing thing while practicing what ever is most convenient, as was the case is way Met Jonah was dealt with. Teach and do, says the Holy scripture, not teach and do what is convenient. This is why the Christ taught His disciples to observe what they( hypocrites) say, but do not do what they do. Nothing new here. But, this bishop says I have no understanding and only repeat what I read, not knowing what it means. Hahahahahahahahaha.

  13. It’s all almost enough to make one despair. What bishops are left to us that can be trusted as anything more than placeholders until worthier bishops are anointed and enthroned? What trust is left when parish is divided against priest? Or priest against parish. Scandal after scandal after scandal and with it a growing cynicism and even antagonism of people against clergy, of one socio political perspective against another of one ethos against another or cradle against convert…and vis versa. I seem to recall some saint of old saying we get the bishops we deserve, or something to that effect. I am more convinced than ever that Orthodoxy is the truth, the faith upon which the universe was established, but there are fewer and few places I want to invite anyone to come and see…and I certainly would not invite them to use my life as any sort of model.

    What have we done? What have we become? Our brothers and sisters are driven from their homes and temples. Their bishops are kidnapped off the streets on their way to be pastors of their flocks. Some have died rather than deny Christ, and others in a moment of weakness and terror stained their confession. There they are being devoured…here we devour each other. Here our responsibilities are entangled with our passions we are passionate about everything but the one thing needful…so it seems, myself included.

    I’m tired of being angry. I’m tired of watching helplessly while what is so beautiful is defiled and cheapened by those who should have been it’s champions. If it were not for the place I live and the people and the priests I know here I would have to wonder if the Orthodox faith can survive at all in this land.

    It seems that if things continue as they are…sooner or later all we will be fit for is to sit in sackcloth and ashes. I will not say Ichabod, the glory is departed…but how is it not hidden, from our hierarchs, from ourselves?

    I think perhaps we do have the bishops we deserve (or they the flock), if we have a bishop at all. If I were a protestant I could just transfer to a church I liked better for as long as I liked it better there. If I were a schismatic I could associate only with the the true genuine us four and no more Orthodox, and if I were a heretic I could invent my own thing and make my own rules. But I’m not any of those things…there is no other place to go and remain Orthodox…all that remains is to make a better effort to be Orthodox. Lord have mercy on us all…does not our judgment sit already anointed and enthroned (or not)..Lord have mercy on us all.

    • sad but not surprised says

      I find it much easier to believe that bishops get the flocks they deserve, rather than the other way around. For example, Metropolitan Tikhon of the OCA was supposed to have said recently that he doesn’t understand why his flock in Washington is so “rebellious”. Seriously? +Tikhon enters the Washington sheepfold by climbing over the wall rather than entering in by the gate, after joining with other hierarchs and church bureaucrats to drive the duly-elected Metropolitan Jonah from office and usurp his position; he posts scandalous and false accusations against Metropolitan Jonah on the Eastern PA website and will not repent of his action when the accusations are quickly proven to be false; he continues to persecute Metropolitan Jonah even to this day; and +Tikhon wonders why the Washington sheep don’t recognize his voice and “rebel” against him? Amazing. Remember, the Lord had compassion on the multitudes because their leaders had failed them, leaving them like “sheep without a shepherd”, not the other way around. The failures of the hierarchs are their own; they can’t escape responsibility by accusing their flocks of “devouring each other”, or “having our responsibilities entangled with our passions”, or “being passionate about everything but the one thing needful”, or other such supposed failings. If we want our faith to survive and grow, we must have leaders who are humble, loving, and repentant, not ones who blame the flocks for the failings of the shepherds.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Anger and feelings helplessness can be excused, as long as one does not “tire” of defending one’s love. To not fight for your beloved is the height of the “beautiful being defiled and cheapened.” – In our effort to “be more Orthodox,” shouldn’t we aspire to be more like Christ? Matthew 21:12-13

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Yes, it is almost enough to make one despair.

  14. Fr. Peter Dubinin says

    Seraphim98 – I do feel your pain. I lamented in similar fashion on the pages of my personal journal and I agree – there is no where else to go; stay and work out your, my, our salvation with fear and trembling within the Church. Not to mitigate what you express but perhaps to see something hopeful in all of this. I think a significant part of what we in the Orthodox Church in the USA have experienced these last 10 – 15 years is the heat, friction and fallout from the collision of what constitutes the US – good and bad – with Holy Orthodoxy. As Americans we demand accountability and transparency of those in leadership and authority. The drive and demand for transparency will reveal what is not so pretty and even down right ugly. Though this hurts at a very significant personal, emotional, spiritual level, it is necessary. Saint Paul admonishes us to expose the deeds of darkness to the light of God. Will what we see be pretty? Of course not. Exposure to the light of God is the only thing which can correct and heal that which is broken. Either the exposure to the light will bring repentance, restoration and healing or the disintegration of the thing so exposed. Now, another thing we Americans insist on is due process. Allow those with the responsibility to exercise and execute due process do so and fight the temptation to rush to judgement. Further, I don’t know if as Americans we will ever come to terms with the reality of hierarchy. Intellectually we can affirm it as a sound ordering principle, but when exercised by mere mortals responsible for oversight, discipline and good order, we chafe; especially when I know “I am right” and he/she is “wrong.” As Orthodox Christians we are always called by God and His Church back to the fundamentals, the basic foundational truths as our anchor in times of trial, confusion and in times of prosperity and “smooth sailing.” As such, the Church belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ; it is His Church against which the gates of hell will not prevail. It is that Body enlivened by the Holy Spirit who applies the fiery, cleansing, purifying judgment of God to all that is unholy; making mortals continually battered by passions, holy. Seraphim98 – as you communicate so well, we Americans have a track record and all too ready propensity to run somewhere else, to start something different; if we are to become truly men and women of God, we must learn to stay within the fiery furnace and there meet our God.

  15. Michael Bauman says

    Seraphim98, there may come a time where the remnant flock will have to gather around the few faithful bishops who are left, wherever they are. It would mean uprooting one’s self, one’s family and abandoning anything else that we deem important where we are.

    It is easy for me to say that though because I am already under a good and faithful bishop. I have to trust that he is not yet alone.

    The people who established the parish where I am graced to worship did so from their own faith with no bishop and only an occasional visiting priest. When a priest would visit folks would literally come from several states away to participate in the Divine Liturgy and receive the other sacraments. We still have living folks in our parish who met St. Raphael of Brooklyn but had to travel hundreds of miles to do it. Many of these same folks can trace their Christian roots back to the time of the Apostles.

    The Americas is a rocky and poisonous soil for the Orthodox Church we have not done well in making the soil better and it yet may take the blood of martyrs to do it. In any case unless we love God and each other and not the world, it won’t happen.

  16. I saw your story regarding the charges being alleged by Emmanuel Mamalakis against Father Dokos. I was searching around on the web for related content and came across a blog post that appears to have some good supporting details that suggests something much larger might be going on involving potential tax fraud and possible money laundering. I would encourage you to check out the blog post I found at



    • Marissa, I mean Larisa, I have seen you post this smear campaign against the Milwaukee lawyer anywhere an article on this situation is posted on the Internet. Your obvious tactics to divert attention from the real issue here and go a step beyond that by trying to smear someone who represents the Milwaukee Parish and their decision to involve the authorities is very sad, but not surprising… classic Dokos tactics indeed.

      • Frank,

        Smear Campaign definition per Wikipedia:
        “Smear campaign is related to propaganda, media bias, yellow journalism, and other falsehood-related terms such as libel and pejoration.”

        This website substantiates claims and doesn’t seem to be throwing around any claims where objective proof hasn’t been provided. Notice that Emmanuel Mamalakis has been silent publicly on these claims?

        The website referenced denotes and links to copies of non-profit form 990s. The allegations made are supported by signed financial statements. I was able to see funds as described move from SXP Analytics, into International Non-Profit Assistance Foundation then to the World Assistance Foundation and onward into WAF, Inc. a for profit entity registered by Emmanuel Mamalakis. In fact, the allegations of more than one million dollars being given the the Monasteries in Florence and in Milwaukee checks out.

        “In 2007, land and property from Emmanuel Mamalakis appears to have established in the International Non-Profit Assistance Foundation in part. Later in 2010, these funds appear to have been distributed to Emmanuel’s EM Development company, cash and direct repatriation of loans due him. The 2010 Form 990 lists an astonishing $4,822,230 as unspecified contributions to 90 other organizations and indigent individuals.” reports the website. The link to the 2010 Form 990 showing this is at

        If as this website suggests, the funds are being “donated to the monasteries” but in fact are monastery expenses being paid by entities controlled by Emmanuel Mamalakis, and later the monasteries are forwarding the sum total of expenses paid by Mamalakis, but to an offshore bank / payment processor, , this would in fact be a good way to launder money out of the country. The website details how such a scheme might unfold.

        I find it interesting that only a few checks are being leaked. If there were any more embarrassing checks, I would suspect that they would have been leaked as well. A check written from the foundation to clergy isn’t necessarily a crime. The governing documents of the Trust might specify that certain missions are to be paid for, or that family christenings, weddings or other fees may be appropriate uses of the trust. Who hasn’t paid an honorarium to clergy for conducting official ceremonies or to support mission work related personal expenses?

        At least the website I suggested people look at has links to source documents that appear to be more than a cherry picking of items.

        Frank, did you bother to look at the source documents to see if the allegations make any sense to you? I looked at what available information has been released before making my own posts. To me it seems if anything, the allegations being made against Fr. Dokos, while certainly may have additional support not yet known, have lacked the necessary support to brand him a fraudster.

        Has the Bishop asked for the check register from the Annunciation and from St. John’s Monastery?

        Maybe this has occurred already?

        Maybe the feds or DA has asked Bishop Demetrios to remain silent?

        If there was something to the websites money laundering scheme claim, wouldn’t it make sense that the Bishop would refuse to provide public comment?

        Why aren’t we getting more facts?


        • I would assume the checks that were posted were cherry picked because they are directly related to this particular story of why the Metropolis would work so hard to protect Dokos…clearly because they themselves are implicated and their hands are dirty too. You can go to this link if you would like to see where all of the other checks were written to as reported by Fox News in Milwaukee….his racquet club, florists, his credit card, etc.

          • “The documents suggest Father James Dokos may have spent money that was supposed to be donated to the church on everything from $1,000 worth of flowers, to a racquet club membership.”

            I don’t like to have to rely on someone else’s interpretation of original documents. If they are going to report on it, they should provide the source documents they are using to base their opinions on.

            Why doesn’t the Annunciation attorney leak the trust documents too? The alleged checks too?

            Maybe that would help us all get to the bottom of things.

            Do we know if the checks were for Dokos’ use personally or were they flowers for a service/wedding of someone in the parish that he was being reimbursed for?

            Is the club membership one of the types of expenses reimbursable to him as trustee?

            The mere existence of these checks to Dokos from the trust do not necessarily prove out theft. They certainly could, but we have incomplete information.


      • Frank,

        I just now understood your veiled reference. Interesting…

    • Greg Peterson says

      If the allegations stated on the website that Larisa K. refers us to on the website in her post are accurate it would offer some insight as to why the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and EP allowed the establishment of so many Ephraimite communities under their authority. One has to take under consideration the possibility that funds are possibly be channeled elsewhere, not only into the monasteries.

      If it’s even remotely true, it’s probably just the tip of the iceberg. Things are going to get really ugly, really fast.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Interesting, Greg. Certainly possible however I think you’re barking up the wrong tree. Permit me to offer three reasons:

        1. The EP has had a contentious relationship with the Athonite monasteries, at least on Mt Athos,

        2. The Athonite monasteries here have significant funding from the thousands of pilgrims that attend them, and

        3. The monies that were shunted to Bp Dmitri are insufficient to keep a monastery going.

        • Greg Peterson says

          All very sound reasoning George M.

          Perhaps I did not make myself clear.

          The website that Larisa K. ( refers us to makes the Parish Council President that was removed the heavy. It portrays him as someone who is using the Ephraimite monasteries to launder money.

          If the allegation is true that monasteries are laundering money that particular parish council president may not be the only one that they are laundering money for. Then likewise the monasteries would be kicking money back to the Bishops offices (they may or may not be aware that money is laundered), to the Archbishop’s office in NY and to the Phanar in exchange for canonical favors.

          Considering how little the funds are that Fr. Dokos has appeared to have signed over to Bp. Demetri (approximately 4 – 5 k?) and the fact that this is not the first accusation of financial or other impropriety leveled against the Ephraimite monasteries in the USA it is certainly relevant and prudent for the authorities to take these allegations under consideration in their investigations.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Thanks for the clarification. This could be very well be “the tip of the iceberg.”

          • George Michalopulos says

            Mr Peterson, this is interesting. I’ve long heard that there was tension between the Ephraimite monasteries and the GOA. What you describe is a very clever conspiracy to take out Mr Gotterich and tar the local monasteries for some type of money laundering to boot. If true, then this could be the opening salvo in a war in which the GOA elite tries to bring the monasteries to heel. Bp Kantzavelos would be the enforcer of this scheme (if true).

            I don’t know. It’s going to be interesting to watch this play out.

          • Been There, Done That says

            Mr. Peterson and Mr. Michalopulos,

            Unless I’m misunderstanding something, we seem to have the parties confused here. The website to which Larisa directed us makes money-laundering accusations against Mr. Mamalakis, who is affiliated with Annunciation Parish in Wauwatosa. I saw absolutely nothing on that site about Mr. Gottriech, the now-removed parish council president of Sts. Peter and Paul in Glenview. If I am mistaken, I am eager to be corrected.

          • Greg Peterson says

            @ Been There, Done That

            Good catch! Thank you for clearing that up.

  17. Tim R. Mortiss says

    Always look on the bright side of life! Or as my Ma used to say, laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone.

    I’m an Orthodox catechumen refugee from 65 years of Presbyterianism precisely because I won’t look for “a church I like better for as long as I like it better there” (this is quite well-put, by the way).

    As for myself, I am not discouraged. I am very impressed by the priest at my church. He’s had a colleague with him the last couple of weeks, a retired priest from a California congregation of the Jerusalem Patriarchate. A deeply impressive, devout man who speaks very profoundly and movingly about the Lord. All is well!

  18. Hi George-

    read this??

    Also are you going to comment on the Assembly of Bishops statement on Same-Sex marriage?

    • Michael Bauman says

      Shoot he doesn’t even have to sell indulgences. But the question is: If everybody is going to heaven, what do we need Joel for?

        • This particular nut has fallen a loooong way from the tree.

          • George Michalopulos says

            We need to do some serious praying for Franky. Some of us think his next stop is Unitarianism, others think radical Islam.

            • Is this guy still Orthodox? says

              This guy claims to be Greek Orthodox. I got this bio from the article that Colette linked. Is this the same dude who wanted to sell Orthodox on buying his “gospel” rock?

              About Frank Schaeffer

              Frank Schaeffer is an American author, film director, screenwriter and public speaker. He is the son of the late theologian and author Francis Schaeffer. He became a Hollywood film director and author, writing several internationally acclaimed novels including And God Said, “Billy!” as well as the Calvin Becker Trilogy depicting life in a fundamentalist mission home– Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Franky declared himself a Christian atheist. He is just another secular idiot and all because he never forgave his parents.

          • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

            “Franky declared himself a Christian atheist. He is just another secular idiot and all because he never forgave his parents.”

            His Orthodoxy was never solid from the begining. He accepted Coptic Monophysite elders and sources as Orthodox, anyone who does that is only half in the door, or is already half out the door, of Orthodoxy, depending on how you look at it. There is only Catholic Church, and it must be us, the Franco-Papalists, the Monophysites, or whoever, but it can’t be any combination of two or more. False Ecumenism with Heterodox always leads to false ecumenism with all false religions if not to complete Nihilism. If our Ecumenical Councils aren’t trustworthy then there goes the 5th Council, and that means universal salvation can’t really be considered anathema, which means why not create a One World Religion and use the Mark of the Beast to flush out the “ignorant haters” (orthodox Orthodox, and orthodox Heterodox who, given a generous interpretation of a few of Orthodox sources, might somehow be saved by being added to us). Of course desiring all mankind, and even demons, to be reconciled to God is Orthodox, but it is also Orthodox to know that this will never happen, and some humble saints combine the two by saying things like I alone will be damned, which they don’t literally believe, but are just expressing that they might fall and the potential all of the rest of humanity alive has to be saved.

            Being Frank, Fr. John Whiteford:


          • Frank's Grrlpal says
          • Chris Banescu says

            Indeed, Frank Schaeffer describes himself as a “Christian atheist.” He also admitted that most of the time he does not believe in God!


            “I did my two talks, but spent most of each day — from 8 a.m. to past midnight — talking to old friends, and new acquaintances, from all over the U.S. (and places like New Zeeland, too) about why I still believe in God, even though I don’t most of the time. And the odd thing is that that nonsensical paradoxical phrase — belief through doubt — made sense to them, because you have to have been there, done that escaping from a religious background to “get” it, and they did. “

            Frank Schaeffer is a ‘Christian Atheist’

            Over the past couple decades, Schaeffer has distanced himself from his family’s evangelicalism, and describes himself as Eastern Orthodox. But during his talk, Schaeffer told Jay Bakker, pastor of Revolution NYC and son of former televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker: “I describe myself as a Christian atheist.”

            “That describes the arc of my feelings in any given day … Why can’t you be an atheist some days and love God other days?” He attempted to explain this contradictory statement with an analogy: “There are days I’m married, there are days I’m not married. There are days I love my wife, there are days I fight with my wife … Why when it comes to theological questions, certainty is given a premium when nothing else in life works that way?”

            As a “Christian atheist,” Schaeffer subscribes to a very limited version of “Christianity.” He described his low and selective view of scripture:

            “If you take the Christian teaching seriously that Jesus is the son of God, then obviously his life is the lens through which you read the rest of scripture and pick and choose what you will do and not do because he said there are parts of the law that are bull****. [Jesus said] ‘The law says [do this,] but I say don’t do this.’ So therefore, read the Bible expecting to edit it and get rid of the crap and stick with the stuff that fits with the life testimony, which ends with Jesus saying ‘Forgive them for they know not what they do.’”

            • So sad. Pray for him.

            • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

              “There are days I’m married, there are days I’m not married.”

              Maybe that explains why I can’t find any reference to his wife anymore, and on Sept. 20 he asked a tatooed female “reverend” to marry him or at least let him tattoo her face on his chest. I guess she’s ok with it, because “This is the Nadia picture I’m tattooing on my chest.” He’s entering into creepy Jim Carrey period now:


              • George Michalopulos says

                Interesting point. I don’t know how many married men could get away with saying something like that in public. That is if they were married at the time they said it. Creepy.

        • Fr. Peter Dubinin says

          Very well considered response to Frank Shaeffer by Fr.John Whiteford:

    • George Michalopulos says

      I was, but then Milwaukee fell in my lap. I still will, though. Thanks for pointing it out to our readers.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        To George: Bet you now wish Milwaukee had passed you by! Lord have mercy. I’m afraid this is going to get very ugly. Maybe we’ll get lucky and it will be a dud like one of those fireworks that fizzles just before it explodes. We can hope. . .

  19. From The Greek Reporter USA:

    “The lawyers of Chicago’s Metropolis conducted their own review of the administration and use of the trust fund. “The Metropolis has reached the conclusion that the funds from the Franczak Trust were used in accordance with the provisions of the Trust, for the benefit of Annunciation Church, or in accordance with the wishes of Margaret Franczak,” Bishop Demetrios wrote in a letter about the trust fund in question…”

    Source Chicago Metropolis Removes Council President

    I guess the Milwaukee District Attorney’s investigation will illustrate the thoroughness of the above “review.”

    • Should the Milwaukee DA find evidence of wrongdoing, I wonder if that implicates the Metropolis’ lawyers–as well as the Bishop and the Metropolitan. After all, if these lawyers agreed that everything was legitimate–and if the DA disagrees–doesn’t that suggest they are part of a cover up? Surely if they gave an honest assessment that was not to the bishop’s liking, he would simply remove them and replace them with lawyers committed to “not dividing the Body of Christ.” Sound familiar? I’m sure Mr. Gottreich would think so.

      I believe this is about far more than a greedy, materialistic priest; I think it’s more about a greedy, materialistic bishop. I hope for change.

      • George Michalopulos says

        It certainly doesn’t look good does, Sad Greek? I still can’t wrap my head around the concept of a priest using a trust fund to issue checks to a bishop. It just doesn’t pass the smell test.

  20. philippa.alan says

    As I read this article and shook my head while thinking, “What in the world….????” I then read the following comment made by His Eminence, Met. Tikhon at the most recent Metropolitan Council meeting. Does anyone know what planet Met. Tikhon is on? It’s not Earth, that’s for sure. God, please help him.

    “It has been said that the past year has provided a period of calm and stability,” Metropolitan Tikhon said. “Glory to God for such periods in our often turbulent and difficult lives. In my travels and pastoral visits throughout the OCA, I felt this calm and stability

    Seraphim98, I share your tiredness of being angry. Decide to no longer allow them that much power. That choice has helped me.

    Fr. Peter, I love what you wrote I think a significant part of what we in the Orthodox Church in the USA have experienced these last 10 – 15 years is the heat, friction and fallout from the collision of what constitutes the US – good and bad – with Holy Orthodoxy. and if we are to become truly men and women of God, we must learn to stay within the fiery furnace and there meet our God. That imagery is so helpful.

    This prayer has been helpful to me. Perhaps it will be of benefit to some others. From Holy Saturday Matins, 2nd Stasis, Verse 62

    O Virgin, pure and undefiled, you gave birth to our Life: make the strife and scandals of the Church to cease, in your goodness, grant Her peace.

    • Tell It Like It Is says

      If you have to instruct the faithful, “we are in a period of calm and stability, ” then you are not in a period of calm and stability.

      But I digress for a few important questions.

      I’d personally like to know when it became fashionable for five bishops to attend the Metropolitan Council meeting? (Were they monitoring the Council or Metropolitan Tikhon?) Are we seeing the formation of what had been hoped for by Stokoe et al all along, a neo-Orthodox Synod-in-OCA-Style made of up of clergy and lay persons? I say dispense with the pretense: Disband the Synod of Bishops and just have one Synod of the Holy Metropolitan Council.

      Oh, and did anyone else see the irony in distributing documents with the “Confidential” watermark plastered on it to 40 people who have no canonical authority to be privy to such things? Good luck keeping that confidential! 😉

      Meanwhile, enjoy reading the musings of the Chancellor who instructs us that the Greek version of the Old Testament is just an interpretation of the Hebrew Old Testament.

      Yes, dear ones, that uncomfortable feeling you get when you read the OCA website is everything you hoped it wasn’t. Watch for the continuing signs of a rapid institutional decline: More regulation, more forced financial participation, more authoritarianism, more heavy handed discipline, more “everything’s great here” propaganda. Pay no attention to those empty bishop’s thrones that dot the country. When’s the next Summit?

      That dirt you see flying up from Saint Tikhon’s Monastery is every worthy former priest and bishop spinning in their grave.

      “Where, Lord?” they asked. He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.” (Luke 17:37)

      Remember, when you have to tell people that everything’s calm, it’s not. Don’t believe it for one second.

      • No More Orthodox Ghettos says

        Tell It Like It Is,

        Thanks for your accurate analysis of recent OCA events. They appear to reinforce the idea that the OCA leadership lives in an impervious bubble world.

        Another fact to make the case is that with all that is facing the OCA, declining membership, clergy morale, fiscal cutbacks, less money for church departments, the OCA’s high priority at the MC meeting was to take the part time Sex Czar and turn it into a full time position. Do they actually understand how demoralizing that is? Do they understand what signal that sends?

        The OCA by turing this now into a full time job is admitting to the world that she has a big clergy misconduct problem. Is there any other Orthodox Church so small as the OCA in the world with a full time sex czar? I am not convinced that the OCA has such a big problem, but the fact remains by their actions they must think they do.

        So here we have a jurisdiction that is almost daily trying to justify her existence, doubles down on her ecclesiastical status as THE Local Orthodox Church at the recent Assembly of Bishops meeting and for all intent and purposes tells the other Orthodox bishops there that they should join the OCA to bring about unity because the OCA is autocephalic. Don’t they see that this is not going to happen, especially when they now declare its very church life is riddled with bad clergy, in such serious condition that they have to now have a full time clergy sexual abuse person on staff.

        And they wonder why people are leaving the OCA? And the wonder why there are no qualified men to be bishops in their many vacant dioceses? And they wonder why they are not taken seriously any longer here or in world Orthodoxy.

        Here is my suggestion – reallocate your diminishing financial resources away from the growing central control in New York so that more resources can be used in the parishes and dioceses. Take a good look at your Statute and start to rewrite it not to further separate you from real Orthodox unity but facilitate it. Write into your Statue how your parishes can more easily unite with other Orthodox churches in their respective regions. Stop trying to cut them off and hold on to their property in the panic fear that they may bolt. Loose the centralized yoke of control so that the process to facilitate their movement into the new Local Church can take place. In other words, remove barriers to cooperation instead of building new ones to handcuff them in the OCA. No more Orthodox administrative ghettos. Take the lead, set the example.

        If the establishment of an authentic Local Orthodox Church fails from the ACOB initiative, at least you can say that it wasn’t because you were not willing to give something up to gain something greater and that sends a much more powerful message than what you are doing now.

        • Tell It Like It Is says

          Wait for the other shoe to drop. Soon the Sex Czar will call for a full time investigator because she’s too busy with meetings and reports.

          OCA = Only Concerned with Allegations

  21. Thomas Barker says

    And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. Mark 11:17

    • Ashley Nevins says

      The Orthodox talk around the cause of the GOA issues. They talk symptom and not cause. The symptoms point directly to the cause. If you cannot trace symptoms back to cause you will never solve the problem. You will go circular without solution in circles with yourselves in continual failure. It does not matter now what action the GOA says it will take to stop its corruption self destruction all actions will go in circles without a solution. They will not reverse the obvious course of this church and where it is in truth is actually going.

      The GOA is ruled over by a top down authoritarian religious dictatorship structure based in its own power and control that results in a closed, isolated and subjective system. The authoritarian structure and closed system are not transparent and accountable. The less transparent and accountable the more corrupt it all becomes. The more corrupt it becomes the more it reaches a point of no return to God. Corruption in a church left unchecked by transparency and accountability with consequences will turn a church into a cult if it does not completely erase it first.

      The church culture of corruption is the indoctrination of the church. It acclimates the church into accepting corruption as its tolerated norm. In the GOA it can be clearly seen that all levels of church authority have been indoctrinated into this corruption. The monastics are cultists, the laity are powerless pawns, the priests are enablers and hierarchy are all corrupt. Let there be no doubt the corruption of the GOA is turning it into a cult.

      These are the core issues destroying the GOA:

      1. Structural and systemic Corruption

      2. Cultism

      3. Authoritarian power and control

      4. Belief in a lie that renders it powerless to act with Gods truth

      5. Lack of transparency, accountability and consequences

      6. Incompetency

      7. Religious codependency

      8. Toxic faith in a shame based church

      9. Spiritual abuse in a shame based church

      10. Self righteous self centered self protection

      What is keeping the corrupt authoritarian power and control in place are rules that demand obedience to the corrupt power and control as if it were God Himself in rule:

      1. Don’t talk (Keep the cover up, lies, spins and secrets)

      2. Don’t think (Think about the church as the corrupt tell you to think about it)

      3. Don’t feel (Only feel about the church as you are told to feel about it)

      4. Don’t look (Don’t notice issues and don’t investigate them)

      5. Don’t expose (If you see corruption don’t expose it)

      6. And for sure DON’T ACT (Take no truth action against the lie of corruption)

      The rules are enforced by authoritarian intimidation, coercion and threat. They are submitted to and obeyed by sick religious codependency. Corruption and not God is the true unity of the GOA obviously seen. Shame is the unity and the enforcer of the rules of corruption unity. The Orthodox do not understand the power of shame that is evil. They have no modern practical reality concept of the issues I am speaking to here and how they destroy a church spiritually from the top down and from the inside out.

      Obedience without question is obedience not to take action against known corruption. That is a culture of corruption and it turning the GOA into a cult.

      Does anyone in the GOA know what a shame based church, toxic faith, corrupt authoritarian leadership structure, spiritual abuse, a isolated closed system, subjectivity, powerlessness and religious codependency turn a church into over time? Does it turn a church into a Christ alive, dynamic, growing, cutting edge and relevant church?

      The issues I raise here turn the GOA into a liar, thief and murderer whose church culture or corporate personality is spiritually sociopathic. It turns the church into powerless spiritually immature pawns without the spiritual maturity or power of the Holy Spirit to reverse its dying course. It is self centered and self protective of its corrupt authority in power and control by the degree it is authoritarian by structure and closed as a system. It is a spiritually toxic structure and system that poisons the church. It is like silent but deadly chemical warfare whose poison incapacitates any ability to stop its death.

      The powerless state of the GOA is its powerlessness inability to wear Christ the armor of God defense and offense against such corruption. It cannot act against the scheme of Satan because it has become part of Satans scheme to destroy it. Orthodox, that is the point of no return to God. Did I just lie to you?

      The church becomes pathetic, powerless and helpless to stop its course of self destruction without Christ the armor of God that fights with spiritual violence that removes the leaven that leavens the whole lump of the GOA. It believes a lie to be truth and the lie corrupts it to the point of no return to Gods truth. It is found spiritually defenseless against the lie destroying it. I promise, you Orthodox, that nothing can stop the lie now from spiritually destroying the GOA. Its spiritually over for them. That lie deceives the GOA into a delusional viewpoint of itself that denies what it really is in the practical reality of the real world. Yes, I know, I got it patently wrong about the GOA. It is going to rise up out of this corrupt state of church by its own authoritarian power and control to become the pinnacle of Orthodox relevancy in America. The structure and system that got it into this corrupt state of church failure is going to raise it up and out of its corrupt state of failure.

      All the GO are left with now are powerless excuses, rationalizations and blames as to why they cannot stop the corruption (It is like a circular firing squad). This is the Orthodox century for America. It the century its delusional viewpoint of itself in America is exposed. No amount of GOA self aggrandizing, religious pomp parading or grandiose spectacle is going to be able to hide, keep secret, cover up or spin its true outcome in the real world. No amount of adjectives in front of a hierarch name is going to hide the corrupt state of the GOA hierarchy.

      The practical reality of the GOA is that it is corrupt, failed, incompetent, abusive, cultic, powerless and dying a slow, ugly and painful death that it denies. The delusional viewpoint it has of itself is its denial of its practical real world reality. It is self righteous in viewpoint of itself. It cannot be wrong. It is Gods only alone right and one true church and the best among equals. It is the role model and example to the Orthodox world of what a Gods only right and true church is in comparison to all churches inferior to its superiority. All churches found outside of Orthodox church are heretic apostate compared the true real world state of the GOA.

      Orthodox, I did not set up the comparison. Your exclusive claim does. If you do not like the comparison or believe it to be the wrong comparison then don’t compare yourselves to others not of you or your claim that compares them to you. You make yourselves the comparisons as if you are God the comparison and all the comparison does is expose you for who you are in your corrupt failure. It reveals you are not God or the comparison.

      Jesus Christ is the only real world comparison to make. A corrupt and cultic church is not Gods objective standard of spiritually correct comparison measure no matter who or what that church claims to be. If you make an exclusive claim you had better at the very least live up to it and show yourself to be who you claim to be before all other churches on a practical real world level or you will be exposed for the LIE that you are. Period.

      The GO are no longer living in GOC state religion Greece. The world sees the state of Greece and its Greek church that is enmeshed with the state corruption. Church and state are both corrupt to their cores. Like the Bible says, your sin will find you out. They have been found out in Greece and in America. It does not matter who or what a church claims to be when its structural and systemic corruption sin find it out. The real problem is that the GOC has no holy solution to its sin corruption. That is what is found out! Denial of sin is sin. Now deny it Greek Orthodox, now deny it.

      The more right you believe you are the more difficult to admit how wrong you are. The more right you believe you are the more you deny how wrong you are. Have any Orthodox noticed how the more right you believe you are the more powerless you are to stop the corruption destruction? There is a parallel or corresponding relationship between how right you believe you are and your corruption that is leading to your destruction. You have to think for yourself outside of the culture of church corruption thinking for you to see this correlation.

      Your closed system corruption indoctrination is automatic denial. It is indoctrinated denial. The GOA state is a state of denial. This has been going on for centuries and now it is catching up with them like NEVER before. It’s just getting started. Worse is yet to come. Nothing stands in the way from worse coming when the worse coming is you all deserve each other and each other is who you all get as solution. You don’t get God as your solution.

      The more authoritarian the structure and more closed is the system and the more cultic it all becomes over time until it reaches a point of no return to God. It is so right about itself it could not see how wrong about itself it really is and then it is too late. It is turned into a cult of no return to God by its self righteous viewpoint of itself. If any Orthodox cannot see the cult set up in this then you are practicing the cult set up in ways you do not see. The deception of the lie has blinded you to the real world practical truth of the situation in the GOA.

      Three predictions of the GOA future:

      1. It has reached the point of no return to God.

      2. It will implode by a slow, ugly and painful death over time.

      3. It is powerless to stop its corruption from self destructing it.

      The GOA will continue to exist. It will exist as a cult of corruption. It will be a church made up of people of the lie who turn it into the church of lie. All of this talk regarding the GOA goes back to the lie believed to be truth. The GOA has gone over the church relevancy oblivion cliff. The irrelevant church is spiritually dead and it is not going to come back from the spiritually dead. The spiritually dead cannot raise themselves from the spiritually dead. Only the way, the truth and the life can be the freedom in Christ life that raises the dead. The degree that the GOA has the way, the truth and life by freedom in Christ will determine its future life or death. Which one do you see determining the GOA future, spiritual death or spiritual life? Is the GOA being raised up from the spiritually dead to transparent and accountable living light or has it reached the point of no return to God where it is found dying in a pathetic powerless, helpless and hopeless dark state?

      The spiritually dead are powerless to change their state by their powerless power that is the lie believed to be truth. God laughs at them as they try in their own pathetic powerless power to change their real world outcome. He leaves them to themselves in their corporate and systemic sin to use sin as the mechanism of their solution. The lie is used instead of the truth and all remains corrupt and grows ever more corrupt as a result. The lie mocks God and God exponentially mocks it in reply. He laughs at the laughable pathetic church who believes itself to be something other than what it really is.

      The degree of belief in the lie or truth determines the GOA future. It has made its choice. Oh, it might well have live bodies walking around in it. Do not be deceived by that into believing such a church still has freedom in Christ alive relevancy. Those bodies are the living dead. They are the stop think spiritually brain dead under the mind control of the rules of dead religion authoritarian enforcement.

      The living dead cannot think past the wall of their closed, isolated and subjective system. That closed system is a wall to solution. The Orthodox Wall is the Orthodox Way and that is no solution. The GO are their own isolated and subjective solution which can only provide a closed wall as its solution. What is closed can only provide a closed solution. An open solution (open system) is required but the closed system cannot provide it. The closed system closes out the open system transparent and accountable solution. Has anyone in the GOA noticed the closed system is not working? There is much more going on in the GOA than this parish president and Chicago Metropolitan issue. In comparison to the other issues this problem is minor but it still does point to the larger corruption issues. It has been my experience with corrupt churches is that when you can see one corruption problem there are at least three other corruption problems going on below the surface that you do not see. I can see 10 corruption problems in the GOA on the surface and I can also see most of the ones below the surface. I have pointed out several GOA problems before any GO discovered them. Anyone of these problems left not transparent and accountable with consequences has the potential to spiritually self destruct the GOA. In fact, they all are spiritually self destructing the GOA.

      You will have to break the rules to notice. If you break the rules you are destroying the closed system unity of the GOA. All GOA need to self protect the GOA from self destruction by submitting to the closed system rules of unity. The more closed the system the more the closed system rules rule the system. Those rules rule out open system solution that is the transparent and accountable solution. Like the GOA has never been told before is this. The closed system GOA denies the truth of this about them. Truth is an open system has been closed out of the GOA by the lie that is a closed system. The lie is a closed system. Yes, Orthodox, please explain to me how a lie is not a closed system that closes out truth that is an open system.

      When the closed system lie has convinced you that it is an open system that is the point of no return. Yes. I know the Orthodox exclusive claim proves it is Gods only open system church and those churches outside of it are Pharisee like in comparison. The GOA is Gods stand against the heretic and apostate churches. It has Christian moral and ethical authority by its corrupt and cultic state of church to stand as that. It represents Gods supreme ethical and moral law on the planet by its real world outcome. The exclusive claim says so.

      The best the Orthodox can hope for as a solution is open system truth to somehow be realized in their closed system. Not going to happen. The Orthodox have never heard it said to them like that before. What is closed is not made open by what is closed. Only what is open can open what is closed. What stands outside in the open is what opens what is closed and it does not work the other way around. Christ the open system stands at the walled shut door of the closed system and knocks to be open system let in and the closed system does not let Him in, get it? Orthodox either you get it about this or your GOA gets spiritually dead. The dead cannot hear the living Christ knocking. Speak to a dead body sometime and see if it hears you. The analogy is the right analogy.

      Christ the open system stood outside of the dead religion closed system and exposed it. The living expose the dead. It does not work the other way around. Christ came as least expected. He came as a bottom up humble servant ruler and not a top down authoritarian religious dictatorship. He came under us to raise us up to life. He did not come over the top of us to top down push us down and crush us to death. He did that to make the stark and harsh comparison. He was even sarcastic about it, irreverent about it and outright angry about it. He did not mince words about it.

      The concern of many American Orthodox is growing louder. Yet, even they are not heard. I hear the deep frustration, sense of hopelessness, fear of the future and anger of some of those on this forum. Others are in complete denial or just plain ignorant about the facts of the state of the GOA. It all sounds and looks like a constipated church toilet all back up and reeking on the floor with no hope of it ever being fixed or cleaned up. I suppose those in the OCA could change jurisdictions the GOA and those in the GOA could change jurisdictions to the OCA since there is no systemic connection between what plagues them, right? I mean the solution is in another jurisdiction, correct? There are no mutual symptoms pointing to a mutual cause, right? Why if there was all of you would be able to rationally take the symptom back to its logical cause if that were the case, correct? Then you all by Orthodox unity could solve the causation problem together by bringing holy unity in to replace corruption as unity, right? The two largest jurisdictions in America then would then lead Orthodoxy in America into the Orthodox century for America, correct?

      Any Orthodox out there feeling top down authoritarian power and control pushed down and crushed? Are you feeling raised up to greater spiritual relevancy life or are you feeling crushed down to spiritual irrelevancy death?

      (The EO just love it when I ask questions they have never thought about asking themselves. I am an open system Christian who asks open system Christian questions of the closed system Christians.)

      An authoritarian closed system of dead religion will never find a living open system freedom in Christ solution. Yes, I know, the GO believe they are an open system of freedom in Christ that hears God. Oh, really? Does a corrupt and dying church hear God or does it only hear the idol god of its destruction?

      Christ in the Gospels is seen facing off with a cult of corruption, the living dead. They too believed they were Gods only right and true structure and system of rule, salvation, fathers, traditions, history, worship and belief. They were so very right about themselves in deceived and delusional viewpoint of themselves they could not be wrong. They were found in a state of self idolatry that they refused to see and admit to for how superior right they were in comparison to all below them in inferiority. Yet, the only comparison there is, Jesus Christ, revealed to them and the entire world just how wrong they were. They did not believe Him. They took up stones to kill him. He was the heretic apostate who spoke into them and deserved to die for it. Nothing He could speak into them about and no matter how He said it could reverse their course. They had reached the point of self righteous no return to God.

      Christ’s relevancy paradigm shifted right past them and left them to die in a spiritually dead paradigm of powerless irrelevancy without Christ. He left them in to die in the paradigm of the lie. His truth paradigm left them behind to die in their lies. The left behind in the paradigm of the lie are those who have reached the point of no return to God no matter who or what they claim to be.

      Christ left those He confronted behind in a bondage paradigm that without Him there was no escape from. He is the freedom in Christ paradigm that paradigm shifted right past them. They continued to exist, but what did they continue to exist as? Oh, I see, there is no Christ comparison here to make to the GOA when the GOA claims to be Gods only true and right, correct? Stop the comparison to Jesus and you stop church life and go spiritually dead. When you are Gods only true and right you are the only comparison to yourselves and you will always then find yourself true and right.

      No Christ = No comparison to Christ = You are the God of comparison = You go corrupt by being God.

      In the GOA it is trust and do not verify if trustworthy. In the Bible it is verify and then trust. If you get it backwards you are asking for it. So, let’s not get Biblically spiritually mature about this or the GO may have to spiritually grow up and face their subjective delusional image of themselves in the objective mirror of Gods spiritual maturity. If it becomes spiritually mature in the GOA how then can the spiritually immature corrupt reign over the church spiritual immaturity? Why, the whole structure and system might implode in on itself if that were to happen. So, don’t take the risk of facing yourselves in the objective mirror of Gods truth that tells you the truth of you state of church and yourselves in it. Better to keep the delusion going as long as you can or the truth of you might destroy the church, right?

      The GOA lie will lie to you and tell you the GOA is Christ alive truth. However, if you only look at the true state of the GOA in the practical reality of the real world you will see the lie believed by the GOA to be truth. You will see the lying idol god that the GOA believes is true God. The lying idol of the lie is church spiritual death by the lie believed to be God. Who your church God is more than anything else determines your church outcome in the real world. The authoritarian closed system world is not the real world of the freedom in Christ over such evil that is bent on our spiritual destruction. God is not the God of spiritual destruction, but the idol god of evil is.

      The lie of evil who himself is deceived and delusional about himself is the idol god of destruction. Idolatry of the lie of evil believed to be the truth of the Lord is self destructing the GOA. There is no longer any defense left in the GOA to stop itself from being turned into a cult. All attempts have failed and are going to continue to fail. The lie will give you all the lying solutions necessary to keep you going in circles without solution and with the belief that the next solution will solve the problem. Evil will keep you preoccupied with corruption and his solution to that corruption will keep you corrupt and make you more corrupt. You will end up spending your lives in that bondage and so that you are made your own self destruction by that bondage. The liar, thief and murderer will destroy your eternal rewards by keeping you embroiled and enmeshed in his lies that he supplies no solution to when you in spiritual blindness look to him in unseen ways to provide you with solution.

      What is evil’s ultimate goal? Destroy salvation by cutting off any Christ salvation solution. Telling of the salvation state of a structurally and systemically corrupt church without solution is this. If your salvation is a powerless lie that will be your powerless solution. Your salvation, in the end, determines your church state and church future. So, let’s not get spiritually mature practical about this. So what is the GOA solution that I can see? Let’s deny this to be the truth and never find Gods salvation solution to the corruption of the GOA salvation that is powerless to provide a solution.

      (Aerial Toll Houses is the GOA salvation solution. Just ask the Elder and the Archdiocene Council that enables that lie of salvation. The council members are powerless to act against the lie of salvation proving the powerlessness of their lie of salvation that cannot act with Gods true salvation.)

      Who is responsible of the corrupt and dying state of the GOA? It is the leadership of the GOA. Personally, I believe it is the Archdiocene Clergy Laity Council. They were told, warned and confronted about the state of the GOA and have done nothing to stop its state. They have even made promises to do something about the issues self destructing the GOA. They have done nothing. The lie believed to be truth is powerless to do something by the truth taking action against the lie once the lie has become the church truth. Get it?

      Yes, GOA keep supporting ethnic heritage as your solution. Start another foundation or organization of some kind that builds your being Greek over building the living Christ who is not of a self centered and self protective ethnocentric superior closed system ghetto mentality. Being GREEK is your solution to the spiritual problems that have encircled your church and cut off any way of escaping them as your self destruction. Hold onto that as your church unity over Christ alone as church unity and see where you that takes you. It will lead you into idolatry in ways you do not see. A closed system is not only subjective and isolating it is alienating. Jesus Christ is not alienation. I read that in the Gospels. Christ confronted closed system alienation in the Gospels.

      If you serve an idol god you serve a god of nothing who is powerless to do something about the idolatry self destructing the GOA. A nothing idol god produces a nothing result. The lie of the idol will promise you and then lie to you. The lie wants you to forget how and when it lies to you. It tells you that you are wonderful and beautiful Orthodoxy to which nothing else compares. It wants you to believe there are no future eternal consequences.

      A lie is nothing about the truth. It is void of the truth. It is nothing but a lie masquerading as the truth. The truth holds the lie transparent and accountable with consequences. The lie does not hold itself transparent or accountable. Idolatry of the lie is powerlessness to hold the lie transparent and accountable with consequences. I read that in the Bible. No, no, no, its the authority of the hierarchy (the authority of the Apostles) that is the solution and that tells you the truth of Gods Word is the solution. And, if they fail then the elder is the solution. When the problems become the solution you are out of solutions. You go circular without solution. This is just to real world for some EO to hear. They are turning off their ears to hear. Typical is that in a closed system that closes the ears to hear. It will turn the GOA into a cult.

      The Bible provides the solution. The power of truth in the power of the Holy Spirit over the idolatry of the powerless lie is the only solution. The powerless will not pay the price, take the risk or make the sacrifice required to take Gods truth action against the lie of evil, the idol of evil. How can they when made powerless to stand against the lie? The lie turns people into people of the lie into spiritual cowards, spiritually indifferent and apathetic, pathetic cowering and sick obedience submission to corruption as God. The truth of God stands courageous against the coward of the lie. The lie in reality is a coward. The GOA is a coward in its stand against the lie.

      The lie is bankrupt out of solutions whereas the truth is the riches of Christ as the solution. The GOA is spiritually bankrupt out of solutions and to believe it is not in this state is to believe a lie.

      Prediction: nothing is going to be done to reverse the course of the spiritual self destruction of the GOA.

      What is the Orthodox solution to the GOA corruption seen? Lord have mercy. Has anyone in the GOA noticed how the Lord is not showing the corrupt church any mercy in America or Greece? No repentance of idolatry sin and no mercy. Only when the GOA comes to the end of itself as God will it find the true God and Gods truth solution.

      The lie has no mercy and it shows no mercy in its destruction of the GOA. The lie can act against the GOA but the GOA cannot act against the lie destroying the GOA. That is the point of no return to God and it has been exposed for what it is undeniably now. The only ones denying it are those who believe the lie.

      Until the GOA comes to the end of itself in the powerless lie only then will the GOA find the truth of the power of the Holy Spirit that destroys the lie destroying them. The GOA can believe otherwise and continue to believe the lie of its spiritual destruction. The greater the lie is believed to be truth the greater the lie denies the truth of God. If you cannot see where this has taken the GOA and where it is taking it then you are believing the deceived delusion of the GOA lie.

      GOA submit to lie and die or submit to the truth and live. How a church thinks is determined by the God it believes in, obeys and serves. How a church thinks by that God determines its real world outcome no matter who or what it claims itself to be. Idolatry is the cause of the GOA destruction. Its that spiritually simple.

      The gates of hell will not prevail against Gods true church. That is those who believe in God and worship God in His Spirit of truth. However, the gates of hell will prevail against a lie of church. Evil can prevail against a cult. A cult is the spirit of the lie shown prevailing.

      Just ask the GO, their church will never be turned into a Christian cult based in a lie of salvation or by a lie of Gods authority. Oh, but the solution is to return it to the authority structure it was 1996 and prior. That was not the lie set up for the EP to have absolute power and control to change the structure of authority. He is no religious authoritarian dictatorship. He is not corrupt and Astoria, NY proves it. The church holds him transparent and accountable with transparent consequences the entire church can see and just like they do the entire of the GOA hierarchy. Change it back to 1996 and nothing will change. It will ALL remain circular without solution the same.

      Yes, I know, I have this wrong and I am proved wrong by the state of the GOA in the practical reality of the real world. They are the prevailing church of Gods truth prevailing over the lies of evil by their corrupt and cultic outcome that has no solution. Join them and follow them in maintaining a state of church that will never reach a point of no return to God. Believe them, join them and become like them and never return to God.

      Christ in the Gospels is revolt to revolution to reform to transform. He is no where in the Gospels seen to be in unity with corruption. He stands outside of corruption and speaks into it. He is holy separated and set apart from corruption and He does not rule with corruption. His coming was a revolt against corruption as unity, as God and as salvation. He and nothing else is to be our only God, unity, authority and salvation. It all comes from Him and flows through Him to us or we go corrupt when something else replaces Him.

      Christ met us at our top down authoritarian religious dictatorship based in its own power and control rule abuse bottom and raised us up out of that. So, GOA, why are you not raised up out of that? It is the idol god you serve is the reason? There ultimately is no other reason for your state of corrupt, failed and dying church not standing up in the face of corruption than the idolatry that renders you corrupt and powerless to stop the corruption.

      Can Christ meet us at that same place today and raise us up out of it? Apparently not if you are in the GOA. They have reached the point of no return and so the vast majority will be staying.

      The corrupt will not stop the corrupt from being corrupt. How hard is that one? The degree of GOA corruption is the degree all GO are corrupt. Their degree of corruption will be the degree that they stop their structural and systemic corruption. Notice how none of the corruption is stopping? If it is not stopping that only means it is growing worse and in ways most GO do not see. They couldn’t see the corruption that conquered them and so how can it be expected they can see the corruption still conquering them? It can’t. So, its over.

      I see what the GOA has been transformed into by the God it believes in, obeys and serves. Have the GO been transformed into the Christ character of spiritual courage that pays the price, takes the risk and makes the living Christ sacrifice required to stop corruption or are they the corruption that cannot stop the corruption?

      It is going to be very interesting watching the GOA come to the end of itself as God to find God as its only solution when the GOA believes it is Gods only alone right and one true church. You will have to think for yourself without the corrupt church thinking for you to understand why I said that and what it means for the spiritual future of the GOA in the practical reality of the real world and where Jesus really lives. The line between stating you are God and stating you are Gods only true and right church is a thin line easily crossed and the GOA crossed that line a long time ago.

      Many Orthodox over the years have told me that I do not know what I am missing by being a heretic apostate who is not a part of their church. That I am missing the fullness of God by not being an Orthodox.

      My answer is simple: I know what I am missing. I am missing my dear and only precious son Scott.

      I find it interesting how that answer always brings about their silence. It is like the truth mirror of God was put in their face and they had to see the truth of themselves in the mirror. Their deceived delusional perspective of themselves (the lie) runs right into the rational reality of the truth of God that does not lie.

      It’s all spelled out for the Orthodox in John 8:31-59. Every apologetic defense I have seen the GOA raise are found there. If find it fascinating how they were alone were right, they would not listen, they did not heed the warning and they spiritually died by being left behind in the paradigm of the lie. They were so GOA like about it.

      The GOA has been fairly warned. They will not hear the warning. The GOA reached has the point of no return to God. They are left behind in the paradigm of the lie to die. They will deny that. So, all of this glum and doom misery being spoken around the Orthodox failure in America has a source. The paradigm of the lie. I promise you the lie will not tell you what the lie is. The lie will not expose the lie. It will lose power and control if it exposes the lie. At the same time the lie is hiding in plain sight that the GOA cannot see for its deceived and delusional perspective of its self righteous self.

      I honestly feel great empathy for the sincere Christians who are Orthodox. They have no way of escaping this outcome until they come to the end of themselves as the solution. No one is talking we need to come to the end of ourselves to find God as our solution. No one is talking about what that really means on a spiritual level or practical working level. All still believe that what has failed them is somehow going to no longer fail them and somehow help them realize their idealistic Orthodox dream come true for Orthodoxy in America. The structure and system will find the solution when the structure and system is the problem. Take another lap around Mt. Sinai until you learn your lesson. The point of no return does not learn its lesson. Going in circles is the GOA future.

      There will be no Orthodox dreams coming true for the GOA future in America. Only nightmares of reality for the GOA are coming true.

      The Co-Chairman of the Archdiocene Council lied. The paradigm of the lie is your church future. October 18, 2013 marks the one year anniversary of the lie as your church future. Another prediction come true, and they all come true. I told the GOA Jaharis would not take the required and promised action. So, goes the leadership of the GOA and so goes the lie of the GOA as its future. There is nothing that can stop that future from coming to the GOA and it has just been told why. Now, GOA, by the lie deny your church future like you deny your current state of church.

      Yes, GOA, tell the world that you are Gods only alone right and one true church and salvation and in so doing tell the world that no other church can compare to you. Be left behind in your delusionally deceived self idolatry of yourselves and your church. Die by the lie and do not live by the truth. Believe you are GOD without actually stating that out-loud, but all that you are screams out-loud that is who all of you believe the GOA is. You don’t have to verbally state it when how you live it states it. The real world outcome of your mindset, attitude and behavior as a church states it. The GOA is proud, arrogant and self righteous. It is idolatry. The more you state you are God the more God in His own way states back to you that you are not God.

      Now the worse comes to the GOA. It has been fairly warned.

      This now concludes my public speaking into the GOA.

      Ashley Nevins

      • Michael Bauman says

        Mr Nevins may God bless and succuor you and your wife in your grief, may the truth be revealed and you sons sins be forgiven so that he is in a place of brightness, place of verdure, a place of reprose where all sickness, sorrow, and sighing have fled away.

      • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

        Ashley Nevins, you’re the father of the young man who committed suicide right? I’ve read your lawsuits, etc. Christianity is the only true religion, and Orthodoxy is true Christianity. Your son found true Christianity, but you immediately rejected it, and spent all the remaining years of his life undermining your son’s relationship with it. He asked for your blessing, you refused to give it. He was a man, yet you seemed to have spent his entire adult life treating him as a child and trying to get him to regress to it. You rant about corruption within the Church, well there will be weeds among the wheat until the end. But, the Orthodox Church, the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, is absolutely pure because it is the true Israel and Bride of Christ. The failures of any one person or localized group of people to realize the potential of Orthodoxy doesn’t diminish what it is. The entire Western half of Christendom became corrupt and fell away from Orthodoxy; yet Orthodoxy was undiminished, retaining the wisdom and living witness of both the Latin and Greek fathers in herself, needing no Reformation or Counter-Reformation.

        Frankly, for now, I’ve only lightly skimmed over your lengthy rant. It is hard not to laugh at things like, “Aerial Toll Houses is the GOA salvation solution.” No, our salvation is by grace through faith. And our grace is Biblical grace, not merely legal good standing ; and our faith is Biblical faith, not mere a one time decision for Christ and the other false meanings that Heterodox attach to our words. Orthodox have a “personal relationship with Jesus” through the Church, as members of His Body, which why Orthodoxy has remained the same down through the ages. If Protestants had this, like we have it, then they would have the unity of the faith and communion of the Holy Spirit, whereas you have merely endless sects with no unity of organization, doctrine, or practice. Everything good and true in Heterodoxy is inherited from Orthodoxy, including the canon of the Bible, but there is all that and even more in Orthodoxy. If you want to help yourself (or rather to let the Lord help you), much less anyone else, come to terms with Orthodoxy and unite yourself with her.

        • Fr. George Washburn says

          Hello Friends:

          It is really tough to get up the courage to reply to someone who can pick and stick to a moniker like Ladder of Divine Ascent …when one is only packing the names his late Congregationalist/Presbyterian parents put on the Piscataquis County, Maine birth certificate. I was tempted to level the playing field a little first (or even go him/her one better) by grabbing “Unseen Warfare” or “Philokalia” before anyone else could, but I chickened out. Didn’t want to be blamed if it led to cycles of escalating, spiritual name inflation here between “Gospel of Matthew,” “Pentateuch,” “Septuagint” or “Double Septuagint with Steamed Milk.”

          I also preface the following remarks by saying I find Mr. Nevins’ comments wordy, garbled and inconsistent … to name three of the defects that stand out to me.

          But dude, Dude, DUDE….to make such cutting public pronouncements on his parenting, obviously intended to lay severe blame, guilt and self-reproach at this poor man’s door over the confusion and death of his son. Do you have intimate knowledge of that young man’s psyche or the father’s, the family’s past and/or its pain? The counsel he got from monks and whether or not it was 100% good and right for him? Do you have professional and spiritual credentials that would qualify you to make such judgment calls ***IF*** you had the necessary and comprehensive factual knowledge, and it were your place to do so? Has the Orthodox Church conferred upon your Divine Ascendedness the right or duty to render such a cowardly public verdict on Mr. Nevins …from behind the mask of pseud-anonymity?

          If not, then I recommend you ask yourself (or me, if your self doesn’t reply very sternly and quickly with a bucket of ice water for a chaser) if your Orthodox triumphalism hasn’t prompted you into an unpleasant exhibition of judgmentalism that, to me at least, smacks FAR more of the Protestantism you descry than the spirit of Orthodoxy and St. John of the Ladder – whose icon, don’t forget, shows *lots* of people falling off.


          Fr. George

          • nit picker says


            Somebody!!! Quick!!!! Check!!! Did hell freeze over? I actually agree with something Fr. George Washburn wrote!!

          • Michael Bauman says

            Mr. Nevins made a habit of coming on this blog before his son died saying almost exactly the same things. Naturally, it worsened after his son’s death. I feel for him, but there is more than a bit of exportation of blame in his comments. There is more to the story than what he tells. Mr. Nevins hates the Church and did all he could to communicate that hatred to his son. I would be more specific but I don’t have access to the specifics any more although they were posted with references on this blog a few years ago.

            Notwithstanding that the GOA should investigate the reality of what is happening in the Ephramite monasteries.

            Mr. Nevins is not responsible for the death of his son, but the unremitting hatred for the Church and monasticism in general had to have made it much more confusing for his son especially during the times he was away from the monastery.

            After reading “Everyday Saints” I would wager that most Americans would find the rigors and discipline of traditional monastic life as described there to be quite difficult to accept, even when administered by seasoned, balanced monks and abbots.

            Whether or not the monks and abbots in the US Ephamite monasteries are capable of properly forming monks and novices in the traditional manner that I have no idea but it needs to be investigated with as little bias as possible. Unfortunately, Mr. Nevins suit will make that more difficult rather than less.

            Further the capability of young folks with no or little previous experience in the Orthodox life in general or Orthodox monasticism in particular needs to be considered before accepting them into any form of noviate. Perhaps mandatory participation in a healthy parish of 3-5 years or something like that. Such is even more important when there is a parent who hates the Church and, perhaps, attempts to exercise undue control over an adult child.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            I sometimes think the Orthodox on this blog are a little out of touch with the state of “heterodoxy” these days.

            For that matter, by and large it’s rather a windmill, and the lanceolate charges at it long out of date.

            At any rate, most all of Christendom (what a great concept!) west of the Carpathians, to and including the entire Western Hemisphere, has been “heterodox” for a thousand years. Come to think of it, Christianity in Egypt, half of Syria, and essentially every point east thereof, including Armenia and the Church of the East, has been “heterodox” for one-and-a-half thousand years or so.

            God only knows why. Anyhow, my own conversion is more in the way of a crash-landing by a shot-up warplane than anything else. I know countless devout Christians among the “heterodox”.

            Columbus set sail 40 years after Constantinople fell, but you’d think it was yesterday to some folks. Some, I think, would feel more at home if it were the Turk who had stumbled upon the Americas, rather than the dreaded…..heterodox!

            • Michael Bauman says


              One thing I have noticed the longer I am in the Church especially since I came not from your average ‘heterodox’ tradition but a truly heretical one, is that the mind of the Church is a fiercesome
              thing. Properly entered into, it leaves little space for anything else. Of course, we routinely give space to our passions, but that is another story.

              I think you are right that Orthodox are more comfortable with Islam because it is wholly other. Christian perspective other than what the Church holds are much more difficult to deal with I think. For those who have been in the Church since 40 days after birth (no such thing as a cradle Orthodox, all are converts) and have grown up in the Church often say when faced with some beliefs of new converts from Protestant backgrounds: “Where do they come up with this stuff”, yet at the same time there is the uncomfortable feeling that it is somehow related to the Church.

              It is always easier to create a stereotype than it is to deal with the actual person or belief.

              There is no question that many heterodox have great faith, many much greater than my own, yet …. well, I really don’t know the yet except from my own extreme experience. Great faith placed in the service of even slightly incorrect ideas ends up far from the mark.

              Sin is an archery term you know, missing the mark. Anyone who has shot a bow for any length of time can tell you that a minor misalignment means that the arrow does not go to the center of the target and sometimes misses the target altogether.

              I once watched a world and Olympic champion archer shooting at a target 30 meters away (point blank for these guys). His first two arrow were in the ten ring, but up and to the right. He adjusted his sight by one ‘click’ (about a micron). The next arrow went dead center.

              No excuse for not doing what we can to better understand the beliefs of others but it is more important to guard our own hearts by immersing ourselves in the Church and allowing ourselves to be transformed.

              Each person is absolutely unique and we each come to God in unique ways. Those who are seeking the Truth, will be found by Him no matter how far out on the mountain they are. Those who prefer their own way will not be part of the flock, even if they mingle with it.

              There is also another part of that story about Constantinople. We are connected through the grace of Jesus Christ and the gift of his Body and Blood to all of those who have gone before us in the Lord. It is not just a mental construct but a living reality. One can certainly over identify with the historical situation mistaking it for the spiritual, but the connection is real, vital and living. It is part of what makes the Church the Church and everybody else, not so much.

              When one’s natural family is outside the Church, that is a difficult thing to navigate. The natural connections never go away, but they do seem to come into a different perspective over time, at least that has been my observation.

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                Thanks once more for another very thoughtful post, Mr. Bauman.

                I appreciate your Constantinople remark. When, over the years, I have explained to folks my interest in Orthodoxy, I myself have used this thought– that one has the sense of worshipping in the same faith with the people of Constantinople, and many other places, long ago; the continuity destroyed by the Reformation.

                In my particular case, I was introduced to Orthodoxy shortly after my own serious return to my Christian faith in the late 1970s. My study of Orthodoxy followed close upon the heels of my reading and reflections that, with prayer, led me back into the active life of the church in which I had been raised. I read all of those things familiar to converts; Timothy Ware, Frs. Schmemman and Meyendorf and Florovsky, and many others besides, back then. For various reasons, I did not convert.

                On the other hand, I observed Great Lent almost every year in the ensuing decades, very seldom failed to attend the Pascha liturgy, and celebrated Pascha with a big feast for almost all of the years my kids were growing up. Indeed, for decades we have referred to Easter as “Western Easter” to avoid confusion!

                To make a long story short, neither my family nor my friends are the least surprised, much less shocked, about my decision to convert. It follows closely upon that of my youngest (age 36) son, who no doubt finds the seeds of his conversion in the forgoing family history!

                To get to the point, I am largely at ease with heterodoxy, and will surely always remain so, even as I depart it. There are always going to be Western Easters as well as Paschas in my big family. If some others convert over the years, that will be great to see. If not, I don’t worry about it in the least. It seems quite normal to me! Perhaps that is what I was trying to express in my earlier post.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Tim R…Here is what I see as a primary difference although I’ll probably get in trouble for this:

                  The “heterodox” are saved and can find genuine union with Christ inspite of their theology, anthropology and ecclesiology which many ignore to find the Lord.

                  In Orthodoxy the situation is reversed. Those who love the Lord also enter most fully into the life of the Church and are most aligned with her revealed teachings. The disconnect is from those who don’t accept the teachings.

                  Of course I could be way off base. But my most recent experience in the American Indian United Methodist Mission from which my wife came 4 years ago tends to confirm it for me.

                  By the mercy of God, my wife and I were married there in a typical Protestant wedding service but then, the really good part. The native pastor blessed us with a Native American blessing that was quite like Christmation using an eagle feather instead of anointing to seal our marriage against the past and all evil. Then I knew we were married. By God’s grace and unmerited economia, my bishop found a way to bless our marriage in the Church. Love finds a way.

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says

                    My wife and I were married at 19 in her Church, St. Patrick’ Catholic Church. It’s two blocks from my Presby church, and about 7 blocks from where we live now.

                    Back then, you had to get the priest’s permission to marry a protestant. I was a student at U Cal/Berkeley, and was sent to a local Jesuit who made swift work of it (this was 1967 and the process was easy). I always give Holy Mother Church due credit for the 46 years so far!

            • Michael Bauman says

              I am going to revise my comment on the comfort with Islam vs comfort with “heterodox”

              The Orthodox Church has dealt and been subject to Islam since its inception with both positive and negative results. It is quite common in the Islam countries that have a historic Orthodox presence for Moslems to come to Christian holy sites to venerate the saints and request their intercession.

              One story that my brother told me and he heard it from a first hand source: When the “peacekeepers” were in Kosovo years ago, mostly watching as the fighting went on around them, there was a Muslim family whose beloved young daughter was dying of some sort of wasting disease which the doctors had not been able to arrest. They told the father to take is daughter home to die.

              He did not accept that. In the town there was an Orthodox monastery which had the full relics of a local saint know for healing. There was shooting going on all around, yet the father called the monastery and asked if he could bring his daughter by for prayers before the relics. The monk said, “Of course, if you can get here”

              The father got his daughter there, the monks took the daughter into the shine of the saint, opened the coffin and prayed for healing. She was healed.

              I frankly can’t imagine many mainline or evangelical Protestants doing anything like that. There are still folks out there not that far away who think of us as “heathen idol worshippers.”

              The Church has had little real interaction with Protestants except in its theology (Calvinism is an official heresy declared such in 1638).

              Our history with Rome is fraught with what we look upon as betrayal and oppression. It is one thing for Islam to try to destroy us. It is quite another when we seem (historically) to get a similar treatment from someone who claims to be a Christian. “Et tu Brute?”

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Father George,

            In fairness to our Divine Ascent friend (aren’t we all on that “ladder;” why mock??), I’m not sure he said anything that isn’t common knowledge.

            Ashley Nevins is a prolific writer. I have seen his rants (rant in the context of speaking or writing in an impassioned way) on every list to which I have belonged since 2005.

            1) That he had a son, who committed suicide, is common knowledge. He spoke of it here.

            2) That there is/was talk of a lawsuit is also evident, as Ashley Nevins told the press: “Those people need to go, especially those who were in positions of authority, who knew better.” The report goes on to say: ” Nevins’ family, through an attorney, reportedly sent the church and monastery a letter warning they will file a lawsuit if changes aren’t made.” (See more at: I’m not aware of any changes. If there were, judging by his latest post, Ashley Nevins doesn’t seem particularly satisfied.

            3) That his son found “true Christianity” is a given, if one believe the Orthodox Church is the One, True Church. That Ashley Nevins feels we are exactly the opposite is clear.

            4) That Ashley Nevins rejected his son’s decision to join the monastery is an understatement.

            5) That Ashley Nevins tried to undermine his son’s relationship with the Church can be inferred, as he publicly denounced the life that Scott chose. Not accepting an adult son’s choice, IS “treating him as a child.” This is just an opinion, but I suspect the Nevins did everything within their power to help their son “regress” (return to his former self) when he left the monastery. They loved their son and believed he was in the grip of a “cult.” In what universe would loving parents NOT want their child to “regress” from such a state? Just asking the question.

            I, too, lost a son Scott’s age just a few months before Scott died so perhaps I will be given a pass to state the obvious: Everything the Ladder of Divine Ascent said is 100% true. IMO he was not making “cutting public pronouncements on his (Ashley Nevins) parenting, obviously intended to lay severe blame, guilt and self-reproach at this poor man’s door over the confusion and death of his son.” He was commenting on Ashley Nevins’ position, which is fair, as Ashley Nevins introduced the subject.

            Forgive me, Father, but I suspect you may be reading way too much into Ladder of Divine Ascent’s post. To me, your response was unnecessarily harsh.

            I hope I speak for EVERYONE on this blog, including the Ladder of Divine Ascent, when I say our heart aches for the loss suffered by the Nevins. If this is NOT true, I am happy to be corrected. Further, if I may be so bold, we pray that God will be merciful to this family and give them the grace to withstand the loss of their beloved son; may his memory be eternal.

            • Fr. George Washburn says

              Hi Gail:

              What a full and enjoyable day! Thank God!!

              Thank you for your usual blend of good intention, good heart and good head. I agree with the spirit of what you have written if not the exact letter. Reading your comments made me go back right away to review both Ladder’s message and my reply. I do not dissent from what you write readily or gladly.

              The touch of levity regarding this name was not intended to mock the person, whose identity in ant case remains completely hidden from any actual shame, but rather to contrast the spiritually “fulsome,” shall we say, use of the title of such a great Orthodox Classic with the tone and content of this drubbing of Mr. Nevins. I do not mock the book or its author…. or the person or aspirations of the one who anonymously cloaks himself in that name here. But I do think a fair reading of the Ladder post (“it is hard not to laugh”) reveals some de facto mocking of Mr. Nevins’ flawed comments.

              Your last paragraph for me expresses the authentic spirit and aspirations of Orthodoxy as mediated through your personality and your experience applied to what is before us now. I like it.

              When I searched back through the Ladder’s post, though, I did not find that mix of grace, truth and empathy for the loss. Rather I still found the same unpleasant tone of straw man bashing that had prompted me to criticize it and his anonymity in the first place.


              Fr. George

              • Gail Sheppard says

                To Father George:

                Thank you for your kind words.

                If I err, may it always be on the side of giving someone too much credit! So wish I could do it 100% of the time. :-/

                May God bless you, Father George. You are definitely one of the “good guys.”

      • Daniel E Fall says

        Mr Nevins,

        Respectfully, I agree with portions of your essay. I will only offer you a bit of friendly advice. Try to be more concise; your post is rather long, and becomes unreadable. I realize you have good reason to go on an on about your opinions about the GOA, but the opinions, no matter how accurate, get lost if it becomes too much. What exactly was the lie? It seems important to make that clear since it is an accusation of sorts. Regards and again, very sorry for your loss.

        PS I attended a GOA church as a young boy as it was the only church close enough to our home. It was incredibly difficult to enjoy because of the language barrier (back in the 70s). I remember distinctly a meeting in the basement where the men were shouting at each other in Greek and one fellow kept nipping at a metal flask. The language barrier alone was enough to make you feel a bit of an outcast in the room.

  22. Philip Demos says

    Does anyone find it curious that:

    1. …any person for virtually any reason, and by any motivation, can file a criminal complaint (request for investigation) against a priest, and the immediate assumption is that he should be removed from his ministry until such time as an investigation is concluded? If I don’t like my parish priest, could I not continue to file spurious complaints? Should all criminal investigations of any nature preclude ministry? I certainly could understand any investigation/complaint of a personally abusive nature (assault, battery, etc.) resulting in the removal of the accused from ministry–but this would be predicated on an arrest or substantive allegations. Nobody in this case seems to suggest inappropriate personal interactions. Is anyone alleging that Dokos is a danger to anyone personally? Is anyone alleging that he could repeat the same alleged actions at his new parish? No.

    2. …nobody in the Press or online has challenged the motives of the Parish Council or its attorney in filing this complaint? Why did previous Parish Councils not oversee–as is their duty–the funds of the Parish and draw the same conclusions?

    3….that after six weeks the District Attorney has not filed charges, but while the investigation is pending the Parish Council or their attorney are releasing evidence in that investigation, to sway public opinion? What is the rush? IS Dokos innocent before being proven guilty?

    4…that the criminal complaint being investigated is “criminal theft by a trustee” and is unrelated to any checks written to Bishop Demetrios–that even the Annunciation Church has not alleged wrongdoing in that regard, and yet it is those checks–and not checks made out to Dokos–that are broadcast in this article?

    5…that the Saints Peter and Paul Parish Council met “secretly” contrary to regulations to decide to write their letter? Why the secrecy and stealth tactics? And what does the internal affairs of the Annunciation Church have to do with the mission, aims and purposes of Saints Peter and Paul? Do THEY permit Dokos to sign checks and have unrestricted access to parish finances? Isn’t it then strange that the PResident would issue a statement to the Press noting the need for the Parish COuncil to “defend” itself againist DOkos? DOes that sound like cooperation and co-ministry which they cite in their letter?

    6…that the attorney for Annunciation Church who filed the criminal complaint, Emmanuel Mamalakis, has his own serious financial and legal issues involving the use of funds of non-profit organizations and shady business dealings as any google search would reveal, and is now seeking to smear persons in the Church? Is his personal agenda scrutinized? After all, he and the Parish Council can be the only rational source for the released checks presented here (since nobody else has any interest in their publication)…

    I think that if persons of good will and good faith wanted to get to the bottom of this matter, they would patiently await the findings of the District Attorney. They expect Dokos to put his life (and livelihood) on hold for that, why should the standard be any different–unless they suspect that the District Attorney will not pursue criminal charges. Then they are just throwing a tantrum…

    If Dokos were to be charged or convicted, I have no doubt the Church would respond differently. In any event, there seems, even in the letter published here, to be much “more to the story” and responsible Christians should not be making judgments with partial information. Somewhere in the Bible there is something about testing all spirits, and here I only see a one-sided presentation of fact. Somewhere in the Bible there is something about not judging simply on appearances…something that many online should recall if their claim to being Orthodox Christians is at all sincere.

    I don’t know how this will end for Dokos, the Annunciation, or Saints Peter and Paul. If DOkos is vindicated, this has all been “much ado about nothing,” and will have lessened the dignity of the Church. This will not have been the doing of DOkos, however, who has remained silent. It will be the doing of all the needless and idle chatter that has shown our non-Orthodox friends in our society that we can be as spiritually immature as anyone else. Too bad.

  23. Rdr. James Morgan says

    I have not read all the replies here, but I wonder if any of the heirs of the original trustators have given any indication of their feelings in this matter, that the terms of the trust might have been violated? i think they might have standing in court if this goes this far, but don’t quote me, I’m not an attorney, nor do I play one on TV!

    rdr. James Morgan
    olympia wa

  24. Thomas Kanelos says

    This is not about what may or may not have happened in Milwaukee. The parish council at Ss. Peter and Paul and many parishioners have jumped on this issue as their way to get rid of a priest they do not like. It is not about the “protecting the parish funds” as the priest has no access to them. I grew up at this parish and know all of the players well. Or at least I thought I did. But they are 100% wrong in this instance. Allow the investigation to work it’s way our and then the Metropolis will have to deal with the results. Instead, this “loving Christian parish” this “bastion of Orthodoxy” would rather smear a persons name and play it out in the news papers than wait for the truth. Sadly, it is arrogance and ignorance of the proper order of the Church at it’s worst and it is becoming obvious that my former parish is not what it was cracked up to be. I cannot express how disspointed and disgusted I am with the behavior of the people there. Shame on them.

    • Only God Can Judge says

      Tom you are mistaken that priests do not have access to parish funds. For someone who seems to know so much about the Ss. Peter and Paul, you should know what a Discretionary Fund is and that many priests have full and undisclosed access to it. That’s just one of several areas priests have access to parish funds. There is no such thing as full transparency in the GOA. And if you grew up at Ss. Peter and Paul and went to Sunday School, you would also know that only God can judge. I did not read any statement here, or anywhere else this story was reported of any statements by any parishioners smearing anyone’s name. These are all facts that came about by what a priest brought on himself.

      • Archpriest John Morris says

        In the Antiochian Archdiocese every check must have two signatures, including checks from the Pastor’s Discretionary Fund. No priest with common sense would put himself in a position where he has access to any parish funds without accountability to the Parish Council. A priest must avoid anything that could give the impression that he is spending parish funds on his own authority.

        • Only God Can Judge says

          Yes, for a Discretionary Fund, two signatures are typically required, however, it is at the priest’s discretion as to who those checks are being written to and how it is used. The priest can tell the check signers that the check is going to someone who can’t afford groceries this month, without disclosing who the check is being written to.

          So those people signing the checks do so with blind faith that the check is being written for someone in need and for the right reasons. So again, we must trust that the priest is doing what we trust them to be doing. In a fallen world, there are bound to be those who take advantage of this trust. Hence, the need for total transparency.

      • Tom Kanelos says

        To “Only God Can Judge”, although it is against my better judgement to respond to someone who does not have the courage of their convictions to place their name on their comment, I would only say to you that I would suggest that it is the parish that has judged Fr. Dokos and the Metropolis. The criticism started the minute Fr. Dokos arrived at Sts. Peter an Paul. This issue has conveniently come along to give them something to hide behind. That is the sad part. I make no judgement about the allegations from Milwaukee and would suggest the investigation be allowed to run it’s course. The problem for those who want to capitalize on this is that if the investigation turns up no wrong doing, they will have lost their opportunity realize their goal. This is why they are choosing o play this out in the newspapers and by stirring up a parish which is all too eager to criticize the Metropolis. It really is a very sad and disappointing turn of events.

        • Only God Can Judge says

          To Tom,

          I am smart enough to know that if I put my name on these comments the repercussions could be that I may be excommunicated from the Church for voicing any opinion contrary to the Metropolis… you saw what happened to Mr. Gottriech for voicing the concerns of the Parish Council. That illustrates the sad state of affairs within the GOA. And since you no longer attend Ss. Peter and Paul, of course you speak with zero knowledge of the current state of this Parish over the past year and a half that Fr. Dokos has been there. Let me fill you in…parents of young ones are glared at, shamed and shushed in the midst of the sacred Divine Liturgy if their child begins to fuss before they can even do something about it. Attendance has dwindled, Stewardship has tanked, Sunday School enrollment has dropped, Altar boys do not want to serve in the altar, the Choir is sparse. All of these issues were addressed with the Metropolis in the “of the proper order of the Church” and the Metropolis dismissed these concerns. When the Metropolis cares more about the funds it’s priest is siphoning to them, rather than a Parish’s well being, then Houston, we have a problem. On top of all of the existing issues, the newest most damaging news of a criminal investigation has been crippling to the parish, hence the need to again address the Metropolis. The result? How dare they! If you truly think this is about a few “arrogant” and “ignorant” parishioners, think again. Better yet, please Tom, share what your suggestion would be to this Parish, when it goes through the proper order to address serious issues with the Metropolis and it falls on deaf ears because money is more important to them than their flock. I would love to hear what other approach you would suggest, other than letting it “play out”, as this is not a wise option when Parish life continues to decline at a rapid rate.

          • Tom Kanelos says

            Of course the “I don’t want to identify myself because I will be excommunicated from the Church” excuse. Well, did Mr. Gottreich get excommunicated foe expressing his opinions? No. Did he get excommunicated for expressing his views to the newspapers? No. Mr. Gottreich was removed as parish council president for violating the UPR. Plain and simple. You are hiding behind and excuse so that you can make false statements an not have to stand behind them. That is not integrity. It is cowardice.

            Fr. Dokos faced opposition from a segment of the parish from the day he stepped foot in the Parish. I have family remaining there an I attend bible study there for the past 18 years. I know dozens of parishioners well and I have heard from MANY parishioners including parish council members who confirm this.

            The decline in parish life is not a result of the actions of the priest but of members of the parish who have done their best to poison the parish . It really is a shame because there are many fine people who attend that parish and they are being purposely misled so that some of the leadership can accomplish their goals. When Fr. Scoulas of blessed memory came to the parish after the passing of the Beloved Fr, Latto, of blessed memory, there were those who left the parish as well. All that showed was that their Faith was not in Jesus Christ but rather in their own will and to their own pride. Likewise there were those who were unhappy with Fr. Angelo’s tenure as well. Many stayed because their Faith was in Jesus Christ and His Church. Some left as well. Those that have left because either they do not like Fr. Jim or because they have chosen to believe what they have been fed about hm have also showed that their Faith is not in Jesus Christ but in their own will and pride. Their Faith is in a philosophy that they have placed above the Church. I feel sorry for them because they will never know the joy of understanding that our dedication is to Chris and His church, not to a philosophy of governance.

            I spoke with Mr. Gottreich in Sioux City a day or so ago. He is a good man whom I have known most of my life. But I expressed to him that I believe the actions of the parish council were wrong. I also expressed that among many (though certainly not all) there is a feeling (though perhaps not always expressed in words) of superiority and pride in what they believe they have built at Ss. Peter an Paul. And that, among other reasons, is why I had chosen to make my home at another parish even though I am quite close to Ss. Peter and Paul geographically.

            I have already said more than I should have to an anonymous poster, but I could not let your misstatements stand without challenge.

            If you think that this entire effort to discredit both Fr. Jim and the Metropolis is a result of the allegations from Milwaukee, you are either being purposely dishonest or are incredibly naive. Either way, it is a very sad state when people who claim to be persons of Faith behave in such a manner.

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              Tom, the pseudonymists should not be ridiculed for being as timid as they are. OF COURSE, if they were serious in their convictions, they’d risk anything in order to stand up personally for what they see as the TRUTH, right? But, being unsure themselves of what they promote with such vehemence, they want to wait and see before exposing themselves. Insecurity is not valiant or brave, but it sure is better to be safe!

              • Only God Can Judge says

                Actually since you keep pushing the anonymity issue, whether you choose to believe me or not, it has been done out of respect for the request of my spouse who is fearful of potential consequences for our family. If you knew me personally, you would know that I am quite outspoken and convicted. I will take your criticism and personal attack in stride, out of respect for my spouse’s concerns, as my spouse and my family are more important than how anyone decides to judge me on this forum.

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  Thank you immensely, “Only God Can Judge” for supporting me out of your personal experience as a pseudonymist. You blame this on your spouse for her lack of trust in God, and even support her in it. That’s very plain and you’ve made it very much so.

                  • Only God Can Judge says

                    Oh retired Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald, you are so right. I should just put it all out there on the Internet and put my family’s concerns aside…like you, who thinks nothing of what you post on the Internet…in fact so much that you will even post confessions from an Archpriest and where you even identify where they are now living… Good for you Bishop…now that’s integrity!


                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Hi, Only God Can Judge! God be with you. I have never ever revealed the contents of anyone’s confession; however, I have sometimes read the reports by father confessors on what they heard in the life’s confessions of candidates for ordination who were their spritual children. Those statements are all required. Before a bishop ordains a man he is required to learn from the candidate’s confessor that there are no canonical impediments to ordination. A copy of the confessor’s ststement is placed in the subject’s personnel file, both at the Diocesan level and at the Synodal, or OCA level. The statement is entered on the same form on which the candidate’s oath is printed, signed and witnessed and on which the certificate of ordination is signed by the ordaining Bishop. This document must be made available according to Canon Law by the man ordained at all times. it is, in fact, THE ORIGINAL ORDINATION CERTIFICATE. i read on such a certificate the following handwritten remark by Father Thaddeus Wojcik; ” I have heard the confession of N. and he has repented of all canonical impediments.”
                      Why Father Wojcik chose to PUBLISH such a remark is his business. Nevertheless, he did not break what Roman Catholics call “the seal of Confession.’ Nor am I breaking the seal of a Confession (which I did not even hear, duuuh!!!!).
                      Since revealing the bizarre nature of Father Wojcik’s certification, I have experienced a lot of vilification. This is good for me and for my soul. As St. Peter says, if we do good and it is known, what glory is there in it; but if we do well and are BLAMED for it and bear it with joy, this glorifies God.. I note that the anonymous person using the handle “Only God Can Judge” provides a link to someone who apparently spent a lot of time figuring out and deducing and now revealing to the world that Father Thaddeus Wojcik was the Priest who made the unprecedented and bizarre statement about repenting of unidentified canaonical impediments!!!!! Perhaps “Only God Can Judge” will not save us a lot of such useless toil and just identify himself or herself as the case may be? Or maybe he or she does not want to be held accountable for his action in the court of public opinion? My main point in revealing the public record in that case was to admonish any hierarch’s to actually READ what is put before them according to the canons, and to be upright in their episcopal responsibilities and not careless. The ordaining bishop in that case is now dead; he has fallen asleep in the Lord. Nevertheless, i feel this case should still be studied by all our bishops and those Priests who report on the content of confessions to bishops who are about to ordain candidates. Thank you, then, for helping the Church by re-publishing the case!!!!!

                    • Bishop, Confucius say “when in hole, best to stop digging!” You got blamed and keep getting blamed for speaking ill of others and being cruel, not for doing “good.” You have such high opinion of yourself, but your behavior in reality is frightening.

                    • Anonymous by Neccesity says

                      Considering the bad behavior of some our our bishops toward +Jonah (slander, trying to force him into St. Luke’s, +Maymon and +Benjamin colluding with Stokoe, etc.), the last people I would ever trust with personal information is them.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Centurion! You state that I have a high opinion of myself. I do not. And nor did I ever say I have been found doing good. Where do you get that stuff ? I really do not have a high opinion of myself. I DON’T do good. Why should I EVER have a good opinion of myself? I do get blamed for my sins, as you so rightly point out! So what? I’ve never pretended to holiness, either. I’ve been getting down in the mud with all the mob and lower classes and scandalized others by participating in the forum of the Internet since way back in the days of the old “Prodigy” Orthodox Topic, too! I have learned a little, though, in my 53 adult years (I’ll be eighty-one next month) as an Orthodox Christian and member of the Metropolia/OCA, and that is that if you trust God there’s nothing to fear. That’s how I’ve never had to consider using a pseudonym or creating an anonymous communication. That’s my secret.
                      I find these two commandments to be the bottom line: Trust God, and Be Thankful. But I do not do good and compare very poorly, in the moral sense, with the other people I’ve encountered in life. I do stand by what I’ve written here, and feel it’s my duty to identify myself if I would want even to PRETEND that I practice what I preach!
                      I”m sure you, Centurion, as well as Anonymous by Necessity (sic), and (the MOST judgmental character who names himself or herself contradictorily) ‘”Only God Can Judge” (while uttering his or judgments), would do well to trust God and be thankful. Just sayin’.

                    • Fr. George Washburn says

                      Hello friends:

                      His Grace credits trust in God and the resulting lack of fear for his ability to state that he has “never had to consider using a pseudonym or creating an anonymous communication.”

                      This may be literally true if he used the name of “Artie the Great” here for a while some months ago, but never *considered* doing it before actually doing so. Or maybe if we focus on “never had to” the statement is true in the sense that nobody and nothing literally compelled or coerced him into using “Artie the Great.”

                      That said I am firmly on his side about the need to habitually post here under true names.

                      Fr. George

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Father George Washburn, it is that I never HAD TO use, i.e.,never felt forced to use( or consider using a pseudonym or create an anonymous communication) which is attributable to trust in God. You know and I know that once or twice I’ve rather openly adopted the Persian name of Artakhshassa (The best the Greeks could manage in trying to utter that was “Artaxerxes!”) from time to time, and that hid my identity from NO ONE at all. [Greeks, not being able to pronounce the “sh” in Shibboleth, also turned Kurush into Kyros or Cyrus, and they turned Khshayarsha into Xerxes.] I’m not sure why you chose the always problematic “literally” in your crack. If I didn’t trust God, I couldn’t post here at all. I don’t understand those who, not trusting in God, post here or anywhere.
                      I assume that those who use pseudonyms here would in the day of the Early Church hasten to offer incense up ostentatiously to Caesar’s image for the very reasons they’ve given for their habit. Misanthropic as I am, I often feel that the pseudonymists merely fear the EMBARRASSMENT which might ensue if their real identities were to be revealed!!!

            • Only God Can Judge says

              Wait a minute Tom – you judge the people at Ss. Peter and Paul for leaving because in your opinion they don’t like Dokos. Yet YOU left the same parish because you didn’t like the people even though it is a closer parish for you. The superiority stance you take that “they will never know the joy of understanding that our dedication is to Christ and His church” is completely hypocritical because you did the same thing! Is that integrity? Is that dedication to Christ and His Church or is that a feeling of “superiority and pride”? Please tell me how you can defend these statements when you have done the exact same thing, yet judge others for leaving, with the underlying notion that you are the better Christian who is much more dedicated to Christ and His Church than the rest. And that’s exactly why I couldn’t take your opinions and advice for this parish seriously in the first place.

              Fr. Dokos acknowledged to parish members in late July of the allegations from Milwaukee, yet in an Aug. 12th article by the Milwaukee Sentinel, he states “I know nothing about it. I will look into it real soon, believe me.” I can understand why many have left, as I would think it is more dispiriting to witness blatant deception from a spiritual leader than leaving because you claim “there is a feeling of superiority and pride” among some parishioners “in what they believe they have built at Ss. Peter an Paul.” You explicitly say “And that, among other reasons, is why I had chosen to make my home at another parish.” Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?

              You also said that there are parish council members who have confirmed your beliefs – then why did the Parish Council unanimously vote to address the Bishop given the decline of the parish. You are welcome to your opinion Tom, but facts are facts. If I was bleeding profusely and I followed your advice to “wait it out” I’d be dead. No thank you.

              • Tom Kanelos says

                So first you were afraid of being excommunicated and now you are afraid of embarrassing your wife. I wonder what will be the next reason. Yes anonymity allows such dancing around without having to stand up for your convictions. If you are so vocal in other formats without concern for your family, why is it such a concern here? Not a very convincing argument.

                First of all, I never said that Ss Peter and Paul was closer than the parish I attend, merely that it was “quite close”. Also, I stated the philosophy of some of the people was “among other reasons”, one of the reasons I left. There are others which are not of concern here. Furthermore, it Is one thing to leave because one does not feel comfortable in the overall parish, and quite another to leave solely because one does not like the new priest. But then again, you know that don’t you.

                But that is the great thing about being anonymous, You can make false claims and no one can hold you accountable for them.

                • Only God Can Judge says

                  Ah yes, the double standard…I can leave a Church for my own reasons, which are way more important than why others may leave a Church. And those Ss Peter and Paul parishioners…they just don’t like that priest because people are poisoning their minds…that’s why they left…I am not sure why you can assume that all of these people are just robots being fed poison. Quite arrogant to assume none of them have their own mind and sound judgement to have witnessed themselves the sermons, the disruptive behavior during services, elbowing, and berating assistant priests, all of which can be heard over the sound system by all in attendance. Could it be maybe that these people consider the Divine Liturgy as so sacred that this is unacceptable and demoralizing to watch as they try and stay focused on the Liturgy and prayer? One of my close friends is one of them, so then is this a false claim? I suggest you contact Fr. Vladimir Christy who abruptly left last year after serving 18 years at this parish – you can reach him at St. Nectarios. If you think my claims are unsubstantiated and false. He will be glad to talk with you and share his experience that led to him leaving.

                  What false claims did I make Tom? Aren’t you the one who is on a Parish Council yet stated that the priest has no access to Parish Funds….I would consider that a false statement. Is the fact that the Parish Council unanimously voted to address the Bishop false? Please ask your Peter and Paul parish council acquaintances if this is false or not. And please also ask them if Fr. Dokos acknowledged issues coming out of Milwaukee at a July meeting, but denied knowing anything in the August newspaper article. Facts Tom win an argument, not assumptions based on your own opinion.

                • Only God Can Judge says

                  And while we are on the subject of “false claims”, you said that Mr. Gottreich violated UPR law. How so? The UPR states that clergy must be INFORMED of Parish Council meetings. Fr. Dokos WAS informed of any and all meetings. Nowhere in the UPR does it state that clergy must be in attendance at a meeting. Please then enlightenment me on how Mr. Gottreich violated the UPR Tom? Show me proof that the UPR was violated.

                  • Only God Can Judge says

                    Next Tom, the UPR also states “Prior to the assignment or transfer of a Priest, the respective Hierarch shall inform all affected Parish Councils of the assignment / transfer upon CONSULTATION of the respective Priest AND THE RESPECTIVE PARISH COUNCIL. Please ask your Parish Council acquaintances if the Metropolis consulted the Parish Council upon transferring Fr. Dokos. I made sure to ask them because I’m aware of this in the UPR. The answer was “no” they were not consulted about this transfer, they were TOLD about this transfer after the decision was made by the Metropolis. Oh, the old double standard again….Parish Councils must follow the UPR rules, but the Hierarchs need not. I see a running theme here…

                    I pray daily for Fr. Jim, the Metropolis, Mr. Gottreich and for the Orthodox Church to be free of the worldly temptations of power and greed, so that it can truly be the spiritual hospital for us that the Lord intends it to be.

                    • Tom Kanelos says

                      If you would like to continue the discussion, you can identify yourself. If you choose not to do so, feel free to have the last word. I have already wasted enough time with a person who chooses to be unaccountable for their statements.

          • Chris Banescu says

            Sounds very similar to the tragedy we experienced in our own OCA parish several years ago under an equally derelict and incompetent hierarchy who adopted either the “do nothing”, “do the exact opposite”, or “attack the messengers” approach. I summarized part of that nightmare — the shameful and cowardly conduct of the previous hierarch (now retired, thanks be to GOD!) and the senseless suffering of the innocent faithful — in The Parable of The Missing Samaritan story.

            (FYI – Since then things eventually improved once the current hierarch came to his senses and finally acted to remove the hireling shepherd and protect the sheep. Unfortunately it took approximately 9 years for the Church leadership to do the right thing! Even a secular organization would have acted faster to protect the innocent.)

            The Parable of The Missing Samaritan
            A certain Orthodox parish was on her journey towards the Kingdom of Heaven, but on her way she fell among thieves, who chased away the good shepherd guarding her flock, stripped her of the fullness of life that she is called to represent and support, wounded her, scattered her sheep, and departed, leaving her half dead. …

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              The following paragraph, if it refers to Mr. Banescu’s former parish, Saint Innocent Church,
              Tarzana California, contains a blatant LIE:
              “A certain Orthodox parish was on her journey towards the Kingdom of Heaven, but on her way she fell among thieves, who chased away the good shepherd guarding her flock, stripped her of the fullness of life that she is called to represent and support, wounded her, scattered her sheep, and departed, leaving her half dead.”
              No priest was EVER “chased away” from that pariah. I am the Bishop who assigned Father
              Gregory Safchuk to Saint Innocent Church. I didn’t know him from Adam, but the present Archbishop of San Francisco, Benjamin, not then ordained, suggested to me that I assign his close friend,
              Gregory Safchuk, then supposedly being persecuted by Fr Matsko at SS Peter & Paul Church, Detroit, to the Saint Innocent Church in Tarzana, CA. I was happy to do so. I hoped that Father Gregory would remain at Saint Innocent Church for life. When I learned that he had told the parish that he was taking an assignment in Bethesda, Maryland, i was shocked, and decided this should not take place. I counted on the Parish Council and parishioners of Saint Innocent to assist me in making him stay there. They had no intention of “standing in Father Gregory’s way”. I was told this by various parish leaders there. NO ONE would support me in not releasing him. Therefore, I bowed to vox populi and, angrily, even, ALLOWED him to further his carreer by moving back East.
              Perhaps, though Mr. C. Banescu is not referring to Saint Innocent as the wounded entity of his moralizing lament. if so, I apologize. Otherwise, that is, if he WAS claiming that anyone drove Father Gregory Safchuk from Saint Innocent’s parish (which demonstrated very clearly that they were not interested in what their Bishop thought was right , then I would have to say that such a falsehood, told to deceive, is a classical, industrial strength, large-economy-size LIE.

              • Chris Banescu says

                Last time I checked the classic definition of a “parable” is a short story that illustrates a moral lesson or universal principle. It is not meant to be a history lesson or an investigative report.

                The parable I wrote, while based primarily on the tragic situation in our parish, also incorporated the actual experiences of other faithful and loving Orthodox priests I know (including my dear grandfather Fr. Basil and great-grandfather Fr. Visarion) who were chased away from their flocks by evildoers (bishops, priests, and dark individuals). These decent and dedicated priests and their families were persecuted, mistreated, and abused by their own for doing good, defending their flocks, accomplishing Christ’s work, and standing up for truth and righteousness.

                These genuine pastors’ experiences (truth) and the real tragedies (truth) endured by the innocent Orthodox faithful in other parishes (truth), very similar to our own suffering, were summarized in my parable. The story is meant to highlight the many actual (true) instances of unethical, unloving, cowardly, and shameful (even criminal) conduct of hireling shepherds who betrayed Christ and their sacramental duties, and supported impostors, coddled corruption, and enabled darkness instead.

                Everything I wrote in the parable is based on real priests and actual events in Orthodox parishes. Similar nightmares have happened and continue to happen to other Orthodox pastors and communities while the Church is scandalized, the faithful are scattered, and the innocent are persecuted. Meanwhile too many in the hierarchy and the official Orthodox leadership still “do nothing”, “do the exact opposite”, or “attack the messengers” and use their status, power, and influence to maintain the status quo, hide the truth, protect the incompetent, persecute the righteous, defend their own positions, benefits, and privileges, and escape accountability. That’s the truth!

                (PS – Your apology is accepted. Thank you for admitting that you might be wrong.)

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  Thanks to Mr. C. Banescu for coming clean and admitting he was writing up his experience at St. Innocent Church as a parable: “The parable I wrote, while based primarily on the tragic situation in our parish…”

  25. P is for paycheck and also for panihida says

    Here is a link from a year ago on Monomakhos, with a topic related to the then upcoming OCA AAC in Parma, Ohio. It is shocking to me how few folks protested anything that happened at the expensive Parma conference. Representatives to the AAC were cherry-picked and some OCA leaders like Joel Kalvesmaki were barred from participating. Very few people protested and among those who protested, all I saw protesting are currently in the ROCOR in various parishes and are only rarely posting on the Monomakhos forum. The majority of people even posing as major supporters of Metropolitan Jonah on the internet a year ago turned out to be hedging their bets and not supporting anyone or anything but themselves.

    Why? P is for paycheck and also for panihida. The priests desire a sense of a guarantee for the former and the laity a sense of a guarantee for the latter. Meanwhile, the OCA liturgical music department doesn’t yet post funeral music on its home website. The ROCOR does.But that is irrelevant as it is a shame that we have so many jurisdictions of Orthodox in our country. Do we want no transparency? Do we wish no strong moral bishops or metropolitans? Do we need no American Patriarchate? Even more important, do we not aspire to holiness? “Holiness befits Thy house forevermore!

    Last year’s discussion on this forum is located at

    As far as I know, every single person who did not keep silence over lies against Metropolitan Jonah has been punished through repercussions of one kind or another.

    I write on the Eve of the Protection of the Theotokos on the new calendar. On the Church calendar it is the Day of the Martyrs Sophia and her three daughters: Faith (Vera), Hope (Nadezhda), and Love (Lyubov), at Rome

    Martyrs Sophia and her three daughters, Troparion in Tone IV —
    In their sufferings, O Lord, / Thy martyrs received imperishable crowns from Thee our God; / for, possessed of Thy might, / they set at nought the tormentors and crushed the feeble audacity of the demons.// by their supplications save Thou our souls.

    Troparion of the feast in Tone I —
    O Lord, save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance. / Grant victory unto Orthodox Christians over their adversaries, / and by virtue of Thy Cross,// pre­serve Thy habitation.

    Kontakion of the martyrs in Tone I “Thy tomb, O Saviour” —
    Since Faith, Hope, and Charity were in truth sacred branches,/ of venerable Sophia, the namesake of wisdom,/ by grace they have shown Hellenic wisdom to be foolishness,/ and in contest they proved to be prize-winning victors;/ where­fore, they received a crown that shall never perish// from Christ God the Lord of all.

    Kontakion of the Feast in Tone IV —
    O Thou Who wast lifted up willingly on the Cross,/ bestow Thy mercies upon the new community named after Thee, O Christ God./ Gladden by Thy power Orthodox Christians/ granting them victory over enemies.// May they have as Thy help the invincible trophy, the weapon of peace.

    • what the...? says

      I honestly have no idea what that post was all about. But here’s my response for what it’s worth.

      I can’t blame priests for not going to the gallows for Metropolitan Jonah. The entire situation was deplorable, to be sure. He was maligned unjustly, absolutely. But would you give thought to this statement please: Even God cannot save someone who is not willing to save himself.

      As for Panikhidas and the rest of it, I have no idea what you’re talking about. That the OCA website has no funeral music posted means absolutely nothing. That music has been available for 50 years. Since when did the OCA website become the measure of all things? If it is, that church is surely to be pitied.

      • A person known as “What the…?” says of Metropolitan Jonah, “Even God cannot save someone who is not willing to save himself.”

        Others have evoked the same reaction from their observers:

        So also the chief priests mocked him to one another with the scribes, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself.” – Mark 15:31

        I can’t pretend I’m not frustrated with how things have turned out, but if Met. Jonah thought a more aggressive posture would have helped, I think he would have done it. If he had, would it have actually helped? From this angle, it’s difficult to say. I don’t know that Met. Jonah’s approach on the foal of a donkey was necessarily a bad idea, either. From my perspective, all I can ask is that he hears the word of God and keeps it.

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          I’m amused by the behavior of someone who avoids terminal embarrassment through the use of a pseudonym, ‘Helga”, writing impatiently of ‘A person known as “What the…?” !!
          I’m not amused by the embarrassing devotion of “Helga” to a Metropolitan who turned back from the plough in order to protect FAMILY, and fearfully resigned in the face of threats, however egregious, neither faced the threats nor opposed them. To compare Metropolitan Jonah to Our Lord on the Cross, and also riding into Jerusalem on the foal of an ass is an almost perfect enactment of “wretched excess,” truly wretched.
          I agree, though, that Metropolitan Jonah SHOULD hear the word of God and KEEP it.
          Such horrid and evil behavior by members of the Holy Synod and their followers should have caused the Metropolitan to lift a finger in opposition, rather than in utter compliance! But the only finger-lifting he engaged in was to quickly grasp a pen to sign his resignation from his sanctified responsibilities, and (unsuccessfully) try to run away.

          • George Michalopulos says

            I’m sorry Your Grace, but your comparison is completely invalid. While we both agree that the Synod committed “horrid and evil behavior” in no way could we compare Jonah’s concern for his family in a similar light. Lest we forget, he resigned as Primate, not as bishop, therefore he did not “turn back from the plough.” And even if he had, if he did it to protect his family, is that not a noble thing? How many family men accept injustices and daily swallow indignities so that their wives and children don’t have to suffer?

            Maybe Harry Coin has a point, maybe if we can’t have saintly bishops we should have men who have familial responsibilities. Of course in Jonah, we had both.

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              Monastics have no family but Jesus Christ, George.
              Did our previous Primates move their moms and dads to live with their boy?
              Where is Metropolitan Philp Saliba’s family? Where is Metropolitan Hilarion (ROCOR)’s family?
              Anybody know who looked after Metropolitan Theodosius’s or Metropolitan Herman’s family or if thyy HAD one? What diocesan Bishops dragged their parents and SIBLINGS around with them, regardless of the latter’s’ bad health? Whether or not protecting his family is a noble concern of the monastic is debatable, but it shouldn’t be for someone who considered himself and is considered by his groupies to be a paragon of monasticism! Not only did the Holy Synod act irresponsibly in electing the man as Primate, but they acted dishonestly in defending their decision to ask him to resign.
              The Holy Synod did not uproot the Metropolitan’s mom and dad from San Diego and move them to the high rent district of the nation’s capital. Nor, prior to that, did Abbot Jonah uproot his family from San Diego and move them to northern California
              And you’re right about comparisons, George. i made NO comparisons; in fact, I objected to “Helgas” comparisons of Metropolitan Jonah to Jesus Christ! I made no comparison whatsoever, Your declaration about my comparison being invalid pertains to nothing at all! Metropolitan Jonah resigned without a peep, without a protest, from the position officially called ‘”Archbishop of Washington AND Metropolitan of All America and Canada.” Why, George, did you state that we should have men who have familial responsibilities as hierarchs? Archbishop Dmitri would never agree with that one! If then Bishop Jonah had become His Eminence’s vicar and had proceeded to move his mom and dad and sister to Dallas, one can only imagine the yelp! Would you require, then, bishops to recant their monastic vows as a precondition of their installation in order for them to take up familial responsibilities?

              • George Michalopulos says

                Your Grace, to my knowledge His Beatitutde was the youngest Primate elected for the OCA and the only one with both parents still living and a semi-invalid sister. For these three individuals he was (and is) their sole support.

                In times past, it was not unusual for a family to have six or more children. Therefore one child striking out on his/her own could morally “divorce” himself from his family because the other children would be there to provide.

                You’ve got me thinking though. Did Jesus not provide for his mother even up until the point of His death on the cross, wherein he appointed John to take over those duties?

                • All of this about +Jonah is hindsight and as the saying goes hindsight is 20/20 vision. I think that His Grace has captured the two wrongs don’t make a right of the entire OCA debacle. But what sticks in many people’s minds is that the final wrong in how the Synod abdicated their responsibility to work with their Primate, even unto 70 times 7 was also abdicated. It is akin to what this same Synod is about to do in abdicating their episcopal responsibilities to discipline their clergy giving it over to this new ORSMA abomination where a diocesan bishop is merely a bystander when an allegation of clergy misconduct is made against one of his clerics.

                  The OCA is descending into a congregational church and congregationalism along with secularism were the two dangers that Fr. Alexander Schmemann fought to eradicate from Orthodoxy in America.

                  Clergy are now under the threat of even of a rumor, hearsay, and second or third-hand accusation can be brought against them as long as the accuser notifies ORSMA, the bishop, the chancellor and the OCA lawyers. The accused cleric has no advocate in the process. He is left out there to twist in the wind.

                  But if the bishops knuckle under to this being scared into submission by the lawyers, experts and insurance providers who will paint a tale of woe if they don’t, they will past these very short-sighted measures while ignoring the long term effect on clergy, laity and the OCA. I hope that this site might say something more about this, but it appears it will be too late before these new ORSMA rules become higher than Scripture and Tradition and where the pastoral concern for all is the guiding principle not covering the Church’s legal behind.

                  I guess the saying is true, “you get the leaders you deserve.”

              • Heracleides says

                “I objected to “Helgas” comparisons of Metropolitan Jonah to Jesus Christ!”

                Not to worry bishop, nobody will ever make such a comparison in relation to you and our Lord.

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald (October 15, 2013 at 1:08 am) says:

                ‘Monastics have no family but Jesus Christ, George.
                Did our previous Primates move their moms and dads to live with their boy?….’


                My brother Paul is fond of an aphorism: ‘Life is what happens while we’re busy making other plans.’

                Paul and I helped each other to care for my mother when she was old and sick. This was time-consuming and exhausting, and I can honestly say that I was greatly relieved when her needs could no longer be met except in a nursing home, where I continued to visit her frequently until her final hospitalization and death. Neither I nor my brother could have cared for my mother alone.

                I was comforted in this blessed responsibility by the example of Abp John Garklavs, from whom I learned everything worth knowing about The Church, either directly or through the hegoumen of my monastery.

                Abp John, who was displaced by Nazis and Communists from Latvia with his elderly mother, was interned in a DP camp in Germany for many months along with thousands of other refugees from eastern Europe. There were so many orthodox in the camp that two bishops and dozens of priests had the functional equivalent of two eparchies there. During that period, Abp John adopted two russian war orphans, and brought them and his mother to America when the DP camps were finally dissolved.

                There were obvious necessities behind these relationships, but in addition to meeting those needs, Abp J told me that he felt that he had to give a good example to his flock, just as is described in the usual apolytikion for saintly bishops.

                Besides, our Lord Jesus Christ told us that people who love their mothers and fathers MORE than they love Him are unworthy of Him. In Abp John’s example, I think we can see that he loved his mother and his adopted children not more than he loved our Lord, but in a way which actuated and concretized his love for Christ.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      You wrote: “On the Church calendar it is the Day of the Martyrs Sophia and her three daughters: Faith (Vera), Hope (Nadezhda), and Love (Lyubov), at Rome.”

      If I may offer a slight correction, if you look at any Orthodox Liturgical Calendar, you will see that the feast day for these glorious martyrs is September 17th. Here is an example of what I am saying: Nativity of the Lord is set by the Church to be celebrated on December 25th on the Church Calendar, is it not? If in doubt, please ask your priest. You can also read a better explanation at (Hint: Apparently you belong to a church that still uses the Julian civic calendar and are conflating it with the Liturgical Calendar.)

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        Yes, Mr. Kraeff. The only “Church” calendar is the Church’s menologion and menaia. if you look up the Nativity of Christ, you will find it in menaion 12, December, of the menaia, on the 25th day. There are two NON-CHURCH, that is, civic, or state, or SECULAR calendars observed by Orthodox Christians. The pagan calendar invented by pagan Romans and named after a pagan Emperor, Julius Caesar, as it existed before Pope Gregory got the idea of actually approaching an astronomer to determine its accuracy relative to the movements of the heavenly bodies, is called the “Old Calendar”. Others [despite the old respect for astronomy in the Byzantine Church, which awarded the title “Judge of the Cosmos” to the Patriarchs of Alexandria because they had the most famous of astronomical observatories and could therefore, by observing the movements of the heavenly bodies learn and announce annually the date of Pascha according to those observations and not according to what corresponds to outdated Farmers Almanacs, i.e., “Paschalia”] were devoted members of political factions which opposed adopting anything associated with “Catholic Powers” The oriental patriarchates subject to the Ottoman Sultan eagerly supported their boss by denouncing the corrections made by the Pope and thus, the governments which the Sultan opposed. It was not until the fall of the Sultanate and State Islam in Turkey that the EP and his subordinate Patriarchs (Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem) were able to adopt the corrected calendar based on the actual movements of the heavenly bodies. The calendar was thus a revised, that is, corrected version of the Julian Calendar, and those who actually observe their feasts according to the dates in the Church Calendar were called ‘New Calendarists” .
        Carl, I’ve often wondered why the mother’s name is the only one not routinely translated into English or Slavonic: why not “Wisdom, Faith, Hope, and Love”? or Premudrost, Vera, Nadezhda and Liubov? It certainly would seem to make sense that faith, hope, and love are born of wisdom!

  26. Canadian News says

    The Canadian Press
    Published Monday, September 30, 2013 1:49PM EDT
    see news video at
    TORONTO — Toronto police say a Romanian Orthodox priest is facing seven more sexual assault charges in addition to one laid earlier this month.

    Ioan Pop, 54, of Toronto was arrested…
    Read more:

  27. Fr. George Washburn says

    Well, only God can judge *perfectly.* Most of the time when people have good reasoning ability, take the trouble to be aware of their biases, and follow established practices for evaluating testimony (for example NOT accepting anonymous, unsworn testimony) they don’t do too badly.

    “Only” is an anonymous witness who asks us to believe a number of things about his own integrity and insight in addition to his statements on a hotly disputed set of current issues where the facts are still emerging. He has made his decision to please his wife and hide his name, and he must accept that therefore he does NOT please those of us who like to see this haphazard train wreck of internet truth-seeking operate on the actual tracks more often – such as declining to accept the word of people who can’t be judged and held to account – instead of crashing into the ditch.

    Dislike our skepticism if you will, friend, but EVERY time you ask us to just assume the integrity and reliability of an anonymous witness (i.e. yourself) you are asking us to set ourselves up to believe fools, liars and manipulators. Sooner or later they are going to come along and try to sell us a pig in a poke. Even if you yourself are not the pig or the salesman. soon enough some other guy will be. You probably aren’t any one of those things – at least you don’t seem like one to me – but WE would be fools to do anything but disregard your comments on anything in dispute until your credibility is linked to a name. Human history, in particular the history of religious controversies, has had a lot of fools, liars and manipulators testify …to say nothing of those of us who have the best intentions but are sometimes mistaken.

    Several posts ago “Only” argued against Fr. Dokos’ credibility because he believes the newspapers quoted Fr. Dokos accurately. That is an assumption a careful truth-seeker should be very cautious about making. I have been involved in a number of public controversies over the years professionally, and my wife and I have a running joke over 2 decades old about what we will have to do if I am ever quoted with full accuracy by the press and they get all the facts right.


    Fr. George

    • Only God Can Judge says

      I understand and respect your perspective Fr. George. I can not and will not betray the trust of my family, but at the same time it is difficult to see others judge this parish and Mr. Gottreich, when they have not themselves seen and witnessed what I have over the past few years. Yes, it is asking a lot to expect others to take seriously what an anonymous person says. But take note that it wasn’t until an on-looker cast judgement on the actions of Ss Peter and Paul, without attending this parish regularly for the past two years, that I piped up. I did not post on this forum to add to the already damaging information. But I did post what I, myself, have witnessed (that someone who casts judgement has not).

      Thank you for your wisdom and please pray for Fr. Dokos, our Parish and for the restoration in the faith that the Truth of the Orthodox Church will perservere.

      • A concerned Orthodox Christian says

        I want to thank “Only” for his comments and having the courage to post at all. I, too, post anonymously out of fear of retribution against my family because of the experiences we have had with the “reverend” “father” Dokos (often referred to by his own brother priests as “diamond Jim” because of his love of money) and the “holy” hierach His “Grace” Bp. Demetri of Mokissos. It is difficult to say much more without revealing too much and thus jeopardizing our positions in the church and our very way of life, if you understand my meaning. It is difficult, though, to keep silent once one has had an encounter with the blatant corruption, vindictiveness, mean spiritedness, and (dare I say) evil that these men have propagated and participated in under the guise of serving Christ. I fully respect your desire for anonymity, and I pray that justice be done for your parish and the good people of Milwaukee.

        Unfortunately, the record of Mr. Mamalakis may not be one which is sterling silver. But he may have been the only one with the courage to take on these people. Either way, he is not the one in question here. His career may be investigated and judged, absolutely, but what is in question here are the dirty dealings of these two men. The Milwaukee parish has suffered under these two men for years, with everyone in fear of speaking out as an abused wife fears speaking out against her abusive husband. Those who couldn’t take the humiliation and abuse doled out by Dokos and Demetri had but one choice (the one my family eventually took)- to leave, often to leave for another jurisdiction altogether, as their troubles usually followed them when they tried to attend another GOA parish, thanks to the long arm of Demetri.

        I feel sure there are many of us whose lives were radically changed by the experiences we had with these two people who would love to tell our stories but remain silent or anonymous out of fear. Take our words with a grain of salt, if you like, and I respect and understand that. But I, at least, look forward to the day when I can shout my story from the rooftop and proclaim the triumph of the Church over such evil and hatred as these men have shown. And frankly, every person I’ve ever met who knows these two men (especially in clergy circles) knows this to be true of them- they should be removed, as fast as possible, before the entire Chicago Metropolis dies altogether.

        • Anonymous Scaredy Cat says

          If you are going to post anonymously and accuse someone of blatant corruption, why not at a minimum, provide a single fact to support such a statement? Scaredy cat!

          So many are so quickly angling to get ahead by knocking someone else down.

        • Only God Can Judge says

          Thank you for your support and your perspective as our family surely relates. Mr. Kanelos chooses to make my anonymity the issue, when he can easily substantiate my statements and experience with the parish council acquaintances he has. He can also contact Fr. Christy as I suggested, to substantiate what this priest experienced while serving with Fr. Dokos, and why he left. Instead of searching for the real truth, he chooses to believe what he wants to, again not based on his real experience at this parish, but what others have fed to HIM. He will claim the minds of this parish’s members have been poisoned….whose mind is being fed poison – the parishioners who regularly attend and have first-hand experience, or an on-looker at another parish? To state that Mr. Gottreich did not follow UPR yet not provide what basis the UPR was not followed says it all. I rest my case, and do wonder what vested interest Mr. Kanelos has to not search for the real truth, but propogate an opinion without knowing (or making an effort to know) the true facts of what has transpired at this parish. Approval from spiritual leaders that make a mockery of the Church? A hand in the stake? I do wonder.

    • geo michalopulos says

      Fr, your words ring true. It’s unfortunate that Syosset did not take your advice when it came out of the gates screaming lies about His Beatitude.

  28. Tom Kanelos says

    Some of you who post anonymously are very quick to make judgments of their own and do so from the cowardice of their own anonymity. One makes assumptions that I do not know the facts, while indeed I do know the facts regarding what is going on and the way some in the parish are behaving poorly. You are free to speak lies and accusations because you do not stand behind your words. I must be more prudent with my comments because I have the integrity to stand behind them and thus am accountable for them.

    To accuse me of saying things because I have a stake in the matter is childish not to mention shows ignorance of my own experiences at my own parish with regard to being in disagreement with the Metropolis and the chancellor. The difference is, we did not choose to make accusations in the media and discredit an individual to attain our own desired results. We did not choose to speak anonymously and attack the hierarchs. We spoke to them directly and honestly. The difference is that we understand the canonical authority of the Church. While you prefer to comment in secrecy and attack personally. I doubt very much you learned that from Fr. Scoulas, But I do have an idea from where that practice comes. When I refused to accept your “facts” because I know differently, your attack became personal. So be it. I have been attacked by other cowards before. Just know that the problems you have in your parish go far beyond one priest or one bishop. They have existed before Fr. Jim arrived and will continue to exist if he is transferred.

    It really is a shame, because the work of great priests like Fr. Latto, Fr. Scoulas, Fr. George Pyle, Fr. Andy Georganas, Fr. George Gartelos… is suffering because of the actions of a handful of folks. Of course, they need someone to blame so they might as well blame Fr. Jim and the Metropolis.

    • Only God Can Judge says

      Double standard again Tom….check your first response when I challenged your statements that were based on your opinion from afar. You say “it is against my better judgement to respond to someone who does not have the courage of their convictions to place their name on their comment.” So for the record, the personal attack began when you diverted the conversation from my challenge to my “cowardice” (taken from your Oct. 5th). At no point in my challenge to you did I personally attack…I just asked that if you are going to make the statements you did, then back them up with facts. I apologize if I offended you in any way. When some people don’t have answers to support their opinions, they get frustrated, and then the attack gets personal. I understand, I forgive, and let’s keep the love here and have a respectful debate. I mean you no harm personally, but please don’t divert the convo to attacking me when you can not support statements with facts when you say that parishioners minds have been poisoned and Mr Gottriech violated the UPR.

      If you know the facts Tom, then HOW DID MR GOTTREICH VIOLATE THE UPR as you claim to merit dismissal? Just answer the question to your statement and if you can’t, then it can be said that your statement is not accurate and therefore false and did not merit his dismissal. What does my identity have anything to do with establishing what is or isn’t a violation in the UPR? Just look through the UPR and show me how you can support your statement that Gottreich violated it.

      • Tom KAnelos says

        “I rest my case, and do wonder what vested interest Mr. Kanelos has to not search for the real truth, but propogate an opinion without knowing (or making an effort to know) the true facts of what has transpired at this parish. Approval from spiritual leaders that make a mockery of the Church? A hand in the stake? I do wonder.”

        I’d say that is pretty personal. And to make those accusations from a position of anonymity is indeed cowardice and warrants no further response.

        The Metropolitan’s letter spells out quite well the violations of the UPR. Those not poisoned by misstatements or media hype should have no problem understanding the violations. They are quite clear.

        • Wait, are you the same Tom Kanelos that is the Construction Manager for the Iakovos Retreat Center? Ah, it all makes sense now why you are parroting the Metropolis – you work for them. What you took as a personal attack is clear as day now.

          So even though the Metropolis holds Mr Gottreich accountable to UPR, but does not adhere to the UPR themselves for transferring Fr. Dokos to this parish without consulting Parish Council, clearly they can do no wrong in your mind. After all, they hired you for the Retreat Center!

          I understand everything much more clearly now, and won’t waste anymore of my time, since we do not speak the same language. God be with you Tom.

          • Tom Kanelos says

            Actually, you should get your facts straight. Cowardice and ignorance is a bad combination. I am the Owners Rep not construction manager. Another reason anonymity in these situations is unethical. You can make personal attacks without having to be accountable for them. But of course, you make no personal attacks.

            • Oh yes, my bad – the Principal is your DAD, and you are employed by him is that correct? The bottom line is you’re getting paid by the Metropolis. Indeed there is a vested interest in supporting the Metropolis, whether they follow the UPR or not. The old Chicago way even has it’s way in the Metropolis. Cha-ching. Like I said, we speak different languages as I’m not loyal to money, power or clout. I’m loyal only to Truth.

              • Tom Kanelos says

                My dad is an 85 year old retired parishioner of Ss Peter and Paul for 50 plus years. I have not worked for him in over 20 years. If you knew so much about Ss. Peter and Paul you’d know him.

                Just to help you out of your ignorance. The general Contractor is Delko Construction. I am hired by the Retreat Center (a separate corporation with it’s own board of directors) to be the owners rep. That means I represent the board in dealing with the general contractor. The board (which includes several of Ss Peter and Paul parishioners including your former priest) voted unanimously to hire me because of my experience, because of my 7 years of volunteering for the retreat center and because I saved them $70,000 as compared to industry standards.

                I thought you’d like to know that since you only search out the truth. Although I’m not sure how someone who will not even stand behind their words and personal attacks can claim, with a straight face, that they seek the truth and then write personal attacks based upon false information. Like I said, anonymous and ignorant combine to make a bad situation. There seems to be a lot of that going around. You know, making personal attacks without knowing the facts.

        • Peter – given you think this Parish should have waited, then what do you suggest they do now that they can no longer pay the monthly bills – who is going to step up and cover the thousands lost? The parish can not cover the bills with their current cash flow and gets worse by the day. I encourage anyone that cares for the state of this parish to attend the next parish council meeting to truly understand the financial state of the parish. It is open to all parishioners.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            I don”t understand why is Sts Peter & Paul not making their bills? They have stewardship at 100% where the average suggested minimum is $1,000.00. The parish is so cash rich they don’t need a festival. So please explain to me what exactly you mean? Do you mean people are not paying because they dislike Fr. Dokos? The alleged financial scandal attached to him? Again please explain.

            If you mean the current scandal that was pushed by the Parish Council then have the Parish Council kick-in the money personally. I remember that this was actually brought up in our Parish Council when we had financial problems. It didn’ t pass mind you because we had other cash flow avenues, but being the Parish Council wanted this fight, fanned the flames of hatred against their priest and is using what I believe is a pretext to get rid of him, then let them flip the bill.

            The Parish Council president did say that his parish was filled, with lawyers, doctors and business men. It would seem that as long as they kick in what the Parish needs to keep its doors open, then I think it will survive. Otherwise, it should have thought things through before it started all this.

            Finally, you think this is my first time around the GOA block? You think this never happened before? Its happened plenty of times, with many other Parishes with actually scandals. They survived, or just closed their doors and moved to the next GOA parish down the street and started their nonsense there all over again.

            Sts. Peter & Paul cannot cry over slipped milk, especially when they were the ones that spilled the milk. However, if I have misread your post, please let me know and I can address it differently once you give me more facts.


            • Again, to be best informed and understand the true state of the parish, I encourage you to attend a Parish Council meeting, which is open for parishioners to attend. That way you, yourself, know first hand where things stand and be truly educated on the issues.