More Trouble at Holy Cross

In case you were wondering what what happening at Holy Cross and whether things have quieted down, well, wonder no more.

Monomakhos has received this letter. It paints a dire picture. We are publishing it for informational purposes as we personally don’t have a dog in his fight. I’m sure that there are two sides to every story and Fr Chris Metropoulos did great work over at the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN). We would be willing to publish his side of the story if he’s so inclined.

In the meantime, here is the second letter from people associated with Holy Cross.

Audio referenced in letter below.

Letter with names of signers redacted. Signers’ names appear in the letter sent to bishops.

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  1. Mark E. Fisus says

    Holy shyte, Holy Cross!

    “Confidential follow-up” my butt, lol.

    The audio clip may unfortunately be too short. If he does not really represent the synod and archbishop, the clip is sufficiently damning evidence. However, if he does in some capacity, we need to know more about what he is invoking the authority of the synod and archbishop for.

    Thank you Mr. Michalopulos. This is the kind of thing I really come here for.

    • George Michalopulos says

      You’re welcome! I hope I don’t have to do the Ecuadorean embassy thing however!

  2. The principle concern of mine, is wither or not this head of the seminary is tolerant of the LGBT agenda, teaching professing gay to be priests, if they can afford it. If money is his bottom line, authentic Christianity has to take a backseat to his bottom line, and renders the whole place useless. It will just fill the churches up with fruitless wonders who cannot perform Holy Sacraments, but just fake the rituals. GRRRRRRRR!!!!!

    • Fr. Philip (Speranza) says

      Michael, you appear to have fallen into the Donatist heresy that the reality and effectiveness of the Mystery depends on the worthiness of the person performing the Mystery. The Church rejected that heresy some 16 centuries ago; and if you really believe the Donatist teaching, you have separated yourself from Orthodoxy.

      Having said that, I agree that seminaries must also repent of their obsession with academics to the virtual exclusion of helping students develop an authentically Orthodox spiritual life, including repentance and rejection of what is sin in one’s life. Let’s remember that the classic Orthodox definition of “theologian” has nothing to do with earned degrees but is simple “one who prays.” And there is, methinks, an excellent reason for inscribing on the back of the silver cross worn by all newly-ordained priests in the Russian/Ukrainian tradition the Slavonic version of 1 Timothy 4:12, “Be an example to believers in word, life, love spirit, faith, purity.” I’ve been ordained 44 years, and I find myself needing that reminder every single day.

      But then, that helps explain why there are so few Sicilian saints on our calendar.

      • Those who worship the Holy God do so in spirit and Truth. The Holy Spirit does not work through those who have entered into the great whore, by self service, and build the beast, by living for bread alone. I do not believe a canonical ordination overrules what cleric’s do that is not done in Spirit and Truth. It is absolutely obvious that only those who are obedient to the Vision the Christ gave to His Church do perform the Holy Sacrament. The ordination does not overrule the acts of the disobedient.The Donatist declaration is lying deceit, giving all clerics a free pass to sin with impunity while maintaining their privileged position in the congregation of the Church. Your saying the non worshipers in Spirit and Truth can do the Holy Sacraments as good as the true servants in the Church. The list of deviant clerics grows ever longer, while they harm many, shutting up the kingdom of Heaven against men because they con only do empty rituals. See you on Judgment Day the Christ will sort you out.

        • Fr. Philip (Speranza) says

          I am not saying anything; it is Holy Orthodoxy which says that the unworthiness of the person serving the Mystery cannot stop God using that Mystery to impart His divine grace to the person receiving the Mystery. Thus, your embrace of the Donatist heresy puts you outside the Orthodox Church, and I beg you to repent. There’s really nothing more to be said.

          • Fr Chris Moody says

            On the flip side, as priests we pray our unworthiness doesn’t hinder the mystery. If we are in mortal sin we are not in God’s Kingdom and are a wolf at best. The church has never accepted ex opere operato either. THAT is a heresy, too. I think there has always been justification for a semidonatist position. Remember Simon. Just bare ordination and we can be sons of Satan still. Acts. 8. We have no part or lot , cliros, of the Holy Spirit, if our heart is not right.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Fascinating Fr. I believe this is parallel with Met Hierotheos Vlachos’ thesis in Orthodox Psychotherapy.

              Would you, or anybody else care to comment or otherwise correct me?

        • Michael Kinsey,

          Relax, God has a remedy for it all. You are correct that the list of rebellious hierarchs grows ever longer – those who rush to do evil with a multitude, those who are wittingly or unwittingly casting their lots with the evil one.

          However, God is merciful to his servants. Until a valid council declares them heretics and deposes them, we presume that their mysteries have grace. God does not punish His sheep for the sins of their shepherd without giving the sheep time to break ranks and find a true shepherd.

          But this is not open ended. Moreover, in the meantime, anyone who knowingly received the Gifts from a heresiarch or heretical priest may be doing so to his own condemnation. This is why I no longer commune in GOARCH. I know that the Phanar is in heresy. If I were to commune there, I would be affirming the heretical faith of Patriarch Bartholomew that the Romans are merely in akoinonesia vis a vis the Orthodox, thus accepting their heresies as doctrine. I have read learned noetic fathers of the Church to hold the same thing and that is my take on the situation. The Phanar’s mysteries are still grace filled, but receiving them from known heresiarchs is unworthy reception.

          Hope that helps.

          Luke 9:59-60:

          Then He said to another man, “Follow Me.” “Lord,” the man replied, “first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Let the dead bury their own dead. You, however, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

          Worry less about the heterodox.

          • Misha, again you demonstrate your arrogance. You place yourself above the Church. Even Mt Athos and the Ephraim monasteries in the US have not cut communion with the EP(GOA). In reality you are a protestant–a protestor. You commune in a “festival” church yet reject the mysteries of the Church. You acknowledge that the mysteries are grace filled yet you deny them. Remember, PRIDE PRECEEDS THE FALL.

          • Oh Misha, I just don’t have time and can’t keep up with all your outrageous posts lately,but must, are you ok? All I can say for now, do you know better than Patriarch Kirill? Either Patriarch Kirill is a phony, spineless coward, not to call out the EP, casting a good portion of Orthodoxy into heresy akin to the Pope, and the RC church or YOU are wrong that the EP is of a heretical faith. Not all Monk/Elder speak is truth, be careful what you take to heart. Even Saint Paisios of Mount Athos spoke of fake spiritual and prophetic vanity, the demons favorite ploy played against our monks and Elders. The devil is always trying to out smart us, in order to get us to impress ourselves.

            Calling The Patriarch that most Orthodox Christians call The First Among Equals, a Rat Dog is just wrong, especially during lent. You should know better. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew should be respected, regardless of his faults. If he truly goes into heresy, we will know from figures larger and wiser than us.

            • Dino,

              I am not saying anything substantially different from what Metropolitan Hierotheos, the Church of Georgia and the Church of Bulgaria have already said. I’m just saying it louder and in more explicit detail. You simply don’t understand what is going on so it baffles you. I do.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Grace in the Sacraments always yes, but there is no doubt that the actions of a sinful and/ or dysfunctional priest can twist the souls of those they are meant to serve and drive them away.

        For instance if a priest reveals things about you that were said in confidence are you likely to go to confession? The list is endless.

        Mr. Kinsey, apparently, experienced something of that sort.

        Do not be too hasty in branding his response heretical. That does no one any good.

        Present the truth with vigor, allow God to do the rest.

        It is the only way to survive with integrity in the blog environment.

    • Alitheia1875 says

      Both heterosexual and homosexual men can become priests. One’s sexual orientation does not include or exclude anyone. What is the issue is what you do with that orientation. That, mainly, includes two things. First, one cannot defend the homosexual lifestyle as valid for Orthodox Christians.. Second, one cannot live a homosexual lifestyle, that is, engage in homosexual sex. Any and all sex, regardless of one’s orientation, outside of marriage allowed in the Church, is not allowed.

  3. Gail Sheppard says

    A lot of hearsay in this letter, e.g. “statements brought to our attention. . .,” which he fails to support. Both letters contain fallacies of presumption. As a result, I have no opinion of Father Christopher. About the only conclusion I can draw is that the poor man managed to get on someone’s $%^& list. Everything in these letters could be true, but they are so poorly written, how would I know?

    If the author had any letter writing mettle, he would confirm every statement with dates, times and impartial witnesses. He doesn’t do that. He comes across as being smug, manipulative and frankly a whiner. If Father Christopher is as bad as he says he is, he should hand the letter writing over to someone who might be in a better position to do something about it.

    I noticed that nothing in particular happened in December. He had promised that something would be coming if his demands weren’t met. Clearly they weren’t or there would be no need for a subsequent letter. Idle threats make you look weak and stupid.

    Speaking as an uninterested observer, these letters don’t deserve to be taken seriously. The author has discredited himself by not taking the time to substantiate the claims or follow through with his promises. He reads as lazy and arrogant. – But that’s just me.

    • Alitheia1875 says

      First of all, the letters were not written by one person. That is clear, especially from the second letter. The first letter was sufficiently clear to warrant a special visit from the Archbishop for the explicit purpose of addressing the letter and not, as a news release from the school said, that he was on campus for a scheduled meeting of the Trustees. As for how the letters were written, well, not everyone can write so all are either satisfied or can read between the lines. These letters have had a way of becoming public. It is reasonable to believe that the students don’t want to wash the dirty laundry in public and they should be commended for that. And, oh boy, do they have dates, times and quotes. Fr. Christopher’s mantra is that it’s “all about the students”. Recently students plastered the campus with notices where that mantra was crossed out and in its place was “it’s all about Fr. Chris”. But that is for the students and the Archbishop, or the Chancellor, to discuss. Faculty and staff are being very careful because they fear for their jobs, and the word fear is not an exaggeration. What no one has mentioned so far, in all the discussion, is the position of the Board of Trustees. It is known that the Trustees, or at least some of them, want to have the President removed. It is reasonable to believe that the Archbishop does not want to remove him because that would be a public scandal and he, the Archbishop, abhors public scandals that might cast an ill light on him and his administration of the Archdiocese. Also absent are the hierarchs, the majority of whom were addressed in the first letter. (Hmmm, why weren’t the Metropolitans of Chicago, New Jersey and Atlanta included?) They probably would prefer to stay out of this mess for two reasons. First, it serves them well to distance themselves and let the Archbishop take the blame. Second, they care little for the school except that Holy Cross produces candidates for the priesthood. Make no mistake about it. It is all real.

  4. Hello,

    The school is in a very difficult position. The Deans feel that they are not powerful enough to oppose Father Chris directly as he was appointed by the Archbishop.

    From what I was told, they decided to send a letter to the bishops hoping that they could review the matter in synod. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case as the first thing the bishops did was call the office of the president…

    From what I was told by a source in the administration, they were threatened with loss of their jobs if they did not pen a letter saying that they had nothing to do with the letter. I imagine that will come out soon.

    Hopefully the Metropolitans will do something soon. There were a number of good candidates for the position and they seemed to settle on the worst fit for the job

    • Alitheia1875 says

      A brief comment. He was not appointed by the Archbishop. Fr. Christopher did say that he was approached by a group of fellow clergymen who encouraged him to apply for the position. There was a search committee which screened the thirty five or so applicants and narrowed that down to eight and then two. Those two then met with faculty, staff and students. The final decision was made by the Board of Trustees and it was not unanimous. It is fair to say, however, that the Archbishop exerted influence in the process and agreed with the decision.

  5. A question I’m curious about for any GOA seminarian or someone else who may know…. What is the attraction for a seminarian or a student to go to HC/HC? For those studying for ordination, there are wonderful other options in America at a fraction of the cost. Fr Peter Heers, one of the most notable English-speaking clergy/theologians steeped in the Greek Orthodox tradition, recently accepted a position to begin teaching at Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville. (Not sure if he has started there yet, or when he will start there.) Sort of speaks volumes, that a traditionalist American-born Greek Orthodox priest would return from Greece to go teach at Jordanville, not at HC/HC, doesn’t it?

    What does HC/HC offer that makes it worth the money? (From many of our perspectives, it offers a lot of modernism!) Does the GOA require its future clergy to have trained at HC/HC? I really don’t get it. From my perspective, it seems like one spends the cost of a Mercedes to, in the end, get a Ford Escort.

    • Alitheia1875 says

      One must attend Holy Cross and receive an M.Div. to be considered for ordination in the GOA. There are only a handful who have not, and they are either transfers from other jurisdictions or were ordained many years ago after attending other schools such as St. Tikhon’s. (One even has an M.Div. from a Protestant school of theology.) As for Fr. John, perhaps St. Tikhon’s needed him. And, we can’t exclude the possibility that Fr. John is just a little too traditionalist for Holy Cross’s liking. Holy Cross has had others come and teach over the years. On the other hand, the school has a lot of profs with a small number of students so that might mitigate circumstances. This is not to defend the school but merely to present some facts. If you want to be a priest in the GOA you need to pay Mercedes dollars for a Ford Escort.

      • HCHC Seminarian says

        This is completely true.

      • Interesting says


        It looks like you wrote “Fr John” instead of “Fr Peter,” and you wrote “St Tikhon’s” instead of Holy Trinity Seminary.

        Regardless, most probably can figure out and sadly (sadly for HC/HC, that is) agree that Fr Peter is “a little too traditionalist for Holy Cross’s liking,” as you write. That is unbelievably distressing, since all Fr Peter does is to be faithful to the Patristic tradition and honor Christ and His Church as it has been expressed in Greece and in Greek culture over the years. His work is amazing, given that he is not even Greek! (He’s a native Texan, I think.) If Fr Peter is “a little too traditionalist” for Holy Cross, then so are St Nektarios, St Cosmas of Aetolia, St Paisios, and all the other Greek Orthodox saints for that matter.

        If all these are “a little too traditionalist” for Holy Cross — and yes, most of us can read the tea leaves and understand that Holy Cross spurns traditionalism — then one wonders what the heck is going on there, and these shenanigans we read about are put into a different light. Saying an Orthodox Christian is “a little too traditionalist” honestly makes no sense — it is akin to saying a woman is “a little bit pregnant.” It’s quite simple, either one is faithful to Christ and is part of His Church, or one is not.

    • Because it’s “Grrreek!” Don’t you know?

      • Alitheia1875 says

        It is reasonable to expect those wanting to be priests in the GOA should have a working knowledge of modern Greek and some understanding of the prayers they say if they are in Greek as well as the New Testament. Many in the GOA still have Greek as their more or less primary language. There are many yiayias and papous that should be spoken to in their native language. Many parishes use predominantly English in their services. And, there’s nothing wrong with being bilingual although a lot of folks in this country can’t seem to figure out the benefit.

      • In response to Annoyed, The GOA has now about 20 priests from Romania. They have been joining the GOA in the past 20 years. Some did go to Holy Cross. They also have a handful form Lebanon or Syria? Why do Romanians want to join the GOA? The GOA takes in a few priests from Greece occasionally. We don’t need any priests from Greece. We don’t get that many Greek immigrants. In Greece as well as most of Western Europe, Most people speak English.
        Does toe GOA still use the Priests with Lay Professions any more? In the 70’s and 80’s they were ordaining some men who had never been to seminary as priests to serve as assistant priests and usually had a full time job.

    • A Ford Escort education perhaps (I am not qualified to say). I’m not saying it is a good thing in and of itself, but at least most Greek priests earn a respectable salary for their investment in a Holy Cross education. The same cannot be said of most other jurisdictions.

      • Alitheia1875 says

        Perhaps, but it is not unusual for seminarians to graduate Holy Cross with a lot of debt. And priests should be properly supported so their energy doesn’t have to be sapped worrying about caring for their families. Then again, one would hope that’s not what their calling is based on.

        • And priests should be properly supported so their energy doesn’t have to be sapped worrying about caring for their families.

          Agreed. I did not intend to imply otherwise. The worker is worthy of his wages. If anything, my comment was intended as a complement to the GOA in regard to paying most of its clergy a salary that befits their education and their work. There are a lot of jurisdictions – or rather people in the parishes of those jurisdictions – who do not seem to value their priests enough to give enough to pay them appropriately.

          • And furthermore.... says

            I think some of the discrepancy between GOA clergy salaries and those in other jurisdictions rests in the requirements to start a mission or a parish. I have heard that the GOA requires a certain minimum monetary commitment among a group of potential parishioners before it will start a new parish anywhere. That is, a group of people have to show that they are financially able to support a priest before the GOA will give them a priest. Stark contrast to other jurisdictions, where if you have an ordained clergyman who is willing to go somewhere to start a mission “from nothing,” they can do that. I don’t think the GOA even allows that, hence part of the discrepancy that GOA priests are “well paid.” It’s sort of a tautology — GOA priests are adequately paid because they can’t be at a parish in the GOA unless they are adequately paid.

            I have never heard, for example, of a GOA priest who also has a “secular” job from which he makes his living. We can argue about the appropriateness of this model, but it is not uncommon for clergy in other jurisdictions to have “secular” jobs to make a living since their parishes are not financially well-off enough to pay them. This in turn leads to a separate issue altogether — tithing. In Fr John’s recent excellent piece on tithing, if even the majority (>50%) of Orthodox Christians in America tithed, we could really do phenomenal things here… a network of schools, hospitals, well-compensated clergy everywhere, you name it.

            But yeah, most of the time GOA priests are well-compensated because the GOA won’t allow them to be somewhere where they are not well-compensated. Other jurisdictions have a different belief where the “missionary” priest who makes his living on his own is allowed to be a thing.

            • George Michalopulos says

              That’s an excellent point. You get right to the nub of the matter.

              From my own experience, I was told several years ago that to set up a mission in the GOA, what was needed was $200,000 in cash (to be held in escrow) and fifty families. I’m sorry, that’s not a mission, that’s a mini cathedral.

              • To And Furthermore’s point about tithing.

                It is interesting to me that 50 families and $200,000 equates to $4,000 per family over the course of a year. In 2014 the average family income in the U.S. was just above $51,000, a tithe of which would equate to $5,100 per family or $255,000 per year. For another jurisdiction without these rules far fewer families who tithe can easily start a mission. It’s just not that hard – as I think the Bishop of Dallas of thrice blessed memory demonstrated – when people have a heart for Christ. I’m not knocking the GOA’s policy. It is not without logic or merit and may in part explain the relative general financial viability of its parishes. I am, as they say, just sayin’.

                I do not think that the support of the Church is the primary reason to tithe (or to give above the tithe). I believe – and I think both Scripture and experience witness to this fact – that giving is rather a tangible and ultimately highly spiritual affirmation of Who we belong to and a recognition (with thanksgiving) of Who it is who freely gives us all things.

                “Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
                And lean not on your own understanding;
                In all your ways acknowledge Him,
                And He shall direct your paths…
                …Honor the LORD with your possessions,
                And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
                So your barns will be filled with plenty,
                And your vats will overflow with new wine.”

                But though the needs of the Church are not the primary reason to give, the outcome of this honoring of Him who gives us power to create wealth is that very good things happen – both in us and in the Church. Obviously the Church needs money to support its clergy and its overall mission, but it pains my soul to hear tithing discussed only in terms of the needs of the Church (not that anyone here has spoken of it in these terms). All giving (including tithing which is a good place to start, although not in a legalistic way) is so incredibly liberating for our souls when it is seen not as an ‘obligation’ but as a joyous affirmation that our life does not consist in the abundance of the things we possess.

                I know money is a touchy subject for some, especially if it comes from a priest who (sometimes rightly and sometimes wrongly) can be perceived as speaking from selfish motives. But how I wish that money and our use of it was something about which we did not fear to speak! Christ was never shy about speaking of it, nor were the Apostles or Fathers because they knew of its importance, not only for our salvation but also for the joy of our salvation.

                • Brian,

                  I can tell you that mass majority of GOA stewards do not tithe. The average is usually 1%. Many even just give couple hundred dollars to become “stewards” so that they can get married, or for the baptism of their children. Our parish council would send us letters pushing for at least 2%, they would state 2% would at least meet our annual budget without help from the festival. Most GOA parishes will not make budget without Greek festivals, hall rentals, and fund raising parties or shows. Many cradle Greek Orthodox from the old country never really understood the tithe, as Greece pays the priests in Greece. Ironically, many old Greeks, who help build churches, in America, especially the old Ardartes, don’t even trust or like most priests, but that’s another story for another day. Yes many first generation Greeks built churches, but usually the majority of money came from the wealthy dozen, in the community, and usually the one who donated the most, had the church named as himself or beloved relative. So even though your math makes perfect sense, it’s not so easy, and it’s not the reality in most GOA parishes. Let’s not also forget every parish’s obligation to it’s Diocese, usually close to a priest’s salary, or even much more in large parishes.

                  Many complain our priests are paid a handsome wage. I would say a fair wage, for all they do, day and night, 24/7. Serving Greeks is no easy task, and those families that helped build the church, see themselves as the leaders, and not the priest. Don’t get me wrong it is a bit of a mess right now, but, with time, I see changes for the better, as old Greek school mentality will pass away. The new generations will come, not just to be with fellow Greeks, but most importantly fellow Orthodox Christians. Hopefully new generations will see stewardship as a personal relationship with God, and not a membership fee to grunt at, with all the cynicism, and complaints where the money will go, or should go.

                  • “I can tell you that mass majority of GOA stewards do not tithe. The average is usually 1%.”

                    “…see themselves as the leaders, and not the priest. Don’t get me wrong it is a bit of a mess right now.”

                    I am keenly aware of this, Dino. Sadly so. The Greeks are no worse than many others in these respects. They are only the largest and therefore easiest target for such criticism.

                  • Mark E. Fisus says

                    How do you know what percentage of their incomes they are giving without knowing their incomes? Does your parish collect copies of tax returns like the Mormons do?

                    • Not rocket science Mark. Brian stated that the average American income was $51,000 in 2014. The pledge average in the parish, was $800, eight years ago when the letter was sent, $510 would be 1% if you use the $51,000 figure. Honestly I don’t know how the parish council came up with their figures. My point was we are not even close to 10%. Maybe Mormons, but not us. No tax returns were submitted for sure!

                      Mark, I did get a good laugh at the thought of a parish council member asking an old Greek born steward for his tax returns. That would be quite a ugly, and funny sight, almost as bad as some of our parish assembly meetings. Quite the breed us Greeks!

                • As a theologian said, ” the most sensitive part of our bodies is our wallet.” We should not give to a need but rather because we have a need to give. Thank you for your thoughtful post.

              • And furthermore.... says

                Thinking about it some more, the fact that GOA priests have more or less a “guaranteed” adequate salary after graduation from HC/HC may, from the HC/HC administration’s perspective, justify the exorbitant costs that HC/HC charges for tuition. It’s the model that American colleges and universities use to justify charging tuitions that are through the roof — college/univ. tuitions are ridiculously high because student loans are ubiquitous and easy to get.

                If student loans disappeared or became hard to get, college tuitions would drop immediately because so few people would be able to pay without loans. Colleges charge what they do because they know people will be able to get the money to pay, perpetuating a vicious cycle.

                Probably similar with HC/HC — they charge high tuition fees knowing that their priests will have an adequate income upon graduation and will be able to pay it back. Compare this with the Holy Trinity Seminary/St Tikhon’s Seminary/Christ the Saviour Seminary/St Sophia Seminary in New Jersey model…. graduates from these institutions often will serve in jurisdictions where there is no “guaranteed” clergy salary and the parishes will pay the priests what they can/if they can. Thus these seminaries are so much cheaper than HC/HC, reflecting the reality of their clergy’s income after graduation.

                • Furthermore, your reasoning is faulty. Costs at HC are greater because of the facilities, location and salaries of the faculty and administration. Brookline is about as upscale an area as you will find in the NE. The cost of an education at H C has nothing to do with projected salary of the priest and his ability to pay back a loan.

                  • Alitheia1875 says

                    Actually what you say is not really the reason for the high costs. The real reason is that the school has never had adequate financial from the time it was founded in 1937….80 years. True, many have given much, and God bless them, but when you consider the socio-economic status of the Greek-American community you have to wonder why the school’s endowment is only 25 million and why some married seminarians need food stamps to survive. True, it is an expensive area but the school does not pay real estate taxes. The endowment should be 10 to 15 times larger. Greek Americans give tens of millions of dollars to other schools but not to HCHC. Why? I am reminded of the old story (musing, really) about when a Greek American was finally elected President of the US. He called his mother to tell her that he expected her at the inauguration. She said she didn’t have a proper dress. He said he would have an aide help her. She then said she had no way to get there. He said he would send Air Force. She arrives at the inauguration and is seated in the front row between 2 senators. One of the senators remarks how proud she must be that her son became the president. She replies, thank you paidaki mou but, you know, his brother is a doctor. Nuff said.

              • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                Greeks pay their priests more because they CAN pay their priests more. More than other ethnicities, they raise their sons and daughters to be businessmen or highly paid professionals.

                The downside to well-paid priests is that it gives donors more control over their priest, which in this day and age rarely means a more conservative priest. No accident that the most conservative jurisdiction in the U.S., ROCOR, depends heavily on tent-makers.

                • Rather mean and nasty spin. Tent-makers?! Please obtain some basic courtesy. (Asking for facts may be too much to request.)

                  This Greek family includes a fireman and a warehouse supervisor among the children. Rolling in excess wealth for sure. Yep.

                  • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                    Antonia, “tent-making” is an age-old metaphor for secular work clerics do to support themselves, following the example of the Holy Apostle Paul. He was a tent-maker (Acts 18:3). Nothing mean or nasty about saying so.

                    • Fully aware of the historical usage. The pitting of often highly-paid white collar work against the generally lower-paid blue collar worker (who typically has completed less academic education) was, however, both obvious — and an unnecessary slam typical of what I long have encountered when modernist Orthodoxy sneers at traditionalist Orthodoxy. Those overtones may not have been intended, but they were present.

                    • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      I was responding to the comment made above by “And furthermore….” that “the discrepancy between GOA clergy salaries and those in other jurisdictions rests in the requirements to start a mission or a parish.” My point was that the discrepancy rests more with economic differences between Greeks and others. Then I added a plug for tent-making as an honorable alternative to well-paid priests. That’s all I said and all I meant.

                  • Antonia,
                    Perhaps you take umbrage with the ProtoDeacon’s line of thought (though I think you are misunderstanding him) the term “tent-maker” is in no way derogatory. I’ve been both a Baptist minister, a long time ago, and an Orthodox Deacon, and I’ve never heard it used in a demeaning way. It simply describes a clergyman who engages in secular work to support himself while he continues his ministry. It does not speak to levels of education, nor does it demean working with one’s hands. I think it may glorify such work in some way. St. Paul a highly educated apostle worked with his hands. He also admonished the early Christians to not muzzle the ox that treads out the corn.

            • Peter Millman says

              Tithing was only for the Jewish people in the land of Israel. It is called by many who have studied tithing The Sunday Morning Stickup. Preachers who lecture about tithing are very greedy.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Peter, I disagree with you. I belong to a tithing parish/diocese and I can tell you once I got used to it, it’s the easiest thing that I’ve ever done. It makes me a better steward of my resources and keeps me from financially sinning (i.e. gambling, keeping a mistress, smoking weed, etc.) Not that these are problems for me personally but you get the point.

                The parish as a whole makes it collective mind up regarding what’s important, needful or desirable accordingly.

                Second, it takes out the entire fundraising aspect of church growth. All I hear from others who attend non-DOS parishes is that, yes, they only pay $200 or so per year to be stewards but they’re always being hit up every other Sunday for “[fill in the blank] fundraiser”.

                Anyway, just a thought.

                • Peter Millman says

                  Hi George,
                  I respect and admire your commitment to tithing because I think it takes more faith to tithe than to raise the dead. Frugality is psychological ingrained in me. Personally, I think the Church wastes money on unnecessary things. I’ve priced the vestments and mitres that priests wear- and it’s like holy smokes- is this really necessary? When the church is as frugal as I am in my personal life, then I would consider tithing. Incidentally, the Jews consider giving to be Tzedekah- justice. They also believe supporting your family even when they’re beyond the age of emancipation is a form of Tzedekah. I definitely give you credit for being a man who walks the talk.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Peter, I see your point about how much money is used for liturgical vestments, etc. My recommendation is to shop wisely. I recommend Sophrino in Russia. Well-made products with a very competitive price.

                    I will admit however that I am a hypocrite when it comes to tithing. I’m picking up some hesitation from many Orthodox about the merits of tithing, that is to say “is my money being put to good use or is it being used to fund some boondoggle/slush fund/etc?”

                    Why am I a hypocrite? Because if I was still in the GOA, I don’t think I could tithe. (Or any of the ethnically-based jurisdictions.) I guess if I was in ROCOR I would still tithe. I admit that’s not principled of me but that’s why I don’t come down hard and preach the gospel of tithing or beat others over the head –especially if they’re in the other jurisdictions.

                    OK: cards on the table. Why do I have no problem tithing to the DOS?
                    Here goes (I pray I don’t have to eat my words): under the episcopacy of +Dmitri and the stewardship of Milos Konjevich, we saw miracles happen because of our giving. Because the OCA is autocephalous, all money stays in the US. Speaking for myself, that makes it easier for me to give.

                • If we understand that *everything* we have belongs to God, tithing is a no-brainer. Tithing is supposed to be the bare minimum. He gives us everything, we give our “first-fruits” back to Him. These days, these first-fruits are typically money.

                  If tithing was widespread among Orthodox in America, ethnic food festivals would be a thing of the past (good riddance!) and we could get on with spreading the gospel.

                  Orthodox Christians are (per capita) the wealthiest church group in America. What do we have to show for it? Where is our network of church schools to educate our children and to protect them from militant secularism and the modern project of redefining what it means to be human?

                  Typically those who regularly attend vespers are the most significant financial supporters of the parish.

                  Methinks that we don’t put our money where our mouth is because our faith is weak and at heart we love shopping more than we love God. We are culturally too consumerist, too “American.”

                  • Fr. Harry Linsinbigler says

                    Right. The fact is that I was a cheapskate toward the Church at one time too. Mea culpa. It is a long story as to how I wound up going from complete cheapskate toward the church in the 90’s to embracing tithing (actually, I embrace beyond tithing–Jesus always “ups” us in the New Testament). Christ’s words one day hit me on the head: “This is how it will be for anyone who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich toward God.” But I never “impose” it on anyone. I just lead by example.

              • Peter, I think you are mistaken. Please look at the statement of Jesus from the Gospel of Luke:
                42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.
                Jesus affirms tithing in the above passage. For most of us the difficulty with tithing is that it effects the most sensitive part of our bodies–our wallets.

                • Peter Millman says

                  Hi johnkal,
                  I appreciate your thoughts, but that passage you refer to is used by advocates of tithing all the time. When Jesus walked on the earth, the law of Moses was in effect. He was affirming the law of Moses which was nailed to the cross. All of the law including tithing has been fulfilled by our Lord’s death and resurrection.
                  I agree with you that the most sensitive part of our bodies is our wallets. I tried tithing in the past- and to be honest, I felt used and abused, nevertheless, God loves a cheerful giver.

                • Fr. Harry Linsinbigler says

                  johnkal, this passage tells us more than this. Jesus was calling them out for being cheapskates. Christ calls them out for giving only the least of all the three tithes (the herb tithe). This in contrast to St. Tobit who gave the whole of all three of the tithes (the first tithe to the temple, the second reserved for holy things, the third given to the needy).

                  Peter Millman, please, spare us. You felt used and abused by whom? God? If you do not see your giving as giving to Him, then no wonder you feel this way. Before the Mosaic law, tithing was still a principle, as Abraham gave to Melchizedek, and Christ’s priesthood is according to the order of Melchizedek. Christ abolished the reliance on the Mosaic law, not the precepts of the law that existed prior to that in the Noahide precepts and the Christologic covenant with Abraham, where Christ is the seed that would save mankind, and be a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

                  I think too many people miss the connection here where Christ is both the “receiver and the received” as we say in Liturgy, in Melchizedek receiving tithes from Christ’s father in the flesh Abraham, and in Abraham receiving the bounty of the holder of Christ’s priesthood in the time of Abraham.

                  • Peter Millman says

                    Hi Father Harry,
                    I looked up you and your church on the internet. In my humble opinion, it seems to be an outstanding church, and you have a true heart for Christ. You seem to be an excellent pastor; obviously, you are very strongly committed to tithing. Although my position is different than yours, I respect your opinion very much.
                    With your kind indulgence, I have one small criticism of you. Can’t you do something about your beard? With all due respect, that’s one of the most pathetic beards I’ve seen. It isn’t even a beard; it’s a sort of pseudo goatee. In any event, I believe that you are a very good man. Like George and others on this forum, you really walk the talk. All the best to you.

                  • Peter Millman says

                    Greetings Father Harry,
                    I have been reflecting further on what you have written about tithing. I have to say that tithing for Christians is complete and total heresy. The Orthodox Church has never taught tithing; the Catholic Church began the teaching in the 600s A.D.. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ never tithed, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul never tithed, and it was never taught in the New Testament. No, we give cheerfully and with gratitude without any legalistic amount dictated to us by greedy preachers. This heretical doctrine has been responsible for turning some Christians into atheists. On top of it being sheer heresy, it is also stupid. Are senior citizens supposed to tithe from their social security checks? Are the poor supposed to tithe? When it comes down to a choice between paying the rent and tithing, what are the poor supposed to do? The covetous, greedy preachers would command that the tithe be given.
                    I stopped tithing when I began to study the topic and realized that it was heretical. Everyone, before you tithe, take care of your own family; also, since God owns everything, there are many other worthy charities to give donations to along with the church. It’s between you and God. Don’t listen to the greedy, covetous preachers.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Peter, I think you’re missing the point. A tithe is ten percent of income, not some arbitrary quantum. If all you bring home is $4000/month, that would be $400/month or $100/week. That’s $14/day. know I that sounds like a lot but the blessings that do accrue to the giver are real.

                      Also, just look at what a typical person spends on a typical day while going about his business: $6.75 for breakfast at the diner, $5.00 for a Happy Meal at McDonald’s, $4.00 for a pack of cigarettes. Etc. Other’s spend $10.00/day for lottery tickets, $20.00 for a couple of joints, $6.00 for drinks at a bar, $30.00 for table dances at a strip joint, etc.

                      It all adds up. Leaving aside the fact whether these are moral or not, they’re all unnecessary. No food for the family was actually purchased during these transactions. No electricity or water bills were paid. Hence, the penitential aspect or tithing –it’s part of the ascetic struggle. In the meantime, the wife was home buying unnecessary things on QVC or Amazon while eating chocolates and/or potato chips. Etc.

                      On the other hand, if that is a burden, then 5% of income plus another percentage going to alms for other poor is acceptable. Even the poor in this country have resources (i.e. surplus clothing, furniture, accessories, etc.) that would benefit those even poorer than themselves.

                      Just some random thoughts.

                    • Fr. Harry Linsinbigler says

                      Peter, I have zero tolerance for people who misuse the term “heretical”, because it is a serious charge that is leveled too easily by people who don’t know what they are talking about. Based on your statement, Sts. Vladimir and Olga are heretical. Hopefully they will forgive you for your ill-thought out post. Tithing was over the land of Kyivan Rus when she accepted Orthodoxy, and hallmarked by the Church of the Tithes:
                      “For I do bestow on this church of the Holy Mother of God a tenth of all my principality, and also throughout all the Land of Rus from all the princely jurisdiction a tithe of squirrel-pelts, and from the merchant, a tithe of the week, and from households each year, a tenth of every herd and every livelihood, to the wondrous Mother of God and the wondrous Savior.”
                      And by the way, I will wear my beard any way that I want. Mind your own business (or send me your picture and I can critique the way you wear your facial hair on a public forum, and see how you like it).

                    • Peter Millman,

                      Forgive me and please correct me if I am mistaken. Your words seem to indicate that you may have been a victim at some point of a sort of clergy abuse when it comes to this subject of tithing.

                      If so, you are not alone. Whether it is this or any other pet subject of theirs, there are some priests who do not seem to understand that freedom is a necessary prerequisite to any good work and that, as Saint Paul told the Galatians, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

                      Please understand that, while I wouldn’t quite call tithing a heresy, it is most certainly not a law to which we are bound. It is a guideline that precedes the law of Moses and helps answer the question: “I know I should give, but how much? I have a family to support, etc… Where do I start?”

                      Much like the Fasts of the Church which have rules that serve as guidance that ought not to be ignored but also ought not to be understood as laws, tithing is guideline. For some it is a seemingly unattainable goal, and they shouldn’t fret about it. (But, as with fasting, neither should they give up entirely and do nothing, regardless of their financial state; as this is harmful to any soul, be it rich or poor.) For others it is a goal to work toward. For others it is something to strive to exceed. For still others, especially “those who are rich in the world” (Epistle to Timothy), it is something that should be far exceeded. And for those few who give all they have it is an irrelevant matter altogether. Yet none of these will find favor with God merely by means of these works. For the purpose of all asceticism is not to find favor with God or meet some objective ‘obligation.’ The purpose of asceticism is the affirmation and realization of our freedom in the love of Christ. In the case of asceticism related to money, it is the affirmation that our “life does not consist in the abundance of the things we posses” and freedom from the bondage of our own perceived ‘needs,’ as well as (for some, if not most, including me) freedom from fear of want and bondage to stinginess and greed. We are not seeking favor; we are seeking the actualization of real freedom in Christ – a life and liberty that is a gift fully realized by our willing participation in it.

                      If giving or tithing isn’t understood in this way (or in a way that corresponds to what I am trying to communicate with these feeble unworthy words) or if it is taught as some sort of obligatory law, then I would agree that it is grievously misguided. Heresy, however, is far too strong a word.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Fr Harry, I really appreciate this exposition on tithing that you and johnkal are undertaking on this blog.

                    Thank you.

                    • Peter Millman says

                      Father Harry.
                      Apparently, you are one of these priests who want sheeple for congregants. There’s no need for anyone to forgive me for my post.
                      I will reiterate that the preaching of tithing is heretical and a scam. It’s also manipulative, nonsensical and greedy. Old Testament tithing (which you know very little about) is part of the law; we are not under the law , but grace. When you preach that a Christian must give ten percent of his or her gross income to the church, you are preaching heresy. May the Lord forgive you. I feel very sorry for the members of your church. Instead of a priest, you seem more like a dictator. Your thin skin makes President Trump look like the paragon of forbearance. Act like a man- instead of a petulant little child.

                    • Fr. Harry Linsinbigler says

                      God bless you George! Apparently, not all feel this way.

                    • Fr. Harry Linsinbigler says

                      Lol Peter. Please, again, spare us. If you told my parishioners that I was a dictator they would laugh you to scorn. I may be the ONLY person who tithes in my parish. Shame on you for falsely accusing your brother.
                      And who is the one acting like a little kid? You were called out on a lie and ignorance, and instead of owning up to it, you throw a little tantrum. Problems with authority figures, I see. Frankly speaking, God does not need you nor you money nor you presence, and neither does he need me nor my money nor my presence. It is simply a matter of us participating in our own salvation.
                      You said tithing was not a practice of the Church. You were proven wrong by just one major example. If you don’t think that you will have to apologize to two major Saints of the Church for calling them heretical, you got another thing coming. And by the way, I give more than 10% to the church. I DO walk the walk.
                      While I am very forgiving to people who insult me, I am not at all forgiving to those who insult Saints by calling them heretical. Mercy comes to those who repent, justice to those who do not. You have publicly insulted major Saints of the Church. It is your decision. If you don’t, you shouldn’t be taking Communion anywhere in an Orthodox Church. You can have your opinions on tithing, but your accusing Saints of the Church of being heretical has consequences.

              • Peter Millman,

                Preachers who “lecture” about tithing are, perhaps, greedy. But those who speak rightly of giving from the heart (whether by tithing or not) are doing their duty for the salvation of their flocks. We ignore this aspect of life at our own peril (and I’m not saying you do).

                For what it’s worth, the people of Israel were commanded to give far beyond a tenth. If you read the law of Moses carefully (something few do) you will see what I mean. Tobit, a faithful Israelite who lived in times of great apostasy, summarizes it well:

                “But I alone went often to Jerusalem at the feasts, as it was ordained unto all the people of Israel by an everlasting decree, having the firstfruits and tenths of increase, with that which was first shorn; and them gave I at the altar to the priests the children of Aaron. The first tenth part of all increase I gave to the sons of Aaron, who ministered at Jerusalem: another tenth part I sold away, and went, and spent it every year at Jerusalem. And the third I gave unto them to whom it was meet, as Debora my father’s mother had commanded me, because I was left an orphan by my father.”

                • Peter Millman says

                  Yes, Brian, I believe that you are quite correct. I like the way you express yourself. I’d also like to add that tithing obviously works for George because he has enough money to finance a pilgrimage to Russia. Thank you.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Peter, I’m not a rich man! I worked hard and saved my pennies to go to Russia! Actually, I recommend Orthodox Tours heartily! It’s very affordable and you get a lot of bang for your buck.

              • Peter Millman,

                With regard to frugality, my ethnic heritage is Dutch so I definitely appreciate where you’re coming from. But with regard to tithing/giving I think it is helpful to bear a few things in mind.

                When we give, we are not giving to the Church as such. Our offerings are Eucharistic (“Thine own of Thine own we offer unto Thee”) and they are offered to God. This is true whether they are given to our parish, some other organization that does the work of the Church (OCMC or other similar organizations, for example), or to the poor.

                I would be the first to say that our own parish should be “first in line,” so to speak, and we shouldn’t agonize too much over how it is used. It is our business to give. It is God’s business to worry about how it is used. The same is true of giving to the poor who may, in our estimation, misuse our gifts. But having said this, I do not think we called to be completely blind about how our gifts are used. There are, I think, times when it is not inappropriate to allocate resources to where they will be most effectively used in God’s Kingdom or actually help, rather than further hurt, the poor. We are rational stewards, after all.

                The most important thing is that we recognize that we are stewards, not owners, of what is entrusted to us and that we give as unto God, as His servants and stewards of His property. We have a need to give – just as we have a need to worship (and giving is integral to worship). And this need of ours to give is infinitely greater than God, His Church, or anyone else has need of our gifts.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Excellent analysis. Profound. I like your take on the “needing” aspect. We “need to give.” I agree. That goes hat-in-hand with we “need” to love as well. It’s inarguable. We are only truly human (i.e. godlike) when we love.

                  I think most of us realize how blessed we are when we do give, whether it’s to a beggar, a needy child or the Lord’s house.

                  • Peter Millman says

                    Hi George,
                    I definitely believe that you are a very generous man with your time, talent and treasure. It’s also my belief that you are an outstanding example of a faithful, loving Orthodox Christian. We are going to have to disagree on the subject of tithing.
                    Personally, since we are joint heirs with Christ, the money belongs to God and us. Therefore, it is between God and us as to where our money is spent. My own personal view is that a person should live on 50% of his and her income, and save the rest for wise, prudent investments. Again, I think the church should be much more transparent and frugal in regard to finances. They should also be much more frugal in their expenditures. I want to know exactly how much the priest is paid and see exactly where every penny of his finances goes. Instead of teaching the heresy of tithing, preach the gospel. Besides, I don’t take financial advice from covetous, greedy, money grubbing preachers. Listen to Warren Buffet; you’ll do a lot better.
                    Oh, by the way, George, just think if Jesus practiced the tithing scam. He could have passed the offering plate around after the Sermon on the Mount, and the Sermon on the Plains. He could have charged for the multiplication of the loaves, and He certainly could have charged for all the healings, resurrections and miracles. Why, He could have been richer than King Solomon. Instead of riding on a donkey into Jerusalem, He could have ridden in the finest chariot with an Arabian horse. He certainly would have had a place to lay His holy head. Also, it’s a shame that St. Peter didn’t meet these greedy, tithing preachers, then, he wouldn’t have had to say, ” Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have I give to thee, In the Name of Christ Jesus, rise up and walk.” He should have met Patriarch Kirill, then he could have pranced around wearing a $30,000 Swiss watch- and sped around in his luxury yacht like the Moscow Patriarch.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Peter, I agree with much of what you said in your first paragraph. The second one however was a bridge too far.

                      Regarding the Swiss watch and the yacht, the optics aren’t good. But it can’t be said hat the ROC isn’t spending its money wisely or not doing any good. I saw with my own eyes otherwise.

                      By the same token I don’t begrudge the RC bishops their chanceries or their homes. Especially if the RC church has hospitals and orphanages. It’s a mixed bag but at the end of the day you have to ask if the church in question is producing good fruits (or at least more good fruits than rotten ones).

                      By this token most all of the Orthodox jurisdictions here in America are found wanting.

                      Anyway, my 2c.

                    • Peter, agreed tithing is not the law for us Christians, but neither is it heresy. Cheerful giving is my understanding.

                      Now where I really disagree, is that you want to know where every penny of the priest salary goes. Really? Do we own the priest, regardless if we give 1% or 10%? What a priest does with it, is his business, not ours. Give cheerfully, and judge not, never think of that money again, and it will come back to you ten fold,in ways we would never imagine. We must trust in our Lord, not in our fallen state, which “runs” the machinery. Will money be wasted? Of course, there is no perfect system, but most will be used to serve our Lord. Sin will fall upon those who lament about giving their money, and to those who abuse it, once received. Don’t fall into that trap.

                    • Peter Millman says

                      Hi Dino,
                      I have great respect for you- and appreciate your perspective. I agree wholeheartedly that we are to be cheerful givers to those in need. I believe that God especially cares for the poor. When I was talking about a priest’s personal expenses, I was referring to the shysters who try to bludgeon me into tithing.
                      My grandfather went through the Great Depression and instilled life long frugality in me. I believe in downward mobility and simplification. My lifestyle is so austere you wouldn’t believe it. For example, I haven’t dined out in fifteen years- and that was for my mother’s seventy fifth birthday party. I get my haircut at the local high school. because it’s cheaper. Got rid of the tv in my bedroom. I shut the heat off in two zones in my house because I like it cold. I could write a book on all the ways I save money. You get the picture. I won’t give God’s money to anyone who isn’t frugal, but I do give to worthy causes- not hucksters who preach the tithing heresy.

                      How much of our money belongs to God? All of it- and I think I’m a pretty darn good steward.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Peter, you are living an ascetic life. To God be the glory for your witness.

                      I imagine that if we ever got together we could swap Pappou stories.

                    • Peter, you are correct in asserting that tithing is not law for we are no longer under the law but under grace. However, it is a goal for which we are to strive, not only for the wealthy but for all. Without having tithing as a goal we will not be giving of our “first fruits.” It seems to me that your attitude is that if I have something leftover I will give it the Church. God does not want our leftovers he wants our first fruits. To attribute heresy to tithing is absurd, for Jesus, when speaking to the Pharisees, stated you tithe as you should. I guess from your perspective Jesus was a heretic.

                      By the way, I do agree that there are those who encourage tithing for personal gain. I think you are a product of your upbringing and have difficulty understanding that what we do with our money is spiritual and not separate from our spiritual lives. Note that Jesus spoke more about money than He did about prayer, heaven and hell. It was Jesus who was watching what people we were putting in the treasury and relates the story of the “widow’s mite.’

                      Finally, it was Bishop Dimitri who encouraged tithing in the Diocese of the South and I guess for you he was a heretic.

  6. Mark E. Fisus says

    Although there is no evidence that Fr. Chris Metropoulos has technically done anything wrong, it is apparent that he lacks managerial disposition. You are lacking in leadership ability if you have to invoke the authority of your own boss, even if it is authority you have been properly delegated. Again, let me be clear that we have seen nothing, yet, suggesting improper exercise of authority.

    The reason we have people like Fr. Chris at Orthodox institutions in America is due to our small size. We do not have a large pool of people to draw from. Therefore, our outliers are also few in number, those who would make exceptionally superlative administrators. We further narrow the pool by restricting administrative posts to clergy. In the short term, we can expand the pool of leadership talent by opening those posts to qualified laypeople (there might be some retired business executives out there, for example) and/or opening those posts to clergy from other jurisdictions. In the long term, of course, we must expand our numbers by evangelization.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Interesting perspective. It’d be nice if our hierarchy would give your insights serious consideration.

  7.  “Fr Chris Metropoulos did great work over at the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN)” I don’t know that anyone did good work at OCN. Wasn’t that the liberal rag that said children should never be spanked? . I’ll give people leway on gun control, taxation, single payer healthcare, global warming etc, reasonable people can have a range of educted, rational and differing opinions…….but when your modernist opinions dictate that traditional christians need to change the way they live and embrace the latest parenting fad…’re just a sellout.

  8. HCHC Parent says

    This is ridiculous. Fr. Chris may be an excellent president or a poor president. The only things these letters show is that we are about to graduate a bunch of millennials who don’t realize everything is not about them. There is a time and a place for “holding executives accountable” and a time and place for preparing yourself for ministry in God’s vineyard.

    There are often real scandals in the Church. This is certainly not one of them. Fr. Chris is not as good as a president as you’d like him to be? Wah, Wah. Wait’ll you serve under flawed men who will be your bishops. Stop whining and start focusing on your own shortcomings and your own repentance. The Church needs real men to lead us, not cry-baby whiners. Let the Synod worry about whether Fr. C is a good leader of if they should go another direction.

    Step up. (How you handle my “insult” will be a big indicator on how fit you are for ordination.)

    • HCHC creates scared followers who will not uphold conservative Church values nor be true leaders…just not happening.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        There is no such this as conservative or liberal value just Orthodox Christian values. HCHC produces those, but also produces followers and expounders of the Pan-Herersy of Ecumanism. given the grand scheme of things I can live with that, for the time being. If things start to go off the deep end, which the robber council of Crete showed us it eventually will, well…we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

        Peter A. Papoutsis

        • Alitheia1875 says

          It’s a short bridge and it was crossed a long time ago.

          • ex-GOA member says

            Can you explain — what do you mean it was a short bridge that was crossed a long time ago?

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Yes, true but the Fr Ephraim Monasteries stemmed the modernist wave, and even pushed it back. If not for these monasteries the GOAA would have been lost a long time ago.

            • Neither Patriarch Bartholomew, nor the hierarchs that signed the statement of the Cretan Robber Council, hold the Orthodox faith. That they have not yet been condemned by the rest of the Church does not change the fact that they assert heresy.

              So the Church of Constantinople is already completely compromised. I’m at a loss as to why anyone would want to enter their viper’s den of a seminary for any reason. It can be relied upon to convey Phanariotist Uniatism, not Orthodoxy.

              Go to a real seminary and get an Orthodox education rather than wasting your time with the devil’s work at HCHC.

              • Misha,

                The devil’s work is done at the HCHC? So the school where the majority of GOA priests came from were taught the devil’s work, instead of the Lord’s. Good to know the priests that baptized, anointed, married, buried my friends and relatives, and most importantly heard my sins, and prayed for my salvation came from the devil’s work shop.

                According to Misha, ALL Orthodox bishops who signed the The Council Statement in Crete, do not hold the Orthodox faith, and GOA Archbishop or Patriarch Bartholomew pray to the devil. Misha cares not, that the rest of the churches that did not attend, have not condemned. Misha knows best, in regards to who is a worthy bishop, and who is not.

                Misha is not bothered with blood in the streets of America, and awaits his Orthodox brothers, to join in the blood shed, on the battlefield. Civil wars with nothing to lose for Misha. Quite the noble Orthodox perspective, and call to action.

                And for our Orthodox, and non Orthodox sisters let’s not forget his high regard for women, serving as concubines, bought and sold like cattle. Because our Orthodox Faith, and Traditional says so, according to Misha.

                Stay tuned folks, for the next grand statement of wisdom and TRUE FAITH only provided from our Hesychast brother in arms, and TRUE FAITH. Sad to know my church is in heresy, and my priests the devils pupils!

                I will pray for you brother, sincerely!

                • Peter Millman says

                  Greetings Dino,
                  Being of Greek descent, I have a great deal of interest in Hellenism. Unfortunately, due to distance, I’ve only been to Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Brockton,MA, three times. By the way, I am a member of the Orthodox Church of America, and commune at St. Mark of Ephesus in Kingston,MA. My impressions of the Greek Orthodox Church in Brockton were that it is an outstanding church. The priest, Father Anthony Evangelatos is fantastic really loves our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and really preaches the Gospel. His messages on Annunciation’s website are very inspiring, and make want to be a better, more faithful Orthodox Christian.
                  Without wishing to offend anyone, some of the most faithful, loving, outstanding Orthodox Christians are Greek Orthodox. I can think of the late Kay Valone right off the top of my head. We’ve also got George, you, and Peter Papoutsis, just to name three on this forum.

                  • Peter Millman,
                    You are very kind. I hope I am.

                  • Peter (Millman),

                    Though I am not Greek, nor have I ever been a member of a Greek parish, I knew Kay Valone. I used to visit her in her home in Oak Lawn, IL and worked on some projects with her. It was good to hear the name of this dear servant of Christ. For all her eccentricities, she had a heart for the Church – and not just the Greek Church. May her memory be eternal.

                    And you are right. Some of the most faithful, loving, outstanding Orthodox Christians I know are Greek Orthodox. Some may criticize their ‘cultural Orthodoxy’ (sometimes rightly so), but Orthodoxy is “in the blood” of these faithful ones in that they know who they are, and they have nothing to prove. They are simply…well…faithful. As a convert, even though decades in, I have always admired that about them.

                    • Peter Millman says

                      Hi Brian,
                      Thank you for your very interesting post. I only know about Kay Valone from reading her obituary. It’s fascinating to hear from someone who actually knew her. Would you mind telling me a little more about her- such as her personality, beliefs and eccentricities? Many thanks for your kind response, B

                    • Peter Millman says

                      Hi Brian,
                      Thank you for your very interesting response to my post. You seem like a very Christ like, Orthodox Christian to me. It’s really interesting to speak with someone who knew Kay Valone. I only learned of her from her obituary. All the best, my friend.

                    • “but Orthodoxy is “in the blood” of these faithful ones in that they know who they are, and have nothing to prove. They are simply…well…faithful.”

                      Brian your words literally brought tears to my eyes. While I’m the first to criticize my church for “cultural Orthodoxy”. I feel so blessed, that from a child, I always felt the Lord in my heart, brought forth from countless generations of faithful Greek Orthodox ancestors. I never thought about it until you wrote “in the blood…simply faithful.” Light bulbs on, to say the least!

                      What brought tears to my eyes, was the the thought of my grandparents, and their grandparents, who through years of famine, death, and flight, from Turkish, and German wars, occupation, and exchanges not to mention my father’s father imprisonment in Stalin’s Gulag. All they had was the faith of Orthodox Christianity running through their hearts to get them through. For all the whining we do here on Monomakhos, we really should count our blessings! God bless you Brian, and may their memory be eternal.

                    • Yours is a blessed heritage, Dino. What wondrous gifts we have been given!

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                It is called love. Christ never abandoned anyone to darkness. Should we his followers abandoned them when the truth can be told to them and hopefully some will hear and be saved?

                That’s why purity of doctrine in itself without going after the lost is meaningless.

                I hope Johnkal, whoever he may be, is listening.

                • Mr Shoe,now I understand you are in the GOA to save it. Thank you the Church needs a savior.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    Well after it abandoned Jesus Christ for Gov. Cuomo it was the least I and others like me could do.

                    See ya Yanni.

              • Jerry Wilson says

                I am puzzled why such bombastic statements are considered worthwhile. If Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is a heretic, then every member of every local Church is a heretic, because they are all in communion with him through their own Hierarchs.

            • Amen to to that, although he gets a bad rap out of jealousy.

        • Mr. Shoe, you seem to reply to individuals who do not identify themselves when it is convenient. In the past you would not reply to my post because I do not divulge my full name. Please be consistent. The reality is that you sympathize with Old Calendarists but do not join one of the many Old Calendar sects. You should be true to your convictions. Not being true to your convictions is called hypocrisy. You should quit using a GOA parish to promote your sectarian ideas.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            The GOAA should be true to their convictions and stop spreading sectarian views and just spread Orthodoxy.

            Also, I’m glad you have taken an interest in me. That usually happens to people when I speak the truth.

            Peter A. Papoutsis

    • Alitheia1875 says

      Let’s not forget that all the metropolitans and bishops, except for Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta and, I believe Bishop Sevastianos, are either graduates of HCHC or held some position there, dean, president, faculty, etc. This is not about spoiled young men not getting their way. Why should men who want to become priests have to deal with such an atmosphere, and it is such an atmosphere, not want to do anything about it, become, in fact, a priest and then have to be faced with, as you say, to “serve under flawed men who will be you bishops”, if I read your meaning of flawed correctly? If our youth don’t take a stand let’s just forget about future generations in the church. Enough are leaving already. It is telling that those who signed are graduating this May. They have obviously a lot to lose. They have been there for either 4 or 7 years. Why now?

      • Gail Sheppard says

        My son, Chase, loved his preschool teacher, Miss Debbie, when he was 3. He went to preschool, part-time, and was perfectly happy until Miss Debbie suffered a foot injury and Mr. Hall took over her class while she was recuperating. Chase did not take to Mr. Hall and wanted to go into the class of his second favorite teacher whose name I can no longer remember. I used this as a teachable moment and explained that there are times in life when we just don’t like our teachers but we have to give them our best anyway. In other words, transferring out of Mr. Hall’s class was not an option.

        Later that day, I went to pick Chase up and the Director of the school waved me over and asked if she could speak to me privately. We went into her office and I was more than a little concerned that Chase had failed to color within the lines again or didn’t come when he was called off the playground. She had something else entirely she wanted to tell me. She said, “You can’t *believe* what happened today! It was so cute. Chase asked to make an appointment with me! I set a time and he came into my office and sat down just like a little gentleman. He waited for me to speak and I said, ‘Chase, I understand you wanted to speak with me about something. What is on your mind?’ He replied, ‘I would like to fire Mr. Hall. He is not meeting my needs!” She said, “I thought it was so adorable that I transferred him into the class he wanted. You can pick him up there. You sure have taught that little boy, well.”

        So much for teachable moments.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Alitheia1875, the reason why “men who want to become priests have to deal with such an atmosphere” is because it’s life. To be good priests, they have to learn how to deal with others as they are, not as they wish them to be. If they don’t learn how to do this now, they will be poor priests in the future and, frankly, we don’t need any more poor priests. There is virtue in obedience. Unless this guy lies, cheats and steals, consider giving him a pass. He is teaching you an invaluable lesson, i.e. how to get along with difficult people. The world is full of them and stomping your feet and making noise is not going to help you deal with them. I would recommend you reread Genesis 9:21-23. Be like Shem and Japheth and quit leaking these letters. It’s a little late for this, but if you had a legitimate beef with him, you should have written him privately about it. (I hope you did.) If the problem remained unresolved, you go directly to your Archbishop. If your Archbishop refuses to act, don’t speculate on why, because it becomes fodder for gossip. Make up your mind to deal with it. Trust me, no one needs the “youth to take a stand” to protect the Church. She was standing before you and she will remain standing after you.

        • Alitheia1875 says

          Don’t assume I’m a student. And if young men studying for the priesthood can’t learn to discern, well, who’s to say they will be different than those all us might agree could be different. This isn’t about protecting the Church. This is about studying and progressing spiritually in an environment conducive to learning and spiritual advancement. Wanting anything less, is, unfortunately, not acceptable. Knowing the history of HCHC will tell you that there have been times of great difficulty when students did take a stand. Sometimes it resulted in positive changes, sometimes not. Blind obedience is not advisable except to Christ.

    • ex-GOA member says

      HCHC Parent,

      I’m struggling between giving you the benefit of the doubt and lashing out at you from the trauma induced by years of Greek family dysfunction. Given that it’s the Lord’s Day, let’s go with the benefit of the doubt.

      You are essentially justifying perpetuating family dysfunction, this time on a large scale seen in high-level GOA institutions. No one in their right mind will think this is a good idea. My parents, first-generation Greek Americans, grew up this way; let’s see where it led: all 4 siblings had nothing more than an emotional/ethnic attachment to the church. One killed herself, all ended up hating each other, and dysfunction ruled the day. None of the grandchildren (except myself) have anything to do with the Church anymore (those who “found Christ” did so in evangelical/protestant environments); thanks be to God, Christ showed himself to me through other Orthodox jurisdictions and literally saved my life from disaster, coupled with various 12-step programs. To this day I cannot enter a GOA church without intensely feeling the trauma it triggers. And that’s a good thing? You think folks like me (and there are a lot, given the family dysfunction endemic in the Greek lower classes) should just repress this, drive through it, and pass the dysfunction on to our children again? How idiotic. GOA clergy always turned a blind eye to our domestic violence and family dysfunction because “it’s just how it is.” How many children have been irreparably damaged by this cowardly way out?

      You think I want to perpetuate this garbage to the next generation? Come on, man. It’s not being a “man” to perpetuate dysfunction. It’s being a man to call dysfunction what it is, heal what needs healing, get help (as one of Fr Tom Hopko’s famous 55 maxims says: get help when you need it, and don’t be afraid of getting help) and give the next generation a righteous chance. I realize there are Greek-Americans who are faithful to Christ and strive to follow Him more than anything else — putting Him above their ethnicity — but in my personal experience I haven’t seen it.

      Greek family dysfunction (including all family dysfunction, for that matter) needs to die a quick death, and if dysfunction rules the day in the higher echelons of the GOA or in HC/HC, it needs to die too. If you want to keep it, you can have it by yourself. To this day, reading these accounts of what sounds like cowardly “leadership” at HC/HC literally turns my stomach; I realize that much of this is my unhealed trauma talking. But if “leadership” like this continues, I pity those who will suffer at your hands because of this pathetic version of what some consider leadership and because of the utter lack of love inherent in it.

      • Ex GOA,

        Sorry for all your pain, and I understand the GOA has many issues, but how are they to blame for your family dysfunction? Did they cause it, or just not save you from it? How, in your opinion, is a priest to discern which families should be broken up, and which should not. I don’t want a priest to have such power. Do you? The church is a hospital for souls to be healed, individually with freewill, not a courthouse to rule over us and divide, if they see fit. If the abuse was criminal, I agree the priest should contact the police. Please tell me how the new Orthodox church works for you, and how it might have saved your dysfunction family growing up?

        • Doestoevsky wrote that we are all ultimately responsible for each other. I agree with that. The Catholic hierarchy was ultimately responsible for the small number of Catholic priests who abused boys and not doing enough to address and fight it. So also the GOA hierarchy may be somewhat responsible for perpetuating cultural dysfunction in its flock and not addressing or fighting it.

      • ReaderEmanuel says

        I, too, am ex-GOA. I will never go back. Besides the statements about the seminary being true from what I have seen, one thing I have observed is that the GOA and its organizations have become an elitist, snobbish bunch that treat you as persona non grata no matter what kinds of skills and abilities you have. If you are not one of the “elite”, forget it. The Greeks used to support their own. Now, they EAT their own. And the seminary is turning out Schmemannites and ecumenists by the dozen. We read here about all this stuff and wonder why nothing is being done? Well, I’ll tell you why, it’s because the higher ups are just as bad if not worse! There’s an old saying that goes, “Silence gives assent”. I will close with the words of St. Athanasius the Great: “As we walk the unerring and life-bringing path, let us pluck out the eye that scandalizes us-not the physical eye, but the noetic one. For example, if a bishop or presbyter-who are the eyes of the Church-conduct themselves in an evil manner and scandalize the people, they must be plucked out. For it is more profitable to gather without them in a house of prayer, than to be cast together with them into the gehenna of fire together with Annas and Caiaphas.”

        • Estonian Slovak says

          Hey, my nephew, an OCA priest, told me that we live by the Golden Rule. He said that since the Greeks have the gold, therefore they rule. This was in reference to Archbishop Demetrios as head of the Assembly of Bishops.

          • George Michalopulos says

            ES, I just returned from a mini-retreat at a monastery. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. After reading your nephew’s words, an insight came to me: for a real church unity to take place, it must be one in which the bishops are united in an ascetic struggle. And only the most holy among them rise to the top. If, on the other hand, it is based on lucre and the best positions are meted out according to the payment of baksheesh, it will fail rather quickly.

            Believe it or not, this insight came to me after I read Bishop Tikhon Shevgunov’s sermon on the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee. Particular that part in which many Church luminaries rejoiced at the abdication of the Czar and the dawning of the new Republican order in Russia ushered in by Aleksandr Kerensky’s provisional government. As then Patriarch Tikhon said, the new government was established without the recognition of God.

  9. The GOA is too oriented towards the east coast. I would like to see them expand in to the west coast and great plains and Rocky Mountains. These are the areas of the country that are growing.
    I have noticed in the Archdiocese Yearbook, there are small parishes in PA, NJ and even NY that continuously do not have a priest. It also lists Greek embassies and consulates etc. The archdiocese is not an arm of the Greek government.
    At the College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, MO. the students work on campus and have a farm. I think that Holy Cross should look in to doing something like this.

  10. A website has been started by current students (and recent alumni) that describes the problems at HC/HC. Please check it out and pass it on.