More Chutzpah From the Phanar

In case you were wondering when the Ecumenical Patriarchate was going to use the crisis in Ukraine for fundraising purposes, look no further:

Now, we’re not talking about fundraising in general, or even for Ukraine in particular but –get this–for the Ecumenical Patriarchate itself.  Read the following paragraph very carefully:

The first action taken by Archbishop Elpidophoros this morning was to donate $100,000 to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to support the efforts of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Archbishop Elpidophoros also announced the creation of the Ukrainian Relief Effort, which was established in collaboration with International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC)*.  [Emphasis added.]

Did you get that?  Instead of sending money directly to Ukraine to, say, Metropolitan Onuphriy, the primate of the canonical Orthodox Church in that country, it was sent directly to the Phanar.  

Would now be a good time to ask “why?”  Yes, I believe it would.  

OK, so let’s ask. 

Well, for one, the existence of two non-canonical sects in Ukraine complicates things.  The optics of sending $100,000 in cash to the Sergei Dumenko (aka “Metropolitan Epiphony) or the Honorary (pretend) Patriarch Filaret would be like shooting yourself in the head. 

Especially given the only recognizable, albeit tragic, ecclesiastical face on this entire tragedy is that of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphriy.  He won’t be sending it to him.  He might as well just send it to Russia.

This cannot be stressed enough:  any and all monies given to Mr. Dumenko would elicit howls of outrage.  For Bartholomew especially, it would mar his handiwork in Ukraine, thus further exacerbating the division within the Orthodox Churches, which are significant, to say the least.

These concerns are real enough but at the end of the day, perhaps the point is moot.  Mainly because I seriously doubt that the GOA is going to raise any monies at all for Ukraine.  In other words, that $100,000 that Elpidophoros gave to Bartholomew “for Ukraine” is probably going to be the sum total that’s going to be raised.

As everybody knows, the Phanar is in a penurious state and has been for several decades.  Its poverty was managed more or less by Bartholomew’s predecessors because they didn’t have the same delusions of grandeur that he has.  It costs lots of money to play Eastern Pope on the world stage and George Soros is only willing to cut so many checks to subsidize this delusion.  The Archons have also reached their limit.  And as for the St Nicholas Shrine/Boondoggle, I bet you dollars to donuts that the Department of Justice will not continue to look the other way forever.

So, to be perfectly frank, when I saw this announcement from the GOA, the first thing that popped into my mind was that the Phanar is at the end of their rope, as well.  That’s why they put out this call.  It’s a subterfuge; in other words, a scheme to get Elpidophoros to lean on the Archons and cough up some ready cash really quick.  

So, no, I don’t believe that the good laypeople of the GOA are going to fall for it.  And if, by some chance, they do, then very little will find its way to Ukraine for the reasons just stated:  it won’t look good if it goes to Epiphony or Filaret, and if it goes to Onuphriy, then Bartholomew would have delegitimized Dumenko’s “church.”

As for chutzpah, it’s a Yiddishism.  The closest English definition I can think of is “unmitigated gall.”  The classic example is the man who murders his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court because he’s an orphan.

About GShep


  1. I can’t imagine how GOA laity could even donate anymore to the Archdiocese given all the financial scandals.

    On a separate but EP related note, it seems as though the 5 ancient patriarchate’s meeting is dead in the water, thanks be to God. Unless something changes I don’t see it happening before Pascha. Perhaps Bartholomew has had a change of heart, or maybe like Zelenski he sees the writing on the wall that he was duped by the State Department. One can pray at least.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      To have a meeting of the 5 ancient patriarchates, you need 5 to show up. Rome wouldn’t be invited. Antioch said no. Jerusalem said no. Only the EP, himself, and Alexandria (under duress) were willing to meet so I’m sure it’s been canceled due to lack of support for whatever the EP was trying to do without the Local Churches.

      • True. I previously mentioned that Bartholomew seems to be awfully quiet as of late considering current events….but then I popped over to Orthodox Times and it’s basically just wall-to-wall anti-Russia narrative. Which should be of no surprise since it’s received funding by the State Department.

        Dumenko is heavily featured yet not one word of Metropolitan Onuphry, which should also be unsurprising.

  2. Seraphim says

    Wow, so Archbishop E(really long name) sent h $100,000? Must be nice to have that kind of cash. I’m sure, technically, it’s in some kind of “charitable fund”, but still. I just think about St. John. He went about in worn clothes and shoes. The old ladies used to get frustrated with him cause they would give him new clothes and next time they saw him they were nowhere to be seen cause he had given them to a homeless person. I just don’t think I see Archbishop E doing that.

  3. Do the funders sending money to Elpi care? Methinks not. After all, it’s a tax write -off and who at IRS would even care, regardless the amount? Win-win for E and the deep-pocketed sender. After all, Istanbul is getting a facelift everywhere one looks, becoming a newly glitzed tourist center, so there might be some renovations to do also, [oh, did I say that? I meant sending money to his new buds in Ukr…]
    see here:

    • If people in the GOA do want to donate, they would be wise just to at least go through the IOCC rather than the Archdiocese.

  4. EllA Marie says

    Don’t worry about where epi scored $100 k … when he cruises my ‘hood come oct, he’ll refill that Amt and probably raise another that much or more from the deep pockets of our local Ma phia aka 100’s etc
    Launders all

  5. Well, if the monies raised and dispersed for the Covid Relief Fund the Archdiocese is any indication of what the Archdiocese may raise in collaboration with IOCC, a most responsible philanthropic organization, then I trust that much money will be raised once again. Knowing about the dispersement of the Covid relief fund monies, it was done responsibly and with much care and compassion.

  6. ‘ As for chutzpah, it’s a Yiddishism. The closest English definition
    I can think of is “unmitigated gall.” ‘

    In Glasgow we would say “brass neck”
    as in: “The sheer brass neck of the man!”

  7. ..the Phanar is at the end of their rope, as well..

    What are your thoughts on the end game to all if this if Russia does win in Ukraine?

    I agree that the EP is at the end of its rope and the money from Poroshenko/State Department was an infusion into a dying institution. This was obviously done for political motives (which we all already knew). Halki still isn’t open, which I’m sure the U.S promised it would. GOARCH is broke and having to sell of parcels of land around HCHC.

    If Russia wins then the U.S will have no further need to use Bartholomew as their pawn in the proxy war with Russia. I have to assume Bartholomew knows this. He will be left high and dry like Zelensky.

    My question is, where does he go from here? Does he backtrack and have a big “mea culpa” or does he double -down and continue headlong for Rome? Prior to last weeks events I would have though the latter, but, with the majority of Churches against him, not being able to gather the ancient patriarchates, Crete being a flop, I just can’t tell which was he is going to go now. He could surprise us all and quietly retire to Athos in repentance.

    One thought is that holding the Holy Chrism hostage will be the last bridge burned.

    • The money from 7 or 8 acres of HCHC land will bring in about 17 million, if rumors are accurate. That’s if the deal goes through. As in the past, the community will not go easily into the night regarding HCHC land for sale for development. The money supposedly will stay at the school. Also, it will be very interesting to see the reaction of many in the GOA (especially at Holy Cross) if overtures are made to Rome and something comes of it.

  8. George, a minor point, if I may:
    Epiphony is in any case a wrong spelling of Dumenko’s name.
    Epiphany is a correct spelling, but not the best translation.

    Epiphany = The Epiphany of the Lord,6th Jan.
    ΕΠΙΦΑΝΙΟΣ=Greek, Masculine name,Nominative case, Saint: 12May,25Aug.
    Епифаний = Russian,,Nominative case
    Epiphanyy = A more precise English translation
    Epiphanius = Google English (classical) translation of Епифаний

    • George is spelling Epiphony as a “joke” heavy emphasis on the phony part. Epiphony is a layman ordained by defrocked schismatics, hence he is a phony and not a real priest

    • Solidarity Priest says

      Ioannis, I think George is using a play on words. His spelling comes from the English word “phony”. In other words, Dumenko is not a real Metropolitan, but a “phony” one.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Fr, Petro, thank you for coming to my defense.

        Yes, you are correct. However in the interest of fairness, I first heard this name from Fr John Whiteford. It really resonated with me and since then, it has stuck.

        • George et al,
          you are right.
          I apologize for my (current) loss of humor.
          It is not only the continuing C19 measures
          but also bad news about the war.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            George can be a little cheeky. Probably too soon to be joking around.

            • It is never too soon to joke.
              Black humour is one way of coping with disaster.
              It was particularly favoured by the Brits,
              before the epidemic of schoolgirl emotionalism struck
              on the death of Diana, when the whole country went mad.

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                You remember what Stalin said:
                “Black humor is like food. Not everyone gets it.”

                • Solidarity Priest says

                  Is this your idea of black humor? Because Stalin saw too it that 6-8 million Ukrainians didn’t get food and starved to death in 1933. Where was our concern with Ukraine back then?

            • Some cheekiness in trying times is always refreshing I think

  9. That’s OK, Gail.
    My imagination has dropped too,
    I thought Epiphony was a kinda American transliteration,
    whereby an o is often pronounced like an “ah”
    and thus o and a could sometimes be interchangeable.
    Now I fully understand the joke,
    but, again, it is on the borderline of my limited imagination.
    I guess I would have understood it immediately if it were written as:
    “Epifunny”. Even the stupid me couldn’t possibly miss it!