Part II: What’s Wrong with the GOA?

Last week, we posted Part I of an Ecclesioclasm podcast/interview which Fr John Peck hosted.  Needless to say, it generated a fair amount of commentary, not all of it positive. 

Despite the fact that there was a negative tenor to the assessments given by Nick Stamatakis, Jim Jatras and myself, hope is not lost.  Gathering from what I heard, there were silver linings to be had. “Crisis” after all, is a Greek word, meaning “judgment” and from thence, discernment and clarity.

And so, here below, is Part II of Fr John’s interview with The Three Griegos:






  1. I am looking forward watching the video discussion. The silver lining “to be had”comes with responsible accountability. Without admission of sins there will be no silver lining for the faithful.

  2. Jatras has an excellent comment around 31:00 regarding the need for the laity and priesthood to stand up and call for the bishops to impose order. I think that’s a most excellent idea.

  3. Great job all, but I particularly loved Stamatakis’s inner view on what is going on with American pressured Greek geopolitics and the GOA. Good thing he discussed the Cyprus issue here, so many people overlook that fact just because it’s a small country, forgetting that geopolitically it’s still very much a big deal and hence why Americans are playing in that area (the push for an Israeli alliance and the likes of Menendez meddling in this). Bravo!

    • George Michalopulos says

      Completely agree, George. Until a few years ago, I did not know that Cyprus was the happy hunting ground for the Russian, Ukrainian and Israeli oligarchs. That’s why so many of the Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs have triple citizenship, not only Israeli but Cypriot as well.

      • Absolutely, that as well. A lot of money was laundered from the former Soviet space in Cyprus, and the launderers got EU citizenship. Now they’ve suspended that program. Russia has also been talking about de-offshoring for a while.

        On the other side, Russia and Cyprus have also enjoyed a beneficial political relationship: Russia maintained (and maintains) its position on the Cyprus problem, Cyprus allowed Russian ships port, and Russians are one of the largest tourist markets in Cyprus (which lives heavily off tourism). But the latest shift in Cypriot politics leans heavily to the Americans and Brits (as Stamatkis pointed out, the Brits retain a very strong foothold there), in part out of fear of Erdogan who maintains a 40,000 strong army there. It’s one big mess.

        At one point Russia even offered to build its own base there, but the Cypriots were told no by Britain.

  4. Ella Marie says

    More than a few years ago-and when I still met w and cared about what my parish priest said-he told that the priests failed the ppl. So I asked him why can’t he start now today to do better. And he couldn’t formulate or express a response.
    Then I asked him why does he accept/promote mediocrity in his calling and from us. Still nothing, including conviction.
    He’s in it for the paycheck and lunch w the 100. If he was in the corporate world…we all know, he’d be out.
    I don’t pay attention to him anymore. If he ever would decide to stop failing us, maybe if he made an effort…


    If only His Eminence would take six minutes a day to educate us about a prayer, a hymn, the Divine Liturgy, a passage the Bible. To teach us to love God and our Church. And explain to us why Orthodoxy celebrates All Saints Day on the first Sunday after Pentecost. Maybe it’s a time management issue, and bob dylan wins every time…

    Also, they haven’t figured out that the fewer of us there are, the fewer of us will be there to fund them.

  6. Here’s what’s wrong w goa (continued): scroll thru to read where LP declares that a 100 yr old church is “inclusive.” He’s continuing to change Ecclesiastical doctrine from the pulpit. Shamelessly, in front of a group of old ppl who think “inclusive” means no extra charge for cocktails, appetizer and dessert.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      I generally take “inclusion” to mean acceptance of anyone who is not Greek, at least in this context.

      • That’s probably what the parishioners think. As for Elpi, I’m sure that his “inclusive” is not their “inclusive.”

      • Ella Marie says

        Not in this parish, my friend, Joseph. The ethnics have successfully driven out not only older and newer converts, but also many cradle type ethnics who dare to seek more than Sunday county club coffee and half a donut hour…

        • Joseph Lipper says

          My friend, Ella Marie, that Sunday’s Gospel reading was about the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. It is fundamentally a parable about inclusion, about how the Rich Man ignored the suffering of Lazarus and failed to include him. So, it seems completely fitting for Archbishop Elpidophoros to at least bring up the Gospel reading in his homily and talk about inclusion, however briefly he even mentioned it.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            I think the parable is more about indifference to suffering to the point where you even cause it.

            Think of the suffering of the people who are drawn to the Orthodox Church and then turned away. I imagine the pain of rejection could cause them never want to step foot in another Orthodox Church again.

            The Greeks do not fully share from their table is this regard. I bet you won’t find a single person who would recommend a Greek parish to a person who isn’t Greek.

            Obviously not all Greeks are this way. George’s father is an example of the kind of man who would stand between you and any Greek who would try to hurt you. He certainly did for me. I am so incredibly grateful to God I had time with him before he passed.

            I was looking around our OCA parish last Sunday and was amazed at how much it has grown, and continues to grow, in great part due to my husband.

            George is his father’s son in this regard. He literally built our parish because converts weren’t as welcomed as they should be in the Greek parish. He suffered mightily for it, too.

            I’m always chiding George for going up to people and shaking their hand during Liturgy instead of waiting until after Church. But if it weren’t for a handful of Greeks like George, thousands would be turned away. The people he approaches inevitably turn to him to make a path for them and he takes that very seriously. These people, in turn, bring in other converts and make a path for them. If God-children (converts other converts bring into the Church) were a thing, George would have too many to count.

            Interestingly, that’s how the monastery got started! The father of the monks remembered shaking hands with George and called him when they came to Tulsa.

            So, Joseph, my friend, presumably you’re Greek and in comparison to the people I’ve been talking about, you’re a saint because of your kind demeanor. If all Greeks were like you, the Church would be a much richer place.

            Greeks can be incredibly warm people.

            However, you and I both know there are some Greeks, too many, who are like Lazarus; stingy with what God has freely given them not because it costs them anything but because they can get away with it here.

            In the next life???

            Perhaps Elpi should have led with this: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” Matthew 17:21-23

  7. A combination of greed and the CIA.

  8. There is an annual speaking contest in GOA for kids (The St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival). There are 5 topics to pick from for the senior division…check out the first one
    TOPIC 1
    The Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople is the highest seat and
    the Mother Church of Orthodox Christians. The Ecumenical Patriarch
    is the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide.
    Discuss how the Patriarchate has been a symbol of unity, a source of
    missionary growth, an advocate of dialogue among Christians, and a
    defender of the historical Orthodox Faith.
    Here are a few suggested ways you could research and develop your spee

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I’d like to enter that contest. I’d have a lot to say. Too bad it’s only for kids and is designed as propaganda to bring up kids thinking this BS is true.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Such premises are reminiscent of what schoolchildren in North Korea receive for their homework.

    • Alright, everyone sit down and make sure you don’t have any liquid in your mouths to spit out before you read this, but I’m about to say something good about GOARCH:

      The St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival is a wonderful idea and is one of a handful of great things that the Archdiocese does. I used to be involved with it as a judge, sometimes the main judge, in my former parish. It gets the kids focused on writing and public speaking and all the entrants must at least deliver their papers before the parish. The winners go on to the higher rounds at the diocesan level, etc. This is great practice for them to overcome any fear they have of public speaking and to hone their research skills and learn the art of rhetorical persuasion, or at least be introduced to it.

      Yes, that particular topic is problematic, but the general idea is admirable.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Maybe some really bright kid will be able to subtly address the truth without it being too obvious!

        • George Michalopulos says

          That would be a great idea!

          BTW, the St John Oratorical Festival is indeed a good idea, for the reasons you stated Misha. It’s too bad the #1 topic this year is cultic.

      • It is a really good thing… I agree. Most topic choices are good.

      • The topics that I always found most irritating were those centered around “The Green Patriarch” Our children were always asked to gush about how “green” the GOA is. I have asked the GOA several times to include some topic options on the value of the unborn…. so far they have ignored this huge opportunity to teach the youth about the value of the unborn.

  9. Bravo to Jim Jatras and Father John for identifying the exact problem: the Bishops. Synods of Bishops occasionally write beautiful and correct Statements, but they do not act on what they have written. Hence we have the OCA Archbishop of Diocese South, Alexander, promoting/participating in the IOTA (International Orthodox Theological Academy) associated with gay old Fordham. This after OCA’s Statement in July 2022:
    We reject any attempt to create a theological framework which would normalize same-sex erotic relationships or distort humanity’s God-given sexual identity. The holy apostle Paul writes that such teachings will “increase to more ungodliness,” and that such a “message will spread like gangrene” (2 Tim 2:16-17), misleading the faithful and inquirers seeking the truth.
    Any clergy, theologian, teacher, or lay person who contravenes our directive thus undermines the authority of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America by disregarding the Holy Synod’s consistent and unwavering teaching on these matters. We call on any such persons to cease their disruptive activities, which threaten the peace and tranquility of the Orthodox Church in America, cause scandal and uncertainty, and tempt those who struggle against their disordered passions to stumble.”
    Gosh! That didn’t hold up very long at all. What will happen to Bishop Alexander? I predict nothing (except perhaps elevation). In 2014 he was heading a commission to develop a path to reconciliation with the Papacy. The final work of that commission was a detailed gradual program that saw no problems easing the Orthodox into uniting under the Papacy as is, except for ensuring a career path for Orthodox bishops and avoiding the filioque in public. Sounds exactly the sort of guy you’d assign to a “Theological Academy” for the purpose of “fighting” the sodomites the Papacy is so in love with.

    It’s beyond sad to realize it, but the present day bishops of official Orthodoxy are primarily mammonite careerists, herding a flock of comfortable Orthodox pressuring their priests to be more loving and in-step with the World. Petitions are wasted on them. Their Statements of conservative Orthodox values are lies that they have no intention of enforcing–except maybe on some poor nobody they want to get rid of. They are poster boys for the old saying: The road to hell is paved with priests’ skulls and bishops’ skulls are the lamp posts. The only way to effectively fight these hypocrites would be a mass exodus (assuming a mass of actual Orthodox still exists). Soon, leaving will be the only way to save just your own soul.