Showdown at the Salt Lake Coralle: This Time It’s Personal

Met. Isaiah of Denver (GOA)

Like a bad sequel in a tired movie franchise, the GOA continues to plumb the depths of its internal inconsistencies. As we reported several months ago, Metropolitan Isaiah Chronopoulos of Denver — one of the genuine good guys in the GOA’s eparchial synod — tried to enforce the rules. A former Marine, he’s always believed that there can’t be two sets of rules, one for the well-connected, another for the little people.

Unfortunately, this is not the way things are usually done in the GOA. For example, all the work of the Clergy-Laity Congresses of decades past was thrown out the window by the Phanar a little over ten years ago when the Charter was unilaterally changed by Istanbul. It’s been hard ever sense to shake the perception that arbitrariness and irregularity is the dominant paradigm.

A Quick History of the Salt Lake Problem

One of the few things left untouched was the Uniform Parish Regulations (UPR), as it would be impossible to micromanage individual churches from overseas. One of the more iron-clad rules found in the UPR is that once new parishes are established, they have to have their own rector, parish council, and by-laws. That’s per state regulations by the way and it’s certainly not antithetical to canonical norms. As mentioned in the previous post on this matter, the majority of the two congregations in Salt Lake City (Holy Trinity and St Elijah) didn’t see things that way. They always shared one parish council between them and considered themselves to be one community.

Met. Isaiah told them it was time to split up and become independent parishes, just as the UPR’s required. You would think by the reaction that Mount St. Helen’s had erupted again. No go said that parishes and after many acrimonious months, the Ecumencial Patriarch ordered Archbishop Demetrios to settle the score. Demetrius sent out two lieutenants and we are waiting to see what happens.

Now, the fact that they have gotten along so well all these years speaks well to their Christian spirit. That’s not the issue here. We should always get along. The problem is one of Christian maturity and obedience to the proper authority. All His Eminence did was try to enforce the UPR. After all, he is not an auxiliary bishop but a metropolitan of an actual, living See. (The lieutenants govern non-existent Sees.) As such, he did what he had to do to enforce discipline, including excommunicating three of the ringleaders, two of whom happen to be members of Leadership 100. Of course this action was unfortunate but it was well within his rights as a ruling hierarch. He certainly didn’t act arbitrarily but only because negotiations had broken down.

But is he really a ruling hierarch? Are the current “metropolises” in reality just another of the internal contradictions within the GOA that are becoming more apparent with each passing day? Are the newly-minted metropolitans really nothing more than glorified auxiliary bishops?

It sure looks that way. Read this story from The National Herald and judge for yourself:

Archbishop Intervenes in Utah

Theodore Kalmoukos

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Archbishop Demetrios of America sent two emissaries – Bishops Andonios of Fasiane, chancellor of the Archdiocese, and Sebastian of Zela, chief secretary of the Holy Eparchial Synod – to Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver to tell him to end the issue affecting the greater Salt Lake City Greek Orthodox community immediately. TNH has learned that the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople has become increasingly concerned about divisive situations in Archdiocese parishes caused by hierarchs – as is the case in the Metropolises of Denver and Boston – and Patriarch Bartholomew reportedly questions why Demetrios does not intervene to save the parishes. Isaiah apparently has confused the situation even more so by having appointed a new parish council for 2012 through “correspondence,” marking the third consecutive year that parish’s council has been chosen without the process of elections.

How the Chain of Command Works

Where to begin? There are so many layers to this story. Perhaps the most egregious one are the strong-arm tactics being used against the Metropolitan; the “end-this-thing-before-it-gets-anymore-out-of-hand-quickly” thuggishness being employed by 79th Street. No less than two auxiliary bishops have been sent to force Isaiah to back down. This is not the brotherly concern that diocesan bishops would exhibit for one of their peers who is struggling with a delicate matter. And it gives the lie to the idea that the bishops are all equal. That’s because when push comes to shove, the diocesan boundaries of the GOA do not demarcate real dioceses but merely administrative districts (regardless of what The Orthodox Observer says to the contrary). This is nothing more than Corporate barking orders at a mid-level district manager, telling him to straighten up the mess or else.

Even the real pecking order is not Istanbul -> New York -> Denver (which is bad enough in a church where the bishops are supposedly all equal), but Leadership 100/Archons -> Karloutsos -> Istanbul -> New York -> Denver. (Fr Alexander Karloutsos is a kind of papal legate who functions as the eyes and ears of Patriarch Bartholomew from his perch in New York.)

Make no mistake, the reason that Istanbul is worried is because the real power in the GOA is the Archon/Leadership 100 axis. They’ve proven before that they can roll bishops from Boston all the way to Istanbul. And they are mad at Isaiah because he dared to excommunicate a couple of their own. So yeah, for them, it is very personal.

Looking at the Future

What does this portend for the future? Several years ago, your humble correspondent carried on a rather heated and lengthy exchange on another blog (the American Orthodox Institute) with a fellow Greek-American, who unlike yours truly, was still in the GOA. At issue was whether the GOA was autonomous or merely an appendage of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and whether its bishops had any real authority.

My interlocutor maintained that the bishops of the “Holy Eparchial Synod” were real bishops and had complete authority within their respective dioceses. Being a member of the OCA, I begged to differ. For one thing, in the GOA, parishes gave monies directly to 79th Street, which then kicks back a set amount to the dioceses as part of a revenue-sharing scheme. It’s not a bad one but it undermines the entire idea of independent dioceses. After all, whoever controls the purse strings rules.

On the other hand, in the OCA, each of its dioceses are independent and function unmolested from any central administrative authority. (In fact, the entire concept of the central administration is being openly questioned in the OCA at this very moment.) Though the last year was anything but pleasant for the OCA, the underlying point was never disproved. For all its faults, the OCA was — and is — autocephalous. That lay elites within it tried to remove our Metropolitan was unfortunate but it came to naught. In any case, the action against His Beatitude was internal and not one orchestrated from overseas. In the GOA, such coups are distressingly all too common.

An Earlier Prediction

In the earlier posting on this issue I made a prediction: that if the Archons acted, Istanbul would react; yet another bishop would have the rug pulled out from under him. Usually in a situation such as this, the bishop in question is given a face-saving way out. This usually means that he would announce his “retirement” within a short time.

In the case of Chronopoulos, the first part of my prediction came true, I hope the second one doesn’t. He’s too good a bishop to be thrown under the bus simply because some big boys didn’t want to play by the rules. Moreover, the reversion to form would forever cement the notion that the rules don’t matter in the churches dominated by Istanbul. The stereotypical, nudge-nudge/wink-wink, make-it-up-as-we-go-along nature of things will be even more difficult to dislodge.

If nothing else, it will throw more sand in the gears of eventual jurisdictional unity in North America. Why? Because it reinforces the notion that the real power in the the GOA is not the episcopate — or even the Ecumenical Patriarch — but a secular elite of worldly businessmen who are acutely aware of their power over that same episcopate. But that’s a story for another day.

For the moment, we’ve got to do all we can to make sure that these bullying tactics don’t work, as they did against the two former primates of the GOA. Hang in there, Your Eminence!

About GShep


  1. I suppose that Byzantine caesaropapism dies hard. In our land, the plutocracy rules, and I suppose that the bishops obey. If true, that is quite perverse.

  2. Ivan Vasiliev says


    There is an excellent article in “First Things” magazine about the decline of the Presbyterian Church USA–mostly for reasons of “governance”. If we try to run our Church on the modern business model, or on the western democratic legislative model, what else can we expect but disaster? For that matter, if the Church is run on any worldly political model, it will have problems. Since the Church lives in the world, some of this is unavoidable. But I wonder, sometimes, if we really know what we mean when we say “conciliar”? All too often it rings of “democratic” and is opposed by an equally obnoxious power-grouping of would be autocrats, plutocrats, oligarchs, etc.
    Maybe we should reconsider what conciliatory really means–not some legislative power-sharing model or stifling tyranny, but the Spirit-filled body of Christ, “ruled” (as in kept orderly and taught rightly) by our hierarchs and presbyters and affirmed (received) by God’s People. Of course, that would mean taking the “AXIOS” we are called to give seriously on both sides, wouldn’t it? And when is the last time the people withheld their “AXIOS” (for good reason)? When is the last time anyone heard, “ANAXIOS”, called out at an episcopal election or presbyterial ordination? Just contemplating it causes something of a chill to pass over me! Imagine a Church with that kind of polity! Why, it would actually be Orthodox. Alas, not in our lifetimes, I’m afraid..

    • I think there are different types or levels of conciliarity. First, all diocesan bishops are equal in their power to rule as arch-pastors in their own dioceses. Second, all presbyters, as deputies of the bishop are also equal in power to rule as pastors of their parishes. Third, since the leading bishop of an autocephalous church must obtain the approval of the other bishops before doing any initiative on his own (Canon 34), the highest canonical authority is not any one bishop, even the first-among-equals Patriarch/Metropolitan/Archbishop, but the collective or synod of diocesan bishops. However, since the Church is present whenever there is a bishop, surrounded by his presbyters, deacons and laity (St Ignatius), there is a role for the laity to play as well at all levels–parish, diocese, local church. Besides, the right to say axios or anaxios is implied in the exhortations by Saint Paul to all Christians, not just the clergy, to be responsible for preserving the faith. Thus, it means that there must be a greater role for the laity than “pay, pray and obey.” I do not know what the exact mix is but it certainly is not the tyranny of lay persons either, either in Church Councils or at the national level (a la Leadership 100). In conclusion, I do not know if there is now a perfect model of governance that is properly conciliar but I do think that the OCA model is closer to the ideal than any other.

      I think that

      • I accidentally hit “post comment” so that I did not get to finish the second paragraph.

        I think that many of the governance problems stem from imbalances between the roles of primates and bishops on the one hand, and bishops/priests and laity on the other hand. I also think that it is the responsibility of our hierarchs to take the lead in solving such problems. This does not mean in any way that they should act as monarchs; the buck can stop with them if they remember the Lord’s admonishments and act as servant/leaders rather than traditional (worldly) monarchs.

        • All that will be and is totally nonexistant and unknown in Heaven where Christ rules as King with the absolute power and authority of the Father’s will.

          • And let’s not forget that the Church lives in the reality of the Kingdom of God here and now, today, by the power of the Holy Spirit. KIngdom. King. Hmmm…

            • Ashley Nevins says

              The Lordship of Christ is King and not a corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying church that makes its patriarchs and bishops KINGS. Christ is not a Roman church/state king. Submitting to the kingdom of corruption is not the same as submitting to the kingdom of Christ’s holiness. If you get your king wrong you will have a wrong outcome. When the Lordship of Christ is in rule over a church it has a Lordship of Christ outcome. So, what is the outcome of the kingdom Orthodoxy in this world today? It is having a power of the Holy Spirit outcome? Hummm…

              Ashley Nevins

            • Carl Kraeff says

              I do not think that anyone here (or alive for that matter) can say that there was, is or ever will be a greater king than the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, He is the prototype for our bishops. His kingship is that of a servant/leader and not a despot. Please note that, while we approach our bishops as Master/Vladika/Despota, they are not supposed to act as such. If they do, they act not like the icons of the Lord Jesus but like ordinary humans who have either not understood their job description, have forgotten about them or have decided to disregard them. And, if they start acting like despots, they will spend the remaining days of their episcopacy as despots in name only, as empty suits who rule by virtue of their office and not personal authority. It also an indicator that they may possibly descend further into the realm of worldly temptations and sins and even perhaps turn into wolves in sheep’s clothing. That does not mean that they do not have authority over us, but it does mean that they are in danger of being one of those proverbial lamp posts on the road to hell.

              • My spiritual father stated to me one time that it is said “that the road to hell is paved with priests” and then he added, “standing of the shoulders of bishops.”

          • Ashley Nevins says

            An excellent bottom line Christian response. Right to the point. You nailed it. Unity among Christians will not happen until we go to heaven. A very good reality check for all concerned, including Ashley.

            Yes, I agree Christ is absolute authority and not a corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying church that claims to be Gods alone right and one true authority on planet Earth. Submission to the authority of Christ is not the same as submitting to the authority of a corrupt and failed church.

            The Lordship of Christ is not the lordship of corrupt Orthodoxy or any other corrupt form of Christianity. Only in heaven will that corrupt authority stop and then all who knowingly followed corruption over Christ will realize what they could have been under Christs holy authority rather than being under the authority of corruption.

            You make a very good point. In heaven we all get to live with each other. God is going to sort it out for all of us. All of us are going to be very surprised at what He tells us. We all get held transparent and accountable. We all will be asked by God the Father, what did YOU do with my Son or what did you do to my Son? None of us are going to escape Him.

            Through salvation we will experience mercy and grace for our failures and we all together with God will move into an entirely different reality than what we have here.

            Yes, I know, the Orthodox believe heaven is going to be Orthodox. If you are alone right here then you must be alone right there too, right? Heaven is going to be tradition based Orthodoxy? I believe it is going to be what you stated it to be and to assume it is going to be like anyone’s earthly church is most likely a biased conclusion.

            The Orthodox are going to be shocked. All of us are going to be shocked at what it really is. We cannot imagine how great and awesome it will be and I can imagine a lot.

            I imagine a heaven free of shame and evil. Evil brought us shame. Shame destroys our value, worth, meaning and purpose before God and when shame becomes a church it destroys that church.

            God bless you for that response.

            Ashley Nevins

            • Ashley, even the Devil can quote scripture and “believes and trembles,” so don’t ever get it into your head that you and I are “on the same page.”

              • Ashley Nevins says

                I am quite aware that unless you are Orthodox you cannot be on the Orthodox page.

                You are the exclusive Christians in Gods only alone right and one true exclusive church.

                There is not a church in the world that is more exclusively relevant to itself alone than Orthodoxy.

                Hey, but thanks for the reminder.

                Ashley Nevins

            • Heaven will not be Orthodox because we are Orthodox, we are Orthodox because Heaven IS Orthodox, i.e., rightly believeing and rightly praising by the Grace of the All Holy, Good, and Life Creating Spirit.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Ashley–You and I are not on the same page either. While I believe that the Church is not perfect and there is room for improvement, you see it as a failure. While I believe that the Church is The Ark of Salvation, even if we need to do some maintenance work from time to time, you think that it has sunk. While I believe that I am part of the Body of Christ, you say that I am in no body at all. However, as a member of His Body, I ask my Lord to have mercy on you, to pour his healing mercy over you, and to send the Holy Spirit to convict you so that you see the errors of your thinking and to come to understand the Truth.

              • Carl Kraeff says:
                February 15, 2012 at 5:28 pm

                ‘Ashley–You and I are not on the same page either. While I believe that the Church is not perfect and there is room for improvement, you see it as a failure. While I believe that the Church is The Ark of Salvation, even if we need to do some maintenance work from time to time, you think that it has sunk. While I believe that I am part of the Body of Christ, you say that I am in no body at all. However, as a member of His Body, I ask my Lord to have mercy on you, to pour his healing mercy over you, and to send the Holy Spirit to convict you so that you see the errors of your thinking and to come to understand the Truth.’

                We need to be more careful in our words.

                The Church is indeed perfect, the Body of Christ and His Bride, without spots or wrinkles.

                On the other hand, we Christians are full of spots and wrinkles as individuals. The Church, as the Tradition consistently asserts, is the ‘hospital’ in which we sinners will be healed, if we would be healed.

                There are many people who consider themselves christian by their own standards, and we orthodox must acknowledge that at the same time as we must insist that their variant faiths about Christ — heterodox as they are — don’t qualify them to be included in The Church.

                God will save whomever He wills by the mercy He shows us all through the gift of His Christ to us, but it remains to be said that there is The Church, and Not The Church here on Earth.

                • Ashley Nevins says

                  The Church is made perfect through Christ the Armor of God.

                  He is our perfection by salvation.

                  Yes, I see how HOSPITAL the EOC in America is. In fact, the merciful and grace filled GOA is the largest Orthodox hospital in America. It is a very Orthodox exclusive hospital.

                  Gods alone right and one true church is Gods alone right and one true hospital, I get it!!!

                  I can show you what a real hospital church that has relevancy looks like if you want.

                  There are many of those heretic-odox hospital churches I can point too and that are not qualified to be included in Gods only alone right and one true church. But, they are qualified to be in Gods true church by salvation.

                  I hear you clearly. Since they are not qualified to be in The Church they are not qualified to have salvation. The Not The Church is all of those outside of Orthodox salvation.

                  Yes, I fully understand why you believe the top down centralized power and control Roman state church that is exclusive, closed, isolated and subjective is the The Church of Gods salvation.

                  It is so hospital centered you can see it healing itself from corruption and irrelevancy. It the role model and example to all those Not The Church churches that wouldn’t know what a hospital church is if their salvation depended upon it.

                  Why, it is Gods truth standard of measure of what a right with God hospital church is in comparison to it. You can tell how right with God it is by its outcome in the real world.

                  People are just lining up to receive healing and comfort from it here in America. In fact, the GOA parish hospital has been in my city for 55 years and on a good Sunday it has about 100 people come to it for treatment that heals and then that is healing is communicated to the world by those healed causing it to grow exponentially.

                  The EOC is the safest hospital church in America. Just look at it and tell me different.

                  Don’t pay any attention to those heretic false hospital churches with questionable salvation and who have grown into the thousands in far less time than 55 years in my city. They obviously do not know what they are doing by their salvation and the Orthodox do know what they are doing in comparison by their salvation.

                  Ashley Nevins

                  • gibberish |ˈjibəri sh |
                    unintelligible or meaningless speech or writing; nonsense : he talks gibberish.

              • Ashley Nevins says


                Like I have said over and over it is not about perfection. It is about relevancy.

                I know what the trend numbers are telling anyone who is not in denial about them.

                I just happen to know why those trend numbers are going down.

                I fully understand why the Orthodox see failure differently than I do.

                I would say that the GOA hierarchy and its patriarch is in need of something more than some time to time maintenance and I know why that kind of maintenance is not going to happen.

                You just told me why it will not happen.

                Ashley Nevins

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Ashley–I believe that the Orthodox Church is relevant and you will see in my lifetime a resurgence, especially in the United States.

                  • Ashley Nevins says

                    You have been here 200 years. Many claim this is the Orthodox century for America.

                    12% of the century is gone. I do not see 12% more relevancy or growth.

                    The church is basically relevant to the Orthodox only. That is a serious problem.

                    Its history of growth here has primarily been by immigration, birth and marriage and not by mission and evangelism.

                    In your lifetime you are going to see it cast vision, develop strategy and implement a plan of resurgence? I am skeptical for good reason.

                    Carl, help me out here. What is the strategy and plan? I am not seeing it. Obviously, the past and current strategy and plan is not working other than to try to keep Orthodoxy in a survival existence state here.

                    The Orthodox believe in vision, strategy and plan. That is what Jonah was supposed to be all about. The OCA is not working out. In effect, it was supposed to be the first independent jurisdiction and that was supposed to free it to become relevancy and growth here differently than how you have established yourselves here in the past.

                    Carl, please explain the 5 core issues facing Orthodoxy in America and their corresponding solutions? Believing it will become relevancy is not the same as knowing how that it will become relevancy. Believing in the context you speak is similar to hoping wishes come true.

                    The only ones stopping the Orthodox from relevancy in freedom of religion America is who? That is your starting point to change to relevancy.

                    I believe that unless the bottom up demands relevancy from the church hierarchy that the top down will never allow it to happen. If you want a relevant future you are all going to have stop living in an irrelevant present.

                    Carl, I am tough on all of you on purpose. I don’t poke with twigs. I poke with a high voltage cattle prod. It’s about time the EO got to moving out of complacency that only leads to stagnation, carnality and then to corruption.

                    I WISH you the best if your church does not deliver unto itself a vision, strategy and plan that actually works. Without that your church in America is only going suffer more serious decline. I promise and all of my promises to the Orthodox come true. All of them.

                    Ashley Nevins

                    • So, Ashley Nevins, self-appointed Messenger, Soothsayer, and unquestionable Promiser-of-things-to-come for the Orthodox Church, tell us something that we don’t already know and have not already discussed countless times on this Blogsite since its inception even without your superior input, insight, intelligence, rationality.

                • Ashley, this makes me wonder whether or not you would be able to recognize Christ if He came back to earth in the flesh today. Popularity proves nothing. John 6:66.

                  • Ashley Nevins says

                    Helga and PdnNJ,

                    Knowing Christ is knowing the relevancy of Christ in our generation. It’s like really hard to recognize Him in a corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying church. That is a serious Orthodox problem.

                    That is not my problem. But, you can do your best to make me the problem for pointing out the problem. That is nothing more than a reactive denial self protection defense mechanism of the closed system Orthodox that refuses to be open system regarding their corrupt failure that makes it very hard for Christ to be brought forward by them with any relevancy.

                    Yes, Helga, I completely understand why you would think I would not recognize Christ in the flesh. If I can’t recognize Him that means I do not have Orthodox salvation that can recognize Him. I couldn’t recognize Him because I am really tough and uncompromising in confronting irrelevancy in corrupt failure. My problem is that I noticed and then confronted it by calling it for what it really is.

                    Orthodox, what are the 5 core problems facing the Orthodox today in America and what are their corresponding solutions?

                    Orthodox, what is the vision, strategy and plan to find relevancy in our generation?

                    Well? Do you even know? If you don’t know then you don’t know where you are going and not knowing where you are going is not knowing Gods direction for your church. It is very difficult to see Christ in a church that does not know where it is going and because it does not know what it is doing. If people don’t know where you are going guess what happens then? They either do not join your church and/or they will leave your church. What is the growth trend of the two largest Orthodox jurisdictions in America? Are they keeping and attracting youth that are the lifeblood of any church relevancy future? Do you even know the answer to the questions? It’s really that simple to see if your church is motivated by such concerns to reverse that or to know if it is apathetic and indifferent to do anything about that. Do you get that?

                    Popularity is not the same thing as Christ centered spiritually mature relevancy that is dedicated to mission and evangelism that is the result of a humility and service approach to people outside of Christ. A power and control approach to people outside of Christ in modernity does not work and the Orthodox are my proof. The EOC is irrelevant in comparison to the rest of Christianity in America. It is not a result of the Orthodox being UNPOPULAR. It is a result of the Orthodox being irrelevant by power and control.

                    Christ centered relevancy moves things. A dead church moves nothing. Last time I checked Christ in the Gospels He is still very alive and well where He is found relevant. He is dying or dead where He is made irrelevant by corrupt failure.

                    I believe one day soon Christ is going to ask the tradition religion dead, what did YOU do to my Son?

                    Yes, I know, the Orthodox have never quite had the reality of the real world explained to them quite like this before. The Orthodox have lived in a closed, isolated and subjective self protection box for so long they no longer really understand how the real world of Christian relevancy really works. They believe their relevancy to themselves is relevancy to others and that is just not living in the real world of Christian relevancy to our generation.

                    The self appointed Orthodox appointed themselves Gods only alone right and one true church that believes other Christian salvation not of them is either highly suspect or not salvation at all.

                    Typical Orthodox, you are not a Christian or a suspect Christian or you are self appointed if you confront them with the truth of them. It can’t be about them. It is about the messenger who does not mince words with them. No, Gods only alone right and one true church did not appoint me. It calls me heretic and so it would not appoint me. The Orthodox do not appoint anyone who confronts them on their corrupt failure and if they did it would never be confronted.

                    I see the result of Orthodoxy confronting Orthodoxy on its corrupt failure. It is still a corrupt failure.

                    Please understand something. I see right through your church. I know every Orthodox closed system self protection argument. I know them because I studied them in John 8:31-59. They are all there. You think I am in your face? Read that Scripture and know what you are by Christ confronting you on your irrelevancy and why you are irrelevancy.

                    That was a systems confrontation and a relevancy confrontation by Christ. It was a confrontation of tradition, fathers and so much irrelevancy more. Yes, I know, the Orthodox in modernity have never quite had that kind of a confrontation like I am bringing to you. You have never looked at that Christ confrontation as systems and relevancy. In your minds you are relevancy and Gods only true system of church.

                    In your minds you think your Church is Christ in those Scriptures confronting those outside of your church and yet Christ is confronting them on what you base your church upon. He told them they were corrupt and He told them who was leading them in that corruption they denied. He was warning them of what their outcome would be and they did not hear Him. They alone were right by tradition and so much more.

                    They too tried to turn it around and make the problem Christ who pointed out their problem. They did that when He confronted them. He saw right through them and their self protection apologetic and that irritated them to no end. He did it on purpose to bring out the basis of their failed thinking that leads to failure.

                    I also know by those Scriptures what your reaction will be to my telling you of those Scripture and your relationship to them. So, now it is time to exit all of you like Christ exited them in those Scriptures.

                    Ashley Nevins

                    • We now return to our regular programming. Take it away, George!

                    • From Wikipedia:

                      Fixed fantasy

                      Not to be confused with Daydream, Fantasy (psychology), or Maladaptive daydreaming.

                      “A fixed fantasy — also known as a “dysfunctional schema” — is a belief or system of beliefs held by a single individual to be genuine, but that cannot be verified in reality. The term is typically applied to individuals suffering from some type of psychiatric dysregulation, most often a personality disorder.”

    • Ashley Nevins says


      I love Orthodox pipe dreams of being the idealistic and utopian church model , but you are right about one thing. There is no perfect model of church governance and there never will be. That admission is a step in the right direction. Your post was close to thinking for yourself.

      Be very careful, thinking for yourself is not advocated by the church hierarchy and so it could be dangerous. It threatens their power and control. Thinking change threatens their power and control to keep the church from changing. If it changes they may well not end up in totalism power and control and so they will fight or reject any change to relevancy that challenges their absolute power and control. By their power and control they want to be the only relevancy in your minds and at the expense of the entire church becoming relevancy to the world outside of it.

      Of course, I do not agree with all you say in the post, but considering it is coming from an Orthodox it is awesome!!! You are starting to think open system. Its only a start, but it has real potential.

      Who knows, maybe one day someone will post the 5+ core issues facing the EOC and their corresponding solutions.

      Those who fail to plan plan to fail.

      Where there is no vision the church perishes.

      What you are talking about is a new vision that results in a new plan. Exactly where you need to go.

      The Orthodox need to completely re-think their church from the laity ground floor up and not from the hierarchy top down. Anyone with eyes can see how the various jurisdictional hierarchies think hierarchy centralized power and control from the top down. The end result of that thinking is the EOC relevancy failure by that failure thinking for you and by none of you thinking for yourselves.

      Excellent post.

      Ashley Nevins

      • And then we can change the name of the church from ‘Orthodox’ to ‘Protestant.’ Of course, there already is a Protestant church – oh wait, there are 39,000 (at last count) differing and disagreeing Protestant churches. So how’s that “relevancy decentralized bottom up thinking for yourself” working for them? Not too good. Aww, too bad.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Ashley–I believe that most of our deacons, priests and bishops are indeed Godly servant/leaders. They try very hard and pray all the time to be so, and yes, most fail from time to time. However, compared to me, they are shining examplars of true Christian conduct and piety. If I gage my own failings with your standards, I would have to conclude that I was hopelessly sinful and evil–a failure,and consider giving up my relationship with the Lord and His Church. I cannot and will not give up because His love gets me back on that narrow road whenever I fall off of it.

        The road is narrow and hard for all of us and that includes the clergy. There is nowhere in the Scriptures or in the experience of the Church that, except for one exception that proves the rule, we have not sinned and fallen short. And why should I demand that the clergy be perfect? How could I dare to condemn them if they fall short? Are they not human like me? How dare I condemn the Church, when it is headed by the Lord God and contains all of us–imperfect in various ways? The only thing that defines the members of the Body is their ability to recognize their sinfulness, their reliance on the Lord, and their presence in that Ark of Salvation, which is the only way that any of us can make it to that celestial shore.

        You may think that yo can navigate the stormy waters mano-a-mano with the Lord. If so, I pray that you are right. But, I am witnessing to you that I, a fellow believer, choose to be aboard the Ark not because of my preference, knowledge or wisdom, but because the Holy Spirit has convicted me and I am heeding the teachings conveyed to us by the Lord Jesus through His apostles and disciples.

    • Ashley Nevins says

      There can be no conciliatory in a top down centralized power and control model of church.

      All conciliatory means in such a model is a promise not to spiritually abuse and abandon by that power and control.

      It is a promise that if you give them absolute power and control they will hear you and listen to you and respect what you tell them.

      It is the dictators promise to be benevolent with you.

      The top down power and control models demands that you submit to it and follow it no matter how corrupt it all becomes. Anyone with a thinking for himself mind can see this as the norm of the EOC.

      A corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying church is not conciliatory. To believe that is delusional.

      Corruption is not conciliatory, but it will lie to you that it is to keep you believing in its power and control over you.

      A corrupt church is a mind controlled by corruption church and how anyone can conclude that kind of a church is conciliatory is deceived.

      The EOC is having a conciliatory outcome?

      The Patriarchs are not keeping the promise. They are lying to all of you. The outcome of the EOC is my proof.

      Ashley Nevins

    • A note from the department of small points:

      This very issue — affirmatively exclaiming anaxios during episcopal concecrations — was raised during the negotiations to hammer out an administrative reconciliation in the Serbian North American dioceses in the 1990’s.

      Saintly Patriarch Paul unhesitatingly affirmed the right of the laos to so exclaim. His answer to the “then what” question was less clear. He suggested that if the oppositional cry appeared to be facially credible — as opposed to some truly disturbed soul raising a raucous — the service would stop and an investigation launched.

      As to the scope and method of such an investigation, His first reaction: such a situation in the Serbian Church was “unprededented.”

      Seemingly easier said that done.

      • The whole fairy tale myth of crying anaxios at an ordination really has to stop. People who hold up that cry as some kind of imprimatur of the laity is misplaced. The cry axios is said after the ordination is already completed. It’s a confirmation of what has already been taken place, and it’s a response to what the clergy gathered at the altar have already proclaimed, and that after the ordaining bishop himself has established the worthiness by his proclamation of axios alone.

        • Priest Justin Frederick says

          True. The man is ordained already when the cries of “axios” begin.

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            I agree. Then the people have to be able to register an “anaxios” before the ordination takes place.

            • Priest Justin Frederick says

              Candidates to the clergy should be “above reproach” within the Church, and have a good reputation with those without. And others should be able to bear witness to their calling and suitability to serve. I’m particularly concerned about men who push forward seeking ordination pursuing an internal calling to ministry that others around them cannot see. Nobody should get into the altar before the bishop for whom “anaxios” should be shouted. And if it happens, the bishop bears the responsibility before God.

              • The OCA still has its problems with reverberations from last year. There was talk about placing Bishop Mark’s name on the slate of candidates at the diocese of South conference last week. Four names were discussed but he was clearly the least popular. It’s not official and he wasn’t formally placed except as a kind of polite gesture but still he has no business being in contention.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              There must be a reason why the laos is asked to confirm the worthiness of the person ordained. I do not believe that it is quaint ritual from the distant past that signifies nothing. The real problem seems to me that it happens after ordination rather than before. The bottom line: if you do not intend to seriously ask for confirmation, don’t do it. If you go on with the service even in the face of a clear vote of disapproval, don’t do it.

              • And to Carl’s question, the confirmation of the laity in responding axios is to demonstrate the unity of the body of Christ. Everything in the church, especially as a liturgical action, is to be done with “one mouth and one heart.” The axios is a liturgical expression before God and men that we have a common mind in this matter, just like “Amen” and “Lord, have mercy.”

                So, it’s not a “quaint ritual from the distant past that signifies nothing,” it’s an important liturgical action, expression of unity, and the participation of all the faithful in the ordination that is taking place.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  I do not think that we are that far apart. I am just pointing out that if we are to participate in this particular liturgical action with “one mouth and one heart,” we should do it in a meaningful way. If we had not been involved in the nomination process, if our input was not sought beforehand, I do not think that our “axios” means much more than an act of obedience to the rubrics for it would not an informed input, one that arises from careful and prayerful consideration.

              • And i would also add that the proof that anaxios is not a choice during a liturgical service is that nowhere, in any language, do the liturgical books state “and after the bishop says axios and the priests say axios, then the people say either axios or anaxios according to their agreement or disagreement with the ordination.” It’s simply not there. The only response given is axios.

            • Yes, but the anaxios should be said weeks and months before the ordination, not at the ordination service. The people can write letters, give feedback, call, appeal to the bishop, or whatever is appropriate. But the Divine Liturgy is not a free for all where we take a vote on the candidate approaching the altar for ordination. At that point, the decision by those who are canonically charged with making the decision has been made. If the bishop has given the blessing for the service to take place, then it’s his indication that this candidate will be ordained. Shouting anaxios is simply not an option. If that happened and I were a bishop, I’d have that person (or people) removed from the church. “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor 14:40). If a person disagrees with the ordination at that point, let them stay home and not be with the assembly. They’ll simply have to live with the decision of the bishop.

              A response in any liturgical service is not a vote, it’s at best a confirmation of what was already proclaimed, but as a liturgical action. It’s an agreement, but not a proclamation between two choices. If the priest gives an exclamation within the liturgical service, imagine the chaos if someone decided they weren’t going to say “Amen,” but instead, they were going to shout “Disagree!” Or if the priest gives a blessing, people shout, “Nothing for you!”

              Again, those who have concerns should express them to the ordaining bishop well before the ordination, not at the ordination.

              • An overly legalistic approach obfuscates and deflects.

                So books also tell us when some one suggests that the laos should stand, or kneel, or these days, sit down. Liturgics, though certainly intended to be “orderly,” are not choreography or scripted performances.

                While most anyone would agree that “objections” should be made before an episcopal consecration, that view is real easy in light of contemporary methods of communication simply unavailable or grossly impractical centruries ago.

                While there are always exceptions and counter examples, as a general principle, episcopal selections in history have not been done in accordance with some au courant notion of months long vetting by an executive search committee — lay or clerical — submitted to a board and “the public” for prior review, consideration and disposition. (A digression: Its so sad that some of these OCA dioceses remain “vacant” for months on end while some sub committee does something, even with easy means of communication. I’m all for due diligence, but how long has Alaska been without a proper archpastor?)

                I’d submit that Orthodox tradition holds that “those canonically charged with making the decision” of selecting a bishop indispensibly includes the laity and a method of objection is to exclaim “anaxios” during the sacrament of consecration. Details certainly vary from Local Church to Local Church and from epoch to epoch.

                Agreed. It’s not a “vote,” or proclamation of “choice.” But I assert that “axios” is not some mindless, submissive, perfunctory, “liturgical action” expressing putative agreement for an otherwise objectionable or “wrong” act. It certainly does not equate to “amen.”

                This is why it also seems so sad these days that many bishops who will have actual, “real” dioceses, are “selected” and consecrated in places far, far away from their prospective flock and then “installed.” “Here he is — love him.”

                Without a doubt, this can be terribly messy. But it is a very real, 20th century bone of contention — like it was a millenia ago..

                • It’s sad when we see liturgical response (for that’s what this is) as ever possibly being mindless, submissive, or prefunctory. It certainly does equate, perfectly actually, to ‘Amen”. It sadly says much about the worshipper.

                  Likewise, the rubrics for the services are not choreography, except for those who wish to see them as such (cue Ashley Nevins). And indeed, while there are certain local variations, there are also universal traditions, such as the Pentecost kneeling prayers, and the axios at the ordination.

                  As far as those charged with ordination, no one denies that the laity has their role. But they also do not have the final say. Apparently you wish it were so? Why diminish what is there in preference for what is not? To assert as authentic tradition that ” a method of objection is to exclaim “anaxios” during the sacrament of consecration” is just plan bunk and you have absolutely no canonical, liturgical, or otherwise legitimate proof of that – none. It’s the fanciful dreaming of people who wrongfully feel they have “no voice,” so they’re going to disrupt a service to make their point, instead of doing what was necessary beforehand and then being obedient to the decision after it’s made. We’ve already established that the ordination is done, completed, finished at that point, so what is it that the cry of anaxios is accomplishing? Better to save it for coffee hour, if you didn’t have the foresight to object months earlier.

                  At my workplace, if I wanted my boss’s job, I would apply for it. If a layperson wants to be a bishop, let them pursue it and ask God’s blessing and the Church’s support. Everyone has their role, but not every one is entitled to every role. Otherwise, let’s heed the words of the Apostle: “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Phil 4:11).

  3. Ashley Nevins says


    1. The GOA will not change to relevancy.

    2. The GOA will continue to demise.

    3. The GOA bishops will remain corrupt.

    4. The GOA will not stop the cult leader elder.

    5. The GOA laity will remain powerless religious codependent pawns to the hierarchy.

    The GOA is under the top down power and control of sexually corrupt bishops and a guru cult leader elder and it has been under that corrupt power and control for so long now it has turned itself into a cult. Since the GOA did not deal with its bishop corruption it did not deal with its guru cult leader elder corruption. The GOA allowed the corruption and then that corruption allowed turned them into a cult that is now allowed. The GOA did not see itself turn itself into corruption and it has not seen itself turn that corruption into a cult. If a church cannot see itself turn itself into corruption it will never see itself turn itself into a cult.

    The cult church is hemorrhaging youth and it cannot attract youth. The demographics and trend of this church is a toilet flushing. Time is not on the GOA side and the Orthodox always believe that time is on their side. That is delusional thinking in regards to the GOA.

    Those predictions are the state of the GOA today and that is not going to change.

    Now shoot the messenger.

    Ashley Nevins

    • You know Ashley, people who are convinced that they can predict the future with accuracy are considered to be “unbalanced” mentally by those who know that that is impossible.

      • Ashley Nevins says

        The Orthodox are not the Christian paradigm shift in China.

        Do the research and find out for yourself.

        There is exponential Christian conversion in China and it is not the result of the Orthodox.

        Oh, I see, what is happening is a Nestorian revival in China?

        The Syrian Christians from the 2nd century are the basis of exponential Christian conversions in China in 2012 and 1800 years later?

        The only thing the EO own is the state of their church in corrupt failure and that has no Christian exponential conversion taking place in China.

        Living in the past is not going to bring you into the present. Looking backwards is not going to develop future forward vision for your church. I promise and all of my promises to the Orthodox come true. All of them.

        Spasi, you mean well. You are completely missing my point. The point is what can the EO do to reverse their corrupt and dying state of church?

        Can you list for all looking in what are the 5 most concerning problems or issues facing the EOC in this world today and what are their corresponding solutions?

        Be practical in solution answers.

        That is being pro-active solution centered and not reactive defensive centered.

        If you spent as much time on solution as you do on reaction you just might be able to come up with some solutions.

        The starting point of pro-active solution is admitting the exact nature of Orthodox corruption and failure. Only then can the church find solutions to what is holding it down and back. Admitting failure is the starting point to turning around to success. It is not going to happen until that happens.

        That is for you and not against you.

        Ashley Nevins

        • You should do the research yourself. Orthodoxy is not an officially recognized religion in China under the communist regime. Protestantism is.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            I had read reports that most of conversions to Christianity in China and East Asia in general were into Pentecostal/Evangelical churches, with most believers organized as unrecognized and probably illegal house churches..

        • Brian McDonald says


          While I don’t agree with most of your points, it is honestly a relief to see you actually addressing individuals and responding to particular points they’re making instead of blowing past them with long harsh diatribes that sound like recorded messages. It sure makes it a lot easier to listen to you and try to digest what you’re saying. I hope this doesn’t sound snarky. It’s not meant to. I really am starting to become interested in your recent posts because you now seem like a human being tussling with people who disagree with you rather than a self-annointed bearer of revelation who has come to lay down the law to a bunch of fools who have nothing to say back to him.

    • There seems to me to be a lot of self-reflection in the church. I just read an article about it on the AOI site.

  4. Ashley asks “what is the outcome of Orthodoxy in the world today?”

    That’s easy.

    Innumerable holy saints throughout history and today, sanctified by the grace of God.
    Love, joy, and peace in the Holy Spirit.
    Countless good works.
    People brought into union with Christ by taking up their cross daily and following Him.
    Worship in Spirit and in truth.

    Here’s the outcome of Ashley Nevins Church of Rationality.

  5. Priest Justin Frederick says

    Is this the sort of thing we’ll enjoy under a Greek-led and dominated Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in North America?

    Archons (just where are they to be found in the canons of the Church) exercising spiritual leadership by filing lawsuits?

    Titular bishops interfering in another bishop’s canonical territory?

    “Dioceses” getting their revenue from the central church office?

    “If nothing else, it will throw more sand in the gears of eventual jurisdictional unity in North America. Why? Because it reinforces the notion that the real power in the the GOA is not the episcopate — or even the Ecumenical Patriarch — but a secular elite of worldly businessmen who are acutely aware of their power over that same episcopate.”

    Unappetizing, unattractive, uninspiring.

    May the Lord preserve Metropolitan Isaiah and all good bishops from such non-canonical thuggery, regardless of the euphemisms used to cover it. Great example from those pushing for canonical order in North America.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Priest Justin Frederick says: “Is this the sort of thing we’ll enjoy under a Greek-led and dominated Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in North America?”

      I am glad you found a way to bring in jurisdictional in-fighting while this fiasco unfolds. Do you belong to the OCA? Because if you do I suggest the pot shouldn’t be calling the kettle black.

      This one little episode is characteristic of the implosion and crisis in the GOA. It may not be your home, but it is mine, and I cannot begin to tell you how much this upsets me and other Greek Orthodox Christians. Enjoy your perfect OCA…oh, I forgot ITS NOT.

      Thanks for the support.


      • Priest Justin Frederick says

        Oh Mr. Papoutsis, why the touchiness? I advocated no OCA leadership of the assembly, expressed no jurisdictional triumphalism, and, in fact, said nothing comparing jurisdictions. If you lament the things detailed above, we have significant agreement and you implicitly have my support–for whatever it is worth. Bringing in “jurisdictional in-fighting?” Is that what I get charged with for expressing concern over a process for jurisdictional unity dominated by the same powers driving this feud in Utah? That should be of concern to every faithful Orthodox Christian regardless of ethnicity or jurisdiction. Did you read what I said, offering support for Metropolitan Isaiah? Sheesh, man, why read something extraneous into what was written and pour sarcasm over one who stands with you in concern? You are welcome for the support, and I think too highly of Metropolitan Isaiah to withdraw it in any case.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          Your being a snot! Right from the get go you did not show support, but started with an attack. Only at the end you said: May the Lord preserve Metropolitan Isaiah and all good bishops from such non-canonical thuggery If that’s all you said and stayed within that tone, I would have not beef, but you didn’t.

          That’s what I call a back-handed comment. You just showed to everybody why people like Leadership 100 and the Archons keep winning because of comments and attitudes like that. As long as we are divided people like Leadership 100 can take advantage and get the upper hand. So good job in advancing the cause of American Orthodox Unity.

          Oh and by the way the Greeks didn’t put Met. Jonah on a Leave of Absence. The Greeks didn’t try to depose their Primate. The Greeks didn’t bring about the current ruination of the OCA. The OCA did that all by itself. So when I and others, cross jurisdictional lines, and supported the OCA and Met. Jonah in their plight against your own cabal, and you do not return the favor of support it says alot about the OCA, or I should say it does not say much about the OCA.

          So when comments like yours, and others, come down the pike guess what happens? The GOA faithful circle the waggons and don’t look for support from any OCA brother, or anybody because all they see is attack, slur and insult. And too keep their Church alive financially they turn to people like Leadership 100 who says “Your the Greek Church and your the Biggest and Richest of all the American Orthodox, see here is the money. Here is what WE can do for you. All those others have nothing to offer” and all talk of American Orthodox Unity goes right out the window. Thanks alot. Further, if you think what I just said is BS think again. I’ve been in the room when that’s been said by Archons/Leadership 100.

          So if you want this mentality to end, just try in the future to be more understanding because if you don’t its not helping any of us. So say what you want in response. I’m done.

          Good night.


          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Sorry, correction the GOA DID depose their Primate, Archbishop Spyridon. What I was trying to say is we Greeks did not depose the OCA’s primate Met. Jonah. I guess its ok if we eat our own.


          • Heracleides says

            Your being a snot!

            I know you can’t help it Peter, but; pot, kettle – kettle, snot…er, pot.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Herc, Peter, Fr Justin,

              The reason I wrote this story was not to stick it to the GOA but first, to come to the aid of Isaiah, a man I know, love, and respect. Second, this type of thuggish behavior by Central HQ has no part in the Church of Christ –past, present or future.

              Third, the power of the internet has proven itself recently in causing the hierarchy to clean up their act. It was because of John Couretas, Fr Peter Preble, Fr Hans Jacobse, Christ Banescu and others that the Assembly of Bishops was forced to issue a proclamaation against Obamacare. And also the internet caused Met Savvas Zembillas to take down his bigoted FAcebook cartoon mocking conservatives. Also they caused OCN to take down that fawning interview with the apostate former governor of Massachusetts. Maybe I’m wrong but I’m hoping that this editorial and the furor it seems to have raised will cause 79th St to back down and support Isaiah instead of sandbagging him.

              Peter, please understand that I thought long and hard about writing this. That’s why I made it very un-triumphalist for the OCA. We still haven’t completely escaped the ravages of the Stokovite Terror. Bp Maymon still roams freely in Florida, electioneering for the DoS. (I think we should just cut out the middleman and elect Stokoe directly, then he can betray the confidences of the Holy Synod with impunity.)

              Lord have mercy.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                I actually agree with your article and your assessment of the situation. However, your article was about a Metropolitan being over powered and pushed aside by Leadership 100.

                How that was used by anti-Greek OCA people to once again criticize Greeks, not GOA, but Greeks, is beyond me. That’s what I commented on. It is the unfortunate habit of the OCA from Herc to Bishop Tikon, to Fr. Fredrick to take as many cheep shots at Greeks as possible. To use sincere disagreements over serious issues like Canon 28, the EP’s current posture on Ecumenism, etc., as an excuse to beat up on Greeks. To me that is wrong, and in many ways bigoted.

                Instead of supporting a GOA churchman Fr. Fredrick started off with an insult and swipe, which is all to common and I am sick of it. It’s because of altitudes like his in the OCA that hardens positions and animosities between jurisdictions that make Orthodox unity in America impossible.

                So with that have at it. Let all the Fr. Fredicks, and Hercs, and Bishop Tikons bash away at the Greeks because in the end it’s not helping any of us. The EP through Leadership 100 will strengthen its hold over the GOA, the GOA rank and file will see and have seen the animosity from the OCA and feel threatened and will hunker down into an us verses them attitude and Metropolitans like Isaiah will get steamrolled because Orthodox will be to busy criticizing and in-fighting.

                Have at it guys. Hate the Greeks all you want and enjoy the party. As for me and my family the GOA is our home and we can fight for it ourselves and through our Ephramite Monasteries without any help from the OCA.

                George, I liked your article very much and again agreed with your assessment. However, I don’t put up with this anti-Greek crap in my personal life so I am definitely not putting up with it here. So to make sure I piss-off Herc, I will formally announce my departure from your blog. Good bye, good night, and God bless.

                Peter A. Papoutsis

                • Heracleides says

                  Now you’re simply being self-serving, Peter. I made but one comment on this thread and it had nothing whatsoever to do with Greeks; it had to do with you and your obnoxious comment calling Fr. Justin a “snot.” I could care the less about ethnicity – yours, mine, or that of anyone else – that seems to be your hang-up.

                  I’ve worshiped at two different Greek cathedrals with very mixed results. The first was at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Phoenix. What a joke. It included a 20 minute homily wherein the greatness of ‘Greekness’ was extolled to such an extent that Christ was mentioned but once – and that simply being a passing remark that if Christ had had a choice, he would have chosen to be incarnated as a Greek. The second experience was at Assumption Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Denver (Bp. Isaiah’s cathedral btw) with Fr. Apostolos Hill officiating and what a blessing that was. I but wish I lived in Denver; if I did, I would worship there on a regular basis (and I make a point of worshiping there whenever I am in Denver visiting family). So what can I say Peter except to urge you to get off your high (Trojan) horse and actually respond to what people write rather than to what you wish they had said to further the grinding of your ethnic ax.

                • Geo Michalopulos says


                  I wish you’d reconsider. You’re a valuable member of the Monomakhos community.

                  I don’t think that Fr Justin meant anything hurtful but merely elaborated on the thesis that I developed in both Parts 1 and 2 of this Met Isaiah/SLC dust-up. That is: is this what a united American Orthodox Church can look forward to? Not domination by wealthy Greek-American businessmen per se but wealthy businessmen who happen to be of Greek descent?

                  Yes, we had some pissants in the OCA who did their dead-level best to remove a duly-elected Metropolitan so it’s not all rosy over here either. (If anything, it’s probably as bleak.) But the internet provides a forum for our debating these issues and exposing the rot and corruption where it exists.

                  The last thing we need is to have good guys like you remain silent. The fight is only going to get worse, we need all hands on deck.

                  in Christ,


                  • Geo Michalopulos says

                    P.S., if I thought that there was anything anti-Hellenistic in this thread or anywhere else on this blog, I’d call out the correspondent. Remember, it was me who defended the Hellenistic narrative for the foundation of Western Civilization. (OK guys, I know that there were others as well but overall, it was Hellenism that subdued Rome, mixed with Judaism to produce Christianity, converted the Slavs, enlightened the Baghdad Califphate, etc. Even we we Greeks made a hash of it, others, like Ss Augustine, Aquinas, etc. picked up the ball and ran with it. So cut me some slack here.)

          • Ashley Nevins says


            Circle the wagons is the state of the GOA continually.

            They circled the wagon around Katinas, Astoria NY and the homosexual bishops that protect pedophiles from the rule of law. That is just the tip of the iceberg in what they circle the wagon about.

            How many millions have been paid out in settlements caused by circling the self protection of the hierarchy wagons in the GOA? Did any bishops or the patriarch lose their jobs? Telling.

            As far as the elder is concerned there is a rising anti-elder movement taking place in the GOA. The reaction to that movement is circle the wagons.

            When we exposed the elder on Az TV the reaction of the hierarchy was circle the wagons.

            Circling wagons is the church that goes circular without solution.

            In regards to Orthodox unity in America it is circular without solution. It is about as unified as the Greek Patriarch and the Russian Patriarch.

            Pan Orthodox unity in America is just not going to happen as long as the Greeks stand in the way. If the Greeks can’t rule over they really don’t want any part of it. Can any not GOA looking in imagine what that unity would be if the Greeks ruled over it? It would be worse than not have that unity.

            The OCA is the independent EO jurisdiction and so I highly doubt it if it is ever going to find unity with what is directly under the power and control of foreign rule and what is not independent of that rule.

            In simple terms. Independents like independents. They do not like those who are dependent. An independent wants to stand up on his own two feet and walk. A dependent wants someone hold him up to be able to walk and that don’t work well over time. Knock that prop out from under the Greek church and it will come down hard.

            Independence is America. It sure is not looking to Greece for any help to help it stand up on its own two feet. Independence is the OCA now and the Greeks are just going to have to get over that and themselves. Independence is not the Greek state church of foreign rule power and control.

            Hummm, I have wondered if the ROC by giving the OCA independence didn’t do that with the knowledge of how it would drive the Greeks nuts.

            This goes far beyond us vs. them. To state it more accurately it is, power and control church vs. power and control church. This all very fascinating to watch unfold. The mice that roar and fight over the same cheese.

            Unity is not the object. Winning is the object. Who ever wins the power and control fight basically controls Orthodoxy in America to a large degree. From what I can see the OCA wants to move past its past of failure and corruption and into a new independent Orthodoxy future that paradigm shifts right past the Greeks. The Greeks want to keep their past their present and future.

            Independence flat don’t need dependence. See the rift?

            You got to love it. Rubbing is fun. Friction is a blast. Iron sharpens iron. That upstart and sharper independent OCA exposing the dull, dependent and conformed GOA is what is going on. No matter how much the OCA tries to sharpen the iron the GOA remains the dull same.

            There is only unity when church is based upon humility and service and not power and control.

            Sooner or later war breaks out between the two groups of the largest power and control and especially when vying for church dominance over the other.

            The independent OCA represents a huge existential threat to the power and control of the foreign ruled GOA. The Greek country and church is in serious decline and so anything that could further threaten that decline is not considered to be a unified ally. The OCA is a huge threat to the Greek church.

            Independence is a direct threat to the dependent GOA. Just think if other good Orthodox folks wanted to put together another independent from foreign rule church here in America. That could be the start of a paradigm shift of American Orthodoxy breaking free of foreign rule. Ultimately, that may well be what the Greek hierarchy is afraid of.

            Independence also makes dependence look outdated and backwards. Independence is inclusive of all ethnic groups. The Hellenistic egocentric and ethnocentric dependent Greek church is exclusive and not inclusive and so anything that even remotely looks like it is Orthodox inclusive is a direct threat to their exclusivity. That exclusive position is what they want to keep.

            I believe there is a lot of unconscious exclusive self protection to the independent OCA going on the GOA. I don’t believe the GOA can see itself acting just like that in many ways.

            Good bye, good night and God bless is code for I am going to take all my marbles back to my wagon train church going in circles by being exclusive and then circle those wagons to protect and remain exclusive.

            Any GOA criticism of the OCA moral and ethical failure is hypocrisy from the Greeks. The independent church is more open system and therefore transparent in its issues vs. the dependent church that must hide, keep secrets, lie, cheat and cover up to hide its issues. Independence is expose’ of self (church). Dependence is self self protection of self (church).

            Dependency is codependency and independence is freedom from codependency. The sick and dysfunctional church family is the codependent church family. The growing and coming into church health church family is becoming that by taking personal independent responsibility for that family. The process of becoming free of that dependency and paradigm shifting away from sick religious codependency is messy. It all comes out into the independent open and it is not pretty or nice.

            Becoming independent is a huge risk. The Greeks like to play safe by dependency. They love looking all shinny and pretty by not taking any real risks. It is the plastic mask church. Take that mask off and it looks worse than the OCA. I know it does. I have seen behind that mask and in ways few Orthodox have.

            Yes, OCA just roll over and let the Greeks hold all down and back in American Orthodoxy. You are the thorn in their backside and they can’t pull that thorn out. Frankly, they wish you never existed and they really just want you to die and go away. They are the superior Orthodox of class, culture and status. You make them look bad by your struggle in the wide open you do not hide. They hide all and push it all down. That is a sick church.

            When church unity is based upon church systemic dysfunction and power and control sooner later both the dysfunction and power and control will cause what Orthodox?

            Bottom line: the independent Orthodox church is a stake through the heart of the foreign ruled dependent church.

            Only in freedom of religion America that is based upon independence from foreign rule.

            You got to love it.

            Marbles, anyone?

            Ashley Nevins

          • Priest Justin Frederick says

            Dear Mr. Papoutsis,

            You say:

            “So when comments like yours, and others, come down the pike guess what happens? The GOA faithful circle the waggons and don’t look for support from any OCA brother, or anybody because all they see is attack, slur and insult. And too keep their Church alive financially they turn to people like Leadership 100 who says “Your the Greek Church and your the Biggest and Richest of all the American Orthodox, see here is the money. Here is what WE can do for you. All those others have nothing to offer” and all talk of American Orthodox Unity goes right out the window. Thanks alot. Further, if you think what I just said is BS think again. I’ve been in the room when that’s been said by Archons/Leadership 100.”

            You attribute great power to my comments and others like me. I do not merit such praise or attribution of influence.

            What you describe here is chilling: Church leaders selling out to the rich, and allowing money to speak more loudly than Christ’s commands in the Gospel. This malaise is not produced by the comments of people like me.

            Any Orthodox Christian who cares about the Gospel of Christ might well ask: if this is the modus operandi of the GOA, supported by the Ecumenical Patriarch, is it likely to be spread through the Episcopal Assembly, and, if so, how do we stop it?

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Fr Justin, if I may offer an answer: by holding the bishops to account. Also by using reasonable areas of the Blogosphere to ask pointed questions and produce cogent theses. Also by going to the various diocesan council meetings and standing up and asking bishops point-blank uncomfortable questions.

              That’s a start.

    • How does the old saying go, something like: “He (or in this case, they, the Leadership100) who controls the purse strings, rules.

  6. Priest Justin Frederick says

    I’d like to know more about these exemplary Orthodox Christian leaders.

    “An Archon is an honoree by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for his outstanding service to the Church, and a well-known distinguished, and well-respected leader of the Orthodox Christian community.

    “It is by the grace of God that the Archon has been able to offer his good works and deeds of faith. Further, it is the sworn oath of the Archon to defend and promote the Orthodox Christian faith and tradition. His special concern and interest is to serve as a bulwark to protect and promote the Sacred See of St. Andrew the Apostle and its mission. He is also concerned with the human race’s inalienable rights wherever and whenever they are violated – and the well-being and general welfare of the Christian Church.

    “This honor extended by the Ecumenical Patriarchate carries with it grave responsibilities, deep commitments, and sincere dedication. Consequently, it is of utmost importance that this honor of obligation be bestowed upon individuals of proven Orthodox Christian character, who conform faithfully to the teachings of Christ and the doctrines, canons, worship, discipline, and encyclicals of the Church.

    “Those selected to serve as Archons have demonstrated a commitment greater than average toward the stewardship of time, talent and treasure for the betterment of the Church, Parish, Diocese/Metropolis, Archdiocese and the community as a whole. An Archon must truly be deserving of the proclamation: AXIOS, AXIOS, AXIOS!”

  7. This reminds me of something I almost wrote about in the other thread, but lost. What I was going to say there was that I think many bishops wouldn’t necessarily mind lobbying about moral issues. It’s just that the people who give them the money and power to do that lobbying, don’t want them to. I think we’re seeing the same thing here with Metropolitan Isaiah.

    The GOA is stuck in a vise. The hand on the crank doesn’t want lobbying against abortion or gay marriage. Nor does it want bishops to grow too big or too solid for them to crush. Unfortunately, the same is true for the OCA, but the hand on the crank doesn’t seem to be turned by big money so much as worldly ideals.

    I don’t mean to present these as strict rules, because there’s definitely some interchange here: the GOA has the wealthy bisexual Michael Huffington, and I’m sure the OCA’s financial needs are going to drive them to start chasing big wallets.

    • Ashley Nevins says

      The GOA hierarchy has a moral problem and so its moral authority is highly limited. There are reasons why it is found in this state.

      When a church goes into steep decline you see a pattern of degrading problems taking place:

      1. Problems with the rule of law.
      2. Problems with moral and ethical transparency and accountability and financial transparency and accountability.
      3. Problems with motivating the church to bring church discipline to moral and ethical failure.
      4. Problems with an inability to change to relevancy.
      5. Problems with competent leadership development.
      6. Problems with church apathy and indifference towards the world outside of it.
      7. Problems with youth either not staying in the church and/or youth not being attracted to the church.
      8. Problems with ambiguity around vision, priorities, strategy, planing and goal setting.
      9. Problems with spiritual abuse and spiritual abandonment of the laity.
      10. Problems with being carnal religion political and not Biblical maturity spiritual in dealing with church issues.

      The greatest problem of all is denial of all the above. That is a failure to see the decline trend and reversing it. If the church main priority is self protection it will fail. If the church priority is risk that church has the greatest potential of realizing relevancy success in the real world. Christ took great risk and so did the Apostles. The GOA does not take those same kinds of risk. No relevancy risk and no relevancy return. It’s that simple.

      You see this failure in the outcome of a church. To believe that those outside of the EO do not see this and make decision choice regarding that church to that of another church is denial.

      The dead church has a dead church development and growth strategy. A living church has a living church development and growth strategy. You can tell the outcome difference between them by their outcome in the real world. One church is based in its denial of its dead state and therefore it is not found transparent and accountable. The other church is living in the reality of transparency and accountability by not being in denial of itself.

      A Biblical humility and service model of church that demands transparency and accountability over a carnal and corrupt man power and control model of church that refuses to be held transparent and accountable is the solution. The structure and system of a church authority plays a major role in how a church views transparency and accountability by its leadership. The power and control model sees transparency and accountability diametrically differently than a humility and service model.

      I need to make something very clear. Ad honinem knee jerk is not solution. It is an inability to find solution and so it reverts to this tactic when confronted. It is self protection defensive reaction that emotionally reacts and therefore it does not act by thinking. That defensive reaction is the closed mind set of a closed system self protecting itself by being a closed system mind set. Defensive ad honinem reaction is not specific action that solves problems. It denies problems and denial of that kind only reflects the level of church dysfunction denied.

      The power and control model is all about self protection by closed system mind set. Its primary focus is self protection survival existence and not taking risks with the Gospel. If a church lives in defensive reaction and not thinking action that church will soon become corrupt and the danger of that corruption is that it can reach a point of no return.

      You can know when a church has reached the point of no return by the following:

      1. A refusal to face and deal with its corrupt state.
      2. Defense of its corrupt state.
      3. Living in a state of survival existence.
      4. No solution applied really works (circular without solution).
      5. A delusional perspective of itself.
      6. Loss of real world relevancy outside of itself.
      7. Living in its past and not its present.
      8. Compromise of morality and ethics (toleration of sin).
      9. Incompetent leadership.
      10. No vision.

      Orthodox, do your bishops teach this to you? If not, why not? The answer to those two questions is the starting point to recognizing the serious need to change or stay in denial of the need for serious change.

      Ambiguity around vision, strategy, planning and goals is not translating those things into a practical and dynamic action. A failure to take practical and dynamic action that is specific with goals is pure failure. Transparency and accountability around specific goals is holding the church leadership to a competent and relevant outcome of church. If a church laity is made powerless to hold church leadership transparent and accountable by the power and control of that church leadership that leads to church failure and it can happen on a MASSIVE SYSTEMIC SCALE.

      Both of these lists represent the vice squeezing the church to its crushed death. On the shinny and pretty plastic mask surface of this type of church that surface can make it difficult to see below that candy coated shell. It deceives many into its mind set and nothing changes. Protecting the false plastic image becomes the primary goal over all other goals and so no other goals that could possibly lead to relevancy cannot be realized. That is the GOA and it has been this way for a very long time. It been in this place for so long I believe it has reached the point of no return.

      The church whose priority in strategy is self protection is a church where you see hiding, cover up, lying, cheating, spin and denial. (Is the GOA Archbishop the spin master?) The church based in the risk of Christ is the transparent and accountable church. It takes great risk to be a transparent and accountable church. Orthodox, think for yourself without self protection reaction thinking for you and you just might see how less than transparent and accountable the EOC really is.

      Christ in the Gospels is based in risk and not self protection. He took great risk by confronting self protection that was the Sanhedrin. That self protection believed it had self protected itself when it murdered Him. A church based in self protection will murder the risk of Christ and it will then die by steep decline. No church is immune. Some church structures and systems are modeled around self protection and they have an irrelevant outcome in the real world of Christ risk relevancy.

      One last thought, if you have the wrong vision, strategy, plan and goals that leads to failure. So, a church can have all of those things, but if they are not real world practical and competent in how they take the church into a relevancy future that church will not have a relevancy future. If those things are centered in a power and control model of church that only results in more of a power and control model of church. It results in church failure and because the basis of the vision, strategy, plans and goals is not based in the humility and service of Christ come UNDER others. It is based in the pride in corruption by power and control OVER others. I promise that it does and all of my promises to the Orthodox come true. All of them.

      Ashley Nevins

      • I promise that it does and all of my promises to the Orthodox come true. All of them.

        You promised that you were going to leave us, but you didn’t. So much for your promises coming true.

        • log·or·rhe·a   /ˌlɔgəˈriə, ˌlɒgə-/ [law-guh-ree-uh, log-uh-]

          1. pathologically incoherent, repetitious speech.
          2. incessant or compulsive talkativeness; wearisome volubility.

        • He promised that a number of times in the past and has always reniged on it. What that reveals to me is that his seemingly non-stop, long-winded postings here are really the manifestation of a serious interior need/addiction/obsession.

          • PS: I meant, his promise I leave us.

          • Good word, ‘obsession.’ While I’m not psychologist, it seems Ashley might have a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, constantly obsessing over the state of others, wanting to ‘fix’ others, especially those in the Orthodox church.

            Or maybe one of the various forms of narcissism, or a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Wanting to be heard, wanting to control, ‘prophetic’ utterances that will ‘always’ come true.

            It could also be a full blown psychosis, only God knows.

            I would venture to guess that (connecting dots here) his son entered the monastic life to escape whatever compulsions/mental disorder he had to deal with at home in his father. It was probably not a pretty picture, and knowing that, who could blame his son for wanting to escape it?

            • I’ve come to those same conclusions.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Did you not jump all over me when I made similar “musings” about the psychological state of somebody whose name I need not and will not mention. I believe that I was accused of long-distance psychoanalysis by a unqualified person, of ignoring the commandments not to judge, etc…

              OTH, this goes beyond musings and is plain mean: “I would venture to guess that (connecting dots here) his son entered the monastic life to escape whatever compulsions/mental disorder he had to deal with at home in his father. It was probably not a pretty picture, and knowing that, who could blame his son for wanting to escape it?” True or not, this is plain mean.

            • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

              Here’s how to read Ashley. Check your own reactions as you are reading him. Put them on the back burner for the moment and just examine the ideas. Take the ideas and think about them. Then decide if they are accurate or not. Don’t decide when emotions are running hot.

              Our first job is to think clearly because we always act in accord with how we think. So read him soberly.

              The Orthodox Church is not going to rise or fall based on what Ashley says about it. Don’t worry about that.

              All this discussion about the psychological dimension — pro or con — is superfluous. It has no relevance.

              • Sorry, but it’s completely relevant. Anyone who reads his verbal spewings can see that. If you choose to accept what he writes, then you’re giving credence to his perspective, which, frankly, is a bit scary (sorry, Father, I respect priests, I really do, but you’re not doing yourself any favors here).

                That the man can type doesn’t validate anything he happens to write. Although, yes, as the saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

              • Fr. Hans, I can understand and appreciate your pastoral approach to Ashley’s postings here. But I find his unremitting attacks on us and our Church, in favor of his junk-theology and pop-ecclesiology church “relevant to modernity,” as offensive and challenging and needing to be firmly addressed, hopefully to his own benefit. Maybe, like you have said, “it’s probably just the Greek in me.” It would be normal if it were just an intellectual discussion, debate, argument, but to me his behavior is that which is abnormal. “Lord, have mercy on us all, poor sinners.”
                (I think that maybe, being of Greek descent, I find myself objecting to him, as an “outsider,” “sticking his nose into” my family’s intimate affairs.)

        • Ashley Nevins says

          No Spasi I didn’t say that. I was particular in saying that one post that was prior to this post. I didn’t say I would never post again. I did not respond to the comments on that post. I see right through this. If you can find something wrong about me then all I tell you is invalid. If I make a mistake that means all I tell you is wrong.

          The reason why Spasi calls what I write incomprehensible is simple. He does not have a counter case he can present that proves what I am saying is wrong. I believe what I just stated is comprehensible. In fact, I believe the last two posts I have made are very comprehensible and that is Spasi’s problem. He understands what is being told to him and he don’t like being exposed. It makes sense what I speak and I speak it in practical terms that can have a practical application. The practical application means the Orthodox are without excuse for the corrupt, failed, irrelevant and demising state of their church.

          Worse than this for Spasi is that someone not Orthodox is telling the Orthodox what the problem is and what the solution to the problem is. It is exposing of how powerless and solution-less the EO really are. If you cannot articulate the solution in practical terms that can be applied in a pragmatic fashion that works then you are CLUELESS. The last ones that are supposed to be found clueless in Christianity are the Orthodox and Spasi knows it. Much if not all I have outlined in the last two posts is new news to Spasi. His church has not told him what I am telling him. That really bothers him and in ways he does not see or realize.

          The best he can come up with is ad hominem or I disagree. What he is really saying is since you are not Orthodox you can’t comment on the Orthodox. Unless you are one of us you cannot understand us to make comment about us. You didn’t tell me like I want to be told and so you should not be listened to, etc, etc, etc.

          The Orthodox are being told and not just by me. My proof is simple that they are being told. It is what the outcome of your church seen in the real world is telling all of you. I am being nice and polite in comparison to what that outcome is telling all of you about yourselves inside of your church. My talk is easy compared to how brutal you are to each other by the failed and corrupt outcome of your church.

          The Orthodox react to my confronting analysis and yet they do not react to the obvious state of their church that is the object of the analysis. Don’t react to the obvious state of your church. No, no, no, instead react to how and what I tell you that state of church is. In fact, defend the indefensible in your reaction to make sure nothing changes by reaction to the corruption being pointed out.

          Spasi does not realize that I have spent the best part of my adult Christian life researching church growth strategy and I know the subject upside down and inside out. I know what grows a church and I know what kills a church. I have forgotten more about the subject than Spasi knows about the subject. Since I also know the mentality of those who are enabling of church failure and how they react when confronted over that. I know what the subtle and less than subtle self defeating mind set of a church is when found in a state of corrupt failure that cannot find a solution to that corrupt failure.

          Be more motivated to respond to me than to respond to the state of your church. Demand I be taken off of this forum, but don’t demand your church turn away from corrupt failure with a plan that actually leads it out of that state. Don’t read the outlined points in the new post and connect the dots. Deny them because they came to you in confrontation and not in circular without solution complaining and whining Orthodox discussions regarding the problems.

          Spasi is the perfect example of the top down and closed system self protective reaction and he will be the first one to deny that he is by that self protection reaction. What he does not understand is that I understand how the closed system and self protective mind thinks and so I can anticipate its reactions.

          The Orthodox grow tired of my confrontation analysis and yet they do not grow weary of what their church is doing to them and itself or that would change.

          The problem is that I noticed the toilet backing up and reeking all over the floor and I have also noticed that no one among you knows how to flush that toilet and clean up the mess. At times there is talk about the mess among you and with some talk about what to do about it, but the doing about it never really seems to happen. The reek and stain of the mess is all over all of you and it all smells of beautiful Orthodoxy to all of you.

          I find it rather humorous that any Orthodox reading this would fix the toilet in their house if it ran reeking all over the floor, but if it is Gods house that is somehow different to all of you. All of you have been so indoctrinated into the reek and accumulated by the reek it no longer really reeks to all of you.

          I am the easy confrontation come to all of you compared to the real issues confronting your church and that are denied. You can measure the denial by the reaction. You can measure the denial by the solution provided and how well that solution really works. Think it through by thinking for yourselves and without the reek and the mess thinking for you. There is no way any of you can escape being of the reek and the mess if you enable it or do nothing to stop it.

          Talking about it is not stopping it. Stopping it is stopping it. If you do not stop it then it will stop your church. That is exactly what is taking place on a massive systemic scale. Lol, yes, I know, I am over stating it by blanket statements that do not really spell it out for all of you. I am making it sound much worse than it actually is. Since all of you are such good Christian people in the church made up of all of you it can’t be that bad, right? The last post with the specific points listed tells you nothing about yourselves in your church, right?

          Do you know what is going to be the hardest thing for the Orthodox to face in the dealing with the corrupt and failed state of their church? It will be facing their own sin of corruption that led to this state of church. Until that happens nothing, and I mean nothing, is going to change. Period.

          Thank you, Spasi, for playing the highly predictable Orthodox self protection reaction part in setting this discussion all up. Your reaction was highly revealing of how the Orthodox approach and solve problems and why those problems are really never solved.

          Ashley Nevins

          • Ashley, I’m no more threatened by your so-called confrontations than I am of being confronted by a five year old girl. You really need to come to understand that.

            You generalize, you make assumptions, and you distort reality. While you may have Fr Hans and Carl in your corner, you will NEVER have me in your corner becuase you speak such untruths. Your arrogance is notorious, and you do not heed the word of God which says, “pride goes before a fall.” You are a fasle teacher, and you pay no attention to the words of the Apostles Peter or Paul on the fate that awaits you if you do not turn from your error.

            I have clearly outlined your errors and you know it, but your pride keeps you from admitting it. I will NEVER answer your charges against the Church because I neither owe you an explanation, nor do you have standing to make such charges. The only words I am bound by God to offer you are the reasons for the hope that is within me, not for what you might imagine in your twisted mind about the Church of the Apostles.

            You should thank God every day that you don’t live in the time of the Old Testament and suffer the penalty of false prophets. You unworthily awaken to another day and constantly beat the Church as if she’s a common whore that you get satisfaction from abusing. You are indeed a very sick man.

            You know nothing about me. I will die for the sake of Christ and His Church before I would ever concede to you the sewage that spews from your mouth. Every time you write, you crucify again the Lord of Glory. You should be ashamed and weep for your errors.

            The day that you come to your senses and you come to repentance, I will be the first to rejoice, along with inumerable angels in heaven. I will embrace you as a brother in Christ. Today, you are nothing but an interloper and a wolf.

  8. George, you are posting some great material and I appreciate your hard work but too many of these threads now are getting out of control and often wind up far from the topic of the article. This thread is an example. Whether you like it or not I think you are going to have to excerise some editorial control here in the comment section or risk devaluing your hard work which I think is very much needed.

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      I agree. I had to hit the spacebar a lot while reading this particular post. Too much verbal diarrhea that I just didn’t want to wade through.

  9. Btw, Metropolitan Isaiah gets my support here. The man was a US Marine. He gets my respect for serving this country without question. I bet despota can still drop down and give his country 25 with an extra one for the Commandant and an extra one for the Corps.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      I bet he could too!

      As far as your criticism, I’ll see what I can do but just last week alone, I logged 72 hrs at work. Bear with me.

  10. This scenario is so sadly familiar. I’m ever increasingly heartbroken that “follow the money” seems to explain virtually everything that happens in the Church.

    I love beauty in temples, vestments…you name it; but if this is the cost let me worship with the truly faithful in a humble home, unrecognized if necessary by those who maintain a false air of canonicity. Let me be labeled a schismatic if it means my faithfulness. Let my bishop and my priest be dressed in old, worn-out vestments. Let my icons be laminated or painted by unskilled but faithful hands…

    The time of sifting is well under way, and judgment is beginning with the house of God. By all appearances the Church will be decimated, and many will be offended by her obscurity; yet she will prove herself stronger in her weakness than she ever was in her apparent strength. Crazy talk? Just wait. If you don’t see it your children will. Teach them well.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Brian, you’ re very right. Pastor Niemohler said the same thing in German 1934. He said “we are in the tempter’s sieve, the wheat shall be seperated from the chaff.”

      BTW, that’s one reason I’m gratified by true monasticism making its appearance in the GOA & OCA. Previously it was mainly in ROCOR. it’s very possible that the remoteness of these monasteries will allow the Church to survive, albeit in decimated form.

      For what it’s worth, I have many friends in Catholic circles, and some of the bishops have been talking about going underground for a little over a year now. Many expect imprisonment and persecution. Some are even willing to give up the real estate if that means that’s what they have to do to be loyal to Christ.

      • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

        George,reading this post,I am reminded that during the events following the Russian Revolution,when the most horrific persecution ever was unleasehed against the Church,one of the New Martyrs of Russia is quoted as saying,”What is beginninh now in Russia will end up in America.” I can’t name that New Martyr right off the bat,but I fear we are seeing this prediction unfold before us.

        • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

          Fr. Alexiev, that’s my greatest fear. The West is taking in the ideas that tore apart the East, although I think the barbarism could be even worse. Solzhenitsyn warned of the same thing. He expressed it as Communism, which gives people license to dismiss his warning without listening to it, but read deeper and you see he is talking about the materialist ideas that shaped Communism.

          When I was growing up I puzzled how people were seduced by Marx or Hitler. The evil was so apparent. Now I that I see the ideas taking hold in America, I understand that nihilism has a lure, a false promise that when restraints are removed freedom flowers in full bloom. The enticements are gradual but they hold the mind of the seduced in an iron grip. We need an American Dostoevsky.

          Fr. Hans

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            Frs Andrei and Hans, thank you both., This HHS thing is a giant step in the direction of nihilism.

            • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

              It certainly is George. Pardon me for reposting something I said on my blog, but it expresses your idea about the war on the Catholic Church by the Obama administration:

              Some leaders in the Catholic Church compromised with secular politicians for many decades, just as Orthodox leaders have done. The difference is that the Catholic Church remained clear about the moral precepts protecting innocent life while in some (fortunately rare) cases Orthodox leadership muddied the tradition to curry favor with the politicians. The cost has been incalculable. Today resistance is the only option says Bp. Jenky:

              Determined secularists see the Catholic Church as the largest institutional block to a completely secularized society and not for the first, and probably not for the last time, we’re under assault,” he said drawing parallels with the anti-Catholic “Kulturkampf” in late 19th century Germany or the anti-clerical laws in France in the early 20th century.

              He’s right. If the Catholic Church can be silenced, then the largest impediment to the secular advance is removed. Christians of other communions will also be silenced under the rubric of tolerance, open-mindedness, and more recently public health (Obamacare). When the voice is silenced, then the precepts the Christian moral tradition can be erased from the historical memory. Western Christendom will slip into unimaginable darkness, worse than the catastrophe from which East Christendom is emerging.

              The Manhattan Declaration anticipated conflicts of the type we see today between the Obama Administration and the Catholic Church. It warned all Christians that a time was coming when the denial of God at the heart of secular ideologies would force the Christian into a choice: either abandon the Christian faith or resist the ideology.

              That time has come. All Christians who know that Christ has indeed risen from the dead and that death has been overthrown, become brothers against the ideas that exalt death as a tool of social progress. The Catholic is my brother, as is the Baptist, Lutheran, Anglican, Pentecostal, Methodist, Jew, and anyone else who chooses life over barbarism.

    • Brian says:
      February 15, 2012 at 8:38 pm
      “By all appearances the Church will be decimated, and many will be offended by her obscurity; yet she will prove herself stronger in her weakness than she ever was in her apparent strength.”
      If so, then we will experience that which happened to the Orthodox Churches in Eastern Europe for the most part of the 20th Century. And if we do not succumb to any “junk theology,” including that believed by A. Nevis, then, in our All Good God’s time, we shall also be resurrected as they have.

  11. Ashley Nevins says

    All very interesting talk by these various posts. I hear a lot of fatalistic thinking because the EO do not have a vision, strategy and plan. I also hear a lot of wishful thinking without a vision, strategy and plan.

    What are the core issues facing the EO in America today and what are their corresponding solutions?

    What is the vision, strategy and plan to become relevancy to our generation?

    Its very simple. No vision no future. No strategy no direction. No plan same outcome.

    I see how much stronger the power and control based church is by the weakness power and control has.

    Centralized power and control will prove stronger in her weakness than she ever was in her apparent strength and when such power and control wants nothing to do with weakness.

    You can correlate your weakness in direct proportion to your corruption by power and control. It is not a weakness that has humility or meekness found within it. The weaker it gets the more likely the more power and controlling it will get to keep all the power and control that it can. That is not a good outcome. The smaller it becomes most likely the more shrill it will become in boast in claim of being Gods only alone right and one true church and that is not going to make you relevant.

    Yes, don’t succumb to that junk theology. It could lead the EO into the complete systemic corruption of their church and leaving with nothing but a junk theology solution that does not work. .That would lead to the church becoming circular without solution by the failure of all solutions applied. Nothing would then solve the problem and church will die a slow, ugly and painful death of corrupt irrelevancy. You would end up with only a pile of junk theology left.

    Church resurrection in Eastern Europe? Its better than it was, but its not the evangelism and mission machine to the world by any stretch of the imagination. Oh, I see, the relevancy flows to all of you from the old world church. Yes, stay connected with them and let them be your relevancy guide in America. They are excellent at the ethnic ghetto church growth strategy.

    Any eastern church resurrection can be traced back to a western rational Protestant President, western rational democratic America and a western rational RCC Pope who saved the Orthodox asses. Any resurrection of the EOC did not take place until after that happened. You could say that it was your western rational Christian brothers and sisters are who existentially saved your church. You can thank us anytime. You should have much good to say about western rational Christian work ethic and moral authority.

    No way around it, western rationals saved the Orthodox and they are the reason and the basis of any resurrection your church has. What, you think the EOC resurrected itself without western rational democracy and Christian helps? That would not be sound history or rational to think that.

    It was not the moral authority of the combined Orthodox patriarchs that saved the eastern Orthodox or those Orthodox countries from the bondage of the communist boot. Oh, but in their weakness they are made strong, right? I do not see it. They are not about humble meekness and no matter how they are confronted nothing changes among them. They really only understand one thing. The gun pointed right at their head.

    Submission to the rule of law is a GOA strong point, right? Be very careful how you answer. Think it through by thinking for yourself. A theocratic mind set based in absolute power and control believes itself to be above the rule of law by believing itself to be the rule of Gods law on planet earth. (Hint, Astoria, NY for starters)

    I have good reason to be skeptical. I know your church track record and DNA.

    Ashley Nevins

    • Incoherent |ˌinkōˈhi(ə)rənt; ˌi ng-; -ˈher-|
      1 (of spoken or written language) expressed in an incomprehensible or confusing way; unclear : he screamed some incoherent threat.
      • (of a person) unable to speak intelligibly : I splutter several more times before becoming incoherent.
      • (of an ideology, policy, or system) internally inconsistent; illogical : the film is ideologically incoherent.
      1 a long, incoherent speech: unclear, confused, unintelligible, incomprehensible, hard to follow, disjointed, disconnected, disordered, mixed up, garbled, jumbled, scrambled, muddled; rambling, wandering, disorganized, illogical; inarticulate, mumbling, slurred.

    • No way around it, western rationals saved the Orthodox and they are the reason and the basis of any resurrection your church has. What, you think the EOC resurrected itself without western rational democracy and Christian helps? That would not be sound history or rational to think that.

      If it’s actually possible for Ashley to say anything more stupid than he’s already said, I think this one statement was it. The last time I checked, virtually every country in Western Europe with a Western Christian history (rational bottom up blah blah blah) is not only entirely secular and atheistic, but is now dealing with a vexing onslaught of Islam knocking at its doors. Whatever “evangelism machine” he imagines to be happening, it’s not happening. “Western rationals” (ironically, Ashley is anything but rational) have been an abject failure and are far behind Orthodox countries in matters of faithfulness to Christ. That’s just a fact, and it’s laughable that Ashley lives in some delusional wonderland to think any differently.

      And Ashley won’t publicly own what he knows is his outcome of rational Western thinking. He’s got to be embarrassed by it, and rightfully so. When you see Ashley’s name pop up, this is what he’s defending as God’s church.

  12. ProPravoslavie says

    In most other websites, people like “Ashley Nevins” would be called a fitting name: TROLL. And would be banned.

    Let this troll take its sh*t somewhere else. That would be the charitable thing to do for the readers of this website whose blood pressure arise whenever they see this troll’s name, and who have a hard time following the discussion because of this troll’s habit of filling the combox with his vomit.

    • Best to allow Ashley to keep posting, but comment or “reply” (all replies will tend to be as inane as the original: it’s the nature of the beast) only if you really like to enable all comers.. I suppose he types his logorrheatic output before a mirror: the whole idea is auto-excitement. That’s why he ignores most, if not all, comments or replies. Perhaps the auto-excitement is enhanced by reading it back aloud, before the same mirror before sending and then, again, reading it aloud before the mirror every time someone comments, When comments dry up, time to change the stimulus and write another one before the mirror.

      • Ashley Nevins says


        I will not bypass your post. Wouldn’t want you to feel left out. The forum needs your input here. Now I have given you the attention you desired and now please pay attention to the questions and provide answers in return.

        1. What are the five core problems facing the EO today in America and their corresponding solutions?

        2. What is the vision, strategy and plan to turn the church away from corruption, failure, irrelevancy and a dying state?

        3. What is the growth trend of the EO in America and what is the youth growth trend for the same too?

        If you, a bishop, cannot articulate answers to the questions in a pragmatic, organized and systematic fashion that makes real world sense then no one really knows the solution. I can only suppose that the EO looking in would want hear about such solutions from a hierarchy member. If he is willing to address all of you about me then he should be able to address answers to the questions posed to him and for the greater benefit of all of you.

        Now, everyone listen up. Here comes the top down conciliar answer and solution. Anything other answer than what answers the questions is either avoidance, denial or making me the problem for asking the bishop questions about the problem. This entire conversation is not really about me. It is about all of you and your bishops and how both of you provide practical and real world solutions to the decline of your church and that actually work.

        If he cannot stay on topic and take the conversation anywhere but to solution then that is your solution.

        Either way, I will not comment back to the bishop or any of you. This one can stand alone on its own. His solution answers will be between him and all of you. All of you then can engage him in the solutions and I will step out of the way and let all of you think for yourselves to solution with a member of the hierarchy.

        Bishop, this is being completely fair and balanced with you. Now please be fair and balanced with the laity by providing them with well articulated solutions that actually work. That is what being conciliar is all about, right? So show us how conciliar you are by answering the critical questions facing your church.

        Here and now is a starting point on this forum for the bottom to address such issues with the top.


        Him or any of you being relieved of my leaving this post is not the solution to the corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying state of church that is in denial of this state of church and it does not answer the critical questions facing all of you in your jurisdictions. The questions I ask him and all of you are what you will sooner or later are all going to have to answer if you want to stop the serious decline of your church.

        Considering the rate and state of EO decline it is better to answer those questions sooner rather than later. If you wait until too late your solution will be too little too late. I promise and all of my promises to the Orthodox come true. All of them.

        Bye, bye, EO. I wish you all the very best with the solutions he provides you. It is going to be highly revealing.

        Ashley Nevins

        • Actualy, I think this is indeed ALL ABOUT Ashley. It has nothing to do with the Orthodox faith. He frames ‘questions’ that only talk about problems, akin to “When did you stop beating your wife?” He makes ‘promises’ as if he’s the God of the Universe about the future of the Orthodox faith.

          Of course, he never answers statements posed to him about the fruit of the rationality and relevancy that he has made a god of.

          His arrogance, blindness and self-centeredness is obvious for all to see.

          Ashley (and this is the ONLY time I will ever address you directly), go back to your Church of Relevancy. When you’re ready for the Truth, we’ll be here to rejoice with the Angels in heaven at your repentance.

        • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

          Giving Ashley his due here (some of the stuff he writes is true folks), I like this his questions to Bp. Tikhon (I’ve removed his editorial excess):

          1. What are the five core problems facing the EO today in America and their corresponding solutions?

          2. What is the vision, strategy and plan to address corruption?

          3. What is the growth trend of the EO in America and what is the youth growth trend for the same too?

          These are reasonable questions to ask.

          • They are reasonable questions to ask, but with several caveats: First, they should be asked in a spirit of sincerity, for the growth of the church, not by someone with an ax to grind and who has no idea about Orthodox church life. Second, these are only a few of dozens of questions which could be asked, and they are absolutely not necessarily the most important questions. There are many needs that the church has, and these are only a few, not by any means the most important.

            However, the problem is that if we approach the life of the church with a simple SWAT analysis or a Strategic Plan (i.e. OCA), it will be doomed to failure. It reeks of desperation. We only need to look at so-called mainstream Protestant churches (Episcopal, Presbyterian, etc) to see that after decades of such analysis, the trend for them continues, because they are built on sand. The OCA is headed down that path. Ask anyone in the OCA as they yawn at the current efforts. It will amount to nothing, because it doesn’t focus on what is truly needful – the life of the individual Christian and the life of the parish.

            What about a spiritual renewal in the church? What about the recovery of authentic church life? These are the truly ‘relevant’ charactaristics that people like Ashely will never understand or appreciate and which will largely be rejected by the world. While it doesn’t have to be an either or question, Fr Hans, which would you rather have, a massively large church with thousands upon thousands of people who are simply going through the motions, or a smaller church of hundreds (or dozens!) that are truly committed to Christ in every aspect of their lives?

            While we don’t have to settle for such choices of thousands or dozens, Ashley’s claim that the millions of people who are following ‘relevant’ Christianity is a canard. We know as Orthodox Christians that it’s a sick joke, a deception of Satan himself. Anyone who thinks differently (Ashley) is delusional and has the spirit of Anti-Christ. ‘Relevant’ Christianity in Protesant-speak is to literally change what we believe and how we worship to ‘attract’ the world. Our task as Orthodox Christians is not to change the church to make it relevant to the world, it’s to change the minds of those in the world to see what worship in Spirit and truth is really all about. This is something Ashley will never understand. He only sees us argue among ourselves as an indication of corruption and decline because we’ve allowed him to define the argument. Ashley wouldn’t know authentic Christianity if it hit him in the face. And actually, it did, in the person of his son. And that’s why he hates it so much. Let’s not lose sight of that.

            • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

              Ashley hobbles himself because of his blind spot. That’s why he writes tomes. Nonetheless, the man understands some important things.

              I could write answers to all your questions but it would all boil down to this: Renewal only occurs by rooting sin out of your own heart first. Then, and only then, is the vision clarified to the point where you can bring healing to others. There simply is no other way, and there are no short cuts.

              That rooting out compels a “metanoia,” a cleansing of thought and transformation of the habits of mind that is painful to endure but tremendously liberating once it is accomplished. If you are serious about it, God Himself will accomplish it in you. He will bring the people to you to help Him accomplish that work in you.

              • Then let Ashley do that before he approaches the Church of the Living God and dares to speak ill of her.

    • PdnNJ, Amen…!

      I am an almost silent reader here since the inception of this site and am really getting annoyed by the now frequent appearances of Ashley the Troll. By feeding him posters here have encouraged the Troll to now pop-up with his repetitive “blah-blah” in almost every thread.

      Please stop him, or at least ignore him. If not he will destroy this otherwise excellent Blog. I can see by my own reaction to his nonsense, coming across any of his posts, I click away from here, it turns readers away.

      Fr. Hans, I admire your writings now for several years and I can even understand your desire as a priest not to give up on anyone, however a Blog like this is really not the place to deal with the mentally unstable or otherwise impaired.

  13. Fr Hans,


    1. Take the themes for the 5 preparatory Sundays of Great Lent and how Orthodox don’t live up to those themes. These are the five core problems facing Orthodox today. Why else would the Church repeat them every single year, year after year, decade after decade in every language?

    2. The vision is to follow the Gospel, the strategy is to pray without ceasing, the plan is to go to confession often and to be more accountable for your actions. To love more and hate less and to see the face of Christ in everyone.

    3. Depends on the parish and how we follow points 1 and 2. Salvation is a process and it takes effort every single day.

    That should keep all of us busy so that if we do these things we may be less inclined to be corrupt.

  14. Fr. Hans Jacobse says

    Great start Amos. Next would be how is the concrete application of those rubrics accomplished; what is the process by which the teachings those rubrics preserve are incorporated into the heart so that authentic metanoia does indeed occur.

    Here’s Ashley’s point: the Orthodox talk a great game, but they think talking is the same thing as doing. (We think bowing in the body is the same thing as bowing the “knees of the heart” as the Psalmist puts it.)

    If you want to understand Ashley, watch the show “Intervention” (I think that is what it is called) on Discovery or some channel like that. It is the show that follows an addict around, interviews his family, and then culminates in an intervention. It’s a great show, particularly when the interventionist guides the actual intervention that brings the light necessary not only for the healing of the addict, but also the diseased enablers. The interventionists have a lot of wisdom. I’ve learned some things watching them.

    Ashley has a point about the Orthodox tendency to talk and not do. I call it “Ortho-speak,” where we drown the uncomfortable and difficult questions (they are painful so we avoid them) in endless Orthodox verbiage. These panderings are actually a positioning, an asserting of authority and turf-protection. It uses religious language that has specific meaning but recontextualizes it. It’s what I call the flight into abstraction. It sounds holy, but actually it deforms the holy into the profane. To be frank, it is a type of adultery.

    That’s one of the reasons I am pushing the question of evolution. My question is clear and the answer is obvious. But answering it upsets established orders and I am waiting to see how long it takes for people to attack me rather than answer it (Monk James has already started; Bp. Tikhon withdrew and attacked Chris Banescu instead, Logan is authentically wrestling with the question). The risk is just too great to answer honestly.

    Where Ashley fails is in his blanket condemnations of Orthodoxy. That is his blind spot. It’s no different than concluding that the families that the interventionists confront can never be healed. The interventionists would never do that because they know that they have no predictive power over the healing light that their words unleash. There are reasons we have blind spots, but since I think Freudian explanations are functionally useless I don’t analyze issues like this in those terms. (Neither would the interventionists, BTW.) Besides, that’s Ashley’s issue, not mine, and he can talk about it with his confessor, whoever that might be. I have no business probing there.

    What Ashley calls “paradigms” we would call habits of mind (at least that is what I call them). It ties into Paul’s injunction that we are “transformed by the renewing of our minds” where “mind” would be properly translated as “nous” in the original Greek (Romans 12:2). We Orthodox know something about the nous but have difficulty practicing the discipline required to comprehend the healing knowledge conferred through it. I can’t dismiss Ashley’s ideas just because I find him offensive or overbearing at times. Some of what he says is true, and it is also (hold on to your hat folks) Orthodox in its own way.

    • The best I personally can say about Ashley’s “truths” about us is that he is our “thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan,” allowed by our Lord to humble us. But I can understand every thing he says about us only as an attempt to destroy and not to build up. (Another example of the Lord’s transforming of an evil attempt to bring about good.)

    • Fr Hans,

      The “intervention” is always personal and starts with me. We all too often look for the big strategic plan to solve the problem, but such top down approaches are little different than an approach that big government can solve our problems. Yes, government has its role but when it assumes it knows best for everyone, it has lost its way.

      For folks to say that “this or that is wrong with Orthodoxy” may make nice bar talk but we, who are the Body of Christ, the Church, are as strong as our weakest link and that will never change because perfection is not in this world. If we really believed the Gospel and did not just try to accomodate it into our nice little lives, but really tried in a radical way to be Christ-like we would be too busy being humbled and not finding fault in others (I convict myself with these words and reveal how far I am from anything but being the first hypocrite) by all that I have spewed on this site.

      These are not pious platitudes, rather the very “meat and potatoes” of what it means to be a member of the Church Militant. As I grow older and bear the scars of church wars and battles, the one thing that seems to ring the truest for me is that you can’t fix others, you can only fix yourself. You can’t change others, you can only change yourself and you can’t fight other peoples battles who don’t want to change, you can only fight your own demons.

      I don’t know if Orthodoxy will ever succede by American standards and measures in this land. It may not, however that does not diminish one iota that it is not the one True Church nor that it has the message of salvation for all who are willing to accept it and die trying to live it because in that sense we are all martyrs and if we are willing to believe what Christ teaches and the Church proclaims,then we are called to die trying to be who God created us to be.

      • Fr. Hans Jacobse says


        Good words. I can see by your response though you are in the OCA. It’s in the language (“first hypocrite” and so forth). My formative years were Greek so my take on things is a bit different. We don’t suffer from the self-doubt that (what appears to us) excessive ‘mea-culpa-ing’ fosters.

        This is not meant as a criticism. It’s just an observation of how thinking affects action. (Are the Russians right? Are the Greeks right? Who knows? All I know is that my natural temperament favors the Greek side of things.)

        Everything you say is true. I bear my scars too. But every suffering brings more clarity (I teach my people not to despise suffering) if we allow God to work the work inside us that needs to be done. Suffering breaks false dependencies (tears down the idols actually), or to put it in Ashley’s terms, fosters transparency. Indeed, the dependencies must be broken, the idols smashed, the fog cleared so that the love of God can be shed abroad in our heart, just as Paul says (Romans 5:1-5).

        I’m interested in the next step though — internally in the Church and externally in the culture. It lies in the recovery of the prophetic dimensions of the Gospel — real concrete knowledge of how the word of God when spoken (we call it preaching the Gospel) transforms those who hear it,
        and the courage to speak those words without compromise. That’s the purpose of your suffering Amos. That’s where God has led you to.

        You gotta listen to us Greeks now and then. 🙂

  15. Fr. Hans Jacobse says

    PdnNJ, there is a lot of truth in what you say. If he doesn’t deal with his blind spot, it will dominate all of his discourse in the end.

  16. Pennsylvania says

    Great piece, George. It highlights one of the most important inconsistencies concerning church structure in America:

    “No less than two auxiliary bishops have been sent to force Isaiah to back down. This is not the brotherly concern that diocesan bishops would exhibit for one of their peers who is struggling with a delicate matter. And it gives the lie to the idea that the bishops are all equal.”

    I don’t know how about Orthodox diocesan structure in other countries, but if you take the 3 “big” Orthodox bodies in America (the GOA, the OCA, and the Antiochians), neither the GOA nor the Antiochians seem to believe that all bishops are equal. The GOA “metropolises” are simply smaller divisions of the Archdiocese, which is an extension of the arm of the EP. Regardless of what one says, the GOA metropolises are not independent dioceses.

    Concerning the Antiochians, has anyone asked Metropolitan Philip lately his opinion of whether the Antiochian Archdiocese’s bishops are full brother bishops, or auxiliaries, or who knows what they are called now? Does the AOA have dioceses, or regions, or does it even matter?

    Fr Tom Hopko has a fantastic podcast in which he talks about the whole concept of an “auxiliary” bishop makes absolutely no sense from an Orthodox perspective — the bishop cannot exist without his see (or diocese). The “auxiliary” bishop construct is non-Orthodox and nonsensical.

    Say what you will, but the GOA and the AOA have an administrative structure that is much more in line with a top-down, Roman-Catholic-style model than any sort of Orthodox Christian model. And why? That’s the sad part — my humble opinion, worth about 2 cents, tells me that at heart, it has to do with money — for the GOA to send money to the EP, and the AOA to send money to Syria (which seems to need a lot more than money these days).

    I am not saying that the OCA does not have problems, but its administrative structure is not like the GOA or the OCA (which is one of the many reasons that, despite growing up in the GOA, I have been in the OCA primarily for the past 15-20 years).

    You are right, George — these problems throw more sand in the gears of eventual jurisdictional unity in North America. Prayers for Metropolitan Isaiah and the GOA. Utmost, I pray that the GOA and the AOA can be honest with themselves about their administrative structure and simply admit it.