Showdown in Chicago

Ever since the accession of Metropolitan Bartholomew Archandonis to the See of Constantinople, things have gotten –interesting. Not only for Orthodoxy in general but for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of American in particular.

His first act was showing the Evangelical seekers the door when Gillquist, Sparks, et al were searching for admission into the GOA (while he was still metropolitan); his second most egregious act was to crush the spirit of Ligonier. The GOA bishops who signed the Ligonier Statement were forced to publicly recant and remove their signatures from that document. Then came the forced resignation of Archbishop Iakovos Coucouzis from the primacy.

There was hardly ever a dull moment.

So now we may have come to the Showdown in Chicago. For those who may not know, the GOA Metropolis of Chicago is vacant. Therefore the Holy Eparchial (GOA) Synod supplied a three-man slate (triprosorpon) to the Phanar for ratification. You can read the details below.

What I’m more concerned about is the back-story. Neither Bishop Demetrios Kantzavellas’ (the present Vicar of Chicago) nor Metropolitan Nikita Lulius’ (formerly of Hong Kong) names were placed on the triprosopon. Lulias only received one vote from the GOA synod. It appears that this was not according to plan. He nullified the vote without comment.

Clearly, the GOA synod wanted neither man on the ballot, for reasons that are known only to them. Instead, they chose a minor episcopal functionary (Bishop Sebastian of Zelo) and two parish priests who are archimandrites for the slate. To be sure, both Kantzavellas and Lulias have their partisans in the Chicago diocese but even so, the people of that diocese acquiesced without controversy at the selection of Sebastian.

I’m sure that there’s more here than meets the eye. As an “American territorialist” (for want of a better phrase), I’m more concerned about what this means for the future of American Orthodoxy. Clearly we have our problems but what kind of a witness does this show the world? After all, the GOA has strict regulations regarding the election of bishops –among other things. Are they to be cast aside based on the whim of the moment? Or because the vote didn’t go the “right” way?

Is it possible that this startling action on behalf of His Holiness will wake up the Greek-American populace? That we’ve been operating under a charade of semi-autonomy ever since the removal of Iakovos?

More importantly, will this awaken the GOA bishops to the reality of their relative non-importance? Will one of them come forward and admit that for all the shortcomings of American Orthodoxy, Ligonier was the right thing to do?

We have lost almost a generation because of what was lost at Ligonier. Can we afford to lose another?

Source: The National Herald

Election of Metropolitan of Chicago Canceled

By Theodore Kalmoukos

His Grace Bishop Sebastianos o Zela

NEW YORK – The election of Bishop Sevastianos of Zela as the new Metropolitan of Chicago was canceled by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The election was scheduled to take place on Thursday, July 13 at the Phanar.

The National Herald has learned that the unexpected turn of events is due to the List of Candidates which was considered problematic and incomplete.

The List, however, had been approved by the Ecumenical Patriarchate last March. Bishop Sevastianos of Zela had gathered 7 votes out of 8 who voted for the triprosopon during the selection on July 6 by the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate has the right and privilege to cancel the selection of the three person ballot that is instituted by the Holy Eparchial Synod of America. The practice thus far was that the Synod of the Patriarchate presided by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was to elect the candidates who receives the majority of the votes during the selection process of the triprosopon (three person ballot).

This development may create a crisis between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Archbishop Demetrios of America because this is a direct rejection of such an important recommendation of the Church of America expressed by its Holy Eparchial Synod.

TNH was unable to contact His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios at press time despite multiple calls to the Archdiocese.

TNH has learned that Bishop Sevastianos is in Cyprus visiting family members.

His Grace Bishop Sevastianos of Zela came first during the process of the selection of the three person ballot (trirprosopon) on July 6 by the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, presided by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios.

The triprosopon was composed of Bishop Sevastianos of Zela, who received votes from  seven of the Synod hierarchs (voters); Archimandrite George Nikas presiding priest at the Holy Trinity parish of Salt Lake City, UT, who received three votes; and Archimandrite Gerasimos Makris presiding priest of the Holy Cross parish in Brooklyn, who also received three votes.

The Synod was comprised of Archbishop Demetrios of America, presiding, and Metropolitans Methodios of Boston, Isaiah of Denver, Alexios of Atlanta, Nicholas of Detroit, Savas of Pittsburgh, Gerasimos of San Francisco, and Evangelos of New Jersey.

All voted for Sevastianos except for Gerasimos, who made clear to Demetrios and the other Synod members his preference for a candidacy of Metropolitan Nikitas of Dardaneles.

Sevastianos is the Chief Secretary of the Holy Eparchial Synod and the Spiritual Advisor to the National Philoptochos Society. He was ordained a bishop and given the honorary title of the city of Zela on December 17, 2011.

The result of the selection process was sent to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the official election by its Holy Synod,

Sevastianos was Demetrios’ choice. Metropolitan Nicholas will preside in the interim until a new metropolitan of Chicago is officially elected.

The Synod decided that the List of Candidates was incomplete because not all the names of those eligible for election were included. The Patriarchate is going to ask from Archbishop Demetrios to add to the List all those eligible candidates including those hierarchs who have served at the Archdiocese of America and now serving in Metropolises abroad such as Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico, Cleopas of Sweden, Tarasios of Buenos Aires, Nikitas of Dardanelles. Also, the current Metropolitans of the Archdiocese could be place on the List if they desire to be transferred to the Metropolis of Chicago.


Bishop Sevastianos was born in Ano-Zodia, Cyprus, he is the first of three children born to Panayiota and Frixos Skordallos. He is a graduate of the Theological School of the University of Athens, Greece (1978). He received a scholarship through the World Council of Churches to study in the United States at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur Georgia (1982) where he received a ThM in Pastoral Psychology. He has worked and received advanced certification in Clinical Pastoral Education at Caraway Methodist Medical Center, Birmingham, Alabama (1980-1982), and furthered his studies in Pastoral Psychology at Vanderbilt University, Nashville Tennessee and Middle Tennessee State University (1982-1984).

He was ordained Deacon on January 17, 1974, by the late Metropolitan of Morphou Chrysanthos and Priest on March 4, 1978 in England by the Bishop of Tropaiou Gregorios who is currently the Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain. He received the offikion of Archimandrite by the late Archbishop of Thyateira Athenagoras. He has served several parishes both as a deacon and a priest in Cyprus, Greece and the United States.

As a Deacon, he served the late Metropolitan Chyrsanthos of Morphou (1974), St. George Church, in Akadimia Platonos, in Athens (1975), St. Nicholas Church in Kato Patisia, Athens (1976-78), and as a priest in Nottingham England (1978-79), Holy Trinity-Holy Cross in Birmingham, Alabama, U.S. (1980-82), Sts. Constantine and Helen – Holy Cross, Huntsville, Alabama (1982-84, 1989-93), the Cathedral of Panayia Catholike, Limassol Cyprus (1984-88), Holy Transfiguration, Marietta, Georgia (1993-2004), and St. Nicholas Cathedral, Tarpon Springs, Florida (2004-06). He was appointed Chief Secretary of the Synod by Archbishop Demetrios of America on June 1, 2006.

Bishop Sevastianos has been actively involved in the Administration Committees of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America serving as a Council member on the Metropolis and Archdiocesan levels; in the Administration Committee of the Archdiocesan Council where he assisted in developing resources for the training of Parish Councils and in the Legal Committee of the Archdiocese. He has served as President of the Clergy Syndesmos of the Metropolis of Atlanta for several years and the Archdiocesan Presbyters Council.

About GShep


  1. Didn’t Schmemann say something like The Greek Patriarchates of,Jerusalem, and Alexandria don’t really think in terms of jurisdiction, they see themselves as extensions of the EP bc it is the core of the Greek world? I suspect that the Metropolitans outlook isn’t too different since they are all on the Eparchial Synod and the Holy Synod. Also the Megali Idea is very much alive in the EP.

    • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

      The members of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate are appointed for annual terms. Half of the Synod members represent the Archdioceses in Turkey; the other half are chosen from among the hierarchy “Outside of Turkey.” Since this protocol was implemented, there is typically one member of the Holy Eparchial (Provincial) Synod of America, sometimes two, but “they are [never} all on the…Holy Synod” of Constantinople. There are 13 members of the Holy and Sacred Synod of Constantinople, including their President, His All Holiness.

  2. A poster on National Herald suggested that Turkey didn’t care for a Cypriot becoming Metropolitan. Political entanglements, reach far and wide, especially when the EP calls Turkey home. Just a thought.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Interesting. I somehow missed that.

      • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

        The matter of the Turks being opposed to Bishop Sebastian’s election to the widowed See of Chicago because he was born in Cyprus was pure speculation on the part of the author of an article, per the author’s own statement.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Still, it makes sense, doesn’t it? Why would the Turks allow a Cypriot to attain diocesan responsibilities, anywhere? It would roil the waters.

          • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

            The Ecumenical Patriarchate’s unprecedented action is attributable to its preference for a candidate who is not even on the Eligible Candidates list.

            At least one of the sitting American Metropolitans is of half Cypriot heritage.

            Circulating confusion feeds into +Bartholomew’s Byzantine intrigue, to obfuscate the real issue, i.e. Dardanellion vs. Zela. His sudden interest in the reconstitution of the Eligible Candidates list is confusion designed to justify his desire to elect a hierarch who was not among those on the “Three Person Ballot.”

        • This petition is ridiculous. It assumes that the GOA would be better managed if the EP takes charge. Chaos may exist in the GOA, but the EP is also in a state of chaos and has been for several years.If anything, the GOA needs independence from the EP. The GOA is in a moribund state and acknowledgement of the challenges it faces must be accepted and addressed. Continued loss of members, which is a statistical reality, will lead to further irrelevance of the GOA.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            I joined the GOA three years back, and I’m as Anglo-Caledonian as they come, raised a Presbyterian. Moreover, we’re packing them in these last few years. We have a very fine priest, among other things. But then, he’s Indian, raised a Hindu….

            • Billy Jack Sunday says

              Your priest (not parish) is there because the EP gobbled up the Jerusalem church in America. He wasn’t an EP man to begin with. Just ask him

              Next course is the OCA, with a nice chiante, fffttt ffttt fffttt

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                BJS, I think that with a moment’s reflection you would realize that our priest’s history is well-known to his congregation. So, no need to ask him.

                • Hi Tim

                  That’s great but not everybody knows their priest’s background well. Fair point to you, since you know him

                  However, I now challenge you to ask him if he thinks Freemasonry and/or The Ahepa are okay to belong to and report back what he says

                  Since he isn’t Greek or originally EP, maybe his view is different

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says

                    Must decline. I quit jumping through other people’s hoops decades back. When you do, they just set another one.

                    As to Ahepa, all I know about it is that its events take place away from the church. I’ve been asked to join, to which I have replied that I am not Greek and have no interest in the “principles of Hellenism”. On the other hand, we never fail to attend their annual crab feed; the best ever!

                    • It wasn’t a hoop Tim, it was a sincere request

                      He may be the only GOA priest in the NW worth talking to. I was hoping a local person could help. But you decline

                      He doesn’t appear to be a go along to get along type of guy

                      But perhaps I’m wrong. I can’t say that I havent found the priests in the GOA to be deeply dissapointing after the Coucil of Crete. He at least responded to a concerned email of mine regarding the Council. It was neutral on the issues, but nontheless encouraging.

                      The rest of the Greek priests ignored the email altogether

            • Michael Bauman says

              Timor, retain your peace. It is a blessing from God. There have sleays been cupidity, greed and abuse of power in the Church. How could it be otherwise.

              It is a bad thing when it occurs especially among bishops, there is no system that will cure it, no amount of protesting. Protesting seldom accomplishes anything but sometimes it is necessary to witness to the abuse publically without rancor.

              Repentance, forgiveness and prayer remain the best solution–not in a quietitistic manner but as s strong entreaty to God for succor.

              In all hold on to your peace.

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                Michael, thank you for your kind sentiments. But one thing about coming into the Church at age 66 is that these things matter very little to me. My views on the point are similar to yours.

  3. I have not seen any official press releases from the archdiocese about it. Who were the other two? I would like to know? Are they in the Metropolis of Chicago? To Archimanddrites who”s names I have not seen are Fathers Selvester Beberris ofBronx and Vasilios Flionis of Boston. What about former Archbishop Spyridon ofAmerica?

  4. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Archbishop Iakovos Archbishop of America wanted neither Special K or Nikitas because both men are compromised and the Archbishop, as a true Orthodox Hierarch, protected us from these men and gave us someone who was safe and Orthodox.

    Now the EP, who approved the list in March, didn’t like the results of the vote and is forcing a do over. A DO OVER!!! Why!?

    A showdown is coming between the Archbishop and the EP and I hope and pray the Archbishop wins. He warned us about Special K and refused the elevate him and the EP overrode him. This time The Archbishop and the Holy Synod protected us from Bishop Demetrios and Nikitas, and the EP is overriding the Archbishop’s and Holy Synod’s decision once again.

    We here in the Metropolis of Chicago suffered long enough. The EP just wants a schism between Modernists and Orthodox and the way he is going he will get it here in Chicago and the greater Midwest.

    Thank God the Antiochians are right next door. Lord save us and protect us.

    Peter A Papoutsis

    • M. Stankovich says

      Peter, my friend, in the end, genetics are what they are. But I can’t help imagining that if you had actually gone “right next door” to, say, Fr. Patrick’s, a bit earlier, you might have a bit more hair. Προϛ Κύριον ἐν τῷ θλίβεσθαί με ἐκέκραξα, καὶ εἰσήκουσέ μου! In all seriousness, may God be merciful to these “shepherds” who divide the very houses of the flock against against one another. Beneath all that expensive cloth still hangs the epitrachilion of a simple priest around their neck.

      [PS] and if you’ve been following the discussion, “I speak the truth in Christ – I am not lying.” Ἀλήθειαν λέγω ἐν Χριστῷ, οὐ ψεύδομαι (Rom. 9:1)

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Dude, you had to mention that I am folically challenged? That feelings man.

        Btw, I am speaking to Fr. Reardon. He is like a hidden gem here in Chicago.

        Take care Michael. Next time we have to meet up in your neck of the woods.

        Peter A Papoutsis

    • Who is “Special K”? Please answer.

    • Not only that, but Metropolitan Nikitas was also among the cast of characters in the Dokos Debacle, receiving a “gift” from the stolen funds. I have not heard he has returned that or explained the circumstances. This will be a shadow over his head if he goes to Chicago.

    • Estonian Slovak says

      But Iakovos was both a modernist and mason. Didn’t you warn us about that?

  5. Billy Jack Sunday says

    Please if you could – who does Special K refer to?

  6. Billy Jack Sunday says

    This is an incredible blow to the church in America, as well as another sure sign of danger for the Orthodox Church world wide.

    I did not know that the EP as a metropolitan was the force behind the rejection of the Gilquist evangelicals. Can someone further elaborate on this, please?

    I find it interesting that the list was approved and the results of the vote subsequently rejected. The vote shouldn’t have happened at all if any of the 3 possible results would simply be nullified. I am wondering if the EP did this off of his own internal motivation , or was he accomodating the request of another, possibly Met Gerasimos?

    Met Gerasimos is also a titular bishop of some place in Turkey. Why is this done? He doesnt live there and there are no Christians there. Does it give him the ability to apply for Turkish citizenship?

    Who would have thought the West Coast of the United States (where very few Orthodox Christiam exist) may be greatly influencing/ affecting the global Orthodox reality for ill?

    The historical actions of the EP, along with this new one, has proven that he has acted in self interest as dictator and despot. This cancellation proves that he has total control of America and will never loosen his grip – even if it means choking the spirit of the American church to death.

    People find protesting churches to be really out of place. Some would remind that the church is not a democracy. I agree with that. However, unchecked leadership can allow for churches to become cults – ruled by a supreme spiritual dictator.

    I’ve seen when a church has been lost to total dictatorship to a charismatic and powerful personality. Church protests, right on the sidewalks adjacent to the church property, have been extremely effective. Uncomfortable, but extremely effective. On-line church votes for change seem to do nothing. Protest your own church outside the church property? Its a matter of conscience, but I guarantee that it is very effective, despite what others may think and say. There is much power in the peaceful protest. We are Christians and called to peace. I think there is a place for peaceful protests

    However the means, standing up to this nonsense is long overdue. Ligonier should have been a triumph of American Orthodoxy, not a trajedy. If evangelicals come knocking, we gotta be able to receive them. If the fish jump right into the boat, they should be warmly welcomed. It shouldn’t even be like that. Their should be many fishers of men. Even if the miracle of fish jumping in the boat happens, they just get tossed right back out.

    I wonder if anyone is willing to protest? Are any of you? I’d like to know

    If any peaceful protests were to occur, I could see it start in Chicago. However, what about the West Coast?

    Don’t want to cause disunity? Would you rather that the fracturing of global Orthodoxy continue to be allowed, as proven by the council of Crete?

    I do believe that at least a generation of Orthodox in America has been lost by such antics of the overseas powers. Will global orthodoxy be next?

    Who is willing to stand up and peacefully protest? Anyone?

    • When all of the Dokos nonsense was tearing apart two parishes (one of which was my home parish), many complained about the bullying and intimidation coming from the Metropolis, but few were willing to mobilize and voice their protest. I brought the idea of a peaceful protest at Burton place, especially since the Chicago Tribune was following the story and would take notice. But I soon realized that when it came down to it, only a few of us would have shown up and looked like fools. The rest would rather look the other way before they rock the boat. I’ve witnessed parish council members express extreme disgust at the behavior coming from the Metropolis, only to discover later that these same council members woukd communicate privately with the Metropolis and play a different tune. Many parishioners were angry that the media was exposing the antics, because they feared their parish would be “scandalized” . The apathetic disposition of the majority, the shaming of anyone who protested, and the politics were too toxic for me and I left for the OCA. I say with confidence that it was the best thing I could have ever done spiritually for my family and my own spiritual growth. Especially now, seeing more of the same, with no real true effort by the majority faithful to protest. Only a small brave few have stuck their necks out, and the consensus is nothing will change given the apathy in the pews.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Stacy, you all fought the good fight. That’s not nothing.

      • Wonderful says


        May God bless you. Remember that we all serve Christ and are called to be responsible stewards, not blind servants of Ethnarchs. You have no reason to feel shame.

        The standard for the bishop is the loving Archpastor. Think St John Maximovitch of San Francisco or Metropolitan Leonty of blessed memory. The “bishop as businessman” is a phenomenon that is evil. Such a model does not last and is built in quicksand.

      • Wayne Matthew Syvinski says

        To amend a famous quote: All that is necessary for the triumph of evil clergy is that good laypeople do nothing.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I don’t know BJS. Are any willing to protest? Does anything change when we do or do very bad people pop up everywhere, even in remote dusty towns, and chase us out of the Church by doing thousands of dollars of damage to our homes when we have the audacity of wanting to live where we might have grown up as children because it’s too close in proximity to their parish?

      And does anyone care? I can answer that question for you and the answer is no. If they did, there would be nothing they could do about it anyway.

      It’s a “Showdown in Tucson” every week and I am speaking from experience when I tell you there is no such thing as “simple protesting” in the Church. Not with old world people with old world ways who have an infinite capacity for old world grudges.

      • Try being a priest in Salt Lake City. Lost count how many have been run out of town. Or as the locals like to say friendly transfer by priest’s request. Last priest Father Matthew Gilbert had his home for sale, and awaiting transfer before being diagnosed with cancer, and passing away three months later at the young age of 58 years old. Memory eternal. At least our Lord took him before he became another notch in Salt Lake City’s merry go round of priests. It took nearly a year to find a replacement. Big surprise. Good luck Father George Nikas!

    • The only effective form of protest would be switching jurisdictions permanently, and maybe if the super donors all withdraw their support. The parishioners would be protesting their own metropolis, therefore still subject to the EP and the Holy Synod. Plus, who in Chicago is going to protest when many ultimately want to be under the EP if not for the ecclesial assurance then for the ethnic fidelity? The same reason nothing will change in the GOA is the same reason the EP shutdown Ligonier: money.

      • Yes Vergil, I have witnessed what you say to be the truth. The only way to effectively protest is to go under a different jurisdiction, and the ethnic fidelity is why the majority can’t bring themselves to do that. And those with the most influence that could choke the money spigot enough to get some attention (Archons/Leadership 100) like their titles and status too much to give them up. It doesn’t keep me up at night though because we all know we can’t serve two masters, and the Lord will always have the last word.

      • Billy Jack Sunday says


        Money – yes. That is what drives the ecclesiastical decisions in America from overseas.

        I say, why not both? Leave for another jurisdiction and also protest? Why? Because leaving the Greek church for another jurisdiction is like leaving Poland and going to France to escape the Nazis. Its a matter of time. Besides, the EP has a stranglehold on the Greek church, but dont you think hes got the OCA under his thumb?

        • Billy Jack Sunday says

          Sorry for the long post, but Dre, I got somthin to say

          To anyone interested in possibly protesting

          Sometimes it only takes one person to make a big difference. But you have to be willing to go it alone sometimes and deal with harsh criticism over an extended period of time. People will attempt to make you feel foolish and say all sorts of things

          The effectiveness of protesting a church can be found with the story of Pastor Mark Driscoll.

          In 1996, Mark started a Reformed/Presbyterian style church in Seattle called Mars Hill. It was full of bro culture and mixed with Seattle artistic hipster culture. Mark started with 2 close friends of his. The church had a Presbyterian style of church government, and in theory, shared power amongst all of the elders.

          By 2000, the church had 400 people. There were leadership signs regarding the main pastor, but were left unheeded. By 2007, the church had grown to many “satellite” campuses, had many elders, and had established a type of denomination for church planting purposes. Thousands attended. The church was constantly in the media under positive light. Mark was extremely controversial but beloved.

          At that time, he re-wrote the church by-laws to make an executive eldership comprosed of himself and two yes men conspirators. 2 other elders at the time rightly opposed what was happening and were canned with great cultish flair. He had also betrayed the original 2 friends he started the church with and they disappeared.

          The by-laws were sucessfully passed. The three (really Mark) took total power. Money started to disapppear. Opponents that were paid staff were successfully silenced through nondisclosure agreements.

          The laity in membership were under harsh spiritual discipline in a cult like power structure similar to the shepherding movement. Individuals were leaving the church with PTSD type symptoms

          There were plenty of scandals too numerous to notate here, but they were crazy. However, no matter the scandal, Mark came out on top

          By 2013, the church was at least 10,000 in weekly attendance. Mark was supreme ruler. As a public speaker, he was extremely popular on a national, even international level. He boasted 500,000 Twitter followers. His popularity kept his reputation untouchable, despite what was really going on. He had sucessfully done all the power grabs he needed to be Pope over 10,000 and loved by hundreds of thousands.

          That is, until protesters arrived outside his church’s main campus, summer 2014. They protested for several weeks. It encouraged the elders to really take a stand. Many were fired, but the protests continued. His elders called for him to temporarily step down and enter a restoration process so he could be addressed but later resume his leading pastorate role at Mars Hill. His church planting denomination that he co-founded removed him as a member.

          Then the unthinkable happened. Mark resigned.

          He always swore he would never leave his flock in the NW. However, he said that God told him he was released, and he moved to Arizona to start a new church. He publically appeared here and there to spin what happened for the benefit of his on-line followers. He took his materials, bought a UFO church building outside Scottsdale and called it The Trinity Church. He was going to use it as a home base for relaunching what was hoped for a new bigger, better, free venture – most likly with national and international ministry recognition.

          However, one solo protester arrived Sunday after Sunday from church launch for months on end.

          The church never really took off, but hovers at about 200 families. The days of Mark’s huge cult like power empire of hurt are over. If Mark ever pops up on radar as a significant negative influence, a single protester will be able to neutralize his influence. People generally won’t invest in something negative if they are given all the information. Peaceful protests are a PR nightmare and and money will dry up.

          Afraid nothing will ever change because of money and influence of those who seem to have all the power? Persistent peaceful protests pay off if you persevere

          The EP has functioned on a macro scale similar to Mark Driscoll with power grabs and keeping positive media support and image. Even his wikipedia page praises him.

          My recommendation? Peacefully protest the UFO church or nearby churches in Chicago. Why? Because the EP has his total contol over the American church. He seeks for global control and has proved it. Something needs to be done, and in my opinion, Chicago is the most logical starting point for a peaceful protest.

          The Orthodox Church is THE Church, right? The Church leads people to Christ and His salvation, right? This ultimately isn’t just about juristictions, America, the Greeks etc. It’s about each and every living sole on the planet! Not only this generation, but all subsequent generations.

          I’m not in Chicago, so I can’t do it myself – or else i would. Someone needs to do it, please. You dont even need to belong to the Greek juristiction – after all, it affects all Orthodox persons. It doesnt have to be your own parish. We can do it in our cities, but like Independence Day the movie, someone’s gotta protest the first UFO.

          Orthodoxy in America wont die if this happens. Perhaps change would happen, the church in America could restructure and unify, and the gospel as proclaimes by the Orthodox could finally be truly preached and communicated in America and for Americans.

          I truly believe protesting will work. Protests put a stop money and influence to those who misuse power to their own benefit.

          I dare someone to ignore the ridicule and just do it. Then, stick to it, despite people saying it’s a waste and to “get a life”, “quit beating a dead horse” and so on. A much bigger picture is at stake then their opinions or comfort level.

          Sometimes, it just takes one person. Anyone?

          • Damnit, Billy Jack, you hit me in the feels with the Independence Day reference. This might be your Bill Pullman speech. In all honesty though you have a point, a handful of protesters could be like the awakening of the Ents. The catch is that the protesters have to be specific or concise, no vagueries that would allow the Archdiocese to flip the script. Any press releases will probably include your standard, agreeable theological phrases. Protesters will have to be sharp enough to tell the difference between genuine attempts at reconciliation, and smokescreens for the Archdiocese to hide behind while it continues business as usual. Protesters then have to counter by giving a definite account of what they are protesting. Something along the lines of “we aren’t protesting the sins of the EP, just unchecked corruption, and their haphazard, feckless approach to the Church in America.” Then follow this up with examples.

            They also need to come to terms with the fact that the hierarchs are not their friends, a mistake hchc seminarians made, and that any petitions for help are going to make matters worse. There are tons of reasons why other EP bishops won’t help, and most of them I can’t even begin to understand so I’m not going to try to list them here.

            Like you said, protesters have to keep at it. They also can’t let their guard down. The Archdiocese, and even the Phanar if it gets to that point, will pull some underhanded stuff. Put nothing past them.

            For the record I’ve never protested anything in my life, so I have no clue how to run a successful protest. Im just going by what I’ve heard and seen the Archdiocese do in the past.

            • Billy Jack Sunday says

              I once had an acquaintance of mine quote the Bill Pullman speech line for line, word for word – out of nowhere one day. He said that years earlier he and his brother decided at random to be able to perfectly recite it and forever remember it. It was friggin’ cheesy and hilarious!

              There certainly is a place for protests. When the African American community was fighting for rights in the 60’s, we all know about who was marching with Dr. King – our very own Archbishop

              A protest with signs – like picketing – is the only option that is left now. Not just because of the Metropolitan election, but the whole system that is perpetuating these types of decisions as well as the oppression of the leadership. Others have attempted blogs and petitions etc, only to have it fall on deaf ears. No one should have to continue to appeal to people that they don’t trust in the first place.
              But at least the laity tried all the proper channels first. That’s when one does what is the only option left – peaceful protest.

              One may want to find someone who has successfully peacefully protested if someone wants to organize. Me, if I do it, I will most likely go it alone. I know my message is peaceful and 1 person 1 church can be effective.

              It is possible and likely that those who are in positions being protested will put out great effort to spin the narrative of all that has happened and will happen. But the truth will be exposed for what it is in due time. It cant be controlled forever. Mark Driscoll was only able to spin his stuff for so long until people figured, “You know, there must be to it all if all these people are willing to do something as awkward as protest outside of a church.” Thats when the bologna narritive begins to slip

              If you do organize, I would keep the message simple, but you will have to allow for a various range of opinions. Some people may want some decisions changed, others may emphasis the power structure. I wouldn’t be too concerned as long as you have a zero tolerance towards anyone who starts saying kooky things or is anything less than peaceful. All must be respectful of persons and property. And stay off church property! Be visible, but know right where the church property line is and stay off it. Only be on city property or where you are welcome to be. Tell people to make a point, not a mess. You might want to appoint a media liason for official statements. Me, I’m just gonna put words on a sign and speak my mind if asked

              Ever see protesters without a permit block traffic? Don’t do any of that stuff – seriously. Nothing should make the general population despise the protests and the message get ruined. Hopefully, those being protested will be able to even have a sense of respect for the protesters. Bad behavior doesnt produce anything good. I know you know, just saying

              If anyone is in a position in church that they don’t want to lose, maybe step aside for a while and consider this your new ministry – as long as your motive is for the good of the church

              I dont know about underhanded stuff, but no one should play that way. If underhanded stuff happens to peaceful protesters, doesn’t that just help prove the merit of the protest?

              No one should have to feel worry or intimidation on either side. I just wouldn’t try to reach out or appeal to any hire ups for change anymore. Just protest. Keep it simple. Nobody even has to say anything if they don’t want. Just hold a sign. Or stand near someone holding a sign. Remember, the churches are all tied to the same jurisdiction, so consider driving to the parish where no one really knows you if you feel more comfortable that way. Protesting is awkward enough, without saying “Hi Yaya . . . Yes, I’m holding a sign outside church. . . Yes, I know you are disappointed with me. No, I do care about everyone, that’s why I’m doing this.” Or maybe she will knit her grandkid a sweater and join in by fall. Who knows?

              • There is nothing so admirable as being able to quote that speech word for word.

                One thing about the protesters they need to take to heart part of George C. Scott’s Patton speech “We’re not holding anything. Let the Hun do that. We are advancing constantly …” Hopefully they don’t interpret this as a reason to block traffic. The GOA higher-ups have a tendency to bite the hand that feeds them (America). Get them to show this side, and things could become simpler.

                • Billy Jack Sunday says

                  Right on Vergil, I agree

                  And may I say to anyone who for whatever reason is nervous to stand up to this garbage after we’ve been told for far too long to take it and like it:

                  I ain’t afraid of no big bad wolf

                  Let the peaceful protests begin

                  Don’t let the laity have a say in the selection process of bishops? Leave America divided and prevent its unity and testimony? Treat converts with contempt and squash the evangelization of America? Bishops and laity with no say? Spiritual taxation without representation? Gaining your power from the tithing American dollar so you can use it to help dominate and alter global Orthodoxy? It’s a church tea party in the harbor, and all y’all invited.

                  Too American for ya? Yeah, patriotism is okay as long as it’s for Greece. I guess that’s one of the reasons why they allow a Greek Independence Day AHEPA disco every year during lent on church grounds.

                  We all know how they feel about Americans. They dig the American dollar bills and care not for the American souls. Otherwise, they wouldn’t treat us like a collection of tithing colonial plantations. Guess who’s picking their cotton? Ask yourself that the next time you are asked to help out at the annual festivals

              • Just saw some big news about this incident on Byz Tex. It looks like the GOA is giving the EP a tentative “No”. I think the original article came from the National Herald.

                ETA: According to some on OCL, the National Herald has written a Greek article that cucks hard for the EP, and even goes so far as to disparage the GOA (not too surprising). The shocking thing about all this is that OCL is raging at the NH. I also.highly doubt too much will come of this, or at least what’s noticeable on the surface.

                • Billy Jack Sunday says

                  It would be rad if the GOARCH just said “Fine” to the EP and just keep the Metropolitan post vacant indefinitely

                  Why place a Phanar approved/appointed metropolitan there anyway – one that acts on behalf of the Phanar instead of America?

                  No more foreign bishops! No more clerical agents of the Phanar! No more EP control in America!

                • Yeah, the Byz Tex article says the GOA is pushing back on the EP’s call for a new election–bravo! Never thought they would go this far. Everybody’s on their way to the Phanar, I guess. What a waste of money, time, but does the EP care?

          • Trust me when I say: we’ve done this. A small group of us has been doing everything we can to inform others of the issues. We’ve blogged, we’ve signed petitions, we’ve commented on others blogs, we’ve written letters to NY and Turkey – all go unanswered. We’ve been harrassed and attacked online for our efforts. We’ve received anonymous slander in our mailboxes from the post office. I’ve had to contact the police because of it. It’s like going up against the mafia. On top of that, we’ve been shunned by the very people and clergy in our parishes for rocking the boat.

            Fr. Artemas who wouldn’t succumb to cover up on the Dokos issue was unwillingly transferred twice to other Metropolises and his career has suffered. I promise you there have been efforts made by people, but it falls on deaf ears when the majority want no part of it. Some complain in private but don’t risk losing their cherished “place” in the church as Council Member, Chanter, Philoptochos chair, Basketball Coach etc. and enjoy their Greek festival every year.

            Someone in our “group” of outspoken was removed by the new priest from a volunteer position for speaking to the media about the financial damage done to the parish from the Dokos scandal.

            • George Michalopulos says

              No one can say that you didn’t try, Stacy.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Gosh, Stacy, for a second there I thought *I* wrote this until I got to your second paragraph and saw you were talking about the Greeks. Changing jurisdictions clearly doesn’t help if the same thing is happening in all of them.

              In our case (Antiochian), there was a concerted effort to affect change that spanned years and involved many, many good people; some of whom put it all on the line (our two chancellors, for example, quit). In the end, it was all for naught and for some of us, the retaliation continues. Shows what cowards some of these people are. A real man wouldn’t go after an unmarried woman who lost her son and her parents. He would be too ashamed.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Gosh, Stacy, for a second there I thought *I* wrote this until I got to your second paragraph and saw you were talking about the Greeks! Changing jurisdictions clearly doesn’t help if the same thing is happening in all of them.

              In our case (Antiochian), there was a concerted effort to affect change that spanned years and involved many, many good people; some of whom put it all on the line (our two chancellors, for example, quit). In the end, it was all for naught and for some of us, the retaliation continues. Shows what cowards these people are. Real men wouldn’t go after an unmarried woman who lost her only son and her parents. There is no sport in that. It’s too easy.

            • I’m surprised Fr. Artemas left Charlotte so quickly only to land in NJ. That’s a pretty bad fate to have to serve under Met. Evangelos. That’s a fate worse than death.

    • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

      +Gerasimos is the Metropolitan of San Francisco. He does not hold a title of a see of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in Turkey. His Eminence had served as an Archdeacon to Archbishops Iakovos, Spyridon, and Demetrios until his election to the see of San Francisco. He held a position at Holy Cross School of Theology during those years, also.

      (You may be confusing +Gerasimos with his predecessor, +Anthony, of blessed memory. From late 1997 to early 2002, the Hierarchs of the Archdiocese of America were “promoted” from their offices of Bishop, to Metropolitans of “dormant but active*” (*They were never deactivated after the 1923 population exchange between Turkey and Greece) sees of the Ecumenical Throne. In that era, +Anthony was the “Metropolitan of Dardanellion and Presiding Hierarch of San Francisco.”

      Coincidentally, the former Metropolitan of Hong Kong, since 2007 (+/-), +Nikitas, is currently the Metropolitan of Dardanellion, while he directs the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute at the General Theological Seminary, Berkley, an institution directly under the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It seems he’s the choice of Patriarch Bartholomew for the widowed See of Chicago.)

      • George Michalopulos says

        Yes, and Elpidophoros Lambrianides is slated to replace Arb Demetios Trakatallis as primate of the GOA. And from thence on to Cpole.

        • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

          Metropolitan Emanuel of France, a Holy Cross, Brookline graduate, is also considered to be the Patriarchate’s choice for the next Archbishop of America.

      • Billy Jack Sunday says

        Hi Bruce

        For sake of brevity I did over-simplify, which may have caused some confusion. You did a good sum up of Met Gerasimos’ career thus far with 1 exception: in 2001, the EP elevated him to bishop within Constantinople (from being a Greek arch deacon) by bestowing on him the title of “Bishop of Krateia” – totally titular – no Christians/churches there in a renamed area of Turkey. He then went on to function as a high level cleric for the GOARCH – I believe in NY. You can verify this by going to the assembly of bishops in America site. Find him and there will be a link provided to a bio page.

        I am concerned about Met Gerasimos for several reasons:

        1. Although a common practice within the Church of Constantinople, I do not believe in titular bishops. To me, it’s a potential warning sign of an agent being put in place. I am not suprised that the EP and Met Gerasimos were both against this election and I do not think that it is a coincidence. Perhaps im wrong, but it’s within reason to suspect some ties there.

        2. Met Gerasimos was one of the EP’s 25 invited/authorized bishops to go to Crete and participate. Met Gerasimos gave his thumbs up for all 6 documents

        3. Met. Gerasimos is a modern ecumenist and has visibly worked as an agent of it

        4. He has banned “proselytizing” in his province that really seems like a ban on evangelization in practical terms. This, I’m sure, would be debated, but it seems like the poison of modernity has seeped into this issue as well

        His words actions have proved that he’s a Phanar man, and as such, appears to gravitate towards modernity thinking

        I really don’t have insider knowledge of the political inner workings of the GOARCH. Like everyone else, I watch and wonder.

  7. Agatha Vourns Mantanes says

    Why my family and I will probably be backing away from Eastern Orthodoxy not enough religion and too much politics.

    • Estonian Slovak says

      Why would you risk your salvation because of politics? Do you honestly think politics doesn’t play a role with the Papists and Protestants?
      Look, if I could , I should prefer an Orthodox Emperor, either Byzantine or Russian, to see to it that these bishops enforce the Canons. We may not live to see this, but some Fathers predicted the revival of the monarchy in Russia just before the end of the world.
      Don’t let corrupt people drive you out of the Ark of Salvation. Only the devil wins out in such situations. Flee the local parish if you must, but don’t give up . That’s what the devil would like us all to do.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Agatha, politics is in every facet of our lives because we are human beings. The basics of politics is the desire and effort to influence the people around ourselves to make decisions we like. Politics is inherent in any grouping of people.

      If the Church were not political, even sinfully so at times, she would not be the Church. The Church is not some Gnostic paradise without sin or conflict. In fact she is the place where we are likely to struggle the most in repentance after facing our own sins and those of others. That is why Orthodoxy is not a religion. It is rather a communion with Jesus Christ and on another–bearing one another’s burdens.

      There is no better place to know God than the Orthodox Church. Here and anywhere the answer is to follow our Lord Jesus Christ. Let your eye be single.

      No where else is He as accessible or more rightly understood than in the Orthodox Church. We sinners do not always represent our Lord well.

      If you want a more complete understanding in the blogosphere try Glory to God for All Things.

      The Church has always been a bit of a mess since the contention between Saints Peter and Paul it will not change.

      If you find the expression of politics here unhelpful don’t come here. You do not have to be involved or knowledgeable about such things. 99% of our life in Christ is worked out at the parish level within one’s local community and one’s confessor in prayer, worship, repentance and giving of alms with a merciful heart.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Agatha, I completely agree with Michael.

        First of all, let’s establish terms: all “politics” means is that you live in a polis –a city-state. Even if you do not take part in the political sphere on the municipal level (really, an impossibility) you do take part in the politics of your “little platoon” (as Edmund Burke termed it.)

        This platoon may be your workplace, your dance troupe or your church, or all three. You and I are called to manifest Christ as much as possible in whatever particular arena you find yourself in.

        Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, the idea that the Church cannot –or worse, should not–be involved in “politics” is not only impossible, but undesirable. My own ancestors were emboldened enough by Bishop Germanos of Patras to break away from their lawful sovereign, the Sultan of Turkey and the Church of Constantinople back in 1821. That was a political act. As was the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. We could go on and on: the 8 hour workday, the abolition of child labor, the abolition of polygamy, etc. These things happened because of the witness of Christianity.

        Now admittedly, sometimes it can be pressed to far. Think of Prohibition which had Evangelical backing. This blew up in America’s face in ways too numerous to list here. Still, the point remains. It’s because of the Church that Constantine’s reforms remade the pagan Classical world into Christendom.

    • Will Harrington says

      And this is different from any other church or club or other gathering of human beings? It may be a good idea to go to a local parish, talk to a priest, and stay off of what is one of the most political (if interesting) Orthosphere sites around. This may be distorting your perception.

    • Fr. Harry Linsinbigler says

      Hi Agatha! What you experience here and throughout “Orthodox forums” is not Orthodoxy, but what is referred to as “Netodoxy” (the “Net” referring to the interNet). I recommend to my parishioners and certainly to inquirers not to engage in these forums. You certainly cannot assess Orthodox Christianity (nor anything else, for that matter) by a few talking heads on the internet. The few people that are drawn to these forums (hundreds among multi-millions) like politics. They may think they don’t, but they do, otherwise, there would not be drawn to such. My advice is get off the internet forums if you are to make a good decision. The speculation that goes on here is gossip (negative speculation as to what intentions are, etc.). On this thread, for example, while all this speculation is going on, it is a simple matter that, with the decision of the GOArch Synod, there were some complaints that they didn’t include other diocesan bishops who would like to be Bishop of Chicago (including bishops on the Synod itself). This is no scandal. They have a diocese but think they would be a better fit in Chicago (I know that other bishops are being spoken of, but that is not the reason for the decision). The Ecumenical Patriarchate agreed. None of this has to do with your journey, nor with the Orthodox Christian Faith. If you are scandalized by the speculation and gossip on forums such as this, why are you still reading it?

      Get involved in the local parish and pray. Focus on that which is actual Orthodox Christianity rather than the musings of a minority of posters on the internet. If you are looking to be satisfied by posts on the internet, then you are not looking for Orthodox Christianity as your religion anyway, because Orthodoxy is prayer, discipline, and the fruit of the Spirit in action, not wasting time looking at scandals that do not exist on internet forums.

      • Billy Jack Sunday says

        Hi Father Harry

        I’m curious – if you would humor me with a response, please? If you don’t find much benefit for anyone to view this blog and participate in the comment section, why do you come here and participate?

        • Bonhoeffer says

          … why do you come here and participate?

          To humbly pop in for a charitable cameo, in order to share some excellent advice?

        • Fr. Harry Linsinbigler says

          Why are you curious? Where did I say it wasn’t beneficial for anyone to view or post? I spoke specifically to her as a person who is inquiring and scandalized by these blogs because I cannot pm her. I think that is evident from the post itself within the context of her post.

          • Billy Jack Sunday says

            I’m not say you cant give an individual some advice based on their perceived need, I’m just saying

            “I recommend to my parishioners and certainly to inquirers not to engage in these forums.”

            So why is that you still do?

            • Fr. Harry Linsinbigler says

              For the same reason why a lifeguard jumps in to help a drowning person. He does not want his wife or kids or family to do it, but he does so himself.

    • Joseph Lipper says


      You make a very excellent point. When Christ came on earth, what did He find? He found His people desperately looking to re-establish the Kingdom of Judaism. They were subjects of the pagan Roman empire. They wanted the earthly glory of King Solomon back. This is what even His close disciples were looking for.

      Christ said:

      The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

      Well, that wasn’t the answer the Jewish people wanted, so they crucified Him.

      • I understand Agatha’s apprehension. Christ did say His kingdom is not of this world. Perhaps “Christendom”with all its political structures is simply the earthly means by with Christ enabled salvation to flourish among the Gentile world while the true hidden pearl is only found deeply within. Many are the Orthodox saints throughout time who fled the clamour of the structure fleeing to the wilderness, to the deserts to rediscover that truly the kingdom of God is within us. I myself am a convert since 1984 and have been also greatly disillussiond at times, by corrupt politics among Orthodox. I personally gravitated toward those who more consistently represent the teachings of Christ as upheld through the Apostles, Saints and Fathers. As was already mentioned remember even the Apostles bristled against one another. As iron sharpeneth iron…but also St. Paul taught that it was necessary that heresies arise among us, to show who among us is acceptable. Thus we see, before our very eyes the falling away of many…among us. If you, dear Agatha, are a lover of Truth then you must join us, enter the frey, and understand there exist wolves among the sheep, just as our Lord warned.The Lord called them the tares among the wheat and instructed us to wait for the angels to separate them in the Last Day. Take heart!

  8. Joseph Lipper says

    George, it seems to me the EP is still acting within the normal bounds of their patriarchate. Although the EP’s actions may be puzzling and exasperating, especially considering how highly regarded the candidacy of Bishop Sevastianos is, the EP still has a right to act as such.

    The Greek Archdiocese in America is not autocephalous. Why should we expect otherwise?

    • George Michalopulos says

      good question. Actually, I don’t know the exact nature of the R&Rs for the GOA in the selection of bishops but I have seen in the past high-handed decisions coming out of nowhere in other regards where the plain statute dictated otherwise. Literally in black and white.

      On the EP’s part, this was a tactical error. Don’t get me wrong, he’ll probably win a pyrrhic victory at the end of the day (just as he did with Ligonier and the removal of Iakovos) but from a prudential standpoint, it was an unnecessary battle. Besides pissing of the Chicagoans, it was a gratuitous slap in the face of the GOA bishops.

      Also, he inadvertently telegraphed to the GOA what he expects in the future: Nikita Lulias in Chicago and Elpidophorus Lambrianides in NYC as primate of the GOA (when Arb Dimitrios Trakatellis retires).

      • George Michalopulos says

        If I may add this as well: What did the GOA bishops expect would happen when they rescinded their signatures on the Ligonier document? Like battered wives they accepted their lot and ultimately have only themselves to blame.

      • Wait I thought Elpidophorus was a shoe-in for the EP? Then again I doubt it matters since it is almost guaranteed that he is getting elevated to one or the other at some point in his career.

  9. Alitheia1875 says

    Where to start. First, yes, the EP has the right to void the vote. However, consider that the Eparchial Synod of the GOA can nominate anyone on the list of approved candidates. So, even if Demetrios and Nikitas were on on the list both of them could have been kept off the list of three. This is clearly a power play. Patriarch Bartholomew is waiting, not so patiently for Archbishop Demetrios to retire. Some think that the Patriarch wants Nikitas because he wants him to be the next archbishop. Does Elpidoforos have any experience in the church here in the US? If not he doesn’t qualify for an appointment. Bishop Demetrios wasn’t on the list because he carries way too much baggage. Look for him to be brought to New York to be a functionary at the Archdiocese. As for other of the metropolitans wanting to change to Chicago, that is something that goes against tradition in the church. It is not a good idea and the best example is that of Meletios Metaxakis. Bartholomew’s predecessor, Patriarch Demetrios, confided privately that he knew Bartholomew would succeed him as patriarch and he was not in favor of that choice. Bartholomew wants to keep as much control over the GOA as possible because he would be lost without the financial and PR support of the Archdiocese (i.e., many individuals within it) both of which are very, very considerable.

  10. Look on the bright side! We can all enter the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese interfaith ecumenist contest for a chance to win $500.

    Lord have mercy!

  11. Michael Bauman says

    Proof that there is goodness and hope in this world. Anyone who knows anything about baseball and the Kansas City Royals knows the incredible defensive skills of their left fielder, Alex Gordon. He frequently runs into walls, dives over walls and along the ground to make plays most other outfielders could not even attempt. Last night he dove over the wall in foul territory to make yet another such catch. In the process he hit an older woman in the first row– a fan of the opposing team. As soon as he righted himself, he reached into her, made sure she was OK and apologized. The Royals were loosing badly at the time. He also chews bubble gum and blows bubbles while making diving catches.

    Now, if he could only hit.

    BTW, the Royals publically demonstrate some of the best attributes of men being men with their unabashed love for each other and their playfulness while remaining intense competitors.

    It enables them to constantly out perform what the advanced statistical metrics says they should be able to do. They play for each other rather than for themselves. In 2015 they won their division with 95 wins swept through the American League playoffs and beat the NY Mets to win the World Series. The advanced metrics pre-season said they would win no more than 79 games and finish dead last in their division AND was still giving them no hope against the Mets when they did get to the World Series.

    They have outperformed the metrics every year since 2010. Doing so again this year. They are the bumblebees of baseball. Over half of their wins this year have been come from behind wins usually late in the game.

    Go men, go Royals.