None Dare Call It Simony

This came in over the transom:

Mr. GoldfingerMrs. Kathy Gianaras, wife of Alex Gianaras, and Mrs. Eva Kyriakopoulos, wife of the Honorable Judge Anthony C. Kyriakopoulos, were detained by Turkish officials at the airport in Istanbul, Turkey for over 7 hours a couple weeks ago for having inaccurate documentation for the 150 pairs of gold plated cuff links (300 total) in each of their suitcases. Each suitcase was given to them by Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago!

Metropolitan Nathanael had asked each woman to bring the suitcase to Turkey for him. The Metropolitan of Chicago was serving his last meeting on the Holy and Sacred Patriarchal Synod during the last few days of August 2019, and the Metropolitan wanted to offer these cuff links to the Ecumenical Patriarch. It is not certain where Metropolitan Nathanael received the cuff links or how they were purchased or for how much. It was stated that the customs form indicated that the goods had a retail value of over half million dollars.

Both ladies were fined by the Turkish officials and were given a summons for a hearing date to review the case.

Editor’s note: So let me get this straight, these cuff-links are worth half a million dollars. And yet one of Chicago’s oldest GOA parishes is going to be auctioned off to some quasi-Christian/pagan/inclusive denomination because it can’t pay the bills.

Question: wouldn’t it have been a better use of the Cool Met’s money to help bail out Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church rather than suck up to the EP? Is this how things are done in the Patriarchate of Constantinople? (Rhetorical question, the answer is “yes”.)




  1. Estonian Slovak says

    Um,  the cool Metropolitan is also one for dialog with the gay libbers among us. Its a shame that people allegedly of our faith, are giving us a black eye in front of the Moslem Turks. Was it for this that Greeks, Slavs, and others, including my great-grandfather, shed their blood, to free Orthodox Christians from the Turkish yoke?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Very good question. An even better question: is this the kind of behavior we can expect by submitting ourselves to a bishop who believes he’s the supreme bishop of an entity called “New Rome”? The Turkish word is baksheesh. It means “greasing the palm”.

      I hope that the bishops of the OCA are taking all of this into account.

      • What is a transom?
        i ask because I was interested in the source of the cuff link story
        i thought transom was a nautical term

        • Here is a picture of a transom:

          Basically, a sort of window above a door that can be opened, for ventilation for example, even when the door itself is shut.  So someone could come by and throw something into the room by tossing it over and through the transom without opening the door and thus staying anonymous if he wanted.

        • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          In publishing, a work that comes in “over the transom” comes in unsolicited by the publisher and unrepresented by an agent, but usually not anonymously.

      • Rhonda Dodson says

        The Metropolitan of the OCA in the 1990s was Met Theodosius (1987-2002); not Met Jonah. Met Theodosius was followed by Met Herman until 2008 at which time Met Jonah became Metropolitan.  Rumors of the OCA giving up its autocephaly & going back under the MP were actually started under Met Herman. Also, the OCA is set-up so that no Metropolitan can “unilaterally” do anything. 

        • Being pedantic, Met. Theodosius was OCA Metroplitan for 25 years, from 1977-2002.  He was preceded by Met. Ireney (Bekish) from 1967-1977, though for Met. Ireney’s final 3 years from about 1974-1977, Abp Sylvester was the administrator for the OCA, as Met. Ireney was not well. Met. Ireney was the OCA Metropolitan when autocephaly was granted in 1970.
          When I first began hearing the liturgy served in English, it was in the early ’90s after moving to New Jersey when I had begun attending an OCA parish (prior to that, as a kid, I had only experienced non-English-speaking parishes).
          For a part of me, the Great Entrance will always be “His Beatitude Theodosius, Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All-America and Canada, and His Eminence Peter, Archbishop of New York.”  Stuff that sticks with you. 

  2. Antiochene Son says

    When the godless hordes came pouring in, these Greeks’ ancestors barred the doors of Hagia Sophia and continued the service until the Turks dragged them away to slavery. The priests stood at the altar until the very last minute, and ran for the sole purpose of saving the Reserved Gifts; some say they vanished into the walls and will return to complete the service someday.
    Today they cooperatively hand over a historic church building to another sort of godless horde because the millionaires and billionaires couldn’t scrape together two million to save it. Sad!
    Shame on them. The Theotokos weeps.

    • Rhonda Dodson says

      Couldn’t? Or wouldn’t?I find it very hard to believe that GOARCH is SO broke that it could not have bought the cathedral out of its problem…

  3. Gold cuff links?
    As bad as things are, you have to laugh at that, given recent comments on this very blog. Just confirming all those EP stereotypes.

  4. Dino Tsortanidis says

    Trust me, not even SOLID GOLD cufflinks would not come close to half a million, let alone GOLD PLATED cufflinks.
    Simply do the math, 150 cufflinks valued at $500,000 total would amount to $3,333 each cufflink. A one minute Google search, and simple math  would prove this. A one minute search you could not afford, before spreading false gossip against  Greeks, the Orthodox Church, a bishop, and the EP?
    Let me save you the time, and effort. Average range for GOLD PLATED, not real SOLID GOLD, would retail from $50 to max $500. I would presume the bishop got the cufflinks at a wholesale price, considering the large volume purchased. So in realty cost would be $50 to $150 max each. Say $100 each, with 150 purchased that would amount to $15,000.  Yet another attempt to tarnish Greeks, the GOA, and EP. Are you running out of “true gossip” that you need to publish complete lies whether from your “sources”, or other’s?  Truth matters? Then don’t be a propagandist. Hopefully this truth, won’t be censored like my post yesterday to Peter Papoutsis.
    To your silly editor’s note comment: $10,000 to $15,000 will not save a Church in Chicago unless the laity want it to be saved. Sooner or later the plug would have to  be pulled. A sad reality for some downtown urban Churches. I saw the same happen to  Catholic churches in San Francisco.

    • Gail Sheppard says


      I made a similar point, Dino, and the point is this: OF COURSE, none of this makes sense! That’s why these women were fined and are facing a court date. The documentation of what they had didn’t line up with what they found. The customs form indicates that the goods had a retail value of over half a million dollars. I’m guessing this is true.

      So who are you accusing of telling “LIES!”? The women? They’re husbands? Metropolitan Nathanael? Certainly not George! LOL

      Dino, just so you know, nobody appreciates it when one person expresses their personal dislike of someone else on this blog. It is a supreme waste of our collective time to have to read it.

      So . . . Respectfully pointing out the errors in someone’s thinking: Fair. Critical thinking? Appreciated. Personal Opinions On Other People? File 13, baby.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        It sounds like the Turkish customs may have been purposely inflating the retail value of the cuff links to justify the imposed fine.  It’s pure harassment.  A quantity of 300 was most likely purchased at wholesale, and possibly even given as a gift to the bishop from an Orthodox jeweler or distributor.   Besides the price of gold and silver, retail value can be quite arbitrary.  Those poor unsuspecting ladies.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          Quite apart from anything else, my first reaction upon reading was that no way are these cufflinks worth remotely what is reported. But then, I did practice law for 44 years, and while I avoided cynicism, skepticism proved inevitable.

    • The math may be suspect but if the premise of the story is correct, why should a Metropolitan be directing the “smuggling” of 150 cuff links to the Patriarchate in the first place?  Just the optics alone of this kind of “mission” is disastrous to the credibility of a diocese already teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and reeling from years of disastrous mismanagement. Why risk any appearance of impropriety?  Only bad things could be construed from activities such as this;  money laundering, cartel activity, smuggling, bribery, ransom, and certainly not anything benevolent.  

    • AmericanPatriot says

      What about cufflinks that had precious jewels or diamonds in them? The Byzantines’s favor the ruby. They also have been known for decades to send one of their very compromised hierarchs with multiple passports to Pakistan for their jewels for their crowns. These guys are centuries smart crooks. When things get “hot” they can put their wealth in an attache case and disappear. Better than cash. This all make perfect sense. 

  5. Honest question do any of the bishops believe in God? 
    Between this, stealing and squandering funds from 9 11 shrine. 
    How can can any of them actually believe?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I don’t know if they believe in God, Jacob, but they certainly don’t appear to fear Him. 
      I have to keep reminding myself that even the demons believe in God.

  6. How sad. Also sad that I usually find edifying Fr Josiah Trenham’s sermons on his “Arena” podcast on AFR. In the recent past, he’s mentioned how the new Greek bishop Nathanael in Chicago is a friend of his, whom Fr Josiah believes is a man of God who serves Christ.
    Now, one wonders.  Fr Josiah may be mistaken or of poor judgment.  What kind of bishop would let his own diocese suffer as he gives money and gold to his overlords in the Turkish lands thousands of miles away. 
    Yes, stereotypes of the GOA and of C’ple exist for a reason. Reasons like this!  I still firmly believe that all serious Orthodox Christians should avoid the GOA and C’ple at all costs.  

    • Does anyone know if the blog “Authentic Transparency and Accountability” is still operating? Or how to get a message to the blog administrator? The blog list ironically is limited now to membership in a closed blog, rather than open viewing.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I was never asked to be a member, but someone I know was a member and he couldn’t get on a few weeks ago. It may be defunct. I noticed there is another blog now (can’t remember the name) that popped up with seemingly the same but I couldn’t get on to take a look at it. Again, you had to be asked to be a member. If any of you out there is the owner, send George an invitation.

      • Hi, Susan

        That blog is back with its continued focus on Chicago and the “Cool Met”.

        I also think there are parallels in the “gifts” from the Dokos/Annunication Church fiasco to a couple of Bishops (both of which have been assigned to new positions without any of them explaining or returning the “gifts”) to this cuff links. Things done in darkness always come to light eventually.

        • Thank you. It’s a mixed bag–sharp commentary and insight with the bittersweet knowledge that all is not well with the Chicago diocese,

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Yeah, we don’t know the degree to which Met. Nathaniel was involved.  I did see a criticism of him a while back that he’s not as on top of things as he needs to be.  Is it possible he was duped?  Hard to say. 

      All we really know is someone wanted to get whatever it was to the Phanar.  In cases like this, it makes more sense to see where something is going and work backward to piece it together. 

    • George Osborne says

      The more basic question is why do monks need golden cuff links – plated or solid?

  7. Gail Sheppard says

    This falls under the category of “dumb and dumber.”  Why would these two women agree to do this for their husbands? (I would have used “Tracy” by The Cufflinks but George didn’t ask me!)
    It doesn’t make sense, either.  You all probably know I’m not good with numbers but 24k gold (pure gold) is currently $48.37/gram in the United States.  An average pair of cufflinks is 10 to 20 grams.  For the sake of argument, if each pair were 24k (pure gold), and they were each 20 grams, they would be valued at around $1000.00 a pair.  If there were only 150 pair, the value would be under $150,0000.  (If there were actually 300 pair, the cufflinks would be valued at around $300,000.)

    I guess if all 150 pair were double the weight (40 grams) and encrusted with jewels it could come to $500,000 but these would be EXPENSIVE cufflinks.  It would mean the retail value of each pair was around $3,333.00!  (Definitely not gold plated.)

    Is Bartholomew hurting for money so bad that he needs something like this so he can melt it down or is he so rich he can afford to give these out to his friends?  Either way, it’s bad.  So many questions and too few answers.   

    • George Michalopulos says

      Gail, have you considered the possibility that Pat Bartholomew is going to irradiate the gold in Ft Knox, thereby making these cuff-links astronomically valuable?

      Snark off. The point is not the actual cash value of these baubles but the fact that the entire Phanar/GOA axis still operates under the baksheesh mentality. Let’s not forget, the Turkish economy has crashed and Bartholomew has to grease a whole lot of palms in order to get permission to get anything done.

      • Dino Tsortanidis says

        I accuse no one of slander, Gail, only guilty of quickly posting others fabrications, with out verification, to serve the agenda. Ever occur to you that the Turks are jacking up the Greeks with the costs? Or the story just not true. What is transcom? Where is the link or/what is the news source? Any way this story reeks BS! Are there not enough true stories to tarnish my Church? Hope you don’t mind upper case C when I address my Church.

        May we all dwell on Titus 2:7-8.
        Peace, love, forgiveness, and prayers,  

        • George Michalopulos says

          Dino, I do think that the Turkish officials hiked up the value. That’s my opinion.
          The broader point is more important:  why do we Greeks still operate under the old dhimmi-imposed system of simony?  
          That’s the real question.

          • Dino Tsortanidis says

            George a sincere question,
            How exactly do Greeks operate under modern/current dhimmi? Is their evidence of this? Or is it just the good old; “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch your back” mentality? Does not most all of Orthodoxy do this, especially those under a government supported Orthodox Church,  not just the Greeks?
            Peace, Love, Forgiveness, and Prayers,

            • George Michalopulos says

              Dino, a sincere answer:  I’m afraid that the more we find out about the St Nick Shrine and the whole Ukrocephaly thing, the more we’re going to realize how much of a shakedown project the Phanar runs. 

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Dino, I didn’t accuse you of slandering anyone. As an editor, I was responding to your question about why you didn’t see your last post.

          If you think a story is untrue, it’s fair to say that. You can also ask, “Is there a link to this story?” If none can be provided, I could see you asking George where he got it. All of that makes sense because it’s about the story.

          We’re placed in the same position George is when we read something like this. In our heads, we’re going: “Where did this come from? George believes it’s true or he wouldn’t have published it. George’s instincts are pretty good but does it line up with what I know about customs? Does it line up with what I know about how that part of the world works? If it’s not ringing true to me, why? I wonder if there is a link? If not, where did George get it? Do I care enough about it that I should ask?” – That’s how we evaluate these things, Dino. That’s the way George evaluates things, too. He didn’t say this story was true or it was not true. It rings true to him so he published it.

          Dino, my friend, we have to be diligent. The Church is at a crossroads. I think this particular point in time is one for the history books (if we had books)! There are 4 sites I take seriously: Ortho Christianity, Romfea, Byzantine Texas, and Monomakhos because where they intersect, they paint a complete picture. None of them wants to tarnish the Church; they want to protect the Church. Information like this helps the clergy and laity do what we should be doing and that is using our voice. That’s all we’ve got, Dino. A voice.

    • I have no idea what the facts are, but an object made of gold can be considered more valuable than just its value as gold bullion.  Similarly, a painting by Van Gough is worth more than the value of the canvas and paints applied to it.

  8. Is there any URL link address for this piece of news
    or has it been completely removed from the internet?

  9. Greatly Saddened says

    FYI … For those of you whom may have an interest. The Authentic Accountability and Transparency website is back online.

    And as always, be well and God bless.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Oh my goodness, we have MISSED you, Greatly Saddened!!!! Thank you for the link.

    • Greatly Saddened, YAY… I echo Gail Sheppard’s post. Blessings to all who love our Orthodoxy and reveal to us all that wish to see her compromised. Too much bakshesh ~ fakelaki, a continuing practice. 

      • Greatly Saddened says

        And I have missed you as well. Thank you Gail and Dionysia.

        The brothers and sisters in Christ on this website truly show their true love and concern for our Holy Orthodox Church. In my humble opinion, your hearts are truly in the right place.

        God bless you and your families.

  10. Dino, Holy Trinity Church in Chicago is not just another inner city church with financial problems and diminishing congregation. It is an extraordinary church in which the Mother of God has left a sign. We must respond. It’s the eleventh hour, but if we are believers we have to save that holy place. Priorities have to be reordered. Money must be raised. Bishop Nathanael must lead. If the there is not enough money in the Chicago diocese, we must go nationwide or Pan-Orthodox. We cannot ignore a communication from heaven.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Peter, start a Go Fund Me page and focus on what you just said, i.e. “We cannot ignore a communication from heaven.” I’m not one to get attached to buildings, but neither can I ignore a weeping icon.

      I spoke with George, he will do a vlog on the icon, as this is of interest to the greater Church. He can then post a link to your project to raise funds. His readership is up to 4700 unique users a day so it will help give you the visibility you need.

      God’s speed, Peter. Email George with the link when you’re ready to move forward.

      • Dino Tsortanidis says

        How can the Church in Chicago be saved if it is already sold? Was not the eleventh hour last year when one anonymous donor saved it from foreclosure? 

        This brings me to my second point. As Gail states this blog gets up to 4700 users a day, and why I am so critical lately with this blog. While there is much to be desired with the GOA, and EP’s leadership, constant hammering on the head with one story after another  is not healthy, especially when we are not sure the story/ gossip is true, or not. There is plenty out there to discuss, and hopefully reverse course on, but it is not healthy for laity if this blog simply searches for anything out there with as little verified  truth to further show how corrupt the Greek Orthodox Church is. This I am afraid will close down more Churches, like Holy Trinity,  than help.

        Again this blog reaches thousands Gail, with this voice or loud horn, if you will, comes  serious responsibilities, and consequences as we are all responsible with our words, thoughts, and deeds. In my opinion there is a danger that while true gossip can be constructive in improving Church leadership, it can also be very dangerous , not only to those we accuse, but the many souls that might leave our Church in disgust.  False gossip against our Church and bishops, should be avoided, and is a grave sin, especially if repeated enough it becomes a  fictional type of truth, stereotype. Yes I have been guilty of this sinful behavior as well, and must repent, and be responsible with what I say here as well. At times I have left this blog for long periods because of this reason, and at times the blog has weakened my view of our Church. The corruption we witness, corrupts our minds as well,  and allows the demons to plant seeds of doubt in our faith, at least for me. If I come off as rude, please forgive me.

        What is most dangerous with the exodus we witness from our Church young, and old,  is  really a dire crisis for our youth. Here in Utah where at least 60% of the population is Mormon, we are witnessing an exodus of  Mormon members, especially those younger than the baby boomers. With the internet revealing it’s false theology and basic geological facts  disproving Mormonism’s teachings, many feel betrayed, and leave not only their religion, but  all organized Christian religions, heaping all Christian churches the same as the one they left, corrupt, and a scam.

        While it is a great opportunity for us Orthodox to bring them into our Church, the horrible truth is most never attend any church or stop believing in God all together.  This what I fear for our youth, and young adults.  Once gone, anywhere they go, church or no church, it will not be the True Church. 

        While I believe you and George are trying to help our Church, we must all be careful not to allow the demons to splinter us, just as we are witnessing politically in the United States today. Yes following canons are important, and trying to defend our Church from corruption also very important. But, we must not allow  demons to divert our attention from what is most important. The Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and our own salvation.  The salvation of our brothers and sisters in Christ should always be first in our thoughts. We must use the internet for Good purposes, and be very careful that our pride not blind us in our zeal to “save” our Church, meanwhile severely damaging  our Church in other more permanent ways.

        Maybe a start would be to quit with statements that the Greek Orthodox Church is no longer truly Orthodox? These type of comments will not unite us, only divide, and in this division many will leave both our Churches. This is exactly what the evil one wants.

        Peace,Love, Forgiveness, and Prayers,

        • Dino,
          It is very difficult to defend the Patriarch of your Church. He has invaded the jurisdiction of another Church and created a schismatic abomination called OCU.  He continues to support them as they raid and seize Churches from the canonical Church in Ukraine. He continues to support them as they beat clergy and elderly and women. He pretends that the holy Hierarch Metropolitan Onufriy does not exist. All this, as he proclaims that he is first without equal. Do you see the problem here? I grieve for those in the Greek parishes who do not subscribe to his pretensions. I weep for those Greek Monasteries all over the world who must resist his continuous power games as they strive to uphold the true faith. I pray every day for the CP and his inner circle to repent and return to the faith of our Fathers.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

             “I grieve for those in the Greek parishes who do not subscribe to his pretensions.” Why do you grieve for me? I joined the Orthodox Church six years ago. I chose the local GOA parish precisely because it is in my city, and the only Orthodox parish in my city. There is an OCA parish in the exurbs. Both churches and many of their parishioners, and both priests, are well-known to me.
            We have a deeply devout priest who holds about 7 or 8 services all week long. He is the same, we are the same, whatever the Constantinopolitan is doing.
            Is salvation in the Church sort of a wobbling spotlight? Yesteryear, the EP was in the spotlight, then he’s at the margins, then outside the penumbra, then then back in the light….
            Nothing has changed with my faith, our faith, and our priest’s faith. Do some people actually think our salvation turns upon this sort of thing at the so-called ‘top’? That the timing of our deaths is crucial depending upon the status of the EP at a given time? If this were actually so, then ‘we of all men are most to be pitied’….
            I’m not going anywhere; my faith has nothing to do with this. And I think Dino has a big point. 

            • Perhaps grieve was not a proper term. I pray for those who are cognizant of the uncanonical actions and heretical statements which eminate from Constantinople, and yet bear their crosses with patience.

            • Dino Tsortanidis says

              Exactly Tim,
              Imagine my Church, Saint Anna’s Greek Orthodox Church in Utah which also does services on days other than Sunday, stands during entire service, except during epistle reading and sermon, and has enough Russian stewards(even with a Russian Orthodox Church 5 miles away)that the Lord’s Prayer is also read in the Russian language. Not to mention 95 percent of liturgy in English. This is our future in America,  with or without EP/MP feuds, nor national/international funded corruption causing such frictions we witness today. The money and favors governments throw at our Churches and the same by our Church leaders is the root to our leaders disunity and lack of brotherhood in Christ, but we should never allow their sinful behavior to divide us.
              Peace, Love, Forgiveness, Prayers, and Repentance,

              • George Michalopulos says

                I hope someday to go to your parish, Dino. And to finally meet you.

                • Dino Tsortanidis says

                  I would like that very much George! As I told you before via email, my home is always open to you, don’t dare stay at a hotel! Mi casa es su case.

                  I forgot to mention, the parish council member who is Saint Anna’s treasurer, is Russian. If that is not Greeks putting their money where mouths are, nothing is. LOL!!! 

                  Peace, Love, Forgiveness, Prayers, Patience, and Repentance,


              • Monk James Silver says

                Sounds like quite a parish, ‘Dino’, but why do you sit during the reading of the Epistle?

                The rule is that we stand during all readings from the New Testament, but sit while we listen to readings from the old Testament, including the kathismas (‘sessions, seatings’) of the psalms during the services.

                Additionally, we sit during the homily and the announcements, and seating is always provided for those who really need it, no matter what is going on in the services.

                • Dino Tsortanidis says

                  Monk James,

                  Don’t know what to tell you, but since I have attended  Greek Orthodox Church, we sit during the Epistle reading, stand for the Gospel reading, and sit again for the sermon/homily.

                  Announcements are most always at the end of liturgy so all are already sitting.
                  Our Church has chairs/pews but nearly all stand as we are encouraged to sing along(most do) with the choir. 

                  • Monk James Silver says

                    Perhaps it’s just a local custom, but it’s still odd.

                  • Dino,
                    before the Gospel the priest says
                    “Wisdom, upright (=stand up)…”
                    but he does NOT say that for the Epistle, a few minutes earlier?

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says

                    Exactly what we do, Dino. And we have a priest who is fairly scrupulous in these matters. So, more than a ‘local custom.’

                    • Dino Tsortanidis says

                      Yes Ioannis, and Tim,
                      Not a local custom, all Greek Orthodox Churches in America that I have been to, do it this way. I’m pretty sure all Greek Orthodox Churches in America do as well.

                      Funny thing is Monk James had me second guessing myself after all these years of sitting, until I asked my wife if we sit during the Epistle reading.  She  looked at me as if I was losing my marbles, mumbled something to the affect of, “you tell that Monk…”, smacked me upside my head and asked if I was going senile. LOL

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      Surprised you couldn’t remember, Dino. With my 71-year-old spine, I can’t forget. 

                    • Monk James Silver says

                      OK, so this IS a local custom of Greek Orthodox Churches in America, but probably not in Greece, and certainly not the way things are done in all the other Orthodox churches.

                      The GOA’s way of doing things is very odd, and generally not regarded as a standard of Orthodoxy, or even of Hellenism — it’s just an expression of local American peculiarities like their adoption of protestant-style organs and pews, which are not found in Greece, either, or anywhere else among Orthodox Christians. It’s just a culturally misguided mistake.

                      It is NOT the generally received traditional practice of the Orthodox, in whose churches there are never enough seats for everyone to sit at any time. Strong and healthy people are expected to stand always.

                      No one in the Orthodox churches of other countries sits during the Epistle — apparently only the American Greeks do this , it seems, and this is wrong. They should stop it.

                      I remember hearing about an American woman from Thessalonike who went up and stood by the reader as he recited a reading from one of St Paul’s letters to the Thessalonikans. Asked why she did that, this very dignified lady said ‘St Paul wrote that letter to ME.’

                      Of course, there are always seats available for those who truly need them, but my earlier remark remains true: We stand during the services except — and if there are seats available — for the homily and announcements at the Divine Liturgy, and for the kathismas in the other services.

                      If someone has information to the contrary, I’d be glad to see it here.

                    • Just in 2 AOL parishes this weekend and people sit during the epistle. Many visits to Greece, including monasteries, where people sit during the Epistle reading.

                    • I see many who stand during the Epistle reading in the Slavic Churches…and in Monasteries.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      Our GOA church has pews, alright, but we stand throughout the service, except for the epistle and the sermon. So the presence of pews is not much of a big deal. Whether the American Greeks used to sit in them more in former times, I don’t know.
                      We don’t have an organ; the harmonium was pulled out 30 years ago.
                      I doubt that sitting during the epistle is an aberration, whether or not other Orthodox churches do it. As some have said, they have observed this in Greece.
                      A year ago, on a visit to Cyprus, we went into a great number of churches. They all had the ‘standers’ (I forget the name); the things you can stand in and lean, or fold down the seat and sit.
                      A substantial number of the churches had rows and ranks of these throughout the main portion of the sanctuary, not just around the sides and back. Indeed, they ‘out-pewed’ pews as far as I was concerned; you could stand with support and sit with ease.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      TimR, in Greek, they are called stassidhia. But I really like your English translation: i.e. “standers”. I think that’s a great translation –it’s almost letter-for-letter in its exactitude. I for one will use this term from now on.

                      You should be receiving your first royalty check soon!

                    • Dino Tsortanidis says

                      I hear you Tim!
                      I’m 18 years younger than you, but at my ripe age, God blessed me with a daughter, now 3 years old.A little girl full of energy and wit. A little girl who’s favorite words are Why? I don’t want to, and Yia Yia says it ok to do that and have XYZ.
                      She believes  my 53 year old body is here personal playground to jump on, leap over, poke, and pull on my beard. At times I feel like I am Inspector Clouseau, and she  Kato. I must be on guard at all times for a 55 pound cannon ball with legs coming at me, at full speed.

                      After raising a son who is off to College(Boiler Up!) in engineering, I am doing it all over again. Hopefully I will have an intact spine at 71 when this daughter is thru with me!  I do not complain my life is blessed, much to be thankful for, and full of love, but my marbles are a little scrambled at times.
                      Peace, Love, Forgiveness, Prayers, and Forgiveness,

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      God bless you and your daughter, Dino! She’ll keep you young. (However, I would recommend a Remington 3-aught-8 rifle which you can display on your mantle in 12 or so years when the young men come calling ;-). You know, it keeps them on their toes.)

                    • Dino Tsortanidis says

                      Thanks George, 
                      How about a shot gun with rock salt in the shells? Hurts like hell, won’t kill em, and they never come back again. Pray for me and Lord help me. I may spend my golden years in prison. 

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      Dino, I’ve had more than one friend over the years that had a ‘late one’ arrive. Including my doc, whose unexpected package arrived around the same age as yours; that one’s now in college. 
                      In every case, it’s seemed to extend the dad’s youth a few years!
                      As for me, my bride and I had an early trajectory. Married at 19, we had seven grandkids by the time we were your age. I’m smug about that; I’m hiking, skiing, travelling with adult grandkids. 
                      To God be the glory!

                  • Tim R. Mortiss: “Our GOA church has pews, alright, but we stand throughout the service”

                    Do you do prostrations? When I visited The Holy Cross chapel (seminary in Brookline, MA) pews were set such way, that prostrations were impossible.
                    I tried to find a photo, but they are all made in a such way that you do not see it, only open spaces in the middle or  before iconostasis. Maybe it was changed in the last few years but I doubt it.
                    Probably the objective is to make future priests forget that such things like prostrations exist.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      We seldom see prostrations except in Great Lent, and then the pews limit things; aisles only, basically.

                    • “Probably the objective is to make future priests forget that such things like prostrations exist”

                      Easy there, Martin. As the Johnny Cash song goes, “I’ve been everywhere, man, I’ve been everywhere.” And I’ve seen everything from all pews to partial pews to no pews in all sorts of jurisdictions – both in this country and elsewhere. The presence of pews (or other seating) has never posed a hindrance to prostrations for me or the other worshipers. And while I am personally not a fan of pews, it is just not difficult to step out into the isle or or other empty space. Heck, it’s even possible to do prostrations ‘sideways’ between pews if it’s too crowded to find an empty space (a rarity in my experience).

                      I have my opinion, and I think anything that gets in the way or distracts from worship should be done away with (like, for example, some choir directors who interrupt every petition in the litany to re-pitch [is that the term?] for a “Lord have mercy”); but I do tire of these arguments.

                      If pews (or sitting, or standing, or beards that are too short, or any other such externals [including bad choirs]) can keep us from worship , it’s time to rethink what it is to worship and pray.

                      Forgive me, Martin, if I appear to single you out. That isn’t my intention. But it’s time to get past these condemnations of those who might do things a bit differently even if they are not ideal in our own minds. I assume, for example, that many here pray while they are driving or doing all sorts of other things, and I certainly hope that none of us would cast aspersions on the ‘Orthodoxy’ of those who do.

                      I am fully aware that deviations in small things can lead to deviations in larger things. I get that, and it’s why I choose to try not to deviate. But these things seem to me to fall into the category of meat sacrificed to idols. Only God knows the heart and hears its prayer in whatever position the body that contains that heart finds itself.

                    • Antiochene Son says

                      “Probably the objective is to make future priests forget that such things like prostrations exist.”

                      I doubt it. The situation in the Orthodox Church is similar to what is happening in the Roman Church—except to a lesser degree of course. The younger clergy on average are pushing to return to the older traditions, while the old guard, stuck in their teenage rebellion streak since the 1950s and 60s, are the liberalizing force.

                      It was not an elderly priest who pushed my first home parish to finally dump their organ, and put iconography on the side walls, and have regular mid-week services; it was a young 30-something priest. And his efforts have revitalized the parish from what I’ve heard.

                      I believe the reason for the “compromises” we have seen in church architecture and worship was due to immigrants in the 1950s-onward feeling out of place and wanting to fit into American culture. That is good, but it also led to things like pews, organs, and Roman collars. For better or for worse, social conformity which was enforced on the older generation is not an American value anymore, so we are more free to be Orthodox.

                      Younger clergy, on the other hand, who grew up in the 1970s and 80s are have more of an anti-social-conformist worldview and have no problem appearing different from peers.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Martin, I am Antiochean and we have always sat down for the reading of the Epistle to resume standing at the reading of the Gospel. We have pews in which it is not possible to do prostrations side ways as Brian suggests.

                      Key point now: last night I was at Vespers in our parish chapel which has no pews, just chairs along the wall. There were about 25 people present including some young folk in their early teens plus two chanters and two priests. When the time came to reverence the Cross at the end of Vespers, everybody there was doing pretty much full prostrations except me because if I got down, I would not get back up without a fork lift.

                      At least at our parish no one has forgotten about prostrations and are not likely to.

                  • Antiochene Son says

                    When Antiochian parishes do have pews (some don’t, especially newer parishes and missions) it is typical to sit for the Epistle.

                    Other times I’ve seen Antiochian parishes sit (practice varies): from the Litany of Peace until the Little Entrance, during the litany after the Cherubic Hymn, and during the Hymn to the Theotokos (if the collection is taken at that time).

                    Generally Antiochian parishes stand for the whole of Vespers (except for OT readings) and Matins (except for the Synaxarion).

                    And I’ve always been uncomfortable when the bishop is present and he motions for the people to sit, especially at times when that particular parish doesn’t normally sit. Everyone feels obliged to comply, whether they want to or not.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      I’ve only been in two Antiochian churches, both in the Pacific NW, and both essentially brand-new church buildings. The differences were most interesting. 
                      The first was Holy Cross in Yakima, Washington. I was in Yakima on a case about 8 or so years ago, looked up and found an Orthodox church. I went to a Vespers service. I thought it must be an OCA church, all in English, no pews. The building was new and very beautiful. 
                      Then I noticed that every woman and girl was wearing a headscarf. That was different from the OCA of my experience. Only upon leaving did I find that it was an Antiochian church; one of  the offspring of the EOC movement into the Church.
                      The other was a year or so later, St. George in Portland, Oregon. A long-existing congregation, but with a really beautiful large new church. Not only were there pews, the sanctuary was sloped; i.e. pews would be necessary.
                      Most interesting comparison and contrast!

              • Dino!
                Had I known I might have come to visit you.  We just returned from a beautiful vacation (Zion, Bryce Canyon, Dixie Forrest, Moab, etc.), flying home from Salt Lake.  Beautiful country!  And to think we drove right up  I-15 within a few miles of you.

                • Dino Tsortanidis says

                  Brian a true shame. Next time please do!

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    I want to go to Utah and stay with Dino!  Nobody invites me anywhere.  –  I did some business there years ago.  It’a gorgeous, gorgeous place.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Gail, I do not have any place for you to stay in my home but I will be glad to put you up here in the Wichita area any time.

                    • Dino Tsortanidis says

                      Too funny Gail! I think that would be great.  Luckily for me, one of my wife’s many good virtues is she loves having guests over to visit, even more than I do. She’s always sad when guests leave, and always cries when out of town relatives leave. I agree Utah is gorgeous, if Utah had an ocean, it would be perfect.
                       I consider you, and the usual suspects, all my friends, meeting in person would solidify the friendship. We may argue like brothers and sisters, but that’s because we are bothers and sisters, in Christ! LOL!`God bless my sister of a different mister. 

                      If I may ask? What are you holding over your shoulder in that picture? 
                      Peace, Love, Forgiveness, Prayers, Patience, and Repentance,

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      I took that picture a few months ago because Facebook was bugging me every time I signed on to update my picture. Seems they keep track of these things. I was holding the phone at an angle so I could take my picture in the mirror. That’s about as high tech as I get! – Your wife sounds lovely.

          • Dino Tsortanidis says

            I do not agree with what the EP did in Ukraine, nor defend, his actions. 

        • Dino,
          I agree with everything you say except two points:
          1) GOARCH, or rather the Fener deserves all due criticism because it is corrupt and corrupting. This does not mean stopping to mere slander though and muckracking is a poor substitute for actual reasoned critique. Also, discipline should apply to curtailment of gossip-mongering about other jurisdictions, specifically the OCA which has been unrelentingly slandered here because the blog holds a grudge against its Synod (see me comments elsewhere here).
          2) Mormonism is not a Christian religion. It is a specifically anti-Christian  cult that holds to beliefs that make anyone who loves Christ and His Church burn with righteous anger. In another era I would be in favor of a crusade against the ‘Mormon Church’.  I concur that exmormons are particularly badly burned by the extensive lies promulgated in the cult, and their ire leaves them hateful and intolerant of Christianity. But they never knew Christ or His Church among Mormons, because he is conspicuously absent there. 

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            What form would that take? The sword, or the stake?

          • Joseph Lipper says

            I’ve always viewed Mormons as neo-gnostics.  It’s basically the same stuff the early Church was fighting against. 
            How to deal with Mormons?  Read the early Church fathers’ writings against gnosticism.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Joseph, you are correct in many ways but the Mormons are worse. Beyond even the ancient Gnostics. I had about a 2 hour catechesis when I went to the funeral of a friend of mine several years ago–given by the woman’s eldest daughter. I went to honor my friend and give support to her husband. Mistake. There is no honor given to the dead and the husband was literally not grieving, or did not appear to be. It is all their twisted theology that makes everyone a potential lord of their own planet somewhere. “As God, the Father is now, so you will be”. That becoming is deemed inevitable so why grieve or honor anyone who died this time short of that?

              Had the seating not been so excruciatingly tight, I would have gotten up an left. No way I could do it. When I gave my condolences to the husband, he was quite literally already planning his next wedding.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Interesting story, Michael, thanks for sharing.  Yes, Mormon “theology” can drive a person crazy.  The gnostic methodology is there, but their endpoint is sort of the opposite of the ancient gnostics who favored spirit over matter.  The Mormons seem to favor matter over spirit. 

                If I recall correctly, their belief of incarnation is that all men possess an “uncreated nature” from God, and that only through imbibing of the teaching revealed to Joseph Smith can that “uncreated nature” be harnessed correctly.   It’s a very similar narrative to the serpent’s lie to Eve in the garden: “then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods”.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  The worst part is that I liked this family.  In retrospect it is as if they were actually like demons. 

        • George Michalopulos says

          Dino, I get what you’re saying.  I sometimes worry that I may not be the right guy for this job, that maybe I’m reporting too much.  I dunno.  I don’t mean to hurt anybody, all I want to do is call balls and strikes.  Right now, the locus of a lot of foul balls comes from the Phanar.  There’s no special reason otherwise.
          Pax,  geo

          • Dino Tsortanidis says

            Believe it or not, I only post about a quarter  as much as I really want to. Other than that, I don’t know how to address your worries.
            Even though I don’t know you in a normal way, I feel your heart wants what’s best. What really makes me scratch my head is most here are Orthodox Christians, and want what is best for our Church, yet the way we argue/debate one another one would believe we do not belong to the same religion. 
            Strange days we live in. Imagine Greek, Russian, Georgian, Ukrainian, eastern Europe etc, no longer under the oppression of Islam, nor Communism, yet our own in Orthodoxy’s leadership seem to do a better job at destroying our Church, spirit, and brotherhood.
            Peace, Love, Forgiveness, Prayers, and yes Martin, repentance,

        • “Peace,Love, Forgiveness, and Prayers, Dino”
          And Repentance by Phanar.

    • Michael Bauman says

      The priest was quoted by Fox News as saying “We don’t know why the icon is weeping. Sometimes people weep because they are sad, sometimes because they are happy.”

  11. I checked the website of the Metropolis of Chicago to see if there was an attempt at fund raising for the Holy Trinity Church. There I found two statements from Metropolitan Nathanael about the current situation at Holy Trinity.  In one letter the Metropolitan downplayed the importance of the weeping icon saying we shouldn’t seek signs but seek the crucified Christ. He seemed to be irritated that someone went public with the story of the icon. He asked that the icon be given to him so he could study it. In the second statement he issued, he emphasized that Holy Trinity parish was not coming to an end, but would continue somewhere else.

    • Sadly, there was no real effort at the Metropolis level to raise money for Holy Trinity Church in Chicago. but when the new Metropolitan did his talking-tours upon his enthronement, , he said one way or another, to paraphrase, that the Manhattan church destroyed in 9/11 would be re-built and that we should all support it.. I see some hypocrisy here.

  12. Greatly Saddened says

    I recall seeing an article a few days ago about the weeping icon in The National Herald, by The Associated Press. But for some mysterious reason, it seems to have been taken down. This is not the first time I have noticed this being done when in reference to the GOAA.
    In addition, I tried to find it under previous articles and it seems nowhere to be found. How strange.
    I can only think it perhaps was taken down at the request of His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael.

  13. Joe McNertle says

    Well, Bob Mueller already deported half of ROCOR and the FBA will soon do to Jardanville what it did to Rellim Kenilworth.

  14. I’ll ask this again: Exactly what flick is Bartholomew expecting to take over to Rome? 
    His flock in Turkey is ~3,000. In the diaspora lands, not everyone (probably not the majority) are going to be on-board with union with Rome, especially the convert-heavy parishes in the U.S. won’t go for it, the Athonite monasteries surely won’t be along for the ride. 
    So, if Francis is expecting some huge Orthodox bounty that will be down for Roman or Constantinople subjugation, they are going to be sorely disappointed. 
    As a side-note, it looks like Archbishop John has decided to take the Rue Darue into the Moscow Patriarchate 

  15. In other news, the Rue Daru is going home to Moscow:

  16. And Dino, I might remind you that you have made some strong, and many erroneous  statements against ROCOR, the Ephraim monasteries, and those you  label as “fundamentalists”. At times you have displayed a  strong dislike for Russians.

    • Estonian Slovak says

      Peter, I have disagreed with Dino more than once. However, I don’t think he has thrown around the world “fundamentalists” or showed Russophobia all that much. I think you may have him mixed up with someone else who appears not to be posting here anymore.
      I can vouch for ROCOR. However, I have heard about questionable practices coming out of the Ephraim monasteries. A priest friend, who is neither Russian church, OCA, or Greek tells me his spiritual father from Mt. Athos has warned against them. It seems that some father confessors from the monasteries seem to feel they have to “root out” some types of sin, by asking about the juicy details. I understand that questions may sometimes be needed for clarification, but here there may be the potential for abuse. My understanding is that it’s up to the penitent to confess his/her sins. If they knowingly withhold something, it’s on them. After having had some unpleasant experiences with the cult now known as HOCNA, I’m a bit leery of so-called elders.

    • Dino Tsortanidis says

      Peter, you have me confused with Constantinos who used to post on this blog.

  17. Greatly Saddened says

    Wishing my brothers and sisters in Christ, a most Blessed and most Glorious Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. God bless you all!

  18. Greatly Saddened says

    I ask, how can one whom loves this Holy Orthodox Church keep silent, as to all that has been happening since the enthronement of this Ecumenical Patriarch.

    I was raised that we must look up to and respect the hierarchs of the Church. And yes, they may be human and imperfect like us all, but they are and should be held to a higher standard. They themselves chose this vocation to Christ and in doing so, need to and should be examples for us all to follow. Not to mention being humble. I guess they forget that!

    If we don’t speak up, then who will? It is bad enough the general laity is apathetic and seem to show little if any concern.

    Like it or not, time is past due for the full and total truth to be revealed in regard to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as well as the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and its Metropolises.

    Accountability, honesty,  transparency and truth seem nowhere to be found. And to think this is a religious institution which claims to be the Church of Christ!

    The people and clerics responsible for what has allegedly transpired in the last decades should be held responsible for their actions or lack thereof. And if found criminally negligent, should pay the price.

    From what I have seen and heard with my own eyes and ears. There is no evangelism, nor a true concern for our brothers and sisters whom are destitute, homeless, needy, poor or sick. It is all one big fallacy. Just … Pay, Pray and Obey! Simply put … “Blind Obedience!”

    Bottom line is: “Show me the Money!”

    Lord help us, pray for us and have mercy on us all! In God we trust!

  19. It’s no secret that Bishoprics and Metropolitanates in the Orthodox Church have often gone to the highest bidder. Does anyone wonder then if baksheesh, which Greeks honed to perfection, influenced the selection of the spiritual head of the Metropolis of Chicago? (considered by many to be the Cash Cow of the GOA) To those “in the know,” the leading contenders to become Metropolitan of that city virtually broke their necks bearing gifts to Istanbul in feverish efforts to outdo each other. Metropolitan Nathanael may have managed to grab the brass ring, but in the opinion of many who know him, his selection was hardly based on managerial skills or profound spirituality. Certainly, the sordid issue of gold-plated cuff links lends credence to this notion,   

  20. Dino, I apologize for erroneously  attributing such postings to you. Have a good day and God bless you.

  21. Ok, ok, I need one question answered,,,how much volume would 300 pairs take up,,,,I think I can get then into one small carry on,,,,if packaged correctly,,,also how much do they weigh,,,, 300/600,, ounces,,the math seems off,,,,perhaps there is more to the story,,,,perhaps there were other items,,,,,also why should a bishop in the USA be send, by messenger cuff links to turkey and not just shipping them,,,,the forensic side if me is skeptical

  22. George Osborne says

    Dear George,  I don’t believe this is the proper place to place this message but I’m sure you will correct that.
    I have been an Orthodox Christian for over 40 years, even having been unworthily ordained a clergyman at one time.  My belief in Orthodoxy is firm and unwavering but I am a soul in distress.  Not from the normal daily struggle we Orthodox face as we work out our salvation, but in near despair for the Church, especially as it is manifested in the United States.
    I have closely followed the attacks and counter-attacks regarding the debacle in Ukraine and the papal pretensions of the Bishop of Istanbul (for that is what he truly is if all facts are faced) but the piece d’ resistance today was the yellow-journalistic diatribe printed today by Orthochristian entitled “How Schismatics are Being Used Used by the U.S. Government Against the Orthodox Church” by one Alexander Vornesensky.  I normally like the articles presented on that sight and just have danced around the pro-Russian journalism.  But this article is the breaking point for me.
    To be brief, my complaint, in a nutshell, is not only unsubstantiated journalism but what the tenor of the article portends for Orthodoxy in North America. Look, the GOA is a dead-man walking. Zombie-like, the brain has just not figured out that it died some time ago.  The uber-nationalist jurisdictions (oh, how I hate that phrase!) like Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, etc. have become simple nationalistic enclaves.  The Old Calendarist pretend no one else exists in their small universes (including each other most of the time).  Antioch has become so semi-protestant in real practice that, while it may be evangelistic, the salt seems to have lost its savor.  And the Christ the Savior Brotherhood infiltration has reaped that sorry crop. (Wow, have I just about insulted everyone?)  So, that leaves the Russians and the article.  Okay, what a boondoggle that kettle of fish has become! You have the MP parishes and ROCOR.  Yes, that ROCOR who did a double back-flip summersault and threw the era of Metropolitan Philaret under the bus in a rush to reunite with a “repentent” MR who recognized the Soviet martyrs, the royal family, etc. while remaining virtually a department of the Russian state who finances rebuilding churches and monasteries while blessing ballistic missiles full of death pointed directly at my homeland!?  A country whose undisputed political aspirations are to destroy my country?  God knows, we have fallen into such sins as would make Israel blush in her worst day, but how (honestly) can anyone claim oneness with the Russian Church while its hierarchs bless weapons and politicians who stand against everything this country has ever stood for?  Yes, there has been a revival of the faith in Russian and there is no denying that, but that is hardly my point. Frankly, I could care less about what happens in Russia as laudable as it is.  Russia is for Russians and I am happy for them. I rejoice in their revival but that revival has apparently spawned an unintended (?) consequence which is the de facto rapprochement of the Church and State to such a degree that they are often inseparable.  Third Rome, indeed! (Given the track record of the first two, not sure why anyone would want to be the third in a line of those debacles!) So, in short, I am an unabashed American for better and often, worse.  The whole MP / ROCOR settlement leaves one forced to scratch their head in wonderment.  You have dual Russian church structures and, apparently, no attempt or perceived need to merge them into a single structure.  So ROCOR operates out of a makeshift second-floor ballroom “cathedral” while the historic structure, Holy Virgin Protection, a few blocks away remains in the hands of the MP.  Makes no sense to my poor little brain! And the recent Rue Darue fiasco where the MP had a chance to create a legitimate Franco-European diocese and apparently decided to do a “ROCOR on the half-shell”…but I digress.
    My point is that while, yes, there is the OCA, as impotent and afraid of its own ecclesiastical shadow as it is, hiding in the wings, afraid of offending anyone, there is simply NO real Church in the United States.  Wishful think is not going to make it so.  And, pace, Michael Bauman, no amount of pressure on bishops is going to make a difference either. I just re-read St Symeon the New Theologian’s Letter on Confession and he might as well be writing that letter on today’s Orthodox blogs. 
    So, do I have a point here?   Not really, I suppose.  I am just a soul in great distress and weep bitter tears to see the Faith I love so spitefully used.  If there is any comment on these lines, I hope it is without rancor if I rubbed your pet stalking horse the wrong way.  No offense was meant.  I just need help.  I need an American Church!

    • We don;t need an American church, we need an Orthodox church.

      • Michael Bauman says

        An Orthodox Church that acknowledges and is grateful for our roots in Russia, Greece, Syria, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania but is at home here as much as we can be while prepared to witness to the sinfulness of the world and the Glory of God.  What we have is an bag of  who knows what.  We can and we should be better.  We do not need an American version of a Greek or Russian Church. 
        Many people want exactly that it seems.  
        Sooner or later we will become what God wants or we will become nothing. 

      • george osborne says

        Basil, we need a real Local Orthodox Church in America. 

    • I just read the article you mentioned and, from my personal experience, find it to be very truthful. Other writers, such as Fr. Andrew Philips in England, have been writing about CIA influence on schismatic groups for years, and general US governmental pressure being applied to the local churches for just as long – did you forget about Patriarch Maximus’ deposal and replace by Athenagoras, who was flown in on Air Force One?
      America is a global bully and has been pushing people around and manipulating them for too long. If Orthodox Christians are speaking against this, then I am very pleased. If Russian weapons are pointed against America, then it’s only because American weapons have been pointed against Russia for far longer.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        And, after all, people hate their benefactors nearly as much, if not more, than their enemies.
        Why do so many keep wanting to come to the land of the ‘bully’?

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      I agree 100% with what you stated. Unfortunately the propaganda on the political American side, the political and religious Greek side and on the political and religious Russian side will prevent them from seeing the truth of your words. God bless you and please pray for me a sinner. God love you.

  23. I disagree with all respect ,,,,what we need is a Christian church,,,American and orthodox are solely modifiers ,,,being both is a refinement of the noun christian,,,,and we act as though we are neither American,,,,ethnocentric it’s and foreign control,,,,and if orthodoxy is synonymous with Christianity,,where is our faith, love, and charity?

    • george osborne says

      I would only add this:  for Christianity to BE Christian, it must be Orthodox. And every nation deserves a Local Church ministering to its particular needs and conditions.