The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown

The gauntlet has been thrown. 

Whom does the Assembly serve?  To whom does it belong?

I don’t think the Assembly would have published their letter not knowing the answers and soon we will know the answers, as well.  

See the response from Archbishop Elpidophoros of America.

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  1. Wow. No one can say quite say “how dare you stab me in the back you impertinent peasant” in such flowerly language as an Orthodox bishop. Impressive!

    Seriously, it’s been obvious for years that the GOA/C’ple leadership operates according to a completely different understanding as to what the Church is than the rest of the Orthodox world. Plainly said, their idea of how the Church operates is Roman Catholic. Ours is not.

    The two are not reconcilable. Regardless of how much we might *wish* it were so.

    Why do we have to continue to live through this train wreck of pretend/fake Orthodox “unity” in America? It’s all fake.

    The leadership of the GOA/C’ple are delusional. Let them live in their delusion, if that’s what they want. Let them go their own way, much like you have to let an abusive parent or alcoholic brother sometimes just go. Detach with love. I realize this may be a tough pill to swallow for those who haven’t had to live through an experience like this. But for those of us who have had to detach with love, we know how painful it is, but experience informs that it’s often the only option while still honoring the other’s free will.

    We’ve all known for years that the GOA/C’ple leadership seem fully intent on moving their Churches to be the newest Eastern Rite Catholics, some say by 2025. Can’t we just let them do that if they want, and the rest of us get on with our lives?

    As Patton said, the hard part isn’t knowing what the right thing to do is. The hard part is doing it. The American bishops of the OCA, ROCOR, MP parishes, Antiochians, Serbian Patriarchate, Romanian Patriarchate, Bulgarian Patriarchate, and others (if I’m missing any) know what the right thing to do is: dissociate from the GOA/C’ple episcopacy. Detach with love, as they say in Al-Anon.

    The vision of what the GOA/C’ple hierarchs call Orthodox Christianity is Roman Catholic. It’s not the Christian Orthodox faith. If I wanted to be under the Pope, I’d be under the real one, not Patriarch Bartholomew or Abp Elpidophoros.

    Painful to see this letter in black and white, but not surprising. Detach with love. No other option at this point.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Good post, per usual, FTS. Couldn’t have said it better.

    • Very well said FTS, and you’re right I think it is indeed time for the other bishops to detach.

      I feel bad for the other Metropolitans in the GOA, especially Isaiah & Gerasimos they are both good men. But, they all refuse to speak up. Look at what happened to Met.. Methodios, they know it will happen to them.

      When the entire Assembly of Bishops rebukes your Archbishop is is then on you to speak up.

    • Of particular interest is that he signed the letter in Greek. Talk about insularity.

  2. Austin Martin says

    Literally everything he says is a lie. He cannot speak the truth, no matter how small. It burns him.

    John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

  3. Austin Martin says

    It’s inherent in the American religious psychology going back to the Puritans that we wait for the perfect religious system. So when we convert to Orthodoxy and see that it doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to, we anxiously wait the great saintly bishop to rise and put everything in its place.

    This isn’t going to happen. We may have a few small victories, but overall we can only expect spiritual entropy from the Church. The utopia is not coming. The day in which our bishops do the Orthodox thing, whatever that may be, it’s not coming.

    The best we can hope for is bishops who allow the priests and laity to be Orthodox. Metropolitan Joseph allowing priests to dress like priests and to baptize converts, for example.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Agreed. We must all pray for Joseph and the other Eminences and Graces who had the fortitude (and rectitude) to sign this letter.

  4. Very interesting that Elpidophoros claims to have received a canonical release from ROCOR for this ‘bishop-elect’ in question. If so, he’ll need to provide a copy as proof. Me thinks that there’s something rotten in Denmark.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      As Bartholomew did in Ukraine, he may have just invited him to commemorate him.

      This is what a true schism looks like.

    • Well, our boy Belya forged letters before, did he not?

    • Nektarios says

      He is good at forging letters, that is one of the reasons ROCOR defrocked him. Amongst others.

    • Why wouldn’t Abp Elpidophoros have already provided the canonical release that Met. Hilarion supposedly gave ___ Belya? Met. Hilarion reposed, but chancellors or secretaries who could look up whether there was a release are probably still alive.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        This is interesting:

        Friday, May 21, 2021

        Defamation Action By Bishop In Russian Orthodox Church Survives Motion To Dismiss
        In Belya v. Metropolitan Hilarion, (SD NY, May 19, 2021), a New York federal district court refused to dismiss a defamation complaint by a leader of the Russian Orthodox Christian Church in the United States against various other Church leaders who oppose plaintiff’s election as Bishop of Miami. According to the court, defendants, in a letter to the church’s Synod, made various allegations:

        Principally, the letter alleges that the election of Belya never actually occurred; that the results of Belya’s election were fabricated; that the communications from Hilarion to Russia were falsified, either with Hilarion’s knowledge or without; and that the letter from Archbishop Gavriil confirming that Belya had instituted the required changes of practice was likewise falsified. The Olkhovskiy Group requested, in light these allegations and additional unspecified complaints from persons in Florida, that Belya be suspended from clerical functions until the completion of a full investigation. This letter was disseminated among the members of the New York Synod, to parishes, churches, monasteries, and other institutions within ROCOR, as well as more broadly to online media outlets.

        According to Belya, after the September 3 Letter was sent, he was denied all access to Hilarion and was suspended from performing his duties as spiritual leader of his parish….

        Rejecting an ecclesiastical abstention argument, the court concluded that the lawsuit “may be resolved by appealing to neutral principles of law. Plaintiff’s claim centers on Defendants’ allegations that he forged the various letters at issue that led to the confirmation of his election as Bishop of Miami.” The court went on:

        Belya does not ask this Court to determine whether his election was proper or whether he should be reinstated to his role as Bishop of Miami, and the Court would not consider such a request under the doctrine of ecclesiastical abstention….

        Defendants argued that the statements at issue could not be defamatory because they were merely allegations or opinions. The court concluded, however, that at least one of the challenged statements were assertions of fact, not just allegations.

        Full Decision and Order:

    • Alex,
      The Orthochristian website notes:

      Notably, Abp. Elpidophoros claims that Belya received a canonical release from the late Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral), the former First Hierarch of ROCOR.

      However, this is disputed by the fact that Belya was defrocked by the ROCOR Holy Synod even after he had fled to GOARCH. Thus, ROCOR still considered Belya to be a priest under its own canonical authority.

      Meeting at the Synodal Headquarters in New York on February 5/18, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia came to a decision in the case of Alexander (Belya), the archimandrite who left the jurisdiction without a canonical release after failing to get himself elected as a bishop.

      The ROCOR Eastern American Diocese announced in October that Fr. Alexander was suspended from his priestly duties for “[leading] the Cathedral of Blessed Matrona of Moscow in Dania Beach, FL, and St. Nicholas Monastery in North Fort Myers, FL, out of the structure of the canonical authority of the Russian Orthodox Church.”

      At its most recent session, the Synod heard an appeal from the Spiritual Court of the Eastern American Diocese and resolved to laicize Archimandrite Alexander. The statement reads:

      At the February 5/18, 2020, session of the Synod of Bishops, which was held at the Synodal Headquarters in New York City, an appeal was heard from the Spiritual Court of the Eastern American Diocese regarding the activities of Archimandrite Alexander (Belya) who, while under suspension from serving, wrought disturbance in the church life of several diocesan parishes. Having discussed the appeal and the circumstances of this case comprehensively, as well as the violations of the terms set forth in his suspension that have been a cause of temptation for both clergy and flock, to the point of fleeing beneath the omophorion of a separate jurisdiction without a release from his ruling bishop, it is with sorrow that the Synod of Bishops adopts the following resolution, provided here in brief: …

  5. It is my understanding that the Church is like Noah’s ark. It is full of stinking animals but it is the only boat we have.

  6. Wow. I honestly was expecting Elidophoros to back off. And who knows, if the bishops’ next step is “we mean it”, it may be so scandalous as to force the Phanar to reconsider.

    So one of two things: the Phanar believes just as with the Ukrainian issue you can try to ram this through and eventually someone will give in, or they have some intelligence (or perception) that at least one or two of the bishops is bluffing, so there’s a chance they’ll call off their threat and they’ll take a gamble.

    If I were the Phanar, I’d call off the Belya ‘elevation’. It’s simply not worth the trouble. But their track record for making wise decisions hasn’t been fabulous as of late…

    One other face saving gesture is they can shove him into Europe somewhere like the leftover elements of AROCWE that stayed under Constantinople, then bring someone from there to serve in the States. But who in Europe is going to want Belya? That’s what happens when you try to put lipstick on a pig.

  7. so, where does this leave the ukrainians and the carpatho-russians? the handwriting is on the wall,, a slavic umbrella exarchate under a new bishop. there will be no room for daniel, gregory, and antony. isn’t it time they realized that both dependent diocese are an afterthought in the goa and have been for years. simply put, they ain’t greek but will be tolerated along as the drachmas keep pouring in . the oca would treat them much better. all of this is a great embarassment. the protestants and the roman catholics who we like to throw stones at are having a field day of laughter at our our expense. so, so shameful. like little kids not being able to play together in the sand box. it brings tears of sorrow and embarassment. when will we ever learn how be real chrisitans with love, cooperation, honesty, trust, humility, and fellowship.

  8. “Why isn’t ROCOR part of the Assembly of Bishops”
    “Russia sucks”

    “If everyone is against me it must be them who has the problem”


    Gaslighting Met. Hilarion after his repose is just low, especially given who turned up at his funeral liturgy (essentially everyone). On top of that Met. Joseph just went on a pilgrimage to the ROCOR cathedral in SF to venerate the relics of St. John…clearly no one is in the GOA camp.

    If Belya did receive a canonical release it is up to Elpidophoros to prove that. I had really hoped that the GOA/EP would back down, especially since the entire assembly is united against them, but, it really does not look like that is going to happen.

    I suspect (unfortunately) that the GOA is going to go ahead with this consecration, which by reading that letter seems obvious at this point. I sincerely hope that if that does happen the Assembly of Bishops actually keeps their promise. They fumbled the ball big time with covid, this is their chance to redeem themselves and prevent a huge jurisdictional disaster here in America. If they don’t then I would legitimatly not be surprised if you see a wholesale exodus from the various jurisdictions to ROCOR…and I really think the bishops know that. IF the Ephraim monasteries do indeed decide to leave after Belya is consecrated then I do truly think it’s lights out for GOARCH, I personally know a few priests who have said they will leave the GOA when the monasteries do.

    At this point I think the best thing that could happen is for the GOA do be broken up and barred from the Assembly of Bishops and for those faithful monasteries and parishes to go to other jurisdictions.

    • Nektarios says

      ROCOR left the Assembly due to the EPs machinations many years ago. We don’t miss the Assembly, although we miss some of the members

    • We badly need a Greek alternative to GOARCH, however that happens. Our Greek brothers and sisters need an alternative to Bartholomew and wokeist Fordhamite Orthodoxy.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        To no one in particular: This is why ROCOR has been hiring Greek-speaking priests. The doors are open across the board. Yes, you’re Greek, but are you Orthodox? Do you live in America? If the answer is “yes” on both counts, you’re good.

        • Mark E. Fisus says

          Not only ROCOR but any other jurisdiction.

          But the reality is that even if there are priests who go over, I doubt many parishes can due to civil legal issues regarding control of property, etc., and that’s assuming entire congregations want to. The reality is many are perfectly fine with the trajectory Patriarch Bartholomew is on.

          Another reality is that GOARCH parishes pay very well in comparison to parishes of other jurisdictions, and only the hardiest of priests will leave. There will not be an exodus, but a trickle.

          The few priests who make it into these other jurisdictions, there will not be Greek flocks waiting for them. They will be put in the back of the queue, so to speak, for plumb assignments, and even those will likely be non-Greek. Not a reason not to leave, but they should be clear-eyed about the price they will pay for their consciences. Ideas do matter more than ethnicity, of course.

      • They are called old calendarists, that’s the alternative.
        The GOARCH accepting schismatic bishops always blows up in their face. From the Kievan make believe patriarch to the corrupt abbots of St Irene in Astoria whom the EP reordained as an excuse to excorcise their demons.

        • The old calendarists are not a viable alternative to GOARCH, they are not recognized by or in communion with any other Orthodox jurisdiction in America. If they were then they would be an excellent alternative, but sadly they are not. They are doing a great disservice by not being in communion.

          • The GOC received canonicity, if that’s how it’s said, from ROCOR when Metropolitan Philaret and the late Archbishop Auxentios of Athens met some years ago, before ROCOR joined up with the MP. The re-union with the MP could never have happened when Archbishop St. John of San Francisco and Metropolitan St. Philaret of New York were alive. To properly understand the old calendarists (Metropolitan Demetrios, he of the magnificent encyclical regarding Roe v. Wade, is known to have said “we are not old calendarists, we are Orthodox Christians”) one need only read the Sorrowful Epistles of Metropolitan Philaret, whom “old calendarists” regard as a saint.

        • Sadly from what I’ve seen, the Greek old calendarists are pretty much one and the same with those fragments of ROCOR that ended up in schism: factional to the extreme. You take a look at the videos these old calendarists put out, and it seems that their number one enemy is always one of their own (Cyprian of Fili is probably the most reviled). That’s clearly not a path to be on.

          I’m hoping there could be some canonically legitimate alternative to the EP, because it breaks my heart that so many of my Greek brothers and sisters are forced to choose between the EP’s parishes and the schism upon schism upon schism fundies (some of whom even joined with Filaret in Kiev).

          • Exactly. Many of them are good, Orthodox people, but there are enough tales of shocking scandals amongst the old calendarist hierarchy that it makes them no better than the worst aspects of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Both the EP and the OCs have become havens for sketchy clergy seeking to avoid justice for improprieties.

          • The largest Old calender Orthodox Church and the Fili group merged years ago. The florinites are over 75 percent of all Greek old calendarists. From Fr. Seraphim Rose to Brother Jose Munoz all were in communion with them. Many of the saints of Greece had spiritual Children in communion with them and have never condemned them. It’s the modern heirarchy of the Greeks that are terrified of them for good reason. Even canonical Orthodoxy does not recognize the “new brotherhood” of Esphigmenoy everyone knows they are EP hacks, it’s the original Esohigmenou everyone recognize to be the Orthodox..

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            The EP normalized schismatics. Why not the MP with the old Calendarists and bring them in? Tit for tat.

            • George Michalopulos says

              I think that something like that is long overdue.

              • Agreed. If the MP really wanted to make some moves they would canonically regularize the Old Calendarists in Greece.

            • Old Calendarists? Is that the same Old Calendar
              that is used by Moscow and most of Orthodoxy?
              If so, what is the problem with them?
              Have they become heterodox?
              Have they rejected Tradition?
              Or have the New Calendarists?

              • There’s being on the Church (old) calendar, and being an old calendarist. It’s the elevation of one aspect of tradition over unity with the rest of the Church that’s the problem.

                • That’s exactly the problem with the EP. They refuse to have Greeks celebrate on the old calendar because they place the revised calendar above tradition. The 1923 Congress is just one of many robber synods the Greeks point to their supremacy in the church .
                  Greeks by design must be on the new calendar hence why Greek oc parishes do not exist anywhere in the world except for a few monasteries. To this very day new calendarist Greeks rip off the head scarves on women that still dare to wear one in church since new calendar Greeks view this as a sign of old calendarism. One of the sins of the Church of Greece and the EP is with the savagery they enforced in the past and the zeal they continue to enforce their new calendar. It was even supposed to have been on the agenda of the Crete council but nixed when EP found out it would have been voted against.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    Of all the things that have troubled the Church, this calendar thing is the stupidest. We should all be old calendar.

                    • Alleluia, Gail! The Old Calendar = The Orthodox Calendar!

                      One of the BEST books available on the Old (or Traditional) Calendar: “A Scientific Examination of the Orthodox Church Calendar” by Hieromonk Cassian (with a forward by the late Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna)

                • Isn’t the elevation of the rejection
                  of one aspect of tradition (ie: the old calendar)
                  over unity with the rest (and greater part) of the church
                  also part of the problem?

                  • They’re both equally wrong. But the Old Calendarists, as has been said already, made themselves irrelevant by leaving/walling themselves off and the struggle for tradition has been thoroughly weakened as a result.

                    • I can easily imagine some RCC Cardinal
                      saying that the Orthodox “made themselves irrelevant
                      by leaving/walling themselves off and the struggle
                      for [the truth] has been thoroughly weakened as a result.”

                      I can also imagine some Orthodox Patriarchal Freemason
                      (having instituted a New Calendar in the teeth of tradition)
                      saying that the Old Calendarists “made themselves irrelevant
                      by leaving/walling themselves off and the struggle
                      for tradition has been thoroughly weakened as a result”

                      …which is pretty much where we are now.

                      As Big Brother might have said:
                      “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Tradition is Innovation.”

                      PS: I do not claim to know the answer to this question.
                      We need a Church Council to give us that.

                    • PPS: [re-wording my footnote]
                      I do not claim to have the cure for this affliction,
                      for affliction it is. We need a Church Council for that.

                    • It’s more like they took a brave stand and subsequent events (the continued decadence of the Phanariots into ecumenism, heterodoxy and Unia) have vindicated them.

                • No, it’s the uncanonical changes of the modernists that constitute the problem. That is why I don’t blame the Old Calendarists at all.

            • This is what occured in 1969. Under Met. Philaret of ROCOR relations were strained when Athenagoras lifted the anathemas on the Latin Church. In 1969-70 the GOA ditched ROCOR for the OCA. The ROCOR reciprocated by recognizing the 1962 old calendar ordinations of the Florinites which allowed the Greek ROCOR bishop Petros to become the Florinites old calendar archbishop of Astoria at St. Markella. The O. C. (Cyprianites) severed with ROCOR when they entered canonical communion with the MP. If MP officially ceases ecumenism it would become a done deal.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                I know and agree. Amen and amen.

              • Zel Latrikas says

                Markella was different. Their founder emigrated to America and found out when he had landed that his ordination had been invalid, which is why, instead of abandoning his plans, he became independant. His nephew and successor was classmates in Athens with GOA Chancellow Germanos (Savas) Stavropoulos, and the two had agreed on a reconciliation once the uncle died. However, Lulurgas and Karlutsos disrupted those plans. Meanwhile, Momma Vallone being Armenian, Lulurgas got Citi Council member item funding.

        • Kosta,

          For me, it is a bridge too far to believe that God considers traditionalists outside the Church for maintaining the same faith we all shared 150 years ago. Were there a Greek OC parish in my city, in the absence of a Russian or Serbian parish, I would attend. One should consider what constitutes “canonical” along the same lines as this article rather than who remains under an ancient patriarchate. If they have apostolic succession and otherwise retain the faith untrammeled, their only sin being disobeying bishops who adopt an uncanonical calendar, then I can’t say their mysteries lack grace. The most respected author Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna was among their number. ROCOR was in communion with some of these groups at the same time it was in communion with Serbia, Jerusalem, etc., before the reunification with the MP.

          • Misha- That’s exactly what I’m saying. I think most can agree that Brother Jose Munoz will one day be canonized and while in Greece he would only commune with the TOC never with Church of Greece. In fact I e never heard a Greek Orthodox elder to ever claim old calendarist sacraments lack grace only that new calendarist savraments also have grace.
            I have never heard any State Church of Greece elder or bishop ever deny that the OC Monastery of St. Irene Chrysovalandou not have true miracles, so much so that the apples are brought to new calendar monasteries. From Constantine Cavarnos to the incorrupt Photios Kontoglu to Elder Philotheos Zervakos all said they have grace. Archbishop Averky of ROCOR even wrote a bio of St. Nicholas Planas demonstrating he was an old calendarist, disobeying his bishop on accepting the NC

            • Zel Latrikas says

              St Nicholas WTC was Old Calendar in the 1980s but Fr Bob Stephanopoulos served there on Wednesday afternoons for those who worked nearby. The original church had tsarist relics and was funded by the tsars but Karloutsos changed the founding date to conceal it. EP has both Calendars as the 1929 decision was not to CHANGE calendar but to make calendar irrelevant (agree to disagree). Greece chose to go full swing for New Calendar because of shipping commercial concerns and persecuted the Old Calendarists, hence radicalizing them.

          • Joseph A. says

            I suspect that it was the O.C. Greeks’ “walling themselves off” that allowed the crazy Greeks to drive off the cliff unimpeded. I doubt that the last 100 years of nonsense from Constantinople could have occurred without the calendar schism. Hell knows its strategy.

      • What about the various old calendar diocese sin the usa,, together they ( Gregory, Etna, Astoria, HOCNA, etc) comprise circa 150 parishes.

  9. Xenon Keramidas says

    Your comment is awaiting moderation
    Remember the Olde Church Scandal Archives:
    Why hasn’t this been updated in a while?

  10. Brian Jackson says

    Is it usual for HE Archbishop Elpidophoros to end his missives simply as “Archbishop of America” without specifying the GOArch? It strikes me as ambiguous and potentially as an assertion of authority over the other bishops and metropolitans. Am I reading too much into it?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I agree with you 100%. It’s an assertion of authority. A far cry from his usual, “I believe this, but also believe that,” response with a big smile on his face.

      • He appears to be a Marxist,
        as in Groucho: “These are my principles;
        and if you don’t like them, I have others…”

    • It strikes me as ambiguous and potentially as an assertion of authority over the other bishops and metropolitans.

      Because that is exactly how he sees it I’m sure. The Assembly of bishops essentially just exists for EP dominance over America, the EP doesn’t recognize the OCA as being autocephelous so I essentially think they view the other jurisdictions as being under them by default.

      • All of us in the Barbarian lands require the civilizational influence of the New Rome lest we do something crazy like become Christians (TIC).

    • Mark E. Fisus says

      The “GOARCH” is specified on the letterhead, that’s his title within his jurisdiction.

  11. Do we have responses to any of the other signatories or is it just to Metropolitan Joseph because he is vice-chair?

  12. Anonymous II says

    There’s reference here to the ‘council’ on Crete as both ‘holy’ and ‘great?’ If memory serves, it was neither! And the fact he pushes the globalist agenda against Russia, all in the same letter foisting a compromised wolf onto sheep is terrible. Thank God for Metropolitan Joseph. The Church is under attack here in America, and he actively promotes and encourages that attack simultaneously compromising and scandalizing the Church and her faithful beyond its borders…shame on him.

  13. Whiskey Six says

    Don’t kid yourselves Antiochian Orthodox Church in America is still ruled by a Syrian puppet and they plan on keeping it that way. Look for more Bishops from the old country to be landing soon. All the churches here are ruled by foreigners or by foreign influence.

    Might change in my Grandkids lifetime but probably not mine.

    My advice find a good local parish and stay as far away from the bishops as possible. Their (bishops) Covid response should tell you all you need to know about where they all stand.

  14. Brian Jackson says

    My advice is to obey your bishop unless he is in heresy. With America attempting to export every transgressive trend and every vice to nations who want nothing to do with our so-called “Liberal World Order,” I thank God we are governed–shepherded–by bishops who are distinctly non-Western in mindset. For now, I think this is the salvation and refuge of the Church in America ordained by our Lord. May God preserve HE Metropolitan Joseph!

    • Gail Sheppard says


    • Great way to put it Brian!

    • “…this is the salvation and refuge of
      the Church in America ordained by our Lord”.

      It reminds me of how the Irish monasteries proved to be
      “the salvation and refuge of the Church” in much of the West
      following the fifth century collapse of the Western Empire.

      Ecclesiastes 1:9

      The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be;
      and that which is done is that which shall be done:
      and there is no new thing under the sun.


  15. Had a conversation with a buddy of mine about all of this, he was wondering if now would be a good time to start a petition addressed to the AoB for Elpidophoros to be removed. Strike while the iron is hot so to speak.

    I’m guessing it would spread like wildfire across the Orthosphere and would get tons of signatures.

    Even if it doesn’t directly cause Elpidophoros to be removed, it would send a clear message to the AoB that he needs to be gone, like yesterday.

    Thoughts on that?

  16. In my opinion Joseph’s arm was twisted. Up to this point I have not seen much brilliance or leadership re an American Church from him, the Aniochians have reverted to being more of an Arabic ghetto, something that Metropolitan Antony tried to avoid, but.

    1) Russia and the Phanar are at odds ( I am being kind)
    2) The church in Syria needs the continuing support from Russia for survival
    3) The GOA and Phanar do not recognize the legitimate leader in America – the OCA
    4) So, the next largest Archdiocese and most wealthy is the Antiochian
    5) If Joseph speaks, he represents his patriarch, so the GOA and Phanar need to heed his words
    6) Joseph has no Slavic ties per-se, so his voice is not considered to be from a Slavic camp but as a representative of all the non Hellenists.

    So, he did what was needed to be done, and could best be done by the Antiochians ( remember that back in 70’s there was movement to unite the OCA and the Antiochians)

    In my opinion Joseph “Took one for the team!”

    I still maintain that little Ilarion would be the best to lead and unite all the non Hellenistic dioceses in America.

  17. I agree with you, Whiskey Six. “Find a good parish and stay as far away from the bishops as possible.” I have had to leave two jurisdictions because of rotten bishops (the Episcopal Church USA and the Byzantine Catholic Church Passaic Diocese) and both departures were soul-wrenching, but necessary. Fortunately, I now have an over-the-top excellent parish and an over-the-top excellent Priest, but I try to avoid even making eye contact with bishops. Call me Gun Shy.

  18. As a cradle Greek Orthodox who has aligned with a ROCOR church in Show Low, Arizona; calling other cradle Greeks who see the GOA going in the wrong direction to encourage their Greek & Orthodox friends to put ORTHODOXY ahead of ETHNICITY and explore what ROCOR churches or missions are in their locale.

    • I think many have done that. I go to a ROCOR parish in a major metro area and we’ve had a good amount of Greek parishioners join.

      A couple of months ago I went to Vespers at one of the local Greek parishes (which is a very large parish) and other than me there was only 1 other person at Vespers….one….at a Saturday Vespers. My parents tiny ROCOR mission usually has at least 12 at Vespers.

    • I think it’s possible to walk and chew gum at the same time: to have a Hellenic Orthodox church with Hellenic leadership, without being part of some other ethnic jurisdiction. I think the only person out there who could effectively pull this off is the Jerusalem patriarch, but I don’t think it’s happening anytime soon because of the complicated geopolitics around the Holy Land.

      Nonetheless, I think we need some proper solution to this problem. Having a ROCOR or OCA Greek sub-jurisdiction is not, in my view, a good long term solution – more of a bandaid.

      • George Michalopulos says

        At this point I think the overwhelming number of Greek-Americans (who are still in the Church) would be OK with just joining another jurisdiction.

        I also think it’s time for the OCA to disband the ethnic exarchates. Say, set a set date (say 10 years from now), let them know that they can keep their rubrics, and let the ethnic parishes know that after that date, they will report to the nearest territorial bishop.

        • I’ll be honest, I think it’s a tough sell to get many Greeks to join a jurisdiction where the head hierarch is not a Hellene. We can argue all we like about how ethnocentrism is a bad thing, but I’m simply being a realist here. Personally I’m a ROCOR Russian, and I can understand those Greeks who want a Greek hierarchy and synod. It’s part of how they experience their Orthodoxy, whether one likes it or not.

          The tragedy is that the Greek people have a hierarchy that is heavily influenced by the euroatlantic globalist cabal, as at one point the Russian church in Russia was under the influence of the Soviet state. Constantinople, Athens, Cyprus, and Alexandria are all victims here. Athens has a history of standing up to Constantinople, and the fact that during the Ukraine ‘tomos’ disaster they were ready to at least consider parting ways from Constantinople says there was at least an attempt to resist the temptation to rubber stamp things. Alas…

          Theophilos is the one hold out, and I pray he continues to hold out. At one point Jerusalem did have a presence in the United States, but it backed out in deference to Bartholomew.

          To expect ethnic jurisdictions to fold in the states is just not realistic. I know that I would be very much displeased by such an arrangement, with all respect due to the OCA. As a matter of fact I respect the fact that the OCA provided safe harbor for the Romanians, Albanians, and Bulgarians for such a long time.

          On the other end, trying to breathe canonical life into the self styled ‘old calendar’ Orthodox jurisdictions is a dangerous game. With such a questionable chain of ordinations, not to mention the attitude of extreme factionalism, it’s navigating a minefield and is risking repeating the very same error that Bartholomew made in Ukraine (with likely similar results). The fact that one group of them entered into ties with Filaret is very telling. Maybe there is some path here, but it’s only something that a very wise and holy pastoral mind could undertake with success.

          • George Michalopulos says

            GeorgeS, what you are saying is correct, all things being equal. The trouble is that sometimes, things are never “equal.” Especially when things are spiraling out of control. And where there are wild cards. For the GOA, the Athonite monasteries are a huge wild card. Little by little, then by droves, pious Greek-Americans are “heading for the hills” so to speak. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

            The other wild card, as far as EP/GOA supremacism is concerned, is ROCOR. The fact that communion has been ruptured btw Moscow and Istanbul is huge. Unless the Phanar repents (which is 99% unlikely), the fact remains that anybody who is allied/under Istanbul can jump over to Moscow without asking for a release. That means not only laymen but priests, deacons, bishops and even parishes and dioceses.

            I know it’s a long shot but it is a thought that inhabits the minds of the Phanariotes.

            And then there’s the fact that despite the conflict in the Ukraine, Met Onuphriy, when he pulled the trigger on quasi-autocephaly last month, wound not commemorate Cpole, Alexandria, Cyprus or Athens. But he did commemorate Kirill. If nothing else, that’s a barometer of just how unpopular these four local Churches are.

            • I’ll agree that in our hectic times, things are very difficult and it’s likewise a challenge to make decisions.

              The GOARCH is a very sophisticated corporate entity, and it’s not going to take kindly to people switching allegiances. One of the problems is that switching to any jurisdiction with the “R” in it’s name is going to create numerous heat from the institutions of power and influence. In that sense the OCA is a safer bet (though for the committed globalist, that’s also going to be soon labelled as a backdoor ‘Russian asset’).

              At the end of the day, any alternate canonical Greek jurisdiction abroad with a chance of success had better have its own Archbishop with a Synod that has very wide autonomy, as in the kind of autonomy ROCOR currently enjoys vis a vis the Moscow Patriarchate. I also think such archbishop should offer a path to canonical old calendar Orthodoxy as well as embracing those on the revised Julian. That can ultimately serve as a canonical safe harbor for those old calendarists who are fed up with having to deal with these shadowy jurisdictions with very questionable ordinations. In time, such a structure can build good momentum and respect.

              But it’s absolutely key that it retain its Hellenic character, and that is for the good of Hellenic Orthodoxy at large. When we talk of “liberating Constantinople”, we can look at that question from an ecclesiastic angle as opposed to the classic geopolitical “let’s kick the Turks back to Mongolia”. Just as Russian white emigres always believed Russia would be free of communism, so it should be that Hellenic Orthodox Christians believe in the liberation of the Hellenic lands from secular globalism (and from the Erdogans of this world as well, why not…)

              As for American Orthodoxy, I think that’s very much a real thing these days with its own legs (and Monomakhos is for sure a part of that movement). I’m excited that this is happening, you can tell it matters when the Fordhamites start panicking. We could be well on our way to a real Orthodox presence in the States. That’s a win for everyone, including the ethnic diaspora community which will no longer feel alone.

              • why is Hellenism so important here in the USA and even world wide ,,, is not Chrisitanity the most important identity tecognizing that each country will have its particular flavor while still embracing the essence,,, it works for the Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, Czechs, Bulgaians, Romanians, Serbs, Mongenegrians, Georgians, Syrians, Cypriots, etc so why not a non Hellenistic, non slavic, non Balkan, non Arab Awerican church in America, Europe, Africa etc. or is ethnic identity more important that Chrisitian identity? remember the term Chrisitan can include a plethora of peoples but Hellenism does not have the sole right to the term Christian. You do not need to be an Hellene to Christian.

                • We need to distinguish between a healthy relationship with one’s cultural heritage/ethnicity and an unhealthy one. In Ukraine we’re seeing an unhealthy relationship, unfortunately.

                  It’s normal to feel a sense of belonging to one’s ethnicity, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting a divine service in one’s ethnic tongue when living abroad. There are, for example, Greek Orthodox churches in Russia and Ukraine for those Greeks that live there. Nothing wrong with this.

                  There’s also nothing wrong with wanting to have your bishops having a similar background to yours, because a shepherd should be able to connect to his flock on more than a spiritual level – it helps. No, it’s not certainly the most important thing, but it really is nice to have a multi-faceted connection.

                  It also points out that Greeks as a nation have faced near eradication at times – much as the Armenians – and as such they have a particularly protective attitude toward their ethnic roots. If they didn’t, who knows if they would have survived throughout the years? We’re talking just 15 million people worldwide. I can understand why they feel the way they do, even if it can lead to excesses (something many other nationalities are just as guilty of in that regard). And let’s take a look at how the Turks are: in Turkey their red flag is everywhere to be seen. That’s the key historical adversary the Greek people have had to face, and we also know how many Greeks have ended up becoming Turkified (not to mention Armenians, Slavs, Assyrians, etc). So I try to be understanding and not judgemental if some Greeks may occasionally err on the side of ethnic allegiance in spiritual questions.

                  Any pastoral issue needs to be undertaken with an understanding of the specifics of the community. A Greek Orthodox jurisdiction that is given space for significant autonomy and a free expression of ethnicity, as well as acceptance of two calendars, will in my view be the best beacon of hope against Bartholomew and his minions. That’s just my humble opinion.

  19. LonelyDn says

    How great would it be if Metropolitan Joseph were to welcome the Greek diaspora – laity AND clergy? And imagine, the Greek monasteries going under Antioch. Probably won’t happen, but who knows these days?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I’ve always thought that would be the best fit.

    • I’m with you on this LonelyDn. The Antiochians would be a good fit for the Greeks. Having the Greek monasteries under the AOAA would also solve the problem of having no (?) monasteries in the Archdiocese and also providing them with bishops to choose from, many of the monastics at the Greek monasteries are Americans.