The Problem with Divided Loyalties

Last year, it was revealed that several Greek-American bishops took out Turkish citizenship. This was in response to a request by His Holiness, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople during his most recent trip to America.

The request hackles in many quarters, particularly among the more patriotic-minded of the Greek-American community. Besides the fact that dual citizenship is not recognized by the United States government, such a request raises several canonical issues as well, to say nothing about the ugly specter of divided loyalties rearing its ugly head. As we have learned in the interim, some of our GOA bishops — including the Primate — are Greek nationals who still receive pensions from the Greek government. Whatever else this does, it solidifies the appearance that they are paid agents of a foreign power (and not a very friendly one at that).

This is all very troubling. At the very least, it raises uncomfortable questions about loyalty to this nation. Please understand, the recent transfer of donations raised in America and taken to Greece to help that ailing country is not what we are talking about. The issue is one of principle: can one man serve two masters? Our Lord said no.

Dual loyalties, if taken to its logical conclusion, can have disastrous effects. This would be especially if the dual citizenship in question includes loyalty to a country whose interest may be diametrically opposed to our nation’s.

Don’t believe me? Please read this full-page ad that was published last year in The Atlanta Jewish Times.

Can’t see the document? Download it instead.

Now as you all know, I am no Obama apologist. I will crawl naked over broken glass to vote against him this November. But for an American citizen to be calling for the assassination of the sitting President is nothing less than reprehensible. The fact that the author couched his wishes as only a “consideration” makes it no less abominable. Although he later withdrew the ad and apologized, the fact remains that he said it. Moreover, he still remains free of any criminal charges. He was supposedly condemned by the official Jewish organizations but considering the fact that nobody outside the Jewish community has heard about it, we must assume that any such criticism was pro forma.

Leaving aside the fact that the publisher/writer of this ad may only be speaking for himself, he raises the possibility that others higher-up in Israeli intelligence circles have discussed this option amongst themselves. Lest anyone think that such discussions –let alone actions–are preposterous, they are not. In fact, there is precedent among some groups to influence American foreign policy by attempting to assassinate an American president. Margaret Truman Daniel, in her biography of her father Harry Truman, wrote that the White House received several letter bombs from the Jewish terrorist group known as the Stern Gang back in 1947. Although President Truman was more sympathetic to the Zionist cause than his predecessor, there was no indication at that time in 1947 that he would recognize the state of Israel. This accusation by Mrs Daniel was contested by one of the Stern Gang veterans but others working in the Truman White House have testified to the veracity of Mrs Daniel’s account.

This of course is troubling to me personally as I have always been sympathetic to the state of Israel and have long viewed it as a strategic ally. This however is beside the point. I have openly questioned our country’s continued role in world affairs and have suggested a reappraisal of all our treaties and overseas commitments. This too however is tangential. The question at hand is more basic. Can an American citizen represent his nation’s interests if he is also subject to a foreign power? Especially a foreign power like Turkey which is actively hostile to American interests and whose people have a hatred for America. An let us not forget that Turkey has escalated military tension against the Assad regime which (for all its tyranny) is the only thing preventing the mass slaughter of Syria’s Christians.

On a more immediate level, such divided loyalties would have disastrous effects on an inter-Orthodox level. How would those bishops of the GOA holding dual citizenship act when and if Turkish troops invaded Syria and helped overthrow the Assad regime? How would they be able to look their Antiochian brothers in the eye when in the resultant chaos, thousands of Orthodox Christians are brutalized? And would they also join forces with K Street lobbyists in the employ of Turkey when they importune Congress to not recognize the Armenian Holocaust? (This is a yearly event by the way.) This is not a far-fetched scenario: pro-Israeli groups regularly come to Turkey’s aid in this regard, not merely because they want to preserve the term “holocaust” for the suffering endured by the Jews during the years 1941-1945, but because Turkey and Israel have long had a strategic alliance against the Arabs.

Surely other unforeseen scenarios could develop. Regardless, there is one simple way for American bishops to avoid such pitfalls, and that would be for them to not apply for dual citizenship in the first place. After all, American law does not recognize dual citizenship. On that basis alone, an American citizen should obey the law of the land in which he lives. For those who cannot or will not accept the laws of the land, they can always renounce their American citizenship and move to that country which has a more heartfelt claim on their loyalties.

About GShep


  1. Are you in a position to name the GOA bishops who have applied for dual citizenship? I am wondering about mine.

    Another question. Were these bishops born in Turkey? If not, how can they apply for Turkish citizenship under the auspices of dual citizenship. Dual citizenship, as I understand it, requires a person to be born in one country and living in another.

    • I can’t speak for the laws of Turkey, only for the laws of Greece (unless they have been changed). From what we always have told, our children are eligible for dual-citizenship with Greece because their paternal grandfather was born in that country. My husband, of course, also is eligible because of his father’s birthplace. (His mother also was born in Greece, but she does not affect the citizenship question.) As noted by others, the United States does not recognize any dual citizenship.

      • Basil Takach says

        FWIW: Is this any more odd than American athletes who are not able to make an American Olympic team being allowed to compete for the country of one of their grandparents? I guess many of us are out of luck there as Austria-Hungary hasn’t fielded a basketball team at the Olympics since say, 1912.

        • George Michalopulos says

          If they want to play basketball for Hungary, then they should go to Hungary and take up citizenship there.

          • Basil Takach says

            Never for the Magyars! Come on now don’t you know your history!

            • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

              Better the Magyars than the Turks!Of course.I’m more sympathetic to the Magyars than many other Slavs.This probably won’t endear me to any Romanians,Slovaks,or Rusyns reading this forum!

              • Basil Takach says

                Well, if you put it Turks or Magyars, I’m sure my grandfathers would have held their noses and chosen Magyars for at least they were Christians. Of course, the irony for those who are familiar with esoteric bits of Orthodox history in the USA is that the actual Basil Takach (first Ruthenian Greek Catholic eparch of Pittsburgh) and his cronies were highly Magyarized clergy from Ungvar/Uzhorod and that did not endear them to the people and had much to do with their lack of , for lack of a better word,a personal touch among their flocks. So for that I am thankful for such no doubt contributed to my being here and being Orthodox two generations later!

                • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

                  The reason that I prefer the Hungarians is because my ancestery is from Eastern Ukraine.My late wife was of Lemko ancestry;her mothers people from the side of Austria-Hungary,her fathers people from what is now Northeastern Slovakia.
                  Anyways,Ukraine was under Polish rule and the Poles had no problem joining with the Turks against the Orthodox.Poles still regard Ukraine and Belarus’ as lost territory.
                  I always marveled at the Polish-Hungarian love affair.Poles don’t seem bothered by the fact that Hungary always sided with the Germans against fellow Slavs.Yet,when other Slavs allied with Hitler against the equally brutal Stalin,it’s upsetting!
                  My nephew through marriage,Fr.Stephan Meholick,comes from a Rusyn Greek-Catholic background.He and five or six other Greek Catholic seminarians,became Orthodox after studying at Sts.Cyril & Methodius Greek Catholic Seminary in the early 70’s.Fr.Stephan related the history of the Rusyns under Magyar domination many times.He is married to my wifes neice.
                  Also,my wifes grandparents were part of the Uniate return to Orthodox here in the US.St.Alexis Toth baptised my father-in-law in Wilkes-Barre,PA IN 1904.

                  • Basil Takach says

                    Well, Father, I think you and I are singing then from the same set of music as to Hungarians! I remember when those seminarians came from Pittsburgh and several later ones came into ACROD a few years later. S’bohom!

                  • Isa Almisry says

                    btw, the Hungarians are not Slavs.

  2. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Sorry George, but this is not a big issue for me. I have my disagreements with the EP, but I want the Patriarchate of Constandinople to continue to exist. Unless and until Turkey changes its rules that only a Turkish citizen can be Patriarch, which they should do, the EP and GOAA are doing what they have to do to keep the Patriarchate of Constandinople alive.

    The Metropolitans’ loyalties are to Christ’s Church first and foremost.

    During the Bosnian War when America bombed Serbia during Pascha I did not see any Serbian Orthodox Bishop or Bishops hating or denouncing any American Orthodox Bishop of any Orthodox Jurisdiction here in America because of the bombings. I believe the Antiocheans can make and have made the distinction between what our American Government does and what our Church supports. Otherwise, all American Bishops would be hated for America’s support for the State of Israel and this simply is not true.

    That’s just me and I can be wrong.

    Take care buddy.


    • M. Stankovich says

      Mr. Papoutsis,

      It only seems logical, I suppose, to a silly American, to combine the words of St. Paul, “God that made the world and all things in it, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, no longer dwells in temples made by hands, ” (Acts 17:24) with the last interview I saw of the EP on 60 Minutes showing the “glory” of the remaining Byzantine Empire to consist of four square blocks of degraded commercial buildings in an obscure neighborhood of grimy, urban Istanbul. This is tantamount to claiming Gary is a suburb of Chicago, or Hoboken is a suburb of NYC. And for this an American should hold Turkish citizenship? I don’t mean to be rude, but the emperor has no clothes.

    • Harry Coin says

      All this talk of ‘the church of Christ’ — where are the native Turkish clergy after all these centuries then?

      We only like the fractions of the meaning in rules and words that ‘helps our agenda’.

      Maybe it has something to do with how we uphold as exemplars of the faith those in the modern era who don’t know what it means to be married, care for a family.

      All the Islamic clerics have to do when trying to retain their people is talk about his family, point to our leaders, and wink.

      Our own Gospel calls for us to other than we do, there is foreseen what church leaders 300 years later could not– the end of working age widowers.

      • Probably most Turkish converts if women married Greek men and if men, they or their offspring Hellenized their family names. Surely you know that many people who call themselves Greek are descended from something else entirely.
        Some cultural historians used to opine that there were hardly ANY real Greeks in the Peloponnesos (sp?) since ancient times, the place having been overrun so many times by various nations’ armies—Persians, Romans, Turks, Spaniard/Catalans,etc. etc., etc. One claimed that the main ethnic element in the modern population of the county called Greece is Bulgarian/Slav. Anyhow, much of the ‘Glory that was Greece” was strictly Anatolian. Even today, in, for example, modern Persian, the word for “Greek”is “Ionian.” It was the “Greeks” in the Pellponness (sp?) and the islands that waged the war of independence, while the huge Greek population of Turkey and Asia Minor were mostly non-participants who bore the brunt of that war–extermination, deportation, etc., especially after the expulsion of Turks from the new state of Greece.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          Being that I disagree with your racial assessment, which is a condensation of the racial theories of Fallemeyer (sp?) in regards to the Greek race, and I do not want to get sidetracked, the conflict between Greek in regards to their participation in the Greek War of Independence is well-known and the Anatolian Greeks were not then in a position to support the War although DID support the Greco-Turksih War of 1922-23, which did end in defeat of Greek forces and led to the burning and destruction of Smyrna.

          I do not blame, like others do, what a any person, Greek or Non-Greek, has to do to survive in a hostile land. I do not blame Greek for wanting to hold on to the Patriarchate in Constandinople, like I do not blame Cyprit Greek for wanting their homes back.

          I do not blame southerners for wanting to hold on to their “Home” in the South and their sacred places and homes. I do not blame Russia for wanting to hold on to Chechnya or for Checknya for wanting to fight and die for their homeland. This is the way of things and its a very human reaction. I understand it and support it. So not a very big deal for me.


  3. it is not time for us to make a committment to america and cease this nonsensical foreign control and intrigue of our indigenous church? i am appalled by the continued foreign control, dual allegiences, byzantine intrigue? if we are to be truly an american christian church then we need to act like an american christian church for our future is within these hallowed grounds

    in reality a strong independent american christian church as part of the fellowship of chrisitian orthodox churches is much more powerful and can do so much more good that this smattered missmosh of ethno centric entities who debbate who is the most orthodox, not christian but orthodox – why we do not follow thwe canaons let alone what Jesus has instructed us to do – same on us all

    i bet Jesus is so sad about our stupidity and lack of following his teachings – i fear that the lightning bolt will soon be on its way

    May God have mercy on all of us

    • RJKLANCKO expects a thunderbolt.. from Jupiter I guess. I don’t think our God, the All-Holy
      Trinity, is likely to resort to such old-fashioned stuff from before the coming of Grace.
      What does “why we do not follow thwe canaons” mean?
      What is “nonsensical foreign control?” There are NO foreigners IN Christ’s Holy Orthodox Church and there can be no such thing in Christ’s Holy Orthodox Church. “Foreign control” would be control by Mormons, Scientologists, Roman Catholics, Rosicrucians, Hard-shell Baptists, Holy Rollers (sorry, I know some people go all to pieces when we apply the word “Holy” to anything unOrthodox), and so on. Thus, if we were to go under Constantinople, that would be under foreign control because he is under the control of the Turk, while if we were to go under Moscow, Belgrade, etc., this would NOT be under foreign control.

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      Most of Americans are just as smitten by England as the homeland of their ancestors as any Lebanese or Greek Orthodox is for the homeland of their ancestors. We fought a war to rid ourselves of the British King, but every time anything happens to any member of the British royal family, Americans are just as interested as the English. When Princess Diana died, you would have thought from the American press that she was an American princess. When Prince William married Catherine Middleton, you would have thought that our future king and queen were getting married. We do not see our newspapers filled with accounts of the activities of the members of the Danish, Spanish or any other royal family.

      • George Michalopulos says

        That’s because Britain is our mother country, and royalty is a mystical office which suffuses the land and people both in space and time. Much like the Church.

        • George,
          I appreciate your appreciation of things British, but if I’m not mistaken the USA ended the mother-daughter relationship in 1776 and sealed the deed in 1812. Whenever I visit the US, I feel like being in a foreign country that happens to speak English. Don’t get me wrong: the US fascinates me and is a great country, but as a British subject (of Russian descent, the 3rd generation of post-Revolutionary exile) I feel much more at home above the 49th parallel where one can at least get a decent cup of tea!

          • George Michalopulos says

            Of course you do. It’s a rather curious thing this feeling of “connectedness”, certainly not rational. Whereas most Englishmen feel more at home in Canada, many Americans (myself included) do feel somewhat at home in Old Blighty, it’s topography is not that much different than New England for example. I know of many American expats who have made England their home.

  4. George,

    I don’t see how you get from the Turkish citizenship matter to the Israel matter. This really seems to be about finding a replacement for the Ecumenical Patriarch, who must be a Turkish citizen.

    I think you’ve taken quite a leap.


    • Fr. George Washburn says

      I have to agree with Alex. This piece exhibits extremely muddled thinking. An Orthodox bishop by definition has undivided loyalty to Christ only, not to a country of origin, or residence, … or potential residence. If a bishop in light of that unique and indivisible loyalty to Christ can still render to Caesar anything that is Caesar’s, and I don’t see why he can’t, then what is the problem with dividing that lesser allegiance among a couple of Caesars? Yes, there may be extra difficulty if the two Caesars are in conflict, but we always have to be ready to affirm the primacy of our loyalty to Christ in the face of evil government policy, such as certain American wars, abortion policy, etc.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Fr George, if there was in fact “primacy of loyalty to Christ,” I suppose the argument against dual citizenship could be mitigated somewhat. Unfortunately, all we get from the Phanar is loyalty to the spirit of the times. Recently, His Holiness met with the Communist, atheist leader of SYRIZA, a consortium of leftist parties.

      • Basil Takach says

        Of course history does have numerous examples of good Orthodox bishops shuttling between one national state’s see and the primary see of another. If my memory of Church history is accurate, there may even be a Saint or two among them…..

  5. I object to this sentence, George: ” Especially a foreign power like Turkey which is actively hostile to American interests and whose people have a hatred for America.”

    Turkey, as a member of NATO, is NOT actively hostile to American interests, and the Turkish people, in my opinion, have no more hatred for America than the French, Russians, Greeks, Sioux, Mayans, or Portuguese have

    • The Turks are just people like everyone else in the world. When one of my brother-in-laws was in the US Army, attached to the 1st Marine Division on the Chosun Reservoir (Frozen Chosun) during the Korean Conflict they were hit head on by about 3-5 Chinese divisions. He stated that when they were about to be overrun during an early battle, he was very glad to see some attached Turkish units show to help them. Some people think Turks are okay. The conflict for us is between the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the world system that surrounds us. At one point the Turks were greatly outnumbered by the Orthodox Greek population under their control, but something was missing in that population, they did not convert their overlords as the earlier Christians did with their Roman overlords. There is probably more Greek blood in the so-called Turks than the actual Turkish blood of those who originally rode their horses into the Mediterranean scene from somewhere in Asia. Those original Turks, about 70,000 strong did not bring any women with them from what I understand. That is why the prophecy that the Greeks love from St. Kosmas Aitolos is interesting (if true). The interpretation is that in the end times the Russians will attack the Turks; one third of the Turks are predicted to die in the conflict, one third will revert back to Christianity, and one third will return to Turkeyland in Asia Minor where they came from. I would rather see them all come to Christianity and that is my prayer.

  6. The US certainly does allow dual citizenship. Look at your passport– there’s several notices to dual citizens about their being liable for things like mandatory military service in their other country of citizenship…..

    • George Michalopulos says

      It may now, the law may be a dead letter. If so, I cry for the Republic.

    • It’s been that way since 1967, so that Jewish Americans could take Israeli nationality. A close friend of mine acquired Irish citizenship a couple years back– when she returns to the US from Europe, she only needs to present her Irish passport which states her place of birth as being in the US and verbally declare that she’s a US citizen in order to enter as a citizen. Having multiple passports isn’t that rare, really….

      • George Michalopulos says

        Samn!, I still think it is morally wrong. If this was done for the benefit of Jewish Americans then it doesn’t make it any more right. In fact, it taints them with that which Jews have always been accused –that is to say, divided loyalties. If you believe (as do I) that there is no racial or ethnic taint to any ethnicity, then the same standards have to apply to all American citizens. Otherwise we have “classes” of citizenship.

        Mind you, I have no problem with people living in the United States as Resident Aliens. These people abide by the laws, one of which is they cannot vote. I do have a problem however with birthright citizenship, that is the misreading of the 14th Amendment which grants citizenship to babies born on this continent, even though their parents have no loyalty to this nation. For example, Boris Johnson, the Tory Mayor of London. He was born in NYC because his parents were working for the British consulate there. He’s no more an American than I am the Queen of England. Yet under the present twisted interpretation of the 14th Amendment, he could run for President of the United States. That’s absurd.

      • Regarding Boris Johnson, you are absolutely incorrect. Johnson was born in the US to foreign nationals who were in diplomatic service to their alien government, a condition which the US Supreme Court held was a disqualifier for US citizenship (U.S. v Wong Kim Ark, 1898).

        • George Michalopulos says

          Unfortunately Andjelia, Wong is a dead letter. I wish it weren’t but the 14th Amendment has been tortured out of existence to take in any and all babies born in the US, regardless of their parents’ allegiances.

          • Wrong again, George, as stated quite clearly at the top of the linked page on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services site.

            A person born in the US to foreign diplomats, while not a citizen, may however, apply for a green card provided he has resided continuously in the US since birth. That is the only consideration such an individual receives. He is not a U.S. citizen and does not qualify to run for President of the U.S. Period.

  7. We used to bar dual citizenship in the US but no longer, George.

    Alex, Israeli citizenship is also difficult to acquire for a non-Jew and the Jerusalem Patriarchate is under similar rules as the Patriarch of Constantinople with any new Patriarch having to be ok’d by the state, in one case Jewish, the other case majority Muslim, part of an agreement that the Patriarch of Constantinople made in the 118th century with the Ottoman Empire. There are severely declining Orhodox populations in both locations. Both countries are occasionally volatile.

    That said, let’s concentrate on the Metropolitan and on leadership in Orthodox churches in this hemisphere.


    Thursday, October 25, 2012
    9:00 am
    St. Nicholas Cathedral (3500 Massachusetts Ave, Washington DC).
    Hierarchical Liturgy celebrated by His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel (Archbishop of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate; Locum Tenens of the Metropolitan See of the Orthodox Church in America), concelebrated with Bishop Mark of Baltimore and assisted by local clergy. Fellowship hour to follow in Cathedral Hall.

    2:00 – 5:00 pm
    Orthodox Christian Laity Board Meeting in St. Nicholas Cathedral Hall.

    Friday, October 26, 2012
    11:30 am
    Tour of Library of Congress

    12:30 pm
    Reception at the Library of Congress, Whittal Pavilion (Thomas Jefferson Bldg, Carriage Check Entrance).
    Program includes: Showcasing the History of OCL in DVD. Guest speakers including: Dr. James Hadley Billington (Librarian of Congress); Nicholas Marinides (Visiting Scholar at Dumbarton Oaks) discussing “Piety of the Laity in Byzantium”.

    6:00 pm
    Vesper – St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, 4335 16th St NW, Washington DC (free parking)

    7:00 pm
    Lenten Supper ($25 donation)
    Keynote: His Grace Bishop Maxim, Serbian Orthodox Church, Western Diocese (Alhambra, CA); Member of Assembly of Bishops Secretariat. Topic: “Ecclesiology of community and need for tangible Unity in North America”.
    Protodeacon Peter Danilchick: Update on the work of the Assembly of Bishops followed by Questions & Answers.
    Panel Discussion Program:

    Our Orthodox Past – Our Orthodox Present – Our Orthodox Future

    Saturday, October 27, 2012
    George Washington University (Mt Vernon Campus): West Hall B 108 A & B, 2100 Foxhall Road NW, Washington, DC 20052

    8:45 am
    Introductions and Greeting: Bill Souvall (President of OCL) and Peter Marudas

    9:00 – 11:00 am
    “Our Orthodox Past” Discussion and Questions

    11:15 am – 1:15 pm
    “Our Orthodox Present” Discussion and Questions

    1:15 – 2:00 pm
    Lunch in Mt. Vernon Campus Cafeteria

    2:15 – 4:15 pm
    “Our Orthodox Future” Discussion and Questions

    4:15 – 4:30 pm
    Wrap up by Dr. Elizabeth Prodromou

    Panelists include:

    Our Orthodox Past

    Dr. John J. Yiannias, Byzantinist and Professor Emeritus Art History, University of Virginia, and author.

    Dr. Andrew H. Walsh, Assistant Director of Leonard Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life, Trinity College, Hartford, CT; Nicholas Chapman International Taxation Accountant and Consultant founder of St. Gregory Foundation (UK) and Project consultant to the World Council of Churches, Moscow.

    George Karcazes, OCL Board member, will serve as moderator.

    Our Orthodox Present

    His Grace, Bishop Mark, Bishop of Baltimore (OCA)

    Khouria Frederica Mathewes Green, author, commentator, lecturer.

    Dr. Gayle E. Woloschak , Professor, Researcher, Peer Reviewer, Patent-Inventor, Public Service; faculty member at Departments of Radiation Oncology, Radiology and Cell and Molecular Biology, Robert Lurie Cancer Center, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL.

    Peter J. Petkas, OCL Board member, will serve as moderator.

    Our Orthodox Future

    Nicholas Gvosdev , Professor U.S. Naval War College, Newport, RI.

    Marilyn Rouvelas , author, speaker, on the topic of Hellenic culture.

    John Sitilides , Principal at Trilogy Advisors LLC – Manages professional development program for senior US Diplomats in Greece, Cyprus and Turkey; Membe of US-Qatar Business Council and Wilson Council; Member of Board of Trustees of IOCC.

    Michael Tsakalos, business professional, active layman and board member of IOCC.

    Dr. Elizabeth Prodromou, guest lecturer at Harvard University (2012-2013); Associate Professor of International Relations at Boston University; Appointment to U.S. Commission of International Religious Freedom.

    • loh says:
      October 25, 2012 at 1:22 am

      Hierarchical Liturgy celebrated by His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel… concelebrated with Bishop Mark of Baltimore

      Is there some sort of “signal” with that?

      • Father Deacon says,


        s there some sort of “signal” with that?

        I don’t know. I think someone already posted they had knowledge that as St. Nicholas Cathedral was already slated for the venue for that day, and Metropolitan Jonah for the keynote sermon for the initial liturgy and for his participation throughout, the cathedral insisted he not serve there and Bp. Nathaniel got substituted. Although I have been posting their website material on the conference, I am not a member of OCL or St. NIcholas. Joel Kalvesmaki is a member of both, and very well regarded by OCL as well, so I am mystified that they would remove his letter concerning Metropolitan Jonah’s removal from their website and even more mystified why Mark Stokoe’s so-called interview with S. Vais would go up in its place presuming to speak for the OCA.

        Of the events, there is a Vespers and Lenten meal tonight at the Palestinian Orthodox CHurch, St. George, on 16th St. in the District with the western Serbian Archbishop as the keynote speaker, The parishioners there are locally renowned as great cooks:

        Tomorrow is the event at a branch of the George Washington University campus here:

        It is free and open to the public but the parking is on meters, evidently. Never been there before.

  8. Bruce Wm. Trakas says

    You haven’t made your point, George, in my opinion. What is “the problem with divided loyalties?” The leadership of the Holy Archdiocese has always had to be cautiously diplomatic about its commentary as to the Turk’s treatment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate due the repercussions that actions here could have at The Phanar. Recall Archbishop Iakovos was deemed by Turkey “persona non grata,” due to his remarks about the Turkish government, in connection with the Cyprus issues particularly. Recall Archbishop Spyridon’s initiative that resulted in a “Sense of Congress” demanding the re-opening of the Halki Theological School; an independent initiative without having consulted the Patriarchate, while he was attempting to demonstrate his viability as American Primate. The Turks dismissed the Board of Trustees of the Theological School, in reaction. +Bartholomew was infuriated with his American Primate. (+Spyridon was able to activate American government diplomacy to reinstate the trustees.)

    Have you an example of how dual loyalties have compromised the church? I know of none.

    The Archdiocese’s canonical relationship with The Phanar somewhat compromises our “free speech” in connection with the Church of Constantinople, not the prospect of dual Turkish citizenship; not that I support succumbing to this latest Turkish affront. Neither have I seen anything about the actions of the Archdiocese or commentary by its leadership, that have been compromised by possible Greek citizenship.

    Our friend Theodore Kalmoukos has diligently reported upon the matter of the Turkish government’s compromise about their citizenship requirement for the Ecumenical Patriarch. Last I saw anything, the only American to have applied for dual citizenship with Turkey was Metropolitan Nikitas of Dardanellion, Director of the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute at Berkley, CA. He is American born, but he has not been part of the Holy Archdiocese since 1996, when he had been elected Metropolitan of Hon Kong; and PAOI is a Patriarchal Strovpegial Institution (though I sense he has his eye on Chicago, of where he is native, when it opens up, (a choice that will be between bad and worse—that’s for another discussion). Last I read, none of the Synodal Metropolitans had applied for Turkish citizenship.

    Kalmoukos intimidated Archbishop Demetrios to sacrifice his pension from the Greek government several years ago; a decision I disagreed with. He was 72 years old (I think) when he was elected Archbishop of America, and was retired as an auxiliary bishop to the Archbishop of Athens, after he had taught for a decade at Holy Cross and a few stints at Harvard where he secured his doctorate. He earned his pension.

    I don’t know who of the American bishops are Greek citizens; it’s likely +Demetrios is a Greek citizen, I’ve never seen anything about him securing American citizenship, +Methodios, +Isaiah, +Nicholas, +Savas, and +Evangelos are American born. So that leaves +Iakovos, +Alexios, and +Gerasimos. +Iakovos and +Gerasimos have been in the U.S. most of their lives at this point, and +Alexios goes back 40 years I’d guess–maybe it is he, I don’t know.

    • George Michalopulos says

      The problem with divided loyalties? How about “No man can serve two masters”?

      • So America is our Master? You say His-All Holiness is a shill for the Turks, I disagree. I believe he is dealing with a reality and making the best of it, he hasn’t sold out the Faith or anything of the sort (if he has, show proof and he should be deposed). My Master is Jesus Christ, wether I lived in Turkey, Russia, America or Mars. You are doing what Protestants do George, taking Scripture and twisting it to make it fit your narrative. “You cannot serve God and Mammon” Tell me, is America God or Mammon? When your only true loyalty is to Christ and His Church, the rest doesn’t matter.

        • George Michalopulos says

          No, Christ is our Master. America is our homeland. “Fear God, honor the king, love your neighbor.” (One of Peter’s epistles.) The state is a ministry set up by God to restrain evil and we owe our allegiance to the nation of our birth. Bishops are not exempt from this.

      • Fr. George Washburn says

        Dear George:

        I get it that Jesus said that and we ought to take it seriously into account, but the issue is so much more subtle and complex than a proof-text from the Gospels. Does “thou shalt not kill” answer all questions for you on war or capital punishment or the defense of one’s home and family from robbers? I am confident it doesn’t. So…

        If you were saying that an Orthodox bishop mustn’t serve ANY state power with a loyalty that impinges on his loyalty to Christ, I would be with you 100%. But to criticize the acquisition of a second passport because it might compromise his loyalty to America is *way* outside any legitimate interpretation of the text, let alone one rooted in the Fathers.

        Next thing we know you’re going to advocate for a optional break in long services, say the middle of the 7th inning, where God Bless America can be sung. Go Giants! And no, I don’t serve two masters. I only root for the As or Red Sox when the Giants are not involved!


        Fr. George

      • Dear George,

        I am totally with you on one citizenship. Divided political loyalties and foreign lobbies in the U.S. have been gaining increasing control over the past fifty years.

        I am totally with you on this and the concept of ONE Orthodox Church in America and Canada and Mexico, another one for South America.

        Not, let’s get back to praying for the Metropolitan and his vision and inclusion as an Orthodox leader in America.

        • Ordo Antiquus says

          “I am totally with you on this and the concept of ONE Orthodox Church in America and Canada and Mexico…”

          Right. Americans should never be under non-American bishops, but Canadians and Mexicans must be under American bishops. Very nice. Very exceptionalist. Is American imperialism now a dogma of OCA?

          • George Michalopulos says

            I disagree. The Central American archdiocese should merge with the others there and become autocephalous or at least autonomous. Ditto the Canadian jurisdictions. Sovereign lands deserve sovereign churches.

          • Ordo Antiquus,

            Each country should have its own church in its own language/s and should not be centrally controlled by a body of which it is not a part. So, a Patriarchate of the Americas, inclusive of everyone, and an autocephalous Canadian Orthodox Church, American Orthodox Church (inclusive of native languages and all immigrant languages in use), Mexican Orthodox Church (Spanish and native languages), Brazilian Orthodox Church (Portugues, Spanish and naive languages) etc.Aren’t there some RUssian parishes in Chile?

            I rather like nationalities system already in place. You can visit Bucharest or Sofia and find a church for the Serbian minority or the Bulgarian or Macedonian or Romanian or Russian. Under the Romanian Patriarchate or Bulgarian Patriarchate, or funded representation churches of other countries.

            What is insane is the jurisdictional and liturgical mess we have now

            • Lola J. Lee Beno says

              Add the respective country’s sign language to the list. American Sign Language is different from Mexican Sign Language, for instance.

              • And we now have technology to broadcast services and to webcast and film them so there is no reason why the sight impaired cannot have headphone accommodations, why we cannot meet accessibility best practice guidelines and provide prominence of space placing in our naves for the physically challenged.

  9. Ashley Nevins says

    His ALL HOLINESS used that HOLINESS to protect Americans and American Orthodox from the specter of sex abuse at the Astoria NY monastery that has his HOLY name on it. His ALL HOLINESS removed the 300 lb. monks to a place outside of America to show his HOLY care and concern for the victims, the church and the American society.

    To question his HOLY integrity, motives or intentions on this issue of dual citizenship has no grounds for anyone to concern themselves with. He only makes decisions based upon his HOLINESS. His ALL HOLINESS cares about Americans by how he removed a unholy and abusive threat to Americans.

    One can then only assume that his ALL HOLINESS will use this dual citizenship to somehow protect Americans in the future from such threats by removing them to another country to make them someone else problem. The green Patriarch is way ahead of his time. HOLINESS that is ALL HOLY is always found at the cutting edge of Gods HOLINESS that protects the environment of the church from toxic things that could pollute it and bring harm to the innocent sheep. If anyone of these HOLY men were to act unholy incompetent in the self protection of unholiness his ALL HOLINESS would severely discipline that man with consequences that sends a clear message to the HOLY GOA that such unholiness will not be tolerated. HOLINESS is competency expected by his ALL HOLINESS.

    You all must remember that his ALL HOLINESS is the final word on any bishop, metropolitan or elder appointment in the GOA. Through his HOLINESS he has appointed HOLY men of God to lead the GOA in America to a HOLY outcome. All of these men are the role model of HOLY transparency and accountability and just like his ALL HOLINESS is. If anyone of them were to behave in a manor of gross sin that is unholy His ALL HOLINESS would remove them and just like he did the Astoria NY monks.

    His ALL HOLINESS is the first among equals who by his HOLY vision for the GOC that leads it to a dynamic, alive and growing HOLINESS in America. His HOLY decisions are without equal by his being the first among equals and to question them is to question the very HOLINESS of God. The leader of Gods only alone right and one true church of HOLINESS always makes the most HOLY right and true decisions to make sure the witness and the testimony of the church to a unholy world is always HOLY.

    This dual citizenship is just his way of honoring freedom of religion that separates church and state and foreign rule from the state. HOLINESS is not confusion. HOLINESS brings order to confusion. So, any Orthodox that is perplexed, wondering or confused about this matter only needs to trust in the HOLINESS of God that is the HOLINESS of his ALL HOLINESS to know his HOLY decisions will turn out to be HOLY right in their outcome.

    How any of you would not submit too and obey without question the ALL HOLY decisions of his ALL HOLINESS is just not the Orthodox Way and especially if you are GOA. Awe and fear in silence can be the only response to ALL HOLINESS. Any rebellious, authority problem or divisive questioning of the HOLY decisions of his ALL HOLINESS is what brings confusion to the order he is trying to bring to the GOA in America. Asking questions only causes doubt and the loss of faith in ALL HOLINESS. That then leads to loss in faith in the HOLINESS of God Himself. It causes people to question if the HOLINESS of his ALL HOLINESS is not quite as HOLY as it would like you to believe that it is. It is UNHOLY to do that and it can only lead to the demise of HOLINESS in the GOC. A church that stands as Gods standard of HOLINESS to the world and who has no equal in HOLINESS.

    Ashley Nevins

    • and the OCA has done better, I suppose? For the record, I’m not in a jurisidction under the EP.

    • Basil Takach says

      Satire? Irony? Not very subtle if that’s the point here…..

    • Dear Ashley,

      Are you talking about His All Holiness or His Most High Holiness? Just want to be able to understand your post, which was probably important but I am not up to speed on Greek church politics here in this coutnry or abroad

      • Ashley Nevins says

        Probably meant to use his His Most High Holiness if that is the Patriarch. The HIGHER sounding the better. The more royal and regal the adjectives the better. That way if there is known corruptions, abuses and hypocrisies they are more clearly contrasted to the Holiness of Christ. I notice in the Gospels Christ doesn’t have all the Orthodox adjectives behind His name. I find that fascinating in contrast. I also get the impression from the Gospels that Christ did not dress remotely similar to the Sanhedrin of His day or to the Orthodox hierarchies of our day. I find that a fascinating contrast. He also didn’t advocate monasticism as a Biblical calling and the NT did not either. He was not the first elder and the Apostles were not the first novice monks. I find them a fascinating contrast to Orthodox monasticism.

        I am easily fascinated by conceptual thinking that can think for itself without a closed and single dimension mind set of we alone are right and true thinking for me. If I ever find that Gods only right and true church or the perfect church don’t follow me into it. I got something wrong about it and don’t know it and can’t see it. If I then start telling you that my Christianity is the one true and right Christianity and it is the standard God uses to measure all other forms of Christianity against to determine their rightness or correctness before God know that I am delusional and not to be followed. These are the potential and standard warning signs of a cult or a Christian cult. They are the perfect set up for a church to go corrupt by and never see that corruption happen.

        Of course, I am being rational Christian in my thinking on this and so that does not fit well with the thinking of those who believe they are alone right and true and that their belief system alone is Gods objective standard of measure. I am like only a half Christian or something close to that to them. I am not all Christian. I am a mix of heresy and true Christianity and so I am to be held suspect at all times and in all spiritual ways. I am like half lie that is evil and half truth that is of God and good. I am a cross breed so to speak. I am not a thoroughbred. I’m something of a flea invested mutt to the Orthodox. I’m a heterodox. You might consider never reading me again because of this. It could lead you astray on such things as church leadership HOLINESS. I might give you half truth and half lie about it.

        Since I am of heresy that is wrong and wrong is based in a lie and since Satan is the father of lies you know where I must be coming from when I talk about Greek hierarchy holiness. To add some Orthodox credibility to this those who follow Elder Ephraim in the GOA have called me Spawn of Satan and some other things too. My son was once involved with the elder in Arizona, but he later died at age 27 and at the monastery is where he died. He was an Orthodox for almost 7 years. So, I do have some understanding of Orthodoxy. If you like you can Goggle ‘Scott Nevins Obituary’ and see how his first 19 years of life spent with his heretic to Orthodoxy family turned out. You can then figure out the nearly 7 year outcome with the Orthodox after that. You can then compare the two and as you can tell I love comparison. Please come to your own thinking for yourself conclusion when you do the comparison.

        Since you are Orthodox probably the safest way to see this is to believe what the GOC hierarchy says about itself. From what I gather they are Gods appointed authority here on earth to rule by being the leadership of Gods only alone right and one true church. They represent Gods rule of Gods law on earth and that law is above any other rule of law on earth. At least that is how I see them operating and it reveals they are consistent in that belief. Then, again, I could have that wrong because I am not Orthodox and therefore just another one of the ignorant country bumpkin’s of lost and adrift Christianity that the Orthodox say is a fractured heretical mess. I am in a Christian cult compared to Orthodoxy.

        So, if I say anything fractured, lost, adrift, bumpkin or ignorant please understand that is where the Orthodox say I am coming from and therefore I am not really to be listened to for it. You can tell by the way that I write I am really nothing more than a fractured heretical mess not of the Orthodox Mind that is not fractured, not heretical, not ignorant, not lost, not adrift and not messy. It is held together by being one true and right making it whole. It is the UNITY of God that is HOLY WHOLE. No way should you ever listen to me over that mind. And, especially since not one thing I have ever told the Orthodox is true about themselves or has come true by a promise or prediction.

        Now I will be running along now. I may be back or may never be back. As you know, the heretic are highly unpredictable because of their lost and adrift state. They can show up at times and places least expected by their not knowing what they are doing or where they are going.

        Ashley Nevins

        • RE: “My son was once involved with the elder in Arizona, but he later died at age 27 and at the monastery is where he died. He was an Orthodox for almost 7 years. So, I do have some understanding of Orthodoxy. If you like you can Goggle ‘Scott Nevins Obituary’ and see how his first 19 years of life spent with his heretic to Orthodoxy family turned out. You can then figure out the nearly 7 year outcome with the Orthodox after that. You can then compare the two and as you can tell I love comparison. Please come to your own thinking for yourself conclusion when you do the comparison.”

          Hi Ashley,

          Scott spent “nearly 7” years at the monastery. Then he left. He went home to you and then to community college in Oregon.

          Tell us what happened when he got home and why did he \go to community college in Oregon?

          According to the obituary that you referred to:

          “. He lived in Arizona for 7 years (9-04 to 2-11) and then moved to Oregon (2-11) where he attended Chemeketa Community College until his untimely death.”

          For comparison purposes, why did he go to community college in Oregon and not one near you and his family? Which therapist did you get to treat him after he left the monastery?

        • Ashley could have just confined his message to this; “Of course, I am being rational Christian in my thinking on this,” and our funny bones would have been fully satisfied. Here he is back again, logorrheatic as ever and just as vain…oh well.

          • Ashley Nevins says


            Thank you, for exposing your character and attitude to this forum. It is the same that our family faced with its dealings with the GOA hierarchy:

            1. You and your family are expendable to our means that always justifies our end.
            2. You are the problem if you point out our destructive problem.
            3. Corruption over God is right worship and right belief.
            4. Cold apathy and indifference is Orthodox mercy, grace and love.
            5. We alone are right and therefore you are wrong in comparison to us.

            This is no joke what I am about to tell you. I know why you say what you say and could easily outline the 6 reasons why you do:

            1. I can easily outline the pathology of a corrupt bishop with a personality disorder if you like and instead of speaking about the issues I raise.

            2. I can easily outline the step by step progression down into corruption of a bishop if you like and instead of speaking about the issues I raise.

            3. I can easily outline the signs of a shame based church that is corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying by their hierarchies if you like and instead of speaking about the issues I raise.

            4. I can easily outline the signs of a spiritually abusive church leadership if you like and instead of speaking about the issues I raise.

            5. I can easily outline the roles people play in a spiritually abusive church, and in particular the role you play, if you like and instead of speaking about the issues I raise.

            6. I could easily outline the 10 signs of church self destruction and how a church leadership leads a church into self destruction if you like and instead of speaking to the issues that I raise.

            (Tikhon, I have noticed how the different hierarchies of the EOC in America want and desire to openly and freely discuss these issues with the laity of the church and in particular I have noticed how much you want to talk about them too in a honest and transparent fashion)

            My DNA is hierarchy corruption and sick organizational pathology expose’. You can call it or me what you like. However, you will not be able to escape it by calling it something other than what it is. That being, a public expose’ of who you truly are.

            You will not think this expose’ of you to be funny by the time I am done with it.

            Would you like me to expose your true character and attitude in public?

            I promise you will not think it funny and I keep all of my promises to the Orthodox. All of them.

            Now, any Orthodox can write this all off, discount it or think it off base for what ever reason or reasons that they want. They can in however way they want say what I say is somehow wrong by making me wrong. That will not make what I outline about this bishop less than true if they do. I would only expect the mindset and attitude of this bishop found in others would deny what I outline about them. The outline would explain exactly why they do and they would deny that too.

            This kind of a mind is highly predictable and it thinks it is somehow is projecting something other than what it really is when it speaks. It thinks by its power and position, by its title, that it is somehow the authority that can speak with authority as Gods truth. Anyone can see what this truth has resulted in by looking at the outcome of the church it leads. And, just where has this authority that calls itself Gods truth led the Orthodox church in America today too?

            This bishop authority believes itself more precious, valuable and of worth than the life it abuses and destroys by its character to remain in corrupt power and control. It believes its life is more precious than life and so life outside of its life of position, title and power is a joke. Its character is the character of Gods authority that speaks only Gods truth in all situations and look at the situation it has brought the church into. This kind of power and control destroys to maintain its power and control and it believes its power and control is life and all life under it is expendable to keeping its life alive.

            No one on this forum need look any further than this bishop to know the mind set and attitude that is self destructing the Orthodox jurisdictions in America. This bishop represents the vision of the Orthodox in America today. This man speaks the vision for Orthodoxy in America and all the hierarchies do too by the outcome of this church in America. You can all make comment, give opinion and argue over what is taking place in your church. However, not a one of you is speaking solution and because those you look to for solution are of the same character as Tikhon. He, the bishop, speaks solution and look at the solution he has provided by the outcome of your church.

            Now paint what I write however you like. The Orthodox are not going to escape men like this leading them into further self destruction in America. Yes, paint me what you like and what your outcome paints your church will be the truth painted in front of all. Paint over what I paint to hide, cover up, keep secret, spin and otherwise deny what is true about those who lead all of you.

            Tikhon, you have not got enough paint to paint over what your true character is and what that same character found in other hierarchies is doing to the EOC in America.

            Orthodox, you are out of paint and just like you are out of time. If you can’t see that then you are out of the practical and spiritual reality of God that is your solution you cannot find. Truth be told the Orthodox in America see men like Tikhon as the solution to the corrupt, failed, irrelevant, abusive and dying state of EOC America. They do not see them as the problem. They actually listen to the problem as if it can give insight into the problem and its solution. The problem is going to bring the Orthodox their solution and men like Tikhon are its solution.

            The bishops says Ashley who points out the problem is the problem. He says Ashley points the problem out wrongly and not Orthodox correct and so do not listen to him. Only listen to your Orthodox correct bishops to know the truth of the church corruption, whats it solution is and what Ashley’s real problem is. The bishop has Ashley right and just like he and others just like him have led the Orthodox into this state of being so very right by their outcome in America.

            Orthodox, you might want to consider realizing something about men like Tikhon. They have to make men like me the problem and because if they don’t then then the spotlight can land only upon them as the problem. The bishop wants perfection to speak about the problem and because imperfection must prove the imperfection in the problem exposed by who is speaking it. In fact, the bishop is really saying it is imperfection that points out the problems that the perfection of the hierarchies tells you really do not exist and so only listen to his perfection. If the messenger is not Orthodox perfection or bishop correct in delivery that means the message is wrong and not to be listened too. The bishop by his title and position is perfection in what he states about Ashley being imperfection in how he addresses the problem.

            Gods only alone right and one true church could never produce a bishop that himself was not God right and true. To then believe that such a church could possibly develop entire hierarchies of corruption ruling over jurisdictions is just the anguish and pain of a grieving father who just can’t tell the Orthodox anything right or in the right way. What he sees is colored by this and so it is to be discounted and called something to make sure any truth in it cannot be heard. If Ashley only saw it like the bishop sees it then he and his family would not only become Orthodox they would understand it was not Orthodoxy that caused this problem for his family. All would be made Orthodox correct and Orthodox correct means you feel, see, think and talk about Orthodoxy like the beautiful Orthodoxy that the bishop tells you it is. Anything else is just an angry, slanderous and bitter attack on the church proving how wrong Ashley really is.

            Listen up everyone for here comes the bishops bottom line: The Bishop is Orthodox correct and Ashley by Orthodoxy is wrong. I, the bishop, tell you Ashley is wrong because Ashley or what he says is not of the Orthodox correct thinking and attitude about Orthodoxy. I, the bishop with the right Orthodox thinking and attitude have that right in comparison to Ashley. By my bishop title and position I am Orthodoxy that tells you Ashley in comparison to my authority in position and title and Orthodoxy itself is wrong.

            So, Orthodox, instead, listen to the perfect that is your hierarchies to tell you what the cause of the demise of your church is and believe their perfection solution reversal of this state by their perfection in how and what they speak will deliver you a perfect outcome of church. A church that is spiritually, mature, relevant, dynamic, alive and growing and just like your bishops all are. With Tikhon being one of its finest examples of this spiritual maturity that is the outcome of your church seen in public and before the entire world that does not deny what it sees.

            In such mens eyes the world that sees the problem is the problem for seeing it. The problem cannot be the men who are causing it. They said so by their all powerful authority and so it must be Orthodox correct that they are not the problem. The last persons to believe are those made expendable victims of the Orthodox problem. The victimizer’s must always be believed over those they shame and abuse and deny they make victims. That is the Orthodox Mind living out that mind as the Orthodox Way. There is no other way to think about it, see it or live it.

            It will be a while now before you hear anymore of my Orthodox incorrectness. I just wanted to draw out the mind and attitude that is the horror, terror, torture and destruction our family faced.

            Mission accomplished.

            I want to personally thank those Christians of love, compassion and mercy who expressed their identification with our family and what it is experiencing from the Orthodox. However, words are hollow and empty unless the Orthodox who see the problems do not find solution to the problems. You all spend a lot of time talking and arguing about what the problems and their solutions are and you never come to the cause or its solution. I have been watching all of you for eight years now and nothing, and I mean nothing, has changed. It has all only grown worse.

            Oh, but that is just me sensationalizing it and over stating it by coloring it all by the death of our son, right? I am not really seeing what I see in Orthodoxy as it really is. I am seeing it through a bad experience and not through the great outcome experience all of you are having with it. Why, if I could only experience the outcome of your church like all of you are experiencing it I would then know that the experience I had with Orthodoxy is not the outcome of your church in the real world.

            I would then know that the death of our son in no way mimics, characterizes or reveals the death of the EOC in America. I would see our sons death in comparison to the EOC life in America and know they have nothing in common what-so-ever. The witness and testimony of the Orthodox would then be vindicated by its truth apologist Bishop Tikhon. A man of integrity in transparency and accountability and who is the role model and example of Gods only true Orthodox love to aspiring men who one day want to be just like him.

            Tikhon, here is how you shut me up and make me permanently go away. You call one of you Met friends in the GOA and tell that Met to call the police on me with a lying accusation you call Orthodox truth spoken by a Orthodox hierarchy of Gods only alone right and one true truth. The Orthodox only speak truth and the truth they speak is the truth that sets them free of Ashley who only speaks falsehoods about the EOC and his experience with it. You know, just like I experienced you here today and by a man who only speaks with the authority of Orthodox truth as a Orthodox bishop.

            Ashley Nevins

        • Dear Ashley,

          I am so sad that I was joking around and treating your posting as a joke post that just needed the correct titles to make it funnier. You lost your brother at a young age! Please forgive me for my incredible insensitivity. Your sarcasm was a way of dealing with your pain. Again, please forgive me.

          • Sorry, insensitivity and not reading everything caused me to minimize your loss of a son and call him a brother. I am praying for you in your time of grief and will try to remember your pain over the years.

            • Ashley Nevins says

              He is my friend, my brother and my son. You didn’t get that wrong about him being a brother. It was an honest mistake that really is not a mistake at all.

              Scott was co-created by God with his parents to be our friend, brother and son. He was created in the image of God in Christ who the Word of God calls our brother. Scott is my brother. He is my son and my spiritual brother. I only wish all of you who show real Christian compassion here could have known him before he met your church. His 19 years with us in comparison to his almost 7 years with the Orthodox is a comparison of life and death. To know him before Orthodoxy and then to have seen him after he left it is the undeniable comparison that only evil in denial would deny. Evil must deny or find fault here or evil is exposed here for what it really is.

              You say you have a son yourself. You say you would have a difficult time if he died. Would you have an even more difficult if you knew a corrupt church and cult had him and were destroying him right before your eyes? Would you feel tortured by that? Would it torture you to see your son tortured to death? If the torturers would not listen to your appeal to stop would you then just stand by and let it all still go on without addressing it forthrightly to its face? Would you do all that you could to stop the abuse and see the abusers held transparent and accountable with serious consequences? Would you shut up if they were not held transparent and accountable with consequences? Would you bust the denial of those who denied what they were doing to your son? Would you allow anyone to torture any person in your family and even if it was your church doing the torture? Would you face the corruption in horror you experience from those you confront and call it for what it truly is? Would you tolerate the destruction of a son or would you have zero tolerance of the corruption that is destroying your son? Would you be a real father to your son or would you be a corrupt father who allows your son to be destroyed by corruption?

              Would you stand by and allow a corrupt church and/or a cult to do this to sons and daughters not of your family of origin? Would you then turn your head from the torture and horror those children, teens, young adults and entire family’s experience at the hands of such a church? Would stand by with the knowledge of being told what your church was doing to sons and daughters not of your family origin in your church or not in your church would you ignore that and let it go on?


              Do you know why I ask you a father and other Orthodox fathers these questions? Do you honestly believe that I believe there is a real father in the whole lot of you who knowingly tolerate this sin against children, teens and young adults? If any of you who are fathers can honestly call yourself a Christian who is a father and then tolerate this I know exactly who you truly are. You are neither a real father or a real Christian. You are an enabler of abuse and blood is on your hands. You hold the coats of the abusers if you do not take a clear stand and risk by confronting this right to its hierarchy face in person and without compromise. If you do not organize with other fathers to stop this then that corruption will organize against you and destroy your church. A church made up of fathers like this will face serious consequences and that is exactly the state the EO in America are found in. Those consequences are going to become far worse. I am warning you and none of you are listening.

              Now having said that, Those with real salvation among you will one day meet him and know the real Scott before a cult destroyed the real inner person of Scott and replaced it with its cult personality of self destruction. You will see the real Scott and the not corrupted by Orthodoxy that was the destroyed Scott. We introduced our son to the real Christ and salvation. If you could have only known him before this all happened you would know that. Our family not only lost a son. It lost a for real Christian brother.

              Now to the curious among you who really do not understand how corruption and cultism can still kill you after you leave it I would suggest instead of asking me specific questions regarding this or that about Scott that you first understand and then explain to me how a cult and corruption can destroy your ability to recover from it. Then after you explain that to me explain what you are supposed to do with someone like that to help them recover. You are all Orthodox experts, but not a one of you has the expertise to tell me how you help a person recover from a Orthodox cult nor can you explain to me how Orthodox corruption and cultism can destroy a persons ability to recover. It is beyond your ability to believe that Orthodoxy could cult and corruption destroy anyone. In your minds Orthodoxy is healing and recovery from self destruction and if I really understood Orthodoxy like all of you do I would see it the same way too.

              The Orthodox can guess as to what happened to him after he departed the cult and ask me the why of this or that is true. They can venture opinion on anything they want and inquire by question on anything they want. They can point the finger at who ever or what ever they want in our family or our entire family itself. I don’t care what the Orthodox want to know about this situation after the fact. Had they shown this kind of concern before the fact our son would still be alive today. That is a fact.

              I find it interesting what the Orthodox want to know after the fact and when in fact it is not at all as important as to what happened to him while with the Orthodox before the fact of his death. If any of you want to know what happened to Scott after his leaving and after the fact of his death just go back to the facts of the GOA hierarchy and elder to discover the real facts around his entering the corrupt church and cult to know the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of his death. Ask gerasimos the questions instead. Ask him why he formed a committee now after his death to address issues he denied existed before his death. Ask him why the window dressing that cannot hide what is really behind the window. Ask the GOA hierarchy to explain to all of you what happened to Scott prior too leaving and then after he left. Ask the elder and his abbot the same questions. You can believe the answers the cultists and corrupt tell you as the truth of God being spoken to you through Orthodoxy.

              If any of you do not understand why I don’t tell you more than this that it is because you have been told what led to his death and as far as I am concerned such people want it to be about Scott and his family over what really happened to Scott and his family. What happened to Scott after he left your church happened to him before he left your church and because what your church put into his mind did not leave by how it destroyed his ability to recover from it.

              If the Orthodox really understood how corruption and a cult can destroy a persons ability to recover from them then what happened to our so would have never happened to him. To ask the ‘why’ or ‘how’ of this or that after he left is now somehow your business when his life meant nothing to you before and after you were told what your church was doing to him? You ask questions about this or that and when the fact is if you understood what your church did to him you would in fact know why he did not recover.

              Oh, so some of you want the fat juicy molecule of fault his family maybe made so you can make it into something you have no understanding of and so you can shame us more than you already have? Oh, but you say you only want clarification and so gossip will not abound. Your church is nothing but gossip abounding. I read your forums. Its all about the negative problems in the present and not about the exciting vision for its future. If you have not got one how can you be excited about one? Our son had a exciting vision for his future before he met that which does not have a vision for its future and turned him into its future.

              Your church has already tried to make us the fault here by saying he had mental issues before he ever entered the monastery. In fact, when we met with the bishop he and his chancellor thought one contributing reason why Scott entered the monastery was because Scott was possibly gay and didn’t know what to do about it. Scott was not gay. However, I do question the heterosexuality of the Greek bishops who would raise such a question. So, to want to know why this or that about Scott after he left is like asking me if Scott was gay or eluding somehow that his family screwed him up before he ever became Orthodox or put him into a position of death after he left its corruption and cultism.

              So, if anyone has questions around anything regarding Scott after he left this is my answer. Scott’s family before, during and after his time with the Orthodox did not destroy Scott. So, if any Orthodox want to find fault, wrong or incompetency with his family before he joined Orthodoxy, during his time in Orthodoxy or after he left just does not know what the Orthodox left our son and our family with after he left. What the Orthodox destroyed in Scott is what destroyed him and nothing else did. Scott was destroyed before he left and so was his ability to recover. That is the facts.

              Some of you more curious ones might consider rational research over curious gossip by contacting a established and recognized cult expert to discover for the first time in your Orthodox lives how corrupt and cult Orthodoxy could destroy a persons ability to recover. In fact, ask Bishop Tikhon who seems to have a lot of free time on his hands to do that research for you and report his finding back to you. That way you will know the truth by the bishop of truth and that truth will set you free to see what really happened to Scott. Orthodoxy is the truth that sets you free to see Orthodoxy as it really is seen in the real world, right?

              This is what happened to Scott after he left and it happened to him years before he left. When we met with metropolitan gerasimos years ago we in no uncertain terms told him the PhD in clinical psychology that the elder was a cult leader, the monastery was a cult and both were doing great spiritual and emotional harm to our son. That is what happened to our son after he left. Orthodoxy took a good son with a incredible future, turned him into the self destructive mess it is, then dumped that mess on us when he left and now it somehow wants us to be the mess that destroyed him. We didn’t spiritually provide him what he needed and so he joined the elder, we confronted the bishop and didn’t bow and kiss his ring and we didn’t give Scott what he needed after he left resulting in his death. It’s obvious who and what caused his death, right?

              Of course, all of the Orthodox support and help just rushed to our family aid after he left. All of you were there for Scott and our family and not a one of you were in denial of bishop corruption or the cult of the elder in the GOA. Because you were not in denial you all just rushed to Scott’s side to help him process the real world after destroying his ability to live in it. Lol, who would you have sent to come along side of Scott and his family, your PhD psychologist Met with the degree in clinical counseling psychology? The one who holds to the ethical and moral standards of his license and PhD degree? The role model and example of modern Orthodox pastoral counseling in America, Metropolitan Gerasimos? The man who wrote the 17 Articles of Monastery Regulation and who is a monastic himself. A man held transparent and accountable by the other bishops and metropolitan’s for his sex life and just like he holds them transparent and accountable for the same too.

              Now, I can clearly see how well all of you Orthodox are dealing with the self destructive mess of your church. It is an impossible situation to deal with and because it is destroyed and dead. All of you are experts at restoring what is destroyed and dead, right? Anyone of you who believe you would have handled Scott differently or believe we handled him incompetently are the ones who are not handling your very church differently or competently. Had it not been for Orthodoxy our family would never have experienced what it did at your blood on your hands Orthodox hands.

              Fact is, most all of you had forgotten what happened until I brought up the Patriarch holiness issue and confronted Orthodox denial and hypocrisy over it. Scott is dead and this situation with him is dead to most all of you and especially if you are GO. Scott is not dead. He is alive, well, healthy and whole with the Father. His state today is the diametric opposite of the state of the EO in America. But, no one is asking about that and no one is making that comparison. The dead have short attention spans, do not listen and forget easily. It is only to be expected of the dead. The Orthodox can question our son’s salvation over what happened, and they do. Yet, they do not question their own salvation by the outcome of their church.

              Scott at one time in his life was dynamic, well, alive, whole and growing. CURIOUS Orthodox please explain to me what happened to him after living with you for nearly 7 years. Did he leave you dynamic, well, alive, whole and growing or did he leave you in another state reflective of the true state of the GOC? Did he leave the GOA, the elder and his abbot dead or alive? Was he dead or alive when he left? Well, which one was it cult recovery experts? Curious ones did you leave him more spiritually and emotionally healthy, alive and growing than when he joined you? Let Tikhon and others of his same mind be the voice that speaks for you. In fact, make it a duet with him and gerasimos singing the Orthodox praise song of justification in all that they do. Call that Right Worship of the Lord. Then tell me by your Right Belief how I got this wrong about what I see taking place in your EO America.

              Curious ones we receive a destroyed son from you and you then want to know what happened after you destroyed him? You want to know the details of this or that when the details point to the church that destroyed him? Before you ask after the fact questions of us why don’t you all go out and ask before the fact questions of yourselves to find the answers of the after the fact questions you ask us. That is not a question. It is a statement of fact about any Orthodox asking me questions after the fact. If you asked questions before the fact you would not be asking me any questions after the fact of his death. You would hold the cultist and corrupt transparent and accountable with consequences that would force the church to stop the abuses or keep them from ever taking place. That is a after the fact FACT no Orthodox really wants to hear or face.

              Do you know the Orthodox comment I heard the most after Scott died? It was, Lord Have Mercy. You must have the Lords mercy before the fact or the fact is you destroy young people. The Lord has mercy the Orthodox do not. Two entirely different things. Your church is now experiencing the mercy it shows others. The mercy of a church is reflected in how it treats its own and I would be in delusional denial if I could see what your church is really doing to all of you in it. Yes, I know, bishop Tikhon disagrees by his mercy reflected on this forum. Fact is, he just can’t stand it when his Orthodoxy and hierarchy can do no wrong mind set is confronted in a way he can give no Christian moral or ethical justification for its sin. It is the same among his kind when it comes to rape, molestation and various other kinds of sick and twisted abuses. Ashley is the ad hominem problem for daring to bring into question the glaringly obvious factual problems being denied.

              I do appreciate some of you understanding why I speak out and even if you don’t yourselves agree with all that I say. However, I have been saying the same things for years and long before our precious Scotty Son died in front of the gates of hell monastery that prevails against the real Christians in Orthodoxy and who truly do have a pro-active care and concern about their church and don’t just talk, talk, talk about it on a Orthodox forum. Where has all the various forum talk really gotten the EO in America in the 8 years I have been watching it? It is the same broken CD it was 8 years ago, and you wonder why I often times repeat the same theme over and over again among you all? Gee, its no wonder to me at all. You have not gotten past year one of my watching in on all of you. I am not like a broken CD. I am like a repeating catastrophe signal blaring a loud and clear warning. To many of you it is just noise that must be shut off. I warned all of you about what was happening to our son and no one really listened to do anything about it. I lay that one on the GOA most of all.

              Now, Tikhon, come to their defense. Lol, I am sure the GO here and elsewhere will appreciate how you defend Orthodoxy, the elder, his abbot and the hierarchy. They want you, Bishop Tikhon, to be their apologetic advocate. The hierarchy defending the hierarchy of Orthodoxy in the face of the corrupt facts is the Orthodox Hierarchy Way. Tikhon standing up and defending the likes of the GOC hierarchy is Orthodox perfection in we alone right and true Orthodoxy that I have ALWAYS spoken too and you and I have spoken with each other in the past. You did not fair well in any of those conversations. Not a one. There is not one Orthodox bishop or Metropolitan that could. If you are not the best the Orthodox got then bring on the best the Orthodox got to face me. I can’t wait. Yes, go find the GO bishops and Metropolitans to face me. You will find them hiding behind an Icon of St. Anthony afraid to come out and face me.

              Orthodox asking me questions is nothing more than another sick trap. You ask me more questions than you do the cult and the corrupt hierarchy. Ask them instead why the GOA is corrupt with a cult in its midst. That will answer every question you have about Scott before and after he died. Ask yourselves why you cannot find solution to a impossible church that dumps impossible problems that are unsolvable problems in all of your laps by how it destroys your ability to find solution and solve the problems.

              Ask yourselves why your church is impossible without solution and then know what happened to Scott. All of you are living in the after the fact FACT of your church death you deny. However, you do not deny the after the fact death of our son. For some reason you can understand his dead body but you cannot understand the dead body of your church. I see right through all of you and what I see is corruption, self destruction and death. I see the dead body of the EOC in America. You will notice I do not ask you after the fact questions about the dead EOC body. I am not uninformed and am not needing anyone of you to inform me. I tell you what happened to it and because I am not in denial of what did it to it and why that it did it to it. I also know what it did to our son and why it did it to him. I don’t a need one of you tell me that. I don’t need any of you to answer any this or that questions about your church demise after the fact. I can see the facts that are its corruption failure denied by most all of you. No amount of abuse, molestation, rape or cult mind destruction brings enough of a body count to wake you up. Your best response to such is, Lord Have Mercy. Then it is all forgotten until its Lord Have Mercy time again and again and again, and that is nothing more than an infinity of apathetic indifference over those destroyed. That infinity is Orthodox eternal consequences. I promise that it is, and all of you know how I am about keeping promises. They all come true. Every last one of them.

              Now Orthodox read into what I have written here and make up more gossip that does not relate to the facts. Find the sliver of what you think is something to pounce on and believe that will somehow wash the blood of Orthodox hands. Twist the facts and the context into something I did not say or elude too and/or just don’t listen and ignore the facts believing that will somehow make the facts not true or go away. Tell me what I have told you all for years is just not the truth of all of you in your jurisdictions and above all else be alone right and the only true by They Will Know We Are Orthodox By Our Love.

              From a time and place least expected I come. Now call the police to reveal just how truly pathetic and powerless you all are in your church of corruption.

              Years ago when I cried out to God in broken prayer over the way Orthodoxy was breaking our son I asked God who are these people? You can believe this or not, Orthodox. He told me, They Are The Corrupt. It came across my mind and spirit from the Holy Spirit as clear as you just read it and the deeply spiritual impression in the words was this is corruption like you have never seen or experienced before. GOD DID NOT LIE TO ME. You have seen me use that word in all of my confrontations and the moment I heard that word I knew exactly what I needed to do and that was confront all of you.

              Now write me off by saying I am using some sort of sick sympathy to bring a tirade of hate to the Orthodox. I didn’t seek any of your sympathy before this happened and I don’t need it now. I confront because God told me They Are The Corrupt. I don’t really need any other reason than that to confront. To know Ashley is to know that fact about Ashley. Yes, make this somehow about my personal hate of the Orthodox and not of hating the sin that destroys by the Orthodox and what ever you Orthodox do don’t not make it about the hate that destroyed our son. Make me hate and not about the hate that destroyed our son. It is no wonder to me why your jurisdictions are dying a slow, ugly and painful death at your Orthodox hands. Why, its Ashley that is hate that is the problem and not the hate problem that destroyed his son that is the problem. Its really easy how to do that. Simply make the very problem that destroyed our son Ashley. It is just like cruel evil hate to blame its hate onto something or someone else to try to avoid its cruel evil hate being the real problem. What’s next, the next Orthodox rape victim was asking for it and when the victim points the finger in truth accusation at the abuser you call the victim doing that out of hate? I see right through that kind of hate and it amazes me how many of you can’t do the same.

              Ashley Nevins

              • Are you done now?

              • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

                Ashley Nevins,

                I am sorry for your loss and the pain that you still must feel so deeply until this very day.

                I am sure that many clergy and bishop have treated you harshly and unfairly and greatly lacking in charity. I am sorry for this as well.

                While Bishop Tikhon sometimes comes off a bit rough, he is indeed a very compassionate shepherd who speaks truth in love– sometimes tough love for sure. He is the sort of bishop that does not sweep scandal under the rug but calls it as he sees it and dealt with many issues head on during his time as Bishop San Francisco and the West. There are very few bishops that I would trust. He is one of them.

                Guy Westover

              • Ashley, I “lost” my only brother for over 11 years to a very cult-like Christian group (known as the “Boston Movement”–perhaps you have heard of it), so I understand some of your pain. My brother’s whole personality changed for that period. Eventually, he wouldn’t break up with his non-Boston Movement girlfriend (now, wife) and got himself excommunicated! That was a real answer to my prayers. I got my brother back–his own true personality returned. I tell my sister-in-law, whom I love dearly that I believe she was the answer to my prayers for my brother’s deliverance. I’m so very sad and sorry that your family situation didn’t end as happily as mine. As a mom of two teenagers especially my heart goes out to you and your wife. May the Lord bring beauty from ashes and continue to comfort you in the loss of your son.

                It is painful to know that this sort of distortion of Christian discipleship can occur even within Orthodoxy, but shouldn’t surprise especially an Orthodox Christian. I also understand how very much more hypocritical that distortion (as well as the more everyday kind of failings and mistakes that every pastor makes at some point) appears in light of the great pomp and ceremony that has grown up around Orthodox clerical etiquette, etc. Believe me, many of us Orthodox wish it would go away when it goes to a Bishop’s head and leads to the abuse of authority. You should understand, though, that it doesn’t always do that. There have been many godly Orthodox Bishops and Priests throughout history and even in the present who were/are wonderful examples of Christ’s humility and love, and who are true spiritual fathers who accurately discern their spiritual children’s needs and respect the necessity of their true freedom of the will for growth in Christlike love.

                On the other hand, I’ve read Christian sociologist, Ron Enroth’s work, “Churches that Abuse” on the nature of spiritual abuse, and from that and also from my own experience, I know there are plenty of pastors and disciplers in other Christian traditions that have no obvious pomp surrounding their liturgy or hierarchy, yet who still get a very distorted idea of the role of someone in spiritual authority and what “discipling” ought to be. In fact, the “Boston Movement” came out of such a tradition. I hope at some point you will be able to distinguish genuine Orthodoxy from its distortions.

                • “[In a 1997 study, a nurse consultant] reviewed 30 cases selected at random from 670 claims submitted to the Washington Victims Compensation Program. Twenty-six had ‘recovered’ a memory of abuse through therapy. All 30 were still in therapy after three years, 18 for more than five years. After treatment 20 were suicidal compared with three before treatment began, 11 were hospitalised (cf. two before treatment), eight engaged in self-mutilation (cf. one before) and marriage break-up occurred in almost all. It appears that in these cases, recovery and abreaction* had serious adverse effects.”

                  – Sydney Brandon, M.D., et al, “Recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse: implications for clinical practice,” British Journal of Psychiatry, April 98, p. 303

                  * abreaction: an emotional release resulting from mentally reliving or bringing into consciousness, through the process of catharsis, a long-repressed, painful experience. The Washington State study can be viewed here.

                  “Many families have been split and many suicides are caused by false memories.” See: Facts About Recovered Memory Therapy from Cult Help and Information

                  • John, I’m not connecting the information you are providing with the discussion in this thread. Any help with that would be appreciated. Who are you suggesting was having false memories of abuse, and, if so, why? What evidence do you point to?

              • ChristineFevronia says

                Dear Ashley, Please know that your son Scott is loved. We mourn him. We truly mourn him with all our hearts. The loss of his presence here on earth is very real to us. I understand your need to remind us all of his death, because it is raw and harsh and unbearable beyond belief. I see him resting in the arms of His Savior (and no amount of vitriol from posters on this site or other sites will convince me that he is anywhere other than safe in the loving embrace of his Creator). You have our love always.

              • Archprie st John W. Morris says

                I am sorry about your son. I do not know what happened, but it is unfair and irrational for you to blame the whole Orthodox Church for your son’s death. A properly run Orthodox monastery is not a cult. Those who become monks and nuns are adults who made their own personal decision to join the monastery. No one is forced to join a monastery or to remain in one. As adults they have a right to live their lives as they see fit even if you do not agree with their decisions.

        • Hello Ashley Nevins. I have a son too and I would never get over his loss. Talk all you need to….

          • M. Stankovich says

            I agree with Vladyka Tikhon: Mr. Nevins will, again, use sympathy to open the door to his tirades of hate against the Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Church in general; the elder Ephraim, his monasteries, and the monastery in AZ, in specific. His history is to become rude, sarcastic, grossly verbose, accusatory, mean, blaming, and downright venomous. He has replicated this pattern on various Orthodox sites across the internet until he is blocked or banned. If you are unaware of his considerable “story,” click “View all comments” and be prepared to devote a full day to reading it in total. And unless you have been leaning toward apostasy in the first place, there is nothing of interest. Notably, you will see the frustration of people attempting to actually dialog with Mr. Nevins – a fool’s endeavor – the briefcase full of “apologies” upon learning of his tragedy, and Mr. Michalopulos’ longsuffering patience & tolerance for his this UNTIL even he reaches his limit and moderates him until he goes away.

            Mr. Nevins, talk all you need to with a good therapist. Mr. Papoutsis gave you the sagest advice possible months ago: get off the internet and mourn your son. I pray for you & Scott. From what I read, many people here pray for you and your son. Seek the consolation of Christ. Our Just and All-Merciful God will manage the remainder.

            • Harry Coin says

              Having a son dead under most dubious circumstances all enmeshed with having spent extensive time living among the advertised all-male most holy might well lead to such an opinion. Should the families of those who go to a hospital then later die under most strange circumstances ‘just be quiet and mourn’?

              Only those not themselves actually parents could fail to get that.

              “Get off the internet and mourn your son”? Who are you to say what manner of mourning is apropos in such a case?

              Whatever the truth was there, I’m pretty sure it hasn’t been told. I remember then Mayor Rudi Guliani of NY in the aftermath of the 911 terrorist building destruction, when asked about the policy to be applied for the families inquiring about their dead and making arrangements, his answer, as best I remember it: “Whatever the individual families want on a case by case basis”.

              • M. Stankovich says

                Mr. Coin,

                What you are saying is that because you happen to have experienced tragedy, I should entertain your base inappropriateness? And your questions is an important question: what is apropos? There are people of color here. Are racial slurs too far? There are mixed ethnicity here. Are ethnic slurs too far? There are women here. Are sexual, pornographic slurs too far?There are disabled here. Is mocking disability too far? And apparently, Mr. Coin, you suggest the lunacy that “dubious circumstances” somehow justify his ugly, unsubstantiated railing against the Orthodox Church and encouragement for all of us to join him. If I listen to you, you would have me believe there are actually no established fundamental boundaries or expectations of respect among Christian.

                He has been at this for years, Mr. Coin – moving from site to site, trolling the internet, mocking everyone in his path, and establishing an eternal archive that is available by clicking View all comments after his name. This is not a “quest for the truth.” This is a lust to punish. The definition of social chaos is the loss of measures for appropriateness and the tolerance for what is intolerable and unjustified. Lunacy, Mr. Coin, never leads to truth.

                • Harry Coin says

                  The man thought the monastery was not good for his son, their appeal lured the boy to them. The ‘honored never married elders’ mishandled mending family fences. Now, the boy is dead at their gates.

                  What part of ‘Dad was correct’ is hard to understand here? You juggle all these abstract word smithy categories in a way that makes me think of a blind person speculating about colors.

                  In my little world “dead child” trumps “unwelcome online manners”. Any parent gets that in the same way breathing in while not underwater gets you air.

                  And the responses here that want to ‘not hear it’ as it “harms the ‘sacred elder’ narrative” — the self serving ‘leave off the internet and mourn your son’. The man IS mourning his son– back when his son was lured to a place that proved destructive to him, and the sacred place failed to mend family fences and encouraged restricted access among family members. His many posts all evidenced great mourning, the grief of loss, even then. How can you miss the extensive emotional content? Tight logical reasoning in evidence there? How people miss this I can’t imagine. My ability to empathize isn’t among the things I do well but even I notice if I’m smacked in the face with something hard enough.

                  Was he a perfect father some ask? Tell me, who has been a perfect father? To my knowledge he made no mistakes that involved the police and courts.

                  And then, what happened? The dad was proven correct in the most painful way imaginable. Dead child at the ‘great spiritual center’s healing place’s gates’ — with plenty of theories as to why and plenty of choices that would not have included death by violence. Today nothing brings the boy back. I’m sure ‘everyone feels terrible’. But only the parents ‘feel terrible’ five minutes after everyone else has moved on to the next subject of the day. The parents feel it forever, every hour, every day. May God give them strength to live well and long to carry this burden. There’s something worth praying for by all, whether super-exactly-correct-Orthodox and everyone else too I think.

                  Does that mean ‘all monasteries are bad for everyone’– no, but that father knew it would be so for his child.

                  “Monastery as tourist venue”– claiming ‘athonite’ while being being tourist centers. As far as one could get from the spirit of Athos. What highways lead to Athos? None! You can only get there by boat! They dislike tourists so much they don’t admit women at all. And the places reserved for women aren’t looking for extensive male traffic either.

                  “Oh, but we follow the same books”. Well, that makes all the difference, right? And sexual advice for married folks, as if they knew anything about a sacrament they’ve never participated in. Presiding over a sacrament is not to be confused with participating in it!

                  Nevermind, let Mr. Nevins post as much as he likes. He might not be correct in everything and he’s clearly got a lot of anger which I think he’s come by as honestly as any parent could imagine. Maybe it helps him, I don’t know, I hope so. I’m no mental health professional– and I certainly don’t want to hear the opinion of any who themselves are not parents. It’s a lesson in humility for us all.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Harry, I don’t dispute one word you are saying except for this phrase: that he “was lured” back into the monastery. Are you sure about that? It seems to me that the young man genuinenely loved it there. Is it possible that he was conflicted in his emotions and that that led to his untimely death?

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    Oh Snap! Check this out:

                    Susan Haikalis Elected President
                    Hello Brother or Sister in Christ,

                    Susan W. Haikalis of Walnut Creek, California was elected President of the Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL) at their 25th Annual Conference in Washington DC this month.

                    Ms. Haikalis is a convert to Orthodoxy and has been involved in a number of groups supporting Administrative Unity of Orthodox Jurisdictions in the US. She participated in Boston with the original GOAL organization and has actively participated in attending OCL meetings for the past 15 years both contributing to discussions and educational programs as well as supporting her husband, Peter Haikalis, in his own leadership in OCL. Ms. Haikalis strongly believes that achieving administrative unity with Orthodox Jurisdictions in the US is critical for the survival of Orthodoxy for our children and future generations.

                    This is my favorite line: “She participated in Boston with the original GOAL organization …”

                    I just love it!

                    PS. You ever notice how many Greeks are in the OCL? I always wondered who would be incontrol of a United and Independent Orthodox Church, the Russians via the OCA or the Greeks via the OCL? Only time will tell and now with a new president and ex-G.O.A.L. member let the power struggle begin. Heck why divide only the Greek Church when you can divide and conquor the ENTIRE Church. Game on.

                    Peter A. Papoutsis

                    • Dear Peter,

                      There are Antiochian, Serbian, OCA and ROCOR members of the OCL. That’s for starters. Couple of us are a tad irritated that they took Joel Kalvesmaki’s letter off their website, but he’s still a valued member. There was heavy OCA participation at this year’s conference, I heard.. Some of us from the OCA are very irritated that Metropolitan Jonah was not presiding over the conference and that Archbishop Nathaniel of the Romanian Archdiocese of the OCA substituted instead.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      loh the OCL is and has always been and always shall be run and controlled by Greeks. There are alot of non-Greeks in the GOA, but Greeks still run and control that as well. I have known G.O.A.L./OCL a long time and just a quick view of their board will tell you who is really in control, but if you want to think and believe otherwise that’s fine. The OCL will play itself out to unfortunately a bitter end, which I personally would not like to see as there are many good people in the OCL with good intentions, but like all powers that be their agenda is usually not that of the rank and file.

                      In the Greek Church we have L100 and the Archons on one side and the OCL on the other. Both Greek run and controlled, and both “Representing” themself as MY Leaders as in G.O.A.L. (Greek Orthodox American Leaders). I never voted for these people how did they become “My Leaders?” My allegiance has always been to Christ and to Christ’s Church and never to any Para-Ecclesiastical group on either side that in my lifetime between the both of them and the Old Calendarists have caused more division, hatred and animosity then was worth, and, in the end, when a Bhishop said jump the OCL simply said “How High?”

                      The EP does that with the Archons and L100 and visa versa and the rest of us just watch the drama from the sidelines as…Constandinople burns. Lovely.


                    • Basil Takach says

                      I would hope and pray that neither a Greek nor a Russian nor anyone who would first self identify as ___________ -American would be in ‘control’ of a ‘United and Independent Orthodox Church.’ Speculation and gossip are the tools of the Evil One and it seems to me that more time spent in active participation at one’s parish and in one’s community and less time spent in idle speculation about the ‘byzantine’ machinations of Church structure is the surest way to a strong and vibrant Orthodox witness on this continent. In case no one has noticed as we (present company included I will confess) are all too frenzied online here and elsewhere – we Orthodox have no monopoly on things ‘byzantine’ as opposed to things ‘Byzantine.’

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      I agree with you Mr. Takach, but its always those who scream the loudest that get all the attention and cause problems for the rest. In any event you are correct.


                    • Basil Takach says

                      It should be noted that the EP and GOARCH have added a fair number of non-Greek Orthodox men to the Archons during the past thirty years or so – from UOCUSA and ACROD. In point of fact the second ranking officer of the Archons for many years below Dr. Limberakis is Mr. John Halecky the Archon’s Treasurer, who is a lifelong member of ACROD and his dear wife originates from within the Metropolia. John was awarded the highest honor by the EP at last month’s Archon banquet in NYC. However, speaking from first hand experience, I would note that the non-Hellenes invited within that group often feel like the representatives of the outlying non-Hellenic kingdoms which pledged fealty to Byzantium – but like it or not those who are not descended from those who fled the evil of Bolshevism post 1918 often have felt the same first within the Metropolia and to some extent within the OCA – part of the reasons why many feel disenfranchised from your chancery’s center……

                • Yes, M. Stankovich. But I think we should be absolutely clear that we are not at all sympathetic to Nevins’s other interlocutors who claim that his fury is basically misdirected fury against his son who took action to remove himself from endless warfare with his obsessed father., and that Nevins is furious that he can no longer “get at him” and make him obey and believe Ashley above all! No, no. That is hitting below the belt indeed! Perhaps his son is even now experiencing the acceptance and love that was denied him here. At any rate, we all must pray for Ashley that he will be healed and that his son may find everlasting repose.

          • Ordo Antiquus says

            I think we need to draw lines here.

            Suffering the loss of a son or of a brother is NO EXCUSE for ANYONE to engage in bitter and hurtful behavior against other people, much less entire Churches or entire communities.

            Ashley Nevins has lost his son. We sympathize with him on that, but it does not give him the right to forever accuse, insult and attack others.

            • Writing is a very good way of dealing with pain. Am I or you responsible for his sons death? N0. Do I relate to him as a parent-yes. Do I embrace him regardless of his harshness towards me or my faith? Yes. Surely we can give him this . . .??

    • Just Guessing says

      Holy cow.

    • Ordo Antiquus says

      “…abusers like the bishop in Astoria can evade prosecution”

      I’m no fan of Pat. Bartholomew but he, at least, defrocked both bishops in Astoria and reduced them to being lay monks. That is much more than can be said of OCA and its errant bishops, or even of Rome (with the single exception of a Canadian bishop).

    • oliver douglas says

      You must be referring to the one who repeatedly refers to himself as “Our Modesty.” That one always kills me. And flies to “environmental” conferences in a private jet. Or arranges for a seminar on the teachings of St. Paul in a fashion that includes traveling throughout Turkey and environs on a daily basis, staying at five star hotels with sumptuous meals. You know, the “Green” one. Who unlike the bishop of Rome has not published or written anything edifying or inspiring . . . ever. (Yes, the Catholic bishop of Rome-but his stuff and his trilogy on Jesus is really good. Try reading it before you object to its mention.) And then there was Patriarch Pavel of Blessed Memory (one who really deserves that honorific) who traveled on city busses and said he would not ride in a limo until every Albanian had a donkey. Who I once personally saw enter the Cathedral in Belgrade on a Saturday night like a simple monk, by himself, venerate the icons, and then quietly go and chant the vespers with the chanters. Doesn’t his Modesty (well deserved but not believed) fear God or His final judgment?

      As for the fat monks in Astoria, they were quite a story. They want to join up with the EP. They go the Istanbul, then get (re-?) ordained as deacons, priests and then bishops. I always wondered-what did that mean for the men they previously ordained as priests and deacons-and for the sacraments that those “clergy” performed pursuant to their first “questionable” ordinations. Did a whole bunch of people had to get “remarried?” I’m sure the action of the Extremely Holy Synod and His Much Modesty in removing them had nothing to do with the fact that really big lawsuits loomed (still loom?) and therefore really big money was at risk. How do the Metropolitans in American commemorate the Modest one at Liturgy without gagging?

      • Ordo Antiquus says

        “And then there was Patriarch Pavel of Blessed Memory (one who really deserves that honorific) who traveled on city busses and said he would not ride in a limo until every Albanian had a donkey. Who I once personally saw enter the Cathedral in Belgrade on a Saturday night like a simple monk, by himself, venerate the icons, and then quietly go and chant the vespers with the chanters.”

        Yes, Patriarch Pavel… who in his humility did not impose his own rule, which not even the canons require, on his brother bishops. You wish to imitate Patriarch Pavel’s humility? Then stop judging those bishops who use cars or vans. They may have reasons for doing as they do.

        In case you don’t know it, Patriarch Bartholomew often attends Vespers in the Cathedral of St. George as a monk, and sometimes joins the chanters.

        And since you want to compare him to the Bishop of Rome… have you been reading Catholic blogs and websites for the last 7 years? Are you aware of just how much old pomp and ceremony the current Pontiff has restored? I don’t think its a bad thing… after all, the experience of the Catholics is a good reminder for those Ocadox who want to endow Orthodox worship with all the splendor of an Evangelical prayer room.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        So you must have the same objections with the Patriarch of Moscow and that disapearing rolex he was (was not) wearing? Every Albanian has a mule? Ok, but many have criticised Patriarch Pavel for failing to subdue Hardline Serbian Bishops and other hardliners that led to much of the atrocities that were committed against the Muslims, Croats and others, even blessing paramilitary groups that went out and killed in the name of a Greater Serbia.

        Now, Hardline Greek and Russian Bishops would probably do the exact same thing so I am not saying Greeks or Russians are better than Serbs, but let’s not make a man a living saint who on retrospect may not deserve it no matter how humble he lived. Remember if you live too humble to even raise your voice in the face of atrocities is just to damn humble in my opinion.

        Even good men are not always good when they need to be or should be. This goes for the EP, MP and everybody. This is our fallen human nature.


        • “Failing to subdue …” not exactly how Pavle understood his role as Patriarch. He spoke out about the atrocities — by all sides at all times. His record on this is very public and very clear.

          There is very strong, hardline and fascist element among the bishops of the Serbian church, but Pavle was certainly not among them and did not condone what they said and did. He was unsuccessful in tempering them by example.

          The Second Lung Eastern Pope residing in an Istanbul ghetto routinely subdues His All Supreme Magnificant Universal Most Blessed and Every Memorable Kyr Kyr Holiness’ critics. Pavle would have none of that stupidity.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Excuses do not bring the dead back to life. Speaking out does nothing if you have no actions to back up your words. Mothers still lost children and families still were separated all because a few hardline bishops decided that being Muslim, Catholic or just on the wrong side of the boarder made you a target.

            Pavel could have stopped it, Pavel could have easily excommunicated and defrocked them. He could have stopped the blessing of para-military groups, and would have put teeth in his words. Alas they were just words now wasted on the dead, and the dead are still dead.

            No thank you


            • George Michalopulos says

              Peter, that’s a harsh assessment. These same accusations could have been levelled at some of the Patriarchs of Constantinople over the past 500 years or so. There’s a lot of blood on Greek hands as well. My papou (who fought in the Balkan Wars and WWI) told me that nobody wore any white hats during that time.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                Oh George I agree with you and know very well about extremist Greek Bishops in Epirous, Asia Minor (Turkey) and during the Balkan wars of the past, but wrong is wrong and if Orthodox do not stand up and say its wrong, even if its in our own back yard, or our own Church, then what do we really stand for? Ethnicity or the Gospel? I like to think I stand for the Gospel.


              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                I also do not agree with the banning of an entire Church, the Macedonian Orthodox Church, just because of a so-called name and cultural co-opting by the Macedonians and the Greek Church gets all bent out of shape.

                Now if Macedonia had or still has a policy of bringing about a “Greater” Macedonia that would infringe on Greek territorial rights that’s one thing and its political and it can be resolved, BUT for the Greek Church to not recognize the Macedonian Orthodox Church for political NOT canonical reasons, is not acceptable to me and just plain wrong.

                I know why the Church of Greece and the GOA are not doing it because to recognize the MOC would be in effect recognizing the Republic of Macedonia and with it its claims to a “Greater” Macedonia, at least that’s the argument, but I just do not buy it and the Church has its own spiritual priorities that should and MUST trump political concerns such as the salvation of the people within Macedonia. Period.


                • V.Rev. Andrei Alexiev says

                  Are you aware that the Macedonian Orthodox Church is in schism from the Serbian Orthodox Church and for that reason,it is not recognised by World Orthodoxy? There is the legitimate Macedonian Church under Archbishop Jovan.which forms an autonomous part of the Serbian Church and as such,is recognised by the Orthodox world.It is being persecuted by the Macedonian state.
                  Also,the Macedonian state is not helping the situation by not allowing clergy of either the Serbian or Greek Churches to travel within her borders wearing clercal garb.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    Yes, I am aware, but one is under Serbian Jurisdiction while the other is not. This has more to do with Politics IMHO than any violations of doctrine. However, as always, I am open to correction.

                    Thank you Father and have a good night.


                    • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

                      Yes,but the Macedonian schism was formed during the Communist years of Tito and he was the one who supported it.So,yes,there is a political element,but here it was the communists.If it were only the Greek and Serbian churches which did not recognise the so-called Autocephaly of the Macedonian church,one might say it was political.But not one single Orthodox church anywhere recognises the Macedonian church.
                      In my fathers homeland,Ukraine,during the 1920’s,the so-called Ukrainian Orthodox church was started with the silent agreement of the Soviets.This situation was even worse than the Macedonian church,which started with one bishop.Not even one Orthodox bishop could be found to consecrate the two candidates for bishop,so the 19 or so Presbyters laid their hands on the two candidates.Thus,here for nationalistic reasons,instead of a schism,we have pure heresy.
                      Besides the fact that the “concercration” was performed by priests without a bishop,the Ukrainian church was a Ukrainian variation of the Russian Living church theme,married bishops,twice married priests,etc.
                      In the emigration,none of those innovations are practiced,but for reasons of nationalistic pride,few Ukrainians have ever acknowledged that the original head of their church in UKraine,”Metropolitan” Vasyl Lypkivsky was not an Orthodox hierarch.One Orthodox bishop may ordain a thousand or more priests during the course of his hierarchal live,but not even a thousand priests can consecrate a bishop.
                      As for loyalty,my loyalty is to Christ and His Church.I’ve been told by some that I must be loyal to Vladimir Putin because I have “Russian” blood in my veins.No,I’m American-born,and while a Slavophile,I’m with everyone who is for Orthodoxy,Greek,Slav,Albanian,Romanian,Latvian,Estonian,Arab,or other.I’m loyal to the laws of the USA with the same proviso with which St,Tikhon,Patriarch of Moscow,answered when on trial by the Soviets,”so long as they do not contradict the laws of piety.Solzhenitsyn,commenting on the Patriarchs statement says,”If only everyone had answered this way,how differant our history would have been!”

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev I agree with you 100%. However, my concern it that whatever actions the State of Macedonia does or does not do the Orthodox Church should fail to recognize an Orthodox Church IF it is teaching false or heretical doctrines. Anything short of that the Church should not and cannot fail to recognize a church for political reasons.

                      So if the Macedonian Orthodox Church was NOT properly formed or headed by proper and canonical Orthodox Bishops then I agree with you that it should NOT be recognized, but if it IS under the leadership of proper and canonical Orthodox Bishops then why is it NOT recognized?

                      Like I said before I am open to correction so if the MOC in Macedonia proper is non-canonical for whatever reason I will listen and accept it, but short of this I wil have a problem failing to recognize a church that is Canonical and Orthodox.


        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          The irony of the problems in the former Yugoslavia is that they spent the last half of the 19 century trying to unite the south Slavs in one country. It was radicals who wanted to unite Croatia and Kossovo and Herzogovenia then ruled by the Habsburg who were responsible for the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo that was the spark that ignited the First World War. Then once they got together, they decided that they did not really like each other that much. During the Second World War, The Croatians, led by a group calling itself the Ustashi and aided by Catholic priests, sided with Hitler and killed almost one million Serbs. Tito established a dictatorship that held them together but after his death and the end of communism, the old hatreds were reborn. Tito, a Croat, also encouraged Muslim Albanians to move to Kossovo, which is the historic home land of the Serbs. The new Croatia revived anti-Serbian Croatian nationalism complete with the flag and other symbols of the Ustashi. When the U.S. got involved, naturally, our government sided against the Orthodox. Clinton led us into an illegal and unconstitutional war against the Serbs. Ironically, the peace movement left was passionately anti-Serb and advocated U.S. intervention. At that time, I taught history at Kirkwood Community College and was asked to serve on a panel that including a geography professor at the University of Iowa who was one of the leaders of the peace movement. I argued that atrocities had been committed on both sides and that the US should understand the emotional ties of the Serbs to Kossovo and the fear of the Serbs of Muslim or Croatian domination. He, the professional peace advocate, wanted the US to get involved to support the Croatians and Muslim Albanians.

    • oliver douglas says

      LEt’s try this once again- go to the police asap.

    • Ashley has a bee in his bonnet, no? Ashley, think “beams” and “eyes.” Surely you’ve exhausted all possible hostile expression outwards, towards Orthodoxy. You know from experience that that hostility does not bear good fruit or pleasant outcomes. On the contrary. Please, you can’t keep arguing with the departed! I repeat, think “beams” and “eyes!”

  10. John Christopher says

    There are more Americans with dual citizenship than there are Orthodox in America. This is a non story.

    • George Michalopulos says

      That still doesn’t make it right.

      • John Christopher says

        I don’t think the majority of Orthodox in America are nearly as phyletistic as you are on the matter, George. I know many Russians, Romanians, Greeks, Serbians, Syrians, Lebanese, Canadians, Brits, Estonians, Georgians, and, yes, even citizens of Turkey, who are American citizens and also citizens of the country of their fathers or even grandfathers. It’s not the early 1940s, and, at least on this matter, that’s a good thing.

      • I personally think that removing the divided loyalties of dual and triple citizenship potentially one of the most effective Homeland Security tools. By only allowing unitary citizenship, you remove the association of our citizens with foreign armies, governments and lobbying, but more i9mportantly, each citizen i made more responsible for our country with no competing interests, Nationality? Choose one. Voting? Absolutely, can only choose one and once.

        It is; high time we all stopped acting like Diaspora, real or pretend.

  11. Ordo Antiquus says

    Forget Constantinople. Look at what the Greeks are doing to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, where there is no native Greek population at all.

    • Could you outline that for us? It was kind of disgusting to read in the news how difficult it was to ordain the first Palestinian bishop

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        It is really very simple, the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher controls the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and only allows Greeks to become members. I have a friend who started to sing “Christ is risen..” in Arabic in the Church of the Resurrection called by the Roman Catholics and the Western press as The Church of the Holy Sepulcher. A Greek monk came up to him and told him that he is forbidden to sing in Arabic in the Church. The Palestinians are treated like second class citizens in their own Church in their own country. The situation seems to be getting a little better but much needs to be done to allow Palestinian Bishops and eventually a Palestinian Arab Patriarch.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          I cannot defend these actions but will simply ask those who may know more about this to explain this a little because it may not be racial bias on the part of Greeks, but on the part of the Israelis. The Greeks actually own much of the religious land in Israel. For the Greek Church to appoint a Palestinian Bishop could, and I emphasize COULD, have property and political ramifications that we may be missing that would be offensive to the Israelies. However, I do not know this subject that well and will leave I to others to flesh his out further.

          Yet, discrimination based purely on race is wrong no matter who does it. Yet, in the Middle East things are seldom what they seem or divorced from politics and agendas.


        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          Also this hesitation on my part comes from the Palestinian Priest and his Three sons that were kind enough to take me and my mother on pilgrimage and who were explaining the politics to me in Israel that involved the Greeks, Catholics, Muslims and Israel in the appointment of Palestinians to certain positions of power especially in the Greek Church because of the underlying property issues with the Greek Church.

          However, I do not know this situation that well so I will leave it to others to explain his matter further, even if it purely is racial bias on the part of Greek, which is wrong.


        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          To Peter A. Papoutsis

          Unfortunately the problem with Greek domination of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem existed long before the establishment of the state of Israel. Antioch had the same problem with foreign domination, but liberated itself in 1899 by electing a native Patriarch. Read Runciman’s The Great Church in Captivity and you will understand the harm that Turkish domination did to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

          • George Michalopulos says

            I believe you’re right Fr. The Order of the Holy Sepulchre (which is exclusively Greek) was created sometime in the 17th century. While we should not be averse to criticizing Israeli policies, we should not fall into the trap of “blaming the Jews for everything” as in this matter.

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              For the record I do not blame jews, but have and continue to criticize the foreign and political policies of the State of Israel and its political philosophy of Zionism or Greater Israel. The concept of “Greater” this and that Nation-State has unfortunately plauged humans for a very long time. Currently, the policies of the State of Israel have led and continue to lead not only the immediate region into turmoil, but has shaped the forgeign policy of the United States of America, via Neo-Conservatism, for the last 50 years, and keeps the U.S. too close to the State of Israel to be an effective broker for peace in the Middle East as well as the current drum beating of aggression toward Iran. Unfortunately, this IS the current U.S. foreign policy no matter who wins in November.

              This has led to such arbitrary decisions such as its ok for Pakistan and India to have nukes, but not Iran. North Korea is 10 times more dangerous and truly more unstable than Iran, and N.K. has nukes, and yet Iran is being excluded from the Bomb club. If this does not showcase America’s allegiance to the aggresive philosophy of Zionism, and thus to the political State of Israel, then nothng does. This does not mean I want Iran to have nuclear weapons, but an arbitrary precident has been established that fails to give America any moral or political leverage on this issue.

              GOA Bishops getting Turkish citizenship is immediate concern for “divided” loyalties, but America’s “Support” for the Nation-State of Israel and ITS policies raises NO concern for divided loyalties for America. I think that is strange to say the least and very telling as to how far the Neo-Cons have influenced the debate and current American mindset. Is our allegiance to America or to Israel? The way you answer that question will determine your loyalty and whether that loyalty is divided.


              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                It is not just the neo-conservatives who are pro-Israel.The pro-Zionest lobby is the strongest political lobby in the United States. It dominates both American political parties. It does not matter who we elect, whoever is President, he will not dare alienate the Zionist lobby. Both Romney and Obama made the required pilgrimage to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to pledge their undying loyalty to Israel. The pro-Zionist lobby has a strangle hold on American foreign policy in the Middle East. The US government has constantly compromised our national interests to support Israel.

          • Father John Morris writes:
            “the problem with Greek domination of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem existed long before the establishment of the state of Israel. Antioch had the same problem with foreign domination, but liberated itself in 1899 by electing a native Patriarch. Read Runciman’s The Great Church in Captivity and you will understand the harm that Turkish domination did to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”

            Yes, indeed. To “understand the harm that Turkish domination did not only to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople over all those centuries, but to all the other Ecumenical Patriarchates (of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem), one need realize the absolutely subservient status, almost “Potemkin-Village-like” “independence”, of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem vis-a-vis the Phanar. Why, sometimes the Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch lived on an island, while at other times he simply sat in Constantinople as almost a parlor servant of the Constantinopolitan Patriarch, head of the millet. This subservient status did last, as Father John confirms, all the way up until the end of the 19the century and the first sign of its improvement was allowing a non-Greek to be Antiochian Patriarch for a time, in 1899. Similar harm in those periods was also done to others among the various Antiochian Patriarchates, Maronite, Melkite, and Jacobite, and not just the Greek Patriarchate.
            Incidentally, I’ve got hold of a most interesting book. Anyone who’s interested in “dhimmitude” and can read German, should seek it out to read: “‘DIMMA UND EGALITE: Die nichtmuslimischen Minderheiten Aegyptens in der qweiten Haelfte des 18.Jahrhundertts…’ by Herald Motzki. Bonn: Selbstverlag des Orientalischen Seminars der Universtaet BONN. 1979.
            One must remember, too, that Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, were under Muslim rule for quite a while before Constantinople was: the Turkish Sultan was for them just the latest version of non-Greek overlordship in their lands. There was, for example, the Abbasid Caliphate, and various other Sultanates, such as those of the Mamelukes. While two of the various Arab tribes had become Christian, most of the Arabs had been animist and pagan before they were converted to Islam. The indigenous populations of not only Anatolia, but Syria, the Lebanon, Mesopotamia, and Egypt, etc., were simply overrun by those Islamic Arab hordes, and all of them imposed and Arabic-Turko culture and religion on the indigenous people. Indigenus, Syriac language and culture survived mostly among the Jacobites, and Maronites, not among the Melkites and Greek Orthodox. Same with the Coptic language and culture, completely dominated by Arabs,Abbassids, Mamelukes and Turks In some and especially in the Churches, the Western Europeans, as Crusades, also were more or less dominant.. Why, even before the coming of the Turks, Constantinple already was deeply influenced by Western European feudal culture that is still noticeable in some of the thought and ways of today’s E.P. A Russian traveler in, I believe, the 18th century, observed that in the Churches of the Constantinopolitan Patriarchate in Istanbul, all the icons and analogia, etc.,were covered over with black veiling throughout the Great Fast.
            If anyone is practicing that today, they may follow the lead of some clergy writing here and say,”It can’t be anything but FULLY ORTHODOX if they did it that way in the Phanar, headquarters of the Orthodox Church wordlwide!”
            Liturgical question for Archpriest J. Morris: Is it not true that before the conquest of Constantinople by the Sultan Mehmet, the throne of the Emperor was in the south side of the nave, while the throne of the Archbishop-Patriarch was in the north side of the nave?ll Why, today, do Greek bishops sit on thrones on the south side, rather than the north? And what custom do the Antiochenes follow: north or south?

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              Your Grace

              There are two Bishop’s thrones in a properly set up Antiochian Church. One behind the Holy Table with seats for the clergy on each side. Then there is also a throne near the Iconostasis on the left or southside as one is facing the Holy Table. All parish Temples should have a Bishop’s throne in that location and a few have one behind the Holy Table if the Altar is large enough. The Bishop presides over Vespers from that throne. I have only been to one Vespers presided over the Bishop following the Russian tradition. The Bishop entered the Altar at the Entrance, while our Bishops and Greek Bishops stay on the throne outside of the Altar. However, during an Hierarchical Divine Liturgy a moveable Bishop’s throne is set in the middle of the Solea. The Bishop presides from that throne until he enters the Altar during the Little Entrance. I would have to do some research on why the Bishop’s throne outside of the Altar is where located on the South side of the Solea.
              As I am sure you know the great canonist Theodore Balsamon who became Patriarch of Antioch in 1193 who ruled that all Orthodox must follow the practice of Constantinople.

              • John W. Morris, an Archpriest, would get a B+ on his throne report, I suppose.
                I understand that the Holy Altar Table in any Orthodox temple is THE THRONE.
                Behind that THRONE since the days of, oh, the Didache, there is a seat for the Bishop, sometimes called Synthronon, I believe. That is the place whence from ancient time, the Bishop after the entrance troparia went to give The Peace befpre the Scripture Readings at Divine Liturgy. Those are the two Thrones maintained in the Russian Church even until today.
                In the center of the nave, that is, west of, in front of, the Holy Altar, Bishops stand to pray before entering the Holy Altar at any service whatsoever. Sometimes a platform is placed there, called, variously, The Vesting Place; Runduk, and Amfiteatr (Amphitheater).
                My poor understanding of the ritual of the Holy Wisdom cathedral in imperial Constantinople is this: there were two additional thrones outside the Altar, one in the South and one in the North. The one in the South was for the Basileus; the one in the North was for the Archbishop. But I have also read that there were NO thrones for the Bishops outside the Altar at all, and that ONLY the Basileus had one on which he sat, and it was South in the nave. Some have opined, but I don’t know if there is any support for this supposition, that the Patriarchs of Constantinople put a throne for themselves where the emperor’s throne was, AFTER the Sultan made them Head of the Millet (Nation).
                Obviously, the Holy Wisdom cathedral and Constantinople no longer function as such: the one is a museum and the other’s name has been changed to ‘Istanbul, or Stamboul. (A demotic Greek distortion of stan pouli, “to the city.” I hope that Father Morris will succeed in his research and let us know when and WHY, the in parishes following the practices of fallen Constantinople as they developed (1) under the Unia (which ended with Mehmet’s conquest) and (2) under the Sultan follow the Grecian practice. Under the Sultan, as Father Morris’s testimony shows us, the Patriarchs of Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem were subordinate and subservient to the head of the Millet: the Patriarch of Constantinople. The poor Patriarchs of Antioch only had some respite from that subservience when they “escaped” to be under the Latin Crusaders, in which case, they got their direction elsewhere and either followed those directions or were threatened with replacement, by the Pope, with a competitor for the title of Antioch. To whomever Theodore Balsamon may have been subservient in 1193, he was never given the Grace by anyone to make any pronouncements for All the Holy Local Churches, particularly in the area of what Lutherans l call “adiaphora.” Such an attempt would be overweening, indeed!

                • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

                  His Grace wrote “since the days of, oh, the Didache,”

                  While I cannot find any direct evidence, I believe Your Grace was a sub-deacon at that time?

                  Forgive me Vladyko! I could not help myself!

                  I do very much enjoy your instructive posts. In fact last night I was ordering a book from Orthodox Research Institute and for some reason or another (one link led me to four others) I ended up reading “Protocol 139” just out of mere curiosity of the title!

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    Actually, I suspect that the origin of the Bishop’s throne is the Seat of Moses in the ancient synagogue. The chief teacher in the synagogue taught from the Seat of Moses.

                • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                  Theodore Balsamon is still considered one of the greatest authorities on Orthodox canon law. Besides he was Patriarch of Antioch from 1185 to 1199. That would give him a great deal of authority over the liturgical practices of the Patriarchate of Antioch.

                  • But you KNOW, Father John, that’s not what you wrote: You wrote this; “As I am sure you know the great canonist Theodore Balsamon who became Patriarch of Antioch in 1193 who ruled that all Orthodox must follow the practice of Constantinople.”

                    Theodore Balsamon was not enabled or ordained to rule ANYthing for all the Local Churches. He was NOT an Ecumenical Council, and no canon whatsoever can be cited to support that awful declaration you cited. Just what are the exact words of that “ruling’, to whom was it addressed? Was that ‘ruling’ disseminated to “All Orthodox,” especially the heads of the Local Churches? Please, give us a bibliographical reference to his “ruling” and give us the exact text, translated. I’m sure you’d be very careful in quoting someone like Theodore Balsamon not to distort his teaching!

                  • Archprie st John W. Morris says

                    Reply to Bishop Tikhon;

                    We all know that all Orthodox Churches follow the liturgical practices of Constantinople. We all serve the Byzantine Liturgy, not the Coptic or Syriac Liturgy. It is a well known fact that Theodore Balsamon’s commentaries on canon law stated that it is a requirement of all Orthodox to follow the Byzantine Rite. At that point Constaintinople had great influence over the Patriarchates of Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria. Balsamon was Patriarch of Antioch, although he never left Constantinople.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Thank you Father John. I have Runciman’s The Great Church in Captivity book, but I have not read it since 2006, and even then did not read it all the way through while I was on the plane to Istanbul with my wife. Its a book I want to finish reading, but kids and work keep me from it and many other books that I have yet to get to. Oh well.


  12. “Especially a foreign power like Turkey which is actively hostile to American interests and whose people have a hatred for America.”

    This is a rather strange statement. Turkey is a NATO ally which has long hosted a major American military base. If the writer thinks that Turks have a hatred for America, I can only surmise (based on extensive travel in Turkey) that he has never spoken to any Turks. Turks, like many others around the world, admire America and disagree with many aspects of our foreign policy.

    Now, as for the matter of dual citizenship – my understanding is that Turkish citizenship is not that easy to acquire! A basic search on the web suggests that one must live in Turkey for five years continuously.

    One way to solve the problem of the Phanar’s requirement that the Patriarch be a Turkish citizen would be for the EU to admit Turkey. In that case, any EU citizen could take any job in Turkey, no questions asked. The number of eligible candidates would expand exponentially. Turkey’s economy is growing fast and is certainly in better shape than the economies of several EU countries…no names of course…

    • George Michalopulos says

      Leaving my own Hellenic biases aside, I can confidently state that Turkey’s relationship with America is best categorized as one of “frenemy.”

  13. Whose Name is Missing? From the ROCOR Parish Life for November of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, D.C.


    With the arrival of the world-renowned Sretensky Monastery Men’s Choir to Washington, DC, on Thursday, October 4, 2012, a four-day spiritual celebration by Orthodox Christians of the nation’s capital began.

    On Friday, October 5, Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov) presented an English translation of his book, Everyday Saints, at the Library of Congress. The book has become a best-seller in Russia (1.1 million copies sold so far).
    Fr. Tikhon noted that all proceeds from the sale of his book will go towards the construction of a church on Bolshaya Lyubanka dedicated to the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia.

    “We want to build a beautiful, bright church, marking the victory of good over evil and brutality,” said Fr. Tikhon. “We want to complete this church by February 2017, the centennial of the beginning of those fateful days. Today there are many memorials devoted to the period, but many of them are gloomy, dark, depressing. This is not the way to view its history.”

    On Saturday, October 6, the Sretensky Choir sang the Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral, of the Orthodox Church in America. Officiating were His Eminence Archbishop Justinian of Naro-Fominsk, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, and His Grace Bishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania of the Orthodox Church in America, along with representatives of many other Local Churches.

    At the end of the service, St John the Baptist Cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was given a gift of a portion of the relics of St. Herman of Alaska from the OCA. The relic was thankfully received by Fr. Victor.

    That evening, James Billington, the Librarian of Congress, hosted a reception in honor of Fr. Tikhon, the Prior of Sretensky Monastery in Moscow.

    After dinner, the Sretensky Choir performed their first concert of liturgical music on the present tour in an overfilled auditorium of the Library of Congress. The audience was moved to tears by their performance.

    Sunday, October 7, began with the ceremonial greeting of the Hawaiian Iveron Icon of the Mother of God at St John the Baptist Cathedral, where Divine Liturgy was then celebrated by clergymen of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. During the service, the aromatic icon, one of the main holy icons of the Russian diaspora, lay on an analogion in the middle of the church. In his sermon, Fr. Victor reminded the worshipers that the unofficial name of this icon is “Unity,” since it began to issue myrrh five years ago, upon the reestablishment of unity within the Russian Orthodox Church.

    As noted by a correspondent of ITAR-TASS news agency, “The church was literally overfilled by believers during the service. It was still possible to stand in place and make the sign of the cross, but there was no room to even kneel. The gathering of worshipers was understandable: for besides the visiting Hawaiian Iveron icon, the famous Sretensky Men’s Choir sang and the monastery Prior, Fr. Tikhon (Shevkunov) was present.”

    It is worth noting that the arrival of the Hawaiian Myrrh-Streaming Iveron Icon and the Sretensky Choir coincided with the cathedral’s annual benefit bazaar, attended by thousands of Washingtonians of all nationalities who love Russian culture and cuisine.
    After Divine Liturgy, a moleben and akathist to the Mother of God were performed before the Hawaiian Iveron Icon. Altogether, the services lasted some three-and-a-half hours. Fr. Tikhon even expressed mock surprise, saying that this would be unimaginable in a Moscow church, and asked that the choir be given extra refreshments, having sung the entire time without a break.

    The fair gave buyers of Fr. Tikhon’s book the opportunity to have him autograph their copies, and also to listen to the Sretensky Choir again. The “Sretentsky” took to the courtyard before the church and sang the song “On the Hills of Manchuria.”

    The Hawaiian Iveron Icon spent only a few hours at St John the Baptist Cathedral. The parishioners were happy to learn that they will once again have the opportunity to venerate the icon on October 27-28, since its caretaker, Reader Nectarios Yangson, will be taking the icon to Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY, to the grave of Jose Munoz-Cortes, the erstwhile keeper of the Montreal Iveron Icon.

    The visit of this icon to the monastery is intended to coincide with a pilgrimage organized by St. John Cathedral to mark the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the icon’s streaming of myrrh (November 24, 1982), the 15th anniversary of the martyric death of its caretaker (October 31, 1997), and also the 5th anniversary of the date when the Hawaiian “Unity” Iveron Icon of the Mother of God began to stream myrrh (October 6, 2007).

    Photographs of the recent festivities may be viewed at the following web address:

    • It’s Metropolitan Jonah’s name, of course. I wonder why. You can just see him in one of the photos of the church, he’s standing in the back of the clergy and you can spot his klobuk.

      • I’m afraid to ask if it was an intentional oversight, especially because of the specific way the celebrants of the first liturgy with the Sretensky monastery choir was stated, titles and all. But the second liturgy, already published with the names of celebrants in a previous article, does not mention the names of clergy at all and makes it appear as a ROCOR – MP event only. So, it could be shorthand, not intentional, especially as the author, Father Victor, advertized to his parish that the Metropolitan, i.e. Metropolitan Jonah, would be serving. He is also at the Library of Congress events, and etc.

        Before Metropolitan Jonah was ousted out, the ROCOR was often putting links to the OCA for English explanations of what was being celebrated any given Sunday. Now, the English is all from other sources.

        I don’t like to see a conspiracy behind every bush, but it seems almost a conspiracy to keep the Metropolitan out of the news and try to make him fade form peoples’ minds