The Scandalous Nature of the Word “Archon” for a Christian Organization

In the past, yours truly has taken issue with the order known as the Archons. Also known as the Knights of St Andrew, this lay order of business leaders and other eminences was created several decades ago as an auxiliary of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, with a special emphasis on absolute loyalty to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

This term, however, is unfortunate in many respects. For one thing, it smacks of hubris in that its members are self-proclaimed leaders (archon in modern Greek means “leader”). Secondly, it scandalizes Christian ears who are cognizant of what Christ Himself said about leaders: that they are “to be last”; to be the opposite of what is found in the gentile world, where “their leaders lord it over them” (Matt 20:25).

There is however a third misgiving about this term, one which I’m afraid has escaped the notice of many Greek Orthodox Christians, hierarchs and priests as well as laymen. Specifically, that it has another more nefarious origin in Gnosticism, that is to say, that within that particular heresy, “archons” were terrifying cosmological entities which controlled the universe, all in the service of malevolent Demiurgos (“creator”).

A word must be said at this point here about this so-called demiurge. According to Gnosticism (which was heavily influenced by Neoplatonism), the created universe was evil. Hence the God of the Old Testament was not the real God but a self-deluded semi-divine being, usually called Sammael (“the god of the blind”).

To Hellenistic sensibilities, the inferiority of this creator-god was self-evident, having its basis in the Old Testament Scriptures themselves. In Genesis, we are told for example that God “walked with Adam”. In the story of the hospitality of Abraham and Sarah at Mamre He was offered food to eat. These are by no means exhaustive accounts. In any event, to the Gnostics, these passages indicated that Yahweh had a physical body.

As for His personal attributes, they were found lacking as well. He ordered mass killings for instance and constantly reminded the Israelites that He was a “jealous God” who would chastise them if they followed or “whored” after other gods. The implication being that monotheism as preached by the Prophets was itself a delusion, that Yahweh was not alone but one of many and that He was acutely aware of it. All told, the Yahweh of the Old Testament had nothing in common with the God which Jesus preached.

In any event, to augment His cult, Yahweh ordered the Israelites to be natalist, to be “fruitful and multiply” and to “subdue the earth”. To make sure that this would happen, the Mosaic Law was instituted and it prescribed the death penalty for those who practiced homosexuality, bestiality, incest and all manner of non-vaginal coition.

For a great number of non-Jews, such a god was no god at all but a capricious, semitic tribal deity at best. His inauguration of the created order was therefore unfortunate. In fact, it violated all manner of Neoplatonic precepts. Thus it followed that since creation was evil, natural heterosexual relations were to be avoided at all costs. This made sense since according to this philosophy, the purpose of existence was not to perpetuate creation but to break free of it and return the soul to the real God.

According to this cosmology, in order for Sammael to better enforce his carnal plan for the cosmos, there were several demonic beings who controlled the various aspects of the universe. Because there were seven planets in the sky (the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn),1 it was commonly agreed that there were seven of these beings ruling as a hebdomad who were called “archontes” (principalities or rulers).2

The dependence upon the number of archons upon astronomical phenomena was obvious: seven days of the week, seven planets and thus seven archons. Other Gnostics, such as Basilides, taught that as there were 365 archons who were presided over by a “Great Archon” known Abraxas. In any event, seeing as how they corresponded with astrophysical phenomenon, it seemed logical that they likewise had control over different aspects of physical reality.

There were several different Gnostic sects, among them the Ophites, Sethites, Mandaeans, and Manicheans. Usually, they were stand-alone, non-Christian mystery schools which were rivals to Christianity. Frequently, however, they could (and often did) penetrate into orthodox Christianity. Those Christians who were more heavily influenced by Gnosticism, likewise eschewed marriage and procreation. (Although it must be said that the eschatological fervor of mid-first century Christians may also have had an influence on anti-natalism as well.)

To be sure, Christianity taught the exact opposite: that creation was good (cf Gen 1:1, John 1:1-3 and John 3:16). It stood to reason therefore that the God of Israel was likewise good and naturally it followed that His divine Logos, the principle by which creation came into existence had to be good as well. Goodness, reason, and logic could be discerned throughout the universe, even in its fallen state. Clearly, Christianity and Gnosticism were incompatible.

As to why it fell, the blame was placed squarely on Satan’s shoulders. Formerly an archangel of exceedingly high status named Lucifer (“light-bearer”), Satan had tried to usurp God’s throne for himself. When he was cast out of heaven, he tried instead to propagate his original plan by insinuating himself into Paradise wherein he was able to seduce Eve. Because of his success, his power over the world was tremendous, so much so that only God Himself could break his grip over it.

What we have, therefore, in Christianity is a mirror image of Gnosticism. Both religions taught that the world was created but that its intention was different: for Gnostics, the world was evil from its inauguration; for Christians, it was initially good having fallen however because of the serpent (ophis in Greek).3 In both systems, however, there was room for demonic entities who had sway over the universe. And in each case, these beings were called archontes.4

This was not a mere non-Christian fantasy. We find corroboration for their existence in St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians (6:12), where he informs the Church that “we wrestle not with flesh and blood but principalities and powers”. Likewise, in Romans 8:38, he states that “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come.”

Paul’s concern was that the world was already in the grip of Satan who was “the god of this world” (2 Cor 4:4) but that those who were illumined through baptism had little to fear because Christ had already “disarmed principalities and powers, [making] a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Col 2:15). As to what realms they inhabited, he believed that they lived in the upper atmosphere (Eph 2:2).

The above is not meant to be an exhaustive introduction into Gnosticism or on the parallels between Gnostic and Christian understanding of these spiritual entities. Nor is it to be an introduction into the controversial toll-house theory. I meant it instead to be a warning as to why this unfortunate term should be avoided at all costs. Not merely because it is prideful and goes against Jesus’ very precepts about true servant-leadership but because it also has a nefarious connotation within Gnosticism –and of course, the toll-house connotations cannot be avoided.

I am under no illusion that this fine organization will change its name because of what is written here. It is too late in the day for that to happen in my humble opinion. And given the prideful and parochial vision of many within this organization, based as it is on Greco-Constantinopolitan exclusivism, then its ethnocentric myopia will continue to be its raison d’etre.

My concern instead is how and why the bishops and theologians of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America allowed this term to be used in the first place. It seems inconceivable to me that trained theologians at the time of this organization’s inception were unaware of the full implications of this loaded word. As such, I’m curious as to what else has slipped the grasp of the Greek-American episcopate.5

Regardless, given the extreme Constantinopolitan supremacism that permeates the thought of the new Archbishop of the GOA, I for one, cannot see things being any different.


1. This dependence upon the number seven is quite common in pre-Christian religion. The Jews, for example, believed that these seven planets were ruled by seven archangels: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Selaphiel, Jegudiel, and Barachiel. (Each of which corresponded to the seven days of the week, respectively.)

2. In modern Greek, the seven-day week is called an hebdomada.

3. The origin of the name for the Ophites comes from this ancient Greek word for serpent. In subsequent illuminist philosophy, we find the serpent being an avatar for goodness and wisdom.

4. The congruence between these gnostic archontes and the demons who populate the toll-houses is obvious. It is interesting that those who are antagonistic to the toll-house theory do so by smearing it as a species of Gnosticism, yet they fail to see that according to St Paul, they exist in Christian cosmology as well.

5. Perhaps this is a reason we find that there is an esoteric symbol inscribed on the floor which we have already commented on?


  1. In addition there is the whole mythology of St. Andrew. Knights??  Of WHO?  St. Andrew spent just as much time in Byzantium as he did in Ukraine or Antarctica.  We know he couldn’t have had time to travel so much, he was busy painting any number of icons of the Theotokos.  

    • Bob as born in Patra I do know he was crucified there on the spot of the former old to the new one, my  late mum was baptised there . But yes busy man claimed by all.  

  2. George yr blogg has actually caused massive change in my attitude as i became more aware of the nature and depth of the unfolding crisis in Orthodox and above all in greek Orthodoxy.  
    As a greek I had lived through the 2004/7 unfolding scandals that rocked the greek church in the last yrs of Christodoulos.  Rampant homosexuality amongst the hierarchs and monks. I almost feel proud about the 91 yr old bishop in 2006 I think, filmed cavourting with a. FEMALE  prostitute. Not even needing VIAGRA  Bravo levendi!!Don’t make ’em like that any more!! ? Not to mention the Bishop arrested in Athens  night club with DRUG smugler implicated in the Jerusalem Patrarchate scandal of mid  first decade, if you recall. . 
    I can give you names etc but all in public record. But do you wonder why the latest polls give greek youth as almost TOTALLY alienated from the Church as my meeting greek students here in Bulgaria supports. Totally disinterested.  Two not baptised and non of them having any intentions to marry in church or baptise their children. Displays of  total ignorance of the Church with no connection  at all. They regard the Church to quote, ‘ As a dead archaic , irrelevant, corrupt body full of evil bastards ‘  unquote, from Dmitri from Cephalonia. Give it to u in greek if you want. 
    I, in my naivity always had a vision of the greek church in USA, yes a bit gone strange in it’s worship, but a vigorous, expanding body full of american vitality and  vigour.   What do i discover, and I have to  admit my visits did not give me totally this impression,but only three parishes and Holy Trinity  NY, but since then the evidence has cascaded down the hill to overwhelming affect. Although I saw quickly the Ομογένεια was a potemkin village facade, a dead body in the library, that every one pretended not to notice.  But hey “”my kid looks so cute as an evzone on parade day ”  What is an evzone”????!!!???
    What do we find in this new world bastion of greek Orthodoxy!? 
    Total corruption,  disgusting secular attitude and corresponding decline. 
    All I can say is we have come out in sympathy with the Catholic church.  Thank God we do not have in main a celibate clergy as God alone knows what scandals and paedophile ring we would find. But we have enough. 
    And St Nicholas eye sore.  Can i say it’s an insult and mockery of the dead. An  abuse and use of their deaths and all due respect, many were not Christian or even believers so thank you very much, STUFF YR  XMAS, LIT UP IN DARK, DECORATION SHRINE!!   And the poor parishioners of the original St Nicholas church do not even get their little church back!! 
    And do you know how many millions of dollars has gone west?  Ha.  Gone East!! 
    And talking of the corrupt centre,  the delusional pretend language of decaying old Men and camp young ones, with no reality in their Turkish  Bubble and their cynical play in Ukraine and elsewhere to make sure they have influence and cash to carry on. 
    I tell you what. LETS SHOW SYMPATHY for Denisenko.  Beware of Greeks bearing GIFTS, especially to inferior untermenschen Slavs.  HE was promised, autocephaly, what said on the tin, but when opened reads ‘ limited autonony ‘, far less than the genuine autonomous church has, which is practically autocephalous in it’s life vis  a vis Moscow. 
    But for those having some mild interest in what the Orthodox church teaches, apart from self interest and money and narrow nationalism to slaughter the other side,  the destruction of Orthodox teaching on 1/ The sacraments 
                            2/ their validity 
                            3/  First amongst equal now changed to first ‘sui generis’,   yes Latin the best language here!!  
    Well it means can i say that those of you who think this nothing to do with you and is just  a political dog fight ‘over there’, well you are willfully closing yr eyes. 
    But I can happily tell you that you now have Mr elpidophoros arrived to bring you the PAPAL TIDINGS OF GOOD CHEER. Mr fancy dress man,  one time pretend abbot ( nice make belief game to play as beats getting a real job)  and perenial student of  such vitality riviting stuff as byzantine canons and  running barbarian lands. Clever chap. Make a good librarian if he wants a day job. 
    God help us as  nobody else can. Or you know what, Should they or God even?.
    I struggle personally to stay in but I have to declare here on this blogg that i am feeling totally dead as regards the Church and the sight of a man in black fills me with distaste …

    • Nikos,

      What’s old is new. St Paul warns, “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock” (Acts 23:20). Abba Pambo (+374) foresaw:

      “In these times the love for God in most souls will grow cold and a great sadness will fall onto the world. One nation shall face-off against another. Peoples will move away from their own places. Rulers will be confused. The clergy will be thrown into anarchy, and the monks will be inclined more to negligence. The church leaders will consider useless anything concerned with salvation, as much for their own souls as for the souls of their flocks, and they will despise any such concern. All will show eagerness and energy for every matter regarding their dining table and their appetites. They’ll be lazy in their prayers and casual in their criticisms. As for the lives and teachings of the Holy Fathers, they’ll not have any interest to imitate them, nor even to hear them. But rather they will complain and say that “if we had lived in those times, then we’d have behaved like that”. And the bishops shall give way to the powerful of the world, giving answers on different matters only after taking gifts from everywhere and consulting the rational logic of the academics. The poor man’s rights will not be defended, they’ll afflict widows, and harass orphans. Debauchery will permeate these people. Most won’t believe in God, they’ll hate each other and devour one another like beasts. The one will steal from the other, they’ll be drunk and will walk about as blind.

      “The disciple again asked: What can we do, in such a state?

      “And Elder Pambo answered: My child, in these times whoever will save his soul and prompt others to be saved will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

      I’m not meaning to go down the tricky and treacherous rabbit hole of End Times prophecies, but there’s enough there to suggest that which is happening today does not mean that God has left the Church. Rather, God is still in the Church and as Christ promised, He will be with [the Church on Earth] to the end of time (Mt 28:20). There’s a reason some icons of the Last Judgement depict the road to hell paved with the heads of bishops.

      So we fight the good fight, according to our gifts and callings, and tend to our salvation.

      Don’t despair.

      • John thank you. So much. Yes I see and know.  And i do have a good Parish here  with good humble priests and a bishop, bit of a mafia lad, but u know I like him Real human being caring for his flock. Gets the bus about town. 
        I have a little book I often mention, Light out of Darkness by Sergei Fudel which keeps me sane, Faith wise   He lived through Stalin.  
        John if i  just critisised human failings I would be a hypocritical bastard as i fall daily and try to get up,  but it is exactly as you say in the elder’s prophesy.  
        Like you I am not into end time stuff as prefere to leave it to words of Christ. But YES. John thank you again and God bless. 

        • And John,the Russian bishop  Anthony Bloom. (+2003 4/8 London)  very human figures,surgeon, resistance fight in France and a Holy man. Thank God I was blessed to experience and I hold on like a downing man 

          • Nikos,
            Yes indeed. There are holy shepherds in the Church!

            • I think it is important for ALL Orthodox Christians to fully understand our teachings on the end times. This is a great synopsis:
              Many of our great Saints and Fathers lay it out very clearly, and many believe the time left is short.

            • John yes, very.  They hold our faith. I communicate with greek priest in Florida. Good dedicated man, VERY, has built up Parish  in Tampa Bay. But he knows nothing of the russisn experience, the persecution, the religious renaisaance in theology and liturgy.  Nothing of Mother Maria of Paris. Just the greek american organ and pew spirituality devoid of monastic influence and sold on good works. YES WE, THE CHURCH. Yes we should witness socially in every way. But if only this, well the humanists do same. Barren, empty really.  U don’t need Church for that. 

    • Nikos,
      You nailed it here. All that is left to us is to lampoon the goons. The Fener and its American Satrapy are so incredibly lame that only the most colorful language, code-switching and absurdist irony can express a little of the intense disgust felt towards them and their creatures. So far, this post above is the most eloquent yet.
      I think it’s time for a punk-rock anarchist uprising in Orthodoxy. This blog is too staid. Most are too self-serious. But the structure of Greek Orthodoxy, ruled as it is by these Archons makes effective, open expression of honest feelings impossible. IT IS NOT THE WILL OF LANDRU! YOU MUST BE ABSORBED!

      When Bp. Matthias of the OCA Midwestern Diocese blew it with his flirtatious texting and authoritarian bombast, the people – especially clergy spouses – rose up and had him resign. It totally pissed off Bp. Daniel of Berkeley (unreconstructed Papist) and Abp. Benjamin that THESE OBSTREPOROUS LAYMEN – WOMEN EVEN!! should be able to effectively raise their voices and be heard, that they published the “Broom Doctrine” to militate against it. Quickly, the Midwest matuchki won the day and Matthias went back to his Hunkie Archdiocese under the Fenerbodgers. That’s MY Orthodox Church in America, no thanks to you Bp Daniel.
      Greek Orthodox are mostly passive in any way that matters, and ignorant of church matters, kept that way by collaborationist clergy, who are very good and instilling a sense of exclusive superiority in them, so they don’t even know what the OCA is and don’t understand jurisdiction other than to be annoyed that there are these other churches besides their own Greek-run ones. They don’t seem to notice that their churches are aging and dying, largely unwelcoming to newcomers. They blame an apostate society, but never themselves. That mild annoyance is the faint echo of a shriveled conscience that is trying to warn them that they have nothing to offer, not even to their own children.

      • Claes,  you say exactly the truth. I am Greek, born in Patra but raised from early teenager in Uk and now after career in Nhs living in Bulgaria.  
        I am an Orthodox believer, i love my greek tradition, SO for me to be saying whst I say, is because I have seen the emptyness behind much of rhe rhetorict. It is different with greek cypriot community in Uk. They are more traditional and the elderly at least more devout, well were, but as second and third generation in very secular country, much of same. 
        I feel sorry for the ‘ greek ‘ community in USA.  The FOBs worked hard, for a better future, sacrificed to found churches, often called St Spyrydon, as with old calander, this feast fell on Christmas Day, so they knew they could have the day to celebrate church Saint. 
        Their sacrifice has been abused 
        Looking at all those elpidophoros reception videos and the Rose petal covered path,  you understanding they have no Insight. Oh the words are wonderful.  But apart from words, what exactly do these people do.? And his priority?   The St Nicholas delusion!!   They say 80m dollars all together in end to finish. 
        80m dollars…And its not even as if it’s a thing of beauty.  
        Orthodoxy in USA and the OCA is the future, has to succeed or the future is dire.  But it won’t as a kitsch version of a papalist greek church, nor pushing a potemkin village Ομογένεια, ( race of same blood!!) ? delusion. 
        AND IN 2019 not 1909!!    I have had the good fortune to worship at St Tikhon monastery and St Vladimir a seminary and for all the brickbats,  there I saw the future of a AMERICAN ORTHODOXY,  true to it’s roots and true to America, and not asking me, if i lived in USA, to deny myself, BUT TO SHARE IT AT THE TABLE.  Behind his fine words ELPIDOPHOROS  bring  you THE DEAD PAST TO KEEP HIM IN CLOVER.   God bless  

        • George Michalopulos says

          I’m starting to see the necessity of a “punk rock uprising” taking over the Church.  Either true Fools for Christ rise up and do it or the culture/state actively persecutes us.

          There’s no other way.  The effete, effeminate, primrose path of Phanariotism ain’t gonna revive the Church of Christ.  Seeing the roll carpet rolled out in such an extravagant manner reminds me of what St Paul said about being wary of elders who love greetings in the marketplace.

          • George:  This sounds like a great idea but how is an uprising done?
            I’m totally serious and would like to see a vibrant American Orthodox Church.
            I’m in a Rocor church which is okay but not very welcoming to non-Russians so I’d like to see a strong American church made up of all kinds of people who are welcoming to all ethnicities.

            • Back in the early 90s a punk samizdat ‘zine was produced by young people associated with the CSB monastery in Platina, CA. it was called ‘Death to the World’ and subtitled ‘The last true rebellion’. You can read it online now. The prime movers of the ‘zine are now abbot and abbess respectively, in Platina and Stafford, AZ monastic houses. 
              The spirit of compassion for youth with ακρίβεια was strong in these publications and I see them as evidence of a very healthy άσκησης that was happening at the time in the church in America. That spirit lives on and has grown with the strength of those who wanted to be saved. 
              The sincere and capable leaders in some parts of the church – I think of Bp. Paul and Abp. Alexander will lead many to salvation. Our rebellion against kitsch pseudorthodoxy should begin by recognizing κακοδοχια and calling it out. 

            • Metropolitan Jonah is fond of saying that excluding people from Christ’s church based on their ethnic heritage is a grave sin.  Making our churches in America into “ethnic clubs,” which was/is how things developed in many places in America, was and remains a grave sin.
              I was at a gathering the other night and spoke with a man who knows that I’m Orthodox. He commented that he “tried” Orthodoxy years ago, but found it too non-welcoming for Americans of his heritage (northern European).
              In these instances, I’m never sure what the core problem is: is it with the man since he did not search hard enough for the faith amidst the fog of Greekness/Russianness/Arabness/etc., or is the problem with us for making our parishes ethnic clubs and too unwelcoming?
              In these instances, I try to channel Christ’s light and love and pray that the man finds Christ in our churches, despite our obvious shortcomings and despite the speed bumps that we’ve set up in America for that process to happen.

              • Anon 2: “he “tried” Orthodoxy years ago, but found it too non-welcoming for Americans of his heritage (northern European).”
                He was not really interested. If he were and they pushed him away through the door, he would enter through the window 😉
                How this welcoming is supposed to look? Maybe I am eccentric, but when I am going to Church, I do not care whether people who came are “welcoming” to me. Or even what language do they use, although I enjoy when it is different.
                I do care how they pray and sing, but my main concern is how I pray and how I can come closer to God.

      • Fr Christopher Moody says

        As a GOA clergy man, I totally disagree with your response. The clergy in my class have personally, with a few exceptions, given themselves to the gospel and proclaiming Christ. We are not collaborationist as you assert. MOST I know try to be like Ezra of old and teach the people. Boy does it take time. And my people are not mostly passive. They are hungry. You paint an inaccurate judgmental picture. I am in Afghanistan. I will be baptizing a convert. Stop focusing on the negative! Our churches are yes aging and sometimes unwelcoming, but EVERY denomination does since james 2 was written condemning the same problem of not welcoming a stranger. I just was talking to a convert yesterday and he said his old church was that way. So this is a problem of human nature you are railing at. Not goa orthodoxy, per se. Christ is in our midst! Proclaim Him from the roof tops. I don’t have time to complain. I only have time to labor for the Lord while it is day. The night comes when no man can work.

      • We will not be absorbed! The phasers of this time of exposure before all will reveal the false gods of Landru and ethnic hegemony (ομογένεια). Death to the world!

        • Just don’t get caught on the street at RED HOUR! 

        • Fr Christopher Moody
          and John,
          – When non-Greeks and also Greeks criticize the “GOA” or the Greek Church anywhere else, then, more often than not, they mainly criticize the Hierarchy or if you prefer the top man, Patriarch or Archbishop.
          They do not criticize devout, real Orthodox Priests like yourself who wear out themselves for Christ.
          -Ethnic hegemony (ἡγεμονία!) is a fallacy.
          Please visit Greece nowadays to see what hegemony they have:
          They are among the poorest Western people.
          They are obedient servants of the few quasi-trillionaires of this world.

          However, there IS indeed an hegemony in Orthodoxy, but it is not ethnic (of the ethnos, the nation, the people) but more an hegemony of 1-2 persons who want to be Popes of the East.

          • Mel Notingas says

            The GOA and AHEPA were formed in 1922, the year Lenin won his five year civil war and lent Chechens to his comrade Ataturk to use on Smyrna and then went on suing in American courts to take any church to which the tsar gave money, causing the churches to splatter into ethnic diversity.

          • Who is blaming the Church of Greece for being Greek? If you don’t understand that the majority of foreign-run churches in the US are in this day retreating from outreach to the rest of us then you are living in some kind of idyll. To make matters worse, we are seeing the re-ethnicization of churches that formerly put an emphasis on linguistic ecumenicity by privileging English.
            When I joined the Church in 1994 my first impulse was to go to the Church of All Russian Saints that I recognized from my earliest religious life (we drove past the blue spangled onion dome and ΜΡ ΘΥ icon of the ROCOR храм every Sunday on the way to our Lutheran Church). Of course the service has always been conducted in Slavonic there. The warden there kindly directed me toward the OCA cathedral where services are in English. So next Sunday I went there and announced to the priest my intention of joining the Orthodox Church. That priest of blessed memory was a Russian expat married to an American lady  
            The friends I made back then, mostly young adults like myself in our 20s at the time, used to get around to local parishes to socialize and enjoy the vibrant inter-Orthodox life happening then. I recall at the Greek Fest how a Greek-American lady welcomed us and remarked that even then (late 90s) the Greek Church was retreating into its ethnicity when before (under Abp. Iakovos) it had been more outgoing, less self-obsessed and willing to take a role in society, obviously following its leader’s example. Since he was ‘fired’ for showing his leadership at Ligonier in 1994, neither of his successors has done a thing to make the GOA a home for all nations but every year we here more and more about the specialness of the Fener and ομογένεια. A new definition of διασπορά and the inviolability of Hellenism has been enunciated by the new Archbishop.
            Likewise other jurisdictions’ churches have turned inward, away from English usage. I heard that 100 years ago Serbian clergy sent to America were expected to speak English. Now Serbian-American clergy lament the fact that parishioners do not speak Serbian (!) Instead of supporting the Autocephaly it granted the OCA 49 years ago, the Russian Church maintains and expands its mission here not only with communities worshipping in Slavonic but even opening English Western Rite missions. I can hardly blame the Antiochians for accommodating Arabic-speaking refugees of the Neocons’ wars of Empire in the Middle East but the effect on Americans in re-Arabizing churches is not salutary. 
            So please be realistic when you claim I’m not being fair to priests whose parishes would rather die than switch to English. This is a failure of leadership from the top to the bottom. 

            • Claes: “we are seeing the re-ethnicization of churches that formerly put an emphasis on linguistic ecumenicity by privileging English”

              I find it quite amusing how many of Americans think that they represent humanity in general, and all others represent ethnic deviation from the universal norm. Longing for Americanisation is as ethnic-centered as Latino, Greek, Russian or Irish although without awareness of it.

              “We are here to help the Viet-namese, because inside every gook there is an American trying to get out.” (US Colonel in Full Metal Jacket) 😉

              • George Michalopulos says

                Martin, I loved Full Metal Jacket just as much as the next guy but you’re missing the point: here in America we have a language (and cultures and folkways). We Orthodox, of all people should be baptizing this country. It’s not a matter of creating just another ethno-Orthodoxy per se.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Martin, whatever I am I am not Greek or Lebanese. Probably some Slavic in there somewhere. I would just like to be respected as I am. To date the institutional Church particularly the Greek abomination has not even recognized my existence. They assume, like the colonel that there has to be a Greek in there somewhere waiting to get out. If not, too bad–go away.

                Many Lebanese on the coasts are similar. George is correct here–so far zero effort to baptize anything in the New World. That has to change or there will be no Orthodox Church as we know it here. The candlestick will be taken away. We will cease to be even a memory.

                The new world will collapse into a nihilist Utopia.

              • Jenny Denitas says

                American society revels in the quaintness of ethnic churches that can’t grow but feels threatened by foreigners trying to spread their theology amongst Americans

                • Jenny Denitas: “American society revels in the quaintness of ethnic churches”
                  American churches are not less ethnic and quaint in eyes of others.

                • Micahel Bauman says

                  Jenny, that is just it, the “foreigners” are largely not trying to spread the theology of the Orthodox Church. Many converts are because we recognize in the theology the saving presence of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Our culture though is diametrically opposed to any and all attempts at truth so the elite in the power structures try everything to keeps us happy in our ethnic ghettos. Public acceptance is given to those who actively or passively sell out the patrimony the Church.

            • Ok, Claes.
              Being Greek, I can tell you a “secret” which you can use against proud, secular Greeks:

              A real Greek and a real Orthodox was General Theodoros Kolokotronis (around 1821). He, unlike modern Greeks, he gave his own blood fighting the Turkish occupation of Greece.
              He said,
              “We’ll fight for the Faith and the Country (yper Pisteos kai Patridos), and I say, FIRST FOR THE FAITH and then for the Country”.

              So, just tell my secular proud Greek compatriots:
              “I you are real Greeks, then, you should be, like your liberator General Kolokotronis,  first Orthodox and after that  Greeks!”  

    • Φίλτατε ἀδελφέ Νῖκο Dear Brother Niko,

      ” …i am feeling totally dead as regards the Church and the sight of a man in black fills me with distaste . And Karloutsos, HOW IS THAT…[he]…IS STILL THERE?? I feel VERY VERY SAD….”

      I have found a solution for myself:

      Every day, devote even 10 minutes, e.g. before going to bed,
      next to praying and reading the Bible,
      read all the homilies of St. John Chrysostom,
      the Golden Mouth, 
      I promise you, he will bring the purpose back to your life,
      that some “stuntmen”, playing the clergy part, have destroyed in you. 
      You can get most of them for free in English and Greek.

  3. In these days of intrigue, darkness, and unleashed demons which are causing turmoil and schism throughout our Holy Orthodox Church and faith, instituted by Jesus Christ Himself, it is always heartwarming to remember a holy Hierarch who shone forth in North America who epitomizes the essense of what it means to be a loving and compassionate archpastor, a true-to-tradition Orthodox bishop, and a never-ending saintly intercessor for us, the undeserving faithful, before God.

    On the upcoming occasion of the 25th anniversary of his formal glorification as a saint (St John was glorified by ROCOR in San Francisco’s Holy Virgin Cathedral on June 19/July 2, 1994; he had reposed 28 years prior in Seattle in the presence of the Kursk Root icon, on June 19/July 2, 1966), below is a link to a newly-published, beautiful 40-page commemorative booklet highlighting memories of the living St John and numerous testimonials and witnesses of his saintly intercessions for us unto God:

    St John Maximovitch the Wonderworker’s glorification was later recognized for universal veneration by the Patriarchate of Moscow on June 19/July 2, 2008, following the restoration of canonical communion between ROCOR and the MP.

    Please read and reflect on his life and works and on his continual heavenly intercession for all of us. Yes he was a Russian Orthodox bishop, but this saint was of the firm conviction that our Holy Orthodox faith is meant for every living soul, regardless of ethnic heritage. He is much loved and venerated throughout the world.

    May every Orthodox bishop — Greek, Russian, Arab, Serbian, Romanian, American, Canadian, Australian, French, English, or of whatever flavor — look to St John for guidance and do what they can to emulate his love, compassion, steadfastness, and unwavering faith in Our Lord.

    And may St John’s holy intercessions bless the country and continent — these United States and North America — where we are blessed to have his incorrupt relics interred!

    Holy hierarch John, continue to intercede unto Christ our God for our souls!

    • George Michalopulos says


    • Michael Bauman says

      Did they change the name of the Cathedral?.  I thought it was Theotokos, Joy of All Who Sorrow.  
      If they have not changed the name and that simple fact is wrong, what does that imply in many people’s mind for the actual contents?

      • Michael,
        Not sure about which you write – ’tis confusing.  Yes, the formal name of the cathedral on Geary Blvd in San Francisco is “Joy of All Who Sorrow,” yet it is also referred to in common parlance as the “Holy Virgin Cathedral.”
        Both names are prominently displayed on the cathedral website:
        Issues relating to the formal name of the cathedral vs the common parlance name certainly do not detract from the holiness of the cathedral, nor from the holiness of the saint’s relics which are therein enshrined.

      • The cathedral with St. John’s relics is usually called “Holy Virgin Cathedral” for short.  The longer name is “Holy Virgin Cathedral, Joy of all who Sorrow”.  The name in English may vary depending on how it is translated.

    • Everyone calls it Holy Virgin. St John will be remembered in slavonic, which even Russian speakers don’t understand much of, let alone most of the people near the Sobor. Maybe a reason ROCOR cannot even reach the Russians it pretends to minister to (the situation in San Francisco is particularly pathetic given there are 60000 Russian speakers in the area and most are simply unchurched).

      • ChristineFevronia says

        Oh dear brother Greg, I do believe this is the saddest post I’ve seen on this site.  I was at Holy Virgin for several hours today, and it was the closest experience to heaven that I will likely ever have! The Cathedral was full of hundreds and hundreds of pious faithful flowing in and around the many icons and holy relics that reside there. Met. HILARION was present with the Kursk Root icon, along with several hierarchs, scores of clergy, deacons, subdeacons, and altar servers. It was a magnificent occasion, one that was deeply meaningful to all of us who were were blessed to venerate the holy relics of St. John Maximovitch on the 25th anniversary of his canonization.

        I converted to the True Faith in 2001. Up until a few years ago, I was OCA; however, my family has been members of a ROCOR Western Diocese parish since our departure. To insinuate that ROCOR has somehow failed by not converting the 60,000 Russians in the Bay Area is like saying the OCA has failed by not converting the 300 million Americans living on its soil. People will choose what they choose! Today, I saw a multitude of Americans and Russians demonstrate their love for St. John. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience… Brought to the world by ROCOR. We should be honoring the beautiful outpicturing of faith in all its forms in American Orthodoxy, not tearing each other down. May God have mercy on me, a sinner.

        • George Michalopulos says

          What a wonderful story! Oh, to have been there! I envy you tremendously.

          If anybody has any video of this remarkable even, please feel free to upload it to this blog.

      • Greg: “in slavonic, which even Russian speakers don’t understand much of”
        How do you know? My experience is that if you are of Slavic background and go to the services more often you start to understand Church Slavonic.
        Also can you explain me, why after Latins abandoned Latin for the sake of vernacular, their churches got empty?

        • Monk James Silver says

          Church Slavonic vocabulary is somewhat accessible to native speakers of many Slavic languages, but the grammar is not. And even that much comprehension is limited by people’s inability to read CS in Cyrillic, which is why most prayer books use the modern or ‘civilian’ alphabet. And we don’t even want to think about who can read Old Church Slavonic in Glagolitic letters, although it’s still seen in Croatia on public monuments, sort of like Roman numerals in non-Slavic countries.

          In general, most Orthodox Christian Russians, at least, aren’t too interested in replacing CS with Modern Russian in the services. No one with whom I have ever spoken about this has been able to identify just what it is about CS which keeps their loyalty, but it’s a difference they wouldn’t like to experience, saying that Modern Russian ‘loses something’ which they’d prefer to retain.

          Roman Catholics made the serious mistake of revising their liturgical structures at the same time as they vernacularized the services. Had they merely translated the services as they were, I suspect that they would not have suffered such catastrophic attrition.

          As it is, most RCs now living do not remember the use of Latin in the services, and the interesting phenomenon of a younger generation’s fascination with the restored ‘extraordinary form’ of their rites conducted in Latin is not at all based on their understanding of that language, but on something else yet to be accurately understood and described.

          • johann sebastian says

            if you’re half literate in any modern slavic language, it really shouldn’t be a problem understanding the “gist” of what’s going on.

            i’ve heard liturgies in ukrainian and polish. beyond differences in grammatical inflections (i.e. word endings for noun declensions, verb conjugations, and a handful of completely different words) the root words appear to be overwhelmingly similar and hence the meaning not too difficult to ascertain.

            in fact, the modern ukrainian version is so close to slavonic (so close that it sounds wrong as opposed to being another language entirely) that it baffles me why they would even prefer it to slavonic when every other orthodox slavic nation still uses the old language.

          • Nelly Depolas says

            Inaccessible is arguable. Elizabtehan English is the standard because of Shakespeare. Classical/Koine Greek because of Sophocles. Ditto Slavonic. If you keep changing fads in the language, you end up not sure what it means.

            • Monk James Silver says

              Perhaps I missed it, but I don’t recall anyone in this thread using the word ‘inaccessible’.

              In any event, Elizabethan English isn’t ‘the standard’ of anything in language, although the writing attributed to Shakespeare is certainly a monument of English literature. Yet it pales in comparison to the influence of the Authorised (King James) Version of the Bible. Even so, Shakespeare must be read with some sort of footnotes and critical apparatus, and the KJV — for all its majestic sonority and style — is full of mistranslations and was so far out of the common parlance even a century and a half ago that the Revised Standard Version was created to fill the gap. And the RSV has its own problems.

              It is not at all clear why Sophokles is thought to be ‘the standard’ of ‘Classical/Koine Greek’ here, but he attestably isn’t. I’ll just ignore that for now.

              By writing ‘Ditto Slavonic’, it appears that the author seems to think that Sophokles is ‘the standard’ there as well. This is either a serious conceptual error or an example of poor writing, but I’ll ignore that, too.

              Languages change. All languages change, even so-called ‘dead’ languages like Latin and Church Slavonic, because they are used by living people who must find ways of expressing concepts not operative during any dead language’s putative ‘lifetime’.

              As a result, and using just Church Slavonic as an example, Orthodox Christian service books in that language include some revisions with each reprinting. Usually, an inexact or impossibly archaic word is replaced in the text by a revision set off by asterisks. The word it is replacing appears in the margin or at the foot of the page so that the reader can keep track of what is going on. This modern process continues a technique well established in the manuscript tradition long before the invention of printing.

              In English, though, we don’t have quite the same opportunity, since we’ve never had anything like a standard edition of our service books, or a standard translation on which to base such editions. This is probably an advantage, especially if we realize that we are in a period of transition between obsolete (for us) European languages and contemporary English.

              Although some Orthodox Christian service books attempt (not always successfully) to reproduce archaic forms such as we find in the KJV (verbs ending in -est and -eth, ‘vouchsafe’, etc.) many other books do not. In some cases, it is just as difficult to teach native speakers of contemporary English to use the KJV forms correctly as it would be just to teach them Greek — which I recommend, anyway.

              Altogether, there are no standards at work here in English liturgical usage except for that of an elevated, accessible style and vocabulary which exemplifies the best, most accurate meaning of the original text in perfect grammar and syntax, and singable, too.

              We need these books, and God haste the day!

  4. George, as you have rightly stated in the past, words are important. The Word is the person of Jesus Christ. Words and names have power. They are not innocuous mental concepts or intangible whisps that disappear into nothingness.
    Please continue your good work and thank you for your attention to all matters great and small.

    • Tanya: “The Word is the person of Jesus Christ. Words and names have power.”
      I am sorry, but Logos is not exactly the same as a word. Even if it appears to be so in a translation. Even when “God said, Let there be light,”, the words did not have to be there.

  5. I joined ROCOR just before I married. I wanted my future family to experience the Orthodox spirituality that I read about in the ROCOR publications,”Orthodox Life” and “Orthodox Word”. I had been brought up with the the full GOA program-Sunday School, Greek school, altar boy, GOYA etc. I eventually had four children, and they got into the rhythm of the church, with the feasts, fasts, and  saints days. The highlight of their spiritual development was attending the glorifications of St. Xenia, the Holy New Martyrs of Russia, and St. John of San Francisco. There were also many visits to monasteries on feast days. The kids went to the church camps and thank God married in the church and are teaching their kids about  our Orthodox faith. ROCOR is a good place for us to be. We all have the greatest respect for our bishops, most of whom are monks.You know, the multiple jurisdiction thing in America is troubling. But there is one good thing about it. You can “shop around” and see which jurisdiction works for you.We still kept up with our Greek background. We loved going to the festivals. Monday was  Greek day, when we tried speaking only Greek. We even took a family trip to Greece.

    • M. Stankovich says

      This was tremendously uplifting and inspiring, Peter! What a blessing from God that your children were so intimately involved with the Saints – and to use a phrase I have not heard in a very long time – and you and your family were in the “rhythm of the church.” I sincerely appreciate you posting this, and may God bless and preserve you.

    • “the multiple jurisdiction thing in America is troubling. But there is one good thing about it. You can “shop around” and see which jurisdiction works for you.”
      This is the American way. Those who want Americanization of the Church, got it already. E pluribus unum! 🙂

      • I’ve always felt shame for the “cafeteria-style” landscape of Orthodox churches that we have across the United States.
        On the one hand, don’t we shame “cafeteria-style” Catholics for picking and choosing which elements of the Roman Catholic faith they choose to follow, and “cafeteria-style” Anglicans/Episcopalians who pick and choose elements from the ancient church that they like but ignore the stuff they don’t like?
        Yet aren’t we also “cafeteria-style” Orthodox when we ignore the Antiochian Orthodox parish down the street because it’s too Arabic but instead drive 30 minutes each way to go to the more “American” OCA parish?  Or when we choose to drive 45 mins each way to go to the Greek parish because we think it has to be Greek to be Orthodox?
        I am totally guilty of this myself. My city has 5 Orthodox parishes, all of different jurisdictions.  I don’t go to the one closest to my home but go to the one where I feel it is the best fit.

        • “ADK”, you make a good point. It tells only half the story, however. I have known people who attempted, in good faith, to attend the nearest Orthodox parish. They were forced out, either subtly or explicitly, by the inexcusable behaviour of other parishioners. Representative of this abuse is the sad anecdote of a woman who was cornered by parishioners from a culture other than hers, and told point blank that she should stay away because she was “not one of them”.

          • Saying such a thing to a person of a different cultural background in one’s church is a most serious sin. I pray the faithful are being taught this nowadays and are also taught to bring this kind of thing out at confession. 
            Years back, my dad would ridicule some Ethiopian-heritage altar boys who were serving at our Orthodox parish when I was a kid. He felt that “black people shouldn’t be in the altar.”  Needless to say, my dad was an inveterate racist, but no one in the parish leadership or the clergy called him on this. He spoke the correct ethnic language, so they let it slide. As one can imagine, my dad never went to confession, but again no one in the parish leadership or clergy cared. They communed him regardless, without question. 
            His behavior badly needed correction and guidance, yet no one had the cajones to do it. I pray that God has mercy on him, as I also pray for the Ethiopian-heritage altar boys whom I was never given the freedom/permission to get to know. 

            • AWC,
              I have seen similar things happening.
              At the end of the day the responsibility lies with the Priest.
              He must tell the people how to behave to strangers!
              Unfortunately, not all Bishops tell their Priests how to manage their parishes! 
              I tell you what,
              if the Priest is not interested, and
              the bishop is not interested,
              then we, the laity,
              are the ones who will kindly remind the Priest
              and/or the Bishop what they are supposed to do, period! 
              Let the agapologists just pray!

              • Ioannis:  Spot on.  I had a beautiful worship experience in a weekday small but important Festal Divine Liturgy recently when the priest helped the worshippers understand why we were to be silent when approaching to reverence the icon of the Feast and Cross as the cantor was reading the thanksgiving prayers.  He explained that, like every word of the Divine Liturgy and like the Apostles and Theotokos receiving the Holy Spirit we were to stand attentive before God receiving His gifts and expressing our prayers through the words of the service via attention to Cantor which were addressed to God Himself.  That by doing so we were both giving thanks to God for His great gifts but preparing ourselves for the next opportunity to commune.  For a change no one left early or talked during the approach to the Cross but all were quiet and reverent until the end.  Just as in any Elder Ephraim monastery or most of my Roman Catholic churches. And afterwards someone wrote me that it was like being in heaven.  Amen.  
                Had a parishioner shushed someone (or even looked askance as I sadly have done at times and for which needed to ask forgiveness of others) that would have created discord between parishioners and in the parish.  Because the priest most lovingly explained ahead, we all got to pray and tend to every word of the magnificent service.  Priests like all parents have such power to educate and influence us for the good with loving explanations ahead of time!  Depending on one’s culture (including one’s childhood or adult catechism experience) there may be much ignorance in otherwise loving and well-meaning people.  May all our priests speak in such warm, loving and clarifying ways!

        • “Too Arabic”, Greek, whatever, can mean there isn’t enough English to be intelligible, the priest feels he must run a commercial for an overseas dictator in every parish bulletin or website, etc.  Thos are fine reasons to keep on driving.  One hopes the parish that can’t figure out that they aren’t an embassy for foreign or non-existent governments (have you ever seen a pathetic 2-headed bird flag on a church building??) will soon close.  Conversion is unlikely.  A cafeteria is a blessing when junk food is the only alternative.

          • Connie Fenotas says

            But the Arabs destroyed the holy Temple: “Richardson’s research found the army that destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem was actually overwhelmingly comprised of Middle Eastern peoples, not Europeans” “

            • George Michalopulos says

              Distinctions, Connie: there were all types of ethnicities and races in the Roman army at the peripheries of the Empire. That Arabs were part of the auxiliary forces doesn’t surprise me in the least. Indeed, the vaunted Syrian archers were allowed to keep their distinctive uniforms and armaments (cf the opening scenes of Gladiator). Nor should we forget that the Herodian dynasty were of Arab ancestry.

  6. George there is an older piece of information which may interest you:

    When E.P. Demetrios visited USA, he was received by the “Leadership 100” or the “Club of 100”. The number 100 meant not some hundred persons, but those who had donated at least a total of 100 thousand dollars! These were made Archons too.
    This information was published by Metropolitan Nikodimos of Attica and Megaris. It is no coincidence that Nikodimos was deposed.
    According to Metr.Nikodimos, the worst problem for the (Greek) Church in the USA was: “How could a Church be organized and function as the Body of Christ, when the criterion for member participation and the measure of their love is proportional to the money the give to the Church? This looks rather like a business.” 


    • Gail Sheppard says

      Excellent question!

    • Loras Camzekes says

      Yes, the Archons used to give two thousand per year for life under Iakovos, now they have to give five thousand per year for ten years. The l100 give ten thousand per year for ten years.

  7. anonymous says

    “It seems inconceivable to me that trained theologians at the time of this organization’s inception were unaware of the full implications of this loaded word. As such, I’m curious as to what else has slipped the grasp of the Greek-American episcopate.”

    Add AHEPA to the list
    AHEPA sub groups such as Daughters of Penelope and Maids of Athena

    Athena – as in the false pagan goddess

    AHEPA has their own altar (thank you Stefan), mysteries/rites, and a different “trinity” of virtues,etc

    IMO – It would seem that the entire GOA was practically built and maintained as a front for AHEPA

    I know a guy who was baptized (as an adult convert) by a GOA priest who he later found out (after discovering that there was an AHEPA, what it was, and that it was essentially a siamese twin of the GOA), by the priest’s own admission, that the same priest was a member of AHEPA, although an “inactive” member

    Not cool

    • Norm Porimas says

      It was. AHEPA derives from the Athena Brotherhoods used to keep Greek churches as private chapels immune from state chartering laws which had put all Orthodox under Moscow. Forget the KKK canard. Anyone who has seen the Nashville Parthenon knows Sothruns never hated Greeks, they ADORED them, frats and college columns and all. The very name KKK derives from the Greek word Cyclos.

      • anonymous says

        We should then not be surprised at all that the Gospel has been put in the back seat while Hellenism is attempting to run over the entire Orthodox world

        The GOA/Church of Constantinople is acting out the very logical conclusion of all that

  8. Another Aspect:

    In the introduction to Chrysostom’s Homilies on the Priesthood (ΕΠΕ 28, pp.44-45) Professor P.K.Christou writes about the period around 310 AD:

    ” During this period. The increase in the financial resources of the church, which were allocated for charitable purposes, increased the zeal of many members, for ascending to the episcopal office, with the help of their protectors who were among the Hierarchs. But,of course, this unholy zeal led to irregularities, which Chrysostom described with bitterness. ”

    In simple words the rich diocese attract more of the sort of clergy who are interested mainly in money…and of course the control will be in the hands of the rich and not the holy.

  9. Lon Calefas says
    • This explanation makes the name a bit more benign.  Just because a term or symbol was also used by Gnostics, Masons, or Demon worshippers should not necessarily rule out a genuine Christian meaning.  What I do find objectionable is the sense that the Archons are “rulers” of anything — a kind of board of directors — and that they get their position simply by donating a lot of money.

      • George Michalopulos says

        CS, that’s the first point I made (and have been making for several years). It flies right in the face of Christ’s own injunction against “lording it over the people”.

        What exactly have the Archons led the GOA in accomplishing? Spending $250,000 for a new pool at Ionian Village? (That was FAITH: An Endowment for Hellenism and Orthodoxy.) Seriously, that eyesore in Lower Manhattan which even if finished, nobody will ever see?

        • George,
          I get your point, but spending money on pools or anything that influences children, and young adults to remain in our Church is a good investment. The young need “carrots” if you will, to compete with worldly “distractions”. The original idea of The 9/11 shrine was good idea, in that it would introduce millions to Orthodoxy. Instead a monster was created. The monster of pride, greed, and secular acceptance/ influence.  Sadly “carrots” are also needed for most adults in The Greek Orthodox Church, which is why we need shrines, festivals, clubs, acknowledgement by our peers, and social events. Lack in faith I suppose.
          I say faith, not belief,  because true belief in God,  by all Christians is missing in 90% of us. Why? If we truly believed in God would we behave as we do? Imagine, if we truly believed in God, and that He watches over every sinful action we commit, and that we would have to account for our sins, especially  sins that we don’t really  repent, either to God thru our spiritual father, or even alone, in our heart of hearts.  How  can we  honestly say, we truly believe in God?

          • Greatly Saddened says

            I was just wondering, if and when the Saint Nicholas National Shrine at Ground Zero is ever completed. Will it be holding an annual Greek festival as well?

            Rather than teaching/educating others about the Orthodox faith. Emphasis is placed on Greekness. Greek food and Greek dance. Now that’s certainly a great way to acquaint people to Orthodoxy. I guess that’s the Greek way of evangelism!
            Glory to God for Greek food and Greek dance! Praise the Lord!

            • Ren Zalinopoulos says

              It will never be built because the original WTC church was built by the tsars, who donated trinkets.

          • Greatly Saddened says

            Speaking of Ionian Village. I often wonder whether the contractors which were hired to make the necessary repairs to Ionian Village after the tornado, were ever paid for their services. The last we heard, they hadn’t been paid and were going to sue the Archdiocese.  How surprising!

          • Dino
            “spending money on pools or anything that influences children, and young adults to remain in our Church is a good investment”
            Unfortunately that is true.

            I was wondering how much times have changed:
            Compare the citation with the youth in the ancient christian times:
            They had no pools, indeed no churches except catacombs and they still “influenced children, and young adults to remain in the Church”

            Surely, the real problem now is spiritual, not architectural, not financial, not technical…

      • Renas Fanikotsis says

        Well, you know, Greeks love Mythology pathology, don’t they:

  10. Here is a typical ikon of St Andrew:

    Here is the Logo for the Archons:

    The robe has a red edge with the same width as the gold band that borders the robe, as shown by the black arrows and black line below.
    The figure has the fingers of his right hand and the base knuckle of his little finger tucked under the edge of the opposite side of his robe.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      So, Rako, forgive me but I’m not following.  Why is the right hand hidden in the logo?  Does it mean “do not let the left hand know what the right is doing,” does it mean they’re doing something secret and clandestine or does it mean something else?

      • Gail,
        One can only speculate. Even if you asked the artist, he could just claim that it wasnt intended to be unusual.
        The Hidden Hand is a known motif in paintings and portrait photos of famous figures like Kemal Attaturk, Napoleon, George Washington. There is a theory that it is one of the handsigns of a powerful international organization.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Let me provide an answer:   many prominent men in esoteric/freemasonic societies pose with one hand tucked underneath a waistcoat.  This is commonly known as “the hidden hand”.  
        Truth be told, I never looked closely at the logo for the Archons.  Are they a secret cabal aligned with other globalists?  Good question.

        • Bottom line is that Archons are nothing more than a group of wealthy, mostly Greek men. They are not chosen because of exceptional faithfulness to Christ or even loyalty to the patriarchate. They are chosen because of success in the secular world. The Archons are one avenue of promoting the Greek-American success story which to many in the church is very important. We have 3 Archons in our parish, 2 of which seldom come to church and may not profess any faith in Christ.

  11. My response to this preposterous editorial written by George Michalopoulos:The Scandalous Nature of the Word “Archon” for a Christian Organization 


    • Gail Sheppard says

      I read your blog and George is hardly “alone,” although he might have started out that way. He gets 6,532 (3.50 per visitor) page views per day. Interestingly, you get. . . wait, “N/A page visits per day.” I may be your only visitor!

      It is bad form to dox people and insult them, so I’m going to distill your piece down to your more salient points:

      (1) “George’s main concern is “how and why the bishops and theologians of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America allowed the term Archon to be used in the first place. It seems inconceivable to George that trained theologians. . .” George acknowledges theologians came up with your credentials (he later says so) and therein lies the problem: The Church belongs to Christ, not to theologians. When theologians elevate certain groups of people within the Church, it may appear a “great honor” to the people involved but the greater Church sees it for what it is, i.e. man glorifying man. There is no “dignity of office” here; indeed there is no office. We do not need “knights” or a “brotherhood” to “defend Orthodoxy in all arenas,” especially when they derive their status from a schematic bishop, because it makes them schematics, as well. In other words, Elias, you aren’t IN the Church, so how can you defend it?

      (2) “. . . there is no order known as Archons. There is an Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle ( and we are Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.” Again, your status, ESPECIALLY because it’s tied to Constantinople, is ignored by the Greater Church and you are very much an auxiliary of the GOA, even sharing the same address.

      (3) “To a Christian of honest discernment, the term Archon appears several hundreds of times in the bible. “Strongs Concordence Usage: a ruler, governor, leader, leading man; with the Jews, an official member of the executive of the assembly of elders, it is even used referencing Jesus, ἄρχων τῶν βασιλέων τῆς γῆς. the ruler of the kings of the earth (Rev. 1:5)” Church governance is centered around the bishop, Elias. The term “elder” means bishop. You are not a bishop. Even your bishop is not a bishop!

      (4) “What is astonishing in George’s undertaking to sow discord and dissent, he never mentions any relevant history attached to the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.” Discord and dissent were the byproducts of your patriarch’s actions, first in Crete and then in Ukraine. In both cases, he walked away from his brother bishops. You’re standing under the authority of none. How do I know? Because there are bishops (plural) in the Orthodox Church. When you see a church (small “c”) of one, you know it’s not the Church.

      (5) “George makes no reference to. . . of the importance and authority of Roman (Byzantine) archons. . .” George probably makes no reference to it, because he doesn’t recognize it. Just because the term Archon has been used in a variety of ways does not legitimize it.

      Your entire piece is devoted to justifying your accolades. It’s not about George. It’s about your frustration with George because he does not buy into your hype and he’s not the only one. Like George, there are many who are aware of the epic failures in the GOA under “the Archons”. You now need to put Humpty Dumpty together again so you can maintain your standing among your fellow Greeks which I suspect means more to you than the Church. But I don’t think you’re going to be able to pull it off.

      • Michael Bauman says

        (Sarcasm on) Now, now Gail, it is just not seemly for a barbarian wench to be critical of your social betters. You obviously need to learn to cook lamb and not to object. Have a couple of shots of ouzo and you will feel better. Isn’t it obvious that George has turned against his race and is no longer worthy of any of his patrimony.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          I can cook! (The ouzo sounds like a good idea.) 😉

          • George Michalopulos says

            Leader Elias, you have met your match in La Sheppard.  And then some.

            OK, seriously, is there anything about Christ in your diatribe?  Do you –can you not see–that these delusions of grandeur are not worthy of a devout Orthodox Christian?   Where is the servanthood?  

            I have my problems with the Papacy (as do we all) but every Holy Thursday, the Roman Pontiff gets on his knees and washes the feet of twelve beggars and then kisses them.  If your grandiose Ortho-papalism has any currency, then why doesn’t “His All-Holiness” do the same thing?

            Leader Elias, I’m an Hellene and a proud (in the Aristoteilian virtue sense) one.  I have seen the sting of poverty in my father’s village first-hand and seen the decrepit nature of the Phanar up close.  I have also seen the Vatican first-hand and know the difference. I also know that when a race has fallen tremendously and its leaders have lost their arete –the proper valuation of the virtues–that that stings as well.  Many make up for it by resorting to nostalgia.  

            No good will come of that Leader Elias.  None at all.   “Pride goeth before a fall”.  


            • George, you are right.
              There  is another subtle parameter which is usually forgotten:

              Giving a title (Archon, Lord, Knight, promotion, etc) is ALSO (if not MAINLY) a gain to the giver (Patriarch, President, King, Queen, Manager, etc). The big, indirect, subtle gain to the giver is that He/She actually utilises the popularity (if not some donation) of the honored person.
              An example from the recent history were the Beatles when they had reached a great popularity in many countries. Wikipedia mentions:
              Controversy erupted in June 1965 when Queen Elizabeth II appointed all four Beatles Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) after Prime Minister Harold Wilson nominated them for the award.[130] In protest – the honour was at that time primarily bestowed upon military veterans and civic leaders – some conservative MBE recipients returned their own insignia.[131] 
              The government and the Queen, by the mere signing of a paper or a ceremony, actually gained a lot of the popularity that the honored one(s) had. 

              Thus at the end of the day, the giver of the honors gains popularity and/or money AND has won a popular SUPPORTER!
              The honored person thinks he is now even  more important than before and he will almost “blindly” do everything to defend his benefactor, q.e.d. “Quod Erat Demonstrandum Desideratum”

      • I second your comments, Gail.

    • “Archon Maestor of the Great Church”
      Hmm. A little kitschy.

    • SFP New York says

      Yet another narcissistic Greek who is far more interested in his self-perceived Hellenic “racial superiority” than in Christ or in His Church. 
      So glad I left the abusive Greek narcissists when I did. 
      The ethnocentric GOA will continue to wither away since, frankly, most Greek-Americans are not that much interested in church these days.  The GOA doesn’t believe in evangelism since most Americans who need Christ and His Church are inferior non-Greeks.  Greeks are about 5% of Orthodox, yet in America you’d think that most Orthodox are Greek.
      Contrast that with the impressive evangelism we see from the other large Orthodox bodies in America (OCA, Antiochians, ROCOR, for example); it’s a stark contrast. 
      The EP is devolving into heresy, or maybe it’s already there. We can see that many Greeks will follow it to heresy, rather than follow the truth of Christ and of His Church, simply because of the Greek thing.
      Ethnophyletism, pure and simple. 

      • George Michalopulos says

        Meanwhile, the Antiochian jurisdiction here in America is getting ready to build a Russian-style cathedral in Salt Lake City:

        The Archons –excuse me Knights of St Andrew–are going to be hosting webinars on how to make the best souvlaki and tzatziki sauce for those interested increasing profits at the next Greek festival.

        • SFP New York says

          The “Archon Knights” are more like the Knights in Monty Python’s Holy Grail movie.

          I can just see these “Archon Knights” banging blocks of wood together to mimic a trotting horse, when in reality there is no horse. As classically depicted in the Monty Python movie (which I must admit, I love), the “Archon Knights” are so much more in to pretending rather than living in reality.

          The Monty Python crew did it for laughs — that was the point. And they were damn funny. The “Archon Knights” get laughs because of their ridiculous sense of self-importance; they are amusing for all the wrong reasons, as in “please, just stop.”

        • Dino Tsortanidis says

          FYI George,
          After worshipping in a  Catholic churches storage room for the past 4 years. Saint Anna Greek Orthodox in Cottonwood Heights Utah(Salt Lake suburb) is also moving into and  building a new Church in Utah(Sandy City) this coming October, even with two other Greek Orthodox parishes within the city and burbs.
          Please notice under our website header, “A Christ-centered Orthodox Christian parish”

          NO Greek festivals

          Church functions mainly by  stewardship 

          Standing during 90% of Liturgy

          95% of Liturgy in English(maybe higher)

          A large percentage of non-Greek stewards

          Entire Church sings/chants with choir, hence why we  all stand

          Very welcoming parish council,  parish members, and priest

          There is always Hope with Christ, give us Greeks a break George! Even in your dreaded GOA. Have faith bro!
          I pray Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox  Church has accounted for their older members driving 1 hour from Salt Lake, maybe 2 hours on snowy days, and kid’s activities so far from Church as well. Regardless what a blessing to have an Orthodox presence so far away. I’m sure the Church will do well, and continue with new growth.

          May God bless all of our new Orthodox Churches in Utah! The more the better!

          PS-Saint George Russian Orthodox Church in West Jordan(Salt Lake Suburb) Utah was also built only 5 years ago. 

          • George Michalopulos says

            Dino, I’m on your side! Believe me, Bro! And I can’t tell you how tickled pink I am that the GOA (Denver diocese) is executing such a wonderful project. Keep up the good work and convert them Mormons!

    • Archon Elias, I was glad to see the link you posted to a youtube video of Metropolitan Tikhon of the OCA concelebrating with Patriarch Bartholomew. Thank you! – Beryl

  12. OCA Metropolitan Tikhon concelebrated this past June with Patriarch Bartholomew, who, according to Gail, is not a bishop. 

    • George Michalopulos says

      And Arb Irenee of Ottowa (OCA) concelebrated Divine Liturgy in Ekaterinburg with bishops of the Moscow patriarchate:

      • George, the point is that Metropolitan Tikhon concelebrated with Patriarch Bartholomew, and the article about that event is worth reading.
        If Patriarch Bartholomew is not a Patriarch, then what is Metropolitan Tikhon doing there in Cappadocia? There may be a slow turning of events going on behind the scenes that we don’t know anything about. Did you notice the anonymous 2 writer saying the situation at St. Sergius in France is changing for the better? Use logic. If Metropolitan Tikhon serves with a man who is, according to you, “not a bishop,” then who knows better, you or Metropolitan Tikhon?

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Actually, I said he was not a bishop, not George. How would George know why Metropolitan Tikhon concelebrated with Bartholomew? Go ask Metropolitan Tikhon.

          • Whatever our opinions, Bartholomew is a bishop of the Church until and unless his brother bishops depose him – something that could happen but hasn’t…at least not yet.  Not even Moscow would deny this, even while denying his other claims to universal authority and his supposed right to do the foolish things he has done.
            Met. Tikhon and the synod of the OCA have recognized the seriousness of the schism and asked the OCA flock to pray for reconciliation.  For better or for worse, the synod of the OCA has not taken sides in the dispute other than stating their clear and unequivocal support of Met. Onuphry.
            What I find more interesting about this concelebration is that both men appear to recognize the other as a bishop, but neither recognizes the claims of the other.  Bartholomew doesn’t recognize the autocephaly of the OCA; and Tikhon, much like Moscow and most of the rest of the Church, doesn’t recognize the claims of the CP.

            • George Michalopulos says

              So, in re my comment to Beryl above, this was not a “concelebration” then, was it?

              • Monk James Silver says

                The OCA’s website article about this event did indeed say that Met. Tikhon ‘concelebrated’ the Divine Liturgy with Patriarch Bartholomew.

                This is not really a word in the Orthodox Christian lexicon, which never speaks of any service’s being ‘celebrated’, although this hasn’t prevented from continually writing that funerals are ‘celebrated’. Since no Orthodox Christian service is ‘celebrated’, no service can be ‘concelebrated’, that is ‘performed by several bishops or priests acting together’. We have other words for that sort of situation.

                In both Greek and Church Slavonic, the services are described as being ‘done, completed, performed, served’. Roman Catholic terminology, derived from the Roman Missal’s _Ordo Celebrationis Sanctae Missae_ (or _Ordo Ad Sanctam Missam Celebrandam_) is fine for them as they speak in English of ‘celebrating’ Mass, but this terminology is alien to Orthodoxy.

                We would better describe MetT as ‘serving with’ PatB in that DL

                Greek has _sylleitourgeO_ (co-liturgize’) and Church Slavonic says _sosluzhiti_ (co-serve’), both rather literal renderings, but in English, I think it’s better just to say ‘serve (together) with’

                This is just another example of the poor use of English we have inherited in our service books so far. We can — must — do better.

                • George Michalopulos says


                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Having said that Monk James, what is the proper terminology for such co-serving (between two primates with unresolved issues)? 

                    I’ll be more than happy to talk to you directly offline just so you know where I’m coming from.

                    • Monk James Silver says

                      When two bishops — primates or not — from different autocephalous Orthodox Christian churches serve the Divine Liturgy together and participate in the Eucharist from the same loaf and the same cup, they are said to be literally ‘in communion’ with each other. Their personal relationship through the Eucharist also indicates that their respective churches are in communion with each other.

                      Thus, while the OCA is in communion with both Constantinople and Moscow, these latter two churches are not in communion with each other at the moment.

                      It’s a bit of a sticky wicket conceptually, but in simple terms, the OCA isn’t involved in the dispute between those churches regarding Constantinople’s uncanonical interference in the internal affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church.

                      At the same time, like all the other autocephalous churches which have gone on record in the matter, the OCA can — and does– acknowledge the canonical errors at work here and hopes for a Christian and possibly conciliar resolution.

                      Of course, we can discuss this further in private if you like.

              • Yes.
                “Orthodox Christian faithful who trace their roots to Cappadocia filled the Church of the Mother of God here on the Sunday of All Saints—June 23, 2019—as His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon concelebrated the Divine Liturgy….  At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, His All-Holiness warmly welcomed His Beatitude…”

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Was the bishop of Rome deposed in 1054? (I don’t know the answer to this, I’m really just asking.)

              Again, *I* was the one who said he wasn’t a bishop. – It is the consensus of the Local Churches that the OCU is schismatic and if Bartholomew prays with the OCU, it makes him schismatic and if he’s schismatic, he’s not in the Church and if he’s not in the Church, he can’t be a bishop. He literally walked out of the Church. Can one depose someone outside the Church?

              • Gail, I am sure we all know you said it, but George would either agree with you or not. If he does not agree with you, and clearly, Metropolitan Tikhon does not agree with you, then your statement to Archon Elias, which you said was true, is in question. Think whatever you want, Metropolitan Tikhon served Divine Liturgy with Patriarch Bartholomew. His gracious statement afterwards was priceless. 

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Beryl, I did not choose to adjudicate the matter as to his (Bart’s) episcopacy because that’s not in my bailiwick. Hence I did not come to either your’s or Gail’s defense.

                  What I chose to do was clarify terms: you said that Met Tikhon and the CP “concelebrated”. As I said: unless I’m mistaken, they most certainly did not concelebrate because –and this is key–concelebration between two (or more primates) of two (or more) local churches only takes place when their autocephaly is not an issue.

                  Unless I am gravely mistaken, the issue of the OCA’s autocephaly has never been resolved to Cpole’s satisfaction. If you have any information to the contrary, please proffer it and I will make the necessary correction.

                  • George, no problem, and thanks for clarifying. The point I was trying to make is that Metropolitan Tikhon did serve Divine Liturgy with Patriarch Bartholomew, Metropolitan Tikhon is widely loved and respected, that his speech was gracious, brotherly and loving towards Patriarch Bartholomew, that it is very likely there is much going on in terms of dialog between the bishops behind the scenes, and that Metropolitan Tikhon knows far more than we do.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Let us hope so. Let us hope as well that the CP recognizes the error of his ways. So far, his Ukrainian gambit shows no sign of abeyance. In fact, it’s getting worse.

              • Gail,
                I agree that this is the consensus, but there has been no council, no trial, and no ruling.  Until there is (and he will likely die before that ever happens), it will be messy.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  They have 2 problems. Someone has got to call the Council. Historically it’s been the EP or the emperor. The EP won’t call it and there is no emperor. The other problem they have is that if they call a Council and they find Bartholomew was in the wrong, there will be a true schism and none of them want that. In the meantime, all of us are called to uphold the truth. I am just the little kid who is saying the emperor has no clothes.

                  • “I am just the little kid who is saying the emperor has no clothes.”
                    “At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, His All-Holiness warmly welcomed His Beatitude, recalling the many occasions on which Metropolitan Tikhon, representing the Orthodox Church in America, had visited the Patriarchate of Constantinople.  He also spoke of the close friendship that has been built as a result of those visits.”
                    Ponder that for a moment.  This “close friendship” is so  ‘strong’ that he didn’t bother even to extend an invitation to Crete.  Everything is fake, calculated, nauseating insincerity.
                    Nakedness indeed!  I wouldn’t expect clarity.  It will likely get even messier as time passes.  I hope I’m wrong, but we seem to be living the times prophesied.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      I know! We live in interesting times.

                    • Brian,Why can’t we see the reality?

                      St.John Chrysostom, then called “merely” “Archbishop of Constantinople”, and NOT “All-Most-Holy” with two superlatives above the “mere” “Holy is God”,
                      he(!), Chrysostom, was afraid(!!!!) to become bishop because he would sin with the beautiful female Gloria, Glory, Doxa, (Δόξα), the Glory of the Bishop!

                      So, it is quite understandable that (among other bishops) Bartholomew is “victim” of that female Glory. That is the ultimate criterion, and actually applies to laity as well, in different ways.

                      You are right, in Crete he did not invite OCA but he did invite Roman Catholic “observers” (what for?). You see, OCA is diminishing his FULL “Ecumenical” Glory, whilst the Pope has a different female Gloria Prima Latina Infallibile of even “greater proportions and qualities” which B can only dream of.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Wow! Ioanni, you certainly have distilled this entire imbroglio down to its essence, haven’t you?

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Gail, I’m not sure that a Pat of Cpole has ever called one of the original seven Councils. I do know that no Pope ever attended one. It has always been my understanding that only an Emperor could (and did) call such a Council.

                    If anybody knows any differently, please help us set the record straight.

                  • Antiochene Son says

                    If the Emperor can’t and the EP won’t, then the responsibility falls to Alexandria.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Beryl, at the risk of being pedantic, I am pretty sure that Met Tikhon did not “concelebrate” with Pat Bartholomew.  Several years ago, I wrote that then-Pat Demetrios of Cpole “concelebrated” with then-Met Theodosius of the OCA at St Nicholas Cathedral in DC, when Pat Demetrius was in America in 1991. 
            Well, I was taken to task because I was told that there was no “concelebration” between the OCA and Cpole because the status of the OCA had not been resolved adequately as far as Cpole was concerned.  The Serbian Patriarch and the Bulgarian Patriarch can concelebrate as well as the CP and Georgia or Athens and Moscow, or any combination thereof.   
            I thought that because Demetrios and Theodosius were vested and serving in the altar that they were concelebrating but unless the status of the OCA is recognized by Pat Bart as being fully autocephalous, then it was not a concelebration.  
            If anybody can shed any light on this matter it would be most appreciated.

            In any event, I’d love to try some of your chocolates. And Michael, I understand there’s going to be an Inklings event in Wichita in October. I’d gladly buy a case of elderberry wine from Merry.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Yes, George, Eighth Day Institute is putting on another Inklings event.  If you order it in advance, we can deliver it to you.  

              Oklahoma liquor laws prevent direct shipment to you. They want to be sure they get their taxes. Regulation at its finest.

              • George Michalopulos says

                The plan for me is to come to Wichita, Good Lord willin’ and the crick don’t rise!

            • Joseph Lipper says

              Here’s the youtube video link, where Metropolitan Tikhon and the OCA’s Archdeacon Joseph is right behind Patriarch Bartholomew in the outdoor liturgy under a tent:
              This happens despite that Patriarch Bartholomew won’t recognize the autocephaly of the OCA, and neither does Metropolitan Tikhon  recognize the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.  Even so, this doesn’t prevent them from concelebrating.  That’s because neither Primate is placing the recognition of autocephaly as a prerequisite for communion and serving together.  Historically that’s probably not unheard of either, as autocephaly has often taken many years or even centuries to be universally recognized.  

    • The Church has always gone through “arguing” or “disagreeing” periods about these kinds of things in the months/years interval period before the Church collectively makes a final authoritative decision about heresies, etc.

      Yes there are Orthodox bishops today who would never serve with Patriarch Bartholomew or any in his jurisdiction. And obviously there are Orthodox bishops who do still serve with him. I’ve been told that those who still serve with the EP are likely holding out hope that the EP will change course and return to the Orthodox faith, rather than continue to persecute the Orthodox Christians in Ukraine who are in the saintly Met. Onuphry’s UOC. They also hope that the EP will reverse its western gravitational pull toward the Roman Catholic church. I personally don’t find either of these scenarios likely, but yes, they are possibilities, and miracles do happen.

      The Church cannot persecute the Church, so with respect to Ukraine at least, when you have the EP’s charlatan guy “Epiphany” and his grandfather figure “Filaret” (who now apparently no longer talks to “Epiphany”…. schisms beget schisms!) — when this “church” persecutes the saintly Met. Onuphry’s UOC jurisdiction, well both cannot be the Church, since the church cannot persecute itself. In my opinion, this is clear evidence that one side in this battle is with Christ and the other side is under demonic influence. And anyone who entrusts his or her soul to the care of “Epiphany” or “Filaret” needs to have his head examined….

      Besides, if the Church as a full body ever does officially declare that the EP has gone into heresy and has placed himself and his jurisdiction outside of the Church, the OCA would certainly side with Moscow and Met. Onuphry’s UOC. The OCA has never posted anything against or contrary to Met. Onuphry as the rightful, canonical primate of the autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The OCA’s ties with Russia are far, far deeper than any modernist ties with the EP/GOA.

      We are seeing this reality play out now in the rue Daru group in Western Europe (the former Western European Exarchate of Russian Churches that was under the EP…. Metropolitan Evlogy’s old group, until the EP “magically” dissolved their exarchate last fall, without ever discussing it with them or consulting them beforehand). The rue Daru jurisdiction bears many, many similarities to the OCA. Many of the OCA’s old guard – Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Fr. John Meyendorff, and many others – grew out of the rue Daru group’s St Sergius Institute in Paris.

      Well, now we are witnessing the real likelihood that the rue Daru group will find its new canonical home under the omophor of the Patriarchate of Moscow, much as ROCOR did when the ROCOR/MP split was healed formally back in 2007. They will likely announce in the next 2-3 months whether rue Daru will once again reunite with her mother; they had grown estranged during the dreadful communist period.

      My educated hunch is that the bulk of the OCA would never choose to unite with the EP over its rightful mother, the MP.

      Yes, there would be some modernists in the OCA who would go with the EP, since it is these people who the EP’s side attracts: modernists, as well as Russia-haters or “Russophobes,” of which America has plenty. But I’m fairly confident that the bulk of the OCA (except maybe the Diocese of New England?) would not side with the EP.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        RE: “My educated hunch is that the bulk of the OCA would never choose to unite with the EP over its rightful mother, the MP.”

        I think you’re absolutely right.

        • George Michalopulos says

          I certainly hope so. Now that Fr Jillions is gone, I sleep a little better at night, knowing that he was all ga-ga for Istanbul.

        • When did the odd custom (I hope it doesn’t rise to the level of “tradition”) arise of calling other churches mom or dad??  Mother Church of the OCA, the EP.  What a crock.  Church is either Church or not.  Only one bishop seems to think of himself with such maternal egotism, is should not be encouraged.  He also seems to have a big empty shool and an empty monastery over which he appoints a headmaster and an abbott.  The prerequisites for these jobs are various advanced degrees in ecumenical studies and waiting for other such bishops of nothing to age out of their positions or die.  What a wretched existence.  What unreality.  Celibates with time on their hands are a disease.  There is one cure, don’t create them.  They aren’t born.

          • No one can prove that this statement is not true: “Allegations or information from anyone claiming that the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in order to grant the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, allegedly sought and received, or requested, any form of compensation, financial or other, whether from political or ecclesiastical persons, is absolutely false, unsubstantiated and slanderous.”  It’s like saying that the warm, friendly relationship between Metropolitan Tikhon and Patriarch Bartholomew is “nauseating,” as if they are both liars, or like saying that a bishop is not a bishop, when he is a bishop.

            • Beryl,
              Just to clarify, I did not find Met. Tikhon’s  words to be lies, feigned, or nauseating.  He focused on Christ and His Saints and did not praise or glorify the office of his host as the sycophants of his host  almost always do.  He politely thanked Bartholomew for his hospitality and gently reminded him of his own words:
              “I come from America, the land of freedom, the land of abundance, the land of hope. It is to this land that many from Anatolia fled, and it is the land to which many emigrated from Eastern Europe, from the Middle East, and from other places where difficulties were to be found. But there are difficulties to be found in America as well, and we have been working, through the process of the Assembly of Bishops, to find solutions by which all the Orthodox in our lands might offer a strong and united witness to Christ and His Holy Church, in imitation of the great saints that we celebrate today and in fulfillment of the exhortation made by Your All-Holiness, that we all need “to move beyond what is mine and yours, to what is ours.”  This is the goal for us as Orthodox Christians: to move beyond what is mine and yours, to what is ours – and what is ours is Jesus Christ and the communion of the saints.
              Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking, as our parents and grandparents did, to Jesus Christ, Who gives us life and Who gives us hope.”

              • Gail Sheppard says

                I did not find Metropolitan Tikhon’s words to be lies, feigned, or nauseating either.  

              • When two brother Patriarchs serve Divine Liturgy together, they are acting as one. If you say you found Patriarch Bartholomew’s words nauseating, and not Metropolitan Tikhon’s words, and clearly  Metropolitan Tikhon didn’t find them nauseating, you are implying that he doesn’t know what he is doing (as George implies in his latest negative remarks).

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Usually, when there is a communique characterizing the nature of a meeting on one side, there is a communique put out by the other side, as well. Did you read what Metropolitan Tikhon said about the meeting? He may very well have been “nauseated,” but it would be unbefitting for a bishop to say so.

                  Metropolitan Tikhon didn’t spend any time talking about their “friendship.” Instead, he expressed his very real frustration that the CP has, up to this point, refused to acknowledge the OCA’s autocephalous status, failing to invite them to the Inter-Orthodox conferences preparing for the Great and Holy Synod or even to the Great and Holy Synod itself! (Pretty much his exact words.) Furthermore, he expects (he uses the term “hopes”) this will change going forward. For you to say they are “two brother patriarchs” is completely misleading when one bishop doesn’t recognize another’s bishop’s status.

                  Metropolitan Tikhon is putting the CP on notice. He is telling the CP he is not going to get very far in America if he continues to “diss” the OCA. He accepted the invitation because it was “an opportunity to express our brotherly love and good relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate,” but he qualifies this statement saying he remains “steadfast in our vision for Orthodoxy in North America,” which is one united, autocephalous Church recognizing only one authority: “The authority of the Council of her canonical hierarchs.”


                  • Patriarch Bartholomew became Patriarch of Constantinople in 1991, long after the OCA came into being. The OCA website states: “If one studies the histories of most autocephalous churches, you will quickly note that in virtually every instance, universal recognition of a church’s autocephaly has never come in an instant. Even the Church of Russia’s autocephaly took well over 100 years to be recognized.”
                    I cannot look into Metropolitan Tikhon’s meaning except to read what he wrote and know neither he nor Patriarch Bartholomew is lying. Metropolitan Tikhon has visited Constantinople many times, and a friendship has developed. It’s fact, not conjecture. We do not know what is going on behind the scenes, we do not know what the bishops are saying to each other.

              • Brian, “At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, His All-Holiness warmly welcomed His Beatitude, recalling the many occasions on which Metropolitan Tikhon, representing the Orthodox Church in America, had visited the Patriarchate of Constantinople.  He also spoke of the close friendship that has been built as a result of those visits.” 
                You see, there is just no way he is lying. 

          • Joseph Lipper says

            In the Troparion for St. Vladimir tone 4, Kiev is referred to as the “mother of cities”, and Constantinople is referred to as the “Imperial City” where is found “Christ the priceless Pearl”: 
            “Seated on the high throne of Kiev, the mother of cities saved by God,/ thou didst emulate the merchant who sought the goodly pearl,/ O Vladimir glorious in might,/ and examining and sending emissaries to the Imperial City to learn about the Orthodox Faith,/ thou didst find Christ the priceless Pearl, Who chose thee as a second Paul/ and in the holy font removed thy blindness, spiritual and bodily./ Wherefore, we, thy people, celebrate thy repose./ Pray thou, that Russia, thy land, be saved,// and that peace and great mercy be granted to the Orthodox people.”

            • Very true, Joseph. Such was the case with Jerusalem as well. She was “the city of the Great King.” The holy God dwelt there in her midst…until he departed because His people had departed from Him.

              After His departure, when the city was threatened with invasion, the people were fond of saying, “The Temple of the LORD! The Temple of the LORD!” which meant to them that Jerusalem couldn’t possibly fall to her enemies because the temple was there. They were not even aware that God had departed from His temple (and from them) because they neither believed nor heeded His prophets.


            • Joseph that is in the 11c Constantinople was Imperial and mother of all cities.  BUT SHE AIN’T NOW. And these things are HALLO HALLO BARTHOLOMAIOS AND JOSEPH, TEMPERAL ISSUES UNRELATED TO CHRIST OR GOD.  London was an imperial city of empire. Although still a great, powerful city,  even with Brexit threatening  ,  it is no longer an imperial city. 
              Constantinople  is now a  important Turkish city with history.   

              • George Michalopulos says

                Nikos, for what it’s worth, London is well on its way to becoming a Third-world city. What I saw in 1997 vs 2011 was startling. And now with a horrible Paki mayor who thinks daily knifings are the new normal, well, all I can say is, “will the last Englishman who leaves London please turn out the lights?”

                • Deep Steak says

                  are you so unfamiliar with the uk that you do not know that is a racial slur or do you just not care?

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    DS, you know what the three most powerful words in the English language are?

                    “I don’t care”.  

                    Because y0u see, if we play the SJW 24/7 Grievance GameTM, we will be permanently paralyzed from public debate (which of course is the whole point, since Progs can’t use logic and need a police state to buttress their nonsensical policies).

                    Don’t believe me?  I just turned 60.  When I went to the then-recently integrated Horace Mann Jr High in 1971 , my beloved mother took me aside and said “Remember Son, you are supposed to call them ‘Negroes’.”   Well, she meant well but she was wrong.  They were then called “Blacks”.   Of course in my grandfather’s day the proper term was “Colored”. 

                    Then in the 80s Jesse Jackson said the proper term was “African-American”.   Of course that makes Charlize Theron an African-American as well but hey, there’s no real consistency in the grievance community.  Regardless, the proper term now is “People of Color”.  

                    I guess that makes me a “People of Pallor”.  

                    The point?  Modern liberalism is based on a lie, tissues of lies, mountains of lies.  And it’s all crumbling thanks to the herculean efforts of The Trumpster.  All he’s been doing these last three years is pulling the Overton Window back to the Right and all I’m doing is jumping through it. 

                    • Antiochene Son says

                      “DS, you know what the three most powerful words in the English language are? “I don’t care.'”

                      Ah, a fellow RamZPaul viewer, I presume? 🙂 Good taste in YouTubers, George.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Actually not! However I will check him out.

                      FYI, generally speaking these are among my favorite YouTubers:

                      1. Lauren Southern
                      2. Mark Dice
                      3. Blonde in the Belly of the Beast
                      4. RockingMrE (an Anglo-Greek Cypriot btw)
                      5. Joshua Bernstein
                      6. Martin Brodel
                      7. BCP (Black Conservative Patriot(
                      8. Tim Pool (TimCast)
                      9. The Red Elephants
                      10. Imran Husain
                      11. Black Pigeon Speaks
                      12. The Duran
                      13. Crosstalk (by RT)
                      14. Faith Goldy (totally easy on the eyes but smart as a whip)
                      15. And Il Capo di tutti Capi [drumroll please]: Stefan Molyneux*

                      Regardless, all of these content creators have been demonetized and/or algorithmythically deplatformed. (Lauren Southern has pretty much ceased doing her gig.)

                      *Seriously, if you have about 1.5 hrs once a week, check out his “The Truth About…” series. By the time you’re done listening to him lecture about say –Aristotle–you’ll have achieved a college-level knowledge about said subject.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Even the lovely, bucolic, quaint country of Wales is not immune from this new “vibrancy”:


                • I left some time ago but don’t quality for english. We will be back in September, staying in  leafy posh Musswell Hill and entertaining bulgarian friends.  George the mayor of London is useless but he is NOT Pakistani but British.He is uk born and citizens.  I object to YOU calling him  Pakistani.  He is useless,  freaking useless,  yes,  but decidedly British.  Just as second generation from Greek cypriot parents are BRITISH.  Or we can all go home.  I am greek as born in Greece of greek mother and Welsh, greek father. 

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    The Duke of Wellington said that “just because a man is born in a stable doesn’t make him a horse”.

                    Having said that, I get your point. My point however is that “blood will tell”. In the main, people from the Third World don’t acculturate to European norms.

            • Monk James Silver says

              Joseph Lipper (July 15, 2019 at 12:53 pm) says:

              In the Troparion for St. Vladimir tone 4, Kiev is referred to as the “mother of cities”, SNIP


              For reasons unknown (to me, at least) this is a shortened or even altered form of an ancient Russian expression: ‘Kiev is the mother of Russian cities.’

              From the ‘Baptism of Rus’ in 988 A.D., until now, Kiev remains the fountainhead of Russian civilization and culture. While it was eventually replaced by Moscow as the seat of the Grand Prince, it was never thought to be in a separate country.

              The notion of ‘Little Russia’ as an independent country is a polite fiction, coming into a sort of confused existence twice in the last century. This happened once at the very beginning and again at the very end of the communist era in Russia, both times as a result of the political chaos ensuing both the end of tsarism and the break-up of the USSR.

              Foreign political and anti-Orthodox religious influences have exacerbated tensions between Ukraine and the rest of Russia, but this will eventually pass.

          • Quite right Bob.

            There is one Mother Church on Earth:
            In the 8th tone, Vespers,  we sing,

            Rejoice, O holy Zion, mother of the churches, the abode of God; for thou didst first receive forgiveness of sins by His Ressurrection.  

            That is Jerusalem and her first Bishop was James the brother of the Lord, what else do we need?
            That hymn was written by Saint John the Damascene (+750) even at the time of Constantinople’s power and glory!
            Constantinople was then the “basileuousa” or reigning city where
            the Head of State , King or Emperor resided. The local Bishop was thus called Ecumenical because he helped the other Bishops to see the Emperor. Read the famous Canon 28 and the nterpretation by St.Nikodimos. (Rudder, pp.271-273)

            Unfortunately the city is no longer a capital let alone of THE Christian world (ecumene).

          • M. Stankovich says

            It seems to me the concept of fealty apparently escapes you. The most common medieval interpretation of this concept involved the obligation or duty of vassals and tenants to pledge their fidelity to their lord (cf. Richard II: “I am pledged for fealtie to the new made King,” or as an 18th-century commentary noted, “This obligation on the part of the vasal was called his fidelitas, or “fealty.” But this is certainly not the oldest, nor the ”traditional” interpretation.

            It was a custom among the scholars of ancient Greeks to openly pay their debt of sincere gratitude and respect to the “great minds” before them (i.e. Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, etc.), before ever attempting to assume the role of neo-philosopher, drawing upon the Greek word νέος, “new.”

            Secondly, we clearly see the “evolution” of the concept, spelling out – three times in a single chapter, Acts 15 – the foundation of the ecclesiology of the Church: “Then it pleased the apostles and elders with the whole church… (v. 22); “The apostles and elders and brothers send greeting to the brothers which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia…” (v.23); “It seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord…” (v.25); and finally, “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us…” This idea, then is immediately described in the “missions” of the Apostles: “Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us go again and visit our brothers in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.'” (Acts 15:36ff) On the one hand, St. Paul makes absolutely clear the authority by which he acts, as “the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles. If you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known to me the mystery; (as I wrote before in few words, Whereby, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it is now revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.” But at the same time, he is equally forceful in insisting, “Now this I say, that every one of you said, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in my own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” (1Cor. 1:12ff, and cf. “There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. (Col. 3:11). And if that is not enough to suggest an order is beginning to form from the revelations to these Apostles, St. Paul even addresses the purely “mechanical”: “Let all things be done decently and in order,” (1 Cor. 14:40) “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” (1 Cor. 14:33). In any case, St. Paul says to the Romans, “And I am sure that, when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.” (Rom. 15:29)

            Thirdly, we possess such a rich Tradition in the Liturgical texts and in acts at the heart of the coalescence of the dogmatic teachings of the Church. The words of the Psalter embedded in our Liturgical life, for example, are constantly drawn upon to express the enormity and breadth of the continuous influence of our God in this world: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Ps. 102:12); “From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the name of the Lord is to be praised.” (Ps. 112:3); and profoundly, “Where shall I go from your spirit? or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, you are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall your hand lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” (Ps. 138:7-10) And only in this framework are we able to appreciate the readings of Holy Week, “‘In those days, and in that time,’ says the Lord, ‘the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I preserve,’” (Jer. 50:20) and “I, even I, am he that blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember your sins.” (Isa. 43:25) Further, anyone who has read the accounts of the Ecumenical Councils, beginning with Chalcedon, already knows the Fathers acknowledged their fealty with those who came before them, with words that have become the Patristic expression of the unity of the Church: “We join with the teachings of those Holy Fathers that have preceded us.” And lastly, to this day, the Russian Orthodox Church expresses their fealty with those who brought them the Faith: in every ordination, there is a prayer said aloud by the Bishop, calling upon the “Grace Divine” – which always “heals that which is wanting,” and completes that which is incomplete in the one being ordained, “through the laying on of hands.” It concludes, “Therefore, let us pray for him, that the Grace of the Holy Spirit may come upon him.” The instruction is that the clergy sing in a loud voice, “Lord have mercy” x3. It is the tradition of the ROC that this singing of “Lord have mercy” is to be done in the original Greek language.

            Apparently, you have confused the traditional expression of fealty within the local Orthodox churches to somehow express “subservience,” when, in fact, it is an act of gratitude and respect “for the faith delivered.” I would suggest you investigate both the Scriptural and Patristic import of “Jerusalem is your mother.” I hardly see this as an issue of “Church is either Church or not.” How can anyone argue this point? Read Khomiakov’s The Church is One, as a concise summation of the matter. Nevertheless, yours is a short-sighted argument. Like the Creation, the Church’s glory is its diversity:

            “The multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed.” (Acts 2:5ff)

            It is the diversity of expressing the same Truth in diverse manners that is the continuous proof of the influence and activity of the Holy Spirit in the Church. It also answers the question of St. Paul, “Is Christ divided?” with a profound, “No!” ὡς ἐμεγαλύνθη τὰ ἔργα σου – “How great are Your works, O Lord!” (Ps. 103:24) And finally, ἤτω ἡ δόξα Κυρίου εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας! – “Let the glory of the Lord endure forever.” (v.31) The “custom” of referring to the local church who delivered the Faith – the mission often being treacherous and life-threatening to accomplish – as “mother church” is nothing more than gratitude and respect, not deference nor subservience. I suspect that there is no better honor and respect to transmit than one would extend to his or her “mother,” literally and otherwise, and it is profound gift never forgotten, regardless of the “mother’s” worthiness.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              I am with you all the way but I think you could replace “bob” with Bartholomew and be more accurate. It is Bartholomew who has “confused the traditional expression of fealty within the local Orthodox churches to somehow express “subservience,” when, in fact, as you say, “it is an act of gratitude and respect for the faith delivered.”

              It is Bartholomew who has bastardized the term mother and like Bob, I, too, have a problem with it.

              Many of my son’s friends continue to call me “mom” because like a mother, I provided for them when they were young, but most importantly, I gave them a shoulder to cry on when they later lost my son. The degree to which my son’s friends would need me after he passed was a total shock to me. I had to literally put aside my own grief to support them. In retrospect, it makes sense. I was the closest thing they had to Chase. They see him in my mannerisms, the way I think and the things I say; even the glint in my eye, or so I am told. – The point is, I recognize when they call me “mom,” it’s an honorary title that comes with no rights. It is instead a supreme honor bestowed out of love by those who loved my son. I certainly don’t lord it over them. I don’t say, “I’m your mother! You must do what I say!” But this is how Bartholomew uses the term.

              Though “Mother” refers to the Church, he has transferred the honor to the patriarchate of Constantinople, (where this might have made sense in the past, it no longer does), and from the patriarchate to the his role of patriarch, and from his role of patriarch to himself, to his very person. He is claiming rights he does not have. Now, he has taken it one step further. He is claiming a relationship with those outside his patriarchate, i.e. daughters, and is asserting his right to speak for and organize them under his patriarchate.

              These daughters are the jurisdictions in America who are tied to the other Local Churches. This is not something new on his part. He has always claimed we belong to him and did so by using the term “diaspora” which was taken totally out of context. He birthed the Assembly of Canonical Bishops with the intent to organize us here in the Americas. It’s worth noting that he excluded the OCA, but Archbishop Demetrios later allowed them in. The Assembly stopped short of reaching their stated goals, i.e. the promotion and accomplishment of Church unity in the United States, the strengthening of the common pastoral ministry to all the Orthodox faithful of the region, and becoming a common witness by the Church. They later added a 4th goal: the organization of the Church in the United States in accordance with the ecclesiological and the canonical tradition of the Orthodox Church. In Bartholomew’s mind, this means under him. The wolf dressed in mother’s clothing is at the door and the Local Churches are going to have to respond or Bartholomew will take their daughters, “raping and pillaging” them in the process, by taking what they have to give and redirecting it to him. Like granting autocephaly in Ukraine, it’s another act of aggression against the canonical Church.

              • Beryl. Beautifully put, especially on personal level. Very moved.  On Church level well put to show up the Phanar crap. 

          • Monk James Silver says

            bob (July 15, 2019 at 10:38 am) says:

            When did the odd custom (I hope it doesn’t rise to the level of “tradition”) arise of calling other churches mom or dad?? Mother Church of the OCA, the EP. What a crock. Church is either Church or not. SNIP
            In the Oktoekhos (Tone 1, Saturday Evening) we sing of Jerusalem as ‘mother of the churches, the dwelling of God’.

            This reference might be dated as far back as the seventh or eighth Christian. century.

            • It is actually Tone 8, Saturday Evening:
              Rejoice, O holy Zion, mother of the churches, the abode of God; for thou didst first receive forgiveness of sins by His Ressurrection.
              That is Jerusalem and her first Bishop was James the brother of the Lord
              The hymn was written by Saint John the Damascene (+750)

  13. Marios Contoreotas says

    But the Knights of St Andrew, as the Archons consider theirselves,  is the 29th degree of Freemasonry! And Vitamins are the 20th 

  14. But the Greek Archons Politburo is being includings of Wormwood Gorbachev: