The Scandal Spreads

You know the one I’m talking about.  And you don’t have to wonder from where it arose.  At this point, the Phanar churns them out like clockwork, so when I write “scandal”, it’s clear it’s the one that happened the other day (as opposed the one that came out the month before).  Next week there will be another.  

Such things are symptomatic of a rotting institution.  Other hallmarks of such groups  are sycophants and timeservers who don’t really do anything but put out press releases or put out fires.  We’re talking basically about men who lie for a living. 

The trouble with most liars is that they can’t keep their stories straight.  A few, who are psychopaths, are very good at lying —extremely good.  I’ve known one or two and the way that they seamlessly slip into and out of a lie in the midst of a broader subject is nothing short of remarkable.  Unless you know the actual facts of the sub-topic, you will be fooled. 

Unfortunately, the men who mouth the EP’s talking points on any given subject are not the kind of men I’m talking about.  They’re nowhere nearly as good.  

You can see it not only when they speak but in their demeanor as well.  Examples include shifty eyes or raising their noses when talking to you; an overall arrogant attitude on the one hand and a cringeworthy humility on the other hand.  Things like that. 

Rhetorically you will also notice that there’s a lot of shifting of the goalposts.  Then there’s the effeminate manner of some of these people.  It’s very easy to see that these are not stalwart men.  One can’t help but escape the feeling that they don’t really believe what they say when they’re talking to you. 

That sort of thing.

This brings us to last Thursday’s ordination of Bishop Theophan Koja, the new exarch for Istanbul’s Albanian diocese.  The one with two whole parishes.  You can read about it here:  

As is now known, he said the words “…and the Son” when he recited the Creed.  At that point, the Liturgy should have stopped.  As far as I’m concerned, the entire ordination was invalidated when he said those words.  I’m not a canonist but at the very least, the issue of his ordination should be “revisited” (as in a spiritual court) at the earliest possible moment.  This should be done not only for the Church’s sake but for his own salvation as well.  Short of that, he’s going to be operating under a cloud for the rest of his life

Regardless, the word spread immediately throughout the Orthodox world.  His excuse, that he couldn’t contain his excitement is not even a good lie.  It’d be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic.  I won’t even take the time to link to the hastily-worded letter he put out yesterday, as it’s too much a waste of my precious time.  

And I do mean “precious time”.  Gail and I have stories on the transom that keep getting waylaid by the endless scandals that seep out of Istanbul.   

The Ecumenical Patriarchate has always been consumed with petty intrigues.  And it’s only gotten worse under Bartholomew’s tenure.  It’s time that the rest of the Orthodox Churches bring them to account.  Until that happens, cut them loose.  Why?  Because things aren’t going to get any better.  Barring a miracle, the downward trajectory that Istanbul has been on for the last several decades is unalterable. 

Of course a true council is called for.  But these things take time.  Their uncanonical actions, intrusions and (dare I say it?), heresies demand that action be taken as soon as possible.  Things have gone far enough.

In the meantime, it is incumbent upon the bishops of the various Episcopal Assemblies who are not part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to withdraw from these gatherings forthwith.  If they don’t, they will be contaminated with further heresies and whatever novelties that lie in wait.  This problem is especially acute in the United States, where Archbishop Elpidophoros has a clear track record of questionable activities and speeches. 

While it may be desirable for another assembly of bishops to be created, the urgency created by this scandal necessitates that separation should happen now, regardless of the complications inherent in creating another assembly.  We therefore call upon the laity of the other Orthodox jurisdictions to contact their bishops and demand that they withdraw.  I would even recommend that laymen within the GOA contact their bishops as well and call them to task.  And of course, the abbots and abbesses of the Athonite monasteries should make their concerns known.

And do so now.  It’s not going to get any better.  

And don’t think it won’t do any good.  There’s an old saying:  “they may not see the light but they can certainly feel the heat”.  



  1. “….couldn’t contain his excitement….”. Anyone who is excited about the prospect of becoming a bishop should not become a bishop. Apparently, he ain’t no St. John Chrysostom!

  2. Nick Shahood says

    “He couldn’t contain his excitement” ? LOL or more accurately, WHAT A JOKE!

    If you are a person of FAITH (and realize where you stand vis-a-vis God) being ordained as clergy (regardless of whether it is a deacon, a priest or a bishop), one should be quaking in his boots in thinking about the awesomeness of God and the true commitment one is making as well as the responsibility it places on the clergyman.

    His behavior revealed that of a giddy school girl rather than a serious clergyman who understands his duties.

    God help him and God protect us from such AMBITIOUS and CORRUPT men!

  3. If an Orthodox priest recites the Filioque in the Creed,
    while in the process of becoming an Orthodox Bishop,
    I think that one of three things must have happened:

    (1) He was reading it directly from a text in front of him and simply
    failed to edit it out of his reading – in his excitement, perhaps.
    (2) He habitually includes it and his mind supplied it to his tongue,
    whether or not it was actually in the text in front of him.
    (3) He deliberately included it in his recitation.

    If (1) the question needs to be asked: What was such a text
    doing in an Orthodox Church at such a (or any) time?
    If (2), the question needs to be asked: Is he Orthodox?
    If (3), the question needs to be asked: What was his purpose?

    However, there may be other reasons of which I am unaware.
    If so, I’m sure Joseph will supply them…

    • OrthodoxNet says

      Excellent insights. Those seem like the most likely explanations of what happened. All of them hint that this man lacks the necessary ethos, maturity, and wisdom to be ordained a bishop.

    • Johann Sebastian says

      And I think as Orthodox, we are always very conscious of this part of the Creed, even if we’re reciting it in a reflexive way. There’s a sort of emphasis on the silence between “from the Father; Who with the Father and the Son…etc.”

  4. Truth delayed is truth defused.


    This seems like the Phanariot way of saying “stop what you’re doing”:

    At this point, the Archbishop of America took the floor and expressed his deepest gratitude to His All-Holiness for his position. He emphasized that since there is a clear Patriarchal order, he permanently withdraws his proposals regarding the establishment of a retirement age limit for the hierarchs from active service and the multiple commemorations. He also promised to bring the matter of the administrative structure of the Archdiocese of America to the Eparchial Synod for study and to find a solution that would be jointly accepted.

    The great irony when the EP quotes the canons. Though he is correct and retiring a bishop at a certain age is a weird Roman Catholic practice so good to see that he did slap that down:

    a) Concerning the establishment of a mandatory retirement age for Archbishops from active service [the Patriarch] expressed [his] gratitude for the majority’s stance that this is an exclusive matter within the competence of the Mother Church. [He] reminded that the divine and sacred Canons speak about the lifetime tenure of [hierarchs] in their respective dioceses.

    This one is weird, but, of bigger news it looks like there wont be a charter before 2026:

    Regarding the administrative structure of the Holy Archdiocese of America, His All Holiness emphasized his position that the current administrative system contains an irregularity in its conception, as it creates active Metropolises within a unified Archdiocese. For instance, it would be unacceptable for active Metropolises like Heidelberg, Munich, etc., to be created within the territory of the Holy Metropolis of Germany. For this reason, His All-Holiness entrusted the Holy Eparchial Synod to examine this issue within a three-year period and subsequently submit a proposal that would be jointly and canonically acceptable to the Holy and Sacred Synod.

    Looks like Elpi will be allowed to continue his disaster tour across the U.S but will specify that the suggestions in these meetings are only his suggestions, so, two things:

    1) Why have them. My guess, fewer and fewer clergy will show up because it’s not even important.

    2) He already said he was dropping all of his suggestions on the changes to the charter.

    Finally, in response to a question from Archbishop Elpidophoros, regarding whether he can continue his tours to inform the flock of the Holy Archdiocese of America about his proposal on the Charter revision, both Metropolitan of Chicago and Metropolitan of San Francisco emphasized the need to form a common position on this matter, primarily within the Eparchial Synod. The Archbishop of America explained that the presentation of his proposal will always be accompanied by clarification that it is his personal and individual proposal, not a proposal of the Eparchial Synod. His All-Holiness gave his blessing.

    The good news is, if God allows the EP to try and join Rome in 2025 it still gives parishes the ability to leave since the charter is non-existent.

  6. Antiochene Son says

    These comments from Patriarch John at the Antiochian Archdiocese Convention are interesting given current the state of the Church:

    We in the Mother Church have never known a form of Christianity that is either triumphant or imperialistic. In fact, we have been subjected to empires that have made our history difficult and tragic. This experience has distanced us from the “illusions of Rome” or Roman supremacy and made us understand that our only need is for people of the Resurrection, for sanctified humans who bear witness to the Light and work “for the life of the world”, its resurrection from sin and death.

    • And, from the point of view of Antioch, it seems
      that the Mother Church is not that of Constantinople;
      if I have read Patriarch John’s comment aright.

      • No, decidedly not. I think that’s why they are now using the term to refer to themselves within the context of their own patriarchate. I don’t recall them doing this in Met. Philip’s day, although I could be wrong on this. Philip used to make fun of Bartholomew and invite him to move to the U.S. Of course if he did that, his fairy dust would blow away.

        With regard to the authority of Constantinople, you might find this an interesting read: