What Being Caught Between a Rock & a Hard Place Looks Like

OK, here’s the “rock”: http://orthochristian.com/121276.html  Here’s the “hard place”: http://orthochristian.com/121357.html  Guess who’s in the middle?

But it gets worse. Now the schismatic sect erected by Poroshenko (remember him? he lost overwhelmingly to a television comedian) and Patriarch Bartholomew is withering on the vine. (Notice, I did not write “Vine”.)

I have a simple question: What did the Phanar expect? The soothing words of pluralism that the State Department vomits out on a regular basis are scandalous from a Christian perspective.

But almost as important, what did we Orthodox laymen expect from a Church which is at best an academic enterprise? The “See of Constantinople” has had no real authority since the Turks drove Meletios IV Metaxakis in 1925 from Constantinople. Except for a few archdioceses in the Anglosphere, it has no experience in pastoral affairs. Say what you will about the Churches of Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, et al, they actually are Churches with real people, real dioceses and real problems.

Constantinople, on the other hand, is for all intents and purposes moribund. And its highest-ranking bishops are “metropolitans” of extinct dioceses in Anatolia. These “dioceses” are nothing more than sinecures and their “bishops”, dilettantes. This is the reason we get gadabouts flying hither and yon to one inter-church dialogue or another. To call these men monks and pastors is a stretch.

Now, I realize that this isn’t necessarily their fault. After all, as I have written here so often in the past, the See of Constantinople has been dealt a bad hand by history. Patriarch Bartholomew has played this hand rather deftly at times. He is certainly a presence on the world stage and has played the role assigned to him as best as he could. At the end of the day though, a cleric’s throw-weight has to be commensurate with the reality on the ground. Whether you agree with them or not, Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Patriarch of Moscow have serious throw-weight.

It goes without saying that with this power comes responsibility.  One of the hallmarks of responsibility is to think things through. What we have seen in just one eparchy of Constantinople –i.e. America–is a decided inability to actually think things to their logical conclusion. And no, it’s not Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis’ fault that things went horribly south, lo, these last twenty or so years. He was a mere figurehead with no real authority. All of the things that are wrong (Holy Cross, the Shrine, etc.) are the result of the catawampus system erected by the Phanar in order to prevent another Iakovos Coucouzis from arising.

Estonia was the first such experiment in theory. Ukraine only the most recent. For those of us in America, the question now is how badly will Istanbul muck things up here in America? They say that in business, “past performance is not necessarily indicative of the future”. Unfortunately, when it comes to Istanbul, there has been a pseudomorphosis of the Great Church of Christ, one that has lasted so for an entire half a millennium in which each incumbent was a permanent hostage to the Turkish government. No patriarch, bishop or even priest was immune from engaging in the regrettable phenomenon of baksheesh.

This was tolerable when there was an actual patriarchate with viable dioceses spread throughout the Rum millet (the Roman, i.e. “Christian” nation). As is well-known, the Christians made up almost 40 percent of the population of the Ottoman Empire, and the Patriarch of Constantinople, as the official head of this demographic, had considerable resources from which to draw to ensure that the Sultan’s palms were always greased.

But that is no longer the case. Beginning in 1821, the Christian subjects of the Ottomans started seceding from Turkey. First the Greeks, then the Serbs and Bulgarians. After the Balkan Wars, the secularist regime of Kemal Ataturk decided to make a virtue out of necessity and drove out (and worse) the rest of the Christian inhabitants of Turkey proper. To this day, the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek populations are mere fragments of what they were before World War I.

And so here we are in America: assimilated American citizens who have imbibed the (classically) liberal ethos of the Founding Fathers and are successful in our own professions and trades. Some of us even serving in political office. And yet some of our elite are still tethered to a Medieval system and it’s curious (read: corrupt) administrative ways which haven’t existed for at least a century. How exactly are the incoming Archbishop’s words of “transparency” going to be implemented? Will we ever know how much each bishop makes and how solvent their pension funds are? We could start there. Then we could ask, who had access to the priest’s pension fund?

We could go on, but I think you get the picture.

I realize of course that the Church is not a business but the new Archbishop is going about things the wrong way. By concentrating on finishing St Nicholas Shrine, tens of millions of dollars will be wasted. Remember, we are talking about funds that don’t yet exist. Same with the 10 million dollars being spent to prop up Holy Cross. I believe this to be the case because Holy Cross’s problems are systemic and deep-rooted. Giving ten million dollars won’t solve those problems but will only buy it some time. (In the meantime, look to see how many Archons and L100 types send their sons there for an education.)

Instead, several million should be immediately put into the priests’ pension fund. And a new corporation set up to oversee it with absolutely no possible way for anybody at 79th St to get their hands on it. Unless this problem is taken care of, the vocation of the present priests will continue to atrophy and even fewer men will go to Holy Cross (whether it’s open or not).

At this point, St Nicholas Shrine is a boondoggle and an eyesore. But it is not the priority. Perhaps it would be wise to simply sell HC/HC for $20 million, shunt that money over to St Nicholas (which will need to be bundled together with private donations as well as Port Authority money) and call it a day.


  1. Greatly Saddened says

    George … as usual, so well said. Contrary to what the Ecumenical Patriarchate may like to think. Eastern Orthodoxy is made up of much more than just Greeks. Especially and more so, here in the United States of America.

    The Archdiocese is a black abyss. Unfortunately, filled with seemingly inept hierarchs and a group of elite and well connected sycophants. Which of course seemingly agree with the hierarchs that have appointed them to their present positions.

    How does the saying go … you cannot keep on doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results.

    The Archdiocese should try sticking to matters solely of the Church. Lord knows that it has so much to improve upon just in this area alone! Such as with spreading the word of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, “Evangelism,” helping the sick, the poor and the homeless. Actually being a “Church” in the true sense and meaning of the word. Outreaching to the community.

    I do wholeheartedly agree that one, if not the first thing should be, if not already done. Is to make the priests’ pension fund whole once again. And taken out of the hands and control of anyone at the Archdiocese. Unfortunately, it is not to be trusted and these hard working priests of the Archdiocese deserve to know their pension fund is safe. They are the ones who are on the front lines, day in and day out. We owe much to these priests who are available to us 24/7, 365/366 days a year. These priests are the ones most of us associate with on a daily basis. And are the ones that make all the difference in the world to us. Not the Ecumenical Patriarchate, not the Archdiocese and not the Metropolises.

    • GOA clergy are divided into two polities: the one entrusted to consistently speak flatteries to the rulers and the other who are kept silent. All of them know which side of their bread is buttered (and you can bet the former category eats a lot more butter than the latter) and so they will all collaborate on maintaining the status quo. Until it collapses.
      Having ‘participated’ in a phone-in ‘conference’ with the incoming Abp. I can assure you that I’m not guessing about the disposition of GOA clergy. The script they followed place the pension fund foremost on the agenda.
      The culture of the GOA consistently shuns cogent criticism. Boosterism is the rule and every difficult topic is treated as though it’s already been solved: “we’re making such excellent progress now!” about sums up their gloss of events in the misadventures of an Archdiocese gone horribly wrong. A big part of their error is their disinclination to enunciate the truth – there is a culture of subterfuge and dishonesty which makes a pariah of anyone who does not toe the line.

      I’m sorry to say I have no reason to believe μετάνοια is likely until it is too late for the GOA. And I thank Christ that the presence of his Church in these lands still offers many alternate venues. Jurisdictional disunity in our case is a definite blessing!

      • Greatly Saddened says

        Amen to that and sad, but yet true, Claes!

        • AHEPA delegation just met with the hope giver. I not being american have no idea what AHEPA is except they looked like in picture classic pseudo ethnic club types posting behind delusion of Ομογένεια.

          My knowledge of greek Americans tells me they are as Greek as third Generation Anglo cypriots are Greek cypriot. What remains is some food, a few words, strange relatives and possibly Christmas and Pascha. Now if people want to remain an ethnic link they totally free to do so and be proud, but what has it to do with the Church.
          In reality you have peopke attending a sort of protestant minded, western worshipping,( which Sadly the Phanar has enabled in Albania and Korea now) Catholic clerical looking, church, with mousaka and baklava and hopefully…. Or i ain’t. attending, Greek coffee.

      • Just needed to add, I’m greek as u know, fully literate in Greek , but for me attending OCA in New York was such a Joy. I felt more Hellenism there, if it matters actually, than in any Greek church in USA. But above all I felt Orthodox Christian worshipping in the tradition of the Church in american society but Orthodox milleu, totally. The priest was marvelous man and the choir was superb .
        Greek America is an abomination Quickly they close down and sell of the bank the better. It will die anyway, is dying. The Tampa Bay Parish I mention I must say is extending. I have to be honest, due I guess to the priest who is a great protestant worker for Christ. But those who attend are knowing re it’s worship no better are they, and friendly atheists, evangelicals have good outreach and good works. And we should. I guess it will be a high Anglican, eastern sort of church and must be a market for it. Acapella and a beard do not bring u heaven either. It’s hard work and I not even started.

        Re Greece. And church. There is nowadays a much improved religious press, at very high level.
        And i thought these facts on modern Greece might be of interest.
        The Orthodox student associated magazine. Παρεμβολή, July – Sept 2018
        From research done 2015_17. GREECE from 32 countries was the first at 92% with believers in a God. 76% in Russia and 32 in Sweden ( % re Sweden but being scandanavian could well be only 32? and hopefully included a friend there!!
        74 % of Greeks hold that being Greek and Orthodox same thing. Puts us in 4th place.
        70% against same Sex Marriage putting Greeks totally at odds with western Europe where in Germany and uk 75 % in favour in Germany and 77% in Uk. .
        52% Greeks want abortion banned, 18% IN UK AND 3% IN SWEDEN
        Hope u find interesting.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Niko, for what it’s worth, I enjoy a far closer liturgical experience in my OCA parish to what I remember of Greek village life than I ever have in a GOA parish (of which I’ve worshiped in I’d say almost a dozen over each of the four time zones in America). You know the drill: no pews, no organs, higher congregational participation and/or singing.

          I’m not saying this to be judgmental or to say that Greek village liturgical life is superior per se, I’m just saying that that’s my experience.

          • Thank you. George. Exactly. In St Nicholas whitestone NY Don’ s parents came with us on my name day and that of church. They were very impressed. Chatted after over coffee to the Bishop who seemed very available and humble, and commented how they would like to attend again which they have . The choir was superb and yes benches but they were placed around the Church with plenty of space to move etc. Warm people too, some Greeks actually.
            Now whitestone has a newly built very beautiful greek church and don’s parents very respectful of it . I went once on week day for St Andrew day . Was no organ, don’t know if because not Sunday or was week day but priest very into being greek, all in greek, and very greek coffee house club feel. If you could not speak greek, forget it. Now no problems for me of course but thinking of wider society and outreach and how would Don’s parents feel there? That this was a club they could look in on but never join.
            To me it’s as obvious as the day is long that a church led by Americans in America , worshipping in english ls what is needed, yes using other languages, Spanish for one, as needed but grounded in good old USA. And enjoying all the different ethnic traditions and New american ones too, to create a vibrant living church that addresses american society. This was the visit of Saint Tikhon, of the Russian missionary effort, that 1917 so badly destroyed aided by metaxakis power grab. And this IS A REALITY in OCA and Antioch etc parishes, but especially OCA. And yes it went through hard times but came through. There are many qualities of America that can make a great church, a vibrant living AMERICAN church connected to it’s roots but growing in it’s soil . Βut career baggers like Mr Hope bearer coming to milk the cow and play act the delusion.
            I am sure those parts of GOA and there are some, that understand this, must feel despair.

    • George u put it so well.
      And re USA. When u think about it a church a 100 yes old has a man from totally different Culture foisted on it as part of his careerist pathway to becoming his all humbleness, who actually will almost tell u attending Catholic Mass will do.
      In addition the power the Phanar seeks to extend etc actually has little to do with byzantium and much much more to do with the Ottoman empire.
      It now seeks to dress it up in fancy Fantasy theology.
      I get on my mail the daily prayer blogs of the Tampa Florida Greek Parish, as I have mentioned.
      And I say again, a hard working dedicated priest who says things that are mostly very valid. ( apart from defending harmoniums etc) but why then do i feel alienated ? because I have understood that the greek church in USA. was completely cut of from Orthodox spirituality as i understanding it connected to monasticism, gerondes, the desert fathers and the Russian spiritual tradition of 19and 20th century. And what in this blog comes over to me is a TOTALLY protestant feeling. Totally. Only evangelical stuff is mentioned. Never even any modern Orthodox spirituality. NOTHING Totally western in that moralistic sense. To be fair he does emphasise worship and the Liturgy but in a Zoe organization type way.
      To me, let alone the way of worship, it is a separate church.NOT MY CHURCH. Now others here may rush to say that THEIR local greek Parish not like that. And if that is so, I am overjoyed, but this is what comes across to me.
      Now that guy is i believe a dedicated priest so it seems churlish to criticise but I cannot hide what comes across to me.
      Just to say I have expressed my feelings to the man himself, so i am not going behind his back. But for me what he presents is an aborted barren type of Orthodoxy. Now for others it may be wonderful and I wish them Joy in it. But for me it’s barely Orthodoxy.

      • I wanted further to say that obvious there are developing two types of Orthodoxy in today’s world. A modernist, being ecumenically minded in wishy washy way, decreased emphasise on ascetism, a nod to the gay rights agenda etc, none or make believe monasteries, use of organ, shaved clergy, etc etc and in opposite corner an Orthodoxy holding to tradition, outwardly and inwardly. Having an ascetic and monastic tradition and emphasise fasting etc. connected to the saints and martyrs of the last 100 yrs.
        In the modernist corner we find, surprise, surprise, THE PHANAR!! I wonder how that came about?. It’s poison has affected the churches of Albania and Korea. I know where I stand.

        • Right again Nikos. GOA clergy teach their people to never consider anything but their brand of Orthodoxy Lite. 99.9% of laymen and 100% of their clergy have never and will never step into any church or monastery which isn’t their brand.

          I met a priest in a large town in central CA whose spiritual connections are to St. Anthony’s monastery in AZ. He expressed the thought that there must be ‘Russian monasteries’ (which he hasn’t visited) in the US. He had no curiosity about any OCA establishments in CA or anywhere. The idea of a spiritual culture arising autochthonously in America in the English language is beyond the pale for a Greek churchman. And the very existence of the OCA remains unacknowledged by them. They consider us Russian still, and they make sure all their flocks think of church life this way – colonialistically.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            We now have a part-time assistant priest who is an OCA priest. We have great and close relationships with the close-by (say 10 miles) OCA parish and their wonderful long-time priest. Our GOA priest has very close relationships with all of the Orthodox clergy in this state. I would bet that many GOA priests various places have the same.

            Must say that our OCA ass’t is Greek, and raised in this parish!

            • Well thank God for your exception to the rule. I’ll change my estimate to only 99% across the board, clergy and lay.

              Where I live the phanariotism lays extremely thick and is reinforced at every turn. I’ve heard anecdotally from multiple OCA clergy that the new crop of HCHC grads is particularly uninterested in any church life that isn’t Greek. They are consistently moving further away from the rest of us.

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                I infer that there may be some strong regional differences in the US within the GOA and Orthodoxy in general. As I have said here before, when I went to a GOA liturgy in Pittsburgh just two months ago, I saw what Nikos has often deprecated here: organ music, singing of the Trisagion by a big Protestant-style choir, etc.; a whole different ‘atmosphere’ from that I find in our parish in Tacoma: pews, to be sure, but no organ for over 30 years, a modest-sized 4-pillared traditional church, and a really fine devout priest.

                The Western Washington Orthodox clergy from all jurisdictions have a loose but definite organization here and work closely together and meet often.

                • Tim. as you will understand if i were obscessed with outward things as end in itself it would be sad, and useless, although aesthetically correct!! But it’s because I see and understanding clearly that deviation from the 2000 yr old worship of the Church outwardly is a reflection of an inward stance. I stand by this 100% . All we see proves that. Sadly Albanian church and the korean church following in same path as korean students told me . Again the Phanar and OGCA influence.
                  When i turn to the evolving OCA missionary parishes, to the vast amount of beautiful acapella liturgical setting in english now available with the renaissance of our liturgical arts, I see the real future of the Church in USA. Grounded in USA, english speaking and worshipping ( other languages as spanish, aleut etc, as needed) and connection to the life giving flow of Orthodox spirituality.
                  As i have commented numerous times about the greek Tampa Florida Parish, a mock byzantine protestantism presided over by carpet bagging pretend hierarchs, professional monk bureaucrats, whose sole aim is to, behind the grand words, relieve you of as much cash as they can get their hands on.
                  Of course why would they cut the pipe line that supplies them.?
                  A life of faux study in hot house atmosphere where the byzantine empire is alive and well and the barbarians lands ready for harvesting financially.. Corrupt load of bastards, sad batchelor Men at worst.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Interesting isn’t it? The worse the quality of education gets at HC, the more estranged the GOA becomes from the rest of Orthodoxy.,

          • It’s fascinating (in a way) to read some Greek-American message boards online where people discuss church issues. A fair number of Greek-Americans who post are strong advocates of “autocephaly” for the GOA (the OCL group, for example), with “autocephaly” as a way of becoming independent from Istanbul (a very noble goal, I agree, to free themselves from Istanbul).

            However, they completely ignore the fact that there already exists a canonical Orthodox church body in America which claims “autocephaly.” It’s as if Orthodox church bodies that are not Hellenic do not exist and don’t matter. I’ve posted a couple times mentioning “if you are interested in autocephaly in America, why not consider the OCA?” and it goes completely ignored. They don’t even engage with “what is the OCA?” or post some arguments pro/con OCA autocephaly, etc. Most probably have no knowledge of the deep Orthodox church history in America beyond that of the Greek Archdiocese.

            The line of thought seems to be: “if the Greeks don’t do it, then it doesn’t matter, is irrelevant, and we ignore it.”

            Claes, this goes right along with your observation that many Greek-Americans completely ignore the myriad of Orthodox parishes and monasteries in America that are not Greek; it’s as if they are not there. It’s a sad phenomenon which I cannot fully understand or explain. I find fascinating (in a macabre way) this degree of tunnel-vision. The amount of effort, though, that it must take to keep up this tunnel-vision!

            • It has been my experience with the some of the Greek Orthodox in my area (who are akin to the tunnel-visionaries) that they are simply unaware that the other Orthodox Christians around them are of the same faith.

            • To all u guys re greek America. U so right. Clossed turned vision. The OCA as you say is the cannonical american Orthodox church. What is frightening is you now have in the greek archdiocese a conservative reaction to the typical Parish, and as a return to tradition outwardly and inwardly BUT COMPLETELY GREEK as if USA EXISTS as a back drop only.
              Yes of course I am glad to see clergy looking like clergy, and acapella worship etc etc. but if this is just another greek club, it is equally to be condemed and does not have viable future.
              Hopefully now those greek parishes realizing this will begin to move to OCA and realise they have been of the boat for a few yrs now and USA is really home.
              I am hopefully hopeful!! America can grow it’s own Orthodox church bringing it’s GIFTS to universal church. God bless it. Time to send the carpet baggers home.

              • Just to say to this american church, we greeks can bring our GIFTS and traditions and all good things Best keep us out of the finances though!!! ?

  2. Greatly Saddened says

    In my most humble and most respectful opinion. The Ecumenical Patriarchate’s so called love of, or for, its largest and most financially supportive eparchy is basically and solely due to the funds it provides to Istanbul on an annual basis. Please let us not be fooled, not even for a minute, or better yet, even a second, to think otherwise!

    Let us not forget, this same man felt threatened by his Godmother’s brother and requested of blessed memory, His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos’ resignation. Now that to me is Christianity at its finest!

    The old adage of “divide and conquer” at its best! All from a man who seemingly was born and raised in Turkey. And, who has had absolutely no real parish life experience. Not to mention, absolutely any previous experience of parish life outside of the Islamic country of Turkey. Where for one presently to be considered for Ecumenical Patriarch, one must be a Turkish citizen. Now that surely limits the choice of candidates. Even more so, now since the closing of the Halki Seminary, by the Turkish government, back in 1971.

    The selection of Ecumenical Patriarch should be open to the entire world and not just to Greeks of Turkish descent and citizenship.

    Very much like the selection of bishop. Unfortunately, the list here in the United States of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is extremely dismal, to say the least.

    True, the office of bishop is surely not for everyone. But, nor should it be open to purely so called, single and celibate priests or archimandrites.

    As in days past, married priests should also once again be afforded the opportunity to serve the office of bishop. Again, it is not for everyone, but let them have the choice. By doing so, we may finally get back some “humility” in the ranks, not to mention, better qualified candidates.

    Unfortunately, for this to happen the Holy Synod of Metropolitans who are single and celibate would have to approve it. And, the very last thing they want is additional competition. It may very well lessen their chances and they certainly wouldn’t want that. And, these same would be the ones responsible to once again opening it up to include married priests. Which I highly doubt they would allow. Oh, and that is for sure!

    • Greatly Saddened,
      I am afraid the truth is even beyond what you wrote:
      The existence of the “Ecumenical” Patriarch in Constantinople is accurately explained in Canon 28 (4th Ec.C.) in the Canon itself PLUS the adjacent commentary of St.Nikodimos.
      At the inception of the title, Constantinople was then the CAPITAL of ECUMENE i.e. the known world having Christians. In other words, to agree to the letter AND spirit of Canon 28, and to fully justify the real title today, two things would be necessary NOW:
      1) That there is ONE single Government on the planet, and
      2) That the Governor of the Earth (President, King, Emperor etc) has his “throne” in CONSTANTINOPLE, and not in Washington/Moscow/Beijing etc.

      Until that happens, (not nice for us Greeks) the de facto Ecumenical Patriarch is rather Cyrill.

      • The power of the Phanar actually seems from the Ottoman Sultans who gave it more power that any byzantine emperor ever did.

        • Exactly Niko,
          because the shrewd Sultans wanted to easily control the multitudes of Greek-speaking slaves through ONE person, the Patriarch. To achieve that, the Patriarch had to be leader of the Greeks, and naturally he was selected and approved by the Sultan.
          Very simple and efficient logic.
          The problem is, this cannot be applied any more.
          The sooner it is understood, the better, for everyone.

          • Exactly. The Phanar is trying to live as if the Sultan rules from the Danube to the Aegean, in a Fantasy world..

            • Ιωάννης, at least in 19c as Grigorios, the Patrarch in real sense stood in as hostage for his people and paid the price, as Chrysostomos of Smyrna and numbers others.
              Today they have carved out a nice sinecure for themselves behind delusional titles.
              Oh yes if greek America, what ever that is, ran out of money, they would dump u on who ever would have you in a day.
              Why they dumped the european russians and merged with Greeks is because they not wealthy, no money to be milked. BUT let’s be reasonable, those bulgarian stallion don’t come cheap do they?? ?

              • Non religious Bulgarian friends smiling, tell me that bulgarian stallions… Or mares, much cheaper here in Bulgaria. Perhaps that could save some money and help bulgarian economy. Only saying.

  3. Elpi has emphatically stated his mission in America– to promote and preserve Hellenism. He will be an ethnarch rather than a hierarch. His stated goals are not consistent with the Gospel’s of evangelization and social outreach. His vision looks to the past. There is no more homogenia in America. The GOA must repent and return to Christ rather than being a Greek club that does church services. I hope that Elpi will have a change of heart and adopt a Godly vision for the church.

    • George Michalopulos says

      True that.

    • Belle Miller says

      Homogeny (expatriate), Expatriate (apodemoi), exile(xeniteia) and diaspora are terms which depict ablatantly nazi outlook. If OCL was worth its salt they would sue SAE (Federation of Expatriate Hellenism – and agency funded by the Greek state with funds pilfered from the EU and USAID) for racketeering under RICO on grounds this denies us our American birthright.

    • From your lips to God’s ear!
      I’m afraid dyed-in-purple phanariots are far too inured to the sinecure and its perks to change. Only catastrophe will instigate it. Incremental losses won’t – they’ll just blame whoever is in charge some more.
      The collapse of Holy Cross, for example, is blamed on alumni clergy who don’t send enough of their fat’n’sassy altar boys to study there. I’m not exaggerating – this is straight from Metr. Gerry!
      Greek clergy and their Hellenist lay supporters are constantly doing catch-up in the Jesus Stuff department. They continually search for causes to support publicly for PR, essentially to justify their existence as something more than a Hellenic Benevolent Society. “Just put some verbiage about Andrew the First-Called and the sacrificial love of the Mother Church in there for Fr. Bob, would ya Jimmy?”

      • George Michalopulos says

        We’ll know that HC is on the mend when the archons start sending their sons there and their daughters so they can get on the presbytera-track.

  4. I hate to sound like a pessimist. But I have always been a realist.

    Until the average Greek Orthodox in the pew decide to take the green pill and wake up from their incubators, nothing will change.

    • They will slumber in their pews to the harmonium and baklava for Communion. I am sorry to be so crude but times must..
      The truth is as some one already said, there is no more omoyeneia in the way there was 1900-1960 say.

  5. Greatly Saddened says

    Once again, I agree, Jk!

  6. The suckers who put up with this church government deserve what they get, including a very expensive ruin in NYC. They maintain a very expensive ruin in Istanbul, a ruined college/seminary in MA and are about to import another one. The GOA does ruins like nobody else.

    • New Yorker friend, major in army and iraq vet and very sympathetic and supporting us says the monument in ground Zero is ugly and why could they not just have rebuilt the Church and dedicated it to St Nicholas of course and as memorial church.
      With special corner with all the names listed for people of all faiths or none to light a candle or just spend time in thought or prayer.
      No they want glory and big bucks.
      How come Saint John of San Francisco, with all the opposition to him, built that beautiful church there in San Francisco ?

  7. Connie Zerzatos says

    Most American churchgoers don’t go out of belief. They go because they want to hang out with the right people, either passive affinity or profitable networking or because the friends of their children go or because the folks they grew up with show up . They want their neighbors to think they are churchgoers.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      You are talking about Orthodox churchgoers, I presume?

      • Gus Volikas says

        Dunno, but I’ve heard this said about RC many times.
        So, I’d guess it is generic. And, yes, perhaps dated.
        Will elders dead, younguns don’t feel the need to go.

    • Connie, you mean Greek Americans?

    • Connie, you write: “Most American churchgoers don’t go out of belief. They go because they want to hang out with the right people, either passive affinity or profitable networking or because the friends of their children go or because the folks they grew up with show up . They want their neighbors to think they are churchgoers.”

      I think your statement was far more true in 1960s-1980s America. In our clearly post-Christian culture — where to be a Christian now in America means to be spiritually very counter-cultural to mainstream American society — most “movers and shakers” in the American political, business, academic, or cultural elite life are non-believers, or they believe in the vague, non-Christian “Moral Therapeutic Deist” god that Rod Dreher has written about. The “Nones” (those Americans who claim no religious affiliation) are now the largest “faith group” in America.

      I live in the South (the old-time Bible belt). Most people here who are non-believers don’t bother going to church anymore. Non-churchgoing is no longer merely a New England or Pacific coast phenomenon.

      Just look at the freefall drop in active participation in the the mainstream American protestant churches over the past 30 years. That tells you fairly clearly when most Americans quit going to church just to “hang with the right people” or to “network.”

      In a way, I think this is a positive phenomenon. I’m of the belief that folks should go to church to worship God, period. I’m not a fan of going to church out of shame (“God will hate me if I don’t go”), envy, or greed/ambition (if one is Orthodox, then this type of shame, envy, or greed/ambition should probably be mentioned at confession the night before Liturgy, but that’s another topic I suppose).

      The drastic change in the American cultural landscape is why the GOA is destined for collapse as long as it continues to tout this “Hellenism above all else” insanity, which it looks like it’s hell-bent on doing. Americans no longer go to church because of cultural pressure. Why on earth does anyone think that Greek-Americans would go to church simply because their ethnic heritage is Hellenic?

      Already, more than 95% of Greek-Americans have nothing to do with the GOA. That percentage will continue to rise until the GOA becomes a small private chaplaincy of a tiny number of Greeks who live in America, or until the GOA collapses altogether. If the GOA thinks that by pushing Hellenism above all else it can salvage its Archdiocese, then it’s more insane that I had thought.

      The GOA is headed the way of the ECUSA, financially and spiritually: rapidly declining faithful numbers who will no longer be able to support the upkeep and mortgages/payments on the church buildings and institutions. The ECUSA has had to sell (and continues to sell) properties in order to pay its bills. Expect the same from the GOA in the months and years to come.

      • Greatly Saddened says

        Unfortunately, it seems the downward spiral in to the big black abyss continues. From all indications, Hellenism has been and will continue to be … first and foremost. How sad!

        This is the Church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and not the Hellenic Cultural Club, nor the Ecumenical Patriarchate Club!
        Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the head of His Church and no one else. Amen!

  8. Connie Zerzatos needs to update her information. In many parts of the USA, it is fashionable
    not to be part of any organized religion. It’s more likely the neighbors would consider them odd if they went to church.

    • When in Romania on voluntary work, most of the young american volunteers were totally unchurched and disinterested. Even to attend a wedding.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        It’s a big country. Generalizations can be pretty inaccurate. I know a great many devout churchgoers hereabouts, including among the young.

        It is true that the old routine ‘social’ churchgoing that was common in my own youth is long gone. One big result is that not nearly as many people go to Sunday school as they did back then; even only nominal church members routinely sent their kids to Sunday school. This was my parents’ pattern with us kids. My mom, an agnostic and church member, often said that one couldn’t be a member of Western civilization without a Christian education.

        So a general ‘Christian literacy’ at least was widespread. No longer; enormous number don’t even know the basics anymore– and are proud of it, alas.

        • Tim u nailed it. It’s this passive Christianity at cultural level, and same for Europe, that has died in last two decades say. Now u have a current society oblivious or ignorant to Christianity. Even the humanistic assumptions built on Christian ethnic of compassion etc, no longer can be experienced or expected.
          I posted earlier some stats re Greece u may find interesting. Now of course 92% belief in God does not mean 92% church attendence
          I believe this has a good side for us if we able to ro grasping it. In political Terms we the insurgent now, to use the jargon. God bless. Yr Insights always enlightening.

        • Lenny Kelinas says

          Yeah, exactly. I had a friend who went to an elite RC school and an Ivy college. His RC school science teacher was an atheist. When his cop dad told him “Religion is bunk but it keeps people in line” my friend joined a cult and lost a year from college. Threatened to kill me for helping his mom get him out of the cult.

  9. John Sakelaris says

    I will leave it to others on here to discuss matters of Patriarchate rights and the degree of devotion any particular group has for the faith.

    Instead, as someone who posted the recent essay on this blog regarding the Catastrophe of 1922, I want to make a clarification about the often-described “secularization” of Turkey that was referenced by George above,

    The so-called Turkish “secularization” should not be confused with anything we have here in the US. In Turkey the governmental approach since the Catastrophe of 1922, regardless of the leader in power, has always been to regard Muslim priorities far above Christian ones. So the small surviving group of Christians in Constantinople have been under horrible harassment.

    So..one thing we should do is stop calling the Turkey that emerged from the Catastrophe as “secularist.”

  10. Hahas Gelas says

    I love it “Emmanuel of Gaul”

    • “Emmanuel of Gaul” is strange : in french, the title is “métropolite de France”.
      It sounds like the honorary title of the catholic archbishop of Lyons as “Primat des Gaules” (there were 3 Gaules ). 
      Bizarre bizarre…

      • George Michalopulos says

        “Gallia est divisa en partes tres”, I assume?

        • Dixit Julius.
          Please forgive me : the Primat des Gaules is a cardinal. It is not like if I grew up at Lyons as a catholic…

      • What is even more strange is the title of his Boss:
        It is two superlatives more than God.