What in the World Do They Have to Laugh About?

Wonder why Arb Elpidophoros Lambrianides, Fr Alexander Karloutsos, and Fredo’s brother, Gov Andrew Cuomo are yucking it up?

I’m not sure when this photo was taken but if it was anytime after March of 2020, it shows extremely poor judgment on the part of the clerics in question. After all, COVID was decimating the population of New York and Cuomo was making things worse. Public Relations 101 would dictate that that anyone would want to avoid him like the plague. Much less taking a photograph with him.

Things are so bad for Gov Cuomo that even Mayor DeBlasio (a truly horrible person in his own right) has taken to throwing him under the bus. Then there’s Jenny from the Bronx (Alexandria Occasional-Cortex) who is demanding a “full investigation” of his handling of the nursing home crisis. The state GOP, which hasn’t had a Republican governor since George Pataki left in 2001, is smelling blood in the water.

I imagine Cuomo will somehow eke out a victory, even if he’s covered in muck and mire. I’m more concerned about the constant kowtowing of the GOA to these muckety-mucks. Somebody needs to tell them that they’re not good people. Folks, if I have to say it again, Cuomo not only killed several thousand old people, he ran victory laps two years ago when the State Assembly passed a law that legalized infanticide. New York has the unenviable position of being one of only two states (Virginia being the other one) in which it is perfectly legal to let newborn infants starve to death once they’ve been safely delivered.

But that’s all politics. Secular politics, anyway. Things seem to be heating up at Holy Cross School of Theology. In August of last year, six professors were dismissed from the school, ostensibly due to Holy Cross’s dire financial “exigencies”. Four of the professors who were fired were tenured. Two of them, Dr Evie Zachariades-Holmper and Fr Emmanuel Clapsis, have taken the dramatic step and decided to sue the school.

According to The National Herald, Arb Elpidophoros informed all of the members of the Holy Eparchial Synod of this development at their last teleconference held on February 3rd. For some reason, however, Metropolitan Methodius of Boston was excluded from the meeting. The archbishop for his part had informed President George Cantonis on January 21 that “the lawyers advised the School that Metropolitan Methodios not participate in the meetings of the Board of Trustees of the School.”

Whether this has anything to do with the Metropolitan’s earlier suspension last October (and which was to last until Christmas) is unclear. The next sentence in the letter to Cantonis raises more questions than it answers: according to the Herald, “. . . it is revealed that Metropolitan Methodios has written a letter supporting the allegations of ‘discrimination’ by professor Holmberg [sic] against the School.”

[TNH has also learned that both Holmberg and Clapsis sent complaints to the Academic Agencies that are responsible for the accreditation of the School.]

But the hits just keep on coming: the Archdiocese, in an effort to “strengthen” its lay participation, has come up with a new rank for laymen who contribute to the GOA, to wit, “Senators”.

I simply don’t know what to say about that. I guess maybe that “Senator” is more a humble title than “Archon” or “Leader”? Have these people no shame? Will Christ recognize Himself in such grandiosity?

Anyway, to further spread the cult of Constantinople, a new foundation was created, the “Bartholomew Foundation”. It’s formal title is the “Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation for the Sacred See of St Andrew”.

OK. I don’t know what else to say. Just when I think that they can’t get any more ridiculous, they do.

Except, perhaps this: Are the functionaries at Syosset really sure that they want to hitch their wagon to the GOA? Leaving aside the fact that there is no way that they won’t lose their autocephaly by doing so, despite all protestations to the contrary, can they not see that stories such as those above do not bode well for the GOA’s future?


  1. Cuomo is now linked to the murder of babies and the elderly. Perhaps the Archons will make him the first double recipient of the Athenagoras humanitarian award.

    • Or maybe Cuomo will get super lucky and will be made a “Senator” of the Greek Archdiocese. Or maybe they’ll also make him an honorary member of the Bartholomew Foundation? Oh man, I am so jealous. If only that could be me.

      Puke. Vomit. Even more puke and vomit. Here I thought the point of the Church is to help us to grow in Christ in sacramental Christianity — learning to love God more and more and to love the things of God. I forgot that according to the GOAA, the point of the Church is to glorify Greekness and Hellenism.

      Some ritualistic Jews thought they were good-to-go because they said to themselves “We have Abraham as our father” (Luke 3:8). Christ taught them how wrong they were to think that ones hereditary lineage matters for anything.

      Do some prideful Greeks in the GOA really think that praising Hellenism will bring them to Christ?

      How anyone can stomach any of these clowns — the GOAA leadership, and Cuomo included — is beyond me. The sooner our Church is formally rid of these charlatans and pretenders, the better. They are welcome to stay in humility to grow in Christ just like the rest of us. But this hubristic nonsense that the GOAA has been peddling for years — and, even worse, preaching to its flock (poor souls — flee the GOA already!) — isn’t even worth paying attention to anymore.

    • jim of olym says

      Archons and Archbishops will get the reward that Christ gives them at the end. We shouldn’t be worried if we are humble and stay out of the limelight.

  2. Just how much does one have to pony up to become a faux Roman / Greek Senator? There is no shame and embarrassment from the Archdiocese and Patriarchate. Do they actually think there will be any takers to this latest money making scheme ?

    • There will always be takers. There will always be people
      who love medals and ribbons and letters after their names.

  3. Jane Tzilvelis says

    Christ said, “Come follow me.”
    The GOA hierarchy has sold itself to the communists.
    Adios. GOA!

    • If the many faithful, sane Greek Orthodox Christians want to continue to worship in the fullness of their faith, in the venerable tradition and language of their forebears — why not create Greek-language parishes in ROCOR?

      The GOA created a “Slavic vicariate” — and what a joke it is! Ha! With about one parish composed of a couple of deposed/defrocked priests.

      A ROCOR Greek-language vicariate would be of way more substance — of true, honest, Greek Orthodox Christians who want Christ above all else, who have had it with the narcissistic hubris of the GOAA. The ROCOR bishops would welcome them with love, as they flee the GOAA bishops who have abandoned their flock in favor of secular materialism. Nα το κάνετε!!

  4. George, doesn’t it seem like GOA is just the tip of the iceberg here in America? I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the Church’s response to covid and I thought “how can they be this way?” Then it hit me: could they be any other way? Compromise on a grand scale doesn’t happen overnight, but a little at a time.

    Many jurisdictions moved away from the Orthodox calendar. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condemning those on the new calendar. I’ve been on it since my conversion. It’s been this covid thing that’s made me rethink it.

    Then there’s our uncanonical multi-jurisdictional situation here in America which we have come to just accept.

    On top of this there’s been a propensity to accept the fashions of the times like evolutionary theory.

    I feel like it’s prideful to say that many in the Church have gone off the deep end and it’s only us in this small remnant that are upholding the Faith, but as time goes on, I wonder “is it really that crazy?” I don’t know.

    • Yea I’ve been having the same thoughts as well. Though I will say (or rather I hate to say it) but I think the multi-jurisdiction mess here in America is temporarily a good thing, could you imagine if we all had to be under Abp. Elpidophoros…just awful.

      As for the OCA, it seems inevitable that there will be a split eventually. I would have never thought there was a “liberal” faction there (due to lack of experience with OCA outside of the South and Alaska) but I would imagine the NE and possibly West Coast would go along with GOARCH while the rest would not. Interesting fact, the Diocese of Alaska is all on the Old Calendar. I highly doubt it will happen but those parishes/diocese that hypothetically leave the OCA should go to ROCOR (probably wishful thinking).

      With all this COVID crap and as time goes by, ROCOR really does seem like the only viable option left here in America (I’ll add Serbians/Georgians). I hate to say it about the Antiochians, but, I am not as sure about them as I used to be.

      Something has to change here or Orthodoxy is just going to wither on the vine and die out through secularization like every other Christian group in America. Christ promised the Gates of Hell would never prevail against the Church, he never said anything about individual Churches dying on the vine. If covid has shown us anything it’s that are hierarchs are wholly uninterested in saving the souls of their own flock, let alone converting the culture, it seems they are rather keen on caving to the culture instead.

      Either we fight back or the Church in America will be lost to the likes of Bishop Benjamin, Archbishop Elipdophoros and Metropolitan Savvas

      • George Michalopulos says

        Me too. At this point, I must eat crow in this sense: for decades I have decried the multi-jurisdictional chaos that is American Orthodoxy. But I did it while operating under the illusion that all of the jurisdictions had a (more or less) Orthodox phronema. Now we can see that this is no longer the case.

        Hence, I will happily eat my crow, knowing that the chaos of jurisdictions is the only thing that allows an Orthodox phronema to even exist, unencumbered by the liberals at the Phanar.

        (Hopefully, it will taste like duck.)

        • Hence, I will happily eat my crow, knowing that the chaos of jurisdictions is the only thing that allows an Orthodox phronema to even exist, unencumbered by the liberals at the Phanar.

          Yea agreed, it’s unfortunate that they indeed do not appear to have an Orthodox phronema. When I was converting from Roman Catholicism the jurisdictional mess was a real turn off, 4 years later I now see it has saved us. Now, what to do about it is the $1,000,000 question.

      • Petros,
        That’s a good point. I had not thought of that. Thank you for that perspective.

        Are you saying the OCA in Alaska is Old Calendar? If so, I had no idea and that’s pretty cool. I have listened to and really enjoyed Fr. Michael Oleksa’s lectures on Orthodox Alaska.

        I have tended to think that if America didn’t have its own patriarch, that we should be in the Russian Church, since it was they who brought the Gospel to Alaska in the first place. But I have to say my faith in ROCOR isn’t much better than most other jurisdictions. Seems like most of their bishops and priests jumped on the covid train as well. The ROCOR church where I live requires masks just like every other church.

        I’ve been in an Antiochian parish for years now and my priest, Lord bless him, has bought into the this thing hook, line and sinker. He’s looking for numbers to drop before more normal services can resume. And even though there’s already been a drastic decrease in cases, hospitalizations and deaths, he seems non-committal about dropping the masks and other measures.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          My sister-in-law, Debra, believed like we do. Tuesday night, she passed in her sleep presumably from COVID. Apparently a lot of people die between 12:00 and 3:00AM because their oxygen levels naturally drop at night and with COVID, they drop even more. People need to be kept in bed even though they feel like they can get up to go to the bathroom, for example. When the oxygen level gets below 72, the cells in the body die.

          Debra is the first person close to me that I’ve known that even had COVID, let alone die of it. I’m in shock. She had been sick, but I don’t think she knew she had COVID. (They haven’t done an autopsy yet but her husband thinks that’s what it was since he had it, too.) She didn’t go to the doctor. She would have done that, IMO, because we had a plan that if she or her husband got sick, they would call me because we can still get hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin here in OK if her doctor prescribes it. I am baffled why she didn’t call me and, of course, heartbroken.

          Debra was a strong Christian. I am thankful for that.

          • I’m really sorry, Gail. ? May her memory be eternal.

          • Gail,
            I am so sorry, regardless of what caused Debra’s repose. Prayers for her soul and for you and George. May her memory be eternal. May Christ who loves mankind, and his Mother and all the Saints, comfort Debra’s husband and family, you, and George.

            Yes, the OCA’s Diocese of Alaska has always followed the older/traditional Orthodox calendar. They are very close to their Russian roots. In fact, I believe that the diocese’s official name is the Russian Orthodox Diocese of Alaska, at least it is on their website.

            I am not sure how the OCA/Metropolia ended up with the Alaskan Diocese, as opposed to ROCOR, when the final split happened in 1946. I imagine that it had something to do with the fact that ROCOR was (at the time) the home of strong Russian monarchists and that the OCA/Metropolia was overwhelmingly far more Rusyn in character, i.e., people who cared much less about the Russian monarchy. The Alaskan Church has always been far more native Alaskan in character than anything. Not many native Russian monarchists up there. If anyone knows the reason why the Alaskan Diocese went with the OCA/Metropolia as opposed to ROCOR, please share.

          • So very sorry for your loss, Gail. Condolences to your family. The “beast” really does come at night when it comes to COVID. You are absolutely correct in that a person may think they’re capable of moving about, even when their oxygen levels have dropped to dangerously low levels. Here is a person who kept a journal of their experience with this:


          • Michael Bauman says

            Gail, it is tough to loose anyone. May she in a place brightness, a place of verdure, a place of repose where all sickness, sorrow and sighing have fled away. And may He bring peace to your heart.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Thank you, Michael.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Gail, one of the miraculous things about the Orthodox Church is how we bury our dead. Even if not Orthodox there is a funeral service that is only slightly altered. Personally I find great hope in that mercy. Certainly the prayers for the dead are always there sustaining us all.
                Memory eternal.

          • Sorry to hear that Gail. Memory Eternal ☦️

        • Yea the OCA Diocese here is on the Old Calendar, I think it may be the only OCA diocese that’s like that?

          I agree, the Church in America should be under the Russians due to it’s historical ties. In times past it would have been the EP who would have been the overseer, but, given it’s current state spiritually and physically it makes no sense to have a Turkish captive with little funding to uphold the U.S, or anywhere else for that matter. Compare the mission work of the Church of Russia vs the Church of Constantinople, the latter seems to be much less interested than the former.

          • Michael Bauman says

            One of the first known Orthodox coverts in what became the United States was Philip Ludwell III of the Virginia Colony. He was a diplomat to England and was received into the Church in 1738 by special dispensation of the Russian Synod.

            It is not just Alaska.

            • A fascinating character, Ludwell ‘translated The Orthodox Confession of Peter Mogila, Metropolitan of Kiev, from Latin, and published this book in London in 1762. He also translated, from Greek, the three principal liturgies of the Eastern Orthodox Church: The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, The Divine Liturgy of St Basil the Great, and The Divine and Holy Liturgy of St Gregory the Dialogist, which is used during Great Lent and is commonly called the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts today.’ [Wikipedia]

              ‘He was also given exceptional permission to continue to attend Anglican services in Virginia, it being recognised that “apart from the Province of Pennsylvania, all religions but Protestantism are banned.’ [Wikipedia]

              I doubt that would be permitted today;
              by the ROC, that is. But the Phanar…?

      • Petros, my understanding is that ALL of Orthodoxy in Alaska (save perhaps the two Monasteries on / near Spruce Island) is pretty liberal. Are you saying that’s not the case?

        • There is only one parish I can think of in Alaska that would be considered “liberal.”

          It has not been my experience that Orthodoxy in Alaska is liberal, however, I can only speak for Metro Anchorage and the parish in Homer. The Greek parish in Anchorage is solidly Orthodox and the two parishes in Wasilla/Palmer are very much Orthodox.

          • Thanks Petros. The Antiochian Cathedral in Eagle River hosts the “Eagle River Institute” every summer. In recent years, pretty much all of the guest speakers have been Fordhamites.

            Also, if memory serves correctly, they all locked down very hard for Covid, despite the fact that even per capita, AK didn’t have many cases.

            • Yep, that is the parish I am speaking of.

              It’s 100% not indicative of the other Orthodox parishes around Anchorage/Southcentral. Most people just roll their eyes at the cathedral in Eagle River and ignore them, even the other Antiochian parishes in Wasilla and Homer ignore them. It’s my understanding that they have lost 50+% of their parishioners over the past decade or so to other parishes around the metro

              • Thank you Petros, I appreciate the information. I have family (non-Orthodox) in Anchorage, love the area and the state, have visited a few times, and have long thought that I’d like to live there. That’s why I’m asking you about this. What about the OCA parishes in the Anchorage area? How solid are those? Thanks again.

    • Austin Martin says

      This is a good point. I came across an old priest’s service book. Something similar to “the book of needs”. Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow wrote an introduction, so that can tell you how old it is. This edition was published by the Antiochian Church, but the original was some kind of amalgation of the Slavic and Greek rubrics.

      At the part about the reception of converts, many groups had to renounce certain beliefs, including Catholics, Lutherans, Reformed (Calvinists), heathens (occultists), Jews and Armenians (Jacobites).

      The Armenians (and presumably Copts and Ethiopians) had to formally renounce monophysitism. Today we have them on staff at our seminaries, and their people can join our churches with no catechism of confession of faith.

      This issue is important to me, because I left my catechism partly because I thought there were two legitimate Orthodox Churches that had an accidental split over linguistics. So this issue has real, eternal consequences for people’s souls.

      And most of their defenders from among the Orthodox have read exactly zero of their literature. I’ve read a small sampling of their literature from across their ethnic traditions, and it’s just not what we believe. There’s a heavy Catholic scholasticism influence. There’s almost no recognition of sanctification or theosis. Some of their writers are so opposed to Chalcedon that teach something closer to Nestorianism, and others really do teach monophysitism and go so far as to call Pope St Leo a heretic, and others just play word games. They don’t seem to have any core of beliefs except that they reject Chalcedon.

      Where did we get this idea that the Jacobites are Orthodox like we are? Who made that up? When did we change the tradition and decide that we had been wrong about them all this time?

      • I’ve seen that book! I remember fondly getting to renounce the Immaculate Conception and papal supremacy (there might have been others but those stand out) when I converted. I am very much in favor of this practice. We should all know not only what we are accepting but also be clear about what we are rejecting.

      • They are certainly heretics. I said that here once and had a fine telling off from one of our resident clergy, which shows how far these bad ideas have spread.

        I think, for the most part, that it comes from some kind of knee-jerk anti-Westernism that has sadly taken root.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Well, it was the way you told him off, my dear. – I have fully supported you on this from the beginning. Heresy is wrong teaching and there is nothing right about this situation. They aren’t even validly ordained. Bartholomew could have at least done that but he didn’t.

        • “I think, for the most part, that it comes from some kind of knee-jerk anti-Westernism that has sadly taken root.”

          I suspect it is mostly racial. If the Ethiopians (blacks) weren’t Monophysites, few would be willingly to undermine multiple Ecumenical Councils to try and sneak in, the too white(ish), Copts, Armenians (think the Kardashians), etc.

      • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

        RE: “The Armenians (and presumably Copts and Ethiopians) had to formally renounce monophysitism. Today we have them on staff at our seminaries, and their people can join our churches with no catechism of confession of faith.”

        Not all of “our seminaries,” Mr. Martin–certainly not Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY (ROCOR).

        In June 1989 the Non-Chalcedonians agreed in substance with the Orthodox Church on the doctrines pronounced at the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451) and issued, together with the Orthodox Church representatives, a landmark “First Agreed Statement” at Anba Bishoy Monastery in Wadi-El-Natroun, Egypt. But an insurmountable obstacle remains with key leaders of the Non-Chalcedonians (or “Oriental Orthodox” as they prefer to be called)–such as the late Pope and Patriarch Shenouda of the Coptic church over the explicit teaching of the 6th Ecumenical Council that affirmed the human will and “energies” of the Incarnate Christ together with His divine will and “energies.”

        It is either all Seven Ecumenical Councils in full or no “deal.”

        • Austin Martin says

          “We” Orthodox are more than ROCOR. I resent this common ROCOR attitude that they exist apart from the rest of American Orthodoxy, and I resent how they will ordain anyone and give him a franchise.

          ROCOR is right about a lot of things that other Orthodox groups are wrong about. But what they forgot is humility. This is because they were a schismatic sect until just a few years ago.

          • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

            RE: “This is because they were a schismatic sect until just a few years ago.”

            Mr. Martin, you are free, of course, to “resent” anything or anyone you wish. But you are not entitled to your own “facts.”

            You need to do some genuine research and learn about the history of ROCOR and the OCA’s erstwhile role as a part of ROCOR from 1921 to 1926 and again from 1935 to 1946, as well as the precise terms of the reunion of the Moscow Patriarchate and ROCOR in 2007. ROCOR has never conceded the libel that it was “schismatic” and for good reason.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              I think Austin was referring to being out of communion which falls under the term schism, as well. No liability was being assigned either way. That they were out of communion, however, is an undisputed fact.

              The ceremony which officially reestablished the fullness of communion between the Moscow Patriarchate, headed by Patriarch Alexei II, and ROCOR, was signed May 17, 2007. The Moscow Patriarch said:

              As Thou liftedst Thy prayers to Thy Heavenly Father for Thy disciples, that they all be as one, gaze now with Thy merciful eyes upon Thy people, who have sinned and disobeyed Thy will, bless now our good intention and the unification of the Church to Thy Glory, create this Thyself, dampen all church temptations and divisions. Having given to us Thy law to love Thee, our God, and our neighbor, deliver us from all insult and disruption, may brotherly love reign among the children of our Church, in the Fatherland and in the diaspora. Grant that we may now enter Thy temple and bring Thy bloodless sacrifice, that we may be unified in one body through communion with Thy Life-creating Body and Thy Honorable Blood and bring praise with all our hearts to Thy ineffable love for mankind.

              • Actually ROCOR was never fully out of Communion, they just were not recognized and depending where you fell on the political spectrum would determine whether you thought they were schismatic or not. I have also noticed that how you view ROCOR varies greatly by geography with the Midwest and North East having the greatest negative view. In the West St. John and Fr. Seraphim Rose were venerated and admired across jurisdictions. Furthermore St. John Maximovich was clearly not a schismatic and ROCOR was in Communion with Serbia and possibly Jerusalem if memory serves since the formation of the original synod.

                • I have been told that ROCOR was even concelebrating with the EP in the 1980s, although probably only in Western Europe and maybe Australia. I think opinions were far more partisan in North America.

                  • I believe you are correct. What made relations so bad in the US and Canada were parish level splits and what amounted to a family fued. I grew up in the OCA and had a negative view until I learned better.

                    • I think that inter-diaspora (ROCOR-OCA-Rue Daru) relations were always bad for the very reasons that you advance, since they al had the same root.

                      ROCOR and GOARCH had great relations until the 1960s when the whole Boston thing happened. I know someone who was going to do an in-depth study into pre-Boston ROCOR-GOARCH relations, using archival documents from both, until COVID got in the way and blocked his access to NYC. Maybe when this is all over he’ll give it another try.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Gail, thank you for putting out that speech by the hierarchs. This is the way that Christian brethren should behave.

                And not invade other bishops’ dioceses.

            • Austin Martin says

              During the 90-ish years in between, ROCOR:

              1) Entered into communion with schismatic Greek Old Calendarist sects

              2) Founded parishes in Moscow itself.

              It’s a schismatic group. There are things I respect about ROCOR. I’ve actually had a lot of interaction with Holy Trinity Seminary. But it’s hubristic to defend everything they have ever done.

              • Austin,
                In the same period Fanar and some Greece Hierarchs became syncretistic and so on. Read what many Hierarchs in Greece now say about Covid measures inside the church. If this escalates then we, New Calendar Greeks may have to join the Old Calendarists even IF it is the least of the two evils.

              • It’s silly to defend everything anyone
                (including me!) has ever done.

              • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                Give it up, Mr. Martin.

                No one, certainly yours truly, is claiming that ROCOR has been a perfect Orthodox jurisdiction. That charge is a red herring.

                This discussion began when you incorrectly claimed that “our seminaries” had staff who are Non-Chalcedonians. I called you on that by pointing out that Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville has not succumbed to that extreme ecumenical temptation. I suggest you practice the same “humility” that you claim, again falsely, that ROCOR “forgot.”

                And with that comment, I shall take my leave of this tedious discussion.

                • Austin Martin says

                  I never claimed that every seminary had Jacobites on staff. There are something like a dozen seminaries in these here states. Notice my lack of the word “all”.

                  But for the sake of the weaker brethren, I will readily admit that HTS does not teach heresy or employ heretics. I wasn’t aware that I had denied that.

                  I said exactly nothing false, and the internet rage of ROCOR-ites only proves my point about their sense of self.

                  Furthermore, that I said that ROCOR does not have humility is not a verifiable statement, because it is not quantitative, and therefore I cannot speak either true or false about it, anymore than it would be true or false to say, “The Rolling Stones were better than the Beatles.” But of course they don’t teach logic in schools anymore.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Austin, I think we can agree along with the late Arb Dmitri Royster of thrice-blessed memory, that there was a time when ROCOR made “extravagant claims” for itself. Having said that, I will say that in the here and now, those of us who are troubled by the modernist trajectory of the Phanar have learned to become exceedingly humble in our critiques. I know that I certainly have. The only failure I can see at this point is that ROCOR hasn’t been able to absorb the Greek Old Calenderist jurisdictions. We can certainly pray.

                    But let’s put our cards on the table: right now, the only reason that the OCA hasn’t traded in its autocephaly for a new, phanariote-approved one (as the Phanar insists that Czechoslovakia do) is because ROCOR is the wild card. I know for a fact, that right now, ROCOR will take any Hellenophone bishop, priest, diocese or parish without a formal release should he/they decides they’ve had enough of Bartholomew’s actions.

                    You, yourself strike me as a trad/con. I don’t pretend to be as rigid but I can tell you that right now, I’m on my knees thanking God that ROCOR has decided to not cave in to the modernists.

                    • Austin Martin says

                      “But let’s put our cards on the table”

                      In the spirit of that, I will admit that a lot of my disdain is because of how I have been treated by them in the past, which I will not divulge here on a public forum. It’s a personal grudge.

                      You are probably right about the OCA.

                • Matthew Panchisin says

                  Dear Father

                  At least you are not censored as there is much that should be said and engaged. Rather sad George and Gail the freedom of speech advocates.

                  See you latter.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Matthew, Gail and I are committed to free speech. However there comes a point in which things degenerate into tit-for-tat and the scale between intellectual stimulation and tediousness tips over the wrong way. I ask for your forgiveness as we head into Lent. As I do of all of you.

                    • Matthew Panchisin says

                      Dear George,

                      It seems though that it remains wrong for some to avail themselves here so that you can carry on as the judge of much and many (in rather premature way in this instance) relative to your censorship ethos.

                      Just calling a spade a spade, Austin Martin has recently told us” It’s a personal grudge”, for others it wasn’t a personal grudge, it’s a matter of truthfulness regarding the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.

                      Didn’t your reply box used to say ‘Speak your mind”? There should have been an addendum to sort things out properly “and await approval or denial”.

                      Well, I have done so here apparently always in a subjugated way, nay? So much can go so wrong when intellectual stimulation and tediousness tips over the wrong way.

                      In the western mindset it’s so very important to be nice in speech and behavior they call it wokeness, then anything can and does happen. It’s just a much different world now George,
                      forgive me as well and have a blessed fast.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Again, there is a point in which maximum tedium is approached. I would rather we didn’t cross it.

                • Thank you Father Alexander for setting the record straight.

              • AM,

                ROCOR has never been schismatic or apart from the Church. It was the continuation of the Free Russian Orthodox Church after the Bolshevik Revolution when the MP lost its freedom to exercise independent ecclesiastical judgment and Patriarch Tikhon authorized bishops abroad to form a synod. From 1921-1926 and from 1935-1946 the Metropolia was part of the ROCOR.


                ROCOR was always in communion with those faithful jurisdictions which continued orthopraxis such as Serbia and Jerusalem and only suspended communion periodically with others. As to the Greek Old Calendarists, I will simply say that ROCOR was prescient about the trajectory of the Greek New Calendarists since at least the time of Met. Philaret’s Sorrowful Epistles and was mostly correct in its dealings with those Greeks who simply continued practicing the faith as it had been delivered to them (and were persecuted for it) rather than with the ecumenical changes in heteropraxis devised by the Phanar as a prelude to its present apostasy.

                ROCOR is far from perfect but has nothing to apologize for in its stance against ecumenism. If you want to know whether a specific teaching is actually bona fide Orthodox – as opposed to Phanariot, modernist, neo-Patristic or otherwise – look to what is the consensus of ROCOR, the Serbs, Jerusalem and the Greek Old Calendarists. That is the Faith that has always been believed by everyone, everywhere.

                • Misha, as usual, is correct.

                  Many localities like London considered the local ROCOR bishop to be the de facto representative of the “free” Russian Orthodox Church during communist times. It’s not that they disregarded the non-ROCOR Russian bishops, but ROCOR was always held in esteem – and was always considered canonical.

                  When the sectarian old calendarists tried to take over ROCOR in the 1960s-70s is when the trouble was. (The judgy “you’re not being Orthodox enough” crowd.) Normal Russians and Americans in ROCOR who simply wanted to follow and be with Christ were horrified. Thank God that’s over.

                  Abp Iakovos of the GOA notably eulogized ROCOR’s Met. Anastassy (Gribanovsky) when the latter reposed in New York in 1965.

                  Western dualistic rational thought likes to divide everything into categories, good and bad. Like Biden good, Trump bad. In much of pre-modern Protestant history, it was men good, women bad (Protestantism is by far way more misogynistic than any other Christian church. Modern “gay and lesbian Protestantism” is a reaction to that.). Sometimes people do the “OCA/Metropolia good, ROCOR bad” dualism dance.

                  This rationalistic dualism is wrong, silly, and doesn’t work to explain life or reality. Met. Leonty who was the Metropolia (OCA) first hierarch from 1950-1965 has two granddaughters who are currently matushki – one is in ROCOR, one in the OCA. In fact, most of the Russian-American clergy families of the 20th & 21st centuries are represented in both ROCOR and the OCA.

                  Just say no to silly and simplistic dualism.

  5. Solitary Priest says

    I think the two clerics are speaking in Greek, possibly making fun of the Italian American politician, who is politely smiling.

  6. Has anyone read the booklet “We rejoice even in tribulation” ? put out by the OCA bishops

    • I just read it, Lina.

      With all due respect for His Eminence and their Graces, how can they possibly write the following with a straight face whilst the multiple spoon/disinfection nonsense (what I would call ‘practical heresy’) continues?

      Along with this cooperation and concern for the weakest among us, however, we must have no doubt that the holy Body and Blood of our Lord is the source of our life. Our liturgical life is indeed essential, and therefore will never be abandoned by the faithful. We must approach the chalice without fear of disease, but with awe and reverence in the presence of Christ’s immeasurable condescension. The Church calls to us: “In the fear of God, with faith and love, draw near!” Even if we must maintain physical distance from our brothers and sisters in Christ within the temple, even if some of us cannot commune as frequently as we have in the past, we are united — bishops, clergy, monastics, and the faithful — as members of the Lord’s Body as we receive the Holy Gifts. Nothing can diminish or overcome this Mystery.

      It then goes on to speak of overcoming fear. But to add insult to injury, on every parish door of the OCA diocese local to me is an identical, obviously mandated sign. It speaks of not entering if one has fever/cough (with advice to see one’s doctor if so) , hand sanitizing, masking, etc. – the standard CDC stuff that reads as though it was written by an attorney to avoid liability (Fear anyone?). The sign concludes with the following words as bitter icing on a dry cake.

      Enter at your own risk.

      How very lovely. My faith is strengthened immeasurably. I’m very sorry, gentlemen. I love your words. I truly do. But I do not believe you mean them because your actions speak much louder.

      • Thank you for your comment, Brian. I confess to be still struggling with it on several fronts. My overall reaction was that it was written to defend the position they took when they closed the churches. From my perspective, I could go to any number of stores, with my mask on, but I was not allowed to enter the church building. I could pick up items in stores and put them down or buy them, but liturgy books and weekly bulletins were considered dangerous. And I could go on.

        When the leaders of the Church accede to the current anti-Christian thrust that is invading our society, by stating that churches should be on the list of non-necessary operations during this pandemic, they say a lot about the state of the Church. There are many creative ways that Christians can gather to worship God and still meet the government standards. I wonder how the martyrs from times past look at us wimps.

      • The sign on the door matters a great deal less than the people on the other side of the door. Boilerplate warnings mandated by your secular government and/or bishop, however poorly worded, can only blot out the warmth of a good priest and loving parish if we let them do so. We must not give in to despair. I see people who are reasonably upset by the masks and distancing and such starting to avoid liturgy because they find it all depressing. We can’t let that happen. The Mysteries are still real. The people you knew before are still the people you knew before. Come in closer and draw strength from love.

        • Kseniya,

          I think you may have (understandably) misunderstood. I am not depressed, and there is no way I can or would avoid the very Source of life – the Body of Christ, both in the Eucharist and my brothers and sisters, regardless of the obstacles.

          Nevertheless, I believe it was Seraphim who rightly observed that total compromise doesn’t happen overnight. It happens little-by-little until finally one becomes a captive of many small choices made over time. By and large it is not the laity making these compromises. Nor in many, if not most, cases is it the priests. We are being as obedient as we can reasonably be (since we have no choice). It is the bishops who are directing the compromise while cloaking it in flowery (though otherwise true) language– particularly on that which strikes at the very heart of the FAITH, the Eucharist.

          Yes, they are bishops. Yes, we ought to obey them in Christ. And yes, their compromises change nothing about the Faith or my faith. But what they are doing (as opposed to what they are saying) tells me that, short of a real change of heart, they will continue to compromise step-by-step and are therefore not examples to be followed. I am reminded of our Lord’s words…

          “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.”

          Laying aside the masking and other prohibitions, what they have done with the Eucharist is an undeniable disgrace that teeters on the very brink of blasphemy and wordlessly teaches heresy. I frankly don’t care what office they hold or whether they agree with one another in synod. They are wrong. Period. End of story. I don’t hate them, and I don’t disobey them (at least not yet). But their direction in this case is unworthy of their office.

          I am weary of being told that those who hold firmly to the Faith in the midst of this travesty are unloving, extremist, or dividing the Church. Nothing could be further from the truth. I make no claim to Sainthood, but they may as well say that the Confessor Saints who stood firmly in the face of heresy and the false exercise of ‘authority’ (even that of ‘Councils’ so-called) were doing the same. They stood firmly for the truth, not for their own sakes but for all of us. They were viewed as ‘extremist,’ ‘divisive,’ and ‘disobedient.’ But they have their reward while those who accused them were put to shame in the end.

          Welcome, by the way. I’m glad you’re here.

      • Should be “abandon faith all ye who enter here.”

        Kseniya is right, though (welcome, by the way). Even if my parish forced us to wear masks, I would still force myself to go for the sake of Holy Communion. Thankfully, that is a pickle that my family and I are not in, thank God.

      • Is this the one where they described the kowtowing of the OCA to the secular USA’s guidelines as “symphonia”? I cried laughing as I read this encyclical. I was an OCA parishioner who eventually had enough and started attending a ROCOR parish further away but with completely normal worship & social gatherings. I’ve become hardened and cynical from reading too many “more of the same” OCA encyclicals & statements. Lord, have mercy.

  7. How does its “front-line defender” protect Orthodoxy?

    ‘ Head of the Phanar Archdiocese in the USA, Elpidophoros,
    called Patriarch Bartholomew “the front-line defender of Orthodoxy”.
    The article analyzes if it is really so. ‘

    This is a forensic takedown

    • If he is the front line defender of Orthodoxy then we’re boned

    • St Peter’s Basilica in Rome is not a cathedral.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        “Basilica, in the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches, a canonical title of honour given to church buildings that are distinguished either by their antiquity or by their role as international centres of worship because of their association with a major saint, an important historical event, or, in the Orthodox Church, a national patriarch. The title gives the church certain privileges, principally the right to reserve its high altar for the pope, a cardinal, or a patriarch, and special penitential privileges that remove the basilica from local geographical jurisdiction and give it international status.” https://www.britannica.com/technology/basilica-architecture

        Wikipedia says: “St. Peter’s is one of the four churches in the world that hold the rank of major basilica, all four of which are in Rome. Contrary to popular misconception, it is not a cathedral because it is not the seat of a bishop.” The cathedra of the pope as Bishop of Rome is at Saint John Lateran.

      • Indeed. But that does not affect the argument.

      • Father, I asked this in another thread, but you probably missed it. When is the next part of Reclaiming the Atonement going to be available?

    • I’ll add, he’s just pissing everyone in Orthodoxy off between the Ukrainian schismatics, his eventual/possible meddling in the Macedonian territory and now his hubris towards the Czech & Slovak Church, he sure is calling for a smackdown by the other primates.

      Luckily the Church of Jerusalem still has sense: https://orthochristian.com/137613.html

      • From the cited article:

        ‘ And last month, “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” declared that several more Local Churches were soon ready to recognize his structure, including the Jerusalem Patriarchate. While messages came from within all the other mentioned Churches that Dumenko’s assertion had no basis in reality, there was nothing from Jerusalem.

        Then, in late January, Pat. Theophilos gave an interview to the Serbian outlet Kurir, offering a non-committal answer to a question about the Ukrainian crisis, whereas he previously spoke very clearly in favor of the canonical Ukrainian Church under His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine several times (He even resisted heavy pressure from Constantinople and the schismatics to concelebrate with them on the feast of Theophany in 2019). ‘

        Does this have significance? I don’t know.

        • Well, he is Greek so that would fit the Bill for only Greek hierarchs accepting the Ukrainian schismatics.

          If Pat. Theophilos does turn around and accept them, that will be an even bigger slap in the face than the Patriarch of Alexandria just due to the spiritual significance of the See of Jerusalem

  8. Same corruption, different impostors. Nothing has changed in the GOA. As a matter of fact things have gotten much worse. The inevitable consequences of corrupt men being in charge and consolidating their unaccountable power can now be seen by anyone who cares at all about truth, Christ, ethics, and holiness.

    Pushing the Gay Agenda in the Greek Archdiocese

    [Homosexual activist] Michael Huffington was there to stand alongside the Archbishop at the award ceremony, and his name was featured prominently in the official press release. You can read the press release about the event on the Greek Archdiocese Website by clicking here.

    Huffington seems to make quite an effort to keep reminding the world that he is Greek Orthodox. His religion is almost always mentioned in articles about him, even when focusing on secular topics such as his political advocacy.

    It is difficult to believe that this is a coincidence. Constant repetition of his religious affiliation by Huffington, and his press enablers, seems designed to foster the impression that the Orthodox Church accepts him, his lifestyle of homosexual sex, and his Theological views. So far, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in the United States seems to be reinforcing this impression through its silence.

  9. Austin Martin says

    No matter how bad it gets, no matter how much of a public relations nightmare, no matter how sadistic or heretical, Elpi will remain archbishop, and the metropolitans will confirm to publically support him.

    • Then, “will the last person in the GOA turn off the lights, please,” seems an appropriate thing to say.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I know what you mean. You just want to get it over with.

        • Yep. We have an uphill battle here for evangelization anyways, and they are making it even harder.

          • Truth be told, in my area we have not found evangelization (that is to say conversion from Protestantism or RCism) difficult at all. We see believers in Christ fleeing to Orthodoxy for refuge. But I certainly agree that the Modernist and Progressivist elements that wear the label are a disgrace to the Faith and a complete turn off to sincere believers.

            I have believed for many years that all we need to do is reman faithful, and those of goodwill will come. And they do, in ever increasing numbers of late.

            • But I certainly agree that the Modernist and Progressivist elements that wear the label are a disgrace to the Faith and a complete turn off to sincere believers.

              Yea, this is what I’m referring to. If people are fleeing things like this from their previous religious background, or of no religion at all, and these are the people they see in Orthodoxy, why would they bother to convert?

    • You are correct, Austin. It is a complete farce. People should be leaving the GOA in droves. Sadly, there are many who remain in ignorance.

      • I think many people remain in the GOA bc there are still very good parishes and priests, not to mention the monasteries. How much longer that is going to be a viable reason to stay is the question, my guess is that time is rapidly running out and the flow of people leaving the GOA will turn into a torrent.

  10. Yes. There are a few good priests and parishes remaining…and of course the monasteries of Geronta Ephraim are the pearl of great price. But they should have contingency plans in place for when bottom rots out.

    • If I read Gail’s comment correctly on this recently (and please correct me if I’m wrong Gail!), the Ephraim monasteries would not be able to leave GOARCH with their buildings, they would have to leave without them since GOARCH owns them(?). If that is indeed the case I feel very bad for them because I know how hard they have worked to get the buildings, in the case of Holy Archangels they are finally close to done after over 20 years.

      If (when) the bottom falls out of GOA, what will be more important, the faith or the buildings?

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Yes, that is correct.

        And I cannot believe what the GOA did. They changed it! Look at Article 13a, page 22, of the English portion. It did NOT say this in 2020. It previously said the monastery owned the property but the buildings could not be moved (as stupid as that sounds). Back then, it was called an “agreement,” not a “final reg” like it is now. If you scroll through this document, you can see the variation of the size of the font in some places.

        “13 a) The Metropolis to which the Monastery belongs shall not under any circumstances sell or otherwise dispose of the property of the Monastery, nor convert its edifices for any other use whatsoever. Moreover, the Monastery may use the property that it administers for all necessary purposes, but it shall not under any circumstances sell or change its buildings. After its establishment, the
        Monastery remains forever indissoluble, and shall never be abolished or subjected to forcible conversion.”

        At the end of the next section on the following page (page 24) it says: “However, the Monastery, as an ecclesiastical institution functioning within the Eucharistic Community over which the local Metropolitan presides, and as a legal entity from the standpoint of both ecclesiastical and civil law, retains the prerogative of owning and managing its own ecclesiastical property.” but “The documents of incorporation must state the Ecclesiastical Authority to which the Monastery belongs: the Metropolis, the Archdiocese, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.”

        I guess this is how they intend to get around the Supreme Court ruling. https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/20/20-534/161111/20201118143332016_20-534%20Amicus%20Brief.pdf

        In the process of changing their charter, they’re changing their agreements. Maybe that’s why the charter needed to be changed.

        • Sad.

          I think the monasteries might have missed their chance to leave.

          • I am still hearing that the monasteries might retain (land and buildings). It seems open to interpretation. However, there is no doubt in my mind that C’Pole would work tirelessly to strip them of everything should they decide to go under the omophorion of another jurisdiction. I also believe that it would have been much easier if they had acted prior to the current “leadership.”

            • “It seems open to interpretation.”

              Everything written by lawyers is “open to interpretation”.
              And re-interpretation. It’s how lawyers make their money.

              • AMEN Brendan!! What you wrote is the absolute truth. Which is why we all loathe lawyers. They stand for nothing (well…they stand for money, that’s for sure).

          • Gail Sheppard says

            They don’t dance to the tune of Bartholomew now. He says they won’t be receiving pilgrims during Holy Week and they do it anyway.

            The parishes have gathered whole committees together in the past to challenge their financial reports but to no avail.

            You see, the monasteries don’t need the Archdiocese. The Archdiocese needs them. They’ll continue to be there and do what they’ve always done: what God asks of them. Nothing is going to change.

            • I agree. But I would still like to see them under the omophorion of another bishop.

              God will guide them.

        • What needs to be done to change the articles of incorporation for any entity, monastery or not? And it might very well differ from state to state.

  11. Jane Tzilvelis says

    The Equality Act has passed in the House in Congress today. This act will allow men to enter all facilities women use including bathrooms in public places and vice versa.

    If this bill passes in the majority Democrat Senate, what will the GOA leadership do to protect the faithful?

    • Don’t wait for GOA leadership, or any leadership, to protect you. Begin with prayer and fasting. Connect yourself to a holy monastery, restrict news and social media consumption, support your priest and deacon, consider writing your bishop, plant a garden and/or get some chickens or ducks, if you have kids homeschool, read the Gospels.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I imagine that the GOA hierarchy will do nothing. I hope that the other jurisdictions will at least say something about this nonsense. (Emphasis on the word “hope”.)

  12. George Michalopulos says

    I imagine that the GOA hierarchy will do nothing. I hope that the other jurisdictions will at least say something about this nonsense. (Emphasis on the word “hope”.)

  13. cynthia curran says

    Yeah, the Republican that could beat Cumno. Tom Reed support the Democrats equality act. He and another New Yorker along with PA’s Brian Fitzgerald were the only congressional republicans to support the equality act. However, in other respects Tom Reed would be better than Cumno.

  14. George Michalopulos says

    In the preamble to this piece (“The Weather Girl Who Took Down Cuomo”), Nick Stamatakis of Helleniscope fame, has an excellent take-down of the hubris and elitism of the GOA hierarchy.


    Read both if you got the time.

    • “EDITOR’S NOTE (Nick Stamatakis): It is due to the courage and persistence of Janice Dean, the Foxnews meteorologist, that the real bully behind the facade of Mario Cuomo was revealed. The NY Governor, who was worshipped by the mainstream media for the whole last year, has shown all signs of hubris, ranging from narcissism to arrogance to bullying to harassment (sexual or not). He is now entering the phase of nemesis which will be swift. Only a small part of nemesis has to do with actual Justice because politicians have legislated many ways to get themselves out of trouble. The real nemesis for Cuomo will the complete elimination of any chance he may have to be elected in any public position. ”

      I would have thought the real nemesis for Mario Cuomo is Death.
      He died on the 1st January 2015.