The Conference Call and the Future

Some of you have commented on the conference call that was conducted between the new Archbishop and several hundred clergy of the GOA. Regarding that call I’ll get right to the point: I didn’t hear anything that would set the world on fire –from either him or the priests.

That may be the point, however. Permit me to explain.

While Lambrianides hit all the right notes about the priests’ depleted pension fund and their economic security, he didn’t exactly (or even ambiguously) explain how exactly how he was going to rectify those problems. If I had to guess, I’d say that there is no plan going forward to make things right. That will become more obvious as time goes on and more and more men leave the priesthood. Even if there was a plan, 79th St would still continue to operate in as opaque a fashion as possible, regardless of all the happy-talk that comes from The Orthodox Observer

Lambrianides’ locution was soothing to be sure but at the end of the day, his words were anodyne and empty. Not unlike the Messages which the Patriarch and Metropolitan exchanged on the day in which the announcement of his transfer to America was made. The contrast between Jesus’ warrior-like exhortation to His disciples and the flowery language exchanged between these two hierarchs on that day is stark. The former was a call-to-arms, the latter more like a series of sonnets.

To be sure, he downplayed the Greco-triumphalism and his only mention of inter-Orthodox unity was some limpid explanation about how unity can happen only under the Ecumenical Patriarchate because that patriarchate is ecumenical. (Logic hasn’t been the Phanar’s strong suit for quite a while now.) For good measure, he threw in the factoid that the “Greek” in Greek Orthodox did not refer to a specific ethnicity per se. That this was true in late Antiquity but no longer is arguable. And pedantic. Regardless, I’m sure it fell on deaf ears especially if those ears were attached to non-Greek heads.

And to be fair, the new Archbishop struck a more humble tone than he did thirteen years ago when he gave his infamous diatribe about how we are all just a bunch of barbarians here in America. I imagine he learned his lesson. Still, it was all very thin gruel. What’s worrisome though, is that in his acceptance of American pluralism and interfaith dialogue, he has accommodated himself too much to American “exceptionalism”, particularly in regards to “diversity” and “tolerance” (The Pappas Post can hardly contain its excitement; that’s all you need to know).

And as I mentioned the other day in a comment, I was thoroughly unnerved with the obsequious manner in which those priests who asked questions spoke. Their unctuous tone of voice, more than anything else, made me fear for the future of the Church here in America. I cannot see men of this ilk boldly preaching the Gospel or going into the arena when and if the time comes. But let us be honest: one cannot preach the Gospel and Canon 28 mythology at the same time.

I suppose I would be no different were I in their place. As mentioned in the earlier comment, I more than understand how the average GOA priest is caught between worldly forces in his parish council on the one hand and an even more worldly bishop on the other. Nor should we forget that the Ecumenical Patriarchate in its present self-understanding is very much a creature of this present age. It’s ironic but when an actual symphonia between Church and state existed, the Church actually behaved as a Church. At the very least, patriarchs dressed, acted, spoke, and were spoken to, as bishops –not oriental potentates. And they certainly weren’t afraid to speak forcefully to emperors (see, Chrysostom, St John; Milan, St Ambrose of; et al.)

But I digress. Let us get to brass tacks. Upon completion of this call, I was able to speak with a few other interested people. What they told me was that they didn’t expect him to last long. That is to say, they expect him to become another Spyridon and like that unfortunate man, he would be undermined by the GOA metropolitans in due time. That hadn’t occurred to me. As far as I was concerned, Lambrianides’ task was not to turn the GOA around (because it can’t be) but to keep a lid on things. Not only is he here to prohibit Orthodox unity in America from happening but to make sure that his novel, neo-papalist doctrines take hold. By this reasoning, all Lambrianides has to do is wait things out for a couple of more years and then he will be “elected” to be the next Patriarch of Constantinople by Erdogan (or whoever is the Turkish president at the time).

We shouldn’t forget that when Metropolitan Demetrios Trakatellis was placed on the primatial throne in New York City, he was already 72 years old. He is now 92. At most, he was expected to last for only 5 to 10 years. Lambrianides, on the other hand, is 52 years old. Trakatellis constantly rebuffed the Phanar’s requests to step down. He did this in the sincere belief that if he was given enough time, the various scandals that plagued the GOA could be set right. And like Iakovos Coucouzis before him, he could protect the OCA from the wrath of Istanbul. Although he succeeded in the latter endeavor, he wisely decided to step down when it became obvious that the scandals were only getting worse under his watch. Perhaps it was time for a younger man to at least try and make things better.

It remains to be seen whether this will happen. I for one can’t see it. Consider these three major problems that plague the GOA: First, the depleted pension fund. Second, the fiasco that is the St Nicholas Shrine. Third, the academic and financial bankruptcy that plagues Holy Cross. It is going to take several tens of millions of dollars to try and make things right. And this doesn’t even address the real problem, which is that the GOA is losing parishioners by the thousands. And I haven’t even mentioned the exploding annual budget deficits.

So, what is to happen? I believe that we are in a waiting game. Orthodoxy in America is in stasis at best, stagnation at worst. You could hear it in the depleted voices of the GOA priests who participated in the call. Of course, I realize that American Orthodoxy is more than the GOA. But the customary Phanariote obstinacy which demands that all non-Greeks must submit to the Phanar ensures our continuing decline here in this country. Unless and until this is triumphalist-without-a-reason delusion is shaken off, we will continue to wither on the vine. Of this, there can be no doubt.

So can anything be done? Yes. The Orthodox people of America, regardless of jurisdiction or ethnic origin must take the bull by the horns and say “Enough!” The time for “pray, pay and obey” is over. Our bishops will do the right thing but only if they are forced to do so by their people. Frankly, I don’t see us there yet. But I hope and pray that it will happen someday. Folks, it’s up to us to cast off all Old World illusions and follow Christ. The bishops will come along when they see we are ready.

Until then, Lord have mercy.


  1. George, I appreciate what you are saying….and I agree. However, most of the Orthodox in this country are not engaged in the least. If one were to take a poll after Liturgy at their parish, you would find that 99.99% of the parishioners do not even know that there is a new Archbishop of the GOA (even in Greek parishes). You would get blank stares when you say the name Elpidophoros. They will have no knowledge of him, let alone his papist mindset. They are not even aware of the tragedy that Cpole caused in Ukraine. It is not so much apathy as it is ignorance. I am sorry to sound pessimistic, but I have always been a realist. There are only a handful of Orthodox in this country that really understand what is happening. Perhaps this handful of faithful can educate the others?
    Lord have mercy indeed!

    • George Michalopulos says

      OK, I’m gonna cop-out here: somewhat very true.

      Permit me to explain: there is a lot of widespread ignorance among the GOA laity. A lot. However, they are aware that something is amiss and has been for a long time. Most of the “ignorant” inhabit a sweet spot of somewhat regular church-going piety while struggling to keep their jobs, raise their kids, hope that college doesn’t turn them into Goths, etc. And most will listen to their emasculated priest’s sermon/pep-talk but then go on with their lives.

      That is until the excrement hits the fan. In my childhood, the excrement that hit the fan back then was when Arb Iakovos marched with Martin Luther King, Jr at Selma. Then that died down and five or so years later he suggested that the Liturgy should be translated into English. Again: fan, meet excrement. Then that died down. Then when Arb Spyridon took over and covered for that homosexual priest who accosted a young male student at HC and in order to cover that priest’s tracks, he cashiered the clerical court at HC which ruled against the “archimandrite”.

      That’s when the snowball started rolling downhill and eventually became a boulder (i.e. making the Philoptochos mad, irregular real estate purchase, etc.). Even though Bartholomew stared the GOA bishops in the face and told them that Spyridon “was going to be your archbishop until he dies!” the bishops back then were made of sterner stuff and hung together until they got what they wanted.

      The point to the story? Nobody knows what the “X” factor is –what it is that’s going to escalate into a scandal or scandals–if anything. Look at all the “scandals” and “scoops” that have come out every other week about Trump. Any other GOP president would have been gone by now. Watergate on the other hand was a “third-rate burglary” which brought down both Nixon and Agnew.

      In other words, it’s hard to predict these things. My gut tells me however that, given Greg Pappas’ glee as well as the mettle of the more recently-elected metropolitans, things as they relate to the LGBT agenda will come to a head sooner rather than later. This does not mean that this will necessarily precipitate a crisis as I think most of the GOA laity are rather nonchalant about this issue (as is most of America). In my estimation, it won’t be this issue per se which precipitates a scandal but the nature of the men in charge who are incapable of acting in a decisive manner. And who play favorites.

      • Greatly Saddened says

        George … as the saying goes … “From your lips to God’s ears!” With God’s help, hopefully things will begin to change for the better. One can only hope and pray!

      • George as usual u hit nails on head, especially re yr new man. And yes often the scandal comes out of no where. ( watergate, )
        The clergy in difficult place but no more difficult surely than Russian clergy 1918-91 or here in Bulgaria etc 1944-91.
        God bless. I will try and hang in there. Remembering thst Crisis, means opportunity to chose.

    • Zane Carides says

      So true. I was circulating political nominating petitions last summer and the old folks said they chose which parish they went to by who had the cheapest candles.

  2. What are the odds that the GOA faithful will even care enough to leave for another jurisdiction?

    For that matter, what is preventing faithful GOA priests from transferring to another jurisdiction?

    I saw the Antiochians set something up for them, we are the closest culturally (sort of) to the Greek and are mission-minded

    • Zero, and money/families.

      The Archbishop isn’t really a factor for even involved GOA parishioners let alone casual church goers. Outside of NY parishioners people in other parts of the country rarely see the Archbishop. This is to say nothing of the people who don’t even realize the Archbishop exists.

      As far as the priests go, there are those who see the grass is greener on the otherside; however, they would be taking a massive paycut that would hurt their families. Also keep in mind that despite Elpidophoros’ ridiculous “first without equals” comment, this doesn’t in and of itself mean he is outside the Canons. Until he starts to enforce it, or supports making it Canon, he hasn’t really crossed the line according to the thinking of the GOA. Now why they haven’t left because of the GOA’s incompetence is a different story, and one that I can’t answer.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I’m curious though, Vergil. Is what you say about GOA priestly remuneration true? I know of GOA priests who don’t make anywhere near the UPR standards mandate. Any info in this matter would be greatly appreciated btw.

        Regardless, doesn’t the depletion of the pension fund means that at the end of the day it’s all a wash? Again, any of you out there who wear green eyeshades are more than welcome to opine here.

        • Some parishes may just be broke, even if they are larger parishes. Also parishes below 50 families may have more trouble meeting UPR standards than others even if they are still considered viable parishes.

          This isn’t germane to the topic, but 50 is an important number when comparing how the GOA establishes parishes compared to the mission parishes of the OCA and the Antiochians

          • George Michalopulos says

            Agreed. According to the GOA, one must have 50 families and $200,000 already stashed away before a mission can be blessed. I’m sorry, but that’s not a mission, that’s a largish church.

  3. Greatly Saddened says

    Due to the overwhelming apathic general laity. As long as there is a church and priest available to perform their weddings, 40 day blessings, baptisms/christenings and funerals. For the most part, that is all they are concerned about. This is the sad, but the unfortunate truth. And then we often wonder why the Church is in the state it has been and presently is.

    Lord help us and have mercy on us all!

  4. The new archbishop has given his first interview, in which he states, “On the one hand, we must integrate in American society, but on the other we must not endanger our tradition nor deny our ancestry.”

    He’ll be shocked when when he comes here and finds “our ancestry” to be across the board, especially if he wants to unite all US Orthodox into one Church. My Antiochian parish of converts has ancestry from around the globe, heavily western European and British ancestry, but also African, Hispanic, Asian, Russian, Romanian, Syrian, you name it. And a few Greeks.

    Seriously, he’s going to have to get over his Greek-centricism if he’s going to do anything worthwhile in the US – or at least not completely alienate the rest of us who approach Orthodoxy as a religion and spirituality, not as an ethnicity.

    Here’s the link:

    • It is a matter of prestige!?!

      Lord have mercy!

    • Meaningless waffle of course. And as for ‘ matter of Prestige ‘ , Just what Christ would have said, is it? ‘ I’m not hanging on any old wooden Cross, matter of Prestige!! ‘ Get me a nice one’ One wants to vomit.

      I have said enough in these columns but it is plain to see Constantinople is a cess -pool masquarading as a perfume factory and you not even down wind, with corrupt, sexually deviant bishops.This been known for decades. But even at a respectful norm we have a group of mediocre pompous titled OUT OF DISNEY LAND cosy pretend Oxford Don type bachelors leading a cosy life thank you very much. AT YR EXPENSE AND OF GREEK PEOPLE, And they Lord it over you thinking you should be grateful. SAY THANK YOU EFFENDI!
      I know nothing about the life of Bartholomaios thst is scandalous except he is a Roman Catholic of eastern tradition with papal take over pretensions. But ‘ The fish rots from the head ‘ and ‘The buck stops with the boss ‘, are phases that come to mind.
      Perhaps it’s AD 476 time and the barbarians take control of the empire and send the Roman administration home.???

      If in the coming months Emanuella of France and the rest of them are not investigated and defrocked ( some hope) then I will want nothing to do with a decadent, corrupt dead church given fig leaf cover by a few decent clergy and lay folk.

      As of interest to show this is becoming known. Yesterday in the local cafe I heard several young Bulgarians talking about why they do not attend Church. They brought up the reported scandal and more. Yes we know people can find excuse by casting stones but at same time in the age of the internet such behaviour no longer secret.

      The Phanar has existed for centuries by corruption. The Patrarch bought his position by payment to the Sultan. He got the money from the bishops who got it from the clergy. Who got it from the people!! HEY WHAT HAS CHANGED?
      And you have a new man who has yet to get his snout in the dollar trough. Yes high blown phases, All my God they good at it. Give the shysters credit where due.

  5. Michael Bauman says


  6. Fr Constantine Valantasis says

    Thank you George for your thoughtful commentary. Since much has been written concerning GOA priests, allow me to share my thoughts as a GOA priest. Firstly, we welcome His Emenince Elpidorforos with prayer. We have no expectations other than that he remain faithful to Gospel. No more, no less. Yes, our problems seem insurmountable, but that is due to the fact that we “have kept the form but denied the power”. Affirm the power, which is uncoditional trust in the will of God, and restoration will begin. Your readers seem to be under the impression that our primary ministerial concern is the Greek language and/or ethnic triumphalism. Nothing could be further from the truth. Keep in mind that I serve in an “ethnic” community. For what it’s worth I feel compelled to preach in two languages; again only for the sake of the Gospel. And yes, I am a third generation American of Greek descent. Regardless of what the so-called official position of the GOA may be concerning language or ethnic alligiences, no Bishop has ever interfered in or suppressed our efforts to provide out reach to the extended community. On the contrary, my experience has been the opposite. Resistance has come from the laity, at least in my personal experience. But this reflects more on us as clergy, as we have failed to catechize them properly. And although I have been threatened with removal, from certain voices within my own community, our out reach continues to grow. From community meals (for people in need) to weekly prayer and referrals for those struggling with substance abuse to the eventual conversions that are the fruit of such spiritual labors. I say this not to tute my own horn, but to perhaps give your readers another side to the story. Most of my brother Priests in the GOA are fighting within the trenches. We are not consumed by the uncertainty of some pension fund nor are we haggling to meet some UPR standard of renumeration. Again, I thank for your own labor of love, and pray that God grant you every good gift that comes from above. Christ is Risen!

    • Fr thank you for yr words and yes, i am not in USA but know it well, but in Bulgaria, but i know there are many good clergy etc and the revival of worship etc. I have personally experienced three good parishes and priests , 1 in New York, 1 in Buffalo, NYS , and one in Paulos Heights ( Chicago suburb) and I know the struggle and hard work.
      But I stand by all I say about Patrarchate. There needs to be a renewal, A cleansing.
      Yes give the new man time to breathe and to show himself.
      My concern and anger is BECAUSE I KNOW THERE ARE CLERGY SUCH AS YOU, and yes often yr Greatest problem is with those who run the Church. I have seen this so often.
      I will pray for you in the liturgy I am about to attend here in Bulgaria. We have a good young priest and congregation. I’m sure you know my views of organs and rows of rigid pews by now,!! And papal pretensions.
      Με πολύ σεβασμό Πάτερ, Χριστός Ανέστη!

      • And fr to add before go of course married clergy must be paid to enable them to support their families and live to average level of their congregation and society.
        Only then can the priest give his energy to his role. But Bishops and celibacy clergy ARE MONKS. I do not expect them to live as St Seraphim of Sarov, not all called to Sainthood!! But to live simple lives as monks and if possible in a monastery or monastic environment. This is where the rot is and danger.
        U less we have bishops who by their lives show this. All the efforts will be in vain.

        • Greatly Saddened says

          Nikos … my question to you is … are these archimandrites and hierarchs really and truly monks? They may be tonsured, but yet do not live the life of a monk. To me this seems to be an oxymoron!

          Lord help us and have mercy on us!

    • Constantinos says

      Dear Father,
      I believe you are a sincere, dedicated, hard working priest who has a heart for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It seems to me, the laity are more concerned about the deleterious effect of “His All Divine Holinesses”stranglehold on the Greek Orthodox Church in America than the clergy. The problem is not with being “properly” cathechized, but with the duplication of resources because of the uncanonical situation that prevails in America. As American Orthodox Christians, and citizens of the greatest super power in world history, we don’t need a foreign tyrant meddling in our internal affairs. The Ecumenical Patriarch’s allegiance is to Turkey, not America. Byzantium died a long time ago, and the “Ecumenical Throne” should be dismantled. Failing that, we, as American Orthodox Christians must declare our autocephaly, and make it clear we are not under any foreign potentate. The greatest blessing for American Orthodoxy is to denude this dictator of all influence and assets in our country. Then, and only then, will Orthodoxy flourish in America, and be a “shining city on a hill.” With all due respect, all you are doing is sticking your finger in a massive dam. The only fault of the laity is we pay undue respect to anyone with a fancy title, wearing a black dress, and a mitre. The Turkish citizen needs to be kicked out of America along with his lap dog, poodle, the new Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church in America.

      • Well said. Gives me hope a watershed has been reach. I had criticism of Iakovos but he was a able.hierarch with his heart and soul in America.

    • John Sakelaris says

      Thank you Father Valantasis.

      His comment is a reminder that there are many, many priests serving now in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America who are truly doing the Lord’s work. They and the Archdiocese as a whole need our prayers and our patience–not any exodus from their parishes.

    • Fr Constantine,

      Thank you for your comments. However, the fact that there are faithful priests carrying out Christ’s work does not negate the widespread and systemic corruption among the episcopate of the Patriarchate of Istanbul.

      It’s well-documented that many of them are gay-sex-addicted. The stories have been around for decades, and now clear evidence is popping up on the internet, where nothing stays hidden.

      It’s documented that the corrupt Fr Alex Karloutsos of the wealthy-church-in-the-Long-Island-Hamptons-but-with-no-parishioners fame maintains a stronghold on the Archdiocese by blackmailing the GOA episocopate on whom he has “dirt.”

      The new Archbishop “Elpidophoros” selected for the GOA in America is on record as saying that Pope Francis is one of our “Fathers” and has developed a new, heretical theology that the Patriarchate of Istanbul is the “first without equals.” Why this does not draw immediate condemnation from his brother bishops, I do not understand.

      Large amounts of money which thousands of GOA faithful had donated to rebuild the small church destroyed in Manhattan on 9/11/2001 was stolen and diverted to the Patriarchate of Istanbul. The U.S. government will look the other way as long as the Patriarchate of Istanbul does its bidding with respect to Ukraine and Turkey.

      It’s documented that the Patriarchate of Istanbul is being used as a tool of the U.S. government to push its political agenda against Russia. The Patriarchate of Istanbul created a new “church” out of thin air in Ukraine. Meanwhile, this same Patriarchate of Istanbul is persecuting the saintly Metropolitan Onuphry and his suffering flock in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that already exists and has existed for decades.

      Stating that you or anyone is struggling up the mountain striving to do the Lord’s work on a daily basis may be true yet is completely unrelated to the systemic corruption in the GOA leadership.

      Those of us who worship in small parishes or in mission parishes feel the impact the most, because we know that if we do not tithe or give or do some sort of work for the parish, stuff won’t happen. Sometimes I think that if I lived in a large city with a huge parish where there were a handful of millionaire donors who footed the bill, such that my donations really didn’t matter, then maybe I wouldn’t care much about this systemic corruption.

      I believe that this is a foundational problem and explains why most faithful in the GOA don’t know or care about the corruption: Most don’t have much skin in the game. For decades, the GOA has relied on millionaire “Archons” to foot its bills, as have many individual parishes. Tithing was never stressed, and the millionaires who footed the bills were rewarded with their names etched on parish pews or were awarded the “Order of St Andrew the Apostle” or something silly like that. It’s a classic tit-for-tat: You donate substantially to the GOA, and we will make you feel more important than your brothers in Christ.

      In my small parish, we don’t have that. If I do not tithe or give to my parish, it will likely not meet its bills. Yet I cannot in good conscience financially support a corrupt hierarchy; I honestly do not believe that Christ wants me to do that. He does not want me to enable bad behavior. I have yet to hear any pastoral guidance for parishioners in this dilemma, other than “pray and it will go away someday.” More and more, what I am hearing instead is that the GOA is not for me.

      • So so so true. See my posts and my today one from my bulgarian position. Friend we have passed the rubicon.As you say this corrupt mafia needs to be swept away. I spoke to friend in USA today in USA military, served in Iraq etc. Grew up surrounded by Greeks in Queens NY. Now posted to Boston. He was asking me about ground Zero and the greek church. It’s beginning to spread the news.

      • Greatly Saddened says

        Anon 2 … An honest, totally straight forward and outstanding post coming from the heart. Thank you and God bless!

  7. Greatly Saddened says

    George … Once again you are correct and as I am sure you know. It is my understanding that the UPR renumeration standard mandate is only a guideline. There are those priests with much less seniority who make much more than priests with much more seniority.

    The priest’s salary is basically decided between the parish and the metropolitan. Many times the metropolitan requests or shall I say, “highly suggests” what the priest’s salary will/should be.

  8. Fr I said in post we not all called to Sainthood. Of course WE ALL ARE!! I meant not all including me are high up that ladder.

  9. Um...Hello! says

    Might I make a suggestion to the new Archbishop that if the pension fund is a priority for him that he make a pledge that every monetary gift he receive (personal or otherwise) on the occasion of his enthronement be donated to the pension fund. Likewise, all proceeds from enthronization banquets and others high profile events be donated to the pension fund as well.

    Now that would send a powerful message.

    • Greatly Saddened says

      What a novel idea. Unfortunately, I highly doubt it will come to fruition.

  10. Michael Bauman says

    Why any Greek would accept a bishop from Istanbul which is at best, highly compromised by the effect of the Turkish yoke which was lessened with the fall of the Ottoman Empire but it did not go away, is beyond me. These men are enabling the continuation of the Turkish effort to eradicate the Greek people and their heritage. They are not Greeks. Not really. The Turks have been strangling and corrupting the Patriarchate for over 560 years. The Church in the US has the opportunity to actually turn that around, even at this point, but instead continues to enable the process.

    Why the good, even holy priests in the GOA put up with it is beyond me. Why the other bishops in the US put up with it, is beyond me. Why I have put up with it as a kind of long running entertaining farce, is beyond me too.

    The Greek Christian patrimony is of great value to us all. We are all allowing it to be trivialized, marginalized, corrupted and debased.

    I can’t do much, but I have to figure out something because it negatively impacts us all.

    • Michael you speak for so many of us. It cannot be business as usual.
      He wants to do same with greek church in Uk but the cypriots are more bolshy and direct and don’t put up with it. He will get a bloody nose there.

    • Constantinos says

      Dear Mr. Bauman,
      It’s nice to see you have acquired a sizzling fast ball. I’ve been clocking it at 99 mph. I agree with everything you wrote on this post. Great job!

    • I took the time to watch the video of the video conference between Metropolitan Elpidophoros and the ‘archons’ (link posted courtesy of Greatly Saddened).

      Let me preface what I am about to say with the acknowledgement that one would expect such a conference with major donors and movers in the financial/administrative realm to concern itself with financial matters, and there is nothing inherently wrong with that. Rich people are tasked by the Gospel to give generously. However…

      The name of Christ was not mentioned once – not even by the new archbishop. There was, however, much talk on his part of love and loyalty to “the Mother Church” and the great importance of the Greek-American community to it.

      If the truth is told, I was more impressed (though not highly so) with some of the archons than I was with the archbishop. All were concerned with the financial health of the archdiocese (and as I said, there is nothing wrong with that). As I do not know these men, I cannot say who it was, but toward the end of the Q &A and comments/concerns expressed by the archons to the archbishop, the last one to speak indicated that a major concern was “keeping our young people and,” he added, “the adults, too, in the Church”. Almost all of them also addressed the archbishop as “our new spiritual leader.”

      But at the end, when the floor was given back to the archbishop for final comment and wrap up, he said, “I was taking notes as you all expressed your concerns to me, and I can see that THE NUMBER ONE PRIORITY is completing Saint Nicholas Shrine. This is vitally important to the dignity of the omogenia.” ( Perhaps not an exact quote, but very close) The other priorities he then expressly noted had nothing to do with feeding the flock or proclaiming the Gospel.


      I have visited a number of GOA parishes over the years (and even considered making some of the local ones my parish home). Whatever faults they may have had (and don’t we and all our parishes have plenty our own?), every one of them (and their clergy) was
      infinitely more Christ-centered – even on matters of money – than anything I saw on this video conference.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Good observation, Brian. Archbishop Demetrios would mention Christ. . . a lot. I saw where Serbia recognized him. I believe it was Nikos’ mother, (memory eternal, she raised a good son) who said something to the effect, “tell me who he runs with and I’ll tell you about him.” That Serbia recognized Archbishop Demetrios means something, as well.

        • Thank you Gail. She tried to!!God rest her soul. Yes. So true.
          What is sad is that they are oblivious the affect this mock humble la la land language has. It does on brits etc used to royal families, but to you Yanks it must appear really weird

          And something else, re manuella etc. When allegations are made the normal process is for the person to be investigated and to give their side etc. While this goes on, the person is suspended, not as a guilty action but neutral one to enable fair investigation. I had this happen to me. Working in mental health, occupation hazzard.
          But are these people going to get away scot free?
          Perhaps the bulgarian lads could come forward?. If they walked of with the goods by gaining legal entry with a code freely given to them, they have not actually committed a crime.

          The only way to deal with the Phanar is for the people to stop giving. Hit them where it counts.

      • Greatly Saddened says

        Oh so true, Brian!

  11. Greatly Saddened says

    Mr Bauman … The priests are afraid to say anything because of the possible repercussions from their metropolitan. Those that are celibate, as well as those that are married. Unfortunately, that is a major concern of theirs and rightfully so. These metropolitans hold the future of these priests in their hands and can make their lives extremely difficult.
    The priests not only have to concern themselves with their direct metropolitan, but also the parish in which they are assigned to. Not an easy feat to say the least.

    • Michael Bauman says

      GS, that is deeply sad. There is no employment that is without its risks of compromise. Ideally priests should not suffer that, but they do. Just one of the many reasons why I could never have been a priest. After years of pondering it, I decided that if any bishop were deluded enough to ordain me, he would likely remove me within the year. The obedience required is of a very high level. I do not have the humility or the faith to do that.

      Still God will provide for those who remain faithful even if that provision requires hardship and suffering.

  12. Greatly Saddened says

    In all due honestly and please forgive me, but I feel the Order of Saint Andrew Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America, has been a hinderance in enabling the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America from possibly seeking its autonomy. These same people have sworn allegiance to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    It’s bad enough the Archdiocesan Council, which seemingly seems inept, along with other affiliated organizations of the Archdiocese. These same people have been appointed by the Hierarchs at the Archdiocesan level, as well as at the Metropolis level and hence, will go along with what the Hierarchs want.

    What the Archdiocese and the Metropolises truly need are free thinkers who are interested in what is best for the” Church” as a whole, and not sworn to specifically cater to the Hierarchs every whim. All we seemingly have at present, are “yes” people and nothing more.

    Until that happens, unfortunately it will be business as usual!

  13. GS, what is needed in the GOA is godly leaders both among clergy and laity. Most archons are made archons because they are succefull in the secular world not because they are people of faith. I know of arcons who have never read the NT nor actively participate in the sacramental life of the church. By the way, I believe one can be successful in the world and be a faithful Christian but the criteria for leadership should not be the size of ones bank account or the number of advanced degrees but rather ones commitment to Christ. Remember the qualities of the 12 Jesus chose. I guarantee you those 12 would not be considered as Archons.

    • Greatly Saddened says

      Well said, Jk!

    • GS, additionally, the GOA does not need “free thinkers” as you stated but leaders with the mind of Christ.

      • Greatly Saddened says

        Absolutely … first and foremost! What I meant by “free thinkers,” are people who are “not” tied to the whims of the hierarchs and can think on their own.

      • Lon Calefas says

        Well, then you are Arabs, not Chrisitans, thanks to Chrysostom. The Cappodochians were free thinkers.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Jk, Jesus might very well have chosen men like the archons (James and John had quite a successful fishing business, Mathew was tax collector which produced a lot of money.) It is that Jesus required that they follow Him. That is what is missing.

      The Church’s call to follow Him has been attenuated over the centuries and doing what the Apostles each did in their own way is often actively ridiculed even within the Church today. Even so, I know that I do not follow the call as I should.

      Even acknowledging one has a call to follow Jesus can seem strange to many outwardly faithful Christians.

  14. Clem Zeplas says

    Look at how L100 just FOUND money for the seminary.
    Gyro Lays on! The Gyro starts spinning again!

  15. And now that gang will find money for St. Nicholas and all will be fine…for at least a few months until the next financial crisis. “Retiring” Archbishop heads for the door and money walks in. Funny how they like to play politics with institutions, seminarians’ lives, and the fiasco in Manhattan.

  16. Greatly Saddened says

    And this my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, is what is called a “Church?” All from a group of pompous, spoiled folks who seemingly are corrupt, malfeasant, cover up, lack total accountability, lack total transparency, lack humility, lack ethical, moral and Christian values. Their true God seems to be only one and that is the almighty dollar. What a total shame, a total disgrace and how sad!

  17. But the reality is at Parish level people walking out door in droves. This is bound to affect them.

  18. Greatly Saddened says

    The Ecumenical Patriarchate seems to continue to play with the hearts, the emotions and the purse strings of the laity. They seem to take the laity for absolute fools.

  19. Gerry Nepolas says

    This brings back memories, and serves to remind that Karlootsos spin can turn against you as fiercely as for you: