UPDATE Monday, August 10, 11 am. An extremely disturbing situation became evident in the process of writing and editing the post below:  The Archdiocese was “informing” parishioners of St.John the Baptist who called to express their anger at the news of retirement of Fr. Vassilios that “the decision to retire was his and he was not forced”… They chose “disinformation” once again… As I have said so many times we are dealing now with untrustworthy Phanariots and we should keep it in mind always… Nothing that they say has any value, only their actual deeds…

By Nick Stamatakis

We have been warning the Greek American community for a long time that GOA leadership, under the weight of the (meticulously kept private until recently) cases/settlements of sexual misconduct and the financial disaster which led to bankruptcy, will inevitably be forced to sell parish properties.  In our case the sale is empowered by the plans of a Patriarch (Bartholomew) and an Archbishop (Elpidophoros) who care less – if at all – for the work of Christ and the ministries of the Church and more for the perpetuation of their own misguided policies and globalist plans (Ukraine’s Autocephaly turned “Cacocephaly”, “Green Patriarch’s” empty ideological fiascos, etc..) This fear among many of us is now part of a new reality presented in a very aggressive way: For AB Elpidophoros time is of the essence and there is really no room for any “sensitivities”, or other considerations.

We all learned last year the tragic end of the magnificent Holy Trinity Church in Chicago.  A few days ago it was officially announced that the building which housed the Metropolis of Chicago for decades, in Chicago’s famous Gold Coast, is up for sale for an asking price of $4.5 million (click here for the news…)  Similar is the situation in the Metropolis of Pittsburgh.  But the real “big deals” are being played in New York, where at least three churches in Manhattan will be going for sale soon: St.George in Midtown’s 54th Street, St. Barbara in Chinatown and St. John the Baptist in 17th Street, in one of the most expensive neighborhoods of Manhattan. Some churches in Queens and Long Island (Whitestone, St.Demetrios of Jamaica and Island Park) are also in the same predicament. In the following we will present and analyze the recent news regarding St.John the Baptist…

Last week the Church’s priest Archimandrite Fr.Vassilios Bassakyros was invited to the Archdiocese where, in the presence of the GOA legal team, it was announced to him that he will retire at the end of the month.  No reason was given except it was evident to him and all that GOA plans to sell the property on 17th Street in one of Manhattan nicest neighborhoods, Gramercy Park. Here is how Fr.Vassilios described it to the parishioners in the parish’s weekly bulletin (click here):

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MY DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST

 It is with a heavy heart and mind to let all of you know that I have been forcibly retired by our Archbishop. My retirement will take place on Monday, August 31 of this year. Be assured that I did not ask to be removed from St. John’s or to retire at this time. It was based solely on the Archbishop’s decision to retire me. I was told that the Archbishop’s decision to retire me was not based on any wrong doing, or dereliction of duty. As a result, the Archbishop is going in a different direction and as such the Archbishop has decided to retire me. At this time I do not know who will be assigned to St. John’s after I leave on August 31, or if anyone will be assigned to St. John’s. The decision is up to the Archbishop, and he has the final say in the health and well being of our beloved St. John’s. I will keep all of you up to date on the situation in the coming weeks and as we get closer to August 31, 2020. God Bless All Of You, and Thank You For Your Love and Dedication to St. John’s. Fr. Vasilios.

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  1. One can feel the sense of despair on the part of the priest – but also on the part of some parishioners we spoke to – for the abrupt and unexplained act of AB Elpidophoros, who once again proves to be a hope-killer (“Elpidoktonos”) and not a “hope bearer”). It was just a few weeks ago that Elpidophoros was announcing, in the now famous teleconference with the Metropolitans, that “he would not force anyone to retire or resign”.  Alas, we forgot that he is is first and foremost a Phanariot, and as such what he says and what he does are two very different things.  Dear readers, you can see now clearly why Phanariots are so deeply hated, from Romania to Africa and from Greece to America…
  2. Nobody could minimize the need to operate active parishes.  But the former AB Demetrios moved years ago father Vassilios from the Cathedral of Manhattan to St.John for this particular reason: to use all his overflowing energy, his faith and his passion and save this dying parish. And he did – no doubt at all. The parish after many years is now as healthy as any parish, with steady attendance and decent financial health.  There is a major problem though, regarding the very old church building, requiring some $800.000 of repairs and renovations.  The notably “handy” father Vassilios, an engineer by profession,  has done a lot of plumbing and electrical repairs himself, but the structural renovations are beyond his reach.  He was candid enough to explain this to GOA.  One thing he could do though, start a renovation fund. And he did…
  3. There are aspects of any possible church closing that are measured by money. The “businessman” Elpidophoros sees the possible “capital” to be gained (between $5-8 million according to some estimates) from the sale of the property. Before Covid-19 a 3-bedroom apartment in the neighborhood could rent for at least $8,000/mo!… Which brings up the next question: Why would anyone proceed to sell now, at the bottom of the market in NYC? Desperation is the one answer… And possible “misdeed” is the other… Let’s not forget that for decades the real estate “expert” Andriotis sold all properties donated to St.Demetrios of Astoria (possibly benefiting himself in the process) while he could easily have established considerable real estate holdings for the parish.  There are many who would jump to get a Manhattan “jewel” for pennies on the dollar…
  4. But there are other aspects of the possible sale which are not measured by money: How can you sell with such “ease” a holy and sacred place? (Please, Your Eminence, do not answer us in the Phanariot way, that you will follow the prescribed “ritual” for closing a Church… We expect that you will at least respect our intelligence and our faith at this point…) A place which many generations of Greek Americans built with hard labor and with all the love their hearts could give? How can you dissolve a small but tightly-knit community who describe themselves as a family? If you are a Church leader and you are here to preach the word of Christ you do not.  On the opposite, you do everything possible to help this Church/parish, you activate policies to attract more parish members from the thousands and thousands of Greek Americans and other Orthodox who live nearby and have been alienated by the misconduct of “leaders” like Karloutsos. But you do not close a Church that may have a chance to flourish… A Church which is loved by its parishioners…
  5. Finally, because our so-called “leaders” have a very short memory, let me remind them that about 30 or so years ago, AB Iakovos had the “bright” idea to close another “little” and “unworthy” Church, another supposedly “dying” community.  He send his emissaries to announce his decision to the Parish council and, given his immense stature and prestige, he thought it would be a “piece of cake”… Not at all… The parishioners loved their little Church, in the heart of the financial life of Manhattan, and made a stand.  They told Iakovos to “forget it” (in as much a nice way as their anger allowed them…) They were able to save their Church against all odds.  Which was that little Church? It was St.Nicholas at the Twin Towers (now Ground Zero)… A “Little” Church blessed with so much love from the parishioners, the Greek sailors and ship owners and everybody else who occasionally visited it and prayed there, that even after its destruction on September 11, its symbolic figure provided so much inspiration, so much good will and so much love, to last a thousand years… It provided enough love, inspiration and good will to cover even today’s self-serving acts of such unworthy “leaders” as Bartholomew, Elpidophoros and Karloutsos… Who stood the other day shameless at the third (!!) re-building “commencement”, undeservedly absorbing the public’s attention…

Let me close by reminding these so-called “leaders” that the history of Orthodoxy and Hellenism was never about “making the numbers”. It was always a history of identity and faith.  A history of prevailing against all odds…

August 8, 2020, n.stamatakis@aol.com   www.helleniscope.com

14 ΣΧΟΛΙΑ

  1. A true leader of the Orthodox faith would never agree to close and sell off so many churches. I am disgusted in the way the Archdiocese is handling this. The legacy of Archbishop Elpidophoros will be of dismantling church parishes and erasing the Greek-American plight in America?!! These churches were built by immigrant Greek families and belong to the community. The struggle of the Greeks in America is embedded in these churches. Closing them and selling them off is sacrilegious and heartless. Lord help us all.

  2. In one of his hymns, he had Christ speaking the following rebuke to the bishops:

    They (the bishops) unworthily handle My Body

    and seek avidly to dominate the masses…
    They are seen to appear as brilliant and pure,
    but their souls are worse than mud and dirt,
    worse even than any kind of deadly poison,

    these evil and perverse men! (Hymn 58)[20]

    St.Symeon the New Theologian

  3. I say lets be an interdependent North & South Orthodox Church of AMERICA , lets cat all ties withe “Fanary” and all their representatives, the are “wolfs on sheep’s clothing” we see, we understand, their Objective,…

  4. PARISHIONERS OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST, DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOUR CHURCH, FAMILIES AND COMMUNITY. WE WILL STAND BY YOU. ALSO, MR. ELPIDOFOROS AND CREW DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO FORCIBLY RETIRE YOUR PRIEST. UNDER THE HUMAN RIGHTS LAW OF NEW YORK STATE AND THE FEDERAL E.E.O.C. LAWS MR. ELPIDOFOROS AND CREW SHOULD BE SUED FOR AGE DISCRIMINATION. AS A MATTER OF FACT THEY SHOULD BE SUED FOR ATTEMPTING TO DESTROY WHAT YOUR COMMUNITY BUILT. AS MY FATHER HAS SAID, HE SHOULD GO BACK “WHENCE HE CAME FROM”.

  5. At the end of the day, ElpiDiddy and his Turkish Boys in the Band, hate the Americanism of Fr. Vassilios, a decorated Vietnam combat vet and Special Forces Combat Engineer (Known As SAPPERS). He still serves as chaplain to his battalion at reunions held annually at the Vietnam Memorial in Wash DC on Veterans Day. In his early 70s, he still spends 2 hours a day lifting weights and he serves his parish as priest, janitor, maintenance man, security, office manager and fundraiser. He has baptized and married hundreds into the faith. He was a late vocation in life and he loves Army football. He spent some time at St. Katherine’s Monastery in the Sinai Desert. He’s one if a kind.

    The former archbishop and notorious liar, Demetrios, assigned him to this neighborhood church telling him it was a suicide mission. “Billy the Greek”, as he was known by his trooper colleagues in Vietnam, locked and loaded, and made this parish into a working small parish with money in the bank.

    So, look, what does this tell you about the Turks that run the church in America? It tells you that they don’t care about their priests or their flock. Christianity is about putting others ahead of yourself, the example of The Carpenter.

    We need to shun ElpiDiddy, KarlLOOTsos, the ChanShellor, and the Archons of Nothing. Don’t talk to them, don’t give them money, don’t read their lies, just CANCEL them and UNSUBSCRIBE. It’s time, they made fools and liars of themselves and of all of us and destroyed the work of the last 150 years.

  6. Thank you for the information on Archimandrite Fr.Vassilios Bassakyros background and history. We will relay all this info to as many military organizations as we can. They need to know about this injustice to him and the Church of Saint John the Baptist and its parishioners.

  7. So glad all you American Patriots enjoyed the bio on Fr. Vassilios.

    With him, now “out of the way” (no notice, no planning), ElpiDiddy and his merry band are now cleared for the following actions:

    1. Dismiss the current parish council.

    2. Install a compliant council composed of an Lying Oligarch, an Archon of Stupid (maybe Fredo), a Pizza Man who wants fame in the Greek world, and one of their female lawyers who dresses in men’s suits and to seize control of the property (which is in the name of the parish) not the archdiocese.

    3. The property needs at least $1m in repairs or it will soon be in comdemed status. It was built in. 1883 and Fr. V has been keeping it going on making wire and chewing gum.

    4. Thus, the “New Council” will vote to dissolve and give the building to the archdiocese who will promptly sell it with all the usual cast of characters taking a piece of the deal and the money going everywhere except where it should.

    Organizations change and have to adjust. But this was handled like the GOA handles all it matters–with lies and no transparency or collaborativeness. Reminding us of the actions of a criminal syndicate, not a church.

ΑΦΗΣΤΕ ΜΙΑ ΑΠΑΝΤΗΣΗ

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