Many of our avid supporters have been perplexed about our sudden disappearance from providing information and open feedback about the events surrounding the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. We simply want to remind our supporters to have no fear. We took some time off during the season of our Lord’s nativity to pray and reflect. As one can imagine, our publications have reached a wide audience. During our absence, there were many days where we have 5,000+ people viewing our page each day, even with nothing new being published.
With this being the last day of 2020, we wanted to conclude the year with some things that our GOA Hierarchs are attempting to quietly hide. Let us bring this information out of the darkness and into the light of a new year!
Bishop Timothy of Hexamilion “Hot Mic” Scandal – On Saturday, December 19th, the community of Saint Sophia in Elgin, Illinois held a Thyranoixia and Agiasmos Service to celebrate the official opening of their new Church edifice. In attendance were both Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago and Bishop Timothy of Hexamilion. Bishop Timothy once served as the Proistamenos for the Saint Sophia parish. The entire service was live-streamed, but unfortunately, it appears that the video has been severely edited to only have the first 15 minutes made publicly available online. Why? What is missing?
The video ends as everyone enters inside the Church. As the faithful are restricted from attending in-person divine services due to Covid-19, the Metropolis of Chicago is deliberately engaging in tactics to prevent the faithful from even viewing services online. Why? It might have something to do with the alleged comments that Bishop Timothy of Hexamilion made while everyone was inside the Church. At one point there was an opportunity for certain lay leaders to offer celebratory remarks to the community.
One person to speak was Mr. George Karas, the Parish Council President. The alleged reason why the full video showing the service is not available in its entirety is because Bishop Timothy was allegedly heard over his microphone, while vested in the Holy of Holies, calling Mr. Karas rude and derogatory names – which do not bear repeating – as the Parish Council President was giving his remarks. In fact, we have been contacted by several parishioners of the community stating that there is a formal request for Bishop Timothy to offer a public apology for his distasteful comments.
Of course, Metropolitan Nathanael is desperately trying to cover up this “hot mic” moment. The odds of Mr. Karas receiving a public apology are non-existent.
The National Herald legitimizes our work and publication – On December 29th, Mr. Theodore Kalmoukos published an article with The National Herald titled, “Metropolitan Nathanael Prohibits Reading of Patriarch’s Archbishop’s Encyclicals.” This article came in response to our previous publication, which exposed one of the most bizarre Christmas encyclicals to ever be written throughout the history of the Holy Orthodox Church by a Metropolitan of the Ecumenical Throne of Constantinople. It was rather shocking that Mr. Kalmoukos actually took a moment to stop supporting the misguided narrative of the GOA and Ecumenical Patriarchate by writing an article against the Patriarch’s “Golden Boy.”
Of course, we all knew it was too good to be true because Mr. Kalmoukos caved by “unknown” pressure and removed the article exposing the email sent by Bishop Timothy of Hexamilion to the clergy of the Metropolis of Chicago regarding the prohibition of reading the Christmas Encyclicals of the Ecumenical Patriarch and Archbishop. But is there still proof the article existed? Please see the screenshots below.
The English version has been removed from their website, but the Greek version is still publicly available.
Why would Mr. Kalmoukos cave under pressure and retract his story? One theory is that The National Herald removed it at the request of Archbishop Elpidophoros in order to not legitimize the criticisms of our website. It is common knowledge that Archbishop Elpidophoros is suppressing multiple Greek Media companies from publishing any valid criticism against the leadership of the GOA. This theory partially explains why people and media companies who were once critical of the GOA no longer speak out in support of truth and honesty. Instead, they publicly throw their support behind leaders who are running the Orthodox Church into the ground.
The day following The National Herald’s removal of the article concerning Metropolitan Nathanael, Mr. Kalmoukos continued his attack against Metropolitan Methodios of Boston without any mercy.
Does the GOA owe money from the PPP loan? – As we all know, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America received nearly $2.5 million dollars from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Forgivable Loan that was authorized by the U.S. Federal Government. There are rumors circulating that the entire amount will not be “forgiven” by the loan provider.
As we all know, the forgivable loan was intended to provide paycheck assistance funds to companies in order that they not furlough or terminate their employees. Despite receiving $2.5 million dollars, the GOA still had to furlough over 10 employees, who still have not been rehired. In fact, we have received confirmation that Archbishop Elpidophoros has authorized the hiring of new employees, while continuing to disregard the old employees that were left jobless by the GOA. We have received confirmation from priests in both New Jersey and New York that the Archbishop and Chancellor of the Archdiocese have approved at least one new employee to begin working at the Archdiocese effective in February 2021.
The GOA received funds and it still was not enough to pay their employees. In addition, there are rumors circulating that the GOA may have to repay over $600,000 dollars from the loan! You read that correctly. Where is the GOA going to get $600,000 dollars? This certainly was not budgeted. Will the Archdiocese ever become transparent about what is happening?
Lack of transparency continues in the GOA – Speaking of budgets, on December 15th the Archdiocesan Council convened to continue the so-called “work of the Archdiocese.” A generic press release was made available that offered no substance about what decisions were made. We do know that Cathy Walsh sparked a controversial discussion when she introduced a resolution about how the new Charter would be formed. Of course, Archbishop Elpidophoros does not want the faithful to know this and expects the faithful to not ask questions. In fact, His Eminence is counting on it.
The press release states that the Council approved a balance budget. Seriously? How? When will the faithful get to review and analyze this balanced budget for 2021? Which departments and ministries are going to be eliminated? Which ones will be spared from receiving any cuts? It has been over two weeks since their meeting and the leaders of Archdiocese still cannot act in a timely manner to publish the balanced budget for all the faithful to review. The days of the faithful simply accepting the word offered by the leadership of the Church are no more. Our leaders need to be responsible and take meaningful action to restore the trust that is gone.
This is why it is imperative to question what is happening with the new Charter of the Archdiocese. It has been two months since the Ecumenical Patriarchate suspended the GOA Charter, and the Archdiocese has deliberately issued no update about what changes the faithful can expect with the new Charter. In fact, the Archdiocesan Charter is expected to be in a state of suspension until October 2021.
We do know that Father Alex Karloutsos is refusing to accept reality, again, by telling the Archdiocesan Council members in a video that was made public, that the Charter (which is currently suspended) was forced on the faithful by Archbishop Demetrios. In reality, it was the Ecumenical Patriarchate that approved the current Charter. And if we assume that what Father Alex is saying is indeed true, what makes this current change of the Charter any different? Archbishop Elpidophoros is forcing it to change once again without any direct input or feedback from the faithful, much like Archbishop Demetrios did. It is the same game, just with different players.
Since Archbishop Elpidophoros does not want to be transparent, we will attempt to explain one theory that is circulating around the Archdiocese about the changes the faithful can expect with the new Charter. What can we expect to be different? The running theory is that every parish in the United States will be under the direct control of New York. There will be no Metropolises or dioceses. Archbishop Elpidophoros will control everyone and everything! Metropolis properties will attempt to be sold in order to collect on some quick cash but there is no guarantee. After all, Chicago’s previous Metropolis building has been on the market for nearly 150 days with no buyers in sight.
Archbishop Elpidophoros lied to the faithful! – How can we be certain that Archbishop Elpidophoros wants to control everyone and everything? Well, simply look at what His Eminence is doing to the Archdiocesan Benefits Committee.
This Committee was established by Archbishop Iakovos to be an independent committee that would not be subjected to manipulation and control by the hierarchs of the Church who are not actively invested in many of the clergy benefit programs. In fact, the Committee has its own bylaws. However, Archbishop Elpidophoros does not care about regulations or bylaws. His Eminence is intentionally disregarding them in their entirety.
The recent press release for the Archdiocesan Council stated that “the Archdiocese, Archdiocese Benefits Committee and the Archdiocese Presbyters Council have been working cooperatively come up with a fundraising solution that is acceptable to all parties and will secure the future of our clergy.” We know this to in fact be a blatant lie. The Archdiocesan Benefits Committee was ordered by the Archbishop in early October when the Charter was suspended to cease from having any meetings without His Eminence’s direct permission. The Archbishop has intentionally lied to the faithful. In fact, the Archbishop has prevented the ABC from working cooperatively with any other group.
Over the past two months, the Archbishop has actively been changing the membership of the Benefits Committee. Father Nicholas Karloutsos is no longer the elected clergy representative for the Direct Archdiocesan District. That responsibility has allegedly been transferred to Father Demetrios Kazakis. But that does not mean Father Nicholas will no longer be serving on the committee.
Archbishop Elpidophoros appointed Father Nicholas Karloutsos as His Eminence’s personal representative on the Benefits Committee. This also explains why Father Nicholas has suddenly been assigned as the Dean of the Holy Trinity Cathedral and why the Archbishop has also elevated him to the rank of Oikonomos. There can be no doubt that Father Nicholas Karloutsos is the Archbishop’s puppet, his henchman, his “yes man.”
When Father Nicholas speaks up at the clergy benefits meetings, it is no longer to represent the interests of his brother clergymen, but rather it is to support the interests of the Archbishop. Please make no mistake; those are two completely different sets of interests. Archbishop Elpidophoros was embarrassed when his plan to severely gut the clergy pension program did not go according to plan. And now, His Eminence has devised a new way to maintain control in order that he can continue to ruin the clergy benefits for generations to come.
Hierarch Assignments – On December 22nd, the Holy Eparchial Synod convened by teleconference. One of the items on the agenda was the assignment of Synodal Hierarchs as Chairmen of “newly composed Archdiocesan Council committees.” Because the members and leadership of the Eparchial Synod and the Archdiocesan Council are not being transparent, the faithful have not been properly informed as to what these new committees will be responsible for doing. Nor do we know which hierarch was officially assigned to be “Chairmen” of these committees.
Why is this important?
The first reason it is important is because it has been stated by more than a handful of clergymen that Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago will now become the Chairman of the Archdiocesan Benefits Committee. What does Metropolitan Nathanael know about pensions, life insurance, or health insurance? The committee membership was intentionally designed to be composed of elected clergy representatives from each Metropolis in order to not only make sure the clergy are sufficiently represented, but more importantly this was done so that they can oversee their own pension program without any direct manipulation from their employer.
With the inaugural installation of a hierarch serving on the Benefits Committee, the “employer” via Metropolitan Nathanael is taking active steps to control the Committee in order to conform its purpose to support the employers own agenda. What is its agenda? To restructure the clergy benefits from a Direct Benefits plan to a Direct Contributions plan, which is an attempt to eliminate any responsibility of the Archdiocese from investing in the financial welfare of the clergy.
The Archbishop did not get what he wanted when His Eminence attempted to blind-side the clergy before Clergy-Laity, so now His Eminence is seeking an alternative approach.
The second reason to take note and be concerned about hierarch assignment is because of how our hierarchs continue to downplay their responsibility, especially when in hindsight we can see how they permitted the financial disaster to occur in the GOA over the last decade.
Take for example the hierarchal assignment of Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit who has recently served as the Hierarchal “Chairman” or liaison of the Archdiocesan Finance Committee. How long has Metropolitan Nicholas been serving in that capacity? Years? And if His Eminence wasn’t the hierarch assigned of the Finance Committee, who else was before him?
As a GOA financial disaster was occurring in the Archdiocese, our hierarchal liaison took no responsibility for anything. All our Metropolitans denied knowing anything was even wrong! The obvious point is that having a hierarchal liaison or chairman does not mean anything significant. If a hierarch serving as a Chairman of Committee is somehow supposed to convince the faithful to trust the GOA leadership, then Archbishop Elpidophoros is naïve. Our Metropolitans intentionally chose to ignore the signs that something severely wrong was happening behind closed doors.
Even if we are to trust that our hierarchal liaisons spoke about these significant issues during the Eparchial Synod meetings, any effort by the Eparchial Synod to seriously address the challenges went no where.
In summary, Archbishop Elpidophoros has one goal for 2021: it is to upend the entire GOA in order to micromanage every component of the Archdiocese. At the same time, our Orthodox Church continues to avoid working on any real ministry programs for the benefit of faithful and our communities. The Church is barely operating. The bulk of the current employees working for the Church are only those whose sole responsibility is to collect funds from the parishes in order to make sure that they themselves receive a paycheck. That is not ministry!
Let us pray that the GOA leadership will stop operating in secret in 2021 and start becoming transparent before all the faithful jump from the sinking ship.