PHOTO: AB Elpidophoros with Bp. Dean E. Wolfe, rector of St. Bart’s


by Lawrence B. Wheeler, B.A., M.Div. (Former Anglican priest, convert to Orthodoxy)

As if to add insult to injury, Abp. Elpidophoros returned on July 3 to St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church on Park Avenue. This is the same “St. Bart’s” where the archbishop and his entourage had served the Divine Liturgy to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of Patriarch Bartholomew’s reign from Istanbul…err…Constantinople. At that occasion on June 11, the archbishop in his non-homily lavished obsequious praise upon his boss saying, “He is a living Apostle of love, peace and reconciliation”. Yeah, tell that to Metropolitan Onuphry and the faithful in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, who have endured ecclesiastical schism, theft of church properties and sometimes even physical violence. That mayhem has been caused indirectly by Pat. Bartholomew’s meddling in Ukrainian politics. Auwe!, as the Hawaiians say. “No!”

This time, Abp. Elpidophoros was at St. Bart’s in a more personal capacity to visit with their rector, Bp. Dean E. Wolfe. The purple shirt you see is the indication of episcopal ordination. Wolfe used to be the bishop ordinary of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas for the thirteen years from 2004 to 2017. Like many TEC dioceses around the country, it is a little liberal oasis in a conservative state. Bp. Wolfe cut a notch in his belt when “he officiated (at) the first authorized Episcopal same-sex marriage in the diocese.” (St. Bart’s website) Of course, there is no such thing. St. Bart’s is a large congregation fully a quarter the size of the whole rural Diocese of Kansas. Wolfe must feel quite at home at that megachurch, where they are actively queering midtown Manhattan.

Regarding the tete a tete, the archbishop said “Ecumenical dialogue and collaborations are vital witnesses to Christ’s teaching and ministry.” We all want unity amongst Christians, but true ecumenism will never compromise the Truth of the Faith in order to make nice with heretics. The stricter kind will seek the return of schismatics to the Orthodox Church. It almost sounds unAmerican to say that, but it’s the inconvenient truth. By revisiting St. Bart’s, the archbishop emphasized his desire to grow closer to the Episcopal Church despite the repugnance of TEC’s promotion of the LGBTQ+ whatever-in-hell-turns-you-on agenda. That is the impression that one is left with.

Certainly a seasoned politician like Abp. Elpidophoros knows well that repeat association with heretics like Bp. Wolfe telegraphs a tacit agreement with their teachings. That, in turn, implies an abandonment of the Orthodox teaching that stands in stark contrast to the heresy. God forbid. We cannot but conclude that the archbishop is sending the wrong message to his faithful followers. Please, we don’t need this, Your Eminence – not after the unprecedented destabilization caused by the events of the last year and a half. Not now.

This author is – used to be – a cradle Episcopalian and Anglican priest who felt the need to leave his beloved denomination because it had abandoned Christian morality. It was not without having first made sacrifices that I renounced my ordination and submitted to (re)baptism as a layman in the Orthodox Church. Imagine my disappointment to see our venerable archbishop flirting in his official capacity with the very Episcopalian heretics with whom I felt the need to part company. Auwe!


  1. Nearly barfed to hear a close to 90 year old friend of my mom mantra her wacky grandkids with” love is love”— listen folks–when the bat – – – – yiayias start accepting this —it’s gonna happen– it will be sugar-coated with fictional claptrap like; Oh, Christ never judged–Oh, churches are like hospitals -the sick go there….. blah -blah-blah…they found a way to bamboozle— prefect word–“bamboozle”– fasten your seatbelts and stay-tuned for same-sex marriages coming to a parish near you…..

  2. I wrote a letter to AB Elpidophoros two summers ago where I begged him to consider his actions and the optics he thereby creates. I stated that my concern was that if Americans see Orthodoxy represented that way, they will immediately recognize a wolf in sheep’s clothing and rather than be drawn to Orthodoxy, they will be repelled by it and that this could cause the number of Orthodox in America to decline even further, eventually dwindle down to near extinction.
    1. It seems that’s what is beginning to happen, he is destroying not building or strengthening.
    2. He still has not answered my letter to this day. Yes It was confirmed that he received it.)

  3. When he first came here– at the very start– I was at a wonderful barbeque with a dozen or so Lebanese Christians- who were enthralled enough by the mere premise of his Lebanese heritage to discuss among themselves ( I needed a translator) the possibility of converting over to our church from the local catholic one. They are still friends– they are conservative- they are professionals– they are humble-they would have supported the church– -As to make a long story short– 2 years have past–last year’s covid 19 restrictions canceled out their annual June barbeque (a birthday of mutual friends) — so we met in the same yard -end of June— half conversed in their language- some some French to each other–some English. Lo and Behold, the conversation turned to the church–I remained silent-as only 2 out of the 25 gathered were christian orthodox,, silence.. crickets– a polite people– no conversions- no going over to our local church– the next day, a Sunday- they would all meet uo at the local catholic church– a polite group who talked 2 June’s ago of their heritage’ hope– will stay catholic…

  4. Faith is not the pin you buy and stick it to your coat lapel. Faith is deep down your inside.
    Faith is ethos, it is the communication with God, either believe or not believe, we do not make the rules, Christ is the ALPHA and the OMEGA, the beginning and the end. God created man and the woman, the male and female, anything else contrary to that term is a sin, the worst sin than all the others.
    Our Orthodox Church is the church and the faith Christ established for all Christians. Pop and others choose to abandon Christ’s church and since then they became Satan’s servants. Our duty your Eminence is to pray for the return of them to the Mother Church until then we have nothing to do with them – leave them alone and let
    God make his miracle. One Metaxakis was more than enough to bring the catastrophe to
    Orthodoxy, please stop right now your approaches with Schismatics, be proud being
    Orthodox, serve your crew right and according to our faith values. If you wish to be loved and
    respected you have to love and respect our Church and become a true defender of our

  5. My point is– she (my Lebanese friend and her Family) were ready to come aboard our true Orthodox Ship) from the Roman Catholic one they fell into on their arrival from Lebanon (where they’re the only Lebanese’ Family)– and with the public ill-advised pronouncements of someone they could have followed-now a moot point— we can’t afford to be losing even one family…. we need to be gaining them…

  6. The Greeks want St Barts real estate so they can dump Holy Trinity and the Towers which have greater value because of the air rights. Barts sold their air rights but it’s a Park Ave address for their ego and GOA can make money on the transaction.

    So will the gays demand that the Greeks fly the gay flag? Will NYC mandate it?

    Oh the toils of running the Byzantine Empire..

    • Dear American: Is THAT what this is all about? Real estate? Are you saying that the archbishop wants to sell their current Holy Trinity real estate and buy St. Bart’s, with it’s splendid Byzantine architecture at a stylish address on Park Avenue? Are you suggesting that the archbishop’s commemorative liturgy for Pat. Bart. and the subsequent chat with Bp. Wolfe are to explore the possibility of buying their property for a new cathedral, and NOT at all about cozying up to the apostate Episcopal Church (TEC). This is about a real estate transaction; not an ecumenical effort? What proof do you have?

      • Well, Larry, yes, I am suggesting that St Barts has been for sale before because it sold it air rights and has no value. How do you think Goldman Sachs built a new 40 story tower headquarters on Park? They bought the air rights to St Patrick’s on Park for huge money. Air rights are transferable. Holy Trinity and Cathedral Towers are dumps, but have value for its size and air rights. If GOA could engineer what I think they’re trying to engineer, they could net out more than $100 million. Proof? Byzantium doesn’t deal in proof, it deals in intrigue, so get with the program. Where’s your proof that the Greeks want to merge with the Episcopalians? The WASPs are smart and wealthy. What do they want with broke-ass Greeks with no followers? If they want lovers, they can find them in the West Village to their heart’s content. Larry, be as cunning as the Serpent, please.


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