by Robert Arakaki, Ph.D.

It has been more than six weeks since Archbishop Elpidophoros’ controversial celebration of the Divine Liturgy at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in New York City on 11 June 2021. Many among the Orthodox laity are deeply disturbed that one of America’s leading hierarchs chose to use a non-Orthodox venue for the Liturgy, especially one belonging to a denomination associated with heterodox and even heretical views. It is one thing when a mission plant borrows a church building to hold their services. This is done with the eventual goal of their becoming a full-fledged Orthodox parish with their own church facility. It is a very different thing when the appearance is given of ecumenical rapprochement with a denomination that gives no indication of relinquishing their heretical teachings and practices.

On 3 July 2021, Archbishop Elpidophoros returned to St. Bart’s to express his gratitude to Bp. Dean E. Wolfe, the rector. In ecumenical dialogue as in foreign relations, a picture of two prominent leaders being photographed next to each other sends a powerful message worth more than a thousand words.

In the weeks following, it seems that very few of the Orthodox clergy and hierarchs have spoken out against Elpidophoros’ scandalous actions. Many of the Orthodox laity are waiting for our clergy and hierarchs to publicly state that the celebration of the Liturgy at a heterodox venue was inappropriate – an error not to be repeated. It is their duty to make their objections known on this matter. The ordained clergy: bishops, priests, and deacons, are the guardians of Holy Tradition. If they do not speak out, it gives the appearance of their tacit approval. Then it falls upon the shoulders of the Orthodox laity to protest against Archbishop Elpidophoros’ scandalous actions.

Is it Time for the Orthodox Laity to Speak Out?

It is hoped that the Orthodox clergy and hierarchs will step up to the plate for Holy Tradition. Do you know of any hierarch, priest, or deacon, who has publicly objected to what happened on 11 June 2021 at St. Bart’s? Please let us know in the comment section below. Specific details, such as the clergyman’s name, office, location, jurisdiction, and source documentation will be greatly appreciated. Hearsay or second-hand accounts do not count. Information on the context of the statement, such as a church newsletter, Sunday homily, blog post, YouTube podcast, or other social media post feed would be helpful.  We would like to commend those clergymen who have taken the bold stand of going on record objecting to Archbishop Elpidophoros’ recent actions.  A public scandal has taken place and so a public response is needed in order to reassure the laity that our hierarchs and clergy are standing up for Holy Tradition. 

Orthodox piety encourages humility and longsuffering. It seeks to avoid bellicosity and the stirring up of the passions. However, the Orthodox laity in the past has spoken out when the hierarchs failed to defend Apostolic Tradition against heresy. The life of Saint Mark of Ephesus and his struggle against the false union of Florence-Ferrara (1438-1445) provides the Orthodox laity with a useful example to follow in these troubled times.

by Robert Arakaki, Ph.D.


  1. I know that many clergy are deeply reticent about speaking out or making any negative comments about anyone in leadership, or question their actions for fear of the repercussions that affect their livelihood and ability to support their families. It’s the Laity that must take the lead on this issue.

  2. Wonderful article Robert. I commend your forthright bold encouragement and prompting the laity and clergy to engage in a healthy and honest discussion.

    Nick, thank you for re-posting to encourage conversation. Sadly, there are still no public comments. Just silence.

    When the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change, then prayerfully, ppl will begin to speak up and out against these hierarchs.

  3. George, and Fr. Anonymous~
    Obviously this is certainly the case. It would take many strong and brave clergy in unison with big kahuna’s to begin singing truths in order to expose how truly broken and fallen the church leadership is from God’s commandments and covenants. It baffles me that no one at this point has the courage. One can not live in two worlds. There is no gray area in these matters of the church and God. In scripture, it’s black and white (or rather in clear bright red).

    The GOARCH has mistreated many clergy and leadership in its long history of the church for speaking out against them by outright firing or moving them to other smaller, lesser populated parishes where earning a decent living is a struggle. These good Priests have been falsely accused and demonized all while choosing to retain and generously continue to compensate the blasphemous homoloving and pedophiles among the closed brotherhood hierarchy by simply moving them to lesser countries of significance while keeping them on the payroll dole rather than a complete dismissal and jail sentence.

    This is gaslighting at it’s best in that the GOARCH is effectively telling us by not saying anything at all, what we are witnessing and reading about in many publications and lawsuits filed or otherwise, simply doesn’t exist. Their intention is to continue to Deny. Deny. Deny. Has anyone ever heard of the phrase: If nobody talks, everybody walks? Moral bankruptcy is the death of organized religion and the Orthodox Church as we once knew it.

    Where are the Lawsuits? Where in the process of these shenanigans, maneuvers, shuffling of crimes committed and secrecy is the justice? Are these ppl so full of themselves that they think they can continue to hide behind their ornately decorated or black veiled robes, beards, hats and incense? Obviously, the answer is yes!

    The voice of the Laity falls upon deaf ears. We as a group, have been given no authority, credence or significance of any meaning within the church. Why who are we (laity) really? Nobodies. I could care less about the educational level and the so-called “intellect” of AB Elpidophoros and how many languages he speaks. Where he was educated IS the problem not the solution. They are of no more significance than each of us are as human beings.

    This is a much bigger discussion to be had openly than just about AB Elpidorphoros, Pat. Bartholomew, Fr. Karloutsos, his henchmen Archons and the rest of the corrupt brotherhood of the temporal fallen. This is about our religious freedom to worship as God loving and fearing Christians who put their faith not in man, but in God Himself.

    Peter in his comments on another Helleniscope article accurately re-stated “Compliance would be disobedience to our Lord’s clear commands. Obedience to Christ requires disobedience to the magistrate. Therefore, all Christians everywhere whose governments interfere with their ability to worship are bound to disobey.”

    We must disobey and stand up against the church lies and tyranny just as God has commanded us to do so against our oppressive government.

    • Well stated. The laity must take a stand ASAP. Public health laws are being used worldwide to usher in authoritarianism.

      “Everything in this life passes away—only God remains, only He is worth struggling towards. We have a choice: to follow the way of this world, of the society that surrounds us, and thereby find ourselves outside of God; or to choose the way of life, to choose God Who calls us and for Whom our heart is searching.” — Fr. Seraphim 🥀

      I miss church. I miss Communion. I have my Bible. I have my cross. I have my prayers to say. I hope the Orthodox hierarchy return to worshipping Our Lord soon. I am an old woman with little time left. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…help us Lord! We have been forsaken by our holy men of the cloth.


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