By Lawrence B. Wheeler – weborthodox.com (Handwritings on the Wall)
In response to a recent article at Monomachos, a woman named Lina writes, “So, what I don’t get, as an ex-Episcopalian who has watched her cradle church go down the drain over the last several years after espousing the homosexual agenda, is that the GOA (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese) is dead set to follow the same path.” I don’t get it either. That perplexed sentiment resonates with this sad ex-Episcopalian. My own frame of reference with the Episcopal Church started with baptism as an infant in 1954. I was confirmed in 1967, when national membership peaked at 3.6 million members and then observed the decline over the years that ensued.
Here are some of the more noteworthy of the last half century’s hits (i.e., assaults) on TEC, perhaps best spelled out as Today’s Episcopal Clique. The moral relativism that made it possible was expressed in the widely-read book Situation Ethics (1966) written by ex-priest Joseph Fletcher. There was the suicidal apostasy in 1969 of the prolific author Bp. James Pike. The infiltration of the homosexual indoctrination at General Theological Seminary was made possible by Prof. Norman Pittenger in the same godforsaken decade. These were just some of the men who planted the seeds of Satan into Episcopal Church soil at the apogee of its growth and influence.
Three of the “Philadelphia Eleven”
The contra-canonical ordination of the Philadelphia Eleven women in 1974 portended more radical actions to come. The newfangled Book of Common Prayer in 1979, the newer Hymnal of 1980 became the basis for a smorgasbord view of sacramental rites. Then came the shocking consecration of suffragan bishop Barbara Harris (an unqualified divorcèe) in 1989 and the earth-shaking consecration of diocesan bishop Vicky Imogen Robinson (a gay man) in 2003.
Membership in the Episcopal Church has fallen by more than half since its peak in 1967 to a meager 1.6 million today. Of the two million lost over that era, 314,000 were lost in the “twenty teens” (2010 – 2019). Chalk up half of that loss to the general vacating of church pews nationwide. Chalk up the other half to TEC’s revisionist abandonment of Scripture and Tradition while maintaining the outward trappings of religiosity. “Having the appearance of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (II Tim. 3:5). This may be termed the “revolution within the form”. Distrust by the laity of the ever-innovating leadership doomed them. It is my sad observation that the “new and improved” Episcopal Church has squandered its rich Anglican patrimony over the period of my lifetime.
Now, to Lina’s assertion about the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Having watched the TEC “go down the drain”, the GOA is “dead set to follow the same path.” She is puzzled by that. Why are the GOA leadership headed in the same direction? That is the $64,000 question. I doubt whether the GOA has done any serious research into the demographic decline of TEC. Even if they have, they will probably scoff at the precipitous drop in TEC’s numbers. If they look for reasons they may cite the general decline in church attendance across the nation. They may blame the phenomenon on the ignorance of the unsophisticated masses. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if the decline of the TEC hasn’t even registered on the GOA radar. If they had recognized that association with the TEC is a losing bet, why would Elpidophoros have made nice with that heretic Dean Wolfe at St. Bart’s in Manhattan? The celebration of the Divine Liturgy at that parish and the return visit to “talk story” with Bp. Wolfe are indications that Elpi feels a need to get cozy with the heterodox. Or maybe he was just impressed with the Byzantine architecture and the smell of success at a parish with a reputation for the “queering of Manhattan”.
Here are some rounded figures from the OrthodoxReality.org study entitled “The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA) from 2010 to 2020: Changes in Parishes, Membership, and Worship Attendance”. Across the archdiocese, membership has declined from 482,000 to 376, 000 – a loss of 22%. More telling is the reduced number of regular participants over that decade, from 107,000 to 86,000. Again, a decline of about 22% from 2010 to 2020. One can surmise that the decline in GOA has only accelerated during the pandemic by the leadership’s demand for strict adherence to government health mandates. These have gotten parishioners used to the idea of staying home and watching church in their pajamas from the comfort of their living rooms couches.
Maybe Abp. Elpidophoros doesn’t worry about the drop in the number of derrières in pews as long as the archdiocese can keep the cash rolling in. And as long as Pat. Bartholomew’s quota is redirected to Istanbul. My experience on a GOA parish council the last two years of the pandemic confirmed the suspicion that our metropolis was mostly concerned that parish assessments would still get paid despite the crisis. Our assessments for this year roughly equal the total amount of our stewardship contributions from last year. Without another source of income from real estate, our parish budget would not end up in the black.
Speaking of money, what happened to the $100,000,000 that got poured into St. Nicholas’ black hole at the World Trade Center? It’s been more than twenty years since 9/11 and construction on the little church isn’t even finished yet. Oy vey.
Abp. Elpidophoros is a gracious and approachable hierarch, so during a small gathering here two years ago, I felt free to challenge him on some of the salient issues. Whether it was the contention of Constantinople’s supremacy among Orthodox hierarchs or the intervention in Ukraine’s ecclesial organization, his retorts indicated to me that he will not change his mind. Outright endorsement of the queer sexual revolution may still be out of reach for them, but certainly Bartholomew and Elpidophoros seem to be dead set to continue their promotion of other so-called progressive concerns such as ecumenism, environmentalism, and Covidism. Just like the proud Episcopalians, they will not …and that auxiliary verb must be read with emphasis… i.e. they willfully will not revise their trendy agenda despite how disastrous it will likely turn out for them. They will not cease and desist their grasping at global ecclesiastical power to promote it, so help them God.
Maybe Elpidophoros and Bartholomew just cannot change their minds. And, maybe the rest of us are simply fools to pray that they will be able to change. If that is true, it doesn’t make me happy to say that the continued decline in GOA’s membership is likely to be unavoidable.
I think at the GOARCH Leadership 100 a few years ago he was going in the direction of making communion for heterodox spouses married in the EO Church to EOs a new policy, but there wasn’t enough support for it, so he hasn’t talked about it much since.
So it seems like ideas have to get enough traction or low resistance, for him to make it a real policy. It seems that Greek Orthodox in the ranks aren’t usually making a big deal about the CP’s new supremacy claims, but they seem to be going along with it or at least not resisting it, on the whole.
To some extent, the Church of England / Anglicanism was always a bit like this in a way. Henry VIII got the Catholic award, Defender of the Faith, I recall, for a pro-Catholic polemical tract, but when the Pope wouldn’t OK enough of his remarriages, he separated the COE from the RC Church, on the theory that the earthly king is the head of the Church. He was also a bit of a Black Widower 🙁 , and statistically the Crown in his reign used the death penalty about as much as Stalin’s rule, per capita of the population. Then there was the Crown’s rampage destroying the country’s impressive monasteries.
So things got better next in the Elizabethan period, right? Maybe in some ways. But one thing to remember is that if the king and nation are such a defining feature of ecclesiology, then nationwide unity can come at the expense of doctrine. So when it came to the Real Presence in the Eucharist, something odd happened. Most of the COE clergy like Cranmer took Calvin’s view that Jesus’ actual body stayed in heaven during Communion and didn’t objectively enter the Eucharist food. This is called “Receptionism,” and says that the eating is purely metaphorical and in terms of spirituality. The rest of the bishops, roughly speaking, like Bishop Guest, took Luther’s view that Jesus’s body was directly and literally present in the food.
A solution had to be reached because the COE was making its “39 Articles”, which even today have a certain official standing in the COE. First off, Catholic Transubstantiation was out and it gets pilloried in the Articles. Next, each of the two COE factions, Receptionists and Bp. Guest’s side, put in wording meant to teach their own side of the debate. The Receptionist party put in language saying that the (singular) means of “eating” is by “faith”, ie. by believing, not by literal chewing. (Interestingly in John 6, the Greek says tragon / phagon, meaning not just eat but chew, for consuming the Eucharist.) Then, Bp. Guest added into the 39 Articles that Jesus’s body is “given” in the Eucharist, and Bp. Guest said that he did it to have the Articles teach Christ’s body’s objective presence. Later, the Crown added a preface saying that the Articles are to be read literally, which might help strengthen Guest’s interpretation.
Nowadays, based on my unofficial poll and experience, Anglicans
1. Are roughly divided on whether Christ’s body is objectively in the Eucharist food
2. Would say that they agree with the 39 Articles on the topic
3. Would say that the 39 Articles specifically teaches their side of the debate.
Clearly then, each “side” interprets the 39 Articles in agreement with their own position on the topic, without realizing the contradiction.
The Crown also banned Catholicism for a long time and forced everyone to attend only Church of England services. Today, membership in the Catholic Church in England is miniscule, and people typically would belong to the COE if they belonged to any Church. Despite, or perhaps because of this history, already in the 1930’s, regular Church attendance in England was only at about 30 percent of the population, far far smaller than what it was in the US at the time.
Nothing more degenerate has ever happened to GOA than having this Archbishop Elpidoforos.
The late Archbishop Iakavos did GOA a grave injustice not defrocking his satanic employee Alex Karloutsos…
this fake, phony fraud aka the Prince of Darkness truly earns this name.
Organized “religion” is dead. I guess NO ONE–yet, truly comprehends or understands this simplistic explanation for the mass exodus from certain religious affiliations. Analyze it all different ways, however you want to interpret the data and infer, but it doesn’t mean that people are becoming more agnostic or atheist by becoming “unchurched”. It means that people are CHOOSING a different type of church/service to attend outside of the formalized religious organizations where they are joyously opening up their wallets and checkbooks with generosity which can not simply be contained! Please tell me, if the Orthodox still felt this way about the GO Church today, why then has the well runneth dry?
People are no longer buying into the fake churches of a “religious” institution which perpetuate the demonic teachings of a fallen temporal world in which they “pander to all” for the sake of the “all” mighty dollar. Sin has been in existence since Adam and Eve took the first bite from the forbidden fruit. The Greek Church isn’t going to change no matter how deep the roots of tradition or how desperately broke the Archdiocese becomes by stealing the architectural edifices which remain more than half empty or shuttered located on prime real estate throughout the country. Nor will ROCAR, or the Catholic Church, or any other controlled “formalized”, “hierarchal” based “religious” organization change for that matter as they are deeply rooted in “theology” with an ingrained teaching mechanism based on an unending thirst for upward mobility, money, power and greed.
Do you truly think that in order to have God’s gift of anointment in spreading the Gospel, administration and service means that you must possess the requirements and qualifications of a piece of paper with a Theologian Degree? If so, you are then deeply misguided with yet more falsehoods of a fallen secular world.
Christ’s amazing service of ministry and agape love for mankind took place in the last 3 years of His short life as He changed all of humanity forever by traveling to different ancient cities and countries by foot ministering to a simple and broken, common man performing miracles with His disciples bearing witness for those who chose to submit, obey and follow His commandments and covenants. Christ’s mission wasn’t to seek, find and preach or impart His wisdom by traveling to different churches or synagogues as a “guest speaker” back in the day, but through small groups. What does that tell you about “religion” today?
It matters not if the church is Catholic, Episcopalian, Orthodox, etc, etc,. What matters is our relationship with Christ Himself. Simply stated, we do not need an architectural edifice in which to glorify Christ with prayer and petition. If we simply go to church for the sake of having “face time” born out of traditions of men, cultural and ethnic influences/pressure and “duty”, or to just meet up with friends for the coffee hour social pre or post services, it is called “religiosity”.
Having an intimate relationship with our Lord and Savior requires getting into and reading the inerrant Word of God as written in the Bible. Through constant prayer and petition in which we give praise and repentance of sin, submission of our will for HIS for our Father’s unmerited grace and mercy, we are made whole.
Religiosity and religion is about how a fallen man has created a monetary source of income or a tax in which to take from people what is already FREE and readily available to everyone.
The House of Representatives has a bill called The Global Respect Act which aims to limit religious liberty. Please make your friends and family aware of this.
The sinister convergence of Klaus Schwab (front man for the central bank money masters) and Pope Francis are using Liberation Theology to bring in the Great Reset.
The government and churches abandonment of Tradition and Scripture – (Constitution and Bible) are cleverly maintaining the outward trappings of religiosity and rule of law.
Dr. Malone, RFK Jr., Dr. Michael Yeadon, Dr. Tim Cowan, Dr. Peter McCullough, and countless other good men and women are trying to wake up humanity. The MSM media is controlled by the money masters. The MSM media is hypnotizing humanity by fear. Fear is a great motivator to do as the governments say. The governments are beholding to the money masters. The money masters are desperate to build their Tower of Babel.
What should we do? What can we do? There is no future for the children of this world if we do not act now. Each of us must look into our hearts for the answer. As for me, my heart is not for sale to Satan.
The Bible tells us that Wisdom is Christ Himself. We are to proclaim him to mankind. Wisdom speaks to every human being. Wisdom is the truth of the Father and only speaks the truth.
Silver, gold, and precious stones are not worthy to compare with the value of pursuing Wisdom. Wisdom knows all things. The Lord is the Father and Wisdom was established before all time.
God requires separation. From the world system. Gif cannot be manipulated by man. There is only one relief from anxiety and that is hope in the Lord. There is always a bully (money masters,governments, bureaucrats, politicians, church leaders).
There is always a victim. Victims can say NO. We must say NO to save future generations. Do not give your liberty away to the narcissistic evil minded.
Each of us cannot do anything unless we know our own standards and principles according to God. My heart is not for sale to the wicked shepherds.
Lady Margaret Karakas, nobody herein says it better than you –
unless it’s your late warrior father,
the great U.S. Marine and philanthropist
Nick’s bravery spoke the ugly truth for a vast Greek Orthodox audience and it’s deeply missed.
I especially miss his paid written complaints in The National Herald re the obscene expense of St. Nicholas Shrine
and unworthiness of Archbishop Elpidophoros. Sohilarious how he wished him back to Istanbul.
p.s. rumor is Orthodox Church may soon be set free, fairy Elps might be stepping down
and sleazy Anti-Christ Karloutsos too!