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Rocks, Thorns, and Birds: Anonymous Letter By GOA Clergy and a Call to Action!

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EDITOR’S NOTE (Nick Stamatakis): This is an anonymous letter by our Clergy, a letter that TNH refused to publish (justifying their journalistically atrocious action with a commentary “Truths but Anonymous” by the “theologian” Kalmoukos). As if TNH and the “theologian” do not know what it would mean for any priest to publish complaints of any sort against the hierarchy: next opportunity, he would be transferred to a parish on the other side of the country, and he would have to drag his presbytera and children with him… In any case, the priests explain the anonymity in the post scriptum…   But the most important part of the letter is its call to action at the end of it: 1) Question the party line. 2) Protest appearances by Archbishop Elpidophoros and his representatives. 3) Support Each Other. 4) Pray.

Let’s listen to our priests – they are telling the truth…

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Rocks, Thorns, and Birds

By Clergy in the GOA (1)

The Parable of the Sower was front and center during this year’s Clergy-Laity. Seemingly
everyone from elder Metropolitans to secretaries received the same icon. What does it say
about the competence and creativity of the current staff running the Archdiocese that
almost no thought was put into purchasing meaningful gifts for the “honorees”?
In the Parable of the Sower, we learn to take care for how we cultivate the earth of our
hearts, and to do so, our Lord offers some cautionary examples. The seed falls on rocky
ground that is too shallow to take root. Some seed falls among thorns that choke out the
good efforts. Other seed is devoured by demonic birds. Ironically, these mass-produced gifts doled out by the Archbishop, with the same ease that he doles out pectoral crosses and “this or that” of the Patriarchal Throne, are a self-condemnation.

Truly – what administrative unit of the Church in what jurisdiction has shown itself to be
more shallow, thorny, or full of vultures in the past three years than the Greek Orthodox
Archdiocese of America?

Rocks

The current Archbishop of America and his court are obsessed with image. Management of social media accounts is outsourced to paid professionals, official portraits are more heavily airbrushed than the cover of People magazine, and detractors are blocked or hidden. It doesn’t matter if anything of substance is said or done, it only matters how it is perceived. The reality is that the Archdiocese and its institutions are more broken than ever. Instead of tackling issues and working towards long-term solutions according to a plan, a series of band-aids have been applied to a terminally ill organization.

The current Archbishop and his “court” – a sick imitation of the Patriarchal court in
Constantinople – must have good press and must have a good image. Why? It is the key to
the current Archbishop’s ascent to the throne of Constantinople. History shows that
coverage in the American and Greek press both made and broke Archbishop Iakovos and
Archbishop Spyridon. The current Archbishop understands this, so instead of trying to
serve the Church, he is more interested in serving his own ambitions. If the Greek
government or the Turkish government doesn’t think he is a failure, he can become the
next Patriarch. If the faithful in the United States do not put up a public fight, he can
become the next Patriarch.

Archbishop Elpidophoros wants to cement his future using the techniques of mediocre
politicians. Sadly, many people fall for these cheap tricks. They don’t see past the surface
projection to understand the reality of the situation. Many, if not all, of the early “wins”
that Archbishop Elpidophoros has claimed to demonstrate his success are in fact total
failures. Look into any of them and see the truth for yourself: Clergy-Pension Fund, HCHC,
and the “unity” he’s brought. Consider the consecration of a half-finished National Shrine of St. Nicholas. What reason was there to perform the rite of Consecration for St. Nicholas other than for the Archbishop to add another feather in his crown? It won’t be liturgically functioning as a parish for quite a while and there is money that is still owed on the project. All other parishes wait for a mortgage burning for the consecration – why was this different? Think about it this way: the spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese used a sacrament, a mystery of the Church, to solidify his own image of success. No one else could find it even conceivable to use the relics of a great saint, holy chrism, and the mysteries of our Church for a shallow PR stunt.

Thorns

Any good that was planted during the past three years has been choked out by the
incompetence of the Archdiocese and the current Archbishop. Archbishop Elpidophoros has
brought some of the least talented people from the Orthodox world to our shores. They have no real skills or talents, but they are blindly obedient to him. This blindness leads to a
system of mediocrity – an ecclesiastical version of North Korea. Loyalty to the Archbishop
leads to promotion through the echelons, while people starve spiritually in dying parishes
like prison camps. These imported clerics that have been transplanted here attract to them
the least talented people from our soil: plagiarists, liars, unstable personalities, and
shameless self-promoters.

The Greek-Americans and GOA clergy that would otherwise be excluded from positions of authority have power now, having found an easy way to climb ladders: sucking up. Any threat to the new system that they are building is met with thorns. They snuff out any earnest attempts to do good and preserve the future of the Archdiocese. Their tendrils wind around the throats of the naïve, pressing in, choking, and cutting till the good efforts are squashed. We see these thorny tendrils in the Archbishop’s fingers twisted in the top of his pateritsa, we see them in the manicured hands tapping away on phone screens spreading lies through WhatsApp messages – texting with the Archbishop like he is a gossip girl from junior high, we see these thorns in the glittering teeth that smile and then bite with venom.

Birds

Spiritually, the demonic birds are swooping in, screeching with talons, ripping up the seeds
of the Word of God in the GOA. The devil and his servants are given free reign, they are
invited in to ravage the faithful by the impious and immoral actions promoted by
Archbishop Elpidophoros. Our Archbishop encourages fighting, divisiveness, and anger. He
yells at people with hate and rancor when he does not get his way. He invites scantily clad
pop singers to lead the faithful, even the clergy, to writhing in the darkness of a nightclub
as a “celebration” of the Centennial of the Archdiocese. He mocks the idea of going to
Confession at clergy retreats, boasting that “In the Poli no one confesses.” He uses the
sacrament of baptism to promote lifestyles that fly completely in the face of our Tradition.
The joining of innocent babies to the Church is not an issue (God grant them every good
thing) but the use of this holy mystery to condone and promote the lifestyle of their “family” is despicable.

Through his actions and leadership, he has opened the door for the devil and his demons to
fly among us. Is there a greater evil than to defile the Church by using Her to “bless”
temptation and leading the faithful to sin?

Calls to Action

Question the party line. Recognize the plastic smiles. Understand that image is the
only thing that matters to anyone. The seed will continue falling on this shallow,
rocky earth of narcissism for as long as we the Greek Orthodox faithful buy into
these cheap tricks. Don’t be tricked by smoke and mirrors.
Protest appearances by Archbishop Elpidophoros and his representatives. If you see that he or one of his bishops is going somewhere in your Metropolis: simply don’t go.
Until he can be physically removed, we can at least cut him off from our Church here
in America by ignoring his presence. We can starve him from that rotten milk on
which his ego is nourished: attention.
Support each other. Many people want to see a change but are afraid of retribution.
We are stronger together. Talk with your friends, your priests, and your hierarchs
about this message. At your next Parish Council meeting, Clergy meeting, or
General Assembly get up and start the revolution in your parish. Many people from
Metropolitans to those in the kitchen baking cookies agree that Archbishop
Elpidophoros needs to go but will not say so publicly. We cannot be broken when we
are defending what we love. We cannot be broken when we are united in an
authentic love for Jesus Christ and our Church.
Pray. Pray for God to deliver us from Pharaoh, to send us a Moses to lead us from
this subjugation, and for the Archdiocese to be saved.
This is our Greek Orthodox Archdiocese – stay involved, don’t run away to a different
jurisdiction. Continue to strive in earnest for our parishes, built with the blood, sweat, and
tears of our ancestors, to become good earth.

Together we can cleanse our land of rocks, thorns, and birds.

Postscript

This message is shared anonymously because there is no system to escalate ethical issues
and violations within the GOA. If clergy want to report a concern, there is no legal
protection for whistleblowers, nothing to protect us from retaliation. As a religious
institution we can be fired or punished without any legal recourse to protect ourselves or
our families. Frustrated faithful that wish to see more active, public protests from clergy in
the GOA need to understand that many of us would be suspended and prevented from
serving you in the GOA or another jurisdiction even by one act that can be labeled as
seditious. By banding together to demand a new Archbishop we can also work towards a
future where questioning authority will not lead to punishment.

(1) This message contains facts, not rumors and gossip. We are in positions to know the reality of things

23 COMMENTS

  1. The GOA shows all the classic signs of a toxic organization.

    A common characteristic of all dysfunctional organizations is the systematic abandonment and eventual suppression of the truth, and its substitution with half-truths, distortions, and lies. Once truth no longer supports and validates everything that happens in a company, management’s ability to understand what is really going on, take corrective action, and make the right decisions is compromised.

    Executives gradually lose touch with their employees and their customers. Poor decision-making becomes rampant. Trust erodes and problems engulf the company. If this decay is not reversed, then the dysfunctional organization degenerates into a toxic workplace. Problem solvers are ignored, truth seekers are discouraged, and truth speakers are silenced. Management inevitably loses touch with reality and pretends things are fine when they’re actually getting worse. More disasters inevitably follow as employee morale rapidly declines and employee disengagement spikes. (Pursue Your Freedom and Happiness, Ch. 12 – Dysfunctional Companies Ignore Reality and Silence Truth Speakers)

  2. Are you kidding Nick. You of all people have failed to publish anything that does not fit you narrative.

    It is you trying to justifying your journalistic atrocious actions. You will probably delete this as well.

    • I certainly delete or edit disrespectful comments, and I had to edit your because you were very disrespectful, and if you revealed your identity, you would be served with a lawsuit based on the falsehoods you wrote…
      BUT YOU WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO WRITE THIS – OR ANY – COMMENTS AT THE NATIONAL HERALD, WOULD YOU? NO, YOU WOULD NOT BECAUSE THEY HAVE DISABLED THEIR COMMENTS… WHY DID THEY DO THAT? MAYBE BECAUSE 95% OF THE COMMUNITY LET THEM HAVE IT?

  3. Η Ορθόδοξοι ιερεις κατάντησαν όμοιοι των παπικων! Σαπίλα και βρώμα ! Λυπηρό !!!

    • As a convert of 26 years who raised pious children in the (corrupt) Greek Orthodox Church of America I’d like to say a few things..1) Converts did not join your business. We joined the True Church – but hierarchs don’t care. 2) Converts likely attend more services more often than cradles, and know more about the faith – but hierarchs don’t care. 3) Give more to the church than your average “Greek” – but hierarchs don’t care. 4) Are not infantile idiots who don’t see how the hierarch is operating, but we trust in the Church that Christ gave us in spite of the politics – but hierarchs don’t care. 4) Some converts are not strong and stubborn and flee from the hierarchical corruption and lukewarm priests/parishes – but hierarchs don’t care – they have billionaire/millionaire Greeks to support them.. seems that is all they care about.

      • You are absolutely correct with your statements. I am also a convert. I converted from the Episcopalian/Anglican nightmare that destroyed that so-called “church.” I hate to witness the tragedy that is now happening to the GOC.

  4. “Happinesses can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the Light.”-A.D.

  5. What leadership ? With Rasputin Karloutsos
    crime family & now Karloutsos is a diva wearing his
    Medal of Freedom as if to say now I got pardons & Feds can’t touch me act!
    GOA is a sinking ship & even the
    Assembly of Bishops is ready to bail out.

  6. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I’ve personally seen this heretical, egotistical egotism, not at the seminary, not in law, not in banking. The only time I’ve ever seen such corruption is in politics. Where do I sign? He and his kind only understand one thing besides ego…MONEY! No wonder it’s all disappeared. No wonder they won’t open the books. While we are at it…does Biden pardon Karloutsos and Fredo?

  7. Anyone who left Anglican Church for
    Greek Orthodox has to be freaked out…
    at least with Episcopalian you know what to expect,
    Greek leaders are sneaky…
    the Elps tried to set up perverse baptism in L.A. but was stopped …
    thank writing is on the wall,
    Elps must be removed.

  8. The other jurisdictions have spoken through their bishops, and now the very GOA through their own clergy.

    The current members of the synod of Constantinople will *not* stop. They do not depend materially on anyone who has spoken, their very means of actions and existence depend on people whose values and intents are counter to everything holy the Church holds dear. They are not misguided pastors, they are enemies of the Church who, like the Herodian guards, deliver the head of the Prophet to Salome and her mother.

    They did not shun from proclaiming heresies, they did not shun from provoking division in the Church in America and in the world, they did not shun from commiting moral abuse, they did not shun from abusing the sacraments for promoting their careers and sin. They will *NEVER* stop if they are not stopped by an Ecumenical Council.

    The next appeal from bishops, the next letter from clergy should not be addressed to the public or to the very perpetrators.

    It must be addressed and sent, physically and by email, to all the bishops and patriarchs of the other jurisdictions begging for an Ecumenical Council that put a stop not to Constantinople, but to the individuals in it who abuse this most venerable see and dare put it at their own service, and at the service of sin. These individuals – who their broher bishops and patriarchs can pinpoint better than us the small ones – have to be dethroned, defrocked and at least one or two probably deserve excommunication. Are we going to wait until they die and their surviving accomplices canonize them? I don’t think we should.

    It’s one thing to exact mercy on the sheep and the shepherds. But I just wish there was more mercy towards the sheep and the true pastors than to wolves in shepherd clothes.

  9. It is rather interesting that this anonymous letter started circulating shortly after a secret meeting allegedly took place in Europe between EP Bartholomew, Father Alexander Karloutsos, and Archbishop Nikitas!

    I would caution Helleniscope from publishing letters allegedly from clergy. The last blog to do that, while credible and had information that could be individually verified, had clergy that suddenly and mysteriously died in a relatively short amount of time.

    It seems like this letter was planted by a comrade of Karloutsos to circulate a position that would justify Bartholomew taking action to remove Elpidophoros at this time. Time will tell, but Bartholomew doesn’t like to ask for forgive or even acknowledge his mistakes. I doubt he will removed Elpidophoros because that would mean two things:

    1) That means he would have to acknowledge he made a bad decision, and

    2) The Holy Spirit isn’t really working to help guide the Church, let alone, and electing our hierarchs.

    Time will tell, but don’t hold your breath. Just don’t go down with the sinking ship.

    • Our main concern in Helleniscope was whether this letter is truthful. Nobody doubts that, not TNH, not you, not anyone…
      You are WRONG about Karloutsos being involved in the publication of this letter. If Karloutsos were involved, then TNH would publish the letter. Going back 45 years (you can check TNH archives) TNH has not published, one sentence, not one word against Karloutsos. They are in bed together… Ultimately controlled by the powers that be in DC, which tragically believe that by controlling our Church and our community, they advance their goals… And they destroyed this Church and damaged the Greek-American community. It’s up to all of us to get united and find ways to re-build.

    • Let me respond! I am an elderly convert to the GOA. Hellenescope woke my eyes up to the filth and corruption of the GOA. A GOA priest told me “Bring everything to the Light!” That’s what Hellenesope did! My heart is broken by the GOA hierarchal bastard devils. Amen!

  10. I read the postscript and understand why the clergy want to be anonymous. However, I am reminded of the story about an Episcopal priest some years ago who had a new couple join his parish after they had moved into the area. After a few weeks the new couple met with the priest and told them they were very pleased with him and the parish but even though they were both baptized Episcopalians they did not believe in God. The priest thanked them for their honesty and told them not to approach the chalice when it was time to receive the Eucharist because he would no longer serve them.

    The next morning his bishop called him and asked the priest how long it would take him to get to his office. The priest said within the hour. The bishop told him to come immediately. When he got there the bishop informed him that the couple had contacted the bishop and explained what happened and were very upset. The priest told the bishop that the couple confessed that they were atheists. The bishop responded by telling him, that he didn’t care. These people were baptized Episcopalians and he was to serve them communion. And if the priest didn’t like it he could resign. The priest told the bishop, “You’ll have my resignation in the morning.”

    The priest left his nice salary and retirement and became a priest in the OCA, which was not known for its salary nor its retirement (I’m not sure about now).

    • An absolutely didactic story… Faith comes first before anything else… And I have heard recently that some priests are about to resign. This is a still developing crisis. From the looks of it, the local Metropolitans are still holding the faith’s line, and they are not budging. My personal prediction: Elpidophoros’s tenure will be over at the end of the July 21st meeting of the Holy Synod at the Phanar…

  11. What is this madness regarding meaningful gifts? If you are being honored is this not enough of a gift? Why not take the money spent of gifts to people who make their life’s objective in acquiring gifts and honor, and use that money to help the poor, the sick , the suffereing. Why not, for example, do a true Christian American outreach gesture and give everyone a certificate that says that a donation was made in their name to a special charity such as Tunnels to Towers. Now that would be a true worthy and Chrsitian gesture, wouldn’t it? It would set a great example and be a mesningful act of charity.

    We spent much too much time and effort on the externalities of the faith and forget the internatities of the fsith. A good leader leads by example, so if we are to lead our faithful to Christ, should we not show them the way? Is not this way through Christian Charity, Chrisitan Mercy, Chrisitan Love? Material things are for the secular, spiritual things are for the holy aren’t they? So isn’t focusing on those who are more needy not the proper way to go? Isn’t this what our Lord and Savior teaches us?

    For example, millions were wasted on edifice at ground zero, but how much was set aside for Tunnels to Towers, a charity funded because of loss on 911, and one that helps the most unfortunate. Was the head of T to T at the dediction and was presented with a hefty check? What would have been the Christian thing to do? A mature American Christian church would look at how they can help those in their American community and not self perpetuate inside their ethnic community. God help us all!

  12. Until the laity actually take the dogmas of the Church seriously, nothing will change. God gives us priests we deserve, and Bishops – why has the Greek Orthodox diaspora lost 80% of its children in the next generation? How many Greeks are first-Greek and second Orthodox? Who don’t care if protestants and catholics are called ‘brother and sister Churches’ by their deluded wolf ‘theologians’? The main GOARCH page on sacraments calls the other ‘churches’ (including unitarian sodomites) ‘disfigurements’ of Christ – as if Christ, the God-Man, perfect GOD perfect MAN, can ever be disfigured! Why is GOARCH promoting ‘faith learning’ of buddhist and pagan worshiping Indians! Why does none of this horrify you? Why do you stay? Because its all secularism. God help us ALL to repent, and come back to Him – may the Greeks once again arise as a LIGHT in the Church.

  13. “2) The Holy Spirit isn’t really working to help guide the Church, let alone, and electing our hierarchs.” That is rubbish, everyone has free-will! EVERYONE! God is the head of the Church, and nobody else. Read instead what the Saints say about the types of shepherds God allows for His wayward flocks as a form of CORRECTION. Read Church History, the Lives of Saints – St Basil was an ISLAND of Orthodoxy in a SEA of ARIANS, and we think the Church has failed and God has left us because our secularism has GIVEN US secular priests and Bishops? WOE TO US and Lord forgive us all!

    >>
    St Joseph the Hesychast: “crooked ways are given to a crooked people.”
    >>

    Blessed Fr Athanasios Mitilinaios:
    Priests are a product of this society. They are citizens of this society. We often say ‘the priest of our parish doesn’t cut it, is not up to our standards.’ Why, is the parish good? Is the people of the parish spiritual. My friends, we are at the point where a member in good standing is one who adds a couple hundred dollars to the Church treasury annually. And consequently, these are the members that give birth to the priests. The parish brings forth the priest. The children of this parish will become the future priests – again our people in the community provides the priests, and the priests reform the people – so there is a reflection between the priest and the parishioners.

    So God sends priests according to peoples hearts, and in order to punish a people He sends them bad shepherds. Of course it goes without saying, God will punish the bad shepherds.
    >>
    See OrthodoxTalks on the covidism – there is an ENTIRE section on bad bishops, bad councils, and BAD LAITY.

  14. The Lord knew that corruption would exist in His Church. Perhaps that is why He chose Judas as one of the original 12. Let us remain faithful and true to Him as every good thing comes from above. At the proper time, He will remove the thorns and refresh the soil of His Church to flower with the glorious “Lilies of His Field.”

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