PHOTO: Metropolitan of Mesogaias Nikolaos
Is there any Orthodox hierarch who would be able to save GOARCH and guide her to the new era? Yes, there is ONE, and yours truly had proposed him a few weeks before the election of AB Elpidophoros: Metropolitan Nikolaos of Mesogaias (here is his short bio), and he checks every box. BUT ONLY IF HE IS ENDOWED WITH AUTONOMY OF GOARCH!!! There are others (Nikitas of Thyateira, Nathanael of Chicago), but they have blemishes and cannot even approach Nikolaos’s stature. No, I have not asked if Met. Nikolaos is interested in coming back to America. But with God’s will and the Patriarch’s request, he might. If Pat. Bartholomew truly wants to save this Church and revitalize it, then the only serious choice is Nikolaos of Mesogaias, endowed with autonomy for the Church of America. In many ways, NIKOLAOS IS A MAN OF GOD!!
But the Patriarch can also continue to be the contrarian that he is by character, and then it is only a matter of a few years before most faithful of America have moved to ROCOR and the other Orthodox denominations… Let’s see if his masters at the State Department will be happy with the possibility that most Greeks in America are under the Moscow Patriarchate!…
By Nick Stamatakis
Maybe every 2-3 years, we in the news business experience the avalanche of daily developments we have been watching in our Church during the last week. Today the orgasmic pace of news continued unabated:
- Early in the morning, our friend George Michalopoulos of Monomakhos.com came up with the breaking news from trustworthy sources inside GOARCH: “BELYA BOOTED”, his headline was screaming, referring to the postponement of the ordination of “Bishop-Elect” Alexander Belya, formerly defrocked Bishop by ROCOR (the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia).
- At the same time, Kalmoukos and TNH reassured that the Patriarch “who was convinced by Elpidophoros to elect Alexander Belya, as he has convinced him unfortunately on other issues” WILL NOT BUDGE AND TAKE BACK THIS ELECTION OF BELYA…
- Only hours later, the Orthodox Observer announced the “Postponement of Ordination of Bishop-Elect Alexander of Nicopolis” (see below)!!, Belya, “in a spirit of the careful responsibility for the preservation of Orthodox Christian unity in the United States of America”… Amazing!!
- A day earlier, the Assembly of Bishops had issued a second letter to AB Elpidophoros (You can read the lengthy letter below), basically rebuking his response to them and threatening “schismatic action”: They would not accept, tolerate or recognize the elevation of Alexander Belya to the episcopate.
- Meanwhile, it becomes clearer by the hour that the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, which will take place on Monday in Athens, will have many ways to rebuke the Archbishop’s deceptive action and overall heretic performance in the infamous baptisms.
- This would pass the baton to the Holy Synod of the Phanar this coming Thursday, July 21st. Elpidophoros will be present, and AB Nikitas of Thyateira (heavily rumored to succeed Elpidophoros) will also be present as a regular member… I would bet anything that this Synod will be announcing the end of Elpidophoros’ tenure in America.
A. If there was any doubt that AB Elpidophoros would survive a series of missteps and mistakes on every single issue for the full three years of his tenure in America, NOW THERE IS NO DOUBT AT ALL THAT HE IS FINISHED. It’s just a matter of how exactly he will be “executed” by the Holy Synod of the Phanar on July 21st…
B. The reasons for his failure are clearly – and very mildly – described by the anonymous letter of the priests “Rocks, Thorns and Birds,” which we published yesterday. Everybody agrees that the priests were refrained and rather minimalistic in their descriptions of the many aspects of GOARCH mismanagement…
C. The whole situation is made much worse by the total failure of Phanar policies on Ukraine: The Phanar caused a schism in Orthodoxy because of their insane and anti-canonical Ukraine policy, and was about to have to deal with another Schism in America!! To put it bluntly, the Phanar has already lost the battle of religions in Ukraine – no matter how the war there ends!! And it would be guaranteed to lose Orthodoxy in America if all Orthodox Bishops presented a unified front against Elpidophoros – which they did!! A total disaster!! We already have many examples of Greek-American faithful moving to ROCOR, Antiochean, and other Orthodox denominations – and this trend will accelerate if Elpidophoros keeps his throne…
D. In order to make any correct decision for the future of GOARCH, the Patriarch and his “entourage” (including Karloutsos – who is in his “last hurrah” despite the Biden “medal”) have to assess the situation with clarity: There is no way on Earth for this Church to be dependent on Phanar and there is a clear and present danger to lose most faithful to ROCOR and other denominations. Is this what they and their masters at the State Dept. want? To have most Greek-Americans under the Moscow Patriarchate?
E. The Patriarch would be well-advised to not focus primarily on the successor of Elpidophoros but rather focus on the Charter and specifically on autonomy for the Church of America. Many have suggested the paradigm of the “Autocephalous Church of Crete” for the Church of America over the years. The patriarchate has many hierarchs who can attest to this – as they come from Crete!! Makarios of Australia, Emmanuel (Adamakis) of Chalcedon (formerly of France), and Prodromos of Rethimnon. The last two were at the Clergy-Laity Congress!! They had enough opportunity to see the wrong path GOARCH has taken with their own eyes: The faithful are thirsty for spirituality, and instead, they get secularization!! The C-L Congress was disgraced with belly dancing singers from Greece! The faithful demand transparency and accountability, and they get silence!! Characteristically in the C-L Congress, during the Charter Panel discussion, the first question from the audience was about this issue, and the Archbishop played deaf!!
The Patriarch should not make one more mistake – he has made more than enough during his tragic 30-year tenure. The right choice is not about the person of the next Archbishop; it is about endowing this person with a charter leading to an autonomous and potentially pan orthodox Church of America.
Is there any Orthodox hierarch who would be able to save GOARCH and guide her to the new era? Yes, there is ONE, and yours truly has proposed him a few weeks before the election of Elpidophoros: Metropolitan Nikolaos of Mesogaia (here is his short bio), and he checks every box. BUT ONLY IF HE IS ENDOWED WITH AUTONOMY!!! There are others (Nikitas of Thyateira, Nathanael of Chicago), but they have blemishes and cannot even approach Nikolaos’s stature. No, I have not asked if Met. Nikolaos is interested in coming back to America. But with God’s will and the Patriarch’s request, he might.
If Pat. Bartholomew truly wants to save this Church and revitalize it, then the only serious choice is Nikolaos of Mesogaias and autonomy for the Church of America. In many ways, NIKOLAOS IS A MAN OF GOD!!
But the Patriarch can also continue to be the contrarian that he is by character, and then it is only a matter of a few years before most faithful of America have moved o ROCOR and the other Orthodox denominations… Let’s see if his masters at the State Department like the possibility that most Greek-Americans move under the Moscow Patriarchate!…
July 15, 2022, email@example.com www.helleniscope.com
DISCLAIMER: The views and statements expressed in this article constitute constitutionally protected opinions of this author.
Postponement of Ordination of Bishop-Elect Alexander of Nicopolis
NEW YORK – In a spirit of the careful responsibility for the preservation of Orthodox Christian unity in the United States of America, the episcopal ordination of His Grace Bishop-Elect Alexander of Nicopolis has been postponed until a consensus has been reached. His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America is committed to engaging in an open dialogue of brotherly love and understanding with the other heads of jurisdictions of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the U.S.A., while at the same time determined to prioritize constructive partnership and cooperation.
The Assembly of Bishops is a unique venue where all the Orthodox Christian jurisdictions participate in the building of Christ’s Body in America through dialogue, joint program development, and concelebration. As Saint Paul proclaimed: “You were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)
ASSEMBLY OF BISHOPS SECOND LETTER TO ELPIDOPHOROS
“His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
10 East 79th Street
New York, NY 10075
Your Eminence, Beloved Brother in Christ,
Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
We have received your individual letters to us in response to our common request for reconsideration of the planned consecration of Alexander Belya. We delayed answering you because we did not want to detract from the joy felt by all Orthodox Christians in this land at the consecration of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and Shrine at the World Trade Center and the celebration of the Greek Archdiocese’s centenary during your recent Clergy-Laity Congress. We pray, despite this difficult situation we face, that those occasions were full of blessings for you and all the hierarchs, clergy, and faithful of your Archdiocese.
Since you have often expressed concern that our Orthodox witness is hampered by acting as a confederation of churches rather than one Body of Christ, we were disappointed that you replied to us not as a unifying Chairman to the Assembly partners but merely as the head of one jurisdiction to the individual presiding hierarchs of other jurisdictions. This disappointment is compounded by Your Eminence’s choice to disregard the impact this proposed episcopal consecration will have on all of us, not just the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Beloved Brother in Christ, our letter acknowledged the right of your Mother Church to elect Alexander Belya but, at the same time, lovingly asked you to reconsider this decision in light of the consequences for Orthodox unity. Curiously your letters to us merely restated this right (which we have never disputed) while completely ignoring our concerns.
In the words of the holy Apostle Paul, ‘All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but the other’s wellbeing’ (1 Corinthians 10:23- 24).
Our letter asked Your Eminence to remember, as Chairman of the Assembly, that your actions impact all our jurisdictions. Surprisingly, your letters in response reprimanded us for our choice of letterhead. Yet it is precisely because we wish to maintain our unity in the Assembly that we are expressing our concerns in this way. As a majority of the Executive Committee, we are addressing our Chairman in order to prevent harm to the Assembly. This is a matter of vital importance to this body, and it should indeed be addressed in this way – corporately and in an official context– regardless of nitpicks over procedure.
Our previous letter expressed concern that creating even more nationalistic ecclesial bodies would further confuse the faithful and muddy our canonical situation in this land. Your response to us, in turn, made a passing reference to preexisting ethnic jurisdictions that joined the OCA during the chaotic era of the Cold War (not dissimilar to the ethnic Albanian, Carpatho-Russian, and Ukrainian jurisdictions in America that exist within your own Patriarchate). Your justification for creating your own new ethnic vicariates – if the OCA has something similar, why can’t we? – is not pastorally sound logic and ignores the historical context that gave rise to those realities.
Likewise, establishing a vicariate within an existing ethnic jurisdiction with the sole intent of poaching dissatisfied people of another canonical jurisdiction is unprecedented and could prove to be destructive and undermine our stated goal of unity. In this particular case, the so-called Slavic Vicariate is actively soliciting churches and clergymen from other canonical jurisdictions to join it (see their webpage, www.slavonic.org/en/ requirements).
This is uncanonical and, frankly, offensive to all of us. Needless to say, Your Eminence would not appreciate one of our jurisdictions creating a Greek or Cypriot vicariate in order to take advantage of discord among members of your own community. We are painfully aware of your very recent attempt to procure a blessing from your Patriarchate to create a Moldovan/ Romanian vicariate under your Archdiocese, based in Chicago, despite the existence of two Romanian Orthodox jurisdictions in America. We are grateful to the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for its wisdom in declining to bless your proposal.
Our letter asked Your Eminence to reconsider a decision that would further complicate the return of our Russian brothers to the Assembly. Instead of addressing this concern, your letters deflected and changed the subject to whether or not individual jurisdictions have condemned the invasion of Ukraine strongly enough. Let us, however, focus on the matter at hand.
Our letter charitably refrained from detailing our concerns about Alexander Belya. Your replies seem to discard all of our concerns as mere hearsay, so we are compelled to specify the two most glaring examples, putting aside some of the more personal ones. First, you received Belya in October 2019, after he was canonically suspended by his competent church authority on September 3, 2019. Any prior ‘general’ letter of release (which itself is not canonically normative) purportedly signed by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, our brother of blessed memory, would thus mean little to nothing from a canonical perspective, even if it were authentic. The fact of Belya’s suspension is beyond dispute, and (to our knowledge) he has not even appealed the canonical judgment as provided in the canons. You often point out that, while the Russian Church broke communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has not reciprocated this action and thus remains in communion with the Russian Orthodox Church. If this is so, how do you explain receiving a clergyman from a Church with which you are in communion without first resolving with that Church the matter of his canonical discipline? You stated that Metropolitan Hilarion ( and ROCOR, more generally ) never contacted you, but did you bother to make inquiries with them in light of this strange letter of release and knowing that the former Archimandrite was under suspension and investigation for serious canonical and ethical charges?
Second, Belya has brought a civil lawsuit against the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in direct violations of both Holy Scripture (1 Corinthians 6:1- 8) and the Holy Canons (Canon 9 of the Council of Chalcedon and Canon 6 of the First Council of Constantinople). This fact alone should prevent him from becoming a bishop. We cannot recall another instance in which a man has been proposed for consecration to the episcopacy in America and, by extension, membership in our Assembly of Bishops while carrying on such a clear and public violation of the canons. In addition to being blatantly uncanonical, this lawsuit threatens the legal interests of all our jurisdictions and, indeed, all hierarchical churches in the United States. The Roman Catholic Church has even offered their legal services to ROCOR because they realize the devastating consequences of such a lawsuit as this, which is being actively prosecuted by a cleric supposedly under your omophorion. We do not understand how you can endorse the episcopal consecration of the very man who is pursuing such an anti-hierarchical action against a fellow Orthodox jurisdiction, which could be detrimental to all of us – first of all, to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America!
Your Eminence, Beloved Brother in Christ, the issue we have brought to you is a simple one: will we function merely as a confederation of jurisdictions or as the Body of Christ in America? We are called to rise up to the challenges of this historical moment rife with civil discord, rejection of the evangelical commandments, famine, pestilence, and war. Our broken culture needs the Orthodox Faith, not a broken Orthodox Church in this land. This moment requires more from us hierarchs than simply a reassertion of our jurisdictional rights, especially when doing so harms our united witness to a land thirsting for the life-giving Faith ‘once and for all delivered to the saints.’
Once again, we ask Your Eminence and the Ecumenical Patriarchate to show an example of love and service, for the sake of all the Orthodox Christians of this land, and to uphold the canonical order bequeathed to us by the Holy Fathers, particularly when it comes to such a fearsome responsibility as choosing men for the Sacred Episcopacy. We reiterate our position, which cannot be compromised, that we cannot and will not concelebrate with Alexander Belya or his vicariate, and we cannot continue to participate in the Assembly if this man is elevated to the episcopacy and thereby, according to the Chambésy rules, joins the Assembly as a member. You are, of course, free to consecrate him; we, in turn, are free to avoid any dealings with him.
We offer our fervent prayers to the Holy Apostles for a renewal of the conciliar spirit manifest when they met in Jerusalem and declared: ‘It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.’ We ask Your Eminence to join us in this spirit of conciliarity and to work together in a manner that transcends the narrow interests of our separate jurisdictions.
With love and great esteem in Christ our Lord, we remain,
Your brothers and concelebrants,
Metropolitan Joseph, Vice Chairman
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
Serbian Orthodox Church in North, Central and South America
Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas
Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada, and Australia
Orthodox Church in America
His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
Members of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the USA.”
Elpidophoros Letter to the Assembly of Bishops
June 29, 2022
His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese
358 Mountain Road,
P.O. Box 5238
Englewood NJ 07631-5238
I greet you warmly with a salutation of peace and love in our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ.
It is with great sadness and some surprise that I received your letter dated June 27, 2022. As you may recall, I had announced the recent election of His Grace Bishop-Elect Alexander Belya of Nicopolis by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as well as his upcoming ordination, during our last executive committee meeting of the Assembly on June 16, 2022, and no one said anything or expressed any concerns nor opposition at the time.
The Assembly of Bishops is a unique place where Orthodox unity is fostered. In the 2020 Vision document, we all insisted that: “We commit ourselves to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3) by adhering to the principles of canonical order, of liturgical concelebration, and pastoral cooperation on every level of our Church life.” However, our work towards unity is contingent on our ability to preserve our independence, as our bylaws suggest: “The decisions of the Assembly shall not interfere with the responsibility of each Bishop for his eparchial jurisdiction, or restrict the rights of his Church…” (Bylaws, section 1.5) The same prescription was also repeated in the decision of the Holy and Great Council of Crete (2016) on ‘The Orthodox Diaspora.’ Thus, the decisions by the Ecumenical Patriarchate to allow the creation of a Slavic Orthodox Vicariate in America and to elect His Grace Bishop-Elect Alexander Belya of Nicopolis adhere to the same rule that applies to other Orthodox Churches in the country with vicariates or ethnic dioceses. In light of the above, even the use of the Assembly’s stationery for your correspondence could be considered inappropriate and in contradiction with the mission of the Assembly.
Dear Brother, I have always been completely transparent with you and all our brother hierarchs with regard to the incardination and recent election of His Grace Bishop-Elect Alexander Belya of Nicopolis. I have heard your concerns, however, having received all the necessary documentation, including a valid release letter from the late Metropolitan Hilarion, and in absence of tangible proof of misconduct, based on our very thorough diligence process – and not on rumors – his canonical incardination was processed.
Furthermore, I have never received any correspondence from our beloved brother the late Metropolitan Hilarion, of blessed memory, of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) regarding issues with the then V. Rev. Archimandrite Alexander Belya. In comparable circumstances, I have always preferred direct contact and an open line of communication, just as we have had many opportunities to work collaboratively in the past. On the contrary, the Moscow Patriarchate and ROCOR have decided to withdraw from their participation in the work and life of the Assembly of Bishops over the jurisdictional situation in Ukraine. I had hoped that the current war and unjust aggression by the Russian Federation in Ukraine would have created a sense of solidarity and justice among us and recommitted us all to Orthodox unity in America. Regrettably, we witnessed the opposite effect, so that many of our brothers were unable to condemn the cruelty of this unjust and illegal war, and even worse, sought to silence the Assembly from speaking out against these horrific and unchristian actions.
Your Eminence, Orthodox unity is vital a priority of my ministry in this country and the Assembly is the essential vehicle for such unity. The many accomplishments over the last past years, the spirit of fraternal synergy and the collaboration that brought us together during the time of the pandemic, and the various missions through the agencies and organizations that rely on the Assembly for auspices should be our focus. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the Assembly continues its work, and it is my fervent prayer that you will sustain your commitment to this mission inasmuch as our witness in America is so dearly needed.
Praying that the Lord of mercy and compassion will inspire us to walk together on the way towards deeper communion, with unity being our ultimate witness to Christ’s sacrificial love, I remain,
With fraternal love in Christ,
ELPIDOPHOROS Archbishop of America
INCREDIBLE Resume Met. Nikolaos!
This is a true leader – he blows out of water all other contenders – a philosophy degree, taught at Harvard, worked as scientist at NASA?! Wow… and truly lived on Mount Athos monastery – Elps never did;
…if nothing else, Metropolitan Nikolaos looks like an Archbishop for America too —
Elpi never looked sophisticated, more like comic strip Baby Huey.
Exciting news if Nikolaos becomes Archbishop
The fish smells from the head….the root of all evil. Bart gotta go! Heck, why not place Metropolitan Nikolaos as Patriarch and be done with it! Once we become American autocephalous, then we can find another true man of faith as AB…. Can we do this?
Nick, I’m surprised that you even mentioned Met. Nathanael of Chicago as a possible successor of Elpidophoros. The man is a complete train wreck; he is one of the American bishops of the GOA that countersigned the declaration of ‘Autocephaly’ for the fake OCU (Orthodox Church of Ukraine), along with Met. Alexios of Atlanta. I saw ANAXIOS!
I know many of the problems Nathanael has displayed but I also have heard nothing but good words from those in Chicago who have dealt with him in everyday life… We do not have many choices… as I said, next to Nikolaos of Mesogaias all other are midgets…
Befuddled you’d mention Met Nathaniel as he’s radical leftist & parishioners hated him.
If there really is only one bishop out of that entire Patriarchate that would be right for the job then that just proves the amount of spiritual decimation the Ecumenical Patriarchate has caused.
If Archbishop Nikitas does replace Elpidophoros like has been claimed then we’re back to where we just were with Belya in regard to the Assembly.
Archbishop Nikitas approves of the OCU and just recently stated that he plans on opening OCU parishes in the UK. The Assembly of Bishops here in America would never agree to that because if they did they would an open revolt in their own jurisdictions (not denominations) and all of their parishioners would flock to ROCOR like Greek Americans have done.
Metropolitan Nicholas is indeed impressive and he would probably be a good fit, especially since he is under the Church of Greece and not the EP. But, again that’s predicated on his stance of the OCU. They won’t be tolerated by any other canonical bishop here in America.
Metropolitan Nicholas is one of twelve bishops in Greece who voted against recognizing the fake Church in Ukraine. He is good on everything. I have to wonder if it is possible for a serious Archbishop to lead the Archdiocese without a purge of everyone there.
There is also the fact the Greek government has an influence on the Archdiocese. That has to end and ultimately the Archdiocese needs to break from the Ecumenical Patrarchate.
The removal of the present Archbishop is a good first step but everyone involved in bringing about the scandals needs to be removed as well.
Thank you for the clarification Theodoros!
I must strongly disagree with you about Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago. You are completely wrong! He has a false facade. He has 7 people working in his office so he doesn’t have to do a thing. It takes months to schedule a meeting. He is a poor liturgist. Makes terrible comments after liturgy to the congregations. I don’t even think he has even visited every parish yet. The priests do not want him. Many of the faithful would gladly welcome his departure. And his Chancellor is no better.
Chicago is a dying under Metropolitan Nathanael. It’s all about money and barely anything concerning real ministry.
When it comes to Chicago, you might want different sources!
Unfortunately false facades are our main problem, starting with double-faced Phanariot Elpidophoros
Thankfully, the Primates of the Greek Orthodox Church are hearing the cries for intervention as we continue to write demanding HELP and change! Where may I ask have the dear Concelebrants been and what has prevented them previously from acting out in UNITY and good faith until waiting for the 11th hour to pass? I question their motives at this late juncture. Have they finally realized that the AB has jumped off the cliff taking the Greek Orthodox Religion into the dark abyss dragging them with him? Over the next two weeks, we will all witness firsthand just how severely the canonical leaders will admonish AB Elpidophoros and how far they are willing to go in demanding the immediate release of Belya preventing him from becoming another rising, bumbling, embarrassing fool in the Archdiocese.
Please do not misunderstand me, I am not a doomsayer, as much as I am guarding my heart exhibiting extreme caution; like many of you who are also holding your breath, waiting on the sidelines with hope and prayers of a resounding exodus of Elpidophoros, his regime of co-conspirators, and the Patriarchate with complete autonomy of the American church from it’s Turkish stranglehold. Nothing less mind you will suffice. NOTHING.
Let’s be honest with ourselves and question as I do with love and eyes wide open to the past mistakes, egregious accounting deceptions, poor judgment and disgraceful behaviors of others who have defaced the Church, as having an extremely difficult time being able to trust any future decision(s) made by a monastic who wears Mitres and Klobuks regarding the Orthodox Church in America. I’m not saying all monastic hierarchs are tainted, but how will we honestly know the difference? We must continue to pray for not only their enlightenment in speaking truths following the Holy Spirit from within in guidance staying true to Orthodox canons and scriptural beliefs but ours as well.
Regarding any future speculation as to whom the “best” candidate for Archbishop of an American Orthodox Church would be, I would caution not to jump overboard with excitement! While a Harvard degree is nothing to sneeze at, we must look carefully and take into consideration the background history, including place of birth, writings, resume, beliefs and more importantly, the actions/behaviors which these educated men outwardly espouse. We all know the significance of just how a liberal education can indoctrinate beliefs rooted in secular pop culture. On which side of the political spectrum do they fall and how will that affect and guide their decisions going forward as being the best for the Orthodox Church. As I have said before, this candidate must first have a spiritual calling upon which his gifting must include Church Administration. An American-born Archbishop would hopefully be better capable of understanding the cultural psyche of its parishioners, in order to develop, cultivate, spiritually feed and lead both the hierarchy and the faithful following ultimately, to theosis.
Margaret, so far, I haven’t seen any suggestions of such an American-born person. And I have been thinking and talking about this for a long time… I am waiting from our audience to make real suggestions and I will just say here that this possible, American-born, candidate does NOT have to be a bishop. It can be anyone, even a deacon with the skills, the charisma and the talent to lead the Church. Well, go ahead my friends! After all Orthodoxy is democratic in its essential organization – that’s why the proclamations AXIOS and ANAXIOS have such a grave meaning! They refer EXACTLY to the election and the character of the leaders!!
Nick, unfortunately for the faithful laity, who are never given a true voice or say in church matters except perhaps, at the local parish level, the Orthodox Church operates solely autocratically– not democratically.
There are many wonderful Priests who, if given the opportunity could rise to the occasion IF, the church proceeded with autocephalous succession. If not, it’s time to start another church where priests are welcome with open arms and will be treated with respect and have dominion over their parishes.
Below is definition of Autocephaly. Why is AMERICA NOT AUTOCEPHALOUS YET???
Autocephaly is a developed practical concept in the Orthodox Church. That is, it is not part of the original organization of the Church but developed over time for practical reasons. Though many arguments are put forth regarding how autocephaly is properly obtained, the historical and canonical record shows a good deal of variation.
In Antiquity, certain areas developed for various reasons into self-governing Churches, with groups of bishops organizing themselves into synods or councils with a primate. These self-governing areas were then confirmed in their position by the others and recognized as such.
Some were simply recognized according to tradition (i.e., “small t” tradition), meaning that the bishops of certain prominent cities in the Roman Empire were recognized as primates over the surrounding regions, by virtue of the size of those cities, the importance and influence of the Christians living in them, and the tradition of honor accorded to them:
The Church of Rome
The Church of Constantinople
The Church of Alexandria
The Church of Antioch
In other cases, autocephaly was granted by an Ecumenical Council:
The autocephaly of the Church of Cyprus was recognized at the Third Ecumenical Council (431).
The Church of Jerusalem was declared a Patriarchate with primacy in its area (over the claims of the bishop of Caesarea) at the Quinisext Council (the council “in Trullo”, in 692), which established the canons of the Sixth Ecumenical Council .
Sometimes, autocephaly was granted by one mother Church to a daughter Church:
In 466, the Church of Antioch elevated the bishop of Mtskheta to the rank of Catholicos of Kartli, thus making the Church of Georgia autocephalous.
The Orthodox Church in America received autocephaly from the Church of Russia in 1970 (though that action is still not formally recognized by many of the other autocephalous Churches).
The Orthodox Church of Ukraine received autocephaly from the Church of Constantinople in 2019 (though that action is still not formally recognized by many of the other autocephalous Churches).
But there were also cases in which two different Churches both claimed to be the mother Church of the same daughter and both granted autocephaly to that same daughter Church, at different times:
The Church of Poland received autocephaly from the Church of Constantinople in 1924. This was not recognized by the Church of Russia. The Church of Russia granted a separate tomos of autocephaly to the Church of Poland in 1948.
The Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia received autocephaly from the Church of Russia in 1951. This was not recognized by the Church of Constantinople. The Church of Constantinople granted a separate tomos of autocephaly to the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia in 1998.
In some cases, autocephaly was simply declared by the Church in question and then eventually recognized by the others:
The Church of Russia declared autocephaly from the Church of Constantinople in 1448 because the Russian Metropolitan appointed by Constantinople had accepted the Union of Florence and converted to Catholicism. In 1589, Russian autocephaly was recognized by the four Patriarchs existing at the time, and the Metropolitan of Moscow was also proclaimed a Patriarch, fifth in rank behind the others.
The Church of Greece declared autocephaly from the Church of Constantinople in 1833, following the Greek Revolution against Ottoman rule. The autocephaly of the Church of Greece was only recognized by Constantinople in 1850, and a tomos was granted at that time.
The Church of Romania declared autocephaly from the Church of Constantinople in 1865. There were strong protests from Constantinople, but Romanian autocephaly was recognized in 1885.
The Church of Albania declared autocephaly from the Church of Constantinople in 1922. This was recognized by Constantinople in 1937.
And finally, there have been Churches that received autocephaly, then lost it (by being incorporated into other Churches), then received autocephaly again. It is a matter of controversy whether it is legitimately possible to abolish autocephaly after it has been granted, or whether “losses” of autocephaly represent abuses of power:
The Church of Bulgaria received autocephaly from the Church of Constantinople in 927, then was re-incorporated into the Church of Constantinople in the 11th century, then declared autocephaly again in 1186 (recognized in 1235), then lost autocephaly again, then was declared autocephalous by a decree of the Ottoman Sultan in 1872. This created a canonical mess condemned at a council in Constantinople in 1872 (by way of condemning phyletism), which was eventually sorted out decades later. Bulgarian autocephaly was recognized by Constantinople for the third time in 1945.
The Church of Serbia received autocephaly from the Church of Constantinople in 1219, but the Ottoman Turkish authorities prevented the Serbs from electing a Patriarch between 1463 and 1557, then abolished Serbian autocephaly entirely in 1766 (incorporating the Serbian flock into the Church of Constantinople). The Church of Serbia received autocephaly again from Constantinople in 1879.
The autocephaly of the Church of Georgia (originally granted in the 5th century by Antioch) was abolished by the Imperial Russian authorities in 1811 (after Georgia had been annexed by Tsarist Russia). The Church of Georgia later declared autocephaly again in 1917. This restoration of autocephaly was recognized by the Church of Russia in 1943 and by the Church of Constantinople in 1989.
Margaret Karakas, the so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) is a very poor example on your list. It’s composed of schismatics, defrocked clergyman, and self-ordained laymen, and is heavily influenced by the Uniate Ukrainian Catholic Church and Neo Nazis of western Ukraine. They like to beat up the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox—priests and old ladies—and steal their churches. Very, very bad people!
Alex, I’m not arguing good or bad examples. The argument is for an autonomous, autocephalous church.
Why do they just not pull someone from one of the monasteries?
They literally have monasteries full of American men who are bishop-worthy
Why can’t I find via online
The National Herald the despicable story of Elpidoforos doing gay baptism?
Anybody seen it?
Is TNH covering this fiasco?
I think they did but in a very “marginalized” way… But I am sure they are feeling the anger of the people…
Why can’t I find via online
The National Herald the despicable story of Elpidoforos doing gay baptism?
TNH really devolved in banning comments!
Anybody seen it?
Is TNH covering this fiasco?
I think it’s here
Thanks JK – but vomit inducing to see those rich homosexuals flaunting disrespect on holy church alter – truly satanic.
Notice TNH won’t allow comments?
They can’t take hearing uproar!
Neither does the Pappas Post allow comments anymore. The only article recently printed there was the one on the Prince of Darkness Karloutsos receiving the fake Medal of Freedom Award from crony buddy Buyden…Two birds of a feather…
It is possible that Met. Nathaniel of Chicago would give AB Elpidoktokos a run for his money.
Reality needs to be faced. There is an Autocephalous Orthodox Chrisitan Church in the USA, it is the OCA. It has been autocephalous for over 50 years. Whether anyone wants ot admit it or not. The OCA is a reality, and has functioned idepentently for over 50 years, yes over 50 years. This is an undisputred fact.
Now additional three points of reality need to be faced.
1) According to to the studies of Alexi Kindratch, the Eastern Orthodox Christian Churches in the USA are dying In the past we grew through immigration, but we have lost generations because we have not nurtured our youth, acted like an American church, in fact many of us have acted as though the USA is not our native country and that we owe no alligience to it.
2) The is no longer any place or tolereance for etho-centricity. 100% English and no nasal Byzantine chant. The only Eastern Orthodox Church music that has a chance with Americans is that of the Russians – why, because the American culture and ear are aculturated to that type of music. That is reality. We all need to stop being ethnic ghettos, and unfortunately that is how we are viewed.We need to become part of the fabric of the USA. We are not welcoming to non ethnics and always foist our dthnic ways upon them.
3) According to my reseach and observations, the best candidate for a bishop is an American born widower. Life long celibates are out because not having has a family, they do not know, nor appreciate the trials and tribulations that their parishioners face daily. To them life ia all theory. If we are an American church then we need to staffed only by Americans. Americans who understand American culture and how to survive and grow. We need to make a committment to be an American church, and build American institutions – for examlple look at what Danny Thomas did with St. Judes. We do not have anything like that on American soil, nor have we even sponsored and built a wing to it. It must be realized that the era of the thick accent, foreign born and educated, poor English speaking prelates and clergy is over. If we do not, all of our churches will become museums. And this is what Alexi Kindratch’s studies are showing.
My brothers in Christ, it is now the time to fish or cut bait. Just look at the programs, policies, outreach, publications, videos of our Christian Cousins, the Oriental Orthodox, here in the USA. We truly can leran alot from them.
Bottomline – the major objective is how can the GOA join with the OCA, under OCA leadership ( because the OCA is Autocephaoous and the GOA is not) in a positive and productive manner to strengthen the Eastern Orthodox Christian presence in America, become part of the fabric of this great country, and become a model of Christian love, harmony, and cooperation. A united American Eastern Orthodox Chrisitan church that all of our members and especially our youth can truly be proud of. it is time that we cease being a group of ethno-centrics who spend more time in non Chrisitan bickering and Byzantine politics than doing the work our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ commissioned us to do.
It is unfortunate that we have never learned to play nicely in the sand box, and this destroys our cedibility as a valid Christian church.
May God Bless us all, all if this is just heart breaking, just heart breaking.
Some of us like Byzantine chant. I am all in favor of deposing the Archbishop and breaking away from the Phanar. English is the language of the people so it should be the language for the liturgy in America.
It is not necessary to do away with Byzantine chant or many Greek traditions. We can all have unity in America while maintaining various Greek, Slavic, and other traditions. These are matters to be discussed if we ever get serious about unity here in America.
What’s the point of an autocephalous GOARCH? If that’s what one wants then go to the OCA, which if anything should be a cautionary example of such a bullheaded approach.