[ditty_news_ticker id="27897"] 90% OF PEOPLE OF GREEK DESCENT HAVE LEFT THE ORTHODOX CHURCH - Orthodox Christian Laity



Nick Karakas

I had originally intended that this column would further explore the importance of women in the early church but will offer it in the coming weeks.  What blew me off course was a recent column by a regular writer of the National Herald, Mr. Theodore Kalmoukos.  His column called attention and inveighed against the bishops and metropolitans for their failure to speak up and address serious matters which could lead to the eventual demise of the Greek Orthodox Church in America.  Kalmoukos called them “a scattered village with nine small archdioceses and nine little archbishops” who almost brought the church to its knees.

We mourn yes, we deeply regret the loss of our people from the faith, and we fervently pray that they return.  Yet, those who are here are resolved together with our new leadership to correct, pick up and elevate the scope and range of Greek Orthodoxy in America.

Kalmoukos vindicated the many articles I have written for the NH regarding our bishops, and the strong remarks I used characterizing them as being frozen to their accustomed luxurious lifestyles.  I repeat that they should be retired, fired or sent to Mt. Athos to atone for their dereliction of duty.  These, except for Metropolitan Nathanael, who has worked diligently, seemingly smoothly, to rectify the Chicago Metropolis after years of misgovernance. Hallelujah for Nathanael!  If the other bishops were employed as first-line responders, they would be the last on my list to call.

The Hellenic College / Holy Cross (HCHC) situation is dire.  So far, the only appointment to the school is a chaplain.  No comment here.  My twisted recommendation is to appoint a non-Orthodox Christian person, an accomplished, experienced, retired and successful former university president; pay him or her up to $500,000 per year for at least a three year contract to clean up the Augean mess of many years, hire experienced professors and instructors, and ratify a scholastic program with the important consultancy input and approval of the HCHC College Board of Directors and in direct communication and approval of Archbishop Elpidophoros.

Please read carefully.  With a non-Orthodox Christian in absolute charge of HCHC, he or she, from day one, would be in a position to set our seminary and college in order without the interference from bishops who love to whisper, hint or outright demand favors; or the wealthy, who would have him or her hire a daughter, son, godson, priest or in-law to the faculty.  An outsider would have no allegiance to Greek friendship ties, koumbaroship [wedding or baptism sponsorship]or any Orthodox family relationships to interfere with the planned college resurrection.  The president, he or she, would be responsible only to the HCHC Board of Directors and in direct communication and approval of the Archbishop.

Please note that today, many Catholic colleges and universities, formerly presided over by religious priests and nuns, are now under the direction of Catholic laypeople.  Would the Orthodox be willing to try this initial approach?  It seems that our clergy were equal to the dynamic responsibility of leadership at HCHC, but were driven off by in-fighting, criticism, and derision by their peers or the gaggle of bishops.  So why not a Christian outsider?

Our intrepid Archbishop has been traveling extensively to become knowledgeable of his spiritual domain, interviewing his bishops, ascertaining their strengths and weaknesses, reviewing the order and extent of their control of their dioceses; and in the process, helping to raise considerable funds for the beleaguered St. Nicholas Shrine.  These efforts are commendable, necessary and welcomed.

However, as I have previously written, there is a learning curve involved for the Archbishop to understand and learn the where, how and why our beloved Church got to its current condition. In the meantime, our Church with our new Archbishop is finally beginning to experience a well-needed breath of fresh air;  after two Archbishops and 25 years of doing nothing toward furthering the expansion and reach of the Greek Orthodox Church, while in fact derailing and in effect, almost annihilating our gem of the Faith.

To those naysayers, I am fully aware of the task, the unending need of the Archbishop to attend to and correct the huge failures of others.  As a member of the Faith, I have the right to call attention, as do my fellow worshippers, and to voice my conscience and concerns.

I humbly offer these comments to our esteemed Archbishop, as time is of the essence.  We people in the pews have been waiting patiently for 25 years for such a figure as you to lead our Church in America.  It is time to rectify the sordid educational conditions at HCHC Seminary and College.  Next on the calendar should be the St. Nicholas Shrine, then the retirement of the debt on the Archdiocese Spiritual Home.  We know your plate is full, as many areas are crying for redress, reform, and redemption.  Yet, we believe our fellow worshipers will rally and support you in your sacred effort to heal the wounds of our Greek Orthodox Church of America.

Nick Karakas, Naples, FL

Mr. Nicholas Karakas, a prominent businessman, and philanthropist, is well-respected for his many contributions to the Greek American community and for his benevolent philanthropic pursuits and has received numerous commendations for accomplishments in business, education, community service.

Presently, Mr. Karakas serves as the chair of the Greek Professorship Advisory committee at the University of Missouri, St. Louis and is responsible for raising $550,000 to fund the Professorship chair for Greek Studies at the same institution. In 1998, he was awarded the Presidential Gold Cross of the Order of the Phoenix, the most notable commendation conferred by the Hellenic Republic, for his contributions to the causes of Hellenism and to the culture of his native land.

He is also co-founder of the Karakas Family Foundation, an organization that awards scholarship grants to needy college students. Currently, by the twenty-first year of its existence, the Foundation has awarded over 350 scholarship grants to young students and for the last twelve years has donated money to winners of the national St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival sponsored by the Greek Orthodox Church. Mr. Karakas also served as President of the Orthodox Christian Laity and is responsible for the establishment of the Mathew-Dickey Endowment Fund, an organization dedicated to the service of 40,000 children in inner-city St. Louis. Finally, he is one of the founders of the Hellenic Spirit Foundation, comprised of a benevolent group of Greek Americans who organize various social events ranging from community service to musical performances and educational programs.



  1. Nick, you are right! The GOA is in deep skata. To allow HC/HC to wither as it has is ridiculous. To let all the money be taken from the GOA institutions including the St. Nicholas Shrine is plain criminal. What is laughable is to think that this foreigner can save the GOA. The troubles the GOA has are deep and the Phanar nor its patsy’s will solve these issues. The Greeks are smart business people – why aren’t some of these people leading?

    • Dear Nikolai,
      Your anti- Hellenism and Greek bashing is not only unseemly, it is down right unchristian. For a non Hellene to use a Greek profanity to describe the GOA is beyond the pale. “The Greeks are smart business people” is just like saying ” the Jews are good with money.” I, for one, am tired of your silly criticism of us Greeks. Enough with the Greek bashing already.

    • Leadership in a church should be based on faithfulness not on being a “smart business man.” Leadership in a Greek club is determined by being a smart business man and not necessarily a person of faith. Of course, one can be an accomplished business person and be a faithful Christian, but too often, secular people are put in leadership positions solely on secular accomplishments.

  2. Constantinos, you don’t know if I am Greek or not. The facts remain true. Millions of dollars have been taken from the GOA and its institutions. Hellenic College & Holy Cross is crumbling and losing its accreditation. This isn’t Greek bashing, but REALITY. Wake-up! The people in charge have destroyed the GOA and bringing a foreigner in from the Phanar will do nothing to solve these issues. The American Greeks need to wake-up and take charge of their own church. Every American Greek should ask, “Where did all the money go?”

  3. Arthur Samouris on

    Mr Karakas you lost me where you wrote that Metropolitan Nathanael (the “cool Met”) “has worked diligently, seemingly smoothly, to rectify the Chicago Metropolis after years of misgovernance.” You must be referring to someone else…

  4. Christopher F Polites on

    I am a second-generation American whose paternal grandparents came from Greece. I was raised in, left, and returned to the Orthodox Church in my mid-20s. But it wasn’t a Greek priest who led me back – it was an OCA chaplain in the 82d Airborne Division who sought me out, mentored, evangelized, and guided me back to the One, True Faith, while I was a young Army officer. When I married, I patiently allowed God to work to bring my Southern Baptist wife into the Orthodox Church – which was accomplished by an OCA priest. The first time we went to a Greek Orthodox Church, I was fussed out by a woman in Greek because I didn’t speak Greek. Once, while I was deployed, my wife was told by a Greek lady, “You Americans, you get in the back of the church”, when my wife happened to sit in the lady’s pew upfront so our kids could see. The lack of an evangelistic approach to Orthodoxy and the continued heresy of Phyletism in the GOA is why the GOA is in its current state. The Ecumenical Patriarchate, by holding on to the “diaspora” in the U.S., is killing itself. It is choking Orthodoxy in the United States. His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago, and His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, the most recent bishops assigned to the GOA, were both born in Greece. What does it say about Greek Orthodoxy in the U.S., that in 2019, we can’t raise American-born bishops to lead the church or take care of a seminary? There is no Greek-bashing going on – only sensible questions and points being raised by American Orthodox Christians of Greek descent who have had enough horrible, spiritual (lack of) leadership.

  5. Christopher,
    Sadly, your experience as a cradle GO mirrors mine exactly. After 4 years of marriage, my nominally RC spouse decided to convert. Now, despite the subsequent decades of fellowship, volunteer work, parish council work, etc., it is clear that while non-Greeks might be “charitably” accepted, they are not considered equals.
    Official jurisdictional consolidation and the embracing of American souls by the (preferably home-grown) hierarchy is long past due.

    • Dear Christopher and PM,
      I think there are two problems that confront us. As we know, the Greek Orthodox Church is rapidly losing members. In my humble opinion, the primary reason is intermarriage. You both married outside the faith – one to a Southern Baptist and the other to a Roman Catholic. If that trend continues, in a very short time, there would be no Greeks left. Some of us believe that being Greek is special. Personally, I believe that Greeks should marry Greeks. For example, due to distance, I worship at an OCA church. The parish council president is Greek Orthodox and her husband is Russian Orthodox. Imagine the problems this schism between the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Russian church can have on their marriage.
      Many Greeks don’t want Hellenism to die out (myself included). Well, this is the problem with intermarriage. It creates resentment.
      Another problem is that Orthodoxy in America is very heavily influenced by Protestantism. For example, the OCA parish I attend acts like the only way to serve God is through the tithing heresy, giving all your spare time to involvement in the church, and this emphasis on “obedience.” I believe in community involvement. If I’m heavily involved in church activities (I attend Divine Liturgy every Sunday), my local community doesn’t benefit. My church acts like the only way we can serve God faithfully is through total submission to the church. Well, if that is the case, how are the needy people in my town going to get help aside from government programs? I believe serve God best by helping my local community. When you serve your local community, it is appreciated. When you serve your church, it is expected with no gratitude whatsoever. In my area, that’s called using and taking advantage of people. I will be Orthodox until I die, but I must say the Orthodox Church is one of the most money-grubbing churches around – due to Protestant influence. Anyway, that’s my two cents.

      • Pauline Costianes on

        #1 – Ethnicism has been and continues to be the curse and the bane of the Orthodox Church. That you would conflate a Greek and Russian couple, both Orthodox, as a “mixed marriage” made my jaw drop. Shame on you!
        #2 – And if the situation in Ukraine has ANY effect on their marriage, then they have greater problems than you can imagine! That’d be a cold day in hell that some idiotic move by the Patriarch of Constantinople would have ANY effect on my life! #3 – As to tithing being “a Protestant heresy”. You do NOT know your own faith! Tithing was done by the Jews, and as such, brought into Christianity from the very beginning.
        #4 – And as to the church being “money-grubbing,” I cannot speak to your particular parish situation, but a parish needs money to exist, just like you and your home and family do. And what we give God, we only have because of His goodness. You need a major attitude change on several subjects!!!!

        • Dear Pauline,
          Thank you for your comments. With all due respect, I don’t think I need a major attitude change on any subjects but thank you for your suggestions. First of all, tithing was not a practice in the New Testament. Jesus never tithed or collected a tithe, and neither did any of His disciples or Apostles. In the New Testament, the practice is free-will offering or generous giving from the heart. Tithing is a heresy; believe me, I have spent many hours studying the subject. Also, giving to God is not only giving to a church a person attends. It’s taking care of the widows and orphans in your own community. One of the most saintly people I know does not attend church at all, yet she does more good than probably you and I combined. You used the word conflate wrongly. Another word would have made more sense. I see very little in common with Russian Orthodoxy and Greek Orthodoxy. Ethnically speaking, it is a mixed marriage. You are not in a position to judge their marriage. As far as your suggestions and admonitions go, I would say to you, ” Physician, heal thyself.” Very convoluted, incoherent reasoning on your part. Thank you.

      • I’m thinking of becoming a catechumen and this series of comments was really hurtful to me, but I knew people would disappoint me at some time. I’m homeschooling my children and we use an app from the Greek Orthodox church to read about the Saint of the day and the Gospel and Epistle. I’m the only one doing Great Lent in my family. I’m getting a lot out of it, and I’m not sure if I can go back to our Southern Baptist church. We use the Ancient Faith booklet for morning prayers. Orthodox do not appreciate what they have, obviously, if a bunch are leaving. Intermarriage, if the spouse will convert to Orthodoxy, will only increase your numbers. Less Greek or Russian used in services would make non-Orthodox and even non-Christians to be able to hear and understand the amazing things being said in the Liturgy. The more Protestant converts, the better, because they appreciate the beauty of the underlying meaning more than most cradle Orthodox. You should be worried that Orthodox people may go through the motions, not having surrendered their lives to Christ. The fact that there are very few Orthodox colleges (2?) even though a similarly sized denomination, Presbyterian, has like 70 should put you to shame. My grandfather, who was Baptist, said people should tithe in reverse and keep 10% and give away 90%. He never had Eucharist in his life (only Baptist communion), but I believe he’s in heaven because he loved the Lord with everything he had, not just monetarily, but loving people, prayer, etc. Have you saved someone from Suicide? My grandfather did. I still love Orthodoxy, but you need to say the Trisagion prayer and the Jesus Prayer all day today and cry tears of repentance. Who knows how many seekers have come here accidentally, as I did, and decided they weren’t welcome. Maybe the Lord will give you the grace to see the truth.

        • A beautiful and spot-on response Catechumen Christine! We have to stop emphasizing ethnicity and focus on the True Faith! In our mission Churches in Asia, members are discouraged from marrying each other as the leaders recognize a wonderful way to expand the parish is through interfaith marriages that result in converts to Orthodoxy. Why don’t we adopt a similar attitude?

          Please don’t let these posts discourage your walk with Christ! Focus on the word of God, not man! God Bless You!

    • Christopher and PM are spot on regarding lack of evangelism and lack of acceptance of non-Greeks in the GOA churches. I am U.S. born, 100% Greek descent. In my opinion, there’s also a “divisiveness” between the Greek-born who immigrated during young adulthood (or older) and U.S. born/raised of Greek descent. Those born in Greece congregate amongst themselves during coffee hour and ignore the rest of us. I don’t know how the converts tolerate this behavior, when I can barely tolerate it as a Greek American. My cousin left the GOA years ago and attends the OCA church, where her time, treasure and talent are appreciated. I’m seriously considering doing the same. Christ, Orthodoxy, Evangelism, etc. are a distant second to the cultural connection of the GOA.

  6. Dear Constantinos,

    I think you are confusing the faith with ethnicity:
    “You both married outside the faith” –”Personally, I believe that Greeks should marry Greeks.”

    The tragic result of a schism that you described makes crystal clear why the faith here in the US needs to completely and immediately drop all foreign designations. The ONE Orthodox Christian Church that happens to be geographically located in the United States. “Due to distance, I worship at an OCA church. The parish council president is Greek Orthodox and her husband is Russian Orthodox. Imagine the problems this schism between the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Russian church can have on their marriage.” —Yet, they are both Orthodox Christian Americans! They are of the same faith – therefore, not a “mixed-marriage”. The fact that an Orthodox family living in the US cannot depend on a single local bishop is a travesty.

    • Dear PM,
      In re-reading my post, I think you are correct; it seems that I have conflated Hellenism with the Orthodox faith. To be honest with you, I posted right after I received a letter from my church that irritated me. It seemed as if they were lecturing and dictating to me about my level of involvement in the church. As I previously stated, I attend the Divine Liturgy every Sunday without fail. I think your message to me is that I should be more understanding of other people’s circumstances; if that is your message, then I wholeheartedly concur with you. Thank you.

  7. I am wondering how everybody in this forum is defining Hellenism. Greece has had a long history, so is Hellenism defined as:
    1. The works of Homer and Hesiod?
    2. History of the city states, such as Athens, Sparta, Corinth, and Thebes?
    3. Apollo, Zeus, Poseidon, Aphrodite, Artemis, and other gods and goddesses?
    4. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Epicureans, Hedonists, and other philosophers and philosophies?
    5. The works of classical literature with authors such as Aristophanes and Euripides?
    6. Ancient Greek science and medicine?
    7. The Greek language?
    8. Greek cuisine?
    9. Greek clothing?
    10. The Septuagint?
    11. All of the above?
    12. None of the above?
    13. Part of the above?

    • We have discussed tithing previously with radically differing opinions. Again, please read Luke 11:23; Jesus says we should tithe. Thus, according to your theology, Jesus is a heretic; and I guess you would put me in that category, but I guess I am in good company. Tithing in the NT is not a legal obligation necessary for one’s salvation, but rather a principle drawn from the OT which Christians are called to follow like the 10 commandments. My suspicion is that you are one of those fellows who believe God has no place in your wallet.

      Additionally, Russian Ortodoxy and Greek Orthodoxy are the same faith. Obviously there are differences, as there are from one GOA parish to another, but we are the same faith, the essentials are the same.

      I must agree with Pauline, you need some attitude changes.

      • Dear JK,
        I really don’t want to discuss various issues and opinions. It’s tedious. I think I’ll follow, with your kind permission, the ancient proverb, ” It’s better to keep one’s mouth shut, and be thought a fool, than to open it, and remove all doubt.” Again, I want to thank you and others for conversing with me, but I just don’t need the aggravation or the controversy. May God bless you.

      • Dear JK,
        I wasn’t going to get into an in-depth discussion with you because of the surly, un-Christian, unkind, pharisaical, judgmental tone of your post, but I want to share with you some wisdom I have read. He who has ears- let him hear. With the kind indulgence of OCL, I shall proceed. This was written by a theologian. Here it is: “Christians are required to be merciful and to give alms in various forms to many different persons or groups in need. Mercy is required of all Christians; tithing is required of none. Christ taught us to give alms but He never taught “10%” or any percentage. Give as the grace of God guides you to give, and do not count the cost nor figure out the percentage. Those who ask Christians to look up their income on a chart and find that the correct amount they should be given are, in this way failing to imitate Christ and failing to trust God. Brethren, I ask you, give as the Mercy of God guides you to give, but never count the cost.” I will not answer any post on this subject. Instead, I will chalk it up to ignorance, and lack of Christian love. Thank you.

      • JK are you a Jewish Pharisee? Because that scripture in Luke 10:23 that you’re referring to, Jesus was talking to the Pharisees. Keep in context who Jesus was speaking to? Are you also going to circumcise yourself and every church member?, because that’s what the Jews also required IN THE LAW! The biggest Scripture, and I’ve heard it for over 30 years, is from Malachi chapter 3, which by the way, again in CONTEXT, was talking to a backslidden nation of Israel. The Jews WHO WERE NOT KEEPING THE LAW OF TITHING TO PAY THE LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD. The real way of NEW TESTAMENT giving is found in 2 Corinthians 8:16-9:15. NOT LUKE 10:23. You’re wrong in your suspicions, sir. I do give, but according to how Paul instructed me to give. Have a nice day.

        • Peter Marinatos on

          Dear Johnny,
          At last, a brilliant Orthodox Christian, You are so right. You speak the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Thank you for being a much needed breath of fresh air. You also know how to rightly divide the Word of God. Thank you! Thank you ! Thank you! This is one of the finest posts I have ever read.

  8. Too bad many of you haven’t been exposed to Pan-Orthodox Churches. In these churches, you will find Orthodox of every ethnic background along with many converts. Everything is done in English, and when a certain ethnic practice is requested, it is done. THIS is American Orthodoxy, and the OCA churches are leading this charge. NOT PROTESTANT, but all peoples believing the True faith and worshipping together. What is happening in many major cities, the ethnic churches are having trouble paying the bills; and logically, the Orthodox are coming together in one physical church. The people are learning they are all the same and wanting the same for their children. Time to wake-up, folks!

    • Dear Nikolai,
      What you say is true.
      However, wouldn’t the ideal situation be for the jurisdictions themselves to merge into a single Church encompassing the OCA and all of the ethnic diaspora churches together into a single autocephalous U.S. Church?

  9. Hellenism is a big idea, large enough to move Alexander the Great to spread it across most of the well-known world at that time – Nothing to do with folklore and cultural aspects ( food etc) – The Bible points out the only two “concepts” of that time which still are in the mix as the way we see life: The Greeks were searching for Wisdom, the Israelites for power – Our Lord brought to the world a totally different concept – No wisdom is needed and no power – Love and humility is needed – Salvation is the goal – Nothing else – However the Ancient Greeks were by all accounts a step above in their quest to see, analyze, create etc,’ What is Life and how humans can improve their knowledge about it and go deep into explain humanity – They created what we all now know as the “cradle of civilization ) – God in HIS wisdom used all that and especially the Greek language in HIS plan for our salvation – The Ancient Greeks had even foreseen the arrival of THE ONE, who will save the world – They spoke of the LOGOS and the Bible says, “THE LOGOS took flesh” – There are many references from many Philosophers about the need for improving humanity, they saw the fallen humanity, they wrote about it, they had plays about it and had lengthy discussions – They also had this interest and need to be uplifted and have GODS with power and weaknesses and had deep in them to look up to them and even fear them. Apostle Paul saw that on his way up to Pnyka. St Dionysios the Aeropagitis was there and He knew what Apostle Paul talked about. It was not an easy sell, the Greeks were too arrogant – smart to be convinced that easy – Moving forward, most of the Holy Fathers had the Hellenistic education and spirit in them and that helped them understand things about LIFE and Salvation and the message of The Logos – Fr Mettalinos, a scholar, historian, researcher said that “The capital of Christianity is Hellenism” – That does not mean that God came only for the Greeks, actually, in the beginning, HE came only for the Israelites – HE came to save ALL humanity and HE used as tools the Israelites and the Hellenic Civilization – When Nero was returning from an expedition in Asia, back to Rome, he stopped at Delphi. He looked around and asked his generals, “where are the Greeks?”, they replied: “They are gone,” Greece is occupied as well at that time. Nero replied, “When The Greeks are gone then it will be the end of civilization”! The continuation of the Roman Empire in the East as ROMANIA now, later on, known as Byzantium, is a continuation of Hellenism even further. Orthodoxy is tied to it and cannot be separated – The rest of the so-called barbaric nations took Orthodox Christianity from the Greek Byzantium – No matter how hard, many tried to distance themselves from that – Those, today, who are serious about converting to Orthodoxy, in their research into the past, they run into Hellenism – Scholars from England, Germany, can attest to that –
    I can go on and on, but those who need to be convinced all they have to do is search and find – There is no theory and no ethnophyletism in knowing the truth, accept it, use it and move forward.

    • Dear Ted D,
      This is an outstanding post that everyone needs to read and assimilate. Your post reinforces my belief that those convert priests who don’t understand Hellenism are not worth reading. They really don’t understand Orthodoxy at all. I’ve noticed these American convert priests have a tendency to be full of arrogance and pride.( Just an observation.)
      On another note, as far as the Greek language goes, the Apostles used the Septuagint, written in Greek; and our Lord spoke Greek along with Hebrew and Aramaic. Otherwise, our Lord would not have been able to conduct a conversation with the Roman centurion, and Pontius Pilate. You are right; this is not ethnophyletism.

      • Dear Ted and Constantinos:

        1. There was no church established in Athens at the time of St. Paul’s visit and speech on the Areopagus. The learned Greeks at that time didn’t buy into what he was preaching. They probably thought he was a crazy Jew and were thankful that the talks delivered at this location were timed.

        2. Alexander the Great is known to have done quite a bit of destruction and pillaging along his way to India. As a devout student of Aristotle, he is known to have burned the great library of Persepolis and destroyed many of its classical artifacts.

        3. Nero was an insane ruler. He is known to crucified Christians burning their bodies along Appian Way and using them as human torches. So, whatever he ever had to say about anyone, including Greeks, I consider a moot point.

        4. In Jesus’ time there were no Israelites, only Jews–members of the tribe of Judah. The Assyrian takeover of the the land of Israel in 721 BCE resulted in the scattering and destruction of the 10 tribes. Only two survived and Judah was one of the two. In 538 BCE Cyrus the Great of Persia (not Greece!) rescued the tribe of Judah and returned it to Palestine and to the city of Jerusalem.

        5. Greek was the lingua franca of the Roman Empire. Today, English is the lingua franca of the modern world–both West and East. And English is a living language–growing, changing, developing and diversifying constantly, whereas the Greek of the 1st century is now frozen in time. (I’m sure that the Greek language of that time did grow and develop incorporating words and phrases from Persia, Rome, Palestine and the nations of Mesopotamia.)

        6. The Byzantine Empire is now past history. Remnants of it are still found in Asia Minor, the Balkans and in the rituals and religious vestments of the Orthodox Christian religion. The Orthodox Church today is a well kept Byzantine museum and it probably should continue to preserve the heritage of the past. But, for most Christians in the world, it doesn’t resonate. Orthodoxy is understood by other Christians as a religion and not as a member of the greater Christian family. It’s akin to the way we understand the Mormon church. Despite the fact that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints consider itself a follower of Jesus Christ, the Roman Catholic along with other member churches of the World Council of Churches, including the Salvation Army, regard the Mormons differently.

        Constantinos, in your references to convert clergy, are you also including people like Bishop Kallistos Ware? And, are you possibly proposing that in order to preserve the important Hellenistic quality of Orthodoxy, we should remove and defrock all convert clergy? Please explain because what you’ve stated may be misconstrued by those who risked much in converting to Orthodoxy.

        • Dear Peter,
          No, I went much too far in my statement regarding convert clergy. I certainly don’t think any convert clergy should be defrocked. Can we agree that I was guilty of special pleading? You know the saying,” help is where you find it.” I just feel more comfortable with Greek Orthodoxy. For some reason, I find many Greek Christians an inspiration such as the late Kay Valone. To me, she was and is a saint. I find Mr. Matsoukas and Mr. Karcazes to be worthy role models.
          That is not to suggest that certain aspects of Greek Orthodoxy are not problematical such as the Archons, and the Ephraimite monasteries. In the Greek church, many laymen are honored not for their love of Christ, but for their business acumen. This is wrong. I don’t believe that Orthodoxy should be a Greek only club, or that Orthodox Christians of other jurisdictions are in any way inferior. If other jurisdictions help you in your walk with the Lord, then I am thankful to God. I was only stating my opinion. My intention was not to offend my brother and sister Orthodox Christians or to be a stumbling block in any way. You make some very good points in your post. Thank you.

  10. The entire idea of “HELLENISM” means NOTHING regarding the True Faith. If Christ came to the native Indians of North America, the ethos of Christianity would have been Indian. Christ came to the Jews first, then to the Pagans of whom the Greek & Roman people were. What you people don’t get, CHRIST CAME TO ALL FOR ALL. Hellenism is NOT necessary for the TRUTH to exist and be proclaimed. The same Truth proclaimed by the Greek Fathers can be proclaimed by ANYONE, ANYWHERE. You are blinded by your RACISM. Calling ALL convert priests arrogant is just as stupid as saying all Greek priests are greasy and shady people. Again, your RACISM. You people aren’t really interested in finding and following the TRUTH, you are interested in following and believing that “if other Orthodox aren’t Greek, they aren’t fully Orthodox.” FOOLS! You tread on Christ!

    • Dear Nikolai,
      Please believe me when I say that I am not suggesting you suffer from histrionic personality disorder, but you are engaging in histrionic behavior with your overly dramatic, theatrical posting. To curb your brain locked behavior, may I kindly suggest that you take the Dale Carnegie Course, and read the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by the same? To be quite honest and fair to you, I haven’t got the faintest idea what you are raving about. Perhaps, you could use someone to interpret your gibberish into English. Just trying to be helpful. Thank you.

  11. Ted, and with Constantines approval, support this foolish notion about Hellenism. First, you misquote St. Paul. Correctly quoted the Jews seek signs not power. Please quote one Saint that affirms your thesis. Plato, who many consider the pinnacle of Hellenic thought, was possessed by demons according to St Chrysostom. The Capitol of my Christianty is the Lord Jesus Christ. An additional poster enumerates many positive elements of Hellenism, which can be acknowledged, but forgets to add: a low view of women, pedophilia and polytheism. When Greeks wanted wisdom they often sought it at the hands of drugged women at Delphi. Bottom line, Hellenism needs salvation as does all humanity and that only comes through Jesus Christ. As Paul says the message of the cross is a stumbling block to the Jew and foolishness to the gentile(Hellene). Please read the first 3 chapters of 1 Corinthians and St. Chrysostoms commentary and you will see truth if you are able to receive it. There is only ONE foundation for Christianity, Jesus Christ, according to St. Paul. Having said what I believe to be truth, I affirm the many positive contributions the Grreks have made to civilization but I in no way consider it a needed companion to Christianity.

    Finally, Ted I thank God for many of the convert priests. Many of them have been helpful guides in my Chritian walk, where some ot the Greek priests have not been helpful. Your blanket rebuke of convert priests is appalling. You sound like those who state that the GOA is for Greek people, you know a Greek club rather than the body of Chist which is for all.

    • Dear JK,
      I believe that you sincerely love our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I should not have made the statement of convert priests to be all encompassing. Actually, I was thinking of two specifically. Naturally, it would be improper for me to mention them. One convert priest that I particularly like is Father Timothy Cremeens. He has been most helpful to me in my walk with the Lord.
      The priest I admire the most is the late Father Eusebius Stephanou. I think he was an excellent theologian. I have never read or heard a priest speak or write with his wisdom. You could take all the convert priests in history put together, and they couldn’t match his understanding of Hellenism and how it relates to our Orthodox faith. This is just my opinion. Nothing more. Thank you.

  12. Wow just wow – The hate is deep from many and is here for all to see – Facts are twisted, comments are taken out of context and the spin is endless.
    What exactly is the mission of OCL, to unite all and get autocephaly? It will never happen – Not in our lifetime – Who wants to pray with angry people full of hate?
    OCL might want to revisit their approach – It is not working – They provide a platform to incite hate and anger from the so-called “american orthodox” towards the diaspora faithful. No way a unity will ever take place or work –
    Wow just wow.

  13. First and foremost, THERE IS NO DIASPORA! The Orthodox in America do not belong elsewhere – this is the big lie. American Greeks belong to America. American Russians belong to America. Etc. There is no need to have foreign bishops telling Americans how to run their own churches and telling Americans who their bishops will be. Again, Canon Law is clear, foreign bishops cannot have dioceses outside their own territory. Regarding autocephaly, North America already has an American Orthodox Church, but those Orthodox in America who REFUSE to join it are NON-CANONICAL. So Ted, ALL Orthodox in North America are canonically called to be members of a “LOCAL” AUTOCEPHALOUS CHURCH, not under the thumb of foreign bishops!

  14. Some love to live in fantasy land, after all, Disney Land is in America. Some love to think that Orthodoxy in America was the religion of the local indigenous population that inhabited a land between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Today they are called “American Indians”. The same people also believe that Christianity and Orthodoxy were born in a vacuum, and many nations received it automatically and by osmosis. No Patriarchates exist, no Ecumenical Synods took place, or if they do exist, they can be violated or applied at will and in a renegade way. America is a unique place and was created by “immaculate conception”, its an amazement.

    • Pauline Costianes on

      Ted – “Immaculate conception” does not mean “virgin birth” (parthenogenesis). The Roman Church, due to Augustine’s former Gnosticism, believed that only spirit was good, but created matter was evil. He wrongly taught that all humans are born with a stain (macula) on their soul due to us being born through sexual reproduction. But then along came Mary…whoops! We can’t have the Mother of God have a stain on her soul. So they came up with this stupid dogma about Mary having an Immaculate Conception from Joachim and Anna. The Orthodox just looked at the Romans and shook their heads, like “Fools! NOBODY is born with a stain/macula on their souls! See what happens when you disengage from the True Church??? And to the point of American Orthodoxy – yes, ALL churches outside of the Balkans and the Near East should be autocephalous! Within the political boundaries of every country, there should be ONE Orthodox Church, with a synod of its bishops and the bishop of the capital being the Metropolitan. That’s how Canon Law calls it to be. Get your head on straight! In Christ, there is no Jew or Greek or Romanian or Russian, etc., etc., etc. There is ONLY the Orthodox faith!!!!

  15. Dear Ted D,
    How would you want acknowledgment of the superiority of Hellenism to manifest itself within the Church here in the United States?

  16. There is NO such thing as the superiority of Hellenism – and there is no need to manifest it here or anywhere else. The point that I am making in many posts is driven from certain commentary and certain polemic attitudes towards the reality and historical facts – The Russian aggressiveness towards the Ecumenical Patriarchate due to the Ukrainian issue has further fueled that behavior. Yesterday October 28th was a Greek national holiday, commemorating OXI day, towards the invasion of the Nazis in 1940. I saw a video from Uganda!!! Yes, Uganda, at the end of a church service, Orthodox that is, and they brought in children dressed in Greek customs carrying a huge Greek flag and the presiding clergy with the Bishop did a Doxology!!! Why? They are not Greek. They did it in appreciation of what Hellenism has done for them by bringing Orthodoxy! Understanding the Hellenistic element makes one a better Orthodox! The previous commentary way up above here is totally unacceptable in its tone and ignorance of history and the ecclesiastical one – No solution will even be in order to correct the canon discrepancy with multi jurisdictions in America unless it comes from the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Let the Ukrainian case be a reminder of that.

  17. “No solution will even be in order to correct the canon discrepancy with multi jurisdictions in America unless it comes from the Ecumenical Patriarchate. ” – This is PURE BALONEY! The OCA format has already solved this issue. That is, a Synod of all ethnic bishops where they choose their own head. Where’s the problem? In fact, the Albanian bishop of Boston was also the Bishop of all New England. Again, what’s the issue? The Phanar has no business in North America; all + Bart wants is to take more & more $$$$$$$. AND, the fools on the GOA Executive Committee are going to give him all the $$$ he wants. The Truth is, foreign bishops aren’t needed in North America nor are they wanted with their emissaries. When will you American Greeks wake up?

    • Pauline Costianes on

      or, for that matter the Russians still under Moscow, the Romanians, Bulgarians, Serbs, Albanians and Arabs still under foreign hierarchs! They all need to wake up, cut ties with the foreign control and all come under the OCA as ONE American Church. Dissolve all the ethnic dioceses, make them geographic dioceses, spread the bishops around to have dioceses based on population. Each church can continue to serve and sing in the tradition it has (although it SHOULD be in English if they expect to not die off), and have one administration!! That’s what Canon Law calls for!

    • Dear Nikolai,
      Why are you being so disrespectful to the Ecumenical Patriarch by calling him “Bart?” This is hypocrisy at its finest. If you posted things in a nice way, you would still be nonsensical, but at least you would be somewhat likable. My friend, my prayer for you is that you may come to love and serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and remove the hatred from your malevolent heart. I will most certainly keep you in my prayers. Thank you.

  18. No further comment is needed – Some will never understand nor will ever accept the PROPER ORDER in Orthodoxy – They love Stalinist tactics – Orthodoxy does not work like that – totalitarianism is foreign in Orthodoxy – Greek Americans wake up and be AWARE of your surroundings – Defend the Mother Church at all cost –

    • Dear Ted D,
      I wish more people would listen and absorb your wisdom. You are 100% correct. That’s why the autocephaly of the OCA is illegitimate. Thank you for your towering intellect.

  19. Well Ted D., your views DO NOT reflect what Orthodox Canon Law states. You wish to elevate the Phanar to the status of the Pope, and this is just pure BALONEY. You should read Orthodox Canon Law and Orthodox Church History to see how flawed your views are. The Bishop of Istanbul is just that, the Bishop of Istanbul… He has NO authority outside his own local territory, and NOWHERE in Orthodox Canon Law is he given the sole authority to “GRANT” autocephaly.

  20. Some appear to think they are the only ones who read Apostolic canon law and the law out of Ecumenical Synods. Some also love to repeat their dream is hope that one day it will be realized- That is wonderful wishful thinking. The ecclesiastical history and the outcomes from Ecumenical Synods clearly state the RIGHTS and PRIVILEGES of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, The Throne of St John Chrysostom, St Gregory, St Photios, St Alexandros, to name few. Even Russia used to admit that. The Mother Church in Constantinople is the Mother Church. Not only they have the exclusive right to issue Tomos but they have given the ability to solve inter-Orthodox issues when they arise — and in the words of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew just yesterday: “Rest assured we are defending our rights and privileges, we are guarding the gates, we will protect what our ancestors have entrusted us with ….” – AXIOS! Orthodoxy was given from Constantinople and all have rejoiced in that. Irrelevant if now some have decided to turn their backs on their Mother. St Justin Popovich said, “we received Orthodoxy from Constantinople, I was born a Slav and I will die a Greek.”

    • Dear Ted,
      Another excellent post on your part. It seems you are one of the only posters who have real understanding. As to your quote from the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras said exactly the same thing concerning the “autocephaly” of the OCA. The Ecumenical Patriarch is the only one who can grant autocephaly in synodality with all the other autocephalous churches. That’s why the “autocephaly” of the OCA is not accepted by the overwhelming majority of the autocephalous churches in the world. A church infiltrated by communists and KGB agents can’t grant autocephaly to anyone. Why can’t people see this? It really is that simple. Thank you, my brilliant brother. Also, thank you for conducting yourself like a Christian gentleman on this forum. Everyone can learn from you.

  21. Ted: Tell us ALL, exactly what Canon gives the Bishop of Istanbul the exclusive right to grant autocephaly? Good luck trying to find it! When a “local church” declares itself autocephalous, ALL other autocephalous churches can either accept their proclamation or reject it. If they reject it, they MUST explain why canonically. When there was a Byzantine Empire and the Bishop of Constantinople was the Emperor’s bishop, he had considerable input on what churches in the Empire could do what. There is NO Empire; there is no Emperor; there is no Constantinople. The “Mother Church” is a mere shell. As Prof. Yaroslav Pelikan, renowned world Orthodox theologian of Church History, said after visiting the Phanar, “The lights are on. but nobody is home!” Again, the Bishop of Istanbul is just that and nothing more. The Orthodox Church is a collective of independent, autocephalous churches around the world who make decisions in a CONCILIAR fashion, and the Bishop of Istanbul still has the authority to run the meetings and keep the records – NOTHING MORE!

  22. Some answer their own questions and dig deep to find one professor who makes a sarcastic statement, and that is proof of what exactly? They do not look for the right answer, they look for affirmation of their own false beliefs. The Canon Law is clear and the Holy Fathers are clear and God was clear to a monk on Mt Athos in the early ’50s who was looking for the right answer after the turbulent period with the old/new calendar arguments. The answer was: “The Mother Church is in Constantinople”! I will not reveal the name of the monk who is a Saint now.

    The Ecumenical Patriarch is basing his decisions and existence on Canon Law and 1700 years of tradition and history. Moscow bases its decisions on the Kremlin/KGB strategy to downplay the Protos in Constantinople, so they can assume that position. The proof is in their theory of “third Rome”. They indirectly recognize that Constantinople is the HEAD, and they have The Proteia. The difference is that they want to become the EP now; they even act as if they have that role already!? Many laity, many here as well, have fallen for that narrative. All are free to dream grandeur. The reality will stand through the centuries as it is today: The Ecumenical Patriarchate is in Constantinople.

    P.S. The most renowned theologian of our times in the Orthodox world is Metropolitan of Nafpaktos Ierotheos. A giant in thought and grace.

  23. Ted, Ted, Ted, you don’t have a leg to stand on. No understanding of Orthodox Canon Law; no understanding of Church History; no understanding of Orthodox Church Organization; basically, you have NO UNDERSTANDING of the ORTHODOX CHURCH! Look, when the Pat. of Constantinople and all his bishops…signed at the Council of Florence, they fell into heresy. The Kievan Russ DECLARED THEMSELVES AUTOCEPHALOUS and the 3rd Rome. And why not, CONSTANTINOPLE BECAME HERETICS! Read your Church History!

  24. Today, Saturday, November 9th, we commemorate St Nektarios of Aegina. A great Saint of our times. It will be beneficial to remind everyone of the opinion letter of the Saint about Hellenism and Christianity. I cannot find it in English; thus, I will summarize the main points.

    A Greek is born to be a teacher to humanity – Hellenic Philosophy was the prelude to Christianity – Ancient Greek Philosophers searched endlessly for the Truth, and The Truth came from Christ. Philosophy was the search for the truth. Greek philosophy taught humanity the love of God for mankind – Greek philosophy is the basis for the development of the human mind. If philosophy is a teacher to the path of Christ, consequently a Greek is created as a philosopher, was made Christian, so he knows the truth, and spread that to the world.

    Greeks knew about God, because they were searching for HIM; they were looking for perfection in the imperfect humanity – They knew that was the purpose of life. Humanity was looking for divine revelation to learn the truth, to be certain and believe – Humanity needed the divine; philosophy, however, was missing that – humanity found it in Christianity, the forerunner of which was Hellenic Philosophy.

    That is just a taste for all of us to not ignore the Divine plan and reality and to not hide under the rock of our falsehoods. May St Nektarios intercede for all of us.
    I would be glad to provide the original letter of the Saint.

  25. Ted, Ted, Ted – Time for the ethnocentric Greeks to REALLY understand who the Bishop of Istanbul is. People like yourself believe he is the “Greek Pope”; this is just wrong. You have elevated +Bart to the level of the Bishop of Rome which is also false. Again, there is no Byzantine Empire, there is no Byzantine Emperor, there is no Constantinople, but there is the Bishop of Istanbul whose authority is “SYMBOLIC” with no substance. Get over it Ted, Byzantium is dead!

  26. Now we have resorted to the Council of Florence. It takes time, I see, to search and find anything coming out of the Russian propaganda sites to use it as a proof, of what, I have no idea. Wow. Speaking of not having a leg to stand on – delusional and funny. Oh them Russians, they will create anything to rock the Church so they can prove their imperialism. Astonishing how some have no connection to history and cannot even connect the dots – dots of a Russian ecclesiastical history full of schisms, Synod, no Synod, Patriarch, no Patriarch and falls, blood and KGB and Stalinist connections and tactics. All that “From Russia with Love”. Amazing selective memory and ignorance. Trivia for all: who is agent “Michaleva”? The winner wins a trip to a Greek city pre-approved by the Moscow Tourist Office of the MP. How low can the MP go? Apparently, very low. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew one day will fall asleep in the Lord and will be replaced by another. Constantinople will still be the Ecumenical Throne till the end of time. Some need to swallow their imperialistic egos and accept the Historic facts.

  27. Wow, Ted, what an attack on Russia and the ROC! Regarding the Council of Florence, YES the Pat. of Constantinople and ALL his crony bishops signed this document entering into Communion with Rome. Only Mark of Ephesus refused to sign. CONSTANTINOPLE FELL INTO HERESY! When Isadore, the Constantinople-appointed bishop of Kiev returned home, the Kievan Rus THREW HIM OUT and the Rus declared themselves AUTOCEPHALOUS! An argument for them becoming the “Third Rome!” Constantinople, although heretical at this point, refused to accept the Rus/Russian autocephaly. In fact, 150 years passed before Constantinople recognized Russian autocephaly. AND, only after much money and jewels were exchanged – just like the Ukrainian autocephaly.

  28. Spin after spin after spin. Cherry-picking and sawing parts and pieces together to create the Russian narrative which was in play from day one – Constantinople never fell into heresy. Russians love that word till today to downgrade Constantinople and upgrade themselves even at the expense of Alexandria and Jerusalem. No Orthodox ethos whatsoever. The history of how Russia and Greece and Serbia and Bulgaria received their autocephaly is well known. The ugliest version is the Russian and the Bulgarian. Today the Ukrainian issue exposed Russia altogether. The king is nude for all to see – Stand by for more developments. Third Rome grandeur is a mirage and a fable – Russian megalomaniacs, Kremlin and MP, two peas in the same pod. The Mother Church in Constantinople has withstood all the abuse from Islam and sadly from within the Orthodox world, but it still standing by the Grace of God. The flag, although battered, is still flying at the Phanari – The Beacon of Light is shining. MP will need to step back and review if they really want to be Orthodox. Their turbulent history shows ugliness. Thank God for the Lavra monasteries in Kiev and all the Saints they have. Outside of that, the MP needs to reassess their actions – A path of aggressiveness, and questionable tactics of division across the world. That is not Orthodoxy. It is time for the EP to call them to the bet by calling for a Synod to discuss Russian behavior. The Orthodox heads need to come together and stop this.

  29. I rest well indeed knowing that The Mother Church will always be there in Constantinople.

    For those who can read and have an open mind, can observe that is over for Moscow – They are exposed for the world to see. Stand by and see what is coming.

  30. I’m neither supporting Istanbul nor Moscow. The Canons are clear, where a local church is established in a “territory,” it is deemed to be autocephalous. Case closed!

    • The time is now for all Orthodox Christian laity and clergy in the US to insist on the immediate consolidation of jurisdictions and the elimination of foreign/ethnic designations and control. Yes, initially it will be like herding cats – but there is no alternative. The endless conferences, planning sessions, symposia, and pleas for “patience” only serve to strengthen ethnic divisions. The Orthodox Church here in the USA could then freely flourish with a truly American Patriarch!

  31. No one has the right to take sides. The truth stands on its own. This is not a sport as to pick a side. Case and any case is closed only and only when the Ecumenical Patriarchate issues a Tomos. The Canons and Ecumenical Synods are clear.

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