America Doesn’t Exist at the Archdiocese
By Dean Popps
It sure seems to me that the new archbishop is trying to create an organization (perhaps modeled after the British East India Trading Company) that reflects his own official, publicly stated views that we are a diaspora, an omogenia, and expatriates of some other country and period of history. Independence Day, July 4th, our sacred national holiday, is totally ignored on the archbishop’s official calendar; and, in fact, on the whole goarch.org website. (see https://www.goarch.org/ and https://www.goarch.org/-/public-schedule-of-his-eminence-archbishop-elpidophoros-june-28-july-8-2019).
The title “GOA of America” is a hollow concept for this archdiocese. Their America only exists for fund-raising purposes for the Phanar, Greece, Cyprus, and related political, cultural, linguistic, and disaster issues of the three foreign mother ships.
To ignore our nation’s birthday, and all that it stands for, in his inaugural month in office, is either the most incompetent capstone act in 100 years of GOA history in America, or a purposeful omission to emphasize that America should not be our priority.
Thus, this archbishop has dishonored the very American flock he presumes to lead.
There is no room for our beloved American homeland, when we are in the Divine Presence of the Hellenism and Phanar First Movement, as championed by the charming persona of this new, multi-lingual, rose petal covered, Turkish citizen archbishop and his Turkish government (Ministry of Civil Affairs) controlled boss, the Patriarch. Their agenda is clear to me — to propagandize and re-calibrate us away from our democratic, pluralistic American ideals and the Jefferson-Madison virtues that have guaranteed us Freedom of Religion and made us the envy of the entire world.
I think the goal is to try to finally re-mold us into an Imperial Byzantine, despotic, Mother Church which insists on a village mindset and which is not dynamic, pan-Orthodox, member-driven, growth-oriented, unified or AMERICAN.
This archbishop, like others before him, seeks a controlled, ethnophyletic, ghettoized, profit center with a 24-hour ATM for the foreign policy aims of Greece, Cyprus, and The Phanar.
The GOA of America functions like a latter-day Trojan Horse in this nation for the benefit of foreign interests.
The support given by the ordinary faithful enables this highly-suspect system to exist, and threatens our Republic and the priorities of every parish.
American patriots, veterans, families, parishioners, and all believers, who value the real message of Jesus of Nazareth, must unite in opposition to this “foreign interests first” GOA priority. We must stand tall in opposition to its illegitimately-elected ethnarch**, and to the author of all of this, the Phanar.
**an election with no American input, in violation of a bi-lateral agreed-to charter.
BE HEARD !
FOR CHRIST, OUR TRUE GOD, FOR AMERICA, FOR THE SURVIVAL OF OUR LOCAL PARISHES, AND FOR STRENGTH, HONOR, COURAGE, COMMITMENT TO YOU THIS INDEPENDENCE DAY!
American, Not Imperial Byzantine Ideals
“In a letter from Thomas Jefferson to Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin in 1802, Jefferson said “we might hope to see the finances of the Union as clear and intelligible as a merchant’s books.” Not just so that every member of Congress could understand them, the President desired that “every [man]of any mind in the Union should be able to comprehend them.”
Mr. Popps, it is difficult to deny the truth of what you are pointing out.
We, as Americans, (in this case, the American children of Greek immigrants), must stop allowing our nation and our people to be marginalized. We are not XENOI in our own country!
Americans, (as well as Canadians, Mexicans, etc.), can be as Orthodox as any Greek. Unfortunately, many GOA members equate Christianity with Hellenism. It was certainly understandable in the new immigrants of decades past but is NOT acceptable now.
(As an aside, some claim that the “Greek” in GOA is because it was the language used to record the New Testament. Knowledge of (ancient) Greek is useful for academics and seminarians, but Christ instructed His disciples to preach in the local vernacular, correct?)
In any case, using the lure of Hellenic exclusivity to pander to Greek-American influence-peddlers and financiers is disingenuous and WRONG!
The laity and clergy should immediately institute the use of English (or Spanish, or French, etc..) during services in North America. Of course, “ekonomia” would allow the use of Greek in the unlikely case that the majority of a congregation is composed of recent Greek immigrants and few understand English. GOA laity, clergy, and hierarchs should immediately take the difficult steps needed to join in uniting the jurisdictions in America and become a truly AMERICAN Orthodox Church. (-and before the ugly word “schism” penetrates our shores.)
One would hope that all would do what they know in their hearts is the right thing to do. We owe it to God, our neighbors, our children, and our grandchildren to drop the foreign designations in our Church – the choice to remain or to become an “Orthodox Christian” should be more than enough.
Dear Dean Popps,
It is obvious that there is only one choice you can now make. Join the ANTIOCHIANS as many have done before you. You are totally alienated from anything Greek, and you wish to maintain your Orthodox faith. There is little for you in the GOA. Don’t worry, your Orthodox faith is safe. Leave the controversy behind and keep your faith. I understand your alienation … please don’t lose faith.
Preach it brother!!!!!
For the life of me, I don’t see what is wrong with preserving Hellenism. Father Eusebius Stephanou of blessed memory said you can’t understand Orthodoxy without understanding its Hellenic foundation. In spite of all its faults, Greek Orthodoxy is still far and away the best Orthodox Church in America (with the exception of the Ephraimite Monasteries.) There’s nothing wrong with being a Greek American.
Gus, nothing wrong with preserving Hellenism, it just isn’t the function of the Church. The church was established to spread the Gospel of salvation and new life in Jesus Christ, nothing more.
The Orthodox monasteries of this world renown saintly elder provided this anemic and highly secularized Archdiocese with a desperately needed blood transfusion… He has guided 15 monasteries in Greece and hundreds of monks, nuns and laypeople world wide. His sanctified body was venerated for 5 days (more than Lazarus’) without any means of refrigeration, certainly no embalming and it was totally unchanged…
Of course spiritual eyes are needed to see this…
Except for a few of the very elderly, most “recent Greek immigrants” understand English about as well, and perhaps even better, than the Greek used in the Liturgy. The diasporists, who will never consider America to be their home, along with the Greek government, are using the GOA in a rear-guard action to preserve modern Greek language and culture in America. They operate under the mistaken belief that by keeping the Church “Greek,” they do not need to hire lobbyists to promote Greek, Cypriot and Phanar interests in Washington. The newly-elevated Vicar of the Archdiocese has managed to dupe Athens and the Phanar into believing that a Greek (or Turkish) Ethnarch/Archbishop marching with Evzones in the front row of a Greek Independence Day parade next to politicians…or invited to the White House for a photo-op on March 25th, can deliver votes, political contributions and favorable foreign policies for Greece, Cyprus and the Phanar.
They appear to have no interest in bringing Orthodoxy to America. Maintaining an “Omogenia” in the US, in violation of the missionary call of Pentecost to bring Christ’s message “to all Nations,” is already causing more and more of the descendants of Greek immigrants to be neither Orthodox nor Greek.
OCL is a pan-Orthodox ministry. It has been educating and advocating for a single, administratively-united Orthodox Church in the US under one synod of canonical bishops for more than 30 years. This is not just a GOA or “Greek” issue; the OCA, Antiochians, Serbs, Romanians, Bulgarians in the US must pressure their bishops at the Assembly of Bishops to declare themselves to be a Synod, elect their own presiding bishop and announce to the foreign synods that appointed them, that we are One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church in America.
They can do this. They don’t need permission. They know that 14 “ethnic jurisdictions’ in the territory of the US is un-canonical. They can fix it. What can the clergy and laity do to convince our bishops to act?
Yes, it appears that the Antiochians have clergy and hierarchy who understand and are willing to offer the Church to Americans without the ethnic complications. Anecdotally, however, I’ve attended a few services in a very friendly and recently-expanded Antiochian Orthodox parish in suburban Chicago. The parishioners and priests go out of their way to be warm and welcoming. The hymns are sung in Arabic as the majority of the members are newer immigrants or within a generation or two. So, it serves the needs of the parishioners at this time. (All of the sermons, announcements, and written materials are in English.)
There are also a couple of AOC parishes in the city with services that are in 100% English, with a predominantly American population, including many new converts and inquirers. So, the Antiochian Church is far ahead of some other jurisdictions in this regard.
Constantinos, there is nothing wrong with being Greek American! But when our ancestors made the difficult decision to leave their homeland, they also (many probably inadvertently) made a choice that would increasingly dilute the ethnic make-up and cultural practices of their descendants. Short of moving back to their motherland, there is no way to stop this. Orthodox Christianity is open to all. One can have any genetic background, color, or cultural heritage and still be as Orthodox as any Greek, Slav, or Arab. Tying the Church to one’s ethnicity of origin may have seemed natural at the time, but in hindsight, it is unsustainable and wrong. Learn Greek, learn about your Πατρίδα, embrace Hellenism – just not in an American Church.
Mr. Karcazes, in listening to interviews of bishops tasked with facilitating U.S. Orthodox unity a few years ago, one gets the impression that they had been assigned to futile “busy-work” meant to appease the squeaky wheels. Sadly, some of the bishops themselves seemed resigned to this.
Now, (especially with two major divisions choosing sides overseas), would it be possible for the U.S. laity to insist that the Orthodox Church here will immediately unite under one American hierarch? Otherwise, as tensions rise elsewhere, Americans will be forced to choose between one Patriarch or another and lose this quickly fleeting opportunity to achieve proper order.
Thank you for your thoughts. It is crystal clear that (other than a few recently-arrived Greeks) there is no live Hellenism left in Orthodox Americans with varying degrees of Greek heritage. I have seen it – not from a distance – but from ‘close by’. Any one in Greece (in fact ANY Greek ) would be sorely mistaken to expect anything different. American society does not allow it – on the implicit threat of total exclusion. That being the case, I ask ALL ORTHODOX AMERICANS WHO WERE OF GREEK BACKGROUND to stop complaining. Save your faith in the indicated manner. Don’t waist your strength fighting against what may have been your former identity.
I have great respect for you, Mr. Matsoukas, and Orthodox Christian Laity, but I detest the ROCOR, their veneration of Seraphim Rose (who I believe is anything but a saint), their belief in toll houses, and their strident fundamentalism. I shudder to think of being yoked to them in an administrative fashion. I stay as far away from them and the Russian Orthodox Church as possible.
Now, PM suggests joining the Antiochian Church, but we run into the problem of having to drive long distances to attend the Divine Liturgy on Sundays.
I believe in involvement and service to my local community: I don’t consider a far away church to be my local community. Why should I give money to a long distance church that will benefit their local community when my own community has needs.
I think the answer is to end the Great Schism. There are five Catholic Churches in my town. I could literally walk to weekly morning masses if I so desired. No, I think the most practical answer is ending our schism with the Catholic Church.
We must end the Schism between us Orthodox first, before we end the Great Schism with the Roman Catholics. We, in America must come together and show the way to the Orthodox Churches in the Old World.
The answer is not to leave the GOA in order to join the OCA, or the Antiochians, Serbs, Romanians, etc., here in the US. Nor should those in the Antiochian parishes jump over to the GOA, etc.
The answer is for all of our Bishops, who have been meeting for a decade as an authorized “Assembly of Bishops”, to declare themselves to be a Synod and to elect their own presiding Hierarch. An administratively united, single Orthodox Church in the US that is Autocephalous would be stronger than all of its separate parts. It would grow and attract not only those who have left but those who are looking for a Church like the Orthodox Church. An American Orthodox Church would not abandon the Orthodox Churches in the Old World, many of which are under siege and persecution. A strong, growing Orthodox Church in America could offer greater financial and political support to those Churches than the divided, shrinking “ethnic” jurisdictions are able to provide.
A single, united Synod can address the problems of languages, customs and territories if it is free from foreign control. Remaining divided as we are now is a recipe for failure.
Thank you Mr. Karcazes for your extremely enlightening response. You make eminent good sense.
Your description of a strong and growing American Orthodox Church gives one hope. How can the Bishops be convinced that the time is now, as this is long past due?
PM and friends,
We should pray that the Holy Spirit” which is present everywhere and fills all things.. will “come and abide in them” and show them that unity is “well pleasing to God.”
We should send them emails, letters, phone ,messages calling upon them to act.. we should ask our friends and fellow parishioners to do like wise. There needs to be a groundswell of messages.. a never-ending flow of prayers and entreaties. Tell them not to fear.. that the laity are ready.. and if your friends and fellow parishioners are not “ready” convince them, educate them to act before it is too late. The Orthodox Christian Laity has been at this for 31 years. Progress is slow, but momentum is growing.
Remember: “It is never the “wrong time.. to do the right thing”!
A “well-crafted response by a humble Greek iconographer” Archon Elias Damianakis
That’s an oxymoron ” a well- crafted response by a “humble” Greek Iconographer.” By the way, the article is anything but well crafted. It’s pompous and ridiculous.
Don’t be too hard on the poor man. It is possible that his business depends on Hierarchical approval of his installations in Churches. He trades on his “Archon” title in all his advertising.. on-line, and even in his one-sided opinion postings. The Bard might observe that “this ‘humble’ iconographer doth protest too much.”
Thank you Mr. Karcazes for your words of wisdom.
By the way, your post was also funny. I got a good laugh out of your last sentence. Thank you.
I don’t hide in anonymity.
I find it very funny that the quote “humble” is by Popps and y’all fixate on it
Lol, that’s quoting Popps
Dean: You are absolutely RIGHT! “The Kingdom of Heaven is taken by force.” The Phanar IS NOT going to grant autocephaly to the GOA or anyone in America. The GOA “IS” the Phanar’s ATM! WE ARE NOT A DIASPORA and the Orthodox in America DO NOT belong to any other country. This is a fallacy & lie! The people of the GOA are fools to continue to take orders from + Bart and his lackey just dumped off in NYC. RESIST and refuse their NON-CANONICAL imposition. “Foreign bishops cannot have a diocese beyond their own borders.” The Antiochians have the same problem. Joining an established, CANONICAL, autocephalous Orthodox Church in America is the ONLY answer – NOW!!!
I have a sincere concern and question about the OCA: I’m under the impression that they are “ under” the Patriarch of Moscow. Is this accurate? If so, it seems the needs of the Orthodox Church here in the U.S. would be better served by an American Patriarch.
The OCA is NOT under any foreign bishop/patriarch. The OCA is NOT a Russian Church. Since 1970, the OCA has been an autocephalic church. It is the ONLY American Church that is totally independent of any foreign influence as Canon Law dictates. This is why the OCA has many converts, Americans of slavic background, American Romanians & Albanians, many American Greeks & Arabs. It is TRULY an American Church!
Thank you, Nikolai. I appreciate the information.
If the OCA is truly no longer under Moscow, why isn’t ROCOR part of the OCA? While I applaud the granting of autocephaly to the OCA in 1970, I’m not sure how Moscow granted autocephaly to the OCA, and still keeps to a foothold in America by maintaining bishops and parishes on the same territory as the OCA? Why doesn’t the OCA insist that the ROCOR bishops and parishes join the OCA? Is there a fear that Moscow may be thinking bout taking back the Tomos?
Very interesting question. I didn’t know a Tomos could be rescinded. That’s due to my lack of knowledge.
Who is Dean Popps who wrote this article?
Dean George Popps was Acting United States Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology from 2008 to 2010. See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dean_G._Popps.