OCL Leadership Enjoys Inspirational and Productive Meeting with His Eminence, Archbishop Elpidophoros


Source: Orthodox Christian Laity

The meeting included from Left to right: George Matsoukas, OCL Board Members Argo Pyle (President), Peter J. Petkas and George Karcazes (Vice Presidents) and Dr William Tenet, Advisory Board Member.

Overview of the work of Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL) presented to Archbishop Elpidophoros by Executive Director George Matsoukas on July 31, 2019, at a meeting with His Eminence at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in NYC.
OCL is a movement, a catalyst that advocates for the renewal of the Orthodox Christian Church in the USA.  It is composed of supporters from all jurisdictions throughout the USA.  We see renewal as Orthodox Christian Unity and support…one bishop in one city.  We see fragmentation of the church hindering outreach and retention of the faithful and as a hindrance to bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to our brothers and sisters in this geographic area. Our supporters see renewal as transparency and accountability in governance on the parish, diocese, and archdiocesan levels and in our relationships with each other. Renewal respects and includes the voice of the laity as part of the co-ministry of church life at all levels and as part of the conciliar practices of church governance.
OCL uses digital technology to convey its message as well as building direct face-to-face relationships.  Our website is over 20 years old and reports Orthodox News.  If you Google “Orthodox News,” OCL appears on the first page as one of the top ten providers.  If you Google “Orthodox Church,” OCL appears in a prominent list of information providers.  We use social media (Facebook and Twitter).  Our website is international.our followers can be found in Egypt, India, Hong Kong, Jerusalem, Australia, Istanbul, Greece, the rest of Europe,  as well as in the USA, Canada, and Mexico.  We provide a monthly digital newsletter.  We provide a comprehensive list of links to Orthodox Christian websites of all jurisdictions and opinions.  Our website is interactive.
But more importantly, we have developed relationships with faithful people in parishes throughout the USA.  We have hosted conferences, workshops, organized 31 Annual Meetings in different cities – mostly focusing on Orthodox Christian Unity.  We attend conferences.  We report on events, and organizations ask us to post their events on our website to publicize their work.  We keep in touch with supporters and friends with 2 annual mailings.  We send press releases to the Religious News Services.  Religious opinion leaders and journalists, Orthodox and other Christian groups see us as a source of information. OCL was the first source reporting preparations for the Holy and Great Council and for the work of the Assembly of Bishops.
We look forward to working with you as you develop your stewardship of Orthodox Christianity in the United States.


    • Dean,

      I missed it too. Apparently, it slipped away quickly and quietly during the discussions. When he came to the United States, the newly appointed Archbishop has been very clear about his mission and It’s not to help launch an autocephalous American Orthodox Church in this part of the world. The polar ice caps will melt and refreeze before this ever happens.

  1. With his position as Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops, Archbishop Elpidophoros has the ability to facilitate the immediate and complete unification of the various jurisdictions into one canonical Orthodox Church here in the US. He would play a historic role in strengthening and increasing the size of America’s Orthodox Christian Church both in the present and for generations to come. God willing.

    • Look, he comes here from Turkey and all of a sudden this FOREIGNER is going to lead ALL the American bishops and bring UNITY??? I don’t think so. The Assembly of Bishops is a joke. They get together and have tea, but this guy IS NOT the leader of the American bishops. SEND HIM HOME! The OCA is the ONLY canonical, autocephalous Orthodox Church in North America. THE OCA HEAD IS BY DE FACTO, THE LEADER OF ALL THE BISHOPS! Read your Canon Law. All the Orthodox are required to join the OCA. FOREIGN BISHOPS HAVE NO AUTHORITY IN NORTH AMERICA! READ YOUR CANON LAW!

  2. I don’t know how much more apparent it can be that this new “team” is out to bamboozle the American Church , again. What I don’t get is OCL’s going along with this third-rate con game. What’s happened there guys ? The wind in your sails died. Did they make you all Archons?

    Take this to the bank: Self-governance will never be given , it has to be taken. Team Hellenic Turkey has no interest in America. If they did, they wouldn’t all be in Greece for the summer. They’d honor American Independence Day. They’d care about our wounded military (The Archons took him to all the best spots to eat and take pictures in DC, but not to Walter Reed Army Medical Center or to Arlington Cemetery or to an Orphanage). It’s by that you know the measure of a leader and a man. All of them are PASOK/ SYRIZA/ Communist types in their politics and perspectives. They do NOT love America the way we do. So, why are they in charge of the American Church? It’s an unsustainable model which has became abusive and wrong.

      • Look, all of you are going to have to expect that the initial steps in self-governance will not be easy and will be messy. But if we stay on course, GOA of Turkey will cave-in rapidly. You need three churches, East, Midwest, and West to make the break. If clergy won’t come along, establish the churches and do communal prayers. If there are fights over the real estate, tell the archdiocese to pay the bills. Once this snowball starts rolling, the GOA of Turkey will soon start back-peddling, then it will trip over its shoe laces. Why? Because they are like wife beaters, they are not pastors or shepherds. They are Byzantine conmen and abusers who have gotten away with this abuse, similar to how a physically abused wife often remains silent. When the abuser Is confronted by strength, the abuser crumbles. You have to stay focused. Excommunication? I suggest all of us sign a petition of thousands of names and excommunicate them as hierarchs, in the Name of The Holy Spirit. The gloves have to come off, guys and gals of OCL. You want to debate canonical and policy matters and councils? Then, you will do it till your dying day with no change. That’s the way it works. Strength and honor prevail over legalisms.

  3. Dean, agreed. The Archbishop must be made to understand that unification is imminent. He can prioritize the health of the Church in America and do what is needed for Orthodoxy to grow, both in true faith, in fullness, and in growth as we expand our parishes by using the common English (or Spanish) and all Americans will feel truly welcome to “Come and See”.
    If the commitment is not there to initiate the canonical order at present, well, then we know that the Church in the US is being used. We will begin unification and autocephaly with hierarchs that are ready and able to do the heavy lifting and make the personal sacrifices of power or position that might be needed.
    The Orthodox Church in the US could potentially be the strongest and most vibrant Christian Church in America. Imagine what good we could do against persecution and poverty that plague some of our ancestral churches.

  4. ?: Isn’t the Archbishop of America supposed to be elected by the American Metropolitans from one of their own?

    Sadly, the Archons cannot maintain their prestigious positions if the GOA joins the other jurisdictions and creates the new and canonical Church for Americans. So much of the Archons’ focus is on promoting Hellenism in this country or affecting foreign policy towards current or former Greek lands. For some reason, the intellectual and cultural allure of Hellenism and Orthodoxy cannot be separated. I think the Archons’ power and money have inadvertently caused harm. I wonder what their statement on language usage and creating one Church for Orthodox America would be. What is their opinion?

  5. What many fail to realize is that nowhere in the Canons does it say that a unified nation should have an autocephalous church, and nor does it say that it deserves one. This argument of an American Church is so flawed. Those who talk about breaking away, making demands and asking hierarchy to make bold moves are making the case for a coup d etat against the Mother Church. Is this God-like? Is this Christ-centered? Or is it the egos of some who want an American Church. The existing Autocephalous Churches (Moscow, Georgia, Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, etc), with the exception of the ancient Patriarchates of the Pentarchy (Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, Rome, Constantinople), are a product of schisms, blackmail, threats and anomalous situations which were cured by THE MOTHER CHURCH in oikonimia and love. The OCA is a renegade church, NOT autocephalous either. Moscow created a mess, as they have done everywhere. Some Orthodox Christians in America need to reconsider their approach to spirituality and their relationship with God and The Mother Church. Those who hate Constantinople and the Hellenistic component of Christianity (inseparable and complementary), have the wrong idea how Christianity was founded and why Orthodoxy is the complete Truth. In Orthodoxy, things do not happen because some laity decided how things should be. Archbishop Elpidoforos is here, and people have to accept that. We will see in a year or two what he does. The fundamental issue is the salvation of the souls of people in America. The Greek Orthodox Church is not holding anyone back from reaching out to God and to a spiritual path. The relationship to God and our salvation goes through our relationship with our own spiritual father and our own personal efforts. It is not linked to the Archbishop nor to the local bishop. The GOA is canonical and directly linked to the foundation of Orthodoxy. No issues there. The rest is all about EGOS and power plays. Everyone needs to cool off, go to church tomorrow, August 15th, and ask Panagia for guidance and intercession. It is a grand blessing for those of us who are of Greek heritage. The Lord has picked Israel and the Greek language for his gospel and the Hellenistic civilization to save humanity. That is a fact and cannot be altered. Panagia is proof of that.

    • OK, Ted D, time for some education! The situation as it exists in North America with many jurisdictions and many bishops under FOREIGN bishops is not only NON-CANONICAL, but has caused many, many ecclesiastical problems. The OCA IS NOT a “renegade” church as you indicate. It is “THE” only canonical, autocephalous Orthodox Church in North America NOT UNDER ANY FOREIGN BISHOP, as Orthodox Canon Law dictates. NO foreign bishop can have a diocese that isn’t in their OWN territory. North America, ecclesiastically, had MISSIONARY activity that began with the Russians in 1794. After the Russian Revolution in 1917, ALL the foreign bishops began to grab their shore of America via their ethnic peoples. North America is NO LONGER a missionary territory nor is it A DIASPORA. The Orthodox Churches in America are mature, operating, growing churches of their own. An INDEPENDENT AUTOCEPHALOUS ORTHODOX CHURCH IN NORTH AMERICA is EXACTLY what Orthodox Canon Law dictates. In 1961, SCOBA stated that this was their goal. Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Dean of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, was chosen by ALL the bishops of SCOBA, EVEN ARCHBISHOP IAKOVOS, to guide them to make this a reality. In 1970, Fr. Schmemann was able to have the Moscow Patriarcate grant it’s daughter church, the Metropolia in America, it’s autocephaly. EXACTLY what SCOBA wanted. The Romanians joined the OCA, the Albanians, the Bulgarians and others. HOWEVER, the Greeks & Antiochians RENEGED! So, sorry Ted, the OCA is legitamate and it is EXACTLY what ALL the Orthodox bishops wanted, but ISTANBUL stopped Iakavos and Damascus stopped Philip. WHAT A PURE SHAME FOR ORTHODOX UNITY IN AMERICA!!!

  6. Hellenistic civilization saves no one – NO ONE. Only Christ saves. There is only one name in heaven and earth by which we must be saved, Jesus of Nazereth (Acts 4:12). Read the Apostle Paul’s assessment of Athens and thus Hellenism in Acts 17 — not very positive. Look at modern Greece and the spiritual state of the people — there is much to be desired. Tsipras is a vocal and militant atheist. Additionally, you make no sense by contradicting yourself. At first, you mention the importance of the church and later on dismiss the AB. Please read the New Testament and pray to the Jewish Panagia with an open heart, and you will see that you are wrong.

    • Hi JK,
      With all due respect to you, I think you have misunderstood Ted D’s post. To be honest with you it is one of the finest posts I have ever read. Doesn’t the Greek Orthodox Church preach Christ. At least the Greek Archdiocese isn’t infected with heresy like some of the other Orthodox jurisdictions.
      As far as Hellenism goes, it is intrinsic to understanding the gospel of Christ. We wouldn’t know what the Logos means without Hellenism.
      Ted D is correct; the OCA is a renegade church, and it is not autocephalous. I avoid everything Russian because they have some scary heresies, especially their toll house Gnosticism and the near glorification of Seraphim Rose. Also , fundamentalism has never been part of the gospel; and that’s what you get with many Orthodox jurisdictions in America. No offense JK, but I think you are overly simplistic. I can’t see one thing in Ted D’s post that I find the slightest, least bit objectionable. Thank you.

  7. Constantinos, your defense of Tedțs post is simplistic. You narrow Hellenism to the Greek language and one particular word. Please read Acts 17 and see what Paul writes about Athens, the flagship city of Hellenism. Does the GOA preach Christ or does it preach Christ and Hellenism? One cannot serve two masters, stated our Lord. Did you know that pedophilia was widely practiced and accepted in Greek culture? St. Paul was troubled by the worship of idols in Athens. Hellenism needed and needs the salvation offered in Jesus Christ. Read the first 2 chapters of 1 Corinthians which emphasize the centrality of Christ, not Hellenism. St. John Chrysostom stated that Plato, the foremost philosopher of Hellenism, was possessed by a demon. Read the sections of Scripture I recommend, and we can continue our discussion. Finally, the GOA is in communion with the OCA and ROCOR which you claim is in heresy.

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