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.
So, what was the inspirational and productive part? I missed that.
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.
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!
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.
Well said. What happened at this meeting? Was was the request? What was the take away?
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.
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.
?: 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?
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!!!
Yes! We who were present and ministering in the Orthodoxy of America in this decisive era of the 1970’s with expectations of “Pan-Orthodox Unity” have repeatedly been blocked in so many ways by ‘the head in the sand’ Greeks. But, it has not worked. Missions developed into churches when the thirst for spiritual growth was sidetracked in plans for the next Greek Festival or Greek this or that.
Reading one of the most influential saints of our current era, St. Silouan (+1938), he reminds us that humility and loving our enemies and not our ‘cultural treasures’ will be God’s saving grace to us (p.228). See many more pearls of wisdom and guidance by this Russian-born saint who struggled as a monastic on Mount Athos in ST. SILOUAN THE ATHONITE by Archimandrite Sophrony, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press.
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.
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.
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.
I will not re-battle the comments by JK and Nikolai. It is obvious they have no comprehension of how Christianity was established and what Hellenism is. Sad but true. Hellenism is not Greece nor Ouzo or Gyro warps. Hellenism is the sun and light. And Christ is the A AND Ω and the Light to the world, the only Truth. Those two merged. The Greek language is one major element. THE LOGOS IS THE LOGOS. The good Lord knows what HE and how He did it, and in what time in history. Please remove the hateful glasses from your eyes. As for America, unless the Ecumenical Patriarchate takes action NOTHING will move forward canonically. Moscow, sadly, is evolving faster than anticipated into a problematic if not heretical church.
Bravo Ted D. You are a man of uncommon sense and great wisdom. You have written two outstanding posts. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.
Ted, Christianity was established at Pentecost through the power of the Holy Spirit. It was then spread through preaching of the Gospel, the message of salvation and new life through Jesus Christ. When did this supposed merger that you speak of take place? Who were the proponents of this merger? Since I don’t understand what Hellenism is —please define it fo me. The terms you use are sun and light, Jesus is the light and not Hellenism. Could you be making a heretical statement?
I am shocked that some have no proper knowledge of ecclesiastical history and Western Civilization but love opining on serious issues of Orthodoxy in the year 2019! It would be as if 1000 years from now the people of the year 3019 would say, who were the Americans?
THE ONE TRUE CHURCH OF CHRIST was established on Pentecost. Christianity was established much later. The original 5 Patriarchates, with the exception of Rome, were Hellenic, plus Cyprus. Rome gets cut off and we have the 5. All Hellenic Churches. The rest is conceptualized in one word, ROMAN, what most people today know as BYZANTIUM, the biggest Empire the world (Chinese come close ) has ever seen.
The continuation of Rome, before them, the magic of ALEXANDER THE GREAT! Hellenism all the way to Pakistan and China’s border. Hellenism is the art of being civilized, creativity, language, the cultivation of the mind – The Bible says ” The Jews wanted glory and the Greeks, Wisdom ” –
What do Jews celebrate on Hanukkah? Survival from certain death by Alexander. God spoke to him and told him to spare Jerusalem. Alexander spoke with God? Wow. Socrates, Plato, and other ancient Greek philosophers spoke of Christ( the One ) before Christ was born!
Christ spoke Aramaic but the Gospel was written in Greek ( the perfect language according to Bill Gates) as well, NOT LATIN. Why?
” Greeks are The only people born civilized, because of their language,” said German philosopher Goethe. God created the Greek language as the perfect language, words with conceptual meanings and definitions of elements of life – THE LOGOS is THE LOGOS, not the “word”.
Hellenism civilized the world in ancient times (Egyptians and Assyrians were not complete) – and later on, they civilized and gave Christ to our brothers in the North, the barbarian Russians and Slavs.
Remove Hellenism from history and have dark ages – Thus the light to the world – The Almighty Trinitarian God used that as its vehicle to spread Christianity. HE had to bring in Paul, not of the original 12 to bring the LOGOS to the Athenians. GOD KNOWS WHAT HE DID. It was HIS plan all along.
MARIAM the THEOTOKOS was the first vehicle for HIM to come to the world. Hellenism the second, to spread HIS Gospel through the Apostles and later the Holy Fathers (all enlightened by the Holy Spirit and most Greek-educated).
The beacon of Orthodoxy was/is Constantinople and Mt Athos. And the amazing thing — all through the centuries, Ottoman rule and in all sorts of persecutions, the 5 have remained in place – Athos still standing and Greece there defying the world. There is no logical explanation, except the will of God and the intercessions of the Theotokos. Hellenism is a huge idea, a huge sea of life without it there is no life and no Christianity. And later on, without Orthodox Christianity, there cannot be Hellenism, and without the Orthodox Hellenistic component, there cannot be Orthodox Russia, etc. Today, Russia is proof of that. Paraphrasing Fr Florovsky who said: “Because Russia is not following Hellenic Constantinople, it is falling away from proper tradition …”.
A modern-day Russian staretz said, when he met a traveling group of Greek men at a monastery in Russia, “Oh, you the Greeks, all we have is from you …” . Glory be to God and HIS plan for our salvation.
Ted, I don’t where to begin — the jibberish you present is laughable. Byzantium was not the largest empire of all time. Your quote of St Paul is inaccurate — the Jews seek signs and the Greeks wisdom but we preach Christ a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the gentiles (Greek). Paul’s mention of the Greeks here is pejorative, not affirmative. According to your thinking, there was no Christianity until the 5 Patriarchates were established. Pentecost was the establishment of the Church and Christianity. I could continue but don’t have the time. You draw faulty conclusions because of inaccurate or made-up facts.
One can always tell when someone has lost an argument; it is when they cohere to ad hominem attacks. Ted D’s discourse is intellectual while yours is repetitive and mundane. You are acting like your own pope by your personal interpretation of sacred scripture. That is called fundamentalism. Christ’s church interprets and teaches scripture, not you. Your arguments are silly, risible, and insubstantial.
Ted D is completely correct; without Hellenism, we get false doctrine, heresies, and fundamentalist nonsense. A person cannot truly understand the Orthodox faith without being imbued with Hellenism- and that’s a fact. Sorry!
Constantinos, no ad hominem attacks from me. To quote scripture is not fundamentalism. Please let me know how my use of scripture is inaccurate or papal. Christ, nor His disciples, except for Paul, were imbued with Hellenism. Please let me know which false doctrines and heresies were countered by Hellenism. In fact, it was Hellenistic thought that inspired the heresy of Gnosticism, which was an attempt to blend Hellenism with Christianity. Finally, I don’t seek to win an argument but seek truth.
Constantinos, by the way, our Lord nor His mother were “imbued” with Hellenism. Seek to acquire the Holy Spirit, not Hellenism.
Ted: Understand this, if Greek civilization never existed, Christianity would STILL have grown & developed. Christ did NOT come to the Greeks, but His own Jewish people. They rejected Him and “THE GOOD NEWS” was preached to ALL PEOPLES. Now, the Greeks did leave their mark, via Byzantium, on Orthodoxy, but this is not exclusive and ABSOLUTE. Wherever Christianity spread, it enveloped the CULTURE of the people (read Lossky on this). The Orthodox Church is not completely dependent on HELLENISM. In fact, in America, Orthodoxy is developing toward American Orthodoxy. So what would that look like? Possibly a return to married bishops; all the ethnic parishes are combining into Pan-Orthodox parishes (all English) to survive and pay bills; more male & female deacons with WELL-DEFINED responsibilities; etc. The American Church does not depend on foreign bishops; in fact, they are a hiderence to Church growth & unity!
One more time: God knows exactly what and how HE did what HE did – and when HE did it – To bring salvation to ALL HUMANS.
The theories based on ” IF” isms are totally pointless and have no historical value. They add nothing in contradicting a historic fact – Thus, if I had wheels, I would be a bike, but I do not have wheels, I have feet.
God made choices that day in the garden of Paradise after Adam and Eve had made theirs. HIS invisible walk was heard, walking towards Adam, ” Adam where are you ..” – That was the beginning of salvation. HE made the gesture, I will come to save you one day. One day. Day in time. Time in history. HE Is the controller of history. HE chose the Israelites. What IF HE had picked the Chinese as chosen people? Irrelevant, HE HAD REASONS to pick Israel – HE also had reasons to pick the year of Caesar Augustus in Rome and King Herod on Israel. HE also had reasons to allow the Gospel to be written in Greek! What IF, there is NO ” what IF ” – HE also had reasons to say ” the times has come for the Son of God to be Glorified ” in response to Philip and Andrew when they said ” … The Greeks are here …” – HE brought in Paul, not of the 12, to be the one who will go to Athens. Later on, Rabbis allowed translation even of the Old Testament in Greek, Hebrew was getting obsolete. On the other hand, Romans were totally taken over by the Hellenism. Egypt and the Mesopotamian nations were big but NOT not strong enough to leave a mark as Hellenism did – Understand this: Hellenism existed in that context of God’s Master plan.
Byzantium did not leave a mark on Orthodoxy . Orthodoxy left a mark on ROMANIA – they became synonymous .
“The Orthodox Church is not completely dependent on HELLENISM. In fact, in America, Orthodoxy is developing toward American Orthodoxy. “>Dumbfounded, This is the silliest statement I have ever heard . It means absolutely nothing . THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS GREEK , RUSSIAN , ……OR AMERICAN ORTHODOXY>> And here lies the fundamental problem with the folks who want be cut off from The Mother Church in Constantinople . Russia did try to create a Russian version and today we see its failure . There is NO American Church .There is no Boston Tea Party moment as to be liberated from a foreign power . If some have this type of thinking process , well , they might want to rethink , what is Orthodoxy .
Excellent post! Keep telling it like it is.
You cannot have a “Mother Church in Constantinople” when there is no longer a “Constantinople”! Eto fact! Constantinople is non-existent as a political entity today as it is Istanbul. Call it for what it is, not what it is was.
Hippo gave us the blessed St. Augustine. St Augustine is the name of our current and oldest American soil City. St. Augustine is our neighbor town and historically right where we are now was once St. Augustine. As Americans today, we pay our taxes in the United States. Locally, in Bunnell, Florida we serve our local citizens, and would NOT be a “hometown monastery” if we encouraged people to send their monies to Istanbul. We need to run our affairs run from where we live.
Is Istanbul interested in an Orthodox Christian nun in America with a tarp on her leaking, previously hurricane-damaged roof with now another impending hurricane, Dorian?
I would not speak of these matters of the ‘Greeks with their heads in the sand’ if it were not for the critical timing and attention we must give for our salvation, and for peace in the world.
Most recently in February of 2019, the “Constantinople” designated Metropolitan Alexios rudely refused to even hear my voice, “don’t talk’ when the Bishop talks’. Even after an earlier that day conciliatory ‘we will make a call and talk with Fr ________ about it. The Constantinople designated Metropolitan Alexios abuses his power refusing to deal with the injuries I incurred in a Greek Orthodox parish in Daytona Beach, Florida he oversees. The same parish I drove to 25 miles and gave voluntary service to its members and related persons for more than 2 years. The Greek-speaking Metropolitan Alexios and his rudeness was clearly in evidence to the 200 people gathered in a banquet for the St. Photios Shrine (In addition was pushed out of regularly singing and praying at the St. Photios Shrine Sunday afternoons several years ago when I became a tonsured nun of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROCOR), but I was still believing in Pan Orthodoxy and accepted the invitation to aid this local group when requested by its priest. At the banquet Metropolitan Alexios in St. Augustine was gifted 2 golden plates by the St. Photios Shrine representative. One golden plate plaque with a saintly Byzantine Emperor and one with a saintly Byzantine Empress, a woman. Metropolitan Alexios told us to come to his well-endowed Diakonia Center to see the plaques. Then he said he would NOT be hanging this plate plaque with ‘the woman looking at him’.
As grown women of faith, we can take these assaults and deal with them, knowing with God-given time healing trauma is possible. What we can NOT take is another retired Greek-speaking bishop, once militant for PAN Orthodoxy telling me, “You are NOT one of us”. Verbally you pass it off. But when officially this means putting up a block or interfering with the little children and orphans in Kenya that have come to call me “Mother” and who are not now receiving the financial aid I initially could send before I was so rudely dismissed and kept from any supported missionary work through OCMC, the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, which is now dominated by the Constantinople schismatics.
So pulling away from Istanbul means pulling away from all the tenacles that seek to drown and destroy the all-embracing Christian love we are meant to share as Mothers in Christ.
Let us wake up to the reality of today and prepare for a final Judgement as we prepare for the hurricane and storm coming and know we have a loving God who has told us through His Holy Book the Bible “He is not a respecter of persons”1, meaning you need not be a Greek speaker with money to be accepted.
1When meeting with the gentile centurion Cornelius, the apostle Peter explained what God had revealed to him: “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:34-35 Acts 10:34-35 34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35.
It is no longer possible to deal passively with this global cyclone set to destroy peace and unity of our Orthodox Churches. We must organize ourselves and our charities and service, so Hellenism does not become a term for the path to HELL.
Let us continue the ‘resurrection and revival of our Orthodox Christian Faith”. This alone takes away any “motherness”. How can you have a healthy attachment in an environment that continues to treat women as they do in Istanbul, less than men, and depriving women of wholeness in a very separate and unequal culture dominated by Isalm, that extends its tentacles of subjection, attempting to wipe out any and all-female initiated leadership and poisoning our families in America with its rude and crude ways.
The reality in Russia today is its “resurrection and revival”. Russia is a wonderful place to experience the joys and fellowship of Christian love and the Orthodox Christian Liturgical worship. Here is America, we are welcoming Russian-born citizens today who are bringing to us a revival of faith. They attend services standing and hungry for spiritual growth and for coming closer to living a life of purity in readiness for eternity. These are NOT the chains of slavery ‘the Greeks with their head in the sand’ insist for women and non-Greeks.
I traveled to Zagorsk in 1978 (soviet times) during the Feast of the Holy Transfiguration. But Zagorsk is no longer the political entity. The monastic experience of Sergei Posad is the now renamed Zagorsk to reflect the current reality. In our little rented space for a Russian Orthodox Chapel of St. Nicholas in Bunnell, Florida our choir director had her grandmother alk her to this blessed Holy Trinity Monastery in Sergei Posad. Our current choir director in the rented space for the St. Andrew Chapel in Daytona Beach, also had her mother as her music instructor. These are living mothers of today who gift their children the inheritance of the joy and light for Jesus Christ and a deep love for His blessed Mother and all the Saints.
After a very joyous Feast of the Holy Assumption (Dormition) of the Mother of God experienced in the Russian Orthodox Tradition, the blessing of our Outreach Location of our New Tikhvn Skete of the Holy Mother of God in Bunnell, Florida and an exchange of communication today and in the last week with our humble bishop, Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) ROCOR who answers emails, gives directions and communicates with me directly, we fervently pray today commemorating the Sacred Image of the Face of Christ imprinted on the cloth offered by the woman, “Veronica”, for Christ to wipe his sweating face.
This is a dreadful post on your part. As a Greek American, I don’t appreciate the Greek bashing one bit. Constantinople is still exactly that. What’s this “Istanbul” nonsense?
Please spare us the facile praise of Russia. Our avowed enemy is armed to the teeth with over 7,000 nuclear weapons. You better get your priorities straight. All you have done in this post is praise yourself, and denigrate the Greeks. It’s totally un Christian the way you have spread unsubstantiated gossip. If you love Russia so much, please move there. You do more harm than good. You talk about the ROCOR. Please!
You know the saying, “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it, and remove all doubt. Russian Orthodoxy of any kind does not belong in the US. We are Americans. When Russia cedes its nuclear weapons like it was supposed to, then you may lecture us Greeks.
Your retort for me to keep my mouth shut is exactly why I have posted. Over and over, myself and others and in particular, we as a group of Orthodox women in leadership and in many services in America, our lives and my life have been put in danger; we have been bashed unjustly and suffered in various ways of martyrdom precisely for doing good.
Your rhetoric to me is just that. It’s very clear to anyone reading. You cannot take away the years of my service to the Orthodox Church in America as an American, nor can you deny me the grace of God coming from my pilgrimages to Holy places in Russia and the good that I have been a witness to there, and replace it with a wide brush of accusations of something I am not a part.
In regards to anything relating to the military whatsoever, that is not my area. I beg all to work and pray toward a world of peace.
As a monastic, I state proudly and clearly, I was trained by a nun and abbess in the beginning years who initiated the United Nations. I hold to all Mother Alexandra (Princess Ileana) told me of her trip to the Paris Peace Conference with her mother Queen Marie of Romania. I hold to all she guided in me in to be like “Aunt Ella”, now my monastic namesake, “the New Great Martyr Elizabeth (Romanova).
These are things I need to answer to God to, for this specialized training and much more and will continue to so with words and actions and through prayerful guidance as God so wills.
I pray by writing, others will join me in prayer and service.
Can you address a letter and mark it Constantinople?
Can you open a bank account in America and give your address as Constantinople?
You can write me a letter and send us money to help in this most difficult time of attending to the needs of the children God has sent us and our neighbors.
This is not Greek bashing — these are facts. Reality and what we need to do for ourselves in America today for the gifts and grace God has given us to be free from enslaving foreign powers and serve our neighbors where we live in the here and now.
If you call this “foolish,” so be it.
I would rather be ‘a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord’  and a fool for Christ , than a slave to any group that believes their ethnicity and culture supersedes rational thought and stands in the way of Christ’s Commandment to “Baptize All Nations in the Name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit”. 
1 Psalm 85 (84):10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
2 1 Corinthians 4:10
We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored!
3 Saint Matthew. 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Our spiritual father and monastic visionary Father Roman Braga+2015 exhorted us to take this as a direct COMMANDMENT of Jesus Christ. Not an option.
It would be extremely unchristian and ungentlemanly of me to respond to you in a snide, snarky, demeaning manner. I mean this from my heart with nothing but kindness and Christian love…
If I had realized your state of mind, I would never have written my first response to you. I apologize for not recognizing this in the first place. I feel deep sympathy for you.
You are most certainly in my prayers, and I pray that God will grant you peace of mind, and peace of soul. Thank you.
Ted, you are just SO wrong! To say, “There is NO American Church,” is plain DELUSIONAL! Foreign bishops taking the money of American Orthodox is unconscionable. America doesn’t need ANY direction from Moscow, Istanbul, Damascus or any other foreign bishop. It really was stupid for the American Greeks to accept + Bart’s lackey to lead the American Greeks; very dumb. There is no need for foreign intervention. LOOK, Orthodox Canon Law is CLEAR on this. The American Bishops of SCOBA in 1961 knew this and pushed for an AUTOCEPHALOUS AMERICAN ORTHODOX CHURCH. When it happened in 1970, + Iakavos & + Philip reneged. The OCA is following Orthodox Canon Law; all other churches under foreign bishops are NON-CANONICAL! READ YOUR CANON LAW!!!
The commentary is a continuous proof of the damage Moscow has done – The result of disobedience to The Mother Church – And the need for The Ecumenical Patriarchate to “clean things up” across the globe – Enough is enough. May The Lord Grant more years to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. May the Lord enlighten those who claim to be Orthodox. Prayers.
Dear Ted D,
I don’t get it. You have just written an excellent post; I agree completely with you about the Ecumenical Patriarch. As an American, I consider Russia to be our enemy. It’s a giant gas station armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons.
Now, the thing I don’t get about you is that you support the Ephraimite monasteries. At one point, Ephraim was a member of the ROCOR. That’s nutty. To me, the ROCOR is part of Taliban Christianity.
Sorry Ted, the Orthodox World no longer needs Istanbul, Moscow, Damascus or any other foreign leader. “Disobedience to The Mother Church?” Get real! + Bart only sows DISCORD and CHAOS! Each “LOCAL CHURCH,” as Orthodox Canon Law dictates, MUST take its own reigns and lead their own churches. Foreign bishops only cease Orthodox growth & unity!
Ted, a final thought on the theory you promote of the marriage between Christianity and Hellenism. This is nothing more than a proposition promoted by Phil-Hellenes that is neither biblical or patristic. I asked you for patristic and or biblical references which promote your proposition and you offered none. Finally, remember that our Lord and His mother as well as most of the apostles were Jews with little exposure to Hellenism and were not “imbued with Hellenism” as you state.
I hope you are speaking in jest. If not, you need a history lesson. What was the Festival of Lights all about? Our Lord had no exposure to Hellenism? Ever heard of Alexander the Great? By the way, our Lord spoke Aramaic, Hebrew, and, yes, Greek. How do you think he communicated with the Roman centurion and Pontius Pilate? Oh, I know…they all spoke Russian. Thanks for the good laugh. That was priceless.
Ted: I really loved Professor Jaroslav Pelikan’s response after visiting the Phanar which really says it all, “The lights are on, but no one is home!” – PERFECT!
Fr Efraim was NEVER under ROCOR – one time after Archbishop Iakovos was not allowing him to proceed, Fr. Efraim might have the thought to start with the Russian church, but God had a different plan. Iakovos was asked to step down and Spyridon became Archbishop – the rest is history. The EP was aware of the effort all along, and they give the blessing.
I am trying and hope that I am not wasting my time here to explain some fundamental and elementary things about Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Patriarchate and now the topic of monasticism. I have no agenda, and I am not here to provide full lectures on those topics. I do my homework and my own research. What I learned in my life is from credible sources, and I engage in conversations only if I know something well enough to express the truth of the matter and an opinion. When I do not know, I start searching.
I do not like hateful, uninformed, and sycophantic comments on historical facts and on people. So I comment. On Hellenism and Christianity and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, I write based on THE HISTORIC TRUTH, not because I am a Hellene. Defending the truth on Hellenism is a chauvinistic effort but a path to life and truth. Yes, Hellenism is the capital of Christianity. UN-disputable fact – accepted even by Protestants who have done their research.
Ironically, here is a quote from a Russian priest, Fr. Florovsky, a well-respected and admired theological mind: “Ignoring the Hellenistic component of Christianity today is no less equal to ecclesiastical suicide”; and, “To be Christian is to be Greek. ” I am sorry, but that is the truth; and those who cannot accept it, need to reconsider their spiritual path and their ego.
One more time: Only Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, Cyprus and Constantinople are the real Autocephalous original Churches. THE REST ARE LITTLE BABIES born from the womb of THE MOTHER CHURCH IN CONSTANTINOPLE- FACT!
Funny that some love to challenge Constantinople, but Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, who have the oldest origins, DO NOT! WOW ……….. what is wrong with them? Nothing is wrong; they know ecclesiastical history as did Fr Florovsky. The world needs Constantinople more now than ever before, and the providence of the Lord allows the EP to have survived through so much turmoil and distraction for centuries. There is a reason for that. God drives the ship, HIS Church – Let’s Trust HIM. Shall we?
error – defending the truth on Hellenism is NOT a chauvinistic effort
Just an example , For those who think the Greeks have stuck their heads in the sand – and for those who have no ecclesiastical historical perspective ………….
Thr Greeks of Alexandria are completely different from the Greeks of Constantinople, Greece, and Cyprus.
The Greeks in Alexandria actually care about evangelizing the world. God willing, they will return to the original calender soon.
Ted D. and Constantinos,
What then, is your proposal for evangelizing the hundreds of millions of North American barbarians that have not seen the light of Hellenism?
I don’t consider our US citizens barbarians. We can evangelize by living our lives as good Orthodox Christians. I think deep involvement in one’s own community can work wonders. Perhaps, conversion to Orthodoxy will be by sharing on a one on one basis. If one person were to lead just one person to Holy Orthodoxy, and that person would do the same, the entire US would be evangelized in no time. In a nutshell, I think one should volunteer in their own community, gain prominence, respect, and influence. But what do I know?
Western Civilization, as we all know, is based entirely on the Hellenic Civilization or the so-called Greco-Roman.
Christianity, no matter how hard is for some to really see it and accept, has Hellenism at its core, NOT GREEK CULTURE, Hellenism. Orthodoxy and Hellenism are totally inseparable and the one complements the other. Not because God needed that but because God used the human element to achieve his master plan of Salvation. The Israelites(The Theotokos) and the Hellenes (The perfect language and the fundamentally logically structured people with that deep wisdom. LOGOS – That says it all. All, of course, HIS creation.
In North America, Orthodoxy has arrived by the Russians, and the Greeks put it on the map and in the mainstream. Lots of work do be done for certain. “Come and See …”. Converts who have taken Salvation and conversation seriously — they know and they search. They search and they find. Oh, do they find. They smack themselves right on the Holy Fathers, starting with St Athanasios. NO ONE NEEDS TO BECOME GREEK – They need to understand the Logos and the TheoLOGIA. Orthodox DO NOT proselytize. Live your life as an Orthodox, humble and in repentance, and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit will bloom flowers for others to see. We, Orthodox, are the problem. We do not walk the walk (Orthopraksia). The rest is God’s work, not ours.
Ted, there is more to evangelism than you state. Read the Book of Acts and see how the faith was spread. St Paul states that “Faith comes through the hearing of the word of God” (Romans 10). The gospel must be preached for people to embrace it. Christ is at the center of Christianity. There is no salvation through Hellenism — only through Christ. And as Paul says, in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek.