Analysis: The List of Candidates and the Lack of Seriousness

His Grace Bishop Sebastianos o Zela, Chief Secretary of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

The recent process for the selection of the triprospon (three-person ballot) by the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America regarding the election of the new Metropolitan of Chicago showed that the list of candidates for promotion to the rank of Episcopacy is problematic and pathogenic. The problems should be dealt now without any further delay tactics.

I remind that the list of the supposedly eligible candidates is comprised by 32 celibate priests plus the auxiliary Bishops. That list that TNH published in its recent editions has been ratified by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

It should be noted that Archimandrite Mehaleres comes from the married clergy, but after his wife died, Metropolitan Methodios bestowed upon him the status of archimandrite. Mehaleres is retired.
Archimandrite Poulos is also retired.

Three on the list are not assigned anywhere for unknown reasons and one is on medical leave. Despite all that, they continue to be on the list eligible for election. These are not responsible and serious things at all. For God’s sake, it is an unequivocal snub of the Church itself and the persons involved.
Thus it is imperative that the list should be cleaned up. The names of those who for many and different reasons should not become bishops must be deleted immediately. I am sure His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios knows this very well. The existing hypocrisy and the false cultivation of hope that someday those candidates will put a miter on their head must be stopped.

There are some on the list that should not even be ordained as priests in the first place because they are unfit, to say the least. They scandalize the faithful. The same is true for some hierarchs as well, who never should have been elevated to the Episcopacy in the distant and recent past.

The late Archbishop Iakovos was responsible for a lot of ordinations of unfitted persons. Also the current Archbishop Demetrios is responsible for some of those selections and ordinations, although he resisted in some cases but he was pressured from the Patriarchate to proceed. It is a whole cycle that is well connected, and they protect and promote each other.

One more thing: those priests who become widowers should not be given the title of Archimandrite simply for reasons of “prestige.” The title of Archimandrite is considered a monastic title and it should not be given to just anybody in order to preside in the services over their married clergy brethren. The congregants and especially the young men and women consider these things to be nonsense and they could not care less. The same applies for the hierarchical vestments with all those bells on them, the miters, the staffs, and the long mantles. All those shining. shimmering garments hide Christ.

No more bishops should be ordained. There are more than enough, because after all, they cost a lot of money to the Church, meaning us the People of God, with their salaries, benefits, insurances, homes, expensive cars, and trips domestic and abroad. Even the fees for their satellite dishes are paid by the Church. This whole costly expenditure should be stopped. They get salaries and tips; let them pay on their own like everybody else.

Why should the Ecclesia, the faithful People of God, be obligated to pay all these “despotic” expenses? If they want all their expenses paid they should stop getting salaries. After all they don’t have families to provide for; they don’t have children to send to college.

6 Comments

  1. Please don’t expect any significant or insignificant changes or modifications in the governance and operations of the Greek archdiocese because the key words in the governance and operations of the Greek archdiocese are “maintaining business as usual” and “maintaining the status quo”.
    The system is too corrupt for Christian practices to be instituted at this late date.

    1. I admire your courage in speaking out.

      Anne Panos
      (You briefly served my parish in Rockford,IL, when I was a child).

  2. Is it to much to ask and expect that Our Bishops be loving, compassionate and faithful to not only the Laity, but also to the Clergy and Christ Jesus.

  3. “There are some on the list that should not even be ordained as priests in the first place because they are unfit, to say the least. They scandalize the faithful. The same is true for some hierarchs as well, who never should have been elevated to the Episcopacy in the distant and recent past.”

    Alleluah to that!
    I commend you on this particular article.

    It seems that church scandals not only exist in the Roman Catholic Church, but also, and very much so in the Greek Orthodox Church ( except we are more ‘byzantine” about it).
    The GOCA always seems to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to these matters, and by trying to be “politically correct” creates an even more worst-case scenario. So much for all the well-salaried PR people at the NYC Archdiocese.

    Church politics whether on a local parish level or higher, as with any other established institution, only reflects the prevalent culture that has become dysfunctional in our contemporary society.
    Nowadays, Parish Presidents and their “Mickey Mouse” Parish Councils (worst than privileged country club society) are afraid to speak out, irregardless of what the congregation sees, hears, and knows!
    Do we have to see it on YouTube first!?
    No one can be that naïve or stupid!

    When it comes to issues of transparency (especially involving dollars & cents) – well…good luck with that!

    Is it no wonder why more and more people are becoming disillusioned, and disgusted and starting to leave the church!?
    It really is a disgrace.

  4. Our Metropolitan refuses to eat off of paper plates when at a church event (when all the parishioners are eating off paper plates) and required only Figi water! Sounds just like Christ, or should I say, Christ-like?!!!

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