The Archons Condemn Efstathios Valiotis’ Attack against Ecumenical Patriarchate

Efstathios Valiotis was awarded an honorary degree at the commencement ceremony, with Deacon Antonios, Fr. Christopher T. Metropulos, President of Hellenic College-Holy Cross, and His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios in attendance. Photo: TNH/ Theodore Kalmoukos

BOSTON – The Order of St. Andrew Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate issued a strong statement condemning the statements regarding the Ecumenical Patriarchate made in a speech given by Steve Efstathios Valiotis of New York at the Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology Commencement ceremony in Brookline, MA. Mr. Valiotis was being awarded an honorary doctorate by the School.

He called for the Church in America “to become autocephalous or the Ecumenical Patriarchate to move to the U.S.” Valiotis also stated that “we can’t be governed by a small group of people from Turkey without any flock and purpose, with no mission and with different agenda.”

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios who is also Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Metropolitans Methodios of Boston, Gerasimos of San Francisco and Savas of Pittsburgh were among those in the audience during Valiotis’ speech. Also present was Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.

The statement of the Order of St. Andrew states among other things that “all of the Hierarchy, clergy, and laity of the Holy Archdiocese owe their allegiance to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and we, the Archons, express our deep concern that while one spoke against the Mother Church, no one seems to have spoken for Her.”

The full text follows:

“Statement regarding reported sentiments against the Mother Church during HCHC commencement exercises-

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, express their concern and disappointment that at the commencement exercises at our beloved Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, the reported public discourse included sentiments against the Mother and Great Church of Christ, as well as inopportune references to ‘autocephaly’ for the Holy Archdiocese of America. As any cleric or layperson should know, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is an Eparchy of the Most Holy Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople — the First Throne of the worldwide Orthodox Christian Church — and as such, has its ecclesial, canonical, and liturgical bases rooted in the Vineyard planted by the Right Hand of the Lord through the First Called Disciple, the Holy Apostle Andrew. All of the Hierarchy, clergy, and laity of the Holy Archdiocese owe their allegiance to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and we, the Archons, express our deep concern that while one spoke against the Mother Church, no one seems to have spoken for Her.

We pray earnestly and with every good intention that such foolishness not afflict the Body of the Church any longer, and that all of us, clergy and laity, remain steadfast to the Mother Church of Constantinople with gladness and gratitude for the blessings She has bestowed, with blood and tears, upon Her children in this great Land of Freedom and Promise.

Anthony J. Limberakis, MD

Archon Aktouarios

National Commander.”

36 Comments

  1. His bank holds the mortgage on the Archdiocese, the mortgage for St. Michaels, the mortgage on Camp St. Paul and the mortgage of St. Spyridon church. He knows he can say whatever he wants as he holds the cards! Who should we thank for these pathetic business decisions? Once again, it’s all about money.

    1. Which bank is that? And just how would that bank fare in the kind of restructuring of Orthodox administration that he is advocating?

      1. Alma bank. They are very familiar and have first hand insight with the ongoing activity. Perhaps, they should learn from this humiliation. We are paying the price for poor judgement.

  2. People who care for ourOrthodox Church in this country have raised the question several times in the past and we should not disregard their concern. It is only history that gives Istanbul their prestige; practically, it serves no purpose to expect Fanari to really know our situation and govern from afar. If nothing else, let us have a discussion and express our pro and con ideas (It seems to me that the role of this patriarch and his Synod have been negative; the lay (and clergy?) elements of the Church in this country are being ignored!

  3. The suggestion that the Ecumenical Patriarch move to the United States borders on the ridiculous. Moving the Ecumenical Patriarch from Constantinople should never be an option, but strengthening his position to serve as the true leader of the entire Orthodox Church should. As long as he is merely the “first among equals” among Orthodoxy’s 14 Autocephalous Churches he will continue to be stepped upon by the Turkish authorities. Not so, if he becomes the leader of the “entire” Orthodox Church.

    1. Your suggestion that it is ridiculous to move the EP completely ignores its history. It was not one of the original patriarchates, its was created by the fact that Constantinople was the capital of the Roman/Byzantine Empire. Located in the economic, social and political power center of its time, it was nurtured and allow to blossom.

      If the Orthodox church is to prosper, it needs it need to have its headquarters located in an environment where religion is free to express itself, powered by the social and economic engines that will broadcast its message. New York is where it needs to move to.

    2. Dennis, your position is exactly how Roman Catholics view the Pope of Rome. It seems that you are advocating that the EP declare himself the Orthodox Pope?

      This move would go against the Church that we were given by Christ. It would surely result in schism, and rightly so. All Orthodox bishops are equal brothers and always have been. A bishop should tend his flock, not tend the flocks of his brother bishops.

      Instead of trying to make the Orthodox Church ecclesiology into a replicate of what the Roman Catholic Church believes and practices, why not simply become Roman Catholic yourself? It seems that would reflect more how you truly believe.

      Christ conquered death by dying Himself – not by becoming a powerful earthly ruler. Remember the many who hailed His Entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday were soon advocating for His crucifixion when they realized that He wouldn’t be the « powerful » earthly ruler they wanted. They were interested in politics, in earthly power.

      It seems that you want the EP to become a powerful earthly ruler. Just become Catholic then, my friend – what you want already exists there!

      1. Every human activity has a leader: a university does, so does every business, an orchestra, or a city. But the Orthodox Church does not have one leader; it has fourteen (the leaders of its fourteen Autocephalous Churches). Do you recall what happened two years ago, when after preparations of 50 years the Ecumenical Patriarch convened an Pan-Orthodox Council in Crete? Only ten of the fourteen Churches showed up, the others found various excuses to abstain. There were a dozen highly important topics for the future of Orthodoxy that needed to be addressed and resolved at the Council, but were not because of the absence of four Churches. Doesn’t that tell you something about the urgent need of Pan-Orthodox leadership?

      2. Dennis,

        The Orthodox Church most certainly does have one leader: Jesus Christ. That the flock does not know this says a lot about the poor catechetical state in modern churches in America, many of whose practices make them ethnic clubs first and Christ’s church second.

        And the “sham” council in Crete was wisely boycotted by several of the largest Orthodox Churches worldwide. There was a huge elephant-in-the-room clue that it was a sham from the beginning: the agenda was not open for full discussion prior to the council, and it was being called a “Great and Holy Council” by its organizers well before it even began. Church councils are only deemed “Great and Holy” by the Church as a whole decades or centuries after they meet: to acknowledge that the council’s decisions correctly explained Truths of the Orthodox Faith. It is truly impossible to know if a council will be “Great and Holy” before it meets. To call it such beforehand implies that conciliarity is not a goal, bishops’ thoughts and opinions are not important, and it is merely supposed to be a rubber stamp.

        Plus, at every other church council in the world, every bishop of the Church was invited. The robber council of 2016 stipulated that each church only had 1 vote (completely ridiculous, but a cunning tactic if you wish to make the Greek churches more influential than they are numerically. Well more than half of all Orthodox Christians and Orthodox bishops in the world are in the Church of Russia; the Greek churches (the Church of Greece, the EP, and the church of Cyprus) are very tiny by comparison). Many bishops in the Church of Greece wisely and publicly criticized the robber council in Crete — may God strengthen them!

        The tragic part of all this is that so much of western/heretical church ecclesiology and thought has crept into some Orthodox believers’ minds. For example, that the Patriarch of Constantinople should be a sort of “Eastern Orthodox Pope” (wrong, he never has been; if he becomes such, he will cease to be Orthodox); or the very Roman Catholic type of belief that anything the EP or a council in Crete utters should be taken as “Great and Holy” by definition (it’s not).

        The Church of Constantinople needs to affirm its Orthodox faith, not be power hungry. It is compassionate to understand the predicament of the Church in Constantinople, but (excepting a true miracle), it will not be returning to the days of the Byzantine Empire anytime soon.

        And there is historical precedent for moving a patriarch out of a no-longer-welcoming city: the Patriarch of Antioch is no longer in Antioch and hasn’t been in Antioch for centuries (he is in Damascus).

        The idea of moving the EP to New York City or to Geneva, Switzerland, has been floated around for a long time. It would be the wise thing to do. I realize there is so much sentimentality and emotionalism around this issue, but as of now, the Church in Constantinople is largely composed of a group of hierarchs without a flock.

        Continuing on its current course will make the EP continue to look outside of itself for money and protection. The way it’s been heading (with the EP threatening to create – out of thin air – an “independent” schismatic jurisdiction in Ukraine, for example), we may very well see the Church of Constantinople become an Eastern-rite Catholic church ultimately under the omophor of the Pope of Rome.

        But perhaps this has been the goal all along. After all, it is no secret that the Vatican was deeply involved in planning the failed “robber” council in Crete in 2016. But an Ecumenical Patriarchate in trouble should rather reach out to his Orthodox brethren for help (such as the Church of Russia, by far the largest Orthodox Church in the world). Yet instead he reaches out to western money and to the Vatican, and to the wealthy “Archons.” God help us. Terrible.

      3. Can the Archons point to a single parish in the US that the Ecumenical Patriarchate “planted” on these shores? The idea that the “tree” that is the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has its “roots” in Constantinople is wishful PR. The older parishes that comprise the GOA were “planted” by immigrants from Greece.. our parents, grandparents, great-grand parents and, even great-great-grandparents. No missionaries from the Patriarchate of Constantinople were sent here to “plant” parishes.

        At first, the only Hierarchs in the U.S. were Russian Bishops, from Alaska. The American [“Greek”] Archdiocese was established by the Church of Greece in 1918. The parishes were initially organized under the Church of Greece.. not the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Church of Greece dispatched Archbishop Meletios to lead the parishes in the US. When +Meletios was elected Patriarch, he decided to take the Church in the US away from the Church of Greece and bring it under the Ecumenical Patriarchate. When Political events on Greece caused divisions among the parishes in the US, Archbishop Damaskinos of Corinth was dispatched by the Church of Greece, and by the Greek Government to assess and try to solve the problems. Interestingly, his report on the situation was made to “The Minisitry of Foreign Affairs of the Greek Government in Athens.

        The joint efforts of the Church of Greece, the Greek Government and the EP resulted in the abolition of the Autonomy of the Church in America.. and the election of Archbishop Athenagoras of Corfu as Archbishop of North and South America, now an Eparchy of the EP. All of this in greater detail can be found in the 3 volume “History of the Greek Church in America; In Acts and Documents” compiled by Paul G. Manolis. Published by Ambelos Press, Berkeley, CA in 2003.

        Mr. Valiotis is not the first person to call for the Church in the US to take it’s place as an Autocephalous “sister” church with the other Autocephalous Churches in the World. While he apparently used strong, some would even say insulting language in his speech (which was apparently delivered in Greek and I have not seen an English translation). His basic message is one which has been discussed with increasing frequency and is gaining support as it becomes increasingly evident that maintaining 14 overlapping, duplicative, sometimes competing “ethnic jurisdictions” in the US.. all of which are declining.. in membership and support.. cannot be sustained. A united, Autocephalous Orthodox Church in the US can not only grow, it can offer more support to its Mother Churches in the Old World, many of which are suffering under hostile governments in areas where Christians are under assault.

  4. Amazing that a school that has no Doctorate program for further studies can confer one to the money man. More of the same corruption and whoring as usual.
    Instead of using his power and influence to exert pressure on Turkey, Valiotis tries to grab more attention through his heinous speech. For shame. And where WERE all the hierarchs? Someone should remind them that their authority comes from the Holy Phanar which has been persecuted for over five hundred years.
    God help us all.

    1. “Instead of using his power and influence to exert pressure on Turkey.”……. What planet are you living on? whom are you kidding? have you ever being in Turkey? Do you really know what is really going on there? Even the US with all it’s might can not pressure Erdogan, the Sultan to do anything. The Patriarch is a Turk citizen. He ie looking out for Turkey. Valiotis has a good point, which it really needs to be examined and accessed!

  5. The EP lost my respect when he sold his soul and blessed the Turkish war machine and it’s incursion into and atrocities in Syria. The same Turkish war machine that continues to occupy Cyprus after so many decades.

    This is what happens when our Church leader is beholden to Erdogan. The EP follows him around licking his shoes.

    The Church is dead in Turkey. The remaining Churches in Istanbul are crumbling. They are like tombs, full of decay.

    We are throwing away our future in America to be chained by ghosts of the past in Turkey.

    The EP is holding onto us for dear life because we are his cash cow. We support the lifestyle such as it is of two or three dozen useless clerics in Istanbul without flocks. Instead of going out into the world and preaching the Gospel they use ridiculous titles and wander through empty buildings trying to forget their past glory is 500 years gone and not coming back.

    It’s no wonder the GOA is collapsing. Our leaders are dead men walking. More of our people are going to other jurisdictions every day. It is time for an autocephalous American Orthodox Church that respects and honors our past but which owns our future. Let old Bart go back to blessing Turkish tanks.

  6. Efstathios Valiotis is expressing out loud what many of the Greek Orthodox faithful are discussing in private. The Ecumenical Patriarchs leadership in America is non-existent.

    The GOA desperately needs a revival – an Epiphany. Unfortunately, It will not happen anytime soon.
    It will not be possible with leaders who are avaricious and deceitful. According to St. Paul, avarice and deceit are the equivalent of idolatry. The GOA God being worshipped is money, material goods, and power.

    #TimeToBeAChristCenteredChurchAgain
    #DiakoniaNotDoxa

      1. In the face of all the mismanagement and the St. Nicholas Shrine debacle (rezeli), it is time that someone who has inside knowledge speaks the truth. I applaud him. Too long the omogenia has been lied to and ignored and now we are expected to forget about it with a new beginning? The laity has been ignored and now a few voices have risen to question and demand answers. Thank you National Herald

  7. I’m sure that all these commentators have thrown or will throw their parents in the garbage just as quickly as they have decided to abandon the Mother Church. If we were firm in our support of the blessed Patriarchate, as the Romans support the Papacy, then we would effect change and freedom.
    Instead, as many prodigal children do, we want pur freedom and money.
    Perhaps we too will someday return to the father and ask his forgiveness.
    Then we will be able to preach the truth in love.

    1. Get a grip on yourself Toula. We are not looking for freedom or money. Most of our Greek ex pat community in America has much of both. What we want from our Church and its leaders is honesty and transparency, and most important of all a Christ-centered Church. Not a Church that acts alternatively as an extension of the Greek Foreign Ministry most of the time, and when desperate, an extension of Turkish foreign policy. Did the EP really bless the Turkish troops and tanks and invasion into Syria that killed many Kurdish civilians? The Kurds are also Americas best allies in that part of the world.

      What does a Synod of twelve or more metropolitans and countless other bishops and functionaries do all day sitting around Istanbul with a flock that is now smaller than 2,000? There are places all over the globe dying to hear and receive the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but we have a dozen or more Metropolitans tending to decaying churches rather than going out into the world and preaching the Gospel. And a dozen more Metropolitans in America spending most of their time on first class flights to Greece and Turkey to play politics and footsie with the Metropolitans in Turkey. What Byzantine intrigue!

      When is the last time any of our Metropolitans engaged in any true missionary work preaching the Gospel in this country where we Orthodox are 1% of the population. Instead they like to act as our temporal leaders and be feted, fed and driven around in black town cars like royalty. And when did our princeling bishops stop being monks? God help us.

    2. @Toula

      We do not worship the Patriarch. His title states he is first among equals, however, he is still one of us. A passenger on the same ship with salvation as it’s destiny.

      We worship and serve the only begotten son of Almighty God – Jesus Christ. And by the way the Patriarch enjoys money as well. The money that comes from our hard work and generosity.

  8. Of course he wants them here. So he can sell them the land, construct the building, hold the mortgage, and put his and his wife’s name on it. Never mind that the Greek Orthodox Day School, with his and his wife’s name on it, in his own back yard, is struggling with it’s own economic mess. He needs to build more monuments in his name so he can squeeze them for every penny they are worth and then turn his back when the well is dry.

  9. Limberakis’ statement is sheer and utter papism. The Church in America needs leadership NOW. We just celebrated the Ascension, and the Lord said to “disciple the nations.” Yet we have the GOAA and Leadership 100 funding quarter-million-dollar dinners. Three-quarters of America is unchurched. Probably three-quarters of GOARCH “members” are unchurched.

    Nobody is doing anything, yet we are to pledge allegiance to the bishop of Istanbul?

    Constantinople is dead. Let the dead bury their dead. What souls would Christ have us save TODAY?

  10. Amazing that you say you don’t care about money and power and yet tell us how you have both. And then you go on to criticize our Holy church. Amazing. Instead of helping the blessed patriarchate you insult it all the while claiming your devotion. Instead of pointing fingers at others, become a humble servant. Instead of acting as if you know better, try being a devoted servant.
    Once again the money knows best. How sad. With that kind of hubris you are truly correct. The GOA is doomed. But the Church, the body of XC will remain.

  11. Archons and Patriarchate in that order:

    Archons might as well wear bags over their heads because they are so in the dark.
    They are in love with honoring themselves and acting like the medevil Illuminati and reserving the first two rows in Liturgy and events because they are the Knights Templar of the Patriarchate. Their patriarchate titles are FOR SALE. That’s called Simony and it’s a major sin. They are Bart’s bankers and advocacy group and in return get more medals for checks. Fr. Alex Karloutsos is their US “spiritual advisor” and patriarch “customer rep and fixer” and keeps everyone in line. Dr. Limberakis takes orders. And now, Fr. Alex will be honored as their Humanitarian of the Year by the group. Go figure.

    The Patriarchate could remain in Istanbul and leading superficially, if it delegated all operations and authorities overseas and gave the US autonomy to exercise transparency and good business practices. Instead, it has centralized power ( yes, post Iakovos, a papal model was implemented to assure that there would never be another Iakovos). Problem with that is that they are prevented from governing anything by their Turkish Civil Affairs government commissars. Erdogon has them in box like monkies in a cage on Coney Island. The result is complete paralysis and decay, which is what you have now.

    Lastly, Valiotis was given the honorary degree because they want one more loan from his bank, ALMA, on the 79th Street properties. Do you get it now?

    1. Lower Manhattan Cynic:
      Great analogy about monkeys in cage, and like monkeys they bit off the hand that could have rescued them when Bartholomew carried out his mentor’s vendetta against the late Archbishop Iakovos. Iakovos and his mentor Athenagoras truly saw the future that Orthodoxy could have, but the feeble minded, parochial, and self-serving politics of Athenagora’s enemies in the Phanar so to it that it never occur.

    2. My hunch would be that HCHC gave him an honorary doctorate with the hope/expectation he would give a large gift to the school. Same for Calamos who also received an honorary doctorate.

  12. The Patriarchate official headquarters should remain in Constantinople but they should have twin headquarters in Manhatten with St. Nicholas being the official church of the Patriarch in America. The patriarch is ineffective in Turkey. The offices should remain there because of history only. We cannot grow our church from Turkey. Our Archbishop and those in line for his job are ineffective to lead the church into the future. We are missing a great opportunity. The theological school in Boston should be turned into Halki! A few bishops can run Constantinople who will answer directly to the Patriarch. With the exception of Rome, all the ancient patriarchates of the old World are under Islamic siege! We are not getting these back! It’s time to accept this and grow our Orthodoxy and give it the status it deserves to have on the world stage!

  13. DEMANDMENTS OF AMERICAN ORTHODOXY

    1. Eateries, societies and federations will strictly follow all religious dietary fast and lent rules and will not serve food when church is in session. Anyone displaying pagan monuments will be excommunicated. Church will be lock bolted from egress or ingress before orthros until after coffee cleanup.

    2. Services will be only in English as real Greeks drunk selves extinct ages ago and Dumquafles insists church is really Aramaic. If fewer than twenty at snap audit communion, parish will be sold by bishop not Athena brotherhood.
    3.Cosmus Aitrellus, Nectarius Putnapples and Pustachio Eznepides will be expunged from sainthood and replaced with Yacovus Cuquzes. Expunge fascist adulterations of Herodotus &Thucydides.

    4. Wonder Bread will be officially used for prosforo and the mp3-changer prosforettes will be banished from
    church. Church workers will be replaced with low bid contractors. Ex-boards liable by Sarbanes Oxley! As Paul made tents, clergy need day jobs not yayaland.

    5. Burka Eframissas will be Skoptozy circumcised while poopoo drinks polonium with his dainty filjan pinky cup. Pews will have mandatory seat belts to prevent griagia romper gossip. Ban gay, pagan & red politicians from church!

    6. Priests will be required to bathe, shave, wear pants, and speak English. They must resect their parietal lobes as well as facial fecal follicles. Anyone who became a citizen without speaking English will be denaturalized on grounds of fraud.

    7. Minaret howling psalti efialti will be deported.Psalm 150 organs, Gretchaninov choirs and pre-Condoglu icons will be promptly restored.

    8. We will report all mastoras who don’t know the difference between asvesti and amianto, and all yayessas with illegally converted apartments.

    9. Robot home school our children to keep them away from leftist koultoura of bouzouki humpstresses whose heathen tsaoulia jowls teach demonic demoted demotic. We read apostles and philosphers not mistranslated news.

    10. Papotricharch Fartolopuke will move to Thessalonia as Venetians and Ottomans rescued straits from Russians. Close Athos if FYROM does not revert to Vardarska.

    Nypson Anomemata Me Monan Opsyn

    See: https://sites.google.com/site/goatrfm/demamort.pdf

  14. Just as Francesco Moraglia is the Patriarch of Venice, Bart Arcantony can be the Eastern Rite Patriarch of Kyev and Thessalonia. He is righteously fighting back all those illegitimate autocephalies emulating the Lutherans while magog mongol goons of Muscovy proclaimed their illiegitimate “Third Rome”.

  15. In all fairness, the Patriarchate has been under siege since 1453 A.D.
    Over the years, the Patriarchs were used as pawns by the sultans to control the subjugated Christians.
    And in troubled times, the Patriarchs were used as scapegoats to receive the wrath of the sultans.
    In contrast, the Vatican enjoyed autonomy, wealth and power. So much power that the Fourth Crusade, organized by Pope Innocent III, proved to be the death knell of the Byzantine Empire.
    In modern times, our alternating allies had the power to make the Patriarchate an autonomous enclave.
    But, geopolitics and interests dictated a different solution that gave Turkey a foothold on the European continent. . .

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