Let’s Fix it: the Inherited Legacy of the Church in America

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. (Photo by TNH/Costas Bej)

“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone” (John 8:7).

For Greece, the 19th century witnessed a successful war of independence following four centuries of oppressive Ottoman rule. The Ottomans left Greece in economic tatters, with industrialization inching along at a snail’s pace. Over 80% of Greece’s population resided in rural regions tending to an agrarian mostly self-subsistence economy.

By the late 1800s, Greece called upon a generation of young Greek men to immigrate outside of Greece to find opportunity with the compact that funds would be sent home. In the United States, technological innovation, mass production, and industrialization translated to a boom economy in need of able-bodied laborers. The immigration spigot from a war-torn Europe opened full-throttle and European immigrants poured onto American shores.

From 1880 to 1925, nearly 500,000 Greeks, 95% of them men, most from the Peloponnese immigrated to the United States. The next 20 years witnessed another 35,000 immigrants, predominantly women introduced by proxenio, to join their contracted husbands and future families.

The early immigrants found opportunity in mines, mills, railroads, factories, boot black shops, and kitchens. They took on the most menial labor jobs often in squalid conditions. From Utah’s copper mines, Pennsylvania’s steel mills, building railroads, tending to silk and textile mills, they arrived in droves to seize opportunity. Another wave followed World War II and the Greek civil war.

Photo by Youtube/TNH.

These early Greek-Americans lived frugal lives. They worked very long and hard hours and saved their pennies, which eventually added-up enough to make the transition to become small retail businessmen.

In Chicago, by 1920, one of every three restaurants was owned by a Greek-American. In New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New England, Greeks owned hundreds of restaurants, candy kitchens, shoeshine stands, grocery stores, and tailor shops.

For those immigrants that arrived from their small horia (villages), the Greek Orthodox Church served an important unifying role, as it had done during the formidable centuries under Ottoman rule. It was the Church that sustained their faith, heritage, culture, traditions, and of course, their education.

In America, the Church served a similar role as a fountain of faith and place where people with so much in common could gather, socialize, network, assist one another, and even meet a future spouse.

These early Greek-American business owners, flush with success, began to invest in their communities by establishing parishes. By 1920, over 130 Churches were built and established in large and small cities throughout America.

They created a host of hubs and spoke cultural and fraternal organizations, such as AHEPA, and dozens of federations representative of the region they came from in Greece. These important organizations helped their respective members assimilate into the American mainstream, learn English, find jobs, and even fight racism, bigotry, and inequality.

This very newspaper – the Herald – played an important unifying role in keeping the language and news of Greece alive. The Church’s role in being a springboard of faith and culture and facilitator assumed a far more important role than it ever did back home.

«Εθνικός Κήρυξ» celebrated it’s 100th anniversary in 2015. (L-R) Amb. Nikos Emiliou, Philip Christopher, Nick Andriotis, Dr. Spiro Spireas, Antonis H. Diamataris, Archbishop Demetrios, Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey, Stella Kokolis, Dr. Evangelos Gizis, Dr. George Kofinas, Nikos Tsakanikas, Amb. Katherine Boura, Amb. Loucas Tsilas, Amb. George Iliopoulos, and Amb. Vasilios Philippou. Photo by TNH/Costas Bej (FILE).

Since ancient times, education is a value of paramount importance. The early Greeks, no matter how wealthy or poor, sacrificed so much to educate their children. Indeed, in a generation the progeny of these families ascended to become one of the most highly educated and successful ethnic groups in America.

The move to the mainstream resulted in the Church’s becoming more “Americanized.” The Church adopted anglicized mores mirroring the Anglo-dominated society in which we live.

The shift created friction within Greek communities, with issues such as the “language” of the Liturgy lingering to this very day. That is particularly true with the last and final wave of immigrants that arrived in the late 20th century wanting to maintain the Church’s ethnic identity as a reminder of the world they left behind.

During the early years of immigration, parish priests, diocesan bishops, and hierarchs were led by charismatic and strong personalities such as Archbishops Athenagoras and Iakovos. That generation were not just clerics, but well-educated theologians, intellectuals, and skilled administrators.

Priests and hierarchs that studied at the Theological Seminary at Halki, in Constantinople, and at seminaries in Athens and Thessaloniki, received coveted educations in theology, dogma, patristics, humanities, sciences, and philosophy. They were the best and brightest and were able to marshal the resources to help their respective communities grow and prosper.

Archbishop Athenagoras started GOYA and Philoptochos and helped quell divisions emanating from the pro- and anti-monarchy factions. Archbishop Iakovos followed in Athenagoras’ footsteps, bringing the Archdiocese and Greek-Americans to the forefront. Who can forget the brave march with Dr. Martin Luther King that landed him on the cover of Life, then the most popular magazine in America?

Archbishops Iakovos. Photo by TNH/Costas Bej (FILE).

The seminaries of Pomfret, CT and at Holy Cross in Boston filled the ranks and demand for parish priests as Greek America appreciated the role that the Church, faith, heritage, and culture played in their own success. The advent of the proverbial “Greek Festival” became the grassroots emanation of the unifying community force that the Church represents in mainstream communities as people gather to celebrate Hellenic culture, traditions, and heritage. Fast forward to today:

ORTHODOX MELTING POT

The Greek-American family demographic of today is in flux. Like mainstream America, today’s Greek Orthodox family is likely to be interfaith, intercultural, and even interracial. The statistics are alarming, and should the trends continue, such as marriages within the Greek Orthodox Church, sustaining 500+ parishes is not a viable proposition. In short, the Greek Orthodox Church of America is at significant crossroads.

The Church’s current economic state has been the centerpiece of controversy. We are witnessing personal indictments of character, assertions of poor discretion and judgement. However, the real indictment should be lodged against an anachronistic infrastructure and system established during the Church’s nascent years over a century ago. The shift from a “Diocese” to “Metropolis” structure, from purely the prism of an administrative unit is a shift to decentralization and at the root of the problem.

Πηγή: www.goarch.org.

The education, learning, and quality of the Church’s clergy and hierarchs in conveying our Lord’s mission is not at issue. What they lack are the skillsets, knowledge, and experience to operate a successful enterprise, again from a purely administrative standpoint. Bifurcating the faith from the “word” is not without challenge.

However, even our Lord declared: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21). We have arrived at the juncture where we need to do just that – to involve and vest professionals and experts with authority to carry forth part of the Church’s mission with respective to administration.

ADMINISTRATIVE ANATOMY

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America today consists of Holy Eparchial Synod, presided by the primate (archbishop) and the eight metropolitans, each representing a respective metropolis of which there are nine, which include the Direct Archdiocesan District in New York presided over by His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America.

Each metropolitan and metropolis employs a staff headed by a chancellor, who serves as the metropolitan’s right hand in implementing policies and handling communications and interrelations with parishes. There are about 550 parishes in the United States tending to paid stewards/members that arguably total somewhere between 350,000-400,000-member congregants. The actual number is a mystery that speaks to the need for centralization and transparency.

His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew serves as the Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and as the “First Among Equals” of all Orthodox patriarchates and over the Holy and Sacred Synod and over metropolitans and archbishops of the Patriarchate.

His responsibilities and jurisdiction includes a host of important Synodal Committees and regions worldwide. He also is under the proverbial gun, due to the harsh and threatening geopolitical and religious tempest arising from the location of the Patriarchate in modern-day Turkey.

For purposes related solely to this discussion, and with respect, the reader is indulged to separate the theological, spiritual, and mystical mission and purpose of the Church from the way its administrative functions operate. Furthermore, consider this administrative unit as analogous to a retail franchise system – whether it be a hotel chain, fast food retailer or other national franchise with 500+ locations across America.

Our hypothetical franchise system is overseen by a board of directors and chairman, residing in a continent thousands of miles away. Apart from sporadic visits and hotel stays, the chair is not well versed and experienced in life in America. The board of includes several interlocking directors with real and apparent conflicts of interest, given that they report, are subservient, and accountable, to the chair.

The 500+ franchise system is segregated into nine national regions. Each has its management team and is led by a metropolitan who is an independent CEO, operating independently from the other regions. Each CEO has the authority to hire/replace his own staff based upon unilaterally imposed criteria and qualifications . The chancellor or CEO in each of the nine regions is a cleric.

The CEO of the entire franchise is based in New York. His authority over his own region is like the other CEOs, but limited with respect to the national franchise. He has limited authority to promulgate, enforce and resolve national policies and disagreements that arise. He is the face of the franchise for purposes of representing the franchise to the outside world, ironically like the role that the president of Greece has. In sum, the eight CEOs report and are accountable to the chair back at the Phanar.

The nine franchise regions operate autonomously. There are duplicative departments, subdivisions, and policies, and no uniform standards of transparency. As typical with any large organization, there are also differences of opinion, personality conflicts, and other extenuating circumstances that result from this type of administrative decentralization. Suffice it to say, from an administrative context, the franchise has serious flaws. Some of these shortcomings include, but are not limited to:

  • lack of centralized, uniform, and comprehensive strategies and business plans to ensure the success and growth of the franchise system;
  • an administrative chain of command lacking consistency and uniformity;
  • a lack of best practices and guidelines for professional staffing for key administrative and business functions at all levels: local, regional, and national;
  • standardization of key administrative functions, processes, and practices, thereby leading to inconsistencies;
  • undercapitalization for support of the franchise system;
  • lack of financial controls and checks as outlined in the findings and conclusions of forensic auditors; and
  • failure to manage, develop, and monetize real property assets, effectively resulting in millions of dollars of unrealized revenue and income.

The list is not comprehensive and consulting firms the likes of McKinsey, Stephens, E&Y, and others are best suited to analyze, assess, report, and suggest changes and solutions. This model needs overhaul and change if the franchise is to succeed for the long term.

The cleric’s role and function is to bring his flock closer to Christ so that we may find our eternal salvation. Secular humanism and the “grayness” of modern life makes the cleric’s mission and role more important than ever. Just as it is imperative for any business venture to have the best management team, so it is to have the very best serving as clerics and lay people in the Church’s ministries.

The fact that there is no budgetary line item for recruiting clergy speaks miles about the administrative disorder that exists and the need for effective structural change. It does not matter whether the next archbishop has an MBA from Harvard; he too will inherit an unfixable mess with the status quo of the administrative functions of the Church.

Archbishop Demetrios, an incredible theologian and pious and devout hierarch, often speaks eloquently of the millions of “unchurched” souls in America, of people who believe in God searching for a place to call their spiritual home. It is a “half-glass empty” pity, but also a “half-full glass full” of glaring opportunity given Orthodoxy’s manna and countless spiritual and mystical treasures.

We Greek-Americans have fulfilled and exceeded the wildest dreams and expectations of the herculean immigrants and forbears that arrived on these shores to claim their right to opportunity. We are educated, successful, and lead in every walk of life.

Engage us as stewards of our faith to assist: not just to fill the church coffers with funds. Engage our talents, expertise, and knowhow. Let us be the Church’s “Caesar” when it comes to how it operates and allow you to flourish in proclaiming His Gospel and promise of hope and salvation.

Ari Stone is a journalist and former law professor residing in Washington, DC.

registry-2016-stats

22 Comments

  1. This is a very interesting article and it brings up several issues which are pertinent to the state of the GOA today. But first, a correction. Archbishop Michael was the archbishop when GOYA was founded. Further, it is interesting that Archbishop Michael is not mentioned in the article. Although he was not the first choice to replace Archbishop Athenagoras (apparently a Metropolitan Timothy of Crete was the first choice but he died before he could get to the US), Archbishop Michael came to be a beloved hierarch who was a great archpastor and a good administrator. His grave at St. Basil’s Academy quickly became a pilgrimage site after his death, especially by GOYANS who loved him dearly.
    The author is quite correct to use the franchise model when referring to the archdiocese because that is what the parishes have become, franchises. What would happen to a parish if one year it couldn’t have its annual festival? Where would the annual “franchise fee”, that each parish must send to the archdiocese each year, come from? And to what end? Why is there even such a bloated structure as the archdioces in place? It’s budget has grown by one million dollars a year for the last 20 years. Most of the archdiocese departments could cease to exist and be recreated in the metropolises. The office of the archbishop would have a staff and something like internet ministries might be valuable on a national level, but not much more.
    Which brings us to the most important element, the spiritual state of the archdiocese. Where to begin? Well, at the parish level, of course. Many parishes are run as businesses not particularly because the clergy want that but because the laity does. People complain about the clergy but they are overworked not just with practical matters but with matters that weigh heavily on them, matters that others never have to encounter, especially on a daily basis. Any community with 300 families should have two priests and parishes of 600 or more should probably have three priests. Supporting all those clergy and their families costs a lot. But parishes can’t afford that. If there is anything that impacts the most heavily on the spiritual state of the parish it is the workload of the parish priest and the lack of additional priests in parishes. Parishes can’t afford extra clergy because of the annual “franchise fees” that the archdiocese demands. And the lifestyles of the metropolitans is another issue altogether. Recruiting clergy is another issue. There are many married men, cradle Orthodox and converts, with children who go to Holy Cross to study for the priesthood. This is a tremendous sacrifice for families that leave comfortable, professional lives to spend three or four years at Holy Cross. And yet, there have been times these families had to depend on food stamps to get by.
    It is time to look at the spiritual issues that exist in the parishes, the metropolises and the archdiocese. If the laity doesn’t see that spirituality is the basis for the existence of the parish all the money in the world won’t help. It is time that the parish ceases to be a Greek-American social club. Most marriages are “mixed” and the children and grandchildren need a spiritual reason to come to church. And, of course, there is the message of Orthodoxy, not the ethnic heritage, that will bring converts to the faith. Ignore these issues and parishes will soon die out.

      1. The Take-away from Ari-Stone article…which I must applaud, since, it does address areas of improvement in what is “Alleged” to be possible incompetence in the managing of the financial affairs of the Archdiocese of the Greek Orthodox Church! Importantly… Ari Stone’s assessment provides the basis for why the “Greek ” Orthodox Church was established and has been the foundation for Greek families in America for decades, since, they were established in America! .

        Thanks to this assessment …it exposes the ..debacle of a TNH campaign and their evangelical followers to opportunistically dismantle the Greek Orthodox Church, and apparently, relegate it to another Anglican REFORMED Church…..in order to gain converts….from population of Evangelicals representing 38 % of the American population by removing the language of the original church of Christ…which included Greek, and more importantly, ….extinguishing the Greek Culture and heritage from a dominant role in the affairs of the church! KInd of what the evangelical leaders of our government are now doing around the world …. in dropping a bomb every 12 minutes on the people of the world …. to save them and reforming them to the Evangelical culture and values…which included political, economic , and military compliance! Hence, Regime change not only of the countries of the world ….but every religious institution of the world ….not compliant to the Anglican white supremacist …that litter our country and the world!

        What these evangelical lovers and their Media collaborators…would like you to believe… that it is a bunch of “corrupt clerics” who have instituted an authoritative rule on the faithful of the Greek Orthodox church….which includes Hellenism, Ethnic Greek culture and Heritage in the operation of the church, and consequently, ….prevents or suppresses the growth of the Greek Orthodox Church!

        Unfortunately TNH and the media hord of atheist and evangelical lovers….. are sadly, misquided….since, it is the Poor Greek immigrants….who established the church’s in America….to fulfill their needs…. which was to bring to America…. the Greek Orthodox Church , not the Syrian, Russian, Ukraonian, Coptic orthodox etc etc churches…to read the gospels in Greek …for which they understood….and to make the Church grounds….for their family gatherings …to share their common heritage and culture!

        All the Clergy of our Church are responsible for …is opening the Doors every Sunday…and providing a spiritual servant of God…… to convey the Gospel of Christ and celebrate the holiest of days as required by the original church of Christ ….the Orthodox Church.

        In other words. let me help TNH and the followers of Evangelical hero’s Tammy and Jimmy Baker…. who were former Franchise owners of the Evangelical church,until they , wound in Jail ….in skimming money from their donators ….and who really did not meet their franchise conditions to sell the gospel of Christ!

        The only responsibility of the Archbishop and his Metropolitans…..is to make sure that the “Franchise ” principles and standards of the original church of Christ…. are being complied with ….on a daily basis! This is how ….franchises for Macdonalds or Dunkin Donut work! If a franchise …does not comply with the conditions to operate as ….lets say like Duncan Donuts…. with those of the owners of the Dunkin Donut corporation…they will be terminated!

        Therefore, the 500 plus Greek Orthodox Church “Franchises” are responsible for complying with the Spiritual principles of the Orthodox Church, no more , no less!

        As far as the promotion and financial management of the churches…..that is the responsibility of the elected Board members of each church …representing the franchise owners ….the members of the church…who may be ethnic Greek, Serbian, Hungarian, Ukrainian etc etc!

        Understanding that…. the service of the clergy of our church…..has nothing to do with the Ethnic makeup of each franchise church… since, .it adorns Christ and the Saints, since, the beginning of Christianity, not Greek only! It is the will of the people of our Church….who have made the church ….Greek Orthodox!

        And it will be ….the people of each church …who decide whether ….the service is in Greek, or what many and what I subscribe to do …half English, Half Greek! It is not up to the Church to have a Sunday School in the church halls which teaches in English the tenets of our Christian Orthodox Church! It is not up to the Church …to have a Greek School in the church Hall to teach and educate anyone on the Greek Language and Greek Culture!

        Importantly, it is not the Archbishop of the Church or Metropolitans….who control the budgets of these Franchise Greek Orthodox Churches…….it is the elected Board member of each church….who administer the expenditures of each church! It is these Board members ….who are required to administer the funds of its membership…. and to take what ever is in the interest of their Church, not the Archdiocese!

        It is not up to the Church to promote the Greek Culture and Heritage by organizing annual Greek Festivals to raise funds to contribute to the operating costs of the church…which includes the clergy provided by the Archdiocese. Just think …would all those non-orthodox patrons of our Greek Festival…come to enjoy our famous Greek foods, and culture , if we were called the American Orthodox Church!

        Mr. Stone has it right…. the only legitimate suggestion we as parishioners can make to the Archdiocese….is if true…they mismanaged funds, or are unable to fund themselves properly to administer the maintanance of the Greek Orthodox Church….which provides the legitimacy of the operation of all the churches in America…. by being compliant to the spiritual standards of operating a Greek Orthodox Church….then they should heed the recommendation of Mr. Stone ….in adding a management consulting arm for their financial administration to address what they cannot do …. based on the enormous responsibilities of a Multi National organization to service the spiritual needs of their “GREEK” ORTHODOX COMMUNITY, not those of the Evangelical community!

        My recommendation …is tor TNH and its evangelical opportunist… is to stop their campaign of discrediting and demonizing the entire Orthodox and Catholic church….every time …some rogue member of these churches …fail to meet their obligations to the service of Christ!

        Pope Francis…may or may not have known about the Pedifiles in the United States Catholic Church…but then again most people in America have no idea…that their are pedifiles in their neighborhoods every day! Common sense….which THN and mass media have demonstrated in their Russian hysteria….. says,…. neither the Pope or his clergy…. have the ability… without proper investigation and information …. to act on any allegations…which may prove to be completely false! Unlike the Fake New’s media of today… they expect that allegations and narratives….that have proven to be false ….demand immediate retribution and action…with horrendous personal consequences to the lives of the people being accused of …possible false allegations!

        TNH…has proven this, with their followers …in repeatedly implying.that Archbishop Demetrious and others in the Greek Orthodox Church….as corrupt theives engaging in unethical practices….and suggesting he be fired or resign! Unfortunately, I have not seen any criminal indictments against Archbishop Demetrios …and only accusations!

        Get it right out of your head……Their is no need for the Greek Orthodox Church to change, other than to address any needs to legitimately add to the management of their financial affairs!

        Today, my children who are 4th generation Americans…. are active attendees of our Greek Orthodox Church…. never went to Greek School to learn Greek…like me, but somehow…I am proud to say….actually…practice what they were taught in our church!

        If you have an argument with how our church is promoted or how we as parishioners are spreading the world of christ…I suggest you make an appointment with your elect Church board member…. and see if you can take the Greek out of our Orthodox Church and find out why they have reached out to your evangelical souls …who are searching for a new church!

        If not,,,,do us all a favor….go find a reformed church that meets your needs…. and go there! Or as some of the great politicians tell those who oppose their unethical conduct of American politics….”Love or Leave it”

        ….

  2. The archdiocese’s legacy will be crime, theft and scandal. They did more to destroy the church then the Turkish occupation. And they worship the Turks now which make them even more of a disgrace.

  3. An accurate description of the basic dysfunction of the business model. I would argue however, that it is the Metropolis’ that should be dissolved back to a diocese under an archbishop. On the east coast, within a days drive, there are four metropoli operating. This is overkill.

  4. 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

  5. repanidi you make a good point but in order for anything in the archdiocese to change we either need an Archbishop who rules with an iron fist and understands how to make these changes or, the parishes need to hold back the fees until the Archdiocese is brought to their knees and then they will make these changes or cease to exist. There is no other alternative. It’s a shame it’s come to this and the Archbishop at age 90 continues to want to hold onto power, what little is left of it.

    1. True. But one problem is what happens to the priests if their parishes don’t send the money. The bishops will suspend the priest. When St. George in Lynn Massachusetts balked at the raise of their annual assessment from $70,000 to $80,000 Metropolitan Methodios isolated the parish. Fr. George couldn’t do any services outside of his parish and other priests couldn’t go there. The field work that seminarians did there stopped, etc. And this at a parish that was 100% in favor of not paying the increase. Of course the other metropolitans backed Methodios because they thought of the problem as a virus they didn’t want infecting their metropolises.
      There needs to be a change not just in bishops from the archbishop ion down but a change in the bishops’ attitude. This the laity will understand but it will take time because of the mentality that has been ingrained in the church for so long. It can no longer be a Greek American social club. You can have Orthodoxy without Hellenism. The parishes will not grow and flourish without evangelism and missionary outreach to bring converts into the faith. It’s as simple, and as difficult, as that. Accept it an flourish. Reject it and wither away.

      1. All the parishes have to be united on this so the Metropolitans can’t bully just one parish. Unfortunately the Bishops act like gangsters and think they are above everyone else. The title goes to their head. Would Jesus be proud of what Methodios did to the Lynn parish? I hardly think so. How many souls were turned off to our GO Church because of the bishops actions? I bet there were many but the bishops don’t seem to care about anything but money and keeping there positions. You should see how much money is wasted here in NJ. with no accountability .

      2. I have seen so, so much destructive being wielded by Greek bishops. It keeps being said that these bishops have no accountability, but the sad fact is that they do: they are accountable to the Lord for the damage done to the parishes the Lord has placed in the US and the damage these bishops have done to the priest’s lives and families.

        One writer mentions the waste in NJ; I know of the waste in Mississippi. One priest with great potential, a convert, was removed from the parish due to parish politics that the bishop supported without asking questions. This priest is truly called by God to serve, though, and he is serving in another church, growing that parish and ministering…but all this could have been done in the Greek church. He could have been expanding his parish in MS, but because he was not wealthy like the parish critic was, he and his God-given ability to open people’s hearts to the Spirit was discarded.

        The road to hell is paved with bishop’s skulls.

  6. The franchise model is working in other Greek diasporas and is the trend for the future. Your dues and sacraments will be stored on a chip on your GOACARD, which you will swipe to get in and again to take communion. Colleges now take attendance by having students swipe into class. This way those who are not in good standing will be barred, especially for hatch,match & dispatch. Instead of having cake fart withhold his Fair Share to build a choir loft with faulty ventilation and which removed the cornerstone mentioning his predecessors parishes will have to pay a franchise fee to have their sacraments recognized in other parishes. Yiayia parishes will get robopriests as yiayia gets her sermons on yahuvidas mp3 she thinks are from Athos. Robopriest doesn’t even have to be life size. Priestie can pop out of a clock with incense and squawk “Gyro Lay On!” every hour.

  7. Some comments here are silly and do not seem to be adding to debate..I will treat them as ironic.
    I am greek, not living In USA but with quite wide knowledge of the Church there, greek and Slav origin.
    There is nothing wrong with greek Culture, food etc or Russian etc and why lose it all for a grey protestant mentality.?
    No,that not problem. The.future of the Church is to express and build on it all IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE FULL STOP. Greek can be used when ever needed or asked for, but the Church is american and speaks in english.. Today we have an entire wealth of authentic ( not organ or worse, electric harmonium and 19c banality) and acapella Orthodox liturgical music in english from byzantine to Slav etc and one has only to attend St Tikhon monastery for example, to experience. So the resources are there in Choral and chant style. And in english.
    Clergy if not wearing rason, should be in normal clothes, not 19c under taker suits and trimmed bearded in a normal way, that is fashion currently anyway! , and all Parish clergy should be married and there should be strong contact between the Parish and the monasteries to promote Orthodox Christian spiritually and to stop extreme monastic trends.
    And the Church, the Parish, should be in the business of preaching and living Christ in the worship and life of the Parish and each INDIVIDUAL .. The worship should engage the congregation as in my Parish here in Bulgaria. The organ and western choir tradition has turned the greek american congregation into a Theatre audience stuck in their pews devoid of all Orthodox tradition of bodily worship of prostrations etc.
    Sure all this is unamerican if by that you mean WASP TRADITION, but who says that is the law?. Stand up to this grey worship and get over it.
    I leave the recent financial scandal etc but we need to stand back and watch the Roman Catholic church in it’s possible death agony from which we pray new life may come, if we are nott to suffer the same fate.

    1. YOU PEOPLE ARE Crazy.

      one thing that is lacking in our orthodox churches is the lIack of bible reading. the priest should encourage more Bible reading and start up more Bible studies. make the people familiar with the word of God. the EVANGELISTS ARE WELL READ BECAUSE THEY ARE ENCOURAGED TO DO SO, WHERES THE GREEKS ARE NOT. THEY EXPECT EVERYTHING FROM GOING TO CHURCH ONCE ON SUNDAY. IF THEY WERE BETTER INFORMED ABOUT THE WORD OF GOD , WE WOULD NOT BE HAVING SO MANY PROBLEMS IN KEEPING THE YOUTH AND GROWING. THE GREEK PEOPLE HAVE SOMETHING THAT NO OTHER NATIONALITY HAS. THEY HAVE THEIR LANGUAGE, THEIR FAITH, AND THEY HAVE THE MOST AUSOME HISTORY IN THE WORLD. SO WHY DOES EVERYONE KEEPS SAYING FORGET YOUR ETHNICITY, AND YOUR TRADITIONS? THE FAITH, THE LANGUAGE AND THE HISTORY WAS WHAT KEPT THE GREEKS SURVIVING THE OTOMAN EMPIRES YEOK.

      1. I guess I should start my response by saying, are you serious? Do you know that at least 75% of the marriages in the GOA are of the so-called “mixed” type, Orthodox with non-Orthodox? (And how many convert and actually participate?) Do you really think the way to keep a 4th, 5th, 6th, etc., generation American in the Church is to emphasize the ethnic angle? The OCA, Antiochians, etc., certainly don’t rely on Greek ethnicity to practice the Orthodox faith. When their was an interfaith service at ground zero the Archbishop read a Gospel passage in Greek. How many people there understood what he read? Do you really believe that’s a way to evangelize? Certainly it would be good for Orthodox Christians to read the Bible but let’s make sure the interpretation is not something that was formulated yesterday. If you want to consider a game plan to make people understand what it means to be an Orthodox Christian then consider this: no Saturday night dances: insist that priests observe the fasts of the Church, Wednesday and Friday included, and insist the laity does so as well; refuse the Eucharist to all those who have sexual relations outside of marriage in the Church, not just homosexuals; refuse the Eucharist to Masons and those who belong to their affiliated groups; do not allow AHEPA members to come into church wearing their regalia around their necks on a day when they are recognized (the only thing around a man’s neck when he’s in church should be a cross); have an honest and open discussion why it’s the annual festival that’s likely the only thing that draws non-Orthodox people to the church grounds and, perhaps most importantly, why parishes need a festival to survive. There’s a lot more but I think I’ve made my point.

        PS…..my parents were immigrants and I’m fluent in modern Greek and understand church Greek which is very different from modern Greek.

      2. Repanidi…..you just don’t get it…… The Greek Orthodox Church was never established to serve the masses, just like the Syrian, Coptic, Russian , Ukrainian etc etc~ it was established in America , like in Greece, to serve the ethnic Greek immigrants and their families! Why do you think the Ahepa was started in 1924….. to serve the needs of Greek Immigrant families to face the discrimination and exploitation of ethnic Greeks, they were also charted to preserve the Hellenic values and culture of Greece! However, they are no longer needed since their is no longer a Greek immigration issue, but, they did what you want the Greek Church to do….. become merely a secret society of Mason, and non-Greek members thru marriage ….who do not care about Hellenic Values and Principles, and only interested in Scholarship money raised by its members, and promoting the interests of the Evangelical political Aristocrates …for the Glory of America!

        AS Litsa said perfectly….The Greek Orthodox church and her members are awesome, and represent the Original Church of Christ whose gospels and reading were written in Greek! Today this Greek Orthodox Church are the caretakers of the church of the Nativity …where Christ was born and his burial site! Not the Reformed Church of whatever the latest evangelical church is called …and have no clue to the Martyrs of Christianity and why they spread the word and faith of Christ….and who established the Sacraments and the service of worship ….which is provided in only the Greek Orthodox church. Every Sunday and holidays….it is the Greek Orthodox church who allows its faithful to partake in the same service and principles…. as established by the earliest Christians and faithful…. and that is something your Evangelical cannot duplicate on any National T.V. service! You cannot preach the word and gospel of Christ….without putting into the proper context , and you cannot understand the bible without understanding who and how it was interpreted by the Saints of our Church! for Because the problem with your evangelical bible classes…is their interpretations are without backing from those who are featured in the Greek Orthodox Church!

        You wish to ignore the fact that each Greek Orthodox Church…..was established by the ethnic Greek people….and it is they who wish to maintain the church as it was established
        for future generations of Greeks and any other Ethnic group who wishes to partake of the Original Church of Christ! I really think you should think this over …… we don;t care if no other convert to our church objects to our ethnic named Greek Orthodox Church….because it offends Evangelical and Non Greek faithful! As Litsa said ….our church has survived wars, oppression , discrimination to provide what our Greek Orthodox family ancestors wanted and prayed for!

        However, I will agree, the church needs to polish up its marketing skills and create a Narrative or Signature line which does not represent change to their offering , but actually , promotes what has made our church awesome to our faithful as follows:

        Mission Statement of Greek Orthodox Church:

        To provide to the Christian world ….. the opportunity to worship and practice their faith, as built and practiced by the Original Christians of the Church of Christ, and can be practiced today in the Greek Orthodox Church of America!

        The Greek Orthodox Church is the only church that includes the original spoken Greek language of the written bible and Gospel in it service, the sacraments and worship of the original church of Christ, and as provided to them by the disciples of Christ!
        Furthermore , when reciting the gospel …. of the day…it will be spoken in the original Greek language , as it was , by the earliest Christians and translated in English for the members of our church!

        Now Repanidi…this is how you compete for new converts…their is nothing more loved by Christians than being as close to Christ and having the ability to serve and worship him in the manner that he taught his disciples and in their language …which include Greek!
        You see…their is plenty of opportunity to gain New converts by showing that the reason we call ourselves Greek Orthodox…is because we are the only legitimate church practicing what Christianity was built on and in compliance with the service and worship of Christ…as practiced over 4000 years ago! Bonus converts…you can partake in the festivities of one of the oldest cultures and the foundation of medicine , science , philosophy, democracy in world history , as a member of our church!

        Now you know Repanidi…. it is not a weakness of our church to be ethnically aligned with our Church, but a strength…that you can begin your missionary work by promoting!

        In conclusion, why do you scream for these changes to our Greek Orthodox Church…when you and anyone else …. can simply join any number of Evangelical churches who serve their Anglo American community …. as they were established for!

  8. After what the Komitatzides did to our forefathers, anyone slumming with them should be given the Tsmisces eye treatment.

  9. The Orthodox Church exists for all peoples. It is, specifically, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The added Greek, Russian, Syrian, Romanian, etc., are merely there to distinguish different parts of the same body. The Greek of the New Testament is Koine. The Greek of the Divine Liturgy and the service books bear only some resemblance to modern Greek. Most people of Greek descent, especially here in America do not understand all the Greek in the services and perhaps understand more than that of the Gospels. In any case the Holy Spirit makes no distinction. As we are reminded, there are neither Greeks nor Jews, etc. Ironically, it was a PAN-Orthodox synod that met in Constantinople in 1872 that gives us direction in this matter. This synod was convened to address this exact issue, nationalism and its relation to the Church. The synod defined the word phyletism and further declared it a heresy. The synod declared that the Church should not be confused with the destiny of a single nation or a single race. An Orthodox Christian should be able to attend services in any Orthodox church where any language is used and hopefully be able to participate, even without knowing the language. If the “Greek” Orthodox Church in America does not open its doors to all, cradle Orthodox and converts, if it insists on a purely (that is insist on keeping only) its Greek identity, then it fails to heed one of the greatest commandments given to us in the New Testament, that we should go forth and preach the Gospel to all nations and baptize them in the name of the Holy Trinity.

    Lest anyone believe I am anti-Greek, let me say that I am the proud son of Greek Immigrant parents, am fluent in spoken and written Greek, to a greater extent than most of my contemporaries and have a good understanding of Koine Greek and the Greek of the services. Again, I say, if it is the annual Greek Festival that draws the most people to our communities then we are probably doing something wrong.

    1. Repanidi…….. first I do not believe you are Anti-Greek….but I do believe….you have been used by TNH, and others ….who promote their Secret Societies, like the Ahepa…who are self proclaimed representatives of Hellenism, Greek values and chartered to protect the interests and rights of the Greek immigrants in 1924! Unfortunately, lacking any purpose, since immigration is no longer an issue for Greeks….there leadership is now merely another secret organization of Greek and Non- Greek Masons and Birchers…..promoting the Glory of American interests and values!

      Non of what they profess politically and required to comply with their constitution exists as it was Originally established. The new leaders of Ahepa …are merely an incest filled rotation of networking opportunist feeding on the blind followers of their chapter members…. who are completely satisfied with remaining uninformed and uninvolved in what these people ….do in their Name!

      While THN promotes these Aristocratic Frauds and professional leaches….. they promote opportunistically….. a regime change of our Greek Orthodox Church …copying their scripts reserved for the leaders of foreign countries …by the corrupt government of the United States….to demean and misrepresent these leaders , in order to justify, their removal by breaking international laws and criminally bombing and killing thousands of ethnic and religous citizens of the country they claim to be saving!

      Therefore Repanidi…. when you read …the legacy list of another fanatic…like “Lower Manhattan CYNIC..”….whose definition of the leadership of the Greek Orthodox Church…..would be more appropriately directed toward the Fascist leaders of the most corrupt government in the world …and who the world calls the ….most dangerous threat to world peace …the United States of America!
      However, i do not agree with lower and i mean lower Manhattan …in suggesting the U.S government has had Zero success in evangelizing to other countries…the values of white supremacist religous and cultural bigots….at the point of a gun…if necessary!

      So Repanidi….being associated with the likes of lower Manhattan and TNH …. merely makes you an unwitting victim and follower of a bunch of ideological deviates…who would like to end ….any legitimacy of all churches …and especially, the original church of Christ! These people are no less, than the terrorist religious jihadist of Saudi Arabia and the United States degenerates….who wear suicide vests to blow up …. the Greek Orthodox Churches in Damascus, burn their homes, murder their children and attempt to convert them from … a corrupt Greek Orthodox Church….not compliant to their radical definition of how to worship god! Of course , this is all justified , by the picture portrayed by lower Manhattan Cynic and TNH!

      Repanidi…I have been baptised in the Greek Orthodox Church, attended Sunday School at my church, an Altar boy, graduate of the Greek School of my church, and a board member of my Church! My children are grown up…and have embraced our church …with little command of the Greek language….and more importantly, is fully familiar with the evangelical and baptist religious offerings!

      What i find interesting in your post… is that someone who is so familiar with the foundation of the Christian church…. validates his arguments…by declaring he is the son of Greek Immigrants, but not mentioning …what most people would do….. I am a member of the Greek Orthodox Church, and I do not mean your parents…I mean you! You should be proud of your Orthodox beliefs and faith….not validate yourself because you are proficient in Greek! I graduated from Greek School …as a third Generation Greek Orthodox.Christian….and to be honest…I am far from fluent or writing Greek, but this did not obstruct me from appreciating the treasures of our religion…no, …it made me appreciate the uniqueness of our Greek Orthodox Church!

      And cutting off the heads of those most qualified to maintain that unique spiritual practices of our church in America, as retribution for failing to properly administer their financial or business responsibilities ….maybe satisfying to you…but a disaster for their responsibility to continue the spiritual management of not only the Archdiocese , but most importantly, those of their clergy and local Greek orthodox churches ….who serve a membership by opening their doors every Sunday…and consistently, providing the spiritual and religious educations as prescribed by the Original Church of Christ…and incorporate the sacrifices of all its matyrs and saints… who established the spirit of our lord…. which the churches in America…. have turned into entertainment and social clubs!

      You may or may not be Greek Orthodox…. but if you were….you would know ….that the clergy of our church ….now speak the gospel in both Greek and English…and I estimate, at least 50 % of the service is in English!

      I have a scoop for you…our clergy.. in english…review the meaning of the gospel of the day…..and invite sunday school attendes to join the services …to review with them the meanings of our Gospels and ask them questions as to what they may not understand!

      And to my knowledge, my church has many non-Greeks who are Serbian , Hungarian,etc etc, who do not have a Serbian Orthodox Church in our locality! Where do you get this …ethnic churches as being part of the body of Christ for their existence….the only bodies of Christ …are the two lungs of the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox church which …divided… and has been the source of the Ecumenical efforts to reunify our Christian church!

      Apparently, you are still offended for having the “Greek” in front of Orthodox, since, in your mind, is a stop sign for non-greeks! I guess ….you should be offended by the “Kosher” foods labels..which apparently are intended for those of the Jewish faith, but probably, not to be partaked of by Non-Jewish faithful!

      Repanidi…. in conclusion, you should look at the Greek Orthodox Church as the “Rolls Royce” of the Christian faith… which features the finest quality and standards of operation …and consistently over years ….provides and maintain’s the principle standards …to be called a “Rolls Royce” and deliver that reliable loyalty!

      Importantly, it is a product, that only a few can afford, and a hefty cost to maintain…. and only those who are willing to pay that hefty price …can partake in being a passenger and owner of the best car in the world! Consequentially, less than a fraction of one percent of the people of the world ….are owners of these cars!

      The Greek Orthodox church …will never ever…. attract your delusional view of millions of convert, because our church provides a Mosaic replication of Christianity based on the sacrifices over centuries its matyrs and saints that established , interpreted, practiced and maintained …the original spirit of the original church of Christ! However,un- like the “Rolls Royce” the cost of partaking of our church … is not measured in money….but the sacrifice, passion, commitment, and loyalty and attention to the worship of our lord ….as presented by the Greek Orthodox Community is a price ..no evangelical will ever pay! Those Hungarian, Serbians , Russian Orthodox… know this …and build a Greek Orthodox Church …and they will come and pay the price! Because they know …. it is not the Greek that bring them to our church and Festivals…it is the Orthodox Church and its worthiness …to be the leader of the Christian world!

      Repanidi… my perception of you …is a misguided but genuine victim of a false flag attack , like those promoted by TNH and a bunch of secret society Aristocrates, who would like to take the sovereignty of our church, to continue to maintain the doctrines and message of the Greek Orhtodox church, and have opportunistically, used a narrative, that circumstances exist today, that demands retribution and complete overhaul of the Greek Orhtodox church! The problem is…99% of the members of the Greek Orthodox church …have absolutely no idea or clue …as to what you or I are talking about…have no idea their is some clergy problem, financial problem, membership problem tyrannical Archbishops….all they know …is they just built another parking lot for their church …to provide capacity for their growing church population! All they know …is that their board members and priest of their church…continue to have financial budgetary meetings which are approved …and disbursed as required tor the operations of their church, and when they go to church …the doors are open, until, their board and priest tell them they will be closed…if they don’t help the church with more money!
      Therefore, any actions that comply with your vision of changing the church both administratively and spirtually….are not diffierent than the acts of a select group of degenerates in our government …who forcibly impose their ….fraudulent removal of the leaders of foreign countries not complying with the visions of a bunch of white supremacist and racist members of our country… and based on a ideological corrupt belief….they know what best for the people they kill to save them !

      Repanidi….you have been scammed …the intentions of TNH and their followers…began with accusation of financial improprieties and charges of corruption, which to date have not been determined were in fact inappropriate, but more importantly, knowing acts of criminal behavior by the Archbishop!

      To date their is no indictment of the Archdiocese, however, the District Attorneys for New York and New Jersey….have initiated a full investigation into the Diocese of the Catholic Churches of New Jersey and New York …to determine if they were complicit in covering up “ALLEGED” sexual misconduct by 300 catholic priests against children of the catholic faith!

      The point… when you went from retribution against the Archbishop for mismanaging the funds of the Archdiocese…..to all of a sudden , informing the faithful…that all this time …they have been under the ownership of Homosexuals, despots, crooks, and a public image of shame!

      To bad….Donald Trump didn’t ….know this before …he invited Archbishop Demetrios …to make a Eulogy at his Presidential corronation dinner!

      We have seen this act before…and TNH and the Mass Media…no longer fool 83% of the population!
      ..
      They especially did not fool Ari Stone…who described the true legacy of the Greek Orthodox Church…and has provided the recommendations to fix what really ail the church…and that is helping and destroying her..as highlighed in his article…which for your followers ….is much to painful to read!

      1. Wow. Do you have me wrong. No, I don’t necessarily support TNH and I certainly don’t support AHEPA, mainly because it is a quasi-masonic organization. And, even if you can’t take my word for it because you don’t know me, let me just say that I have enough of a background regarding the history of Orthodoxy in America and the history, theology and practice of the Orthodox faith, actually much more than most, to know I have not been scammed. Money is missing. It doesn’t matter why it is missing. It doesn’t matter whether the authorities make a legal case out of it. It has been clear for some time that many of the bishops are not pastors in the fullest sense of the word. How they conduct themselves has no bearing on the validity of the faith unless they fall into heresy. They are businessmen who look out for themselves and cater to the wealthy. Finally, I am conservative enough in my understanding and practice of the Orthodox faith to know what the scam is and who is being scammed. The only ones being scammed are those faithful who are truly scandalized by what has been happening in the GOA for some time now.

      2. Repanidi…I did not ask you whether you have an understanding of the practice of the Orthodox Church and its theological history! I asked you …whether you are an active baptised member of the Greek Orthodox church and steward of that church? And if not, and I don’t mean by association as the son of Greek immigrants…what christian church are you a member of ?

        However, you score a lot points with your knowledge of the fraudulent Ahepa organization supported by TNH. And you get great points ….for clarifying what troubles you the most….. missing money and business practices of the Archdiocese!

        Where you lose your argument to the faithful…is in suggesting, that we should take off all the Heads of the Orthodox church…for poor financial practices…. which have not been determined to be knowing acts of criminal theft or embezzlement?

        99% of the parishioners of our church…have no idea what you and I are talking about….and unless their elected board members or priests provide them with specific evidence of what these bishops have been doing to them …..neither you, TNH, and lower ,lower and more lower Manhattans accusations and slanderous incrimination of the Archbishop and Bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church……are merely, filed under the same false narratives graveyard of TNH…..which include the lies in waging wars against Iraq, libya , Syria , Yemen etc etc….and most recently…the recent false Narratives without evidence of Russian collusion and meddling, Russian leaders poisoning British, Russian double agents in London, Russian meddling in Greece, and the most outrageous…which the world court at the Hague has released an interim report that the media reports that Russia and Syria governments had attacked the civilians of Douma,Syria with Chemical weapons were false, and that this was a hoax staged by White Helmet observers comprised of by terrorist supporters of Al Queda and who happen to be funded by non other than England and the United States!

        The point is all these narratives and claims …..unsupported….led to the war crimes bombing of Syria by Donald Trump ….just based on the claims of corrupt media !
        Most importantly, 31/2 million faithful of their countries ….are dead, home destroyed, lives destroyed…and no hint of peace and stabilzation….and you say you haven;t been scammed by TNH and the Secret society of aristocrates who make a living on fabricating narratives …like as you accurately described the Quasi Mason fanatics of Ahepa…. and then feeling entitled to withhold any non existent evidence….to fulfill their fraudulent objectives!
        So Repanidi…. if you do not respond to this post….and answer my question …I will assume you are not acting as a Greek Orthodox member of our church…..but that of TNH and any one of their Secret Society Sponsors!
        My perception is still …being a victim of a biased journalist …with a mission to enact another Regime change ….and which all the evidence exists are all built on distortions and lies !
        If you want to demonstrate your sincere concern for our church …do not betray it for the loss of 30 pieces of Silver….. and support Ari Stones roadmap …which addresses everything you claim is the problem with this regime…money management!

  10. Taking from the headline, here’s the “Legacy” of the GOA:

    1. $100m in unaccounted for losses, de facto insolvency.
    2. A rapidly shrinking base of worshipers.
    3. Zero success in evangelizing to others (the only reason for the church to exist)
    4. A demoralized work force of priests with lots of problems.
    5. Metropolitans who are almost as despotic as Kim Jong Un.
    6. Parishes in serious financial troubles.
    7. A public image of shame and corruption and unaccountability.
    8. A sycophantic group of lay, monied oligarchs (Leaderless 100, Faithless, and Holy Order of ArchAssKissers who enable the corruption with black tie dinners and self-congratulatory humanitarian awards and titles.
    9. A homosexual culture of inept weirdos in the hierarchy, here and abroad.
    10. A seminary in shambles that is a burden, not a thought-leader, turning out mediocre candidates for the priesthood.

    I could list another 10 legacies, but I’ll stop here.

    RESIST !

  11. You would be surprised how conservatively I practice the Orthodox faith. There, I said it, because you think I dwell on the Greek part.

Comments are closed.