Metropolitan Evangelos Unveils Opioid Abuse Awareness Program

His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey. (Photo by TNH/Costas Bej, file)

WESTFIELD, NJ – His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey has created an awareness program about opioid abuse, and a corresponding video: Metropolis Opioid Response Effort (MORE), in conjunction with a committee his Metropolitan Council.

The committee is comprised of dedicated clergy and laity alike, chaired by Archon H. James Polos, a Councilmember and a parishioner at St. George in Piscataway, NJ.

Opioid abuse has affected the nation as a whole and the Greek-American community specifically, and the Council decided to address the critical issue.

Metropolitan Evangelos asked Archon Polos to chair the committee because he is a county elected official and a public safety director. Evangelos said “this issue must be brought into the light and our parishioners should not be afraid to talk about this disease or embarrassed to seek help from their parish or this metropolis. Our Church needs to do more to help those afflicted with this disease and we need to reach beyond the borders of our church to enlist help and support for our own who are affected and as our Orthodox faith teaches us, offer help and support for others in the communities where we live and worship.”

With that in mind, the committee looked beyond the creation of a standard written encyclical and instead focused on the creation of a video so that Evangelos could speak directly to the people about this very important yet very sensitive and personal issue. The video includes Evangelos’ message and life stories from Greek Orthodox Church members, and vital information about awareness and response from Dionysios Mihalopoulos, a Greek-born DEA Special Agent who provided the message in both English and Greek.

Tom and Chrystallo Trachy share the intimate details of their struggle with their young son, who ultimately lost his struggle with addiction. “If sharing and viewing this video can even help one family become more aware of this issue and be able to intervene with their child in time to save their life, it will be well worth the time and tears we have shed to be a part of this important program,” said Tom Trachy.“My wife and I applaud the metropolitan for taking a leadership role to bring opioid addiction in our community into the light because it is real and exists in every parish.”

Sts. Constantine and Helen (Annapolis, MD) Presiding Priest Fr. Kosmas Karavellas said “I have had to experience the loss of members of our parish to opioid abuse and have had to try and console and minister the loving surviving family members who have to look back each day and wonder if they could have done more. I don’t want anyone to have to live through that. The MORE program will go a long way to start the dialogue in our churches.”

Evangelos said “we must do all that we can to assist and guide the faithful have to deal with opioid abuse by their loved ones or friends. We must also provide information and access to resources to assist families with identification of abuse and intervention methods. MORE has begun the dialogue but now it will be up to each parish to continue the discussion, challenge the status quo and insure that local experts are brought in to drill down further on the important elements of abuse. The MORE program will better inform and prepare parents and families and most importantly send a strong message to our youngsters about the dangers of addiction to hopefully keep them on the right track before they become addicted. We can and we should all do more.”

Mihalopoulos said “this video is one of the most compelling and important works I have seen developed to address opioid abuse in our Greek Orthodox parishes, because it encourages people to openly discuss the issue and seek help when necessary from the Church and the other expert resources provided.”

The video is available on the Metropolis’ website nj.goarch.org. Parishes throughout the Archdiocese are encouraged to show it at various meetings, such as GOYA, Philoptochos, and PTO.

15 Comments

  1. “The opioid epidemic or opioids crisis is the rapid increase in the use of prescription and non-prescription opioid drugs in the United States beginning in the late 1990s and continuing into the next two decades.”
    1.Enthusiaism
    2.Dissillusionment
    3.Panic 4.Search for the guilty
    5.Punish the innocent

  2. “Opioid abuse has affected the nation as a whole and the Greek-American community specifically”……Really? That is an extraordinary statement. What is the source that the Greek-American community was specifically affected by the opioid abuse crisis? Perhaps what was meant to be conveyed is that this committee is concerned specifically with the opioid abuse crisis in the Greek American community. Let’s hope so.

    1. Evangelos is barely literate. What do you expect. Her sermons and “encyclicals” sound like a 6th grader wrote them. This drug addiction initiative says and does absolutely nothing but provide Evangelos a fig lead to pretend he is involved in issues of the day. You need a much bigger fig leaf than this to cover Evangelos’ ignorance.

  3. The parishes that Big Evan “oversees” can barely keep the light bills paid. His Metropolis (or should I call it his all-you-can-eat buffet line?) relies completely on funding from an insolvent archdiocese. Just what opioid awareness campaign does he think he can conduct? This is a public relations stunt and a cruel joke. Take the same money you’d give to St Nicholas, Archons, and all the other phony institutions of the archdiocese and help but an addict through rehab. Forget Evangelos, erase him from your memory.

    1. I agree with you Spiro. There are so many people in our local communities that are in need of assistance. Our hard earned dollars would be more effective if they were donated directly to those who are struggling and the organizations. Individuals and small outreach groups – locally – will be more effective going forward. True Orthodox Christianity teaches us to raise up our neighbor in need so he or she may succeed. Carrying the weigh of others making their lives better as well as fulfilling what God has called them to do is true Diakonia. One of the main reasons our Greek Orthodox faith is failing is because those who have been charged to shepherd our faith only focus on themselves. They are not big enough to celebrate the rest of us…no matter how small or big our contribution is.
      “All are created equal in the image and likeness of God”.

    2. Evan is Irish for Ivan or John. Evangelos is Angel or Angelo. Irish and Russians share Scythian roots.

  4. I spend several hours (about 20 to 30) each month volunteering with young people affected by the opioid crisis. I have taken some in my home to get them clean.

    This article is a joke. It provides no real information or resources. It is a puff piece to let Evangelos show his fat ass on a video and pretend he is doing something. If he really cared he would be putting resources to support an addiction center or sober living house which are desperately needed. Instead he pontificates for ten minutes then lists the number for a national drug abuse program. Evangelos is a huge embarrassment to our community.

    1. Michael, you are to be admired for helping in such a personal and profound way. Well done.

      With regard to Apostle Evangelos of New Jersey, he’s a fraud of a Metropolitan and a behaviorally impaired, immature, child. Spend your money with legitimate rehab organizations.

      1. Spirit thank you for your kind words, but I can honestly say I did not choose to do it, it chose me. Once you start working with these kids you feel so much for them it’s almost impossible to pull away from them. God has given me strength in my own unworthiness to stick to it, on the good days and the rough days.

        I stumbled today on an article on the Internet that Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver is involved with. I know little about him and cannot say what kind of man or bishop he is. But from the limited window of this article he is doing great things. A shepherd who smells like the sheep! I can’t find a single good thing like this that Evangelos. How did we get saddled with him? God help us!

      2. Sorry Spiro autocorrect is killing me today! And the article on Metropolitan Isaiah was regarding his work with Orthodox prison ministries in the Colorado Department of Correction.

  5. In fact, much of the disturbance in our churches starts with abuse of women. Wives who were brought from Greece, never learned English, driving or computers should be seen as almost certainly being victims of domestic abuse. When children grow up in such environments they themselves become prone to abuse, gangs, drugs and even terrorism. These extremists turn to the extremism of Lulurgas and Efrem.

      1. I’m not sure the USMC taught him much or when he served, I’d like to see his service evaluations and know his service record and the units in which he served before giving him any real credit as a leader.

        All of his hierarchical behavior has been consistent with GOA Metropolitan Narcissistic Behavioral Disorder (MNBD). The sad truth is there is no capable candidate for Archbishop and we all know it.
        All possible candidates are seriously mediocre and compromised in every sense.

        Thus, once again, the next archbishop will be Alexander Karloutsos.

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