Letter to Editor

Orthodox Leaders Should Learn from New Pope

To the Editor:

A report of an interview given by Pope Francis to an Italian journalist was recently published in the International Herald Tribune. Although the pope was speaking of the Roman Curia and the Catholic Church, his comments accurately described the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA). In the interview the Pope called the church “overly clerical and insular, interested in temporal power”. He pointed out that the “heads of the church have often been narcissists, flattered and thrilled by their courtiers.” As for the Roman Curia he said: “The court is the leprosy of the papacy.”

In addition to cleaning up scandals the pope, according to the article, intends to “rid the church of careerists, climbers, and those who value clerics more than the laity.” “Clericalism should not have anything to do with Christianity,” Pope Francis said in the interview. At the end of the interview, he indicated that he was interested in meeting again with the interviewer to discuss “the role of women in the church”, noting that in the Italian language, “the church is feminine.”

Could Mr. Theodore Kalmoukos, your religion reporter, have described the Patriarchal Nuncio in the GOA and the other ecclesiastical bureaucrats at East 79th Street any better? The Orthodox Church, with its rich tradition of informed and active participation in all of its affairs by the Royal Priesthood of laity, has seen an alarming trend towards clericalism over recent years.

Your recent report on clergy salaries raised questions about whether the priesthood in the GOA is a calling or a career move. Priests reportedly currying favor with hierarchs for choice assignments; archimandrites lobbying to become bishops (and even threatening legal actions if not chosen); bishops appealing to Istanbul to become metropolitans; metropolitans jockeying for position to become archbishop; and stories of archbishops using U.S. government channels in order to become patriarch.

Is the long-awaited Great and Holy Council being delayed because there is a competition over which patriarch will become the “Eastern Pope”? For 26 years the Orthodox Christian Laity has been warning against the increasing clericalism in our Church; advocating for the restoration of the proper role of the laity; for transparency and accountability in church governance; and for Orthodox Unity.

While Pope Francis is moving the Roman Catholic Church towards an authentic Orthodox ecclesiology – the clerical “narcissists” in the GOA who are used to being “flattered and thrilled by their courtiers” have been moving the church in the opposite direction. It is time for our Church leadership…both lay and clergy…to pay attention to Pope Francis.


George D. Karcazes

Chicago, IL


To the Editor: I found it upsetting to read in the Viewpoint by Constantinos E Scaros on January 22 that he and his family “high-fived” when they tested positive for COVID.

Top Stories


ASTORIA – The Pancyprian Choir of NY held its first meeting of 2022 and shared best wishes for the New Year with their annual cutting of the traditional vasilopita at Dionysos Taverna in Astoria on January 24.


BRONX, NY – In a festive atmosphere, the traditional cutting of the vasilopita was held by the Northern Chios Society of Pelineon Agia Markella in the community hall of Zoodohos Peghe Greek Orthodox Church in the Bronx on January 23.


ATHENS – A major snow storm that had been predicted for days still caught residents in Greece offguard and the New Democracy government scrambling for answers as to why motorists were stuck for hours on major roads.


Human Chain Formed to Help After Pittsburgh Bridge Collapse

PITTSBURGH — A 50-year-old bridge spanning a ravine collapsed in Pittsburgh early Friday, requiring rescuers to rappel nearly 150 feet (46 meters) while others formed a human chain to reach occupants of a dangling bus.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.