by C.J.S. Hayward
There have been many saints that although they lived a distinguished life of sincere piety, humility, and love for God and their fellow man, this in and of itself does not make them authorities on all matters. Like, for example, Aerial Toll Houses, or as in this case, a six 24-hour day creation.
Here, Hayward reflects on the fundamentalist phenomenon of the Orthodox Christian Church and concludes that Protestant Fundamentalism should not be imported into Holy Orthodoxy. The article provides a nice insight into his book The Seraphinians: “Blessed Seraphim Rose” and His Axe-Wielding Western Converts, which addresses the “Elder Ephraim” brand of Orthodox Fundamentalism. As Hayward mentions, “If you are Orthodox and have been uncomfortable or concerned with the “Blessed Seraphim Rose and Elder Ephraim” crowd, and especially if you want to put a finger on why but can’t pin it down, this book is very much written just for you.” We endorse this book. But for now, here is the article below:
As if the community has not suffered enough, a parish in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church- had their Parish Council resign citing clergy “bullying” emanating from its hierarchical clergy leadership.
This is another sad episode in the life of this parish. A court found one of its previous priests, Fr. James Dokos, guilty of basically stealing/embezzling money – reportedly hundreds of thousands – from a trust. Prior to litigation, when this was reported to the Metropolis, Bishop Demetri (the Chancellor of the Chicago Metropolis) indicated that Fr Dokos did nothing wrong. Records indicate that Bishop Demetri received money from this priest, and did not recuse himself. The replacement priest, Fr. Angelo Artemas, appears to have been punished by the Hierarchs of Burton Place (Metropolis of Chicago HQ), because he did not make the issue “go away” and actually sided with the parish community. Fr. Artemas was removed from the parish and is no longer in the Chicago Metropolis. Google search this and see how this dreadful horror show unfolded, as reported by various media outlets. Here is one example:
“After Dokos was charged, a prosecutor in Milwaukee had warned Bishop Demetrios against “potential efforts to intimidate witnesses” —
an apparent reference to his impending removal of the Milwaukee priest, the Rev. Angelo Artemas.”
– The Chicago Tribune, Feb. 26th 2016 by Robert McCoppin
And now, 9 members of the Parish Council have resigned, citing that the bullying has produced a crippling tension that has stultified its ministry. It is important to note that these are lifelong members of the parish, as evident in the resignation letter. There appear to be many examples of incompetent, self-serving and unwise leadership issues on behalf of the Hierarchs:
“You know the Greek expression, the fish rots from the head?
Well that’s what’s going on here.”
— Jim Gottreich, former President of the Sts. Peter and Paul Parish Council, Glenview, IL
removed by Bishop Demetri (per Chicago Tribune, Feb. 23, 2016 by John Kass)
As if a “domino effect” were taking place, Fr. Dokos was re-assigned after the Annunciation Church, to Saints Peter and Paul. The community was not happy and voiced their concerns through the person of its elected official, Jim Gottreich, Parish Council President. He was removed. They suffered too.
And now this: lifelong members resigning. You know what this means? It means there is more trouble ahead for the Greek Orthodox in America. We know many individuals have left the Greek Orthodox Chicago Metropolis, and beyond. Now we have official church entities calling it quits. It appears that the heart and spirit of these communities are being broken, torn down, and highly disrespected. Out of self-respect, why would they want to remain? They carried the burden a long time because of their love for their community. But enough is enough. Not that any Hierarch appears to actually care of course. One can almost hear a self-deluding thought that might be resonating in the smug space between their ears, “they’ll be back.” God help our Church.
by associate editor of We Are Orthodox – Mr. Steve Johnson
For many years now we have been doing our best to raise the awareness of the faithful in America about the “cultish-like” phenomenon that seems to follow and even blindly obey Elder Ephraim of Arizona, Abbott Paisios of Arizona, and the like.
The January 31st edition of The National Herald has an article that raises these exact observations and questions. As a matter of fact, he references it as quite a lucrative industry as well. While the local parishes struggle to pay their assessments and meet their recurring bills, the dozens of multi-million dollar Monasteries of Ephraim in the United States (and also those abroad not included in this tally) have spawned unabashed.
Monasteries are not assessed like parishes are from the Archdiocese/Metropolis. Yet Parishes are also “guilted” to help the monastery raise money by activities such as selling higher-than-market-prices for candles, icons, and other items. Also many Parishes have reported to have monastics selling their wares at the local parish Greek Festival. In fact, Ephraimite Monasteries have industrial type kitchens (that are the envy of many restaurants) where they prepare their baked goods and delicacies, that are also sold at the local parish, and other venues too. Any revenues from oversees (maybe from the coffers of Vatopedi?) are not included in this tally.
Yes Mr. Kalmoukos is right – again. It is a lucrative industry. Add to the mix alleged prophecies, miracles, blind obedience, while also disparaging the Hierarchs of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOA) it’s no wonder that the financial outlook looks pretty good. Too bad many souls (and communities) may be destroyed in the process.
Mr. Kalmoukos is right – again. This phenomenon is unhealthy.
Thank you Mr. Kamoukos for having the courage of your convictions to stand up and say things that are not comfortable, but nevertheless are true.
Read the full article by clicking the title following this sentence:
By Theodoros Kalmoukos – January 31, 2017
New article on the website “GOTruthReform.org” asks the question “EXACTLY HOW MANY CANONS AND COMMANDMENTS MUST A PRIEST VIOLATE BEFORE THE CHURCH TAKES ACTION?” Although we are not affiliated with this site, it is a valuable site that addresses similar problems as we do. Evidence that the Voice of the People can bring needed change. Click to read.
…in the news again: Fr. George Passias. This time for allegedly getting his girlfriend pregnant. By the way, it turns out that this adult woman is reported to be his “God-daughter”. Fr.Passias was recently suspended. It is also reported that Fr. Passias and his wife are seeking shelter in one of Elder Ephraim’s Monasteries (of which Fr. Passias was a staunch supporter of). We first posted this report in June of 2013 (click here to see that).
One cannot help but wonder: do our Metropolitans not deal with things until there is a crisis? In effect, should they share some responsibility in causing the crisis (or other types/examples of crisis) because they passively allowed it to fester and reach a crisis stage?
“I agree Father. I really do. But they (clergy of all ranks) above all should know this better than me, and as such should be held to a higher standard. Adopting that higher standard should mean being more pro-active about this.
Our friends at The Orthodox Reformer website have published a timeline and details regarding the alleged embezzlement of a Trust entrusted to Fr Dokos. This seems to illustrate the lackluster administration of the Metropolis of Chicago, whose integrity has also been called to question by specifics mentioned in this article. Click to read.
(If you click and nothing happens, you may have to turn off pop-up blocker, OR, press and hold the Ctrl button when you click)
The respected and prolific author, Mr. A.P. Cromidas, has written yet another insightful perspective on the recent Russian financed video which extolls Elder Ephraim and undermines the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Click to read.
Greek Orthodox Christian Clergy Laity – A new site that includes polls and a verified email signature of petitions signed by known concerned Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Members. This petition has caught the eye of the Patriarch! Please visit, vote, and sign.
A NEW Website in Illinois, The Orthodox Reformer, has emerged amidst the deafening silence of our leadership in America.
Please view their sight, in particular, their new insightful article “Liberal Folly and Conservative Heresy“. Click to read.
The recent Pew Report has started a buzz throughout America regarding the sad state of affairs of our Church in America. Some have tried to discredit this report from the respected organization. What these myopic naysayers fail to realize is that this is not the first report that has these findings that we are in a crisis. There are others too. Here is a review of the 3:
1. The June 5th Edition (2015) of The National Herald has an editorial by A.H. Diamantaris entitled “Orthodoxy’s Sad Decline in America.” This commentary offers reflection based on the Pew Report. Yet some doubt this Report’s validity. The Pew Report itself can be found here.
2. For these sycophants and naysayers supporting the status quo, please remember that our own Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA) published an even more daunting article by Mr. Peter Kehayes (11/21/2012) entitled “An Important Challenge to Greek Orthodox Christianity“. To see an easier to view report of this in a PDF format that resides on our server, please click here.
3. As if this weren’t enough, the Patriarch Athenagoras Institute report “The Orthodox Church Today” (click to see synopsis) by Alexei D. Krindatch of the Patriarch Athenagoras Institute (September 2007 through May 2008), Has similar findings of our Church in crisis. To see the full report click here.
Do you see pattern here? Report after report from various sources are saying the same thing: we are in a crisis.
Our Hierarchs merely ignore.
It seems to us that when you ignore a challenge it becomes a crisis. The men that occupy the lofty positions of the Holy Synod of the GOA are of course pro-actively engaged in addressing these challenges. Sure.
Click any of the 5 links underlined above to read these respective articles and reports.