Friday, December 31, 2010

Metropolitan Paisios, Bishop Vikentios and George Michalopulos

Many headlines read: "Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana and Bishop Vikentios of Apameia are Officially Out". The key term is officially. It implies ever so subltly that there must be the unofficial position. There has been a lot of mudd slinging since this story broke. My greatest objection has been with the National Herald and other news media agencies who have failed to provide a good working English translation of this story. This is an affront to all Orthodox Christians here in the United States where the official language is English. This catastrophe at Saint Irene  Chrysovalantou Sacred and Patriarchal Monastery in Astoria, NY is of concern to all believers. It brings to light undercurrent of concern that this kind of corruption may be a systemic problem in the church and the broader more persistent and chronic approach to splitting the Church along linguistic lines. Both are errosive and abominations of paramount importance.

As for the protocol of the investigation and the Synods conclusions I find little cause for such pandering and concern. The Ecumenical Patriarchs decision to conduct a full scale investigation beginning with in depth interviews at the Phanar and then censoring Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana and Bishop Vikentios by remanding them to Greece is not scandalous. It was to prevent the tampering of evidence and of possible victims. The Synodical Delegation was then sent to review the matter on site in Astoria, NY. They gathered information made the necessary inquiries and without delay returned to the Phanar to report their findings.

This investigation did not in any way impede or supersede the investigation of law enforcement on the city or federal levels. I believe that the allegations of sexual misconduct and fiscal mismanagement are in fact true on some level. The only unbelievable part of this nightmare is Bishop Vikentios' assertion that he was either unaware or remaining in protest of such improprieties.

Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana and Bishop Vikentios are indefinitely suspended from any ecclesiastical responsibility or privilege. They cannot even serve as altar boys. How this is a cover up is a remarkable assertion. It would appear that the witch hunt was begun befure the investigation had even commenced with the character assassination of the investigators themselves. Met. Nikitas has been the target of such bashing and slander that it is unfathomable that the slingers of such mud can consider themselves advocates of anything good.

We as a people of Faith should never use hate speech,  assert our bigotry, racism or homophobia in a pitiful attempt to somehow equate such malign evil with virtue. Race, Citizenship, Jurisdiction, primary Language, Religious Affiliation, Intelligence  or Sexual Orientation have little, if anything, to do with sexual abuse or misconduct.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Unanimously Decided to Suspend Paisios and Vikentios

The road to hell is paved with ...

"It is hereby announced that the Hierarchs of the Throne in our City gathered for an extraordinary session today, December 17, 2010, and revisited the issue which has arisen at the Patriarchal and Stravropegial Monastery of St. Irene Chrysovalantou in Astoria, New York, unanimously arriving at the decision to suspend indefinitely both Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana, former Abbot of the Monastery, and Bishop Vikentios of Apameia, its former Deputy Abbot, from every clerical function".

I have refrained from posting further articles on this scandal even when prodded by other bloggers. I wanted to wait to hear the decision from the Phanar. I was resolute in affirming that the Patriarcate would not harbor any offender and would address the matter with all wisdom and courage. Much to the disbelief of others this proved to be true. Although formal allegations were not disclosed, the Phanar did the responsible thing and after reviewing the investigation essentially refused the resignation of Met. Paisios and suspended both he and Bishop Vikentios indefinitely.

This will prevent them from furthering to poison the water hole as it were. This internal investigation proved more fruitful then the one conducted in New York by the police officials or even the Feds. I would venture to say that pressure to sequester witnesses by the community, simply well covered tracks or the technicality on statute of limitations has thus prevailed. Of course the case is not yet closed to my knowledge so I can only assume the investigation will continue. Interestingly, defrocked priest and self proclaimed iconographer George Lemonakis has crept back to the shadows as has is chums.

To those who were drooling at the bit to disparage the Ecumenical Synod 'boo hoo'. To those too cowardly to come out and state their concerns but only slug innuendo and gossip "fatta" (eat it).

Monday, November 29, 2010

Smyrna 1922

Büyükada Tuesday 29 November

By Nick Managas
To celebrate the tradition of ownership of the Orphanage of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Büyükada Tuesday 29 November, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew addressed to bishops, clergy and laity in the Throne Room, said the following about the issue:
"It would be remiss of me if I did not mention in your love in this day and time credit for a great event that happened today in the life and history of the Mother Church and that herein the Diaspora. You understand that I mean issuance and service to us of ownership in the name of our Patriarchate, through the building of orphanages Büyükada us (applause) which, and with it the Orthodox Church and our community, both passed difficult years, because we could not tolerate the injustice we had done so many years of anguish and struggles through the epanapoktisin of this magnificent building of our fathers, which is owned in full and without question.
Lost all the trials are known, and finally had to resort to the European Court of Human Rights, where edikaiothimen.
The Turkish Government have subsequently not pursued an that it was entitled by the anapsilafisi the proceedings, but accepted the decision of the Strasbourg and began then, with all necessary procedures, which estefthisan today and the success it to have at the hands of our midday today, by the hand of our legal advisers and representatives in our peripothiti title.
I repeat and emphasize the name of our Patriarchate, which means not only that the property epanapoktoume us, it means that now the Patriarchate has officially legal personality and has a right to immovable property and if it had no legal personality could fight will not be now in the hands of the title to the Orphanage of the princes.
We hope not to have driven things here that odigithisan because after so many years of struggle and distress reached the same denominator, we say. We came to have back the title we had in our hands and the Ottoman Empire and the period of the Turkish Republic.
We have title in 1929 and wrongly and poorly century upon us tetagmenai ancient and especially the General Directorate of Foundations imfisvitise this title, which the Turkish state itself had given us and odigithimen courts, idikithimen, we accepted, and we again I repeat there from where we started, and unjustly vain ...
Happy ending all good, as we say. Thank goodness sake everyone.
Let it be a lesson and a reminder to us all that we should never apogoitefometha never be pessimistic, you never have to deposit their spiritual weapons, but to continue as a community and as the Great Church of Christ, to agonizometha and have the same competitive spirit and can count against the Providence of God, that God's providence over all human barriers, all human problems, and our exports to each anapsychin.
God knows the ways of the streets and paths, which we can not imagine.
And here is the result of our not ceased nor a time to hope for love and charity of God, until our final vindication. "

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Büyükada orphanage in Istanbul to be transferred to Greek (Ecumenical) Patriarchate

 DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIK

Büyükada orphanage in Istanbul to be transferred to Greek Patriarchate

Friday, November 26, 2010
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet

Procedures to transfer the orphanage on the largest of Istanbul’s Princes’ Islands to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate have been completed and the deed will be delivered to Patriarch Bartholomew on Monday, daily Hürriyet reported Friday.

The patriarchate’s lawyer, Cem Sofuoğlu, said the transfer of the Büyükada orphanage would mark the first time an issue in Turkey related to minority property rights had been resolved without a legal case.

“We are witnessing such an incident for the first time in the history of the Turkish Republic,” Sofuoğlu said. “If there were not the political will, such a conclusion could not result because the case would go to the High Court of Appeals and getting [a decision] in favor of minorities is unfortunately not possible there.”

After paying a fee of 150 Turkish Liras to the Land Registry Office of the Princes’ Islands on Monday, Sofuoğlu will go to the patriarchate, located in Istanbul’s Fener district, and deliver the deed to Patriarch Bartholomew in a ceremony.

The Justice Ministry issued an official statement on the transfer, saying, “There is no alternative other than registering the orphanage to the Fener Greek Patriarchate’s records.”

Noting that both the Foreign Ministry and the Justice Ministry played a significant role in securing the outcome, Sofuoğlu said Turkey had stood by its signed commitment in the European Court of Human Rights and carried out the court’s decision in a period of three months.

“We hope that similar applications will not be impeded with the words ‘however,’ ‘but’ or ‘yet’ from now on and that our courts will take this decision as an example,” Sofuoğlu said.

Foreign Ministry Asks for Re-registration of Orthodox Orphanage to Patriarchate

Foreign Ministry asks for re-registration of Orthodox orphanage to patriarchate

26 November 2010, Friday / İLYAS KOÇ, İSTANBUL
The Foreign Ministry has asked the Ministry of Justice to re-register the historic Büyükada Orthodox Orphanage to the İstanbul-based Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in one of its recent correspondence.

The Foreign Ministry cited an earlier decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) to re-register the orphanage to the patriarchate. The court had also told Ankara to pay 26,000 euros in total to the patriarchate for both non-pecuniary damages and costs and expenses. The ministry said the sum has not yet been paid.

The orphanage, one of the largest wooden buildings in the world, was bought by the patriarchate in 1902 and its management was handed over to the Büyükada Greek Orphanage Foundation in 1903. The title deed of the orphanage has been under the control of the General Directorate for Foundations since 1997 and was registered as a property of the Büyükada Greek Orphanage Foundation by the directorate through a court order dated 2004. While the Turkish government argued that the property was sold to the patriarchate at the time by the Şehzade Sultan Mehmet Foundation for the building of an orphanage -- and thus the property rightfully belonged to the Büyükada Greek Orphanage Foundation -- the patriarchate insisted that the property had been registered to the patriarchate in Ottoman Empire archives and was also registered in the land office of the Turkish Republic in 1929, following the establishment of the republic in 1923.

Cem Murat Sofuoğlu, the lawyer for the patriarchate, said it was the first time Turkey agreed to put an ECtHR decision through internal judicial bodies. “It is out of the question that Turkey’s decision is linked to the opinions coming from the two ministries and the General Directorate for Foundations. Turkey made a nice gesture by showing that it respects international conventions and pledges,” he noted.





Wednesday, November 24, 2010

U.S. Helsinki Commission: re-open Halki “without condition or further delay”.

The Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) called upon the government of Turkey to facilitate the re-opening of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Theological School of Halki. He wants this re-opening to happen: “without condition or further delay”.

In his speech addressed to the U.S. Congress on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the forced closure of the institution by the Turkish authorities, he renewed his call for the government of Turkey to allow the seminary to re-open.

Senator Cardin specifically referred to some positive developments which took place this year. For example, the permission for a liturgical celebration at the historic Sumela monastery for the first time since 1922. He also mentioned the Turkish court order for the Buyukada Orphanage to be returned to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, stating that: “if the transfer of the property occurs, this would be another welcome development, potentially paving the way for the return of scores of other church properties seized by the government”.

The U.S. Helsinki Commission has consistently raised the issue of the Theological School for over a decade. It will continue to closely monitor related developments, stated Mr. Cardin. He stressed that this year’s State Department report on religious freedoms serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by Orthodox and other minority religious communities in Turkey.

“I urge the Turkish Prime Minister to ensure respect for the rights of individuals from these groups to freely profess and practice their religion or beliefs in keeping with Turkey’s obligations as an OSCE participating state”, stated Senator Cardin. He added: “The 1989 OSCE Vienna Concluding Document affirmed the right of religious communities to provide training of religious personnel in appropriate institutions. The Theological School of Halki served that function for over a century until its forced closure nearly four decades ago. The time has come to allow the reopening of this unique institution without further delay.”

negative trajectory since conceding one iota to Islam

The world has been on a negative trajectory since it conceded one iota to Islam. We are being conquered in a court of public opinion and invaded by legal charter. This catastrophe beguiles all right minded rational God fearing people. Confusing civilized pretensions with morality is a red herring. The letter of the law likewise is not defense. Historically being a Christian was a death sentence and in many parts of even the civilized world it still is. Proselytizing is punishable by life imprisonment and conversion is punishable by death.

Mohammad was a warring man who paired his political ambitions and demagoguery with heresy. Who could fathom this immature, ill planned, belief system would take off.

Flash forward my RAYA brethren to the Cordoba House Mosque, the bridge building outreach center laughable. A mosque extending goodwill, hardly. It is merely a testament of the brazen audacity of Muslims. If they want to give a show of goodwill then disavow jihad, 911 and stop homicide bombing.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Leftmost Few: America, Meet The Israeli Settlers

Leftmost Few: America, Meet The Israeli Settlers: "Abuses against the Palestinian people by Israeli Settlers Keep your anger in check as you watch. It is important to know what is going on ..."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

MUSTAFA Toying with Treason "The Patriarchate is ECUMENICAL"

• MUSTAFA AKYOL
Friday, November 19, 2010

BRUSSELS - What brought me to the European capital this time is an international conference organized by the Archons.

Never heard of the Archons before? I, at least, had not heard about them until a few months ago, when they invited me to speak at the “Religious Freedom: Turkey’s Bridge to the European Union” conference, which was held this week right at the European Parliament.

In the time between, I learned that the term “archon,” which originated in Byzantium and stands for pious Orthodox Christian believers who dedicate themselves to the service, and the defense, of their “mother church” – the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Most contemporary Archons are members of the American Greek community who support the Patriarchate by diplomacy and dialogue, besides donations and prayers.

Toying with treason

Besides the Archons themselves, the conference was joined by prominent Orthodox clerics, including Archbishop Demetrios and dozens of Western experts who focus on issues of religious freedom in Turkey. On the Turkish side, there was EU minister Egemen Bağış, who represented the Turkish government, members of various minority groups in Turkey and several Turkish lawyers and journalists.

The take-away message was that religious freedom needs to be enhanced in Turkey for all minority groups – and also for the Muslim majority, as several speakers, including myself, have underlined. As for the specific case of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, two crucial steps are urgently needed: the Halki Seminary, which was tyrannically closed down in 1971 during one of Turkey’s customary military coups, needs to be reopened. And the Turkish authorities simply need to respect the name of the institution.

I am sure some of my fellow Turks will denounce me as a “traitor” for saying that. So be it. But let me at least explain why.

First, I believe that no state, including mine, should have the power to decide how individuals and civil institutions should define themselves. States should exist to respect and protect our freedoms – not to violate them. Therefore it is utterly unacceptable to me that any state can dare to define the name of a religious institution – especially one that has existed for almost two millennia.

Second, Turks actually had no problem with the title “ecumenical” for centuries. Under the Ottoman Empire, the Patriarchate was given full amnesty and autonomy, and no Ottoman authority ever thought of interfering with its name. Even under the Turkish Republic, which has been less liberal than the Ottoman Empire in many aspects, the title of the Patriarchate did not become an issue for a long time.

It was only in the 1990s that some ultra-nationalist ideologues noticed that “ecumenical” means “universal.” This, they furiously noted, implies an authority that surpasses that of the Turkish state. And since worshipping the Turkish state is their raison d’être, they saw a big insult here. Soon, they even manufactured conspiracy theories about the “hidden agenda” of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which is, supposedly, to build a “new Byzantium” in Istanbul.

My response to this is that the real insult to Turkey is to make it look so paranoid and senseless. The Ecumenical Patriarchate claims a spiritual authority, not a political one. (As Jesus said to Pilate: “my Kingdom is not of this world.”) We Turks should have nothing to say in this spiritual realm, which is simply none of our business.

Bad reciprocity

The third issue at stake is the age-old principle of “reciprocity” between Turkey and Greece in regards to their respective Greek and Turkish minorities. I don’t like that principle, for it regards human rights as a bargaining chip. But even when we take that as a given, why are we following it on a lose-lose basis, by which both the Greek Orthodox in Turkey and the Muslim Turks in Greece get deprived of their freedoms?

Why don’t we rather use Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s famous win-win formula, by setting our Christians free and then asking the Greeks to do the same for their Muslims?

Perhaps, then, Greece can retreat from some of its shameful policies, too – such as not allowing even a single mosque in Athens.

This last point brings me to what I also said at the Archons Conference on Religious Freedom: Turkey, despite all the positive developments in the past decade, still has lots of shortcomings with regards to religious freedom. But this is not an exclusively Turkish problem. The neighboring Greece is hardly any better when it comes to the rights of the Turks in Western Thrace. Bulgaria is fine now, but it carried out a horrible policy of forced assimilation on its Turks in the 1980s. For all these countries, and others in this part of the world, have been haunted by similar fears and poisoned by similarly nationalistic ideologies.

But now is the time to move on, and let freedom reign in the whole region. On the Turkish side, I suggest we start by simply acknowledging that His All Holiness Bartholomew I is the ecumenical patriarch. That will affirm a much-needed respect not just to him and his church – but also to our very selves.





Tuesday, November 16, 2010

27th Anniversary Invasion of Northern Cyprus

Today in Brussels Turkish Chief Negotiator for Turkey was carefully spoken. More on that in later posting.

What is most newsworthy: During orientation dinner the Archons became aware that just down the hall practically in the next room the Turkish Cypriot Government was celebrating 27th Anniversary for the invasion of Northern Cyprus. This is telling. Turkey is as double-minded and insecure as ever. What a bunch of Turkeys. It doesn't get any more real any more transparent. Talk about a shell game.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Archons Liturgy Brussels

Religious Freedom Conference Brussels Day 1 Arrival

This blog entry was sent through the world wide web by Elias Damianakis Archon Maestor.
After an uneventful transatlantic flight we arrive in Brussels, Belgium. Gathering bit by bit into a delegation, various participants from the United States: Florida, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, New Jersey and beyond. A short introduction and we are off to the bus shortly arriving at the (Pammageston Taxiarxon) Holy Archangels Cathedral of Brussels of the Holy Metropolis of Belgium and Exarchate of the Low Lands and Luxemburg. Upon arrival we find the Archbishop of Belgium celebrating the Divine Liturgy. As we are seated some have the opportunity to venerate the Holy Relics of St Nectarios of Aegina and Holy Raphael, Nicholas and Irene Neo Martyrs (coincidentally also my home parish in Palm Harbor, FL patron saints).

The church here is lovely full of children and a group in Traditional costumes of the Syllogos of Thraki. The church also was standing room only with hundreds of people. The Liturgy was concelebrated by six priests and several deacons, also in the altar were His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos of NJ Fr Chris Metropoulos of OCN and Fr Milton Efthimiou also amongst the ranks of worshippers was Fr Alexander Karloutsos the spiritual advisor of the Order of St Andrew the Apostle the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In the adjacent pews were the members of the Order of Pammakaristos the international branch of Archons.The swell of people in the church was reminiscent of our services in the USA with one difference, the Gospel was sung in Greek and Flemish (the local language I'm told).

Other unique aspects of the church were beautiful tapestries hanging on the eastern wall, banners (laverum) of various saints throughout the church and many devotional stations with icons for veneration circling the church some with relics of saints like I stated earlier.

At the end of Liturgy His Eminence the Archbishop gave a rousing speech welcoming the Archons and reiterating the cause of religious freedom which most of us take for granted. This was followed by His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos distributing the antidoron and icons of the Holy Archangels to the plenitude of believers in the church, I had the chance to overhear His Eminence’s kind words and blessings upon the people and was moved by the exchange of well wishes from many in the church, His Eminence displayed a great amount of tenderness and paternal attention to all but most especially to the little children who curiously approached him from all sides.

The delegation was then hosted at a large hall a few blocks away where we were treated to wonderful entertainment of Greek Folk dancing by the dozens of children and hundreds of proud families and onlookers, it was like we were at home at one of our local festivals and cultural gatherings celebrating the festal day of the Archangels and St Nectarios. Our hosts were kind with refreshments and a light lunch followed by continual offerings of traditional sweets, bountiful trays of Belgium waffle cookies, Greek butter cookies, karidopeta, kourabedes, tea sandwiches, local treats, wine, soda, water the hosts had an bounty for all in attendance only to be overshadowed by the happiness, pride and endless enthusiasm for our commaon faith and culture. I know I speak for everyone when I say Thank you!

Next we drove to our Hotel at the center of Brussels, the Conrad. Where we find Presbytera Xanthi Karloutsos intensely at work; organizing a welcome for all participants and speakers the sign in was an ease for all and the organization was flawless. We received a blue tote bag with the insignia of His All Holiness and in the bag we find a padfolio with the conference logo, a USB with Religious Freedom information, an Archon pen, an itinerary booklet a biography booklet with the stellar line up of speakers for the conference, the speakers also received the new books of His All Holiness and a few other surprises.

After retiring to our rooms we received a welcome gift from the hotel a box of Godiva chocolates and French Vittel water in glass bottles (yes I have eaten the chocolate and drank the water already). After I indulged in the Chocó-fest I went for a stroll out in the cool Belgium weather, as it is Sunday all is closed but the stroll was nice. Back at the hotel there was free distribution of a special Newspaper edition of the National Paper. A New Europe Special 36 page edition Religious Freedom, Building a bridge through dialogue. A excellent expose featuring the stellar speakers at the conference including Archbishop Demetrios, Egeman Bagis, Wildfred Martens, Jay Sekalow and many others. Also included is a history of the patriarchate and an introduction on the patriarch. Search it out: New Europe Special Edition November 2010 (though I am sure the Archon website www.Archons.org will have a link).

All in all I have to say this has been an excellent beginning to what I anticipate to be and exciting and most historically significant week here in Brussels at the European Union. I ask you keep the entire delegation, participants at this conference and always His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarchate in your prayers. Until tomorrow…



Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Tribunal Arrives In Astoria

 
Metropolitan Nikitas Dardanelles, is the chairman or lead investigator of the tribunal appointed by the Ecumenical Patriarch charged with fully investigating alleged improprieties by Met. Paisios of at the Sacred Patriarchal and Stavropegic Monastery of Saint Irene in New York. In addition to Metropolitan Nikitas, the Patriarchate has designated  Cyril Abbot of the Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Essex, England and  Petros the Abbot of the Monastery of Dionysiou Peter of Mount Athos (scheduled to arrive shortly). The chancellor of the monastery  Dr. John Kotsaridis has been welcoming investigators.  

This blogger is confident the commission will make a comprehensive investigation and diligently seek the truth in all matters regarding concerns raised by recent developments. It should be noted that this blogger will not publish any photos of said victims or their names. The Holy Synod had demonstrated all good faith in seeking truth and in resolution.

Rum Patrikanesi Ecumenical Patriarchate de facto legal status

There is guarded optimism following Turkey's decision to comply  with the ruling of the European Court. This decision to return the Orphanage which is located on the Island of the Princes to the Phanar comes on the heels of the Archons Religious Freedom Conference held in Brussles before the European Court. The public and official acknowledgment of the legitimate status of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In addition to returning the ceased Orphanage the land be registered to the “Rum Patrikanesi” which obviously and officially recognizes for the first time itsde facto legal status .
Now we look ahead for additional restitution of Patriarchal properties and all requests relating to other religious buildings and monasteries seized by the state.
for more visit:  http://www.archons.org/

Forum 18 News Service reports on 'Turkey: Syrian Orthodox land - All people are equal, but some are less equal than others?'
11/9/2010
Turkey's Mor Gabriel Syrian Orthodox Monastery in the Midyat (Tur Abdin) district faces five separate lawsuits contesting its right to its own property. Some of these cases are being brought by the government, and the state's actions suggest it wishes that the Monastery no longer existed.

79 Christian Graves desecrated in Imvros; Turkish Foreign Ministry quick to "strongly condemn"
11/2/2010
On October 28, 2010, seventy-eight (78) Christian graves were brutally desecrated in the graveyard of Panagia (Merkez or Imroz), the capital of the island of Imvros (Gokceada), in Turkey. Imvros is home to approximately 200 Greek Orthodox Christians and the birthplace of both His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the late Archbishop Iakovos of America.

"The minority foundations in Turkey and their role as cultural bridges," by Laki Vingas
10/13/2010
Somewhat untidily subsumed within the walls of the churches of Saint Dimitrios, patron saint of Thessaloniki, and of St George in the same city, are the remains of Jewish funeral monuments, Roman marbles, and Byzantine inscriptions. The Sinopi prison, on the Black Sea, is partially built with blocks of stone cut in the Roman era. It has been said that the magnificent mosque of Suleyman the Lawgiver, which stands imposingly over the Golden Horn, used stones taken from the church of Saint Effimia in Kadikoy.

 

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Publican and The Pharasee: Abuse, Shame Salvation

The Publican and The Pharasee
June 22, 2010 by elgreca262

Candles flicker void of glowing rays;
rather weaving shadows dark child.
Cloaked in sleep’s dark desire
lamenting orchestras wail her requiem.
In a vacuum of fury, the fiery wick consumes.
Its honorable calling, discarded and forsaken.
The cassock an ironic display,
for a collapsar of lost souls.
A fool hearted jester parading in costume,
posturing as a peacock of transfiguration.
Assurances plundered by vessels of light
the flock scattered; sacked by the vested.
Cloaked and on the prowl they devour,
driven by their ravenousness appetites.
Depleting her hope for abatement or reprieve
this subversive elect erode good-faith.
The brotherhood, now an order of squalor;
dishonored by the whimsical cruelty it ignores.
Her prayer-rope, like millstones, plunge her to the abyss
the daunting purgatory of regret, feeds self-abasement.
Scandal mocks idealism and scourges trust.
Forsaken and abandon, self-reproach strangles.
Compunction and self‑reproach are daily companions
as the torments of this spiritual catastrophe festers.
Within the refracted enlightenment of suffering,
she who is sorrowful, prays;
returning again to the altar,
at the very feet of the priest who offers the Chalice.



Saturday, November 6, 2010

Met. Phillip Asserts Prerogotives and Assumes Carte Banche

Metropolitan Phillip of the Antiochian Orthodox Church is at it again. Now embolden he has initiated and asserted himself as the Supreme Leader with his Taliban mindset. He has declared that he will set the church agenda making any cross talk by his bishops or clergy an infraction. He has declared the cassock outside of church illegal and has removed Father David Moretti from his Church and released him. Metropolitan Phillip now seemingly unable to manage his own ego has taken pointers from secularists like Ataturk. Metropolitan Phillip and his hounda is on the march.We must remove the holy and sacred from the public square. Rather then increasing our orthodox visibility we must blend and stand amongst the American clerics. We can appear as a good Roman Catholic or Presbyterian but must shake off our cassock. The Metropolitan has redefined self rule and resigned himself and his church to his own irrational understanding. Unity and loyalty are not synonymous with gag orders or the casting off of traditional and uniquely orthodox customs.
All this while Ephremites are attacked for their traditional stances. Wrongly compared with Evangelicals heterodox rather then as being the keepers of the traditions. The Reformed Jew doesn't believe that the Orthodox Jew is polluting the Jewish faith but rather they are the keepers of Judaism. Those who keep the faith and practice it in their lives can't rationally be perceived as a destructive force. It is only through infidelity or disregard that one is destructive. It is when those like Met. Phillip assert that the tradition limits his own reign. His is blinded by his own pride and fails to realize that his legitimacy comes only from the Church and her Canons and Dogma. Only in the Orthodox Christian faith do reckless individuals assault the devout to excuse their own infidelity.
Too many attend church for Christmas and Pascha too many which to dispense with confession, fasting and moral living.  Christian living is difficult; actually apart Christ, impossible. The problem doesn't rest with the Church protocol; it resides within the dismissal of what is sacred, holy and understood as uniquely Orthodox. We are fighting an adversary who has been before the the fall and he wishes nothing less then for us to forsake the light unto our path.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ecumencial Patriarch Remands Met. Paisios and Bishop Vekintios to Greece

Pending a full investigation and comprehensive report the Ecumenical Patriarchate has remanded Metropolitan Paisios and Bishop Vikentios to Greece. Apparently the two hierarchs didn't see this coming. Metropolitan Paisios showed up at the Phanar with his billionaire brother perhaps in some fained attempt to sway the Synod's recommendations. Bishop Vikentios was not able to distance himself from the scandal as he had wished when initially reporting to the press his concern. Likewise, red herrings about fiscal improprieties where not front and center which has proven to be more manageable for this demonic duo.
Rather the focus of inquiry, the more grotesque allegations of what amounts to human sex trafficking of financially disadvantaged youth, from the congregation, some of whom reportedly 'joined' the monastery as minors and remained sequestered within the walls. I have hesitated to report speculation which has circulated but currently the reporting is vast and the investigation by the feds and local law enforcement indicates just cause. That being said this stinks to high heaven.
It appears that Met. Paisios wishes to retire in Greece to avoid federal indictment and incarceration. While Bishop Vikentios wishes to remove himself entirely from the abuse. Apparently the Monastery of Saint Irene has been converted into a feeder system for the sexual exploitation of boys and girls. (Perhaps the weeping icon as been grieving for the victims at her monastery and not the far off Gulf War). These allegations are being reported by press nationally and internationally. According to reports there are affidavits and witnesses and victims who are talking to the NY police and the FBI.
His All-Holiness is leaving no stone unturned and is sending a top notch investigative team to assess the scope of this alleged abuse. As already mentioned the Ecumenical Throne has forbidden the two hierarchs to return to the United States to limit tampering and intimidation of witness and victims. My prayer goes out to all the victims and their families. I understand that the Church in her wisdom has protocol with addressing such cruelty. I also hope that independent of such corrective measures that the federal investigation move ahead and that all who are liable are held accountable and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Iconographer Elias Damianakis Archon Maestor AXIOS

On the commemoration of Archbishop Stakis the first Archbishop of Constantinople and on the Annivsersary of the elevation of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, by the hand of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Iconographer Elias Damianakis was vested. He will from this time into eternity be Hagiographos, the esteemed Honorable Archon Maestor of the Holy and Great Church of Christ, "Defender of the Faith" and Archon of the Holy Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Metropolitan Paisios Takes His Leave

Metropolitan Paisios in a last ditch effort to rally support, clear his name, save his reputation (wink) and perhaps garner donations made his farewell speech at the Divine Liturgy at  St. Irene Chrysovalantou Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery in Astoria, NY on Sunday Oct. 24, 2010. It was reportedly an emotional display with tear filled eyes and references to his 'Judas' and personal 'crucifixion'. He instructed the faithful to accept to their new spiritual father even if he be the person who betrayed him, that being Bishop Vikendios.
Of course this duo is now over but this split begs the question what is really going on? After all they were inseparable for over 30 years bound through decades of controversy. What could have banished and expelled Paisios from his role as Abbot? These two defied proper protocol and jurisdiction discrepancies without batting an eye.  They snickered claims of fiscal impropriety with regard to insurance claims with an are of righteous indignation. So what actually precipitated the rift and bad blood between these to controversial hierarchs whose first 30 years of service was outside any recognized orthodox jurisdiction? Let's also consider the role that George Lemonakis defrocked priest and disgraced iconographer played in this. Once again  St. Irene Chrysovalantou Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery is catapulted into controversy.
These inquiries are fair game and  worth noting when fingers start wagging and comrades are thrown under the bus. Metropolitan Paisios said during his sermon “everything has a beginning and an end, and so my service which began 40 years ago has come to an end today.” It would have been more appropriate to simply sight the years since is repentance in the 1990's then to consider his 'service' as a heretic.

European Court Rules Against Turkey in Claims Filed by Greek Cypriots

Cyprus News Agency

"The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in favor of 19 Greek Cypriots who lodged complaints concerned the Turkish illegal occupation of the northern part of the Republic of Cyprus following the 1974 conflict deprived them of their home and properties. The Court held that Turkey must pay a total of EUR 15,000,498 in pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Public Service Announcement and Review

REVIEW: "Frankly, it is very nice! Beautiful look, and excellent concept."--Fr.J.P.

Public Service Announcement: Launching new blog on Christian Living and Healing. Please enjoy, comment and share with friends. http://www.orthodoxcounselor.blogspot.com/ .

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Juan Williams Fired, Free Speech Gone, Total Censorship the New Black

Free speech has been under attack by LCLU and liberal media for decades. The only free or acceptable speech in the United States is politically correct talk. The political machine of the far left has used gestapo type tactics to intimidate and to assassinate the good character of descent people. The left machine has done everything to dehumanize opponents of their LSD hallucinogenic view of the world. Wake me before the body snatchers come. Muslims homicidal bombers murdered betraying innocent blood on 9/11. Anti-Christian sentiment voiced by left loon Joy Behart is demonic and encroaching on middle America. She is a sad irony of ultimate snobbery amidst total buffoonery. Let's remember Saudi Arabia believes non-Muslims are infidels and has not denounced the attacks. Entire nations and even an empire through centuries as prescribed to Jihad while 'moderate' or 'non-practicing' Muslims look the other way.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Archon Press Release

Spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians

honors local man for outstanding service

Elias Damianakis of New Port Richey named Archon

New Port Richey, October 19, 2010 – Elias Damianakis of New Port Richey was given the oldest honor in Christendom and the highest honor a lay person can receive in the Orthodox Christian Church by being named an ‘Archon’ by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. The Ecumenical Patriarch is the spiritual leader of more than 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide and is located in present day Istanbul, Turkey (previously known as “Constantinople” and the seat of the Byzantine Empire before the Ottomans conquered the Christians living there in 1453). He is the 270th successor of St. Andrew the Apostle, the brother of St. Peter, in nearly two millennia dating back to the very beginnings of Christianity.

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America stated that this year’s “highly select group of Archons is recognized for their faith, good works, proven Christian character and outstanding service to the Orthodox Church.” The honor carries with it the responsibility to promote religious freedom, protect human rights, and defend the Holy Mother Church of Constantinople. “Elias Damianakis has demonstrated himself to be a role model in his commitment to the Church and to living an exemplary life characterized by giving of his time, talents and treasure to church, community and country,” said Dr. Anthony Limberakis, National Commander of the Archon’s organization - The Order of St. Andrew the Apostle.

“I am honored and humbled to have been given this recognition,” said Mr. Damianakis. “The title carries with it an awesome responsibility and serves as a reminder that religious freedom must be supported at all costs to ensure the continuation of our rich and beautiful 2000 year old Christian Faith.”

Elias Damianakis is a member of Sts Raphael, Nicholas and Irene Church in Palm Harbor, Florida.
--END



Monday, October 18, 2010

I Stand for Religious Freedom by Running

If you have stayed the course you have completed 25% of the marathon training course. The mileage will kick in now and we will steadily  build our strength and determination. Your sense of personal accomplishment will offset feeling overwhelmed. Take each run at face value and simply "git ur dun". The official website will be up this week in its preliminary phase. Please take the liberty to contact me with questions and remember to tell everyone that you are running a MARATHON.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Marathons, Slothfulness and Your kick In The Pants

If you have come to find more reasons for your warehouse of excuses I’m sorry but you are reading the wrong blog. I am not here to commiserate with you or help you remain where you are. Stagnation will not be confused with comfort. If this is your first visit you will learn that I usually will kick you in the pants before I hug; l will encourage and push you to reclaim your life. This is the one life we are given. Today is the youngest we will ever be.

I am here today to serve as catalyst for change in your heart and mind for the betterment of your soul. I want to assist you in finding that spark which fans the flames of your nous which has slumbered too long. Perhaps due to lack of proficiency or temperament I am not here to discuss theoretical applications for the theology of our great faith. I am not interested personally in speculative ideologies or theories as they are beyond my intellectual capacity but rather like Keirkegaard I am very much vested in living a Christian more importantly Orthodox life concretely. There are certain behaviors which demand the attention of the body, mind and spirit. The Trinitarian relationship of these distinct and unconfused aspects to our beings are intended to holistically and authentically engage the practice of our faith and relationship to God and fellow man. As we have lived our lives in this fallen world with our fallen nature often times in an attempt to survive or at the advice of poor council we have compartmentalized personhood. We have created for ourselves within the very confines of our material life a fractured and often pained existence.

Too many have taken up the cause of neglectful parents or abusive spouses and  wrongfully integrated their shame and perceive their guilt for our own. Do not dwell in the past only respectfully acknowledge that it has shaped, and molded you and to some degree with your consent. Unfortunate circumstances don’t have to  to affect the whole of your life. Beginning is not pretty but it is beautiful.

This blog concerns itself with liberation of the Mother Church and the faithful. With the integration of Biblical Principles and Orthodox Traditions into practical living as a very real way to return to God embracing the whole of our being our Trinitarian selves. Suggestions you'll find deal primarily with the ability of the faithful to actualize significant, sustainable, change in their daily living. This is only doable when you turn away from old folklore which tells you its not possible. When confronting the three aspects of our existence and their original purpose to dwell with God and to love and glorify Him we need to really shake up the status quo. We need to climb mount Everest so to speak. We need a mountain that is so awe-inspiring so difficult that it will defy all your self doubt it will force you to abandon defeatist ideologies.

I have tried to get your attention. Break the inertia which prevents you from becoming the real you the person you intend to be. To dismiss dysfunction ego dystonic coping mechanisms and to embrace the creature of God YOU. My entries humbly serve as a kind of change agent or catalyst for my readership to wake them up from the slothful state and encourage the decisions which will empower. You must engage in behaviors which will create sustainable change.

My focus with the marathon training  is one which encourages participants to pick a goal which at the time will seems beyond their reach and to attain it through daily affirmations and declarations. It is not for the faint of heart it demands follow through and commitment. The participants who have contacted me have been given the tools to become active in their own lives standing as a beacon of light for their neighbors.  I am available to assist them in the course of their training and through the process. Embark on this journey and essentially  commit to the extreme, to create a life changing experience, one which will take you on the journey to a more centered, introspective and strength-based outlook on life. You will learn to love and cherish yourself so that you can love your neighbors more fully. The trials and tests which will force you to confront insecurities and accept on faith that you will develop a more astute understanding of Orthopraxis.
You don't  have to be a different person you simply need to establish new rules of engagement. Declarations, modified behavior clarified thought. The gifts graciously follow.

Establishing  a goal which appears to be either totally out of reach or just out of reach which requires then some measure of faith.  To fold under the fear of failure or to reinforce the self defeating beliefs that keeps us contained and often times unfulfilled and miserable. To conceive of doing something which is beyond the measure of our talent is after all a challenge to our disbelief. The marathon is the gold standard of running and in sports. It is the model that we will utilize together. It is so challenging, generating so much awe that it will smash to smithereens all the self doubt removing all the ‘yeah buts’ from your conversation and internal dialogue. It is demanding and requires that you do what is required and for your diligence and effort you will have success not just by completing the marathon race day. You will grow in ways that are not yet identifiable to you. You will dig deep and come to know yourself in very intimate ways. You will have to take it one step at a time you will have to stay on course and reach out and within to God in the most honest way without all the superficial dressing we are so accustomed to. I don’t believe that many of us understand true and honest dialogue with ourselves let alone with God. You will get real and you will program yourself to accept on blind faith that this is working in you and it will work. You will learn that the greatest obstacles before us are not the physical limitations but the mental ones. The emotional concrete that cements us into droning on and slothfulness. 

Through determination and diligence you can reclaim  purpose and strength. Marathoning make it real. It is simple process actually begin at the start and keep going to the finish. A real no brainer. It doesn't rely on the judgment of a referee or a time clock just you and the road.  It is all the steps and miles run before race day. Be willing to look stupid or awkward to reach your goal. It is humility not humiliation. It is determination not rigidity. Commit to do one day at a time to borrow a phrase from the twelve step programs. Let go of past defeats and insecurities because just beyond the horizon is a new day a new beginning.

Will running pay the bills, make the kids listen fix the marriage. No not in a hocus pocus kind of way but it will change you and how others perceive you. It will teach you not to get hooked into another persons measure of success. It gives you the time and space to relearn how to walk with God and peaceably with yourself. This will have a profound effect on your life on living. People have become too practiced at complaining and holding a grudge against their bodies, their childhoods, their parents their God. It is time to set aside that defeatist mindset and do something about it. Get practiced at being honest, grateful, strong and trusting. Become fierce with your fears. The road is long and there is a lot you can work out while running. Engaging the mind body and soul you will be transformed and transfigured by the process. Even the most gifted athlete will find it challenging. There should be no secondary gains attached to the completion of the marathon. To finish should be the only agenda. This way success is easily identifiable and measurable. To have secondary gains piggy back the experience like losing weight takes the focus of healing and growing off the table. You will lose weight your body will change you will be different but let the process make it happen. You will think about yourself in new ways in more meaningful ways. Your subconscious the part of you that stuffs all your hang-ups down will be free to explore in a new dimension the one free of judgment the one which recognizes that you are doing something grand and that your past died in the past. This is the first day of the rest of your life a truism I know but true non-the-less.

The House of Worshop Demolished on 9/11

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/video.

Ecumenical Patriarch on Turkey in His Own Words

 "Turkey is unique among Muslim nations because it has always enjoyed a deeper harmony between traditional Turkish Muslim values and the secular values of civ...il society. Indeed, Turkey is exceptional inasmuch as it is 'Islamic and secular' rather than 'Islamic but secular.' It is the only Muslim society that has interacted with the ideals of the Enlightenment and of the French Revolution. Ataturk's vision for Turkey to join what he termed 'universal civilization' demonstrates that the interaction of Islam and modernity are neither self-contradictory nor mutually exclusive," the Patriarch said.

Bartholomew also said "we stand before perhaps the greatest challenge of history: namely, the challenge to tear down the wall of separation between East and West, between Muslims and Christians, between all religions and cultures of the world. As stewards of this unique historical moment, our challenge is to bridge the great divide and recognize our common human values. This is surely God's model for our world."

The Patriarch went on to say that "upon the creation of the Turkish Republic and its international recognition, numerous radical reforms were introduced aimed at founding a new secular state, including the emphasis on religious tolerance known as 'laik'. The result was the abolition of legal basis for all religious authorities. The Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Armenians, the Chief Rabbinate, the Roman Catholics and Protestants - all of whom existed under the Ottoman rule - were no longer recognized as foundations of public law."

He further stressed that "in an effort to apply absolute secular rule and impose a separation of church and society, during the early years of the Turkish Republic, the state ingnored the existence of these minorities, even resorting to pejorative description of the Ecumenical Patriarch as 'chief priest'."

The Patriarch then underlined that "for us, as Orthodox Christians, the ultimate consequence of such a policy was the forced closure in 1971 of the Theological School of Halki, the sole institution for training clergy locally and internationally since 1844."

TURKS TO RETURN HISTORIC GREEK ORPHANAGE

According to Turkish press the General Directorate of Foundations (Vakiflar Genel Mudurlugu) has made a last ditched effort to comply with the Human Rights Commission mandate. The ruling  was set in June by the Court of Human Rights  and Turkey almost was in violation of  the said ruling. As a result the Turkish Government is re-registering the historic Greek Orthodox orphanage on Büyükada (Prinkipo) back to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  This will officially take place and conclude next week.

What makes this particularly significant is more then symbolism but rather that for the first time on the national and international stage the Turkish Government has had to recognized the Patriarchate as an institution.This sets a precedent as it would be a landmark case the first of its kind whereby the Turkish foundation  returned property to a "recognised religious minority".

This structure is second largest wooden structure in the world. Under the Turks it has fallen into great disrepair. It was previously used as an orphanage and was confiscated during the Cyprus conflict.

Built as a hotel by renowned French architect Alexandre Vallaury in the 1890s  it was subsequently purchased and donated to the Patriarchate in 1903 by Hélène Zafiropoulo-Zarifi, the wife of Ioannis Zarifi, a banker to then Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid ll. The only stipulation was that it be utilized for house the orphans of ethnic Greek children. This speaks volumes to the children left destitute without parents refugees in their own land. The orphanage was forcibly shut down in 1964 in bitter retaliation by the Turks over tension in Cyprus.

Ecumenical Patriarchate Bartholomew has plans to convert the orphanage into an epi center for inter-faith for dialogue and peace. Simply brilliant!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ecumenical Patriarch Optimistic Theological School of Halki Re-opening 2011

In 1971 the Theological School of Halki was closed  by the Turkish authorities in a misguided ban on  private schools. Since the restrictions on private educational institutions many have been reopened with one notable exception Halki. The Turkish Government which prides itself on being progressive and democratic fails to acknowledge the sweeping civil oppression and human right violations for religious minorities. Turkey although resistant to acknowledging this reality is slowly responding to the carrot approach as the reopening of Halki has been linked with the essential mandates made by the EU. Greater then Turkey's pride is its desire to enter the EU.

Turkey is in a conundrum,  it refuses to publicly recognize the ecumenical status and international leadership of the Ecumenical Patriarch, while maintaining a hyper-reactive relationship with the Phanar. The policies and pressure applied to the Patriarchate would dictate otherwise. Why would the goverment officially attempt to micromanage the activities of a religious leader of which they assert pastors  less then 2,000 believers? This seems an irrational response to a local bishop. They have been unable to strong arm the Phanar with threats, intimidation or human rights infractions. Turkey could embrace the Patriachate which has a history spanning three empires within its borders. That would be a more power position and would demonstrate confidence rather then the neurosis they have been telegraphing.

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I optimistically awaits the anticipated re-opening of the Seminary of Halki by 2011.  According to a recent interview with "Kathpress" the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople  sees signs for an improvement of the situation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey. He considered the reopening of the theological school a certainty. His All-Holiness referred to the most recent comments made by the Turkish Vice Prime minister Bülent Arinc, during a TV-Interview,  in which he indicated that Halki must be re-opened  as Christians in Turkey have the right to educate their own clerics and theologians. Additionally several Bishops throughout the world have applied for Turkish citizenship to open the field for future patriarchs to meet more restrictions and limitations imposed by the 'secular democratic' Republic of Turkey.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Blog Nominations Are Open:Best Individual Blog


Eastern Christian New Media Awards: 2010 Awards nominations open
Please consider nominating this blog!
Elgreca's Road to The Phanar District 34220 needs YOUR nomination for the Eastern Christian New Media Awards.

Please help us out. To nominate
"Elgreca's Road to The Phanar District 34220"
 (http://www.elgreca262.blogspot.com/) simply visit: http://ecawards.blogspot.com/ and click on one of the category links. BEST INDIVIDUAL BLOG is ideal and multiple nominations are welcomed and encouraged. They will be accepting participants until October 31st. The categories this year will be the same as 2009. As with last year, there will be prizes! Please mention this site to friends, post referrals on your blogs, and mention it in your podcasts. Thank you in advance!

Best Individual Blog
Awarded to Preeminent blog written by an individual.

Eastern Christian New Media Awards: 2010 Awards nominations open

Was Metropolitan Paisios' Resignation from St. Irene Monastery Forced?



According to my research:
Following a supplication service Metropolitan Paisios announced to his close associates his resignation as Abbot. October 5, 2010 an official letter of resignation was submitted to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, by Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana, who will no longer serve as abbot of the Saint Irene Chrysovalantou Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery in Astoria, NY.
Although the Metropolitan cites health related issues as the impetus for this sudden resignation, there seems to be more to the story. Scandal and controversy are seldom far from this high profile heirarch and his right hand man  Bishop Vikentios.  It cannot be avoided that Metropolitan Paisios and Bishop Vikentios clerical tenure is riddled with unorthodox protocol, having served unrecognized by any canonical Orthodox Church in the world, under the umbrella organization of the traditionalist "Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece". It should also be noted their monestary functioned without any blessing or affiliation throughout much of the 1980's and 1990's. 
It was not until an agreement was forged by Archbishop Spyridon of America, in the late 1990's, that these two clerics were given a pathway to canonical standing with the Ecumenical Patriarchate. That course  included being reordainded and serving as patriachal bishops to oversee the St. Irene Monastery and its dependencies in the United States.
Coincidently this abrupt and recent resignation and request to move out of the United States, comes on the heels of a more recent, but lower profile scandal with now defrocked priest and self proclaimed iconographer George Lemonakis.  As previously reported on this blog and in print, George Lemonakis was serving the dependency of Saint Irene in Florida when he was defrocked by the Church of Crete after defying direction from the Archbishop of Crete to return to the island; choosing rather to establish a breakaway church in close proximity to the dependency where he once served.
The relationship between the two circumstances appears to be supported by claims made to The National Herald in a revealing interview given by Bishop Vikentios of Apameia  on Sep. 9, 2010  which seems to indicate  that the genuine cause for resignation was more closely related to Saint Irene's 'breakway' dependency in Florida.  During this interview Bishop Vikentios also discussed details about  Metropolitan's decisions regarding their Astoria-based Patriarchal Monastery and its dependencies located all across the United States. Reportedly Metropolitan Paisios was very irritated by his Bishop's lack of discretion.  
Rumors continue to circulate as people speculate the real terms for the resignation of Metropolitan Paisios and the concerned with defroked cleric George Lemonakis. Immediately  following the said interview with The National Herald, the Ecumenical Patriarchate summoned both Metropolitan Paisios and Bishop Vikentios to the Phanar to explain the dilema and circumstances.  
His All-Holiness has referred the resignation of Metropolitan Paisios to the Holy Synod in Constantinople, which is slated to discuss the matter on Nov. 2, 2010.   As the Deputy Abbot, Bishop Vikentios of Apameia, will serve as the interim Abbot.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Winding Road


The Forerunner John the Bapist
Master Iconographer
Elias Damianakis
In case you missed this post on the Run for Religious Freedom blog. We are fighting a spiritual cancer of indifference. It is difficult to remain indifferent when devoting so much time, effort and sweat equity. The body is a safeguard and shelter for the soul and is also useful at bending the will and directing the mind.

So what's the point of all these miles? These are the steps of the journeyman who understands the value of establishing a devotional rule to the ebb and flow of life. Running demands attention and time which provides the structure for devotional space. Even the most relaxed jog requires of its participant engagement.
 
This is why running for the Run for Religious Freedom events and endeavors lend themselves naturally to the cause. The activity speaks volumes about the tenacity of the supporters. So be tenacious and speak out by stepping up!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hailki Theological School Slated for Occupational License 2011


Andrew The First-Called
by the hand Master Iconographer
Elias Damianakis
http://www.orthodoxiconography.com/
 According to my research:
Hailki Theological School slated for occupational license 2011. The apparent ice breaker to the granting of such a permit was an art exhibition and concert. These fine art events may well pave the way for this potentially historic event and good faith effort made by Turkish State. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is making good on his commitment to help in securing the legitimate rights of the Orthodox minority living in the country. Erdogan is motivated by the continued criticism European Court of Human Rights in Turkey's pursuit of EU Membership. Obviously the use of the property to non-orthodox citizens is open to interpretation about how positive this really is. Perhaps they are absconding yet another cultural, historical and ecclesiastical epicenter for their own use.

Archimandrite Theophanes (George) Lemonakis Booted

I had he misfortune of meeting this priest want to be iconographer at a local parish while his was attempting to pimp his iconography and poach the project from another iconographer. His M.O. is to show  up with his translator and attempt to undercut existing bids for iconography. His behavior is unbecoming a priest and his iconography unremarkable.
Apparently the Archimandrite has difficulty with obedience and refuses to return to his parish on the island of Crete despite request Archbishop of Crete Irineos. He was serving temporarily in Clearwater Florida at the Church of the Ascension of Christ, a metochion (dependency) of  the Holy Monastery of Saint Irene Chrysovalanto in Astoria NY.
He has since been dismissed or left to begin his own parish. It doesn't get more obvious then this.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

OCA 101: for Isa and the Lost Sheep

This is so basic my newly turned three year old gets it. Her art may be abstract but the history is basic. Hieromonk Joshua provided this on a FACEBOOK thread on my homepage. I think it's a homerun.

"The OCA was started in 1970, from what my history books say. It was a completely new entity that gained its standing from a TOTALLY subjugated Russi...an Orthodox patriarchate that had NO FREEDOM to give "autocephaly" autonomously and free from political constraints of the atheistic communist government. Alaska and the West Coast were Russian parishes (NOT on Russian soil but American soil) and they were passed to, in the confusion and aftermath of the Russian Revolution, to numerous subdivisions of the fractured Russian Church and other churches who came in to protect their own ethnic Orthodox populations. Obviously, ROCOR has been officially recognized as the sole retainer of that Russian ecclesiastical patrimony by the Russian Orthodox Church and NOT the OCA.

By the very fact that Met. Jonah has said that the OCA "can dissolve" indicated from the highest levels of the OCA that it is ONLY a transitional "medium" as I understand the organizational documents, or at least the "oral tradition" seemed to indicate. Now, when one understands that ROCOR is NOW the ONLY approved extension of the Russian Church it makes sense that ROCOR will become the repository for all OCA parishes and institutions in the transition to a united American Orthodoxy. The Universal Orthodox Church DID NOT APPROVE nor SANCTION any autonomy or autocephaly -- therefore it is an extension of charity (mostly economy) by the Mother Churches (with the "First in Honor" being the EP in consultation and synodia with all the Mother Churches) to slowly but consistently work to bring the OCA into actually recognized canonical Churches. It is the Church Universal which grants autonomy or autocephaly and this is what the next Episcopal Conference is about."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fr. Ted Bobosh, OCA Is It Any Wonder?


Fr. Ted's commentary on the Episcopal Assembly is complete with rhetoric, misgivings, distortions and a blatant bias. His editorial though it claims to welcome discussion is framed from the onset in such a way, positioning dissenters to his delusional state and false assertions, as morally inferior and intellectually deficient.

The nationalistic bantering of the OCA is reminiscent of adolescents decrying the sage advice of the parents who nurture their every need. While denouncing anything Greek or moderately 'ethnic' they wave their ethnophyletism behind the banner of  'liberty or schism' the ultimate patriotism.

Perhaps he is getting ahead of himself. After all unity of Orthodox jurisdictions in America can't be broached until discrepancies in protocol and ecclesiastical practices are uniform. There is much talk about language and translation, tones and scales, while larger concerns abound. Perhaps such discussions are rightly shelved, until more alarming discrepancies in practice, with their more pressing theological concerns facing our church, are rectified. These were itemized concisely by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios (GOA) at the Episcopal Assembly.

Additionally Fr. Ted like the OCA hierarchy and clergy at large, forgo any discussion on the provisional status of their autocephaly. Rather then moving to go through the appropriate channels with humility they have emboldened themselves and push to discredit any outcome which doesn't serve their limited understanding and interest. They are seeking with pride, like the deceiver, wishing to establish themselves independent of the Conciliar Church. They have replaced the will of the the Church with their own will.

They have misunderstood the zeal of the convert for wisdom; like youth who envision a world without hunger yet have never grown a single fruit or paid a single debt. Too many if their clerics come from the ranks of converts who failed to pastor in their former sects. They are still infected with an anti-papal sentiment, anti-establishment and in a last ditched attempt to show the Pope and Catholicism, they have a 'religious' conversion outside the Papacy. They now unconsciously refuse foreign patriarchates fighting old battles which do not apply.

Additionally they continue with the phronima of the Great Commission faulting 'the Greeks' for not proselytizing, in the way their limited understanding has distorted the sharing of the Gospel. What they do differently then their heretical counterparts is reject the Greek. They find it offensive and outlandish to their sensibilities to expect clerics to learn the language of the New Testament. Now in a state of being saved, seeking citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven is it really too much to expect they dedicate themselves as part of their ministry to learning the language? God saw fit to bring His son at a time when linguistically the Lord's message could most widely be received, at a time when language had reached its zenith; and we reject it and marginalize it finding it an offense! Even heritics (protestants) reference the Greek!

The notion that the OCA is the indigenous church in North America is ludicrous in fact sadly the only indigenous 'church' (to use the term loosely) is the Church of Mormon.

Given the choice between leaving my Mother Church and following a makeshift assembly of lesser hierarchs I'll have to pass. The Mother Church is the foundation for the faith, the keepers of the faith: time tested, esteemed and established by our Lord. The OCA is but a hiccup in the history of our church and will either come to its senses and get on board with the whole of Orthodoxy or it will fail to even be a footnote 100 years from now. If that offends don't let the door hit you on the way out.