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.