September 16, 2014

A Greek Orthodox Response to Rabbi David Rosen

Bp. Demetrios Kantzavelos

This article rebuts Jewish charges of anti-Semitism in the the Greek Orthodox Church after Greek Bishop blamed Jews for Greece’s financial collapse in public comments last month. I wish it went to an editor first (the story of Archbishop Damaskinos should have led the piece) but overall all it’s a serviceable editorial.

Source: Greek America Magazine

Exclusive to Greek America Magazine, His Grace Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, an auxiliary bishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago with extensive experience in interfaith and ecumenical relations offered the following response to Rabbi David Rosen, who claimed that “…anti-Semitism is alive and well within the Greek Orthodox Church.” Rosen’s remarks were in response to a Greek bishop’s televised interview during which he made several anti-Semitic references and accusations.

By Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos

One cannot combat bigotry and hate by promoting it at the same time. In his reaction to obviously offensive words, Rabbi David Rosen, International Director of Inter-religious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee, has resorted to the same tactics he regularly denounces. For his protest against the remarks of one Greek Orthodox Christian, offensive to Jews all over the world, Rabbi Rosen has chosen in turn to offend Greek Orthodox Christians all over the world, indicting their Church with an anti-Semitism that is “alive and well.”

Rabbi Rosen rightly objected to recent remarks by a hierarch of the Church of Greece made during a television interview last December. The remarks were clearly derogatory to the Jewish people and obviously based on a profound ignorance of history along with conspiratorial paranoia. Indeed, the Jewish people were not alone in their offense, and Greek Orthodox Christians around the world were shocked and embarrassed. Unfortunately, Rabbi Rosen went too far in his call for “church leadership to condemn and uproot anti-Semitism” when he prefaced this by noting that “anti-Semitism is alive and well within the Greek Orthodox Church.”

Fighting fire with fire in this instance, making gross blanket statements attributing bigotry and prejudice to a whole group of people, does nothing but perpetuate the conditions that lead to mistrust, distance and ill-will among peoples—the very conditions that Rabbi Rosen should be seeking to alleviate.

After all, the Greek Orthodox Church around the world does not routinely indict the Jewish people or faith as “anti-Christian” when the Israeli government or Jewish religious groups and sects in Israel harass or impede the work of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, or cause problems for Orthodox Christians living in Israel or within the territory of the Palestinian Authority. Similarly, when a member of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect literally spit on me during a recent visit to Jerusalem, I did not assume that anti-Christianity was “alive and well” in Judaism. Instead, I recognized the act for what it clearly was: the act of a prejudiced and bigoted Jewish person clearly at odds with the majority, including my Jewish hosts.

Such actions on the part of the Israeli government, religious groups or persons do not and should not be the occasion for an accusation against the venerable Jewish faith. Likewise, the pathetic comments of one clergyman in Greece should not be an opportunity to smear the Orthodox Church.

Rabbi Rosen, in seeking to combat the “outrageous bigotry” demonstrated by Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus, called on the Church of Greece’s Archbishop Ieronymos II and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to condemn the remarks. That would be fine, except to note that Archbishop Demetrios of America, as the Patriarchal Exarch (representative) in the Western Hemisphere, did condemn the remarks immediately in the strongest terms: “gravely offensive and totally unacceptable.” Before the end of December, 2010, Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, officially responding to Rabbi Rosen on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, wrote, “You are well aware of the respect and sincere cooperation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and of His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew himself. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to ensure you that such unfortunate comments have no place in our hearts and minds.” He concludes, noting, “Incidents such as the aforementioned will unfortunately take place, and the language of hate and mistrust will find ways to be heard. This, however, should not become an obstacle in our sincere and fraternal cooperation.”

Furthermore, since Metropolitan Seraphim is not under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, it is, formally and morally, a matter for the autocephalous Church of Greece to address. Yet, it clearly reveals Rabbi Rosen’s misunderstanding of Greek Orthodox Church polity as well as his effort to associate all Greek Orthodox with the unfortunate and offensive remarks of one person.

Undoubtedly, there is anti-Semitism in Greece, as there is in the United States and, unfortunately, elsewhere in the world. What Rabbi Rosen forgets, in his indictment of the Greek Orthodox Church, is that not all Greek Orthodox Christians are within the jurisdiction of the Church of Greece.

He also seems to forget an important part of history. There are specific examples of courage and heroism among Greek Orthodox clerics during the Nazi occupation of Greece in defense of the Jewish population. Far from demonstrating anti-Semitism, Greek clergy during World War II acted for the defense of their Jewish neighbors.

Indeed, when asked by the Nazis for a list of Jews on the island of Zakynthos, the Mayor consulted the local bishop, Metropolitan Chrysostomos. He told the Mayor to burn the original and actual list, then wrote his own name on a piece of paper and submitted it as the list to the German commander. Unable to thwart the Germans’ plans, despite his act of defiance, he warned the Jewish residents to hide in the mountains, where they were actively assisted by Greek Orthodox residents. Similarly and shortly before, Archbishop Damaskinos of Athens had denounced the deportation of Greek Jews to the concentration camps though threatened with execution.

This is not simply anecdotal or legendary. The Jewish organization, Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, specifically awarded Archbishop Damaskinos (1969), Metropolitan Chrysostomos and Mayor Lukas Karrer of Zakynthos (1978), with the honor of being numbered with the “Righteous Among the Nations” for their efforts on behalf of the Jewish residents of Greece.

Certainly, the Jewish communities in Greece, like elsewhere in Europe, were decimated by the Nazis as part of the Holocaust. Yet examples abound in Greece of Christians warning, hiding or assisting their Jewish neighbors in light of Nazi plans to deport them. There are documented cases of Jews being discovered in Greek households, though some remained in hiding until the Nazis left the country; along with support given to Jews who fled to the mountains, this certainly cannot be the foundation of a widespread anti-Semitism. Could more have been done? Yes, but that does not justify the denigration of the Greek Orthodox Church, and many adherents of the Church—often inspired and actively led by clergy—risked their own safety to assist their Jewish neighbors. These persons lived up to the ideals of the Greek Orthodox Church and her true “head” who taught that we are to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 19:19; Mk 12:31; etc.) echoing the Hebrew Scriptures (Leviticus 19:18).

One might argue that this is all in the past, and Rabbi Rosen is addressing current anti-Semitism in the Greek Orthodox Church. While I cannot speak directly to the status of relations between Jews and the Church Greece, I can speak with personal knowledge about Greek Orthodox relationships with Jewish persons in the Ecumenical Patriarchate generally and in the United States specifically. The positive working relationship that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has with Jewish leaders around the world is well known, and hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate around the world typically have excellent relationships with Jewish clergy. Likewise, in the Archdiocese of America, there have long been many examples of common efforts with segments of the Jewish community, religious and otherwise. In the Chicago area alone, the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago for many years participated in an annual retreat with Christian and Jewish clergy, and continues to work alongside religious and civic leaders of the Jewish community in the region through the Council of Religious Leaders, with the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

There is no doubt that there are persons who identify themselves as Greek Orthodox Christians who do not abide by the teachings of Jesus Christ. Anti-Semitism is one of a number of “gravely offensive and totally unacceptable” attitudes that such persons may display, along with a host of other sinful attitudes as well as actions. This is the reality of the broken world in which we live. Thus, the ugliness of anti-Semitism may, indeed, be alive within the formal “boundaries” of the Greek Orthodox Church as Rabbi Rosen suggests. But it is by no means “well.” Along with every other form of hate, it is routinely condemned—and never condoned. The shocking statements of a bishop in Greece should not be mistaken as a revelation of Church doctrine, but rather as the sad, ugly and hurtful rant of someone who deviates from what the Church actually teaches.

I certainly do not blame Rabbi Rosen or any of my Jewish colleagues or friends for being offended by the rant of the Metropolitan of Piraeus—I was likewise offended, even outraged. Yet it is precisely the practice of judging all persons of a group based on the misdeeds of one or a few—guilt by association—that leads to stereotyping, prejudice and bigotry. This was in the “background” of very offensive comments by a Greek Orthodox cleric. Unfortunately, it appears to be somewhat contagious, for it prompted Rabbi Rosen to respond in kind.

Comments

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    Andrew says:

    Its hard to really embrace this piece when the GOA and the EP uses the word omogenia in its public discourse while celebrating the genetic make-up/DNA of communities. I do not believe the GOA is anti-semitic. I do believe however that when it comes to reality on ground omogenia does come before Orthodoxy in a large number of GOA communities and ministries. If Bishop Demetrios wants to be honest he should address these real problems. He should address the issue of race in the GOA. The fact that the GOA will not confront the problem of omogenia before Orthodoxy undermines its credibility in the public square.

    Since we celebrate the memory of Martin Luther King Today, the one thought I have as I grow older is how the urgency of today confronts us. When I was younger, I always thought the Church would get better. I thought all the ethnic chauvinism would disappear over time. I thought time would heal the Church of its problems and a new generation of leaders would sprout up. Today though, the patient wait and see attitude is wrong and does more harm to people than good.

    Today’s Orthodox Leaders should consider these words of Dr. Martin Luther King:

    “We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood — it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, “Too late.”

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    Geo Michalopulos says:

    I must congratulate Bishop Demetios for this well-reasoned response. I believe his words regarding the history of Jewish-Orthodox relations stand on their own. Where I must take exception however is his resort to absolving the Church of Greece because it is “not under the EP.” This is true. Unfortunately, in the various pronouncements of the EP, we are constantly told that he is “spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians.” Either he is or he isn’t. If he is, then he needs specifically to repudiate this Greek bishop’s words, and not his “exarchs.” If he is not the “Eastern Pope,” then he needs to stop using such language and engaging in actions which in other arenas give the decided impression that he is.

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    Two (not three) cheers to Bp. Demetrios for this essay. Why two? First, it was published in a paper that is read only by the choir. An 800 word essay placed in the Chicago Tribune repudiating the Greek Metropolitan would have been much better. Second, the condemnation of the rant was tepid at best and lost in too much equivocation about Israeli meddling in the affairs of the Jerusalem Patriarchate and other unrelated points. Third, it drew distinctions between the Church of Greece and Constantinople that are true as far as they go, but conveniently blurred whenever the Ecumenical Patriarchate wants to assert universal primacy. Why force the distinction in this case but ignore them in others? Fourth, the history of Zakynthos shows the Greek Metropolitan making the anti-semitic remarks stands on the wrong side of his own history; a point that should have been emphasized more.

    I have to hand it to Bp. Demetrios, however. In some ways the man shows more consistency in representing the Orthodox moral tradition than his fellow hierarchs. Several years ago he marched with us in the March for Life, the only Greek Orthodox prelate to do so as far as I know. His work for the pastoral care of AIDS patients was ground breaking in the GOA. We know that the GOA is deeply compromised with the dominant culture on the types of moral issues that exact a penalty, and all too willing to embrace those that don’t. I wish the piece was shorter, more clear, and published in places where the impact would have been greater. But his good work cannot be denied.

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    Kevin Allen says:

    I agree that the Bishop’s response is well-reasoned. However I find it a bit disingenuous to try to disavow Orthodox Christianity from an anti-semitism that has – in my view – been pretty consistent in places like Russia, the Ukriane, Romania, Serbia, the Middle East and yes Greece (even now). It seems to me it would have been far more appropriate to acknowledge with humility that we Orthodox are in too many cases guilty of anti-semitism, including statements of deicide in some of our liturgical language. Is there “anti-Christianity” in Islamic countries and perhaps in parts of the state of Israel? No doubt. However, Jews have not been guilty of genocide, so far as I know; so in this regard Jews and Christians do not stand on the same moral ground.

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    Geo Michalopulos says:

    Kevin, your point is well-taken. We Orthodox have to confront our history in an honest manner. One of the many things that perturbed me in your fine interview with Met +Philip (if I may say so Kevin) was his happy talk about how wonderful things were between Muslims and Jews and Muslims and Christians in the good old days before the founding of the state of Israel. Any perusal of any history from the time of Mohammed on shows that (in the words of Bat Ye’or) the indigenous Christians of the Levant have been suffering a 1400-year-long holocaust. (I mean no offense, you did a fantastic job. I’m not blaming you for his disingenuity.)

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    Kevin Allen says:

    George,

    Yes, but I do not think Met Philip is alone in his myopia (or delusion) about anti-semitism in the Middle East or in traditional Orthodox countries (or in some church fathers [St John Chrysostom], or in the Church itself). The thrust of the Bishop’s rebuttal was essentially to try to “turn the tables” on the Rabbi, by arguing that he is using the same “broad brush” approach as the Greek Bishop, by painting all Greek Orthodox as anti-semitic. My point was that the Bishop missed an opportunity to acknowledge what most of us know: that there has been pervasive anti-semitism within traditional Orthodox cultures and communities for a long time. Rather he took the time and effort to write a rebuttal that attempted to essentially defend Greek Orthododx honor instead. In this I think the article misses the mark.

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      Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos says:

      Yes, Mr. Allen I agree that, “…that there has been pervasive anti-semitism within traditional Orthodox cultures and communities for a long time” that is exactly what I meant when I wrote, “There is no doubt that there are persons who identify themselves as Greek Orthodox Christians who do not abide by the teachings of Jesus Christ. Anti-Semitism is one of a number of “gravely offensive and totally unacceptable” attitudes that such persons may display, along with a host of other sinful attitudes as well as actions. This is the reality of the broken world in which we live. Thus, the ugliness of anti-Semitism may, indeed, be alive within the formal “boundaries” of the Greek Orthodox Church as Rabbi Rosen suggests. But it is by no means “well.” Along with every other form of hate, it is routinely condemned—and never condoned. The shocking statements of a bishop in Greece should not be mistaken as a revelation of Church doctrine, but rather as the sad, ugly and hurtful rant of someone who deviates from what the Church actually teaches.”

      How did I miss the mark?

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Kevin, I agree, he very much missed the mark. When I first read his essay, I thought it was a good and upon re-reading it, I still think so. But upon further reflection, I do believe your analysis is correct. One of the things that came to me after I read it and was driving my car was that he never addressed the Greek bishop’s remarks at all. This could leave the impression that he implicitly agrees (or not). Another thing I thought to myself was that this should have been printed in a major media outlet. The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times, etc. Instead, they chose a joke of an ethnic magazine that has minimal readership. I don’t want to say this, because I think that this bishop is normally a stalwart on other important issues (e.g. pro-life), but this was an amateurish attempt.

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      Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos says:

      Mr. George Michalopulos writes that I, “…never addressed the Greek bishop’s remarks at all” in my response to Rabbi Rosen. This is blatantly not true. Allow me to highlight a few quotes from my own article.

      1. “Rabbi Rosen rightly objected to recent remarks by a hierarch of the Church of Greece made during a television interview last December. The remarks were clearly derogatory to the Jewish people and obviously based on a profound ignorance of history along with conspiratorial paranoia. Indeed, the Jewish people were not alone in their offense, and Greek Orthodox Christians around the world were shocked and embarrassed.”

      2. “The shocking statements of a bishop in Greece should not be mistaken as a revelation of Church doctrine, but rather as the sad, ugly and hurtful rant of someone who deviates from what the Church actually teaches.”

      3. “I certainly do not blame Rabbi Rosen or any of my Jewish colleagues or friends for being offended by the rant of the Metropolitan of Piraeus—I was likewise offended, even outraged.” and in the same paragraph, “This was in the “background” of very offensive comments by a Greek Orthodox cleric.”

      Also, as far as my essay being “an amateurish attempt” as Mr. Michalopulos states, I ask, who else in the Hierarchy of World Orthodoxy has written anything about this subject, anywhere? Also, Mr. Michalopulos I would gladly have my article printed in a major media outlet such as The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times…how do you suggest we accomplish this, short of sending it to their editorial staffs and pray that they include it in the letters to the editor and only after they have edited it to their liking? I also do not believe that Greek America Magazine is, “a joke of an ethnic magazine that has minimal readership,” obviously Fr. Johannes Jacobse reads the publication, as do so many others…also, Greek America Magazine ASKED for the article…

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        Geo Michalopulos says:

        Your Grace, thank you for taking the time to respond to my critique of your otherwise fine essay. I am more than flattered, indeed honored that you chose to do so.

        If I may respond to your last criticism (regarding which I wished that your essay had been published in a major media outlet). Personally, I don’t know how one goes about doing this, but considering that you are a bishop I would think that newspapers such as The New York Times, might have welcomed your reasoned response. Or perhaps your local paper. It seems to me (and if I’m wrong about this, please forgive me) that religious leaders have an “inside track” so to speak when it comes to local media. I know this from my own experience with my hometown paper. Even though I am our parish’s liaison with the local paper, not everything I send in is given consideration. However when my pastor calls the religion editor, then that’s another story. I don’t want to belabor the point but your essay deserved to be read on a national level (even though I don’t necessarily agree with every point).

        Second: One of the major reasons I liked your essay in the first place was because I did sense your outrage at what this Greek bishop wrote. That was obvious from the text as well as context of your essay. Everything you said was true as far as it went. My criticism was that the anti-Semitism that this bishop displayed was more than being from “some quarters” of Orthodoxy.

        How to resolve this problem? At the risk of being rhetorical (because this is something you could not effect yourself), I still stand by the general feeling that the Phanar should have issued a statement categorially criticizing him. The fact that they did not do so shows moral cowardice to my mind (and of course dredges up the usual complaints against the Phanar, i.e. they are universally speaking for the Church when it comes to global warming but all of a sudden get parochial when it comes to distancing themselves from localized embarrassments).

        Perhaps a more full-throated condemnation of this Greek bishop’s diatribe would have sounded something like this?

        “His Eminence likewise betrays a profound historical ignorance when he lumps certain individuals into his grand Zionist conspiracy theory. For example, identifying the Rockefeller family as being Jewish is ridiculous. As a mere perusal of the historical record would show, the Rockefellers are of German-Anabaptist descent and have no Jewish ancestry. This fact alone shows that the bishop in question is subject to believing half-truths, canards, and propaganda. As for the idea that anti-Semitism exists in the Orthodox liturgical texts, this is unfortunately true. However much of this language is based on theological differences between Rabbinical Judaism and Christianity and not the Darwinian-secularist ethos which animates contemporary anti-Semitism.”

        It was in this sense that I considered your fine essay to be “amateurish,” not because of what it said (and the marginal publication in which it was published) but because of the lost opportunity that this bishop’s unfortunate remarks unleashed.

        Again, thank you for responding to me as well as for your initial essay. I meant no offense. If anything, I was gratified that a bishop in the GOA actually contributed something of value to the common culture. As you may know from my (and others’) writings on this blog, the deafening silence that comes out of the GOA on many matters is most regrettable.

        I remain, your servant, George

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    David Rosen says:

    I am sorry that Bishop Demetrios felt that I had maligned the Greek Orthodox Church and suggested that it was generically anti-Semitic. I certainly did not intend to claim anything of the sort. In my opinion, to say that a particular pathology is alive and well in a faith community does not at all mean that the whole community is guilty of such.

    Indeed Bishop Demetrios’ suggestion that in ultra-Orthodox Jewish circles such a pathology exists in relation to Christians is correct and should be condemned as we have done so on a number of occasions when such animus has been manifest. However I think a fair person might agree that there is a difference between the misbehavior of rank and file members and bigoted statements by a high ranking religious official.

    Indeed I did call specifically for condemnation from Archbishop Ieronymos of Greece and happily eventually the Synod in Greece did issue a statement on the matter. My call to Patriarch Bartholomew was due to the fact that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has an official dialogue structure/partnership with the Jewish world represented by IJCIC of which I am past president.

    Furthermore I responded with gratitude to Archbishop Demetrios’ letter and publicly acknowledged with appreciation that of Metropolitan Emmanuel on behalf of Patriarch Bartholomew. Moreover the fact that anti-Semitism is to be found in the Orthodox Church (and I have received a number of complaints in this regard over the years regarding statements and sermons that have been heard and communicated to members of the Jewish community in Greece and elsewhere) is in no way to diminish from the great acts of selfless love and deliverance that many Orthodox Christians and prelates have demonstrated to Jews and others.

    Bishop Demetrios claims that “the Israeli government and Jewish religious groups and sects in Israel harass or impede the work of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem”. If such is the case, I would appreciate these being brought to my attention. The Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theopholis III, with whom I have a close friendship and for whom I have much respect, has not expressed such opinions to me, on the contrary. If Bishop Demetrios knows otherwise, I will be happy to pursue and strive to combat any such actions.

    I believe that a healthy relationship is one which is both honest and self critical and my respect and affection for all that is positive in the Orthodox churches is on the record. I do not believe that such appreciation should hold us back from criticism and calls to action where warranted.

    Rabbi David Rosen

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      Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos says:

      Rabbi Rosen,

      You state in a post here and in a private email response to me the following:

      “Bishop Demetrios claims that “the Israeli government and Jewish religious groups and sects in Israel harass or impede the work of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem”. If such is the case, I would appreciate these being brought to my attention. The Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theopholis III, with whom I have a close friendship and for whom I have much respect, has not expressed such opinions to me, on the contrary. If Bishop Demetrios knows otherwise, I will be happy to pursue and strive to combat any such actions.

      Of course His Beatitude Patriarch Theolphilos III of Jerusalem has not expressed such opinions to you! For it took the Israeli Government over three years to recognize his election as Patriarch thus having him, essentially, under house arrest!

      Also, let us not forget the St. John’s hospice fiasco a number of years ago, or the fact that the Greek Orthodox Churches in Bethlehem and in other places behind THE GREAT WALL of Israel have to endure so much just to survive with check points and not to mention not being allowed the basics of human life, namely water, save for once every 50 days or so!

      Yes, my Good Rabbi, I know you will tell us that you and the AJC assisted in having Patriarch Theophilos III properly recognized, and world Orthodoxy appreciates it I am certain of it; but you attempted to once again, to artfully and subtlety hold the Israeli government “blameless” in its treatment of non-Jews. This is simply not true.

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      Geo Michalopulos says:

      Rabbi, if I may offer this tidbit of information in order to add a broader context to the decrepit patriarchate of Jerusalem and the interference of government entities in its operation, I believe no apology is necessary. The “virtual house arrest” to which the present patriarch is subject to by the Israeli government is little consequence. This is more or less the case with all of our Old-World patriarchates, including the Bartholomew who is by his own admission, a hostage of the Turkish state (as is Ignatius IV of Antioch who is even more restricted by his overlord Bashir al-Assad).

      We Orthodox have been playing far too many dhimmi games over the years. Indeed, the scandal of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem is that it is a complete dependancy of Istanbul. As such, it has no control over its internal affairs, cannot elect its own bishops, and is run for the benefit of the Greek-born elite which will not allow the indigenous population any influence in its affairs. This includes their studied refusal to ordain any celibate Arab men to the priesthood.

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    Rabbi Rosen,

    Thank you for your comment on this blog. We appreciate your clarifications and obvious expression of good will.

    Yours,

    Fr. Hans Jacobse

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      Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos says:

      Father,

      May I ask why you felt it necessary to add any commentary regarding the quality of my writing on an article which appeared in another publication? Say, that, “I wish it went to an editor first (the story of Archbishop Damaskinos should have led the piece) but overall all it’s a serviceable editorial.” Is rather offensive. Had you properly read the response you would understand that the story of Archbishop Damaskinos as well as Metropolitan Chrysostomos (who you omitted in your remark) was used as supportive documentation of my thesis.

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    Your Grace, it wasn’t meant to be offensive. I think arguing from the historical record is the strongest way to go and would have preferred to see the story of Archbishop Damaskinos lead the piece (or at least have more prominent placement) rather than relegated to supporting documentation. The reader would have picked up on your point more quickly.

    Overall, I was gratified to see the piece and applaud you for writing it — which I indicated in my original comments. “Serviceable” merely means that the editorial accomplished what it set out to do. No pejorative was intended or implied.

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    Harry Coin says:

    During a visit to the then fairly new Jewish WWII holocaust museum in DC, I noticed on a commemorative wall appreciation for the doings of at least two groups of Greek Orthodox communities. One where Christian Greeks from Thessoloniki / Salonica forged baptismal papers for local Jews and generally risked much to save and protect them (I actually knew a son of one of the protecting families when I lived in Boston– quite the stories he recalled. His first name is Panos S., he worked at the Holy Cross seminary for a time for those who want to chat with him). Of course the other is already written of here, the protective doings on the islands.

    Then I hear more recent stories about extensively observant Jews spitting on Greek Christians on the streets of Jerusalem.

    I wonder how it happens the more extensive emphasis on pietistic things we see, the more poorly those so doing treat ‘them’. We see it in many cultures.

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    One more thing:

    Also, Mr. Michalopulos I would gladly have my article printed in a major media outlet such as The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times…how do you suggest we accomplish this, short of sending it to their editorial staffs and pray that they include it in the letters to the editor and only after they have edited it to their liking.

    Although you wrote this to George Michalopulos, placing a short editorial might not be as hard as you think. I would start with the Chicago Tribune. You have standing in Chicago, they will look twice at an editorial authored by you, and newspapers are always looking for material. The thing is you don’t win debates in editorials, you just make your point and it has to be cogent — usually 800 words or less. (Lead with a story, thus my suggestion that a mention of Archbishop Damaskinos at the outset would have been stronger.) I’ve had editorials placed in larger markets. A connection helps but I am sure you have some. Or try Monatos & Monatos. Their Rolodex has to be stuffed with media people. Also, editing usually involves style, not content. Once accepted, editors don’t like to change your meaning or voice.

    There is also the internet. I don’t know the circulation of Greek America, but chances are that more people read your editorial here than in the magazine. I just did a quick Google search. Your editorial that I posted here was picked up by at least ten other internet outlets (including some in Greece), maybe more (I stopped on the second page). I know this because they link back. It has exponential effect.

    You can take issue with some of the comments and the rule here is that the commentators speak for themselves. I am sure that in due course they will. That aside, the publication of your editorial here has put it in front of a boatload of people who would otherwise have not seen it.

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    vsevolod gregoriov says:

    I think that the point has been missed. It is a pity how blind the people of USA are and how much somebody’s words have been altered and mistaken. Whilst i do not agree wholeheartedly with the comments made by Metropolitan Seraphim, nor do i agree with the mode that he made such remarks, i do however find it almost callous to take his words out of context and only by miscued association of the past “categorize” his comments as anti-semetic, bigoted etc… If i was him i would be suing for defamation for the false assertions related to his comments.

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    Elefterios says:

    Unfortunately,i agree with both the rabbi and the good bishop.

Care to comment?

*