October 23, 2014

The Future of the GOA Rests On 32 Celibate Clergy

The gene pool is shrinking. HT: Mystagogy

His Emminence Abp. Demetrios blessing a congregation

According to the National Herald, the future leadership of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America rests on 32 qualified celibate priests out of the approximately 600 reported priests of the GOA. These numbers were issued out of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 16 September 2009.

Out of the 32 celibate priests, 5 of them were previously married and have now risen to the rank of Archimandrite. However, 1 of these 5 is over 80 years old, and 2 are over 70.

The Archdiocese currently has 12 hierarchs not counting Archbishop Demetrios. 9 serve their respected Metropolis while 3 serve as titular Bishops. Of these there are 2 who are over 80 (Archbishop Demetrios and Iakovos of Chicago), 2 are over 70 (Maximus of Pittsburgh and Isaiah of Denver), and 3 are over 60 (Alexios of Atlanta, Methodios of Boston, and Gerasimos of San Francisco). Nicholas of Detroit is over 55 and Evangelos of New Jersey is near 50.

Full text in Greek below (use translator):

Από 32 άγαμους κληρικούς, σε σύνολο 600 και πλέον ιερέων, θα προέλθει η μελλοντική ιεραρχία της Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής, σύμφωνα με τον επίσημο κατάλογο, ο οποίος εγκρίθηκε από το Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο στις 16 Σεπτεμβρίου του 2009.

Σχετικό ανακοινωθέν δημοσιεύθηκε (στην αγγλική γλώσσα) στην εφημερίδα της Αρχιεπισκοπής «Ορθόδοξος Παρατηρητής» του διμήνου Ιανουαρίου-Φεβρουαρίου 2010.

Οι 32 άγαμοι κληρικοί πληρούν τους όρους και διαθέτουν τα τυπικά προσόντα που απαιτούνται για να προαχθούν στον βαθμό του Επισκόπου.

Από τους 32, οι 5 προέρχονται από τον έγγαμο κλήρο, δηλαδή ήταν νυμφευμένοι πριν, απόκτησαν παιδιά και εγγόνια, πλην όμως σήμερα τελούν εν χηρεία λόγω θανάτου της πρεσβυτέρας τους, τους απενεμήθη το οφίκιο του Αρχιμανδρίτη κι έχουν συμπεριληφθεί στον κατάλογο των υποψηφίων και είναι οι εξής: Κωνσταντίνος Μπεμπής, Παναγιώτης Τσάμπηρας, Φραγκούλης Κιρλαγκίτης, Κωνσταντίνος Κωσταρής και Παντελεήμων Κωσταράκης. Ο ένας εξ’ αυτών υπερβαίνει το 80ό έτος της ηλικίας του, ενώ δύο είναι ήδη πέραν των 70 ετών.

Οι υποψήφιοι προς επισκοποίηση, οι οποίοι πληρούν τους όρους, δηλαδή είναι άνω των 35 ετών, πτυχιούχοι ανεγνωρισμένης ανωτάτης Ορθόδοξης Θεολογικής Σχολής και με επαρκή υπηρεσία στην Ελληνική Ορθόδοξη Αρχιεπισκοπή Αμερικής, είναι οι ακόλουθοι: Διονύσιος Αναγνωστόπουλος, Ιγνάτιος Αποστολόπουλος, Τιμόθεος Μπακάκος, Κωνσταντίνος Μπεμπής, Αμβρόσιος Βιτζιάδης, Αναστάσιος Μπλουγουράς, Κυπριανός Μπουμπούτσης, Παναγιώτης Τσάμπηρας, Ιωάννης Κωνσταντίνου, Παντελεήμων Κωσταράκης, Ιωακείμ Κοτσώνης, Νεκτάριος Κοτρώτσος, Λεωνίδας Δρακόπουλος, Δαμασκηνός Γκανάς, Αλέξανδρος Κίλε, Λουκάς Κοτζαμπασάκης, Κωνσταντίνος Κωσταρής, Απόστολος Κουφαλάκης, Κύριλλος [Loeb], Γεράσιμος Μακρής, Σταυροφόρος Μαμάης, Κωνσταντίνος Μερσινιάς, Κωνσταντίνος Μωράλης, Μακάριος Νιάκαρος, Γεώργιος Νίκας, Ευγένιος Παπαγιαννάκος (Πάππας), Σεραφείμ Πούλος, Νεκτάριος Σέρφες, Σεβαστιανός Σκορδαλλός, Κλεόπας Στρογγύλης και Ιωάννης Τράβης.

Σε επικοινωνία με το γραφείου του Αρχιεπισκόπου κ. Δημητρίου, απάντησε εκ μέρους του ο Πρωτοσυγκελεύων, Επίσκοπος Φασιανής κ. Αντώνιος, ο οποίος σε σχετική ερώτηση είπε «όχι δεν θα γίνουν εκλογές νέων αρχιερέων».

Αναφορικά με το όνομα του Αρχιμανδρίτη Λεωνίδα Δρακόπουλου που είναι στον κατάλογο αλλά ο ίδιος είναι νεκρός, είπε ότι «ετοιμάσαμε τον κατάλογο στην Πρωτοσυγκελία, τον στείλαμε πάνω στη Σύνοδο, εν τω μεταξύ πέθανε ο άνθρωπος δεν το έπιασαν πριν, δεν το είχε δηλώσει ο Μητροπολίτης Πίτσμπουργκ και γι’ αυτό παρέμεινε το όνομα του».

Αναφορικά με τη διαγραφή του Αρχιμανδρίτη Βασιλείου Πεντερίδη, είπε ότι «υπάρχει λόγος», ενώ ο Επίσκοπος Αντώνιος δήλωσε άγνοια για το ποίος είναι ο λόγος.

Για τη διαγραφή του Αρχιμανδρίτη Βασιλείου Φλιώνη, ανέφερε ότι «φαίνεται ότι έγινε παράλειψη, δεν θυμάται κανείς γιατί ή αν κάποιος είχε δηλώσει να μην συμπεριληφθεί το όνομά του, αλλά θα αναφερθεί τον Απρίλιο στη Σύνοδο κι αν δεν υπάρχει λόγος θα ξαναμπεί το όνομα του στον κατάλογο».

Όσον αφορά για τους υπέργηρους, διευκρίνισε πως «δεν υπάρχει στο καταστατικό όριο ηλικίας».

Ο Αρχιμανδρίτης Ευγένιος Πάππας από το Μπρούκλιν δήλωσε στον «Ε.Κ.» πως «είμαι επί τριάντα χρόνια στον κατάλογο των υποψηφίων, πληρώ όλα τα προσόντα, έχω τέσσερα πτυχία Θεολογικής εκπαιδεύσεως, έχω υπηρετήσει επί 44 χρόνια ως ιερεύς πρώτης τάξεως και Αρχιμανδρίτης Μέγας, ιεραπόστολος στην Κορέα, βγάζω την Αρχιεπισκοπή ασπροπρόσωπη κάθε φορά που θέλουν κάποιον ομιλητή και με βάζουν να αντιπροσωπεύσω στα οικουμενικά θέματα, αλλά εν τω μεταξύ είναι και κοροϊδία για μένα διότι έχω φτάσει 69 χρονών και πού βαδίζω να γίνω Επίσκοπος εφόσον δεν υπάρχει καμία αδειανή θέση;».

Πρόσθεσε ακόμα, πως «βάζουν το όνομά μου τρίτο στη σειρά στο τριπρόσωπο ώστε να συμπληρώσουν μία κενή θέση για να βγάλουν τον πρώτον στη σειρά». Στη ερώτηση γιατί δεν σας έχουν επιλέξει τόσα χρόνια, είπε, «μόνο ο Θεός ξέρει» και συμπλήρωσε «δεν αισθάνομαι θλίψη γι αυτό, αισθάνομαι αποκαρδίωση».

Στην ερώτηση πώς σχολιάζει ότι στον κατάλογο υπάρχουν προχωρημένης ηλικίας υποψήφιοι, απάντησε: «Ξέρω ότι υπάρχουν μερικοί ιερείς στον κατάλογο που είχαν πάθει νευρικό κλονισμό, έχουν βάλει και χήρους κληρικούς», ενώ αρνήθηκε να κατονομάσει εκείνους που είχαν υποστεί νευρικό κλονισμό, λέγοντας «τα ονόματα είναι εκεί».

Ο π. Παναγιώτης Τσάμπηρας, ο οποίος προέρχεται από τον έγγαμο κλήρο και έχει διοριστεί στη Σχολή ως εκκλησιάρχης δεν απάντησε στο τηλεφωνικό μας μήνυμα.

Για πρώτη φορά στον κατάλογο έχουν συμπεριληφθεί τα ονόματα των Αρχιμανδριτών Κλεόπα Στρογγύλη από τον Καθεδρικό Ναό Βοστώνης και Απόστολου Κουφαλλάκη από τον Καθεδρικό ναό του Αγίου Δημητρίου Αστόριας.

Ο π. Κλεόπας Στρογγύλης είπε στον «Ε.Κ.» σε σχετική ερώτηση «ας γίνει ό,τι είναι θέλημα Θεού». Ο π. Απόστολος Κουφαλλάκης δεν επέστρεψε το τηλεφωνικό μας μήνυμα.

Ο Αρχιμανδρίτης Κωνσταντίνος Μερσινιάς από την κοινότητα της Αγίας Αικατερίνης της πόλης Νάπλες της Φλόριδας είπε ότι «είναι τιμή ακόμα και το γεγονός να είμαι σε έναν τέτοιο κατάλογο».

Και συμπλήρωσε: «Δεν είναι αναγκαστικά αναμενόμενο να γίνει κάποιος επειδή είναι στον κατάλογο, αλλά είναι σίγουρα τιμή». Στην ερώτηση είναι κάτι που θα επιθυμούσε, ανέφερε πως «έχω μάθει να λέγω και να πράττω ό,τι θέλει ο Θεός».

Ο Αρχιμανδρίτης Αναστάσιος Μπλουγουράς, ο οποίος είναι συνταξιούχος και διαμένει στη Φλόριδα, είπε ότι «πρώτη φορά έβαλαν το όνομα μου» και τόνισε «είμαι συνταξιούχος».

Ο π. Αναστάσιος είναι Αρχιμανδρίτης από το 1980, ενώ στην ερώτηση γιατί έβαλαν το όνομα του τώρα στον κατάλογο, είπε «δεν ξέρω πώς το ανακάλυψαν, ίσως επειδή δεν φορώ επανωκαλύμμαυχο διότι δεν αποτελεί άμφιο του ιερέως». Συμπλήρωσε δε, πως «είμαι σε προχωρημένη ηλικία και απορώ γιατί με έβαλαν».

Ο Αρχιμανδρίτης Αλέξανδρος Κίλε από την κοινότητα του Αγίου Γεωργίου του Πιτσκάγουεϊ της Νέας Ιερσέης είπε, «έχει ο Θεός, αν είναι θέλημα Θεού θα γίνει».

Ο Αρχιμανδρίτης Σεβαστιανός Σκορδαλλός, αρχιγραμματέας της Επαρχιακής Συνόδου της Αρχιεπισκοπής, απουσίαζε από το γραφείο του, ενώ δεν είχε ανταποκριθεί στο τηλεφωνικό μήνυμα.

Από τον κατάλογο έχουν διαγραφεί τα ονόματα των Αρχιμανδριτών Βασιλείου Πεντερίδη και Βασιλείου Φλιώνη. Ο μεν π. Βασίλειος Πεντερίδης υπηρετούσε μέχρι πριν από ένα χρόνο στην κοινότητα του Αγίου Γεωργίου του [Ocean City] του Μέριλαντ και ξαφνικά έφυγε από την ενεργό υπηρεσία. Η γραμματέας της κοινότητας είπε ότι «βρίσκεται στην Ελλάδα».

Ο δε π. Βασίλειος Φλιώνης υπηρετούσε πριν από ένα χρόνο στην κοινότητα των Αγίων Αναργύρων στην πόλη Μάλμπορο της Μασαχουσέτης, από την οποία αναχώρησε δια διάφορα Μοναστήρια της Ελλάδος, συμπεριλαμβανομένου και του Αγίου Ορους όπου διέμενε επί ένα έτος. Επανάκαμψε πρόσφατα στις Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες και υπηρετεί ως βοηθός ιερεύς στην κοινότητα του Αγίου Γεωργίου της πόλης Λιν της Μασαχουσέτης. Ο π. Φλιώνης είπε «δεν θα ήθελα να κάνω κανένα σχόλιο γι’ αυτό το θέμα».

Σημειώνεται ότι η Αρχιεπισκοπή Αμερικής έχει σήμερα δώδεκα συνολικά αρχιερείς συμπεριλαμβανομένου και του Αρχιεπισκόπου Δημήτριου. Εξ’ αυτών οι εννέα είναι Επαρχιούχοι Μητροπολίτες και οι τρεις βοηθοί Επίσκοποι.

Οι Επαρχιούχοι είναι: Αρχιεπίσκοπος Δημήτριος Αμεση Αρχιεπισκοπική Περιφέρεια, Σικάγου Ιάκωβος, Πιτσβούργου Μάξιμος, Βοστώνης Μεθόδιος, Ντένβερ Ησαΐας, Ατλάντας Αλέξιος, Ντιτρόιτ Νικόλαος, Αγίου Φραγκίσκου Γεράσιμος και Νέας Ιερσέης Ευάγγελος. Εξ’ αυτών ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Δημήτριος και ο Σικάγου Ιάκωβος είναι πάνω από 80 ετών, ο Πιτσβούργου Μάξιμος και ο Ντένβερ Ησαΐας άγουν ή υπερβαίνουν εν πολλοίς το 70ό έτος της ηλικίας τους, ενώ ο Ατλάντας Αλέξιος, ο Βοστώνης Μεθόδιος και ο Αγίου Φραγκίσκου Γεράσιμος, υπερβαίνουν το 60ό έτος της ηλικίας τους. Ο Ντιτρόιτ Νικόλαος υπερβαίνει το 55ό έτος και ο Νέας Ιερσέης Ευάγγελος, οδεύει προς το 50ό έτος, σύμφωνα με το επίσημο Ημερολόγιο του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου του έτους 2010.

Οι υπάρχοντες τρεις βοηθοί Επίσκοποι είναι ο Τρωάδος Σάββας επικεφαλής του τομέα Εκκλησία και Κοινωνία, ο Φασιανής Αντώνιος Πρωτοσυγκελεύων της Αρχιεπισκοπής και υπεύθυνος του Τομέα Φιλανθρωπίας και ο Μωκησσού Δημήτριος πρωτοσυγκελεύων της Μητρόπολης Σικάγου.

Από τον κατάλογο διαγράφτηκαν οι εξής: Νικόλαος Γκραφ από τη Φλόριδα λόγω της δημοσιοποίησης του σκανδάλου παιδεραστίας, Γαβριήλ Καράμπης από το Τέξας λόγω του σκανδάλου με τον μασέρ και Ιωάννης Χαιρόπουλος ο οποίος ζήτησε οικειοθελώς να αποσχηματιστεί και επανήλθε στις τάξεις των λαϊκών.

Comments

  1. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    orrologion says:

    …32 qualified celibate priests…

    What about all of the male monastics in the monasteries of the GOA? Are they precluded from the episcopacy for some reason? I had always thought this to be one of the great values Elder Ephraim’s monasteries have brought to America: a far larger pool of local episcopal candidates for the GOA. (Of course, there are also other male monasteries in the GOA, too, e.g., St. Gregory Palamas Monastery in OH. What of those monastics that grew up in the GOA but have joined monasteries in Greece or Cyprus, e.g., Fr. Maximos of Simonos Petra?

    For reference sake, a list of the 10 male Monastic Communities in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America:

    ARIZONA (AZ)

    St. Anthony Monastery
    4784 N. St. Josephís Way
    Florence, AZ 85232
    Abbot: Father Paisios
    Tel.: (520) 868-3188
    Fax: (520) 868-3088
    http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org

    COLORADO (CO)

    Nativity of Saint John the Baptist
    2805 South Forest Street
    Denver, CO 80222
    Tel.: (303) 691-9916

    FLORIDA (FL)

    Holy Monastery of Panagia Vlahernon
    12600 West Hwy 318
    Williston, FL 32696
    Abbott: Father Chysostomos
    Tel.: (352) 591-1716
    Fax: (352) 591-1719
    http://www.panagiavlahernon.org

    ILLINOIS (IL)

    Holy Monastery of Transfiguration
    17906 Rt. #173
    Harvard, IL 60033
    Abbott: Father Akakios
    Tel.: (815) 943-3588
    Fax: (815) 943-3878
    holytransfigurationmonastery.com

    MICHIGAN (MI)

    Holy Monastery of Holy Trinity
    125 Sturdevant Road
    Smith Creek, MI 48074
    Abbott: Father Joseph
    Tel.: (810) 593-8134
    Fax: (810) 367-6344

    NEW YORK (NY)

    St. Nektarios Monastery
    100 Lake Anawanda Road
    Roscoe, NY 12776
    Abbot: Father Joseph
    Tel.: (607) 498-5285
    Fax: (607) 498-5468

    NORTH CAROLNA (NC)

    Holy Convent of Panagia Pammakaristou
    1631 Creasey Road
    Lawsonville, NC 27032
    Abbott: Father Nektarios
    Tel.: (336) 593-9760
    Fax: (336) 593-9767

    OHIO (OH)

    Saint Theodore Monastic House
    Mailing Address:449 Portland Way S.
    Galion, OH 44833
    Director: Fr. Nicholas Hughes
    Tel.: (419) 468-8880
    http://www.sttheodore.org

    St. Gregory Palamas Monastery
    934 County Road 2256
    Abbot: Father Seraphim Dedes
    Perrysville, OH 44864
    Tel.: (419) 368-5335
    Fax: (419) 368-3500
    Email: palamas@bright.net
    http://www.sgpm.goarch.org

    TEXAS (TX)

    Holy Archangels Monastery
    End of Twin Sisters Drive
    Mailing address: P.O. Box 422
    Kendalia, TX 77550
    Abbot: Father Dositheos
    Tel.: (830) 833-2793
    Fax: (830) 833-2231

    • Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
      Isa Almisry says:

      Reread the Chief Secretary’s speech at Holy Cross. The answer to your quesion is in there.

      Many years +Isaiah and +Maximos!

    • Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
      Fr. Andrew says:

      Just for reference: Fr. Seraphim was once the superior at St. Gregory Palamas, but has not been so for some time. As far as I know, no one has actually yet been named abbot.

      • Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
        Fr. Augustine says:

        His Eminence, Bishop Maximos, retains the title of abbot of St. Gregory Palamas Monastery. After Fr. Seraphim left St. Gregory’s (to teach Byzantine Chant in – I believe – North Carolina), Fr. Joseph Morris took over as superior of the monastery. He would be “episcopabile,” since he came within a hair’s breadth of being consecrated a bishop in the Romanian Diocese of the OCA. The Romanians decided they wanted a Romanian in the end, however, hence he felt free to move on to St. Gregory’s.

        Also, it should be pointed out that the small monastic house formed by monks who left St. Gregory’s many years ago, St. Theodore House, is now defunct after the death of the eldest monk and sundry difficulties, chiefly financial. I noticed that somebody listed it above, but it no longer exists as a monastic house per se (though the building still exists and two monks still live there).

        I agree with the above comments, regarding the availability of many male monastics in our monasteries for episcopal consideration; one of the things that struck me when I first looked at the clergy directory of the Patriarchate, was how many of the bishops in the Old Country came from monasteries, and how few of them come from monasteries in the USA. This strikes me as a sign of the great spiritual infirmity of our American Orthodoxy, and I hope this will change. The spirituality of a celibate academician is usually very different than that of a celibate ascetic (though not always), and I hope a revival of interest in the ascetic and spiritual virtues will help to renew the episcopacy in coming years.

        In my time at both St. Gregory’s and at St. Theodore House, I found three men who would be good bishops: Fr. Ambrose Young (who was almost made a bishop in the ROCOR, but his diagnosis with Alzheimer’s led him to withdraw his name from consideration); Fr. Joseph Morris (a very pious and meticulous man, almost made a bishop amongst the Romanians); and Fr. Gregory (not even a priest at the moment, but one of the strongest, humblest, most *truly* learned men – i.e., educated and wise at the same time – whom I’ve ever met). Interestingly, I think the simple, unordained monk would be the best candidate of the three – though I have great respect for all of them). Any of these men, would be bishops of whom the Church could be very proud.

  2. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Isa Almisry says:

    Many years +Isaiah and +Maximos!

  3. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Harry Coin says:

    This issue written of above has impact beyond the GOA: it proves that in no way can the upcoming ‘Great and Holy Council’ discussed by the EP be considered ‘Ecumenical’ because the voices there are not reflective of the ‘ecumene’ as was the case among those who voted in the real seven ecumenical councils accepted by the church.

    In the upcoming, unlike past, actual councils the votes will come only from the voices of the bachelor ‘ordained young and never married’ group such as the Vatican has limited to be bishops able to influence the agenda and to vote.

    In all past councils the voices of those widowers and others who actually gave up and sacrificed marriage (to a woman) were included as bishops among the actual celibate monastic bishops of the day. Today, the ‘black’s’ suppression of the ‘white’ bishops makes ecumenical legitimacy impossible no matter the puffed up language and gold robe red carpet appearances to be published online. While the ‘seeming’ might be puffed forward, the ‘being’ will be absent and with it the legitimacy an ecumenical council requires to be accepted as such by the church over time.

    The world has changed a great deal since the last council: indoor hot water not from pots over a fire, in fact all indoor plumbing, indoor light from other than candles, transportation other than cart or on foot, democracy, The Reformation, marriages not arranged by parents, vaccines, world war I and II, the Russian church’s love of monarchy to the point the people rejected both royalty and the church in favor of communism, the earth not so much the center of the universe– you know, a big further list.

    In the days of the last actual ecumenical councils people died often from toothaches or simple infected cuts or any pregnancy now handled routinely with a C-section. So then working age widower priests were everywhere and were made bishops — while in their working years before their retirement age or death unlike today when women generally outlive men. Remember too that the lifespan was half or less than it is today. Never was being a bishop thought to be a 50 year plus career sinecure.

    Of central utmost relevance: a great many bishops voting in actual ecumenical councils had the experience of being actual fathers, of being married, of having actual children and in-laws for whom they were responsible 24×7, they weren’t students of ‘co-suffering’ — they lived it.

    And it’s fair to suggest most of them knew personal loss in the form of dead siblings at a young age or children who died young from such things as infected simple cuts while shaving (ever wonder why clergy beards are preferred– when a shaving cut could be fatal.. So many practical orthodox practices ‘falsely theologized’ in the modern context)

    So at this proposed council, the nature of the upcoming council attendees will not be ecumenical in the sense of the previous councils. The entire voice of the vast majority of the Christian population who know something about what it is to be married and family life beyond the teenage years will be absent that was before present: those who know by wisdom and experience, and not just as students, the realities of fatherhood and husbandhood.

    A super-majority of those who will be voting and attending this wrongly deemed ‘ecumenical’ council will be drawn nearly entirely from the ranks of those who generally were ordained young and almost universally never married bachelors. It must be said events reported in the press and paid for by the church through lawsuits bluntly prove that a disproportionate number who will be able to vote at this council, compared to past councils wrestle with same-sex attraction.

    Ecumenical– but with nearly zero voices of those who know actual marriage, and a great number of voices with these sexual history concerns not with women. Really? Who can seriously compare such an event with the Seven Great and Holy Councils of the church? Can more robes in gold and perfumed incense and red carpet events overcome who the never married have declined to invite?

    The world has changed in ways the present ‘ordained young never married’ bachelor leadership of the church has self-servingly and career-protectively declined to recognize for over a century– we must re-include the married empty-nester priests as candidates for full bishops as was done and as called for plainly by the Gospel and the church for centuries.

    Without that, the ecumenicity and authority of the upcoming council is doubtful no matter the result, as it can’t be said to be of the same nature and effect as prior Ecumenical councils, most obviously because those who are there to do the voting do not represent the fullness ecumene as was the case in all prior councils.

    While it may represent the sense of those who are nearly all ordained young and never married bachelors, much as the Vatican’s group does, that is not the ecumene.

    To have a much needed actually ecumenical council, the churches should ordain senior empty nester priests as bishops in numbers that represent the population of the monastic and married faithful, and to wait a few years for their voices to be added to the authentic monastic bishops in harmony. Any council held after that has happend could then be properly recognized as expressing the voice of the ecumene and so be thought an ecumenical council.

    Without that, it the adjectives future historians might use to qualify as a shorthand for the common nature of the limited group voting in the name of ‘all the ecumene’ at the upcoming council I fear will be both accurate and not so uplifting.

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      Fr. Augustine says:

      Harry, I think you’ll find that there has always been an emphasis and a preference for those who adapt the life of asceticism in the Church, when considering men for the Episcopacy. I agree with you that there were many bishops who had once been married in earlier years of the Church – but, this was the norm when the Church was comprised of converts, and the exception in places where the faith had been inculcated in men from their youth.

      Look even at the Scriptures: men who converted to the Church at an “established” age in their lives… i.e., most of the Apostles… had wives (but lived with them as sisters afterwards). Young men, however – like St. John the Theologian, St. Timothy, St. Titus – all embraced the ascetic life and the celibacy that goes with it. Look at all the great Ecumenical Teachers of the Church: Ss. John, Basil and Gregory Nazianze, Ss. Augustine, Ambrose, Jerome and Gregory Dialogos, etc., and one finds life-long celibates… or, at least, celibates since the time of Baptism. Only a few Fathers are found to have once been married… like St. Gregory Nyssa, and even he wrote a treatise, describing how he wisehd he had been celibate from the get-go!

      Anyway, marriage is a good thing and my own spiritual father was married for many years before becoming a monk (after his wife died); but, he himself tells me that the monastic life should be valued more highly for its potential for spiritual wisdom and excercise, when it is lived correctly. I don’t deny that married people have many trials and tribulations – they do, and this is part of the reason why St. Paul commended celibacy; it avoids those trials and tribulations and focuses directly upon the most productive kinds of sufferings with an whole-hearted focus on the Lord. The REAL problem, then, is that most of our celibate candidates for the episcopacy today are NOT ascetics, but are schoolboys who embraced celibacy because they had an ecclesiastical career in mind. After a life of relative ease and comfort – a life with many temptations to act selfishly and in a worldly way, and usually built on ambition and pride from the get-go (hence they embraced celibacy at a young age *knowing* it would be necessary for their career later) – they then become bishops in their fourties, with three college degrees and a taste for fine and expensive things, and little real appetite for ascesis and spiritual life. They are chosen because they are cultured men of the world who look good to the outside community. Such men spend Church funds on wasteful things, and are sometimes overwhelmed by their passions in scandalous and public ways.

      If we chose our bishops from real ascetics – real scientists of the spiritual life – this problem would be solved. We don’t have to pit marriage against celibacy in this way; the qualification for the episcopacy comes from a life of deep spirituality through following the Lord in imitation of His Passion (and Resurrection). While married men can do this, we should remember that even from the Apostolic age, even when married bishops were allowed, deliberate and self-inflicted ascetecism for love of the Lord directly has been very highly regarded in choosing men for the episcopacy. And, because of various teachings on the state a man should be in while celebrating the Mysteries, continence even within the marriages of clergy has always been valued. We therefore shouldn’t look down on men who have been celibate from a young age – if they do this well, and for the right reasons, then these are the best men amongst us! – we should rather be displeased with a celibate life that detaches celibacy from the context of ascesis and spiritual excercise. A celibacy that merely satisfies a job prerequisite, but otherwise takes place in a life of ease and comfort (and temptations towards intellectual vanity) is the real enemy of an healthy episcopate.

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    Isa Almisry says:

    Not sure the relevance, as the majority of the bishops in the days of the Ecumenical Councils were celibate too. And in any case, the Defintions became Ecumenical only when the Faithful as a whole accepted them as the Church’s.

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      Fr. Augustine says:

      Yes, Isa. I forgot to say this above. The nature of an “Ecumenical” decision, is not that it reflects the opinions of people in different lifestyles, but that it refelcts the Christian doctrine passed down from the Apostles, unchanged, in *every* location of the Ecumene (i.e., the world).

      Since there are not two different Christian doctrines for the celibate and for the married, but one Apostolic Faith practiced by both, a bishop’s status as a widower or as a life-long spiritual athlete is ultimately irrelevant to the Ecumenical nature of a council’s decision.

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    Andrew says:

    A $10,000,000 bishop. Lets pause for a moment and consider the economic situation of the GOA hierarchy. Lets consider a hypothetical GOA bishop who is elected at age 50 (the age of +Evangelos) and serves in active ministry for 30 years until age 80 (the age of +Demetrios). Lets also consider the following modest estimates of the yearly cost of supporting this bishop

    Annual Salary: $75,000
    Housing: $30,000
    Healthcare: $17,000
    Gifts of “Luv” $24,000 (Parish visits, events etc)
    Misc Comp. $10,000

    Total Year 1: $181,000

    Now lets assume again this bishop will be active for 30 years and lets also assume this compensation will increase by about 4% per year ( a modest estimate if you ask me).

    Over a 30 year period the total cost to the people in the pews to support this bishop will be: $9.2 million.

    If you adjust the salary to $100,000 per year the cost to the people the pews will be $10.7 million

    Now multiply this figure by 12 which is the current number of active GOA bishops and the cost to the people in the pews to support 12 GOA bishops for 30 years is $128 million dollars.

    These 32 clergy are in line for a very comfortable life, guaranteed healthcare, permanent job security and a life of comfort that the vast majority of their flock will ever see or enjoy.

    This sure has an aristocratic feel if you ask me. Of course none of this includes retirement. Is this even sustainable????

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      Fr. Augustine says:

      Amen! Put those monk-bishops in office (and not merely *celibate* bishops), like the Saintly Laurus, who recently reposed in blessed memory at Jordanville. When the episcopacy is the crowning summit of an Academic career, and is expected to involve an unchristian superfluity of remuneration, it is no wonder that spiritual life is flagging in the Church. Find a bishop who is content to eat simply and be housed for next to nothing, who lives a life of prayer and visits his parishes like a father (and not a tax collector)… this is a real bishop!

      A man who insists on the most glorious vestments, the daintiest food, the most lavish gifts and despotic power… such a man has not mastered even himself, and is likely to bring scandal to the Church after he bankrupts it. In the world, you get what you pay for – and in the Kingdom of God the way of the world is often turned upside down.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Harry, powerful insights. Orrologion, as Isa said, the “abbott” that spoke last year at Holy Cross (that is after all, the meaning of the word “archimandrite”) poured almost as much disdain on the Athonites here in America as he did upon the OCA. The movement of Elder Ephraim has picked up steam, that wasn’t supposed to happen. That’s why those monks are not in line as far as the Phanar is concerned. Their ideal candidate is some smooth-talking, elegantly dressed, worldly “celibate” who is at ease in the confines of the headquarters of multinational corporations.

    My question is this: usually whenever Kalmoukos breaks a story, there’s more to it than that. What is the other shoe that is to drop?

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    George Michalopulos says:

    P.S. many years +Isaiah!

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    George Michalopulos says:

    After a few hours of thought, it occurs to me that this yet another indication that the Phanar is not planning to cut the GOA loose anytime soon. After all, if they were serious about the Chambesy protocols, then they wouldn’t even release such a statement. Isn’t it up to the future “American” Church to decide who is and isn’t eligible to the episcopate? I guess not.

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    Isa Almisry says:

    “it occurs to me that this yet another indication that the Phanar is not planning to cut the GOA loose anytime soon. After all, if they were serious about the Chambesy protocols, then they wouldn’t even release such a statement.”

    We knew that, now, didn’t we?

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    George Michalopulos says:

    yeah, but for me it’s an “I told you so” moment. (Not to the people on this blog, but to the GOA sycophants who read it.)

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    We need to be opening our hearts to Christ and bring the unchurched into the fold. Who cares about this other stuff? Let’s direct our energies elsewhere.

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