OCL responds to EP talk at Holy Cross

George Michalopulos, Orthodox Christian Laity board member and frequent contributor to the AOI blog, penned the official OCL response to Arch. Elpidophoros Lambriniadis’ recent talk at Holy Cross School of Theology. Original article is posted on the OCL website.

An OCL Board Member Responds to the Message of Chief Secretary of The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

March 25, 2009 – the Feast of the Annunciation

I. Introduction: An Archimandrite Speaks

Recently, a certain archimandrite, the Very Rev Dr Elpidophoros Lambriniadis, spoke at Holy Cross School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. His position is one of auxiliary professor at this seminary but his formal title is “Chief Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod.” His remarks thus were more than the observations of a mere academic; indeed he stated from the outset that they were authorized by the Ecumenical Patriarch himself and “with the consent” of Archbishop Demetrios, the primate of the Greek archdiocese.

What began as astute observations of American Orthodoxy by a highly educated clergyman-scholar quickly descended into vituperation, slander against other jurisdictions, and almost total ignorance of America. Moreover, his understanding of canon law and Byzantine history itself was questionable. It is unknown whether this was deliberate or merely the result of ignorance. At best, this willful twisting of history can be viewed as Phanariote propaganda, which like all good propaganda uses words and ideas for some higher purpose. The purpose of this reply is not only to identify that which is propagandistic, but to point out the severe internal and logical contradictions contained therein.

Read the entire article. Return here to leave comments (or use “Hellenism and Orthodoxy” quick-link).


  1. Scott Pennington :


    You have done all Orthodox Christians a favor by writing such a well documented critique of Fr. Elpidophoros’ speech (although I’ll refrain from comparing you to Alexander the Great).

    Thank you.

  2. Large organizations and patriarchates (such as the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Moscow Patriarchate, etc) are associated in the public eye with Orthodoxy and in the same time take part in the ecumenical movement. They have betrayed Orthodoxy and are making it gradualy something new: “World Orthodoxy” or “Ecumenist Orthodoxy”. Nothing new for the Church, just a new heresy.

    They are highly educated hierarchs and clergymen so we cannot assume that their mistakes are the resault of ignorance. They are willingly ignorant of the Truth and of the teachings of the Holy Fathers of the Church. There is no hope for salvation for those who do not love the truth and do not desire it. Christ will allow them to be deceived by the Antichrist “because they refused to love the truth and so be saved”.

    The most important values for the ecumenist are “peace, fraternity and equality”. These are Christian values placed in a new context. Same values were “borrowed” by the “communist heresy”. They do not want peace with God or with the people of God but peace with the world.

    Your long replay to the long article is very educational and many will find useful. I have to be honest and let you know that you spooked me once when you said in a comment that “we [the Orthodox] do not have anymore the right to criticize the Catholic doctrine”. Same abut your comment
    regarding “changing canons in the light of the new medical knowledge”. The Church forbade marriage among close relatives long before any genetic research findings were available.

  3. Michael Bauman :

    It is a dilemma. Good bishops are required for the Church to maintain good order. We are more fortunate today than in past ages. We have the writings of many more elders and holy bishops to rely upon than at any time in the past, even with the relative paucity of material translated into English.

    I have long felt that we need to be knowledgeable about the nature of heresy in general and specifically becasue we are each responsible for our own belief and our own actions before the dread judgement seat of Christ.

    At the same time, the Fathers of the Church and the Holy Scripture make it quite clear: it is dangerous to critize our brothers in Christ.

    The Russians have it right I think. Podvig! (Struggle)

    The current situation in the Church with so many bishops going so many questionable ways is a real podvig for the entire Church. From ecumenism to the correct way in which to exercise episcopal authority. Who’s to know what is the truth? We few rules to go by, even many of the cannons appear to my ignorant mind more like the Pirate’s Code than anything (“It’s not really a code, it’s more like guidelines”) At least that is the manner in which many of the cannons seem to be treated, if they are treated that well.

    Where is the Church? Is it only some semi-gnostic heavenly high-rise or does it have form and substance? Is everyone in the Church who confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, or is entrance both more exclusive and inclusive at the same time?

    Does any of these current troubles make a difference at all or should be just attend on the sacraments, fast, repent and pray living our lives as best we can learning to rely exclusively on the living mercy of God?

    Hamlet’s eternal question, “…whether it is nobler in the mind to stuffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them?”

    Hamlet dithered and never answered his own questions. Many people died and suffered due to his refusal to commit to either path. Perhaps there is a lesson for us in that.

  4. George Michalopulos :

    Eliot, I’m sorry I “spooked” you. What I meant about the RCs is that we as Orthodox do not have the right to criticize them not because our doctrine is wrong (it isn’t) but because in spite of our orthodoxy (i.e. correct doctrine) we are not orthopraxic (i.e. correct acting). They, at least their bishops are definitely correctly acting in matters related to life and the dignity of man.

    Compare the reaction of Bp. D’arcy who will not attend Notre Dame’s commencement ceremonies because Pres Obama will be there, with Abp. Demetrios, the “Archbishop of America” who panted after the glory of the White House. Did he take Obama to task for his horrific actions? Did he at least express concern for suffering here in America? No, he was told by the Greek government and the EP to talk about things that are tangential at best.

  5. Mr. Michalopulos,

    Not to get off topic, because your reply is very on point and I thank you for it but…

    When Obama is invited to Holy Cross or St. Vlad’s, then we can judge our bishop’s reaction. The fact is, Obama coming to ND shows that Rome has bigger problems than we do.

  6. George Michalopulos:
    “They, at least their bishops are definitely correctly acting in matters related to life and the dignity of man.”

    It is not the case to generalize the Catholic bishop’s actions as good. Same of their bishops held dignity masses for homosexuals. Same teach that the hell, the devil and so on are literary devices. The Pope went to India “not to preach Christ but to learn form their ancient wisdom”. The common prayers or the super-ecumenism that they promote means nothing less that we all have the same God which is totally wrong.

    All of these indicate that they are heading to the one world religion. Christ will be removed from this “religion”. I am not saying that all the Catholics are bad. Many have pure hearts. The fault belongs to those who were/are misleading them.

    The Catholics claimed that their faith is the one saving faith. Then comes the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, when they say that not only the Catholics, but also the Orthodox and even Protestants, Jews and Muslims belong to the People of God and can be saved. So there is no heresy anymore. Heresy is/was considered to be mortal sin. Not anymore after the Second Vatican Council… What can we learn from their confusing teachings/ behavior? Can we talk about dignity or foolishness?

    Michael Bauman:
    “At the same time, the Fathers of the Church and the Holy Scripture make it quite clear: it is dangerous to critize our brothers in Christ.”

    We have the right and the duty to forgive personal sins committed against us. We must criticize the sins against the faith! The Orthodox ecumenists are like the Pharisees, who, having the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, shut up that Kingdom against men.

  7. Michael Bauman :

    Eliot, we have a duty and a responsibility to witness to the love and truth of Christ in all circumstances being no respecter of persons. However just as being a marytr is more than just getting yourself killed, so is appropriate witness more than just saying someone is wrong. Being a critic is not the way to the Kingdom.

    I find it interesting that you pick that one statement from my post to comment on. A statement that in my mind was not the main point at all. why is that?

  8. If we turn a blind eye to what is wrong we sin not only against dogmatic faith, but also against love. People might get the false hope that they can stay in their falsehood without danger to their immortal souls.

    I see the ecumenism and the all-Orthodox Council (due soon) as great threats for Orthodoxy. We might get to the point where if you say that you are not ecumenist will be equal to being against peace and against humanity. Ecumenism places a sign of equality between error and truth. St. Cyprian of Carthage said, “there is no salvation outside the Church” and by Church he meant the True Church.

    I am trying to discern the way to go. I oscillate between fear, despair and hope. Thank you for pointing out that “being a critic is not the way to the Kingdom”. I am still searching for the way. I believe the way is to love and trust Christ, to pray for myself and for the others and do the good deeds (I am not doing much here).

Care to Comment?