When Bishops Disappoint

Fr. Thomas Hopko

Fr. Thomas Hopko

It’s very encouraging to hear an Orthodox leader speak to a problem many us are aware of but don’t know how to frame in ways that we can responsibly speak about it. That problem is corruption, malfeasance, and plain old brokenness in clerical ranks.

Fr. Tom starts with comments that corruption of this type is nothing new. True enough. All too often though, this statement is used to close discussion, as if the present calamity (not too strong a word in some areas of American Orthodoxy) ought not be broached and Fr. Tom thankfully does not take this approach.

Instead, he delves into the scriptures to describe what proper Christian leadership consists of servanthood (not overlordship) and exhorts the faithful to help the priests and bishops to “tend the flock of God that is in (their) charge.”

Then Fr. Tom asks, “What do we do when those in leadership are not exercising their leadership properly?” He says the final answer is for the people of God to live like they really are the people of God. No shortcuts. Then strong leaders will come forward.

Listen here:


  1. Fr. Tom’s comments are a challenge to us all and wholly unsatisfactory for the part of me that wants justice.

  2. In following Fr. Tom’s advice, I think we end up marginalizing the “disappointing” bishops and granting authority through obedience to the one’s that do not disappoint.

    Dn. Marty
    Dayton, Ohio

  3. George Michalopulos :

    You know, towards the last, Fr Tom spoke about te “last days” and having only the form of religion. His example was powerful: when bishops or priests give major addresses that do not even mention God or salvation. I think of three major speeches given during Lent by two bishops and one priest in particular which match this criterion. I think he may be on to something.

  4. I think we are always in the last days. To quote Hamlet:

    If it be now, ’tis not to come; if it is not to come, it will be now; if it is not now, yet it will come; the readiness is all.

    As Jesus warned us: Watch and pray!

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