By dogcatcher on February 25th, 2012

“What is an “Ephraimite?”It is not easy to exactly define the term Ephraimite. One can say it is an affliction of varying degrees. Some readily acknowledge the title while others who are so influenced are not even aware of the word Ephraimite. It is curious that some… Read More 


Learn to Speak “Ephraimitese”


If you wish to understand “code” language of the Ephraimites, avail yourself of the following glossary:… Read More


Reasons why Archbishop Demetrios is not responsible for the Ephraimite Mess


Reason #1 With the unilateral charter changes that occurred in 2002 by the Patriarch, the Archbishop is no longer the “Primate” of the church in the United States. He presides over the Holy Eparchial Synod, but has little actual control over the…  Read More


  Has Anyone Connected with the Ephraimite Cult/Movement ever been Disciplined by the Spiritual Court in the Metropolis of Chicago?


Members of our organization have heard numerous anecdotal accounts of matters that have been taken to the Spiritual Court or should have been heard by the Spiritual Court. Many have stated that if the issue involves an Ephraimite…  Read More


Has your Priest been infected by Ephraimite Theology?


While reading this article, ask yourself if your priest is an Ephraimite. If you can still ask him questions, you are more fortunate than others. Most Ephraimites stopped asking questions when they began following an Ephraimite elder or one…  Read More


Parishes Impacted by the Ephraimite Movement


GOTR has conducted numerous interviews of Clergymen, Parish Council members and members of the laity and has compiled a list of those parishes located within a 50 mile radius of the Metropolis of Chicago. We have concluded…  Read More


The Ephraimite Movement has come to Foreclose on your Parish Home: Why has the Ephraimite Movement been so successful in influencing the Laity of our Metropolises?


The answer to this question is complicated because it is multi-faceted containing religious, philosophical, psychological and even sociological aspects. It is important to understand what is really happening in our Greek Orthodox faith. We…  Read More


The Game Plan to Take Over Your Parish


This article will give you, the reader, an idea of what to anticipate when the Hierarchs of the Metropolis of Chicago assign a new Ephraimite Priest to your parish. The editorial …  Read More


Open Letter to the Faithful


Dear Mr. *


There are few individuals in my estimation who possess the integrity and faith I have observed in you. Therefore I trust you in sharing some personal reflections. Reflections of sorrow and concern for the church we both have grown to love and cherishI have recently become aware of the difficulties that have occurred in your parish of St. George and I respect your decision to find the truth and declare it to those that will listen. Your vigilance in seeking truth and justice is commendable but most likely unrealistic since it appears that our church has had a past history of sweeping things under the carpet. I pray your efforts are not overlooked Read More


A Tribute to Pokrov – 10 Years of Courage and Commitment, by Paul Cromides, November,7 2009


It was the early 90’s when Melanie Jula Sakoda and Cappy Larson thought they had found a home in Orthodoxy at San Francisco’s Holy Trinity Cathedral, part of the OCA – The Orthodox Church in America.


Instead, they found a nightmare: a place where a layman went about the church wearing black clothes and a large cross, but was molesting children of the parish. This was taking place even though he had admitted to the pastor that he had a history of pedophilia. As many as 11 children were victimized, some were toddlers. Read More


Conversation with a Young Ephraimite


The following summary of a Conversation with a Young Ephraimite was compiled from notes made shortly thereafter by two of the participants. Both men felt compelled to memorialize what they heard that evening. Both men have served on parish councils and are deeply supportive of the church. There were others present who heard the young Ephraimite’s words. The conversation occurred the evening of June 6, 2009. We want make it clear that we do not want to persecute the young Ephraimite. We believe he has been a victim of cult tactics. We are very concerned for his well being. It is this concern that compels us to write this article in order to expose the teachings of Ephraimite followers. We have withheld the identities of the persons involved for obvious reasons. The conversation lasted 45 minutes. Read More


We Are Not “Under One Umbrella”


The Ephraimite movement has changed the perspective upon those who remain Faith abiding. During the supervision of our faith by Archbishop Iakovos of blessed memory one would not have imagined an attempt to defend the indefensible. But, like a very bad nightmare that has taken a life of its own, this is what we hear from our clergy. Rare is the Priest that will directly confront the issue of the Ephraimites. Some will not even engage in a discussion about the issues that surround the Ephraimites. Do faith abiding Priests and Hierarchs owe a duty to rightfully educate our laity? Do we as members of the laity have a duty to guard the faith? Read More


The Aerial Toll House Myth and Why this Teaching is Flawed




The Aerial Toll House myth was introduced to Christianity by Gnostics in the early Church. Like many heresies, it has resurfaced throughout the existence of the Church. Its most recent retread was spurred by Seraphim Rose in his book The Soul after Death. Recently, it has been heavily integrated into the theology of Elder Ephraim and his followers. The Aerial Toll House myth states that upon death one’s soul must encounter 20 (some say 40) demonic stations within the realms of the space between the earth and Heaven. Each station interrogates the soul of the deceased for a specific transgression. If the soul fails at any one of these toll houses it is supposedly dragged to Hell by demonic spirits. This teaching comes from a dream had by Gregory, a disciple of St. Basil the New, which gives an account of the journey of St. Theodora through the Toll Houses. (This teaching has also been referred to as the dream of Blessed Theodora). Supporters of this teaching, which comes from the tenth century, often use spurious references of the writings of various Saints in an attempt to validate this myth. …Read More


Are The Lambs Being Poisoned?


Reflections from a “Cradle to Grave” Greek Orthodox Christian


Recently, I sat down to talk to my son who is a Religious Studies Major at a University. I was curious to hear his opinion about the damage caused by so many individual Priests in the Metropolis of Chicago to the Parishes where they have been assigned. He is one of many young adults who have had their ecclesiastical lives uprooted by the assignment of a fundamentalist Ephraimite Priest. As you will read, his views and perspectives explain why this fundamentalist movement has taken hold and why it appeals to the laity on an individual basis. He is not, however, able to understand how the Metropolitan and his assistant Bishop are not being held accountable for allowing this to occur in their own Metropolis.


Our Metropolitan and assistant Bishop have invited these affected clergymen to serve here. They have witnessed the damage done to those Parishes. No one is able to understand their decisions, but, ultimately, they will be judged for it. Remarkably both of these Hierarchs have the respect of many of their colleagues for their collective ability to squeeze every single dollar in “fair share” assessments from their flock.


My son made a profound observation about our faith. He looked up and said it simply, “We Greek Orthodox Christians have a Shepherd’s religion”. Many times I had heard the word flock to describe the laity. I admitted to him that I never gave much thought or consideration to the Priest as a Shepherd. He carefully explained to me that the extent of our theological knowledge as laymen comes from what we learn through our Priest’s sermons and the conversations we have with him. Without our own independent knowledge of our Greek Orthodox religion, it is almost automatic for laypeople to accept the heretical teachings of an Ephraimite Priest as fact, simply for the reason that it is the only side of the story that laypeople have heard. We then discussed how our old Parish community was transformed from a working partnership of clergy and laity based on a consensus, to a dictatorial theocracy. The newly assigned Ephraimite Priest used his assumed powers to become an unquestioned Shepherd. His new flock soon divided into camps. Read More…


Letters, Emails and Comments from Friends and Foes


We are excited to report that we have received many hits to our website. In the first 10 days of January alone, we have received over 27,000 hits. Obviously, our website’s disclosure of the Ephraimite agenda has exposed a need by the faithful to learn more about the Ephraimites, their cult and our faith.


We have selected a sampling of correspondence to our Editors and our website. You, our readers, have made some insightful observations and suggestions. We have tried to shield the identity of the authors, while giving you some information about their background. In some cases we have very little idea of the nature or identity of the author. While in other cases, we are very familiar with them. Our goal is not to “out” any of them. Our only goal is to give our readers insight into the various perspectives that exist among the faithful. Our introductions and comments are bolded and italicized.


Sadly, some emails by certain members of the Ephraimite Cult are so disturbing, that we can not publish them. We have also taken the liberty of redacting certain sections that would certainly expose their identity. We have bracketed [and added eclipses…..] to those missing areas of submitted text. We have not corrected spelling errors, nor have we edited grammatical or other obvious errors of any nature. We welcome dialogue on the important issues facing the future of the Greek Orthodox faith. We hope this article does not discourage future correspondence from either our Friends or Foes.


Correspondence from our Foes


This was an email we received early on. It is sent to us from a young woman who lives in the Northern Suburbs of Chicago. She has a relative who is a monk in one of Elder Ephraim’s monasteries. We believe that this email speaks for itself. It is very typical of many of the hateful emails we have received.


Are you so scared of the Efraimites that you have (spies) at all churches??? HA HA HA HA!!!! Now you scare US…


And how about the the tax-exempt organization, why do you have that??? you don’t pay taxes?? why? what do you offer??.


Let me tell you something!! as an Efraimite (and proud one) you guys don’t scare me or anybody else. We are not hiding, you are…


We have nothing to hide. You can go everywere and do whatever pleases you and still you can’t do nothing about it. It’s that simple!!!


So stop hiding like the rats in the dirt and show your face or maybe you are so ashamed!!!!Father Efraim did not ask you or anybody else to go to him… i am so amazed of your stupidity like you investigate a high crime scene!!! and who are you anyway, and who is going to report to you??? sooooo stop being let’s say stupid and get a life… ok??? Like you said, nobody is paying attention to you, not enen the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of AmericaRead More…


Ephraimite Fallacies (Part One)


Avoid Becomming an Accesory to Their Schismatic Offense


Most people will tell you that a fallacy is a false or mistaken idea. The reality is that a single or multiple fallacies can serve as the basis of an individual’s incorrect understanding of his or her own faith. As we have opened a door to a debate about the Ephraimite Monasteries one thing is clear, misinformation is being used as a tool to falsely educate their followers. We begin by looking at some of the constant claims made by the Ephraimites in support of their peripheral movement within our Church and follow with our responses to their false claim by pointing out the major differences between the Monasteries on Mount Athos and the Monasteries of Elder Ephraim.


Their Claim


Elder Ephraim has merely brought “Athonite Monasticism” to North America. Or, people are only upset with this form of Monasticism because they don’t understand it.




First, one has to understand that even a claim that there is a universal form of Athonite Monasticism is a fallacy. The various Monasteries of Mount Athos are not carbon copies of each other. There are 20 different Monasteries and 12 Sketes on Mount Athos. A Skete is a small Monastic community housed on the grounds or property of a larger Monastery. There are some similarities that do exist among the vast majority of these religious enclaves. The first similarity is the schedule of the Divine Liturgy. Let’s use this as a starting point to tell our readers why the claim that the Ephraimite Monasteries are bringing an “Athonite Monasticism” to North America is a fallacy. Read More…


Encyclical of His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew issued for the Sunday of Orthodoxy 2010 on Fanaticism and Ecumenism


We ask all of our readers to examine the very important Encyclical of His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew that was to be read on the Sunday of Orthodoxy by the Clergy to all Greek Orthodox Parishes in the United States. In this Encyclical, Patriarch Bartholomew addresses, among other things, Orthodox Fanaticism and Ecumenism. Unfortunately for the Faith abiding, these two concepts are entangled and used to gain a following among the fringe groups that exist within our Church today.


The fringe groups, which include the Ephraimites, have strategically and narrowly defined the typical layman’s understanding of Ecumenism and use this as propaganda to attest that they are the true protectors of the faith. We now have a growing number of laity who accept the Ephraimite’s definition of Ecumenism. The term Ecumenism can be broadly defined as a movement promoting unity between different Christian religions. The Ephraimites and their followers have narrowed the definition and characterize Ecumenism as any conversation, dialogue, or negotiation of theological issues between any Orthodox Hierarch and any other Christian group. They have convinced their followers that most Greek Orthodox Hierarchs, but, especially the Patriarch has betrayed our Faith. Time after time, the Fanatics use the “Straw Man” method of argument to successfully convince their followers that only the old calenderists, Russian Hierarchs, or the Monastics have the best interest of the Orthodox Christians in mind. They have succeeded where many of our own Hierarchs have failed. They have educated those that hunger for the truth. Sadly, the hungry are not fed the truth. The Ephraimites have found a vacuum, now they fill it with their own brand of Heresy. Soon, you will need a Hierarch standing next to you to distinguish fact from fiction. Read More…


Money-Money-Money, Part One


March 5, 2010


“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident”.


Arthur Schopenhauer, German Philosopher 1788-1860


This is the first in a series of articles that will explain, analyze, disclose, and enlighten faith abiding Greek Orthodox Christians about the financial operations of the Ephraimite Monasteries of North America. We have spent the last two years analyzing this complex network. An open mind is crucial to develop your opinions after reading each of our articles and doing your own due diligence. The information is available for all who desire to find it. We respectfully request that you read the Greek Newspapers that are all on-line or at the very least their English language versions which are often abbreviated.


Some Background Information


The background information will provide a basic understanding of the Vatopedi, (also spelled “Vatopaedi”) land scandal. Future articles will describe the recent construction boom at Elder Ephraim’s Monasteries in the United States and Canada. The question asked by many is whether there is any correlation between these two issues. At the end of this article we include a list of sources so that our readers can confirm the facts and can be provided with additional information. The editors at included citations throughout the article for our reader’s convenience. The basic background information is as follows:


1. The Monastery of Vatopedi is by far the richest located on Mount Athos. It has real estate and business holdings in Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and several other Balkan countries. Carassava, A. (2008, Oct. 25) Land Scandal Threatens Greek Leader. New York Times. Retrieved from See also Michaletos, I. and Deliso, C. (2008, Nov. 4) Scandel over Vatopedi: International Capital and Aristocracy, Mixed with Greek Politics. Retrieved from .


2. Vatopedi is the most popular of all monasteries on Mount Athos, hosting a “Who’s Who” of the rich and famous including Vladimir Putin, Prince Charles and in the last decade has become the favorite religious sanctuary of Greek politicians from all major parties. Gilson, G (2008, Sept. 29) Unholy Scandal Burns Government. Athens News. Retrieved from, Gilson G. (2008, Dec. 5) Press Watch, Athens News. Retrieved from


3. Before land scandal criminal charges were filed, its Abbot was Ephraim (also spelled Efraim in some newspaper reports) of Vatopedi. Many also allege that he is the “spiritual son” of Elder Ephraim of Florence, Arizona, formerly of Philotheou.


4. The monastery of Vatopedi has on numerous occasions disclosed that it has sent money to North America for the benefit of monasteries and church organizations. Several of these admissions are made on the official website of the Vatopedi Monastery. These can be found at the following links:






c. Still other facts have come out of news conferences and statements made by Monastery officials to journalists and others.


5. Elder Ephraim of Vatopedi has already been convicted along with Judge Maria Psalti and one other monk of a breach of duty stemming from the delay in publishing a 2004 ruling against the Monastery of Vatopedi in a property dispute. At the base of the criminal conviction was a finding that Elder Ephraim and his fellow monk were responsible for influencing a delay by Judge Psalti which permitted them to facilitate a conveyance of land. That land was exchanged for land owned by the Greek government and it is this exchange, among others, that are currently under further investigation. In the United States this type of crime is known as “Obstruction of Justice”. AP (2009, Oct. 18) Abbot Convicted in Land Case. Athens News. Retrieved from


6. When Elder Ephraim of Vatopedi was called in for questioning about the land scandal by the Greek Authorities, he refused to answer any questions. Elder Arsenios is Elder Ephraim’s right hand and is the monk responsible for the financial operations of the Vatopedi Monastery. He also refused to answer questions. Tzamaros, P. (2008, Nov. 11). Monks Snub Parliament’s Investigation. Ekathimerini. Retrieved at Read More…




March 14, 2010


We have received many reports from victims of spiritual abuse promulgated through the tool of confession. The following article illustrates a number of examples of the typical testimonies we have documented regarding the misuse of the power of confession.


Greek Orthodox Fundamentalism and Evangelicals


April 5, 2010


There is a movement in the Greek Orthodox Church led by the monastic adherents of Elder Ephraim. The adherents of this movement are called “Ephraimites”. That descriptive term has now become universally used by Clergy, Laity and Theologians to describe the adherents to Elder Ephraim. Although, it is not the only Fundamentalist movement within Orthodoxy; it is by far the one generating the most schismatic polarization among the Greek Orthodox in North America.


Fortunate Encounter


May 4, 2010


If you asked me a couple years ago if I thought a schism would occur in our Greek Orthodox Church, I would have called you crazy. Now, unfortunately, that seems to be the path we are on due to a fundamentalist movement which is occurring within our Archdiocese, in our Metropolises and especially on the local Parish level.


Protectors of Our Faith?


May 20, 2010


The Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate are individuals deeply devoted to the Greek Orthodox faith and tradition and dedicated to the protection and promotion of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and its mission.


Ephraimite or Faith Abiding Priest?


June 3, 2010


The Greek Orthodox Christians of Chicago for Truth and Reform’s (“GOCCTR”) website receives a myriad of emails in support of and opposition to our mission. All emails received by GOCCTR are reviewed by the Editors of GOCCTR and in our duty to inform the readers, the Editors have determined to address the issues posed in relevant specific email messages. We chose this email because it reflects typical arguments made by those who do not support our mission. The following email is authored by a Priest from the Metropolis of Pittsburgh. The italicized text is the email in full followed by categorical responses by the Editors to the issues posed.


The Decade of Neglect


July 5, 2010 On January 12, 1999, the five Metropolitans who were then serving the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America authored a “Report” to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Holy and Sacred Synod of Constantinople. It was published in The National Herald of New York in Greek (January 16-17, 1999) and in English (January 23-24, 2009).


The five Metropolitans authoring this report at that time were Iakovos of Krinis (Chicago), Anthony of Dardanellion (San Francisco), Maximos of Ainou (Pittsburgh), Methodios of Aeno (Boston) and Isiah of Proikonisou (Denver).


The Role of a Spiritual Father


September 20, 2010


“A person without a soul-friend is like a body without a head.”


Saint Brigid of Kildare


These are the words of St. Brigid, abbess of the Kildare Convent in Ireland. In the Celtic tradition, a person called an anam chara, Gaelic for soul friend, played the same role as a spiritual father. They were a guide, a confessor, a friend, and most importantly a person with whom the Christian journeyed and with whom they shared all their joys and sorrows. Her words sum up the importance of the spiritual father in the lives of Orthodox Christians of 5th century Ireland, and even the Orthodox Christians of the modern world.


The role of spiritual father is an important component of an Orthodox Christian’s life. As an individual’s chief guide and confessor, they educate and guide their spiritual sons and daughters through the joys and sorrows of life. They are called upon to heal the wounds of both body and soul and, most importantly, they help the individual on the road to theosis, or the ultimate attainment of union with God. Although the role of spiritual father is of great importance, it can be misused to the detriment of not only the spiritual child but also the spiritual father.


Do You Pray “Twelve Times a Day”?


October 14, 2010


After receiving a significant number of emails from individuals all across the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA), it has become evident to our editors that the laity of the GOA live in two separate worlds. The common thread connecting these two worlds is the presence of GOA priests. Yet, distinct differences exist in the interpretations of our faith including which canons are emphasized in our modern day world. You are about to read how these two worlds are continuously colliding.


Confessions About an Ephraimite Confession


November 23, 2010


As a preteen, before I knew anything about the movement of Elder Ephraim, I attended a church now identified as a center of Ephraimite ideology, where I now recognize how much I was affected by their doctrines. In retrospect, it is frightening to think about how indoctrinated I had become. I spent nights laying awake with the vision of demons coming to attack me. I spent days contemplating my salvation and tried desperately to pray away all of the evil impulses of the world. My life and thoughts concentrated on death. At times, I wished that it would just come before I could become corrupted any further in the society that I was taught to believe was inherently evil. These feelings lasted the entire duration of my time under the guidance of the Ephraimite priests at this church, but they were most vivid during one particular youth retreat.


An Exploration of True Monasticism


January 9, 2011


Over the life of the website, the editors have received numerous accusatory emails suggesting that those who created the website are “anti-monastic”. As a coalition of faith-abiding Greek Orthodox Christians, we can collectively say that this suggestion could not be any further from the truth. Monasticism is an integral part of the Orthodox Faith and is a necessary aspect of the full Christian life. We at have not ignored the role that ascetics and monasteries maintain within the Church. Our members have visited, financially supported, and volunteered at countless monasteries, both in the United States and abroad. In fact, without monastics, Orthodoxy would not be present in its current form. Many of our Forefathers enriched their lives and the Faith with the monastic tradition. The well-known Desert Fathers, including St. Anthony the Great, laid the groundwork for modern monasticism. They are regarded as one of the major influences provided by the Church Fathers. From the solid foundations built by these men, a great history of asceticism has arisen, producing many of our Saints.


Ruth’s Blog


January 17, 2011


The following is the first entry of a blog written by Ruth. Her name has been changed in order to protect her identity. The policy of anonymity maintained by the Editors of this website is imperative in order to prevent abusive verbal attacks toward her which we have witnessed against others who have spoken out against Ephraimite monasteries. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios is aware of her identity.


The Blog of Ruth is written by a woman who contacted the editors at the gotruthreform website desperately seeking help to reunite with her husband who was living at an Ephraimite monastery. She has documented her and her family’s ordeal in a series of letters and journal entries. This is a recorded history of her and husband’s journey in joining an Ephraimite monastery. This entry and subsequent entries on Ruth’s Blog will describe how the nuns at an Ephraimite Monastery came between the sacramental union of a husband and wife. We will focus on the facts of how an innocent, trusting and pious couple became victims of the blind obedience demanded by these monasteries. She wrote the following letter to Archbishop Demetrios. This letter was hand delivered to the Archbishop personally. It is divided into two parts. Part II will appear next week. The author’s altruistic intent in making these postings, which include some very painful personal information, is to educate others to prevent them from experiencing the intense pain and suffering she has endured. We applaud her courage and will protect her anonymity while shining the full light on her and her husband’s experience with Ephraimite monasteries.


Ruth’s Blog


January 27, 2011

  To Our Readers:

We have received several comments to the first entry on Ruth’s Blog. Many have been moved by her experience. As promised, here is Part II of Ruth’s letter to His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios.


Part II of Ruth’s Letter to Archbishop Demetrios:


When I arrived at my daughter’s house, I thought the worst surely must be over. I was completely numb, empty, hopeless, as though having no future, and I had absolutely nothing to call my own, nor any resources. But the worst was not by any means over.


My daughter had an arrangement with her father (that is, a blessing from the abbot) to speak with him on the phone once a week. She also had a blessing to visit the monastery that following week-end. Before I left, I mentioned to the abbess that my daughter was going to go visit on Saturday. She said, “Oh, I doubt if they will let her come now that you are leaving. They will probably put him in isolation.” Immediately I got that his family had now become a threat. Sure enough, three days later, he called to say that she could not visit, probably until sometime next year, and that she could not call him for at least two months. His comment was, “It’s different than I thought.” She was devastated.


Monasticism: The Angelic Evangelic Life


February 14, 2011


Please take the time to read the following article written by Fr. Steven Salaris of the Antiochian Archdiocese of America. It was published in the March 2010 issue of the Antiochian Archdiocesan newsletter The Word. The article does an excellent job in defining the role of Monasticism in America. Fr. Steven also demonstrates the overwhelming good Monasticism will do for Orthodoxy in America.


Fr. Steven earned his Ph.D. in mammalian physiology from Purdue University in 1991. In the Year 2000, Fr. Steven earned his M.Div. from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Christian Theological Seminary and was ordained into the priesthood that same year on July 9th. Fr. Steven Salaris currently serves at All Saints of North America Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in St. Louis, MO.


Ruth’s Blog


February 20, 2011


I am the way, the truth, and the life. [John 14:6]  

People should never permit falsehood of any kind to invade their conversation, their professional work, their meetings, or their writings. Either truth or falsehood: towards spiritual independence or towards spiritual servitude.”


Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


To bend the truth is to bend the mind. To bend the mind is to damage the soul. Of all people on earth, perhaps no one is more responsible to live in truth than one who has given over his entire life to the Lord Jesus Christ, and above all, one who has taken into his own hands the formation and care of souls. To devalue truth in oneself, and to set that example before others, is a spiritual crime, and one that inexorably leads to death of the soul.


One Monday as I worked with two sisters and a visiting pilgrim cleaning the monastery guest house, the sister in charge sent me upstairs to get a special broom for cleaning under the beds. I returned with a long, narrow broom. She said that that was the wrong broom. Someone else went up and returned with a long, narrow swivel mop. It was like the typical dust mop made with strings, only longer.


I said to the sister, “Oh, I thought you wanted a broom. That’s a mop.” She replied, “That is not a mop, it’s a broom.” Something about this exchange troubled me exceedingly. Shortly, a second pilgrim who had been cleaning upstairs appeared and inquired whether she should take our mop outside to shake it out.


A few days later, when I asked the abbess about this perplexing exchange, she commented, “Oh….it’s a monastic thing.”


I was deeply agitated as I attempted to grasp the meaning of such a concept. Somehow, it seemed, a monastic had a special right to alter reality, or more to the point, a monastic in charge could “bend the truth” over an underling.


A few weeks later, this abbess said to me: “If I tell one of the younger sisters that black is white, she will repeat it back to me, and she will believe it. If I tell you that black is white, you might repeat it back to me, but you won’t believe it. You have had too much experience in the world.”


This shocking revelation, a concrete expression of what I had been sensing for several weeks, abruptly challenged my entire repertoire of monastic assumptions. From this point on, I could no longer brush aside the incongruence I had been noticing at every turn. This was no small indiscretion to be ignored or relegated to some remote corner of the mind. This was rather a fundamental modus operandi at the monastery, being not only an alarming foundational assumption, but a convenient and deceitful strategy for indoctrination and mind control.


Now a host of questions flooded my mind. With the leadership’s blanket license to lie, and not just small, “inconsequential” lies, but lies diametrically opposed to the truth, how is one to ever discern truth on any level? How much of what one already has been told is false? To what extent is lying the norm? Does one start small and grow into the ability to lie without restraint? Is believing a lie rewarded? Is one punished for not believing a lie? Under what circumstances can one expect to be instructed falsely?


I know the answer to only one of these questions. Yes, indeed, one is punished for not believing a lie. The consequence of being “so worldly” as to reject believing a lie is to be slowly and cruelly ostracized from the monastery and judged unfit for the monastic life…. a most blessed fate, in the final analysis.


I submit that the license to lie practiced in these monasteries has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ, Who is Himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Rather, it is a direct result of the activity of Satan, whom Scripture tells us is a liar and the father of lies.


We pass over in silence the world’s tacit agreement that truth is no longer relevant. We know for certain that this applies to the media and to society as a whole. Now, we discover that for some, truth is as well no longer relevant in the spiritual life. In fact, deceit in these monasteries is a tool used arbitrarily to bend the mind and coerce the soul into blind obedience.


“You shall know the truth and truth shall make you free.” It is fascinating, astounding. What does this mean? It means that the path to freedom lies not in the fact that the parliament made a law of greater freedom today, but [rather] that you have to go through the truth. And if you go through truth just a little, then you will no longer say things such as, ‘Well, if the people are good, truth doesn’t matter.’” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.” Psalm 15:1-2


Editor’s Comments Ruth’s account of her experience at the Monastery strikes at the core of what we know to be true and is so powerfully written that it needs neither introduction nor conclusion.


The Blog of Ruth – Entry #4 – Blind Obedience


March 7, 2011




In our continuing series on Ruth and her experience with some of the monasteries supported by the cult of Ephraim of Arizona, the editors introduce Joshua, Ruth’s husband, who was emboldened by his faith in God to write the following account of his experience upon leaving one of these Monasteries. We thank him for contributing to the mission of this website. As we reported earlier, as a result of Ruth’s blog, we are receiving reports from families whose lives have been significantly and negatively impacted by some of Elder Ephraim’s monasteries. Joshua’s altruistic goal is the same as Ruth’s, which is to warn others by educating them of the dangers that lie in the monastic world when blind obedience results in unintended consequences. Joshua eloquently conveys his experience and pain to all of us. The editors feel that the best answer to lies is to bring the truth fully out in the open and to allow those who have been most severely affected to tell their story without prior editorial constraints. Again, we are indebted to you, Joshua for writing this account in you own words.


Dangers of Blind Obedience and Breaking the Bond of Marriage


Put not your trust in princes, in sons of men, in whom there is no salvation. (Ps. 146:3)


Traditionally, the monk submits to his elder as if he were submitting to Christ, and that is the model handed down through the ages. In this way, every decision, whether it seems right or not, is given over to the one in charge. This ideal striving, however, can be horribly abused as it was in my case. When a person is airtight convinced of someone’s benevolence, that person is entirely blind to anything to the contrary. When all of the externals appear above reproach, there is left no room for a trace of suspicion.


In the monastery where I lived for nine months, the abbot repeatedly preached blind obedience. After a visit to the main monastery, he related that on at least half a dozen occasions, his Elder Ephraim had reiterated, “Blind obedience! Blind obedience is what is needed!” The following describes how I carried out blind obedience, how it affected my mental state, and where it led.


After my wife Ruth was forced out of her monastery, I had no way of finding out what had led her to leave, since my only source of information was what the abbot told me, which was riddled with lies, as I will subsequently prove. By submitting myself and every aspect of my life to this abbot, I became totally isolated from my wife, as I was forbidden to have any communication with her.


Originally, my wife and I had agreed with one mind and one spirit to live apart in separate monasteries, following in the path of certain other married couples who had historically made this decision. While we can never know how these couples fared in perhaps genuine monasteries under truly dispassionate elders, we can certainly state categorically how this dreadful decision impacted our own lives in modern times, with the hope of warning couples, or in fact anyone else who may have the inclination toward monasticism, of the following:


1. It is very dangerous to base a decision for monastic life on what is only visible on the surface.


2. It is impossible to perceive important contradictions from the vantage point of merely observing a group from the outside.


3. It is inexpressible:


• how powerful is the bond of marriage;


(they are no more two, but one flesh [Matt. 19:6]);


• how right marriage is in God’s eyes (Eph 5:21-32);


• how much God hates divorce, (Mal 2:16) whether it be a legal divorce or a breach in the marriage for other reasons;


• and above all, that marriage is indisputably recognized by the Church as one of the seven great sacraments, whereas a monastic vow is not and has never been.


To continue, now that my wife was out of the monastery, I was prevented not only from learning what had happened to her, but from exercising my power in Christian freedom to choose the course we would take, now that our original plan no longer existed. The abbot assumed ownership of me to the extent that I no longer had the right to act on my own conscience or integrity, but rather was bound as a slave to the dictates of a person I had in fact only known for a short time.


When I asked him if he thought I should go to be with her, his answer was that I shouldn’t even consider it. He told me that she was happy to leave the monastery, which proved she had no true calling to monastic life according to him. This, of course, was in direct contradiction to the repeated insistence of Fr. Paisios that she was indeed called and in fact, should make no other plans for her life. I, on the other hand and according to the abbot, loved being at the monastery, which authenticated my calling.


Whereas I was assured that my wife was very happy out of the monastery, nothing could possibly express how far that was from the truth, as her life was completely shattered and she was in a state of total personal devastation. And whereas I was assured that I would be miserable if I left the monastery, in fact, the moment I left, I felt an incredible weight lifted from me, which came in successive waves of relief over a period of many days. Does this mean that I was not called to the monastic life? Certainly I can say without a doubt that I was not called to this form of so-called monastic life, and neither was my wife.


I must confess that I initially dreaded the thought of leaving the monastery, since I completely trusted the abbot, and was convinced that being a monk was how I would find salvation and save my family. My wife and I had been told early on by Elder Paisios at St. Anthony’s, that the way to really help our children was to join the monastery. On the strength of that saying, we had sold or given away everything in order to clear the path into this new way of life. Like so many other men and women who have a heart for the monastic life, we wanted to give ourselves totally to Christ, and so we innocently took an enormous leap of faith which ultimately had huge, unforeseen ramifications on all levels.


Shortly after my wife left, I learned in a phone call from my daughter that her husband had left her, and that my daughter, my wife, and my three small grandchildren, would likely soon have little means of support and no place to live. (Prior to that, my wife had made desperate attempts to have me informed of their plight, but I was never told.) I again asked if perhaps I should go to help them. The abbot’s initial response was that I wouldn’t be much help anyway, just another dependent person looking for work. In retrospect, this was a clear method of diminishing my worth as a person able to operate effectively outside the abbot’s domain, despite the fact that I had always been capable of supporting my family, having owned and operated my own business for many years.


He also added that if I left, it would be very wrong, since I had desired monastic life for so many years. In other words, feeling a desire constitutes not only a calling, but God’s will for me, and to turn away from that life meant a turning away from God. In fact, the elite status of monastics was proved by frequently reiterating the notion that “only one in a thousand is called to monastic life, and of that, only one in a thousand respond.”


The abbot predicted at that time that if I left, I would end my life, “crying in a corner” and that those tears would have “no redeeming value”. This, in effect, was damning me to hell if I left. He also said that if I were to even think about leaving, this thought should be understood as coming from the devil.


Going against the abbot’s will was the unforgivable sin. In my state of mind, his answer thoroughly settled the question on two counts. First, it was unthinkable not to follow his counsel, as those who are recognized as elders are considered to have the gift of prophecy. Second, I was convinced his dreadful prediction would come true if I ever left. All of this despite the fact that I was under no vow whatsoever, and had only been clothed as a novice two weeks before, which coincidentally occurred immediately after my wife left her monastery. It is well understood, that the novitiate is only a trial period. The implication here is that every person who begins even as a novitiate is condemned to loss of salvation if he or she for any reason leaves without the elder’s blessing. In other words, the elder was laying a curse of damnation on me because I would be acting without his blessing. To this, I have this to say in the Name of Jesus:


My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. (John 10:27-29)


The blessing of the elder is seen to constitute the will and word of God. However, there were many instances in my own experience in which the word of the elder overrode Scripture as well as my own conscience. The following verses are clear examples of how man’s pharisaic traditions were given more weight than God’s Word:


“But if any provide not for his own, especially for his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Tim 5:8)


One Scripture that was quoted to me on more than one occasion and by more than one person was:


“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.” (Lu 14:26)


If we are to understand by this verse that my returning to my responsibilities to my family as stated in First Timothy constituted loving my family more than Christ, then the Bible contradicts itself, which we know is not possible since scripture cannot be broken. John 10:35. In fact, I committed spiritual adultery by listening to this false and unbiblical counsel and by remaining in the monastery when my wife was about to become destitute with no one to help, support, or protect her.


The Priest there to whom I confided everything, repeatedly assured me that my place was in the monastery. He said that I should forget my wife and family, that I should place them in God’s hands and let Him take care of them. He and other fathers assured me that an angel had been assigned to take care of them in my place and that my family was in better hands that way. This is an example of a man-made tradition which has been written about in various books, but which in truth has no basis in Scripture, and which counsels cruelty and negligence. Now, to my shame and sorrow, I understand how much pain I inflicted on my wife.


No one has the right to break up a marriage, which was what was happening as long as I went along with their distortion of the truth. The moment that by the grace of God I became aware of how my wife was treated at the women’s monastery, the lie became evident and I was set free. I knew all at once that all I really wanted was to get out of there and be with my wife. No spiritual authority can legitimately justify causing the abandoning of one’s spouse, but they took that on themselves, boldly inserting themselves between my wife and me, and I participated in the crime until the moment I penetrated, by the grace of God, that false mental state. By God’s grace there came a moment of truth at once encompassing the entire picture of what I had accepted as truth, but which was in reality a house of cards waiting to fall.


This priest also said that in reality my wife was not really my wife, but that she belonged to God. In this way, not only was I being told that my marriage was invalid and not as pleasing to God as being a monk, it was a way of invalidating the sacrament of marriage itself, and spurning the teaching of our Lord that, “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Mark 10:9)


My wife and I were consistently taught over a period of seven years that it was entirely appropriate to abandon our marriage in favor of living the monastic life, and we believed that we had the right to do this, even to the point of living for seven years as brother and sister. Our experience has proven to be entirely different, in that we both felt an overwhelming sense of being brutally torn in half, and we realized too late that “let no man put asunder” means not only by others, but by ourselves. We had no right to attempt to dissolve the bond of marriage which God Himself had formed thirty-one years ago. Neither do persons posing as spiritual leaders have the right to insert their man-made opinions into the bond of marriage, which happened at both monasteries.


I also would like to state how the Jesus prayer was used improperly. My primary obedience was to attempt to pray the Jesus prayer either orally or mentally continuously. I was told that that was my number one obedience. I conscientiously attempted to do this. The result was that any critical thinking was interpreted by me as an interruption thrown at me by the devil. The effect was that my conscience was overridden so that what I needed to hear I was screening out. In fact, repetition of the Jesus Prayer under circumstances such as these rubs out your ability to think critically, to follow a logical train of thought, or to profoundly question things that under any other circumstances would be absurd. Even when I would have fears about my wife or children, I instructed myself that this was coming from the devil and that in reality they were doing fine.


When I left the monastery, I walked away with nothing but the clothes on my back. When I later called to ask that my identifications be sent to me, I was told that both the abbot and abbess involved sent the message to me they were “very embittered” by my leaving, and the abbot predicted that I would end my life, “shedding black tears.” That means in a state of hopeless despair which would ultimately consign me to hell. This is the “blessing” that followed me. Can this be the word of a godly priest?


More importantly, I would like to end by posing these questions:


• To whom are these “elders” accountable?


• How is it that strangers are allowed to exercise such spiritual atrocities on unsuspecting American citizens?


• Why was there no response to my wife’s desperate appeal to Archbishop Demetrios for help?


• Who is at the helm of the Greek Orthodox Church of America?


Editors’ Note:


Both Joshua and Ruth were conflicted about whether to end Joshua’s account with the above mentioned questions. They did not want to offend any of our Hierarchs. The Editors at believe it is imperative to pose these questions. Not once, through our due diligence, have we heard any of our Hierarchs consoling the victims who have experienced abuse, suffering or even financial loss in their encounters with Elder Ephraim’s Monasteries. In addition to receiving reports about couples whose marriages ended after turning to a monastery for counsel, we have also received reports from several parents whose children left their families to join the monasteries. These parents tell us that their children never had plans or spoke of a calling to join a monastery before they left. When asked whether they have reached out to their local Hierarchs for guidance or help, their responses have been shockingly similar. Instead of receiving guidance or insight, their parenting skills were called into question by their local Metropolitan. We have yet to hear any accounts of family members being consoled rather than criticized.


Recently, Bishop Elias of Philomelion, Interim Abbot at the St. Irene Chrysovalantou Monastery in Astoria, N.Y. was quoted by The National Herald, a weekly Greek American Publication as follows: “There are victims and when someone is a victim, he suffers, and on that pain we as clergy and spiritual fathers should show the necessary sensitivity.” Kalmoukos, Theodore. “Bishop Elias Met Alleged Sex Abuse Victim” The National Herald [New York] February 26-March 4, 2011, Vol.14, Issue 698, pp. 1+4. We ask our readers to please send us reports of our Hierarchs showing such sensitivity for a victim or a victim’s family as a result of any actions by Elder Ephraim’s monks or Priests who follow the Elder. Thank you again Joshua for your courage and forthright statement of what has occurred to your family and the pain that it caused.


The Blog of Ruth – Entry #3


February 20, 2011


License To Lie


I am the way, the truth, and the life. [John 14:6]

People should never permit falsehood of any kind to invade their conversation, their professional work, their meetings, or their writings. Either truth or falsehood: towards spiritual independence or towards spiritual servitude.”


Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


To bend the truth is to bend the mind. To bend the mind is to damage the soul. Of all people on earth, perhaps no one is more responsible to live in truth than one who has given over his entire life to the Lord Jesus Christ, and above all, one who has taken into his own hands the formation and care of souls. To devalue truth in oneself, and to set that example before others, is a spiritual crime, and one that inexorably leads to death of the soul.


One Monday as I worked with two sisters and a visiting pilgrim cleaning the monastery guest house, the sister in charge sent me upstairs to get a special broom for cleaning under the beds. I returned with a long, narrow broom. She said that that was the wrong broom. Someone else went up and returned with a long, narrow swivel mop. It was like the typical dust mop made with strings, only longer.


I said to the sister, “Oh, I thought you wanted a broom. That’s a mop.” She replied, “That is not a mop, it’s a broom.” Something about this exchange troubled me exceedingly. Shortly, a second pilgrim who had been cleaning upstairs appeared and inquired whether she should take our mop outside to shake it out.


A few days later, when I asked the abbess about this perplexing exchange, she commented, “Oh….it’s a monastic thing.”


I was deeply agitated as I attempted to grasp the meaning of such a concept. Somehow, it seemed, a monastic had a special right to alter reality, or more to the point, a monastic in charge could “bend the truth” over an underling.


A few weeks later, this abbess said to me: “If I tell one of the younger sisters that black is white, she will repeat it back to me, and she will believe it. If I tell you that black is white, you might repeat it back to me, but you won’t believe it. You have had too much experience in the world.”


This shocking revelation, a concrete expression of what I had been sensing for several weeks, abruptly challenged my entire repertoire of monastic assumptions. From this point on, I could no longer brush aside the incongruence I had been noticing at every turn. This was no small indiscretion to be ignored or relegated to some remote corner of the mind. This was rather a fundamental modus operandi at the monastery, being not only an alarming foundational assumption, but a convenient and deceitful strategy for indoctrination and mind control.


Now a host of questions flooded my mind. With the leadership’s blanket license to lie, and not just small, “inconsequential” lies, but lies diametrically opposed to the truth, how is one to ever discern truth on any level? How much of what one already has been told is false? To what extent is lying the norm? Does one start small and grow into the ability to lie without restraint? Is believing a lie rewarded? Is one punished for not believing a lie? Under what circumstances can one expect to be instructed falsely?


I know the answer to only one of these questions. Yes, indeed, one is punished for not believing a lie. The consequence of being “so worldly” as to reject believing a lie is to be slowly and cruelly ostracized from the monastery and judged unfit for the monastic life…. a most blessed fate, in the final analysis.


I submit that the license to lie practiced in these monasteries has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ, Who is Himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Rather, it is a direct result of the activity of Satan, whom Scripture tells us is a liar and the father of lies.


We pass over in silence the world’s tacit agreement that truth is no longer relevant. We know for certain that this applies to the media and to society as a whole. Now, we discover that for some, truth is as well no longer relevant in the spiritual life. In fact, deceit in these monasteries is a tool used arbitrarily to bend the mind and coerce the soul into blind obedience.


“You shall know the truth and truth shall make you free.” It is fascinating, astounding. What does this mean? It means that the path to freedom lies not in the fact that the parliament made a law of greater freedom today, but [rather] that you have to go through the truth. And if you go through truth just a little, then you will no longer say things such as, ‘Well, if the people are good, truth doesn’t matter.’” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.” Psalm 15:1-2


Editor’s Comments Ruth’s account of her experience at the Monastery strikes at the core of what we know to be true and is so powerfully written that it needs neither introduction nor conclusion.


The Living Saint


June 17, 2011


This letter was written to the editors of It serves as one example of several reports to the website claiming that Elder Ephraim is a living saint. We have also heard reports of requests for donations to help the “living saint” pay his mortgages. We know of no reports that there is a living saint in any of the monasteries of Greece. The following is a record of a conversation heard in Dallas, Texas. It has been edited for conciseness.


Editorial Edition


July 11, 2011


Editors’ Note:


The following letter to the Editors at provides insightful reflections concerning how some members of the laity are working to support the financial operations of the monasteries under the spiritual guidance of Elder Ephraim. We are interested in hearing your thoughts and comments on the following letter.


Ephraimites Peddling at Secular Festival


On a recent visit to the “Taste of Park Ridge” (which is the suburban version of the Taste of Chicago) where one can stroll and sample foods and beverages of the local vendors, I discovered a booth whose placard was entitled, “St. John Chrysostom Monastery of Kenosha, WI. The booth was manned by several people whom I recognized as being members of St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church community (Des Plaines, IL). The booth did not sell icons, candles, reading materials, DVDs or the usual monastic products, but rather gyros, pastichio and other Greek delicacies.


A Reflection on a Texan


July 14, 2011


This brief article contains my reflections on the posting of June 17, 2011 on entitled “The Living Saint.” I found what was being said about Elder Ephraim and Orthodox clergy in general to be completely in error in regard to the teachings of the Orthodox Christian faith. In fact, the Texan gentleman quoted in the article demonstrates that much of what is coming out of Florence, AZ is heretical and, in my opinion, demonic.


A Witness To Pain and Destruction


October 6, 2011


A Letter to our Editors from a Faith Abiding Priest


We received the following letter to our Editors from a Faith Abiding Priest:


To the Editors at


Christianity has taken a back seat in the Metropolis of Chicago. No longer is our focus on our Savior Jesus Christ. No longer can we find endearing leaders who witness the teachings of the Gospel. No longer can we find joy in the hearts of the Clergy while they are coerced and intimidated by their supposed spiritual leaders. Instead we find coldness of heart along with blatant immorality and corruption. We also find ourselves entangled in webs of deceit and lies that emanate from those to whom we should be turning towards for encouragement and consolation. Where is the love of Christ! Where is the love of the Church! It has been replaced with the love of money, power and Machiavellian principles of life.


Deafening Silence


November 14, 2011


(Confessions of a GOTRUTHREFORM Editor)


I am one of many who have changed the course of their religious life as a result of the Ephraimites. Before I was personally affected by this “movement”, I was a happy and content Greek Orthodox Christian living a quiet family life in the Metropolis of Chicago where I was raised. I cannot say the same for my disposition today. The Ephraimite issue has changed my life and my view of our Greek Orthodox Church and its leadership.


Gay Parishioner Denied Communion


December 2, 2011


The Editors of website are compelled to write about an unfortunate matter that has been reported to us. For the sake of brevity, we will not include a long discussion of the Canon Laws regarding the facts. The followers of the Ephraimite fundamentalist movement indiscriminately choose which of the Orthodox Canons are identified as crucial and which require adherence.


The Orthodox fundamentalist movement is judgmental in nature, and legalistic in its adherence to the Church Canons. Often missing in their pastoral messages are references to a forgiving and loving God and the teachings of our Savior, Jesus Christ who has paved the road for our salvation.


How Do You Know You Are In A Cult


January 3, 2012


The title to this article poses a question our Hierarchs and members of the Laity who lead our faith should be asking themselves. The editors of this website, Faith abiding Orthodox Clergy, Monastics unaffiliated with the Ephraimites and the vast majority of our email correspondents have used the term “cult” to characterize the structure, activities and organization of the monastic movement headed by the Elder Ephraim of Florence, Arizona. Certainly, there is no greater disagreement among the Faithful than the term of art used to describe this group, so which is it? Are the Ephraimites a movement, a branch of our traditional Orthodox Faith or, as we believe, are they a destructive cult?


The Politicizing of the Music Ministry of the Orthodox Christian Church  

February 14, 2012


Editors’ IntroductionThe article below has an interesting genesis. The author and one of our Editors were discussing yet another Parish choir that was recently dissolved by an Ephraimite Priest. The choir in question was from a Parish located in the Metropolis of San Francisco, California. The Editor in question is from the Metropolis of Chicago. The author, a Senior Greek Orthodox Priest, has served in three different Metropolises but is not currently part of the dissolved choir’s Parish or Metropolis. Both the Editor and the Author are not strangers to this issue. Both are concerned about the by-products generated in our Parishes by the spiritual sons of Ephraimite theology. Both of these men strongly believe that these problems operate like a cancer within our beloved Archdiocese. Every ministry is subject to attack from within. We are confident that this article will create the necessary dialogue needed to preserve the sanctity of our Churches and their historic ministries.


The Politicizing of the Music Ministry of the Orthodox Christian Church


Music is an important medium that communicates with its words as well as the tones themselves. The Orthodox Church has identified 8 tones that are used in church music because they contribute towards enhancing prayer and inspiration. The Church is a dynamic place of worship. The form might present itself in different ways, but the content is the same. It is self evident how important music is within the Church’s life. It certainly lifts the spirit. Throughout the Church’s history, services are intoned or sung for this very reason. We see this phenomenon not only within the Orthodox Christian Church, but even within our Judaic roots, as illustrated in Old Testament Scripture as well. Even the Old Testament Scripture indicates the appropriateness of using musical instruments (as we see in the Psalms). Also in the Psalms, singing itself is noted as an offering to God. The place of chanters has long been evident in Old and New Testament worship. Whether it is in the synagogue or the Orthodox Christian church, chanters have provided a necessary contribution to the worship experience. Within the Orthodox Christian Church, chanters have been complemented by the use of choirs and organs. But this music ministry, like every ministry, has its challenges that should be identified and addressed, in order to better provide an atmosphere of understanding, peace and love within the community.


One Person and the Truth Consist of-the-Majority


March 10, 2012


“One Person and the Truth Consist of the Majority” Abbott Sylvester the Hagiorite




The following is a letter written by A.P. Cromidas to the Editor of The National Herald. After Mr. Cromidas submitted this letter, he gave us a copy and asked if we would be interested in publishing it on this website. We told him that we would be honored to but would wait to see if The National Herald would publish it. After a lengthy period of time, they did publish the Letter to the Editor which renewed our confidence in their editorial board. However, we did find it unusual that the original title of the article submitted to us by the author was “Monastery Cover Up?” We urge you to read Paul Cromidas’ letter and then read our Editors’ Notes which follow.


Pandora’s Box Vatopedi In Numbers (Partn One)


April 11, 2012


[Editor’s notes: The Editor’s of have long felt that the events that surround the Vatopedi Monastery scandal are and should be a major concern to all that care about Orthodoxy. The links between the key players of this scandal and the Movement that is now commonly referred to as the “Ephraimites” is unnerving. At the center of the scandal is the deposed head Abbott of Vatopedi, commonly known as “Elder Ephraim of Vatopedi”. His spiritual brother (or as many suggest his current spiritual father) is commonly known as “Elder Ephraim of Philotheou”. It is Elder Ephraim of Philotheou that currently resides in Florence Arizona at the St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Monastery.


Both men were the spiritual sons of Elder Joseph the Hesychast. Orthodox describes him as follows: “Elder Joseph the Hesychast was a Monk and elder on Mount Athos. He reposed in 1959, and he has wide acclaim for being the spiritual father or grandfather of Elders Ephrem {a/k/a Ephraim} of Philotheou, Joseph of Vatopedi, Charalampus of Dionysiou and others, who are directly credited for revitalising [sic] six of the twenty monasteries on Mount Athos.”


Why is it important for those that care about Orthodoxy to understand this scandal? First it has been alleged that hundreds of millions of Euros were made by the Monastery of Vatopedi from the hundreds of real estate transactions they participated in with the Greek Government and then later with real estate developers. All the money generated by these transactions has not been accounted for by or to any official or ecclesiastical body.


The spread of Fundamentalism and the birth of “Athonite” Monasteries in North America required vast sums of money. Many do not believe that it came from “believers”. Many look to Greece and perhaps further east as the source of these funds. In our earlier article entitled “MONEY-MONEY-MONEY” we strongly suggest that the Vatopedi Monastery plays a key role in the funding of this extreme movement within our Faith.


In this article we deliver to our readers an accurate translation of the report aired on the show Pandora’s Box on the ERT channel in Greece. There are some sections that do not lend themselves to an exact verbatim translation of the broadcast, but we have strived to be extraordinarily close. In some sections this article, an accurate synopsis of the interviews and commentary contained in the broadcast are provided.


Generally, in the interest of accuracy the text has not always been modified to make this easier to read, so as not to disturb the exact language or intent of the speaker. We will add “Editor’s notes” to aid the reader’s understanding of important events or individuals. At the end of this article you will see a link that will take you to a site in which you can watch the original ERT broadcast of Pandora’s Box. There is a part one and part two of these broadcasts aired by the ERT Network. We urge you to read this article first and then watch the broadcast.]


The Grace Which Heals That Which Is Infirmed


May 9, 2012


I am a “cradle” Orthodox Christian and I have been an Orthodox priest for over a decade. Over the last twenty years or so, I have been astonished by the rise of Orthodox Christian fundamentalism which was never present in the Church when I was growing up. Now, as a priest, I find myself continually battling fundamentalism in all its covert, rigorist, and legalistic forms. I am always asked by catechumens whether or not they will have to be “re-baptized” or “re-married” because they know of people to whom this has happened. I find myself continually defending the basic practices and standard teachings of the Orthodox Church. In my studies of the problem of fundamentalist re-baptism and re-marriage, I found the basis of my refutation in, of all places, the prayers of ordination. It was then that I came to realize that the real problem lies in a failure to recognize the grace and operation of the Holy Spirit.


“Holy Deception”


June 22, 2012 The words “Holy Deception” have been used together in a serious discussion about religion. Unfortunately, these words describe an important tactic used by many leaders of the Ephraimite movement. The use of Holy Deception is nothing new to religions. Some religions have called it “Pious Fraud”, “Spiritual Deception” or even “Moral Deception.” Generally, most people call it just what it is: a lie. Persons who use holy deception believe it is acceptable to lie to you or deceive you for your own spiritual growth. The rationalization is that “the ends justify the means”. In an ironic twist, the use of “Holy Deception” is supposedly used to support Christian Orthodox belief, including the Commandment against bearing false witness.


A Call To Action


July 1, 2012



To His All Holiness Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America,  



Death at an Ephraimite Monastery


Please reach out and intervene on behalf of the members of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese


In just two decades, the Ultra-Fundamentalist Orthodoxy practiced at the Monasteries of Elder Ephraim has created a schism between our Church and the Monasteries and obedient followers of Ephraim. Our concerns for the members of the Orthodox Faith and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA) have caused us to form an organization called The Greek Orthodox Christians of Chicago for Truth and Reform. Our main issue has been and continues to be providing to the community a warning against the harmful zealot teachings, practices and customs emanating from these Monasteries. We have turned over information concerning these issues to official sources at the GOA and other administrative bodies, with seemingly little result.


We have now learned of a significant and serious consequence of those teachings. On the morning of June 11, 2012 a young man by the name of Scott Nevins allegedly took his own life after having spent six years at the Monastery of St. Anthony in Florence Arizona. In any other institution or religion, this incident would mandate at the least an investigation of the facts surrounding Mr. Nevins’ death by the Church Hierarchs, independent of the investigation of the secular authorities. Additionally, a measured and in depth investigation of all the other issues that are well documented and written about on this website is warranted.


Scott Nevins: a voice crying in the wilderness


August 3, 2012


By Charles Shingledecker


The alleged June 11, 2012 suicide of former Greek Orthodox monk Scott Nevins sent shock waves through the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Given the fact that Church officials have remained startlingly silent since Nevins’ death, perhaps “shock waves” is a bit of an exaggeration.


The reality is that, as of July 26, 2012 the only official statement from anyone within the Church hierarchy (perhaps an obligatory gesture at best) came on June 14, 2012, when the official website of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco posted a letter by Metropolitan Gerasimos, in which he writes:


It is my paternal obligation to inform you of a tragic event that has occurred within the boundaries of our Holy Metropolis. A young man who had come to our Faith and became a novice at the Holy Monastery of St. Anthony the Great, and subsequently left the Monastery for unknown reasons last year, took his life last Monday morning at approximately 2:45 a.m. Scott Nevins, 27 years old, had spent six years at St. Anthony’s. Last year, after leaving the monastery he enrolled in a college in Oregon. In the early hours of last Monday morning, Scott took his life in an area near the monastery. (source:


What the Archbishop Could Have Said At the Clergy-Laity


August 18, 2012


By A.P. Cromidas


August 2,2012


The recently-concluded Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, held in Phoenix, was long on praise and short on forthrightness, like previous such gatherings. Sadly, this year, the opportunity for Archbishop Demetrios to be direct and frank about two timely and important news reports was lost.




August 25, 2012


The Editors of have long felt that the events which surround the Vatopedi Monastery scandal are and should be a major concern to all who care about Orthodoxy. The links between the key players of this scandal and the Movement that is now commonly referred to as the “Ephraimites” is unnerving. At the center of the scandal is the deposed head Abbott of Vatopedi, commonly known as “Elder Ephraim of Vatopedi.” His spiritual brother (or as many suggest his current spiritual father) is commonly known as “Elder Ephraim of Philotheou.” It is Elder Ephraim of Philotheou that currently resides in Florence, Arizona at the St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Monastery.


Why is it important for those who care about Orthodoxy to understand this scandal? First it has been alleged that hundreds of millions of Euros were made by the Monastery of Vatopedi from the hundreds of real estate transactions they participated in with the Greek Government and then later with real estate developers. Not all of the money generated by these transactions has been accounted for by or to any official or ecclesiastical body.


Are all of the Canons to be Blindly Followed?


September 15, 2012


The following article was submitted to us by one of the youngest members of our editorial board. This person gives us a lighthearted review of a book entitled The Crazy Side of Orthodoxy by Charles Shingledecker published by Regina Orthodox Press, 2011. Like many of us who have encountered the negative effects of the Ephraimite movement, this person wanted to educate himself about his own faith and stumbled upon this book. The editor uses humor to get all of us to think about some of the Canons of our faith and how the Ephraimites have used and often misused the Canons. The humor is not intended to make light of our religious history or the Ephraimite issue but is used as a tool to reach out to the largest audience possible, a tool often used by priests during their sermons to reach out to their flock. We thank this young editor for his efforts and commend him for his obvious concern and love of our Greek Orthodox Faith.


Mainstream Orthodoxy vs. Ephraimite Fundamentalism


October 21, 2012


A Synoptical Overview




Several editors of both and websites recognized the need to “package” the issue of the “Ephraimite” movement in an easy to read format. With consultation of Orthodox Clergy and Laity alike, the task was set in motion and resulted in this article. The following is a comparison of main-line Orthodox Christian beliefs and practices as compared to what is being referred to as “Ephraimite” beliefs and practices. Another term for “Ephraimite” that is used synonymously is “fundamentalist”.


In the following article, the reader will see how various issues are seen from two different sets of viewpoints. Yet both perspectives claim to be “Athonite” Orthodox Christianity. In other words, both views claim to be representative of the norms and standards of what is seen at monasteries at Mount Athos. Clearly the issues discussed in this article establish to the reader that this is not at all the case. Ephraimite Fundamentalist beliefs and practices are not an accurate representation of all monasteries on Mount Athos.


The opinions, representations and statements of fact reflected in this article have been extrapolated from statements and incidents reported to editors of both websites. The issues contained in this one article are not an exhaustive list. Although it is not comprehensive, it presents a wide spectrum of issues and concerns that one must look at. It does in fact raise some very significant concerns with the broad (but powerful) issues brought forth. One can intuitively conclude that monks live a more ascetic and austere life than the average parishioner of a typical Parish in America. The “Ephraimite” brand is now touted as the litmus test to what is pure and true Orthodoxy. The suggestion that parish life is inferior to the fundamentalist perspectives set forth is a grave concern that should prompt one to look at this issue a bit more intensely.


A Call from the Holy Mountain


January 16, 2012


Excerpts from, and Reflections on, Fr. Ephraim’s


“A Call from the Holy Mountain”

Editor’s Note: The following article is a collaboration of the Editors of We Are Orthodox ( and Go Truth Reform ( Through our due diligence we were able to obtain a copy of Elder Ephraim’s book “A Call From The Holy Mountain”. This is a must read for all of those interested in understanding the thinking of Elder Ephraim and his fundamentalist movement. His own words appear quite troubling.  



The Elder Ephraim of Philotheou, also known as Elder Ephraim the Arizonite, wrote a small book that was published in 1991 by the New Sarov Press (Blanco, Texas 78606, ISBN 1-880364-05-0). It was printed with the blessings of His Grace Bishop Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (as mentioned in the book). The book is titled “A Call From The Holy Mountain” with a subtitle of “The Sacred Monastery of Philotheou”. At the outset it should be understood and known that Elder Ephraim has no known formal theological instruction or training. He was at one time the Abbot of the Monastery of Philotheou on Mount Athos. It is alleged by his legion of followers that he chose to leave that monastery and the Holy Mountain, because of his alleged self-professed vision of the Virgin Mary telling him “to go to America and make it return to pure Orthodoxy”. Remarkably, this conveniently corroborates the alleged teachings of his spiritual father, Joseph the Hesychast. It was Joseph the Hesychast who is reported to have also taught his followers to go into the world and make it return to pure “Athonite” Orthodoxy. Thus begins the travail of Elder Ephraim which hashed such an effect on Orthodox Christians in North America. After living temporarily in both Canada and Russia, Elder Ephraim came to the United States and founded St. Anthony’s Monastery in Florence, Arizona, among many others. Elder Ephraim now has over 20 monasteries in North America, as well as others abroad. He is acknowledged as the “Spiritual Father” of these monasteries by the monks and those residing there.


Elder Ephraim has become a lightning rod of controversy. His teachings and his movement have been characterized by Orthodox scholars as zealous and fundamentalist. The National Herald recently published that, “There is a huge difference, though, between healthy monasticism and the cultish mentality that the Ephraimite monasticism promotes.” (Theodore Kalmoukos, The National Herald, December 13th 2012).


A Must Read Article For Those Concerned About The Ephraimite Issue


January 28, 2013

  So it was with great and utter shock when it was announced that Metropolitan Hierotheos broke off communion from one of his local monasteries, the well-known Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration in Nafpaktos. This Metropolitan, facing great pressure chose to “protect the inheritance” and place the health and well-being of his Laity ahead of the agenda of this Monastery. When you read this thoughtful article all the way through, you see so many similarities in the problems facing this Metropolitan and his Hierarchical brethren here in North America . The greatest difference is that Metropolitan Hierotheos acted!


Nevins Demand Letter and Important Attachments


February 7, 2013


Demand Letter and Important Attachments Made Public in the


Law Suit


Threatened by the Parents of Scott Nevins


The parents of Scott Nevins, Ashley and Diane, have retained Stephen M . Murphy, a San Francisco attorney, to represent them in a wrongful death lawsuit against the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA), the Metropolis of San Francisco, and Saint Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery and other individual defendants. Scott spent more than six years at the Florence, Arizona facility before leaving unannounced in the middle of the night in February, 2011. He returned to Saint Anthony’s and on June 11, 2012 took his own life. For background, two articles are posted on a related website, available at the following links:


An open letter is also posted at:


In a demand letter sent to Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis, Metropolitan Gerasimos Michaleas, and Archimandrites Ephraim and Paisios by Federal Express on February 5, 2013, Murphy lays out the Nevins’ allegations. These documents are extremely informative and already available on the website Pokrov (link is available to the website at: ) and WEAREORTHODOX (link is available to website at:


If you wish to remain at our site, here is our direct link to this now public information:


If You Ignore It – – – It Will Go Away


February 13, 2013


An Essay of an Apparent Modus Operandi of the GOA Holy Synod By Yanni Pappas


A friend of mine recently asked me “How are we supposed to deal with heresy in our Church?” Seems like a simple enough question. The answer seems simple enough too. At the grass roots level: identify the problem, confirm it, formally report it (to various offices of our Church’s administration and Hierarchical structure), and start the wheels of ecclesiastical due process in motion. One would think that in turn, our Church’s leadership would likewise identify it, confirm it, and formally pro-actively respond and address this by issuing some communication indicating the solution and/or proper beliefs of the Orthodox Christian Church. In recent decades, it seems the GOA Holy Synod has not shown this kind of reasonably expected leadership in various issues that should be addressed. What do we think will happen then? Aside from our Hierarchs appearing to lose their base of constituents and supporters, we might expect the void in leadership to be filled by something or someone else and consequently might redefine what we believe in and the general spirit and ethos of the Church community itself. A void is usually filled, but sometimes filled with something unexpected or not preferred.


The Common Good?


April 12, 2013


The “Common Good”, is a phrase often discussed by religious scholars but how does it apply to our own faith? The “Common Good” calls upon us to take the needs of others into consideration when making decisions rather than do what is best for us individually. When the late Archbishop Iakovos of Blessed Memory walked with Martin Luther King, he did so because it aided and promoted the “Common Good” for all. He did not avoid his personal destiny by carrying out his Hierarchical office as a religious politician. Instead he acted to promote the “Common Good” in spite of the temporary damage he endured. After this historic walk, there were an embarrassing number of Greek Orthodox faithful who called his leadership into question for just this one act. Fortunately, history has preserved his legacy, vision and wisdom.


Heroes Advocating Truth


May 28, 2013


(Or: who are those among us that have the courage of conviction)


These are strange and interesting times, especially as they concern our Church. There is something missing……… “We are in need of heroes.” They shape the identities of those who aspire to grow with a sense of noble character and/or purpose. Heroes can help shape not only individual identities, but communities as well. Typically these heroes are stereotypically leaders, or other prominent public figures, like teachers, clergymen, soldiers, politicians, or successful businessmen (to name only a few). But sometimes these heroes that are often unsung. The fact is that there are more unsung heroes than prominent ones.


Deny,Defend and Deflect


July 5, 2013


(How does your Clergyman respond when you ask about the Ephraimite Issue?)


Since the launch of this website, we have been surprised by tendencies in the dialogue about the Ephraimite issue. Our detractors follow a step by step template when it comes to sending us their comments. As strange as it may seem, there is also a protocol when you ask a Clergyman or Hierarch about where he stands on the issue. There are those involved in the Church that make their personal positions very clear. They cut to the chase and just say things like………”yes, you are correct, we have a major problem” or ……”you know that the Hierarchy must show leadership and deal with this problem” or even “we are headed for a schism and I pray that the damage to the Church and the Faith is minimal”.


But a clear indicator of where you are personally on the spectrum of what we call “Ephraimite intelligence” it only requires you to ask a simple question. This is to say, once you ask the question, where does the respondent place you in their mind? How much respect, knowledge or even compassion does the Clergyman or Hierarch show to you, the person who is asking the question?


Prophets for Profit – The Dismantling of the GOA


July 5, 2013


“This article is posted on this website with the permission and consent of its authors, the Editors of WEAREORTHODOX.COM. It also appears on their website and has not been altered by GOTRUTHREFORM. ORG. We wish to thank WEAREORTHODOX.COM for making this available to our readers.”


We hope our title grabbed your attention. It was meant to. There is something developing within the greater Church that is alarming, disturbing and to the Laity at large, almost unbelievable. This essay is a result of numerous dialogues that are already taking place amongst lay leadership throughout our country. Let’s be very clear about this, that this is not a mere rumor or speculation on our part. As you will understand by reading this, that this is not a rumor, but a dialogue actually occurring throughout the United States, from leaders within the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA). Join us as we explore this ill designed concept that will continue to damage our beloved Church. A Church that is arguably in the worst condition anyone can remember. A Church that is being brought down to its very knees by small minded thinkers who are only concerned with expanding their own power base, to the detriment of all.




August 28, 2013


Two recently published articles, one in the Orthodox Observer and the other in The National Herald caught the attention of our Editors. Both concern the administration and the future of our Church and Faith. They come from two different perspectives yet both accurately indicate the present condition. Both authors draw upon their own views and reach, in our minds, the identical conclusion that foreshadows the future of our Church. These authors have not yet fully appreciated the foresight, power or the precision of their observations. Remarkably, it is as if both of the authors transcribed dialogues of our Editorial meetings. At these meetings, one recurring question is often asked out loud: “Does anyone in a position of authority in the Church see this problem and is willing to do anything about it!”


Contra Tollhouses: The Dormition of the Theotokos


November 9, 2013


A note from our Editors


The article that is linked below is written by the V. Rev. Fr. Steven C. Salaris, M.Div., Ph.D. Fr. Salaris attended DePauw University in Indiana and graduated in 1987 with a B.A. in Biology. In 1991, he received a Ph.D. in mammalian physiology from the Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology at Purdue University. After graduate school, he transferred to St. Louis, Missouri to take a position as a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Cardiology at Washington University School of Medicine. In 1993, he began teaching biology courses at various campuses in the St. Louis area. That same year, he married at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in St. Louis, MO to his present wife. In 1995, he moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he taught biology at St. Joseph’s University. In 1997, as a result of his personal journey, that began several years earlier, he pursued and was granted a Master of Divinity degree at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Christian Theological Seminary in Crestwood, NY.


In the linked article Fr. Steven closely examines an ecclesiastical issue that has caused considerable confusion to Orthodox Laity. Absolutely no confusion existed before heretical teachings seeped into North American Orthodox beliefs as a result of revisionist teachings from the Ephraimite movement. We now have Priests telling our Laity, at funerals, that we must pray for departed souls to pass through the Arial Tollhouses. We agree with Fr. Steven when he writes: “As do all tollhouse teachings, it makes a blasphemous mockery of Christ’s salvific death and resurrection”.


We hope you enjoy this serious, excellent and well researched article. Tollhouses – The Dormition of the Theotokos Clean.pdf


Thanks for the Post


December 13, 2013


Some Interesting and Telling “Letters to Our Editors” Relating to Our Faith, Church and of Course, the Ephraimites


Below is a selected group of “Letters to our Editors” from some of our readers. They paint a picture from the Laity’s view of the current condition of our Church and Faith. They are sent from different Metropolises and convey a personal understanding how decline within the Church affects the faithful. Where necessary, the letters have been redacted to protect the writer’s identity. Otherwise, the letters are word for word exact copies as sent to the Editors, and are copied without any editorial comment. In cases where there are very personal issues caused by the Ephraimite cancer, the Editors have taken great care to convey the essence of the problem without inflicting more damage on those who have already been hurt. The posting of these letters should not be taken as an endorsement of any position or opinion expressed in the letter. We only want our readers to understand and have access to the thoughts and perspectives of other readers.


Letter Number One:


[This is very typical of e-mails we receive from concerned family members.]


Hello. I’m looking to speak to somebody… anybody on the subject of the Ephraim monasteries. I’m 25 year old …………. orthodox. My family has been going to his monasteries since I was 17. I went the first time and did not like it one bit. I found it in all honesty to be a bit crazy and completely different from the church I was raised in. My family has not stopped going. They swear by the words of Ephraim and Paisios (not sure on the spelling) and even have pictures of them throughout the house that they treat as icons! I never hear my family which includes two sisters, two brother in-laws and my parents, to speak of Jesus. They only speak of Ephraim or Paisios. Please I need to speak to somebody that knows about this, I thought I was the only one until I did a search on the elder and saw “Ephraim cult” was an auto suggestion by google. I feel as if I am going crazy because I don’t agree or see eye to eye with my family. The way they talk makes it seem like the world is a very dark and disturbing place. There is no light anymore and unless you visit the monastery you are lost in this world. My family (members) are good loving people, but a change has occurred within their life and I believe it is because of the elder and his monks. They are even suggesting that I go seek life advice from a monk I’ve never even met before in Michigan. When I tell them I don’t want to, their response is “one day you will find god”… making me feel bad as if I’m making a mistake.


I apologize for the long email, but this honestly has changed my whole family.


A view into the Destruction of Families by the Ephraimites (Part One)


December 20, 2013


The editors receive many emails from people throughout the United States and Canada relating their experiences with Ephraimites. Universally they all share a common theme, “our lives have changed”. We reach out to many of these people and try to give them hope, resources and to help right a wrong. Often however nothing can be done to fix their issue. Many seek the help of our Hierarchy, still others suffer in silence. In order to expand the collective intelligence of our Laity we believe it is necessary to give a voice to these victims. We try to balance their privacy with the need to disclose as much factual content as possible in order to protect future victims of the Ephraimites lest they remain uninformed and thereby suffer a similar fate as those who have suffered, as related in the letters below. In the first account below, the daughter of the Ephraimite follower reaches deeply into her past and explains the path her Mother placed herself upon on the way to dismantling the family the daughter cherished. This will be the first of a series of articles that illustrate the damage being done to our Faithful. We will use as much of their personal accounts as possible and will try to minimize our editing.


First Eyewitness Account:


The following is a picture of how my mother traveled a path from devout Orthodox woman to an island of sanctimonious isolation. She was always emotionally unstable, but she was bearable because she did have kindness and love toward others. After my father passed and she dedicated herself to the faith, we would say to each other that at least it’s not alcohol or gambling. But the intensity of her devotion made her so judgmental, that we feared revealing any truths about our lives. My father was a janitor and she was an assembly line worker in a factory. They saved much of their income; had some investments and she had her profit-sharing account, which was a prized accomplishment. She still owns her home, but her accounts have been depleted, she continuously issues large checks to the Monasteries in Harvard, Illinois, Arizona and Greece. She’s defensive and spiteful so I cannot get straight answers from her about her involvement. She resists any questions as the work of the devil.


A view into the Destruction of Families by the Ephraimites (Part Two)


December 5, 2013


Here is another account from someone affected by the problem we now commonly refer to as the Ephraimite issue. Here, a young man in his 20’s shares his thoughts and future as it relates to our Church. It is unedited with the exception of using the acronym GOA in the place of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. The author’s words resonate with what we have heard in many emails. He carefully describes the withdrawal process that has been consistently and too numerously communicated to us. Clearly there is or at least should be some responsibility taken for the loss of members of the GOA. The author correctly points to a lack of leadership in a defined purpose of our Hierarchy which is to proclaim our faith and protect it from heresy. One of our readers relayed his shocking dialogue with several GOA Hierarchs; it is shocking that these Hierarchs gave him the same explanation both acknowledging the Ephraimites are a problem for our institution. The Hierarchs said that the Holy Spirit will intercede and protect the Church as it did in the fifth century with a similar heretical movement. The difference here is we are not in fifth century Antioch and we live in a pluralistic society where people have choices. The young man who wrote this next article is sharing his choice with us…….he is leaving the Greek Orthodox Church!


The Aftermath


February 21, 2014


Editors’ Introduction


Our Editors want to address a seemingly minor, yet significant aspect of our shared Ephraimite experience. This regards one aspect of the “Aftermath” of a Parish whose Ephraimite Clergyman has left the parish and the effect that has on the parishioners who left. This article is in the form of an interview of a family who left their Parish which became infected by an Ephraimite Clergyman. Specifically, we find out their plans now that the Ephraimite Clergyman at their old Parish has been transferred to a different Parish in another Metropolis.


The Editors have learned that in the Metropolis of Chicago and unfortunately other Metropolises, the Hierarchs manage the issue of an Ephraimite Priest who has blown up a parish by “transferring the problem” to a new Parish in someone else’s jurisdiction. Unfortunately, the new Parish is not prepared. The Editors have also surmised that the methodology of some newly assigned Ephraimite priests is to divide and conquer. Hence, the unsuspecting Parish Council members at the new Church may soon find themselves at war with each other. Once the Ephraimite Priest is transferred the consequences to the Parish that has been damaged by their former Priest’s actions and the aftermath that ensues are ignored by the same Hierarchs who transferred the Priest. It is the same methodology we learned from our Catholic Brothers who believed that a simple transfer would cure a Clergyman of his demons. The difference is that the lawsuits and subsequent bankruptcies of various Catholic Dioceses were felt in immediate “Church” time. In other words, the problems caused financial damage in years and decades in the Catholic Church. In the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, the damage resulting from the Ephraimite movement will be felt over decades and centuries. The lack of action by our Hierarchy which is hurting the Church raises the question of whether our Church can or will survive these types of transfers of a major problem from one jurisdiction to another?


So the Editors wanted to find out: What are the consequences of transferring a carrier of Ephraimite “theology” upon those who walked away from their Parish community; do those people dare go back to the Parish or even to the Church they left? To answer these questions we asked a family a number of questions with the hope that our readers could discern a greater understanding of the future of the Church. If you are asking yourself what does one family have to do with the future of the Church, then you really need to pay close attention to their words, as they reflect the position of many victims of the Ephraimite problem. The problem of returning to a Parish once the Ephraimite Priest is gone is not a simple one.


The Death of a Believer

  September 6, 2014

At a funeral that I was at recently I noticed some telling signs that speak volumes about the discouraging condition of our Greek Orthodox Church in America. It made me think of the Church when we were growing up and how it has changed so much.


This man’s death was heartbreak. The man that died was middle aged and had succumb to a sudden and completely unexpected heart attack. I arrived to the funeral home and made my way the chapel for his service. I noticed that about 110 or so people that attended were predominantly middle aged, with many on them on the younger side of that. Most of them seemed like educated and professional people. As far as I could tell there were only 2 older men there that had a Greek accent. This being a point or observation of some significance, as I felt that I had to analyze and study the attendees. I noticed that most of the people there did their cross in a typical Orthodox fashion. I also observed that some did not do their cross at all. I knew the family and but few others. I wondered why so few of these did not regularly attend the local Greek Orthodox Church that is my Parish.


Here We Go Again


October 2, 2014


Yianni Pappas

  [Editors Notes:This article was submitted to us by one of the Editors of WEAREORTHODOX.COM. It describes an all too common event occurring as a result of what is mistakenly referred to as “Anthonite Monasticism” in North America. At the end of this article, we hope you read the questions we ask ourselves when we get these reports. No doubt these same questions are being asked by others as they experience first hand this form of “Athonite Monasticism”.] We began the new Church year this September of 2014 and we were then advised of yet another story. This was reported to us from an eastern state of the United States in the Metropolis of Pittsburgh. The theme is a recurring episode of the spiritual mishandling of a recently widowed woman by those who we would characterize as fundamentalist spiritual sharks. We hear this so often that it is like watching those old reruns on TV. Once the person affected ends her second sentence of the conversation with you about the issue, you have heard it so often you could finish her the factual account for her. But, that would not be right, so we listen. People of hope and Faith first listen, then react with a view towards helping. An Open Letter to the Holy and Sacred Ecumenical Synod November 19, 2014

Can we in North America survive the “Brotherhood?”

Below is a letter written to the current members of the Holy and Sacred Ecumenical Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Holy and Sacred Synod is presided over by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW and is currently comprised of the following Hierarchs: Demetrios of America Iakovos of Chicago Jeremiah of Switzerland Augustine of Germany Germanos of Tranoupolis Sotirios of Toronto Irenaios of Crete Athenagoras of Belgium Eugenios of Rethymno and Avlopotamos Amphilochios of New Zealand Nathanael of Kos and Nisyros Athenagoras of Kydonies Your All Holiness and Eminences: It is with deep respect and love for the Church that this open letter is written to all of you. We hope and pray that God gives each of you the strength of purpose and resolve to address the problems set forth in this “open letter”. It is open because the Hierarchs have failed to shed sufficient light on serious problems. These serious problems have existed for several years resulting in numerous complaints by the Laity. Nevertheless, the complaints were not addressed and led to no resolution by the Hierarchs. Perhaps this correspondence shared by you and all Orthodox Christians may expedite desperately needed solutions. Thus far, efforts, discussions and dialogues on the following issues have been unsuccessful in convincing the Hierarchs to develop solutions. The words of Christ can guide you to an understanding of these problems. Christ said: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)” “THOSE WHO THE GODS WISH TO DESTROY FIRST THEY ELEVATE!” February 14, 2015

A PARAPHRASE OF EURIPIDES (484BC – 406BC) [PART ONE] Once again, in the Metropolis of Chicago, we are reminded that we are living during the breakdown of our once great and thriving Church. A dialogue so toxic and compelling erupted on the Facebook page of Chicago Tribune Reporter John Kass concerning Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos that it warranted an entire article, in fact, in two parts. For those who may not know, John Kass of the Chicago Tribune is universally acknowledged by his peers as an outstanding reporter. His employer’s website describes him as: “The son of a Greek immigrant grocer, Kass was born June 23, 1956, on Chicago’s South Side and grew up there and in Oak Lawn. He held a number of jobs — merchant marine sailor, ditch digger, waiter — before becoming a film student at Columbia College in Chicago, where he worked at the student newspaper. He obtained an internship at the Daily Calumet in 1980, and ended up working there as a reporter until he left for the Tribune in 1983. He has won honors including the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi National Award for general column writing, the Scripps Howard Foundation’s National Journalism Award for commentary, The Chicago Headline Club’s Lisagor Award for best daily newspaper columnist and the Chicago Tribune’s Beck Award for writing. He lives in the western suburbs with his wife and twin sons.”(citation omitted) John Kass’s poignant posting on his Facebook page states: “embarrassment, shame. In Greek the word is “drohpi” I don’t know how to respond, except to remind church leaders of the tax collector and the Pharisee. The Pharisee was proud. The tax collector-knelt in the back of the church–and prayed, simply, “Lord have mercy upon me, a sinner.” What about the story have church leaders forgotten? “THOSE WHO THE GODS WISH TO DESTROY FIRST THEY ELEVATE!”[PART TWO] February 20, 2015


In part one of this article, we gave our readers a “taste” of life in the Metropolis of Chicago. The Editors of this website did not write any of the posts quoted. The Laity spoke for themselves in their posts on Facebook and other sites on the internet. The few individuals who carry the party line for the Hierarchs also spoke. We will include more examples of “All the President’s Men” doing what is expected of them; acting as defenders of the Hierarch’s decisions even if they are not in the best interest of the parish and illogical. If you read the posts placed on John Kass’ FaceBook page and reach a different conclusion, please email us at: Over 5 years ago when we established this website we chartered our mission which states:

“Mission Statement”

We Greek Orthodox Christians of the Metropolis of Chicago will no longer accept the conditions that have spread and caused irreparable harm to our Faith. We are of the opinion that our current Hierarchs of the Metropolis of Chicago are complicit in allowing a cancerous cult to permeate the theology of our church. Therefore, we will focus the efforts and attention of our members to expose inappropriate teachings, practices and customs as they concern our Faith.” Some may say that we were both foolish and naïve because we fully expected that once faced with overwhelming evidence of damage and destruction to both our Faith and the greater institution, someone would stand up like an adult and do something. We must now acknowledge that we were wrong; proof is in the actions and words of the “Hierarchs” and “their Men.” Tom Kanelos: “If the Church is losing people (and it is) it is because of BOTH the laity and the clergy.” Response: So here we have two statements by Mr. Kanelos. First, we agree with him that the Church is losing people. Second, he holds both the Clergy and the Laity responsible for the loss of members to our Faith. Holding the Laity responsible is akin to blaming the victim of a crime for the commission of the crime. A few years back, one of our Editors was in a meeting regarding the negative impact a former priest was having upon the congregation at St. George Greek Orthodox Church of Chicago and heard Metropolitan Iakovos tell the Parish Council “you are all merely advisors to the Parish Priest”. One month later the Parish Council President, Vice President, Corresponding Secretary and Legal Counsel resigned. Within a year from Metropolitan’s Iakovos’ words, half the Parish Council Members resigned. So Mr. Kanelos, if you are looking for people to hold responsible for the clear and continuing fall of our Church, please begin by looking at the Hierarchs and its Council. A LETTER FROM A GREEK ORTHODOX PRIEST March 4, 2015 Dear Editor, I miss Archbishop Iakovos dearly. As a Priest of 30 years, I feel compelled to write this, albeit with some degree of anonymity to protect myself (even though I have fully disclosed who I am to you). This is my confession that I feel most sorrowful for. The poor leadership that our GOA is plagued with is a multi-faceted problem that has its roots from the Seminary. The Church is suffering. If you don’t realize we are, you are living in a cave. Everything Fr. Artemas has said is correct. No one in their right mind would doubt this. Bishop Demetri’s “behavior” is well known for many years by many people. The same can be said for Metropolitan Iakovos. Some say that Bishop Anthimos, “the black prince”, is starting to look like a hero compared to these despots (how sad). Yet all this is tolerated. Additionally, the Ephraimite Fundamentalist problem is transforming our churches across the country to be centers for monasticism – usurping the regular routine of parish life and dismissing it as inferior to monastic life. Fr. Calivas correctly stated that holiness can be found in the Parish, as well as the Monastery. Fr. Harakas confirms this too. Yet some Hierarchs dismiss these proven beacons of truth. The subtle pressures of looking and behaving like monks is being introduced more and more. With all due respect, we don’t have to look like monks or “Amish” to be holy. With the Fr. Dokos allegations we see that priests are unjustly taking money and giving it to Hierarchs. The Patriarch is deaf. The Archbishop is a good man, but does not like making decisions, and consequently our Metropolitans are diminishing him while they scurry to amass more power. Donors that are very wealthy are giving substantial donations to other non-profits that have clear and honest transparency. By and large, they have stopped giving to our Church. Our Hierarchy is looked at by professional and educated people as a bunch of buffoons. Scores of our faithful are going to the Antiochians and even other Christian denominations. Yet no one is admitting our GOA is in a crisis. Denying any problem only means it is going to get worse. If a captain denies the hull is breached, the ship is going to sink. We are sinking. The numbers are self-evident. Look and see A young Seminarian once asked at a convocation of Students and Faculty at the Seminary, if they could get training similar to large corporations to enhance their management skills and effectiveness. He mentioned that there are millions of dollars spent by corporations to train their leaders to be more effective. Whatever money they spent will come back to them in productivity. I was there for the response, otherwise I would not have believed it. The bright eyed and ever hopeful student was told that “this is something you need to learn on your own”. The smile on that student’s face left. There was a long pause. He slowly walked back to his seat. This is the beginning of handicapping and stifling leadership. And now there is talk of one of our Metropolitan’s taking over the Seminary. Do we really want that from a Metropolitan that seems quite endeared to the Ephraimites for many reasons? It is no wonder then that our Church is in this situation. NOTICE TO OUR READERS March 24, 2015


The deteriorating conditions in the Metropolis of Chicago have sunk to such a new low that a new group has emerged in order to advocate the resignation of Metropolitan Iakovos and for the removal of Bishop Demetrios, both of Chicago. A link to the new website launched by this group is set forth below. We respectfully ask all our readers to go to this website and vote to remove the two Greek Orthodox Hierarchs of the Chicago Metropolis. Since we have established the GOTRUTHREFORM.ORG website we have received numerous complaints from around the country about Fundamentalist issues affecting families and our Theology. The problems besetting the Chicago Metropolis are emblematic and highlight the most blatant abuses, as has been documented in these pages. Nowhere in the Archdiocese is there more evidence of sheer incompetence and mismanagement than in the Chicago Metropolis. Here is your chance to vote and make your dissatisfaction known to the leader of our Greek Orthodox Church in America. Please understand that your vote is anonymous. The votes will be tabulated by an independent third party and forwarded to the Archbishop. There is yet another option available on this website, should you wish. You can sign a petition to the Archbishop for the removal of one or both of these Hierarchs. Here is the direct link to that website: BURSTING OF THE CONTAINMENT WALL March 26, 2015 Two points addressed in our recent article “THOSE WHO THE GODS WISH TO DESTROY, FIRST THEY ELEVATE! [PART TWO]” have caused readers to strongly react to the current conditions in our failing Metropolis of Chicago. The first is: “What has occurred in the Metropolis of Chicago is a ’bursting of the Containment Wall‘ which has artificially protected the Hierarchs from the objective observations of their Laity.” “All the President’s Men” have tried in vain to reinforce the wall; now that it has burst, they are trying in vain to do damage control. The second point identifies a collective understanding many have about our Church leaders. In that article, it was expressed as: “…….that we Orthodox Christians in this Metropolis have lost our “collective community trust” in the Hierarchy. Those who the Church is here to serve no longer trust it.” LETTER TO THE EDITORS OF GOTRUTHREFORM.ORG April 6, 2015 Dear Editors, I wrote a message once to as many priests as I could encouraging them to acquire a pair of qualities (character and conviction) that will help the Church better address the tolerated indiscretions which have demoralized the membership of the Church (Clergy and Laity). This was my response to the Chicago Metropolis in particular where my family there is outraged at the alleged improprieties of the Fr. Dokos situation and Bishop Demetrios’ action against Fr. Angelo Artemas. I applaud Fr. Artemas’ actions in speaking up. It reminds me of the Priests in the Northeast United States who demonstrated character and conviction by putting their job security on the line and signed a petition during the days of Archbishop Spyridon. I hope this reflection helps motivate some Clergy and Laity to face the serious challenges our Church is facing from within. THE HIERARCHS MUST NOW ACT AS HIERARCHS May 15, 2015 The article below is an English language translation of an article that appears in the Greek language version of The National Herald («Εθνικός Κήρυξ»). The article discloses the plan of action mandated by our Ecumenical Patriarch. Our Patriarch is requesting that the two Metropolitans of the Metropolises of Chicago and Denver submit their resignations. The article also describes that the Patriarch has directed the Archbishop to affect a change in status to the auxiliary Bishop of Mokkisos, currently on assignment in Chicago. We encourage all of our readers to carefully read this article and access the original Greek version online. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and it’s Metropolises have been suffering from an exodus of adherents for many years. No better example of this mass exodus can be found than the two Metropolises, the Metropolitans of which are the subject matter of this article. Both Metropolitans have on numerous occasions injected their will on mostly innocent Parishes in an atmosphere of vindictiveness. They have exhibited incompetence and arrogance in the supervision of their flocks. This article accurately explains some of the reasons why a mandate for change is called for, and with the apparent intervention of a higher authority, the ultimate outcome may be a highly desirable result. See the English translation here: PATRIARCH ASKS DEMETRIOS TO INTERVENE IN CHICAGO AND DENVER.pdf See the Greek language version at this link: PEW ARTICLE May 28, 2015 Editors’ Note: The Editors have received the attached article from a lay parishioner in the New Jersey Metropolis who has noted from a statistical study the state of religion in the US generally. Especially worrying is that Orthodox Christian ranks are shown to be dwindling at a much higher rate than those of other Christians. If we as purported stakeholders take an interest in the affairs of our church, we need to review the facts, to raise important questions publicly and to demand answers, if not from the present hierarchs, then from their replacements. PEW study reveals critical decline in Orthodox religious membership An extensive, highly-cited study of religious trends and affiliation of Americans published on May 12 by the well-regarded Pew Research Center found that the Christian share of the U.S. religious population is declining, while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing. The findings from interviews with more than 35,000 Americans in 2014 concludes that the percentage of adults (ages 18 and older) who describe themselves as Christian has dropped by nearly eight percentage points – from 78.4% to 70.6% since Pew’s last survey just seven years ago. The fastest growing religious affiliation are the “nones” as Pew’s findings call them – those who do not affiliate or self-identify with any organized church or religion. Not surprisingly, more and more young adults identify themselves in this “none” category. LIBERAL FOLLY AND CONSERVATIVE HERESY June 8, 2015 EDITOR’S NOTES: We recently became aware of a new website called “www.ORTHODOXREFORMER.COM”. We read a recent article with great interest on that website and sought permission to publish it on our site, which was graciously granted. We encourage all of our readers to spend a few minutes to read this article. The author is a member of the “Millennial Generation”, those reaching adulthood after the year 2000. This generation is poised to pick up the pieces of our Greek Orthodox Church, if any are left when they come into their own. Clearly one senses the genuine and dejected feeling of that generation as it examines the current state of affairs of the Church and the depletion of our patrimony.

Liberal Folly and Conservative Heresy

The past month has been a whirlwind for the GOA. The recently published Pew Report and informal reports coming from GOA insiders portray a general decline in our churches nationwide. Unrest has been spreading around the internet and a leadership shakeup has been called for by over 760 faithful. In this tumult, it can be difficult to discern the specific problems. The reality is that there are many, coinciding problems that are occurring across vastly different areas of the Church. To make matters worse, these matters are occurring across the “political spectrum” of the Church. This makes finding the truth all the more difficult. Our GOA, in many ways, is becoming too liberal. It is also becoming too conservative. Loose dogma and strict dogma are simultaneously gaining ground rapidly. Therefore, many casual observers pigeonhole themselves into one of these camps. DISJOINTED MEDIA VIEWS June 22, 2015 A close look at the recent self-reporting view of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOA) with reference to the Holy Synod and the Archdiocesan Council shows some significant disconnect with reality. Real communications of the real issues facing the GOA and the Church in general is lacking. Below is a cursory review of the materials that the GOA shares with the laity through its various media forms as a measure of its self-perception and its actions. Presumably, the GOA’s view of what the laity should know about its administrative functioning is reflected in what it is willing to share from two of the most important bodies: the Holy Synod (Synod) and the Archdiocesan Council. LETTERS TO OUR EDITORS September 16, 2015 [Below are two different letters/submissions received by our Editors. The first is from someone well known and who has worked for the Church over many years. The second is from a retired Clergyman. We have not edited or altered either one for content. They speak of the conditions in the greater Church and more particularly the Metropolis of Chicago.] This was received on September 1, 2015: The current Snynaxis of the Hierarchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople and the Beginning of the New Ecclesiastical Year should be a cause for hope within the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. It proclaims the commencement of another year and may also be preparatory to the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in America as the church prepares for the highly anticipated Ecumenical Council of 2016 — the first in over 1,200 years. Similarly, construction is underway at the St. Nicholas National Shrine heralding the strength and resiliency of the parish of St. Nicholas while showcasing the Greek Orthodox Faith to the world in this very significant location. This stands in great contrast to what appears to be a black hole in the Metropolis of Chicago. The continued, deliberate misuse of power by the hierarchy accelerates the decline in stewardship and fellowship of parish after parish. The number of stewards appears to be in such serious decline that the Metropolis has not provided the actual number of stewards for the last 5 years on a year-to-year basis. Strong parishes are being destroyed. Can this be exacerbated by offering of Protopresbyter positions to clergy who are in favor either through personal relationships and loyalty to the Hierarchs or by their worship of Elder Ephraim? THE SUNK COST FALLACY AND HOW IT APPLIES TO THE GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH September 23, 2015 There is a term economists and sociologists sometimes use that explains behavior that has become contrary to one’s belief. The term they use is “Sunk Cost Fallacy” (sometimes referred to as “Concorde Fallacy”). This arises generally when one invests more time or money while deep down inside they know that they are literally throwing good money or time after bad. It explains why one does not walk away from something that they know is fated for failure. In the business of an options or commodity traders this is often also called a “Hope Trade”. It is a part of who we all are, as all of us have fallen into this trap. It is when you go against your better judgment and invest more in a losing proposition in order to double down and recoup your losses. If this were a sin, it would be one that all human beings have committed or will commit. So how does it apply to the Church, you might ask yourself. Clearly based on the emails and conversations our Editors have with our Clergy and Laity we see a pattern that points to how pervasive this thinking has become in our Church. WAYWARD PRIESTS GO UNPUNISHED Otober 9, 2015

EXACTLY HOW MANY CANONS AND COMMANDMENTS MUST A PRIEST VIOLATE BEFORE THE CHURCH TAKES ACTION? (Part One) Before we tackle the scandal created by Fr. George Passias, let’s examine the actions, or rather inactions of the Hierarchs of our Church. A recent New York Post article clearly states the position of Bishop Andonios Paropoulos, the current Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. The New York Post “asked why the Church had ignored the longtime allegations of the affair, the bishop said ‘Lacking any concrete evidence of an affair, there was no responsible way the church could take an further action’” “Kinky Orthodox Priest brought Down by Cake Porn, Sex Tape” The New York Post, 4 October 2015, Print. We respectfully and strongly disagree with your position, Your Grace! Have you, along with your brethren, completely forgotten how to lead. Leading does not exclusively include attending dinner dances, galas, commemorations or nice little “envelope earning” events. Your role requires you to be proactive to protect the Church and its people by investigating problems. It has become evident to many of us that your first priority for protection is neither the institution of our Church nor its members, but rather, of its men in robes. The Hierarchs’ failure to take action prompted the parishioners of St. Spyridon in Washington Heights to pay for a private investigator to follow Fr. George Passias. They were forced into action when the Hierarchy of the Church refused to take any steps to verify complaints against Fr. George Passias. This same group of Parishioners, or as we see them, HEROES and the real protectors of the Faith, contacted us about Fr. George Passias back in 2009. How many hours have these HEROES spent doing YOUR job? According to our emails, the then Chancellor and you were put on notice of a serious problem back then in 2009, all to no avail. REJUVENATED PARISH November 28, 2015

Chicago Parish Rejuvenated – Parish was in Danger of Closing…Saved by the New Priest A recent post on “WindyCity Greek’s” Facebook page included an article called “Chicago Parish Rejuvenated.” It relates how an Ephraimite Priest nearly caused closing of a certain Chicago Parish. The article appropriately lauds its new Priest for growing the Parish to its prior commitment level relying on an enthusiastic and engaged group of old and new members. But like any “toxic” environment which invades a Parish in the wake of an Ephraimite incursion, the contents of the article opened old wounds stemming from the civil war that occurred at that Parish when under an Ephraimite Priest. While the article was accurate, well researched and written, spirited commentary on Facebook immediately erupted. Our Editors’ position can be found in the Editor’s Notes section attached to the end of this article. GOTRUTHREFORM.ORG DOES NOT GO FAR ENOUGH December 2, 2015 The Editors at received the following email from a reader. The reader’s name has been removed to preserve their anonymity in order to protect them from repercussions because they have existing affiliations within the Church. Here is their email. Dear Editors of GOTruth, Fr. Passias is a well-known Ephraimite fundamentalist. I have seen that his actions have been the subject of many articles and blog posts. One such article is from your recent post on I have asked you to allow me to submit a critical response to this and you agreed. The disturbing accounts of Fr. Passias have rekindled a dialogue. His actions paint a grim picture of the sad state of affairs within the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOA), concerning fundamentalism, as well as the lack of leadership that fails to deal with it in a direct and forthright manner. With all due respect to your Editors on, the article “Wayward Priests: How many Canons does a Priest have to violate before being punished?” does not go far enough! ( Why not take the gloves off, GOTruthReform?!!!?? Let’s not let yet another bad situation get swept under the rug. If the Laity doesn’t stand up, who will? I believe our Church is worth our combined effort in order to pull it back from the brink. Numerous quotes are quoted here from various members of our Laity across America concerning our Church’s problems. The universality of these statements of people throughout our country clearly shows the Laity’s perspective on our Church, and their clamor for change. REMEMBER HISTORY January 3, 2016 Editor’s Notes: The long unaddressed Ephraimite issue, the unilateral removal of George Karcazes from the Stewardship Committee of the Saints Peter and Paul Parish, the continued gross mismanagement of Greek Orthodox Church in the Metropolis of Chicago, a propensity for vindictiveness by those who are ordained to lead their flock, as well as a number of egregious actions and inactions has caused one of our Editors to take pen in hand to write this article. The author, generally a very thoughtful and reflective individual, has seen enough! We asked one of our Clergy editors to review the article. Instead of placing his thoughts here, they will appear at the end. Therefore, here is yet another Greek Orthodox Christian’s view of the current conditions of our beloved, but disintegrating Church:

Priests going off the reservation! (REPEATING HISTORY) The philosopher George Santayana is often quoted in his famous aphorism “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This should be remembered by those in the Greek Orthodox Church, and especially those in the Archdiocese of America, who think the Ephraimite problem is something new. REFLECTIONS ON GOTRUTHREFORM January 25, 2016

Reflections on GOTRUTHREFORM and its impact on the Issues that concern the Church In 2009, our Editors started this website because we were revolted, disgusted and repulsed by what was being perpetrated on the Laity of the Metropolis of Chicago. The Editors felt that for any chance for the Church to survive in any meaningful form into the future, some type of attention was necessary to bring forth the replacement of the present leadership embedded in Chicago, and then in other Metropolises which are also failing. Our position was clear in our mission statement, which stated:

“Mission Statement”

We Greek Orthodox Christians of the Metropolis of Chicago will no longer accept the conditions that have spread and caused irreparable harm to our Faith. We are of the opinion that our current Hierarchs of the Metropolis of Chicago are complicit in allowing a cancerous cult to permeate the theology of our church. Therefore, we will focus the efforts and attention of our members to expose inappropriate teachings, practices and customs as they concern our Faith.” With end of the old year and the start of a new, we have reflected on the effect of the website and any future influence that we may have. But the overriding thought over the last six years has been that “Boy, were we naïve!” The underlying problems of our Church go way beyond the vast damage done by the cancerous cult of Elder Ephraim. It should now be clearly evident that this highly entrenched cult has introduced heretical teachings contrary to our faith. However, it has also served as the proverbial canary in the coal mine, or as a bellwether, exposing much deeper issues. The Ephraimite issue is a catalyst bringing to the light areas of deficiency in the management, operations and the administration of the Church in North America. We have found that the deeper you dig, the more you will find, as we have uncovered an enormous vein of misfeasance, malfeasance, avoidance and vindictiveness. Contra Toll-houses: The Orthodox Funeral Service February 11, 2016 [Editor’s note: Below is an article on the topic of aerial toll-houses. It is written by a Faith abiding Orthodox Priest from the Antiochian Jurisdiction. We thank him for this submission, we only wish we could see some of this courage within our Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. We often ask how is it possible that a heresy of this magnitude is unaddressed and goes unrefuted by our “leadership”? In the Metropolis of Chicago, the many many Ephraim venerating clergy now commonly invoke tollhouses at funerals! How sad for the unsuspecting. The Internet has now been flooded by article written by proponents of this theological anomaly. We are witnessing history where the abnormal is now considered normal by many. Once again we ask “Do any of our Hierarchs care enough to speak?”]

Contra Toll-houses: The Orthodox Funeral Service

Over the past few decades, an insidious and distorted theology of what happens to the soul after death has been growing like a cancer in the Orthodox Christian Church. This teaching, known as the “aerial toll-houses,” claims that upon death, the soul must past through a series of toll-houses (like spiritual weigh stations) as it ascends from the earth through the atmosphere. There are specific toll-houses for different sins (pride, covetousness, magic, sexual sins, etc.) and each toll-house is manned by demons. As the soul ascends, the demons accuse the soul of various sins, and if found guilty of any that were not absolved through confession, the soul is dragged to hell.i Supporters of the toll-houses rely on obscure passages from obscure patristic or monastic sources. They will also use as proof texts a few sentences from rarely heard ecclesiastical texts or gross misinterpretations of the Holy Scriptures. However, for every miniscule textual fragment that the “toll-housers” (that’s what I call them) can muster up, there is an even larger volume of source material in the Church and the Bible that refutes this teaching. One of those sources we can turn to is the Orthodox Christian funeral service. If the toll-houses were truly a part of the dogmatic life of the Orthodox Church, then one would expect the funeral service to make mention of them. After all, what better place is there to teach about the soul after death and the toll-houses than at a funeral?ii This short paper takes a look at the prayers and hymns of the funeral service in order 1)to show the complete lack of toll-house “theology,” and 2) to show that certain parts of the funeral service actually serve as a refutation of the toll-houses. WAYWARD PRIESTS GO UNPUNISHED (PART TWO) March 11, 2016

EXACTLY HOW MANY CANONS AND COMMANDMENTS MUST A PRIEST VIOLATE BEFORE THE CHURCH TAKES ACTION? (Part Two) The story of the former Greek Orthodox priest (and Dean) of the adherents to the Elder Ephraim’s “theology,” George Passias, is now old news. Articles have been written, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (“GOA”) and the Patriarchal Synod have spoken. But, what does each of us hear? It really depends on who you are willing to hear. In this one story of sex, lies and deception, the roots of the schism within the GOA are apparent. The arguments made (in support of, or against, Mr. Passias), the positions taken by the Ephraimites and the non-Ephraimites and the lies told in his defense are a strange foreshadowing of what the future holds for the Faithful. Rather than go over the salacious and pornographic detail which have brought shame on all the faithful, let’s all try to understand why we are in an era of “deny, defend and deflect” as it concerns the Ephraimite issue that is slowly, yet methodically, dismembering the Church. Some would argue that the most proponents of Elder Ephraim’s “theology” possess a superiority complex, believing that they alone hold the truth and all others’, including all other non-adherents’, faith is inferior. This is used by them as a defense mechanism to thwart anti-Ephraimite thinking or criticism of their leaders or and their movement. Spend some time with a “hard-core Ephraimite” and see if you agree. Could this be the reason George Passias alleged 3,000 spiritual children rush to his defense? OUR CHURCH IS DYING, OUR LEADERS ARE SILENT OR BEING SILENCED March 27, 2016 There’s an elephant in the room, and as is often the case, no one is talking about it. Well, actually, it isn’t an elephant. It is more of a monster that lurks in the shadows preying (and, in this case, praying) on those who are unsuspecting, not educated in their faith, weak, compromised or vulnerable in one way or another. Those who see the monster for what it is have called it a cult, a cancer and a distortion of Orthodox beliefs. Those who have succumbed to it perceive themselves as guardians of the true faith and better Orthodox Christians than anyone not loyal to it. Often it is dismissed as a group of followers in the desert called “Ephraimites”. A more accurate name might be Ephraim worshipers. It is most definitely not something happening only in the desert. It can be found in any part of the world where there are Orthodox Christians and certainly not limited to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOA) where it has had explosive growth. This has been perpetrated primarily under the nose of the hierarchs in the GOA and other jurisdictions, our so-called leaders, whose unwillingness to address this cancer that is eviscerating our parishes and the GOA and elsewhere is only feeding the monster. HONEY TRAPS AT OUR SEMINARY April 25, 2016 A better title for this article perhaps would be “While the Hierarchs Slept”, but we have used that theme so often before we are sure you are tired of hearing it again. Many of our articles have been based upon the personal experience of our Editorial Staff. Sadly this article is based upon the experiences of some of our (that is, our Orthodox brethren’s) daughters. The story begins about 15 years ago, a time when even our Editors were unaware of the goals and methodology of the Ephraimite movement. Like many other members of the Laity, we had no idea of the plan of action and how it was being implemented by the Ephraimites toward their quest for control of the souls of the Orthodox. It began innocently enough. Our Parish Priest [a non-Ephraim Clergyman, although like many others, naive about the problem] suggested that families with daughters take advantage of a “camp” program at our local Ephraimite Women’s Monastery. So after some thought, three families took his advice and sent their daughters to the camp. At the time, they felt that it would “make our daughters better Greek Orthodox Christians.” But would it? Or was the real intention of those operating the Camp more nefarious? These young girls and their families would soon find out. US VERSUS THEM! May 9, 2016 A Chicago attorney recently emailed us an article addressing a common unhealthy phenomenon spreading not only in our Orthodox Church, but also in other Christian denominations. The email brought to the forefront a familiar problem addressed on many occasions, the “Us versus Them” mentality which is now commonplace within the Greek Orthodox Church and is consistently used by the Ephraimites. Many see this as a tool used to divide and conquer. This social identity theory was developed by Henri Tajfel and considered his greatest contribution to psychology. The in-group (us or Ephraimites) will discriminate against the out-group (them or non-Ephraimites) to enhance their own self-image. McLeod, S. A. (2008). Social Identity Theory. Retrieved from The theory is one of the most common techniques used by the Ephraimites to maintain its membership and to bind the self-esteem of its members with that membership. The Ephraimites then convince its members that they are better than the members of the other group (non-Ephraimites) perpetuating an unhealthy rivalry encouraging hostility and competition becoming fertile ground for prejudice. This practice is destructive and that is why you often hear members of the Greek Orthodox Church saying that our institution is being attacked from within. Is The Greek Orthodox Church a Church of God’s Laws or is it a Church of Men October 19, 2016 The present political season has brought me to think about past events. It has triggered a reflection of our country’s history and what separates it from that, for example, of both Russia and Greece. How has our nation endured, why has it prospered through crisis after crisis? The lack of trustworthiness in our present politicians has also made me think about the continued deteriorating condition of the Greek Orthodox Church at the Parish, Metropolis and Archdiocesan levels. The political landscape serves as a reflection of the declining conditions in Greece and the way that Russia is becoming a personal and nostalgic reflection of Vladimir Putin, who thinks Russia is still the Soviet Union. Both of those countries and their current conditions affect our Orthodox Christian lives in America. These are heady topics; but for the sake of brevity this article mainly focuses on our Church. READER’S RESPONSES TO OUR RECENT ARTICLE “Is the Greek Orthodox Church a Church of God’s Laws or is it a Church of Men?” November 6, 2016 We have selected two emails that were in response to our last article. This first email came to us from a son of a Greek Orthodox Priest. He has degrees in both Theology and Law. His thoughts are well defined and he makes a keen observation which we have taken the liberty of setting off in bold type. The second email came to us from a Greek Orthodox Priest who has a clear and defined view of the issue of the Ephraimite problem in North America. We hope you enjoy these two emails as much as we did. They serve to reinforce the mission of this website. Both emails clearly state a positon concerning the current conditions of the Church. Here are the emails: FIRST EMAIL: “My dear friend, it is enlightening to read one express, as you do in this article, the present-day state of our church and need for some reawakening. Our Church through the ages has been many times in an upward and downward spiral, periods of development and periods decay. Surely if the Church were not an institution of God and it were an institution of man, it would not have lasted through the ages as it did. Sadly, though it seems today that we are in a period of decay and this because we are not coherent to the truth, the logos of God and his laws. We have gone astray a bit, following religious notions that are comfortable and suitable without giving much thought to what God is truly asking of us, He is a loving God asks very little in return. The true servants and defenders of God’s “epigaea ekklesia-earthly Church” I believe are those who seek the truth without any biased condition and or fear thereof of retaliation for just action. The true servants of God are those that follow his Word, His Church and Commandments and not some newly formed extremist movement and or condition that in all ends can only separate God’s children (He truly dislikes this and is saddened and angry when this occurs because it goes against the very essence of God which is love, respect). If movements and people who follow in them do not love and respect their fellow Christians and other human beings, then they cannot love God and cannot as such express the truth. The truth mends, protects and cleanses. The Church must express the truth even if some come against her. We as “pistoi-believers of the the truth” must also be truth bearers as surely the truth will always bring a promising end for the Church. By the word Church I do not only refer to the men in black, the word Church I believe refers to the whole of people who are in communion with Almighty God. The Church must always express the truth and never fear criticism for doing so will help to avoid a state of decay and help us reach a higher state of development. One of my Theology professors said years ago that the Soviet Union fell because it was not able deal with criticism… everything he said was built around a lie and the truth was hidden from citizens at all cost…, though the truth cannot remain hidden forever… when the truth finally came to light the Soviet system crumbled like a castle made of sand.” The Greek Orthodox Church and A New View from a Catholic Pew December 8, 2016 (“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1906-1945*) It was an interesting wedding season witnessing most of it from a Catholic Church pew. In past years, the weddings we attended were generally in Greek Orthodox Parishes. There would be one or two outside the Greek Orthodox Church. But this year was different for a variety of reasons, both interesting and disturbing. Three out of the six weddings I attended were held in the Catholic Church. These three weddings involved a Greek Orthodox person marrying a Catholic person. At the third Greek Orthodox-Catholic wedding held in the Catholic Church, I had took an interest in the Parish bulletin of the Queen of All Saints Basilica in Chicago. There, I found a letter authored by the Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, the Most Reverend Francis Kane. In this letter, he discussed the “Catholic Leadership 360 Review Process”. The letter stated many things, but what struck me as significant was the following statement: “The review process is part of the ordinary structure required by Archdiocesan Policy of every diocesan priest every five years.” Then the letter went on to ask for a Parish wide survey of parishioners as well as disclosing the results to parishioners! Letter from a GoTruthReform Reader January 2 2017 In addition to following the Articles on this website and others there have been published (The National Herald) reports on the “cancer” of the Ephraimite Cult and Ephraimite influence over an increasing number of parishes that was referred to by the late Michael Jaharis in his role as the Vice-Chairman of the Council in two of his final addresses on the “State of the Church”. I am disappointed that the Archbishop, Eparchial Synod and lay leadership of the Church., i.e., Archdiocesan Council, Metropolis Councils, Clergy-Laity Congress, Archons, Leadership 100, Faith Endowment, Parish Councils, and faculty of Holy Cross have not addressed this serious issue. Other than becoming informed (and increasingly frustrated) what can the clergy who recognize the problem and the laity, who support the Church with their time, talent and treasure, do about this problem? Where does the responsibility lie? How can this “cancer” be excised from the Body of our Church? An initial answer can be found in the “General Regulations for the Establishment and Operation of Holy Monasteries in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America”. This eleven-page (English version) document can be found on the website of the Archdiocese ( It was promulgated by the Patriarchate on February 26, 2005 (Protocol # 1204/2004). Narcissist, Partisan or Patriot? January 13, 2017 Observers of the United States Presidential elections of 2016 must have thought about the three words in our title. Most observers, even if subconsciously, applied them to our politicians. These labels describe the candidates, their surrogates and each party’s elected officials. Applying these strong words to our own Greek Orthodox Church will give us a better understanding of where we are as a church, and how we have fallen so far in such a short time. These characteristics explain why our Church leaders not only fail to act to solve problems, but, instead, “deny, defend, or deflect”. (see our article “Deny, Defend and Deflect” here is the link: ) We offer a short recap to those who may be unfamiliar with these terms of art. A narcissist is one who has an inflated sense of their own importance, an extreme need for admiration from others and a lack of empathy for others. A partisan is someone who is a strong supporter of a party, a cause or a person. Finally, we look at the word and definition of patriot. A patriot is one that vigorously supports their country or cause and is prepared to protect it from detractors. PARISHES IMPACTED (Revised 2017) February 1, 2017 Parishes Impacted by the Ephraimite Movement GOTR has conducted numerous interviews of Clergymen, Parish Council members and members of the laity and has compiled a list of those parishes located within a 100-mile radius of the Metropolis of Chicago. We have concluded that every one of these parishes has been exposed to varying degrees of the Ephraimite Movement. Some have a few loyal Ephraimites sitting in the pews for the Divine Liturgy while others have a very high number of Ephraimite parishioners. Moreover, there are parishes which have crossed the line and are committed to the Ephraimite camp. “The measure of a man is what he does with power” March 9, 2017 There is a sickness that has become so pervasive in the Metropolis of Chicago that it is emptying our Parishes. We have written about these issues before, including those of failing Parishes, Priests who blindly follow their Ephraimite “spiritual Fathers”, and leadership that has attempted to manipulate the remaining faithful. One completely offensive example that has gone unaddressed by our “leadership” is the Fr. James Dokos mess that was at a minimum mishandled by all of them. Clergy and Laity alike participated in this mess. Mishandling is one thing, it is regrettable, but excusable. What is inexcusable and for many reprehensible is the way the Dokos mess was “sold” to our Laity. And yet, these mostly obvious attempts to deceive were never censured or condemned by other Hierarchs. There was nothing to indicate remorse, or any indication of wrongdoing, not even a slap on the wrist. To add insult to injury to the faithful and the Parishes involved, not so much as even a halfhearted apology. We wrote about the Dokos matter. In our article: “THOSE WHO THE GODS WISH TO DESTROY, FIRST THEY ELEVATE!” in February 2015. Here are examples posted in a then contemporaneous Facebook discussion, of the way this crime against the Faith and its Church was presented by “leadership”: “The measure of a man is what he does with power”- Part Two March 14, 2017

Plato 428 BC to 348 BC Part Two Let’s begin part two of this article by examining selected issues as they apply to the Metropolis of Chicago. Let us delve into the individuals involved and the status of what is now commonly referred to as the “Dokos mess.” First among all issues is what was the legal standard of conduct required by Fr. Dokos as the trustee of the Ervin and Margaret Franczak Trust (the “Trust”)? What does a trustee do, what are a trustee’s obligations and what is the penalty for not meeting those? “The measure of a man is what he does with power”- Part Three March 27, 2017

Plato 428 BC to 348 BC


At the conclusion of part two of this article we told you that we would inform you as to where the money went. So here is a partial list: Some of the Hierarchs: 1. His Grace Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos a. Check number 111 dated August 28, 2008 amount $3,000 b. Check number 118 dated October 22, 2008 amount $500.00 c. Check number 127 dated December 15, 2008 amount $500.00 d. Check number 141 dated September 6, 2009 amount $500.00 e. Check number 150 dated June 10, 2009 amount $500.00 f. Check number 200 dated August 26, 2009 amount $500.00 g. Check number 219 dated August 12, 2010 amount $500.00 h. Check number 226 dated December 15, 2010 amount $500.00 i. Check number 261 dated April 1, 2010 amount $200.00 TOTAL “GIFTS” TO HIS BISHOP $6,700.00 2. His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco a. Check number 116 dated October 14, 2008 amount $1,000.00 b. Check number 152 dated June 10, 2009 amount $500.00 c. Check number 161 dated October 15, 2009 amount $300.00 d. Check number 202 dated December 21, 2009 amount $300.00 TOTAL “GIFTS” TO His Eminence $2,100.00 3. His Eminence Metropolitan Nikitas of the Dardanelles a. Check number 126 dated December 12, 2008 amount $1,000.00 b. Check number 151 dated June 10, 2009 amount $500.00 c. Check number 157 dated September 15, 2009 amount $300.00 d. Check number 170 dated December 21, 2009 amount $300.00 e. Check number 225 dated December 15, 2010 amount $500.00 f. Check number 262 dated April 1, 2010 amount $300.00 g. Check number 276 dated February 3, 2012 amount $300.00 h. Check number 285 dated September 11, 2012 amount $300.00 TOTAL “GIFTS” TO His Eminence $3,500.00 Here are the questions we should all demand answers to: 1. Was any of this money paid to the Hierarchs ever reimbursed to the rightful beneficiaries once the extent of the felonious conduct was made public? If not, why not? 2. Were any public statements made by the Hierarchs to indicate contrition, repentance, apology or even acknowledgement for misinforming the Laity? 3. Why was the Metropolis of Chicago involved in the issue of Fr. Dokos once it was disclosed that one of the Hierarchs received money from this trust, indicative of a conflict of interest in any decision regarding Fr. Dokos? 4. When will we see the Metropolitan Iakovos’ letter that was “sealed” by the Milwaukee court, which was attached to Fr. Dokos’s Motion to Dismiss? 5. Letters are attached to Motions almost always to support the Movant’s theory of the motion. Here he was asking for the charges to be dropped (in layman’s terms). What legal or ecclesiastic theories were offered by our Metropolitan to exonerate Fr. Dokos? 6. There were questions raised about two other estates, the estates of James W. Pihos and Myron G. Stamos. Did the Metropolis of Chicago retain an Attorney to interview the descendants and heirs of these estates and review the files in those estates? If not, why not? 7. On August 7, 2013 Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos wrote the following letter to the Annunciation Church of Milwaukee: “Lambs Being Poisoned…? (The Conversation Continues) April 17, 2017

[The conversation continues 8 years later]

Approximately 8 years ago, we published an article entitled are “Lambs being poisoned”. That article was based on a conversation between a devout father – son duo. Both, hopefully will remain Orthodox Christians, but doubts remain. The current issue discussed by them is the “manipulation in lieu of management” of the “Dokos mess” by the Hierarchy in Chicago. The discussion then took the natural path to the circumstances we face today as a religious community. A discussion ensued directed towards the lack of Christ-based action by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Hierarchy. The father asked his son how he views the lack of action, what could or should be guiding our Hierarchs?

“Even Our Once Great Parishes Are Affected!


December 1, 2017


[Editor’s Note: We will comment on this letter to the editors at the bottom of the email that was sent to us]


“To The Editors: GoTruthReform


I am an infrequent visitor to your site. This is the first-time I’m writing to you. I am writing to you because I witnessed an unbelievable performance by a flock of sheep and their self-proclaimed “shepherd” at a recent Parish Council meeting.


I didn’t hear Christ (our only Shepherd) mentioned once. One word kept coming into my head: “obsequious”. *


I saw a “cult of personality” performing right before my eyes. I couldn’t wait to leave.


One council member’s almost trance-like, whispered questions directed to the Priest : .. “what could they do to you?.. “you would be taking a bullet for us” … “how would you feel, if the parish voted against your wishes?”…it was surreal .. and “the shepherd’s” response: “I must stand in front of my flock and protect it”.. “I will not allow my flock to cross the line..” was discomfiting.

  Conspiracy Theories Gone Awry

February 14, 2018


Many in our community are generally prone to see a conspiracy in everything, especially in those things that are a little complicated or not completely transparent. Now we see another new example of this malady that affects our community.


A new Metropolitan has been elected to lead the Chicago Metropolis; he is Archimandrite Nathanael Symeonides. This election, which will hopefully break the cycle of dysfunction, fulfills one of the goals of the Editors of this website, see However, the fight for transparency and for the need to come to grips with the many problems facing the Greek Orthodox Church in America goes on.