Narcissist, Partisan or Patriot?

By dogcatcher on January 14th, 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. Upon reflection, you can clearly see how this applies to everyone in our Church. I believe we all would agree that no one will admit they fit in to any category but that of a patriot. Because for many of us, to admit to the true nature of your character, would be to admit that you are unwilling to do what is right. A friend’s story caused me to try and understand why we are failing as an institution. My friend relayed a conversation that took place with someone in the inner circle of the Metropolis of Chicago. The “leader” told them that the Church is failing because the “rank-and-file” laity has not done its job, causing the lack of leadership by our local clergy! My friend concluded, as would any patriot, that these partisans only care about protecting their own. How long does an institution, a corporation or any enterprise last when leadership blames those they serve? How long will the Greek Orthodox Church survive when there is an ongoing shift of responsibility for failure to those who have systematically been disenfranchised of their voice in the Church? Patriots ask themselves “who is responsible for this catastrophe”? A narcissist seeks the adoration of his hierarchs. He or she then gets very partisan and looks for any way possible to deflect the responsibility of failure. Partisans only view issues through their partisan lens. A true patriot seeks the truth, not colored by their own short comings; responds to the challenge, and tries to fix the problem.


These are by far the greatest in number currently within our Church. They eagerly turn a blind eye to the problems we face. Privately they acknowledge the death spiral of the institution, yet publicly they remain silent. They fear that taking a public position would cause damage to themselves. In the words of a close friend of mine who has left the Greek Orthodox Church; “Most people are cowards”. How people see them is more important than doing what is right. So, they sit there Sunday after Sunday understanding that our Parishes are emptying, yet their egos are so large and controlling that they would rather watch the ship sink than shoulder their duty to repair it.


This is the “ruling class” of the Greek Orthodox Church in America. They can be found in every Parish and Ministry. They sit on Councils, Executive Committees and pretend to run organizations. The entire time, all they think about is lining up to “kiss the ring” of leaders they know to be unworthy. In our Church, these are the people who blindly follow the theocracy, it’s leaders and their surrogates. Thus, you have people making statements like “the reason our Priests have bad leadership skills is due to the rank-and-file.” It is literally like blaming the customer for the business failing. Yet this nonsense gets is repeated over and over again. Every time a sane person hears this, it pushes them further from the Church. This kind of absurd rationalization may work with narcissists or partisans, but not with patriots. Church leaders apparently prefer to govern an ever-diminishing remnant of partisans who are devoid of discernment. This, rather than striving for a growing, vibrant and challenging flock of patriots.


One by one we have watched patriot after patriot in the Metropolis of Chicago “throw in the towel” and walk away from the Church. The vacuum has been filled by those who look for adoration from those in positions of authority or are so completely self-indulgent that they hear not, see not, care not, and speak not about what is happening to our Church. This is after all the Metropolis that brought its laity the Dokos fiasco. It should not come as a surprise the Metropolis retained an attorney to argue that nothing was wrong, no crime occurred. The inept and inappropriate “spin doctoring” attempted by the hierarchs and supported by their sycophants magnified this debacle. After this failed attempted abuse of their authority over the laity, and shameful attempt to deceive the Court, James Dokos pled guilty to a felony. Even this was not enough to force the Church Hierarchy to come to grips with reality. What was their reaction to the felony? After a year’s sabbatical, they reinstituted the felon and banished the true hero of that sordid tale, sending to internal exile the priest who blew the whistle on the felony. Only when our leadership removes their “partisan glasses” and sees things for what they are, will they understand that the loss of faith in our Church is not caused by the rank-and-file. It is caused only by them. They and their sycophants have led us wittingly or not into a new era in our Church. They have created a cycle of cynicism causing good people to leave. With the exception of the narcissists and partisans, few believe that there is currently any institutional health in the Greek Orthodox Church in America. Many now believe that the “Holy Spirit has left the building”!