By dogcatcher on February 25th, 2012
  We Need the Archons, the Protectors of our Faith? 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. This definition is taken from the Order of St. Andrew’s website. The oath forever bestows upon the Archons the honor and duty to protect the institution of the Patriarchy against any threats. As the historical protectors of the Patriarchate, the Archons have consistently focused their efforts on threats originating from overseas. Their efforts include attempts to reopen the seminary in Halki. They have done a commendable job applying pressure on foreign sovereign institutions to uphold rights of religious freedom concerning the Patriarchy. Their efforts and perseverance should be applauded and recognized. Given these achievements, how have they responded to threats existing on our own soil in North America? In our view, the Patriarchy is being threatened by similar “dark forces”. On the one hand, the Patriarch is being attacked and persecuted by certain factions within the Turkish state. However, more recently, additional fronts have been opened against the Patriarchate emanating from within the ranks of Orthodoxy itself. This is an insidious threat to the Patriarchy itself containing adversaries who cannot be easily defined, identified and have literally camouflaged themselves by vesting themselves with the cloak of Orthodoxy. There is a group within Orthodoxy which has withheld its obedience from the Patriarchate, calling him a heretic and challenging his unique role as apostolic successor to St. Andrew. If you study their arguments and positions against the Patriarchate, they ring a similar tone to others who have shown disdain for this institution. In fact, their stance regarding Ecumenical activities is the same stance voiced by some extreme Turkish nationalists many of whom are also Fundamentalist Muslims. There is a nebulous group of disobedient Orthodox clergy, some of whom have solicited, indoctrinated and proselytized some members of the Orthodox laity living within the United States. The difficulty in identifying members of the group results from their different degrees of indoctrination. Some are rabid followers while others are just on the fringes and only accept certain doctrines of cultural-related aspects. In any event, they are indoctrinated soldiers who are dedicated critics of the Patriarchate. This particular group of clergy is either spiritual children or of like mind with Elder Ephraim and are called “Ephraimites” by others. Moreover, each and every Archon of the Church as well as all caring Orthodox laity should watch and carefully listen to a lecture given by Father Theodosis Zisis, a Professor of Theology at the University of Thessalonica. This lecture on the effect of Elder Ephraim and the State of Orthodoxy in North America is most revealing. Although a working knowledge of the Greek language is necessary to fully understand the tenets, the statements made in the lecture provide great insight to the destructive rhetoric found among those who are dedicated to damaging the Patriarchate. You can find the lecture at the following link: In addition, sensing weakness, the Russians have opened another front against the Patriarchate by proclaiming the self-elevation of the Moscow Patriarchate to “First among Equals”. They advocate a common interest held by some factions within the Turkish government which is to see the Patriarchate moved off of Turkish soil; in this case, preferably to Moscow. These groups commonly assert that the Ecumenical Patriarch is nothing more than an Archbishop of the Church who happens to reside in Constantinople (Istanbul). Some members of these three factions (Turkish extremists, Ephraimites and certain factions within the Russian church) hold this same belief. One must ask why former president Bill Clinton made a provocative statement on November 2nd, 2009 at a conference on “Leadership for Sustainable Success” in Istanbul where Clinton stated “Do you think it is better for the Christian Orthodox Community to fall under the influence of the Russian Church?” Thus, while the Patriarch of Constantinople is triangulated by these aforementioned groups, where are his chief defenders? Are they silent for the moment, formulating a defensive strategy? Or conversely, are they not making a connection between these multiple threats? Are they missing how these threats may be all interconnected? Are some of them (The Archons) sympathetic to or influenced by Ephraimite Clergy within our church? We want to believe that the Archons have awakened to these threats and we pray that they realize the seriousness and urgency of this matter. It is our observation and belief that the Archons have been especially silent regarding one group in particular, “the Ephraimites”. Unfortunately, the Ephraimites have cunningly calculated the Archons’ past silence to be a sign of weakness. It has emboldened them to come out arrogantly with openly displayed acts of disobedience without fear of retribution. They have “self elevated” Elder Ephraim of Florence, Arizona to a position equal to that of our Patriarch. Though they show disobedience to their own hierarchy, they demand total obedience from their growing number of followers. We ask where are the Archons when “Ephraimite” clergy tell parishioners openly they do not recognize the authority of the Patriarch. Where are the Archons when converts to our religion are refused communion because they “were not properly baptized”? Some of the Archons believe that the “Ephraimite” controversy is fueled by disgruntled laity. Could it be that these Archons dismiss or discount the severity of the threats posed by the Ephraimites? Could it be that certain Archons are members or sympathizers to these factions? One of our editors has discussed this matter with several Archons. He has concluded that the vast majority of Archons have the best of intentions to work in the interests of our Orthodox Church. However, that editor has also spoken to a few who are being “influenced” by certain Ephraimite clergy. The Editors are cognizant of one Archon from the Metropolis of Chicago who has even suggested in a letter that Father Alex Karloutsos is not worthy to be a priest. Have any Archons been infiltrated by the “Ephraimites” or by others wishing to harm to the Patriarchate as well as the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese? Are some in their ranks part of other groups who support autocephalous agendas not sanctioned by the Patriarchate? As stated earlier, it is much more difficult to recognize your adversary when they also break bread with you. The Archons, in our opinion, have focused on the easily recognizable foes. Thus, we have tried to help identify and enlighten them to these internal threats. We need to help them identify and isolate those individuals who are causing such great harm to the fabric of individual parishes and to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese as a whole. Even the Archons who are true to their oaths lack all of the necessary resources to see the seriousness of these threats. The Archons should be able to amass a plethora of evidence which will enable them to reach the same conclusions as the Editors have. We would like to assist their efforts in anyway we can. We are approaching a conclusion that there is an “invisible hand” guiding all of these anti-Patriarchal factions in the same direction. Their ultimate goal is the outright rejection of the apostolic succession going back to St. Andrew. To the Archons credit, they have refuted claims made by the Moscow Patriarchate regarding the claims that the Russian Patriarch should be the “First Among Equals”. Also, they have stood up to the full frontal assault provided by the Orthodox Church of America OCA’S “Metropolitan” Jonah’ecumenical.html. Less than six months before his ascent to the Primacy of the OCA, Metropolitan Jonah was an obscure Abbot of a Monastery in California. During a conference held at St. Vladimir’s Seminary between June 4th and 8th, 2008, he presented a paper entitled “Episcopacy, Primacy, and the Mother Churches: A Monastic Perspective”, part of which read as follows: For the Empire [Byzantine] effectively ceased to exist eight hundred years ago, and now only the Greek ethnic churches, and few others, recognize the Ecumenical Patriarchate to be what it claims to be. While no one denies it a primacy of honor, it has no real institutional role, much less a role of actual leadership……Even the Ecumenical Patriarchate is primarily a Greek ethnic institution, unabashedly promoting Hellenism. The Archons and all faith abiding Greek Orthodox Christians need to rigorously examine all who are trying to damage the Patriarchate. In future articles, we will explain the connection between Metropolitan Johan and Elder Ephraim. We are dismayed at the speed of unfolding events. It seems that certain Greek Orthodox groups feel a sense of false security. They do not recognize the threats from within. Archons and prominent laity need to understand that there is a concerted effort to undermine the Patriarch’s authority. The line of demarcation has been blurred. The Archons and concerned laity must take these threats seriously and use them to formulate a blueprint that establishes a true defense of our beloved Patriarchy. We, the Editors, stand ready to assist in any manner. As a first act, we believe the Archons should seek solidarity within their own ranks since the fabric of the Church can be damaged by the smallest hole.