A view into the Destruction of Families by the Ephraimites (part two)

By dogcatcher on February 6th, 2014
  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! Why I’m Leaving the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America While growing up, going to church on Sunday was the highlight of my week. When I was young it was because I would see my friends and relatives there. We’d always have fun during fellowship. When I reached my mid-teens my focus shifted. I wanted to truly understand our Church, why we say the prayers we say, what the priests are doing during the Divine Liturgy, what separates Greek Orthodox from other denominations. I bought as many books on these subjects as possible and luckily for me, the internet was becoming the wealth of knowledge it has become. I researched and read as much as possible and was extremely thankful to be Greek Orthodox. There was nothing that could make me miss going to church every Sunday, any night service, and every Holy Week service. I never felt such elation as I did listening to and feeling the Divine Liturgy. But that began to end approximately eight years ago. It was about that time that the priest in the Parish I grew up in was retiring. Our church was given a new Proistamenos by our Metropolitan. His theology did not seem very Orthodox for the most part and our Parish became divided. Over several years many lifelong members of this parish left and went elsewhere. Internet pages were created to define and expose this theology. But this Proistamenos did not weaken or shatter my faith in the Church, he strengthened it. I knew that there would be some defender of Orthodoxy who would come forward and protect us from heresies. I began talking to other Greek Orthodox parishioners, Priests and even Hierarchs within the GOA who agreed the Ephraimite theology was a huge problem; that it was dividing the Church. I tried to do what I could in educating people to these teachings. I was constantly spreading the word, working with various websites in doing the same. It was extremely time consuming, and became highly more stressful. But through all this my faith in our Church was not diminished. My faith in God became stronger. My faith in the GOA started to dwindle as time went on. The more stories I heard of people whose lives had been ruined, or dramatically altered as a result of some element of our Church, the more worried I became. What to me was and to this day is the most astonishing, is that no one from within the Church, priest or Hierarch, has actually stepped up. So many within the Church have spoken to me about how terrible things are becoming, how they’ve seen these things coming for years, but do nothing. That’s the most troubling part of the Ephraimite ordeal. Not the actual Ephraimites or their theology, but the lack of response from the supposed “good” priests and from the Hierarchs. Unless they’ve truly buried their heads in the sand, they’ve heard about all the same families I have and then some. Seeing what I’ve seen and hearing what I’ve heard has definitely left an impression on me. I’m certain it has to those within the Church as well. I lost sleep many nights over the past six or seven years wondering what will become of the GOA. Worrying about those people in those terrible stories I heard. I do not and haven’t seen the same reaction in the clergy. That troubles me. That pains me. That really bewilders me. What’s going to become of the Church? What is the future? Do our Hierarchs plan for it? As far as I can tell, membership in the GOA is declining. Should I just bury my head in the sand as well and say, “I’ll be dead before these questions are answered?” I can’t. I’d like to, but I can’t. I cannot support an organization, even the GOA, which does so little to help itself. In good conscience I refuse to. I’d rather donate money elsewhere. I’d rather go to Liturgy at an Orthodox church outside the GOA. I know I won’t be missed. I know very few people will probably even notice I’m no longer a member of the GOA. But I also know I’m one of many who have left, who are leaving, or who will leave. Fifteen years ago I’d tell you that you were crazy if you told me it would get to this. I would have cried if I could watch myself actually writing this article. Now I’m just numb to what has gone on within the GOA. I pray and will always pray for my Orthodox brethren. I pray that the Church can right itself. I pray that those who swore to protect the Church begin to do so.