Is the Greek Orthodox Church a Church of God’s Laws or is it a Church of Men?

By dogcatcher on October 19th, 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. In the summer of 1974 the United States was faced with a “nightmare” scenario, one that could have crippled or even destroyed our democracy. But something wonderful and affirming came out of the Watergate scandal. Had such an event occurred in modern day Russia or Greece a much different outcome would surely have ensued. President Nixon put nation ahead of himself and resigned from office. In other nations, even ones considered democracies, this could have led to a further cover up or even a coup d’état. Something quite different occurred in America. The actions of the players in the Watergate drama determined that we were a nation of laws in the United States. This was evident by the actions and words of Nixon’s immediate successor, Gerald Ford. In Ford’s Swearing-in Ceremony speech, he stated: “Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule. But there is a higher Power, by whatever name we honor Him, who ordains not only righteousness but love, not only justice but mercy.” His words sparked some reflection about the condition of the Church. Are we a Church centered and operated on God’s laws…. or have we declined into and must suffer a Church of men? My conclusions are disturbing. They confirm the main reason for the exodus of Parishioners out of the Greek Orthodox Church, an exodus, understood by objective observers, to be at historically accelerated levels. One only needs to read the articles on this website to understand this phenomenon. So let us review some recent and telling examples of where we are as an institution. These are surely examples of how we have fallen into a “Church of Men”. First, let’s examine the case of former Greek Orthodox Priest Fr. Adam Metropoulos. Mr. Metropoulos has now been twice convicted of sexual abuse, once in his home state of Michigan and the second time in Maine. A civil lawsuit filed by a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of this former GOA clergyman is developing evidence which will surely make the point of this article, that the church hierarchy places “men over God’s laws”. Our website has already provided a wealth of evidence on these issues. But for those who think the website is biased, please read a recent article in a Bangor, Maine newspaper about the civil law suit. It makes many valid points about the men who run our church. It focuses on the role of the Chancellor of the Metropolis of Boston, Rev. Theodore J. Barbas, in the affair and states in part: “The press release quoted the victim’s attorney, Verne E. Paradie Jr. of Lewiston, to support its call for Barbas’ removal. ‘As we’ve investigated this case, we’ve encountered repeated and disturbing evidence that the public record of credible allegations of sexual misconduct with children, including a 1983 pedophilia charge, against Metropoulos almost certainly was available to the chancellor,’ the attorney said in the press release. ’As the chancellor directly responsible for Metropoulos, Barbas had the ethical duty to ensure that this priest, who also was appointed to the Boston Diocese Camp, where he was granted unmitigated and unsupervised access to children, was not a predator’, Paradie said. ‘Barbas failed categorically in this capacity, resulting in lifelong physical, psychological and spiritual damage to this child victim.’” These attorneys may soon uncover evidence that Adam Metropoulos was removed from the Holy Cross Seminary for behavior of a deviant nature only to be readmitted a decade later. Why you ask? Perhaps the answer to that question will be disclosed during discovery or at trial. It is probable that these attorneys will subpoena records from our seminary. They may take the deposition of students and roommates prior to Metropoulos’ initial removal. If this case goes to trial, it is plausible that we will see our “Men in Black” protect their brethren instead of the Church and its people. Who among them will take responsibility and fess up to Metropoulos’s re-admittance into our Seminary? Will Fr. Barbas take the fall? Most likely we will see a very costly settlement where the victim and his lawyers will sign a non-disclosure agreement to cover-up and protect those responsible. It will be for us, the Laity and financial supports of the Church more “business as usual”, where we will never experience transparency or see the truth disclosed. Second, there is the very distressing case in the Metropolis of Chicago of James Dokos and Fr. Angelo Artemas. One of these men (Dokos) is an admitted and convicted felon, while the other is a whistleblower (Artemas). One violated God’s and state civil laws. The other did the right thing and is now unemployed and is paying the price of protecting the institution of the Church and its laity by refusing to condone the illegal actions of one of the “Men in Black”. There is much written about this, but we suggest you go to the following link for a current article: Then we have the case of former Greek Orthodox Priest George Passias, the de facto leader of the East Coast Ephraimite clergy. Yet another example of the “Men in Black” and their collective actions protecting their own and clearly illustrating our point that our beloved Church is not a Church of the laws of God, but a Church of men. Here is some additional information about how the Passias mess was mishandled: The root of the problem is that of perception. The environment that is poisoning the reputation and operation of our Church, and hindering it from operating under the laws of God, has resulted in an institutional “tunnel vision”. Do you want to be on a Council of our Church? Only apply if you see things from our, i.e., the Men in Black’s, perspective. Because you really need to possess “willful blindness”. Think about that …. “willful blindness” …How many successful operations look for participants with that trait? Is the concept something that can lead to progress, enlightenment and salvation? The first act leading to recovery is an act of contrition. Confessing your sins, true confession, must occur before forgiveness. Does willful blindness allow you to see the truth? You be the judge. A reasonable person would suppose that lawsuits, newspaper articles, or the nightly news bringing more of these types of events out into the open would have serious influence in the administration of God’s laws within our declining Church. But that that would be a mistaken supposition. Contrition no longer occurs in the Greek Orthodox Church. Responsibility always lies in something or someone else. It is the whistleblower or the victim who are at fault. The “Men in Black” will even ignore our civil laws to protect their own. Our leaders, including clergymen or the courtiers that surround them are predisposed to protect one another and throw the rest of us under the bus. The Church, that is the body of Christ, which is first and foremost a humble and just institution, is not protected. The results are the same as in our present political situation. The people are voting with their feet. Your Graces, your Eminences and of course Your All Holiness, at the rate we are losing our laity, perhaps a good real estate advisor should be retained to advise you on how to dispose of our emptying Parish properties.