By dogcatcher on February 25th, 2012
  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 theocracy. The newly assigned Ephraimite Priest used his assumed powers to become an unquestioned Shepherd. His new flock soon divided into camps. The most disturbing by-product of the Ephraimite Clergymen was the creation of a new generation of Myrmidons. As you recall, Myrmidons were the warlike Thessalian people who followed Achilles on the expedition against Troy. They were known for their great loyalty and their ability to follow blindly. Myrmidons were set apart for they executed any and all orders without question. It was then I began to fully understand the effect of this Ephraimite movement upon our laity. The Metropolis of Chicago was ushering in a new breed of Shepherds. The days of Reverend Fathers Byron Papanikolaou, William Chiganos and John Kutulas were coming to an end. The faith abiding Shepherds who were stewards of their flock were slowly falling into disdain. Were these Shepherds perfect? Of course not. They could never aspire to the vaulted heights the current Ephraimite Shepherds self-proclaim themselves to be. Nor would they impose a dictatorial theocratic Rule upon their flock. This is becoming the “new way” in our Metropolis. This new breed’s collective goal is to create a new type of Orthodox Christian with the mental and emotional characteristics of the Ancient Myrmidons. Their goal is to develop spiritual slaves, and not to perpetuate God’s gift to humanity of free will and a discerning mind. The Myrmidons have not been replaced, they have a new name. Today we call these people Ephraimites. Sadly, their clergy leaders use false and distorted teachings of our Greek Orthodox Faith to enslave them. For purposes of this article, we will refer to Reverend Fathers Papanikolaou, Chiganos and Kutulas as our “Senior Clergy”. Did you ever have to worry about the Senior Clergy doing the following? 1) Refuse to Chrismate previously baptized Christians into our faith because they did not think Catholics or some Protestants were even really Baptized; 2) Require the Rebaptism of the already Baptized Christians into our own faith; 3) Send women to celibate nuns or monks for marriage counseling. (A couple requiring marriage counseling is usually in need. A marriage counselor requires a degree, training, compassion, sensibility, impartiality, and the ability to remove one’s opinion and values from the advice given. A good marriage counselor finds the source of the problem, and helps the couple in a positive way. The celibate nuns or monks instead push their own distorted theological beliefs on the faithful and do not take in consideration the couple in question. A celibate living a truly cloistered and monastic life is generally least qualified to counsel a married couple living in a secular society); 4) Send unmarried persons to Arizona so that their “Spiritual Father” can find them a proper spouse; 5) Leave before Holy Week or even during Holy Week to seek advice/confession from their “Spiritual Father” in Arizona or even Michigan; 6) Preach a theology that is not accepted by a consensus of the “Early Church Fathers”, but take the beliefs that are generally only followed by non-Canonical Old Calendar Jurisdictions and spoon feed it to their Modern Day Myrmidons as correct theology; 7) Give the following erroneous counsel during confession: “It has been proven that women who have had an abortion develop breast cancer”. Use of such fear tactics as emotional weapons to control their flock is unchristian; 8) Suggest that parents encourage their children to become monks or nuns to ensure seven generations of salvation for the family; 9) Tell their flock that other Greek Orthodox Priests and Parishes follow a “watered-down” theology; 10) Tell their flock that “we do not believe in the Patriarch” or the ecclesiastical authority of any Hierarch. They enforce this practice by not reading the encyclicals of the Archbishop during Christmas and Easter. Our faithful owe a duty to God and to themselves to grow and learn as Orthodox Christians. In the Metropolis of Chicago, which is known all the way to Constantinople for its ability to collect money, is no one ashamed about our collective failure to stop the poisoning of our flock? Ephraimite Clergymen and their hardcore followers accuse the Church of being corrupt. Is the Church corrupt or has a portion of it been corrupted? When I hear respected senior clergy referred to as “Westernized” or “Protestant Influenced” I realize the damage is deeper than perceived. This fundamentalist problem must be more universal. Were other Orthodox jurisdictions affected by them to the same degree as the laity in the Metropolis of Chicago? How did other Orthodox Hierarchs react to the problems and issues presented by the Ephraimites? The information gathered was eye opening. It caused me to lose a great deal of faith in the Hierarchs of Chicago. Let us look at one other Orthodox jurisdiction response. The solution and implementation of a plan by the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese (AOCA) is a model of balance. It began around 1997 when one of their Bishops became so disturbed by the effects of Orthodox Fundamentalists on his laity. He sought out one of their leading scholars and theologians. His assignment was to study the “theology” of the fundamentalists and determine its origins and the groups operating within Orthodoxy that use these heresies. The Clergyman with the assignment was a graduate of our own Holy Cross Seminary in Brookline Massachusetts and has a doctorate degree in History. The AOCA chose Archpriest John W. Morris for this important assignment. During his study and investigation of the issues, he determined that these fundamentalists fall generally into three different categories: 1. The Russian Orthodox Church in Exile and those in communion with it; and 2. Those in the Greek Old Calendarist movement; and 3. Orthodox Christians who still attend canonical Parishes or Churches. He goes on to describe them in this manner: They….. …share common attitudes with the Russian Church in Exile and the Old Calendarist… [they are]…well meaning sincere Orthodox Christians searching for a deeper relationship with God sometimes can fall under the influence of Orthodox Fundamentalists because they lack sufficient maturity in the faith to distinguish between customs which have changed through the centuries and the unchanged Holy Traditions of the Church. Thus they become judgmental of other Orthodox who do not share their devotion to monastic style services, beards and long hair, cassocks in public, and other outward expressions of nineteenth century Orthodoxy. Unfortunately, some monastics have contributed to the rise of Orthodox Fundamentalism. Although monasticism is an essential part of Orthodoxy and can be a major source of spiritual edification, without proper guidance some monks can cause a great deal of confusion within the Church. The history of Orthodoxy is filled with examples of monks who have forgotten humility, the first requirement of genuine Orthodox spirituality and have become a source of division and even heresy within the Church. Today, some monastics give spiritual guidance to non-monastics without any real understanding of the nature of modern society or the problems facing Orthodox Christians trying to live the Orthodox life in a world that is becoming more and more secularized. As a result, some monastics unwisely try to persuade laity to live a semi-monastic life or impose requirements on the clergy and laity that are impossible to fulfill by people living in the modern world. Some monks travel around and advise the faithful on spiritual matters, without taking the time and effort to understand their problems. The result is a disaster and great confusion for the faithful especially when monastics act without proper respect for the authority of the local Orthodox clergy who know their flock and their needs much better than a visitor who comes for a few days and then leaves those he has advised to fend for themselves. Thus some well meaning but misguided monks have contributed to the rise of fundamentalism within Orthodoxy (Archpriest John W. Morris, Orthodox Fundamentalists: A Critical View {Minneapolis, MN 1998} pages 10-11. ISBN 1-880971-40-2) Clearly, Father Morris is describing our very own Ephraimites. His Hierarchs read his initial position paper and took it one step further. They requested that he delve deeper into the issue and write a book dealing with the major theological heresies of Orthodox fundamentalists. The book is now used as a tool to counsel the faithful and guide them through the minefield that has been placed before all of us by this extremism. The Hierarchs of the AOCA then wrote letters, encyclicals and had meetings with their clergy to deal with Orthodox fundamentalism, much of which can be traced back to the Monasteries founded by Elder Ephraim of Florence Arizona and his followers. These letters were then read to the faithful and published in their Church bulletins. An example of one such encyclical was written by The Right Reverend Bishop Joseph of the Diocese of Los Angeles and The West. He states in part: “Some of you may desire to receive spiritual guidance from Clergy or Monastics outside the Antiochian Archdiocese. In such cases, people run the risk of choosing a spiritual guide who is not under appropriate discipline or who may hold to policies that conflict with our Archdiocese’s pastoral standards. To prevent such problems, Clergy and Laity who seek out Confessors outside the Archdiocese must first seek permission either from one’s Pastor or local Dean. Once permission is given, Laity are expected to inform their Pastors each time they make Confession, so the Pastor knows that the flock is being ministered to”. ( The response from the Hierarchs of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Canada——–NOTHING! They collectively pretend there is no problem. Every time one of the Laity confronts the Hierarchs with an issue that concerns the Ephraimites or Orthodox Fundamentalists, they pretend it is the first time they are hearing this and it will go away. A great man once said “the wolf in my backyard will be in yours soon”. If you take the time to read this and other articles on this website consider the following: 1. The people on this site are so disturbed by what they have seen that they have donated their collective time and money to sound an alarm; 2. There are many persons in the Metropolis of Chicago (and other Metropolises) responsible for spreading the growth of this cancer. Some are charged with a duty to stop it from spreading. We call upon our Clergy and Hierarchs to take a stand; 3. Some are so brainwashed or so naive that they fail to defend the faith against heresies. Is it possible that some have economic stake in the spread of heresies? 4. Where are the members of our Metropolis and Archdiocesan Councils on the issues generated by this Ephraimite Theology? The peace of our church is being attacked. It has been growing within the body of church for 20 years. Why were so many valid calls for investigations and audits ignored? In conclusion, are the lambs being poisoned? Yes. The articles on this website explain in great detail the how and the why. We have attempted to take this complicated situation and break it down to show how a church can be theologically corrupted from within. You are put on notice that the lambs will no longer stand by and watch the fringe element of Clergy who have embraced heresies define our faith. The only reason some of these theologically corrupt clergymen have stayed in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese System is to benefit from our higher level of compensation. If they were true to their beliefs and to the Greek Orthodox faith, they would resign from their positions and find a home in a Non-Canonical Orthodox Jurisdiction that follows Heretical teachings. In the future we will disclose more information about the spread of this cancer. We will give you additional information that will help all of you “put the pieces together”. We will go into greater detail about financial issues and the connection of these issues to certain individuals that are benefiting from the cancer. If those who have a duty,do not protect the faithful, we will take additional steps, according to our timetable, to expose this breach in responsibility and have this problem resolved. It has now come to this, an untenable situation for all, those few who are responsible with protecting the faithful are allowing this cancer to spread.