Friday, September 23, 2022

Abp. Elpidophoros on baptism and the Greek language

Two points on the below:
  • One, baptism is not inoculation.  It is not Thetis dipping Achilles in the River Styx. It is not blood thrown against the lintel of your front door. It is in fact asking more of someone in their life and not less. It is obliging not only the person baptized, but also the godparents, and the parents to live a life according to the dogma and discipline and ethos of the Church. A baby cannot autodidactically teach himself what that means. So it is especially important that both the sponsors and the parents intend to make it their primary mission in life to fulfill this promise to Christ and His Church. 
  • Two, if you were to be presented this and spoke no Greek, would you have any idea what it is? Does it look especially appetizing? I would say that the proof would be in the tasting and not in the packaging. Then I could say whether it was worth purchasing or not. And yet the below purports to say that the loss of the Greek language is the chief problem in the Greek Archdiocese. Not birth rates, not marrying non-Orthodox, not poor catechesis, it's the language. And yet, when I have served at Greek parishes and spoken to the people, few people were native speakers or even able to articulate much more than a few choice phrases. The diminishing return of using a language more and more foreign to the people you wish to have "taste and see" would seem to point to language just being a wrapper and not and end in itself. Greek of course has a special place in the Church, but I hazard a guess that if we all spoke Esperanto tomorrow, I could evangelize with the same ability I have today. The Gospel message is timeless and not bounded by any linguistic borders.

(Espresso) [machine translated] - "Anyone who asks me to baptize their child will do so , regardless of who they are. I baptize children and I don't care about the personal life of their parents. I don't judge people's lives."

These words of the Archbishop of America Elpidophoros , whom "Espresso" had the opportunity to travel with on one of his many trips to Greece , give his own dimension to the issue that broke out and the negative publicity that the baptism of children had received of a same-sex couple (s.s.: Evangelos Bousis and Petre Dundas), which he performed two months ago in the Holy Church of Panagia Faneromeni, in Vouliagmeni.

He didn't get a chance to take a clear stand on the matter, but we as a column had the chance to hear his take on it, on a half-hour plane ride, during which we were lucky enough to sit side by side.

The hierarch, after giving his own explanations on the topic that "Espressso" dealt with extensively on its front pages, showed that he is very worried about the Greek language, which, as he told us, is slowly being lost among the diaspora. This he considers to be the number 1 current problem of the American diaspora.

"Unfortunately, schools in the diaspora are closed every year . The problem is that the Greek language is being lost, slowly but surely. That is why I undertook many related actions. I found money from our expatriates and built a first center to save the language. But what is primarily needed is for the children to come to Greece. We need to get expatriates to visit the country with their families. Because it is different when you learn something in theory and different when you experience it.

When you have an image of Greece and have experienced it, you never forget that, and then you will want to learn to speak its language" Elpidophoros told us with the blue eyes, which, as he revealed to us, he got from his mother and his grandfather. Finally, the day before yesterday, the Archbishop of America met at the headquarters of the Archdiocese of America, in New York, with the former prime minister and president of the Socialist International George Papandreou.


  1. "...I baptize children and I don't care about the personal life of their parents. I don't judge people's lives...."

    This is religious, moral, and personal idiocy. I would say it is a 1st graders interpretation and implementation of the various Scriptural "do not judge", but that would be an insult to the intelligence and spiritual intuition of young children everywhere.

    It is also the spirit of the age - more to the point the captivity of "do not judge" and other biblical "maxims" (to choose a word) in the service of a moral antinomianism and anthropological nihilism that *is* what modern man and culture believe and what it lives out. It's so anti scriptural/traditional its hard to believe that modern people, whether they are Christian or not, actually say such things with a straight face. But they do, even Orthodox Archbishops. Faithlessness is not just a personal/communal consciousness of doubt - it can be what people actually *believe* and they can be wholly ignorant of it...

  2. I'm getting the impression from the terrible example in point 2 that Americans don't know what flan/crème caramel is, which really is sad...