Friday, May 17, 2024

Elpidophoros "put[ting] new wine into old wineskins"

The question that keeps getting asked on the Internet is, "When is Constantinople going to do something?" Or, more naively (bless their hearts), "Does His All-Holiness know about this?!" The answer is, if you have been reading previous posts on events in the US being brought up at the regular meetings of the synod in the Phanar, that Patriarch Bartholomew is well aware of the things going on.

( - Over the weekend, the outlet published an interview with Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America entitled, “Discriminating against people based on their love life isn’t Orthodoxy.”

In the interview, the Archbishop discusses the Baptism that he served in Greece in the summer of 2022, dubbed the Greek Church’s “first openly gay Baptism” by one of the gay fathers of the children who were baptized.

The event became an international scandal, and the Greek Holy Synod sent a letter of protest to Abp. Elpidophoros and a corresponding letter to Patriarch Bartholomew. The Archbishop was not accorded the usual greeting of a hierarch when he visited Mt. Athos in January of this year because of the public spectacle surrounding the “gay Baptism.”

Nevertheless, Abp. Elpidophoros affirms in the new interview that he would absolutely serve such a Baptism again.

He also compares the hierarchs of the Greek Church who openly protested the legalization of gay marriage in Greece with antisemites and Nazis.

Abp. Elpidophoros also argues that because 70% of Orthodox marriages in America today are to non-Orthodox or even non-Christians, the Church can’t have an “exclusionary mentality.” He has openly stated in the past that because of the prevalence of these mixed marriages, the non-Orthodox spouses of Orthodox Christians should be allowed to receive Holy Communion in Orthodox churches.

Read the relevant portion of the Archbishop’s new interview:

—Is there room for modernization in the Church?

—Over the years, the Church has changed and evolved. Clearly, what cannot be influenced are the principles of the faith. Everything else, however, can be modernized. Undoubtedly, some people get agitated even at the mention of the word “change.” I advocate that the practice of our religious duties cannot be threatened, just adapted. You change the way the truth of the Gospel is expressed. You put new wine into old wineskins, as our sacred texts mention. Confidence and courage are needed from the clergy so that in every era we can speak the language and communication codes of the time. Otherwise, we only manage to marginalize the Church and put ourselves out of community. Consider that today 70% of marriages in the United States are made with non-Orthodox and in many cases non-Christians. Therefore, if we adopt an exclusionary mentality, our flock will diminish each year. However, the Church has always embraced and will embrace all people. Everyone is accepted and welcome. The "exclusionary mentality" here might be reference to his public desire to commune non-Orthodox spouses. This is not unique to the archbishop; it has been echoed in interviews with other metropolitans. More broadly, he seems to think that being more open and accepting is what will grow the church. Do you agree? Do we find the most growth in the jurisdictions where the emphasis is on Orthodoxy or on Orthodoxy being conducive to modernity?

—You faced intense criticism for serving the first Baptism of a same-sex couple’s children in Greece. After everything that was written and said, do you have any regrets?

—First, let's clarify, because this was also misinterpreted, that we are talking about a Baptism ceremony, not a marriage. When the parents asked me to baptize their children, as I was obliged to do, I accepted with great joy. I don't think he was obliged to travel outside of his canonical territory, not notify the local hierarch of the special circumstances, or attend the lavish party - complete with fireworks - afterward. Besides, the Godparents were Orthodox and I had absolutely no reason to refuse. This novel and truly incredible criterion that some use, namely that we must discriminate against people based on their sexual life, is not Orthodoxy, it doesn't even count as a humane attitude. We can’t elevate sexual behavior and someone’s love life as the sole criterion either to accept or reject them. These are unprecedented things and I would say that in Greece, they are a result of an imported Western Puritanism. Read that again. Is that a "love is love" argument? For example, they interpret the original sin as sexual. If you read Genesis, nowhere does it mention sex nor that the original sin was related to a “sexual” act. Essentially, it was nothing more than the rejection of God’s authority on moral issues, namely disobedience, i.e. a misuse of the freedom of choice. We don’t even know if it was an apple, if it was generally a fruit, because it doesn’t matter. The motive was selfishness and ambition, not sex or love. It was a Puritan fabrication and nothing else, aimed at incriminating sexual acts and romantic behavior, and on top of this guilt narrative, which has nothing to do with Christian teaching, some invested in order to control people, projecting an inherited punishment. Thus, we reached, even in Greece, this extreme phenomenon, where the sexual behavior of a person becomes a criterion for any discrimination in professional, social, or political spheres, even within the Church. It is entirely un-Christian and never has Greek culture weighed any person according to their romantic behavior. We must condemn all forms of violence, verbal and physical, and denounce the hatred and prejudice based on each person's differences. If your bingo card included "words are violence," please use your dauber now.

—Did the criticism and what was written about your trip to Mount Athos and the possibility of a postponement because you would not be welcomed bother you?

—Criticism makes us all better and it doesn’t bother me. What saddened me is that the facts were misrepresented, something that also reflects the real intention of the people who protested. What we eventually saw happen is a defamation campaign on the verge of yellow journalism. I repeat, all I did was baptize two little children. And it’s something I would do again, without any difficulty.

—On the occasion of the voting on the marriage equality bill, we heard incendiary statements from metropolitans like Nikolaos of Mesogaias, who in his lengthy report to the Synod characterized homosexuality as a deviation and mentioned that “our biggest mistake would be to accept that the homosexual act, apart from being a psychological disorder, is not also a sin.” How would you comment on that?

—Look, I listen carefully to everyone who seeks my advice. However, I am neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist. Therefore, to come out publicly and stigmatize anyone, I must tell you, I consider it fascistic. And fascistic behaviors are based on blaming our fellow citizens for some reason. We have seen it historically happen, e.g., with the Nazis. It’s an extremely dangerous mentality, which manifests in various aspects. Look what’s happening with the rising trend of antisemitism. Therefore, is it possible for the Church to give the impression that it blesses or covers up or tolerates such behaviors with its silence? This is a malignant disease, a carcinoma that will spread to other parts of the body. Today it may be Jews, tomorrow homosexuals, the day after tomorrow dark-haired, blond people, and at some point, fascism will knock on our door and we will feel the cold metal cutting our neck. Especially, the degree of antisemitism in a society shows how healthy it is. These are ideologies that bloodied Europe and the world and can have no relation to Christian theology, no matter how some try to dress their extreme ideological fantasies in a Christian cloak. Read that again. Maintaining the historical stance on homosexuality as being contrary to the divine plan is now both fascism and cancer.

—There were also some metropolitans who argued that those who voted for the marriage equality bill should be banned from entering the churches. What did you think of this?

—You see how the cancer I told you about progresses? Do you see that when something is left unchecked, it goes further? The abscess must be cut and we need to set a limit, because as a society, we’re very likely at risk. It’s clear, therefore, that fascist behaviors have no place in the Church.


  1. No one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined.

    Luke 5:37 NKJV

    1. I was just about to say that this is such blatant misappropriation and twisting of a passage to make it appear that it says the exact opposite of what it actually says that it makes the mind spin.

    2. Re this quote: "He also compares the hierarchs of the Greek Church who openly protested the legalization of gay marriage in Greece with antisemites and Nazis." Therefore LP is a Jew and by extension a Christ Killer and NOT an Orthodox Christian. Only a Jew would make such a statement in order to disarm his opponents; a common Jew tactic. But LP and Bart are clearly willing slaves of their masters in the CIA, US government and the cursed Jew Zionists who own them. Our Lord, GOD and Savior Jesus Christ is hardly of interest to these heretical "hierarchs". Like wise for the AHEPANS, ARCHONS, LEADERSHIP 100, etc who are Christ hating jews as well. You can tell by my name that I am of Greek descent and be it known that my family is originally from Asia Minor. LP and Bart do you remember what happened to Archbishop Chrysostomos of Smyrna in 1922 and the Patriarch at the start of the War of Greek Independence in 1821 ?? πρόσεχε!

    3. It looks like whatever they call the Greek branch of the Ku Klux Klan has shown up. The above comment is obviously beyond the pale and should be deleted.

    4. From this, I am to believe that a hierarch who is called out for his obvious heresies is to be praised and I am a member of the Orthodox KKK. It speaks volumes of what you are as an "orthodox" christian. Thanks for exposing yourself. It would have been better if you said nothing.

  2. Elpidophoros is obviously a heretic and should be deposed. But Constantinople is unlikely to act for any number of reasons. The clergy and faithful of the GOA need to openly make it clear that they will not accept him as their archbishop. One of the important differences between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism is that we don't kowtow to hierarchs who have obviously departed from the faith.