Abp. Elpidophoros on the BLM march: It was my duty as a Christian and Greek, inspired by Pat. Bartholomew

New York, June 23, 2020

Photo: goarch.org Photo: goarch.org     

On June 3, Archbishop Elpidophoros, the head of the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, joined thousands in a Black Lives Matter protest march in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

His participation garnered much praise, as well as much criticism because of the pro-abortion and pro-LGBT politics of Black Lives Matter and because the event was held in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic during which the Archbishop himself had closed his churches.

The day before he marched, police officer Shay Mikalonis, a member of the St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Las Vegas, was shot in the head during a Black Lives Matter protest and is currently on life support. Abp. Elpidophoros has also come under heavy criticism for making no public statement about Mikalonis and for joining with BLM after this incident.

Abp. Elpidophoros addressed some of these concerns and explained his participation in the march in a recent interview with the Greek outlet Vima Orthodoxias.

“As a person and as an Archbishop, I must tell you that my decision to take part in the peaceful protest march for equality was not just a choice, but my duty as a Christian and as a Greek,” he explained.

“Each of us has our own voice to speak, but when we unite with our fellow citizens, with our fellow human beings, we can create a harmonious whole that will speak to fundamental human values,” he added.

Not everyone who participated in the march was homogeneous, the Archbishop said, but all were united in the goal of ending racism.

He also stated that his participation was not intended to present a pre-meditated message about politics, but was a last-minute decision, based on the personal example of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

“It simply came to our notice and I decided at the last minute. I thought, ‘What would our Patriarch do in this case?’ I learned from him and I will always have him as my guide and mentor and role model in my life,” Abp. Elpidophoros said.

“And I was sure he would do the same without hesitation. I thought that as the head of a religious community, such as the Archdiocese of America, I have an obligation to work with all governments, regardless of party affiliation, as our Patriarchate does. And I do,” the GOARCH head explained.

“But I will never compromise or negotiate my consistency and devotion to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,” he added.

Religion can never be neutral to human rights abuses, he also highlighted. “It is certain that there will not always be agreement, but that is exactly where the beauty of our faith lies, that is, that there is always enough space for everyone, as long as everyone relies on love for God and love for man.”

In a statement last week, Abp. Elpidophoros said that George Floyd’s death is not in vain if it brings America closer to justice for all.

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Tracey Schaefer6/28/2023 4:09 pm
John, I agree with you one hundred percent, its sad how many fall for the lies and promote the very thing that seeks to destroy our church etc.
Christopher C. Strutt10/14/2021 11:05 pm
The only thing that may soften this error of judgement is the fact that the march took place in June of last year. People were still finding out, often too slowly, the true nature of BLM. Also, we now have a more complete picture of the very flawed George Floyd — and the legal determination that in his death, however tragic, there is no evidence that it was an act of racism. I’m trying to give the Archbishop any benefit of the doubt possible. It’s a source of deep sadness to see clerics (especially in a high profile position), motivated by their sense of compassion and social justice, fall into these traps. The visible support given, very ironically, is to an organization and a co-opted “cause” that is atheistic, totalitarian, and thus antithetical to the gospel. My own denomination of origin, the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., has repeatedly aligned itself with radical left-wing political positions — and lost 50% of it’s membership in the last twenty five years.
John Rodakis9/24/2020 9:22 pm
I am fully supportive of the Archbishop values of freedom of expression as to race, color and creed.He continues to represent the esteemed values of our beloved archbishops Athenogoras, Michael and Iakovos AXIOS!
Agatha vournas mantaned9/20/2020 2:15 am
When you The head of billions of Greek orthodox and you March with terrorists of the streets you should be removed. You do not March with anarchists and communists and baby killers. Thousands of Greek American Eastern orthodox will never again Support any Greek orthodox church in America.
Kathy Johnson9/12/2020 2:40 am
Elpidophoros must have been worried they would burn St Nicholas down so he pandered. If he truly cared about injustices he's show concern for Greek Orthodox women who were raped. He doesn't. Justice for Olga!
Apples9/2/2020 1:18 pm
No Excuse! This has sunk him & nothing he can say will excuse him except to admit his monumental mistake which he won’t.

I’m sure he’s a nice monk inside & would do great job of being head of a monastery somewhere in Istanbul but as AB he’s proven to be an unadulterated, certified Train Wreck!
Jude7/9/2020 5:35 am
Congratulations Archbishop Elpidophoros! You are WOKE! Perhaps if you had done a bit of research before making your “last minute decision” to march with BLM your judgement might have been different. WAKE UP!!! I invite you to enlighten yourself and Patriarch Bartholomew by reading the link below. May God have mercy on ALL of us. https://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2015/09/02/exposing-black-lives-matter-for-what-it-is-promotion-of-cop-jilling-n2046941
Michael 6/28/2020 5:26 am
The Fall Of Primate Bartholomew Patriarchate of Constantinople’s and his Lacky Elpidophoros Archdiocese of America: So why are +Our Greek Orthodox Hierarchies Like The Primate Bartholomew Patriarchate of Constantinople and his misguided +Elpidophoros Archdiocese of America, who place themselves in The News And Politicking for BLM Instead of Focusing on Jesus Christ The Word + The Way to Repentance and Salvation instead of Playing Politics for Self Gain ; Is it Because... it’s easier to follow “Evil Than Good “ BABA+ MICHAEL + In God We Trust
George6/26/2020 4:30 am
Greek or not, Orthodox or not, either way I pray Shay has a full recovery and I thank him for his service. And with everything else going on in the world, remember, man has his plans and God has His. No matter what, God is in control of everything: "I'll tell you about a very great spiritual gift he gave me...just before he died. I took him from Mt. Athos to drive him to Souroti in my car. It's a distance of 2 or 3 hours depending on the speed of the car. On the way we discussed on various topics, and at some point I made a question to him. I asked him, Elder how is God? Tell me a little about God, how is God? What did I ask him? I asked him to tell me a few words. That God is like this or otherwise. He didn't answer, he just leaned his head and prayed a little less than one minute. And then, suddenly, the sky opened. My soul opened. I was driving and we were at a point with many turns. And suddenly, I began feeling God. Inside the car, out in the hills. High in the stars, in the galaxy, everywhere I felt God. Because I saw with distress the things of the world, how they would be and so on. But I realized that everything is in God's hands. Nothing shakes nor a small leaf without the will of God." Above quote is by Athanasios Rakovolis, Author and relates a miracle he experienced with Saint Paisios the Athonite. Quote is taken from the documentary, "Saint Paisius, the Ecumenical Athonite - a Russian documentary," and can be found on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xd35W6lp3GQ at the 4:59:48 mark. I hope that this is edifying and reassuring to all who read it. The evil one will never prevail against Christ and His Church.
Gregory M Kay6/25/2020 5:17 am
BLM is an openly-Marxist (meaning atheist by definition) organization that supports abortion and homosexuality. Supporting them is supporting those things as well, not even getting into jumping to conclusions at the cause of a single career criminal's death while in police custody, seeing as how the autopsies are conflicted.
Jimmy6/24/2020 8:46 am
Shay Mikalonis is not Greek. He is Lithuanian. He is not a member of the Greek church. Please correct this article.
Antiochene Son6/23/2020 7:12 pm
"I have an obligation to work with all governments, regardless of party affiliation" Black Lives Matter is not the government. At least, not yet. However, they have burned churches; and one of their leaders, Sean King, said yesterday that every statue, mural, and stained glass window of a "white Jesus" or a "white Mary" should be destroyed. I hope Elpidophoros will ensure that the icons in his churches have a sufficiently dark skin tone to save them.
John6/23/2020 4:55 pm
For any Christian tempted towards sympathy for Elpidophoros or the degenerate BLM terrorist organization - https://russian-faith.com/culture/blm-excommunicated-priest-denies-communion-all-members-black-lives-matter-n3345
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