A Call to be True to Orthodoxy and Hellenism

Fr. Ioannis Fortomas calls on his fellow Greeks to be true to themselves and their history, and not give in to pseudo Orthodoxy.

Theodoros Kolokotronis, hero of the Greek War of Independence. Photo: wikimedia.org Theodoros Kolokotronis, hero of the Greek War of Independence. Photo: wikimedia.org     

When we commemorate the Metropolitan in the Liturgy, we do so out of submission to his authority. The commemoration of the local Metropolitan does not necessarily signify our prayers for his health or longevity, rather it is a token of our canonical subordination as a parish and Eucharistic community to a certain bishop. Greek Orthodox Christians must reflect carefully on this fact. Will they continue to subordinate themselves to shepherds whose only interest is the dissolution of Hellenism and Orthodoxy with the substitution of what St. Kosmas termed the “ψευτο ρωμαϊκό” that is, a false Orthodoxy, a false Christianity, a false Hellenism? Now, two hundred years after the glorious Greek Revolution, again, we are called to muster our defense of everything sacred: Our Christianity, our Hellenism. We do this by arming ourselves with the weapons of faith. Unlike in 1821, these are not literal weapons. They are the weapons of piety, of conviction, of knowledge, of evangelical truth. We have allowed the Constantinople Patriarchate to create a false Orthodoxy” in Ukraine to the detriment of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church led by the saintly Metropolitan Onouphry. One of the false bishops”1 acknowledged by Constantinople recently declared that faithful of the canonical church should be marked on the ear” as we mark stray dogs.” The glorious generation of 1821 such as Kolokotronis, such as Makriyiannis, such as Papaflessas would in no way tolerate such ridicule and stain as a matter of principal. We have allowed the Constantinople Patriarchy and its affiliates to subsist off of our work and labors and to create a plutocracy off of the labors of our fathers and grandfathers which has not benefited Hellenism in the least. It is my sincere conviction that now, Greek Orthodox Christians must vote with their feet. Complacency with the agenda of the Patriarchare at Constantinople means one thing only: Hellenic Orthodoxy wont live to see a 300th year anniversary of the Greek Revolution.

In essence, the patriarchate of Constantinople, despite its claims at persecution by the Turkish state authorities, has enjoyed the relative tolerance of Turkey as of late. In fact it praises the Turkish government often and is often used by the Turkish government as a propaganda platform. The vast majority of the Patriarchate’s flock (and thus income) are Greeks of the USA, Australia, Canada, Germany, and the UK (Greek Cypriots in the case of the later). In the last one hundred years, the Patriarchate of Constantinople has, in general, aided western allied (American, British) interests—since the Allied Occupation of Constantinople until our present day. In return, the Patriarchate is “guaranteed” its existence in Turkey i.e. the western powers apply the proper pressure on the Turkish authorities which do not do what they did in 1955 (search for “Istanbul pogroms” on Wikipedia) to the rest of Constantinople’s Hellenism, to the 2000 or so remaining Romoioi of the City: decimate and expel them.

As is well documented—and has been generously commented on as of late—the Patriarchate of Constantinople mistakes its interests with those of the West. Certainly, western powers such as America have declared common cause with Constantinople and the evidence of their co operation, especially as concerns the birth of the schismatic false “church” in Ukraine is ample. In fact, this information is confirmed by the western powers themselves. One need look not further than the former Secretary of State’s (Pompeo’s) statement: Took action on lots of fronts with Russia, including religious freedom. I made sure the U.S. supported international recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, helped the Metropolitan escape Russian influence,” which was posted on Twitter.

Western powers historically attempted a “containment” of Russia, using every means possible to this achievement. Napoleon did so and Hitler did so. Communism is no doubt a supreme evil and ought to have been contained and stopped. Yet, for the duration of my lifetime Communism has ceased to exist in Russia. The USSR collapsed some 31 years ago. The world should understand the first victims of Communism were the Russian people themselves, and the Russian church itself. Communism: the supreme evil to which the Russian Church fell victim as is testified by the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia whose memory we recently celebrated. The Russian Church and the Russian Orthodox faithful earned “top of the list priority” in the persecutions driven by the Soviet regime. As the West continues its traditional assault on Russia, it seems the Constantinople Patriarchy has confused its interests both political and ecclesiastical with those of the Western powers, and thus its “war” on the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church by the establishment of a false “autocephalous” “church” in Ukraine.

What does the survival of Orthodoxy and Hellenism, in particular, Hellenic or Greek Orthodoxy have to do with these events? It is clear that the shepherds of Hellenic Orthodoxy and the political authorities that rule Greece—i.e. the Mitsotákis government—are taking us for a shipwreck of the finest caliber. This is quite fitting, it is quite “Byzantine” of them. Similar courses of action were followed in other times by the Patriarchate of Constantinople co-operating with the Byzantine empire—read the life of St. Simeon the New Theologian and find out how the illustrious ecclesiastical authorities of the time buried icons of St. Simeon’s spiritual father to extinguish his veneration which they considered blasphemy. St. Simeon was finally exiled for speaking eternal truths to the Constantinople Patriarchy. Prior to this, many know well that St. John Chrysostom himself died as a disgraced former bishop of what is today the Greek Orthodox Church, which promogulated his exile, ultimately causing his death. Thus, St. Simeon the New Theologian wrote of the bishops of the Constantinople Patriarchate (as if Christ was speaking to them): They (the bishops) unworthily handle My Body and seek avidly to dominate the masses... They are seen to appear as brilliant and pure, but their souls are worse than mud and dirt, worse even than any kind of deadly poison, these evil and perverse men! (Hymn 58)

How is the Russian Patriarchy different, you ask? Never did the Russian Patriarchy claim any rights and prerogatives not its own. Never did it begin teaching that it is “first among unequals” - Constantinople has done so. Meanwhile, the Russian Orthodox Church freely has apologized for its historic errors. The persecution of Old Believers, the imprisonment of St. Maxim the Greek are examples. The Russian Church historically has also stood up to the Russian state. The death (execution) of Metropolitan Philip II of Moscow is a testimony to this. The suspicious death (likely poisoning) of Patriarch Tikhon is also testimony of this. And what has Constantinople ever apologized for? How has Constantinople or the Church of Greece ever stood up to the State’s interests when their end result is the destruction of Christianity and the family unit? Archbishops Seraphim and Christodoulos of Athens are exceptions. The later resisted the intrigues of the Constantinople Patriarchy to the point where they struck his (Christodoulos’) name from the diptychs.

Since Constantinople is leading Hellenic Orthodoxy, I as a Greek Orthodox priest -though now under from within the Russian Orthodox Church—will never stop proclaiming that it is leading Orthodoxy and Hellenism to a cliff and to destruction and to ultimate demise. There is certainly no contempt within me for the See itself. There is only righteous disdain for the decisions of the men who occupy the See. Invoking the intercession of such Fathers such as St. John Chrysostom and St. Maximus the Confessor and St. Simeon the New Theologian I bring to mind the ancestors of today’s Greeks who fought their way out of Turkish slavery and into the light of freedom. Look around yourselves and at least in the secrecy of your own interior thoughts and life be honest with yourselves: is this the Hellenism and Orthodoxy they were shot, burned alive, or roasted over open, coal-fires for?

1 This “bishop”, Adrian (Kulik) of Shepitivsky, who made this statement on Facebook, had a rather circuitous path to the OCU. He was born March 25, 1972 in Kkmelnitsky province. He studied for two years in the Moscow theological seminary, from 1991 to 1993, but continued his studies in the Lvov theological seminary of the Ukrainian autocephalous Orthodox church—a self-consecrated schismatic organization. He served in Kiev as a deacon, and then in 1993 moved to the US, where he was received into the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church of America (OCA), in which jurisdiction he was ordained a priest. In 2001 he officially left the OCA by reason of his return to the Ukraine. In 2002, he joined the Ukrainian autocephalous church of North and South America and the diaspora, where after his tonsure as a ryassaphore monk with the name Bogdan, he was consecrated a bishop in New York by bishops of the Ukrainian autocephalous church of North and South America. In 2004 he returned to the schismatic Ukrainian autocephalous church, and was received into that church in Kiev, then appointed bishop of the Cherkassy and Kirovograd diocese. He continued to serve as bishop in that church in other dioceses. Due to a conflict of opinions between two lines of the Ukrainian autocephalous church, he was tonsured a stavrophore monk, which he received with the name Adrian, and re-consecrated bishop on the same day. In 2913 he switched churches again, this time to the Kiev Patriarchate, and was assigned as rector of the church of St. George in the city of Khmelnitsky [information from https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%90%D0%B4%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%B0%D0%BD_(%D0%9A%D1%83%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BA)].—OC.

Dean Calvert2/12/2021 11:57 pm
I have a newsflash for Fr. Fortomas: If you had called St. Nicholas a GREEK Orthodox, (something he appears to be so proud of), he would not have known what you were talking about; and if you had called him a Greek (Έλληνας) you would have just insulted him. During the first 1500 years of church history, our forebears were essentially UNINTERESTED in their ethnic origin. That may startle many, in our era of hyphenated Americans (Greek-American, Italian-American, Mexican-American, Black-American etc)...but it is absolutely correct from a historical standpoint. Our forebears were ROMAN citizens - and the word Greek (Έλληνες) referred to either 1.) someone of the Periclean, pagan times or 2.) essentially a hillbilly from the far off province of Hellas. If you doubt me, go read the Alexiad, and see how she refers to Έλληνες. And the thought of Hellenism being something coequal with Orthodoxy is a heresy (see my post below). I am 100% Greek, travel to Greece often, and LOVE my heritage and history. I've stood on the the Acropolis many times, in sheer awe of the Pericleans, and on the Walls of Constantinople. But here is what I am MOST proud of: My forebears invented BOTH the Coptic and Cyrillic alphabets; in the latter case in order to preach the Gospel to the (then-pagan) Slavs. And when a Greek walks down the street of Moscow in an Ελλάς T-shirt, as I did; you will be stopped by ordinary, everyday Russians who will tell you, "You Greeks are very smart people - you gave us our alphabet, and you gave us our FAITH." This has happened to me many times...from complete strangers. THAT is something to be proud of...NOT some semi-racist notion of Hellenism.
Ioannis Fortomas 2/12/2021 4:47 pm
Dear Theodoros, Please feel free to write at anytime at the following email: frioanniskranidi@gmail.com God bless you!
Julie2/12/2021 12:46 pm
It saddens me to see these negative comments about Greeks. Greeks are in fact really wonderful people. There were a lot of Greek families where I grew up. Although it seems to me they lost their Orthodox compass in the U.S., but they were big hearted and and talented people. The Greek children always stood out in our class for their abilities. Of course all people have their weaknesses, but I think the Constantinople problem is an aberration on the Greek ethnicity. However, when a Greek knows the foundations of his Orthodox faith and stands up for them, he or she becomes an example for all of us to follow. I think Fr. Ioannis is just such a person. These people make a huge difference for us who have only just converted to Orthodoxy. It's important for them to stand up for their Hellenic roots when they are aware of them as being Orthodox Christian. After all, the Greeks did a huge job of bringing Orthodoxy to other nations, and we should be thankful for that. No, they are good people, and I wish there were more like Fr. Ioannis, and those in Cyprus and Greece who are standing up to Constantinople's innovations and pseudo-Orthodoxy.
Theodoros 2/12/2021 2:22 am
A very good analysis. Does Father Ioannis have any contact information or email where he can be reached? I would like to ask some questions of him.
George Feeny2/11/2021 5:26 pm
Hey, thanks for your racist ramblings, Papaflessas. You remind us so well of why no one takes the Greeks seriously besides the Greeks. Or I guess the Cypriots. But there are also lots of good Cypriots, like the Metropolitans of Limassol and Kykkos and Morphou. Right fine Cypriots, they are. But you just sound like a racist Greek. Very Constantinople of you.
Juan2/11/2021 2:01 pm
What did the holy freedom fighters for Greek independence and Sacred Hellenism and the courtiers of Catherine the Great have in common? Answer: many of them were Freemasons
Papaflessas Kolokotronis2/11/2021 8:55 am
Oh hello there Mr Juan. I trust you are well and staying safe during this unprecedented moment in human history! Dear Sir! You seem to have a very shallow understanding of what Hellenism means. Our beloved Hellenism is intertwined with our beloved Orthodoxy. What is it beloved Sir that kept Hellenism together for 500 years under the islamic kholera. Was it not Orthodoxy? Do a search of images on Greek independence and what will you see? Images of our holy freedom fighters alongside the true hierarchs of Orthodoxy. Now I know. Oh how well I know that the western white man as well as the Russkie too (remember Katherine 'the great' and Orlov!!!) want to see the end of Hellenism altogether but this ain't gonna happen dear Sir. As our own national saint Άγιος Παΐσιος told Αθανάσιος Ρακοβαλής from the Motherland: <<Βλέπεις σε μερικούς δεν συμφέρει να υπάρχει η Ελλάδα....σήμερα οι φίλοι μας θέλουν να μας ‘τσαλακώσουν’ και οι εχθροί μας να μας ξεσκίσουν... δεν πειράζει όμως, έχουν οι άνθρωποι τα σχέδιά τους έχει και ο Θεός τα δικά Του...>>
Dean Calvert2/11/2021 4:58 am
Aside from St. Gregory Palamas calling Hellenism "a pit of vipers" in the Triads, I also seem to recall a Council at Constantinople stating the following about such ethnic pretensions: "We have concluded that when the principle of phyletism (i.e. ecclesiastical nationalism) is juxtaposed with the teaching of the Gospel and the constant practice of the Church, it is not only foreign to it, but also completely opposed, to it. We decree the following in the Holy Spirit: 1. We reject and condemn racial division, that is, racial differences, national quarrels and disagreements in the Church of Christ, as being contrary to the teaching of the Gospel and the holy canons of our blessed fathers, on which the holy Church is established and which adorn human society and lead it to Divine piety. 2. In accordance with the holy canons, we proclaim that those who accept such division according to races and who dare to base on it hitherto unheard-of racial assemblies are foreign to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and are real schismatics." Constantinople...1872
Juan2/10/2021 12:48 pm
Good intentions, but it's precisely the ideologies of supremacist ethnophyletist Hellenism and Freemasonic nationalism that led us to this deplorable situation.
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