Diplomatic problems for GOA after Abp. Elpidophoros attends Turkey event with Erdoğan

New York, September 22, 2021

Photo: romfea.gr Photo: romfea.gr     

Top Greek and Cypriot officials have expressed extreme displeasure with Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s Greek Orthodox Archdiocese after the hierarch attended a Turkish event with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in New York earlier this week.

The Turkevi Center, which will serve as home to Turkey’s permanent mission to the UN, was officially opened on Monday. At 36 stories and 560 feet tall, the building towers over neighboring United Nations Plaza.

The Turkish president noted at the opening ceremony that the building reflects Turkey’s “increased power.”

For his part, Abp. Elpidophoros, a Turkish citizen, who attended the ceremony, later tweeted:

I congratulated Pres. Erdogan on the opening of the Turkevi Center, together with UN SG Guterres. As always I insist on the importance of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the re-opening of the Halki Theological School, and supporting the rights of religious minorities of Turkey.

However, that he interceded on behalf of the Halki School was not enough to placate President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece.

The former canceled his meeting planned with Abp. Elpidophroros today, while the latter strongly considered canceling his Friday meeting, though the Greek outlet orthodoxia.info reports that in the end, he decided to meet with the bishop at the St. Nicholas Ground Zero Church.

Both leaders will be in America this week for the work of the UN General Assembly.

Romfea describes the situation as “Intense discomfort in Athens and Nicosia,” especially considering that the event also included the head of the Turkish occupying forces in Northern Cyprus.

“I can’t meet with him when the day before he was at a fiesta with the leader of the occupying forces,” Pres. Anastasiades allegedly told his associates.

The event also scandalized the Armenian National Commiteeof America, the largest Armenian American organization defending Armenian interests in the U.S., which tweeted:

Shunned by the DC establishment (hawks, doves, and everyone in between) - desperately seeking allies - Erdogan recruits Azerbaijani diplomats, representatives of the illegal Turkish occupation force in Cyprus, and the Greek Orthodox Church for this staged photo op in NYC.

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Joshua9/26/2021 1:37 pm
Jason/Jonathan: I don't know Theodoros, but I've seen his comments before and he seems like a level-headed person of Greek background, which is why I asked his opinion. He doesn't seem like the type to jump to conclusions, but tends to weigh things carefully before posting a comment.
Theodoros 9/26/2021 1:39 am
It has been my understanding that this is a forum to express opinions. I have offered opinions being in a Greek speaking church based on my experiences and understanding of the modern history of the patriarchate of Constantinople.
Jonathan9/25/2021 10:06 pm
Theodoros: Are they "allegations"? https://www.grandlodge.gr/meletios-v-metaxakis-w-97473.html The pair of you (Joshua and Theodoros) sound like two out-of-touch academics writing to each other simply to puff the others ego, and not because you really care about communicating truth to the average man. so sad! It would be funny if it wasn't true!
Raphael9/25/2021 9:54 pm
No proof that that the seat of constantinople is masonic? Really? You have not done your research very well Theodoros. Here is proof from the masonic website of Greece in Greek! If you are Greek maybe you can translate it for us.... https://www.grandlodge.gr/meletios-v-metaxakis-w-97473.html by the way Meletios was the anti-patriarch that changed the calendar of the Church which led to the murder of thousands of Orthodox Christians instigated by the false patriarch. It is also a known fact that almost every president of the USA has been a practicing freemason, and so the EP is simply being loyal to his brotherhood, and not the "US government"! He is being a good freemason and so is the "government" of the USA! Also, does Christ teach us to do google searches, read selective historians based upon our own revision of history and/or pre-suppositions or does He teach "you shall know them by their fruits"? The fruit of the Patriarchate of Istanbul is clearly anti-Christian and very much in line with the teachings of freemasonry as taught in their own books, such as "morals and dogma" by albert pike. Who was a hater of Christ and states in more than one place that he wishes to see Christianity destroyed, and that man ought to worship lucifer as the "true god"! When was the last time you saw the EP actually upholding the teaches of the Church?
Jason 9/25/2021 8:02 pm
Joshua and Theodore, I am just curious; do the two of you know each other? I don’t think I’ve ever seen this sort of exchange between two commentators on orthochristan before and I have been reading the articles on this website for about a decade! Also, and please forgive me, I am not trying to be rude, but what makes Theodore a person who’s opinion on this matter we would want to hear? Why would one commentator ask another commentator their opinion about anything? Is Theodore an expert on “all things Constantinople”? If so, can you please tell me what qualifies you as an expert? Again, not trying to be rude, but the exchange struck me as very unusual to say the least. Almost rehearsed!
Theodoros 9/25/2021 1:40 am
To Joshua, I have heard rumors regarding freemasonry at the Patriarchate but I have never found any specific evidence from any historian on the Patriarchate to substantiate these allegations. In my opinion, there are three crucial factors which may have influenced the policies of the Church of Constantinople. First, the Patriarchs began to see themselves as the Church itself and not just as one local Church (with a primacy of honor) among many local self governing Churches. The Patriarchs also began to view the Russian Church as competitor rather than as a sister Church. Thirdly, the Patriarchate became vulnerable to the influence of the western powers (first Great Britain, late America) as a result of the extermination of the Christian populations of Anatolia and the later mass "exchange of populations". During the 1920's, the Patriarchate faced enormous persecution by the Turkish authorities and the top priority for the Patriarchs was to remain in Constantinople. A major mistake may have been the Greek governments demands that the Patriarchate reman in Turkey. The western powers put a little pressure on the Turks to ensure the Patriarchate remained in Constantinople. The Turks realized short of expelling the Patriarchate they could do with it as they wished which meant harassment, deportations of some hierarchs to Greece, and a veto on any candidate for the Patriarchate that they did not approve of. During the Cold War, the US saw the Patriarchate as an instrument against the Russian Church which they believed was under Soviet influence. America today likewise sees the Patriarchate as an instrument against the Russians. I am not trying to avoid your question, but as far as I know the problems with the Patriarchate have to do with political factors such as American hostility to the Russians and Constantinople's vulnerable position in Turkey. That vulnerability mixed with the current Patriarchs hostility to the Russian Church has created the present crisis in Orthodoxy.
Joshua9/24/2021 5:45 pm
Theodoros: Just interested in your opinion. It often seems to me that there has been a sort of infiltration of the the Constantinople Patriarchate, perhaps bound up with freemasonry, which is like a hydra. If you cut off one head, two grow back in its place. Therefore, simply deposing them would not be enough--although it's a place to start. But it seems to me that the root cause needs to be addressed. The hydra itself needs to be somehow put to death?
Theodoros 9/23/2021 3:26 pm
To Mariko Hishamunda, There are numerous problems coming from the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Most problematic are teachings which the Archbishop himself has formulated such as the idea that the Ecumenical Patriarch is "first without equals". This idea was a precursor to the Patriarchate's intervention in Ukraine which has triggered the most serious crisis in Orthodoxy in nine centuries. At the present time, Turkey occupies thirty seven percent of Cyprus which is under continued threat by the Turks. Turkey is also threatening the territorial integrity of Greece. The Erdogan government openly demands that Greek islands be ceded to Turkey. Add to this, the conversion of Hagia Sophia and the Church of the savior at Chora into Mosques and we see the threat that Turkey represents. The Archbishop's presence at this Turkish center is offensive and outrageous. It is also hypocritical. Patriarch Bartholomew in his aggressive designs on the Russian Church's canonical territory in Ukraine has made a variety of statements that can only by construed as being racist. The Patriarchate's power grab was done under the banner of "Hellenism". And yet, here is the Archbishop socializing with the Turks uttering not a single word about Turkish expansionistic claims toward Greece and Cyprus. It should not be forgotten that the Patriarchate in its collaboration with the State Department has managed to do serious damage to the Church of Greece. The Church of Greece has come under American secular influence which can be seen by the disastrous decision of the Athens synod to establish communion with the fake bishops in Ukraine. Both Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Elpidophoros deserve to be called out for hypocrisy and their disastrous policies and actions. They should both be deposed.
Mark9/23/2021 1:51 pm
Mariko: to compare an Islamic terrorist such as erdogan to an orthodox Christian president who builds churches and monasteries, speaks on behalf of the persecuted Christians of the world and literally saved the Christians of Syria from ISIS (who were over 50% Turkish citizens) is really a testament to your blind hate of anything Russian! It’s also very sad to see that you have no understanding of Russian history and are so quick to falsely label anti-communist leaders as “Bolshevik”. To compare today’s government of Russia to the Bolsheviks of the past is like comparing Angela merkel to hitler simply because she is the chancellor of Germany today! It is unfair, irrational and completely ignorant! Oh, one more thing. The Bolsheviks were funded by the same powers that fund erdogans vision for turkey and yes, the ottoman Turks did kill (and are still killing) far more Christians than the communist Bolsheviks! Read your history!
Jesse Dominick9/23/2021 11:57 am
Mariko, your question should be addressed to the PM and President in Greece and Cyprus. They're the ones who were scandalized.
Anymouse9/23/2021 11:45 am
Thank you Mariko for your excellent point! How can the Russians continue to play the victim if they have no boogeyman? Sergianism is still prevalent and the only way to look good and play victim is to have an instigator. You know the whole "good cop, bad cop" routine they have going on. I pray for enlightenment for those who refuse to see this being played out.
AC9/23/2021 7:08 am
After spending time around the Archbishop I have been struck by his arrogance and how dedicated to his agenda he is. He allows no dissent (and there is plenty) and clearly thinks as a Turk not a Greek; a heretic not an upholder of truth; a dictator not a member of synod. Orthodox of all ethnicities must wake up and recognize the phanar has been infiltrated by satanic forces. His name “Elpidophoros” is a misnomer. History will remember him as Catastrophoros.
Mariko Hishamunda9/23/2021 4:02 am
He has to work with the Turkish dictator to preserve church life in Turkey just as the hierarchy of the Moscow Patriarchate has to work with the ex-Soviet Russian dictator - why is the above more noteworthy as 'scandalous' church news than that? Who killed more Orthodox in the 20th century, the Turks or the Soviets?
Panagiotis9/23/2021 1:21 am
When he marched with BLM, he lost all respect from me and I would imagine many, many other Greek Orthodox Christians, the vast majority of whom are very conservative....
Theodoros9/22/2021 6:43 pm
Perhaps this will show the Greeks that the archbishop and the Patriarch do not care for Orthodoxy or for Greece And Cyprus. They care about their own power at all costs And will collaborate with all shady governments (American, Turkish etc.) to accumulate power. Both the patriarch and Archbishop are Turkish citizens. This makes it a conflict of interest for them to speak for Greeks specifically or for Orthodoxy generally. They are creating a rift between Greeks and Russians while serving the Turks. Hopefully, this incident will make Greeks realize that these hierarchs promote destruction. And division and both of them should be deposed. Hopefully, the bishops of Greece will wake up and realize the terrible thing they have done at the behest of the Phanar by entering into communion with schismatics in Ukraine.
Mikhail9/22/2021 4:17 pm
Par for the course. Every decision he makes is worse than the last. Every announcement he makes is anathema to the Orthodox phronema.
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