Orthodox Leader Blasts Church Officials for Fueling Antisemitism During Holocaust Remembrance

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Thessaloniki, Greece – On Holocaust Remembrance Day, a high-ranking Orthodox Church official issued a scathing rebuke against religious and church officials who perpetuate antisemitism. Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox faithful across the Americas, expressed grave concern over the rising tide of hatred, declaring:

"I am deeply troubled by the international spread of antisemitism. It horrifies me that the very institution meant to heal wounds – the Church – can itself become a conduit for this poisonous fire."

While his address lacked specific examples, Elpidophoros's message held immense weight. He unequivocally condemned fascism and Nazism as the true embodiment of evil, distinct from any religious doctrine:

"Evil has a name. It has a face. It has a history. It is called fascism and Nazism. Let no one cloak this repugnant ideology with the holy garments of Christianity."

His words resonated deeply in Thessaloniki, where the Greek Orthodox Church and the Jewish community share a complex history tragically marked by the horrific Holocaust. As a symbol of unity and acknowledgment, both Elpidophoros and former mayor Yiannis Boutaris were bestowed honorary membership in the city's dwindling Jewish community, now numbering only around 1,200.

Earlier that day, Elpidophoros, alongside city officials and the ambassadors of Israel and the United States, commemorated the victims at Eleftherias (Freedom) Square – the very site where, in 1943, German occupiers rounded up Thessaloniki's Jews, cramming them into trains bound for concentration camps. Auschwitz-Birkenau became the final destination for most, with roughly 50,000 perishing there.

Beyond the sombre remembrance, Elpidophoros's bold statement represents a critical step towards confronting the dark undercurrents of antisemitism within religious institutions. His voice is a powerful reminder that true progress can only be achieved through unflinching honesty and a collective commitment to combatting hatred wherever it takes root.


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