War and Truth for Archbishop Elpidophoros of America

Archbishop Elpidophoros of America

By Giorgos I. Iliopoulos and Dimitris Elea

Truth can only go hand in hand with love. Humans deserve to stand upright and always defend the truth. No theory or ideology can undermine the truth’s role as a guiding principle, a moral compass, a value, a source of exaltation, and a catalyst for liberation.

Christianity has undoubtedly assumed a dominant position on a global scale as a religion centred on love despite the regrettable instances of crimes committed in its name. It has emerged as a cornerstone of modern civilisation in the democratic West, thereby influencing Greek culture and identity.

Embracing the reality that someone excels beyond oneself is an expression of both honesty and genuine love. Those esteemed as the best, the worthy, and the superior demonstrate their gratitude for the love they’ve received by utilising their abilities and virtues to serve the collective good.

On such foundations, human evolution has progressed to this day. Today, however, we are witnessing a troubling reversal of these fundamental principles. Archbishop Elpidophoros of America is facing unjust and unethical attacks from various circles. It’s truly mind-blowing to witness the sheer improbability of the accusations made against him!

Apparently, he’s been accused of everything from single-handedly dissolving the Archdiocese to selling it off and even undermining it to divide the Greek Diaspora just for the sake of dominance (almost reminiscent of the notorious tactics of British imperialism…). In the midst of all this aggressive rhetoric, it appears the truth has been conveniently swept under the rug.

We spoke with individuals we know in Athens and New York who are familiar with certain people and circumstances. After carefully evaluating the responses, it’s evident that the Archbishop’s actions are having the opposite effect: he is fostering unity and inspiration. He defends the interests of the Orthodox faithful of Hellenism everywhere by emphasising the increased needs of the poor and vulnerable.

He is trying to manage the finances of the Archdiocese wisely, which, unfortunately, previous administrations led to the brink of bankruptcy. He appears to be a highly competent hierarch, already leaving a significant mark on the Greek Diaspora and initiating reforms.

Yet, it’s precisely this mortal “sin” that those unwilling to give up their privileges refuse to forgive him for. And evidently, those who prioritise safeguarding their privileges over the essence of their religion remain completely unfamiliar with the spirit of forgiveness.

Furthermore, let’s not forget the undermining concerning the prospective succession to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Those involved in such intra-ecclesiastical rivalries should recognise that the faithful are concerned with the emergence of a hierarchy that is beneficial for all rather than being favoured by just a select few.

In conclusion, let us urge the Greek community to break free from perpetuating age-old stereotypes of discord and disputes, which all too often hinder our collective progress and spread like an epidemic. Let them remember that our historical achievements are associated with strong and bright personalities whose support benefits the entire community. Let all sincere religious individuals remember that pettiness, selfishness, and hostility have no place in the way the Church manages its affairs.

And let us hope, particularly in light of Archbishop Elpidophoros’s situation, that the noble spirit emblematic of the great country where the Archdiocese resides will extend its influence throughout Greece, embracing its positive attributes more fully.

The United States of America has become the leader of the modern world by consistently acknowledging merit and harnessing it for the collective good. It is high time for this spirit, born in ancient Greece and nurtured within the Christian tradition, to find its way back to its homeland.

* Giorgos I. Iliopoulos (Γιώργος Η. Ηλιόπουλος) teaches at the Department of Philosophy of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

* Dimitris Eleas (Δημήτρης Ελέας) is a writer, independent researcher, and political activist who lives in New York.

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