Just Another Day at Church– When I Was “Pre-Warned” to Never Approach the Chalice for Holy Communion

admin June 1, 2014 109
Just Another Day at Church– When I Was “Pre-Warned” to Never Approach the Chalice for Holy Communion

Today should have been a happy day for me. The weekend started quietly in Pittsburgh, spending some quality time with my mom, talking, eating out and attending church with my entire family on Sunday at Holy Trinity— the parish community I was born and raised in, where my brother was married and where my father was buried. It was the place I spent most of my childhood and young adult life, before I left for Chicago.

At the end of church services, I greeted the parish priest whom I’ve known since the day he arrived just over twenty years ago when I was still living in Pittsburgh and we spent a few minutes catching up. It’s been a while since I’ve been home and since I’ve moved to Chicago, I haven’t been a part of the day to day life of the community.

What started as a conversation about life ended in one of the biggest shocks of my life and one that even as I type on my keyboard, am having a hard time overcoming.

He awkwardly informed me that if and when I would ever approach the chalice at his church— at the church I was born and raised in— he would not be able to offer me Holy Communion because of a “directive” that was given by his Metropolitan— Metropolitan Savas, the ranking hierarch of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh— that prohibits people living “a homosexual lifestyle” to receive Holy Communion.

He reiterated to me that this wasn’t something that he had decided and that he would hate to have to choose between “a brother” (me) and “his Metropolitan’s orders” (his boss) if I would ever approach the chalice to receive Holy Communion.

I walked away from Fr. John, shocked, stunned.

Shocked first at him— for even putting me in such an awkward position to “pre-warn” me that I should never approach the chalice in his church, but also shocked that when posed with such a “tough choice” he could not discern between right and wrong, between love and intolerance, between being spineless and having a conscience. I was immediately reminded of the Gospel that we hear on Holy Monday during Holy Week.

Matthew 23:23-28
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and rapacity. You blind Pharisee! first cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”

I don’t know Metropolitan Savas personally, and I haven’t seen any directives barring homosexuals from receiving Holy Communion in the Greek Orthodox Church that Fr. John was referring to so I can’t comment on him, or his directives. And I reiterate that Fr. John didn’t deny me from taking communion— he only warned me that he wouldn’t ever want to be in a position to have to deny me communion in his church— in my church.

I can say, however, from what I do know about the Greek Orthodox Christian faith that Holy Communion is a gift— a gift that Jesus offers and it is not Metropolitan Savas’ or Fr. John’s to deny. I also know that Jesus himself offered communion to Judas, the man he knew would eventually  betray him.

But they are denying people this gift, with this directive— this medieval witch hunt— and this will be their burden to carry. They must look at themselves in the mirror every day, after all, knowing that their church of love, compassion, support and comfort has turned its back on someone at a time in his life that all he needs is exactly that— from the very institution that purports— falsely— to profess all of these ideals.

I can also say that there are adulterers, criminals— and yes, even homosexuals— who not only receive Holy Communion regularly, but who prepare it and offer it to their faithful every Sunday.

Today ended up being a sad day— as it marks the last day I will ever visit Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church again, and a day— thanks to Metropolitan Savas’ directive and Fr. John’s “pre-warning” that I am even questioning the very foundation of this institution of love and compassion that they call their church. They can count their converts as successes but they should also count those that they have turned away. They can add me to that list.

I am realizing more and more— after involvement and service of my entire life at the local, metropolis and national church levels— that I was raised in a church of hypocrisy— where people can hide behind donations and robes— and live lives contrary to the very commandments of the faith— yet the church will welcome them praise them, elevate them to high positions, name them Archons, honor them at banquets and offer them positions of prominence on councils and committees.

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109 Comments »

  1. Angie Giakouminakis Pappas June 2, 2014 at 3:41 am - Reply

    I'm heart-broken. For you. For all of us. Truly.

  2. Thelma Rosenfeld June 2, 2014 at 3:55 am - Reply

    So sorry that you had to experience that first hand but I believe it is a blessing in disguise . It is important to realize the hypocrisy exists. Precisely the reason so many do not attend.

  3. Renee Catsimatides Cassis June 2, 2014 at 4:11 am - Reply

    Greg. That is awful and I am so sorry that you were hurt so deeply. This is why I gave up on organized religion a long time ago. You are a good person with faith in God. Focus on that and to hell with the assholes and their narrow minded rules

  4. Frank Kakouros June 2, 2014 at 4:22 am - Reply

    Sorry Greg that you were treated with with such hatred from a church of love. Courage will guide your spirituality. Don't be bound by rules that are fabricated to create hatred and disdain. Be the beacon, let your glow be the guide.

  5. Peggy Sietos June 2, 2014 at 4:23 am - Reply

    This is horrible and complete crap!! No one should be denied or turned away for any reason in my opinion!

  6. Andrea Petratos June 2, 2014 at 4:39 am - Reply

    This is appalling, TRAGIC and very disturbing!

  7. Kiriakos Charlie Perperidis June 1, 2014 at 11:49 pm - Reply

    What happened to you was disgusting, beyond that I’m surprised your surprised because I assume you have studied the bible. In regards to your experience, It has always astonished me when my gay friends participate and support the church. An organization along with its loyal followers that freely exercises it’s right to be racist and to discriminate as it chooses in the name of God, how arrogant of them. If you believe in God you must know, you don’t need religion to be with God and God doesn’t need religion to be with you, FYI, the middle man typically has his own motivation.

  8. Katina Moutsos June 2, 2014 at 5:17 am - Reply

    Dear Greg, as I read this all I could think of was riding in the buses with you in Crete and watching you do your Stavro as we passed every church. I was in disbelief. Do you know how many churches there are in Crete? I was in disbelief because I saw before me a young man who truly loved his church. Your love of God is the one true thing in life that should not waiver for anyone or for anything! My heart too is broken.

  9. Jenifér Dixion June 2, 2014 at 5:17 am - Reply

    Wow. That is terrible. This is one of the many reasons why I stay away from church. As a 3rd generation American with 1 Greek grandparent, I'm not Greek enough and don't have the right last name. Yes, hypocrisy exists. Jesus loves EVERYONE regardless of their sexual preference, last name, ethnicity, etc. I'm really sorry you had to experience this. I agree with what Frank posted, Courage will guide your spirituality. Big hug to you & sorry your feelings were hurt :(

  10. Chrysovalantis Stamelos June 2, 2014 at 5:24 am - Reply

    Welcome to the club Greg! I haven't been able to receive communion since I got married to a "Muslim". Apparently the New Testament verse of 1 Corinthians 14 "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband'' doesn't matter.

  11. Anastasia Zouvelos June 2, 2014 at 5:38 am - Reply

    no one should approach Holy Communion without confession, prayer and fasting. an Orthodox priest who hears confession is to counsel the confessor and if necessary prescribe treatment for their confessed sin. the idea is that a person repents, and asks forgiveness and will not commit that sin again. even a heterosexual who confesses fornication would be counseled to stop engaging in pre-marital sexual activity and probably be told not to take Holy Communion for a prescribed amount of time. this is not reserved for homosexuals only. if a priest knows that someone is guilty of a certain sin, then it is his obligation to counsel that person and advise him or her to stop living a sinful life. some sins are more obvious than others. we do not know who in the pews next to us is a fornicator, liar, thief, child abuser, cheats on their taxes, beats their wife etc. some people are very clear about their lifestyle whether homosexual, or heterosexuals who for example live together outside of marriage. there are people who have been denied communion and even funerals because they were married outside the church. there are people I know who were barred from being godparents because they were married outside the church. "now if being godparents in the Orthodox church is so important to them, why didn't they marry in the church?" is what the priest told them. the priest who is good enough to perform our weddings, baptize our children, visit our sick parents in the hospital and perform the funerals of a loved one etc are good enough to do all that but once they tell us our sins are just that -SINS we don't want to hear it and suddenly they are wrong. in this day and age (yes 2014) where homosexuality is being accepted everywhere we seem to think that eventually the Church will say yes too! this is not going to happen. just like the Church is not going to say to the unmarried couple living together that their situation is acceptable. we can live in any year and any society that accepts homosexuality or any other lifestyle that contradicts biblical teaching but the Church will not bend on this issue and do we really want to belong to a Church that bends on issues because society has changed? I don't ! homosexuals are "amazing human beings brimming over with love and compassion for all" but homosexuality is still a sin. doesn't mean they are not good people and should not be treated with love, compassion and respect. but to say a sin is NOT a sin is very dangerous, whatever that sin may be and whatever year we live in.

  12. Gus Bubaris June 2, 2014 at 5:14 am - Reply

    I am pleased that our church has standards. It’s easy – men and woman make children. Marriage – life long commitment. Honor. Good example for children as to what is right.

    Homosexuality, like incest, pedophilia and bigamy are not acceptable lifestyles, Christian or otherwise, and should not be heralded.

    Denying church access in appropriate – there is no difference between the aberrations associated between: 1) two men who seek to get approval for homosexual lovemaking; 2) a father lusting for his daughter; and, 3) a man taking two wives.

    Can we all say the words ” not Christian”?

    Just because it feels good doesn’t make it right.

  13. Lynn Paitakes Lotkowictz June 2, 2014 at 10:39 am - Reply

    sad and plain rediculious

  14. Michele Lerakis Pfeiffer June 2, 2014 at 10:58 am - Reply

    I am completely shocked! I have NEVER heard of such a thing! Beyond ridiculous!!

  15. Maria Kreatsoulas June 2, 2014 at 11:31 am - Reply

    Just when I thought little could irritated me more about organized religion, I find myself truly appalled and disgusted by the actions and "directives" of the Orthodox Church. At a time when an influential Christian world leader like Pope Francis says publicly "who am I to judge?", our church takes massive steps back towards complete intolerance and exclusion. I have nothing but pity for those who continue to be blinded by the rules and dogma that is ignorant to true message of Christianity. Acceptance, love and tolerance.

  16. Pamela theodotou June 2, 2014 at 7:41 am - Reply

    They know not what they do, have faith. We have to wonder why the teachings of Christ are selectively applied and the laws of men dominate out of fear and misunderstanding. The church too is in need of forgiveness in its ignorance it seems but times are changing and hopefully we are all a part of evolving these earthly views towards true love and compassion for all of us. If not then all of us should be denied communion for we are all sinners are we not?

  17. Chrys Anthy June 2, 2014 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    There are many people who have turned away from the Greek Orthodox Church. I'm sorry you had to experience one of the many hypocrites that represent the religion I used to respect.
    Think of it as an eye opener to the fake "love" they supposedly represent.

  18. Peter Patrikis June 2, 2014 at 9:16 am - Reply

    Hypocrites …….. Jesus never said this, and all are sinners…..

  19. Maria Hadjidemetriou June 2, 2014 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    I am not surprised. I became pregnant to my daughter Julia while still engaged with her father. My mother told our priest about the happy news and he said to her "bravo, etsi megaloses tin Kori sou". (bravo is that how you raised your daughter). This priest has known me since 2 years old when I was diagnosed with a fatal genetic disease, Thalassemia. Having spent half my life in a hospital and still do I was repeatedly told I could never conceive a child and here I conceived my daughter natural and unexpected. The plans of course were to wait to "try" and become pregnant after the wedding. I was given a gift from God to become pregnant to this child. My mother was shamed by him and put the guilt on me every day on my daughter being illegitimate in Gods eyes. That priest in Astoria has done horrific acts and fled to Greece. I haven't confessed in five years and nor do I ever intend on confessing. God knows my sins and he knows my pain as well. They are so righteous to judge us and they end up being the bigger sinners. I'm sorry you had to experience this….please do not do not let it get to you. God loves you so much. that priest is just a man in the wrong.

  20. Virna Lisa Santarsiero Nicotra June 2, 2014 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    you are so right…God's Gift to you is Julia…this wonderful child…

  21. Joana Gomes June 2, 2014 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    U are so so right my sweety dear Maria, wonderful pic <3 God bless U and Julia and too all Family !

  22. Kyriakopoulou Vasiliki June 2, 2014 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    I am sorry that you had to face that Greg, but I am not really surprised! They have been hypocrites and care more about the money than the real meaning of God, which is love and caring and sharing. Do not forget Church back in Greece owns half of it!!!!!!!! Do not let them succeed in putting poison in your heart!!!!! xxxxx

  23. Nick Vlahos June 2, 2014 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    Biggest hypocrites are our priests unfortunately.

  24. Chloe Allemon June 2, 2014 at 4:36 pm - Reply

    Maria mou you are blessed by God. He sent you this adorable child because He wanted to make you a gift and show that everything is possible for Him. You know Maria mou i don't go to church but I always pray to God, Your child is beautiful and I know you will give her good advices in her life so to be a right and honest person, have respect for herself and for the others, give love and be happy. God bless the two of you

  25. George Christopoulos June 2, 2014 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    Sad that that churches preach love and understanding also long as you play by their rules

  26. Nesrin Berrak June 2, 2014 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    It's sad that those who are suppose to be our moral compass have such little empathy. I remember the Imam at our mosque told me that if I did not wear the Hijab, every exposed inch of flesh would burn in hell. I asked him if God had sent him a personal memo concerning me and if so, I wanted to see said memo/email. This is the same healthy Imam who lived off social security and welfare for five years while working for cash after his tenure was ended.

  27. Pauline Costianes June 2, 2014 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    When you are baptized, you are "united to Christ" . When you marry you are mystically united to your spouse. If the spouse is not united to Christ, then the marriage CANNOT be acknowledged by the Church. Non-Christians do not believe that Jesus is the second person of the Trinity and God, so why even date someone outside of the Christian faith? Unless you both were lukewarm about it – whch has to be the explanation when somebody born Christian marries a Jew, a Muslim, a Buddhist, or a total non-believer.
    Don't go condemning the Church for holding fast to it's teachings. Corinthians was written in an era where there were very few Christians and mostly pagans, and usually the new Christian had been a pagan too when they converted. This was written so newly converted Christians didn't think they had to divorce the unconverted spouse. That is NOT the case today.

  28. Pauline Costianes June 2, 2014 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    Why would you be shocked? Single people having sex also are not to approach the chalice. All these comments are evidence of the American "everything's OK and how dare you say it's not" mindset, that unfortunately, pervades Orthodoxy as well. If priests have a homosexual orientation , but do not have sex, then it is my understanding that they may still serve the Eucharist. If they are actively having a homosexual sex life, then no, and they should be removed from service until they cease. All of you who have responded and protested and "how awful the Church is to do this" have completely forgotten what a great price those early Christians paid to even be Christian. So typical – Americans don't like receiving consequences when we sin, we don't even WANT to hear about sin – which is why all those big-box, Sunday entertainment, feel-good churches are doing so well. Of course the American mindset also includes not taking responsibility for our actions. Yes, Jesus did command us to love one another, but he also told the prostitute to "go and sin no more". He chided the Samaritan woman for having 5 husbands, and the one she was living with was not her husband. He didn't rubber-stamp sinful behavior because "our widdiw feewings would be hurt". Which is exactly what all of you who have responded "oh this is terrible" seem to expect.

  29. John-Alexander Sakelos June 2, 2014 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    This is just one priest in one parish, this is not the norm. Lets not make overreaching generalizations.

  30. Chloe Allemon June 2, 2014 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    Maria mou I would like to ask you something and please answer me. Why did you decide now to write something so personal

  31. Maria Fafoutis June 2, 2014 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    I'm reading alll the comments and I can't believe what I am reading.
    Every one is a expert. We have children, what happens to the people who believe this is a sin. Can you tell me what you would do to your child, if he or she tells you their gay. Would you stop loving them and throw them out of your house. Church is gods house and he loves all his children. Refusing them communion, would a priest refuse communion to someone dying of cancer if he or she is gay. I really hope not. I go to church every Sunday, and I don't want to believe this really happened,

  32. Chrysovalantis Stamelos June 2, 2014 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    Pauline Costianes I just want to first say that my response is not attacking you, but your argument. First, who is to judge what relationship you have with God, Jesus, or the like? The explanation you gave is the standard contrived and rehearsed answer that I've heard one too many times by doctrine-lovers. It lacks any true understanding of the human experience in this world, and in the end, results in cult-like behavior and belief that damages relationships. Jesus himself said that the most important rule to live by in order to find eternal life is to love your G*d with all your heart and all your mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself. And if you know the religions of Islam and Judaism (not what you see on FOX News) you would see that the followers of those faiths stand by Jesus's teachings completely. If you don't believe me, I would challenge you to step outside of the "orthodox" bubble and see what there is. I say this all because I used to think like you. Hope this finds you well.

  33. Alli Vassis June 2, 2014 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    When my husband-to-be was in the process of obtaining his ecclesiastical divorce, he was not aware that he could not receive any sacraments from the church. When it was his turn to receive Holy Communion, the Priest loudly announced that he step out of line as he was not yet “officially divorced.” How is that for humiliating? Where does it say in the bible it is okay to shame a faithful parishioner? He could have taken him aside and explained. The hypocrisy is abominable, especially when your Metropolitan engages in homosexual activity and all look the other way.

  34. Maria Hadjidemetriou June 2, 2014 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    Chloe Allemon Hi thea, sorry for the confusion I was commenting on what Gregory Pappas has posted. Please read his article. Click on the picture above and see what a priest told him and why I am not surprised a priest judged him. I was judged as well.

  35. Maria Hadjidemetriou June 2, 2014 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    Nesrin Berrak Nesrin I can't believe the Imam said this to you. Great response back..they are supposed to be our spiritual leaders but there is no spirituality they possess.

  36. Michelle Koukios Mavres June 2, 2014 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    You are in my thoughts and prayers today. I was always taught that the church's position and that of the priest was to do whatever possible to keep members as part of the flock. That is what the very fringe on their vestments represent. The sad reality is very different from the lip service they give.

  37. Darlene Zarimba Hinkley June 2, 2014 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    How very sad.

  38. John Sar'takis June 2, 2014 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    Traditional religion and modernism are mutually exclusive. But, that doesn't mean you can't have a bond with God in modern times, it's just that the relationship can't always be a public one or in an organized setting. Change is happening, but it's very slow. No one in this earthly plane can judge you or what is in your heart. To do so is wrong and contrary to the preachings of the historical Christ. As a gay person myself, I no longer attend church save for obligatory sacraments for family members, but I still maintain a relationship with God. No priest or hierarchy has the right to stigmatize that unique connection and condemn anyone to a spiritual depression because of their petty political agendas. If we allow that to happen, THEY have won over us. Personally, I shudder at the thought of the poor kids in that parish who are LGBT-questioning and the psychological damage that is being done to them by an arch-conservative parish and their parents too (enabling the stigmatization of their own children). Aren't they just as responsible for looking the other way and exposing them to such humiliation? The children need to know that they are not abnormal or evil or rejected by God. That is the message that has to reach these kids.

  39. Eleni Loutragotis-Gassi June 2, 2014 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    Priest have no right to judge others. Only GOD can do that. You do not need to go to church and confess to a priest personally. You can confess at home or in church where the icons are. And yes Julia is your blessing and she has changed your life for the best. You are doing a great job raising her. Many have kids and not wed there is no shame in that

  40. Emmanuel Tambakakis June 2, 2014 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    Gus Barbaric, you should really study before you make such stupid comments because it makes you look even more idiotic than your comments lead you to be. Homosexuality is not a lifestyle. It’s one’s sexual orientation. They don’t wake up one day and choose it. Judging someone else based on who they are is as backward as me beating the crap out of you for your hateful words of illogic.

  41. Lori Jones June 2, 2014 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    I am so sorry this happened to you and I admire you for sharing this awful experience. Your final paragraph sums it up nicely. For the reasons you stated and my own bad experiences I do not go to church. I do believe in God and try to be as good a person as I can and I truly believe that God is happier with me and you then he is with most "priests"

  42. Lori Jones June 2, 2014 at 10:13 pm - Reply

    Forgot to mention very nice looking family!

  43. Celeste Champagne June 3, 2014 at 1:52 am - Reply

    I can't "Like" this, but have to comment on the deplorable treatment, which as you say, Renee, is what turns people away from organized religion whatever the denomination. So sorry. They are not God's rules but man-made and one just has to move on.

  44. Emily Vaias June 3, 2014 at 2:04 am - Reply

    I'm Greek Orthodox too, and I hate that this could ever be supported by the church. I'm so sorry

  45. Lynn Nevins June 3, 2014 at 2:05 am - Reply

    I personally do not believe any 'institutions' have any place to tell individuals what is right and what is wrong. I believe that most people are inherently good by nature, and that it is the rare person who for some reason prefers to do evil. But most humans are good. Period. And so by that means, most people know right from wrong in their own hearts. And they also know in their hearts when other people are making judgements about others for their own self-serving reasons. Listen to your own heart. Who cares what anybody else..or some 'book'… has to say on the matter. ;-)

  46. Andreana Megaris June 3, 2014 at 3:43 am - Reply

    I'm so sorry Greg. You didn't deserve that at all. :(

  47. Vasiliki Akrivos June 3, 2014 at 4:57 am - Reply

    Being Greek does not have to coincide with being Greek Orthodox. I teach social studies and all religions have rituals that exclude… So I have decided to be more spiritual… So become more spiritual and start praying for these visually impaired people suffering from myopia. They are unable to see humanity.

  48. Chloe Allemon June 3, 2014 at 5:14 am - Reply

    O K Maria mou I see what the point was. I am and I agree with you. Do as your heart tells you and let the nothers in their ignorance

  49. Georgia Kol-Das June 3, 2014 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    So hypocritical considering most of his own profession here in Greece. This fossilized relic of said Christianity should be hung upside down naked and flogged by his pious brethren . Even the prior mayor of Athens Kaklamanis was in church each Sunday and warmly accepted by priests of higher order. It's these archaic attitudes that cause the intelligent youth to depart from the church, and stop contributing to its coffers. Sorry that anyone should have to suffer such treatment and hatred in our God's house.

  50. Efy Leonardi June 3, 2014 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    I know the Metropolitan. He is a kind, decent man. Why not ask to speak to him yourself, even on the phone, and explain how you feel by his decision. He's a compassionate person. I am not sure that order came from him, but you'd do well to find out.

  51. Mark Backeris June 3, 2014 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    This is terrible news Greg. You always served as an example of living a life in and with the community while I was growing up in the church. Sorry to hear that the church is so exclusive when it comes to any other "lifestyle".

    Dean Backeris, there was a time that I would not have been surprised by this. More recently, during our very cherished pre-marriage classes, Father John told me "Life is about growing your heart to accept more and more into it." With how old our church is, I would have hoped that it would have gotten far enough to accept all of the various sexual orientations/configurations that we humans can be born into. It's silly things like this that make it hard for me to swallow the religion pill. Here I thought "Christ was in our midsts," such a shame to be disgracing him in person.

  52. Nick M. June 3, 2014 at 9:12 am - Reply

    I have met Sava he is a very nice and down to earth guy. Why wouldn’t you call Sava and talk to him before writing this appalling anti-orthodox article. It’s not appalling because of the content, but because of the reason u wrote it. You were angry and wanted to “call out” these men as hypocrites. That is not very orthodox Christian of you, gay or not. Although, I agree that maybe you should be aloud to take communion, I disagree with your distasteful terrorist attack on the orthodox faith and it’s beliefs. I see this all to many times with gay friends of mine. The first time somebody says something negative about the gay lifestyle, they go into what I tell them is full terrorist mode, using social media, face book, twitter, ect. To attack or hurt the person. For a group of people asking for tolerance, they show very little tolerance for those who don’t believe what they do. I don’t know Greg, I’m sure he is a good orthodox boy, but if ur not too ashamed after writing this article you should call Sava and pick his brane about it. If u are still not satisfied then continue on with your campaign but don’t single out individuals, and don’t do it out of anger, or disgust. Do it because u want change.

  53. Chryso Yiasoumi June 3, 2014 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    You are so right…. dont listen to anyone. Your dauther is a child of love and you are blessed.

  54. Dena Romios June 3, 2014 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    I'm not allowed to receive any sacraments either because I haven't received my ecclesiastical divorce.

  55. Fr. Timothy Cremeens, PhD June 3, 2014 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    Why is this a shock! It is very clear from the holy Scriptures, from the writings of the Church Fathers, the Canons of the Church and the moral teachings of 2,000 years of Christian spirituality that a person “engaged in” or “living” a homosexual lifestyle should not approach the chalice. Contrary to modern sensibilities, this has ALWAYS been the teaching of the Orthodox Christian Faith. The Apostle Paul is clear that receiving holy communion without repentance for one’s sins (and homosexual activity is a sin, as well as living with a person and sexually being involved with them before marriage, is, contrary to modern thinking) one ‘eats and drinks judgment and condemnation to themselves’. It is also the responsibility of the priest to protect people from communing in an “unworthy” manner, i.e. without confession and repentance. This is not an issue of judgment, this is an issue of being obedient to the holy Scriptures, the holy Fathers and the holy Canons.

    • admin June 3, 2014 at 5:56 pm - Reply

      Does the priest ask those approaching the chalice of they have been seen or cared for by a Jewish doctor? Does he ask if they had a “nocturnal emission”? Does he ask if they have fasted or prepared properly? Does he ask women if they are menstruating? No, Fr. Timothy he does not. And yes, this is a judgment issue, or moreso a lack of judgment issue. Because “selective morality” subject to what we personally believe to be right or wrong, is wrong. You can’t pick and choose what canons you want to use to discriminate against someone or some group that you personally disagree with. More importantly, and you should know this better– No one has the right to deny me the gift of Holy Communion except my own spiritual father with whom I have regular contact and to whom I confess. Your Taliban beliefs and practices have no place in American society, as is evidenced by the fact that I have received more than two dozen invitations from priests and two Metropolitans that they would be “honored” to serve me the body and blood of Jesus Christ. A better response would be from one of your colleagues of the cloth: “I was very grieved to hear about your experience in your home parish and I am not only deeply saddened by this, but very troubled by the apparent rationale, rationalization and just plain prejudice. It’s one thing to have its own standard and values, quite another to be so Pharisaical about it. When was love trumped? When did the responsibility to lead by example become an excuse for sanctimony? And when did those called to imitate Christ decide it was the better to follow Pilate? I am very sorry indeed this happened to you, and even more sorry for the Church. Let’s hope that such ill-conceived edicts are short-lived.”

    • anastasia zouvelos June 3, 2014 at 6:38 pm - Reply

      thank you Fr!

  56. Anastasia Zouvelos June 3, 2014 at 11:29 pm - Reply

    Maria, if my child is gay I would love him or her no matter what. but I would not be supportive of a gay relationship just like I would not be supportive of any other lifestyle that was dangerous to my child. no one said that gays are not to be loved and treated well. no one said that they are not permitted in church. but the priest is there to help us. and that includes counseling us. how can the priest NOT tell us that this is a sin? it is the priest's job to tell us this. it is also his job to prepare us for Holy Communion. no one said this sin is not forgivable, but only if someone asks for forgiveness and repents. just like any other sin. why would someone who doesn't want to follow the guidelines of the Church, want to take Holy Communion?! because we want what we want, when we want it. we want some sacraments (Holy Communion) without other (confession).

  57. Anastasia Zouvelos June 3, 2014 at 11:31 pm - Reply

    thank you Pauline!

  58. anastasia zouvelos June 3, 2014 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    any advice or direction from the priests is for our own good. that includes anything we don’t want to hear. what hypocrisy? all these people have some sort of “sour grapes” attitude towards the Church mostly because a priest told them something that was true but something that they didn’t want to hear. all this business about not needing a priest and God knows what is in my heart and I confess at home? we have the grace of God and He established the Church on earth. He also established the SACRAMENTS for US! we GET to go to Church, we GET to go to confession, we GET TO REPENT and be forgiven! We GET to receive Holy Communion! we get to be Saved! through the grace of God and His Mercy! these are all gifts. look at this poor woman in Sudan who might die for her faith!!! because she refused to deny her faith!

    we can all follow rules and advice in all other aspects of our life. one woman mentioned wearing pants to church, but we have no problem putting on a dress to go out at night. we can follow diets but don’t want to fast. we can follow oprah, dalai lama, deepak chopra etc, but when a PRIEST tells us what to do, then he is a hypocrite!

    we are very blessed to still have priests nowadays that stay true to the Faith and a Church that will not bend to the society of 2014!

  59. Sofia Damianos June 4, 2014 at 2:13 am - Reply

    Dena, have you heard this before because I haven't (what he's writing about)

  60. Tammy Zakos June 4, 2014 at 3:18 am - Reply

    Just wondering, does the priest go around telling people having pre-marital sex the same thing? What about people who are having affairs, or who are divorced, but not through the church- because according to the church's rules only orthodox Christians in good standing can take communion.

  61. Dina Skias June 4, 2014 at 8:12 am - Reply

    This is absolutely OUTRAGEOUS!!! I have never heard of such a thing. I would demand a meeting with Metropolitan Savas. I have known you for so many years and your commitment and love for the church and the Greek Orthodox faith is genuine. You cannot let this man change that for you. You have many people on your side Greg!!! Sending a big, big hug to you.

  62. Koula Kyriakou June 4, 2014 at 8:42 am - Reply

    So proud to be your couzin!!!!your Joulia is like an angel!!!!!!

  63. Anastasia Zouvelos June 4, 2014 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    yes! if a priest knows of this situation for example where is couple is living together and not married or divorced but does not yet have an ecclesiastical divorce, or someone who married outside the church like a civil ceremony or even married in another religion etc. then yes the priest of course will tell them not to receive Holy Communion. Holy Communion is to be approached with fear. many people are advised not to take Holy Communion and many even after they have confessed their sins and asked forgiveness in confession with the priest for a certain amount of time that the priest prescribes.

  64. Sara Scunt June 4, 2014 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    I am a polygamist who also dabbles with beastiality. It’s not a choice for me either! The higher being loves me as much as she loves you. My sisterwives, pets and I will keep you and Fr. John T in our thoughts.

  65. Anna Maria Priftuli-Papadimitriou June 7, 2014 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    The dont ask dont tell approach, how hypocritical………….

  66. Anna Maria Priftuli-Papadimitriou June 7, 2014 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    Ah but we do belong to a church that bends, many times……..for the good, it has bent rules…….as an example cousin to cousin marriage, and so on…….and in many instances.

  67. Anastasia Zouvelos June 7, 2014 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    the Church is not going to bend on how it defines a sin. it will not say that Yesterday homosexuality was a sin and today it is not

    • admin June 7, 2014 at 11:58 am - Reply

      Read your history Anastasia. Divorce used to be a sin, so did the charging of interest. Yes, the church has evolved. It’s a shame some of its fundamentalist followers have not. Try google… Try some research. Open your mind to the real history of the church and how it has adapted to societal changes over time.

  68. Anastasia Zouvelos June 7, 2014 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    it is the priests job to counsel us. some sins are obvious and some our not. the priest doesn't know who in his congregation beats his wife, or steals or doesn't pay his employees or watches porn etc. but if he knows a lifestyle someone leads, because that person is the one who is openly and proudly living that lifestyle, then it is the priests job to counsel that person.

  69. Teddy Xidas June 7, 2014 at 5:24 pm - Reply

    Greg, Sorry to hear of your experience with the Orthodox church. I, too, had such an experience with Fr. John at Holy Trinity.

    My father past away in 2001, and I had called Fr. John, of course, to provide the Orthodox service at the funeral home and at church. He asked me the question…"was your father divorced and did he have an official Greek divorce? "No, I answered". He said he is sorry, but these are not his rules, but the rules of the diocese; he cannot give my father any services. I was so instantly distraught by his insensitivity., especially, at a time when our family was so grief stricken. I said, "but Father, you gave him communion last November at the hospital"….."he said back to me…"I should not have done that". I pleaded with him to not deny this, it is so wrong in the eyes of humanity and in the spirit of forgiveness"…he said "no".
    I then called on my Greek priest from childhood. in Oakmont , which I am sure you all know this man of God I am speaking about. In tears and hurt, I explained to him the situation. He said he could not speak to what Fr. John has explained. nor condemn or praise the actions of another priest, as this is not his place to do so. But, he said bring your Father to our church, and I will provide a service for him. But, it doesn't stop there…This wonderful man of God had just recently went to the grave site this year, and performed a service for my Father, as well as many other departed Orthodox Christians layed there.

    The remedy for me…I changed where I worship. I no longer can hear the sermons from Fr. John, they have no meaning to me.

    I rejoined the Oakmont Greek Church; where my mother worshiped and my entire family in my younger years. I travel the distance. I find acceptance, peace, forgiveness, strength and enlightenment. The entire parish shares in the same culture and philosophy of the priest…

    The Orthodox religion takes a position on certain issues and that may never change, however, I don't believe that all Greek Orthodox priests follow all these positions of the Church to the exact rule of religious law. . I believe that the Church DOES allow for the parish priest to discern in good faith, for the sake of unification of the congregation and acceptance, whether heterosexual acts before marriage, homosexuality, addicts, drunks, convicts… what can be done, should be done, and is done for the sake of unifying the congregation, and all those, of any walk of life, who come to worship and find solace, unconditional forgiveness, and compassion within the church.

    Its starts with the culture and character of the priest . So don't lose faith in the entire Orthodox Church…they all don't behave with this type of arrogance.

    • admin June 7, 2014 at 12:41 pm - Reply

      Teddy thank you for your courageous post. May your father’s memory be eternal.

  70. Teddy Xidas June 7, 2014 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    Pauline Costianes

  71. Teddy Xidas June 7, 2014 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    So, what I gather from your comment Pauline Costianes, is that the rules change with the times, depending on the majority of the audience attending??? If you truly believe in the bible and all its teachings. and that it was divinely inspired you just can't decide to discredit "the Corinthians" because it wasn't popular to be a Christian at that time or era.

  72. Anna Maria Priftuli-Papadimitriou June 7, 2014 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    In the follow up blog, the Metropotitan Savas said he said no such thing to the priest, wonder what the priests punishment will be…………..hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  73. George Zouvelos June 8, 2014 at 8:41 am - Reply

    Mr. Pappas,

    This is your blog and respect your right to post your opinions and thoughts as you deem fit. Thank you for permitting us to engage in open dialogue with you, your subscribers and comment on your site content. It is valuable to exchange ideas no matter how offensive, rigid or naive they may at times seem.
    -
    That said, I have learned long ago that if you give something your valuable attention you give it value, however little value can be quantified. I also believe that if you permit lies or uncorrected factional beliefs fester, and without challenge you do a great disservice to your own community and society. These ideologies become seeded in the minds of lesser aware individuals and instead of them being mere opinions or positions they become unsubstantiated fact patterns to be improperly propagated by the unknowing.

    I know this, we are all products of a heterosexual procreation coming forth from our mothers womb. Irrespective if one or both of the parents were gay, lesbian, straight, transgender or what have you, having children is sanctioned and encouraged by society and the church. Society and the church can only propagate if we have children that believe in the teachings of Christ. Typically, One egg (woman) and one sperm (male). Fully acquiescing to the fact that one parent pregnancies (without the participation or marriage to the father or mother) have become more and more societal norms, but these are still not encouraged or sanctioned by the church.
    -
    Personally, I do not have a problem with anyone’s sexual preference. Sexual preference cannot be construed as anything other than conscience decision made by an individual irrespective of the ideologies which state in part, “some are born this way.” No different than a man lusting for a women and women for women etc. The church has deemed it wrong, no matter how much our own tastebuds and personal choices lust.
    -
    Not so long ago, homosexuals were burned in Hitlers ovens as were others who were labeled inferior or undesirable pursuant to the insane and false teaching of Arian doctrines. I’m not going to call these doctrines, “doctrines of intolerance and hate” that would be granting them even a minis caul amount of credibility when their mere existence not only shock the conscience, but are purely demonic.
    -
    Among the things that troubles me about any factional doctrine, especially relating to personal preference, is not getting it shoved down my throat or deemed more important or position, or more valid or important then the ones that I believe in and follow. Simply, you are entitled to your opinion; I will always defend your right to express it; especially when I do not subscribe to it; but, only up until you minimize, dismiss and attack any opposition to my beliefs, and on a personal level, because they differ from your own. To me, that’s called being an intolerant, unenlightened, self righteous and self absorbed megalomaniac and hypocrite.
    -
    I believe in the teachings of the church, but I am also a sinner. That may make me a hypocrite on some level, but I do not have any problem admitting it, as I confess I know right from wrong, especially when I make “personal choices” that differ from the teaching of the church.
    -
    Your upbringing based on traditional church values and teachings programmed you to appreciate the body and blood of Christ and to be forgiven from your sins. I noticed you find tremendous value in receiving communion from the church and your initial posting dealt with the “singling” out of you because of your purported homosexuality. I know plenty of sinners who take communion, but they do not publicize, when going up for communion or openly posting on Facebook etc, that they coveted thy neighbors husband, wife and their neighbors to.
    -
    I also belong to the earthly church body as a steward. I believe that my body is a vessel holding my soul- both belonging to Our Creator. You must understand that relationship does not mean or it is a requisite that either require or need to yield to my personal choices and decisions. These are my very own; made by my own free will; and I fully expect, at the end, or maybe sooner, to be personally held accountable for everything I do and say. Like it or not, it is the same for all.
    -
    Otherwise, I will not stand in church or in the community and criticize the church for its teachings on “personal choice” issues because those teachings are original doctrine belonging to the original church that are propagated today–that may differ from my very own conscience decisions and personal choices— and yours. If one does not like the teachings of the church regarding these matters, they can ignore, disregard, or leave. The church Is not going anywhere, as so long as it’s followers trust in its doctrines, teachings and participate.
    -
    I believe that today, our church is not going to change its stance on homosexuality, adultery or anything else self admitted which places anyone Not to be “in communion” with it. Tomorrow, and that is what many are feverishly working on, the church “may” soften it’s stance, but I do Not think will reverse it altogether.
    -
    Face it, this is not the United States Supreme Court openly susceptible to the outcries and opinions of the latest civil factional fads and trends relating to the law of man. The Greek Orthodox Church is the original church of Christ, representing the law of God, however imperfect it may seem, it is what it is.
    -
    Perfectly Imperfect and don’t mind admitting it.

    George “Zoo” Zouvelos #NYC
    # BailBoss #Zouvelos #GeorgeZouvelos http://NYCBail.com

    Powered By The Hard Grin

  74. Mike June 8, 2014 at 10:29 am - Reply

    “For a Christian end to our lives, peaceful, without shame and suffering, and for a good account before the awesome judgment seat of Christ, let us ask the Lord.”

  75. Gus Constantine June 10, 2014 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    How many homosexual priests and bishops not only give out communion but consume the rest at the end of liturgy?

  76. Andriy Andre June 12, 2014 at 1:00 am - Reply

    The Holy Orthodox Church needs to be much more pastoral in all incidents involving the faithful. Indeed the Church is a hospital for sinners, which we all are, and not a museum for saints. What the Church does need to do is to investigate modern science. There were holy fathers of the church that believe the Earth was flat. We do not honor them because they were infallible, but because of their holiness in life as an example to others. Therefore the Church needs to study modern biology, psychology and neuroscience and instead of rejecting and harming people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered, welcome us with open arms. We know that gay made us who we are and we are simply expressing the gift of love that He gave to us.
    The Church hierarchy and priests need our prayers, but they also need our examples of living our lives in honesty and in love. Andriy from OrthodoxandGay.com

  77. Michael Gabriel June 12, 2014 at 7:57 am - Reply

    Two wrongs don’t make a right. Sure, the priest was judging you and made his call, but you are a homosexual and that is contrary to the Laws of God as established in the Holy Bible. Yes, we are all sinners, and nobody has the right to judge anyone. However, you are not “in the right” in this matter, just as the priest is not. Your approach is indicative of a “holier than thou” attitude, as if you have some moral high ground in this matter. Fact is, you do not. If you really wanted to make your point, you would have taken it up with the priest himself. instead you decided to deride and castigate your “brother in Christ” (as you do profess to be a Christian) in public and in fine Pharisaic form. Let me ask you a straight up question: are you ashamed of your homosexuality or not? If you are, then your only option is to continue to battle your inner demons and to forgive Fr. John. If, on the other hand, you are not cognizant of, nor do you accept, the fact that your sexual persuasion is ultimately sinful, then what you are doing here in the public forum is just the same as what the priest did to you. Consider these words carefully. I urge you to forgive the priest, just as you seek forgiveness for your own sins. May God bless us all.

  78. Phil June 12, 2014 at 9:56 pm - Reply

    Good grief. This (meaning the moronic responses in the comment section) is exactly why the rest of the Orthodox in America are so leery of the Greek church’s desire to lead us. Your people have turned the church into an ethnic social club and couldn’t care less about Truth or the Davidoff Gospel.

  79. Vlad Padina June 13, 2014 at 7:28 am - Reply

    No Christian who commits certain sins may receive the Holy Eucharist without confession and repentance.
    If a young man has pre-marital sex: he can't receive Communion.
    If a woman has an abortion: she can't receive Communion.
    If someone cheats on their spouse: they can't receive Communion.
    If someone kills: they can't receive Communion.
    And so on.

    If you live chastely (abstain, I guess, at the very least, from sodomy and other kinds of "sex"), then you are allowed Communion, as anyone _fighting_ temptation is.
    If you are in a sexual homosexual relationship, no, you are not.

    Apostle Paul laid an anathema on the Corinthian that laid with his mother. Homosexual sex is about as bad as that, and was at one time sentenced to death. Christ didn't come so that we can wallow in our sins and still consider ourselves Christians…

  80. Sam Matthews June 13, 2014 at 1:00 pm - Reply

    A terrible cross you have to bare. The Bishop and Presbeter have Apostolic succession and have the same authority as the Apostles. Iwill pray for you

  81. Andrew Colias June 13, 2014 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    There have been times I have been asked not to receive Communion, recent confession (and the repentance implied) being prerequisite, so this man's shock and dismay simply says to me he might not have been taught the greater context and meaning of our religion. As a matter of fact, I am not receiving Communion this Sunday because need for confession. This is not some strange event in which he was singled out. This is normal everyday Orthodoxy….or leastwise it was until we Greeks crossed the Atlantic for America.

  82. Renee Kontos June 13, 2014 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    Shame on him and all the Christians that can judge a person that have served everyone!!
    This is why my children have left our religion… And I fir one can't blame them!
    I am so sorry Greg for what he did to you and made you feel sad!!!
    Everyone should stand up in our churches and forbid this insane words to hap

  83. Marianna Friesel June 15, 2014 at 12:33 am - Reply

    In both the Old and New Testament, sex between two people of the same gender is taught to be sinful. In just the same way, sex between two unmarried people is sinful. As long as you intend to continue doing that, you are rightly banned from the chalice. If you truly repent of having that sex and go to confession, then you can go to communion. This is the norm in 2000 years of Orthodoxy and has never changed. If some priests or bishops were lax, then God will judge them.
    What is most troubling is your belief that all the money and service that you have given to the church should earn you the right to the chalice. No man ever has earned that right. We are all sinners every one. But if we repent and pray for strength to stop sinning, Christ gives us this gift of His Body and Blood. It is always a gift, and no one can earn the right to it, no matter if the Apostle Peter was his father, or Jesus Christ was his stepbrother. If I paid to build a church and paid the priest’s salary for 20 years, I would still be unworthy of the chalice. God loves us without measure: but sin destroys us from within. God does not make arbitrary rules just so that we can prove our love by jumping through His hoops. All sin leads to eternal death. God does not want us to die. He has died so that we can rise again with Him. But we can only do so if we repent of our sins: whether those sins are popular in our culture, or shunned by it.

  84. Benjamin Slayton June 15, 2014 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    I would like to wish Father John and Metropolitan Savas a blessed Father's Day!

  85. harold migias June 15, 2014 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    Good evening, Greg:

    This is a response to the subsequent post. I usually don’t comment on matters like this (controversial matters of faith and religion) but I feel drawn to comment. I was once in a parish where, during communion, a priest denied a divorced woman Communion because she had been married in the Catholic church and thereafter, divorced. She was trying to reconnect with the Orthodox Church after being estranged for years. I remember her running from the solea with her hands covering her face and sobbing. Never to return. She approached the chalice not knowing that she might be denied Communion. Not knowing that she had committed an act of excommunication by being married in the Catholic Church. I felt that the priest should have given her Communion and then, discreetly, in love, after the service to explain why, in the future, he would be unable to give her Communion. I think our pastors often “drop the ball” in how they deal with a pastoraI matter with true Christian love and concern. I give Father John credit for at least informing you ahead of time that he would be unable to give you Communion. I also understand how painful this must have been for you to hear. Knowing Father John, I’m certain that it was painful for him as well.

    The comments to your subsequent letter are all across the spectrum. From narrow minded condemnation on one end from those whom I’d refer to as the self-righteous Orthodox automatons to unequivocal support for you on the other. I also read some very compassionate statements from Nicholas Nelson, Anastasia Zouvelos, “Yodaman” (where do they come up with these names?) and Fr. Hector Firoglasias. I believe that they spoke the truth in love and genuine concern. Our salvation is personal but also “corporate”. We in the Church need to support each other, in honesty, with love. The Holy Spirit has guided the Church it its standards whose purpose is to draw us closer to Christ.

    We all suffer from Sin. When I say “Sin” I mean the condition of wanting to live our lives in ways that are contrary to God’s plan for us. It’s part of our human condition as descendants of Adam and Eve. Our sinful propensity leads us to act out our sins in word, deed and thought. All of these sins draw us away from God’s plan for our lives. A sinful thought (which in and of itself separates us from God) can lead to a sinful act (also leading us away from God). However, the act carries with it consequences not present in the sinful thought. As for sexual sins, all sex outside of a heterosexual marriage is wrong. Any comments from those who have had sexual relations outside of marriage, and have not confessed and repented, have no leverage to wag a hypocritical condemning finger at you.

    We were designed for intimate fellowship with God whose love for us is beyond our comprehension. Our purpose in life is to proceed from the image of God into the likeness of Christ by the grace (tutelage) of the Holy Spirit. Each of us, if we are truly trying to follow Jesus’ example, should ask ourselves daily “Is the life I am leading bringing me closer to Christ or further from Him?” Each morning we should arise and say, “Lord, continue in me today the work begun in baptism, dying and rising in Christ”. Dying to ourselves-our shortcomings and passions- is a journey undertaken by only a few. The Holy Spirit guides us to look at ourselves in the mirror and reminds us that we are not as good as we think we are. We are all frail creatures in need of Jesus’ redemptive work to save us.

    The good news is that we have a God of second chances. He is eagerly waiting on each of us to turn from our wrongdoing. Repentance has a component of both turning away from sin and turning toward Christ. Acknowledging that we are not right with God is the first step leading to confessing that we have not met up to His standards (None of us can) and that we need Him to carry us in our frailty. This is really what repentance is all about. Only you and God know where you are in this journey. If you have not taken this first step I encourage you to go into your room, close the door, and on your knees ask Jesus into your heart.—See Matthew Chapter 6, verses 6-13. Each of us has a struggle. Please pray for me. I will pray that the Lord enlighten you in your journey.

    Harold Migias

  86. Margo June 17, 2014 at 2:55 am - Reply

    Touloumis is the reason I do not attend church anymore, and shame on him. I love my Lord his Holy Mother and all my Saints with all my heart and soul, but I practice my religion at home from my tv and my computer. He has caused so many orthodox church loving people to leave their church for his ugly, mean, unholy judgments, statements and ways. He trained under a Living Saint Father Chakos, why could not some of this mans humility and holiness rub off on Touloumis????? We were happy to see him go and North side was sad to hear him come. I find it very hard to believe that our Metropolitan Bishop Savas would ever say that to him. His Eminence is down to earth and with our times, and well loved because of this. Young and Old ADORE H.E. Savas. I believe Touloumis is lying and hiding behind our Eminence……I think it is time that all priest start remembering who they are representing!!!!! Jesus would never turn any one away, Jesus was about love, Touloumis the opposite he is a mean ugly egomaniac (He stood up one Easter night and told all the people that come only for easter that he and the church does not need them, Nor are they welcome and that they are fools thinking that they are blessed by their 1-2-3 or 4 visits a year) I could not believe my ears those words came from a priests mouth. He has more horror stories than happy stories, make a blog and ask everyone to leave their experience about him, be prepared to freak. His greed has turned most old timers away in tears. All I can say Greg is that we need to ask our Lord our loving Lord Jesus to try to forgive him and guide him into the light, the true light of love that the word JESUS stands for. I will pray that you receive a public apology and that you partake of our Lords gift of communion ASAP. My love & Prayers are with you. We only have 1 judge and he walked on water.

    • harold migias June 17, 2014 at 6:17 am - Reply

      Margo, is there a reason why you do not attend another parish? The Bible states that we should not neglect gathering together in worship.

  87. Patricia July 1, 2014 at 5:38 am - Reply

    I am so sorry for you. This is WHY I have left the church after being married in it 26 years ago. IT is worse than a country club in the 1950′s. I love my culture, and have faith in the divine, but not a building with men who have never been married making and enforcing rules. It hurts when I see and hear these things. No wonder the church is loosing parishioners at a quick rate.

  88. Harold Migias July 2, 2014 at 5:36 am - Reply

    Anna Maria Priftuli-Papadimitriou I don't think that the Church has bent the rules on cousins marrying. There's a Greek Orthodox question and answer book that covers a lot of these topics. I remember that being one of the questions addressed. Now, that's not to say that some priest "bent the rules" and performed such a marriage. If he did, then he did it contrary to the Church's teaching.

  89. Harold Migias July 2, 2014 at 5:49 am - Reply

    1 Corinthians, Chapter 11 verses 27-32.

  90. Harold Migias July 2, 2014 at 5:50 am - Reply

    1 Corinthians, Chapter 11, verses 27-32

  91. Harold Migias July 2, 2014 at 5:52 am - Reply

    Pauline Costianes Well said, Pauline.

  92. Harold Migias July 2, 2014 at 5:53 am - Reply

    1 Corinthians, Chapter 11, verses 27-32.

  93. Harold Migias July 2, 2014 at 5:57 am - Reply

    1 Corinthians, Chapter 11, verses 27-32.

  94. Harold Migias July 2, 2014 at 5:59 am - Reply

    Well said.

  95. Harold Migias July 2, 2014 at 6:22 am - Reply

    1 Corinthians, Chapter 11, verses 27-32.

  96. Susan Julian Gates July 13, 2014 at 9:59 am - Reply

    This is indeed heartbreaking. I am very sad and angry for you. There are other churches. The Episcopal church would welcome you at the table.

  97. Barbara Shufro Reilly July 13, 2014 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    so very sad…

  98. Trude Witham July 14, 2014 at 3:04 am - Reply

    Wow, that is indeed sad…

  99. Petros Leventis July 17, 2014 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    The priest did you a favor. You live a life of sin. You're unrepentant and live contrary to the teachings of Christ and His Church. Jesus told the alduteress to go and sin no more. You are failing to do this. We all sin, and have been told to abstain from communion for one thing or another. You're no different. Until you repent from your demonic and evil lifestyle, communion will only be to your detriment. We are warned of this by St Paul in the Scriptures. How you think you're right in this situation is beyond me.

  100. Kathy Patellis-Schmidt July 18, 2014 at 12:28 pm - Reply

    Similar event happened to me in Vancouver. Because I was married to someone non Greek our Priest who was very close friends with our family made a similar comment to me. That's why the Greek Church has lost all the next generation of children

  101. John Michaels July 18, 2014 at 9:34 am - Reply

    http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles4/AnonymousStruggle.php

    An [homosexual] Orthodox Christian’s Struggle

    Anonymous Orthodox Christian

    When Matthew Shepard was brutally killed in 1998, people who called themselves Christians stood outside the church during his funeral picketing, proudly holding signs that affirm God’s hatred of homosexuals. Should it be surprising that many people with same-sex attraction feel a deep hostility to Christianity, when the kind of “Christianity” they have been exposed to is so full of contempt? Do we Christians really think we can lead these people to Christ by treating them with cruelty, rather than compassion? The true Gospel is one of love, not hate.

    On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who advocate the homosexual lifestyle, while calling themselves Christians. The Episcopal Church and other churches have abandoned whatever roots they had in historic Christianity, affirming what the gospel clearly calls sin.

    The Orthodox Church, in its holy wisdom, goes to neither extreme. Homosexuality is denounced as sinful, and rightly so. But the Orthodox Church does not condone any sort of violence or judgmentalism towards those who struggle with homosexual temptations. In this modern day mess in which so many churches feel compelled to go one way or the other, Orthodoxy remains an abode of sanity, rooted in ancient Christian tradition.

    As someone who has attractions to members of the same sex, and as a baptized and professing Orthodox, I have found myself in a spiritual “tug-of-war.” The wisdom of the world seducively holds out its hand, inviting me to dive in and live this lifestyle. My faith and my Church, however, stand firm in the conviction that the homosexual life is not a normal life, nor a healthy life, nor a God-pleasing life.

    There really is no pressure, though, neither from the world or from God. Orthodox do not adhere to predestination. I have free will, as do all other sinners. I have the choice to live my way or God’s way. My struggle, in many ways, is not much different than that of an alcoholic, or a compulsive gambler, or a married man who is tempted by other women. We either struggle to overcome these sins or we do not. Whichever choice we make, we will answer for it when we stand before the dread judgment seat.

    For a while, the choice I made was to just drop the “scruples,” and to pursue a life based on my homosexual inclinations. I frequented the bars, made a few actively homosexual friends, and developed an intense hatred of anyone I perceived to be “homophobic.”

    Depressed and confused, I would leave the bars with a deep feeling of emptiness. I found that I just did not fit in with this crowd of people who were so proud to be gay. Surely, there had to be something more fulfilling than a life based on sexual orientation, rainbow flags, and sex. I found the “gay” community to be immature, shallow, and obsessively concerned with outward appearances and other worldly things. In short, a life that gay books and magazines had told me was so fulfilling was actually rather miserable and depressing, not to mention spiritually, emotionally, and even physically harmful.

    At an earlier stage in my life, I believed I could change my orientation, that God would answer my prayers and make me heterosexual. Many “ex-gay” ministries, which are mainly Protestant, claim that alteration therapy can successfully change one’s sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. This has become a big business in Protestantism. Jon Paulk, an “ex-homosexual” and staff member of the ministry Exodus International, claimed to be completely healed from his homosexual orientation. He married a former lesbian and had children. Yet a few years ago, Paulk was caught in a gay bar. He later claimed he had merely entered the bar to use the restroom. I have my doubts that alteration therapy really works.

    I feel that such an approach is not healthy. In the scriptures, Paul is recorded to have suffered from a “thorn in the flesh.” He begged the Lord to take it away, but Christ responded, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12.9).” Paul goes on to say, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong (2 Cor. 12.10).” I wonder if that is not the way it should be with my infirmity, my same-sex attractions. Many times have I begged God to change my sexual orientation, to take away this “thorn.” For whatever reason, for my salvation, this is a cross I have to bear, and I may very well struggle with this issue the rest of my life.

    Instead of focusing on changing sexual orientation, I think the focus for Christians–particularly Orthodox Christians–who struggle with same-sex attraction should be purity. Instead of praying, “Lord, please make me straight,” they should be praying, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

    I am thankful to belong to a Church that is not afraid to stand up for biblical morality. I am also thankful that my Church condemns the cruel treatment of homosexuals that unfortunately occurs in the name of “Christianity.” My Church treats me as it does all other people, as one made in God’s image, one who needs to repent and turn to Christ, and struggle for my salvation.

    The author has requested to remain anonymous.

  102. Amy E. Reagan July 19, 2014 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    Virna Lisa Santarsiero Nicotra Nai, Amin.

  103. Lilliana Hoffman July 31, 2014 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    Χέστονε μωρέ, σοβαρά μιλάνε τώρα, που θέλουν να μας κρίνουν κιόλας;;; Και η μάνα σου, σόρρυ αλλά ντροπή της να βάζει την εκκλησία πάνω από το παιδί και το εγγόνι της. Κι εγώ τα ίδια είμαι, εξώγαμο είναι το παιδί μου, και δεν έχω καμία ενοχή απολύτως, γιατί το αγαπάω, το λατρεύω και θα έδινα και το συκώτι μου για κείνο. Αυτό μετράει για τον/τους/τις Θεό/Θεούς/Θεές, και όχι τι λέει ο κάθε πολιτικάντης παπας που μετράει μια ζωή τα τριάκοντα αργύρια της ψυχής του! Εσύ να είσαι καλά και το παιδάκι σου, και ελπίζω η μάνα σου μια μέρα να καταλάβει πόσο άδικο είχε!

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