When in Doubt, Take a Time Out

Oh, Magoo, Abp. Elpidophoros is about to scandalize the Church yet again. How long are the rank and file of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese going to tolerate the unilateral actions of this man? And of even greater importance: How long will the hierarchs of the other Orthodox jurisdictions in our country remain in full Eucharistic communion with Arch. Elpidophoros?

The issue is the elevation of one archimandrite named Alexander Belya to the episcopate. Belya was expelled by the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia for forging documents. Important diplomatic documents. And, like our illustrious president, he has a close relative who has been accused of criminality. In Belya’s case it is his ne’er-do-well brother, who apparently dealt in human trafficking.

Alexander Belya is the one on the right.

Details are readily available to the curious. Those aside, the point that I am trying to make is this: that there is a taint to this Monk Belya and his family. In a surprising move, the primates of the other jurisdictions besides the Greeks have written to Abp. Elpidophoros to lodge a formal complaint, saying that they cannot support the consecration of this scoundrel. Abp. Joseph of the Antiochian Archdiocese is the bishop who penned the letter for the other primates. Elpidophoros, for his part, has fired back, expressing his sadness and surprise. He makes an indirect accusation that Joseph is upsetting the unity of the Orthodox in America. Well, if that ain’t a case of the pot calling the kettle black, I don’t know what is.

On the contrary, your Eminence E., it is the announcement that you made that you would elevate Mr. Belya to the bishopric in the GOA that is disturbing Church unity, already fraught by some of your previous ill-advised actions. Is there any need to enumerate them, sir?

It’s clear for all to see now that there is a shroud of doubt that surrounds this Belya character. This may not be the best time to consecrate him a bishop. When in doubt, take a time out. Orthodox bishops are not renowned for swinging into action anyway, so why rush the ordination? It’s not as though you were double-parked on a busy street in Manhattan. Give it some time. Hear your brother bishops out before you take this precipitous action, unless you are hell bent on eviscerating your already-questionable credibility.

Author: Lawrence B. Wheeler

B.A., M.Div. Former Anglican priest, convert to Orthodoxy.

One thought on “When in Doubt, Take a Time Out”

  1. Mr Wheeler, thank you for calling attention to this latest travesty of Elpi – yes he HAS eviscerated his position!
    The question is how long will it take for clergy and laity of GOA to kick him out?!


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