The Western Calendar: Religion and Science Intertwined (Matthew F. Dowd)

NOTE: This article is taken from the 33rd chapter of Science, Religion & Society, pp. 290-296:

Reconstruction of Fasti Antiates, the only calendar of the Roman Republic still in existence. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/~grout/encyclopaedia_romana/calendar/antiates.html
Reconstruction of Fasti Antiates, the only calendar of the Roman Republic still in existence.
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/~grout/encyclopaedia_romana/calendar/antiates.html

Calendars represent an important arena in which religion and science have historically operated fruitfully together. Calendars typically incorporate both scientific material, such as the motions of the sun and moon, and religious concerns, such as the proper celebration of religious festivals. Because temporality is an element essential to many religious practices, properly understanding the functioning of the regular natural processes used to mark time becomes an essential ingredient in the creation of a calendar. We are not talking here about the physical object of a calendar, though that is part of the regulation and promotion of a calendrical system. Our subject is the calendar as a theoretical construct: the periodic natural phenomena used to mark time and the points in time that are set down as being important to the culture that uses the calendar. This analysis will focus only on selective aspects of the calendars of Rome and Christian Europe (the latter of which eventually became the most commonly used calendar in the world), but similar remarks apply to the calendars of many different cultures of many different periods.

Calendar with removable pins.(Saturn, Sun, Luna, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus) From the stone plate of the 3rd—4th centuries A.D., found in Rome.
Calendar with removable pins.(Saturn, Sun, Luna, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus) From the stone plate of the 3rd—4th centuries A.D., found in Rome.

Fundamentally, calendars are purely human inventions. They need not follow any particular natural processes; however, because calendars delineate recurrent events, only a limited number of reliable, periodic natural phenomena are useful for a calendar. The most commonly used phenomena are the movements of the sun and moon, and indeed these motions have been the basis of the Western calendars.

An early Roman calendar
An early Roman calendar

The length of the solar year is approximately 365.242 days. Because a calendar year uses a whole number, 365 days, a calendar based on the sun must periodically intercalate, or insert, an extra day to compensate for the extra time (a little less than one-quarter of a day) that accumulates with each passing year, or else the date will begin to drift in relation to the seasons or with respect to the stars. The length of the lunar month (the period between the same lunar phases, such as the full or new moon) is approximately 29.53 days, and lunar calendars typically alternate between months of 30 and 29 days. A lunar year, or twelve lunar months, is about 354 and one-third days, about eleven days short of a full solar year. Thus, to keep in line with a solar year and to deal with the fractional difference between the lunar period and whole numbers of days, an extra month or day, respectively, must occasionally be intercalated. These problems lead to serious difficulties when one tries to combine the motions of the sun and moon within a single calendrical system.

The side A of the disc of Phaistos, as displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion
The side A of the disc of Phaistos, as displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion

Calendars also represent human choices about important events to be marked down or celebrated. Holidays and festivals are the most obvious religious events that calendars mark. And, as we will see below, natural phenomena are often used to set down the proper date for events, either at the same time each year (using the sun, or sometimes the moon, to date the events) or on moveable dates (which typically use a combination of the motions of the sun and moon).

The side B of the disc of Phaistos, as displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion
The side B of the disc of Phaistos, as displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion

The Roman Calendar

The origins of the Roman calendar are lost in antiquity. The Romans, however, attributed the origin of the calendar to the first two, semi-mythical kings of Rome: Romulus and Numa. Romulus was said to have created the initial calendar, and Numa was said to have modified it and to have instituted the college of pontifici, a category of priests whose responsibilities included monitoring and regulating the calendar. Very little reliable knowledge of the precise history of the calendar of the Roman republic is available, but certain general characteristics can be gleaned from ancient sources.

Romulus & Remus
Romulus & Remus

The first thing to note about the Roman calendar is that it was simultaneously a civil and religious calendar. The Romans believed that the proper functioning of society arose from maintaining the proper relationship to the gods, which entailed making the proper sacrifices to propitiate the gods. Only when the divine powers were propitiated could human society function in an orderly manner. This meant that various religious festivals had to be celebrated both in the proper fashion and at the proper time throughout the year. It was the responsibility of those who held priestly offices to make sure this happened, and the calendar was one important means by which they did so.

The calendar also performed the very practical function of setting out what sorts of activities could take place on which days. Each day of the year had one or more labels applied to it, indicating what kind of activity could take place on those days (we can see similarities in the modern calendar in the way holidays or religious worship take place on certain days). The dies fas were days on which legal business could be conducted, while the dies nefas were days on which legal business was not permitted. On the nefas feriae publicae, public festivals, which included propitiatory sacrifices to the gods, took place. Assemblies (political, legislative, and so on) were held on the comitialis, and markets were held on the nundinae. Essential elements—economic, legislative and political, and religious—of the proper functioning of society were embodied in the calendar.

Ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, observed on February 13 through 15.
Ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, observed on February 13 through 15.

The Roman calendar appears to have arisen out of a lunar calendar. According to later Romans authors, the calendar reform of Numa made the year 355 days long, with months of 31 or 29 days, but 28 for February, plus an intercalated month to keep the calendar in step with the seasons. Another indication is the system of referring to dates of the year according to the kalends, ides, and nones. The kalends of a month was the first day of that month, which originally may have corresponded to the new moon. The ides would then fall close to the full moon, which meant the 13th or 15th of the month (depending on the number of days in the previous month). The full system of naming the days can be understood in relation to these two important days of the month. The ides fell on the 13th or 15th of the month; the prior days, counting backward (the Roman calendar employed backward counting when it came to naming the days), would be referred to as the day before ides, the third day of ides, and so on. In the case of the ides, this ran for eight days each month, which gets one back to the 5th or 7th day. The 5th or the 7th day was then known as the nones of that month. Similar backward counting went on for the four or six days of the nones, which got one back to the kalends on the first day. The kalends then ran backward into the previous month (for example, the last day of January would have been referred to as the day before the kalends of February) until one reached the ides of that month, and hence there could be between sixteen and nineteen kalends for a month.

Many years ago, a wise soothsayer warned Roman leader Julius Caesar that he was in danger and to “Beware of the Ides of March.”   As predicted, Caesar, who did not heed the soothsayer’s warnings, was murdered on March 15, 44 B.C., the Ides of March.   Caesar was brutally stabbed by a group of conspirators, both friend and foe, and reportedly bled to death.
Many years ago, a wise soothsayer warned Roman leader Julius Caesar that he was in danger and to “Beware of the Ides of March.” As predicted, Caesar, who did not heed the soothsayer’s warnings, was murdered on March 15, 44 B.C., the Ides of March. Caesar was brutally stabbed by a group of conspirators, both friend and foe, and reportedly bled to death.

Because of the difficulty of maintaining congruence between solar and lunar elements in the calendar, the Romans faced numerous calendrical difficulties, particularly when the religio-civil officials in charge of its upkeep could not accomplish their task (for example, because of war or political struggles). By the time of the late republic, the calendar was in need of reform. Julius Caesar, who had been in the college of pontifici some years previously and was now dictator of Rome, undertook such a reformation in 46 BCE. He instituted what has since taken his name: the Julian calendar. On the advice of the astronomer Sosigenes, Caesar changed the number of days in each month (and Augustus, some years later, changed them to have the modern values) to make the calendar a solar year: 365 days per year, with a day intercalated every four years to account for the extra part of a day that accumulates each year.

numa-pompilius

The Roman calendar, then, shows a mix of astronomical and religio-civil concerns. Both the moon and the sun are used to mark time through the use of measurement of physical quantities. But the reasons for doing so are quite outside what we think of as scientific: to keep society functioning properly by helping Romans to observe and preserve the inseparable civil and religious aspects of their culture that they understood to be vital to maintaining their society.

julius+caesar-001

The European Christian Calendar

When the Western Roman Empire began to dissolve in the fifth and sixth centuries CE, being replaced by successive Germanic kingdoms, Christianity had already taken on a prominent cultural role within the region. To continue to make use of the Roman calendar was only natural, especially given that Christianity had become intertwined with the Roman Empire when it was made the legal religion of the empire at the end of the fourth century. But the Roman calendar was in certain ways inappropriate for a Christian community. Three particular concerns led to significant changes in the calendar during late antiquity and the early Middle Ages: the numbering of years, the problem of pagan religious festivals, and the dating of Easter. Each of these led to modifications of the calendar, though only the last required significant astronomical science (the replacement of pagan festivals sometimes was peripherally related to astronomical phenomena).

Dionysius Exiguus (c. A.D. 470-544)
Dionysius Exiguus (c. A.D. 470-544)

The Romans had typically referred to a year in one of two ways: either by the rulership of its leaders (for example, the consuls or the emperors) or by reference to the mythical founding of Rome (753 BCE by modern reckoning). Dionysius Exiguus, a monk living in the early sixth century CE, proposed instead numbering the years according to the birth of Christ, so that the first year of the Christian era would begin on the first day of January after the nativity. Due to a mistake in reckoning, he chose a year that was apparently three years too late, placing Jesus’s birth in the year 4 BCE, rather than 1 BCE. Some modern scholars speculate that the birth may have occurred some years prior to that. What is important, however, is not whether Dionysius got it right but that, in a conscious rejection of traditional practice, he changed the calendar to fit a cultural demand, replacing a secular event (the founding of Rome) with a religious event (the birth of Jesus) as the founding event on which the calendar would be based. By doing so, Dionysius was self-consciously incorporating religious belief into the calendar. Though Dionysius’s change was adopted only sporadically and over centuries, it eventually became common across Europe.

Easter cycle of Dionysius Exiguus. Marble. Ravenna, 6th cent. Museum Ravenna.
Easter cycle of Dionysius Exiguus. Marble. Ravenna, 6th cent. Museum Ravenna.

As the Christian church spread across the Roman world and northern Europe, it confronted older religious traditions in which festivals and observances celebrated astronomical events or were tenuously tied to celestial events to fix the time of the holiday. It was a common Christian practice to replace these traditional celebrations with Christian festivals. Certain practices of a holiday might be kept or altered, but the reason for the event was replaced with a thoroughly Christian one. One famous example is the replacement of Samhain, a Celtic holiday oriented around the position of the sun, with the Christian holiday of All Saints Day. In this case, ecclesiastics self-consciously and explicitly stated that church officials should try to replace the traditional celebrations with ones of a more Christian tenor, or at least modify existing customs to be in keeping with Christian celebration. Other examples abound, both in the patristic period, when the Roman religion was the object of attack, and in the early medieval period, when the Germanic or Celtic religions were seen as a threat. In all cases, the calendar was a means by which to convey religious beliefs and counteract undesired influences.

celtic wheel 1

The final issue for the Christian calendar during this period was the dating of Easter, and thereby all the moveable feasts. A moveable feast was a religious celebration or observation that had a different date from year to year. Easter is dated according to a lunar calendar because of the biblical narrative and the sequence of the passion following the commencement of the Jewish Passover festival, the date of which was fixed by the moon. Easter was to be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox; thus the phases of the moon had to be calculated in order to know the date of Easter, and thereby to work back to the other moveable feasts of the year, such as Lent. There were controversies over how the calculation should be made; for example, Bede, in his History of the English Church and People, recounts the events of the famous synod of Whitby at which rival claimants to ecclesiastical authority debated the proper method of determining the date of Easter.

However, the Roman calendar had long ago lost its lunar character. In order to calculate the dates of Easter, the church adopted a nineteen-year cycle of lunar months, with occasional intercalated days, so that it would be easy to know when the new and full moons would occur. This cycle could then be superimposed on the Julian calendar, and one could calculate ad infinitum when Easter and the moveable feasts should fall. A nineteen-year cycle was chosen because this allowed a close correspondence between the solar and lunar calendars. This led to a new science of calendrical computation known as computus, the texts for which frequently incorporated various other elements of the physical sciences. Thus computistical works were often the vehicle by which more general scientific education could be accomplished.

St. Wilfrid
St. Wilfrid

The correspondence between the nineteen-year lunar cycle and solar calendar was not perfect, and as centuries passed, it also became clear that the solar calendar had gotten off track. Fairly simple observations showed that full moons and eclipses were not occurring at the times that the calendar said they should, and therefore the nineteen-year cycle was in error. Eventually it also became clear that the solstices, the most northern and southern points that the sun reaches, were not occurring at the expected times, showing that the solar calendar was in error. The calendar clearly needed to be fixed.

The Gregorian Reform

During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Latin Europe learned that the Arabic world was far more advanced scientifically, both because they had preserved the Greek science that Latin literature hinted at and because Islamic scientists had preserved and improved upon ancient science. Various Latin scholars began to seek out and translate Greek and Arabic scientific works, a process that has since come to be known as the translation movement. The appropriation of this scientific corpus had a significant effect on the Western European calendar, as scholars soon learned that errors in the calendar could be remedied. It would take centuries, however, for the reform of the calendar to be enacted, and additional centuries for the new calendar to be adopted around the world.

Papal coat-of-arms of Pope Gregory XIII (1572-1585)
Papal coat-of-arms of Pope Gregory XIII (1572-1585)

Some of the earliest calls for reforms came from the English scholar and ecclesiastic Robert Grosseteste. In his Compotus correctorius, probably written in the 1220s, Grosseteste argued that various phenomena showed that the contemporary calendar was in error, and that the work of the Arabic astronomers could be used to correct the calendar. He was, however, not very explicit on how the fundamental nature of the calendar might be changed to correct these errors. For example, he knew the length of the solar year must be calculated more precisely, but he did not offer practical advice for how this would be accomplished.

Pope-Gregory-XIII

The problem of errors in the calendar was not merely a scientific one. The real issue was that errors could lead to the improper celebration of religious festivals like Easter. And this had clear theological implications, especially since the celebration of religious festivals was understood as important to salvation. Science might be the means to correct errors, but the goal in so using it was a religious one.

Detail of the tomb of Pope Gregory XIII celebrating the introduction of the Gregorian calendar.
Detail of the tomb of Pope Gregory XIII celebrating the introduction of the Gregorian calendar.

Despite repeated calls for reform, the issue of correcting the calendar did not spur ecclesiastical officials to take action until late in the sixteenth century. Pope Gregory XIII brought together a commission to resolve the issues of correcting the calendar and officially announced the reform of the calendar in 1582. The lunar cycle was modified to be more precise. A few intercalated days were removed. And to bring the solstices and equinoxes back to their “proper” dates, ten days were removed from the year 1582: October 5 through 14. Thus in 1582, October 15 followed October 4.

http://www.slideshare.net/charlesmartel1974/satanic-origin-of-the-gregorian-calendar-25324283
http://www.slideshare.net/charlesmartel1974/satanic-origin-of-the-gregorian-calendar-25324283

The Gregorian reform was not immediately adopted across Europe. In Catholic realms, it carried the weight of the pope’s official backing and was adopted very quickly. Most Protestant regions, however, refused to change their calendars for many years. Germany finally adopted a similar reform in 1700, whereas England waited until 1752 to do so. The rejection of the reform had little to do with the scientific work of Gregory’s commission but was instead due to the authority that tried to impose it: the Roman Catholic Church. Just as religious reasons were at the heart of calls for reform, the unwillingness to adopt this particular reform was fueled by religious and thereby political sentiment, namely, that the Roman Catholic pope had no authority in those places. But the practical considerations of operating under separate calendars proved too difficult, and eventually all of Europe was unified under a single calendrical system. Due to the economic and political clout of Europe in the succeeding centuries, the Gregorian calendar spread across the world and now is used nearly everywhere.

The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Day (1572)
The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Day (1572)

The calendar is one arena in which religious and scientific concerns by necessity run concurrently. Scientific information and analysis are vital to creating a calendar that can serve its purpose: tracking recurrent cycles of time. But in many cases, the parameters of what counts as important for the calendar—the dates that need to be figured, the cycles that need to be tracked— are not based on scientific goals or theories. Rather, the history of the Western calendar shows that religious concerns have been an important factor both in creating the calendar and in conducting scientific investigation regarding it.

The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Day (1572)
The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Day (1572)

Bibliography

  • Blackburn, Bonnie, and Leofranc Holford-Strevens. The Oxford Companion to the Year: An Exploration of Calendar Customs and Time-reckoning. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
  • Borst, Anno. The Ordering of Time: From the Ancient Compotus to the Modern Computer. Trans. Andrew Winnard. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.
  • Coyne, G.V., M.A. Hoskin, and O. Pedersen, eds. Gregorian Reform of the Calendar: Proceedings of the Vatican Conference to Commemorate Its 400th Anniversary. Vatican City: Specola Vaticana, 1983.
  • Declercq, Georges. Anno Domini: The Origins of the Christian Era. Turnhout: Brepols, 2000.
  • McCluskey, Stephen C. Astronomies and Cultures in Early Medieval Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
  • Michels, Agnes Kirsopp. The Calendar of the Roman Republic. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1967.
  • Richards, E.G. Mapping Time: The Calendar and Its History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
  • Samuel, Alan E. Greek and Roman Chronology: Calendars and Years in Classical Antiquity. Munich: Beck, 1972.
  • Wallis, Faith. Bede: The Reckoning of Time. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1999.
  • ———. “Chronology and Systems of Dating.” In Medieval Latin: An Introduction and Bibliographic Guide, ed. F.A.C. Mantello and A.G. Rigg, 383–87. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1996.
  • Ware, R. Dean. “Medieval Chronology.” In Medieval Studies: An Introduction, 2nd ed., ed. James M. Powell, 252–77. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1992.

Frans_Hogenberg,_The_St._Bartholomew's_Day_massacre,_circa_1572

Testimony of a former Orthodox Presvytera

NOTE: The author was involved with Pangratios Vrionis (AKA Metropolitan Pangratios of the Archdiocese of Vasiloupolis, Queens, New York or Demetrios Vrionis). In 1968 Father Vrionis was a GOA priest in Pennsylvania. He was apparently suspended and defrocked for “disobedience,” and at the same time he was also charged with rape of two teen-aged boys by Dauphin county, Pennsylvania. After serving his sentence, Vrionis founded a children’s school and his own Orthodox Jurisdiction in Queens, New York (the Archdiocese of Vasilupolis).
Vrionis is most widely known for his leadership role in the Holy Order of MANS. In the 1980s Vrionis accepted this new-age group into his jurisdiction, whereupon they changed their name to Christ the Saviour Brotherhood. Benedict Greene was in the Archdiocese of Vasilupolis when the Holy Order of MANS joined them and was responsible for training many of their leaders in the Orthodox tradition along with Vrionis.
In 1968, Vrionis pled guilty to two counts of sodomy and two counts of corrupting the morals of a minor. He was sentenced to probation. (See: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Vrionis, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, County of Dauphin, Case Numbers 1378 and 1377).
http://www.pokrov.org/wp-content/uploads/Vrionis-Criminal-RecordsX.pdf
http://www.pokrov.org/?s=pangratios&submit.x=0&submit.y=0

"Bishop" Pangratios Vrionis of Queens, NY.
“Bishop” Pangratios Vrionis of Queens, NY.

The Testimony:
In my early 30s, I met my husband, Alex. He was an Eastern Orthodox priest, “on leave” after a divorce. I had never heard of Orthodox Christianity before, but I liked what I heard: A mystical or symbolic interpretation of scripture; no Substitutionary Atonement; no literal burning hell, and open to the possibility of people of other religions entering heaven. It seemed to be all the good stuff minus the bad stuff, and the fact that it was the “original church” in history gave it a lot of credibility.

Alex also seemed like the right kind of Christian for me. Raised in a communal atmosphere in Berkely, he was still a hippie with hair down to his waist, a love for film and rock n’ roll, and liberal political views. He was a recovering drug addict who credited God for his sobriety, and had made his way out of a shockingly violent childhood – but he had become a pastoral counselor. He was a gentle father to his 5-year-old son, and was more intelligent than anyone I had ever met. He was deeply involved in peace issues, and very inclusive as to who would go to heaven.

I recognized a gift from God when I saw one.

Christian Kabbalah Timeline
Christian Kabbalah Timeline

But I didn’t know enough about Orthodoxy to see the red flags. He’d been ordained in a non-canonical “independent” Orthodox church in Queens that mixed Kabballah and Theosophy in with its Orthodox theology. (I found out many years later that the Bishop who had founded it – and who Alex practically worshipped – had served time twice for embezzlement and once for mail fraud).

We were engaged and moved in together a month after we met. He resisted birth control on the grounds that “I trust God about things like that.” He also trusted God so much he didn’t wear a seatbelt, and was staunchly opposed to any sort of significant savings, calling a nest egg “greedy and materialistic” and reminding me of the sparrows. He was an artist and didn’t have a “real” job, but promised to get one before we were married. He finally did get a job in IT, and our two jobs helped us to maintain a roof over our heads.

Alex was a study in contradictions. He read the Bible every day, taking copious notes. Our apartment was covered with iconography and he self-published several books on Orthodoxy. He praised God constantly, never taking praise for himself but attributing all to God. To this day I have no doubt that he really DID believe; he wasn’t faking it. But once we returned from our wedding in Queens, more problems came up.

Chronic-fatigue

Now that he was married, he was reinstated to the priesthood. Suddenly I was a priest’s wife, something I hadn’t anticipated. About the same time he came down with a severe illness that kept him bedridden for two weeks, so he lost his job in IT. He was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but refused to try to get disability because he wanted to serve as a (volunteer) priest for a small congregation and he knew that would interfere with getting the benefit. We were back to my small salary, and I was getting scared.

His 5-year-old son was illegitimate, having been conceived during the process of his divorce. Just after our wedding, a 2-year-old illegitimate son popped up; we had to go to court to allow his stepfather to adopt him. I wept uncontrollably during the hearing; Alex seemed to feel nothing. I asked him, “How many more kids are out there?” He shrugged and said, “I don’t know. Probably several.”

He had already informed me that I was fourth on his priority list, after God, the Church, and his son. This was true. Once, when my stepson slammed the door and a large wooden icon fell and cracked me on the head, I swore, and he flew into a rage because I’d sworn in front of the icon. He kissed it – the icon, not my head.

We became the leaders of a congregation, but with a caveat – no one could know of his former divorce or his son’s illegitimacy. So began a life of lies where I had to subtly pretend that my stepson was my own (very difficult to do when the church women ask you about his birth or your child’s earliest years), and my stepson had to stay with the program and not mention his real mom or half-sister. He’s 22 now, and I cry as I write this. What we did to him was so sick, so unfathomable, that I will never, ever forgive myself.

I began to feel more and more isolated, especially since the two congregations we eventually led were immigrants, most of whom did not speak English. I didn’t have anyone to confess my lies to.

feelings of isolation and alienation 2

As it turned out, two of his exes had attempted or committed suicide. I never thought about the statistics of that – Alex explained they were both “crazy.” But as time went on, he displayed more and more of his temper. He would fly into unbelievable rages – often I didn’t know what he was upset about – and scream and swear at me. He was a very large man, and I would sit on the floor as he towered over me, yelled so the neighbors could hear (they told me!), hands in fists, veins poking out of his neck. Co-workers complained to my HR department about the times he dropped me off at work, screaming hysterically at me.

These weren’t “arguments” because I was afraid to reciprocate. Instead, I would go into another room and burn myself. I’d never self-harmed before, but I had nowhere to put my emotions.

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He never actually “hit” me, although he did cause two situations which left me bruised. Anyway, the yelling was worse, because for days afterward, I was physically sore as if he had. But unlike most abusive men, he never once said “I’m sorry.” He may have asked God for forgiveness, but not me.

For some years, I believed I was happy – because I felt every incident was isolated and would never recur. Our family did, in fact, have wonderful times together, but it was like taking a walk though a lovely meadow and having to avoid the landmines. Later I became unhappy, but chose to bear my burden because I didn’t want to break up the church. He had threatened me several times with a “Biblical marriage” in which he would make all decisions and I would submit, but it was that way anyway.

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Yet the idea of divorce was completely foreign to me. God had brought me this man and I was going to make it work somehow. When I was feeling down he sent me to a weekend retreat at a monastery nearby with a sweet and kind bishop we both loved. This bishop was later defrocked for sexual assault.

Things finally came to a head when my company declared bankruptcy and it looked like I would be laid off shortly. I began to hint that he might look into getting another part-time job (he was working for pay one day a week as a hospital chaplain). He exploded that he couldn’t do that and the church, and the church was his priority. He screamed at me to get a job at McDonald’s, when I was already working 50 to 60 hours a week. “YOU DON’T TRUST GOD,” he shrieked.

I began to get sicker and sicker, mentally and physically. Between jaw problems and anxiety, I lost almost 30 pounds and was constantly depressed and anxious. The doctors simply put me on more and more medication. But the more depressed I got, the more angry Alex got, calling me a “selfish bitch.” He would scream and swear at me the whole way to church, then get out of the car and become “The Gentle Priest.” It was as if he was two people. Church members often told me how fortunate I was to be married to such a Godly man.

anxiety_depression

Like the Ingrid Bergman character in “Gaslight,” my husband kept trying to convince me that I was crazy, and I came to believe it. He made me flush my meds down the toilet because I was “depending on medication instead of God,” throwing me into SSRI withdrawal. At one point he attempted to exorcise the demons out of me. One minute I was praising God, a moment later the fears came back again. “You TOOK the demons back,” he screamed. “You WANT to be sick.”

Gaslighting-Abuse

By that time I was in a semi-psychotic state. And one day I was greatly relieved and calmed to hear God’s voice say, “You can come home.” I had taken to sleeping on the floor in front of the altar, and when Alex came in I happily informed him. He flew into a rage. “What will that do to the CHURCH? You will go to HELL if you do this. But if it’s what you want, fine. What should I get you – a gun or a rope!?”

The next morning I made a serious attempt – not a gesture, not to get attention. I was 100% positive that I would die and life would be better for everyone. I wrote a suicide note to the church, telling them what a good man my husband was and why they should stay in his congregation. It was all my fault, I said. Blame me.

my fault

Somehow, I survived. One doctor said he had never had a patient survive what I had done. They all expected me to be happy that I was alive. I was not. I was supposed to stay in the ward for two weeks. Alex called two days after, demanding I come home, and telling me what to say to the doctors in order to get out. It worked.

The next three years were more of the same, except that now when we argued he would pull the suicide card. And his violent behavior kept escalating. Out of curiosity I wrote the city for his police records and discovered that right about the time he’d met me, he’d been arrested and gone to court for hitting his mother.

To be 100% fair, it was two Orthodox friends (from another church) and an Evangelical counselor who told me I HAD to leave. But I was still brainwashed with my own personal religion. I kept promising them things would get better. They HAD to. I was doing this for God.

One night in our 16th year, I came home late from work, as I was dealing with my most time-consuming project of the year. He was waiting for me. When I came in, he said, “So, I suppose you were out screwing someone else.” There was something new in his eyes, something I’d never seen before. The next morning I got up, went to work and never came home.

e322220595701aca681ca24f2cfbda67

Ironically, I still have to support him financially after the divorce. And if the State has a problem with the checks, which it sometimes does, he’s very quick to email me and demand the money (what happened to the sparrows?). MY home has been foreclosed, I’ve lost half my savings, I’ve declared bankruptcy and I have no idea where my stepson is. My father died about the same time. I was diagnosed with PTSD from the abuse. I had lost everything. Everything. I felt like a fool. Still do.

Over the next six months or so, the “feeling” I had, which I had called God, faded and faded. I knew God was gone completely when my father died. I was holding his hand as he passed away, and I felt noting – no compulsion to pray, no concerns about whether he’d gone to heaven or hell, no feeling that his spirit was anywhere at all. The chaplain came by and asked if he could be of any assistance. I said no – unthinkable in the past.

I never, never dreamed I would stop believing in God. For most of my life, even while I wrestled with dogma, God was the one thing I believed to be true. “I believe God exists because I exist,” I would say. I prayed every night before bed and throughout the day as well.

But I can’t imagine the opportunities I missed, the hell I endured, in his name. If there is a god who loves me, he has a funny way of showing it. People will say “I never really believed,” but if I didn’t, why would I have gone through all of that? I defy anyone to go through what I’ve been through and not recognize that God is either evil or a myth.

We’re on our own, and I wish I had known that 30 years ago. I truly feel I wasted my entire life in God’s name.
NOTE: Amethyst7 “was married to an Orthodox pastor for 16 years, after having been disillusioned by every other form of Christianity. For her complete extimony from Orthodoxy (and religion itself), read:

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Fr. Iakovos Fitzpatrick, Priest at St. Irene Chrysovalantou Greek Orthodox Monastery (NY)

NOTE: The following article is taken from the Paisios Scandals blog and St. Nektarios Monastery Tumblr page:

Fr. Iakovos Fitzpatrick
Fr. Iakovos Fitzpatrick

As a father to his daughter how can he stand by and not only watch, but allow Metropolotan Paisios get away with all of his horrendous actions?

Father Iakovos’ daughter was once a nun at Saint Irene Chrysovalantou. She became a nun at the young age of 14 and one must wonder if as a father he ever wondered about her decision and whether it was truly her own decision or not. Fast forward many years later as all this controversy surrounds the ex abbot of Saint Irene (Metropolitan Paisios) and Father Iakovos’ daughter (formerly Sister Chrystonymfi), one continues to wonder how much he really knew and whether he has acted in the best interest of his daughter or not. [Note: Young nun Christonymphi Fitzpatrick took off the monastic vows and cassock and returned to the ranks of the laity].

Fr. Iakovos daughter, Catherine, became a nun at 14 (she is now a lay person).
Fr. Iakovos daughter, Catherine, became a nun at 14 (she is now a lay person).

Father Iakovos continues to serve at Saint Irene Chrysovalantou, however not once has he openly confronted the situation regarding his daughter and the former abbot. He is as human as the rest of us though and it can be said that every individual might handle such a situation differently than the next. One way to handle this would be to channel the hurt and anger the ex abbot has brought upon his daughter, his family, himself, and the surrounding community by coming forth in acknowledgment of the situation and outwardly speaking up and leading the community in fighting against the ex abbot. Someone else however, like Father Iakovos in this specific situation has done, might handle it in a much quieter fashion, choosing to avoid the topic almost as if ignoring it ever happened.

The big question though is, how could Father Iakovos possibly continue to show up and serve in front of the very community that knows very well what has happened as they were also affected by it? How can he show up and continue to completely ignore the disgraceful events that transpired and rocked this community and this church and his family to its core? As a father to his daughter how can he stand by and not only watch, but allow Metropolitan Paisios get away with all of his horrendous actions??

One is left only to wonder what kind of a force could cause a man to keep such silence. I could think of a few things in this world that has made many a man make some pretty bad decisions, but the very first assumption that comes to mind is unfortunately money.

http://paisiosscandals.wordpress.com/

Fr. Iakovos Censing (Palm Sunday 2013)
Fr. Iakovos Censing (Palm Sunday 2013)

 

NOTE: Fr. Iakovos use to bring his family to St. Nektarios Monastery in Roscoe, NY. The writer of the above piece makes an accusation of money buying silence. At the time when Fr. Iakovos visited the monastery (early 2000’s), he and his family lived in abject poverty. They were essentially off the grid, used solar power for their energy, etc. They lived a very Bohemian lifestyle.

1st pond at St. Nektarios Monastery, NY
1st pond at St. Nektarios Monastery, NY

The abbot of St. Nektarios Monastery once visited their property and was horrified as he had never seen anything like it before. He felt very sorry for the children who were subjected to  live in such squalor and poverty. Thus, he would always make an effort to give the children sweets when they visited the monastery, as well as alms of basic surpluses to the Fitzpatrick family in general.

Fr. Iakovos also introduced another priest to the St. Nektarios Monastery, Fr. P. He was later defrocked for having carnal relations with some of the young women who went to him for confession. The monastery had hired this priest to do some carpentry work but did not pursue his services afterwards.

On December 19, 2013 Fr. Iakovos and Presbytera Deborah, along with 7 (of their 11) children, lost their home and all their belongings in a terrible home fire. By the grace of god, no one was hurt.

Fr. Iakovos Fitzpatrick with fireman

http://www.gofundme.com/Fitzpatrickfamilyhome

“Weeping” Icon in Toronto Greek Schismatic Church Exposed as Fraud (Joe Nickell, 1996)

On September 1, 1996, an icon in a non-canonical, schismatic Greek Orthodox Church in Toronto[1], Ontario, Canada, began to “weep.” CSICOP paranormal investigator Joe Nickell was invited by the Toronto Sun to the site for a promised opportunity to examine the “miracle.” However, permission to conduct an examination was subsequently withdrawn, but Nickell’s observation of the icon (actually a color photographic print) persuaded him that the substance was probably a non-drying oil (e.g., olive oil) applied to the surface. It was not freshly flowing and did not emanate from the eyes.

The icon of the Virgin Mary which had been “weeping” from the crown area of the head since September 1996.
The icon of the Virgin Mary which had been “weeping” from the crown area of the head since September 1996.

As it happened, the priest had formerly preached at a church in Queens, New York (St. Irene Chrysovalantou Greek Orthodox Church), which had also been embroiled in a controversy over a weeping icon[2]. Worse, he had been defrocked for having worked in a brothel in Athens, Greece[3].

Subsequently, Nickell was re-invited to Toronto— this time by the Greek Orthodox parent church authorities who had regained control of the church. With a police fraud squad detective standing by, and two constables posted outside, Nickell examined the picture and took samples for the lab to analyze. He told the media, “There is nothing that distinguishes this icon from a fraud.” (See Joe Nickell, “Something to Cry About: The Case of the Weeping Icon,” Skeptical Inquirer, March/April 1997, pp.19-20.)

This display shows photographs from that event. At the left is a votive candle and at right some oil-soaked cotton recovered by Nickell from the site.

toronto_icon

http://www.tubechop.com/watch/5834393

NOTES:

1. The Holy Synod in Resistance, of which this parish was a part (under the Archdiocese of Etna (California)), united itself to the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece and formally ceased to exist.

2. An icon of St. Irene began crying and drawing hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, some as far away as India and Japan. More than a year later, after that icon had been investigated by NY Area Skeptics who concluded that the phenomenon was bogus, the icon was stolen at gunpoint. Supposedly, Fr. Ieronymos Katseas refused to cooperate in producing the key to the Plexiglas case that housed it and was pistol-whipped, after which the bandits broke the lock and made off with the “miraculous” icon. It was subsequently returned— minus $800,000 in gems and golden jewelry that decorated it—under conditions that still remain controversial (Christopoulos 1996).

3. Fr. Ieronymos Katseas was also defrocked in 1993 when it was learned he had previously worked in a brothel in Athens. A church document on the priest’s excommunication states that a New York ecclesiastical court found him guilty of slander, perjury, and defamation, as well as being “in the employ of a house of prostitution” (Goldhar 1996). In fact, in 1987 sworn testimony before a Greek judge, Fr. Ieronymos Katseas admitted he had been so employed (Magnish et al. 1996).

Also,  shortly after this 1993 excommunication, he refused to leave the parish in Toronto to which he had later been assigned. This parish was in the midst of financial difficulties when the icon began to weep as well, and was also attacked by Greek Orthodox leaders. Fr. Ieronymos Katseas also owed C$95,000 in back taxes and mortgage payments.

Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Martyrs Raphael, Nicholas, & Irene in Toronto, Canada.
Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Martyrs Raphael, Nicholas, & Irene in Toronto, Canada.

Also see:

Connie Hargrave, Visit to the Weeping Madonna Icon in Toronto, (March 1997) http://www.share-international.org/archives/appearances/ap_chvis.htm

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/ont.general/YgLKRACRgss[1-25-false]

http://www.tdavis.org/holysmoke/thread.html?threadid=1:278/15%20000348a6&msgid=1:278/15%20000348a6 

Figure 10.1

https://www.scribd.com/doc/246116809/Adventure-of-the-Weeping-Icon-Joe-Nickell

Saint Irene Chrysovalantou Icon in Queens, NY (Joe Nickell)

Joe Nickell is an expert in exposing and debunking "paranormal" and religious frauds.
Joe Nickell is an expert in exposing and debunking “paranormal” and religious frauds.

Another Greek Orthodox icon seems to have caught the weeping condition while on loan to the Chicago Greek Church of St. Athanasios and John the Baptist. This began on October 17, 1990, when the icon of St. Irene Chrysovalantou, patron saint of the sick and of peace, supposedly began to cry immediately after a service for peace in the Persian Gulf. Returned to its home (the church of a breakaway Orthodox faction) in Astoria, Queens, New York, on October 23, the icon attracted additional thousands of pilgrims over the following days as it was reputed to continue weeping.However, the tears dried after the Gulf War ended.

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Although an investigation was refused at the time, on May 11, 1991, I was able to examine the icon, under rather limited conditions, in company with members of the New York Area Skeptics (NYASk). A previous NYASk ultra-violet examination had revealed only some streaks and markings that were clearly not the result of weeping. Our examination included stereo-microscopic viewing which also failed to show traces of any tearstains.Subsequently, forensic analyst John F. Fischer and I obtained a videotape of the earlier, October 1990, phenomenon. At first we regarded the evidence as too ambiguous to assess, but further study indicated that there were wet-looking streaks that seemed to have been on the painted panel rather than the clear plexiglass cover. It appeared to us that the two “rivulets” flowed down the face just to the outside of the eyes and that the scale of the “tears” was greatly disproportionate to the diminutive size of St. Irene’s face. These observations suggested to us a rather crude hoax.4

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A curious sequel to the story of the St. Irene icon came just before Christmas 1991. On December 23, three armed men and a woman burst into the church, forced two priests and four others to lie on the front altar, pried the icon from its case, and fled. Whether they sought the icon for its alleged powers, or for the estimated $800,000 value of its gold frame encrusted with jewels, could only be speculated upon. Said Bishop Vikentios:

Only we need the icon back, we don’t care for the gold of the jewels. It is a holy icon, it is a miracle icon. She is the patron saint of peace. We don’t know why the Lord allowed this to happen.6

Within a few days, however, the icon was returned—although missing the frame and most of its jewels—anonymously through the mail.

A final (?) episode in the icon saga came when representatives of the mainstream church—the traditional Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America (mentioned earlier in the stonewalling of the 1986 Chicago weeping-icon case)—suggested that the breakaway faction that owns the icon might have staged the theft as a hoax. “We have doubts about the tears and so on,” added the archdiocese’s press officer. To what appeared as a case of the pot calling the kettle black, members of the breakaway Greek Orthodox Christians of North and South America, responded that the other church was simply envious of the icon.7

…I witnessed a different illusion when I examined the St. Irene icon in Queens, New York. The glistening varnish and certain surface irregularities created a play of light that produced the appearance of weeping. A religious supplicant predisposed to see tears could, especially if carrying a candle, see in the resultant glimmering in the tiny eyes, aided by vertical cracks and other streaks, the effect of tears.Aided in part by the sad expression of St. Irene, we easily experienced the illusion of seeing tears welling up in the saint’s eyes, although a low-power stereo microscope showed us the true state of affairs.9

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NOTES

Nickell, Joe, “Magical Icons.” Chapter 3 of Looking for a Miracle: Weeping Icons, Relics, Stigmata, Visions & Healing Cures, 1993, pp. 54-55, 57.

Mireya Navarro, “Saint’s Weeping Portrait Draws Curious and the Faithful,” New York Times, November 5, 1990.

See Joe Nickell, “Weeping Icon Revisited—Still Dry-Eyed,” The New York Skeptic (Newsletter of the New York Area Skeptics), Summer 1991, pp. 6-7.

Examination of St. Irene videotape, conducted at Gotha, Florida, by Joe Nickell and John F. Fischer, August 6, 1991.

“Congregation Prays for Return of Stolen Icon,” Newark Star-Ledger, December 24, 1991.

“Greek Factions Duel over Theft of the Icon,” Newark Star-Ledger, January 2, 1992.

Nickell, “Weeping Icon Revisited,” p. 7.

Ibid.

Ibid.

"Looking for a Miracle" exposes religious frauds mainly in the Catholic Church, though it has a section on Orthodox icons mainly from Old Calendarist factions.
“Looking for a Miracle” exposes religious frauds mainly in the Catholic Church, though it has a section on Orthodox icons mainly from Old Calendarist factions.

See also:

November 20, 1990: N.Y.’s weeping icon draws area faithful http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1990-11-20/news/1990324110_1_greek-orthodox-church-weeping-icon-irene

October 31, 1990: St. Irene: Looking For A Miracle http://www.qgazette.com/news/2007-06-27/features/089.html

December 24, 1991: Queens Church Robbed of ‘Weeping’ Icon http://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/24/nyregion/queens-church-robbed-of-weeping-icon.html

1991 Dec. 24, St Irene Icon

December 25, 1991: Faithful Pray for New Miracle To Aid Stolen ‘Weeping’ Icon http://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/25/nyregion/faithful-pray-for-new-miracle-to-aid-stolen-weeping-icon.html

December 28, 1991: Church Robbed of Icon Gets Prank Calls http://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/28/nyregion/church-robbed-of-icon-gets-prank-calls.html

December 29, 1991: Astoria Sings Joyful Praises as a Lost Symbol is Found http://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/29/nyregion/astoria-sings-joyful-praises-as-a-lost-symbol-is-found.html

December 29, 1991: ’Weeping’ Icon Returned to New York City Church http://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/29/nyregion/weeping-icon-returned-to-new-york-city-church.html

1991 - St Irene Icon

December 30, 1991: ’Weeping’ Icon Returns To Prayers of Celebration http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1994-07-17/news/9407170365_1_icon-church-sanctuary-cigna

January 1, 1992: Story of the Weeping Icon Divides Greek Orthodoxy http://www.nytimes.com/1992/01/01/nyregion/story-of-the-weeping-icon-divides-greek-orthodoxy.html

January 1, 1992: Doubt Cast On Story Of `Weeping Icon` http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1992-01-01/news/9201010099_1_st-irene-chrysovalantou-bishop-vikentios-greek-orthodox-archdiocese

July 15, 1994: Questions of Belief Arise Once Again Over `Weeping Icon’ (WSJ) http://www.skepticfiles.org/skep2/iconstol.htm

July 17, 1994: `Weeping Icon’ Goes To Court, Church Sues Insurer For Refusing Its Claim http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1994-07-17/news/9407170365_1_icon-church-sanctuary-cigna

December 23, 1996: Relic Brings Clout and Miracle Seekers to a Queens Church http://www.nytimes.com/1996/12/23/nyregion/relic-brings-clout-and-miracle-seekers-to-a-queens-church.html

August 12, 1998: Church Says Burglar Sought Saint’s Icon http://www.nytimes.com/1998/08/12/nyregion/church-says-burglar-sought-saint-s-icon.html

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February 1, 2001: Astoria Greek church’s icon recovered after theft http://www.timesledger.com/stories/2001/5/20010201-archive65.html

November 9, 2010: Sister Christonymphi Speaks to Police Regarding St. Irene Chrysovalantou Monastery in Astoria http://www.monomakhos.com/sister-christonymphi-speaks-to-police-regarding-st-irene-chrysovalantou-monastery-in-astoria/

November 16, 2011: Burglary at St. Irene Chrysovalantou Church in Astoria http://ocl.org/burglary-at-st-irene-chrysovalantou-church-in-astoria/

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Paisios Loulourgas, Metropolitan of Tyana and Vikentios Malamentenios, Bishop of Apameia (NY)

NOTE: Metropolitans Paisios and Vikentios and their monastery, St. Irene Chrysovalantou, were not part of Geronda Ephraim’s monasteries. However, after they were received into the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America—it is rumored that they paid the Patriarch a large sum of money for the privilege—the two started to visit St. Anthony’s Monastery periodically. When they visited St. Anthony’s Monastery, they would also give sermons in the main Katholikon after a service (even Vespers). The speeches were always the same: Zionists, Freemasons, New World Order, Jewish conspiracies of world domination and destroying Greece and the Orthodox Church. The same rhetoric they used in their newsletters. Interestingly, shortly after their re-ordinations in 1998, the two Metropolitans apologized to the Jewish community for their anti-Semitic publications (see below). Yet, throughout the 2000s, they preached the very things they apologized for in the main church at St. Anthony’s Monastery.

Orthodox Observer May 1998

The following article is taken from: http://stnektariosmonastery.tumblr.com/post/102741630916/paisios-loulourgas-metropolitan-of-tyana-and

AJC Welcomes Statement By Greek Orthodox Old Calendarist Church Repudiating Anti-Semitism

The American Jewish Committee welcomes the recent statement by leaders of the Greek Orthodox Stavropegial Church and Monastery of St. Irene Chrysovalantou which expresses regret for the use of anti-Semitic remarks and stereotypes in its Church body newspaper, The Voice of Orthodoxy.

The May 21st statement of Metropolitan Paisios, whose group is based in Astoria, New York, noted that in 1993 and 1994 “our publications did indeed reflect an unenlightened attitude toward Jews, perpetuating some anti-Semitic myths whose origins extend back to medieval times. We categorically deny these lies, and genuinely seek forgiveness for having communicated such un-Christian sentiments. We categorically reject all forms of anti-Semitism.”

Bishop Vikentios, another leader of the group also known as the Old Calendarist Church because it follows the Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar, echoed the Metropolitan’s views. “We are saddened and deeply ashamed by these past statements regarding Jews. We not only repent these statements,” the Bishop said, “but understand the true nature of our relationship to Jews and to people of other faiths.” He further acknowledged that his Church body has expressed views about Jews and Judaism “which we now know to be false.”

Commenting on these statements, Rabbi A. James Rudin, National Interreligious Affairs Director of the American Jewish Committee, said: “The expressions of regret on the part of Metropolitan Paisios and Bishop Vikentios represent a necessary first step in purging their group of the ugly pathology of religious anti-Semitism.

“What is needed now, after public repentance, is to translate the message of these statements into the daily spiritual life of the Old Calendarist Church and all its members. This is especially true in areas of preaching and teaching on the local level. Such statements issued by church leaders, welcome as they are, must always be followed by concrete actions and full implementation in all aspects of church life.”

Rabbi Rudin added: “The American Jewish Committee recalls with deep appreciation the powerful words spoken last October at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, by the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, when he repudiated anti-Semitism and called the Holocaust an ‘icon of evil.’”

An AJC Leadership Delegation met with the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul last February.

Rabbi Rudin concluded: “The AJC also appreciates the vital efforts of Archbishop Spyridon, the Primate and spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, to build mutual respect and understanding between our two faith communities. For its part, the AJC looks forward to continued cooperation with the Greek Orthodox Church in the future.”

http://www.charitywire.com/charity11/00401.html 

The Sts. Anargyroi, Taxiarchis and Gerasimos Greek Orthodox  Church procession led by BishopVikentios of Apameia.
The Sts. Anargyroi, Taxiarchis and Gerasimos Greek Orthodox
Church procession led by BishopVikentios of Apameia.

Below is a brief, albeit incomplete, chronology of the “feats” of these two Metropolitans:

April 23, 1998: Archbishop Spyridon officially receives Metropolitan Paisios and Bishop Vikentios https://web.archive.org/web/20100613060136/http://goarch.org/news/goa.news617

May 4, 1998: One Calendar or Another, Greek Orthodox Heal Rift http://www.nytimes.com/1998/05/04/nyregion/one-calendar-or-another-greek-orthodox-heal-rift.html

October 11, 2010: Was Metropolitan Paisios’ Resignation from St. Irene Monastery Forced? http://elgreca262.blogspot.ca/2010/10/was-metropolitan-paisios-resignation.html

October 28, 2010: Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana Said to Be Under Investigation by FBI and Local Police http://www.jlaforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=57116189

Oct 30, 2010: Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana Said to Be Under Investigation http://nftu.net/metropolitan-paisios-of-tyana-said-to-be-under-investigation/

November 5, 2010: New York monastery scandal hits Greek Church http://byztex.blogspot.ca/2010/11/monastery-scandal-hits-greek.html

Nov 5, 2010: Metropolitans Paisos and Vikentios on Trial http://nftu.net/metropolitans-paisos-and-vikentios-on-trial/

November 7, 2010: Patriarchate Sends an Hexarchy to Chrysovalantou Monastery http://www.greeknewsonline.com/patriarchate-sends-an-hexarchy-to-chrysovalantou-monastery/

November 8, 2010: Astoria Nun Alleges Sexual Harassment, Hands Over $500,000 http://usa.greekreporter.com/2010/11/08/greek-nun-makes-sexual-harassment-allegations-hands-500000-to-the-police/

November 9, 2010: Met. Nikita Leads Investigation: Fox Guarding the Henhouse? http://www.monomakhos.com/met-nikita-leads-investigation-fox-guarding-the-henhouse/

December 2, 2010: Fanar accepts resignations of Paisios and Vikentios, appoints acting abbot http://www.greeknewsonline.com/fanar-accepts-resignations-of-paisios-and-vikentios-appoints-acting-abbot/

December 19, 2010: Bp. Vikentios accuses Bp. Paisios of perversion (Are they even real Bishops?) http://www.monomakhos.com/bp-vikentios-accuses-bp-paisios-of-perversion-are-they-even-real-bishops/

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December 21, 2010: Accusations fly after New York monastery scandal breaks http://byztex.blogspot.ca/2010/12/accusations-fly-after-new-york.html

January 1, 2011: Patriarch Bartholomew Gets Letter of Complaint on Paisios Conduct http://christianchildabuse.blogspot.ca/2011/01/law-firms-letter.html

January 5, 2011: Patriarch Bartholomew to Bishop Vikentios: Leave the U.S. Now http://www.monomakhos.com/patriarch-bartholomew-to-bishop-vikentios-leave-the-u-s-now/

January 13, 2011: Nun Charges Paisios Abused Her Daughter http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2011/01_02/2011_01_13_Kalmoukos_NunCharges.htm

January 30, 2011: Paisios, Vikentios Out, New Trustees in, Legal Battles Loom – Updated http://www.monomakhos.com/paisios-vikentios-out-new-trustees-in-legal-battles-loom-updated/

February 23, 2012: Paisios and Vikentios are Summoned to the Ecumenical Patriarchate – New Abbot Elected http://www.jlaforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=129769707

March 22, 2012: Met. Paisios’ Accuser Tells TNH His Story http://www.monomakhos.com/predators-in-our-midst-2/

March 29, 2012: Patriarchate Has Defrocked Paisios and Vikentios http://www.pokrov.org/patriarchate-has-defrocked-paisios-and-vikentios/

The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate unanimously defrocked Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana and Bishop Vikenios of Apameia from the priesthood, relegating them to mere monastics.
The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate unanimously defrocked Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana and Bishop Vikenios of Apameia from the priesthood, relegating them to mere monastics.

Press Hunt for Girl Feared Held in a Greek Monastery (Milwaukee Journal, 1951)

NOTE: The following article about Simela Spyrides is taken from the Milwaukee Journal, January 5, 1951:

Milwaukee Journal January 5, 1951 (Simela Spyrides)

Athens, Greece (A/P)—Authorities hunted Friday night for a young raven haired American woman whose father charges she was lured from her Toledo (Ohio) home to imprisonment in a Greek monastery by a nun of the Julian Calendar sect. The search followed an appeal to court officials in Athens from Christo Spyrides of Toledo for the return of his missing 22 year old daughter, Simela. He charged that, against his will, Simela was enticed from her home to a Greek monastery in 1949 by a nun identified as Maria Zaphriopoulos. The nun was said to have been in the United States at the time on a mission to collect a $10,000 estate left an inmate of the Karatea monastery.

Spyrides said he was married in 1926 in Greece but that he and his wife parted and he returned to Toledo in 1927. He said he was “fairly certain” that his former wife was a member of the monastery, but that he had no way of knowing whether his daughter had joined.

Police say they suspect she is hidden in some monastery.

Currently in jail here on charges of abduction, unlawful detention and fraud are Mother Superior Miriam Soulakiotis and 10 nuns and monks of the monastery, located on the Aegean sea coast east of Athens. Police were reported seeking five “bogus bishops.”

Court officials asserted that scores of men and women who entered the Karatea monastery had been defrauded of their estates. Their properties were reported turned over to the mother superior.

Toledo Blade January 6, 1951 p. 1 (Simela Spyrides)

NOTE: The following article is taken from the Toledo Blade, January 6th, 1951, pp. 1 & 3:

Daughter ‘All Right,’ Not Prisoner In Greek Monastery, Father Decides

Toledoan’s Offer To Pay Girl’s Fare Back To U.S. Stands

A Toledo father today reversed his earlier contention that his daughter is an unwilling prisoner in a Greek monastery, asserting that she is “probably all right.”

Christ Spyrides, 58, of 1511 Woodville St., pointed out his 22-year-old daughter, previously reported by the father as being imprisoned, is an American citizen, and could, if she wanted, return to Toledo. His offer to pay her expenses for the return trip is still good, he added.

However, since the daughter, Simela, asked for return plane fare, Mr. Spyrides said he wrote her last Saturday asking her to return by boat because of the money difference involved.

First reports of the abduction were made by the press wire services from Athens. They reported Mr. Spyrides had contacted officials there to help find his daughter who he believed had been “tricked” into returning to Greece.

Mr. Spyrides said today he had written to the authorities but gave no reason other than he “wanted his daughter to return.” Prosecutor George Velouzos in Athens confirmed that he had received the appeal and that Athens police were trying to find the girl.

A dispatch from the United Press reported the raven-haired girl “eluded a police hunt today by skipping from one mountain convent to another.”

In halting English, Mr. Spyrides, aided by a neighbor, Tom Tokles, 1506 Woodville St., acting as an interpreter, told a reporter for The Blade the following story:

Mr. Spyrides, who came to this country in 1913, returned to Greece in 1926 and was married. The following year, Simela was born in Corinson, Greece, and he returned alone to the United States. His wife and child followed in 1932, but remained only a few months. That year, Mr. Spyrides and his wife were divorced.

The return of his wife and daughter 14 years later, in 1946, was “unexpected,” Mr. Spyrides said. He said he first knew they were in the country when he received a wire from them saying they needed money to make the trip from New York to Toledo.

 Probable Reason For Visit

He assumed they decided to visit the United States because war had left Greece poverty-stricken, and were taking advantage of a United States ruling that dependents of American citizens could enter the country.

In January, last year, Mrs. Spyrides was sent back by immigration authorities, he said.

Mr. Spyrides would not comment when asked why his daughter did not then return with her mother. In the meantime, Simela had been a student in East Side Central School.

Sometime between January and March, 1950, “some nuns who wanted money” visited the Spyrides home, Mr. Spyrides said. He asserted they had obtained his name from some church “in Detroit.”

Girl And Nuns Friendly

Believing they were asking funds for legitimate charities in Greece, Mr. Spyrides said he had permitted them to remain several days in his home. At that time, Simela and the nuns were “very friendly,” he added.

The Associated Press reported the nuns were believed to be of the Julian Calendar Sect, affiliated with the Karatea monastery. They have been jailed on charges of abduction, unlawful detention, and fraud, the wire service said. The monastery is on the Aegean Sea coast, east of Athens.

Mr. Spyrides said that in March, 1950, the girl, having learned her mother was ill, decided to return to Greece with the nuns.

Paid Fare To Greece

“I paid her fare; what are you going to do?” Mr. Spyrides said.

Since that time he has had several letters from her, although she was vague about expressing any desire to come back, he added.

He wrote his brother to check up on her whereabouts in Athens, but the latter could not afford to make the trip from his home, the father said.

Why Mr. Spyrides contacted consular authorities in Athens is not clear. He commented only that he wanted to know whether she was coming home.

Doubt Girl Wants To Leave

The United Press said that police believe the girl does not want to leave the sect. The dispatch said further that police were acting under a Greek law which says that a father, as “male protector,” has legal rights over his unmarried daughters regardless of age.

About a week ago, Mr. Spyrides said, he received a cablegram from his daughter, in which she said, “Daddy, please send me money for plane fare home.”

The father said that in his letter reply to her on Saturday, he told her that it would be cheaper for her to come by boat.

He said flatly today that he was waiting for her reply.

“If she doesn’t want to come back, it’s all right,” he said. “There’s no mystery. She’s probably all right.”

Mr. Spyrides has been employed 23 years in the East Broadway plant of the Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Co.