By Nikos Kolokythas
Those who regularly read news regarding the Greek Diaspora will surely have been puzzled by the systematic “obsession” of the graduate of the School of the Holy Cross and current columnist Theodoros Kalmoukos to undermine again another Archbishop of America.
His latest target is Archbishop Elpidophoros of America. However, Archbishop Elpidophoros is not the first Archbishop to be attacked by Theodoros Kalmoukos. In fact, the columnist follows a strange pattern seen with his treatment of all Archbishops of America and Metropolitans of the USA: initially praising them, then vehemently attacking them.
Written words remain and prove the truth. Almost three years ago, on September 13, 2020, Theodoros Kalmoukos wrote about the “chaos inherited by Archbishop Elpidophoros… the ‘haunted’ and troubled construction site of the Church of St. Nicholas… the mortgaged offices of the Archdiocese… the mess within the Theological School.” He scorned the “pathetic individuals who attack him with ‘anonymous libels'” and “worried parishioners” advocating that “individuals behind such attacks should not hide.”
Kalmoukos didn’t spare Metropolitans either, harshly condemning the distorted charter, the so-called “Constitution” of the Archdiocese of America, calling for its abolition.
On May 3, 2020, he wrote: “I am talking directly about the abolition of the current strange system of the Metropolises, which admittedly has failed miserably because instead of solving problems it creates many new ones. It is also too expensive and ‘dangerous’ for the very unity and cohesion of our Church in America.”
Theodoros Kalmoukos himself once praised the current Archbishop of America, Elpidophoros, writing that “he managed to reconstruct our ecclesiastical life, thanks to his initiatives and leadership.”
And yet Theodoros Kalmoukos in March 2023 deems the Ecumenical Patriarch as… naive (!) who was lured into “suspending the Charter of the Archdiocese of America” and into “establishing a Committee consisted of clergy and laity to review and update it.” He wrote that decisions were “taken hastely and without proper caution”.
In September, he wrote that with the maintenance of the Charter, “the only certainty is that the problems will multiply and intensify and the deterioration of the Church in general will worsen.”
His latest article about an alleged attempt by the Greek government to turn the Ecumenical Patriarch against the Archbishop provoked anger, as Archbishop Elpidophoros of America met twice with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. One of the meeting took place recently at the Maximos Mansion. It is also no secret that he maintains excellent relations with a large number of government ministers and government officials.
The two possible explanations
We sought to find out why Theodoros Kalmoukos is so obsessed with the Archdiocese of America. The possible explanations given are two and one concerns personal reasons. Theodoros Kalmoukos, according to Greek diaspora, lives isolated in Boston after the pandemic and he no longer travels anywhere.
In 1976 he was admitted to the Holy Cross School in Boston, with the stated purpose of becoming a priest. He submitted a request for ordination, but it was rejected. According to them, his resentment over this failure led him to turn against all Archbishops of America, Iakovos, Spyridon, Demetrios and, now, Elpidophoros.
The second explanation considers… an economic dimension. The current Archbishop of America, Elpidophoros, was sent by the Ecumenical Patriarch in 2019 to New York and managed, in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, to restart and complete the construction of St. Nicholas at Ground Zero, to stop the Holy Cross Theological School of going downhill shortly before the competent authorities revoked its functional certification, and to stabilize the Clergy Retirement Fund in America, which was mathematically heading for bankruptcy.
These successful actions of Archbishop Elpidophoros have increased his popularity among the Greek diaspora, clergy and laity. However, he disrupted funding streams for certain long-standing centers that had been draining the Church for the last twenty years. These “centers” are currently leveraging Theodoros Kalmoukos’ personal resentment against the Archdiocese of America for their own purposes.
But many Greek expatriates in America are now willing to talk about specific events and to go a few steps further, mentioning a list of names in New York and Athens and financial transactions related to these individuals…