The Documented History of the Slanderous Forgery
Composed by Metropolitan Paul of Astoria (Paul Stratigeas)
Against Archbishop Gregory
In the year 1996 when the then Father Gregory and those with him joined the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece under Archbishop Chrysostom, Father Paul Stratigeas of Astoria and his uncle, Bishop Petros, were not part of the Church in Greece. They had departed earlier because Bishop Petros could not succeed in ordaining his nephew Paul to the episcopacy. They joined the Russian Church Abroad with the intent of having him ordained there, while at the same time Father Gregory left the Russian Church Abroad because of the Russians’ union with the deposed Metropolitan Cyprian of Fili, the Ecumenist. All this effort by Bishop Petros to ordain his nephew a bishop was for the express intent to keep all the property of his diocese in America under the control his family.
When the Russians also refused to ordain Father Paul, Bishop Petros and Paul re-entered the GOC of Greece. At that time, Father Gregory was the representative of the GOC for America. Rumors started circulating that Archbishop Chrysostom was considering to indeed make Father Paul a bishop. Father Gregory heard of these rumors and that one of the bishops in the Synod, Metropolitan Kallinikos of the Twelve Islands was vehemently opposed to this, as in the past was Metorpolatain Kalliopios. Therefore, Father Gregory wrote a letter to the Synod addressed to Metropolitan Kallinikos, because he agreed to present it to all the members of the Synod.
The letter is presented in full below:
14/27 July 1997
I am writing you to convey to the holy Synod our fears and anxieties over the news that Archimandrite Paul Stratigeas is being considered for the bishopric for the diocese of Astoria, U.S.A.
The reason our martyric Church stands alone in the world as the last bastion of Orthodoxy, is the pure confession of Faith of our bishops, who have a perfect understanding of Orthodoxy. We who have endured so much in the past from unworthy hierarchs, ordained by men like the deposed monk Auxentios of sorry memory, ought now to exhibit the utmost caution and scrutiny in the future, so that the mistakes of the past do not occur again. Should not candidates for the hierarchy be chosen from among the best men of GOC? I believe that if any archimandrite in Greece committed the deeds Father Paul did, such as:
1) Saying that in his conscience he belongs to the Ecumenical Patriarch and going to Constantinople and kissing Bartholomew and calling him the first hierarch of Orthodoxy, His All-Holiness!
2) Meeting Iakovos of America and kissing his hand and receiving his blessing as a true bishop!
3) Praising the deposed monk Cyprianos as a righteous and true confessor of Orthodoxy and attempting to unite with him!
4) Denouncing the holy Synod of GOC as incompetent individuals and us, the faithful, as extremist, hateful people with foul tongues!
5) Traveling to California to meet and pray with the deposed monk Chrysostom (Gonzales) of Etna!
6) Saying that the, “new-calendarists and ecumenists have” only “deviated from correct belief and...have not wholly succumbed to heresy.” If any Archimandrite in Greece, I say, had done such things and others which I hesitate to write about, he would not be considered for the bishopric, but for psychiatric care.
Sevasmiotate, we need a bishop whom we can love and respect, as the icon of Christ. I believe there are many, many, archimandrites, priestmonks, and even monks in Greece who are worthy of this post and who could stand without shame next to the caliber of bishops we have now. If the holy Synod cannot find someone to come to America, then leave us as we are. Better to have no bishop, than a bad bishop, to quote Saint Basil. We need an alternative to Paisios, not competition with him.
The choosing of a bishop should be a confident and positive action, not a risky gamble. Is there any assurance that Father Paul will change his ways if he is ordained a bishop? Will he stop giving holy Communion to, according to his words, “the spiritual children of Bartholomew” at every Liturgy? Will we see the Cyprianites stop accusing us of doing the same things they were deposed for -- that is, giving holy Communion to ecumenists? Will we see the Great-Schema Monk, Father Paul, start living like a monk? Will we see Father Paul leave his mansion in Long Island and live with his monks in Astoria? Yes, we know he has a T.V. program, but to what good end is all this effort, if all his people are the “spiritual children of Bartholomew”? What type of Orthodoxy has he been teaching them, if they all have remained as he says, the “spiritual children of Bartholomew”?
We just converted a family not that far from New York, pious people from another old-calendarist Church, and for fear of them being received at St. Markella, where they would see the way the new-calendarists dress (women wearing pants) and receive holy Communion at a church of GOC, I had them drive 29 hours to come here. I could not risk them being scandalized and say that the GOC is no different than the Greek Archdiocese.
It saddens us to hear of Father Paul’s irresistible desire to become a bishop, and how he asked Metropolitan Vitaly of the Russians for ordination, and was refused. It grieves us to hear that he has his vestments already made, and to hear that he says that he deserves ordination, not knowing how our Metropolitan Kalliopios calls the episcopacy a heavy burden of responsibilities that one should seek to be released from. And Saint John of Damascus also says that, “Those who shamelessly assume high office...are severely punished.” If he cannot hold the office of a priest without causing scandal in the Church, how can he hold the office of a bishop?
We know he has repented publicly three times and we hope he doesn’t fall from the Church again. May God preserve him. The best solution in helping him is the discipline and grace that comes from holy obedience. If he could start living under true monastic obedience, we will never experience any betrayals from Fr. Paul again.
I write this for the good and peace of the Church knowing that it is not easy to understand the situation here, being 7,000 miles away. We pray that the ship of the Church will sail by this obstacle, as we bear in mind the words of the Archbishop, who said that, “Ours is the responsibility to retain the confession of our Faith without blemish and to assign worthy leaders to our Church, for without worthy representatives, the Church is weakened in its goal...”
In the love of Christ, kissing your right hand,
Archimandrite Gregory and those with me
Metropolitan Kallinikos liked the letter so much, he not only translated it, but decided to publish it in his periodical. This periodical was distributed throughout Greece and the Holy Mountain. When Father Paul read this letter, instead of trying to defend himself, he became so enraged that he decided to take revenge against Father Gregory. He decided to write a forgery in which he placed Father Gregory’s name, stating that Father Gregory had engaged in homosexual acts with Father Panteleimon of the Boston Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration. After he wrote this slanderous forgery, he contrived with Bishop Gabriel of the Russian Church Abroad, to place this letter in Father Gregory’s file in the Synod archives in New York City. Then, he requested a copy of this letter from Bishop Gabriel to be sent to the Synod in Greece with the Russian Synod stamp and Bishop Gabriel’s handwritten statement and signature stating that this was a true copy from the Synod files.
This letter is presented in full below:
Not too long after this, Father Gregory was summoned to appear before the Synod in Greece and no reason was given other than that Father Paul had denounced Father Gregory. Father Gregory therefore assumed that Father Paul was defending himself because of the letter against him. Therefore he prepared all the evidence necessary to prove his letter and went to Greece to appear before the Synod. He had also asked a priestmonk to be his interpreter. When he arrived at the Synod meeting, Father Paul was already there and the Synod meeting started with Father Paul present, but without Father Gregory. Over an hour later Father Gregory was summoned in; however, his translator was forbidden entry. Instead, they provided their own translator whom Fr. Gregory had never met. (This turned out to be Kostas Laggis from Chicago, who was a strong defender and supporter of Father Paul’s ordination to the episcopacy.) Then, Archbishop Chrysostom, to the amazement of Fr. Gregory, displayed the forgery, saying “What is the meaning of this?” Father Gregory examined it and then looked at Father Paul who could not even look at Father Gregory. Father Gregory told the Archbishop and the bishops present that he had never seen this letter and that it is obviously a forgery because it is a lie, because it doesn’t even have the monastery stationary on it and it is written in poor English. The Archbishop insisted that since it came from the Russian Synod files, with the stamp of the Synod and testimony from Bishop Gabriel, it must be true and that therefore Father Gregory was liable to be punished because of it. He decided to ask Bishop Gabriel to verify this forgery and send it one more time, which he did. The Archbishop then said we could either proceed with a deposition or Father Gregory could sign a statement, stating that Father Paul is an honorable clergyman and is worthy of elevation to the episcopacy. If he does this, then they would overlook any and all charges against Fr. Gregory. Of course Father Gregory refused to sign anything. After returning to the United States, Father Gregory was able to obtain a copy for himself and examine it closely. The letter said that, “I have read the letters of Monk Menas and the former Monk Mamas...” Then he looked at the date which was “8 December 1985”.
Father Gregory then found the letter of Monk Menas which was dated July 1986. This was another proof that this was a forgery. Father Menas was contacted and wrote the following notarized letter:
Father Gregory notified the Russian Synod that a forgery had been placed in their archives and it had been signed by Bishop Gabriel and sent to Greece in order to slander him. The Russian Synod did nothing. Father Gregory again notified Metropolitan Vitaly that he had proof that they have a forgery in their archives and that the New York Police Department had agreed to test the paper to see if it was indeed ten years old. Father Gregory then obtained a response written by Archbishop Laurus, the Secretary of the Synod, saying that he would investigate this allegation. Indeed, at the next Synod meeting they found no such copy in Father Gregory’s file at the Synod archives and Father Gregory obtained the following letter from Archbishop Laurus.
The letter is presented in full below:
The events that followed were quite predictable. Father Gregory received a notice from the GOC under Archbishop Chrysostom Kiousis that he had been cut off from their church.
Now that Father Gregory was no longer in their church, they proceeded to ordain Father Paul to the episcopacy. It was a secret ordination done clandestinely in Greece because of the great opposition that had developed due to Paul’s Cyprianite ecclesiology, being secretly and at times openly ecumenical.
A noteworthy picture taken at his ordination is presented below.
After this openly blatant ordination of a practicing Ecumenist, and because of the Archbishop’s act of secretly establishing a shadow corporation to funnel funds without the knowledge of at least half of the bishops, the other segment of Greek bishops who had separated from Archbishop Chrysostom earlier, determined that this was finally the last act which would caused the schism to be permanent. That segment of Greek bishops formed their own Synod and is now headed by Archbishop Makarios.
As for Bishop Paul, he continued as he always had by giving communion to new calendarist lay people, thus following in the footsteps of the deposed Ecumenist Metropolitan Cyprian of Fili and his uncle Bishop Petros. Not only has he done this, but he proceeded to convince his Synod to ordain an auxiliary bishop for himself, the present Bishop Christodoulos, a former movie producer and actor of pornographic films!
As years passed, Father Gregory would send a message to Bishop Paul on the anniversary of his submitting of a forgery. He reminded him of the prophecy of the holy prophet Zacharias of the flying sickle, which will slay all those who commit slander [Zacharias 5:1-4]. Bishop Paul would never answer. At last he was humbled by a stroke, which has left him paralyzed. Indeed, the flying sickle reaped its fruit, but because Bishop Paul and Bishop Christodoulos continue to distribute the forgery to their shame in order to do harm to the Genuine Orthodox Church of America under Archbishop Gregory, therefore this defense had to be written.
P.O. Box 3177
Buena Vista, CO 81211-3177
All rights reserved.