The Greco Report - 2002
The Lonely Path of Integrity
The Lonely Path of Integrity is the title of this biographical account of Spyridon's life and three-year reign as Archbishop of America. This book recently circulated in Greece, and an English translation is said to be in the works. The author is a young and talented journalist by the name of Justine Frangouli-Argiri. Her fact-gathering skills convince the reader that he is reading history and not fiction, and her narrative talents make this expose a compulsive page-turner. Aristotle said that "life is a comedy for those who think, and a tragedy for those who feel." In this particular instance, one would respectfully have to disagree. Whether he considers the matter from an intellectual or an emotional perspective, the Greek-American Christian, who is proud of his heritage and devout in his faith, will, after reading this book, understand why he is suffering the tragedy of the diminishment and betrayal of both.
The Lonely Path of Integrity [Ee Monaxia enos Asimvivastou],
by Justine Frangouli-Argiri.
Eksantas Publishing A.E. Athens, 2000.
The protagonist of this woeful tale, the former Archbishop of America, Spyridon, makes us think that Kazantzakis probably had someone like him in mind when he said that "all Greeks should do something heroic at least once in their lifetime." For Kazantzakis knew that the ancient Greeks bestowed that honorific only upon those who did what had to be done, even though they knew that they could be destroyed by their actions. Mere heroics without this pre-condition were not enough. The beleaguered Spyridon qualifies because, in the face of those who had the power to destroy him, he stood firm in his determination to do what he had to do in order to preserve Hellenism and Greek Orthodoxy in America. Throughout the book, as is shown by indisputable documentation, every action taken by this man was taken for the furtherance of these two ideals. And, as is made painfully clear to the reader, the fact that the initiatives instituted by him have now been tossed aside, or, in the best of circumstances, put on the back burner "until a more auspicious time," cannot but lead to the further erosion of what is left of both.
Spyridon was born in America and raised in a closely-knit family headed by a father who embodied all that comes to mind when one thinks of a protective and caring parent, willing to sacrifice his own career and even his well-being to do what is best for his children. His mother is shown to be an intelligent and saintly woman, dedicated to her family. A woman wise in the ways of raising good children. His parents provided him with the kind of educational background and family upbringing that enabled the young George Papageorgiou -his secular name- to develop into a Renaissance type of a man, comfortable and capable in any situation, and proficient in a number of languages.
After capably serving the Church in a variety of positions, he was chosen, over the objections of the Greek government, to be the Archbishop of America in 1996. The Greek government objected mostly because, as an American citizen, Spyridon would not be as easy to control or pressure as he would be had he been born and had interests, family and ambitions in the "fatherland." Throughout the book, the sleaziness of the politicians, who are fastened like blood-sucking parasites on the body of Hellas, is in evidence. As for instance, when Spyridon, as Metropolitan of Italy, insisted that 10% of the income brought in by the Greek Embassy in Rome be turned over to the Church as was required by law. The atheistic, moral degenerates in charge back in Athens were not too pleased with that, and this was only the beginning of the problem that the government of Greece had with this man, who they found was not amenable to being pushed around.
The real problem the government of Greece had with Spyridon, however, was his insistence that his role as Archbishop required him to speak up and aggressively agitate on behalf of Greece's national interests. Interests having to do with such vital issues as Greece's territorial integrity, and even her continued existence as a recognizable and distinct nation, occupying its natural and God-given domain. This made the political whores in Athens nervous, because they considered it vital to their sleazy and profitable careers to continue to please their bosses in Washington and Brussels by not treading too hard on the toes of Turks. This is because the Turk has now been deemed worthy to take his place among his fellow European consumers of American goods in the branch office of American imperialist, monopoly capitalism called the European Union. Such interference could not be tolerated. The all-powerful bottom line would not allow it.
But what could they do? Spyridon had the support of the vast majority of Greek-Americans. The Cypriots loved him, and the truly faithful sensed in him a real man of God. Someone who would see to it that the Church would finally begin to respond to the spiritual ache that all true Christians have within them. He also made them feel that here, at last, was a spokesman for Hellenism; one with no vainglorious personal ambitions that would cause him to cave in to the powers that be, while strutting and posturing for position in the limelight. But not to worry!! The Bolsheviks had already addressed that problem a long time ago with their "pressure from above and pressure from below" strategy. This is the ploy by which, for instance, the elite, globalist proponents of the anthill, while holding their Group of Seven or IMF meetings, express "horror" and "dismay" at the violent demonstrations taking place outside (such as in Seattle). These protests give the globalist moneychangers the opportunity to institute meaningless "reforms," thereby allowing Jack and Jill six-pack to think that "progress" is being made to protect the working man. Once the pressure is off, the elites are then able to get on with their scheme to collectivize the planet into one vast marketplace undisturbed.
In Spyridon's case, the "pressure from below" was supplied by such non-ecclesiastical "Christian," organizations of self-ordained "leaders" as GOAL (Greek Orthodox American Leaders), and OCL (Orthodox Christian Laity). What could be sweeter for the crypto-marxist politicians currently in control in Athens? Now they could utter soothing, weasel-words about the necessity for "unity" and "brotherhood" among the Omogenia in America, while secretly (and sometimes openly and audaciously) agitating against this thorn in their side by the name of Spyridon. The hatchet work would be done by these self-absorbed, navel-gazing, "Greek"-American egomaniacs who, after a lifetime of piling up lots of "dollaria" by washing dishes, serving hamburgers, selling widgets, or corrupting the minds of young Americans as tenured, leftist, windbags in the politically correct universities, had decided that they were now experts in the discipline of Theology as well. Spyridon found himself in a vise that was squeezing him from the top down and from the bottom up. "Uncle Joe" Djugashvili would have been proud.
Spyridon's position was not helped by his fellow Hierarchs either. These worthies, no doubt perturbed from the very first that the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew, had chosen a mere Amerikanaki to rule over them, did everything they could to undermine their superior.
Bartholomew probably chose Spyridon thinking that, as an American, knowing the mores, language and peculiarities of the people, he would fit in perfectly, and be welcomed by the Omogenia. Well, he was right. The people loved and welcomed him; it was the so-called "leaders" who saw their economic interests or their ego-tripping positions threatened, that ranged themselves against the new Archbishop. The Hierarchs demanded and got heretofore unthinkable concessions and promotions through their constant agitation and their incessant bickering and backstabbing. While the "leaders" of the afore-mentioned, non-ecclesiastical organizations, being mostly self-hating Greeks who just couldn't bear the thought of their Archbishop actually wanting to promote the Greek language in the Holy Liturgy -- thereby subjecting their precious children to the horrible discomfort of having to listen to a whole hour or so of Greek on Sunday -- also undermined him by spreading vicious half-truths and unseemly innuendoes.
There's more, however, much more, to this sordid tale. Such as how Spyridon was bold enough to forcefully condemn the unthinkable war-crime against Orthodoxy and Christianity when he spoke out against America and her NATO rectum-lickers bombing Orthodox Christian Churches during Easter Week and even on Easter Day in 1998. Or his written pleas to the Ecumenical Patriarchate about the danger to the very life of the Church in America should its policy of fence-straddling and pussy-footed equivocation on the issues of language and culture continue. (But how could the Patriarchate take a strong position on such issues when it was receiving enormous amounts of largesse from the rich "Greek"-Americans who were hell-bent on overthrowing Spyridon and "Americanizing" the Church?) Or the sheer panic in the Patriarchate (the "Throne" and the "Heart" of Orthodoxy) when Spyridon actually began to aggressively pursue the issue of the illegal and brutal occupation of Cyprus by Turkey in the halls of power in America. What if the Turks got mad? Supposing they started a pogrom against the 2 or 3 thousand (if that many) of our people still living in Constantinople, in spite of their being betrayed and forgotten by "Mitera Ellatha" ("Mitera," what a joke! What "mother" abandons her children?), creating all sorts of bad publicity as a result? In such a scenario, they would become furious and just might take out their anger on the Patriarchate or even the Patriarch himself. Who knows, they might even go so far as to skin him alive or hang him from the gates of the Patriarchate as they'd done to our Orthodox hierarchs before. No, no, we mustn't upset our Turkish "brothers." Let's just get rid of Spyridon, and then everyone will be happy. Everyone, that is, except those Greeks in whose breasts there still beats a love for Orthodoxy and Hellenism. Those Orthodox Christians who are tired of having to witness the disgusting, self-aggrandizing maneuvering of its "leaders." "Leaders" whose concept of Hellenism has more to do with "souvlakia," and "spanakopita," than with understanding and appreciating its unique and unparalleled role in civilizing humanity. Spyridon was done in by such men. But those who read this book will discover that he rises like a giant above these midgets who don't even have the decency to feel shame over what they've done for their "15 minutes of fame," or for their "30 pieces of silver." But then
The buzzard never says it is to blame
The panther wouldn't know what scruples mean
When the piranha strikes, it feels no shame
If snakes had hands, they'd claim their hands
A jackal doesn't understand remorse
Lions and lice don't waver in their course
Why should they, when they know they're right?
Though hearts of killer whales may weigh a ton,
in every other way they're light
On this third planet of the sun
among the signs of bestiality
a clear conscience is Number One
Buy this book. If you can't read it in the Greek original, wait until it comes out in English. It will open your eyes, and maybe, just maybe, will make you realize how important -- in this topsy-turvy morass of destructive, dumbed-down "diversity" forming around us -- a secure self-awareness is to our survival. A self-awareness that comes only from a knowledge of who we are as a people, combined with a continuance of our unadulterated Greek Orthodox faith being handed down through the generations.
Reviewed by staff.
Poem titled "In Praise Of Feeling Bad About Yourself" by the Polish Nobel Prize Winner in literature, Wislaw Szymbors
This book is now available in English, and can be ordered through Amazon.com or your local bookstore.
For the problems being caused to our Orthodox faith by our own "Greek" Orthodox "brothers and sisters" who are suffering from the symptoms of "bestiality" referred to by Ms. Szymbors in her poem, click on to Kitsos Speaks to Greek Americans to read a short introduction before linking to the article.