March 4, 2011

A Mormon Speaks of Anti-Semitism Among Some Orthodox Christians

The article posted below is written by a Mormon who apparently has a deep respect for Orthodox Christianity, and even has Orthodox icons in his home. It speaks many unfortunate truths about Anti-Semitic feelings in contemporary Greece, though I do not fully agree with everything in this article. I especially do not share his opinion that Mormons should be allowed freely to proselytize in traditionally Orthodox majority countries without facing some opposition. Despite these opinions however, the facts mentioned in the article and the experiences of an individual cannot be ignored and ought to be shared for the benefit and education of all Orthodox Christians.

Greek Orthodoxy, Anti-Semitism, and Religious Intolerance

Mark Paredes
March 3, 2011
Jewish Journal


This is a painful essay for me to write. I grew up attending the Greek festival at St. Demetrios Church in Michigan, and still attend the LA Greek Fest at St. Sophia Cathedral in Los Angeles and the Valley Greek festival at St. Nicholas Church in Northridge. I took a class in Russian iconography and have visited Orthodox churches in Greece, Russia, Romania, Moldova, Israel, Egypt and Italy. One of the first things I see every morning is a Mother of God Bulgarian icon from the Rila Monastery, a treasured gift from a friend who knows of my love of icons. The Orthodox Easter service is one of my favorite religious experiences, and a Bulgarian Orthodox priest in Los Angeles invited me to join him at the altar behind the iconostasis (a rare privilege) after seeing how moved I was by the icons in the church. In short, I have a deep appreciation for Orthodox liturgy and symbolism, and believe that they are capable of teaching and inspiring people in a profound way.

These teachings are sorely needed in a country where a neo-Nazi (Nikolaos Michaloliakos)was elected to the Athens city council last fall, where a prominent composer (Mikis Theodorakis) exclaimed “We’re in danger! Zionism and its leaders are here, meeting in our country!” in a television interview while a delegation of Jewish leaders was visiting the country, where the Supreme Court acquitted a Holocaust denier (Kostas Plevris) of inciting racial hatred last year because his book only detailed the Jews’ “conspiratorial pursuit of global domination,” and where an Orthodox Metropolitan (Seraphim) declared on national television last month that “world Zionism” was conspiring to destroy Greece and the Orthodox Church. [In a “statement of clarification,” the Metropolitan added, “My public vehement opposition against International Zionism refers to the organ that is the successor of the ‘Sanhedrin’ which altered the faith of the Patriarchs, the Prophets and the Righteous of the Jewish nation through the Talmud, the Rabbinical writings and the Kabbalah into Satanism, and always strives vigorously towards an economic empire set up throughout the world with headquarters in the great land beyond the Atlantic for the prevalence of world government and pan-religion.”]


Read the complete article here.