top - March 29, 2003

The Lonely Path of Integrity
by Justine Frangouli-Argyris

List Price: $29.99
Edition: Paperback

Product Details
Paperback: 359 pages
Publisher: Exandas; (April 1, 2002)
ISBN: 9602564911 | All Editions
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars Based on 7 reviews. Sales Rank: 306,239


Customer Reviews

Avg. Customer Review:

An Uneven Biased View, March 29, 2003

Reviewer: An Customer from Inver Grove Heights, MN United States

The writing style and the translation are competent and make the text accessible. That is the only unqualified praise I can offer. The actual text is biased and, at times, unilluminating to those of us uninitiated in the internal politics of the church. The reader is credited with too much background and context must often inferred. Opinions are presented as mutually agreed ideals with no effort to convince the reader.

A specific example is the recurring theme of the American Greek Orthodox Church becoming too secular and Protestant. The criticism is really that the American church is becoming too "Americanized". Why this is undesirable is not made clear. Is inclusion not an ideal worth pursuing?

The American influence on the mechanics of the church has been incredibly beneficial. It has made the church more relevant to the American faithful, it has allowed the church to move beyond Greek genetics as the exclusive means for inclusion in the church and America has broadened the charitable work of the church (whose history in this regard has been lamentably deficient to date). In short, America's participation has revitalized the church in comparison to the mother country where it has languished. "Protestant" really translates to the increased involvement of the laity at the expense of the clergy's power.

How Spyridon seizes the moral high-ground in this game of power politics is not explained or defended because it is simply assumed that you would agree that money should be given to the church without oversight and anything non-Greek is undesirable. The book is a lengthy description of how America did not go along with that assumption.

In short, you are to just cut Spyridon a check and don't ask questions and all will be well by him. Maybe he'll even travel a little further up his lonely road of integrity(!), bought by your unsupervised cash, until he is out of sight and out of mind. After reading this I am beginning to agree with Fr. Stephanopolous that the time has come for American orthodoxy to become autokephalic.

The Lonely Path of Integrity, May 12, 2002

Reviewer: Athena Georgotas from Ridgewood, New Jersey United States

This book is a well documented expose of the recent crisis afflicting the Greek Orthodox church in America. It reveals the details of the struggle between the man leading Orthodoxy's largest and most powerful See and the man occupying Orthodoxy's powerful Ecumenical throne. Through personal accounts and original sources, Justine Frangouli unravels the scenarios behind the removal of Archbishop Spyridon, a hierarch with widespread appeal among the masses who became controversial among circles where the influences of money, power and corruption prevailed.

I found the topic of this book which mesmerized the Orthodox community in America for three years to be interesting reading. The chapter headings were great; carefully chosen to bring the reader to a greater understanding of what actually happened. I read the book twice and I recommend that everyone does to get a deeper understanding of the truth. The first time I read it for facts, the second time to understand what happened conceptually. I'm sure that I will read it many times over for an even better understanding. I thought the chess analogy gave a tremendous, concrete illustration of the dynamics that occurred and how the present Patriarch of the church used the players in various ways to achieve his own end. In my mind I envisioned the various people as chess pieces, with the game ending in a subtle, but very real crucifixion. It seems that the sources of power overseas simply orchestrated things from abroad and used traditional byzantine methods to checkmate the opponent. One has to question the ethics of those creating a game in which the opponent is not given equal advantage.

The addition of two documents written by Archbishop Spyridon himself is critical to the understanding of the book. As original sources, the two works give testimony to Spyridon's administrative skills, capabilities and dedication to Orthodoxy. In my opinion, these documents lend credence to the author's conviction that the Ecumenical throne actually allowed, and even participated in a misrepresentation of the former archbishop for personal gain and to gain absolute power over the church in America. I suggest that the reader start by reading these pieces first as a backdrop to the events that occurred.

In the end, the book leaves us asking the question, Can personal sacrifice and the struggle for conviction and integrity ever win against the forces of money, power and greed? Perhaps a sequel is needed.

accurate, well-written, and insightful, May 10, 2002

Reviewer: Angela Karamichalis from New York, NY

Behind every hope and ray of sunshine, there is a cloud threatening ... such was the excitement and the hope that hung heavily in the air during the tenure of Archbishop Spyridon. Such excitement and sense of renewal in all ministries of the Greek Orthodox Church had not been felt since the earlier days of his predecessor, Archbishop Iakovos. However, contrary to what the majority of the people felt with this young, American, brilliant and charismatic hierarch, silently there were byzantine treacheries being staged, and openly, there were hysterical cries of a conjured up 'crisis' being waged in the pages of the internet and Greek media.

'The Lonely Path of Integrity' uncovers all of this, from a perspective that few heard, or that few were *allowed* to hear. From the childhood of this brilliant, well educated man who took his commitment to follow in the footsteps of the apostles seriously, to his ministry filled with extreme hard work, dedication, and love for the traditions and doctrines of his faith, and finally to the events leading up to his resignation that pierced the heart of the people and the soul of the Church, Justine Frangoulis-Argyri, gives an account.

I highly recommend this book in that it tells a story in the history of the Greek Orthodox Church which needs to finally be heard, and of a side of a man who was so often misunderstood, but whose integrity did not allow him to bow to the agendas of individuals, but did all for Christ and His commission for His Church.

Outstanding English version, May 8, 2002

Reviewer: Michael Cantonis from Tarpon Springs, Florida, USA

The English translation of "The Lonely Path of Integrity" from the original Greek written by Justine Frangouli is outstanding.

The language is very descriptive and fluent.
It makes the book easy to read.
It leads the reader to a full understanding of all the facts transpired throughtout the three-year tenure of Archbishop Spyridon.

Even though the English version does not have the glamour and richness of the Greek language, it is equally rich in content, essense, interest and meaning.

The book keeps the reader captive and anxious to always learn more and more by reading the next chapter.

Interesting reading!  May 7, 2002

Reviewer: Dr. Chris Skoufaras from The United States

The book is outstanding. The translator did an excellent job with the English. The translation is impeccable in every way, language, grammar, syntax etc. And interesting reading! The chapter headings are great, carefully chosen to bring the reader to a greater understanding of things.

The chess analogy used in chapter 10, "Pawns in a Chess Game", gives a tremendous, concrete illustration of the dynamics that occurred and how the Patriarch used the players in various ways to achieve his end. It seems that Bartholomew didn't have to do very much, he simply orchestrated everything; allowed certain things to happen or made some moves that instigated one situation after the other.

The addition of two official reports by Archbishop Spyridon are also critical to understanding the truth. These two documents give testimony to the Archbishop's administrative skills, his capabilities, and his grasp of, and dedication to, Orthodoxy. These writings, being original sources, speak for themselves. They also expose the Patriarch for who he is because the reader can see that he allowed, actually created, a series of misrepresentations, clearly letting the lies take over.

The Lonely Path of Integrity, April 29, 2002

Reviewer: George C. Rockas from Peabody, MA, United States

The book was written with dignity and class. Archbishop Spyridon was one of the most persecuted religious leaders in modern American history. This authorized biography gives intimate details of the abuse and betrayl that both clergy and laity inflicted upon the Archbishop in order to perpetuate hidden agendas. These agendas involved money, ego, revenge and a desire to forever change the face of the Greek Orthodox Church of America by stripping it of its Hellenic roots. The book gives a candid potrait of how the church hierarchy lusts for power and puts the preservation of that power above doing what is right. The book also describes the meretricious way in which the Ecumenical Patrichate dealt with the Archbishop and how it apparently embraced the creed that " those with the gold rule". Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the book is how it ends with Archbishop Spyridon effectively being exiled to Europe. The book has historical significance not only for Greek Orthodox Christians, but all Christians who belong to an hierarchal church. All too often, hierarchs(and priests) forget that they are put on earth to preach the word of God. Unfortunately, as the book points out, many come to think they are God, thereby exposing a weakness of hierarchal churches. In addition, the book is significant because it shows how mean spirited and unchristian Christians can be to one another. Given the treatment received by the Archbishop, some Greek Orthodox Christians apparently do not know how to act Christian. This makes one wonder what the Church is really about. The book ends with the author intimating that the Archbishop could return to America. Stay tuned!


  March 29, 2003 ]