by Fr. Ioannes Apiarius –
Via multiple posts and articles full of hysteria, wild exaggerations, distortions, and innuendos Giacomo Sanfilippo (also known as Peter J. Sanfilippo), has been relentlessly defaming and attacking several Orthodox Christian priests, bishops, and seminary professors. Why? Because these men dare to publicly and fearlessly defend the Orthodox Church teaching on homosexual sin and warn the Church about many false teachers (like Sanfilippo) and deceitful venues that question, challenge, mock, deconstruct, contradict, and distort Church teaching, practices, and theology, especially regarding morality, human sexuality, and marriage.
Since 2017 Sanfilippo has used his inappropriately named “Orthodoxy in Dialogue” website, his Facebook pages, and his Twitter accounts to maliciously condemn these good men and smear their reputations. Sanfilippo has launched an unholy personal vendetta against these priests and teachers and is fomenting rebellion inside the Holy Orthodox Church.
Even worse, Sanfilippo has been recruiting others to join him and support his undignified endeavors. He’s intensifying his public character assassination campaign against these men. While he harasses and bullies faithful and honorable priests, he paints himself as a victim. (Included at the bottom of this post are several examples of Sanfilippo’s own public writings.)
Sanfilippo is specifically targeting: Father Josiah Trenham, Father John Whiteford, Father Hans Jacobse, Dr. David Ford, Father Lawrence Farley, Father John Parker, Father Joseph Gleason, Metropolitan Joseph, and Metropolitan Tikhon. He has written outrageous things about these men (see below). He has insulted and belittled them. He has spread many falsehoods and innuendos about them. He has even accused them of “murder” for preaching the right theology of the Orthodox Church. And he refuses to stop, despite several pleas from some of these very same men, who have shown genuine Christian love towards Sanfilippo and advised him to repent and abandon his rebellion against the Church.
These men have endured these vicious attacks with dignity and honor. These priests have not responded in kind to Sanfilippo’s malevolent taunts. They understand that they can’t answer a fool according to his folly, lest they also become like him, as the Proverbs caution.
But, brothers and sisters in Christ, while we don’t engage fools in their folly, we must warn the Church about them. We must caution the innocent and the vulnerable to stay away from false teachers like Giacomo Sanfilippo and other corrupt impostors and hirelings. We must warn the sheep and point out the depraved wolves who are trying to lead them astray. We must speak out in defense of the righteous shepherds.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, these faithful men are our brothers. These innocent men are true shepherds of the Holy Orthodox Church. Sanfilippo is trying to silence their voices, besmirch their good names, negatively impact their livelihoods, hurt their families, and scatter their sheep. While they chose not to defend themselves, we must defend them.
The rest of the rational flock cannot sit in silence. “Not only for every idle word must man give an account, but for every idle silence,” Saint Ambrose warns us. We must not remain quiet. We have a duty to speak up and affirm these shepherds’ right preaching and teaching. We need to praise and support these good men.
We cannot witness these constant defamatory statements and not expose and denounce them. We have a duty to admonish the false teachers and call them to repentance. As Saint Paul the Apostle has told us: “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:11).
Giacomo Sanfilippo is scandalizing the Orthodox Church and attacking Her right teaching and faithful priests and teachers. He’s bearing false witness when he insists these men are “unworthy.”
We, on the other hand, bear witness to the Truth and tell the entire Church that these priests and teachers are worthy:
- Father Josiah Trenham
- Father John Whiteford
- Father Hans Jacobse
- Dr. David Ford
- Father Lawrence Farley
- Father John Parker
- Father Joseph Gleason
- Metropolitan Joseph
- Metropolitan Tikhon
AXIOS! They are worthy!
– Fr. Ioannes Apiarius
Giacomo Sanfilippo, in his own words:
Goes after Metropolitan Joseph and attacks Father Josiah Trenham:
Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s publication earlier this week of An Open Letter to Metropolitan Joseph: Stop. Trenham. Now. by a clergyman of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese (AOCA) represents the culmination of several articles in which we have voiced our opposition to Father Josiah Trenham’s alarmingly harmful, misogynistic, homophobic, inhumane, anti-Orthodox, and sacrilegious “teaching,” “preaching,” “pastoring,” and even “liturgical practices.”
Calls Father John Parker and Father Josiah Trenham “partners in homophobia”:
Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s readers will recall that Fathers Parker and Trenham have a shared mission to travel the world preaching a “Gospel” of queer bashing.
To the best of our knowledge, though, Father Trenham alone has earned the distinction of coming to the attention of the Hatewatch Staff (the Hatewatch Staff!) at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Calls Father John E. Parker “internationally known homophobe”:
On July 5 it was announced that “[t]he Board of Trustees of Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, PA, has named the Very Rev. Archpriest John E. Parker III, D.Min., as the new Dean of the school.”
We do not use the epithet homophobe lightly. Yet it seems to us that a priest who travels halfway around the world to vilify Orthodox Christians who fall somewhere other than strict heteronormativity along the spectrum of sexual orientation and gender identity — and who agitates proactively to silence their voices — fully deserves the name in the public forum.
Father Parker’s appointment as dean of St. Tikhon’s Seminary does not bode well for the near future of robust theological dialogue in the Orthodox Church of North America and beyond. What can the Orthodox Church in America, Metropolitan Tikhon, Archbishop Michael, and the seminary Board of Trustees intend to signal by this unfortunate choice?
Labels Father Lawrence Farley’s writings “homosexual fantasies and rabid homophobia”:
The utter incoherence of Father Lawrence Farley’s rhetoric, driven by a combination of his homosexual fantasies and rabid homophobia, crosses an unconscionable line in his “Two Men in Bed Together”: A Failure of Exegesis of July 12, in which he responds to my From the Fathers: The Kingdom of Heaven Is Like…Two Men in Bed Together? of July 10.
In a future article I will respond to the actual substance of Father Farley’s two articles to show how he lies, misrepresents, diverts, dog-whistles, and engages in character assassination.
Or maybe I won’t. He has absolutely nothing to offer, and is probably not worth any more of my time.
Attacks Metropolitan Joseph and his diocese again:
If it’s true that Metropolitan Joseph objected to a thoughtful article by one of his priests on how to minister to LGBTQ persons and include them in the liturgical, sacramental, and community life of the Orthodox Church, this raises serious questions about the “morality” of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese.
Attacks Metropolitan Tikhon and his diocese:
Please convey to Metropolitan Tikhon, as well as the other members of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America, our astonishment that they would have you contact us about the harmless use of a church camp photo, late on a Saturday night from your personal email account, when our repeated requests for a pastoral response to white supremacy and racism in the American Church, the plight of the LGBTQ children, youths, women, and men of their flock, and even a priest to accompany a man on his path to repentance from adultery, continue to go completely unheeded.
Calls Father Hans Jacobse “one of our greatest Orthodox homophobes”:
Father Hans Jacobse
I knew Hans back in seminary where he had a reputation as one of St. Vladimir’s greatest limp-wristed lispers. How he went from that to one of our greatest Orthodox homophobes is not hard to figure out.
In 2006, I emailed him naively thinking that we were friends, that I could “come out” to him, and that he might publish on his website a theological exploration of same-sex love that differed from his approach. (I wrote the first draft of A Bed Undefiled nine years before I submitted it in final form as my MA thesis, and was asking for dialogue eleven years before I started Orthodoxy in Dialogue.) Upon learning that I was gay he replied tersely: “I pity your kids.”
Father Jacobse lost his mind over my harmless bit of fluff at Public Orthodoxy, Conjugal Friendship. Like Father Lawrence Farley in the OCA, Father Jacobse manages to find a tangle of penises, mouths, and anuses lurking behind every word I write, no matter how spiritual a vision of same-sex love I strive to articulate.
What was worse were the comments that he allowed to be posted about my person on his website. Let there be no mistake: Father Jacobse vets and approves every comment you see there (I know this for a fact), even though he coyly chides, “Oh, the terrible things you say about Giacomo/Peter. I’ll toss you out of this conversation if you don’t stop.”
Father Jacobse’s website and Meg Lark over at the TradOx Facebook group drove me probably as close to ending my life as I’ve ever come. (I can just hear David Ford at St. Tikhon’s Seminary cooing, as he once did in an email to me, “Oh, you fragile gay people.”)
Accuses Father Hans Jacobse of inventing a bizarre “moral tradition of the Orthodox Church”:
(In connection with this, Father Hans Jacobse’s equally bizarre invention of “the moral tradition of the Orthodox Church” also comes to mind.)
Calls Father Josiah Trenham “American Orthodoxy‘s most homophobic and misogynist priest”:
Father Josiah Trenham
As Orthodoxy in Dialogue has reported extensively, Father Trenham has established a worldwide reputation as American Orthodoxy ‘s most homophobic and misogynist priest. In this role he has earned the distinction of being profiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch Staff.
It’s one thing to “teach” and “preach” in such a way that people report escaping from your parish. It’s one thing to believe that sexual and gender diversity in human nature presents its own particular challenges to life in Christ (my own position, actually). It’s one thing to hold mock funeral services for the United States when gay marriage is legalized. It’s one thing to make children, women, and men who read and watch your garbage question their faith, their God, indeed their sanity.
Petitions Metropolitan Joseph to silence Father Josiah Trenham:
Respectfully I encourage Your Eminence to order all of Father Trenham’s internet content taken down from wherever it appears—Ancient Faith, Patristic Nectar, YouTube, etc.—until it can be thoroughly evaluated for its appropriateness and its consistency with the Orthodox faith; to have Father Trenham issue a retraction and apology to be published by Orthodoxy in Dialogue and the AOCA website (as Father Warwick was ordered to do); and to communicate your awareness and handling of this troubling situation with our readers. Orthodoxy in Dialogue stands at the ready to publish whatever words of reassurance you submit to us.
Accuses Dr. David Ford of encouraging radicals to “execute” him:
All it takes is one radicalized crazy watching John Parker’s video calling for me to be drowned and fed to sharks, one crazy reading David Ford’s applause for Parker’s speech, one crazy watching Josiah Trenham’s praise of Sharia law for executing people like me.
Accuses Father John Whiteford of “ignorance and pastoral malfeasance” for challenging Sanfilippo’s pro LGBTQ agenda:
Whenever Father John Whiteford weighs in on questions of sexuality and gender, he can reliably be counted on to repeat, like a cracker-craving parrot, an inflexibly doctrinaire, pseudo-theological, and pseudo-pastoral ideology grounded in precisely no actual knowledge of the matter at hand.
In Father Whiteford’s predictably uninformed response to Father Aaron Warwick’s Pastoring LGBTQ Individuals in the Orthodox Church, he crosses the line from ignorance to pastoral malfeasance—to which I will get in my third point below.
1). “…[I]t was somewhat of a surprise to see that an Antiochian Priest, Fr. Aaron Warwick, had written a pro-homosexual article and published it via a notoriously pro-homosexual website ‘Orthodoxy in Dialogue.’”
If my untiring advocacy for queer Orthodox children, teens, women, and men driven to despair by the likes of Father Whiteford and like-minded priests makes Orthodoxy in Dialogue “notorious,” I wear my notoriety as a badge of honour and gift from God. (See Editorial: Rod Dreher’s Limited [and Theologically Meaningless] Vocabulary for the names of other priests who are a spiritual, emotional, and psychological danger to LGBTQ children, teens, and adults.)
2). Father Whiteford’s voyeuristic fixation on same-sex sex whenever the subject of same-sex love comes up for discussion fails to take into account the fact that sexual orientation—not unlike transgender identity—begins to manifest very early in a child’s consciousness. Is Father Whiteford prepared to tell a 5-, 7-, 10-year old that he or she will have to spend his or her teen dating years and adulthood either in loneliness or play-acting as straight?
Accuses Father Josiah Trenham and Father Joseph Gleason of promoting “wife-beating”:
Neither Father Josiah Trenham’s (here) nor Father Joseph Gleason’s (here and here) dangerous views on marriage represent Holy Tradition with respect to the nature of the husband-wife relationship. Ignore them. For a more wholesome exposition (although by no means the final word) see our St. Paul on Marriage and On “Orthodox” Wife-Beating.
If it seems extreme to bring wife-beating into this conversation, psychotherapists who follow Orthodoxy in Dialogue closely have been unanimous in their warnings that, whether intentionally or not on their part, these priests’ perversions of “theology” set the stage for any manner of abuse of wives and children.
Disparages the late Father Thomas Hopko of blessed memory, faithful Orthodox New Testament scholar and former Dean of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary:
Father Thomas Hopko’s notoriously ill-conceived Christian Faith and Same-Sex Attraction reaches its nadir of bad pastoral theology when he counsels gay men who are capable of opposite-sex intercourse (and how would they know, unless they experimented with premarital sex?) to marry an “understanding” woman.
Calls Orthodox Priests and Teachers who publicly criticize the LGBTQ agenda “shriekers and screamers”:
If you identify somewhere along the LGBTQ spectrum, don’t let the Church’s shriekers and screamers—including certain priests (you know who you are, Fathers)—get you down.
Accuses Five Orthodox Priests of “murder” for their right preaching on homosexual sin:
Father Andrew Stephen! Father Lawrence! Father Johannes! Father John! Father Josiah! If you don’t stop your very public spiritual malfeasance online and in your travels, how many spiritual deaths will be accounted to you before you’re finished? How many physical deaths?
In how many young hearts will you murder God before you’re done?
— NOTE — Giacomo Sanfilippo himself used to be priest, but he was defrocked by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America. I “was suspended from the priesthood in 1995, was divorced in 1999, and was deposed from the priesthood in 2002,” Sanfilippo admits. He appears unable to come to terms with that fact. “Thirty years later, and sixteen years after my deposal for reasons entirely unclear, it never leaves me,” Sanfilippo writes.