Last updated on 3 July 2017
Emmanuel Lemelson (born Gregory Manoli Lemelson; June 29, 1976) is an American-born Greek Orthodox priest, hedge fund manager, social commentator and former businessman.
Between 1999 and 2010, he ran an internet company named Amvona. He closed this in 2010 and changed its website into a social commentary site where the comments he made about the securitization of mortgage-backed securities were widely cited at the time.
In 2011, he was ordained a Greek Orthodox priest. He is in favour of reconciliation between the Greek Orthodox and Catholic churches. In 2012, he founded The Lantern Foundation to support religious, charitable, and educational causes with a special focus on those associated with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Lemelson has advocated a philosophy of investment based on Christian ethics, and in 2012, he founded Lemelson Capital Management, which runs The Amvona Fund, LP, a hedge fund.
Early life and education
Lemelson was born Gregory Manoli Lemelson in Phoenix, Arizona, the son of a Jewish father and Christian mother. He attended Seattle University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Religious Studies in 1999. He then attended Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts, where he received a Master's of Divinity in 2003.
While a 17-year old undergraduate at Seattle University, Lemelson met Robert Spitzer, a Jesuit priest and philosopher. In interviews, Lemelson has indicated that the encounter was a significant event in his religious life.
Lemelson has written about his early business experiences, saying that his earliest recollection was selling candy on the bus ride home from school in the sixth grade. In 1994, while an undergraduate student at Seattle University, he launched a retail photography business, and in 1999 he founded the website Amvona[a] from his dorm room at Hellenic College. The company, which sold photography accessories, grew quickly, generating around $40 million in revenue.
In 2005, based in part on proprietary software the company developed, the site began a transition to a hybrid platform of social networking and ecommerce content. By 2007, Lemelson developed technology to link media creation to relevant products using exif data and aggregating shared images of the site’s users as a prototype first known as "Amvona Trails" and later rebranded as the independent website Flekt.
Between 1999 and 2010, Amvona sold more than a million photo accessories to 300,000 customers, and was one of the top ten most visited online photo retail websites. The company also registered several patents, including proprietary software to connect its customers through user profiles, product reviews, exif data and online tracking software. Similar technology was later used by other websites to track user activities. In 2010, Amvona discontinued its e-commerce business. There was no official explanation, however journalist Filipe R. Costa speculated it was due to increased competition from Chinese companies offering cheap photography equipment online, and Lemelson's business philosophy of not taking on massive debt for the possibility of future growth.
Lemelson later added a news and securities analysis content outlet for the site focused on issues of faith, technology, economics and investing.
Holy Trinity Albanian Orthodox Church, South Boston
Lemelson was ordained as a Greek Orthodox Deacon on July 23, 2011 and, the following day, as a priest by Metropolitan Elpidophoros of Bursa. He was granted the ecclesiastical name Emmanuel and was assigned to the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America at the Holy Trinity Albanian Orthodox parish in South Boston. In June 2013, he was assigned to the Holy Metropolis of Switzerland, a jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
In November 2014, Lemelson was a member of the Orthodox Church's delegation for a two-day meeting between Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and Pope Francis in Istanbul. He has said that as a young man he fostered a vision that Catholics and Orthodox Christians would soon be reunited, and he has stated that more progress towards reconciliation has been made under these two leaders than had taken place in nearly a millennium, since the East–West Schism.
At a presidential candidate campaign rally for Donald Trump held in Keene, New Hampshire on September 30, 2015, Lemelson offered the invocation and spoke at the rally, condemning the abortion practices of Planned Parenthood. He also gave a personal blessing to Trump.
In October 2016 Lemelson called for the removal of the Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston following a clergy sex-abuse scandal. He said the incident was preventable and there were serious deficiencies in the protocols used for the oversight of clergy.
In 2010, Lemelson began to write about investment-related topics, including security analysis, Christian investment philosophy and ethics. His writings on mortgage-backed securities were cited widely in relation to the landmark cases U.S. Bank National Association v. Antonio Ibanez and Francis J. Bevilacqua v. Pablo Rodriguez, in which the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that financial institutions that did not hold both mortgages and the notes had no legal standing to pursue foreclosure proceedings against residents of these properties.
His writing have been cited by Anonymous, Occupy Wall Street, the Massachusetts Registry of Deeds and by attorneys and litigants involved in mortgage securitization litigation.
In a November 5, 2015 interview with Fox Business Network, Lemelson criticized the Federal Reserve for keeping interest rates artificially low and contributing to economic inequality.
Lemelson has appeared as a guest on the "Pre-Market Prep" radio show of Benzinga and on CBS News, Fox News and Fox Business Network.
Hedge fund manager
In September 2012, Lemelson founded Lemelson Capital Management, LLC, the sole sponsor and general partner of The Amvona Fund, L.P. that focuses on deep value and special situations. He is the chief investment officer of the fund.
His activities led the Amvona Fund to be ranked in three months during 2013–14 among the world's top performing hedge funds, and by mid 2015 the company reported a net return of 150 percent since its launch.
His investment research and analysis has been cited in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, Fox Business Network and The Street.
In October 2015 The Wall Street Journal published an article about Lemelson that included a claim that Lemelson boasted of his ability to 'crash' stocks, and quoted him as saying "My whole life I always knew things before they happened. I guess it's just a gift from God." Lemelson later published a response to the story, calling it a "directory of fallacies" and outlined 14 major factural errros and omissions in the article, but did not deny the quote regarding prescience.[b]
Personal life and philanthropy
Lemelson lives in Southborough, Massachusetts and is married to Theodora Anjeza Lemelson. As of 2015, he has four children.
In December 2012 Lemelson founded The Lantern Foundation, a non-profit foundation focused on supporting religious, charitable and educational causes with a special focus on those associated with the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Since its inception, he has served as its president.
- ^ The name "Amvona" is derived from the Greek word for "pulpit"
- ^ Benzinga, one of the financial media sites that published Lemelson's responses, noted that Dow Jones (the owner of The Wall Street Journal) stated that they stood by their story.
- ^ a b c d e Copeland, Rob (October 28, 2015). "Hedge-Fund Priest: Thou Shalt Make Money". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 19 December 2015. (Subscription required)
- ^ a b 33 Degrees awarded at HC/HC Commencement Orthodox Observer, June–July 2003, page 2. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
- ^ a b The Lantern Foundation official website, "Leadership", Retrieved April 24, 2014.
- ^ a b c "Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Lemelson", The MetroWest Daily News, June 16, 2014. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
- ^ Brown, Brian "Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Lemelson Speaks About His Journey Alongside Amvona" California Business Journal, April 18, 2013. (Archived at archive.org). Retrieved January 8, 2016.
- ^ Wright, Susan "Amvona Unites Thinkers On Multi-Faceted Blog" Investment Underground, March 4, 2013. (Archived at archive.org). Retrieved January 8, 2016.
- ^ Lemelson, Emmanuel. The Amvona Fund, L.P. 2012 Annual Report (pdf file). Page 7. Retrieved January 7, 2016
- ^ a b c Costa, Filipe R. (June 8, 2015). "Fund Manager in focus: Emmanuel Lemelson". Master Investor. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
- ^ "Amvona 720, Apple Sued, Google Video Featured, 2007 Predictions", by Pete Cashmore, Mashable, December 30, 2006., Retrieved April 24, 2014.
- ^ "Amvona.com: Buy Equipment, Socialize", Killer Startups, Retrieved April 24, 2014.
- ^ a b "Amvona Launches Site-Specific Search for Photographers", by Kristen Nicole, Mashable, February 21, 2008, Retrieved July 8, 2014.
- ^ "On the Value of Users, Hard Drives and Batteries," Part 1, Seeking Alpha, June 13, 2012., Retrieved April 24, 2014.
- ^ "Frugal business: Mansfield CEO never lost sight of the bottom line", by Rick Foster, The Sun-Chronicle, May 16, 2009., Retrieved April 24, 2014.
- ^ "Προύσης Ελπιδοφόρος: "Το Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο αγκαλιάζει όλα τα έθνη" Ηλεκτρονικό ταχυδρομείο - Εκτύπωση -"Romfea. 25 Ιουλίου 2011, Retrieved April 22, 2014.
- ^ "Albanian Orthodox Diocese" (PDF). Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America 2016 Yearbook. 2016. p. 183. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
- ^ Tracy, Tom (December 3, 2014). "Some see unity vision reignited by pope, patriarch's gestures in Turkey". The Pilot. Pilot Media Group. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
- ^ "Three things Pope Francis hopes to accomplish in Turkey," by Josephine Mckenna, The Washington Post, November 26, 2014., Retrieved December 3, 2014.
- ^ a b "Meet the priest of Wall Street". Fox Business. 2015-11-05. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
- ^ "Advocates call for removal of top Greek church official - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
- ^ Harrison, Judy; Staff, B. D. N. "Advocacy group calls for removal of jailed priest’s supervisor". The Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
- ^ "Greg Lemelson makes the case that a little-noticed Massachusetts Supreme Court decision this...", Seeking Alpha, October 20, 2011, Retrieved April 24, 2014.
- ^ "Massachusetts Set to Overrule Past Foreclosures; Harbinger for ARM Industry", by Mike Bevel, Inside ARM, October 25, 2011, Retrieved April 24, 2014.
- ^ Registry of Deeds: Southern Essex District, Retrieved July 9, 2014.
- ^ Riley, Kevin (April 27, 2015). "This Hedge Fund Manager 'Wouldn't Be Surprised' If iPhone Units Hit 60 Million". Benzinga. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
- ^ "Pope calls for an end to religious extremism," Fox News, December 5, 2014, Retrieved November 12, 2015.
- ^ a b "Meet the priest of Wall Street," Fox Business News, November 5, 2015, Retrieved November 12, 2015.
- ^ "Lemelson Capital Management" official website, Retrieved July 7, 2014.
- ^ "SA author ranks first among hedge funds, again," Seeking Alpha, November 25, 2013, Retrieved April 24, 2014.
- ^ "Barron's Ranks the World's Top Performing Hedge Funds for April 2014," HFG, Retrieved June 4, 2014.
- ^ "The priest who moonlights as a hedge-fund manager," Wall Street Journal video, October 26, 2015, Retrieved November 12, 2015.
- ^ "World Wrestling pummeled four out of five rounds this week", by Gary Strauss, USA Today, April 11, 2014, Retrieved April 24, 2014.
- ^ "Kulicke & Soffa shares surge after investor urges buyback," by Gary Strauss, USA Today, April 22, 2014., Retrieved April 24, 2014.
- ^ "WWE stock in sleeper hold as subscriptions stall," by Richard Morgan, New York Post, November 27, 2014, retrieved November 14, 2015.
- ^ "Why World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) stock finished down today," by Amanda Schiavo, The Street, April 11, 2014, retrieved November 14, 2015.
- ^ a b "Lemelson Capital Management: Profile In Wall Street Journal Was 'Extraordinarily Error-Laden' And A 'Directory Of Fallacies'". Benzinga. November 4, 2015. Retrieved 19 December 2015.
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