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Emmanuel Lemelson

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Emmanuel Lemelson
OrdinationJuly 23, 2011
by Metropolitan Elpidophoros
Personal details
Phoenix, Arizona,
United States
OccupationGreek Orthodox priest, social commentator, and hedge fund manager
EducationSeattle University (BA)
Hellenic College Holy Cross (M.Div.)

Emmanuel Lemelson (born Gregory Manoli Lemelson) is an American-born Greek Orthodox priest, social commentator and hedge fund manager.

Between 1999 and 2010, he ran the internet company Amvona. In 2011, Lemelson was ordained a Greek Orthodox priest. In 2012, he founded Lemelson Capital Management, which runs The Amvona Fund, a hedge fund based on Christian ethics. In September 2018, Lemelson was sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for various infractions involving a short sale. A federal jury returned a mixed verdict resulting in a fine and 5-year injunction barring Lemelson from further securities violations.

Early life and education[edit]

Gregory Manoli Lemelson[1] was born in Phoenix, Arizona to a Jewish father and Christian mother.[2] Following high school, he attended Seattle University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Religious Studies[3] in 1999.[citation needed] He then attended Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts, where he received a M.Div. in 2003.[1]

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.[clarification needed][4][5][6]

Early career[edit]

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.[7] In 1994, while an undergraduate student at Seattle University, he launched a retail photography business, and in 1999 he founded the website Amvona (a name derived from the Greek word for "pulpit") from his dorm room at Hellenic College. The company, which sold photography accessories, grew quickly, generating around $40 million in revenue.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10][11]

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, exit data and online tracking software. Similar technology was later used by other websites to track user activities.[8][12] 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.[8]

Lemelson later added a news and securities analysis content outlet for the site focused on issues of faith, technology, economics and investing.[11][13]

Religious activity[edit]

Lemelson was ordained as a Greek Orthodox deacon on July 23, 2011, and, the following day, as a priest by Metropolitan Elpidophoros of Bursa.[14] 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.[15] In June 2013,[citation needed] he was assigned to the Holy Metropolis of Switzerland, a jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[4]

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,[16] and he has stated that more progress towards reconciliation has been made under these two leaders than had taken place in nearly a millennium,[17] since the East–West Schism. Lemelson also argued that the timing was "critical" since, as he claimed, "Christians are facing unprecedented persecution in our modern era."[16][17]

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.[18]

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.[19][20]

In July 2023, Lemelson faced opposition from his neighbors in Stowe, Vermont, including Swiss billionaire and heir Fritz Brukhard, who attempted to stop him from completing the construction of an Orthodox Chapel[21] and other development projects in an affluent area. Lemelson's development plans were given verbal approval.[22][23]

Social commentary and media appearances[edit]

Lemelson has been profiled or appeared as a commentator on Benzinga,[24] CBS Radio Boston,[25] Fox News[26] and on Russia's NTV.[27][28] In a 2015 Fox Business video interview, Lemelson criticized the Federal Reserve for keeping interest rates artificially low and contributing to economic inequality,[18] and in a June 2016 op-ed for The National Interest, he advocated strengthening of US immigration policy, which he claimed would oppose Islamic extremism.[29] In interviews, he has been critical of identity politics as contradicting Christian teaching.[28]

In October 2015, Lemelson was profiled in a 4-minute video produced by The Wall Street Journal,[30] and in April 2021 he was in the HBO Max documentary series Wahl Street for his role as a mentor to actor Mark Wahlberg.[31]

Hedge fund manager[edit]

In 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.[32]

In 2014, he shorted the stock of World Wrestling Entertainment, questioning the value of the company's brand.[2][33] and stating that he believed the company had made material misrepresentations about both its performance and operating model.[34] When the share price subsequently fell,[35] Lemelson went long the stock and called for new leadership or a sale of the company.[36]

In late April, 2014 Lemelson announced he was building a stake in the semiconductor and LED equipment maker Kulicke & Soffa Industries (NASDAQ: KLIC), saying the company was "absurdly" undervalued. In a letter to the company's CEO Lemelson said he had amassed a stake of nearly 1% and planned to continue buying. Following his commentary, shares rose nearly 10% on triple the normal trading volume.[37]

In June 2014, he shorted the stock of Ligand Pharmaceuticals, criticizing its business practices in a 56-page report alleging fraud and insolvency[38] and focusing on the drug Promacta and its relationship to Viking Therapeutics.[39] He also wrote letters to Congress regarding the alleged abuses.[40] The report allegedly caused a $500 million drop in the company's market capitalization and, after covering his short position in October 2014, a profit of $1.3 million to Lemelson.[41]

Lemelson's activities led the Amvona Fund to be ranked in three months during 2013–14 among the world's top performing hedge funds,[42][43] and by mid 2015 the company reported a net return of 150 percent since its launch.[2]

In October 2015, The Wall Street Journal published an article about Lemelson that included a claim that he 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".[2] Lemelson later published a response to the story, calling it a "directory of fallacies," and outlined what he described as 14 major factual errors and omissions, but did not deny the quote regarding prescience.[44] Dow Jones (the owner of The Wall Street Journal) stated that they stood by their story.[44]

Sued by the SEC[edit]

In 2016 Bloomberg published an article, citing anonymous sources, stating that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was examining whether Lemelson had spread false rumours about stocks.[45] Lemelson called the article "irresponsible and libelous"[46] and later sued Bloomberg,[47] but his complaint was dismissed.[48]

In 2018 Lemelson was sued by the SEC for irregularities over his 2014 Ligand short sale, and in November 2021 a federal jury returned a mixed verdict finding Lemelson liable for violating SEC Rule 10b-5 by making untrue statements, but not liable for the more serious accusation under the same rule, of scheming to defraud Ligand investors.[49][50] In March 2022, U.S. District Judge Patti B. Saris fined Lemelson $160,000 as a civil penalty and issued a prohibitory five year injunction.[51][52] Lemelson's appeal to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals against this ruling was rejected in January 2023,[50][53] and his subsequent petition to the Supreme Court of the United States for review[54] was declined in December 2023.[55][56]

Personal life[edit]

As of 2014 Lemelson was married to Theodora Anjeza Lemelson and lived in Southborough, Massachusetts.[4] As of 2015, he had four children.[2]


  1. ^ a b "33 Degrees awarded at HC/HC Commencement". Orthodox Observer, June–July 2003, page 2. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ The Lantern Foundation official website, "Leadership", Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c "Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Lemelson", The MetroWest Daily News, June 16, 2014. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Wright, Susan "Amvona Unites Thinkers On Multi-Faceted Blog". Investment Underground, March 4, 2013. (Archived at archive.org.) Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  7. ^ Lemelson, Emmanuel. The Amvona Fund, L.P. 2012 Annual Report Archived 2016-01-29 at the Wayback Machine (pdf file). Page 7. Retrieved January 7, 2016
  8. ^ a b c Costa, Filipe R. (June 8, 2015). "Fund Manager in focus: Emmanuel Lemelson". Master Investor. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  9. ^ "Amvona 720, Apple Sued, Google Video Featured, 2007 Predictions", by Pete Cashmore, Mashable, December 30, 2006., Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  10. ^ "Amvona.com: Buy Equipment, Socialize", Killer Startups, Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  11. ^ a b "Amvona Launches Site-Specific Search for Photographers", by Kristen Nicole, Mashable, February 21, 2008, Retrieved July 8, 2014.
  12. ^ "On the Value of Users, Hard Drives and Batteries," Part 1, Seeking Alpha, June 13, 2012., Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  13. ^ "Frugal business: Mansfield CEO never lost sight of the bottom line", by Rick Foster, The Sun-Chronicle, May 16, 2009., Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  14. ^ "Προύσης Ελπιδοφόρος: "Το Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο αγκαλιάζει όλα τα έθνη"" [Proussis Hope: "The Ecumenical Patriarchate hugs all nations"]. Romfea (in Greek). July 25, 2011. Archived from the original on 2014-04-25. Retrieved 2023-11-26.
  15. ^ "Albanian Orthodox Diocese" (PDF). Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America 2016 Yearbook. 2016. p. 183. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  16. ^ a b 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.
  17. ^ a b "Three things Pope Francis hopes to accomplish in Turkey," by Josephine Mckenna, The Washington Post, November 26, 2014., Retrieved December 3, 2014.
  18. ^ a b Emmanuel Lemelson (November 5, 2015). Meet the priest of Wall Street (Television production). "Stock Alert". Fox News. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  19. ^ "Advocates call for removal of top Greek church official - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
  20. ^ Harrison, Judy; Staff, B. D. N. (14 October 2016). "Advocacy group calls for removal of jailed priest's supervisor". The Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
  21. ^ "The beginnings of a family chapel in the heart of Vermont". OrthoChristian.Com. Retrieved 2023-08-11.
  22. ^ Calvin, Aaron (2023-08-10). "Swiss heir to industrial fortune establishes big estate in Stowe". Vermont Community Newspaper Group. Retrieved 2023-08-11.
  23. ^ Writer, Aaron Calvin | Staff (2023-11-02). "Edson Hill neighbors appeal Lemelson development decision". Vermont Community Newspaper Group. Retrieved 2023-11-26.
  24. ^ Riley, Kevin (April 27, 2015). "This Hedge Fund Manager 'Wouldn't Be Surprised' If iPhone Units Hit 60 Million". Benzinga. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  25. ^ Emmanuel Lemelson (December 2, 2014). Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Lemelson, founder and President of the Lantern Foundation, Part 1 (Radio broadcast). Boston: CBS Radio. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  26. ^ Emmanuel Lemelson; Lauren Green (December 5, 2014). Pope calls for an end to religious extremism (Television production). Spirited Debate. Fox News. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  27. ^ Emmanuel Lemelson (April 7, 2018). Угроза или шанс: затронет ли Россию торговая война США и Китая [Threat or Chance: Will Russia Affect the U.S.-China Trade War?] (Television production) (in Russian). Lemelson segment at 1m55s. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  28. ^ a b ntv.ru. "Трансинвалидность: зачем здоровые люди специально себя калечат // Новости НТВ". НТВ (in Russian). Retrieved 2023-11-26.
  29. ^ Lemelson, Emmanuel (21 June 2016). "How American Christians Should Respond to Islamic Extremism". The National Interest. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  30. ^ Johnson, Gabe (director) (October 26, 2015). The Priest Who Moonlights as a Hedge-Fund Manager. The Wall Street Journal (Video). Retrieved 2023-11-28.
  31. ^ "Wahl Street: do we really need a Mark Wahlberg reality show?". the Guardian. 2021-04-15. Retrieved 2021-04-22.
  32. ^ "Lemelson Capital Management" official website, Retrieved July 7, 2014.
  33. ^ Strauss, Gary. "World Wrestling pummeled four out of five rounds this week". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2021-04-03.
  34. ^ Kline, Daniel B. (2014-06-07). "Should the McMahons Still Be Running WWE?". The Motley Fool. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  35. ^ Schiavo, Amanda (11 April 2014). "Why World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Stock Finished Down Today". TheStreet. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  36. ^ Elconin, Joel (2014-09-11). "Lemelson Takes Down World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. And Brings It Back Up". Benzinga. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  37. ^ Strauss, Gary. "Kulicke & Soffa shares surge after investor urges buyback". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  38. ^ "Priest Urged Investors To 'Run' From Pharma Biz, Jury Hears - Law360". www.law360.com. Retrieved 2023-11-25.
  39. ^ "Mass. Priest Wants Out Of SEC's $1.3M Short-Selling Suit - Law360". www.law360.com. Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  40. ^ Wolinsky, Jacob (2019-03-06). "Ligand Pharmaceuticals Disposes Of Promacta, Plunges 13 Percent". www.valuewalk.com. Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  41. ^ "Hedge Fund Priest Beats SEC Short-And-Distort Claims - Law360". www.law360.com. Retrieved 2022-11-25.
  42. ^ "SA author ranks first among hedge funds, again," Seeking Alpha, November 25, 2013, Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  43. ^ "Barron's Ranks the World's Top Performing Hedge Funds for April 2014," HFG Archived 2014-06-06 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  44. ^ 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.
  45. ^ "Hedge Fund Priest's Trades Probed by Wall Street Cop". Bloomberg.com. 2016-03-18. Retrieved 2021-02-15.
  46. ^ StreetInsider (March 18, 2016). "Lemelson Capital Management Labels Bloomberg Article 'Irresponsible and Libelous'". StreetInsider.com. Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  47. ^ "Marlborough investor sues Bloomberg for $100M". Worcester Business Journal. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  48. ^ "Lemelson v. Bloomberg L.P." casetext.com. United States Court of Appeals For the First Circuit. 2018-08-30. Archived from the original on 2023-09-29. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  49. ^ Raymond, Nate (November 5, 2021). "Jury in SEC case finds priest shorting biotech's stock made false statements". Reuters. Retrieved 2023-01-01.
  50. ^ a b Nelson, Evan; Magee, Jessica B. (January 17, 2023). "Distortion to Static: Key First Circuit Opinion Clarifies Limits for Short Sellers". Holland & Knight. Retrieved 2024-03-14.
  51. ^ Raymond, Nate (March 31, 2022). "Priest shorting biotech stock owes SEC $160,000, faces lifetime ban". Reuters. Retrieved 2023-09-09.
  52. ^ Concannon, Sarah (December 19, 2023). "Test their mettle — Defendants' decision to challenge SEC in court is paying off". Reuters. Retrieved 2024-02-06.
  53. ^ Rothman, Joel D.; Platonova, Elizabeth M. (January 20, 2023). "Recent First Circuit Opinion in SEC v. Lemelson Provides a Roadmap for Section 10(b) Cases Involving an Opinion Defense". Mintz. Retrieved 2024-03-14.
  54. ^ Raymond, Nate (August 2, 2023). "Priest asks US Supreme Court to bar SEC penalty on free speech grounds". Reuters. Retrieved 2024-03-12.
  55. ^ Villani, Chris (December 11, 2023). "Top Court Won't Hear Hedge Fund Priest's Appeal In SEC Case - Law360". www.law360.com. Retrieved February 10, 2024.
  56. ^ "Gregory Lemelson, aka Father Emmanuel Lemelson, et al., Petitioners v. Securities and Exchange Commission". Supreme Court of the United States. December 11, 2023. Retrieved 14 March 2024.

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