Robert Earl Burton founded The Fellowship of Friends in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970. Burton modeled his own group after that of Alex Horn, loosely borrowing from the Fourth Way teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. In recent years, the Fellowship has cast its net more broadly, embracing any spiritual tradition that includes (or can be interpreted to include) the notion of "presence."

The Fellowship of Friends exhibits the hallmarks of a "doomsday religious cult," wherein Burton exercises absolute authority, and demands loyalty and obedience. He warns that his is the only path to consciousness and eternal life. Invoking his gift of prophecy, he has over the years prepared his flock for great calamities (e.g. a depression in 1984, the fall of California in 1998, nuclear holocaust in 2006, and most recently the October 2018 "Fall of California Redux.")

According to Burton, Armageddon still looms in our future and when it finally arrives, non-believers shall perish while, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (recently expanded to 81 angels, including himself and his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci), Burton and his followers shall be spared, founding a new and more perfect civilization. Read more about the blog.

Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Yorgo Savides "returns to Spirit"

[ed. - In December 1972, Yorgo Savides (George Ellis Savides) led the Fellowship's "first play of crime," which resulted in many members leaving Robert Burton's group.]

Published in the Ukiah Daily Journal, June 6, 2004:

Yorgo Wolfe Savides

Obituary | Condolences

Yorgo Wolfe Savides, born on Dec. 18, 1943, returned to Spirit on May 20, 2004, leaving behind a whole community locally and in Ashland to mourn the loss of his loving, wonderful being; as well as his wife, Janet Wolfe Savides and the 4 sons they raised together: Eli Savides, Adam, Brandon, and Jedi Wolfe-Hunnicutt; his grandchildren Matthew and Victoria Savides and Calum Wolfe Pulida. Yorgo was born into a 100% Greek family with brother Stefan and sister Marina in Los Angeles who also are in mourning for the first-born of his generation.

Yorgo has been active in the men's movement and in Fall of 2003, during a retreat with his men's group, each man wrote an eulogy. Yorgo, (Greek for George) eloquently wrote:

Yes...his name was divided into two parts: Geo..the earth...erg zia...Greek for energy/work. And it is true.
Throughout his life, he kept coming back to the earth as a place of entering/balance and renewal. And what I mean by earth is just not solely the stuff we walk on and everything grows on. Though not a farmer in the strict sense of the world, Yorgo paid attention to what every farmer must...sunrise/sunset...cycles of the moon...the slow progression of the seasons...watching things grow and a profound appreciation for the gifts of the sense. He found his aliveness in earth in these elemental touchstones. Yorgo was a husband. he cared for wife, family, friends, community and "all my relations." "Mitakuye Oyasin." He knew everything is connected and that to touch one piece with loving healing energy would ultimately touch all.

Yorgo was blessed and he was cursed. He was blessed with generosity in all things (material or otherwise). He was a powerful and compassionate leader and teacher and visionary. And he was blessed with the ability to love unconditionally (well, most of the time!)...and it must also be said that he was a wordsmith with poetry and spontaneous speech...and with a well-developed sense of humor.

There are other blessings I am sure but its time to talk about the curses that plagued Yorgo. He was an alcoholic and addict who suffered for 30 years before he realized what was attacking him and took appropriate action. More than achieving sobriety (in 1990), (which is no simple task in itself) he did the strong work of recovery which lead him to the second realization of the curse when he was diagnosed in 2000 with Bipolar Disease. Now the voices that he had only faintly heard while being a practicing alcoholic had grown strong with deadly power...Cursed and Blessed, Yorgo prevailed and lived out the rest of his life in the shadows of these two deadly curses.

Yes, Yorgo is a survivor even in death. He is a man who succeeded in life (having been voted most likely to succeed in his high school graduation class!) And his great success was that he found true happiness, the kind that allowed him to die successfully also."
As well as creating beautiful gardens during his many years as a landscaper, Yorgo dedicated his life to helping others. He worked with Men's alternatives to Violence and worked as a counselor with at-risk youth. If you would like to help continue the good work Yorgo was doing in our community, donations can be made in his name to the Community Foundation of Mendocino County at 135 West Gobbi, Ukiah.

There will be a memorial service at The Center of Positive Living, 741 South Oak St, Ukiah, at 1:30 pm on Sunday, June 20 and within the year, a bench will honor Yorgo and Janet on the Mendocino Headlands. See you there!

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