“Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them,

and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

But it shall not be so among you:

but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto,

but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28, KJV)


The word the Athenians used for their Assembly was Ekklesia, the same word used in the New Testament for Church
(and it is the greatest philological irony in all of Western history that this word,
which connoted equal participation in all deliberation by all members,
came to designate a kind of self-perpetuating, self-protective Spartan gerousia -
which would have seemed patent nonsense to Greek-speaking Christians of New Testament times,
who believed themselves to be equal members of their Assembly.)

- Thomas Cahill, Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter




ΦΙΛΟΤΙΜΟ: THE GREEK SECRET


Saturday, May 16, 2015

From the National Herald

OΜΟΓEΝΕΙΑ

Ο Πατριάρχης ζήτησε παρέμβαση Δημητρίου 

σε Σικάγο και Ντένβερ

Του Θεόδωρου Καλμούκου 
Bartholomew I

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ΒΟΣΤΩΝΗ. Ιδιαίτερα προβληματισμένος φέρεται να είναι ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος για την πορεία των εκκλησιαστικών πραγμάτων στην Αρχιεπισκοπή Αμερικής, γι’ αυτό έχει ζητήσει από τον Αρχιεπίσκοπο Δημήτριο να επιληφθεί των πραγμάτων. Ο «Εθνικός Κήρυξ» είναι σε θέση να γνωρίζει ότι ο Πατριάρχης υπέδειξε στον Αρχιεπίσκοπο Δημήτριο να ζητήσει τις παραιτήσεις των Μητροπολιτών Ντένβερ Ησαΐα και Σικάγου Ιακώβου, καθώς επίσης να ανακαλέσει τον Επίσκοπο Μωκησού Δημήτριο στην Αρχιεπισκοπή στη Νέα Υόρκη.
Υπογραμμίζεται ότι η ευσχήμων αυτή παρέμβαση του Πατριάρχη δεν έγινε επίσημα διά της Συνοδικής οδού για τον φόβο να μη διαρρεύσει, αλλά κατ’ ιδίαν στον Αρχιεπίσκοπο Δημήτριο. Υπενθυμίζεται ότι προ μηνών ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Δημήτριος αναγκάστηκε να μεταβεί αυτοπροσώπως στο Ντένβερ για το ζήτημα της κοινότητας της Αγίας Τριάδος στο Σολτ Λέικ Σίτι της Γιούτα.
PERIODIKO 27-28 DECEMBER DSC_0046Ο Πατριάρχης φέρεται να ανησυχεί ιδιαίτερα διότι η Αρχιεπισκοπή Αμερικής είναι η μεγαλύτερη σε όλα και καθ’ όλα Επαρχία του Οικουμενικού Θρόνου στο εξωτερικό. Το ποτήρι της αγωνίας και του προβληματισμού του φαίνεται να έχει ξεχειλίσει όπως είναι σε θέση να γνωρίζει ο «Εθνικός Κήρυξ» με τις διαλυτικές καταστάσεις που έχουν δημιουργηθεί στη Γιούτα με την περίπτωση της κοινότητας της Αγίας Τριάδος στην πόλη Σολτ Λέικ Σίτι, όπου επιχείρησε να την διασπάσει στα δύο ο Μητροπολίτης Ντένβερ Ησαΐας, όπως έχει επανειλημμένα γράψει ο «Ε.Κ.».
HSAIAS 1 Ο κ. Ησαΐας είχε φτάσει μάλιστα στο σημείο να κλείσει επί ένα ολόκληρο μήνα και τους δύο ναούς της κοινότητας, ενώ τα πράγματα είχαν ξεφύγει τόσο πολύ από τον έλεγχο που η Θεία Λειτουργία τελείτο με την παρουσία αστυνομικών μέσα και έξω από τον ναό του Προφήτη Ηλία.
Επειδή ο Μητροπολίτης Ησαΐας δεν πέτυχε τον σκοπό του, έδωσε άδεια και ενθάρρυνε τη δημιουργία καινούργιας κοινότητας στην ίδια πόλη, η αποκληθείσα και «Ιεραποστολική Κοινότητα» για την οποία έχει γράψει σχετικά ο «Ε.Κ.». Εν τω μεταξύ, τα προβλήματα στο Σoλτ Λέικ Σίτι εξακολουθούν να υφίστανται.
Στο Σικάγο η κατάσταση επιδεινώθηκε με την περίπτωση του ιερέα Δημητρίου Ντόκου, ο οποίος κατηγορήθηκε επίσημα από τις Εισαγγελικές Αρχές για κλοπή χρηματικών ποσών από το τραστ πρώην ενορίτισσας του κατά την εικοσαετή ιερατεία του στην κοινότητα του Ευαγγελισμού στο Μιλγουόκι στον Ουισκόνσιν. Ο Επίσκοπος Μωκησού Δημήτριος, ο οποίος ουσιαστικά είναι βοηθός Επίσκοπος του Αρχιεπισκόπου Δημητρίου και υπηρετεί στη Μητρόπολη Σικάγου κατ’ ανάθεση ως Πρωτοσυγκελεύων, λόγω του γεγονότος ότι ο Μητροπολίτης Ιάκωβος βρίσκεται σε προχωρημένη ηλικία, προέβη σε αμοιβαία μετάθεση του ιερέα Δημητρίου Ντόκου με τον ιερέα Ευάγγελο Αρτεμάκη από την κοινότητα των Αγίων Πέτρου και Παύλου του Γκλένβιου του Ιλινόις, στην κοινότητα του Ευαγγελισμού του Μιλγουόκι και το αντίθετο.
MOKISSOS DEMETRIOS EPAGELMATIKHΟ π. Ντόκος, όπως απεκάλυψε ο «Ε.Κ.», έχει δώσει χρήματα από το τραστ στον Επίσκοπο Μωκησού Δημήτριο, αλλά επίσης και στον Μητροπολίτη Δαρδανελίων Νικήτα, Διευθυντή του Αθηναγορείου Θεολογικού Ινστιτούτου στην Καλιφόρνια, καθώς επίσης και στον Μητροπολίτη Μπουένος Αϊρες (Νότιο Αμερική) Ταράσιο.
Ηδη υπάρχει κίνηση από λαϊκούς και κληρικούς οι οποίοι ζητούν τη συνταξιοδότηση του Μητροπολίτη Ιακώβου και την ανάκληση του Επισκόπου Μωκησού Δημητρίου στη Νέα Υόρκη. Προς τούτο, συγκεντρώνονται υπογραφές και μέσω του Διαδικτύου, ενώ το Συνδικάτο τον Ιερέων της Μητρόπολης Σικάγου την 1η Απριλίου 2015 έστειλε επιστολή στήριξης για αμφοτέρους τους ιεράρχες, Ιάκωβο και Δημήτριο.
Ιερείς από την περιοχή του Σικάγου έχουν μιλήσει σχετικά στον «Ε.Κ.» για την κατάσταση που επικρατεί στο Σικάγο με τον όρο διατήρησης της ανωνυμίας τους φοβούμενοι τις αντιδράσεις των ιεραρχών. Εν τω μεταξύ, στο Σικάγο έχουν δημιουργηθεί και διάφορα «κυκλώματα», τα οποία συμμετέχουν στο Αρχιεπισκοπικό Συμβούλιο και σε διάφορες επιτροπές της Αρχιεπισκοπής, συμπεριλαμβανομένης και εκείνης των Οικονομικών.
Ιδιαίτερα έντονη είναι η επιρροή του ιερομόναχου Εφραίμ και των Μοναστηριών του επί των κοινοτήτων και επί πολλών ιερέων στο Σικάγο, οι οποίοι έχουν ενταχθεί στο φονταμενταλιστικό κίνημα του Εφραιμισμού το οποίο δρα ανεξέλεγκτα στο Σικάγο, αλλά και σε άλλες Μητροπόλεις της Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής, εμφανιζόμενο ως ένα είδος «αντι-Εκκλησίας», κάνοντας μάλιστα πολλούς γονείς να ανησυχούν για τα παιδιά τους λόγω των ακραίων διδασκαλιών που τα διδάσκουν κάποιοι ιερείς, όπως είναι σε θέση να γνωρίζει ο «Ε.Κ.».
iakovos chicagoΕνα άλλο στοιχείο ανησυχίας είναι η κατακόρυφη πτώση των εκκλησιαζομένων σε πολλές περιοχές της Αμερικής, εκ των οποίων την πρώτη θέση φαίνεται να κατέχει η περιοχή της Νέας Αγγλίας. Πολλοί ναοί μεγάλων κοινοτήτων της έχουν καταντήσει βδελύγματα ερημώσεως με ελάχιστους εκκλησιαζομένους τις Κυριακές, ενώ ακόμα και τη Μεγάλη Παρασκευή και το Μεγάλο Σάββατο υπήρχαν κενά καθίσματα σε ναούς. Σε πολλές δε κοινότητες έχουν δημιουργηθεί παρακμιακές καταστάσεις λόγω ατυχών διοικητικών παρεμβάσεων και εκδιωγμών πιστών, ενώ το πρόσφατο σκάνδαλο παιδεραστίας του ιερέα Αδαμάντιου Μητρόπουλου ο οποίος ήταν επί δέκα τρία χρόνια ιερατικός προϊστάμενος στην κοινότητα του Αγίου Γεωργίου στο Μπάγκορ του Μέιν, έχει δημιουργήσει πλείστα όσα ερωτηματικά. Επίσης, η Ελληνική Παιδεία στη Βοστώνη και γενικότερα στη Νέα Αγγλία βρίσκεται σε λιποθυμική κατάσταση και σε πλήρη εγκατάλειψη.
Εν τω μεταξύ, εντείνονται οι συζητήσεις ανάμεσα σε κληρικούς και λαϊκούς για το τι δέον γενέσθαι με την διαδοχή του Αρχιεπισκόπου Δημητρίου «όταν έλθει η ώρα» όπως λένε χαρακτηριστικά. Το Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο έχει το αποκλειστικό προνόμιο εκλογής του Αρχιεπισκόπου και συγκεκριμένα θα εξαρτηθεί βασικώς και κυρίως από τον ίδιο τον Πατριάρχη.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The saga continues

Priest Blows Whistle On Bishop, Says He Fears

 Retaliation For Talking

By Theodore Kalmoukos 


MILWAUKEE, Wisc. – Rev. Angelo Artemas, presiding priest

 at the Annunciation parish in Milwaukee, WI broke his silence 

and in exclusive interview to TNH spoke freely and openly 

about the situation involving his predecessor, Fr. James Dokos, 

who has been charged with stealing money from a trust of a 

former parishioner of his.

Dokos, who is charged with giving money to Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, was transferred after 22 years of ministry at the Annunciation in Milwaukee to the Saints Peter and Paul in Glenview, IL and Fr. Artemas was transferred against his will from there to the Annunciation church.
Bishop Demetrios through emails was pressuring and even “threatened” Fr. Artemas to make the issue of Fr. Dokos go away. Artemas forwarded Demetrios’ emails to the District Attorney of Milwaukee. Artemas believes that Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago should “retire” and Bishop Demetrios should “resign.” The entire interview follows:
TNH: What can you tell us about your predecessor, Fr. Dokos? How is the climate in your parish today?
AA: The climate is one of exhaustion here at the parish and they want to move on and rebuild both their finances and their parish. The last several years of his ministry here were basically shrouded in negativity. There was innuendo about missing money and those types of things, and so the parish was not fully aware.
TNH: It seems it wasn’t only innuendo, it proved to be a reality.
AA: Yes.
TNH: Did Bishop Demetrios somehow attempt to interfere with the investigation by sending you emails directing you to stop the whole process?
AA: Yes, he did. At one point he indicated that I would be released from this Metropolis. At times in the past he had mentioned verbally that he would remove council members.
TNH: Did you ask him why he wanted to transfer you?
AA: For failing to be obedient to the Metropolis in not making the issue go away and having the District Attorney drop the charges.
TNH: Did you request, two years ago, to be transferred from St. Peter and Paul Parish in Glenview, IL to the Annunciation parish in Milwaukee?
AA: No. There was a point that even His Grace Bishop Demetrios made clear to the parish council of Saints Peter and Paul and also to the Annunciation that I was not requesting reassignment, but I was asked to take the assignment.
TNH: Who established the reassignment, Metropolitan Iakovos or Bishop Demetrios?
AA: Bishop Demetrios.
TNH: Does Metropolitan Iakovos know what is going on?
AA: It is hard to say what is coming directly from His Grace Bishop Demetrios and what is coming with the knowledge of His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos, it is really hard to say. I don’t know.
TNH: Do you think it is time for Metropolitan Iakovos to retire and Bishop Demetrios to resign completely because of this scandal?
AA: Yes, I do.
TNH: What made you send the correspondence between you and Bishop Demetrios to the Attorney General?
AA: I was facing not having employment after a week or two. The emails were clear that I would be released before Holy Week and this was March of last year about the fourth week of Lent.
TNH: Do you think that Bishop Demetrios wanted to cover up the whole thing?
AA: I do not know what he wanted to cover up; I do not know what the urgency was. In May 2013 we disclosed everything first to Bishop Demetrios in the Metropolis, and it was only after he found no wrongdoing and told us to put the matter at rest that we went to the District Attorney.
TNH: Did you ever request to be transferred from the Annunciation parish to the Archdiocesan District of New York?
AA: No, I have not asked for any transfer outside of this Metropolis.
TNH: How do you explain the fact that Fr. Dokos had given monies to Bishop Demetrios?
AA: I can’t explain the situation. I do know that my predecessor is very close to Metropolitan Iakovos. I know he is close with Bishop Demetrios. Beyond that, I can’t explain anything that is more personal than that.
TNH: Do you ever talk to Fr. Dokos?
AA: I haven’t for two years now.
TNH: What are the parishioners saying now?
AA: A lot of the parishioners were not comfortable with the finances the last six to ten years. There were a lot of questions and a lot of rumors and at this point no one is really surprised by anything, and we are eager to move on. The District Attorney said that we can go to Civil Court but our parish council and I have decided not to do that. We are not asking for anything, we are trying to put this behind us and try to move on. [Note: a criminal case is brought by the District Attorney on behalf of the people, and a guilty verdict usually results in punishment, such as jail, whereas a civil lawsuit, a defendant found liable gives compensation – usually money – to the plaintiff/victim.]
TNH: Did you know Margaret Franczak, who established the trust?
AA: No I never met her. It was a trust established by her husband when he was still alive. He passed on first. They had a Goddaughter who was the original trustee but she was removed during the last few months of her life.
TNH: Why she was removed?
AA: We don’t know.
TNH: Did this whole issue have any influence on your ministry?
AA: It certainly has. It has actually helped me prioritize my ministry and it has made me realize that somewhere along the way whether in our Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology or elsewhere, clergy have to get better training in ethnics, primarily when it comes to inheritances and parishioner’s bequests and trusts and wills.
TNH: Are you implying that priests should not get involved in these things?
AA: Personally if someone asks to be a trustee even in my own family I would direct him to someone else, I will stay out of it entirely.
TNH: How many families do you have in the parish?
AA: We are about 450 families currently, but fifteen years ago we were about 800 families.
TNH: What happened?
AA: There was a negative environment here for quite a few years and we kept losing families.
TNH: Are you not afraid for speaking to me this freely?
AA: Yes, I am, but it comes a point that we really have to speak on principle, otherwise what good are we? This is the way I was raised and I think that is how at the end of the day this parish will regroup, and that is the only way to move forward in a positive direction.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

From the National Herald


Chicago’s Bishop Demetrios Accused of 

Intimidating  Witness

By Associated Press 
mokkisos 
CHICAGO – Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, chancellor of the Metropopolis of Chicagom was warned by a prosecutor against “potential efforts to intimidate witnesses” in Fr. James Dokos case regarding allegatio0ns that he stole more than $100,000 from the Church of the Annunciation of Milwaukee.
“The warning came after another priest in Milwaukee told authorities that Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, the No. 2-ranking official in the Greek Orthodox faith in the Midwest, threatened in emails to remove him from his post if the church did not withdraw a theft complaint against the priest’s predecessor,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
“We have received some extremely distressing news regarding potential efforts to intimidate witnesses…I believe that Bishop Demetrios needs to retain independent representation as quickly as practical,” a prosecutor wrote to an attorney for Metropolis last April.
The emails were reportedly exchanged between Demetios and Fr. Angelo Artemas of Annunciation Church in Milwaukee.
“The emails indicated the bishop sought a meeting with Annunciation leaders to talk about the case against Dokos, who has since been charged with improperly spending money from a trust fund intended to benefit the church. Members of Annunciation had taken their concerns about the trust fund to Milwaukee authorities after officials with the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago determined in an internal investigation that Dokos did nothing wrong,” according to the Tribune.
Last March, when Fr. Artemas wrote to Demetrios to say Annunciation’s parish council had declined to meet with him. “Due to your letter last August indicating Fr Dokos did nothing wrong, they are unanimous not to meet,” Demetrios then replied: “If that is the case, then in (sic) will ask His Eminence to release you from there ASAP and offer your services to the Archdiocese for placement. I’m sorry.”
Milwaukee prosecutors said the emails led Artemas, the Tribune reported,  “to believe that he was going to be involuntarily removed from his parish unless he compelled Annunciation to withdraw the complaint.”
“The Metropolis never intimidated, threatened or harassed anyone… The assignment of Parish Priests (is) an internal matter of the Church,” a  statement from the Metropolis said said. ”
“Demetrios has not been accused of any criminal wrongdoing, and Artemas remains pastor at Annunciation. But the emails provided another indication of the tensions within the metropolis after Annunciation members took their concerns about Dokos to authorities,” the Tribune reported, and Iakovos wrote that he was “astonished” by the Glenview parish council’s “inappropriate suspicion and deceitful maneuverings rather than the support of its own pastor in time of need.”

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!!

Wishing everyone a healthy and happy 2015!

Monday, August 25, 2014

YES, YOU DID IT ...

You formed the Greek Orthodox Mission Parish of Utah.

Congratulations.

The question is, what took you so long?

This outcome was inevitable when this community decided to form the Hellenic Cultural Foundation (a construct similar to Leadership 100, and one effectively used by numerous other communities throughout the country) and you convinced the Metropolitan to scuttle that vote, as it would be detrimental to your plans to split the community.

This outcome was inevitable from the survey results in November 2007 (which many of you who were in charge at the time said you would honor, along with the Metropolis, but did not, have not, for all these subsequent years.)

This outcome was inevitable thereafter from the votes from numerous general assemblies following that survey, (despite your acquiescing to suspension of such, in collusion with the Metropolis, contrary to your oft-cited UPRs) including the notorious one in November 2011 where this community refused to succumb to threats from a variety of local and outside sources, and where you acquiesced to the barring of several respected elders from entering their own church.

This outcome was inevitable.

By ignoring that inevitability, the opportunity costs of this intractability - to say nothing of the emotional upheaval - have been staggering. So much did not get done!

So, congratulations for finally having the resolve to do what our parents and grandparents did with far fewer resources.

We will move forward and pray you do the same.

Και ο Θεος βοηθος!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

From the Local News ...

Group forms new Greek Orthodox parish in Salt Lake area
By Whitney Evans (ksl.com)
August 23rd, 2014 @ 7:58pm
MURRAY — A group labeling itself "progressive" voted Saturday to create an additional parish in the Salt Lake Valley.
A little more than 100 people gathered at Hillcrest Junior High, 156 E. 5600 South, to create the Greek Orthodox Mission Parish Saturday. The majority voted in the affirmative.
"This is your chance to do it right, to do what you've learned over the years and to do it with a fresh start," Father Luke Uhl, chancellor for Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver, told those gathered.
If contentions arise, "Resolve them in love," he advised, possibly alluding to the strife that has cropped up in the Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake in recent years.
The parish will function under the Metropolis of Denver, distinct from the current Salt Lake parish meeting at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, 279 S. 300 West, and Prophet Elias Church, 5335 S. Highland Drive.
“People of goodwill have come together and expressed themselves as faithful Christians and expressed themselves as people united in love, in harmony, in oneness of mind and heart. That can’t help but inspire all us,” he later told KSL News.
Eleven members of the new parish were called to serve on a parish council, six until December 2015 and five until the end of 2014. An interim priest or priests will fill in until a full-time priest can be appointed by Metropolitan Isaiah.
“We want to focus on the Orthodox faith and growing in our faith together. That’s our sole purpose. We’re not complaining. We’re not griping about anybody or anything. Sometimes you know, you have to be forced out of your comfort zone to go do something that becomes a good thing later,” said Charles Beck, newly elected parish council president.
Parishioner Chuck Karpakis said in a June 8 devotional that the group sought a split because of what it saw as the secular focus of the current parish and of the ousting of priests over the decades.
Parishoner Bill Souvall said the Greek Orthodox Mission Parish has a "different vision of orthodoxy" than the other parish, but declined to explain further. Those interviewed were insistent on wanting to maintain a positive relationship with their sister parish.
“We want to be just another parish in town and that we all love each other and we work together. We want our kids to play together. We want our kids to dance together and to do things," Beck said. "There’s no separatist notion here at all. We just want to be independent and grow in a way that only an independent parish can grow.”
More than one year ago, financial struggles in the parish led to a 40 percent pay cut for three priests and a halt to services. In August, the Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake voted in a 220-215 split to reinstate the pay and provide back pay to the three priests. They also asked that one priest be reassigned.
A fight broke out at the Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church in January after then Father Michael Kouremetis, a former priest at the church, said he would still work at the church even though he was let go in December. Parishioners began pushing and shoving and police were called, according to media reports at the time.
Father Michael Kouremetis was reassigned from the Prophet Elias Church to the St. George Church in Kingston, New York, in June.
The conflict reached Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople in February, who reportedly told Archbishop Demetrios, primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, to fix what was going on in the Salt Lake parish.
Shortly afterward, Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America sent a letter to the parish and council, saying there were no plans for the two churches in the parish to separate. Instead he asked them to resolve their differences and "rebuild the unity which has been shaken, so that you may be perfectly joined together."
A steering committee of Greek Orthodox members in Salt Lake, led by Souvall, was formed in April to explore the option of creating a new parish. Since then, they established stewardship responsibilities, a budget, funds and received the blessing of Metropolitan.
The first Divine Liturgy for the Greek Orthodox Mission Parish will be held on Aug. 31 at 10 a.m. and Sunday School will be held Sept 14. Services will be held at The Woods on Ninth, 6775 S. 900 East, until the congregation can find a more permanent home.
"We believe that the rapidity of this movement means it's blessed," Beck said.
Father Uhl told those present Saturday that they were part of an enduring legacy that will last until the second coming of Jesus.
“It’s a wonderful thing for the community. Church growth is always good. It’s an establishment of a new family of faithful, a new family of believers and it’s always to the glory of God,” he told the Deseret News.
Greek Orthodox churches are part of the Eastern Orthodox churches. This religion was established by early Christians. Although the church puts Christ as its head, many hold a high regard for the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, headed by Patriarch Bartholomew. The Archdiocese of America is led by the Holy Eparchial Synod, with Archbishop Demetrios at its head.
===================================
Utah Greek congregation forms its own parish
Religion » Group departs greater Salt Lake parish after four years of internal schisms.
First Published Aug 23 2014 06:31 pm • Last Updated Aug 23 2014 10:32 pm
Murray • One way to stop being in a house divided is to leave, and that’s what nearly 200 Greek Orthodox residents did Saturday in creating their own parish.
Formal approval of their action in the Hillcrest Junior High School auditorium came from Rev. Luke Uhl, for the last 21 years the chancellor to Metropolitan Isaiah, the Denver-based prelate whose region includes fractious Utah.
"To be at the beginning of a parish, where heaven and earth come together," he said, "this is a cool thing. A parish is not established for a year or a lifetime, but until the Second Coming.
"This is the good stuff of being a Christian, an Orthodox Christian," Uhl added.
Uhl sanctioned a show-of-hands vote that unanimously established the Greek Orthodox Mission Parish of Utah. The 100 or so people attending the meeting then elected an 11-member interim board to guide the parish through its formative years.
The parish’s first service will be Aug. 31, probably at 10 a.m., at The Woods on Ninth, a reception center at 6775 S. 900 East in Midvale.
The two-story colonial building has space upstairs for a Sunday School while church services take place below in a room that will seat 150, said Chuck Karpakis, a member of a steering committee that has spent the past four months preparing for this day.
"It’s not as beautiful as Holy Trinity or Prophet Elias," Karpakis obliged, referring to the two churches that together form the Greater Salt Lake parish the group is departing. But it will be decorated "to appeal to that sense of spirituality."
Headed by Bill Souvall, the steering committee has met since the Greek Orthodox chancellor in New York put an end to a bitter four-year dispute between different factions of the Salt Lake Valley’s Greek Orthodox community.
The chancellor said Holy Trinity and Prophet Elias would not be split into separate parishes, ratified membership on the parish council and transferred Rev. Michael Kouremetis — a lightning rod in clashes between the two sides — elsewhere.

That outcome did not sit well with this group of Greek Orthodox, who explored what had to be done to create a separate parish. They set up a federal tax identification number for their nonprofit organization as well as bank accounts.
"We’re hitting the ground running big-time," Souvall said, adding the independence achieved Saturday comes with a price tag. He asked everyone who pledged money to the parish effort to follow through now. "It’s time to start paying our way."
Steering committee member Phil Floor said verbal pledges of $1,200 to $1,500 per family accounted for all but a sliver of the parish’s projected first-year revenues of $197,000. Little income is forecast from functions such as next week’s Greek Festival.
With expenses "conservatively" pegged at $133,000, Floor said the new parish would finish 2015 with a $64,000 surplus — except that Saturday’s starting date means those revenues have to cover an additional four months in 2014.
Souvall asked parishioners to donate one-third of their pledges by year’s end to cover 2014 costs.
A mission parish is not equal to a standard parish such as the one that Prophet Elias and Holy Trinity Cathedral belong to, he acknowledged. It is not fully chartered by the Greek Orthodox archbishop in New York City, the most important church figure in the country, even if it is an official parish under the regional Metropolitan.
"This will give us a chance to prove ourselves," said Souvall. "That’s not going to be difficult. We’ll do well."
Dimitrios Tsagaris, president of the Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake parish council, said he bore no ill feelings to the mission parish founders.
"Very frankly, we wish them good luck," said Tsagaris after overseeing the erection of food tents in the parking lot adjacent to Holy Trinity Cathedral. "The Greek Orthodox community has been here for 100 years. It is flourishing and will do great. It will always prevail."

Saturday, August 23, 2014

NEW ATTEMPTS UNDER WAY FOR SEPARATION IN SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH

TRANSLATION
From The National Herald (note: see original in Greek below)
22 AUGUST 2014
By Theodore Kalmoukos

BOSTON. A new attempt has begun in Salt Lake City, Utah, currently under way with the pretext, this time, to create a new community under the name "Progressive Missionary Community of Salt Lake City, Utah."

The movement is comprised of about a hundred people who were unhappy with the solution given by Archbishop Demetrios, with the intervention of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, to not separate the historical community of the Holy Trinity of Salt Lake City (sic) [editor’s note: the correct name of the parish is the Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake], as was attempted by the Denver Metropolitan, Isaiah, along with a group of parishioners – basically the same ones who now want to create the so-called Missionary Community, and who had afflicted for nearly four years the larger existing community. Metropolitan Isaiah had gone so far as to shut down clergy services for a month last August 2013 at the two churches, Holy Trinity and Prophet Elias, while events later progressed so far that the police intervened.

Of the dozens of documents received by "The National Herald" it was learned that on Saturday, August 23, at 1:00 there will be gathering at the Hillcrest Junior High Gymnasium, to finalize the establishment of the new community, where Metropolitan Isaiah is sending his chancellor, Fr. Luke Uhl, to coordinate and assist in selecting a community council. It must be emphasized that Metropolitan Isaiah appointed by letter dated June 12, 2014 an organizing committee, which consists of 20 people for the creation of new "Progressive Missionary Community." Further, Metropolitan Isaiah immediately replied to pioneers of the movement, who sent him a letter dated June 11 saying that they had gathered 100 Orthodox Christians who have signed the request for the establishment of 'Progressive Missionary Community " asking to appoint a committee, to which he immediately responded by letter the next day 12 June 2014, writing, among other things: "I received your letter of June 11 2014, seeking to appoint a committee (ad hoc committee) to investigate the possibility of creating a new community in Salt Lake City and thank you ... and behold to appoint the included members of the Greek Orthodox Faith ", mentioning their names and noting that "you are to please feel free to contact me for any questions you may have, and also for any needs in this God-blessed attempt you are making."

Among the names of the appointed committee are former presidents of the Parish Council of Holy Trinity (sic, GOCGSL), and the current president of the Philoptochos Society of Prophet Elias. While the community remains united in Holy Trinity (sic, ibid.), still having two Philoptochos societies, one at Holy Trinity and one at Prophet Elias. Certainly mentioned in the documents, there the ultimate aim of this movement for yet another de facto occupation of Prophet Elias and the development of an independent community. It is specifically stated that "Progressives Orthodox Christians [are] seeking to establish an independent Orthodox community preferably in the Greek Orthodox Community of Prophet Elias."

The "National Herald" is in a position to know that Archbishop Demetrios has full information on the new moves and attempts by Metropolitan Isaiah, but, so far at least, has not interfered to stop them before they become exacerbated situations, but follows once again the tactic of wait-and-see.

Insofar as the National Herald knows, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who is currently in the village of St. Theodore, in his home island, Imbros, where we celebrate today, Saturday, August 23, Performance of Assumption of the Virgin, has not been updated concerning the latest separatist movements in Utah, which artificially encourages Metropolitan Isaiah.

Telephone calls by NH to the Archdiocese and to Archbishop Demetrios, as well as to staff answering for the Denver Metropolitan, Isaiah, remained unanswered.

As is clear from the correspondence, things seem to be already finished. The president of Committee, Bill Souvall, in a letter dated August 20, 2014 for those who want the establishment of "Missionary Community," writes that "we have to go by the Assembly (Saturday, August 23) as the new "Missionary Community, directly under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Denver. Metropolitan Isaiah has confirmed that our first Divine Liturgy will be held on August 31, and Sunday School will begin on September 14."

As is clear from the correspondence, one of the reasons for this move is the exodus of Fr. Michael Kouremetis, while the other priest Fr. Matthew Gilbert continues to preside at Holy Trinity. After a failed attempt, twice in fact, to appoint Fr. Kouremetis Proistamenos of the Cathedral Church of Boston, where he introduced by Metropolitan Methodios, but the community rejected him soundly, he was then appointed to the community of St. George in Kingston, New York.

Δρομολογείται νέα απόπειρα διάσπασης στο Σολτ Λέικ Σίτι της Γιούτα

ΠΑΡΑΣΚΕΥH, 22 ΑΥΓΟΥΣΤΟY 2014 | ΤΟΥ ΘΕΌΔΩΡΟΥ ΚΑΛΜΟΎΚΟΥ

» Ειδήσεις

ΒΟΣΤΩΝΗ. Νέα απόπειρα διάσπασης έχει δρομολογηθεί στο Σολτ Λέικ Σίτι της Γιούτα και η οποία βρίσκεται σε εξέλιξη αυτή τη στιγμή, με το πρόσχημα τούτη τη φορά τη δημιουργία καινούργιας κοινότητας με την ονομασία «Ιεραποστολική Προοδευτική Κοινότητα του Σολτ Λέικ Σίτι Γιούτα». Στην κίνηση αυτή συμμετέχουν περί τα εκατό άτομα, τα οποία δυσαρεστήθηκαν με τη λύση που δόθηκε από τον Αρχιεπίσκοπο Δημήτριο κατόπιν παρέμβασης του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχη Βαρθολομαίου να μην διασπαστεί στα δύο η ιστορική κοινότητα της Αγίας Τριάδος του Σολτ Λέικ Σίτι, όπως είχε επιχειρηθεί από τον Μητροπολίτη Ντένβερ Ησαΐα με μία ομάδα ενοριτών -βασικά είναι οι ίδιοι που επιζητούν σήμερα τη δημιουργία της λεγόμενης Ιεραποστολικής Κοινότητας- και που είχε ταλαιπωρήσει επί τέσσερα σχεδόν χρόνια την κοινότητα. Ο Μητροπολίτης Ησαϊας είχε φτάσει μάλιστα στο σημείο να κλείσει επί ένα μήνα τον περασμένο Αύγουστο του 2013 και τους δύο ναούς της κοινότητας ήτοι της Αγίας Τριάδος και του Προφήτη Ηλία, ενώ τα πράγματα είχαν ξεφύγει τόσο πολύ που να παρεμβαίνει η Αστυνομία.

Από τα δεκάδες έγγραφα που έχουν περιέλθει στη διάθεση του «Εθνικού Κήρυκα» προκύπτει ότι σήμερα, Σάββατο 23 Αυγούστου, στη 1 η ώρα θα γίνει συγκέντρωση στο κτίριο του Γυμνασίου Hillcrest Junior High, προκειμένου να οριστικοποιηθεί η ίδρυση της νέας κοινότητας, ενώ ο Μητροπολίτης Ησαΐας στέλνει τον πρωτοσύγκελό του, ιερέα Luke Uhl, για να συντονίσει τη συγκέντρωση και να βοηθήσει στην επιλογή κοινοτικού συμβουλίου. Υπογραμμίζεται ότι ο ίδιος ο Μητροπολίτης Ησαϊας διόρισε με επιστολή του με ημερομηνία 12 Ιουνίου 2014 διερευνητική- διοργανωτική επιτροπή, η οποία αποτελείται από 20 άτομα για τη δημιουργία της νέας «Ιεραποστολικής Προοδευτικής Κοινότητας».

Τονίζεται ότι ο κ. Ησαϊας απάντησε αμέσως στους πρωτεργάτες της κίνησης, οι οποίοι του έστειλαν επιστολή στις 11 Ιουνίου λέγοντάς του ότι έχουν συγκεντρωθεί 100 Ορθόδοξοι Χριστιανοί που έχουν υπογράψει το αίτημα για τη δημιουργία της «Ιεραποστολικής Προοδευτικής Κοινότητας» ζητώντας του να ορίσει επιτροπή, πράγμα το οποίο έκανε αμέσως με επιστολή του την επόμενη μέρα 12 Ιουνίου 2014, γράφοντας ανάμεσα στα άλλα και τα εξής: «Ελαβα την επιστολή σας της 11ης Ιουνίου 2014, ζητώντας να διορίσω επιτροπή (ad hoc committee) διερεύνησης της δυνατότητας δημιουργίας καινούργιας κοινότητας στην περιοχή του Σολτ Λέικ Σίτι και σας ευχαριστώ… και ιδού διορίζω τα εξής μέλη της Ελληνορθόδοξης Πίστης» και ανέγραψε τα ονόματα σημειώνοντας πως «σας παρακαλώ να αισθάνεστε ελεύθερα να επικοινωνείτε μαζί μου για όποιες ερωτήσεις έχετε, καθώς επίσης για οποιεσδήποτε ανάγκες σ’ αυτή την Θεοβλόγητη προσπάθειά σας». Ανάμεσα στα ονόματα της επιτροπής που διόρισε είναι και ονόματα πρώην προέδρων του κοινοτικού συμβουλίου της Αγίας Τριάδος, αλλά και της σημερινής προέδρου της Φιλοπτώχου Αδελφότητας του Προφήτη Ηλία. Ενώ η κοινότητα της Αγίας Τριάδος παραμένει ενωμένη, εξακολουθεί η ύπαρξη δύο φιλοπτώχων, μία της Αγίας Τριάδος και μία του Προφήτη Ηλία. Οπως μάλιστα αναφέρεται σ’ ένα από τα έγγραφα, απώτερος σκοπός της κίνησης αυτής είναι η δι’ άλλης οδού κατάληψη του Προφήτη Ηλία και η εξέλιξή του σε ανεξάρτητη κοινότητα. Συγκεκριμένα, αναφέρεται ότι «οι Ορθόδοξοι Προοδευτικοί Χριστιανοί επιζητούν τη δημιουργία μιας ανεξάρτητης Ορθόδοξης κοινότητας κατά προτίμηση στην Ελληνορθόδοξη Κοινότητα του Προφήτη Ηλία».

Ο «Εθνικός Κήρυξ» είναι σε θέση να γνωρίζει ότι ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Δημήτριος έχει πλήρη ενημέρωση για τις καινούργιες κινήσεις και απόπειρες του Μητροπολίτη Ησαϊα, πλην όμως μέχρι στιγμής τουλάχιστον δεν έχει παρέμβει να τις σταματήσει πριν εξελιχθούν σε ρηγματώδεις καταστάσεις, αλλά ακολουθεί για άλλη μία φορά την παρελκυστική τακτική του είδους περιμένετε να δούμε.

Από όσο μπορεί να γνωρίζει ο «Ε.Κ.», ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος, ο οποίος αυτές στις μέρες βρίσκεται στη γενέτειρά του, την Ιμβρο, όπου θα γιορτάσει σήμερα, Σάββατο 23 Αυγούστου, την Απόδοση της Κοίμησης της Θεοτόκου στο χωριό του Αγιοι Θεόδωροι δεν έχει ενημερωθεί για τις καινούργιες διασπαστικές κινήσεις στη Γιούτα, τις οποίες τεχνηέντως υποθάλπει και ενθαρρύνει ο Μητροπολίτης Ησαϊας.

Τηλεφωνικά μηνύματα του «Ε.Κ.» στην Αρχιεπισκοπή για τον Αρχιεπίσκοπο Δημήτριο και στον προσωπικό τηλεφωνητή του Μητροπολίτη Ντένβερ Ησαϊα παρέμειναν αναπάντητα.

Οπως προκύπτει από την αλληλογραφία, τα πράγματα φαίνεται πως είναι ήδη τελειωμένα. Ο πρόεδρος της επιτροπής Bill Souvall σε επιστολή του με ημερομηνία 20 Αυγούστου 2014 προς εκείνους που θέλουν την ίδρυση της «Ιεραποστολικής Κοινότητας» γράφει πως «πρέπει να φύγουμε από τη Συνέλευση (Σάββατο 23 Αυγ.) ως η νέα «Ιεραποστολική Κοινότητα, απευθείας υπό την δικαιοδοσία της Μητρόπολης Ντένβερ. Ο Μητροπολίτης Ησαΐας έχει επιβεβαιώσει ότι η πρώτη μας Θεία Λειτουργία θα γίνει στις 31 Αυγούστου, και το Κατηχητικό Σχολείο θα ξεκινήσει στις 14 Σεπτεμβρίου».

Οπως προκύπτει από την αλληλογραφία, ένας από τους λόγους της κίνησης αυτής είναι και η φυγή του π. Μιχαήλ Κουρεμέτη, ενώ ο άλλος ιερέας π. Ματθαίος Γκίλμπερτ εξακολουθεί να ιερατεύει στην Αγία Τριάδα. Επειτα από αποτυχημένη απόπειρα, και μάλιστα δύο φορές, να διοριστεί ο π. Κουρεμέτης στην προϊσταμενία του Καθεδρικού Ναού Βοστώνης όπου τον σύστησε ο Μητροπολίτης Μεθόδιος, αλλά η κοινότητα τον απέρριψε άρδην, διορίστηκε στην κοινότητα του Αγίου Γεωργίου στην πόλη Κίνγκστον, Νέας Υόρκης.