“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


Tuesday, May 1, 2007

An Open Letter to the Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake Parishioners

Dear Fellow Parishioners,

I am the Parish Council member whom the Proistamenos recommended to be removed from the Parish Council of the Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake.

I received my dismissal letter (dated February 28, 2007) from the Metropolitan on Monday March 5, 2007, via overnight courier. The Proistamenos reported from the pulpit on Sunday March 11, 2007, that the matter of my removal was "between the board member and the Metropolitan." In the interest of full disclosure and fairness the Proistamenos should have informed the Parishioners, and the member being removed, that the Proistameno initiated the removal proceedings. He did not, ... Why? Was it a lapse of memory?

We do not know if the Proistamenos followed the dictates of the applicable UPRs! We do not know if this Proistamenos wrote a letter as per Chapter 2, Article 24, Section 5B of the UPRs!

Did this Proistamenos make a recommendation to the Metropolitan in writing?

What is the date of the written recommendation?

Which of the 5 reasons stated in the UPRs was used by the Proistamenos, in making his recommendations for my dismissal?

Is it fair that the Proistameno did not make the removal recommendation letter available to me, the person whom he was recommending to be removed?

The Metropolitan acting on the Proistamenos' recommendation pronounced me as having exhibited un-Christian behavior. The Metropolitan imposed temporal and ecclesiastical sanctions. Without a hearing.

Is it fair that no hearing was given to me prior to my removal from the Parish Council?

Is it fair that the removal recommendation letter was not made available to the entire Parish?

If the Parishioners, through the election process voted me in, are they not entitled to know the content of the removal recommendation letter?

Transparency and fairness demand that this Proistameno come clean on all of these questions.

I am in total agreement with the author of the article "How to Get Removed From The Parish Council" posted earlier today on this blog.

Paragraphs 4 and 5 of the article cited above are very critical to the thought processes.

We cannot afford to have the voice of the Parishioners extinguished because of this Proistamenos’ erratic thinking. He appears to be acting contrary to the best interests of the Parish to which he was assigned. This Parish’s Proistameno must be a unifying force at all times. Our Parish’s survival dictates it. Our Parish’s survival demands it.

This Proistamenos believes that he can govern with fear. Governance by fear and retribution is not consistent with Christian love. Governance by fear has no place in our 102 year-old Parish.

This Parish needs a Proistameno who can minister to the needs of the entire Parish. Being selective is a non sequitur. All of the Parishioners attending church services at either Holy Trinity or Prophet Elias have the same or similar needs. This Parish does not need an isolationist Proistameno. This Parish needs governance with God's love and reason. This Parish needs a Proistameno who is committed to minister to the Parish’s Christian needs. This Parish needs a Proistameno who can initiate and implement programs to attract and keep within our Orthodox faith, all of our people; and, especially our young people aged 19 through 35.

This Parish does not need to be scared into obedience. This Parish must be motivated by the Proistameno, by his willingness to listen; by his capacity to love; and his ability to act for the betterment of the entire community. This Parish does not need a Proistameno who is punitive. Christ is not punitive. This Parish needs a Proistameno whose only motive is Christian love; who acts with honesty, fairness, and integrity; who is fully transparent for the public good. A Proistameno who is capable of ministering to the entire Parish without equivocation or reservation.

This issue is not about me. This issue is about whom do we have as a Proistameno. What did the Proistameno do to unite this Parish? What can the Proistameno do to unite this Parish? What does this Proistameno do, so that he can be in tune with the needs of the Parish? Is this Proistameno willing to expend the time and effort to heal and improve his relationship with all of the parishioners of this Parish? Only he can provide us with the answer!

Best regards to everybody for a great Protomayia.

Nick J. Colessides

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