“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


Saturday, June 30, 2007

Looks Like All the "Fixes Are IN"!

Within the next few days we should all be receiving the "explanation" letter from our Parish Council. The letter contains more than the "explanation" of the Metropolitan's letter, as we will see, but doesn't stray from the doublespeak and secrecy that are trademarks of the current regime. It took only until the second sentence to insult our intelligence where "the Clergy would like to remind all that church is still in session during the summer months..." Apparently there was a time in the history of this community where the church was padlocked during the summer and there were no services?

We will attempt to review the letter through the six issues it addresses. Your comments and opinions are welcome and we look forward to posting them.

1. Holy Trinity and Prophet Elias Heritage Corporation: Apparently this issue is still under "review" by the Metropolitan, Archdiocese, the State Department, CIA, FBI, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Intergalactic Star Federation?... All we are waiting for is "ratification" from the Metropolitan? "Ratification" of what? The UPRs are clear in stating that the Metropolitan ratifies only Parish Council elections, not parish General Assemblies. The doublespeak that has occurred with this issue alone is enough to satisfy a lifetime quota. First the Metropolitan supported the idea, stating that if passed at a General Assembly he would like to make it a model for the Metropolis. The initiative overwhelmingly passes and suddenly we have problems. Letters we have never seen have allegedly come from the Metropolitan and the Archdiocese. So here we are today waiting for "ratification" on an issue that has already been ratified by the community. Obviously, it really doesn't matter what we say; all we need to do is pay our stewardship and the current regime will take care of everything else.

2. Videotape of May 21, 2007 General Assembly: It is no secret that the meeting was videotaped and requests have been made to make the video available. And how were these requests answered? Should anyone be interested in viewing the video, a simple call to the church office to make an appointment for viewing is all it takes. We are reminded however that the "written minutes of the meeting are the only official record of the community." Need we say more? The incomplete, skeleton minutes advocated by the current regime are the only official record. So we must not believe our eyes and ears; we just rely on the recorded minutes - period.

3. Letter requesting assignment of third priest: The letter has not been written, contrary to the mandate of the General Assembly, but our regime has good reason. "The parish council financial committee is updating the current budgets, finances and stewardship conditions so that when the letter is sent shortly, we have updated information for His Eminence." Certainly the "official record of the community" will reflect that the General Assembly motion passed required that all this be done before the letter is sent. Updated information for His Eminence? The mandate was clear. The only updated information His Eminence needs is that the community requests a third priest be assigned and that priest be Fr. Mario Giannopoulos. The request for another priest is being made by the community. To our knowledge the Metropolitan is not requesting this type of information to make his decision. The responsibility for this issue falls solely on our Proistameno who voluntarily stated he would write the letter. It is clear from his inaction regarding the matter that despite his public statements, he has an issue with Fr. Mario being assigned to our community. What could he possibly be afraid of? Is it perhaps that this action doesn't facilitate his ultimate goal of splitting the community? Ultimately what will happen is the Parish Council will declare that there is no money for a third priest. The Metropolitan will then write a letter being "sympathetic" to the financial constraints of the community (which wasn't the case when either of the current clergy were assigned, nor when it comes to our Archdiocesan assessments.) He will also say that the assignment of a priest to his home parish is contrary to "canonical order" even though he has clergy assigned to their home parishes throughout the Metropolis. Stonewall, distract and dissemble - tactics of the current regime both here and in Denver.

4. Splitting the community: The letter tells us, "You may have heard that there are several parishioners who have approached the Metropolitan and the Parish Council about studying the feasibility of having two independent parishes." In a letter filled with disingenuous statements, this one tops them all! Nowhere in the "manifesto" sent by the split advocates (who did NOT identify themselves) does it call for a 'feasibility study'. The "manifesto" is clear only in offering their unsupported arguments in favor of splitting. We are also told, "In discussions with the Metropolitan, he requested that an unofficial committee be established with parishioners from both Holy Trinity Cathedral and Prophet Elias Church. The efforts of this committee will not be under the direction of the Parish Council." Here again we see examples of the backroom shenanigans that has made this current regime infamous. In what forum did the Metropolitan request this committee be established? Could it be that this request was made in that elusive letter we are not afforded the courtesy of reading ourselves? Further, it is unconscionable that this committee would function outside the direction of the Parish Council. (Can you say "violation of the UPRs?") Undoubtedly, this committee will function under the direction of the Proistameno. This committee has been labeled "unofficial" by our Parish Council in their letter. It would stand to reason any information gathered, or action recommended would therefore also be "unofficial", in contrast to a General Assembly which is a duly constituted and official body that issues official and binding decisions. Undoubtedly, to be part of this "unofficial" rubber-stamp committee one must be of like mind with the Proistameno. Those holding dissenting views need not apply.

5. Questionnaire and survey: This ought to be a dandy! We "will have every opportunity to make our position known and considered" through a survey. How very generous and magnanimous to consider our positions! Who will form the questions? Another "unofficial committee"? The same one? It is ironic that the anonymity complained about in the next point is encouraged through this survey. Whatever happened to the concept of open, face-to-face dialogue? We will reserve further comment until the survey has been distributed.

6. Anonymous Letters: The Parish Council believes that sending of anonymous letters is less than productive. Our contention here is this regime has the propensity not to respond to letters whose authors actually have the courage of their convictions and identify themselves. Several parishioners have reported sending letters to this regime, having signed their names, and have not had the courtesy of any response. Discard all anonymous letters, fine. At least, however, have the decency to respond to those that are not anonymous. It would again stand to reason if anonymous letters are discarded, anonymous surveys would be likely to suffer the same fate. Heck, the Parish Council members won't even provide minutes with an account of how each stands individually on subjects of vital importance to the community! But they decry anonymous letters? Apply the standard across the board, gentlemen, and not only when it serves your purposes.

A final thought: the stated purpose of this letter is "to follow up" on matters discussed at the Spring General Assembly. The letter may "follow up" on issues, but it purposely withholds information necessary for informed decision-making. Send us, your contitutents, the Metropolitan's letter discussing the split. Don't make excuses why the mandate of the General Assembly regarding the assignment of a third priest has not been accomplished. Don't try to convince us that only the "feasibility of a split" has been requested, when the entire process reeks of a "done deal". And finally gentlemen, stop insulting everyone's intelligence and just start being open and telling the truth.

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