“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


Monday, July 2, 2007

Beware of the Silence

I had the opportunity to attend services this past Sunday at Prophet Elias where His Eminence presided. I went with the specific purpose to hear whether our Metropolitan would address the issue of splitting our community. I was not surprised when he neglected to mention one word. His silence spoke volumes. My experience with the Metropolitan's silence dates back to 2002 when I served on the parish council. I learned a great deal from my past experience how the Metropolitan operates and would like to share my observations. His silence scares me.

In 2002 seven members of our parish council resigned with the knowledge of our then proistameno Kaloudis. Four of us who remained on the parish council visited with His Eminence at his office in Denver. After a six hour discussion, His Eminence assured us that everything would be fine. He sent us back home with the definite impression that he wanted to work with us to resolve the issues we had at that time. Two weeks later, during the festival, he sent a letter installing an interim parish council without having the decency of informing us of our dismissal. Our dismissal letters came two days later. This is how our Metropolitan chose to "work with us."

Five years later we are faced with the most serious issue in our 100 year history; the splitting of our community. A new Proistameno (takes the place of Kaloudis) but I fear the agenda remains the same - splitting the community as Kaloudis had said to the Metropolitan we were practicing un-Christian polygamy. We have been told time and again that the church recognizes the priest as the bridegroom of the parish. His Eminence has been overseeing our Diocese/Metropolis since June 23, 1992. In all this time he has raised no issue with how our community functions. Our current Proistameno has made this an issue again for us. His assignment letter to our community states our Proistameno will serve "primarily" at Prophet Elias. Apparently, "primarily" and exclusively are synonymous to him.

When Prophet Elias was built, the late Archbishop Iakovos made it abundantly clear that we were to remain one community. At the consecration of Prophet Elias in 1991 this same Archbishop reiterated how we were to remain one community. As far as I know, there has not been a Council changing the canons. (If His Eminence or our Proistameno can prove otherwise I welcome their effort) Archbishop Iakovos had no canonical issues with our community but suddenly our Metropolitan and Proistameno do?

I know from attending the last parish council meeting that our Metropolitan has sent a letter to our community concerning the split. The letter has been withheld not only from the parishioners but from the parish council. I also know that a resolution was passed at the Metropolis Clergy and Laity Conference this past May in Oklahoma, City which exclusively deals with our community. The resolution states that each parish within this Metropolis will be a separate entity with its own parish council and Proistameno.

My experience with our Metropolitan and his actions of the past lead me to believe that should we ever have the honor of seeing his letter, he will repeat what he said in 2002 that a daughter needs to leave her mother. He will say this even though he is spearheading the movement. He will offer a solution to dividing the properties that has been repeated in the "information" meetings - Holy Trinity keep all the downtown properties and Prophet Elias keep the Holladay property. In his mind this is a done deal.

I urge you to stand up and fight to keep our community in tact. We have survived 100 plus years and we will fight for what we believe and what is right. We can't let a small minority and the clergy impose their will on us. Thank you for your time and may God bless us all.

Yannis Armaou

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