Having now reviewed the latest letters sent to our homes from the church I would like to share my ideas about them with you.
Beginning with Fr. Michael’s letter;
If I didn’t know that Fr. Michael was such a well educated individual I might mistake his letter as a misinterpretation of the Metropolitan’s letter. But, judging from his education level, established lingual proficiency, the fact that he withheld the Metropolitan’s letter from us for over a month when it was explicitly addressed to us, and his continued neglect of a large portion of our community; I believe his letter to be a carefully constructed lie. This letter is designed to manipulate our parish into thinking that Fr. Michael is “on our side.” I am of the opinion that Fr. Michael has been a proponent of the schism all along. As evidence for this theory I cite his refusal to care for the spiritual needs of his parishioners that primarily attend services at Holy Trinity, he (allegedly) gave the separatists permission to have a meeting in the boardroom at Prophet Elias, and held a 45 minute question and answer session about the schism, all after proclaiming to know nothing about it. He has been living within our community for some time now and is aware that the Metropolitan’s letter will undoubtedly meet large opposition in our community. Not the most efficient means to achieve their desired ends. So he wrote a politically correct analysis of the letter hoping to sneak by the common sense of our community.
Fr. Michael’s letter states, “His Eminence has asked Father Matthew and me to establish a committee to begin dialogue and to gather information about the possibility of having two separate Parishes in
This “committee” that Fr. Michael, along with Fr. Matthew, intends to construct, cannot materialize as he outlines in the letter. You are missing the point sir, WE are parishioners of the Greek Orthodox Church of Salt Lake. NOT parishioners of Prophet Elias OR Holy Trinity, rather we are parishioners of Prophet Elias AND Holy Trinity.
Fr. Michael also states that “rumors” about separate parishes in
Since Fr. Michael has chosen to isolate himself from a vast portion of our community I question his awareness of the desires of these parishioners, and therefore his ability to construct a committee in which said parishioners’ concerns will be adequately represented.
Secondly the Metropolitan’s letter;
In regards to the Clergy-Laity Conference, I fail to see how such a “conveniently selected” group of individuals has any right to dictate the future of our community. These people are not a part of our community, they cannot have an accurate understanding of the unique dynamic of our community, they do not have a vested interest in this community to the extent that those of us, whose parents and grandparents funded, constructed, and nurtured our community into its present day state, do. Furthermore, any issuance of a resolution calling for direct action from our community; indeed, actions that would constitute a reforming of our very foundations, should originate from our community. With direct representation and input from our community. No one notified me of our representative at this council, or consulted me as to whether or not this representative was aware of, or capable of protecting, my wishes in regard to such an important issue.
The Metropolitan, along with the local proponents of the schism, have repeatedly claimed that the existence of our community in its present state, one which was condoned both by our forefathers and the late Archbishop Iakovos, is “uncanonical.” NEVER, in any official correspondence, to my knowledge, have any of these individuals cited these “pertinent canons.” I am not an expert on the canons of our church, and the clergy are undoubtedly more educated on the subject than I. However, I have been and continue to review the canons of our church, and have found no evidence of any canons that our community is not in concordance with.
In addition the letter contains an emphasis on the fact that this “resolution” was unanimously passed. Great! These people, that have nothing to do with our community, have unanimously passed a resolution calling for a schism in our community. Last time I checked, we also have evidence of a resolution passed unanimously in 1969 by the elected representatives of our community. This resolution states that any effort to separate the community must be presented in writing, 6 months in advance of any definitive action, and a supportive vote of 75% of the parish population is required at a general assembly to validate such a schism.
This “challenge” issued to us is a moot point. We have been challenged to comply with the teachings of the church. As I stated earlier, no body has outlined what these teachings are. A more accurate statement would be to say that we are being challenged to comply with the desires of Metropolitan Isaiah, Father Michael, and a small minority of parishioners that are attempting to cause a rift in our community. It seems to me that the majority’s desires should be pursued. I personally have spoken to what must, by now, amount to nearly 100 members of our youth and a staggering 3, have been in favor of the schism. I wonder why this issue is being handed down from above without any sort of survey to ascertain the wishes of the majority of our community. Is it possible that not as much support for this schism exists as its supporters would have us believe?
Polygamy, what an appropriate topic for
The next passage in the Metropolitan’s letter is outright offensive. There exists only One Who is aware of the inter-workings of our hearts and minds and He is not Metropolitan Isaiah. We are consumed with the almighty dollar? I have two of them in my pocket as I write to you. I worked about 70 hours at last year’s festival, I must have done that for the great overtime pay. The Salt Lake City Choirs comprised about 90% of the attending choir at the conference three weeks ago in
The Metropolitan, as I have been told by the Parish Council, has repeatedly assured us that any decision to split would be the community’s decision to make. Why then, is he calling for a committee that WILL separate our community, when he has not asked us if we want to separate?
Finally, the Metropolitan in his closing paragraph, refers once again to the mother/daughter analogy that he made in his celebratory letter of 1991. This statement is detrimental to our community and is as inaccurate now as it was in 1991. When the Metropolitan took it upon himself, to define the relationship of our two cathedrals who’s ACTUAL relationship had been established since the first services were held in Prophet Elias TWENTY-TWO YEARS EARLIER in 1969. Prophet Elias has never been and is not now, a lesser daughter church to Holy Trinity. Both cathedrals are co-equal partners of the same importance functioning in unison to serve the needs of our
I would remind both authors of these letters that I have reviewed, that you are pledged to be stewards and servants of our community, not dictators. Please work to achieve the desires of the majority of this community and to preserve our rich heritage and unique nature. Just because we are the only Parish with multiple cathedrals doesn’t mean that we’re wrong. On the contrary, we’re blessed to be a part of this special community, one that is best suited to meet our needs in its original unmolested form.