Definitions as per Encyclopedia Britannica:
1. Oligarchy – Government by a few, especially by a small faction of persons or families who tend to exercise power in their own self interest.
2. Dictatorship – partial definition by the same Britannica Encyclopedia states, "Modern dictators usually use force or fraud to gain power and then keep it through intimidation, terror, suppression of civil liberties and control of the mass media."
In Europe's communist and fascist dictatorships, a charismatic leader of a party used an official ideology to maintain his regime, and terror and propaganda to suppress opposition. It seems to me, that these methods are somewhat synonymous with what a few are trying to accomplish in our Salt Lake Greek Orthodox Parish. Although our Proistameno is greatly to blame for this, I believe that our parish council is also to blame by a great deal. I do know that all the parish council does not agree. They are doing this by having secret meetings; and by not disclosing what goes on in these secret meetings and by not standing up to the ones who would bring this turmoil to our community. Blind obedience to any one or any philosophy is not healthy and the out come usually is very damaging.
I sincerely believe that the time has come for all our parish board members to stand up and be counted. They owe it to the members at large, many of whom helped to put them in office by voting for them. We did this, believing that they would represent us in an honest and fair manner. Obviously this is not totally true at this point. All parishioners need and deserve to know where each parish board member stands on issues concerning our parish especially concerning the secret decisions, the blind obedience to our proistameno and the splitting of our Greek Orthodox Parish of Salt Lake city. Once they have done this, then the parishioners at large can take proper action through general assembly that is not secret to anyone and by exercising our vote to vote in or out those who represent or do not represent our best interests. I believe this to be a political matter and not an ecclesiastical one.
Someone made a comment to me during coffee hour a couple of weeks ago with which I totally agree with and it just keeps ringing in my head. When we were children and thought we were finally grown up enough to live on our own, we did not tell our parents to leave their home because it belonged to us also so that we could be the heads of our households. We moved out with our parents blessing and more often than not with their help and built our homes and became the heads of our households.
I would recommend the same for the ones who are trying to take over a part of our Greek Orthodox Parish. Go with our blessings and build the church you want so badly. I am sure that most who are opposed to the split will even help and assist you, financially and otherwise.
I cannot help but make one last comment: If there is a life after this one as we all believe there is, our forefathers who came to this country, many of whom many of us remember, and built so many beautiful places of worship so their children and future generations could worship their Lord in pride, must surely be very sad as they look down on us today.
I thank you for allowing me to express myself at this time and pray that our good Lord will enlighten all of us to do that which is the right thing to do.
- Mitch Manousakis