“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, October 15, 2007

Con Skedros Offers Some Historical Perspective on the Community's Issues

Moderator's Note: With Con Skedros' permission, we have converted his thoughts into html for posting, keeping wherever possible the formatting from his original hardcopy text. We have included the original emphases where Mr. Skedros felt there should be emphasis.

October 4, 2007

On October 22, 2001, at the Parish Council Meeting a motion by Yanni Armaou and seconded by Basil Chelemes requesting a roll call vote by the council on “that the Community remain united in accordance with the Parish By-Laws of 1974”

“It is an aim of this Parish to remain united as one Parish regardless of churches or pieces of property owned” (section 1 and 8)
Philip Kithas – do not split
Charles Cayias – do not split
Basil Chelemes – do not split
Yanni Armaou – do not split
Steve Gamvroulas – do not split
Dino Pappas – do not split
Jeff Klekas – do not split
Nick Bapis – do not split
Douglas Anderson – do not split
Margaret Kiriev – unity of churches are treated equally
Charles Paulos – unity of churches are treated equally
Stephanie Chachas – unity of churches are treated equally
Madeline Bowden – unity of churches are treated equally
Charles Beck – unity of churches are treated equally

After the above vote, Father John Kaloudis felt that the Council was making a non-issue into a major issue. He felt that maybe 5% of the Parish was in favor of a division.

The vote on October 22, 2001, raises an interesting question: “What do we mean by treated equally”? I would like to review some of the major events from 1965 to the present time concerning the two churches:

1. The Community of Holy Trinity between 1965-1967 after several General Assemblies agreed to build a second church. It was understood that the mother church, Holy Trinity, would raise the necessary funds.

2. It was also understood and agreed by the parishioners that it would remain a united community – two churches.

a. One Parish Council
b. One Budget
c. Clergy alternating for services
d. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in New York approved
3. In 1967-1979 the following occurred:

a. The 5330 Building Committee was organized
b. A fundraising campaign was conducted, with over $500,000 in cash and pledges. By the mid 1970’s 98% was collected.
c. In July 1968, in order to meet the Parish By-Laws, a ballot was mailed to all members in good standing (July 1, 1968) to approve the following:

i. Purchase properties at 5330 South Highland Drive
ii. Construct a church with 21 classrooms
iii. Accept the initial bid of $484,773 (with later changes the cost increased)
iv. Borrow $350,000 from a lending institution (Prudential Loan)
d. Results of the balloting: 862 ballots were mailed. Voting Yes (650), voting
No (40), and Not voting (172). Approved by a 75.3%
4. General Assembly action on April 28, 1968:
The General Assembly unanimously voted the following motion made by Nick Vidalakis and seconded by Andy Katsanevas.

“That any attempt or motion in a Special General Assembly to separate or divide
the Greater Salt Lake Greek Orthodox Community would require the following:

a. Minimum of six months written notice with full and detailed particulars as to
the proposed division or separation.
b. General Assembly discussion.
c. A minimum vote of 300 or 75% of the total eligible membership of the
Parish (not the number which may be at any given General Assembly) which ever
number is greater.”
5. During the period 1970-1980’s:

a. Funds were raised by the Community for the Iconography at Prophet Elias and
improvements at Holy Trinity.
b. The underground water problem at
Prophet Elias was corrected.
c. Landscaping and a ball park were completed
at Prophet Elias.
6. In 1972, the Community purchased the Covey Apartment Complex (La France) for $286,000. The profit from the rentals and management fees go directly to the church budget – both churches benefit from this.

7. In the spring of 1974, the Community sponsored the “Mortgage Pay Off” event, a major social activity to raise additional funds for the new Church. Approximately $170,000 was raised (profit). The funds were invested in Utah Power stock and the dividends (monthly) were used to help pay the Prudential Loan. The loan was paid in 1986, and the Community still had the original Utah Power stock.

8. In December 1976, the Crane Property was purchased for $120,000, the seller donated to the Community $20,000 – our cost was $100,000. The church budget receives the parking rentals – both churches benefit.

9. During the period 1977-1980’s, the Community added to the Memorial Building a large dining hall, a second story for church offices and a storage area. Funds for the construction came from the first Greek Festivals and donations in kind. Also, the volunteer work of 25-30 parishioners who worked on weekends constructing the building saved the Community between $50,000 and $75,000.

10. In 1981, the mosaics fell from the dome at Prophet Elias. The entire Community was greatly concerned. By the late 1980’s the Pantocratora was replaced and additional iconography was added to Prophet Elias. In 1990-1991, donations from our parishioners were made to prepare the Church for it’s consecration in July of 1991.

11. In 1982 and in 1988, the Community purchased all remaining properties north of the Memorial Building. Total cost $670,000 (paid by Festival and donations). Both churches benefit from the rental income on parking.

12. In 1993 the Community decided to build a large kitchen facility and storage area behind the Memorial Building. The cost was $250,000. All of us have greatly benefited by having the use of these facilities during the Festival preparation, the three days of the Festival, and for other Community functions.

13. In 1995-1997, the Multi Purpose Center/St. Sophia Orthodox School was constructed at Prophet Elias. This was a major Community effort. Because the scope of the project changed the cost also increased. The center included a regulation size basketball court, locker rooms and a large kitchen. The existing Prophet Elias building required considerable work. Approximately $500,000 was necessary: sealed playground and basketball play area for the school, new electrical main service, new gas line, etc. Approximately $750,000 was donated by suppliers, contractors: kitchen equipment, roofing, tile, marble, bricks, concrete, plumbing, flooring, wallpaper. A two story building was added: classrooms, restrooms, board room, elevator, a new entry are for classrooms, etc. All of the above is included in the total cost of $2,100,000 less the $168,000 donated by the contractor. The Parish Council approved all the additional items, scope and cost. The general assembly was fully informed.

14. In 1998 a debt existed of $1,000,000. In this amount was approximately $400,000 from the first phase of the reconstruction of the roof at Holy Trinity Cathedral (1997-1998). The cost of this project was $600,000, some paid by festival and fundraiser. Approximately $600,000 was from the Prophet Elias project. A loan of $1,000,000 was with First Utah Bank. In 2002, the loan was paid in full from individual donors, festival, Olympic rentals and Hellenic Heritage Campaign funds.

15. In 1996, the Bell Tower at Prophet Elias and tile work in the foyer needed repairs. The cost was approximately $100,000.

16. In 1999, a new parking lot expansion at Prophet Elias adjacent to the ball field was completed and funds raised for this project was $150,000.

17. In 2003, the Community purchased the land north of Prophet Elias along Highland Drive. The cost was $115,000.

18. In 2004-2005 the Holy Trinity Cathedral restoration took place. For a detailed review of the scope and the cost see attached letter (dated 8-1-06) from Douglas Anderson to Nick Varanakis. [Moderator's Note: the aforementioned letter is not included in this posting.] The total cost of the restoration of the Cathedral (1997-2005) including the earlier dome/roof project, the feasibility study of 1997, architectural planning, furnishings, Icon restoration, and stain glass window work is approximately $4,200,000.

19. The annual Greek Festival involves the entire Community. Capital improvement projects through the years have benefited both churches.

20. The language issue is a concern. Since the 1970’s we have used English at both churches.

21. A concern expressed by some parishioners is the need to assign a full time clergy and an office staff at Prophet Elias. In the 1970’s & 1980’s, part time volunteers worked in the office at Prophet Elias. In the late 1990’s clergy had been assigned on certain weekdays at Prophet Elias.
22. In October 2002 an enlarged church office was established (full time) at Prophet Elias. In addition a full time Proestamenos (Father Michael Kouremetis) had been assigned.

23. Perhaps another issue has developed, the so-called “ethnic”. How viable this is for both churches, in my opinion is at the very most marginal when compared with the other large Greek Orthodox Communities throughout the country.

24. We must never forget that it was the Greek Immigrants who were the founders of our community in 1905.

Constantine Skedros
Historian, Greek Orthodox Community of Greater Salt Lake City

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