Nick J. Colessides
Attorney at Law
466 South 400 East, # 100
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111-3325
Telephone: 801/ 521-4441
Tele-copier: 801/ 521-4452
E-Mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
October 20, 2007
Mr. John Kaloudis
I read with interest your letter to the Blog. I understand your perspective. I would like to set forth the following random thoughts. My purpose is to have an open and honest discussion and is not motivated by rancor or negativity. In the final analysis my words and actions shall be judged by our Savior.
The issue of negativity as discussed in your letter is correct; I agree with you that there is no need or room for negativity in our community; there is no necessity to be negative when one discusses what is appropriate in our community. My opinion is that the anger that the Clergy’s actions have created, has resulted in so much of the negativity that is found on the Blog. But as you can also see there have been a great deal of postings requesting “transparency” and “help;” all to no avail. I agree that all discussions must be positive. From my personal perspective, the resultant negativity expressed in the Blog, is due to the continuous inappropriate directives/actions of the Clergy as repeatedly applied to this community.
I agree with you that our church is hierarchical and not subject to “democratic” processes, rules, or concepts. I agree with you that when it comes to dealing with religious matters, the Clergy’s word is the penultimate judgment.
The issue at hand is that when the Clergy imposes sanctions in non-religious, non-dogmatic, non-canonical matters and settings, the Clergy then forfeits its immunity from criticism. The Clergy, no matter what their hierarchical status, cannot have it both ways. My perspective is my own first hand experience.
The Metropolitan sua sponte decided to do two things. In violation of the Uniform Parish Bylaws he removed me from my elective position on the Parish Council; and, without an opportunity to discuss with me my “transgression”, he imposed a five-year prohibition on my participation in the religious sacraments. (The Metropolitan rescinded the religious sanctions during the summer; he continued the prohibition of my participation in the “parish council” for a period of 3 years. In my view there is no such thing as being a little pregnant.) I vividly recall on Holy Wednesday last, asking Father Matthew whether he would administer Holy Unction; I remember well his negative response. He said that I had to resolve the issue with the Metropolitan; Fr. Matthew was prohibited by the Metropolitan to give me Holy Unction. Prior to that time I had communicated with the Metropolitan and stated in writing that I had obeyed his directive; I had availed myself of the sacrament of confession. He elected to respond by asking me to forward to him a letter from my “Spiritual Father” that the Prayer of Absolution was read over me; he did not think that the matter of the availability of the Holy Sacraments to me during the upcoming Holy Week, was important; maybe it was not to him, ... but it was very important to me. Eventually he removed the religious sanctions.
Why is the biblical admonition of Matthew 18:15-16 applicable to me and not to the Clergy? Did the Clergy have an obligation to discuss the matters with me as per the biblical citation? or did the Clergy get offended when I quoted from Acts 9.5? I am not as well-schooled in the biblical sayings as you or some of the Clergy are. I do believe however, that Christ did say on one occasion "Ο αvαμάρτητoς πρώτoς τov λίθov βαλέτω." Whether in a religious or a secular setting the truth is always universal. The truth is the same for the Clergy as it is for the laity.
We must all be accountable for our actions; we must all obey the biblical strictures. And, we must ALL turn the other cheek; Matthew, chapter 5. Why did the Metropolitan think it appropriate that I should be victimized in this community? Why did the Metropolitan choose to be punitive? Reading the correspondence, it appears that it was my refusal to apologize that caused my punishment. How banal ! How childish! Should the “truth” have been the issue for judgment, rather than the need for an apology to satisfy the Clergy’s egos? You know John, the concept of “infallibility” is not an Orthodox Christian concept.
My removal from the elective office violated the Uniform Parish Bylaws (“UPRs”). The UPRs contain the governance of the community. Why did the Clergy disregard their application? Why should the Clergy be immune from the proper application of the UPRs? Do I have a recourse?
The second point of your letter deals with anonymous letters and criticisms. I agree with you. You can see from everything that I have ever written, in the Blog or in any other forum, it has always been signed by me; copies where appropriate were sent to those to whom my writing were directed. However, there is one valid point on the anonymity issue. When anonymity is invoked it is because of the threat or fear of reprisal. Real or perceived. The only time when anonymity is acceptable, is when one does not wish to have the same type of fortune that I have endured in the hands of the Clergy.
On the third point. You may be offended by the title of the Blog. The title is not meant to offend any party. The title is meant to express the hurt and the pain that this Proistameno has caused to a lot of people through his actions. His entire ministry in this community has been full of half truths, innuendo, falsehoods; and, his typical raising of his hands toward the sky and
proclaiming that he has nothing to do with my expulsion from the Parish Council, and nothing to do with my “punishment.” His ministry in this community has as its predicate that the Parish Council is here to report to him; to assist him; and all the other bromides he emits. Humility may not be his strongest point. I believe that this community needs Clergy who view their ministry as a “calling;” ... not merely a job.
In connection with the events that surround my punishment, there is nothing that I have said, or have committed to writing, that it was not true. It is true because it was factually correct and accurate. I do not think that Fr. Kouremetis can make the same statement.
And lastly, let me suggest that I do not view that the Church as a stock ownership proposition. I already submitted in the beginning of this letter that I fully recognize the Church for what it is. It is theocratic institution not subject to democratic processes. However, when the Church through its Clergy, operates the secular part of our community as a theocracy, I would think that we can all agree that it is not proper.
The thing that is totally absent from your discourse is the issue of unity. Maybe that should be left for another day. Nevertheless the matter is very simple. No member of the Clergy should impugn the concept of the necessity for the unity of our community and our parish. Those issues are neither canonical nor dogmatic.
In the final analysis the only thing that really matters is that of “fairness.” In the “secular” setting is the Clergy dealing with our community in a fair manner ? Reading the Blog, it appears that it does not.
Nick J. Colessides