Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Posted by TOCB Moderator at 9:36 AM
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Since Father Michael’s arrival, most of us have heard him on more than one occasion refer to the canons that his service to more than one altar is antithetical to the canons of our Holy Orthodox Church. We’ve heard him quote from the scriptures and canons saying, “no man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will cling to the one, and despise the other” (Matt. 6:24). This obviously refers to his ability or lack thereof to minister properly and equally to all the members of Holy Trinity and Prophet Elias Church’s. In fact, he has aptly inferred that one church would have preeminence over the other hence; he doesn’t want to slight one over the other. Unfortunately, Father Michael nor Metropolitan Isaiah have ever publicly quoted the specific canon with which we are not complying with so I have taken it upon myself to search for the closest rendering of that canon they appear to be quoting and, to publish it along with its interpretation by the individuals who compiled these sacred canons, Saints Nikodemos and Agapios of the Holy Mountain.
The following text is the canon and its interpretation. Please note that the bold, underlined italics are mine and not the work of the Saints. The reason for emphasizing the text is to point out where their [Father Michael and His Eminence] arguments are in conflict with the ethos of the canon. Please read it very carefully since this is one of our Holy Canons and my explanation of this sad, desperate situation which our clerics have fashioned. Also, keep in mind that this position has been wholly adopted and promulgated by those same “concerned” parishioners from the Prophet Elias Church whom are desirous of splitting our community for reasons that are NOT completely in accord with the canons of our Holy Orthodox Church.
Canon XV of the 7th Ecumenical Council:
From now on let no Clergyman be attached to two churches. For this is a mark of commerciality and of greediness for profits, and is alien to ecclesiastical usage. For we have been told by the voice of the Lord Himself that “no one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will cling to the one, and despise the other” (Matt. 6:24). Each person, therefore, in accordance with the Apostolical utterance, wherever he happens to be, ought to stay there and serve in one church. For things done on account of greediness for profits in connection with ecclesiastical matters are alien to God’s institutes. To supply the needs of this life there are various occupations. Let anyone, therefore, who so wishes gain the needs of the body from them. For the Apostle has said, “these hands have ministered unto my needs, and unto those of them who were with me” (Acts 20:34). Accordingly, what is said here is to be applied in this God-guarded city; but in small towns outside of it, for want of men, let there be concessions.
Interpretation of the Canon by Saints Nikodemos and Agapios:
The present Canon prohibits the enrolling of any clergyman in the clergy of two churches situated either in the same city or in two cities, because this is being done for the sake of shameful profits, in order, that is to say, that the clergyman so enrolled may gain the emoluments of both churches; but what is done for the sake of shameful profits is foreign both to God and to ecclesiastics. For the Lord says that nobody can serve two masters; for either he will hate and despise one of them, or he will love and embrace the other. And St. Paul commands that everybody stay in the place whither he has been called by God. If these clergymen allege as an excuse that they cannot get along with the emoluments of the one church, why, behold, there are many kinds of manual work in the world that are more decent; accordingly, let them work with their hands to obtain the needs of the body. For even St. Paul obtained his needs and the needs of those with him by the work of his own hands, as he himself says. So for a clergyman to be attached to two churches, in this imperial city at any rate, is not to be tolerated because of the great number of clerics already in it; but as for the villages and towns outside of it, let it be allowed to be done on account of the scarcity of priests and clerics.
There are two fallacies with Father Michael’s and Metropolitan Isaiah’s argument which are disconcerting. I would like to respond to these in a thoughtful and efficient manner. There is another complex concern which has comes up regarding our Greek Orthodox Community of Greater Salt Lake City. The concern is that it was not canonically structured when Archbishop Iakovos of memory consecrated it. I would like to offer another perspective on this matter. The following is my response to these concerns.
Fallacy Number 1 – It is categorically un-canonical for a priest to serve more than one altar.
First and foremost, it is critical to read the complete canon and look at its context. This canon was composed at a time when there was an excess of priests in the holy city and they were attempting to advance themselves financially through corrupt and misdirected motivation. Clearly it is shown from the canon and its interpretation, it is NOT un-canonical for a priest to serve more than one altar as long as his heart and motivations are godly-centered that is; he is not trying to draw attention to bring glory to himself nor is he motivated by “greediness of profits” as stated in the canon. Take a close look at the rendering of this canon and you will see that it is not composed of one sentence. The motivation of the priest is integral to the decision of assigning him to serve one or more altars as it can also deter him from serving entirely.
Fallacy Number 2 – Father Michael’s meaning of “serving two masters”.
Father Michael’s application of the above quote implies that he will only be able to devote his attention to one group of parishioners and doesn’t want to favor one over the other. Unfortunately, it is too late since he already shows favoritism towards the parishioners of Prophet Elias over those of Holy Trinity. His lack of participation at Holy Trinity speaks louder than the words he has already articulated by his own default.
Now regarding the canon, when it was drafted, the composers quoted Matthew 6:24. Apparently, clerics were becoming entangled in worldly concerns specifically; their motive to serve God in the priesthood (first master) was coming in direct conflict with the motivations of serving in the world (other master). Hence, the meaning is: serve God or serve Satan, maintain your “calling” to the priesthood or accept another profession in the world (which is aptly expressed in its interpretation of the canon from the Saints). I don’t understand the analogy which Father Michael draws upon and how it relates to the spiritual meaning from the gospel text. What is crystal clear about the analogy of serving two masters is that it has nothing to do with favoring one church body over the other but rather, whom they chose to serve.
Additionally, the composers refer to the Apostle Paul’s example of when he needed to earn additional money for personal needs; he would depend on his profession of tent-making. And the writers allude to this point stating that if there are personal needs that need to be fulfilled “there are many kinds of manual work in the world that are more decent; accordingly, let them work with their hands to obtain the needs of the body” thus, following the Apostle’s example. In today’s world, our priests can typically rely on the community they serve to sustain them although some communities are not able to support their clergy. This canon gives them the liberty to find additional employment to fulfill their personal needs.
Fallacy #3 – Archbishop Iakovos didn’t follow the Canons.
As astounding as it may seem that I would have the boldness to write such a letter challenging our clergy, I think it is equally inconceivable to imply that the former Archbishop Iakovos of memory structured some sordid situation contrary to the canons. From what I have ascertained, it appears that his formation of our community was appropriate and in accord with the canons if we follow the thought process of the composers of this canon and its interpretation.
First, Canon XV of the 7th Ecumenical Council definitively demonstrates that priests did serve and can serve more than one altar due to “concessions” (i.e. a shortage of priests). Second, did it occur to anyone that there is currently a shortage of priests for assignment in the country today? For as long as I can remember this has been a problem and was that the case when Archbishop Iakovos consecrated Prophet Elias? I personally cannot retort since I didn’t reside here but it has been a never-ending issue. Third, factor in the quandary of large communities with greater resources whom were recruiting the “better” priests by enticing them with corpulent compensation packages and while edging out rural communities (I would think this could certainly be in conflict with the canon). Last but not least, factor in the difficulty of relocating a priest’s family to Utah, the land of “milk and honey” where Orthodox Christians are exceedingly outnumbered and then you’ll understand the method to His Blessedness’ madness. And by the way, it appears there was little evidence then that the community wanted to be divided as there is little evidence today. So we can assume that the same problem of a shortage of priests existed then but even if it didn’t, it was His Blessedness’ prerogative to structure the community as he deemed appropriate and what was in the best interests of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, the Canons and the Greek Orthodox Community of Greater Salt Lake City. It seems that Archbishop Iakovos did indeed follow the canons.
In closing, our community deserves to be treated honestly in all matters especially when it concerns our spiritual well-being. Why are we being treated in a manner that is inconsistent with Orthodox Christian values? Why is information being manipulated to achieve a private objective that is not necessarily in the best interest of the whole community? These methods undoubtedly are not in harmony with the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Church Fathers nor the Canons of our Holy Orthodox Church. The only question which remains is: Why?
Posted by TOCB Moderator at 10:13 PM
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Esteemed Parish Council Members,
Since I was not given an opportunity to speak last night I would like to relay my thoughts and comments on last night’s meeting.
First, I am concerned about the manner in which you have chosen to pursue the authoring of the 600-word statements that will accompany the survey. The notion that you will be able to aptly inform and educate the undecided parishioners of this community as to the gravity and intricacies of this multi-faceted issue with a statement of 600 words or less is to me, ludicrous. Furthermore, in my attempts to educate myself about the desires of those who wish to split I have observed a significant variance in justifications. Mr. Joe Varanakis and Mr. Chris Gamvroulas are a prime example of this. I believe that the reasons for splitting expressed to me by Mr. Gamvroulas in verbal, and to a lesser extent written, communication differ in multiple respects from several of the reasons for splitting that were proposed in the ‘separatist manifesto’ (viewable here) that, as far as I am aware, has been endorsed by Mr. Varanakis. Whilst, I do not doubt the writing capabilities of Mr. Kalodimos it is clear that this issue can be argued from many different angles. Therefore, in the interest of creating a fair and ‘bullet-point’ informative statement I suggest that the respective authors convene and decide specifically upon which issues will be addressed in the statements. It is my belief that if you publish (with the survey) two statements that ultimately discuss entirely separate issues it will lead to confusion amongst the Parishioners and infringe upon the validity of the survey results.
Secondly, in regards to the confidentiality statements. My interpretation of the events that transpired during the discussion last night is that no change in the policy is to occur. I also inferred from the statements made such as “Nobody had a gun pointed at their head when they signed.” that it is not mandatory for Parish Council members to sign the current document. I feel that until it is a mandatory requirement for everyone to sign, that it is wrong to exclude any member of the council from any discussion and/or access to information. If HIPAA compliance is indeed the reason for this document then I would suggest that you act upon Mr. Tsagaris’ suggestion that a more appropriate document be obtained and signed. One that contains an appropriate amount of legal specificity as opposed to the current statement (viewable here) which does, in fact, leave the door wide open for heavy-handed disciplinary actions for any number of undefined violations.
Finally, in the same vein, I wish to voice my displeasure about the pattern of treatment given to Mr. Tsagaris by the council that I have observed in the several meetings I have attended. I respect that he is always allowed to speak. However, I have noticed that, almost without exception, every time he asks a question or makes a comment at least one Parish Council member present, voting and non-voting alike, mumble under their breath and make gestures or use body language that to me suggests an immediate personal disregard of anything he has to say. I have even seen him literally spoken over and, for lack of a better term, shouted down on repeated occasion. This type decorum is unbefitting for any member of our Parish Council. Not every member is guilty of this and it is not my intention to start pointing fingers; I understand that things can get heated when debating conflicting opinions. All statements that I have heard Mr. Tsagaris make have been fair and balanced, and I have never observed him to show any form of disregard for a statement made by another Councilman. I would remind you all that he is one of the most well educated men sitting at that table and his opinions and questions should be considered and respected regardless of his accent and his aptitude to quickly and fluently comprehend and respond to complex statements made in what is not his native language. He is actively thinking about and engaging the issues presented to him, an approach that I would think should be encouraged of all Council members. I as a parishioner would much rather have a representative that talks every issue to death than one who just sits quietly and passes the buck, making snap decisions on pertinent items.
Thank you for your continued efforts to serve this community and for taking the time to review my comments.
Posted by TOCB Moderator at 7:42 PM
Moderator's Note: This letter was circulated at the Parish Council Meeting of August 13, 2007. At the prompting of Philip Floor, due to his belief that the letter contains inaccurate information, the Parish Council has decided not to reproduce this letter in next month's Messenger. Instead, a synopsis of this letter and a summation of pertinent events and efforts regarding the approval process of the corporation will be authored by Mr. Floor, and published in the Messenger. We at TOCB feel that this letter is an important document and should be openly available to the community at large. It is in this spirit, we make it available to you for review. As always we have not edited the original document beyond converting it to html for Internet publication.
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver
Via Fax 2 pages
Fr. Michael Kouremetis
Mr. Philip S. Floor
Mr. Christopher P. Gamvroulas
Mr. Nick Varanakis
c/o Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake
From: Archdiocesan Council Legal Committee
Date: August 10, 2007
Re: Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake (“Parish”)
Your Eminence, Mr. Floor & Mr. Gamvroulas:
The Archdiocesan Council Legal Committee has reviewed the correspondence and the documents transmitted to His Eminence in May, 2007.
The initial letter to His Eminence requested his ratification of the results of the Parish Special General Assembly held on February 11, 2007(“Assembly”). It appears that the request was made to obtain from him approval of the actions taken at the Assembly and, by implication, authorizing the proposed actions resulting therefrom, i.e. The incorporation of the Holy Trinity & Prophet Elias Heritage Corporation, A Utah Nonprofit Corporation (“Heritage”) as well as any transfers of title of Parish property to Heritage from the Parish which may be deemed necessary to fulfill the purposes of Heritage.
In addition, the stated purpose in the Articles of Incorporation of Heritage is: “The Corporation is organized an operated exclusively to support the Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake and engage in other charitable and educational purposes within the meaning of §501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code…” Nowhere is it mentioned that the new corporation has any religious purpose or that it is Parish or a ministry of a Parish of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver and subject to the Regulations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
The only mention of religion occurs in Article IV which states: “The Corporation shall have voting members, the ‘members or Membership’ who must be natural persons that are, or have been within the past 365 days, a member in good standing of the Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake.”
Article 6.6 of Heritage does not comply with the provisions of Article 22 of the Regulations.
Because the obvious intent of this action is to establish a separate corporation which would own, control & manage the properties which are presently owned, controlled & managed by the Parish, any ratification by His Eminence of the actions by the Special General Assembly may, arguably, grant approval for the entirety of the described actions.
The proposed actions of this Parish will constitute violations of the following sections of the Uniform Parish Regulations: Article 16, Sec. 1-3, Article 24,§1 and Article 29.
It is recommended by the Archdiocese Legal Committee that Your Eminence not ratify nor in any manner, approve the actions taken at the Special General Assembly of the Parish of February 11, 2007 as requested in the letter dated February 12, 2007.
In view of the fact that the Biennial Clergy-Laity Assembly of the Archdiocese will be held in July, 2008, changes to the applicable Regulations may be proposed via your Local Assembly.
Archdiocesan Council Legal Committee,
By: Catherine B. Walsh, Chairperson
Emmanuel Demos, Legal Counsel
Helen Hadjiyanakis Bender
Elenie K. Huszagh
Posted by TOCB Moderator at 10:45 AM
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Ο voώv voείτω
Posted by TOCB Moderator at 11:20 AM
Friday, August 10, 2007
St. John Chrysostom on schism:
"Nothing so provokes God to anger as the division of the Church." (PG, Vol. LXII, col. 85)
"The most pernicious of all things is to split the Church." (PG, Vol. LXI, col. 11)
"To cause a schism in the Church is not a lesser evil than to fall into heresy."
(PG Vol. LXII, col. 87)
"Not even the blood of martyrdom avails to wipe out this sin." (PG, Vol. LXII, col. 85)
St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite on schism:
Divine Chrysostom says (in his eleventh homily on the Epistle to the Ephesians)that a certain saint said that not even the blood of martyrdom can wipe out the sin of separating the Church and dividing it; and that for one to split the Church (i.e., create a schism) is a worse evil than that of falling into a heresy.
Dionysios of Alexandria the confessor wrote in his epistle to Bishop Nauatus that one ought to suffer any evil whatever rather than split the Church; and that the martyrdom is more glorious which one would have to undergo in order to avoid splitting the Church than the martyrdom which one would have to undergo in order to avoid becoming an idolater, since in the case of martyrdom to avoid becoming an idolater one becomes a martyr for the benefit of his own soul, whereas in martyrdom to avoid splitting the Church one becomes a martyr for the benefit and union of the whole Church.
Posted by TOCB Moderator at 9:57 PM
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
As we all have read in history books, some written by our own parishioners, these immigrants came into a hostile environment not knowing the language and lacking greatly in education. They took jobs that most people would not do in order to provide for their families. Before they were on their feet so to speak, they were initiating efforts to build churches where ever there were even a few of their fellow Greeks. And with the very meager wages that they were earning they accomplished this monumental task. They wanted to preserve not only their faith, but their heritage as well. They passed it on remarkably well to their children and grandchildren.
These early immigrants did everything in their power to educate their children and make them contributing citizens of their communities but never relinquishing the knowledge of where their roots came from. Never giving up on their native language and faith. Through their efforts the Greeks gained the respect and envy of their fellow citizens in this great country of ours AMERICA. Just the thought that some would think about diminishing the Greek aspect of our heritage to include the Greek language, is indeed a saddening thing and shows little respect for those great people who immigrated here and gave us so much.
Now, many of us who have so much because of the great people before us, are insinuating that the language not be used in our church services and perhaps even dropping the word Greek from our church name.
I believe that only a small minority would have us do this. However, the silent majority must come out of our hiding comfort and be strong and united stating our opinions for the entire parish if not the world to know.
I would challenge our parish council to at last come forth with the total truth on all the matters that concern our Greek Orthodox Parish of Salt Lake City, Utah. If the documents that you have signed pledging secrecy, support and allegiance to our proistameno and or to the metropolitan are invalid as someone has suggested on this blog, then shed yourselves of them.
All the parishioners deserve to know the truth. Help us to reunite and become a whole community again. Do not be faithful to those that would divide us.
Even politicians realizing that what they are doing may hurt their party, resign for the sake of the party.
They do this even when they are in the right. They do it out of love and concern for their party. Perhaps some of our leaders who are causing this turmoil in our Greek Orthodox Parish of Salt Lake City should consider doing the same thing.
Again I say this because I believe that the issues are not of a religious nature, but of a political one.
As a last note, I again say that there is strength in unity and numbers. More of our parishioners need to come forward and state their position on the issues that are confronting us at this time.
Posted by TOCB Moderator at 10:55 AM
Monday, August 6, 2007
It is fascinating that the only two members of the committees supposedly “studying” the “possibility” of the split had the courage and fortitude to resign in the face of a total farce. It is no surprise that these gentlemen are two of our long-time members who belong to what we know as the “greatest generation”. Mr. Skedros is an Archon, an ever-present volunteer, has been a Sunday School teacher to many of us, an almost perpetual Parish Council member, a former Parish Council president - the grand old man of this community - our current church historian and chronicler of the community’s 100-plus years. Mr. Sefakis is another ever-present volunteer, and former President and Parish Council member as well. Why is it that these men are the only two with the discernment to know a scam when they see one? (What are the rest of the committee members thinking and doing?) Between these two men there is more than a century of service to our churches and community. Worthy representatives, indeed, of our greatest generation! Their actions should be the example for the rest of us.
Some days ago our Parish Council, in what at long last seemed like a show of logic and proactivity, voted to conduct a mail-in vote regarding the community’s view on the proposed split. This vote was also going to allow each community member to write a short essay, if desired, regarding the subject. All this was laudable. It seemed that finally the Parish Council was going to at least try to discern and follow the will of its constituents.
Unfortunately, the undemocratic and utterly dissembling proclivities of our Proistameno and it seems, sadly, our Parish Council President, are inexorable. Despite the Parish Council vote, which would, if it were to take effect, SURELY negate the need for the "split committees", our Proistameno and Parish Council President insist that these committees continue to meet. They have, obviously, decided we ARE going to have this split, by God, come hell or high water! The Metropolitan’s dirty work and will be done, the Proistameno will have gotten his way, and the will of the majority be damned! The charade continues unabated.
Most of our parents and grandparents, living or not, contemporaries and forbearers of Con Skedros’ and Nick Sefakis’ generation, would not have put up with this high-handed nonsense. They would not have allowed the popular will to be suppressed so utterly and so blatantly. They would not have sought to keep fellow parishioners so deeply in the dark. They would NOT operate under bogus confidentiality agreements.
We of this generation are letting those of the greatest generations, living and dead, down! And, we are passing on to our children a legacy of acquiescence, submissiveness, dissembling and sycophancy. Seemingly, we accept lies. We don’t care and WON'T ACT when the will of the majority is squelched. We don’t demand accurate vote counting any longer; we don't demand that our vote is honored. We don't insist on accountability. We don’t fight these disturbing trends in our churches, in our local communities, in our national public life, or in the increasingly condescending and dictatorial behavior of what now passes for leadership.
We put up with leaders who do not act with reason or compassion. These so-called leaders substitute ethical and intellectual integrity with a superstitious interpretation of faith and a supercilious reliance on unquestioning obedience. They have a "we-know-best" attitude and are unwilling and unable to articulate or exemplify a leadership based on logic, honesty and transparency. They rely on the willingness of far too many of us to trade our independence and our ability and God-given RIGHT to control our destiny. We give these up for what we think is a guarantee of security in the here and/or the hereafter. Allowing ourselves to regress four to five centuries, many of us seemingly accept that our leaders MUST dominate us. We allow them to act upon their beliefs that they can ignore the popular will. We permit them to think that it is now somehow reasonable that their actions are dictatorial and that it is further acceptable that their actions fly in the face of logic and justice.
If we continue to operate with this mindset, we will rightly be remembered as a "fearful and fearing generation." There is little sign of greatness in us.
Tell us, gentlemen of this generation, of this Parish Council, if you can, that in the face of these unfolding events in ONE community in ONE city, in the face of constant acquiescence and submissiveness, in the name of being respectful of a clerical authority that no longer treats its flock with love and mutual respect, that the blood in this generation hasn’t thinned!
But HOW can you tell us this, when you are CONSTANTLY submitting and acquiescing, when you, representing us, won't confront the secrecy, the dissembling and the high-handed activities designed to divide us, and we, our children and our grandchildren will surely be the poorer for it?
Posted by TOCB Moderator at 8:13 AM
Saturday, August 4, 2007
I understand that Kennecott Copper is offering land in their new city plan at a very attractive price for any faith that would build within their city.
Posted by TOCB Moderator at 7:38 PM
AN OPEN LETTER TO:
THE PARISH COUNCIL
NO-ONE HOLDS VETO POWER OVER
THE SECULAR AFFAIRS OF OUR COMMUNITY
Neither the Metropolitan nor the Archdiocese hold a veto power over the non-ecclesiastical affairs of this Community. Utah State law is the only applicable authority.
You will recall that the vote was taken on February 11, 2007. The Community voted overwhelmingly (72%) to create the new non profit corporation.
The results were submitted to the Metropolitan for “ratification.”
The Metropolitan, apparently acting on orders from the Archdiocese, decided to nullify the Community’s vote. He and the Archdiocese torpedoed this Community’s efforts for a better tomorrow. Ostensibly the reason for the failure to ratify was that the Community’s vote was either “non-canonical” or “contrary to the UPRs” or some other cockamamie excuse.
To this date no one has ever cited which canon was violated? No one has told us what UPR was violated?
The truth of the matter is that NO VIOLATION of any kind or type occurred. It is only a whim of those who seek to stop the progress of the Community.
I am very proud to be part of the Heritage Campaign Committee. We made a promise to this Community that our Community will undertake to complete the renovation of the Holy Trinity Cathedral. On time, and on budget. A promise made; a promise kept. The committee wanted to make the same promise about building a new Holy Trinity Cathedral Campus. The Cathedral Vision.
Unfortunately the Cathedral Vision will never become a reality. Too bad for our Community. Too bad that the Clergy and others OUTSIDE of own Community have dictated that we cannot proceed with the creation of new Sunday School classrooms, and other physical facilities to promote programs for our Holy Trinity Church Parishioners.
Neither the Metropolitan nor the Archdiocese hold a veto power over the non ecclesiastical affairs of this Community.
I (and others) have repeatedly asked for the Metropolitan’s and the Archdiocesan response to the Community’s submission. My understanding is that there may be as many as four letters that have been directed to this Community “discussing the creation of the new non-profit corporation.”
Why have they not been made public ?
Mr. Varanakis has stonewalled all requests for disclosure. He refused to make the responses public for the benefit of the Community.
On whose orders?
Who runs our Community?
What is the role of our Parish Council?
Is the Parish Council here to “serve” the Proistameno?
Do the Diocesan assemblies that pass “non-binding” resolutions govern our affairs ?
Is the Proistamneo managing the flow of information to the Community again?
Is the Parish Council an unwitting party to this conspiracy?
Are there any explicit or implicit threats to any person who has the information ?
Has the information been made known to the entire Parish Council ?
If not, why not?
Is this sordid affair part of the Proistameno’s machinations?
What about the communications by the “Floor-Gamvroulas” committee with the Metropolitan and the Archdiocese? Is this Community being sold down the river? Are we going to be buried again? Is this Community being walked down the primrose path ?
The entire Community has a right to know!
The entire Community has the right to expect information to be made public!
The entire Community demands to know the whole “unvarnished - warts and all” truth; nothing but the truth must be made public!
The entire Community pays the bills.
Full disclosure is part of the Parish Council’s discharge of its fiduciary duty to the people who have elected them to the office.
IT IS TIME TO COME CLEAN WITH THE COMMUNITY
THE COMMUNITY DEMANDS THAT YOU TELL US THE TRUTH
MAKE THE LETTERS PUBLIC
THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Nick J. Colessides
P. S. In another article we shall review the applicability of the Sam Ervin adage: “Follow the money.” The truth about opposing “the creation of the non-profit corporation” and the real reason(s) for promoting the “split.”
Posted by TOCB Moderator at 9:41 AM
Friday, August 3, 2007
TOCB has obtained the two posted documents regarding disclosure and confidentiality and we have posted them for everyone to review. Until now, neither document had been made public to the community. Both documents have been alleged to come from the Archdiocese but in reality only ONE has (click here to view that document at the end of Mr Colessides' blog article, July 31, 2007). And, only one document has been continually pushed in front of each member of the parish council for mandatory signature. It should be noted, this Proistameno has publicly stated that the "Confidentiality Agreement" was sent by the Archdiocese.
We took it upon ourselves to contact the Archdiocese to confirm the veracity of this Proistameno's statement and inquire whether in fact this document was sent to this Proistameno or to any community in the Archdiocese. Not surprisingly, this Proistameno's statement doesn't hold water. One would think that since this person is not adept at dissembling, since his prevarications are so easily uncovered, he might stop engaging in this behavior. It seems he is incapable of making such a change.
What we received was the document that Mr. Colessides has commented on below with the following message: "The parish still has to use the Archdiocese Statement (see below) which is a legal document. A parish can add their own Disclosure statement for their parish if they want ONLY if the Parish Council votes and passes on a second disclosure statement can they "force" a member to sign it." The document this Proistameno keeps insisting on being signed was NOT sent by the Archdiocese, nor was it voted on by this parish council as an additional and MANDATORY document for them to sign. This document is clearly designed as a means by which this Proistameno can assert absolute control and fear over parish council members.
It will be interesting to see what, if any, back peddling tactics this Proistameno will now employ to cover his exposed tracks. As with every other instance, any tactics employed to cover have guaranteed only one thing... the lies keep coming. Even though the lies keep coming, this Proistameno is allowed to get away with them and we stand by and watch. There is no "Confidentiality Agreement" that has been issued from the Archdiocese. Those parish council members who have yet to sign, DON'T, as you are not required to. For those who have signed, it means NOTHING. Instead of trying to hide everything we all might be better served if the focus shifts to demanding that this Proistameno tell the truth. For all our sake just give it a try.
Posted by TOCB Moderator at 11:16 PM
Thursday, August 2, 2007
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
Posted by TOCB Moderator at 6:28 PM
Moderator's Note: We have obtained a copy of the confidentialilty agreement that is currently being imposed by our Proistamenos in this valley. We have reproduced it as faithfully as hyper-text mark-up language (html) allows, hence we have bolded text where the original document had it underlined, since underlined text in html is used for linking. We have left untouched all syntax and any grammatical or spelling errors that may be contained in the original document.
GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH OF GREATER SALT LAKE
Use and Disclosure of Confidential Information. Parish Counsel Members recognize and acknowledge that the Confidential Information of the Church is important to the operation of the Church. Therefore, Parish Council Members shall not, during their term or thereafter, disclose or use any Confidential Information, or any part thereof, to any person or entity for any reason or purpose whatsoever, except as required in connection with their duties of employment, without the express and prior written permission of Parish Council President or Prostamenos. The term “disclose” means any communication to a third party, either orally or in writing, including but not limited to communications via e-mail, facsimile, letter, etc.
By my signature below, I acknowledge that I have read and understand the Church’s Confidentiality Policy. I further acknowledge and understand that any violation of the above policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the Parish Council.
Posted by TOCB Moderator at 9:53 AM