“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


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Will Metropolitan Isaiah Keep His Word?

On December 6, 2007 parishioners of the Salt Lake City community received two letters from Metropolitan Isaiah regarding an apparently ongoing desire on his part to split our community. The first letter explained His Eminence's decision in not assigning a priest the community requested. The second referred to the survey results where 87% of those who returned surveys voted against splitting the community. Among statements His Eminence made were:

  • During the past year, the subject [splitting the community] appeared to become a burning issue with an increasing number of parish members... Unfortunately, before you decided to go ahead with the survey, the usual few members became vocal spokesmen against the recognition of two distinct parishes...
  • Had I been a less patient bishop, this would have been enough for me to declare two separate parishes with two separate councils...
  • After much discussion with Mr. Bapis [editor's note: during prior attempts to split the community] I told him that I would not force the community to become two parishes...
  • I like to believe that I am faithful to what I say...
  • In my forty-five years in the clergy, I have never forced anyone to do my will...
  • I challenge anyone to say that I forced someone to do or not to do a particular thing...
  • In keeping my word to Mr. Bapis and to myself, I will not force the recognition of two parishes."

However, TOCB has learned that in May 2007, our Metropolitan sent a letter to Archbishop Demetrios reporting that the Metropolis' Clergy-Laity conference had passed a number of resolutions. One requested that the matter of splitting of our community be put on the agenda at the national convention. The pertinent page of that letter is excepted and imaged here. It reads:

The second resolution was made specifically to address the irregular situation of our Salt Lake City, Utah community which has two churches and two separate parish programs but operates under one parish council and as one incorporated legal entity. This, of course, is an uncanonical situation. It was tolerated by the Archdiocese many years ago for reasons that may have seemed logical at that time but the reality is that both “churches” need to function as separate parishes. The resolution is as follows:

"The Metropolis council of the Holy Metropolis of Denver and its delegates,
striving to accomplish wholeness and unity among all Orthodox Christians of our Metropolis and the Holy Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, affirm and state that each parish shall be a separate entity within our Holy Metropolis, with its own Proistamenos and Parish Council, in harmony with the pertinent canons of the Church."


That letter's reference regarding our community was addressed to Archbishop Demetrios on May 22, 2007, more than six months before the letters he sent to us in December 2007. Knowing that he had PREVIOUSLY sent this letter proposing for national consideration a resolution specific to our community, how could His Eminence assert to us that he would keep his word and not force a split this community does not want? (We might also ask WHO proposed this resolution?)

Since this resolution is now a part of this year's National Clergy-Laity Conference agenda, are we going to be presented with a "done deal"? We hope, Your Eminence, that we can take you at your word. We are asking you, on behalf of those 87% of us who cared enough to vote (more than one-third of the voting members, which is certainly a sufficient representative sample) and vote "NO" to splitting, does the truth lie with your letter dated on May 22, 2007, or with the one you sent to us on December 6, 2007?

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