“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


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Withdrawal Letter from Steve Gamvroulas

2 December 2008

Fr. Michael Kouremetis
Fr. Matthew Gilbert
Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake Parish Council members
Esteemed Parishioners of the Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake

Reverend Fathers and Parish Council Members,

It is with great disappointment that I must remove my name as a candidate for the Parish Council. I do this in protest of the unceremonious disqualification of candidates for consideration for the Parish Council. The reasons given to the disqualified candidates include: not attending church enough; speaking against the actions of clergy; posting on the blog; and using a letter written by a "prospective convert" who was "offended" by the statements made by one of our members. These reasons are all subjective and highly suspect.

I have also posted comments in the blog, yet I was deemed worthy as a candidate for the Parish Council. I also bring to your attention that Bill Souvall, a current Parish Council member, has also posted on the blog. He, I assume, is also worthy of consideration for the Parish Council? Yet others who post comments are not eligible. What is the double standard that exists here? I sense a certain degree of hypocrisy in the disqualification of the other candidates.

To my knowledge, this is the second time in the past 103 years that members of this community who have lived here their entire lives have been subjectively deemed to be "unworthy" by clergy. The first time was last year. This is a dangerous and frightening trend. Is it a Christian trait to silence those who disagree with us?

The members of this community who were told they were unworthy are elders of this community. They are highly respected and esteemed. Their contributions to this community are great. They have served in various roles including: Parish Council members; choir members; altar boys; chanters; and Greek Festival chair people and volunteers. They have donated tens of thousands of dollars and hours to this community and are now considered to be pariahs. This is a very sad editorial on the state this community is in currently, and has been in since 2002.

The only people who are qualified to determine if a person should serve on the Parish Council are those members who are prepared to vote for or against those candidates. Is it really in the best interest of this community to allow clergy, whose assignment to our community is temporary, to decide the future of this community? Remember - priests come and go. The candidates for the Parish Council who were disqualified were part of this community long before any of the current clergy were assigned here and will remain here with their family long after clergy have been reassigned. Please tell me who sincerely has the best interests of this community at heart.

The mistreatment of people in our community who dare to speak against the unethical, secretive leadership must end. Are you going to continue to surround yourselves with "yes men?" Will you continue to browbeat those who would say your actions are wrong? I cannot agree with the view that sycophants are honorable people -- they have never been nor will they ever be.

Please look at your actions and you will see the reason for the discontent rampant in this community. Please stop trying to divide this community. We need unity to solve the problems facing this community. Diverse and open dialogue is crucial if we will ever solve those problems.

My Lord drew a line in the sand. I think it is time I do so as well.

With a heavy heart and great sadness,

Steve Gamvroulas

1 comment:

Nick Colessides said...

Thank you for your eloquence.

Case made.

May I suggest that you forward copies of the "resignation letter" to both the Denver Metropolitan and the New York Archdiocese.

They need to know who the "faces of our parish's and community's discontent" are.

Thank you for taking such decisive and worthy action.

Nick J. Colessides

Nick J. Colessides
Attorney at Law
466 South 400 East, Suite 100
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111-3325

Tele: 801/521-4441
Fax: 801/521-4452

E-mail: njcolessides@msn.com