“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


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Letter from The Gregory Skedros Family to Metropolitan Isaiah

(see original document, with enclosures, here)

The Gregory Skedros Family
104 East 470 North
Bountiful, Utah 84010
April 21, 2010

Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver
c/o Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver
4550 East Alameda Avenue
Denver, Colorado 80246

Your Eminence,

Greetings from the Salt Lake City Skedros Family. We would like to take this opportunity to explain to you the Skedros side of the current difficulties involving the transfer of church funds to the Hellenic Community Foundation.

As you may recall our beloved son and brother Anthony passed from this existence on March 23rd, 1997. In lieu of flowers a Memorial Foundation was established by the Skedros family to honor his memory. Countless donations were received at the time and continue to be received in the honor of Anthony's Memory. Contributions have mainly come from individuals and Skedros family supporters. In the months following Anthony's death the Skedros family endeavored to create a lasting legacy for Anthony.

As more money was collected the scope of the project was expanded. The Skedros family began investigating worthy projects to memorialize Anthony's memory. Considerations were given to community shelters, Children's programs, Institutional endowments and Memorial buildings.

Anthony's brothers, John and Taki approached the University of Utah to potentially endow a chair for Hellenic studies 'in Anthony's memory. Several meetings were convened and the proposal was given to the entire family. Gregory however felt very strongly that the money should go towards a new gymnasium/multipurpose building on the Holy Trinity campus so that his son could be best remembered by the community he loved and grew up in.

In October, 2007, Jenny Skedros the family spokesperson and matriarch died from infectious complications. It was her final wish that contributions be made to her son's Memorial Foundation. With Jenny's passing the Skedros family agreed that all donated monies should go towards a Memorial Gymnasium on the Holy Trinity campus.

During this period the Memorial funds had been deposited in the Salt Lake Foundation and then the Utah Foundation until an appropriate project was decided upon. With the closing of the Utah foundation in 2007, all existing funds ($131,404.35) were transferred to the Greek Orthodox Church of Salt Lake City. These funds were placed in the Hellenic Heritage Campaign (HHC) subaccount and specifically designated for the Anthony G. Skedros Memorial Gymnasium.

From December 21st, 2007 to January 21st, 2010; Greg Skedros transferred all of his Individual retirement account savings to this fund. His total contribution equaled $481,120.54. Another $100,000 of Greg's savings was also donated in 2008. All $40,000 of Jenny's memorial contributions were also contributed in 2008.

With the support of countless contributors to the Foundation and the investment
of personal savings by the Skedros', the Memorial fund had reached just over $800,000.

In 2009, the General Assembly of the Greek Orthodox Church of Salt Lake City created the Hellenic Community Foundation (HCF). This non-profit entity comprised of the entire Greek Orthodox parish was created to fund raise and facilitate development of projects of community interest. This was the answer to Greg's prayers. Now all of Anthony's funds could go into an active fund raising organization headed by his closest friends and advisors. The HCF board was already a seasoned fund raising and development team that had renovated Holy Trinity Cathedral and raised additional funds that were still available for the completion of the Holy Trinity Campus. It was the Skedros family wish that Anthony's monies provide momentum to a new fund raising effort and create the Anthony G. Skedros Memorial Building.

In October of 2009, Greg Skedros requested that the Anthony G. Skedros Memorial fund monies in the HHC account at the Greek Orthodox Church be transferred to the Hellenic Community Foundation so that the fund raising campaign could begin. The transfer was executed by the appropriate signatories on the account (Parish council president and the 2 trustees of the HHC subaccount) prior to moving the funds to the HCF.

The Skedros family has been actively involved with the HCF in creating fund raising packets and identifying potential donors for the campaign that was to begin after Easter. Since the funds were moved in October 2009, additional contributions have brought the total to $962,751.70.

It is with great dismay that we have witnessed the deterioration of our well intentioned charitable donation. We cannot comment on the legality of the transfer of our funds from the church to the HCF as it seemed aboveboard and understood by all parties involved. This same sort of transfer had previously occurred on several occasions with no voiced concerns by the Parish Councilor clergy. We are very confused by the Parish Council’s ultimatums and threats to our fellow parishioners as they have undermined our efforts to proceed with this

We were recently approached by the Parish Council to consider redirecting our money back to the church which would then return the money to us as a donation that was deemed unattainable for the intended purpose. In our interest to preserve community harmony, we investigated this possibility. Unfortunately, the tax consequences to Greg would be catastrophic (In excess of $200,000), making this option impossible.

The Skedros family takes responsibility and will honor its obligation to the hundreds of contributors of this fund to ensure that a lasting memorial to Anthony be created. If the Memorial Gymnasium is not a reality in a reasonable time frame, we will be forced to consider other options. It is our hope that all parties involved will recognize the spirit and purpose of this donation and will join us in moving forward with the goal of completing the Anthony G. Skedros Memorial Gymnasium.

We implore your Eminence as our spiritual leader to help us resolve this problem
before further damage is done to our community and the church we hold dear.

Χριστός Ανεστη,

/s/ Gregory Skedros
/s/ Constantine Skedros

The Skedros Family

Anthony and Jenny Skedros Obituaries
University of Utah, Anthony Skedros Hellenic Studies Endowment proposal
Hellenic Community Foundation Information

Father Michael Kouremetis
Father Matthew Gilbert
Parish Council President, Jim Mylonakis
Nick Bapis
Doug Anderson

1 comment:

Barbara Billinis Colessides said...

Our Parish Council, Proistamenoi and Metropolitan should be deeply ashamed of themselves!

Anyone who reads Mr. Skedros' words and is not moved by them, must have a heart of stone and a stunted soul.

WE must ALL stand with the Skedros Family, with the HCF Board, and with Nick Bapis. They have done NOTHING wrong.