April 25, 2010
His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver
4550 East Alameda Avenue
Denver, CO 80246-1208
Indeed He is Risen!
Your Eminence Isaiah:
Customarily, I'd ask for your blessing but I'm not sure that is appropriate from the tenor with which I write regarding the matter in our Greek Orthodox Community in Salt Lake City, Utah. I must voice my disdain for your unorthodox-ed, distorted, and thoughtless admonition which you have so blatantly and distastefully penned to specific members of the community at large. It is offensive as are these other letters which have been drafted and signed from our Clergy and Board Members that propagate this smear campaign on specific parishioners. This must stop now! These people have spent much of their lives' serving to the best of their abilities, through their own personal faith and knowledge in Christ Jesus our Lord and you as well as others, have managed to tarnish the reputations of these fine Christians in an indelible manner. This is a travesty and the fallout will be immeasurable for many years. The question I must ask you is this: Who will be held accountable for this?
Additionally, I am not certain of who is informing you of the "facts" in this situation (of which I'm not totally privy to either). My guess is your “informants” are limited to a few “hand-picked” souls probably on the Finance Committee of the Church and of course, the Proistamenos of Prophet Elias. It certainly wouldn’t be prudent for you to rely on sources like these fine Christians who have served the community in some cases, for decades like those whom you are assaulting. It seems better from your perspective to rely on these other “infallible” sources. What I can say, based on my experience within the Orthodox Faith, is the situation is being handled rashly. Now I know I’m not as reliable as your preferred sources but I’m certain that there are guidelines in the Holy Scriptures, examples from the Church Fathers and from the Saints on handling problems with brothers in Christ concerning "matters" of Faith. Sadly, instead of using these resources which I hope you have been trained in from all of your extensive Theological training, you’ve decided to employ coercive, strong-arm scare tactics to extort and bully these Christians into performing your dictates. Apparently, your use of the word "excommunication" is the only recourse you have chosen to intimidate and to resolve your "disciplinary" situations. I believe that your repeated use of the "E" word (excommunication) is being abused and I would like to add that this remedy is rarely applied within the Holy Church. In my 13 years of being an Orthodox Christian, it is only here in Utah that have I witnessed your repeated abuse of this form of discipline. By the way, I don't recall our Lord ever abusing his power nor intimidating others as you do by swinging the "E” word as if it were a baseball bat at a North Side rumble from my old neighborhood. This is truly alarming! Surely, there must be another way to handle issues. One only need to look at the example of Jesus to see how he would handle these types of situations: with meekness tempered with love.
Also, you speak of Our Holy Faith and use phrases recognized as "Orthodox". My question to you and these other authors is: Why is it that the only quotes in these letters refer to the Uniform Parish Regulations (UPR's) and not the Holy Canons (i.e. Pedalion), Scriptures (i.e. Book of Job, Matthew 28), and as equally important, the voices of Our Church Fathers (i.e. Evergetinos, Philokalia)? Are the UPR's the "new" directive in today's Orthodoxy? Is the use of the UPR's yet another "innovation" brought into the Faith here in America? Or are these "older and outdated" sources no longer relevant in this day and age and take second place to the UPR's? Something is wrong with this picture that you are painting!
Lastly, although I am perplexed at your method for handling this situation, I am concerned with the effect in the long-run. Haven't you ever heard "weigh it before you say it" or in this case, pen it? These letters may have caused irreparable damage to reputations without any forethought. Rumors are abounding now of embezzlement, stealing, even "robbery" within the community and, individuals outside of the community are questioning the events within our community because care has NOT been exercised in the handling of this matter! Even your bold indictment of what has been done is nothing short of "robbery"! In the future prior to writing another letter, you also might consult these very fine Christians for their side of the story to prior to threats of “self-excommunication”. As a side note, just how in the world did you come up with this term? I did not know it was possible to “self-excommunicate”. I apologize since I have never read about this so it is a first for me to see this term so please forgive my ignorance. I know I have never received “proper” training from seminary (this could be said of others too) and by some standards (i.e. Father Michael) in the community I am not “theologically” qualified since I am suggesting crazy ideas such as referring to the Holy Scriptures, Church Fathers, Canons, and don’t forget the Saints. In fact, I must be from outer space-just another uniformed, religious zealot- who will more than likely be mentioned as an example from the Ambon as some “unlearned hick” in this next Sunday’s sermon.
In closing, I hope that this situation can be resolved by including these fine people who have been “alleged” not indicted into the solution. It might also make sense to come here and manage the situation first-hand because I believe you are receiving one distorted side of the “facts”. Also, please employ consistency in your methods for handling error (if this is truly the case). I cannot understand why you appear to conveniently quote a Canon or these “secular” UPR’s when it seems to suit your agenda rather than using what the God has given to us through the Church: the Scriptures, the Church Fathers, and the Saints. You may find that it may lend some credibility to your agenda-even to an ignorant, uniformed, untrained, zealot like me.
May God have mercy on us!
Joseph M Kalodimos
8047 Willow Stream Drive
Sandy, UT 84093
cc: His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios
His Grace Bishop Adonios