“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


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Matthew Hedberg Responds to Metropolitan Isaiah

Dear members of the Greek Orthodox Community,

It has been sometime since I last wrote. It was my hope that the Hierarchical Clergy would work with the elder members of the community toward the restoration of the strained bond between our Parish and the Archdiocese. I feared that my voice, being admittedly young and naïve by comparison, could have been detrimental to the healing process; so I bit my tongue. After reading the latest words of Metropolitan Isaiah however, I cannot in good conscience, remain silent.

I find the latest correspondence from Denver to be the most revolting piece of literature I have ever seen directed towards this community. Never before have I been so disappointed by the actions of our current Metropolitan. I literally trembled with rage as I read what I perceived to be acidic, personal attacks, perpetrated against the characters of my fellow parishioners, my spiritual family members. As such, I struggle to compose a tempered response, and will ask forgiveness for the abrasiveness of my wording in this letter.

Interpreting the actions of the Skedros family, and donors who have contributed to the development of the gift they bestowed upon this community as robbery, is beyond any trace of reason or logic; as is the erroneous labeling of the Hellenic Community Foundation as “anti-Archdiocese.” Many of the men and women maligned in the Bishop’s letter are individuals with whom I have very close relationships. They have been friends and mentors throughout my life. They have been nurturing guides to me as I grew up in this community alongside many of their children. They are Sunday school teachers, choir members, Parish Council representatives, festival volunteers, respected stewards, and preeminently; GOOD PEOPLE. To terrorize these individuals and our community by holding above our collective head a theological guillotine comprised of rhetoric regarding The Day and Hour Unknown, and threats of excommunication, is, in my lay opinion, unequivocally ill-conceived and inappropriate. I believe this type of behavior can serve only a detrimental role in the ever evolving relationship between the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the Greek Orthodox Community of Salt Lake City.

I hope and pray that in the future all will renounce such aggressive and non-Christian tactics, look past the politics and balance sheets, and come together under the banner of forgiveness and love our Church was founded upon. So that open, honest dialogue can lay the foundation for reconciliation, and a renewal of the Church’s true purpose in serving the spiritual needs of the Parish.


Matthew Hedberg

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