SOPHISTRY - a subtle, tricky, superficially plausible, but generally fallacious method of reasoning.
(In other words, "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with 'bull dung'!" - the Metropolitan's phrase some time ago, most certainly not ours.)
The following two letters were received by most parishioners today. Click here to see the scanned originals. The texts of both correspondences are found below as well.
July 27, 2010
On July 20, 2010 the Parish Council and the Clergy received a signed petition and a resolution from a group of our Parishioners. A chosen representative of these signers also sent this petition and resolution to His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah, to the Legal Counsel of the Archdiocese and to the Legal Counsel of the Metropolis. The petitioners are requesting a Special General Assembly to act on the specific resolution.
His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah has mailed the Clergy and the Parish Council of our Parish his response to the petition and resolution, which we have enclosed. His Eminence has denied the request for a special General Assembly and has corrected actions that the General Assemblies have voted upon in the past which are in conflict with the "Uniform Parish Regulations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America".
The Parish Council recognizes the right of "at least ten percent (10%) of the Parishioners in good standing of the Parish "to submit a written petition requesting" that a Parish Assembly be called for the purpose of conducting business that is properly considered under the Uniform Parish Regulations and Parish By-Laws. The Parish Council remains willing to convene a properly petitioned Parish Assembly to consider any resolution that is in conformity with the Uniform Parish Regulations and the Parish By-Laws.
In the Lord's Service,
The Clergy and Parish Council of the Greek Orthodox Church Of Greater Salt Lake
LETTER FROM OUR ESTEEMED METROPOLITAN
GREEK ORTHODOX METROPOLIS OF DENVER
July 23, 2010
Reverend Matthew Gilbert, Proistamenos
Reverend Michael Kouremetis, Proistamenos
The Esteemed Parish Council
Holy Trinity Cathedral/Prophet Elias Church
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral
279 South 300 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Beloved in the Lord,
I am in receipt of a petition from the Salt Lake City area which has been signed by a number of households from the Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake. From the signatures I see, I notice that there are four and five from the same household. I also notice that there are duplicate signatures of persons who have signed at least twice. I presume that all those from the same household are contributing members of the community.
Be that as it may, allow me to respond to the Exhibit "A" Resolution. I see that there are nine "Whereas" paragraphs:
1 "Whereas" is consistent with the Uniform Parish Regulations;
2 "Whereas" is consistent with the Uniform Parish Regulations;
3 "Whereas" is not consistent with the Uniform Parish Regulations. The resolution mentions an auxiliary bishop who purportedly relaxed the Uniform Parish Regulations. The fact of the matter is that, once the Ecumenical Patriarchate approves the Uniform Parish Regulations, no one has the right to relax any part of them, not even the Archbishop. Moreover, Article 15, Section 1 states, "Locally, the Parish is headed by a canonically ordained and duly appointed Priest. The assignment of such appointed Priest shall bind the Parish to the Archdiocesan Regulations and the Uniform Parish Regulations with the same force and effect as if the same were formally approved and adopted by the Parish." In addition, under Article 34, Section 1, we read, "The Parish Council shall be the custodian of all parish funds." Also, under Article 16, Section 1, "Parish property shall beheld andused bythe Parish... "
4 "Whereas" is not consistent with the Uniform Parish Regulations because the responsibility of raising and administering funds is the responsibility of the Parish Council, for which purpose the general membership voted for it to assume such responsibility. This "Whereas" takes away the responsibility of a properly-elected parish council.
5. "Whereas" is not consistent with the Uniform Parish Regulations, in that it usurps the responsibility of the Parish Council which was elected for the upkeep of the parish
6. “Whereas” is contrary to the Uniform Parish Regulations, in that it recognizes a separate body of individuals who usurp the authority of a properly-elected parish council.
7. "Whereas" is contrary to the Uniform Parish Regulations in that it ignores the existence of a canonically and legally elected parish council with the establishment of two secular entities not responsible to that council.
8. "Whereas" raises the question, "To whom has the aforementioned family given its gift? Was it to the church for tax-exempt purposes or to another entity that has no tax-exemption status"
9. "Whereas" mentions the funds given to the HCF, rather than to the Greek Orthodox Community of Greater Salt Lake. This has nothing to do with the Uniform Parish Regulations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Consequently, the "BE IT RESOLVED" (1) is in total contradiction to the Uniform Parish Regulations because no parish assembly can contravene the Uniform Parish Regulations, not even the Archbishop.
Also, FURTHER RESOLVED (2), no parish assembly can move parish money out of the church treasury and give it to a secular body to do exactly what the Parish Council is responsible for doing, thus usurping the authority of the Parish Council regarding funds and property.
To continue, FURTHER RESOLVED (3), a parish assembly cannot support an entity which is separate from the parish because a parish assembly meets only to decide on parish issues as spelled out by the Uniform Parish Regulations. A parish assembly has no business meeting in order to consider an entity which is not officially a part of the community and the Parish Council.
And, finally, FURTHER RESOLVED (4) is totally in contradiction of the Uniform Parish Regulations in giving authority to two individuals who have not been elected as current members of the Parish Council, as previously noted.
Consequently, the request for the convening of a parish general assembly on the issues of Exhibit "A" RESOLUTION cannot be honored. General assemblies are held onlv to conduct the business of a parish, and they take place under the authority of the Parish Council, which represents the members of the parish who are faithful to the teachings of the Church.
Finally, as a hierarchical Church, which has come down to us from the days of the holy Apostles, we adhere to the canonical teachings which mean that no members of a given parish may go contrary to the administrative principles of our hierarchical structure, in order to organize separate entities which are separate from the body of our one, holy, and undivided Church. Specifically, "The Parish shall furthermore abide by the decisions of the Clergy-Laity Congresses, irrespective of whether it was represented thereat, the administrative determinations of the Archdiocesan Council, and such interim legislation as may be adopted between Congresses by the Archdiocesan Council (Article 15, Section 7)."
I believe that more than enough has been said to verify that there can be no general assembly held to decide issues which have nothing to do with matters which are not in harmony with the teachings of the Church, and with the Uniform Parish Regulations of our Archdiocese, which govern the administration of our parishes throughout the Archdiocese, without exceptions and contradictions.
With Paternal Blessings,
+ Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver