Note: The Metropolitan's "facts" are highlighted.
3. The conflict or confusion is intensified because at least two million dollars of parish funds are not under the custodianship of the legal parish council, but under secular entities, eight hundred thousand of which are under the Hellenic Cultural Foundation, whose members do not comprise the legitimate parish council. Article 34, Section 1 of the Uniform Parish Regulations states clearly concerning the custodianship of parish assets.
The only conflict or confusion surrounding these disputed funds has come from the Metropolitan’s acquiescence to the very few who want control of these funds, which are designated for specific purposes. Having witnessed the outrages committed by those who have seized power in this community, we have no doubt that they would and could easily justify a demand for half of them once they engineered their division of this community.
Considering their dismal record of faulty governance, they could borrow against these monies, even if they could not divert the funds. Do we trust them in light of behaviors the past several years? Other sources of confusion are that first the Metropolitan was in favor of the HHC, then the HCF, which was overwhelmingly approved by a highly attended General Assembly, and then pulled his approval when he realized it would hamper the plans of those demanding a split.
We remind the Metropolitan of his words in November 2005 (well after the oft-cited UPRs were adopted):
- "First and foremost it must be stressed that every Greek Orthodox parish is owned by the general membership."
- "All real estate and all revenues belong to the membership."
- "Neither the Archdiocese, nor the Metropolis, NOR ANY OTHER ENTITY can claim title to the revenues and the property of a canonical parish, since each parish is separately incorporated in the city and state in which it exists."
- "This means that in the matter of revenues and property, the general membership makes all the decisions." (emphases added)
4. The so-called appeal to the Archdiocese concerning the decision for the recognition of two separate parishes in Salt Lake City is irregular, since each Metropolis is administered by the presiding Metropolitan and not by the Archdiocese. The Archdiocese administered all of the present Metropolises before September 1979 when each entity was considered an Archdiocesan District. However, when the Ecumenical Patriarchate recognized the former districts as autonomous dioceses, and later as metropolises, the sole authority of each metropolis is the presiding Metropolitan. Only if the presiding metropolitan deviates from the Canons of the Church and the Uniform Parish Regulations of the Archdiocese can the Holy Synod enter into the matter for the proper determination or solution.
There are several instances of tortured logic in this “fact”. The Metropolitan claims authority to basically do as he wishes in his Metropolis so long as he does not violate the ARCHDIOCESE Uniform Parish Regulations (obviously a matter of "interpretation") or those elusive, never-cited Canons.
After removing Spyridon as Archbishop of America, the Patriarch did, in fact, grant each Metropolitan vast authority over his own individual Metropolis. Whether they were granted SOLE and unfettered authority is questionable.
The Archbishop is “first among equals” here in America. Theoretically at least, he then presides to some degree over the Metropolitans. It was Archbishop Demetrios who issued the charter to the conspirators at Prophet Elias (only ONE of whom was an APPOINTED parish council member). This charter was obtained under secrecy. Its existence was kept secret for over half a year. We contend this was done under false pretenses insofar as the information given to the Archbishop at the time the charter was requested from him. Certainly Archbishop Demetrios is NOW aware that there NEVER was a General Assembly to even DISCUSS, let alone approve, dividing our community or its properties – clearly a violation of those oft-cited UPRs.
Aside from the deception involved, the situation begs the question: If the Metropolitan truly has total, unfettered authority, why was the Archbishop’s grant of a charter for a separate church required? He must then have some authority over the Metropolises.
The Metropolitan seeks to have it both ways, on the one hand he demands complete obedience on the laity’s part to the UPRs of the Archdiocese, though not necessarily on his part or on the part of his cohorts here. Yet, on the other hand, he claims he doesn’t answer to the Archdiocese!