“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


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"Facts" Concerning the Salt Lake City Situation - FIVE & SIX

Note: The Metropolitan's "facts" are highlighted.

5. The false rationale that parish funds controlled by individuals of the parish rather than the current parish council can be looked upon as a “local Leadership 100”, such as that of the Archdiocese, is dangerous and can take the organization of the Archdiocese as it is today back to 1931 when then-Archbishop Athenagoras was attempting to unite the Greek Orthodox parishes in America into a canonical, hierarchical structure, in harmony with the teachings and traditions of the Church from the days of the Apostles.

From the Leadership 100 Web site: “The Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund (the "Fund") was established in 1984, for the purpose of seeding and nurturing programs under the National Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and those that advance Orthodoxy and Hellenism.”

From the Hellenic Community Foundation Web site: “The Foundation was formed as the mechanism through which private, corporate, and foundation support is raised and managed for capital projects and programs benefiting the Hellenic community.”

How this entity is so dissimilar, or how it is “dangerous”, or how it can take the organization of the Archdiocese back to some ominously darker time more than a half-century ago is never explained. Why this organization is not harmonious with the teachings and traditions of the Church, yet Leadership 100 is, remains unanswered, thus ignoring the logical dictum, “he who asserts must prove.”

6. The threat of lawsuits by those who claim to be Greek Orthodox Christians against the Archdiocese, the Metropolis or the parish places these individuals in danger of excommunication from the Church and, also, if the observance of the current Uniform Parish Regulations of the Archdiocese of America is deliberately ignored or rejected by such individuals.

And yet, again, it comes to this! When the Metropolitan does not get his own way, he resorts to the “danger of excommunication” threat. Since reason and love do not seem to be the means by which the Church is governed by its hierarchs anymore, fear and exclusion become the weapons of choice. We have acknowledged before that this in an unequal contest - "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with threats of excommunication?"

The majority of the faithful in this community have tried hard to seek reasonable compromises and alternatives, have exhausted every reasonable avenue. To no avail. Time and again, we have tried vainly to discourse with a tone-deaf Parish Council whose members have sold out this community and the legacy of their own forefathers, complicit local clergy and Metropolis, who also dishonor their faith and heritage, and finally, to the Archdiocese, who, it seems either cannot or will not come up with a reasonable solution.

At each turn we have been ignored, rebuffed, lied to, or stalled while our collective legacy is sundered and squandered. Our community is stagnating. Stewards have had their livelihoods and reputations, and those of their families, tarnished. Our “shepherds” and “leaders” have turned friends, koumbaroi, siblings, cousins, parents and in-laws against each other. And, as far as ignoring the “observance of the current UPRs” we have noticed that His Eminence and his minions here constantly cite those supportive of their positions, and conveniently ignore those that do not.

It is quite clear that Lord Acton, yet again, is proven correct. Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is obvious that having been given excessive power by the Patriarch, through the latest Charter and through the Uniform Parish Regulations, which have provisions designed to scuttle the previously concilliar governance shared by the clergy and laity, there is simply too much temptation to wield this absolute power unkindly and unwisely. The situations in Lowell, Lynn and Salt Lake City are but the latest examples. The lay leadership of the faithful in this country simply rolled over and “hoped for the best”, while any dissenting voices were either removed or silenced at the 2004 Clergy-Laity Congress.

The results have been predictable. Our bishops continue to demonstrate that they will wield this overly vast power, not lovingly, but ruthlessly when they do not get their way. They are the Lord’s Apostolic successors, yet they treat His flock and His Bride, the Church, with cynical disdain because they can. When things finally become too overwhelming, and the laity, finding no palatable alternative, revolts, the bishops resort to threats, claiming the Church solely for themselves. L’eglise, c’est moi!

Would Jesus do this? We doubt it, and that IS a FACT!


Yannis Armaou said...

Why this letter now? It was written early January and obviously was send to New York.
Two days before the synod meets the proistameno from prophet Elias only paid out of his pocket to mail this!!! WHY DID HE DO THIS? Why now? If the metropolitan is autonomous why he asked for permission for the backdoor charter? Why are we paying 140K to the ARCHDIOCESE? Where do we belong?
By the way the proistameno is yet on another vacation DURING GREAT LENT.

Bill Rekouniotis said...

On vacation! Maybe he took my advise. Giddy up!