“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


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Letter, March 24, 2011, Archbishop Demetrios to Metropolitan Isaiah

Moderator's Note: Archbishop Demetrios wrote a letter to Metropolitan Isaiah concerning the situation in Salt Lake City. The text of that letter is cited below; the original may be viewed here.


March 24, 2011
His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver
Holy Metropolis of Denver
4550 East Alameda Avenue
Denver, CO 80246

Your Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah, beloved brother in the Lord,

At your request last October and in accordance with the Holy Canons and our Archdiocesan Charter and Regulations, the Holy Eparchial Synod agreed to review an appeal pertaining to the Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake City. The Holy Synod in its meeting on March 17, 2011, reached consensus on the following decisions:

1. It is important to clarify that many of the existing misunderstandings and controversies are the result of the now-expired accommodations given to the parish in 1964 (referred to by some as the "1964 Accord"), with respect to the then-current Uniform Parish Regulations. It appears that a number of parishioners mistakenly believe that those accommodations are still in effect. In fact, since 1964, our Archdiocese has received two new Charters from our beloved Ecumenical Patriarchate and new regulations have been adopted by Clergy-Laity Congresses and ratified by the Holy and Sacred Synod of our Ecumenical Patriarchate. During this period, the Salt Lake City parish by having requested and accepted clergy and services from the Archdiocese, placed itself under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese and, given our Canonical and hierarchical Church structure, bound itself to the Holy Canons and all provisions of the current Archdiocesan Charter and Regulations.

It is our fervent prayer and expectation that, since we have now clarified that the "1964 Accord" is not in effect, the parish's General Assembly and its newly elected parish council will administer the affairs of the parish in accordance with the Holy Canons and current Archdiocesan Regulations. Our Regulations are clear that all parish funds (including those invested at Hightower) must be owned exclusively by the parish and must be under the custodianship of the parish council (subject to the various requirements and controls contained in the Archdiocesan Regulations). The Archdiocese will assist the parish with completing a proper release of the approximately S1.2 million in funds frozen by the HighTower investment firm. At the same time, it is necessary to assure the applicable administrative agencies and all involved that these funds were not stolen or misappropriated.

2. As agreed, the Salt Lake community will remain as one united parish, until such time as the appropriate conditions are in place for the separation into two communities. Therefore, the ecclesiastical charter for Prophet Elias that was issued on April 12. 2010, is to be considered inapplicable and consequently withdrawn. Similarly, the Prophet Elias corporation will be formally dissolved and no separate trade names will be filed with the state of Utah for Holy Trinity and Prophet Elias.

The Holy Eparchial Synod believes that there are long-term spiritual and other benefits with the separation of Holy Trinity and Prophet Elias in the future. It encourages the parish to develop, under the guidance of one unified, elected parish council, long-term strategy and planning committees. These teams of faithful should prayerfully and seriously consider ministry, operational, financial and other issues, in order to help meet the growing and diverse needs of the parishioners and provide greater opportunities for service to God's Holy Church.

3. The parish has an immediate need for an accurate list of stewards which reflects all individuals participating in the life of the parish. In an attempt to reach out to all the faithful the parish should contact those on stewardship rosters for the past several years and encourage them to submit a unified pledge of their time, talent and treasure for 2011, so that they may be considered stewards for the current year and participate in the general assembly voting for the Parish Council and similar activities. The Archdiocese will assist the parish in developing an updated roster and a comprehensive stewardship program. Since at this time the community will not be separated into two entities, there will be only one stewardship pledge form for the parish and all stewardship funds will be centrally administered by the parish council. Once the stewardship roster is developed, the parish will be in a position to hold a General Assembly according to the current Archdiocesan Charter and Regulations.

As stated in the Regulations, serving on the parish council is a ministry. There is a great need for our parish councils, and, indeed, for all parishioners in our communities, to fully understand their roles and obligations as stewards of the Church. Also every parish must make certain that fair and appropriate procedures for parish council elections are followed. Therefore, the legal, finance and stewardship committees of the Archdiocese will be at your disposal to assist the clergy with parish council training and developing a process for a fair and prompt parish council election.

Our Church values all its members and welcomes their ideas and contributions in building up the body of Christ (Eph. 4:12). At this time we ask that all the faithful of the Parish of Greater Salt Lake City come together as brothers and sisters to continue their service in humility and love in the vineyard of our Lord. We expect that they treat each other with respect, live as exemplary Orthodox Christians and respect the Church, the Archdiocese, their elected Metropolitan, the clergy and all the laity. The Holy Eparchial Synod with great love and care urges everyone involved forgiving each other, and abiding by its decisions.

Your Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah, beloved brother in the Lord,

The Holy Synod, of which you are also a most valuable and integral member. affirms your authority as a Shepherd of the Holy Metropolis of Denver, and assures you, that it will firmly be at your side as you kindly implement the Synodal decisions for the benefit of the Greater Salt Lake City Community who are under your Administrative and Pastoral care.
On behalf of the Holy Eparchial Synod, we remain

With deep brotherly love and high esteem,


+DEMETRIOS Archbishop of America President of the Holy Eparchial Synod

cc.: Member Hierarchs of the Holy Eparchial Synod
Fr. Michael Kouremetis
Fr. Matthew Gilbert
The Parish Council of Holy Trinity Cathedral and Prophet Elias Church
John Johns-Counsel of the Metropolis of Denver
Appelants (sic)

1 comment:

Bill Rekouniotis said...

Holy ship! Well what do ya know, we're still one parish. All this on Houdini's birthday.