TOWARD THE MAKINGS OF A "SCHISM" IN BOSTON
-BY THEODORE KALMOUKOS (translated from the original Greek; see previous blog)
SATURDAY, 2 APRIL 2011 6:18 PM
BOSTON. A glaring schism is emerging in the Metropolis of Boston in response to banning the administration of holy sacraments by Metropolitan Methodios for the community of St. George in Lynn, Massachusetts.
Specifically, in a letter written the day of the Annunciation and also that of Greek Independence, Friday, March 25, 2011, the chancellor of the Metropolis of Boston, Fr. Theodore Barbas, informed Lynn parishioners, Katherine Griffin and Christopher Haber, who were planning to get married at St. George’s in Lynn, that no sacraments will be allowed to take place there and they could contact the Metropolis for assistance in making other arrangements.
The letter reads: "Dear Katherine and Christopher, as you may have learned due to canonical rules and administrative matters, wedding ceremonies are not to take place in the parish of St. George, Lynn until further notice. We regret that this affects your marriage, which is scheduled for Saturday, October 15, 2011. Please contact my office to help you make other arrangements. If the ban gets removed we will notify you immediately."
This progression of events, that has placed the historical community of Lynn outside any sacramental regularity, constitutes, from an ecclesiological and theological point of view, a “schism”; this [situation] is the result of unanimous decisions taken by the (St. George) parish council and general assembly on February 16, 2011, wherein each entity refused to approve an increase of 20,000 dollars required by the archdiocese's annual contribution allotment, raising the amount due from $68,000 to $88,000.
Speaking to the "National Herald" the mother of Katherine Griffin, Mrs. Helen Griffin, who married her husband in the church of St. George, and baptized their children there, said, "my heart is bleeding with this situation, we are all terribly sad," and added "I do not know what to do; I called Fr. George (Tsoukalas) who told me that he will try to do everything he can to perform the wedding of our child in the church of St. George."
When asked how the young engaged couple felt, [Mrs. Griffin] replied that "they are highly upset and terribly sad.” She further added: "we do not want to go to another church, this is the church of our family for four generations, we have had all our sacraments here and we want to continue this tradition."
When [Mrs. Griffin was] asked "if you had before you Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, what would you say?" Mrs. Griffin, in a tearful response, replied, "I would ask him to allow my daughter to marry in the church of our parish."
Inquiries by the "N.H.” to Archbishop Demetrios, Metropolitan Methodios and Fr. Tsoukalas remained unanswered by the time this story was released.
Archbishop Demetrios, in a letter to the community on March 24, 2011, stated that the issue was discussed at the meeting of the Eparchial Synod, which "unanimously supported the decisions and actions of the Metropolitan Methodios", encouraging the community to comply with the Uniform Parish Regulations. Also stressed was that [referring to the community] "you've been blessed with a very distinguished, compassionate and wise prelate in the person of His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios, and I politely urge you to kindly follow his instructions.”
Meanwhile, the Archdiocese returned the monthly checks sent by the community from January forward. The community had been sending, based on the allotment of $68,000 per year, the monthly sum of $5,666.67.
In a letter to the community, which accompanied the returned check, dated March 30, 2011, signed by President George Vourvoulos, Economic Commission of the Archdiocese, and Jerry Demetriou, CEO, the following was stated: "The chancellor of the Metropolis, Fr Theodore Barbas, in his letter dated January 14, 2011 informed you that the parish of St. George Lynn, is accessed to contribute the amount of $88,000.00 for the year 2011. There is also a balance due of $20,000.00 for 2010. This total amount of $108,000.00 is due in 12 monthly installments of $9,000.00 on 20th of every month. The sent checks were returned because the amount entered is wrong and not in compliance with the letter of the chancellor."
Prior to 1998 when the current proistamenos, Fr. George Tsoukalas was appointed, the community had little relationship with the Metropolis of Boston since it did not accept the Charter.
With the appointment of Fr Tsoukalas, who had been a strong supporter and confidant of Metropolitan Methodios, and who was appointed Chief Justice of the Spiritual Court, which disbanded the parish council of the Community of the Transfiguration of Lowell, the Lowell community began to re-form. One can also recall that Fr. Tsoukalas had at one point served as chancellor of the Diocese of Boston, but came into conflict with Metropolitan Methodios, who as a result, denied him [Fr. Tsoukalas] a chance to serve in a community; as a result, he had to open a laundromat in order to support his family.
Three years ago the [Lynn] community announced via the “National Herald” its intention to establish a Greek day school; in fact, Tom Demakis, along with other community members and Fr Tsoukalas, had shown the building sketches to the “N.H.”
Monday, April 4, 2011
TOWARD THE MAKINGS OF A "SCHISM" IN BOSTON