Moderator's Note: Sections of the e-mail sent by Fr. Michael this afternoon are cited by Mr. Kalodimos in his response below.
I wanted to share just a few thoughts about the letter that was received from the “concerned parishioner” only I’d like to do so with transparency. I will sign my name at the end of this document rather than choose anonymity. I’m sure there will be some who disagree with the following things but that’s all right! We can still agree to disagree.
I am once again overjoyed to login to my email to receive the fourth or fifth weekly message (at what point can we call these daily??). It was a letter from a "concerned" parishioner addressed to the community with many provoking thoughts and questions. The main point you make at the end of your letter I’d like to address. You state:
“The decision you have to make on Sunday is really quite simple. Vote yes and adopt the amendments which, as I understand it, have already been approved the Archdiocese, thereby bringing ourselves in clear and unequivocal unity with the Church. Or vote no, and risk finding ourselves in schism. The consequences of the yes vote are minimal. The consequences of the no vote could be dire.”This really isn’t “really quite simple” as you state. If these amendments were “already approved” there would be no formal meeting. I don’t believe that our community will act in a robotic fashion and rubber stamp these changes. The community has a mind and will use it and if you can overcome your fear and appear, maybe even admit your authorship, then many will have a higher regard for you than hiding under your penned named of “Anonymous”.
Now, should the community decide against the proposed changes then, we will go into a gray area. This is where Article 16, Section 6 will be the next threat to face the community. It states:
Sections 6: Based on the recommendation of the local Metropolitan, that a Parish is in heresy, schism, or defection from the Archdiocese, the Archbishop may declare the Parish in canonical disorder and may assume the administration of the Parish and control of its properties until the Archbishop, in consultation with the Metropolitan, declares the Parish to be in canonical order. In the event that the Archbishop, in consultation with the Metropolitan, determines that the Parish cannot be restored to canonical order, the title to properties shall vest in the Archdiocese. If under applicable law, title may not vest automatically in the Archdiocese, title shall vest in an ecclesiastical corporation controlled by the group of parishioners that the Archdiocese determines remains loyal to it. (emphasis added).
We already know that this corporation has already been set up and for what purpose? Perhaps you can shed some light?
Now I would like to ask this question regarding your letter of concern. You astutely observe and brilliantly paraphrase the Synod and Archbishop in your letter regarding the 1964 Accord, why didn’t you bring up these facts as well? Didn’t the Archbishop also state that the new charter (i.e. ecclesiastical corporation) was to be dissolved? And why was yet another “ecclesiastical corporation” set up? And didn’t the Synod and Archbishop also state that the Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake City was to remain as one community? Furthermore, I’d like to point out that you stated in your letter the following:
“The Synod expressly rejected the claims that the infamous "1964 Accord" has any further force or effect, or exempts our Parish from any portion of the UPR. Apparently, those who pursued the appeal and asked for the Synod’s guidance on these issues are now unwilling to accept and abide by the parts they do not like.”Isn’t it really you who are “unwilling to accept and abide by the parts” you do not like? It is you who does not want to dissolve the “ecclesiastical corporation or remain as the Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake City!
Since the decision of the Synod and Archbishop’s letter, the community has tried to live by the decision so we can remain intact. Things were basically being left alone. The Accord was neatly put back on the shelf (unless needed). Now the hierarch, clergy are pushing relentlessly again to drive the wedge and hence, a reaction unfortunately. Please rethink your letter again or at least sign it.
PS - one final thought...the statement is made that a YES vote means "minimal change"; a NO vote will have dire consequences. "Anonymous" is surely kidding. Continuing on in this manner is simply minimal? What this community is enduring under this regime has been and will continue to be intolerable!