“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


Friday, November 18, 2011

This Community Responds to Metropolitan Isaiah's Nov. 15th Letter

Below are a variety of responses from various parishioners to the Metropolitan's latest letter. (Note, they refer to the Metropolitan’s letter, but are presented in no particular order.)

  • Your Eminence, regarding your current letter and previous letters concerning Steven Katsaris, I would like to set the record straight. Steven Katsaris communicates frequently with a parishioner here in Salt Lake City. When told of what you say concerning his departure from Salt Lake City, Steven Katsaris just laughs. The truth is "I left because I wanted a smaller parish, not because I was forced out" so enough about Steven Katsaris. The real question is why has Rev. Kouremetis had a difficult time keeping a job? 4 parishes in the last 15-18 years? Ponder that!

  • Identifies with? We do NOT "identify" with these churches. We ARE these churches! YOU MET AND PRESUMABLY SERVED the laos of this church when you were a young priest! Do you NOT remember them? You considered yourself "truly blessed" to serve this community. Really? Your latest tirades and actions during these AWFUL years of heavy-handed and hard-hearted rule reflect joy and love?

  • "Problems" began to appear in 2008? Was that when you [the Metropolitan] had finally approved the Hellenic Community Foundation, after making this community and its members jump through RIDICULOUS hoops, though supposedly you LIKED the idea? Then of course someone must have pointed out to you that such action would hamper the goals of a TINY minority in this community to seize ONE-HALF of ALL ASSETS in order to separate Prophet Elias from the community. So then, again, as is your habit, you about-faced and began to claim that life-long stewards (and there are more than a "handful") who have given DECADES of service were simply "robbers."

  • MISSING money? The money is NOT missing. That implication bears false witness! That money was in an account, with trustees assigned by the general assembly. It was transferred when the broker, who never took a penny in commission, and who shepherded these funds to earn decent interest in highly challenging economic conditions, changed firms. This was done with proper procedure, and again signed by the appointed trustees, one of whom later claimed he had been "misled" or "confused". We are of course to believe that this person, a member of your Metropolis council, is to be considered "brilliant" in all other matters and dealings, yet he claims he was "misled" in this particular instance. The two other signatories made no such claims.

  • There is no "missing" money. The funds have been tied up by the Metropolitan with an SEC claim against the broker, an Archon, a member of Leadership 100, and a gentleman who has given immeasurable time, talent and treasure to the Church.

  • The REAL uncanonical reality is a hierarchy that rules through fear, lies and slander. Only TWO, of dozens of priests, according to this community’s recognized authority, a PUBLISHED historian, left under what might be called adverse conditions. The one had serious personality issues which we have heard were addressed later in therapy. The other left because a raise he had demanded had been deferred. Some of the others left for what we can charitably call "inappropriate" behaviors.

  • Father Katsaris, whom our Metropolitan brings up frequently, was, and still is, REVERED and RESPECTED here. He has been contacted the past couple of years by various people who knew him well here. When asked if he was "forced" out, he laughed, said "no", and explained that he was interested in a smaller community and in serving ministries related to Orthodox education. Assistant priests left for assignments with more responsibility; proistamenoi left either because of better opportunities or because they wanted raises that could not be afforded them at the time they were sought. This community is no better and no worse than any community of Greek Orthodox communicants. It is, however, unique. Unique in that it exists and (until recently) thrives in a geographically isolated area and in the headquarter city of the Mormon church.

  • Our Metropolitan loves to say he answers to NO civil authority? He makes this claim constantly! Isn't this the classic rationalization when our clergy and hierarchs have been named in recent pedophile cases? They are not subject to civil laws and that they answer only to the Lord? The fact is we do live in a civil society and we, AND THEY, must and will answer to civil authority, like it or not. (A side note: when the next one occurs, as it surely will, will OUR community’s asset properties be sold off, by yet ANOTHER SELECTED PARISH COUNCIL, to help pay off the next “$20 million” settlement?)

  • The Met claims that it is sad testimony that some who call themselves Orthodox Christians do not hesitate to sue the Church and her canonical representatives. Do not hesitate? Please. The majority in this community followed every procedure and exhausted EVERY avenue of redress under the HIGHLY FLAWED Uniform Parish Regulations. We dotted every "i" and crossed every "t". Six of our members, two of whom are ARCHONS, at their own expense, flew to New York and met with a subcommittee of the Synod. We were given a "way forward" by the Archbishop (in his letter, March 24, 2011, to you) and you spurned this, claiming to be the sole shepherd and leader in his Metropolis. NOW, you claim to have another letter (as yet unshared) from the Archbishop, and that you will "follow" his directives. Really? Why didn't you follow Archbishop Demetrios' previous instructions? Why did you at that time claim that you were the SOLE authority in this Metropolis?

  • This current construct under the UPR is neither Hellenic NOR Orthodox! That the hand-picked laity ratified it under pressure from the clergy is appalling! Dictatorship and unethical action is not Christ-like behavior! (Neither is having an “apostolic” successor carrying a concealed weapon - even though civil law says he can! Did Jesus hide a knife in his sandals?)

  • It is SAD that the other 500 parishes in this country did not have the wise "progenitors" we had. The ones who had the GUTS to stand up and say, "we respect and revere the clergy", but, we will have control over our own assets. Tell us anything you like, sir, inside those hallowed walls, but WE, together, will decide what happens to the properties and assets outside those walls. If this is "temporal", "secular", whatever, SO BE IT.

  • We are TIRED of being told that our attitudes are "secular" or "temporal". For nearly 106 years we have thrived because this community had balance. The Greeks said it best through Aristotle's "golden mean". Considering as well, the DISMAL track record of this APPOINTED and dictatorial parish council insofar as financial governance, we don't believe our outlook is unreasonable.

  • We also are wise to the fact that you and your minions keep arguing that the community "will still own their properties." THIS IS FALSE!!! IF we had truly free elections, this MIGHT be true. As it stands, since the priests and Metropolitan insist on making sure that only "certain" people can stand for parish council elections, or appoint those who do his bidding, and SINCE the Parish Council (UNDER STRICT CONTROL BY THE METROPOLIS AND CLERGY) can sell and borrow against church properties under those UPR, this argument is not only disingenuous, it is an outright falsehood!

  • Again, it is amazing that our Metropolitan is "kind" enough to agree with his supposed superior, saying he has a “letter” from the Archbishop that agrees with his current actions, when it suits his purposes. The fact that he has ignored the Archbishop whenever it suits his purposes does not seem to bother him at all!

  • We are told by the Metropolitan that we WILL declare our community will no longer be a secular "association" controlled by a select few “temporal humans” – the ones who have REALLY given of their time, talent and treasure – in an APPROVED institution (the HCF) that is absolutely similar to Leadership 100. (As opposed to a select few “good Christians” who have managed to run a formerly thriving community INTO THE GROUND?)
Your Eminence, WE have NEVER been a secular organization. We are a faithful group of communicants who revere the ancestors who sacrificed to give us our churches in this community. We love and respect our Church; we revere its leadership when it proves worthy of reverence; we respect that leadership, and merely request and pray that it be worthy of that respect.

1 comment:

Bill Rekouniotis said...

If only Steven Katsaris were still here. The Metropolitan could have learned a lot from him, but didn't.