“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, January 13, 2012

Commentary: The Difference Between Figureheads and Leaders

From The National Herald by A.H. Diamataris

When Andreas Papandreou died, Constantine Karamanlis asked one of his aides to write a statement on his behalf.

The aide hailed the contribution made by the former head of the PASOK party. "Don't write head, write leader," Karamanlis said, correcting him. "No one can deny him that."

I cite this true story to stress a point that it is by now common knowledge to most of us: that our Church has a head, but not a leader. And because this situation has been carrying on for many years now and causing major negative consequences for all of us, I believe the time has come to separate the interests of one man from the general interest of our community.

The late Archbishop Iakovos had made more than a decade ago, a prophetic prediction regarding the situation that was forming, noting that we had come to a standstill.

The situation has frozen since then, the leadership vacuum has grown, and it is becoming painfully obvious that the clergy in charge are unsuitable to meet the challenges.

Do you want me to give you examples? You do not have to look too far to find them. Just look at what is happening in Lynn and Salt Lake City, where the local bishops brought havoc to wonderful communities on a mere whim. Take the big community of Astoria, where the former presiding priest escaped- “the city will follow” no matter where you might go, said the great poet Cavafis - and his position has remained vacant since November 1. Or just look at what is happening at the Archdiocesan Cathedral, which is under the direct personal supervision of the Archbishop.

Do you need more examples? Two Greek-American day schools closed down last summer, and one more is on the brink of closing. Meanwhile, the head of the Archdiocese is either in hiding or in denial. How else can one explain his failure to utter a single word about it. Just one, for pride's sake.

Now, presenting you with these examples, you probably understand well what I mean when I point out the difference between heads and leaders.

No comments: