“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


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Members and Supporters of GOCGSL Unity Respond to the Metropolitan

A scan of the Metropolitan's January 19, 2012 letter may be viewed here.
Additionally, the Metropolitan's follow-up letter, dated January 20, 2012 may be viewed here.
This letter is an appropriate response to both.

Dear Fellow Parishioners,

You are recently in receipt of two letters regarding the upcoming Special General Assembly to be held Sunday, January 29, 2012 in the Memorial Hall at Holy Trinity Cathedral. The first letter was sent announcing the meeting and its sole purpose: To nominate candidates to run for the Parish Council of the Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake.

The second letter, dated January 19, 2012 from Metropolitan Isaiah, cites four different UPR Articles to make a case against the January 29 assembly. The letter is either wrong or deceptive on all four counts.
  1. Article 31, Section 2 does indeed say an “agenda shall be prepared by the Priest and Parish Council.” However, we do not have a legal Parish Council to prepare them.
  2. Article 31, Section 6 says that we are to convene in Regular Parish Assemblies at least twice a year. We have not had such an assembly since 2010, thus our clergy and leaders are already out of compliance of the very UPR's they are citing.
  3. Article 31, Section 7 specifies that the Priest and Parish council can call a “Special General Assembly” when they deem it necessary. One would think that a financially suffering parish with no accountability for two years is reason enough to “deem it necessary” to conduct a Special General Assembly. The meeting on the 29th is a “Special General Assembly” – legally called for by our membership in the exact manner called for in the UPR's.
  4. Article 31, Sections 2 and 7 describe how 10% of the members of the Parish can submit a petition requesting a “Special Assembly” to the Priests and Parish Council. The request was made with over 20% of our members signing the petition. But nothing happened. Why? For the same reason cited in number one, above.     
Exactly, who then, respects and honors the UPR's of our Church?

From the first meeting of the Unity Group in 2010 to current—including the petition to the Eparchial Synod—the Unity Group has religiously followed Church protocol and procedure. The meeting this Sunday represents just one more time we will gather to assert and to affirm our very basic intent: To hold a fair and honest Assembly and to elect, not appoint, to the Parish Council 15 persons who will help us return to the core values of Orthodox Christianity that has vacated our community under the current leadership.

At the same time we are meeting to consider candidates who want to serve on the Parish Council, Metropolitan Isaiah has also directed our priests to assemble a slate of names, for his approval, to comprise an interim Parish Council. This newly appointed Parish Council, essentially of short term, will be used to call for an assembly to nominate persons to run for the Parish Council, when the community is ready for elections. We feel that there is no reason to wait. Our community is ready for immediate elections.

With so much tension and distrust, persons from both churches have told the priests they will not participate. And why are they asking people specifically that regularly attend one Church or the other? We are still one community. It should not matter which Church one goes to if they are serving to represent our entire community. If they cannot find willing participants, they are back to square one. Therefore, it’s of double importance to attend on Sunday to assure that our members are not denied their rights and their voice. One way or another we will have a new and productive Parish Council.

Finally, a word to the persons who are yet to align with the Unity Group and have said they will not come to the Assembly: You should attend because you could be next to take a fall.

Among the reasons the Unity Group remains strong is that we cannot abide by the non-Christian slander that has fallen on some of our communities finest families, and which continues, apparently with the aide or blessing of certain past and present community leaders or clergy. Witness what happened when the UPR salesman from Houston used his Power Point message to attack Nick Bapis and others—that information was fed to him. If it can happen to families like Bapis or Skedros or Sargetakis or Kastanis, to name only a few, it is not wise to think it will not happen to your family too.

As many of us have already found out, it’s only a matter of time.

The sooner we elect a new Parish Council, the sooner our community can start healing; and the sooner we can know our financial situation, the sooner we can reach out to our community for funds to make sure we can pay all of our obligations.

We encourage all of you to attend the Special General Assembly on January 29, 2012

Holy Trinity Cathedral Memorial Building
279 West 300 South
Salt Lake City, Utah 84101
2:00 o’clock p.m.


Barbara Billinis Colessides said...

Odd, isn't it, that the Metropolitan could respond to our rightful request for an assembly and elections when he returned his copy of the request, unopened, to the sender?

Yannis Armaou said...

The Chancellor of the Archdiocese and the Secretary of the Eparchial
Synod go to Denver to talk about the growth of Salt Lake City?
We are confused and angry?
False information and outright lies?
Who is saying all this.....?
Yes you guessed right!
Αραγε τι εννοει ο ποιητης?

Bill Rekouniotis said...

Change the locks, and giddy up Marshal.

Jim Sefandonakis said...

Let's have our elections and vote in the people that have been selected by the Bishop. I'm very pleased with at least half of the names on the list. If we have our election and vote them in, the Bishop will get confused and he won't know who to excommunicate first.

From what I have heard, 8 brave members have been found from HT but they are having a hard time finding 8 members at the OTHER church that will vote without questioning what they are told to do.

My understanding is the Bishop will eliminate one of the 16 names.

Any way you look at it, they are once again making us pick sides in order to divide us. It's getting old.

I don't think you will find any members in our church that don't want a general assembly, an accounting of our finances and open elections. Even the Bishop hints that this is his goal.

Who is holding everything up?

Steve Gamvroulas said...

The time for appointed PC members has expired. Only fairly elected individuals should be tolerated.

Yannis Armaou said...

People read the last letter carefully.He states"we came to one decision based on the Archdiocese regulations and that is for the appointment of an interim parish council for the year 2012...".
Do you get the feeling that he wants to have ELECTIONS?

Mitch Manousakis said...

I believe we are falling into the metropolitans trap. Many are making remarks based on the Holy Trinity Cathederal or the Prophet Elias Church.

WE ARE ONE PARISH!!!!! Let's never forget this. And let's not let them lull us into a sleep of apathy and putting up with their delays.

I say we move forward at high speed on our agenda and not the Metropolitans.

Steve Gamvroulas said...

The metropolitan and the clergy have abdicated any semblance of authority or leadership in this community and the time has come to bypass them and their lackey appointed parish council members. Its time to take control.

Δεν ζητάμε, απαιτούμε την ελευθερία.