“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


Wednesday, October 31, 2012


We Won't Endure Another ELECTED Parish Council's Dismissal!

For some STRANGE reason the Metropolitan recently asked that the elected Parish Council president's follow-up letter, regarding problems brought forth by Mr. Tsagaris - in an open and forthright manner - be sent to the entire parish via e-mail. As a further note, Fr. Michael had one of the administrative assistants send out a "clarification". In the correspondence, Fr. Michael took it upon himself to point out that the demand by His Eminence to email the note to the parish was not an "endorsement" of Mr. Tsagaris' letter.

Mr. Tsagaris followed the Metropolitan's directives to keep the issues, discussed between them in a recent meeting, quiet, in order to give the Metropolitan time to address them. The result of that admonition, which Mr. Tsagaris honorably kept, was the recent letter the Metropolitan, along with Fr. Michael's e-mail, sent out to the community. Instead of dispelling a ruse, the Metropolitan and his Proiestamenos-of-Prophet-Elias-only made a further mockery of a purported "miracle" by soliciting testimonials, none of which were made public. Furthermore, none of which have even been heard of within the community prior to the Metropolitan's recent correspondence referring to such in glowing terms. Following this, we now have the Metropolitan's latest "directive" that Mr. Tsagaris' letter to him be made public to the community.

And the problem is ... what? Is this supposed to be some sort of a "shame" game? Considering the letter's contents and the Metropolitan's prior and subsequent actions, shame most certainly does not lie with the president of this community's Parish Council!

We do not feel we're exaggerating here - especially since Fr. Michael refused to attend last Monday night's regularly scheduled parish council meeting, calling it a "witch hunt". He further pointed out that the UPRs stipulate that he is assigned by the Metropolis, not employed by the community. If ever an absurd situation existed, such an arrangement defines it. We do not "employ" him, but are required to pay him, and pay him not according to this community's means, but according to a schedule determined by the Archdiocese and its Metropolises. If he has outlasted his ability to be effective in the community, and the Metropolitan chooses not to reassign him (or more than likely cannot find anyone to take him!), it is simply our tough luck. In what other entity does such a ridiculous arrangement exist? Again, shame on the laity who pushed this nonsense through at Clergy-Laity meetings! Couldn't anyone envision the lopsided consequences of such a vile construct? Unlike Fr. Michael, who simply refused to attend, Fr. Matthew was instructed, by the Metropolitan, NOT to attend.

It is quite clear that our Metropolitan seeks to "invalidate" any discussion and/or decisions that may have been made. This, of course, will be based on the questionable and onerous UPRs that the Metropolitan sometimes follows, and sometimes does not, as suits his fancy and/or purpose.

We surmise that our Metropolitan views the correspondence he demands we all see as some sort of prima facie "evidence" for a justification to attempt an action he has become rather fond of in several parishes, including this one, in the last few years - that is to disband councils of elected lay leaders, then appoint his own group of more pliable laity.

THIS PARISH COUNCIL is an elected entity (επι τέλους!), though such considerations have never troubled the Metropolitan. Time and again, he has sought to scuttle and thwart our newly elected leaders at every turn, despite his assurances he would let all eligible parishioners run and be ratified, and despite offers to help and support in revitalizing the community that he and his minions keep attempting to sunder these past years.

Contrary to his notions of his own leniency and largesse, it is the members of this elected council, and, in fact the great majority of the congregation, who have "bent over backwards" (his phrase, not ours), hoping to put the dismal past behind them. We have had a well-attended, successful Prophet Elias nameday celebration, followed by a highly successful Greek Festival. We have tried hard, despite the obstacles thrown at the community, to show the Metropolitan, and the local clergy the true worth of our community and our elected leaders. These leaders chose to begin their leadership in a spirit of duty, forgiveness and respect. Sadly, this spirit of goodwill has not been reciprocated by Fr. Michael or our hierarch.

We have seen, far too often, that the hard work of those who do what is best for this parish face removal from office if they challenge any action of Father Michael. For far too long this community has been forced to endure ongoing pettiness, Machiavellian mind games, and Byzantine machinations. If the Lord has relied on the type of "spiritual" leadership we are currently witnessing to lead His Church and His Flock, He surely must be appalled by the cowardice and the banality!

WE WILL NOT ACCEPT -- EVER AGAIN -- THE CONTINUATION OF THESE TYPES OF ACTIONS! The actions of this elected Parish Council reflect our wishes for a construct of MUTUAL respect and governance, instead of this top-heavy structure where the clergy can do as it wishes, with far too little recourse left to the laity if the clergy usurps its power. We demand that this elected Parish Council be allowed to continue in its efforts, without fear of removal or sanction, to do its job.

Finally, it is now painfully obvious to almost the entire parish that it is time for Father Michael to leave. Even his supporters will state privately that he is no longer effective and can be divisive. His detractors, who constitute a large percentage of the Parish, see him as one who engages in actions that harm our faith, our sense of unity and our love for service to our Parish. With his departure, we firmly believe that we can meet our financial obligations to our members, our ministries, our Archdiocese and our future. More importantly, we will start to heal and unify.

Therefore, to ALL the clergy and hierarchy, here, in Denver, in New York, in Constantinople:

HELP US! Work in the Lord's vineyard with us and you'll get the deference and respect you are due. Lead us with Christ's LOVE and you will maintain that respect. And we will HONOR you for it! Foreswear the need to dominate and control, and LEAD WITH LOVE, with Christ as your example.

1 comment:

Yannis Armaou said...