Moderators' Note: the original document sent by the Metropolitan may be viewed here.
November 26, 2012
Rev. Michael Kouremetis, Proistamenos
Rev. Matthew Gilbert, Proistamenos
Mr. Dimitrios Tsagaris, Council President
The Esteemed Parish Council
The Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake
Holy Trinity Cathedral
Prophet Elias Church
279 South 300 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Beloved in the Lord,
I was waiting until this month of November to make a final decision regarding the ratification of the parish council candidate; Mr. Yannis Armaou, to. the Pairsh Council, on the basis that the final payment to the attorney who handled the recent law suit against the previous parish council would be paid.
Unfortunately, however, the recent letter sent to His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and to His Eminence. Archbishop Demetrios and attributed to Mr. Armaou regarding Father Michael Kouremetis forces me not to ratify his election. The reason for this is because the contents of the letter go against the Uniform Parish Regulations, Article 30, Section 4:
It must be known by all the members of the Archdiocese, clergy, monastics, and la:ity, that the Uniform Parish Regulations have been reviewed and. approved, as they appear today, by the Ecumenical Patriarchate years ago. See Article 3, Section l,P. Our Patriarch would never go contrary to the official approval of the U.P.R.'s; neither, consequently, would the Archbishop.
I have gotten to know Mr. Armaou in my several visits to the community, as well as his parents and have even had the occasion to share a meal in their home; and I have considered them fine people. I suspect that Mr. Armaou may have been used as a pawn and projecting someone else's thoughts and desires. Even so, I cannot, nor wish to go, against the Patriarchate; and therefore am unable to ratify his election because of the letter attributed to him.
Finally, please know that the Salt Lake community is the largest parish in the Denver Metropolis, Your recent parish council elections proved it. Know that the parish in Houston, Texas is immediately second in size, and it consistently has had four fulltime priests. If much of the stewardship monies of the Salt Lake community did not go to one of the four independent accounts, which are not under the custodianship of any current parish council, as has been happening in the community, the parish would easily have more than enough funds to submit its 2011 obligations, as well as its 2012 obligations to the Archdiocese. Moreover, the parish would have ample funds to cover the full compensation of four or five fulltime priests, which would be appropriate to serve the spiritual needs of all the Greek Orthodox people in greater Salt Lake.
At the time when you, the current parish council assumed your responsibilities, I was assured that you would work together to bring peace and unity among all the people. Are the recent newspaper articles about the community part of this process? When do you plan to start in being faithful to your word?
With paternal blessings,
+ Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver