This week, many of us attended Con Skedros' Trisagion and Burial Services. While at the "makaria" luncheon after the funeral, we learned that our erstwhile Proistamenos-of-Prophet-Elias-only had indeed been busy attempting to refute an earlier article from the "Faith" section in the Salt Lake Tribune. The text of the latest article (Paul Rolly, Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah " Section) can be viewed in this Website's sidebar.
Everyone has the right to their opinion. However, historians such as Con knew and know, no one has the right to the facts. The facts just are THE FACTS. Opinions surrounding those facts can be evaluated on their merits in how closely they conform to, or explain, the facts.
Metropolitan Isaiah never said, or even implied, that the "phenomenon" that he accepts as a "miracle" was a sign to keep the two parishes unified as one under the Greek Orthodox Community of Greater Salt Lake. In fact he said, in a letter to the community dated October 20, 2010, the EXACT OPPOSITE! (The original letter may be viewed here.)
It is not usual for an icon of Christ the Lord to exude oil or even tears. I truly believe that our Lord heard our prayers to make His presence known and to resolve the situation of the two parishes.
Now there can be no question in the minds of any of His people. Our Lord recognizes His parishes as monogamous and independent, each with a Proistamenos representing Him through the local bishop. Both parishes can now proceed to grow and to develop for His greater glory and the salvation of His people. [emphasis added]Using parts of the Metropolitan's letter, Father Kouremetis has subtly misrepresented to Mr. Rolly, and to the Salt Lake Tribune, the intent of that original letter.
There can be no doubt of the intent of Metropolitan Isaiah's letter. He chose to interpret the "miracle" or now, the "phenomenon" as a "clear sign" to DIVIDE our community and its assets in 2010. Father Michael cannot at this point in time go back and rewrite that history. Nor can he proclaim that either the Metropolitan's words, or the charade that he played in proclaiming a miracle, now points to maintaining unity - not even the type of "unity" he has in mind! He does, however, try, and has apparently convinced Mr. Rolly to write the following:
Here is the rest of the story. The miracle of the oil, which the priest and metropolitan still insist is true and say it has actually healed parishioners, was discovered right at the time church members were vehemently protesting the church’s decision to split the congregations of the Prophet Elias Church in Holladay and the Holy Trinity Church in downtown Salt Lake City into two parishes.
There was even talk of suing the church, and several hundred members stood in protest outside the Prophet Elias Church.Several hundred members stood in protest outside the Prophet Elias Church? When? The only people who stood outside Prophet Elias Church were five of six faithful stewards last year about this same time (the sixth who was ill and had to remain home in sub-freezing weather, ironically, was CON SKEDROS) that the Metropolitan banned from the church they had helped to build!
The church was sued? When? The only persons sued were appointed Parish Council members, as individuals, who refused to follow the Uniform Parish Regulations that they usually hid behind, and in doing so violated civil law. It was under civil law that they, again as individuals, were sued.
The ultimate outrage of this article is the statement that, "the oil 'settled it'!" The "it" was not the non-existent protest of "hundreds" outside Prophet Elias, nor the potential for the church to be sued. Neither happened.
The "it" was the "vehement" reaction to Metropolitan Isaiah's decision to split this community, and "the oil" did not thwart that decision! In fact, "the oil" was used by the Metropolitan to justify it!
This is sheer sophistry - not history! The omissions are glaring. The "oil" did nothing! It was spilled due to a maintenance accident. If someone chooses to believe that the "phenomenon" of Father Michael's charade, and the Metropolitan's enthusiastic espousal of such, healed them, we have no problem. But let's not claim that this charade "healed" or "settled" the real damage that has been done to this community by the continuation of such deceits and conceits.