“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


Monday, May 20, 2013


We were worried that after all this community has had to endure these past years, there appeared to be a less than strong and purposeful consensus by our elected Parish Council to counter directly the obvious and very real desire by the Metropolitan to break this community’s spirit, to impose unreasonable and punitive costs upon it, to divide it, and to bring it to its knees so that he, the local clergy, and a small minority in this community, could do with it as they wished. Those fears were put to rest at yesterday's sparsely attended General Assembly held at Prophet Elias.

It had appeared that the elected parish council members were simply complacent. They seemed simply satisfied that the hierarchy had been compelled (are we forgetting what it had taken to compel it?) to grant this community a General Assembly and free elections. What seemed to be forgotten is that these were - even during those dismal years - our right even under the currently existing, ridiculously unbalanced, restrictive and flawed UPRs - the real root cause of this community's problems, along with the real root cause of Greek Orthodoxy's ongoing NATIONAL problem.

As such, the thinking had appeared to be, "well, we got what we really needed and can just 'wait it out' and play defense", when what is really needed now is a full-fledged fast-break offense.

Initially this parish council, along with the community, practiced restraint and patience - commendable at the time. It enabled much to get done, at a very delicate juncture, including a highly successful festival. What was hoped for by the community's clear majority was a reciprocal attitude from the hierarchy and clergy so that healing might begin. That did not occur and is still not occurring!

As time passed, the parish council's initial deferential posture, along with the community's, had been manipulated by an unscrupulous clergy and hierarchy, along with the minority splitters, who will stop at nothing, despite the majority's wishes, to take our community apart.

"Patience" had been further been counseled by those who have had audiences with Archbishop Demetrios, who – for all his brilliance as a scholar and theologian – is unable to insist that this situation cease so that this community might heal and progress as it should. The constant begging we engaged in with Denver and New York, rather than just insisting upon, and proceeding with, actions that might lead to progress, delayed any hope of getting this community back on track.

While continuing to plead for “patience”, our Archbishop had provided no specific timetable in delivering his promised “help” – nor any indication of what that “help” might entail. His dithering, and our deference and patience, simply encouraged ongoing belligerence by the Metropolitan and the P.E. splitters. This sad situation contributed and still contributes to delaying and deferring much-needed projects for the benefit of the community here, and, ironically, for the Archdiocese as well. Frankly, we have been patient to the point where it has simply been perceived as weakness.

This community has always had a history of great generosity when it has been well run, even during difficult economic times. That is not occurring now and the reasons are obvious. It is becoming quite clear that, more than the money, the hierarchy continues to seek control - the POWER - while reasoning that the dollars are sure to follow.

Many parishioners have indicated they are not giving as generously as they might because of this  endless nonsense. Fr. Michael still engages in his various shenanigans. Metropolitan Isaiah throws monkey-wrenches into the works with his poison-pen letters and his specious refusal to seat a properly elected parish council member, or to even speak with a properly elected parish council!  Further, the small group of P.E. separatists have listed as a separate corporate entity (even if they cannot, as yet, act upon such). When questioned upon such, the answer is "DON'T GO THERE!" (Really, Mr. Shand? WHY THE HELL NOT! Where in the UPRs is what YOU are doing sanctioned? - even with a "blessing" from "on high" in Denver!)

Most sadly, promises of anticipated assistance, in whatever form, from New York are now viewed as just more empty words.

The longer this dysfunctional construct continues, people will not only withhold stewardship, they will begin to question why they should donate to building funds whose purpose may never be fulfilled.

History teaches that bullies must be faced. Appeasement in the form of undue and undeserved deference, respect, and complacency are not ways to deal with bullies. This community has been more than patient. That patience, that deference, that respect, has been returned with petulance, hypocrisy, contempt, unethical behaviors and empty promises.

No amount of patience or deference will soften the pharaoh of Denver’s heart. No amount of patience or deference will stiffen the Archbishop’s spine - particularly when he, himself, is held in such openly expressed contempt by his own brother bishop in Denver! The Patriarch surely knows of these problems. Sadly, it’s clear he won’t take steps to resolve them either.

In the final analysis, what is truly tragic is that so many caring stewards, who worked so tirelessly over these past few years for our community, did not live to see the upgraded community campus plans fulfilled. If this appeasement, and its ongoing consequences continue, we fear that many more of us will not see such either.

Xristos Anesti, kai o Theos voithos!

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