“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


Saturday, August 24, 2013


• The actions of the Parish Council are in complete disregard of the Uniform Parish Regulations and the Affirmation of Office which Council members took to uphold.

The UPRs are seriously flawed. As currently written, and selectively enforced by clergy and hierarchy, they literally demand a laity that is unquestioning, and parish councils that are unthinking. Dynamic and transparent governance under them is impossible. The regulations allow no meaningful laity input, forgetting that it is the LAITY who PAYS THE BILLS. Is it surprising then that the laity resorts to the only powerful input they do have?

• The financial justification used by the Council, which in truth is based on a critical and long-standing problem, has been exaggerated to provide an excuse to cut clergy salary.

No one would ever want to see the old situation where priests were easily dispatched, where they were underpaid, and where they had few benefits and poor pensions in their old age.

However, it is equally nonsensical, in hard economic times, when our parishioners have faced pay and benefit cuts, and downsizing, that the clergy must be so totally exempt from these realities. And, to the detriment of all other church and community needs. Especially when the decrease, in this instance, still provides highly generous salaries.

• These actions appear to be a political experiment to test the reaction and patience of the Metropolis and Archdiocese.

This is not an exercise in power politics. At some point it must be acknowledged that this church cannot sustain three priests at these salary levels, unless it completely suspends nearly all other outreach and community activity. All logical evidence regarding this fact has fallen on deaf ears.

• The cessation of Church services and suspension of our sacramental life is the immediate result of the Council’s experiment and is a loss that all parishioners have had to bear regardless of their political persuasion.

"Politics" aside, it is the Metropolitan and his priests who have ceased to serve (so much for their sense of calling), and THEY ALONE have suspended the sacramental life in this community. They won’t serve, with still generous salaries, though they have made a few notable, predictable, exceptions. They don't serve with the parish; they work above it, and solely on their own terms.

• The potential end result of this political game is significant. The possibility of a “separatist” result will have nothing to do with two independent parishes, but rather, a separation from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the other 500 parishes that comprise the Archdiocese.

Notice the “two independent parishes” statement getting slipped into the conversation – again! (This has been decided, over and over again!) Further, if the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is so weak that it cannot enforce its own will and rulings on a Metropolitan, then clearly there is a problem with the entire structure. Obviously a Metropolitan can trump an Archbishop and a Synod? What a system, and we are its hapless pawns!

• The decision to investigate and publish benevolence giving was strictly an overt attempt to discredit the clergy without regard to the permanent harm caused to individuals and to those who might in the future benefit from this charitable source.

When only ONE person, with human failings, is given this much discretionary power over secret funds, with no oversight, the result is inevitable. With clear evidence of inappropriate use of such funds, we are told to "kill the messenger!", and we hear that it is the investigation that’s inappropriate?!

The Greek saying is, “ο καθαρός ουρανός αστραπές δεν φοβάτε!” (clear skies do not fear lightning!) These funds should not be under the sole purview of any one HUMAN being. In other churches, priests and ministers have a couple of trusted members who work with clergy to assess the needs of those seeking, or in need of, such funds. It is hypocritical that the outrage is directed toward the investigation rather than at what it has uncovered.

 We should not be pawns in a political trial regarding the governing of the Archdiocese. It is crucial that we reverse the decision and avert the possibility of further actions that will harm everyone, young and old.

This community has NEVER shirked from being a leader in this nation insofar as our commitment to our church. It has also had leaders in the past – GIANTS – who knew that human beings, including priests, are fallible.

Those forebears of ours had the vision to understand that it was in this church community’s best interest to hold its assets in its own name, and to have its two churches under one community. In fact, those leaders invited a bishop at an earlier time to take his priests and leave if this was unacceptable.

This community is unique. The parish council has gone through all channels to try to appeal for a more equitable and reasonable approach to relations between clergy and laity, between this community and the hierarchy.

And it is our community, our seniors, our youth, those in need within our church and throughout this valley, who continue suffer because of this lopsided, uncompassionate, ridiculously absurd system.

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