Moderator's Note: The original letter sent by the Metropolitan of Denver may be viewed here.
October 23, 2013
Reverend Matthew Gilbert
The Esteemed Parish Council
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral
279 South 300 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Beloved in the Lord,
Having been informed that a general assembly is scheduled in the community for Sunday,November 10, 2013 and being aware of the fact that parish council elections for eight seats will take place before the end of the year, I am pleased to make you aware of the proper procedures that are to take place in order for me to be able to ratify the elections.
As you know, in March and April of 2012, I totally relaxed the qualifications of all the members of the community to be able to vote. However, I never imagined that there would have been 142 absentee ballots cast. With the inclusion of such a high number of absentee ballots (which is usually the total number who vote in parish council elections for an average size parish); it appears this was the reason most of the candidates who were successfully elected identify with only one of the two churches. This of course, contributed to the continuing tensions and divisions which have not diminished these past seventeen months.
Now that regular parish council elections will take place for the eight positions which will be vacated, it is imperative that we return to the proper procedures which are found in the Uniform Parish Regulations. These procedures have to do not only with the candidates for the parish council, but also for the parishioners who plan to vote. Since the Priest determines whether the parishioners are in canonical and financial good standing in order to vote, as specified in Article 18 Sections 1, 2 and 3, the roster containing the names of the parishioners shall be verified by Father Gilbert and Father Kouremetis as stated in Article 25 Section 2.
Moreover, the parishioners who plan to run for the parish council must be nominated on the basis of Article 25, Sections 1, 2 and 3. This means that among other qualifications, they must attend the required seminars, attend the holy services regularly, participate in the sacrament of Holy Communion and respect all ecclesiastical authority.
Because of the appearance of abuse of absentee balloting on May 20, 2012 for the current parish council, I would not be in a position to ratify the elections if absentee balloting were allowed. It is not at all logical for absentee ballots to determine who is or is not elected at a properly conducted parish council election.
Finally, at your coming general assembly, financial reports on the parish budget must be restricted to the parish budget according to the UPR's of the Archdiocese, Article 34 Section 7.
With Paternal Blessings,
+ Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver