“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


Sunday, August 24, 2014

From the Local News ...

Group forms new Greek Orthodox parish in Salt Lake area
By Whitney Evans (ksl.com)
August 23rd, 2014 @ 7:58pm
MURRAY — A group labeling itself "progressive" voted Saturday to create an additional parish in the Salt Lake Valley.
A little more than 100 people gathered at Hillcrest Junior High, 156 E. 5600 South, to create the Greek Orthodox Mission Parish Saturday. The majority voted in the affirmative.
"This is your chance to do it right, to do what you've learned over the years and to do it with a fresh start," Father Luke Uhl, chancellor for Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver, told those gathered.
If contentions arise, "Resolve them in love," he advised, possibly alluding to the strife that has cropped up in the Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake in recent years.
The parish will function under the Metropolis of Denver, distinct from the current Salt Lake parish meeting at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, 279 S. 300 West, and Prophet Elias Church, 5335 S. Highland Drive.
“People of goodwill have come together and expressed themselves as faithful Christians and expressed themselves as people united in love, in harmony, in oneness of mind and heart. That can’t help but inspire all us,” he later told KSL News.
Eleven members of the new parish were called to serve on a parish council, six until December 2015 and five until the end of 2014. An interim priest or priests will fill in until a full-time priest can be appointed by Metropolitan Isaiah.
“We want to focus on the Orthodox faith and growing in our faith together. That’s our sole purpose. We’re not complaining. We’re not griping about anybody or anything. Sometimes you know, you have to be forced out of your comfort zone to go do something that becomes a good thing later,” said Charles Beck, newly elected parish council president.
Parishioner Chuck Karpakis said in a June 8 devotional that the group sought a split because of what it saw as the secular focus of the current parish and of the ousting of priests over the decades.
Parishoner Bill Souvall said the Greek Orthodox Mission Parish has a "different vision of orthodoxy" than the other parish, but declined to explain further. Those interviewed were insistent on wanting to maintain a positive relationship with their sister parish.
“We want to be just another parish in town and that we all love each other and we work together. We want our kids to play together. We want our kids to dance together and to do things," Beck said. "There’s no separatist notion here at all. We just want to be independent and grow in a way that only an independent parish can grow.”
More than one year ago, financial struggles in the parish led to a 40 percent pay cut for three priests and a halt to services. In August, the Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake voted in a 220-215 split to reinstate the pay and provide back pay to the three priests. They also asked that one priest be reassigned.
A fight broke out at the Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church in January after then Father Michael Kouremetis, a former priest at the church, said he would still work at the church even though he was let go in December. Parishioners began pushing and shoving and police were called, according to media reports at the time.
Father Michael Kouremetis was reassigned from the Prophet Elias Church to the St. George Church in Kingston, New York, in June.
The conflict reached Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople in February, who reportedly told Archbishop Demetrios, primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, to fix what was going on in the Salt Lake parish.
Shortly afterward, Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America sent a letter to the parish and council, saying there were no plans for the two churches in the parish to separate. Instead he asked them to resolve their differences and "rebuild the unity which has been shaken, so that you may be perfectly joined together."
A steering committee of Greek Orthodox members in Salt Lake, led by Souvall, was formed in April to explore the option of creating a new parish. Since then, they established stewardship responsibilities, a budget, funds and received the blessing of Metropolitan.
The first Divine Liturgy for the Greek Orthodox Mission Parish will be held on Aug. 31 at 10 a.m. and Sunday School will be held Sept 14. Services will be held at The Woods on Ninth, 6775 S. 900 East, until the congregation can find a more permanent home.
"We believe that the rapidity of this movement means it's blessed," Beck said.
Father Uhl told those present Saturday that they were part of an enduring legacy that will last until the second coming of Jesus.
“It’s a wonderful thing for the community. Church growth is always good. It’s an establishment of a new family of faithful, a new family of believers and it’s always to the glory of God,” he told the Deseret News.
Greek Orthodox churches are part of the Eastern Orthodox churches. This religion was established by early Christians. Although the church puts Christ as its head, many hold a high regard for the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, headed by Patriarch Bartholomew. The Archdiocese of America is led by the Holy Eparchial Synod, with Archbishop Demetrios at its head.
Utah Greek congregation forms its own parish
Religion » Group departs greater Salt Lake parish after four years of internal schisms.
First Published Aug 23 2014 06:31 pm • Last Updated Aug 23 2014 10:32 pm
Murray • One way to stop being in a house divided is to leave, and that’s what nearly 200 Greek Orthodox residents did Saturday in creating their own parish.
Formal approval of their action in the Hillcrest Junior High School auditorium came from Rev. Luke Uhl, for the last 21 years the chancellor to Metropolitan Isaiah, the Denver-based prelate whose region includes fractious Utah.
"To be at the beginning of a parish, where heaven and earth come together," he said, "this is a cool thing. A parish is not established for a year or a lifetime, but until the Second Coming.
"This is the good stuff of being a Christian, an Orthodox Christian," Uhl added.
Uhl sanctioned a show-of-hands vote that unanimously established the Greek Orthodox Mission Parish of Utah. The 100 or so people attending the meeting then elected an 11-member interim board to guide the parish through its formative years.
The parish’s first service will be Aug. 31, probably at 10 a.m., at The Woods on Ninth, a reception center at 6775 S. 900 East in Midvale.
The two-story colonial building has space upstairs for a Sunday School while church services take place below in a room that will seat 150, said Chuck Karpakis, a member of a steering committee that has spent the past four months preparing for this day.
"It’s not as beautiful as Holy Trinity or Prophet Elias," Karpakis obliged, referring to the two churches that together form the Greater Salt Lake parish the group is departing. But it will be decorated "to appeal to that sense of spirituality."
Headed by Bill Souvall, the steering committee has met since the Greek Orthodox chancellor in New York put an end to a bitter four-year dispute between different factions of the Salt Lake Valley’s Greek Orthodox community.
The chancellor said Holy Trinity and Prophet Elias would not be split into separate parishes, ratified membership on the parish council and transferred Rev. Michael Kouremetis — a lightning rod in clashes between the two sides — elsewhere.

That outcome did not sit well with this group of Greek Orthodox, who explored what had to be done to create a separate parish. They set up a federal tax identification number for their nonprofit organization as well as bank accounts.
"We’re hitting the ground running big-time," Souvall said, adding the independence achieved Saturday comes with a price tag. He asked everyone who pledged money to the parish effort to follow through now. "It’s time to start paying our way."
Steering committee member Phil Floor said verbal pledges of $1,200 to $1,500 per family accounted for all but a sliver of the parish’s projected first-year revenues of $197,000. Little income is forecast from functions such as next week’s Greek Festival.
With expenses "conservatively" pegged at $133,000, Floor said the new parish would finish 2015 with a $64,000 surplus — except that Saturday’s starting date means those revenues have to cover an additional four months in 2014.
Souvall asked parishioners to donate one-third of their pledges by year’s end to cover 2014 costs.
A mission parish is not equal to a standard parish such as the one that Prophet Elias and Holy Trinity Cathedral belong to, he acknowledged. It is not fully chartered by the Greek Orthodox archbishop in New York City, the most important church figure in the country, even if it is an official parish under the regional Metropolitan.
"This will give us a chance to prove ourselves," said Souvall. "That’s not going to be difficult. We’ll do well."
Dimitrios Tsagaris, president of the Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake parish council, said he bore no ill feelings to the mission parish founders.
"Very frankly, we wish them good luck," said Tsagaris after overseeing the erection of food tents in the parking lot adjacent to Holy Trinity Cathedral. "The Greek Orthodox community has been here for 100 years. It is flourishing and will do great. It will always prevail."

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