From The National Herald (note: see original in Greek below)
22 AUGUST 2014
By Theodore Kalmoukos
BOSTON. A new attempt has begun in Salt Lake City, Utah, currently under way with the pretext, this time, to create a new community under the name "Progressive Missionary Community of Salt Lake City, Utah."
The movement is comprised of about a hundred people who were unhappy with the solution given by Archbishop Demetrios, with the intervention of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, to not separate the historical community of the Holy Trinity of Salt Lake City (sic) [editor’s note: the correct name of the parish is the Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake], as was attempted by the Denver Metropolitan, Isaiah, along with a group of parishioners – basically the same ones who now want to create the so-called Missionary Community, and who had afflicted for nearly four years the larger existing community. Metropolitan Isaiah had gone so far as to shut down clergy services for a month last August 2013 at the two churches, Holy Trinity and Prophet Elias, while events later progressed so far that the police intervened.
Of the dozens of documents received by "The National Herald" it was learned that on Saturday, August 23, at 1:00 there will be gathering at the Hillcrest Junior High Gymnasium, to finalize the establishment of the new community, where Metropolitan Isaiah is sending his chancellor, Fr. Luke Uhl, to coordinate and assist in selecting a community council. It must be emphasized that Metropolitan Isaiah appointed by letter dated June 12, 2014 an organizing committee, which consists of 20 people for the creation of new "Progressive Missionary Community." Further, Metropolitan Isaiah immediately replied to pioneers of the movement, who sent him a letter dated June 11 saying that they had gathered 100 Orthodox Christians who have signed the request for the establishment of 'Progressive Missionary Community " asking to appoint a committee, to which he immediately responded by letter the next day 12 June 2014, writing, among other things: "I received your letter of June 11 2014, seeking to appoint a committee (ad hoc committee) to investigate the possibility of creating a new community in Salt Lake City and thank you ... and behold to appoint the included members of the Greek Orthodox Faith ", mentioning their names and noting that "you are to please feel free to contact me for any questions you may have, and also for any needs in this God-blessed attempt you are making."
Among the names of the appointed committee are former presidents of the Parish Council of Holy Trinity (sic, GOCGSL), and the current president of the Philoptochos Society of Prophet Elias. While the community remains united in Holy Trinity (sic, ibid.), still having two Philoptochos societies, one at Holy Trinity and one at Prophet Elias. Certainly mentioned in the documents, there the ultimate aim of this movement for yet another de facto occupation of Prophet Elias and the development of an independent community. It is specifically stated that "Progressives Orthodox Christians [are] seeking to establish an independent Orthodox community preferably in the Greek Orthodox Community of Prophet Elias."
The "National Herald" is in a position to know that Archbishop Demetrios has full information on the new moves and attempts by Metropolitan Isaiah, but, so far at least, has not interfered to stop them before they become exacerbated situations, but follows once again the tactic of wait-and-see.
Insofar as the National Herald knows, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who is currently in the village of St. Theodore, in his home island, Imbros, where we celebrate today, Saturday, August 23, Performance of Assumption of the Virgin, has not been updated concerning the latest separatist movements in Utah, which artificially encourages Metropolitan Isaiah.
Telephone calls by NH to the Archdiocese and to Archbishop Demetrios, as well as to staff answering for the Denver Metropolitan, Isaiah, remained unanswered.
As is clear from the correspondence, things seem to be already finished. The president of Committee, Bill Souvall, in a letter dated August 20, 2014 for those who want the establishment of "Missionary Community," writes that "we have to go by the Assembly (Saturday, August 23) as the new "Missionary Community, directly under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Denver. Metropolitan Isaiah has confirmed that our first Divine Liturgy will be held on August 31, and Sunday School will begin on September 14."
As is clear from the correspondence, one of the reasons for this move is the exodus of Fr. Michael Kouremetis, while the other priest Fr. Matthew Gilbert continues to preside at Holy Trinity. After a failed attempt, twice in fact, to appoint Fr. Kouremetis Proistamenos of the Cathedral Church of Boston, where he introduced by Metropolitan Methodios, but the community rejected him soundly, he was then appointed to the community of St. George in Kingston, New York.
Saturday, August 23, 2014