“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, August 25, 2014


You formed the Greek Orthodox Mission Parish of Utah.


The question is, what took you so long?

This outcome was inevitable when this community decided to form the Hellenic Cultural Foundation (a construct similar to Leadership 100, and one effectively used by numerous other communities throughout the country) and you convinced the Metropolitan to scuttle that vote, as it would be detrimental to your plans to split the community.

This outcome was inevitable from the survey results in November 2007 (which many of you who were in charge at the time said you would honor, along with the Metropolis, but did not, have not, for all these subsequent years.)

This outcome was inevitable thereafter from the votes from numerous general assemblies following that survey, (despite your acquiescing to suspension of such, in collusion with the Metropolis, contrary to your oft-cited UPRs) including the notorious one in November 2011 where this community refused to succumb to threats from a variety of local and outside sources, and where you acquiesced to the barring of several respected elders from entering their own church.

This outcome was inevitable.

By ignoring that inevitability, the opportunity costs of this intractability - to say nothing of the emotional upheaval - have been staggering. So much did not get done!

So, congratulations for finally having the resolve to do what our parents and grandparents did with far fewer resources.

We will move forward and pray you do the same.

Και ο Θεος βοηθος!

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."

Saturday, August 23, 2014


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.

Δρομολογείται νέα απόπειρα διάσπασης στο Σολτ Λέικ Σίτι της Γιούτα


» Ειδήσεις

ΒΟΣΤΩΝΗ. Νέα απόπειρα διάσπασης έχει δρομολογηθεί στο Σολτ Λέικ Σίτι της Γιούτα και η οποία βρίσκεται σε εξέλιξη αυτή τη στιγμή, με το πρόσχημα τούτη τη φορά τη δημιουργία καινούργιας κοινότητας με την ονομασία «Ιεραποστολική Προοδευτική Κοινότητα του Σολτ Λέικ Σίτι Γιούτα». Στην κίνηση αυτή συμμετέχουν περί τα εκατό άτομα, τα οποία δυσαρεστήθηκαν με τη λύση που δόθηκε από τον Αρχιεπίσκοπο Δημήτριο κατόπιν παρέμβασης του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχη Βαρθολομαίου να μην διασπαστεί στα δύο η ιστορική κοινότητα της Αγίας Τριάδος του Σολτ Λέικ Σίτι, όπως είχε επιχειρηθεί από τον Μητροπολίτη Ντένβερ Ησαΐα με μία ομάδα ενοριτών -βασικά είναι οι ίδιοι που επιζητούν σήμερα τη δημιουργία της λεγόμενης Ιεραποστολικής Κοινότητας- και που είχε ταλαιπωρήσει επί τέσσερα σχεδόν χρόνια την κοινότητα. Ο Μητροπολίτης Ησαϊας είχε φτάσει μάλιστα στο σημείο να κλείσει επί ένα μήνα τον περασμένο Αύγουστο του 2013 και τους δύο ναούς της κοινότητας ήτοι της Αγίας Τριάδος και του Προφήτη Ηλία, ενώ τα πράγματα είχαν ξεφύγει τόσο πολύ που να παρεμβαίνει η Αστυνομία.

Από τα δεκάδες έγγραφα που έχουν περιέλθει στη διάθεση του «Εθνικού Κήρυκα» προκύπτει ότι σήμερα, Σάββατο 23 Αυγούστου, στη 1 η ώρα θα γίνει συγκέντρωση στο κτίριο του Γυμνασίου Hillcrest Junior High, προκειμένου να οριστικοποιηθεί η ίδρυση της νέας κοινότητας, ενώ ο Μητροπολίτης Ησαΐας στέλνει τον πρωτοσύγκελό του, ιερέα Luke Uhl, για να συντονίσει τη συγκέντρωση και να βοηθήσει στην επιλογή κοινοτικού συμβουλίου. Υπογραμμίζεται ότι ο ίδιος ο Μητροπολίτης Ησαϊας διόρισε με επιστολή του με ημερομηνία 12 Ιουνίου 2014 διερευνητική- διοργανωτική επιτροπή, η οποία αποτελείται από 20 άτομα για τη δημιουργία της νέας «Ιεραποστολικής Προοδευτικής Κοινότητας».

Τονίζεται ότι ο κ. Ησαϊας απάντησε αμέσως στους πρωτεργάτες της κίνησης, οι οποίοι του έστειλαν επιστολή στις 11 Ιουνίου λέγοντάς του ότι έχουν συγκεντρωθεί 100 Ορθόδοξοι Χριστιανοί που έχουν υπογράψει το αίτημα για τη δημιουργία της «Ιεραποστολικής Προοδευτικής Κοινότητας» ζητώντας του να ορίσει επιτροπή, πράγμα το οποίο έκανε αμέσως με επιστολή του την επόμενη μέρα 12 Ιουνίου 2014, γράφοντας ανάμεσα στα άλλα και τα εξής: «Ελαβα την επιστολή σας της 11ης Ιουνίου 2014, ζητώντας να διορίσω επιτροπή (ad hoc committee) διερεύνησης της δυνατότητας δημιουργίας καινούργιας κοινότητας στην περιοχή του Σολτ Λέικ Σίτι και σας ευχαριστώ… και ιδού διορίζω τα εξής μέλη της Ελληνορθόδοξης Πίστης» και ανέγραψε τα ονόματα σημειώνοντας πως «σας παρακαλώ να αισθάνεστε ελεύθερα να επικοινωνείτε μαζί μου για όποιες ερωτήσεις έχετε, καθώς επίσης για οποιεσδήποτε ανάγκες σ’ αυτή την Θεοβλόγητη προσπάθειά σας». Ανάμεσα στα ονόματα της επιτροπής που διόρισε είναι και ονόματα πρώην προέδρων του κοινοτικού συμβουλίου της Αγίας Τριάδος, αλλά και της σημερινής προέδρου της Φιλοπτώχου Αδελφότητας του Προφήτη Ηλία. Ενώ η κοινότητα της Αγίας Τριάδος παραμένει ενωμένη, εξακολουθεί η ύπαρξη δύο φιλοπτώχων, μία της Αγίας Τριάδος και μία του Προφήτη Ηλία. Οπως μάλιστα αναφέρεται σ’ ένα από τα έγγραφα, απώτερος σκοπός της κίνησης αυτής είναι η δι’ άλλης οδού κατάληψη του Προφήτη Ηλία και η εξέλιξή του σε ανεξάρτητη κοινότητα. Συγκεκριμένα, αναφέρεται ότι «οι Ορθόδοξοι Προοδευτικοί Χριστιανοί επιζητούν τη δημιουργία μιας ανεξάρτητης Ορθόδοξης κοινότητας κατά προτίμηση στην Ελληνορθόδοξη Κοινότητα του Προφήτη Ηλία».

Ο «Εθνικός Κήρυξ» είναι σε θέση να γνωρίζει ότι ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Δημήτριος έχει πλήρη ενημέρωση για τις καινούργιες κινήσεις και απόπειρες του Μητροπολίτη Ησαϊα, πλην όμως μέχρι στιγμής τουλάχιστον δεν έχει παρέμβει να τις σταματήσει πριν εξελιχθούν σε ρηγματώδεις καταστάσεις, αλλά ακολουθεί για άλλη μία φορά την παρελκυστική τακτική του είδους περιμένετε να δούμε.

Από όσο μπορεί να γνωρίζει ο «Ε.Κ.», ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος, ο οποίος αυτές στις μέρες βρίσκεται στη γενέτειρά του, την Ιμβρο, όπου θα γιορτάσει σήμερα, Σάββατο 23 Αυγούστου, την Απόδοση της Κοίμησης της Θεοτόκου στο χωριό του Αγιοι Θεόδωροι δεν έχει ενημερωθεί για τις καινούργιες διασπαστικές κινήσεις στη Γιούτα, τις οποίες τεχνηέντως υποθάλπει και ενθαρρύνει ο Μητροπολίτης Ησαϊας.

Τηλεφωνικά μηνύματα του «Ε.Κ.» στην Αρχιεπισκοπή για τον Αρχιεπίσκοπο Δημήτριο και στον προσωπικό τηλεφωνητή του Μητροπολίτη Ντένβερ Ησαϊα παρέμειναν αναπάντητα.

Οπως προκύπτει από την αλληλογραφία, τα πράγματα φαίνεται πως είναι ήδη τελειωμένα. Ο πρόεδρος της επιτροπής Bill Souvall σε επιστολή του με ημερομηνία 20 Αυγούστου 2014 προς εκείνους που θέλουν την ίδρυση της «Ιεραποστολικής Κοινότητας» γράφει πως «πρέπει να φύγουμε από τη Συνέλευση (Σάββατο 23 Αυγ.) ως η νέα «Ιεραποστολική Κοινότητα, απευθείας υπό την δικαιοδοσία της Μητρόπολης Ντένβερ. Ο Μητροπολίτης Ησαΐας έχει επιβεβαιώσει ότι η πρώτη μας Θεία Λειτουργία θα γίνει στις 31 Αυγούστου, και το Κατηχητικό Σχολείο θα ξεκινήσει στις 14 Σεπτεμβρίου».

Οπως προκύπτει από την αλληλογραφία, ένας από τους λόγους της κίνησης αυτής είναι και η φυγή του π. Μιχαήλ Κουρεμέτη, ενώ ο άλλος ιερέας π. Ματθαίος Γκίλμπερτ εξακολουθεί να ιερατεύει στην Αγία Τριάδα. Επειτα από αποτυχημένη απόπειρα, και μάλιστα δύο φορές, να διοριστεί ο π. Κουρεμέτης στην προϊσταμενία του Καθεδρικού Ναού Βοστώνης όπου τον σύστησε ο Μητροπολίτης Μεθόδιος, αλλά η κοινότητα τον απέρριψε άρδην, διορίστηκε στην κοινότητα του Αγίου Γεωργίου στην πόλη Κίνγκστον, Νέας Υόρκης.