[Toronto, Ontario] On Thursday, March 29, 2018, the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto (Canada) filed its Statement of Defence with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in response to a Statement of Claim filed by the Greek Community of Toronto (GCT) against it and others in October 2017.
As set out in the Statement of Defence, we believe that the allegations made by the GCT in its Statement of Claim are unmeritorious and without any basis in fact or law. Proceeding with the litigation and delivering our Statement of Defence was not our first choice; it was our last. Even before the GCT filed its Statement of Claim, and the false and misleading allegations set out therein were first published in the media, the Metropolis sought, through various avenues, to resolve this dispute.
With humility and fatherly love, His Eminence Metropolitan Sotirios has been prepared to compromise in an effort to reach an agreement with the GCT. Unfortunately multiple goodwill gestures, underpinned by Greek philotimo, have not been enough.
Both the Metropolis and His Eminence have shown, and will continue to show, Christian love and charity towards the GCT and its executives, who we believe continue to pursue a harmful and self-destructive course of action. However, the Metropolis and His Eminence will not compromise on matters of principle and of our Greek Orthodox faith. This includes supporting the four Reverend Fathers who serve at GCT parishes and have gone three years without pay.
We believe that the filing of the Statement of Claim by the GCT was simply another desperate attempt to divert attention from the issues it faces and discredit our Metropolis and the Metropolitan. As His Eminence wrote in his personal message to the Orthodox faithful across Canada last December: “They will not prevail. They will never prevail. The truth will prevail. Christ will prevail.”
The Statement of Defence includes a Counterclaim for defamation by the Metropolis and His Eminence seeking general, special, aggravated and punitive damages. Any and all damage awards received by the Metropolis or Metropolitan, as a result of the defamation claim, will be donated to charitable organizations, including the endowment fund of the Patriarchal Toronto Orthodox Theological Academy.
Finally, we believe, as set out in the Statement of Defence [go to bottom of page here: http://www.gometropolis.org/website/metropolis-files-statement-of-defence/], that the following short excerpt from a 1978 decision of the Honourable Mr. Justice O’Driscoll of the Supreme Court of Ontario continues to reflect the intentions of the GCT today:
“Indeed, the actions of some of these power hungry parishioners were in absolute defiance of properly constituted ecclesiastical authority and appear to have been designed to neutralize and perhaps destroy – for their own grandisement – all ecclesiastical authority in the Greek Orthodox Church in the Toronto area.”
Stolen donations, tax fraud, abusive priests: Lawsuit alleges corruption among Greek Orthodox church leaders – CBC News
Personal Message from the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Toronto – The National Herald