Source: The National Herald
By Theodoros Kalmoukos
NEW YORK – Nothing substantial was achieved in the recent meeting of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America presided by His Eminence Geron Demetrios. The Archdiocese’s financial crisis, which The National Herald revealed on August 30, was discussed.
A discussion took place about the vacant Metropolis of Chicago. The List of Candidates for elevation to the rank of episcopacy was not complete, except for some deletions of candidates deemed entirely unfit.
Archbishop Demetrios attributed the delay to the Archdiocese’s Legal Committee examining whether hierarchs serving in metropolises abroad but who had served as priests in the Archdiocese are eligible to be included on the List, as per the Constitution of the Archdiocese Article 14. Specifically those hierarchs Soterios of Toronto (Canada), Athenagoras of Mexico, Nikitas of Dardanelles, and Cleopas of Sweden.
Demetrios even invoked the American laws as he did on August 30 at the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Archdiocesan officials told TNH that these are tactics Demetrios is doing just to mock Patriarch Bartholomew, but in reality Demetrios seeks to exclude those hierarchs from the list, most especially Metropolitan Nikitas.
The issue of Fr. Dean Panagos from St. Sophia of New London, CT came up. TNH recently revealed his strange and sudden resignation from the parish, which Metropolitan Methodios of Boston attributed to “rumors.” Also, the case of Fr. Nicholas Kastanas from St. Athanasius in Arlington, MA was mentioned, whose sudden dismissal after 28 years of service has created a rift in the parish. Methodios said that “the issue is in the hands of the lawyers”.
The Archdiocese issued the following news release about the meeting of the Eparchial Synod:
The Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America convened its regular meeting at the Synodal chamber of the Holy Archdiocese in New York on October 18 and 19, 2017, presided by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios Geron of America with the participation of all the members of the Synod.
The Synod reviewed all the topics on its agenda: liturgical, canonical, administrative, pastoral, inter Orthodox and educational and following extensive deliberations took the appropriate decisions.
On Tuesday, October 17, the day before the official meeting, the Holy Synod met with the Director of the Youth Department of the Holy Archdiocese, Mr. Steven Christoforou, and reviewed the program for training and the new regulations for youth advisors, teachers and anyone dealing with the youth on the parish level. This program will be implemented by the parishes of the Holy Archdiocese in the near future.
The next day during the regular meeting of the Synod, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios informed the Hierarchs about the financial shortfall and problems of management that the Holy Archdiocese recently faced. The plan of action was discussed by which the Holy Archdiocese will deal with the difficulties. Specifically, it was announced that a forensic audit is under way by a reputable accounting company, while another company will suggest new controls and make recommendations for the correction of omissions of the past for better management.
The members of the Holy Synod expressed their support for the action plan that the Holy Archdiocese has undertaken and their optimism that the related difficulties will soon be overcome. In addition, it was decided unanimously that in order not to overburden the parishes, the assessment of the parishes will remain on the current level for the next year without any increase.
The Holy Synod kindly asks the pious faithful of the Church and the parishes of the Holy Archdiocese to contribute positively in the effort to rebuild the financial resources and the work of improvement of the financial management so that without hindrance and with renewed vigor the Holy Archdiocese can continue her spiritual mission for the glory of God and the salvation of the people.
Following the completion of the deliberations of the Synod, its members presided over the Archdiocesan Council Committees and participated in the meeting of the Archdiocesan Council.