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The Registry of the Greek Archdiocese is in Danger

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Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Photo: TNH/Kosta Bej

Source: The National Herald

NEW YORK – The Registry of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is in danger because it was given to a special company to digitize it without keeping copies, but the company refuses to return the data until the Archdiocese pays it in full. The Registry contains the names of all the Greek-Orthodox faithful who have had baptisms, weddings and funerals performed by the Church.

Practically speaking, the Archdiocese doesn’t have the ability to issue any certificate of baptism or wedding in case some faithful members of the parishes request one, especially before the creation of the local Metropolises when all of that information was stored at the Archdiocese.

The entire cost of the digitization was going to be more than a million dollars. A half million was given as deposit to the company to start working on it. The company finished the job but it refuses to return the information unless it receives the total amount.

Meantime Director of Registry Fr. Michael Kontogiorgis was recently fired. He held the position for a number of years. He was brought in by former Archbishop Spyridon as assistant to the chancellor. Also a few weeks ago, an assistant to Fr. Kontogiorgis was also dismissed.

Kontogiorgis and Archdiocesan Chancellor Bishop Andonios of Phasiane did not respond to TNH’s request for comment.

Sources from within the Archdiocese told TNH that the situation is so dire that there was no paper for copies. Also, the elevator at the Archdiocese was out of use for months because there was no money to repair it.

Also the pest control company – the problem of rats in New York City is well-known –stopped servicing the Archdiocese due to lack of money.

The same sources told TNH that department heads and other Archdiocesan officials were wasting a lot of money by using credit cards for travel expenses to Greece and many other purposes, without quality control.

There were cases of Archdiocese officials traveling to Greece with first class air tickets and also expensive dinners and wines. The credit cards were recalled recently and those eligible to use them must first obtain authorization first from new Archdiocese CFO Fr. Soterios Baroody.

Also, the frequent changing of the flowers at the Archdiocese entrance cost thousands of dollars.

TNH has learned that His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios knew all that was taking place even by some of his trusted persons, whom he had brought to the Archdiocese, but he never did anything to stop the lavishness and mismanagement.

It is reminded here that in the announcement he issued on October 10 in essence admitted that the waste of money of the Church was out of control and badly mismanaged. He wrote the following: “Beginning in October of 2016, and continuing through early 2017, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America, and the officers of the Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council learned that the Archdiocese faced a severe and complex financial deficit that had been building for several years.”

As TNH has revealed, the deficit is $8.5 million.

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5 Comments

  1. Timothy Nicholas on

    There is no question we have problems in our Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, but what amazes me is the indirect and personal charges against the Archbishop and the efforts to “dethrone” him because the accusers believe he is the only one responsible for this sad state of affairs. I wonder if there is also a “Byzantine” plan for the successor of Demetrios behind this “urgency” for him to go as soon as possible!

  2. George D. Karcazes on

    Timothy,

    My guess is that the “Byzantine” plan is to bring someone from abroad, who will put an even greater emphasis on Greek education and the preservation of the Greek “omogenia” in the US. This is probably what Greece would like, and it is probably what the Patriarchate would like.

    The religion writer of TNH and TNH editorially have been critics of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios for years. In fairness, it should be recalled that the late Archbishop Iakovos, of blessed memory, was also criticized by TNH when he started to permit some English to be used in the Liturgy in some parishes in the GOA. My guess is that the explanation for the attacks on Archbishop Demetrios (and other members of the Eparchial Synod) comes down to the closing of several Greek Schools, especially in NY, but also around the country.

    Rather than acknowledging the demographic trends that point to the eventual assimilation of 3rd, 4th and 5th generations of Greek-Americans (80% of those who choose to be married in Orthodox Churches are marrying non-Greeks) TNH still clings to the belief that the the fundamental mission of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is to be the prime, if not sole, conservator of Greek ethnic identity in America.

    While this may appeal to many of the readers of the Greek Edition (Ethnikos Kyrikas), it really misses the true message of the Church, which is “Christ crucified and Resurrected”. The emphasis of TNH is on the “omogenia”. The “community” which is composed of those of the same “genia”, i.e., race.

    A careful reading of TNH over the years will show that it has lobbied for such things as members of the “omogenia” living America to be able to vote in Greek elections. TNH supports “dual citizenship” rather than “American” citizenship. When all is said and done the criticism of the GOA by TNH is part of a rear-guard action of the “diasporists” in the Greek American community who have no interest in the Pentecost’s Great Commission or in “making America Orthodox”.

    I know that I will be called anti-Greek even though I went to Greek School; served as President of the Hellenic Bar Association of Illinois; president of the Hellenic Professional Society of Illinois; and the Hellenic Foundation. Let me be clear, I have no objection to Greek education and the preservation of Greek language and culture in America.

    It just isn’t the job of the Church.

    • Dear OCL
      Our friends in the Albanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America (OCA) support Albanian heritage
      but leave it up to ancillary lay organizations to have Albanian language classes. We remember
      that many Albanians are Muslims so it is easier for them to do this when compared to the Greeks.The Orthodox Church has a strong voice in the greater Albanian community despite the fact they are only 20 % of the population in the “Old Country”. My grandparents’ era saw Albanians to be multilingual. Many Greeks seem to be too parochial. Archbishop Iakovos was an open minded leader who got stabbed in the back by the Istanbul Gestapo. The EP lives like a prisoner in the Phanar. Isolated in a Muslim city and country.
      We should have a united American Episcopate based on territory. The parishes of the GOA
      should form the Greek Orthodox Parish Association. This GOPA would be responsible
      for keeping the Greek heritage within the Orthodox Church not the episcopate. Every parish
      in the GOA should have mission Sunday on the first Sunday of every month. On mission Sunday the entire Divine Liturgy would be celebrated in English. They would return to SOP
      Standard Operating Procedure on all other Sundays. Every time the Liturgy is celebrated in
      English the Greek heritage continues. Our people need to be educated in regards to these
      things but our leadership in the GOA is afraid to grow. I learned the Liturgy in English first
      and that allowed me to learn and enjoy worship in Albanian and Greek later. All Orthodox are
      a little Greek because it is the language of the New Testament. Super Greeks must understand
      that the English language is the best friend of the Greek language.
      Back in 2010 Archbishop Demetrios (Orthodox Observer) warned the people of the GOA not
      to feel superior to other Orthodox groups. The continuation of The Diaspora model for the church will keep us on the outside looking in. My family taught me that America is our country
      and it comes first. The question is shall we be part of America or simple be in America?
      John Chani

  3. Pauline Costianes on

    IDIOTS! Te Mormons would have digitized those records for free! PLUS, they are not allowed to proselytize during such times. Maybe now that they recalled the credit cards from those living large on the GOA … they'll have money to get the records back. These are so important not only to the church, but to genealogists as well!

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