Source: The National Herald
The message recently sent by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America to submit explanations about the Archdiocese’s finances immediately, to the patriarch and the Patriarchate’s Holy Synod, as The National Herald reported, was certainly ominous.
Beyond the specific directive, the patriarch’s decision, communicated directly by him, clearly indicates that the time has come for Archbishop Demetrios to depart willingly and spend his remaining years in peace and quiet.
It was a way for the patriarch to tell his archbishop to step down, rather than be dethroned, which would not be good for anyone, least of all an archbishop who is almost 90.
He doesn’t realize that the vessel of the Archdiocese is not simply flailing dangerously in very rough waters, it has already shipwrecked. Neither does it help his future posthumous fame, nor the Church or the Greek-American community.
Surely it would not be proper if he were forced out and humiliated. That’s why those who claim to love and respect him should tell him it is time to do the wise thing while there is still some time left.
The upcoming Archdiocesan Council meeting (Oct. 19-21) presents a golden opportunity for the archbishop to stand up and, with magnanimity, ask forgiveness from the Church and the community, in order to salvage whatever prestige is left for him personally and for the Office of the Archbishop. And he should submit his resignation to the Patriarchate.
Otherwise, the patriarch, obligated to serve the best interest of the Church and the community, would have to take action and do the necessary and proper thing of initiating that change. Because now, everyone is asking: “where is the patriarch in all of this?”
Some metropolitans should also follow this course and resign voluntarily, because they have really destroyed some large, once-vibrant parishes. They think they are their own estates rather than churches under one united Archdiocese of America, which is an Ecclesiastical Eparchy of the Ecumenical Throne.
I remind again that the par excellence shepherd, father, and teacher in the faith of the Archdiocese of America is Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew himself. Accordingly, if those metropolitans do not step down on their own, he should dynamically intervene and dismiss, so they may spend the rest of their lives “in peace and repentance” in some monastery or camp.
The Archdiocese is in great need of a total renovation, infused by an influx of normal, stable people who above all love our Greek-American faithful, who sustain them financially, paying their expenses for their lavish lifestyles, from luxurious cars, expensive dinners and fine wines, colorful vestments, and scandalous accumulation of wealth in the name of Christ.
They should be loving and passionate fathers without bullying tactics and rancorous behavior. It seems that today we have lost “the mind of Christ” and we have created a corrupted Institutionalized Religious Organization that serves those who make their good living as its employees.
Obviously, George Vourvoulias should have resigned on his own weeks ago from his position as Chairman of the Finance Committee instead of waiting to be fired. And he should return the $900,000 he received for travel expenses over a ten-year period immediately.
Again, I emphasize that the Clergy Laity Congress of the Archdiocese should be postponed for one year. In case prudence doesn’t prevail and it is not postponed, it should not take place in Boston, because that is a boiling cauldron ready to explode.
Theodoros Kalmoukos, has always been there to report things as they are, and not how we would like them to be. Reporting the truth isn’t easy, but as a professional journalist, he does. May we like it or not. His analysis is spot on. I know he, as well as most of us, do not get satisfaction from reporting or reading these sad facts of our church, but someone needs to be responsible enough to inform the general public of what is happening. Unfortunately the truth has not been coming from either the Archdiocese (hierarchs and/or Archdiocesan Council), nor the Metropolises.
Archbishop Demetrios should not resign. At this time, his resignation would cause a calamity to our Holy Archdiocese. His Eminence, the Most Reverend members of the Eparchial Synod, knowledgeable Priests, and the Archdiocesan Council must strategically analyze and implement a process to promptly negotiate a revised Constitutional Charter. As the process for the filling of the widowed Throne of Chicago is demonstrating currently, His All Holiness with facilitate the election of another of his pawns upon us, someone whose election is not in the best interest of our Holy Archdiocese. With due and sincere respect for the Ecumenical Throne, they will act in what they perceive is their interest, not ours.
The Constitutional Charter prepared by the Archdiocesan clergy-laity special committee in 2000, a semi-autonomous charter, must be respectfully, but aggressively demanded. The Carpatho-Russian Diocese of the U.S.A., the Ukrainian Church of the U.S.A., and the Archdiocese of the Russian Orthodox Parishes in Western Europe function under charters wherein they operate in essential autonomy and nominate their own Primates. The Church of Crete is autonomous. Indeed the first Constitutional Charter of the Archdiocese of America, 1922-1930, was an autonomous charter. That charter was granted by Ecumenical Patriarch Meletios IV, who had supervised its preparation in 1921 while he resided in America, as Former Archbishop of Athens and President of the corporate entity of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America. His All Holiness had direct experience organizing the Holy Archdiocese of America.
All the eparchies noted above are under the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Why is the “largest and best organized eparchy of the Ecumenical Throne” treated with such disrespect that we don’t have the authority to nominate our Primate? During the meeting of the Eparchies of the Throne Abroad in 2000, when the hierarchs of the Patriarchate argued to dismiss the proposed charter we collaborated upon and had submitted to the Patriarchate, a proposed charter viewed as semi-autonomous, Patriarch Bartholomew entered the room and told the American delegation, “You will get what you want in 10 years.” Well, Your All Holiness, its well beyond 10 years later.
Please, do not encourage the resignation of the Archbishop of America until we secure a Constitutional Charter that befits the progress and substance the Holy Archdiocese has earned over these past 95 years. Indeed, Archbishop Demetrios’ legacy may ultimately include the securing of the long overdue semi-autonomous constitutional charter.