Greek-Americans Turned off By Church Simony, Nepotism

Source: The National Herald

To the Editor [of the National Herald]:

Dwayne Templeton asks many poignant questions, but the thought of bishops from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America answering any of them as he suggests in his Letter to the Editor (Jul. 4) [also printed below] is laughable. There are reasons Greek-Americans do not attend church regularly, especially those that are between the ages of 25-55. I often broach that subject when meeting with Greeks at conferences, social events, etc.

A vast majority from within that age group, no matter where they may be from believe as a matter of fact that the Greek Orthodox Church is run by ill-equipped individuals lacking proper morals.

The overwhelming belief is that the Archdiocese is concerned only with stewardship money from the parishes, rich benefactors, and little else. Generally, second and third generation Greeks that are well-educated professionals do not want to be associated with a religion where these things are going on. Many believe simony is a factor with the appointment of bishops and that nepotism is a problem.

Misconduct needs to be addressed at some point.

What other organization would allow corrupt activity to continue as it does here from one church to the next, week after week? The media reported tax evasion took place at the Jamaica church, elderly parishioners were threatened and spat upon, and a convicted felon was on the parish council.

The fact is the Archdiocese wouldn’t care if Bernie Madoff sat on a parish council, provided their churches continue to pay their assessment to the Archdiocese in full.

May God help us.

Thomas Bletsas, Brooklyn, NY

Greek School Closing Leaves Many Unanswered Questions

To the Editor [of The National Herald, July 4, 2013]:

White I am neither Greek , nor Greek Orthodox, the closing of St. Demetrios Jamaica school was a very disturbing development for me as I had a niece that attended the school a few years ago. This institution became a great choice for the parents and served the community extremely well. The children had the opportunity to learn Greek, took advanced music classes and received a quality education in a safe environment. Many private schools have closed but few have closed due directly to the incompetence of management. There were several shouting matches and disagreement between parents and the church’s board members who became increasingly difficult to deal with over the years.

It was almost as though they wanted the school to close, especially when they raised tuition in the middle of a school year. What school does that? We then read that the church was evading real estate taxes for many years before the closing of the school, parishioners were question financial practices and one of the board members is a convicted felon. What is going on here? What did St. Demetrios become?

It seems to me, the church community needs many question answered by their bishops. Namely, when is the church’s management being replaced? How responsible is the priest? Indeed are members of the Archdiocese involved in this corrupt activity? In any case, I would be shocked if the IRS does not pull tax exemptions. In this case – rightfully so.

Dwayne Templeton, Jamaica, NY

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