[ditty_news_ticker id="27897"] Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Raises Parish Assessments by 6 Percent - Orthodox Christian Laity

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Raises Parish Assessments by 6 Percent


Source: The National Herald

By Theodore Kalmoukos

FILE – Archbishop Elpidophoros praises Leadership 100 at its 33rd Conference in Florida. Photos GOA/Dimitrios Panagos

BOSTON – The Archdiocese of America is increasing the annual financial assessment of each parish by 5.9 percent for 2025 and 3.0 percent for 2026, according to financial documents obtained by The National Herald. It is emphasized that this increase, in conjunction with the financial budget of the next two years, 2025 and 2026, was discussed and approved by the Archdiocesan Council at its remote meeting on Monday, May 13.

The National Herald was informed that at least seventeen members of the Archdiocesan Council voted against the proposals. It was not said how many of the members were present, except that there was a quorum.

According to the same sources, Metropolitan Gerasimos of St. Francisco told everyone that he opposes this increase and that the communities of his Metropolis will have difficulty paying the increased amounts since they are already struggling and are burdened.

The annual budget for the year 2025 is $27,540,000 and for 2026 it is $28,315,000. The budget for 2023 was $25,460,000 million and for 2024 it was $25,869,000 million. The new budget will appear for ratification before the Clergy-Laity Congress of the Archdiocese which will be held in early July in Arizona.

Financial data from official documents of the Archdiocese enables us to offer a breakdown of the budget. For example, the amount of $1,500,000 that is given annually to the Ecumenical Patriarchate remains unchanged.

For the Holy Cross School of Theology in Brookline, MA, $3,500,000 million was budgeted for the years 2023 and 2024, but the budget is decreased for 2025 to $3,000,000, and in 2026 the School will receive even less, $2,500,000. TNH reports that the school’s newly appointed president, Dr. Demetrios Katos, told meetings of administrative staff and officials that he does not intend to undertake fundraising efforts. Nevertheless, the School is facing serious financial problems to the point that there are even thoughts of selling or leasing a large part of its land for the construction of luxury homes and apartments. TNH left a phone message with Dr. Katos’ secretary on April 17, but the call has yet to be returned.

Meanwhile, Archdiocesan treasurer Elaine Allen is entertaining the idea of assessing communities with an additional separate annual contribution specifically for the School, that is, in addition to the general assessment for the Archdiocese.

And while the budget for the School of Theology School was reduced, and despite the fact that the majority of communities struggle to make ends meet by organizing Greek festivals serving up chicken, pork, and other meats on skewers, etc. Archbishop Elpidophoros increased the annual expenses of his office from $800,000 to $1,100,000.

In addition to that, the already large budget for the Archbishop’s Correspondence Department, which for the years 2023 and 2024 was $200,000, will be increased for the years 2025 and 2026 to $250,000.

The large increases in the budget for the Archbishop’s office are justified on the grounds that his travel expenses increased after the end of the coronavirus pandemic, even though he no longer incurs expenses for the Metropolis of New Jersey now that there is a new Metropolitan.

In the meantime, not even the slightest explanation has been given, not even a minimal account is available, regarding these huge sums and increases. Hierarchs and priests who spoke to TNH with the request that their names not be used, for obvious reasons, said that “it is out of the question that the communities will accept this increase of essentially nine percent for the years 2025 and 2026, given the perceived waste of money.” They stressed that “at all costs the laity in the communities should be informed, because unfortunately they do not know about it.”

The Office of the Chancellor, Bishop of Diokleia Nektarios Papazafiropoulos, in the year 2023 had a budget of $580,000 and in the year 2024 it will receive $600,000, the budget remaining at $600,000 in 2025 but increasing to $625,000 in 2026.

Questions have also arisen about the notorious Department of Communications headed by Stratos Safioleas due to the large increase in its budget. Specifically, the budget for the years 2023 and 2024 was $690,000, while it was increased for the year 2025 to $860,000. In 2026 it will be $885,000.

In addition to the Department of Communications of Safioleas, there is also the Department of Public Relations, whose budget for the years 2023 and 2024 was $200,000. In 2025 and 2026 it will be increased to $235,000.

Greek education is the poor and neglected relative. Specifically for the years 2023 and 2024 it was budgeted at $260,000. The budget was increased to $314,000 for 2025, and for 2026 the amount is $330,000.

The budget for the Department of Finance for the years 2023 and 2024 was $799,000 per year, while for 2025 it will be $806,000 and for 2026 $830,000.

For the Department of Information Technology, the budget for the years 2023 and 2024 was $650,000 per year, while for 2025 it was reduced to $607,000 – but for the year 2026 it was increased to $630,000.

The budget for Internet Ministries for the years 2023 and 2024 was $575,000 per year, and it will be increased for 2025 to $687,000 and for 2026 it is increased further to $720,000.


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