Source: Orthodox Christian Laity
Following the initial exchange of letters, below is the continuing correspondence regarding the new Charter for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese:
LETTER TO ARCHBISHOP ELPIDOPHOROS
February 2, 2021
Presentation of the Lord in the Temple
His Eminence, Archbishop ELPIDOPHOROS
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
8 East 79th Street
New York, NY 10075-0192
The Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL) thanks you for your recent messages and we pray for your good health in these pandemic times.
We also appreciate the opportunity to share some of our ideas with you regarding the proposed new Charter for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Having heard from many of our leaders, supporters and others on this issue, a common thread ties them together: the role of the laity in our Church has diminished, and this should be corrected so that Church governance regains a more balanced co-ministry between clergy and laity.
Comparing the role of the laity in the original Charter of 1922 with the succeeding Charters of 1927, 1931, 1977 and 2003, we see a steady and disturbing erosion of the laity’s role in Church governance.
The laity are co-responsible in Christ’s Church, along with the clergy (bishops, priests, deacons), no more, no less. Their role has diminished drastically over time from substantive, to advisory, to pro forma. This should not be the case in the Orthodox Church.
The new Charter for the Archdiocese should restore the historic role of the laity in the governance of the Church. The Charter and following Regulations should explicitly state the role of the laity in all administrative and financial matters, including independent and transparent auditing, while respecting the spiritual, hierarchical and conciliar nature of the Church.
The interdependency of clergy and laity should be at the core of the new Charter. The laity’s roles and responsibilities in administrative/ financial matters and in clergy nominations/elections should be clearly defined. Likewise, the spiritual and hierarchical roles and responsibilities of the clergy should be clearly set forth. Both should be scrupulously adhered to. The collaboration of clergy and laity should permeate the entire Charter.
We thank you for your attention and ask that you pray for OCL supporters, Orthodox Christians and all those suffering the ravages of the ongoing worldwide pandemic.
Argo Georgandis Pyle, President
George D. Karcazes, Secretary
LETTER FROM ARCHBISHOP ELPIDOPHOROS
February 4, 2021
Mrs. Argo Georgandis Pyle, President Mr. George D. Karcazes, Secretary Orthodox Christian Laity
P.O. Box 6954
West Palm Beach, FL 33405-6954
‘Dear Mrs. Georgandis, Dear Mr. Karcazes,
I greet you warmly in the grace and peace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Having received your letter dated February 2, 2021, I would like.e to thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas with me. Kindly know that I appreciate your time and effort in compiling your recommendations, and have shared them with the Administration Committee of the Archdiocesan Council, whose membership, as you k.now, mostly consists of lay individuals.
Thanking you once again for your input, I extend to you and all the members of OCL my archpastoral blessings and prayers, and remain
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America