Source: The National Herald
BOSTON – Archbishop Demetrios of America was severely criticized by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at its April 20 meeting, presided by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, according to exclusive information The National Herald has obtained.
Specifically, reports about Archbishop Demetrios and the Archdiocese were read, at which point Patriarch Bartholomew asked the synodic members if they wanted to ask him any questions.
First was Metropolitan Apostolos, Geron of Derkon, who wondered why there is so much delay regarding the results of the Archdiocese audits. He also asked why the cost for the marble for the St. Nicholas National Shrine is so exorbitant.
Demetrios replied that the audits will be completed within a few weeks and promised they would be available for the next Patriarchal Synod meeting in May. Regarding the marbles, he explained that Pentelic marble has been proven the most resilient to climate conditions in New York City, and that the only place that marble can be milled is Austria.
Metropolitan Athanasios, Geron of Chalkedon, was particularly hard on Demetrios, deeming his lengthy comments at the Synod misleading and accusing him of always avoiding answering the Synod’s tough questions.
Demetrios responded that due to Athanasios’ lack of collegiality and decorum, he would not reply to him.
Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey made a plea to Demetrios to expedite the audits, because the delay causes individuals such as ousted Executive Director Jerry Dimitriou (and their families) to suffer because of harm to their reputations. He told the Archbishop not to belabor the situation because things are extremely critical.
Demetrios replied that he is particularly pastorally sensitive to Dimitriou and calls him frequently, and that Evangelos should wait because the audit of the finances may reveal surprises that no one expects.
Demetrios blasted the words and actions of Leadership 100 and the Faith Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism because they refuse to pay the Archdiocese’s debts. He emphasized that “the money in their accounts is the Church’s money, and they increased during my Archbishopric ministry.” He said the money is there, “but they don’t give it to us.”
Metropolitan Bartholomew of Smyrna proposed that Leadership 100 and Faith be dissolved with the money to go to the Archdiocese. Demetrios called that proposal “logical but difficult.”
Metropolitan Arsenios of Austria wondered why his own metropolis is so poor and “yet we never arrived at the point of not being able to pay our salaries,” so how did the Archdiocese of America, “which is the most prestigious and wealthy Ecclesiastical Eparchy of the Ecumenical Throne,” end up in that situation?
Demetrios attempted to answer, but apparently no one understood what he was trying to say.
Patriarch Bartholomew then asked Demetrios if the information that the Holy Cross Theological School is in financial trouble is true. The archbishop admitted that “there is difficulty, but efforts are made to overcome it with money from the Endowment Fund,” at which point Evangelos reminded that the Fund is for a specific purpose and its use for the School’s operational expenses is prohibited.
Demetrios added that there is an issue of leadership at the School, particularly doubt about the effectiveness of Fr. Christopher Metropulos as president. He said it is necessary to support Fr. Metropulos’ continuation as president for now, and that there is a period of evaluation, which could or could not result in a search for his replacement.
Metropolitan Kirillos of Rhodes asked how under these circumstances there can be a Clergy Laity Congress convened in Boston in July, stating that there is danger that the wound will deepen and confrontations might arise. He suggested that the Congress be postponed.
Archbishop Demetrios replied that he disagrees with that assessment because recent clergy-laity congresses in metropolises went fine, and that no problems arose because the people’s questions were answered with sincerity.
I find it curious that AB Demetrios had no knowledge of the financial problems of the GOA, yet was aware of the type and quality of the marble being used in the St Nicholas Shrine. Additionally, AB Demetrios seems to be acutely aware of the financial situation at Holy Cross.
Talking about finances and accountability, I always wonder how is the financial condition of the Patriarchate, where and how they get their money, etc., and most importantly, how is the money spent; the Archdiocese Yearbook lists a plethora of committies of the patriarchate, but we have never seen an audited report on their resources. One wonders, how do so many bishops, metropolitans, etc., survive in Istanbul. Anybody knows?