Those spellbinding and fascinating “scenes of infinite beauty” that were presented at the recent Leadership 100 Conference in Florida as revealed by The National Herald belong in the category of tragicomic theater – or perhaps, children’s stories.
The protagonists were George Tsandikos, Vice Chairman of the Archdiocesan Council and former Chairman of Leadership 100, and businessman John Payiavlas, a member of the Archdiocesan Council and also Chairman Emeritus of Leadership 100.
Their behavior was completely unbecoming of churchmen and officials of the Archdiocese and Leadership 100, which is supposedly a serious and eminent organization.
The incident was at the very least, informative as it verified the mentality of animosity that exists among the different cliques and groups at the Archdiocese and Leadership 100 and which has reached the level of hatred.
Who could rule out the possibility that worse things might happen, even the use of physical force against each other? There is a sociological rule of thumb that where dialogue stops, war begins.
Archbishop Demetrios of America was observing the “verbal fight”, tragically speechless and embarrassed. What can someone say? It was another loud and painfully evident example of lack of leadership. Many noted that if Archbishop Iakovos were still in charge the two protagonists of that tragicomedy would never have dared to behave the way they did.
Let us not kid ourselves. Those scenes of infinite beauty revealed many things. That behavior and level of “maturity” speaks very loudly about certain persons and sacred organizations.
Unquestionably the most serious and pressing issue is the Holy Cross School of Theology. I am of the opinion that it is more serious than the unfinished nave of St. Nicholas in Manhattan, although the latter continues to be an embarrassment to our Church and the Greek-American Community. It is yet another manifestation of the incompetence of the official leadership of the Archdiocese, that is to say, the Archbishop, the so called Eparchial Synod, and certainly the Archdiocesan Council.
It is admitted by all sides that appointing Fr. Chris Metropulos as President of Hellenic College and Holy Cross School of Theology was a mistake from the onset. There were 41 candidates but for some reason Fr. Metropulos was “drafted”. He may have done good work in his parishes, but the Theological School is something else. His predecessor Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou wasn’t on a higher level, just to be fair.
When Fr. Metropulos claims that he inherited the problems from Fr. Triantafilou he might have a valid point to a certain extent. Of course, then as now the Archbishop was and the chairman of the Board of Trustees and Thomas Lelon, Fr. Mitropoulos’ koumbaro, was the Vice Chairman.
One more thing. Four years have passed since Fr. Metropulos assumed the presidency. He should have done something about the mess or just gone public and informed the Community about what he had inherited.
Now everybody say he has to go: The Archbishop, the metropolitans, and many trustees. What is really unbelievable is that some metropolitans even recommended that Metropolitan Methodios of Boston should take over the School. What a joke!
It is important to note that because Demetrios is at the end of his tenure as Archbishop and his departure is imminent, the proper thing is for Holy Cross not to be shackled with new appointments at this time. The new archbishop should demand the resignations of everyone at the School, clergy and laity alike. A total cleansing must be done and all the cliques should be dissolved and their members sent home.
The School of Theology should be raised to the highest level, rediscovering its mission, which is the education and formation of Greek Orthodox priests with ethos, dedication, and a spirit of service and sacrifice, not the production religious clerks who mostly care about their salaries and benefits.
The new archbishop should make a new beginning at the Archdiocese, the Metropolis of Boston and other problematic metropolises, and certainly the Theological School. Otherwise the current stagnation will lead to certain self-destruction.