Michael Psaros in the Process of Transforming the Greek Orthodox Church in America

Michael Psaros speaks at the official dinner of the Association of Greek-American Bankers who chose him as Person of the Year in 2014

NEW YORK – Michael Psaros, a prominent businessman with expertise in how to rehabilitate troubled organizations is in the process of transforming the Greek Orthodox Church in America, whose dire financial situation brought it to the brink of bankruptcy.

With his keen acumen, he spotted the numerous flaws in the Archdiocese’s managerial infrastructure, including a virtual absence of internal controls.

As Archdiocesan Council Treasurer and a man of deep faith and great love for the Church and the Greek-American community, he alerted …

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  1. Transparency and accountability in the governance of the Archdiocese requires more than speeches, press releases and promises. The changes that are needed are systemic and notional. The Clergy-Laity Congress must be held on a College Campus, or Conference Center, not an expensive venue with banquets, black-tie dinners and social distractions. No speeches by Greek, Cypriot and American politicians. No speeches by Church representatives from abroad. No exhibition hall for vendors. All workshops, seminars and bible studies will be done at Metropolis Assemblies rather than the National Congress. Only two committees should attend: the Congress: the Administration and Finance Committees.

    Parishes must be invited to submit items for the agenda without imposing obstacles (Parish Assembly and Metropolis Assembly approvals). Delegates must receive all materials well in advance of arrival, not when they register and are handed a book with no time to study the budget or other proposals they are expected to consider and approve.

    The Charter and the Regulations have to be changed the restore the voice and authority of the laity in governance. The lay leadership must be elected rather than appointed and should understand that they have a fiduciary responsibility to the entire membership of the Church, not to the clergy who appoint them. The clergy must understand their roles as “Teachers and Preachers” rather than arbitrary and capricious despots in control of every aspect of the administration of the Church. The Sydiakonia (co-ministry) that permitted the Church to be established and to grow in the US must be restored.

    If these measures are not implemented before the upcoming Congress, we can expect “more of the same” and the decline in membership and confidence will continue. The organizers of the Congress must understand that it is not intended to “promote Orthodoxy and Hellenism”, as one previous Congress Chairmen once declared. It will either be a working Congress or another wasteful spectacle. We do not need more “bread and circuses.”

    “You will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:15-20.

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