Archdiocese to Receive $10 Million Loan

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. (Photo by TNH/Costas Bej)

BOSTON, MA – The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America will take a $10 million loan, with its headquarters – the two buildings located at 8-10 East 79th Street in New York City as collateral – as was announced during the meeting at the Boston Metropolis on March 1.

The meeting was called by Metropolitan Methodios in hope of providing some explanation,  because there is a high degree of disappointment and mistrust in Boston after the astonishing revelations made by The National Herald about the dire situation of the finances in which the Archdiocese found itself.

It was initially announced that George Tsandikos, Vice Chairman of the Archdiocesan Council, was scheduled to travel to Boston to conduct the meeting, but he canceled at the last minute, citing an emergency. Instead Rev. Soterios Baroody, CFO of the Archdiocese, Catherine Boufides-Walsh, its general counsel, attended in his stead.

Regarding the loan, Baroody initially hesitated to respond, saying he didn’t know how much the loan would be and from which bank. Walsh clarified the amount and that the two buildings would serve as collateral, but also stated she didn’t know which bank would be the lender or what the interest rate would be.

Methodios, a member of the Holy Eparchial Synod who is first in rank after Archbishop Demetrios, presided and offered an opening prayer. Attending were priests, parish council presidents and members, and Philoptochos members.

Baroody reportedly said “the Archdiocese is not as you know it,” referring to instances when the organization did not have funds even to issue a $100 check or mail letters.

It is reminded here that the Herald had revealed that UPS and Federal Express refused the Archdiocese’s credit and would provide services only upon cash on delivery.

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. (Photo by TNH/Costas Bej)

Reportedly, Walsh made an indirect reference to ousted former Executive Director Jerry Dimitriou, stating there was only one person responsible for the finances, the budget, the payroll, and accounts payable.

Also discussed was rampant use of credit cards and mobile phones with no checks on expenses. The attendees remained speechless, and after the meeting acknowledged to one another these revelations made public by the Herald.

Walsh said that measures have now been taken, “we have established systems and internal controls.”

It also became known at the meeting that the audit of the Archdiocese was conventional, not forensic. Only the audit regarding the St. Nicholas National Shrine is forensic. It was said money from the St. Nicholas restricted accounts was transferred to the Archdiocese’s operating accounts to cover expenses, though Baroody and Walsh did not indicate how much.

Baroody added that the Archdiocese sent its allocation to the Ecumenical Patriarchate as well as to the Holy Cross Theological School.

Fr. Peter Giannakopoulos, presiding priest at St. George in Hyannis Cape Cod spoke extensively and to the point about the financial situation, especially about the issue of the Clergy Pension Fund telling Baroody that the Archdiocese had not put $654,000 into the fund. Baroody disputed the amount, saying it would be best to wait until the audit is over to see if the amounts are congruent, but Giannakopoulos said he [Baroody] knows what is going on because he worked as a comptroller.

Also, mention was reportedly made of a 30 percent reduction in Archdiocesan staff, and it was emphasized that the Metropolis wanted a Clergy-Laity Congress in Boston ti inform the people that “we have put in place order, process, and internal controls.”

On request of anonymity for the time being, numerous attendees told TNH that “the situation is much worse than you have written. The Archdiocesan representatives didn’t give us detailed reports with numbers, but only assurances that they have instituted regulations for the finances. Nothing substantial was achieved at this meeting; we wasted our time.

11 Comments

  1. How does incorporating a 10 million dollar loan (assuming it has to be paid back) into the debt ladened eco-system of the Archdiocese help with restructuring for the future?

  2. The recent January-February issue of the Orthodox Observer had proclaimed “financial stability” in an excruciatingly long article, but had avoided giving any figures. That article did not specify that any of the Archdiocese properties would be mortgaged.

  3. They will not provide figures because they want us all to be dissolutioned so they can proclaim they have turned everything around and make themselves look like they “fixed” things.
    When in fact they are realizing the old regime was right and their figures accurate.

    So what do they do, they leak stories with inaccurate info to make us panic, they fire people, they point fingers at people who they are threatened by, who worked hard, who told the truth and knows more then they do; all to make themselves look as if they are making things right.
    We are all volunteers and all have a voice in our church. Let’s use it now before this executive board destroys our church more than they already have.

  4. New day, same old crap. No transparency, no accountability, no explanations. Just platitudes about the ship being righted, when it is still sinking.

    And now the hierarchs have stooped so low as to raid the annual contribution to the priests’ retirement fund.

    The rot just spreads and literally nothing of any substance is being done to turn things around. All the hierarchs should resign in shame and disgrace.

  5. What about them recently raiding and with full approval of the bishop, cfo and executive board the St. Michaels fund, Camp St. Paul fund and the Taylor Scholarhsip fund. This was raided / borrowed with the new regime the new transparency policy and the new way the ex board works. Why isn’t this questioned? Are people so afraid of the new spokesman and his money? Lies and lies no matter if you are wealthy or not.

  6. Okay, all of it is true and it’s worse than anyone will ever know. Everything has been embezzled. Add the deeply embedded sexual deviancies at every level, declining membership and attendance, emphasis on saving Greece not us, and a big boss who lives, works, and is managed by the Islamic Republic of Turkey—and what do get? ZERO. It’s time to break ranks and head off into the woods. Maybe a few churches can survive on their own that way. The archeologists 500 years from now will have an interesting story.

  7. Spyridon and Passias drove out Fr Eliades so they could raid the pansion fund. It has not been solvent since then.

  8. Once again thank you to the National Herald and it’s Publisher, because without Mr. Kalmoukos and this Newspaper we would only have “fake news” as it concerns our Church. The revelations about Mr. Vourvoulias (made many months ago) and this prior unknown loan are evidence enough of why the Church is dying. Yet the same people that brought this mess to all of us are now driving around the Metropolis of Chicago requesting large checks to present to the new Metropolitan elect.

    It seems that nothing is changing! We are treated as if we are all brain dead. Below is an excerpt from an interview with Michael Psaros about the economic state of the Church:

    “TNH: What is the financial condition of the Archdiocese today?

    PSAROS: By the Grace of God, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (the “Archdiocese”) announced, pursuant to a press release dated January 26, 2018, that it completed an ambitious restructuring process that greatly advanced the financial stability of the Archdiocese.”

    Really Mr. Psaros do you value the appearance of normalcy more than full and complete disclosure? Is there no amount of truth and fidelity that is warranted in your relationship with our damaged Laity? How long have plans been in motion to mortgage our properties? Personal I understand why most people are leaving our Faith. The custodians of our Faith see their role as one that requires a “code of silence”. Don’t worry “our Laity is too stupid to wake up”. All of the courtiers should be ashamed of yourselves. You are indeed killing our Church.
    Is there not one of you who will break rank and speak the truth? We should no longer call ourselves a Christ Centered Faith, we are quickly descending into a Hierarch or Ephraim worshipping cult.

  9. No Hierarch can plead ignorance let alone this new administration. They know the truth, they know the history, they know this is a witch hunt and farce.

    Why won’t they allow the former director to speak? Didn’t his letter state he is willing to address all questions, etc? Why won’t they address the former finance chairman? Why won’t this new administration? Because they don’t want to know facts. They all caused this. You cannot distort the truth and wear a collar!

    You cannot serve on the executive board and select “targets” and set out to ruin people’s lives and reputation to stroke egos.

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