Archdiocesan Meeting Focuses on Finances, St. Nicholas, Theology School, Pensions

Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh is speaking at the Archdiocesan Council. (Press Office/Stavros Papagermanos pressoffice@goarch.org)

PITTSBURGH, PA – The Archdiocesan Council meeting May 3-4 in Pittsburgh, PA, presided by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, focused on the Archdiocese’s finances, the St. Nicholas National Shrine, the Holy Cross Theological School, clergy pensions, and other administrative matters.

PENSIONS

As The National Herald has reported, clergy pensions continue to be a problem because the Archdiocese failed to contribute the required amounts into the fund.

The Clergy Pension fund chairman, Fr. Konstantinos Pavlakos of the St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church in Falls Church, VA, raised the issue one more time. Archdiocesan officials acknowledged that “what has happened never should have happened” with the pension plan, “but we are obligated by law to first pay $3.7 to St. Nicholas. We have already returned $1 million and have $2.7 million remaining.

Meanwhile, there isn’t even agreement on how much the pension fund is owed: differing accounts identify the shortage as $850,000 or $650,000, and the Archdiocese says “first we have to find out the exact amount, and then the Archdiocese will put it in.”

Fr. Pavlakos asked what would happen to the interest that was never paid into the fund, to which Archdiocesan officials responded that after examining the entire matter, whatever hasn’t been paid, the Archdiocese would pay. “We have already deposited a couple of hundred thousand dollars, but that is not enough. We have to put in whatever is owed.”

Those same officials said the Archdiocese has a $1 million insurance coverage against embezzlement, but the policy cannot be paid out regarding the pension fund shortfall unless embezzlement is established.

It was also discussed, as TNH reported in October, there is a box at the Archdiocese filled with envelopes containing issued pension checks that have not been mailed due to a lack of funds.

PITTSBURGH – The Archdiocesan Council of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America held its regularly scheduled spring meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 3-4, 2018, under the chairmanship of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America.
Press Office/Stavros Papagermanos pressoffice@goarch.org

There was also discussion regarding the metropolises; namely, that they too should be subject to financial audits and regulations of internal controls, as should any entity that receives funds from the Archdiocese.

The Archdiocese has acknowledged that due to its financial situation, it had no choice but to apply for a bank loan, using as collateral its New York city headquarters buildings.
Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh announced that the 2020 Clergy Laity Congress would be convened in Pittsburgh.

ST. NICHOLAS

An extensive discussion took place regarding the St. Nicholas National Shrine, and the Archdiocese issued the following press release accordingly:

“On May 4, 2018, Elaine Allen, Chairman of the Standing Audit Committee of the Archdiocesan Council, of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, announced the substantial completion of Phase 1 of the St. Nicholas Special Investigative Committee’ s (SIC) investigation into the management and finances of the St. Nicholas Church and National Shrine project. The SIC has received PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) Phase 1 draft report and is expected to announce its findings to the Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council imminently.
“Among key findings from Phase 1, the amount owed by the Archdiocese to St. Nicholas has been confirmed to be less than $3.7 million, with the exact dollar figure to be finalized in the coming weeks. Moreover, the review found that all other monies raised to fund the St. Nicholas project are accounted for, and that the expenditure of these funds was consistent with donor restrictions.

“As a result of the aggressive financial restructuring efforts undertaken by the Archdiocese over the last year, led by Treasurer Mike Psaros, the Archdiocese has already repaid $1million of the pending total amount it owes to St. Nicholas, and will voluntarily pay interest on the full amount owed to the project. The Archdiocese will also make a voluntary contribution of $670,000 to St. Nicholas. This amount represents the full amount of unrestricted investment returns generated on donations from 2001 – 2012.

“Finally, Ms. Allen announced that the Archdiocese will repay its debt to St. Nicholas with interest. The amount of the interest payment will be confirmed following the SIC’s completion of the findings report, which will include the finalized amount owed by the Archdiocese to St. Nicholas.

“Phase 2 of the SIC’s investigation is also being conducted by PwC. The work is ongoing and includes a review of the St. Nicholas project’s baseline costs and cost increases, a review of design changes, and an analysis of vendor payments with the goal of identifying potential non-disclosed relationships between the St. Nicholas project management team and vendors paid with St. Nicholas funds. The SIC’s findings report is expected to complete within one month.

“Immediately following the completion of Phase 2, Phase 3 of the SIC’s investigation will begin. It will largely be a project management and design exercise intended to finalize construction plans, costs, and a revised timeline for completion of the project.
The SIC is committed to completing its comprehensive and exhaustive investigation into mismanagement allegations around the St. Nicholas project, and to addressing all issues potentially raised in this investigation before construction proceeds.

“The St. Nicholas Church will be a sacred space with its doors open to all. As a National Shrine on hallowed ground, it will stand in memorial to the lives lost on September 11, 2001, as a symbol of reconciliation, and as a spiritual beacon of hope and for generations to come. The Archdiocese remains committed to the completion of this deeply meaningful landmark and spiritual capstone to the World Trade Center site redevelopment effort.”
Archdiocesan Chancellor Bishop Andonios of Phasiane referred to the letter of the MG McGrath Company that TNH recently revealed, admitting that the Archdiocese has not paid that company as part of the construction of St. Nicholas, and that he met with McGrath officials a week earlier and they required $1.4 million in advance.

HOLY CROSS

It was revealed that the Archdiocese has not sent any money to the School of Theology for over a year now, to which Archbishop Demetrios replied he had no knowledge until he found out about it at a School meeting a week earlier. The School’s president, Fr. Christopher Metropulos, said he does not have the necessary funds to operate the School. Archdiocesan officials said the School is a separate entity with its own tax ID number. Fr. Metropulos said: “why do you say everything is going well when I don’t have money to operate the School?” Fr. John Magoulias also spoke in favor of the School.

Some relatively new officials said they could not imagine the Archdiocese’s state of disarray.

Metropolitans Gerasimos of San Francisco, Evangelos of New Jersey, Isaiah of Denver, and Alexios of Atlanta did not attend the meeting.

11 Comments

  1. The details are even worse than we thought. The Archdiocese is not mailing our retired priests their pension checks because our money has been looted, but the Metropolitans still fly regularly to Greece and Turkey first class and Evangelos is still chauffeured into his Metropolis every day because he prefers to live in Manhattan than with his flock.

    The Archdiocese is not sending funds to run our only seminary. Funds from Saint Nicholas have been stolen. Where are the apologies? Where are the firings? Where are the criminal indictments?

    The big cover up is on. We are being told to please move along, nothing to see here. Everything is okay.

    The people running the Archdiocese today are clueless. It starts at the top with the Archbishop who I believe to be pious but who was in over his head from day one.

    The GOA has seen its last penny from us until real reforms are implemented and the thieves who stole or misused our money are taken out in handcuffs. Until then it is all a show. A big Ponzi scheme trying to hold on just a bit longer.

  2. The money has been moved to the Archons, AHEPA and L100 to avoid pederasty lawsuits. It is the same tactic that was used to keep Lenin from selling off our churches because they had received money from the Czars. But Lenin was able to sell all ten seminaries. AHEPA and GOA were both founded in 1922, the year Lenin won his civil war, in which Greece and the League of Nations had sent troops to support the Whites against the Reds. The first Greek churches were built by Benakis at New Orleans and Mobile, Franco-Spanish slave ports for Greek ships under other flags. The word Ku Klux Klan comes from the Greek Kuklos or Cyclos. The south was the source of modern fraternities and neoclassical architecture, which emulated the Greeks while the north emulated Rome and Harvard degrees are still in Latin. Greeks preferred to live in the south and Jefferson learned Greek from a Greek named John Paradise, the first naturalized American As can be seen in Kourides centennial history of the NYC Cathedral, some ghetto churches in major cities had already been organized as private chapels of Masonic Athena Brotherhoods which became the model for AHEPA. Further proof of the lie of the AHEPA KKK canard is that most incidents against Greeks took place in Northern areas like Wisconsin settled mostly by central Europeans who saw the Greeks as extensions of their Russian 1848 oppressors. Kourides wrote that New York State had a law chartering that all Orthodox churches belonged to Moscow, making the Athena Brotherhood necessary.

  3. Ethnikos Kirikas has its work cut out for it. O Kirikas may be the only organization I trust to unearth all the facts surrounding these multiple, yet likely intertwined scandals. Publisher Diamantaris and his staff will surely get to the bottom of matters – we as a community have too long “circled the wagons” when confronted with such scandals. Some criminal indictments may be in the offing – those convicted of criminal wrong doing will surely have earned it. With some additional sleuthing, Diamantaris could reap what he will deserve – a Pulitizer Prize for his staff. What a great way for him to cap a great career as publisher.

  4. Clueless, oblivious, of course. The Orthodox faith imparts an Aspergian masochism that leaves its leaders beyond reason. Ακατανόητος λαός, χαμένος παντος! Castlereagh and Wellington were appalled how unrealistic the Czar was in trying to forge a Holy Alliance in 1815 just as Merkel felt Putin was out of touch with reality in 2014. Indeed Brenda Connors of the US Naval War College concluded in 2008 and 2011 that Putin suffers from Aspergers. USAF General Tatsios wrote the same about Greek leaders of 1866-97 (p. 146, Columbia, 1984). This is a natural consequence of the slave soul of Orthodoxy described by Rancour-Laferriere (NYU, 1995) not to mention the hallucinatory hyperventilation of the Philocalia which brought down Byzantium. The reason the dummy bunches of goats so seek quietude of hesticlasm and are unable to deal with the multitasking complexities of modern life is they are nursing hangovers. That is why they get so upset when your kids fact check them on smart phones as they squawk. Ochrafuxy is a psychiatric diesease, not a religion!

  5. There will be no justice. Transparency is an illusion controlled by the corrupt. What we will witness, yet AGAIN, is the “Byzantine Shuffle”. Here’s how it goes: first, shock, astonishment and disbelief, quickly followed by blame laid on a few ‘innocents’, then outrage and anger ‘fueling’ a “completely impartial” audit (fully controlled and paid for by those being investigated) which gets conveniently ‘directed’ away from any blatant criminal or civilly $$$ damaging activity (especially against any cleric), then it’s simple – delay, delay, delay, delay, delay till we are guilted into believing we should care more about the ‘reputation’ of our Religion and moving forward than seeking justice and imposing CONSEQUENCES – the thing that got us here in the first place. So let history repeat itself… or… Prove Me Wrong!

    1. Why is this new spokesman for the archdiocese allowed to speak when he continuously provides inaccurate information. He along with the CFO are the reason the GOA are in this crisis mode. Intentionally, not paying invoices and intentionally pointing the fingers to others. When in fact, time and time again, his accusations have been proven wrong. This next attempt to further destroy the GOA structure will also be proven wrong. Why, because there is NO theft and there is NO embezzlement (which is his new buzz word).
      How will the Clergy Laity delegates address all these false accusations and the false financials? Will they be intimidated by the new administration or will they rise and ask the questions they did during all other Clergy Laity conferences?
      We all deserve the truth. Not the truth being spun by the newest Napoleon.

  6. There will never be “true accountability” or an admittance of wrong-doing.
    On any given Sunday there are 160,000 Greek Orthodox christians attending church in the United States. That number would be cut in half if the Greek Orthodox faithful knew the truth.

  7. Indeed, 160,000. Not a million or five million. The best and brightest have already left. All we have is the clueless oblivious fools living in yiayialand.

    1. This is what happens when a church is allowed to become an extension of the Greek foreign ministry. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ takes second place to Greekness. Every manner of hidden evil, greed and perversion is allowed as long as pretty pictures are made to support the Mother country.

      I love my Greekness, but I want a church that puts God first, second, third and so in. In such a church, fat, lazy, vain and petty bishops like Methodios and Evangelos would not be allowed to wear crowns and sit in thrones for very long.

  8. When Zombillas was Chancellor he resided in the soviet Rellim Kenilworth compound recently closed by Obama.

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