Letter to the Editor: On Archbishop Demetrios

Archbishop Demetrios of America. (Photo by Bill Petros)

To the Editor,

There is a majority of us who have had enough of your baseless witch hunt of his Eminence Archbishop Demetrios. This picture you so loosely painted of irresponsible squander and frivolous spending, as if members of the Archdiocese are washing down lobster and caviar with draughts of champagne, while dancing girls dangle grapes to their mouths as they lay on the divan, is unfounded. All that second and third hand [“from good source”] information is nothing but rag fodder.

Those in the know understand that a significant amount of funds have been spent on legal defense and settlements. A price that is paid for operating in an accelerated litigious society. One of which an Orthodox church was never devised to deal with. It is obvious that his Eminence has chosen a defense of silence, to safeguard the church in these matters against its enemies. Of which whom, you may be standing in line with.

He has led the GOA with a far more spiritual pathos, than a capitalistic CEO. For this he may be legitimately faulted. To his merit.

Be careful whom you ally with. They are a minority.

Peter Misthos

San Francisco, CA

21 Comments

  1. I have been reading The National Herald online and posting comments here for about a two months now. What I have noticed among so many of those who comment is a strong hatred for the Greek Orthodox Church. They seem to be eager to seize on the Archdiocese financial situation not out of a genuine desire to get it stabilized and to carefully sort out the facts but as a further justification for the ultimate extinction of our Archdiocese. Some of the commenters may have gone Protestant, although I suspect a far larger number of them are no longer participating in the day-to-day parish life of any church at all.

    So sad. But think about it from the standpoint of fifty or more generations of our Greek Orthodox ancestors. Over a period of almost two thousand years they withstood the persecution of Roman pagans, of Avar, Arabic, Western European, and Turkish invasions, and, ultimately, many centuries of Turkish rule, with much harassment and persecution of Orthodox Christianity. Through it all, they kept their Orthodox Christian faith. And many of them took that faith across a wide ocean over the last 130 years as they journeyed to the United States.

    Are we here in the US to give that up now over the actions of a few people in our administration? After everything our ancestors endured for it? And after the sacrifice and miracles of Christ and the Apostles?

  2. The National Herald has been one of many bedrocks for the Greek American community for a Hundred plus years. As someone who has lived most of my life in Astoria, New York, as well as still having family in Astoria – I say “thank you” to the National Herald for your courage and love for our Greek American community. Bravo! The truth always offends people who do not possess humility.

    @Peter Misthos
    The love of church ( GOC community), the cultivation of ministries, growing healthy communities, being philanthropic, and overcoming the challenges of a changing society is part of the very fabric of the Greek American community. We are a generous and loving people! We are very trusting!! However, the misdeeds, incompetence and behavior unbecoming by our clergy in the last six years is proof that our beloved Greek Orthodox Church is ailing.
    Should the National Herald not report the corruption, meanspiritedness, and the repulsive behavior by our clergy in order not to offend your sensibilities? How can there be a cure if we do not address the sickness?

    Our Orthodox faith is the most incredible gift anyone could ever receive. And it was given to us because of the suffering-“pathos” of Jesus Christ. It came to fruition because of the love of Jesus Christ.

    #WeNeedToBeAChristCenteredChurchAgain

    1. Yes, Michael, we need to find out what has happened concerning the funds or any other wrongdoings. Perhaps some ecclesiastical retirements may even be needed. But it must be done in the spirit of continuing the Church, not junking it. Your earlier posts have been constructive–but many others on here have not been helpful at all.

      1. Candidly, I have never heard anyone suggest we should “junk” our church. Comments demanding “accountability” are indeed helpful. What is not helpful is a “circling the wagons” mentality. Bringing up depredations dating to earlier millenia does no good either. As a church, we should ask ourselves, why would a prominent Greek-American give $ 250 million to Columbia University (recently reported in the alumni magazine of my alma mater and elsewhere) rather than give it our his own community? Mr. Sakelaris, you probably don’t need to look into your heart for very long to find the answer. You know the answer. On the chance, that you might think he went over to the what some might call the “other side” – Catholicism, Protestanism, secularism, I would respectfully dissent. He likely felt that monies given to our community would be squandered. Would he be correct? I leave that to your conscience. Respectfully submitted

  3. There is an interesting letter to the Editor and the related posts. First let me say that I personally do not hate the Church. I do have the perspective that those who mismanage it, should be held to a certain standard of care. That standard of care is one that does not excuse malfeasance or neglect. What has become evident is that those who have accepted the title of “Primate” or Hierarch in our Church, should have not done so if they lacked ALL the skills required.

    To Mr. Misthos’ comment that “Those in the know understand that a significant amount of funds have been spent on legal defense and settlements”. It would take to long to discuss all the misinformation here, but let’s look at this one case. Let’s look at the case of former Rev. Nicholas Katinas. He began to molest young boys while “serving” the Assumption Parish in Olympia Fields Illinois in the 1970’s. It has been alleged that he molested more than 25 young men and boys from 1975 until he resigned on June 27, 2006.

    Just in the last 5 years of his “serve” to our Church the GOA paid over 12 million dollars in settlements. The Church could have saved at least 20 million dollars, in settlements alone had they defrock him back when the first incident was reported. That initial incident was reported by Parish Council President of the Assumption Parish in Olympia Fields, Illinois. Is that “A price that is paid for operating in an accelerated litigious society”, as Mr. Misthos would assert? We all know that leaving a pedophile Priest in place is blatant mismanagement. Today after mismanaging the Church to the verge of failure we have more and more apologists coming forward and trying to throw sand in our eyes and have us believe false claims. Why did they allow him to serve for another 30 years once they knew he was a pedophile? Was that a litigious society’s fault, or someone looking the other way? Our current Archbishop defended this man for years, why? Is it the Orthodox Christian thing to place children in harm’s way? I hope not.

    To add insult to injury we are then put in the category of, as Mr. John Sakelaris states “Some of the commenters may have gone Protestant, although I suspect a far larger number of them are no longer participating in the day-to-day parish life of any church at all.” Mr. Sakelaris I take great offense to your characterization that we who speak out when we see something wrong are “no longer participating in the day-to-day parish life”, wrong! How could you say something like that? I have been a Greek Orthodox Church Christian my whole life, go to Church, served on a Parish Council for decades and now placed in the “have gone Protestant” category to undervalue what I have to say.
    We Greek Orthodox Christians have people among us pointing us to the wrong path.

      1. Mr. Kalis

        Apparently, you, Basil 312, and TNH….are being compliant to the New Global Agenda of the right wing Secret societies of the world …whose agenda is Regime Change of any independent government of the world, not compliant to the political and economic control of a bunch of right wing Aristocrates…who have plenty of money to burn, for their interests! Apparently…. you have identified the Archbishop, as a perfect target.

        Apparently, you, Basil 312, and TNH….. use the same script of the best C.I.A and Mossad intelligence operatives who ….have overthrown the leaders of libya, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Yemen, and attempting to do in Syria, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, North Korea, and China!

        Lets see how this is done….first …. you charge the target with specific crimes against humanity, without any real evidence, which is promoted by the compliant Press in order to set up a negative perception of the Target. You then begin a campaign of misinformation or at a minimum distortions which support claims that the leader of a government is mentally retarded…and a threat to the security of the people of the United states, but in this case….the Orthodox faithful! You then represent ….that you represent the people of the country you plan to overthrow and they demand the removal of their leader! You then , lacking authorization based on facts, proceed to take matters into your own hands, and in protecting the International community and Orthodox Christians of the world …..cut off the head of the leader of the overthrown regime! The end result …like libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen etc etc….is the total destruction of the lives of the people and cultures of those countries ….you allegedly are saving! You then attempt ….to impose your puppet leaders….but discover that the people of that country….will not accept any of the planted leaders, because they know, they are merely puppet of the C.I.A! What happens…..the C.I.A refuses to leave ….let say….Afganistan, and remains for 17 years at a cost of 30 billions of dollars, and rings us a 29 trillion dollar debt of misappropriated monies from the U.S. treasury! I wonder if Mr. Kalis, Basil 312, and TNH…..have spoken up and asked for the heads of Mr. Bush, Mr. Obama, Mr. Trump? No, because, these righteous purveyors of Justice and Moral obligations….. only apply laws and rules of conduct…to those they oppose, and who are not compliant to their interests!

        Mr. Kalis is the perfect example of this…..in response to a TNH article and me which condemned Mr. Netanyahue and Israel for executing 61 Palestinian unarmed civilians and injuring about a thousand using weaponry from the United States and United Kingdom, who were protesting the continued occupation and maintanance of an “Open Air Prison” and the breaking of International laws by Israel and the United States. Mr. Kalis proceeded to respond to my call for making Mr. Netanyahue “ACCOUNTABLE” for crimes against humanity….which is now spreading in International circles…of which you will never hear from the compliant and owned media! This is his response to the attrocity of the leader of Israel …Mr. Netanyahue….

        Regrettably, it is this sort of left-wing venom that has taken Greece so low. Respectfully, try reading something from the pens of Ayn Rand and F. Hayek for a bit of balance. Good luck to you.

        Nicholas Kalis

        However, Mr. Kalis , like a true right wing ideological exceptional human being….continues his Script to demean the Archbishop…as some sort liability…when he promotes …a narrative that …. it is because of the Archbishop, as follows:

        ….
        ‘ As a church, we should ask ourselves, why would a prominent Greek-American give $ 250 million to Columbia University (recently reported in the alumni magazine of my alma mater and elsewhere) rather than give it our his own community? Mr. Sakelaris, you probably don’t need to look into your heart for very long to find the answer.’

        Let’s translate what Mr. Kalis , would like you to believe….that his Alma Mater…Columbia..which once was the mecca of radical liberal education…but has now joined the new Global order of Neo-liberalism which believes that religion should be suppressed, and the devaluation of Christian values…in order to impose their new Global plans, was the recipient of a $250 million dollars donation to Columbia University by a “Prominent Greek- American”…. that would have been given to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese if only Archbishop Demetrios was not the leader of the Church. He then insult Mr. Sakelaris, by suggesting that if he had a heart …he would agree!

        Well, Mr. Kalis…..if you would look into your heart…..and be honest…….it would tell you …that just maybe, maybe…..This “Prominent Greek-American”…. is not a supporter of any religions….maybe…he is simply an Atheist! I have a scoop for Mr. Kalis….there are many prominent Greek-American who would rather take an oath for cult secret societies and worship ……… the likes of Benjamin Nentanyahue and the families of Trump , Bush, and Clinton families who have made a mockery of Christian Values!

        However, the effectiveness of the campaign to demean …a leader…. is their ability to count on the public to not think of these reasons…and not get all the facts, and immediately remove or force the removal of their target!

        Peter Misthros. and John Sakelaris…. have it right! let’s get all the facts….with the only issue being …did Archbishop Demetrios knowingly….misappropriated funds of the Archdiocese, which did not support his responsibilities to promote and secure the values of the Greek Orthodox church and our lord, but only resulted in increasing his own personal value! If not, move on to the accountants, tresurers, and anybody in the archdiocese who failed to do their job! Don’t expect a 90 year old spiritual leader… to take the fall! If you don’t have a appropriate financial department ….then get one, and let the leader of the church ….do his job…which , only experience can not be measured in dollars, and which is hard to replace!

        The regime changes we have witnessed in the Middle East…..based on false Narratives, and distortions….have resulted in the total destruction of libya, Iraq, Yemen, and possibly Syria….in which the lives of millions of people have been utterly destroyed, and their cultures erased….should be more than enough evidence….to make sure ….as Mr. Sakelaris has correctly stated on other occasions…..that even the best of intentions and plans….can make things a lot worse!

        Apologist for murderers and war criminals …..certainly have no legitimacy in suggesting their form of justice for the leader of the Orthodox Church….who has proven over a life time ….that he is only guilty of promoting the values of our lord….which obligate me to oppose and make accountable …degenerates like Benjamin Nentayahue, Donald Trump and the rest of the degerates who lead our countries! That is the gift of our faith….its called a moral concious…and has been stripped by the Alumni of the likes of Columbia University.

        Michael Gianakos

      2. Michael Gianakos congratulations! I have never read something that attempted to conflate so many conspiracy theories together to damage logical cohesive arguments. Here is some of what you “used” to attempt to sully the arguments of those who expect accountability in our Church:
        1. We “are being compliant to the New Global Agenda of the right wing Secret societies of the world”
        2. We have “have identified the Archbishop, as a perfect target.”
        3. We “use the same script of the best C.I.A and Mossad intelligence operatives who….”
        4. We have used “specific crimes against humanity, without any real evidence, which is promoted by the compliant Press in order to set up a negative perception of the Target.”
        5. We have “begin a campaign of misinformation or at a minimum distortions which support claims that the leader of a government is mentally retarded…and a threat to the security of the people of the United states, but in this case….the Orthodox faithful!”
        6. Then we apparently used “Regrettably, it is this sort of left-wing venom that has taken Greece so low.” Interesting how we use both left wing and right wing methods!
        7. Here is my personal favorite “Apologist for murderers and war criminals …..certainly have no legitimacy in suggesting their form of justice for the leader of the Orthodox Church….who has proven over a life time ….that he is only guilty of promoting the values of our lord….which obligate me to oppose and make accountable …degenerates like Benjamin Nentayahue [sic], Donald Trump and the rest of the degerates [sic] who lead our countries! That is the gift of our faith….its called a moral concious…[sic] and has been stripped by the Alumni of the likes of Columbia University.”

        If your goal was to make illogical assumptions about me and the others who simply expect our Church to have the same standard of care and best business practices as other institutions, and do so by confusing people, congratulations, job well done.

  4. You can’t turn a blind eye and hide behind the apron strings of an invisible god. It’s as simple as that. When you run a spiritual business and have to deal with financial business, like it or not, you have to run a tight ship. The captain goes doen with his ship with dignity. He doesn’t jump ship and let everywhere’s else drown. Not sure who was captain here. But someone has failed to take accountability. Not sure who that is, but if Christ died for our sins, then someone has to be the better and true ”Christian” here.

  5. And whether or not the archbishop is to blame, that’s irrelevant at this point. The honorable thing to do is to stand up and say I let others run the shoe and I failed to run a tight ship. Ultimately and unfortunately the weaker person, perhaps the middle man, always gets the blame. In the archbishop’s defense he may have been stuck in the middle of something way over his spiritual head, but it’s nit a mans begunjing that we all remember, surely it ya his end. A graceful and courageous exit with full accountability for being a man of the cloth and of god, and not wanting to be abreast of financial issues that he trusted others to handle would have been a much more respectable admission of human flaw and would have served as a much better example of Christian leadership. It’s that simple folks. As a leader he has the responsibility to carry the cross of Christ amidst a crisis.

    1. Well said. This bishops run the archdiocese and the metropolises with iron fists and God help anyone who challenges them. And then they wonder why We the People who fund all this demand accountability from them.

      The days of Byzantine despots is over.

      I personally believe Archbishop Demetrios is a good man who got in way over his head and has no idea what has been going on around him on non-spiritual matters. I cannot be do charitable about the other bishops, many of whom are venal petty greedy men.

      But the Archbishop should follow the example of the great Saint and Prophet Moses and acknowledge the serious damage his personal shortcomings have caused. We need a new leader to take us to the promised land. I do not believe it can be Demetrios or anyone else currently wearing a mitre.

  6. If there was accountability and transparency in the archdiocese the donations would be larger and more frequent. The Archbishop is a great man much better than his bishops. The church needs accountants and a management team that answers directly to the laity. The bishops should have no say with fianaces and should be given an allowance and an apartment in their respective diocese among their flock.

    1. You put your finger on the problem! The Archbishop is a good man who should have good bishops around him as his left and right hands. Truthfully, does anyone trust our bishops further than you can pick them up and throw them?

  7. Wow, this letter and my earlier comment really sparked a response. However, although some may not have liked my characterization about comments becoming anti-Orthodox, the facts is that the various subsequent responses really did not cross that line. So that is good. We will need to get more information about what has happened and perhaps see some resignations or retirements, but our Church will go on.

    1. @John
      “but our Church will go on” which church are you referring to?
      The true church is in our hearts – that is where the love of Jesus Christ resides. An extension of the church in our hearts – is in our homes with our families.

      The local community church which I assume is what you are referring to will go on if we incorporate the many aspects of our Orthodox faith in our daily lives first – follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Otherwise the local church on Sunday becomes a glorified community center. A place to socialize and see friends.

      It takes men and women of faith to maintain and grow a local church. It takes diakonia and love for the community. It requires heavy lifting. And unfortunately it requires money which is the issue at hand for the GOC. Where is the money going to come from in the future? Since moving to Connecticut over a decade ago, The amount of families in the church that I have been attending has been reduced by at least thirty percent. One of the reasons – the ministries of the parish are disappearing.
      How will the church go on if people are not attending – engaging in the faith, creating ministries and being philanthropic?

  8. Is that the same Peter Misthos whose father brought down Fr Volaitis, begining the vile witch hunt against Tassop, Volaitis and Iakovos that destroyed our churches and drove away our best and brightest? What was the result? Cake fart removed the plaques just as his cubaro did this year in order to make false monuments to their twaddling.

  9. To Mr. Sakelaris and Mr. MIsthos

    I fully support your genuine positions, and find interesting, that those who condemn the destabilization of the church in another witch hunt of previous leadership of the archdiocese, now support apparently, those who are now leading a vigilante group to remove the current leader of the Orthodox Church!

    Please refer to my response ….to Mr. Kalis…

    Michael Gianakos

    .

  10. Good God Almighty, there are some really sick people who read this newspaper and comment, isn’t there? Lots and lots of therapy is needed here.

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