Letter to the Editor: This is Our Church, Let Us Demand Transparency

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

Τo the Editor:

We appreciate the attention Theodore Kalmoukos gives to the affairs of our Archdiocese, including Hellenic College-Holy Cross (HCHC) Seminary and other entities, apparentlythe only person who keeps abreast of the failings thereof.

In response to “Hellenic College-Holy Cross at the Edge of the Cliff” (Jun. 7, online), this is disgraceful, just as the condition of our Archdiocese is disgraceful. What is the matter with our “leadership”? Is there no one who will take on thebusiness of our institutions with honesty, humility, dedication, and positive creativity?

I blame us, the laity, in large part, as we do not demand accountability,which should be done in an orderly, transparent, timely manner. This isn’t the corner grocery store or family restaurant. It is our church. Our Archdiocese. Our educational institutions.

It equates to big business that requires schedules, accounting spreadsheets, time management,fundraising, every detail of every negotiation accounted for and for public surveillance on demand at any time. We, the laity, should be concerned that ourentities are operating smoothly; that we can depend on our leadership doing the right thing, but we need to pay attention and be informed.

What more can I say? This is disastrous! Mr. Kalmoukos has written about these issues repeatedly, but we haven’t moved toward the transparency to which we areentitled, and here we are! Shame on us!

Jeanette Rigopoulos

La Mesa, CA


  1. Jeanette thank you for your Letter to the Editor, you are correct much of the blame lays with our Laity. But let me single out which members of our Laity have the responsibility to protect the rest of us. It is the sycophants and courtiers that reside on the Metropolis and Archdiocesan Councils. They have one thing in common, silence in the face of responsibility, obligation and fiduciary duty (here not legal duty but an ethical relationship to the rest of us) . These people are more concerned with having a social relationship with the Hierarchy then protecting the Church. Meanwhile we (according to the Pew Research Institute) have lost 47% of all those Adults born and baptized in our Church.
    The sycophants and courtiers have proven that sitting at the table adding zero value to protecting the Church is the order of the day. The Greek Orthodox Church in America is dying because the Laity defers to the flawed and misguided judgment of the Hierarchy. The Ecumenical Patriarch has used his authority to “castrate” all of us by changing the charter and creating fiefdoms dominated by power drunk Metropolitans. Most of my friends and Koumbari have left the Church. No one trusts the Church, why would they? The leaders fess up to nothing they have done wrong. I will tell you one area where we now lead every other organized religion in North America….sweeping our failures, scandals, improprieties misconduct and yes…immoral behavior under the rug. Can one of our readers please tell me where I can find the following:
    1. The forensic audit of former priest and video star George Passias parish Saint Spyridon?
    2. How about the Monastery Task Force, later known as the Monastery Review Committee reports?
    3. The publication of the audit results of the alleged $900,000.00 “reimbursement” to George Vourvoulias our former Archdiocese Finance Chairman?
    4. The disclosure that others in our Laity received “reimbursements” to serve in voluntary roles?
    I could go on forever, but what is the point? The Hierarchs see all of us as fools. Strangely enough, here I agree with them.

    1. Basil your comments are right on the money. We have scandal after scandal, each one followed by a new promise of accountability and transparency. And nothing changes. The scandals keep on coming.

      I agree the root at the problem falls directly at the feet of the Ecumenical Patriarch. He created a system where no one would ever have to be accountable in order to keep his hooks on the gravy train known as the GOA. That’s how we get bishops like Evangelos. Highest and best use is inserting his nose in the patriarch’s behind. The brown Bosse in chief.

      Until things change dramatically in the GOA, I have found much worthier recipients for my charitable donations.

    2. Michael thank you. The vast majority of my friends and family have left the Greek Orthodox Church. The ones who have stayed only view it as a transactional religion. In my Metropolis our biggest problem are people who follow the “theology” of Elder Ephram. These people are judgmental and could care less about their own Parishes. These hardcore adherents prefer to give their financial support to monasteries under his spiritual control. They view the Parish as a place where they go for weddings. They try to have every sacrament they can at the monastery. No one has ever studied how much money is leaving the Greek Orthodox Church and going straight to these monasteries. Between a loss of confidence in the Archdiocese, and the Metropolises, as well of these monasteries, it is a recipe for extinction.

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