Analysis: The Drama of the School of Theology

FILE - Rev. Christopher Metropulos with His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios Geron of America at Fr. Metropulos’ installment as HCHC President. (Photo: TNH Archives/Theodore Kalmoukos)

The climax of the drama of Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology was believed imminent, but nobody expected it to happen two days before the start of Holy Week. More than a year had passed since Archbishop Demetrios began to exercise his favorite tactic – delaying – in dealing with the problems of the School through procrastination, the way he has handled all the issues and problems the Archdiocese has faced during his twenty-year tenure as Archbishop of America.

He allowed the School to rot despite the many warnings and cries by the trustees and the faculty, ignoring the resignation of both Deans, the concerns of the students, some members of the Eparchial Synod, and even Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

The Archbishop chose the holiest week of the year to dismiss Fr. Metropulos. Not only that, but he also prohibited Fr. Metropulos from setting foot on the School’s campus to participate in Holy Week services at Holy Cross chapel.

Why were all these things happening during the sacred days of Holy Week? What is going on? Are there such serious academic, administrative, and financial problems that the Archbishop was forced to make this impious and rude decision? Couldn’t he wait until Holy Week was over? Indeed, couldn’t the Archbishop wait two more weeks until the end of the current academic year, after graduation, so that Fr. Metropulos could depart with some dignity? Does the Archbishop aim to present this “decisive action” as a justification for asking Patriarch Bartholomew for another extension, so he can remain Archbishop of America?

Every prudent person thinks that all these actions indicate that something extremely serious is going on, and the Archbishop should publicly inform the Greek-American Community with honesty, transparency, and directness. He shouldn’t hide behind his tragicomic announcement. Of course, the same thing applies to Fr. Metropulos, who is obligated to come out and say what is going on. The Greek-American Community that loves, respects, and financially supports the School has every right to know in detail what is going on.
One more thing: It is necessary for a detailed financial audit, a forensic audit, to be undertaken immediately. The issue shouldn’t just go away with the resignations of Fr. Metropulos and the Financial Director Kevin Derrivan.

In the context of this dire deterioration Metropolitan Methodios of Boston had the opportunity to insinuate himself into the presidency of the School, appearing as its “savior”.

Methodios had been president of Hellenic College and Holy Cross in the past, from 1989 to 1995 during the late Archbishop Iakovos’ tenure, but he dismissed Methodios upon the recommendation of Patriarch Bartholomew.

Certainly there were reasons for that, including the complaints by professors who had sent a confidential letter to the Patriarch. Some of those who signed that letter have done an about-face, and are now part of Methodios’ “inner circle and advisors.”

This presents another issue: The return of Methodios to the School can be seen as a direct and clear act of defiance, indeed, an insult to Patriarch Bartholomew. It is as if Demetrios appointed Methodios so he could sneer at the Patriarch, “Look! You dismissed me in 1995 but I am back.”

The apparent lack of understanding and even self-awareness is painful to behold because there is vivid wreckage throughout New England as a result of Methodios actions, and now he is going to save the School! He should first organize a local Clergy Laity Congress, which he has not done for the past three years, and provide an audited and detailed financial accounting of the Metropolis, let alone now overseeing one for the School.

We understand that this is a temporary situation for the School. The new Archbishop must clean up the mess at the School, the Archdiocese, the metropolises, and St. Basil’s Academy to bring a spirit of resurrection and hope to the entire Archdiocese and its institutions.

8 Comments

  1. Metropolitan Methodios needs to resign as hierarch now! He is a poor example of a Christian leader and was the wrong person to be President of HCHC.
    The EP needs to get their act together now.

    1. It’s only an interim appointment so let’s hope for the best. The new Archbishop will have a really hard time finding someone competent, and not another priest, to be the president. Hopefully an Orthodox person who has experience in higher education administration can be found and who would be willing to take on the challenge.

  2. Forget who leads. Dissolve the undergraduate school immediately this summer, sell the property, and make seminary and priest training education a virtual experience on line and at other institutions. That’s the only restructure that makes any strategic or fiscal sense. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

    If you can earn a Stanford MBA on-line, you can sure do seminary on-line.

    1. The Morons can’t even read a pop up book. Methodios will just sink it faster and I am sure the State is looking into other things going on. The dumbest crime family in recorded History, and people are still drinking the Kool-Aid. Bravo Leaderless 100, Faithless and the Archons of Nothing. Just more parties and awards for running the Church into the ground.

    2. Methodios is short term. Perhaps it will be necessary to close the college. Perhaps sooner rather than later. NO. Don’t sell the property, the least reason is that the money will disappear. And you can do theology classes on line, maybe. But that is at most 50% of the “education” future priests should get. There should be a seminary experience. Students are required to attend services, etc., but the experience should be all encompassing. Everyone should go 4 years. The first year should be a real immersion in Greek, and chanting. Chapel twice a day, no excuses. Attend every extra lecture on campus. Saturdays volunteering in the community (hoals, shelters, etc) Field work in a parish every week for the last three years. The first year only services in the chapel, including holidays, allowing time off in the summer and other secular holidays. No outside work. Perhaps field work could provide a small stipend. Provide on campus housing for married students and their families at no higher cost than for single students.. Make sure no families need food stamps to survive, as has happened. Figure out reasonable tuition costs. Each metropolis should provide financially for students from their respective metropolises. All this and in return the school “owns” seminarians for the four years. Their academics and participation in the life of the school and the church not only takes precedent, it is the only precedent. (continued)

  3. (continued) And, very importantly, reviews at the end of the first and second years to determine whether academically, spiritually, socially, etc., a particular student should continue for the next two years. This review should come from faculty, spiritual fathers, mental health professionals, their metropolitans, etc.

  4. Their metropolitans need to see mental health professionals, so there is already a problem.

  5. THE ARCHBISHOP HAS RESIGNED HIS POSITION. Perhaps this is a first step towards righting a lot of wrongs.

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