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.