What Does Mitsotakis’ Decision Mean for the School of Theology?

The Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, right, talks with His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros during the Glendi celebration which is part of the annual Epiphany celebration in Tarpon Springs, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. (Chris Urso/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ decision to invest – and it is among the best possible investments – in the Hellenism and Orthodoxy of the USA with a € 2 million annual grant to Holy Cross School of Theology is a major strategic event.

It proves that Greece, at last, is moving beyond the merely passive attitude of simply observing the decline of our Diaspora, due to demographic changes and other problems, to an active stance of helping to halt …

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  1. First of all, one of the principal reasons the school, which is also a college not just a school of theology, has failed to thrive and grow is precisely because it is perceived as a Greek school. The emphasis on Greek and Hellenic culture is misplaced in a college and a school of theology in this country. The college has failed to grow because its curriculum does not prepare its graduates to find good employment. And, while a knowledge of Greek is necessary, it is not the end all and be all of the preparation one needs to be an Orthodox priest. The Church will never grow as long as this parochialism has a hold on the life of the parishes. At least 75% of the marriages in the archdiocese for almost two generations have been of the so-called mixed type, non-Greeks marrying Greek/Greek Americans. How many of those non-Greeks are not attracted to the faith because of the parochialism inherent in the attitudes and practices of clergy, laity and hierarchs? Also, two things need to be noted which have been incorrectly expressed or alluded to which make this monetary connection appear to be such a novel and saving event. The first is that the Greek government gave money to the school for years until the economic crisis hit. So this not something new. The second is that the Greek flag has always, always, flown at the school, on a high flagpole next to the American flag, located in a prominent location.

  2. Cont’d.
    There has been a backlash as more and more converts are attracted to the priesthood and become students at Holy Cross. The question to be asked is not why so many converts want to become Orthodox priests but why there are not more Greek American men who seek the priesthood.

    1. As always, well said Repanidi. It seems to me, “Greeks” think they are the only Orthodox Christians. It’s “Greek” first and secondly, if that, “Orthodox Christian.” Talk about living in a bubble with an “elitist” attitude. Parochialism at its very best! Inclusivity rather than exclusivity! How sad this truly is!

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