I have written on the issue in the past and I remind here today that a few months ago there was an official decision and directive issued by the Ecumenical Patriarchate that financial audits should be conducted in all of the Eparchies and Monasteries of the Ecumenical Throne throughout the World.
I revisit the issue and I state emphatically one more time that it is imperative that forensic audits be conducted in all the metropolises of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America because it is an open secret that they have applied for many years now the same mentality and methods that prevailed at the Archdiocese which resulted in virtual bankruptcy. Let us not forget the ‘legacy’ of Demetrios. But despite the dire condition to which they brought the Church, the party continues as usual.
Also the ‘beggary’ has assumed a different form – it now occurs electronically, believe or not. Let me explain that even “banquets” are organized via internet – My God and Lord (!) – under the pretext of dedicating the proceeds to philanthropic endeavors.
The Archdiocese for many years played the same game: Give to us, and give again, and give us more money. Some henchmen were mobilized from the Finance Department of the Archdiocese like George Vourvoulias, the ousted chairman of the Finance Committee and also Jerry Dimitriou the ‘general’ in charge of all things who was also ousted and who put huge pressure on the parishes to give more and more for the so called ‘national ministries.’
I am sure you remember all these matters from the astonishing revelations made by The National Herald. Their supporters and acolytes continue to be members of the Finance Committee, like Barbas the Chancellor of the Metropolis of Boston, who in the recent teleconference meeting of the Finance Committee played the ‘wise guy’, executing of course the directives of his own ‘master’.
Despite the total collapse of the finances, the myth of ministries continues even today in the metropolises. The so called stewardship mission is using all those banal arguments to brain wash parishioners “for the good of the Church”: We need your wealth, your talents, your time.
Here we are talking about an unvarnished mockery of the faithful for the collection of funds without any forensic audits and accountability.
The National Herald is in a position to know that certain Metropolitans appoint to permanent positions on the Metropolitan Councils submissive ‘yes men’ who simply rubber stamp everything with no questions asked whatsoever. Nobody dares to question the Metropolitan for example about where, how, why, and for what purpose $27,000 dollars a year is spent on ministry travel.
While the Metropolitans demand and very correctly, changes in the parish councils, they have permanent appointees on their own councils who don’t dare to open their mouth and ask the ‘despot’ to come and explain who authorized “the lease of your expensive luxury car which costs to the pious and hardworking People of God more than $30,000 per year?”
Furthermore, what are these “hospitality expenses” of tens of thousands of dollars? To whom did you offer hospitality and why? If you had an obligation towards them, why didn’t you pay out of your pocket, from your salary and from the ‘tips’ you collected at sacraments, funerals, and the vespers and liturgies you participate in while visiting the parishes? Why have you placed even this financial burden of hospitality on the faithful? Who authorized the expenses of your trip to Greece to baptize the granddaughter of so and so…or to bless the marriage of the son of so and so…?
Let me make it clear here, when I write about financial audits in all the metropolises I don’t mean the usual simple audits by some friendly accountants who will express an opinion based on the numbers that the Metropolis provides. I mean a forensic audit done by experts in depth, and for the duration of the time that the Metropolitan has served in the Metropolis. The forensic audit should also include the institutions of the metropolises including camp centers, Philoxenia homes, nursing homes etc.
Let me say one more thing. Any faithful member of any parish who contributes even one hundred dollars a year has the right to ask for a financial accounting and to even examine the books of the parish and the Metropolis. That is U.S. law.