It is a reality that sometimes comparisons are unavoidable. And I think that is the case regarding the Metropolis of Toronto and All Canada and the Archdiocese of America.
We reported that the Toronto Metropolis’ real estate is valued at over $140 million Canadian, according to its Council’s official report. But there is also the comparison of spiritual progress between the two ecclesiastical entities.
Except for two properties, the real estate acquired by Toronto from 1996 until now happened during the Archpastorship of Metropolitan Soterios, from 45 years ago, when the Metropolis was detached from the Archdiocese.
Unfortunately, Metropolitan Soterios has not divulged the secrets of his success in Canada, while we here in the United States, the world’s preeminent superpower, with a flourishing economy nationally as well as in the Greek-American community, watch our Archdiocese wallow in virtual bankruptcy.
I have written this many times, but please indulge me as I do again: the problem is a matter of leadership, and personnel. And it is really tragic and painful to admit that the Archdiocese’s problem stems from the top, the archbishop, but also, with a few exceptions, the Metropolises. Part of the problem is the inherited legacy of the late Archbishop Iakovos, who for whatever reasons of character and insecurity could not tolerate appointing competent and well-educated people to the Episcopacy.
That is why with the imminent change of archbishop looming, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which is the Ecclesiastical Authority of its Eparchy, must replace some of them, in order to start the rejuvenation of our church so that our faithful can return to the naves and communities.
The Archdiocese has already begun walking in the post-Demetrios era. There is no longer the luxury of time to allow for sentimentality – such as compassion for his advanced age or to give him more time to correct the historic and ruinous mistakes under his watch.
The five Day Greek Schools that were closed, the locked and unfinished nave of the St. Nicholas National Shrine, the Archdiocese’s financial collapse, to the point that it was forced to mortgage its office buildings to take out a bank loan, and the paralytic condition of Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (HCHC) is a small mournful and pathetic compilation of the legacy that Archbishop Demetrios leaves behind. This is the bitter truth, without hypocritical rhetorical spin and fictitious portrayals.
As we have written time and again the hierarchy of the Eparchial Synod is not without any blame and responsibility. The local metropolitans have established their own “kingdoms,” completely unchecked and autonomic. Patriarch Bartholomew, who is the Archbishop per se, Shepard and Teacher of the Archdiocese of America, cannot and must not appear undecided any longer, because the drama of the Church in America cannot go on. We are at the edge of the cliff.