A month has already passed since the 44th Clergy Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and I don’t think it is an exaggeration to state that we achieved nothing.
Here are some questions: What were the achievements of this expensive conference? What decisions were made for the future life of the virtually bankrupt Archdiocese, which mortgaged its office buildings with Alma Bank? What visions for the future were revealed? What goals were set for the Archdiocese itself, the Metropolises, the Hellenic College and Holy Cross School of Theology (HCHC)? Truly, what essential phenomenon happened at the Clergy Laity Congress?
The Congress was not even able to vote for a balanced budget after that Anatolian bazaar with the priests and their tenacious demands for their pension program. Truly, how much do the metropolitans contribute to the pension plan and how much will they be receiving as retirement?
I remind here that it was the clergy pension account that prompted Chancellor Bishop Andonios of Phasiane to threaten to resign, which at the end did not materialize. Also, it was this very issue that forced the treasurer of the Archdiocesan Council, prominent businessman Mike Psaros, a man of faith and ethos, to resign right on the spot.
When I asked him a few days ago “has Archbishop Demetrios called you, emailed you, or written to you since you walked off the stage in Boston, after the Clergy Laity voted to destroy a year’s worth of work? The Archbishop promised in front of the entire plenary session that he was going to speak with you” Mr. Psaros said “no.”
And thus, the Clergy Laity Congress came and went, everyone returned to his ensconce, and now the acedia known as the noonday devil of extreme apathy continues.
We experienced that tragicomic “relief” about the finances during the open forum on July 2, where the archbishop made that compulsive admission as another Harilaos Trikoupis that “unfortunately, we are bankrupt.” As much as he tried to beatify the situation and made the issue less painful, it was impossible because the revelations by The National Herald were thunderous and documented. Ultimately, he was forced to admit that “we suddenly found threatening before us an extremely difficult and really unacceptable situation. I am truly and deeply sorry for the disappointment, sorrow, frustration and pain that this unfortunate situation brought upon each and every member of our precious and beloved Archdiocese.”
Unfortunately, after an unbalanced budget, the resignation of Mr. Psaros – who not only offered his services voluntarily but who also paid on his own for the audits laying the foundations for the cleansing and recovery of the finances – the Archdiocese relapsed into its known pathogenesis walking toward a total necrosis.
Unless fa strong and decisive hope appears from the Phanar, soon then we are heading toward our historic end.
The Phanar has to do make very strong and bold movements and decisions to display to “all nations” because it is charged with the sacred and historic care “of all the Churches” and has the strength and the boldness to make radical reorganization placing above persons and the good of the Church and the Greek-American Community.
The Clergy Laity Congress achieved nothing. Now is the time for the Ecclesiastical Leadership of the Archdiocese, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to do something. If the Phanar removes only the “First” (Archbishop Demetrios) who by the way is responsible per se for the economic and spiritual bankruptcy, not much substantial will be achieved because the reaming “high priests” that proved to be incompetent to sense and prevent the dire financial situation of the Church will not delay to undermine their new “First” and thus the spinning depravity and penury will continue.
If the Patriarchate loves the Greek Orthodox Church of America as it proclaims it does, and since it knows the “unfortunate occurrences” in it, I strongly believe that the Patriarchate should apply the “oust clergy, new clergy” for the Hierarchy of the Archdiocese, otherwise “nothing will be achieved.”