LOWELL, MA – The Antiochian orthodox Archdiocese of America honored the prominent Greek-American businessman and philanthropist Nickolas Manolis with the Certificate of Meritorious Service for his philanthropic contributions to society and to the Church.
The honor took place at St. George Antiochian Orthodox parish in Lowell, MA after the Divine Liturgy officiated by His Grace Bishop Ioannis of Worchester and New England, representing His Eminence Metropolitan-Archbishop Joseph.
The Certificate of Meritorious Service states: “To all to whom these presents may come, greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Be it known, that because of him consistent and exceptional quality of service rendered to the church, this certificate of meritorious service is awarded to Mr. Nickolas Manolis member of St. George Church of Lowell Massachusetts an expression of sincere gratitude and as a token of the blessing of Almighty God. Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Mathew 25:21).
The recommendation was made by the presiding priest of the St. George parish, Archimandrite Leonard C. Farris.
The event was kept confidential from Manolis and he was completely surprised when at the end of the Divine Liturgy Fr. Leonard made the announcement and Bishop Ioannis came to the Royal Door and bestowed the honor upon him.
The church of St. George was filed to capacity. Among the congregation in attendance were many friends of the Manolis Family. Many Greek-Orthodox families have attended the St. George congregation since 2008, when Metropolitan Methodios of Boston dismissed the entire parish council of the Transfiguration Church. Methodios used the method of the “Spiritual Court,” comprised by some of his priests who “recommended” to him the removal of the entire parish council of the Transfiguration parish subsequently barred a majority of them from receiving Holy Communion. They were also prohibited from serving in any capacity in their parish or at any other parish in the Metropolis of Boston. The metropolitan’s actions were taken in support of the former priest of the parish.
The problems emerged in early 2007 and stemmed from the assignment to the fairly large and complex parish of The Transfiguration of a newly-ordained priest. Despite his lack of experience in a position of that magnitude, the Metropolis established a starting salary for him which by far exceeded the dictates of the official salary scale of the Archdiocese. The priest in six months approached the parish council and asked for a $12,000 raise and threatened the parish to comply.
Methodios was also agitated with Manolis’ January 2008 TNH interview. Manolis, who had become the Transfiguration Parish Council President, discussed the parish’s problems and other church matters: “The annual budget of the parish is about $300,000 and the biggest expense of the parish is the priest’s salary. All the other expenses are small.” He added, “I disagree with the policy that permits priests to accept [monetary gifts] when they do sacraments, funerals, and blessings of the houses. I have respect for the clergy. You see, there are some priests who are very reverent men, but there also some who see the church just as a place to work.”
In that interview, Manolis also noted that, “People are hungry for things that we have lost, such as the Greek language, traditions, customs. We see that Roman Catholics are going back to the use of the Latin in worship. If in 1821 we had the priests and bishops we have today, we would be Turkey now.” Manolis had also spoken against the pedophile priests.
Nick and Voula Manolis and their sons Elias and Eftymios for the 21 years bring joy and put smiles on the faces of 2,000 families or 10,000 people in need by providing them with a Thanksgiving meal. Owners of the Dracut House of Pizza & Seafood Restaurant in Dracut, they share the blessings that God has bestowed upon their family with those in need. More than 400 volunteers, including many Greek-Americans, work untiringly to prepare the baskets and deliver them to institutions and families. The volunteers prepare huge baskets, each containing complete Thanksgiving meals with all the trimmings.