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Archbishop Sotirios: Churches are Not Sold! They are Saved and Preserved!

ΤΟRΟΝΤΟ – His Eminence Archbishop Sotirios of Canada issued a message inviting the Greek Community of Toronto to cooperate with the Archdiocese. The Community faces severe financial problems, according to an official news release it has issued, to the point that it plans to sell one of the four churches under its control.    

Archbishop Sotirios who appoints the priests who serve in those four parishes, emphasizes in his message that “the Churches were purchased by Orthodox Christians to be maintained in perpetuity as Orthodox temples of worship. Since the Greek Community of Toronto has surrendered these Churches as collateral for the tremendous debt that it owes, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Canada is willing to financially assist.”

The entire message of the Archbishop follows:

“Mistakes were made in administration and management. Let us not belabor this fact. No one has appointed us to judge. We are Greeks. We are Orthodox Christians. We ought to forgive and forget the past. Let us go forward in unity to achieve progress.

“In Greater Toronto, there are sixteen (16) Churches. Why is it that twelve (12) of them are doing quite well? Why is it that the four (4) Churches which are managed by the Greek Community of Toronto have problems? The administration and the management of these four Churches have always been problematic. The Greeks in the Greater Toronto Area must be united. To achieve this goal, the Greek Community of Greater Toronto must be established.

Each Church should become a separate Community and legal entity, organized and operated on the basis of the Uniform Community Regulations, so that there may be a proper apportioning and division of tasks.

“The properties owned by the Greek Community of Toronto are the four (4) Churches: Panagia, St. Demetrios, St. John the Baptist, and St. Irene Chrysovalantou. Once each new Community becomes an independent entity, they should be given ownership of their own property, their Church, because it rightfully belongs to the people. The Churches were purchased by Orthodox Christians to be maintained in perpetuity as Orthodox temples of worship.

“Since the Greek Community of Toronto has surrendered these Churches as collateral for the tremendous debt that it owes, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Canada is willing to financially assist. The Archdiocese will give to each new Community a substantial amount of money – perhaps, even the full amount of the debt that is apportioned to each Church – so that each Community, and its Church, may stand on its own (assuming that the total existing debt is $4.5 million as represented by the GCT and subject to obtaining the necessary approvals from the GCT’s lenders).

In order for Greeks to achieve great accomplishments, they must be united. The sixteen (16) Councils of the Churches-Communities of Greater Toronto will comprise the General Assembly of the Greek Community of Greater Toronto. This General Assembly will elect the Central Governing Board of the Greek Community of Greater Toronto.

The Polymenakeion Centre should become the headquarters of the Greek Community of Greater Toronto.

“The Greek Community of Greater Toronto will draft its own Constitution, which should enumerate its goals and how it will function. Further details may be discussed and eventually be legally secured.

“We expect our fatherland Greece to lend a helping hand in this endeavour. Not financially, but ethically and in spirit. It should support the unity of all Greeks.

“We stated that we are not here to judge. We are Greeks and we are Orthodox Christians. We forgive and we are here to lend a helping hand. We must be worthy of the great accomplishments of our ancient Greek ancestors and strive to emulate the heroes of the Greek War of Independence as we celebrate the 200 anniversary of the Greek War of Independence. Orthodox Christians in our hearts and souls.

“Let us work together for the glory of God and for our Holy Orthodox Faith in Christ! Only then will we live in peace, unity and love. In doing so, Greeks in Canada will accomplish even greater things! This is what we deserve! This is what we need. Let us all advance as one. Let no one remain behind or forgotten. Let no one lack resolve. Christ will accompany us and bless us!”

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