BOSTON, MA – There is only one essential change in the program of the upcoming 44th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, to be held at Copley Marriott in Boston, MA, July 1-5.
On July 2, after Archbishop Demetrios’ keynote address, the theme being “All Things Are Possible to the One Who Believes in Christ” (Mark 9:23), the delegates will not form the usual small groups to discuss and analyze the archbishop’s speech, as is usually the case.
Instead, there will be a three-hour open forum (2-5PM) to discuss the Archdiocese’s dire financial situation. As The National Herald revealed almost a year ago, the Archdiocese is virtually bankrupt. Among other things, it is forced to mortgage its Manhattan office building in order to obtain a $7 million loan just to pay its debts, and lack of funds have halted construction of the St. Nicholas National Shrine. These issues have caused embarrassment and ridicule to the Archdiocese, the Greek-American community, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, of which the Archdiocese is an Ecclesiastical Eparchy.
Audits by accounting firms continue, as do cost-cutting measures.
Meanwhile, the New York State Attorney General has expressed interest in investigating the finances of the Archdiocese and the funds for the Shrine.
It should be noted that the Boston Metropolis, which is hosting the 44th Clergy Laity Congress, did not hold its own local version last year or, to this point, this year, as the Rules of the Archdiocese mandate, and no accountability has been given.
The rest of the schedule follows: June 30: Congress and Philoptochos registrations; National Forum of Church Musicians meeting. July 1: Orthros and Divine Liturgy at Annunciation Cathedral; Opening at Exhibit Hall and Ribbon Cutting. July 2: 9:30AM-12Noon, official Congress opening and Archbishop Demetrios’ keynote address; 2-5PM open forum: “Presentation and Discussion Concerning the Financial Status of the GOA”; 8-10PM, Administration Committee and Finance Committee meetings, CLC Ministry workshops and committee meetings, stewardship, outreach and evangelism, youth and young adult ministries, marriage and family, Center for Family Care, Internet ministries, Orthodox parish software, inter-Orthodox, ecumenical, and interfaith relations. July 3: 9:30-11:30AM: Special recognition of retired clergy; Administration Committee and Finance Committee meetings; 11:30AM-1:30PM, lunch at Hellenic-College Holy Cross; 5:30PM, Philoptochos General Assembly. July 4: 8-10AM, Administration Committee meeting, 10AM-12Noon, Finance Committee meeting’ 12Noon-1PM: Doxology prayer service, Fourth of July, entire attendees; 2:30-6PM, plenary session. July 5: 10AM-4PM: Plenary session; Presentation for Adoption of GOA 2019-20 budget; discussion on proposed GOA regulation amendments; 12-3PM and 7-10PM, all other committee reports and CLC business; 10:30-11:30PM, Grand Banquet.