Analysis: Concrete Support from Greece

Αssociated Press

The campus of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology with its Byzantine style Holy Cross chapel. (Photo by TNH Archive/ Theodore Kalmoukos)

The two million euros that Greece will be giving annually to our Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Boston – as The National Herald revealed on January 11 – is the most concrete expression of concern and support of Mother Greece for the Greek-American community in decades. The previous action was in the 1970s when the government of the elder Constantine Karamanlis recognized academically the School as equal to the theological schools of the universities of Athens and Thessaloniki during the late Archbishop Iakovos’ tenure. A few years after that, the New Democracy government of Greece recognized academically Hellenic College during the tenure Minister of Education George Souflias.

As I wrote in my article on January 11, 2020, this is the first time that Greece is making such an important contribution aiming to ‘salvage’ the School of Theology, which had come very close to shutting down. The grant is expected to have a huge impact on the School of Theology economically after the dire and dangerous conditions it endured under the previous administration of the Archdiocese and the School. It had reached the point where it couldn’t cover its basic operating expenses, having exhausted most of the funds of its endowment.

The grants will also contribute to the enhancement of the image of the School in the eyes of the academic agencies which placed the School on two years’ probation. Let us not kid ourselves, the School saved its academic credentials thanks to the prudent and decisive intervention of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros and the then-vice chairman, now president of the School George Cantonis, who prepared all the reports and memos sent to the agencies.

One more thing: A disturbing atmosphere persisted for many years. Whenever the words Greece, Hellenism, etc. were used, many became irritated because those in charge of the Archdiocese and the Theological Schools were making every effort to totally dehellenize the Archdiocese and the School.

I don’t only refer to former Archbishop Demetrios but also to the members of the so called Eparchial Synod, and the Archdiocese’s and the School’s boards and trustees. Yes, all of them are historically responsible for the extreme phthisis of the Archdiocese and the theological school, although today they behave as if nothing happened – they continue their business as usual, doing what they want, spending as much as they want unchecked instead of resigning collectively.

Let me remind here that the two million euros grant per year was introduced, pushed, and followed up by the former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge of Hellenes Abroad and the Orthodox Churches of the Diaspora Antonis Diamataris. He had also planned many other projects of vital importance for the support and advancement of Hellenism and Orthodoxy, but unfortunately, his resignation prevented him from implementing them himself.

I hope Kyriakos Mitsotakis this time, in funding Holy Cross School, does not fall into a trap set by SYRIZA through the "polymath" Nikos Filis, past Minister of National Education.

Mitsotakis had fallen into a trap set by Tsipras, but also by certain external factors, in the case of former Deputy Foreign Minister Antonis Diamataris, who contributed so much to the Greek government, Hellenism and Orthodoxy, in such a short time.

I mentioned the “Great Filis” above because of the inarticulate screaming on this issue by smallminded ignorant individuals, which is without any substance. Filis’ screaming belongs in the same category, but when he was minister of Education of Greece under SYRIZA, thanks to Archbishop Ieronymos’ intervention, he was ousted.

Someone must be conscientiously naive to expect Tsipras, Filis, and their cronies to have a vision about the Greek-American Community and the dynamics that should be developed through the School of Theology, which is the place and the path of the education and formation of our priests. It is the priests who play a pivotal role in our communities, which are the essential cells that constitute our Greek-American Community.

Let me say one more thing: Greece stepped dynamically into the School of Theology and sent the message across the Omogenia, the Greek-American community, that it has a Mother Country, Greece, just as it has a Mother Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as Archbishop Elpidophoros so brilliantly stated on Wednesday, January 8 at the luncheon in honor of Mitsotakis at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington.

I am fully aware that there are a few mother-killers (μητραλοίες) of both the Mother Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as well the Mother Country, Greece, out there, including priests, retired and active. They foolishly attack Greece and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Greek-American Community has a consciousness that it has strong roots and it is well connected with ties of blood and spirit to our Genos. The Community transfuses this Orthodox and Hellenic consciousness and ethos into today’s children in order maintain continuity.