By Theodore Kalmoukos
NEW YORK – His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America appointed Fr. Soterios Baroody as Chief Financial Officer of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, a newly created position, effective April 3.
In a written statement, Demetrios announcedthat “the appointment of Fr. Soterios as Chief Financial Officer fulfills part of the changes to the financial operations of the Archdiocese that have been in the planning stages by the Administration of the Church. His responsibilities will enhance the current financial operations of the Church including finance, treasury, budgeting and accounting.”
Fr. Baroody did not respond to The National Herald’s request for comment.
According to information obtained by TNH from within the Archdiocese and the hierarchy, the appointment of Baroody as CFO was requested by members of the Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council for the very reason to put order,transparency, and accountability in the Archdiocese’s finances – namely, in the signing of checks, and for a general control of what is paid and who authorizes the payments.
The request during the conversations among high standing Archdiocesan officials was that the new CFO would report directly to Demetrios and the Executive Committee, and not to Jerry Dimitriou.
Until now, Dimitriou has the lead responsibility in the governance of the Archdiocese, including the rebuilding of the St. Nicholas Church at Ground Zero. A few weeks ago he traveled to Austria in order to select the marbles for St. Nicholas.
He is also in charge of organizingthe biennial Clergy Laity Congress and serves as Director of the Archdiocese, although there is a Chancellor for that task, Bishop Andonios of Phasiane.
Sources told TNH that the initial thought was to appoint an outsider layperson as CFO, one who specializes in economics and accounting in order to be impartial and without friendships and ties to Archdiocesan officials, but instead Demetrios appointed Baroody from Beirut, who has studied finances and also has done Theological studies at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.
The Holy Eparchial Synod, presided by Demetrios, has many times requested a forensic audit by outside independent accountants regarding the Archdiocese’s general finances, and also at St. Spyridon in Upper Manhattan and the other parishes where former priest George Passias served.
Fr. Baroody was ordained to the Diaconate on Dec. 4, 2011 by Bishop Andonios, and to the Priesthood on Dec. 18, 2011 by Demetrios. He holds a bachelor in business administration from the American University of Beirut, a master of divinity from the School of Theology, and a master’s in accounting from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He has been the Comptroller of the Archdiocese since November, 2011.