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Chairman of Leadership 100 Demetrios Logothetis Discusses Numerous Issues with TNH

BOSTON – The Chairman of the Leadership 100 endowment fund, Demetrios Logothetis, in an interview with The National Herald talked about the organization’s 2024Conference, the Department of Communications of the Archdiocese and its head, Stratos Safioleas, Archbishop Elpidophoros, the School of Theology in Brookline, MA, and many other issues:

The interview follows:

The National Herald: How was the recent Leadership 100 conference in Florida?

Demetrios Logothetis: It went wonderfully – much better than we had anticipated. Last year we had 525 participants, and this year 725. As you know, we are trying to bring in new members, and I think we broke the record because last year we had 75, and this year we had 100.

TNH: How many new members did you attract during your two-year tenure?

Archbishop Elpidophoros praises Leadership 100 at its annual Conference. Photo: GOA/Dimitrios Panagos

DL: I took over after 38 years, and considering that we had 1,150 members, that’s about 30 members per year. As I mentioned, this year we had 100, but this is not solely due to me. I am doing what I can. I believe I have the respect of the people because I volunteer for the Church, for Hellenism, for Greek Education, and all that, but we must acknowledge the work of the Archbishop as well, in my opinion. When people see that things are progressing smoothly, they are more comfortable contributing. And certainly, Paulette Poulos, whom you know well and has been in the office for many years, does a wonderful job [as Executive Director]. People love her, respect her, and know that she works hard. So, I think we have created a very good team.

TNH: How do you feel about the Board of Directors renewing your term for another two years?

DL: It is a great honor, and now that I am retired, I want the contributions I make to be for our Church and for Hellenism in America.

TNH: How much did the Conference cost?

DL: I don’t have the exact details yet, but I will meet with Paulette at the office on Friday and find out. What we are trying to do is to bring in young people as guests to see what it’s about. We don’t advertise much, except for a few things, and we don’t have an organization outside New York. We work with limited funds for expenses, and what we do once a year is both for marketing and an effort to bring in many members. At the Conference, we had three hundred young adults.

At the 2024 Conference of Leadership 100 there were discussions about the future of Orthodoxy and Hellenism. Photo: GOA/Dimitrios Panagos

TNH: Doesn’t the Archdiocese help you spread the word about Leadership 100 through its media work?

DL: It certainly does. Once a year, it designates a ‘Sunday of Leadership 100’, so in every parish in America, there is a presentation by a member of the organization, and I have done it many times in our parish. But, as you know, the Archdiocese has limited funds.

TNH: Having said that, Mr. President, over the past three years, Leadership 100 has given over $600,000 to the Communications Department of the Archdiocese, to which Archbishop Elpidophoros has appointed someone from Greece by the name Stratos Safioleas. Has Safioleas provided you with a detailed report on how he has spent or is spending this money, because he is responsible for it? Has he given you the report the Leadership has requested from him?

DL: We discussed this issue at the Conference in Florida we attended together, and when I go to New York on Friday (April 5), I have an appointment with him and will discuss it in detail. I want to learn more about what he is doing, and certainly, as we do with every sponsorship we give, it is a whole process. It must go through a committee.

TNH: You gave the money, and three years have passed, and you don’t know how Safioleas has spent the money?

Leadership 100’s Executive Director Paulette Poulos speaks at the its 2024 conference about the achievements of the organization. Photo: GOA/Dimitrios Panagos

DL: I have a general idea, of course.

TNH: Tell us, then.

DL: As you know, here in America, we have a great need for various ways for people to understand our issues, our needs, what we need to do. From what I know, when Mr. Safioleas came here, there was almost no one in the Communications Department. He has started an effort, has hired some people – I will learn the details on Friday, and as we do with every sponsorship, we definitely want a detailed report on how the money has been spent.

TNH: Mr. Chairman, when Safioleas came, he found an organized Communications Department. He found The Orthodox Observer, which was bilingual, and which Archbishop Elpidophoros abolished and set up this electronic one in English. You, being a lover of Hellenism and the Greek Language, see how many times a year texts are written in Greek in this electronic Observer. What Communications Department are you talking about, Mr. Chairman? Respectfully, may I ask if you are conscious of whom you are giving this interview?

DL: There is a whole process by the sponsorship committee when someone comes and requests sponsorship. I am not a member; the committee is independent. Every year, everyone who takes our money gives us a report.

TNH: Why hasn’t Safioleas given you these reports for so many years? Do you know where the money from Leadership 100 that Safioleas manages is going?

DL: No. As I said, this Friday, I will meet with him to learn more.

TNH: Mr. President, we are talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Communications Department managed by Safioleas, whom Elpidophoros brought from Greece. Who has Safioleas has hired here? What upgrades have been made? What is happening in Greece? Have employees been hired there – what are they doing?

DL: Mr. Kalmoukos, I do not have this information. I will have a meeting with him on Friday, and sometime we can discuss it again.

TNH: At the Conference, you stood up several times and praised Archbishop Elpidophoros. Many delegates said that you turned the Conference into propaganda for the Archbishop. Why did you do that?

DL: Mr. Kalmoukos, I have seen the article you wrote; I disagree with you.

Stratos Safioleas, Director of Communications of the Archdiocese of America, speaks at the Leadership 100 conference. Photo: GOA/Dimitrios Panagos

TNH: It is your right.

DL: Archbishop Elpidophoros has 100% support. We must support the institution of the Church. If we have another change here, our Church will collapse.

TNH: What did you say to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew when you went to Constantinople?

DL: I told him that from the side of the Leadership 100 and personally, I believe that in America, despite the problems we had, we are doing well. We haven’t fixed everything, we still have significant needs, but it is essential for us to unite in America.

TNH: You, coming from Chicago, know very well the attitude of the clergy, the laity, the Archons, etc., when Archbishop Elpidophoros came there and spoke to them about the Charter; you were present, you saw the division he brought. What unity are you talking about now? Is Elpidophoros able to bring unity to the Church? Can’t you see what is happening?

DL: I was vice president of Coca-Cola, think now, whether the company president only manages [his local] region.

TNH: The Church is not Coca Cola.

DL: Were the years of the late Archbishop Iakovos better, or now?

TNH: Is Elpidophoros capable of managing the entire Archdiocese, when he cannot properly handle the appointment of a president to the School of Theology?

DL: I completely disagree with you. Do you know who is the most suitable? Did the Patriarch, the Synod make a mistake in appointing Archbishop Elpidophoros?

TNH: What do you think?

DL: I think that Elpidophoros is the right person, the only one who can achieve the result we need here in America.

TNH: Why didn’t you accept the offer to become the president of the School of Theology?

DL: As I told you last time, we discussed this issue, I didn’t know much about the School. I simply agreed to participate in the process, let’s say, in the interviews, and what matters to me is from which position I can better help our Greek-American Community and the Church. I decided that in the end, it is better to help at Leadership 100 rather than at the School of Theology. As you know, there is no money. The Community is broke.

TNH: Doesn’t the School of Theology have money? What did you see there that made you change your mind about becoming President? Was it the attack made on you by the vice chairman of the Board of Trustees, Fr. Magoulias?

DL: Ha, ha, ha.

TNH: Why are you laughing?

DL: For the finances, there is nothing secret; changes need to be made, and I believe those who know the School, professors and the others, need to collaborate.

TNH: Former Hellenic College – Holy Cross President George Cantonis said in an interview to TNH that the number of students has increased and the finances were very good. Did you see it that way or not, and were you frightened, and thus you left?

DL: I wasn’t frightened and didn’t leave, but as I said, for changes to be made, it’s preferable for someone from within who knows the professors and others [to make them]. I didn’t have that; I was somewhat of an outsider. Without the money from the Leadership 100, the School would have closed.

TNH: How much money did Leadership 100 allocate for Greek Education this year?

DL: This year, we didn’t allocate to anyone because the stock market had dropped, and for 2024 we didn’t allocate new sponsorships. We’re giving what we owed because we had approved those amounts in previous years. We had promised the School a million per year for ten years, and we’re paying that regularly.

TNH: How would you characterize the attack made on you by the vice chairman of the School’s Board, Fr. Magoulias?

DL: He wasn’t the only one who attacked me; there were others too.

TNH: Tell us about the others.

DL: We don’t need to get into that issue, but surely, I didn’t like the attack; I cannot lie. When someone is about to take such a position, they need support from everyone.

TNH: Last week, two new Bishops were elected. Do you think it was necessary?

DL: I don’t know about such things; I don’t know the people or the decisions at all. But I believe they were made by the regular process of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate; I assume the members of the Synod of the Patriarchate knew them, after all, and they should support them.

TNH: However, the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate doesn’t pay them. We, the Greek-American Community through the parishes, we will pay for these bishops here – and Greece pays the Synod at the Phanar.

DL: These are not my issues.

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