How coincidental is it that two of our most important communities in the USA – the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan and St. Demetrios Cathedral just across the river in Astoria – lost their deans, their spiritual leaders, at the same time – and on the major feast of the Kimisis of the Theotokos on the fifteenth of August?
It can’t be a coincidence.
But even if it is, it shows that something is not right with the administration of our Church at the Archdiocese. The same is true with some of our clergy.
Imagine if this was how a business operated, where two of its executives, who were recently promoted to top positions, stepped down and left at a critical time for ‘personal’ reasons?
In such a case, responsibility would be assigned and the reasons for the wrong choices would be examined: By what criteria were they chosen? Did those who chose them know about their ‘personal’ problems?
And do you think they would be allowed to return to their old positions – or would they be put ‘on ice’ for a while?
There is a still more serious reason for concern: priests are not managers of a company, they are not businessmen, they are not simple employees. They are supposed to have other priorities in their lives as they serve their holy mission. Do they realize this? Do they feel it? Are they being taught that at the Seminary?
Or do they think that everything is permitted given the situation our Archdiocese has found itself in?
In any case, the words of the president of the community of St. Demetrios Cathedral of Astoria, Stefanos Thomatos, in the interview he granted to our newspaper, seem particularly encouraging, like a breath of fresh air.
And it is encouraging and commendable because he speaks with honesty about the situation at St. Demetrios.
And what it reveals is extremely sad. He said: “the only problem is that we don’t have enough money… We put our money into a construction project opposite the church.”
However, it is important that he characterizes the torpedoing of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s offer of 25 millions (for the radical upgrading of the school of St. Demetrios) as a “big mistake.”
And he reveals: “that is precisely why I became involved with Community affairs, to correct the mistake, because I saw that it was a big mistake that was made… I see the needs that the school has. I see the future prospects the school has.”
It’s all about leadership and vision.