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Chairman of Leadership 100 Demetrios Logothetis speaks at the 32nd Conference, praising the leadership of Archbishop Elpidophoros. PHOTOS GOA/DIMITRIOS PANAGOS
BOSTON – The Chairman of the Leadership 100 endowment fund, Demetrios Logothetis, a strong supporter of Greek Education and the Greek Language in America, was interviewed by The National Herald. He spoke about Leadership 100, the course of the Archdiocese, the vision of Archbishop Elpidophoros, Greek ‘Paideia’ – Education. – and the Charter of the Archdiocese.
The interview follows:
The National Herald: Where do you wish to leave Leadership 100 at the end of your tenure?
Demetrios Logothetis: I think that we have a unique opportunity now with the new Archbishop and the vision he has set forth, and with the concern that I believe exists among the young generation to advance Leadership 100 to the next phase.
I don’t want to be misunderstood by anyone, but Leadership 100 was established 39 years ago and it took all these 39 years to get the number of members we have today to around 1,200 to 1,300, which means some 33 new members per year. When we think that here in America we have one hundred thousand stewards, in other words, those who are registered in the Church and supposedly have interest in our religion, and only 1,300 have joined Leadership 100 – it is not enough.
TNH: You mention the vision of the Archbishop. What is that vision – can you explain it for us?
DL: He wants to see a big and strong Community here in America and to program for the next one hundred years. We wants for us to be united and for all of us to do the best we can on the local level and also on the Archdiocesan level.
TNH: Are we not united today?
TNH: Please explain why.
DL: We have 550 parishes, half of them would have a huge problem if there was no the Greek festival every year which helps, but with the passing of time, every year [fewer] volunteers offer to help.
Also, there is a problem at the Archdiocesan level and in the Metropolises because priorities that should exist don’t exist due to lack of money.
TNH: You mean the Archdioceses has a problem?
DL: When the Archbishop came 3-4 years ago the Archdiocese essentially was bankrupt. It was 13 million dollars in the red – I don’t remember exactly. There was the problem of the St. Nicholas [Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center], the retirement fund of the clergy – when we see all these, we understand that the Church in America had and continues to have a problem and that we don’t collect enough money to advance our priorities as we should.
TNH: But every time the Archbishop speaks he says that we are doing very well. The officials of the Archdiocese led by Elaine Allen project a pretty image – but now you are saying that things are different.
DL: No on the contrary – I know all of them very well. The image that we present is the real image and it is much better from that the Archbishop assumed. We have made tremendous steps forward. We have to collect money in order to continue for another one hundred years.
As far as other issues like Greek Education, I have dedicated my whole life to it. From a study that was done in the parishes regarding the ministries as to which should remain and which should be eliminated, the answers that came back said that Greek Education should be eliminated completely, in other words, Greek Education should be deleted.
TNH: Does it say anything to you?
DL: It tells me that the Greek Education is not a priority for Hellenism on the level it should be.
TNH: What about Hellenism in our Community? Did you ever think that it means that we have created priests and parish officials who are anti-Greek?
DL: I wouldn’t want ever to believe that we have created anti-Greeks. The income in each parish is very small in comparison with the abilities of Hellenism.
TNH: Many parishes have money to pay lofty salaries to the priests, $150,000 a year or more – but we pay the teachers of the Greek Schools 350-600 dollars a month. There is no care for the teachers and the schools. When the Archbishop came to America he made statements, promises about the Greek language and Paideia, but this year he didn’t even attend the Greek Letters celebrations. What does that tell us?
DL: He [the Archbishop] was at the Conference of Leadership 100.
TNH: Where are his priorities?
DL: He couldn’t be absent from the Leadership 100 conference. The only hope that exists here in America for many issues such as Hellenism is to continue to gather money through Leadership 100. What other sources of funds do we have for Greek Education? We have the AHEPA, we have so many other organizations, but does any one of those give money on a serious level for the support of those educators?
TNH: Is there a leader to take the lead to advance the issue? Did you see Archbishop Elpidophoros all these four years make any serious effort in support of the Greek Language?
DL: He has established a Committee in which I also participate, and he has put one million dollars in an account for Greek Education. And I would like through the Leadership 100 to collect money for Greek Education.
TNH: The one million dollars you mentioned came from an inheritance from a Greek-American woman. The Archbishop didn’t give from Archdiocese funds or from Leadership 100. And he sent $2.5 million for the creation of Huffington Institute at the Theological School.
DL: As you know, we have to have priests. Half of the money goes to the School of Theology. We have given $35 million through the years. If Leadership 100 didn’t exist, there wouldn’t be a School of Theology, or an Ionian Village, or anything else.
TNH: You have announced that this year Leadership 100 will give $5 million in grants. How much out this $5 million will go to Greek Education?
DL: At this time, very little. I don’t have the number in front of me. We want to create under the auspices of Leadership 100 new accounts for those who can give more money than one hundred thousand dollars so we may support three major areas: The clergy, the Youth, and Greek Education.
TNH: What do they do at the Office of Education, Mr. Koularmanis and that priest, Fr. Tsamkopoulos, whom the Archbishop brought from Thessaloniki?
DL: First of all, they don’t have money. And when Mr. Koularmanis wants to get information from each Metropolis as to how many schools there are and how many students they have nobody pays attention to him.
TNH: Why? Does that say anything to you?
DL: It tells me that the Metropolitans, with exceptions of course, have no interest at all in Greek Education. The Archbishop is making an effort and he supports Hellenism and Greek Letters, but we have to help him.
TNH: Are you telling us that the Metropolitans don’t care about Greek Education and the Archbishop does?
DL: Generally, yes – one hundred percent.
TNH: How do you respond to the widespread belief that Leadership 100 and other similar organizations like the Archons are closed clubs whose members belong to the elite? Why aren’t the multitude of the Church, the simple parishioners of the communities, eligible to participate?
DL: I can’t talk about the Archons although I am an Archon, but as far as the Leadership 100 is concerned, we opened the program to young adults so [a young man or woman] can join with $4 thousand per year and when they reach the age of 40 they give $10 thousand.
We had this year at the Conference 160 young people – one third of those who participated. Each member can pay to invite someone as a guest. Leadership 100 is not an elite organization and we don’t want to be.
TNH: As a member of the Charter Committee can you tell us what changes are in the works?
DL: Until now we don’t have anything specific. The discussions took place on a very general level, and it will be discussed more in the next few months. We should remain united; many don’t know who governs the Church. Yesterday at a local meeting here in Florida which was attended by Archons of the area, a certain man who is an Archon born here in America, declared that I want to eliminate the Greek flag from inside the church because since we accept converts, there is no need for the presence of the Greek flag. We are at this point.
CHERRY HILL, NJ – On March 25th, the honorable day that we celebrate our modern Greek nation’s independence from the yoke of Ottoman occupation, and, of course, even more importantly, the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, the good news that she will bear our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, the St.
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