My husband and I are pleased and relieved to read in TNH about all the progress being made to ensure integrity, transparency, and accountability in the financial restructuring of the Greek Orthodox Church of America. We are equally happy to read about the unanimous selection of Very Reverend Archimandrite Nathaniel Symeonides, a most worthy candidate, as the new Metropolitan of Chicago.
As much as this news is both uplifting and positive, our family continues to have some significant concerns. How will each faithful Greek Orthodox member be provided a detailed regular and transparent account of the Archdiocesan budget just as we are provided with monthly financial reports in our own parish? The Greek Orthodox faithful have a right to know about specific Archdiocesan and Metropolis expenditures, investments and bequests, salaries, travel expenses, properties, liabilities etc. on a regular basis.
We are equally concerned about the stability and future of Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. It is curious that these academic institutions, directly supported and governed by Archdiocese, have not been mentioned as being part of the auditing and financial restructuring currently taking place. Our concerns about Hellenic College have resurfaced because of a disheartening situation my husband and I experienced in December, 2015, at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, in Fort Lauderdale, FL, the former parish of Fr. Christopher Metropulos, the current president of Hellenic College. A restricted bequest of $224,000, given to this church by my husband’s godmother, Dr. Helene Tzitsikas, to establish an endowed scholarship, was used for other purposes. It was only through the efforts of St. Demetrios’ current priest, Fr. James Katinas, and our threats of legal action that all these funds were finally fully restored for their intended purpose.
Our focus is not to rehash the magnitude of this systemic disease that has permeated the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese or to accuse anyone of wrongdoing. Our Dear Lord will render this ultimate justice. Accountability and transparency in all church financial transactions will help rebuild the trust that has been shattered. At the same time, we pray that our hierarchical clergy will serve their flock with reverence, humility, and integrity.
Michael C. and Mary Keller
Grand Rapids, MI