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Letter to Editor

More than Just “a Handful” of Parishioners are Unhappy at St. Demetrios Church in Jamaica

Regarding the troubles at the St. Demetrios parish in Jamaica, Fr. Konstantinos Kalogridis suggests that only a handful of people are to blame and, despite the recent closing of the day school, everything is rosy. Those remarks are both laughable and shocking.

I was recently made aware of a St. Demetrios Facebook page, open for all to see with no less than 50 separate individuals lambasting the Church’s Parish Council and highlighting the shameful incidents that have occurred at St. Demetrios – all under the auspices of Fr. Konstantinos. These individuals include former teachers, parishioners, and alumni. Parishioners have left in droves, disgusted with the free for all zoo at Jamaica. For example, St. Nicholas in Flushing is full of former Jamaica parishioners who have gone to a church with competent clergy and a parish council comprised of professionals that insist on transparency. Attempting to save face is one thing, but the strategy of deflecting serious problems on “a handful” of parishioners is neither helpful nor even remotely true. The church can hopefully heal and move forward once the following is answered and addressed by the archbishop: 1) Tax evasion is a crime. Those that committed this fraud need to be removed from the parish council or from any financial responsibility. Why should the community be burdened with paying back these taxes and not the parish council members who were responsible for the fraud? 2) The archbishop needs to address the unaccounted for funds from the iconography account and, if necessary, get law enforcement involved. Telling the faithful who donated money to a special iconography fund that $500,000 from that fund was utilized to “pay bills” is preposterous and an insult to people’s intelligence. 3) What other parish council allows couples, brothers and other relatives to sit on a parish council? What other parish council would allow a parish member with a criminal record, including a conviction for insurance fraud, to do insurance jobs at the church without bids? Is self-dealing the norm at other churches? 4) What action did the archbishop take when several elderly parishioners were cursed at, threatened and spat upon in the presence of their priest, Fr. Konstantinos, at a church function? I invite readers to ask themselves, would their priest allow this? Finally, the most important questions we should all ask is why the Archdiocese allowed all this to take place, and has the Patriarchate taken note?

Thomas Bletsas

Brooklyn, NY

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