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United States

The Metropolis of Boston ‘Instigates’ the Clergy Against the School of Theology and the Archdiocese

September 2, 2020

BOSTON – The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston through its chancellor Theodoros Barbas, is attempting to instigate the priests of the New England parishes, against Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and its president George Cantonis as well as against the Archdiocese of America and His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros with reproaches about the recent dismissal of professors from the School and the issue of the pension of clergy, and issue which is heading towards a resolution with the personal intervention of the Archbishop.

Specifically, Fr. Theodoros Barbas sent an e-mail to all the priests of the communities of the Metropolis of Boston on Tuesday afternoon August 25, 2020 (a copy has been obtained by TNH) instigating the priests to revolt. It is emphasized here that Fr. Barbas as chancellor of the Metropolis of Boston, according to ecclesiastical order and protocol, acts, writes and operates on behalf of Metropolitan Methodios of Boston.  

Fr. Barbas wrote to the priests the following:

“To the Reverend Clergy of the Metropolis of Boston, Dear brother,

I pray you are well, healthy and safe! 

“It was good to see so many of our brothers on last night's conference call, which was very informative and educational. On behalf of our Metropolitan we thank the members of the ABC, together with our own Fr. Jim Katinas and Fr. Tom Chininis for organizing such a helpful call for us all.

“Now we turn our attention to our beloved Seminary! Please see the announcement and invitation below from Fr. Costarakis to join the upcoming HCHC Alumni General Assembly on Monday, August 31, at 8:30 PM.   

“In preparation for the upcoming GOA Virtual Clergy-Laity Congress, we – the clergy of the Archdiocese – must prepare ourselves and become fully informed regarding the many critically important issues confronting our Archdiocese and our collective ministries. Last night was an excellent beginning with the very informative and educational meeting we had with our brothers from the ABC regarding the Clergy Pension crisis.

“I now write to encourage you to participate in this Alumni General Assembly meeting as our beloved School is also in crisis, facing very serious consequences by the accrediting agencies. Among the issues of crisis is the recent abrupt decision by the Board of Trustees to fire several tenured professors with no advanced notice. What is perhaps even worse than the shocking decision to abruptly terminate these professors is the means by which they executed that action, by giving them less than a week to clear out their offices, shut down their emails and vacate the campus. Additionally, it has been reported that the professors' health insurance and benefits would also be terminated at the end of this month.

“Since, apparently, the Alumni Board officers have decided to remain quiet on this issue, even though they occupy a seat on the Board of Trustees representing all of us, it therefore behooves us all to join this meeting and demand answers from the HCHC President (see agenda item #2) regarding the crisis at our Seminary and the unacceptable treatment of our tenured professors who have served the School and all of us for the past 35-40 years. Additionally, there have been many reports of a potential real-estate deal in the making that may in fact include selling up to 20 acres of land from our beautiful Brookline campus. As clergy of our Archdiocese and alumni of our School, we must demand answers as to HOW these decisions were made; and WHY only certain professors were targeted; and WHY they are being treated in such a disrespectful and hurtful manner not worthy of the years of their service to the Church and to four decades of hundreds of us who were their students.

“We encourage you to participate in this Alumni General Assembly and let your voice of concern be heard and demand truthful and transparent answers to these serious questions surrounding the crisis at our beloved School. Please see the link below to pre-register for your participation, which you must do prior to being granted access into the conference call. If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know.

With brotherly love in the Lord and deep concern, Tjb.”

Fr. Barbas at midnight on Friday August 28 sent a new e-mail to all the priests of the Metropolis of Boston attempting to tell them that in his previous e-mail of Tuesday August 25 he was expressing his personal opinion and recommendations. 

His new e-mail follows:

“To The Reverend Clergy of the Metropolis of Boston

Dear Brother,  

I pray that you are well and enjoying the last few days of summer with your family!

I am writing regarding the previous email I sent to all of you on Tuesday, August 25. 

The Archbishop and Archdiocesan leaders have asked for a clarification of that message. While I sincerely hope that my clergy brothers will be actively present and participatory in both the upcoming HCHC Alumni General Assembly meeting on Monday, August 31, at 8.30 PM, and September’s virtual Clergy-Laity Congress, please understand that my August 25 email, sent under my own signature, expresses my own personal opinion and recommendations.  As a brother and senior clergyman of our Archdiocese, I felt it my responsibility to write to you about my concerns.

With deep love and appreciation to our brother clergy for their tireless dedication and faithful diakonia, I remain,

With brotherly love in the Lord,

Tjb.”

This is not the first time that the Metropolis of Boston provoked a ‘revolt’ against the Archdiocese. We reveal here that at the beginning of July Metropolitan Methodios of Boston led a serious ecclesiastical deviation by convening through a teleconference the Eparchial Synod without the knowledge of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, during which they discussed the issue of the retirement age for hierarchs as well as their retirement benefits. This ecclesiastical coup known in Orthodox tradition as ‘faction and intrigue’ (τυρεία και φατρία) is one of the most serious anti-ecclesiastical and uncanonical acts and it can even lead to defrocking. It is emphasized that only Archbishop Elpidophoros who presides (President of the Synod – Πρόεδρος της Συνόδου) has the right and the privilege to convene the Synod and nobody else.

Archbishop Elpidophoros is in Constantinople for the celebration of the Feast of the Indiction, the Ecclesiastical New Year, and he is scheduled to return to the United States on Saturday September 5.     

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