Friends of mine from all over the Greek-American community, people who are very active and have made substantial contributions to our Church, who have a clear picture of the recent decline and the consequences of its virtual bankruptcy, have spoken to me about the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate regarding the Metropolitans of Boston and New Jersey.
Many of them expressed admiration for the leadership personality of the Ecumenical Patriarch, for the wisdom, but also for the determination with which he solves the problems that confront him.
The Patriarch does not make rushed decisions. He is briefed and updated comprehensively. He informs the relevant parties, directly or indirectly, of his dissatisfaction.
But when the time actually comes for a decision, he acts decisively. He protects the interest of the people and the Church.
And this is what he did in the present case.
Look: If we rightly agonized over the decline of our Archdiocese for years – which surpassed the limits of our imagination, reaching for the first time in its long history, the unprecedented state of bankruptcy – ultimately revealing the need to take radical measures;
If we were all correct to urge change while watching the gradual disintegration of our Church’s infrastructure;
If we were all right to claim that the previous leadership of the Archdiocese was inadequate in terms of its administrative qualifications;
If all of us were right to look for a capable, dynamic ecclesiastical leader who could reverse this unacceptable situation;
Then, for all the above and many other reasons, the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was absolutely necessary.
Our new Archbishop cannot be undermined from within. Clergy, active or not, cannot do whatever they want in the hope of leading him to failure.
The Community simply can no longer endure such games.
Our Church has no room for new failures.
A possible failure, in order to further personal ambitions, would be almost catastrophic for our Church.
The success of Archbishop Elpidophoros will be a success of the Community and the Church, and his failure, a failure for the Community and the Church.
And our history cannot be played out on the stock market of personal ambitions, interests, and interpersonal relationships.
Archbishop Elpidophoros has proven to be the right man – a capable and dynamic leader – to lead our Church. Let us finally give him the opportunity to implement his plan. And only afterwards – in the unlikely case he does not succeed – to condemn him. To attack him in advance is reckless and hypocritical.
Our Church must finally – especially now – be the example for Hellenism. To prove that a part of Hellenism, under the right leadership, can come out of its period of decline, and succeed.
We are talking, after all, about the Church in America. Let us all realize that.