hellenic times - December 7-20, 1998
Christmas: A Time of Peace and Unity
Publisher's Comments - John A. Catsimatides
I have a dream.
I have a dream that all Hellenes will come together as a people.
We are well aware of the Greek axiom, "everyone wants to be the Captain and
no one wants to be the deck hand." It has been true for thousands of
In our Church, for example, certain members of the Church have organized a
group known as Greek Orthodox American Leaders (GOAL). GOAL paints itself
as representative of mainstream Hellenism in America. These members are
good, God fearing people who love their Church and want the best for their
Community. Many of these people have served their Church in leadership
positions in the past.
These same people are upset with our current Church leadership for not being
appointed to positions that they have been accustomed to in the past.
We are Americans and people should understand when a new leader arrives
whether in government, a corporation, or Church, this leader has the right to
choose his/her own team.
Archbishop Spyridon has every right to choose his team.
This does not mean that these former officers or leaders of our Church are
any less worthy.
Those who have differences should work within the system to make changes they
feel would improve our Church and our people.
Criticism, innuendo, and false rumors are no way for God fearing people to
Members of GOAL may disagree with the Archbishop's choices but they should
not burn down the Church in protest.
I do not understand other members of GOAL who advocate autonomy from the
Patriarchy. What is the purpose of working
against the Ecumenical Patriarch when we should be helping him bring world
Still others are advocating breaking up the Archdiocese to regional offices
with Metropolitans in charge. Again what is the purpose? This will
only serve to weaken our the Church's infrastructure which Archbishop Iakovos
worked so hard to build over the past forty years. Archbishop Spyridon is
well qualified to take our Church, the Archdiocese and our people unified into the next millennium.
As President of the Archdiocesan Council, I call upon the members of GOAL to
come forward and discuss your differences. Join in the dialogue to work
within the system for the Church's benefit.
Speaking as a lay person, our Church has come a long way in the last few
years. We have good financial controls, with independent, certified
financial statements. We have modernized our communications systems and
have set up internal controls to better administrate our Church.
The Executive Committee and I, are actively participating in the financial
and business operations of the Church. We meet on a monthly basis and
discuss the operation of the Archdiocese. We review the "year to date"
financial statements of the Archdiocese with His Eminence. The Executive
committee advises the Archbishop and reviews with him the current situation and
plan for the future direction of the Church. We lend our corporate
experience and background to His Eminence. Any hint of impropriety in the
fiscal administration of our Church will be dealt with openly and immediately.
I pledge to you, that the Executive Committee and I have only the best
interest of the Church and our people in mind.
Greek Americans are amazing. Just think of how far we have come in a
relatively short time. With less than 3,000,000 of us in this country of
more than 265,000,000, look at the impact we have made in this country at all
levels of business, government and education. The Church has indeed played
a historic and significant role in all aspects of our lives, the most important
of which is to serve as the glue which binds us together.
I have a dream of bringing all of our people together and the Church is the
force to keep us together....
[ hellenic times - December 7-20, 1998 - p. 4 ]