A Letter to Archbishop Spyridon
from Evan C. Lambrou
regarding Fr. Alkiviadis Calivas
( April 17, 1998 )
His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon
Chairman, Board of Directors
Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology
April 17, 1998
Καλή Ανάσταση. It troubles me a little to bring this matter to your attention on Good Friday, but it would trouble me more if I refrained from reporting my observations and impressions to you. It concerns Father Alkiviadis Calivas and what I perceive to be his attempt to take advantage of the podium, so to speak. Every night during Holy Week, he has taken at least 14 minutes to preach unnecessary and unwanted sermons here, in my opinion.
At first I thought, "Well, this is his last Holy Week at Holy Cross, so he probably wants to leave us with some parting thoughts." But after Holy Thursday evening and vespers this afternoon, it has become clear to me that he has been preaching out of irreverent obstinacy, rather than out of solemnity.
Last night, Father Calivas equated losing one's job with one of life's tragedies. Dr. George Stevens was also present. Although it may have escaped the attention of others in the congregation yesterday evening, it was obvious to me that Father Calivas continues to openly defy your authority. He even has the audacity to do so during Holy Week services.
First of all, Father Calivas' reference to losing one's job could easily be construed as a reference to himself. The implication, of course, was that Your Eminence imposed this so-called tragedy upon him. In my opinion, Father Calivas was using his position as a priest to elicit sympathy for himself at the Archbishop's expense. Such political maneuvers are not only derisively unbecoming, they are unworthy of the priesthood.
Secondly, the fact that Father Calivas continues to consort with Dr. Stevens publicly demonstrates his blatant lack of respect for Your Eminence as his Archbishop. Father Calivas should not even associate with this man, let alone invite him to our campus. By allowing or requesting that Dr. Stevens attend services at the Chapel on Holy Thursday, Father Calivas was effectively telling those of us present that he approves of Dr. Stevens' heterodox views and activities.
On Good Friday afternoon, we had some visitors from a local Roman Catholic seminary at the Chapel. Father Calivas thanked our guests for attending and proceeded to assure them that "although there are more conservative voices in each Church that stand in the way of unification, there are other stronger voices that cry out for union."
But Father Calivas does not have the ecclesiastical right to speak about the official position of the Church in such an impertinent manner. The indirect message, it seems to me, is that the laity (as a majority) can tell the hierarchy (as a minority) what to do. This renders Father Calivas' teaching basically Protestant in nature, as it clearly favors secular democracy over sacred hierarchy.
Finally, I would like to point out that Father Calivas is still commemorating the late Bishop Gerasimos of Avydou in our dismissal prayers. About this matter, however, I respectfully refer Your Eminence to a letter dated 11-21-97, a copy of which I have enclosed for your convenience. I dutifully bring all of the above to Your Eminence' attention. Thank you for your consideration.
With deepest love and respect,
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Evan C. Lambrou