Greek Orthodox Stewards of America - February 19, 1999


For your Information -- A Story about "Dirty Tricks"

Every Greek Orthodox diocese has a clergy "brotherhood", an association of priests. There also is a national clergy association known as the "Archdiocese Presbyters Council", or "APC." This body represents all priests of the Archdiocese. The APC meets regularly with His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon and discusses matters of importance to the priests of the Archdiocese. It has been supportive of Archbishop Spyridon and his initiatives. It is composed of clergy representatives from all dioceses. Until January 14, 1999, the APC representatives from the Boston diocese were Fr. George Economou and Fr. Panagiotis Giannakopoulos. In the summer of 1998, they were each elected to two year terms. Today, neither is a representative of the APC. What follows is a description of events that details why.

On January 14, 1999, the clergy brotherhood of the Boston diocese met. At first, it appeared that the meeting, which was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., would have to be cancelled because only a few priests were present (it was snowing out). At approximately 11 a.m., about twenty priests all at once entered the meeting room led by Fr. Tom Chininis, the recently elected clergy brotherhood president of the Boston diocese. Fr. Chininis is the son-in-law of Fr. Alkiviadis Calivas, one of so-called four "dismissed" professors at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Seminary. Fr. Calivas was present at the meeting.

What then happened is as follows: Fr. Economou resigned as a representative of the APC, under apparent pressure to do so. Father Giannakopoulos, who was not present at the meeting because of heavy snow fall, was removed from office and new elections occurred. The winners of the new election were Frs. Tom Chininis and Dean Panagas. What is disturbing is (1) that no prior formal notice was given that elections would occur on January 14 and (2) that the elections occurred even though Frs. Economou and Giannakopoulos had 1 ½ years left on their terms. Fr. Giannakopoulos, a supporter of Archbishop Spyridon, has never resigned from his position as the Boston diocese representative to the APC.

What went on at this meeting is clear -- a group of priests decided to act illegally by removing duly elected representatives to the APC and replacing them with individuals perceived to be critics of the Archdiocese. Father Kerhulas, the president of the APC, and other APC officers should intervene in this matter. The APC should not recognize Frs. Chininis and Panagas as the Boston diocese representatives to the APC. Moreover, His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios, who apparently knew about the election in advance, also should intervene and correct this wrong. His Chancellor, Fr. Kromydas, was present at the meeting, but he did nothing to stop the removal of the duly elected priest representatives.

One other disturbing event occurred at the January 14 meeting. The clergy of the Boston diocese had collected approximately $10,000 for seminarian housing at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Seminary. Upon motion, the clergy in attendance, including the "dismissed" professor who was at the meeting, voted to withhold the money from the seminarians. Only the clergy who voted to withhold the money, clergy who presumably love Hellenic College/Holy Cross Seminary and its students, can explain why they voted in this way. You should ask them for an explanation.

Note from the editor: The original version of this article said that father Stylianopoulos was at the meeting. We have learned that he was not in attendance and have corrected the article accordingly. We apologize for the error.

[ Greek Orthodox Stewards of America
  February 19, 1999 ]