Greek Orthodox Stewards of America - June 27, 1999
The Facts Surrounding Who Controls The Fate Of Priests
Archdiocese critics repeatedly have said that Archbishop Spyridon abuses priests and that priests live in fear of retribution from him if they take positions which are perceived to be anti-Archdiocese. It has been said that one weapon the Archbishop can use is to transfer or reassign a priest from a parish, thereby impacting his family and otherwise creating hardship. These contentions are simply untrue. The fact of the matter is that the fate of priests within a particular diocese is in the hands of the presiding Metropolitan or Bishop.
On this subject, Article III, Section 2 of the Uniform Parish Regulations provide that "Priests and Deacons of each Diocese are accountable to the Diocesan Bishop and will submit to him a report of their ministry semiannually in a format provided by the Bishop." Article III, Section 8 further provides that "[a] Priest's remuneration may not be withheld or lowered without the consent of the Bishop." On the subject of the assignment and transfer of priests, Article XX of the Charter of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese provides:
The assignment and transfer of priests and deacons within each diocese is the right of the local bishop. As to transfers between dioceses, the Synod of Bishops shall have the responsibility, except that between meetings of the Synod of Bishops, the Archbishop shall have the right after consultation with the two bishops involved.
Article III, Section 7 of the Uniform Parish Regulations follows-up on this Charter provision by providing "[t]he clergy are assigned or transferred by the Bishop within his Diocese by virture of the authority of his office and in accordance with the canons, ecclesiastical procedure and the needs of the Diocese."
The bottom line is that the Archbishop has very little or no power to affect the life of priests outside of his own diocese, which is the New York Diocese. The protestations of the critics that priests live in fear of retribution from the Archdiocese thus cannot withstand scrutiny. It is just another example of the misinformation that has been circulated by the critics in an effort to undermine the Church.
By Stavros Kriticos
[ Greek Orthodox Stewards of America
June 27, 1999 ]