MICHAEL G. CANTONIS
1650 Seabreeze Drive
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
April 24, 2000
His All Holiness Bartholomew
FAX: 011 90 212 53 46310
Your All Holiness:
We pray that the passions, the crucifiction and the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ, will inspire us by His sacrifices, His teachings of compassion, forgiveness and love.
Your All Holiness, I believe you know enough of my love for our church, which embraces the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Archdiocese and its institutions. Events over the last couple of years have disappointed and hurt my feelings and my family's, but our faith and love for our church is unshakable. Please believe what I say to you is a confession that comes from the bottom of my heart and soul, and is true as the sun rises every morning.
I have been talking with His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon by telephone about once every week. I can assure you that even though he is disappointed and hurt by the way he has been treated (hundreds of thousands of Greek Orthodox feel his pain), he bears no ill feelings against the Church or any hatred against anyone, including his enemies. A few days ago, I asked him questions regarding a rumor that he may go to court to secure his pension. His strong answer was, "I will never do such a thing. I will never do anything to hurt my church I prefer to eat onions for the rest of my life than to go against my church". Your All Holiness, Archbishop Spyridon is a dedicated servant of our church and loves it as much as any hierarch that I know. Disappointed and hurt? Yes he is. These feelings are human, but time heals everything. As Archbishop Iakovos said after Spyridon's resignation, "Spyridon's loss will be a great one for our Church because his future is ahead of him, not behind him." I read his statement in the press. I wish he had made similar statements of support for Spyridon when he was an active archbishop.
Your All Holiness, word is out that the Archdiocese has stopped Archbishop Spyridon's salary and refuses to implement his pension. The Greek Orthodox flock in America knows that His Eminence Spyridon has served his church with dignity, dedication, energy and love for over 30 years, and that he does not deserve the treatment he has received during his years as our archbishop. Many people are asking, "Are they throwing him to the street like a rag? Has our church lost its dignity?"
Your All Holiness, I make a plea to you, please allow His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios to implement the pension that the Executive Committee of the Archdiocese voted for Archbishop Spyridon. Our new Archbishop Demetrios, whom we love and respect for his humility, wants to implement the pension, but reliable sources advise me that this pension is under your jurisdiction, and that unless he goes to Constantinople to meet with you, Archbishop Demetrios hands are tied up. It is human for him to hesitate to go to Constantinople for reasons we all know. This does not mean that some day in the future, he will not go. As I said before, time is a great healer.
Your All Holiness, I said to you in previous fax letters that the Church of America is not a few hundred G.O.A.L., and a small minority of priests, who unfortunately, continue to crucify the man against the Lord's teachings. These few people do not represent the American Orthodox flock of more than 1.5 million. They continue to hurt this man. To deny him a decent living will be a detrimental blow to our demoralized and unhappy flock, and very degrading to the church and the Patriarchate, and will add vinegar to a terrible wound.
Your All Holiness, the morale of the Greek Orthodox flock in America is very low. It is shown by the poor economic support for our churches, the Archdiocese and HCHC which will get worse, not better. We are losing attendance and economic support. The flock is demoralized and many stay away and look for spirituality and consolation in monasteries.
Your actions, Your All Holiness, will heal many wounds and will improve feelings towards the Patriarchate and the church in general. I am appealing to your magnanimity, your fairness and your graciousness, your Christian compassion, your forgiveness and love and I am asking you to authorize Archbishop Demetrios to implement Archbishop Spyridon's pension with no strings attached. It is extremely important for the dignity of our church and your prestige.
KALO PASCHA KE KALI ANASTASI.
With love and respect,
Michael G. Cantonis
- His Eminence Demetrios
- Members of the Executive Committee
[ Orthodox Truth | www.orthodox-truth.bugs3.com/art_21.html
From posting: "Michael Cantonis' Correspondence with Goa and the Ecumenical Patriarchate"
April 24, 2000 ]