MICHAEL G. CANTONIS
1650 Seabreeze Drive
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
727-938-5067

June 22, 2000

TO:
ALL MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF PHILOPTOCHOS
ALL MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
OF ARCHDIOCESAN COUNCIL AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am enclosing herewith the following photocopies of fax letters that I sent to His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Resolution of the Executive Committee and a fax letter of Appeal to His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew, regarding the pension of His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon.

I would like you to know that neither of them extended me the courtesy of an answer.

(1) Letter to His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios dictated December 7, 1999.
(2) Draft proposal for the pension dated March 30, 2000.
(3) Final proposal for the pension dated June 5, 2000.
(4) Resolution of the Executive Committee of the Archdiocese adopted June 9, 2000.
(5) My letter to Archbishop Demetrios dated June 9, 2000.
(6) My Letter of Appeal to His All Holiness Bartholomew.

The Executive Committee, of which I am a member since last December (1999), has done everything possible to convince His Eminence Demetrios to implement the pension we voted for Archbishop Spyridon last year. In spite of promises given us in our Executive Committee meeting December 1999 by Archbishop Demetrios, "Trust me, I will resolve the matter by our next meeting in January", instead of fulfilling his promise, all we hear from him are excuses, delays and conditions for not implementing the Executive Committee decision.

One condition is: Archbishop Spyridon must go to Constantinople to meet with the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Holy Synod. In February 1999, Archbishop Spyridon went to Constantinople for a meeting and His All Holiness told the U.S. Metropolitans that "Archbishop Spyridon will be your Archbishop until he dies". This statement appeared in newspapers in Greece and Greek/American Newspapers in the USA. In spite of the above statement, the Patriarchate continued to make his live miserable through the Patriarchal friends in G.O.A.L., and in July of the same year, when they asked him to return to Constantinople for another meeting, they asked him to resign with the condition that he could retain his title of former Archbishop of America and receive his pension. We all know what happened after his resignation. They demoted him to the rank of Metropolitan of Chaldia (a non-existing one), which he had a right to refuse to accept under the Orthodox Canon Law. They also refused to pay his pension that they promised.

Now, they want him to go back to Constantinople, who know for what?, for more humiliation? Havn't they humiliated him enough? The G.O.A.L., run primarily by "Patriarchal friends" and some clergy, have made his life martyrdom. Is there any dignity left in our church? Why do they continue to harass him and deny him his pension? Does our church want a former Archbishop who served his Church for 31 years with dedication, dignity, love and hard work, to become a beggar and live in poverty? Why is the church continuing to destroy this MAN? Where are the love and forgiveness and compassion that it teaches? All I can see in this case is hatred and vindictiveness. A Church that does not practice what it preaches is doomed to disaster.

I cannot speak for Archbishop Spyridon, but I can say if I were in his place, I would not want to face my Christian brothers in Istanbul after the treatment of harassment and humiliation and unfulfilled promises. Archbishop Spyridon is a man of dignity, pride and self-respect, and is thrown out like a rag by the Church that he served for 31 years with dedication and love.

I am sorry that my statements appear strong, but we, the Greeks, have a saying, "When you are in pain, you scream."

Since the power and the actions of the Executive Committee have been nullified and ignored by the present Archdiocese, I hope that the voices of the other institutions of the Church will be heard.

Sincerely,

MICHAEL G. CANTONIS
Member of The Executive Committee
Member of HCHC Corporate Board
MGC:sc
Encl.

P.S. I have worked for my Church without any direct or indirect financial interest for 49 years. My donations in the last 15 years alone to the Archdiocese, its institutions and the Ecumenical Patriarch exceed $5 million. I am very concerned and worried about our Church's present problems and its future.

BECAUSE OF MY HEALTH PROBLEMS DUE TO ACCIDENTS, AND THE LENGTH OF THE CLERGY-LAITY CONGRESS MEETING, I CANNOT ATTEND ON THE ADVICE OF MY DOCTORS.

[ Orthodox Truth | www.orthodox-truth.bugs3.com/art_21.html
  From posting: "Michael Cantonis' Correspondence with Goa and the Ecumenical Patriarchate"
  June 22, 2000 ]