The National Herald - August 26, 2000

Archdiocese Responds to Council Chief's Remarks
about Church Finances

   By Theodore Kalmoukos

BOSTON. -  The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America this week issued a statement responding to comments made by John Catsimatidis, vice-chairman of the Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council, about the Church's finances.

Catsimatidis, speaking to The National Herald last week, said that the accusation that former Archbishop Spyridon left behind a $5.5 million deficit -- a fact reported officially at the recent Clergy-Laity Congress in Philadelphia -- "is not true. It is a spin that was put on," Catsimatidis said, adding that the deficit "goes back to 1990," to the tenure, in other words, of Archbishop Iakovos.

The Archdiocesan response, written by Jerry Dimitriou, the Archdiocese's Director of Administration, Personnel, and Finances, calls Catsimatidis' remarks "misstatements," supporting that Archbishop Demetrios inherited by his predecessor Archbishop Spyridon "a debt of at least $5.4 million."

Specifically, according to the response, the debt is broken down to "$1.9 million outstanding line of credit with Atlantic Bank; approximately $1 million in inter-fund payables due by the Archdiocese and approximately $2.5 million in accounts payable."

The statement also states that "this debt is specifically related to 1998 and 1999 and does not go to 1990 as Mr. Catsimatidis indicated."

In his interview with the Herald, Catsimatidis, who was appointed vice-chairman by Spyridon, also said that in 1998 there was an "endowment of 10 to 15 million dollars that was squandered" by the then administration of Archbishop Iakovos whom Catsimatidis however does not hold responsible "because he trusted certain individuals around him."

The full text of the official Archdiocesan response follows:

"Thank you for the opportunity to clarify the misstatements of Mr. Catsimatidis.

First let me explain that the Archdiocese was in fact in Debt for at least $5.4 million when His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios became the Archbishop of America. This debt was explained to the prior Executive Committee, the Archdiocesan Council and the Clergy Laity Congress. Regardless of Mr. Catsimatidis' understanding, I will again identify the components of this debt, which are; a $1.9 million outstanding line of credit with Atlantic Bank; approximately $1 million in inter-fund payables due by the Archdiocese and approximately $2.5 million in accounts payable.

"All of this debt is specifically related to 1998 and 1999 and does not go back to 1990 as Mr. Catsimatidis indicated. I would like to also point out that until 1998, the Archdiocese did not have a loan or line of credit with any bank since 1986. Additionally, in 1999 the Archdiocese also had a $3.1 million fiscal deficit, which contributed to the large debt incurred.

"Over the past eight months the Archdiocese has worked very hard to reduce expenses and His Eminence has personally challenged members of the Church to contribute and eliminate the prior debt.

"With his efforts and the generous contributions of many, the Archdiocese has commitments of approximately $4.0 million and has already collected $2.5 million A significant portion of the debt has been eliminated and God willing, all of it will be erased in the coming months.

"I can also assure you that the days of 'spin' are over and the Archdiocese will only deal with facts. While statements in the past have been made about the Archdiocese being in the 'best financial condition ever,' this administration will only spell out the true facts which, while being challenged by such misstatements, will stand on their own.

"His Eminence has given all of us the mandate to look ahead and move forward -- we will continue to do so however, we should never forget the past and always learn from our mistakes."

[ Orthodox Truth | www.orthodox-truth.bugs3.com/art_33.html  -  August 26, 2000 ]