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Proini (NY) - April 22-23, 2000
Omogeneiaka - April 22, 2000

Week of Passion for the Archdiocese

   By Apostolos Zoupaniotis

The denial of Archbishop Demetrios to put into practice the decision of the Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council last Spring which adjusts the pension of the Former Archbishop of America His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon is becoming a wick threatening to ignite a general crisis in our ecclesiastical affairs. As we wrote in yesterdays edition, five members (out of the eight) of the Executive Committee discussed the whole issue during a telephone conference, without however reaching any decision, except to continue the effort to convince Archbishop Demetrios. The five members agreed to send a letter to His Eminence, in which to demand the immediate enforcement of the decision. Yesterday, the President of the Archdiocesan Council Mr. John Catsimatidis was to meet with Archbishop Demetrios and discuss the issue.

The members of the Executive Committee are also discussing the possibility of a legal intervention something that will seriously affect the Archdioceses ability to function. In a letter to Archbishop Demetrios dated December 13th 1999 (which we have possession of at Proini) Mr. Harry Pappas warns that he shall take every legal measure to render liable anyone who might try to overturn the decision.

The handling of everything surrounding this pension as well as other serious organizational issues pertaining to the Archdiocese seem to be out of Archbishops Demetrios' control. Members of the Executive Committee met directly with Mr. Michael Jaharis who was in direct communication Patriarchate. In fact, Mr. Jaharis supposedly stated to a member of the Executive Committee that Archbishop Demetrios, who favors the granting of the pension to former Archbishop Spyridon, has no jurisdiction on this subject. He also stated that it is clearly in the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and that the pension will be granted only if Archbishop Spyridon goes to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Mr. Michael Cantonis, a member of the Executive Committee is also of the opinion that either Archbishop Demetrios does not have the power or that the power has been taken from him. Following is our discussion with him:

THE INTERVIEW :

The whole situation with the Archdiocese is sad. Our Church is going downwards instead of rising. There is much apathy and many things do not require resolving, neither do they get resolved. This situation cannot continue forever. Even though I consider Archbishop Demetrios a tremendous person and have great love and respect for him, I do not think he is in control of the situation.

What is you opinion on the proposed pension for Archbishop Spyridon?

Last December Archbishop Demetrios promised us that he would resolve the whole issue by the end of January when the Executive Committee would meet again. The months passed and nothing was resolved. As I understand it, this month the payment of his salary was interrupted. What are they waiting for him to do? To beg? This - and I say this as mildly as I can, it would not be dignified for our Church.
I personally submitted a proposal to the Archdiocese, wherein I offered the sum of one million dollars to be put at their disposal for the creation of a special account the interest of which (4% or approximately $40.000 annually) to be used by the Archdiocese reimbursement towards the sum contributed towards the pension of His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon. As this account would increase, the interest would of course grow until the point where the Archdiocese would not need to put even a penny towards the pension. And when one day, His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon would leave the worldly plain, the interest from this sum would be equally distributed to the Archbishop Spyridon Scholarship Fund of the Theological School of Boston and the Theological School of Halki.

Are there any thoughts within the Executive Committee for renewed action towards the enforcement of its decision?

This past December Mr. Harry Pappas submitted a proposal, which I co-authored, for the enforcement of the decision. Archbishop Demetrios intervened and asked us not to do anything, "I beg of you," he said, show faith. I will resolve the problem in the next few days, by our next meeting. Nothing was done, he promised us much, but... Personally I believe that it is not in his control. He does not have the jurisdiction to act or, maybe, this authority was taken from him.

Who has the jurisdiction?

As I understand it, the Ecumenical Patriarchate. They tell me it is in the hands of the Patriarch. This creates precedent, because in the past the Patriarchate never had anything to do with the pensions of Bishops, even Archbishop Iakovos. The Executive Committee deals with these issues. Now, all of our jurisdiction was removed from us. The Executive Committee voted that the pension will be given, and its decision was never enforced.

Do you intend to ask for its enforcement?

I hope we will do so. I do not know how far we can take this and if they will oblige. What can I say... When the Executive Committee has voted, it means that the Executive Power (the administration) which is the office of the Archbishop, must enforce.

Some members have spoken of legal action.

I know nothing about this.

[ Orthodox Truth | www.orthodox-truth.bugs3.com/art_12.html  -  April 23, 2000 ]