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[ Proini - April 22-23, 2000 ]

[ A Call to Greek Orthodox Christians ]

So then, Let us not sleep as others do, But let us be alert and sober.
(1 Thess. 5:7)

Fellow Greek Orthodox Christians,

Our beloved Greek Orthodox Church is at a crossroad, but how many of us are aware of this?

Our Church is undergoing a reorganization that will have significant and far-reaching effects. How many of our faithful are concerned with the administrative changes that have taken place since Archbishop Spyridon was forced to resign? The new Charter is currently being formulated; but how many of us understand how this Charter will impact on the Greek Orthodox church, on our church, in this country?

Radical changes will be thrust upon us at the upcoming Clergy/Laity Congress. If we are so concerned about the crises in our Church, why aren't the laity concerned about the changes in the Charter that will limit lay participation? Last year we clamored to know what was going on and to have our voices heard. Suddenly, those voices and inquires have ceased.

Brethren, The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese as we know it today, may not exist in a short time. The power of the central leading figure of archbishop, who unites and leads the flock of Greek Orthodox Christians of this country, has already been dismantled by the Patriarchate. The Patriarch and the Hierarchy of this country have quietly been instrumental in a reorganization of leadership, while we all focused on media slander and carefully orchestrated theatrics. Could it be that His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon fought for the unification of our Church by seeking to preserve strong central leadership and by maintaining a position that could monitor corruption and safeguard both our faith and our traditions? Our Metropolitans were quick to unite themselves with a lay organization in order to abolish the power of a strong archbishop during the past two years. What provisions have they now made for the voice of the laity in ecclesiastical matters under the guidelines of the new Charter?

Perhaps it would be pertinent at this time to ask, What issue will the hierarchs create for us at the Clergy/Laity Conference in July to divert the attention of the people from the real issues, like the Charter? Let us be vigilant not to be distracted by irrelevant and inappropriate matters devised to redirect our attention.

Fellow Greek Orthodox Christians, the changes in our Church have already begun. It is evident that Archbishop Demetrios accepted his position without any real power in order to facilitate these changes in a transitional manner, a compromise that Archbishop Spyridon would not agree. He knew that the weakening of this central figure and the central entity of the Archdiocese would lead to the eventual dissolution of a true Greek Orthodox Church in this country. The results of this decentralization are already evident. Our Hierarchs have already spoken openly about autocephaly from the Mother Church. There is no real leadership or direction in the administration of our Church. The Patriarchate cannot be a substitute for direct leadership, nor can we maintain our unity if we are broken into fragmented Metropolitanates in this country. We will gradually lose a strong unified lobby in government. Individuals who were previously removed are now being reinstated. Everyone is "doing their own thing" due to an erosion of accountability.

In short, there is no central, unifying force. We commend Archbishop Demetrios in his efforts to "heal" through skilled diplomacy, but the results of this decentralization of our Church have already proven catastrophic.

Where, indeed, are the voices of protest?

FAITHFUL GREEK ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS

[ η Πρωϊνή - April 22-23, 2000 ]