GreekNews - May 9, 2005

GOAL Founder Expresses Deep Concern Over Our Church Affairs

Member of the Exec. Committee of the Archdiocesan Council
Dr John Collis sends a letter to all council members

By Apostolis Zoupaniotis

New York.- A member of the Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council, in a letter sent on Good Friday, to all council members, expresses deep concern on the current status of our Archdiocese. The letter written by veteran member Dr John Collis, who has served for years in the Council and other bodies of our Archdiocese, including the Holy Cross School of Theology Board of Trustees, has been sent two weeks prior to the Archdiocesan Council meeting, to be held in New York City, May 13-14.

The fact that Dr Collis is one of the founding members of GOAL (the organization that revolted against Archbishop Spyridon and dissolved after his resignation) was met with a lot of skepticism by many members of the Archdiocesan Council, who share these same concerns.

Among the issues Dr Collis points out in his letter are, the many administrative problems, the large financial debt, the fact that certain segments of the Archdiocese disregard Demetrios' points of view and the effect of the revision of the Charter and the UPR.

"Our Laity feel marginalized following recent changed in our Charter and UPR. These revisions have transferred responsibilities from Laity to Bishops", Dr Collis states in his letter.

Dr Collis proposes these issues to be examined by the Archdiocesan Council and to be included in the agenda of the next Clergy Laity Congress.

Dr John Collis' letter text follows:

"Dear Archdiocesan Council Colleague:

Like you, I am serving as a member of the Archdiocesan Council. I have been a member of the Council for more than twenty years and presently serve on its Executive Committee. The current state of our Archdiocese is cause for concern.

An array of problems faces our Archdiocese. Fortunately, there appear to be no problems concerning the doctrine or dogma; the problems are administrative in nature. Regrettably, there seems to be no concerted effort to solve these issues.

Drawing on my observations, conversations, and experiences, permit me to identify several disturbing matters confronting our Archdiocese.

•   Leadership - The liturgical, political and social demands placed on our Archbishop afford less time for administrative matters. Certain segments of the Archdiocese disregard his points of view.
•   Finances - Presently the Archdiocese is 10 million dollars in debt. The budget is ignored. Furthermore, our Archbishop has been shamefully encumbered by debt since his enthronement.
•   Governance - Our charter and UPR have been changed. Our Bishops now have legislative control of our Archdiocese; the Laity now has only an advisory role. Our Bishops have increased responsibilities and thus have increased need for financial support.
•   Legal Obligations - Our financial obligations is settling legal matters (e.g. sexual behavior) are increasing.
•   Institutional Ministries - Our Hellenic College/Holy Cross perseveres; there is need for more students and more financial support. Our Saint Basil Academy languished.
•   Laity - Our Laity feel marginalized following recent changed in our Charter and UPR. These revisions have transferred responsibilities from Laity to Bishops.
•   Our Patriarchates in Constantinople and Jerusalem, and the National Church of Greece are hindered by scandals ...this is a source of embarrassment for us in America.

Final Comment A thorough assessment of Archdiocesan administrative policies and practices is needed. We, the Council, are responsible for this evaluation. Certainly we have talent and resources to solve these problems ourselves. Our findings should be the primary agenda for our next Clergy-Laity Congress. Now is the time to revitalize our Holy Archdiocese ...tomorrow may be too late!

Regards for a Joyous Pascha,
John Collis, M.D".

[ GreekNews -[_] - May 9, 2005 ]