Letter to Archbishop Spyridon of America
by Bishop Maximos of Pittsburgh
re issues at HC/HC

( February 3, 1997 )


Bishop Maximos

February 3, 1997

His Eminence
Archbishop of America, Spyridon
New York

Your Eminence,

Dr. Gilligan, director of Accreditation and Leadership Education, A.T.S., sent me relevant documents, which, unfortunately, refer only indirectly to the subjects I explained to him on the phone. For this reason I wrote to him and I expect also a written response to my questions, which I attach to this present letter. I hope I will be able to get in touch with him tomorrow and to suggest that he hurry with his written response. Tomorrow I hope to send you the report of what exactly happened during our first visit at the School. We are putting together with Bishop Meloes this report. In the meantime I wish to submit my personal thoughts and suggestions on the "three problems" at the School, to use the expression of Fr. Calivas :

1) The problem of Mrs. Zachariades-Holmberg: I personally suggest that Mrs. Holmberg, who already teaches her courses at the School of Theology, continue to teach them (as she has been doing for the past 18 years), as a professor with tenure, according to Bishop Methodios' appointment which happened 4 years ago and, according to the A.T.S. is still valid. Mrs. Holmberg must, also, be invited to the meetings of the School, and have a word and vote on the matters concerning her courses.

2) The Subject of an age limit for those who teach: A.T.S. does not have any position on this subject for the simple reason that it cannot oppose Federal Law. According to this law it is up to each professor to seek retirement, whenever he wishes. The deceased Fr. Nomicos Vaporis was right on that subject. Unfortunately, he did not survive in order to obtain justice.

3) Finally, the issue of merging the two chairs of Ecclesiastical History and Patristic Theology, does not in essence constitute a problem. Depending on the needs, it is possible for the two chairs to be combined, or even be separated again, provided that there are professors to teach these courses. At any rate, "Patristic Theology" is neither Patrology nor Dogmatics. It has its' own substance as a history of the Fathers' Theological thought, and can be an independent course. Personally, I was asked twice by the Theological School of St. Vladimir to teach this course, in the absence of the late John Meyendorf and in his stead. I do not see what the problem with Fr. George Dragas is, with regard to the merging of said chairs. When the professor of Ecclesiastical History (Fr. Thomas Fitzgerald) returns, it would be good for Fr. Dragas to limit himself to Patristic Theology.

Again, the above are my personal thoughts and suggestions based upon the expert opinions of the specialists at A.T.S. I do not know whether they reflect the opinion of Bishop Meloes with whom I did not have the opportunity to discuss these opinions. The report which we will file in unison solely refers to what happened during our visit, without any evaluation, because there is a possibility we might disagree. We agree on one point only: The dissension between the president, the Dean of the School and the professors has to end, for the benefit of everyone especially that of the students of the School.

This is what I submit for now, in view of the full report to be drafted with Bishop Meloes, and the written response by A.T.S. to my attached questions (letter to Michael Gilligan).

I remain, with the deepest respect and much love,
[ signed ]
Maximos Bishop of Pittsburgh.

[ Translated from Greek ]