"Greek American Review" - June 1998

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May 10, 1998

Greek - American Review
Peter S. Makrias, Editor
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New York, NY 10001-2002
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Dear Editor,

Recently I read GOAL’s Proposed Resolutions - dated 3/20-21,1998 - which I found were lacking of substance, and facts, - but full of innuendoes and anger, when I objectively evaluated them. Here are GOAL’s resolutions in bold print with my concern of each:

A good start is with their self-description: Who we are and what we seek. They say they’re People of God, concerned Greek Orthodox, seeking to protect and maintain the Church, baptized…etc. Does this imply those opposing GOAL are unbaptized, non-Orthodox, etc.; and people not people of God? This resolution seems true for all of us, therefore, unclear.

Next, their position on maintaining the organizational structure of the Archdiocese is also fuzzy. Who disagrees with maintaining order and unity in our Greek Orthodox Archdiocese…. through adherence to the existing archdiocesan charter? Again no facts, so I’m confused.

Their third position, maintaining Archdiocesan regulations, is similar to the above; no one would disagree here either; again, there is a lack of specific facts. Their fourth position begins to offer some specifics, yet generally no on can disagree with the financial management and accountability of our Archdiocese; however, it is my understanding that the Archdiocese has taken giant steps in this area [by employing the auditing skills of a highly regarded CPA firm]. I’m sure a CPA firm is quite capable of establishing accountability; so again implication that something is wrong, yet no specifics. Furthermore, these "People of God and unity" appear to be working counter-productively, by asking people to consider a temporary financial delay in their payments owed to the Archdiocese, without regard of the late charges and anger caused.

Hellenic College/Holy Cross should remain an outstanding, well managed and fully accredited…managed…without improper interference, etc.; and who determines if the Archdiocese is not adhering, or if there’s "improper interference"? ….GOAL? Who will determine how the removal of the President, et al, is to be rectified? GOAL? Similar questions arouse under their 6th point: St. Basil Academy is already managed under the leadership of its clergy and lay Board of Trustees in accordance with the established procedures. So what change is being offered here? Philoptochos should have a majority of the voting seats on the Board - Does this mean Philoptochos is willing to undertake a similar proportion of the expenses? If not, then how should one understand the Archdiocese’s paying the lion’s share of the expenses, while not having the same share of the representation on the Board? Also, what is meant by St. Basil’s should not be sold?…who is selling it?

The Orthodox Christian Mission Center position is also unclear. Item 7A and 7C seem innocuous, but only after improper interference is explained. What do you suppose it means to GOAL, to be "applauding the courage of the trustees" by "rejecting the reversion of the Center to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese"? Does the Archdiocese require "courage" to raise an opposing view? Did the Archdiocese take an opposing position? If so, why?

Item #8 Clergy and Laity, and #9, Clergy Sexual Misconduct also seem to have some cryptic meanings, as they seem to contain mainly agreeable comments, there are some that seem to brush directly into the Archdiocese’s business [ex. 8B;8F;9C & 9D seem like items to be raised by a labor union representing priests…].

Finally, the "People of God,…and unity" once again seem to be conflicting with their own goals. At one point [item 10C] GOAL asks for the cooperation of the Archbishop and then proceeds to threaten his removal [10D]. Is it possible that GOAL has such poor negotiating skills? Could "People of God, and unity" be so abrasive, angry, and arbitrary?

I’m not certain of GOAL’s goals!

 [ signed ]
Mark J. Melis

PS Your coverage of the Encyclical No. 18/98 issued by the Office of Archbishop Spyridon on behalf of the Holy Eparchial Synod [issue dated April 1998 P. 15] does not have a sense of objectivity or fairness when it appears as an unchallenged commentary, ahead of the text. For example, it is not entirely astute to believe the statement: "It is obvious that the writers of this Encyclical forget that officers and members of the banned organizations are among the founders of our churches…" Actually, having served on a church board for 25 years, I can assure you it is not all that uncommon for a church to limit the groups they allow to meet there- especially if that group is calling for the spiritual leader’s resignation. -mjm

[ EKKLISIA |  -  June 25, 1998 ]