GOARCH - December 11, 1998

Archdiocesan Council Executive Committee Convenes

New York, NY - Yesterday, His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, convened the regular monthly meeting of the Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council at the Archdiocese. Participants included: Vice Chairman John Catsimatides, Secretary Peter J. Pappas, Treasurer Nicholas J. Bouras, Michael G. Cantonis, Harry J. Pappas, James Paulos, and George E. Safiol (by conference call). Andrew A. Athens and George Behrakis were out of the country. The Chancellor and General Counsel of the Archdiocese were also in attendance.

The agenda included numerous topics, including a financial report from Acting Director of Finance George Chelpon. In the financial report, Mr. Chelpon noted the success of the Archdiocese Stewardship Program, citing the fact that the Christian giving of the Archdiocese for the year 1998 had increased by more than one half million dollars over the year 1997 for the same time period. The Executive Committee was also pleased to hear that a new accounting program was in complete operation. This program is the first one of its kind in the history of the Archdiocese to give real-time reporting of the financial status of the Archdiocese on demand. There was also a legal report from General Counsel John Mavroudis, a report from the Audit Committee (chaired by James Paulos), and a report from the Archbishop on the ongoing concerns and plan of action on behalf of the Patriarchal Theological School of Halki.

In a report on the trip that members of the Executive Committee made to the Ecumenical Patriarchate on behalf of the whole committee, Peter J. Pappas, who as the Secretary of the Archdiocese Council and Executive Committee led the delegation, read a letter he sent to His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. On behalf of the Committee, he warmly thanked His All Holiness for his hospitality, receptivity, loving concern and the support he expressed for His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon and the work of the Executive Committee. Furthermore, Mr. Pappas wrote to His All Holiness of the sorrow of the members of the Committee that some portions of the media had misrepresented these recent contacts and had so misinformed the public at large.

The Archbishop led extensive discussions on possibilities and plans to expand the programs at St. Basil's, including a Greek Orthodox Convention Center, a National Retreat Center, a Youth Camp, and Nursing facility for retired priests who are in need. His Eminence also called for the Orphanage and Academy to be functioning within five years with 250 children. The Archbishop noted with pride the recent appointment of Protopresbyter Costa Sitaras as the new Director and the whole Committee expressed their confidence in him.

There were also discussions on the long-range plans that should also be prepared by the Religious Education Department for the next ten years, and how long-term planning should be balanced with immediate goal-oriented tasking. The Executive Committee also identified the tremendous embryonic potential of GOTelecom as a specific ministry that needs attention. In discussing the merits and successes of Ionian Village, the unanimous sense of the Committee was that this ministry should be expanded, strengthened and should be more comprehensively integrated with Hellenic College/Holy Cross and St. Basil's Academy.

Also, in an effort to better meet the needs of the vast geographical expanse of the Archdiocese, the Executive decided that beginning in April of 1999, the regular monthly meetings will take place in different regions of the United States. This would allow for the local Hierarch, Parish Priests, local representatives to the Archdiocese Council, Parish Council Executive Committees and Church leaders to participate and exchange information and ideas. The first such meeting will be held concurrently with the annual Leadership 100 Conference in San Francisco in April 1999.

  December 11, 1998 ]