Greek Orthodox Stewards of America - March 5, 1999


Stewards' response to Hellenic Chronicle story

Dear Hellenic Chronicle Editor:

This is a response to your article on the first page of the March 3, 1999 Hellenic Chronicle regarding the Archdiocesan Presbyters' Council ("APC").

As an initial observation, I find it extraordinary that you have not called into question the many inaccuracies that have emanated from the Greek Orthodox American Leaders, Inc. over the course of the last eighteen months, yet you chose to challenge the accuracy of a website article by the Greek Orthodox Stewards of America, Inc. ("Stewards") and put it on the front page of your newspaper.

With respect to the information in the web article, it was obtained from someone in attendance at the meeting. Various parts of it have since been confirmed by two other sources. The article stands as reported. What is distressing is the "cover up" now being proffered about this incident. Because of that "cover up", the reinstatement of Frs. Giannakopoulos and Economou is now a goal of the Stewards. They will not rest until they are reinstated.

The response by Father Kapsalis raises more questions about the meeting than it answers. First, he fails to explain adequately why Frs. Giannakopoulos and Economou were removed as representatives of the APC. He says it was because of a desire to return to earlier custom. | This story lacks credibility, especially in light of the fact that (1) Fr. Giannakopoulos - one of the removed representatives - was not at the meeting, (2) Fr. Giannakopoulos is a supporter of the Archbishop, (3) Fr. Economou is a "middle of the roader" when it comes to Church politics, and (4) the new representatives do not support the Archbishop. Fundamental fairness and decency dictated, at a bare minimum, that the attendees at the January 14 meeting should have waited for Fr. Giannakopoulos to be present before removing him.

Father Kapsalis seems to say that the clergy Brotherhood of the Boston Diocese can remove representatives to the APC whenever they want. This is not true. Father Kapsalis ignores the APC by-laws, which provide, in pertinent part, that "[e]ach Diocesan Clergy Syndesmos shall be represented by two representatives for a period of two years, to coincide with the Archdiocesan Clergy-Laity Congress". Under this provision, Frs. Giannakopoulos and Economou's terms were two years. The quoted language is clear and unequivocal. Contrary to what Father Kapsalis says, "custom" has nothing to do with anything. Two years is two years. The Clergy Brotherhood of the Boston Diocese violated the quoted provision.

Second, although Fr. Kapsalis states that "the APC was listed as one of the agenda items", he fails to say that the agenda did not say anything about APC representatives being removed. Thus, in effect, the removal of the representatives occurred without notice. Where is the fairness?

Third, Fr. Kapsalis says that with respect to funds for seminarian housing, the issue "was when to give the funds". Why would that be an issue? If money was collected, it should be distributed forthwith to the seminarians who need it. Why wait?

The bottom line of this incident is that a group of priests got caught mistreating fellow priests in the name of Church politics. Now the spin doctors are working in an effort to cover up the injustice. What also is disturbing is that they are accusing the Stewards of being inaccurate, when it is they who are putting out false information. The issue of the wrongfully removed APC representatives will not go away. The Stewards will redouble their efforts to apprise the faithful of the entire truth behind this sorry incident.

Very truly yours,
George C. Rockas
Editor of the Stewards' Website

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