Greek Orthodox Stewards of America - April 9, 1999
A Test for the Faithful
A PARISH THAT WITHHOLDS FUNDS FROM THE ARCHDIOCESE
COMMITS WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING:
- ECONOMIC TERRORISM;
- A VIOLATION OF THE UNIFORM PARISH REGULATIONS;
- AN UNCHRISTIAN AND MEAN SPIRITED ACT;
- AN INCENDIARY ACT INJURING CHURCH INSTITUTIONS; OR
ALL OF THE ABOVE.
ANSWER: G. ALL OF THE ABOVE.
Recently, Archdiocese critics have been brazenly encouraging parishes to withhold their annual commitment pledges to the Archdiocese. The excuse for this guerilla tactic is disenchantment with the Church administration and more specifically His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon. Archbishop Spyridon is being used as an excuse. Anyone who succeeded Archbishop Iakovos most likely would have been used to achieve the critics' objectives. Many of Archbishop Spyridon's critics have been mean spirited and unchristian, spending thousands of man hours and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars to make him the most persecuted religious leader in modern American history. Greek Orthodox Christians should be ashamed of and disgusted at this behavior. As a matter of common sense, such ferocity cannot simply be the result of a dislike for the Archbishop. Many people are disliked, but they are not the victims of such unmerciful attacks. The real motivation appears to be ego, control, power and fanaticism and a desire by some critics to create an autocephalous American (not Greek) Orthodox Church.
A parish's payment of its annual total commitment pledge to the Archdiocese is a duty each parish has to the Church and to God. That duty does not wax and wane with the times or for political convenience or expediency. It is a duty that is independent of personalties and agendas. Breaching this duty would create a dangerous precedent and would have the potential to wreak havoc on the Church and its institutions and ministries. We should not be known as the Church that uses money as a "club" to beat into submission those with whom we have disagreements. Loving, respectful, Christian people do not behave in this way.
Withholding funds will only fuel the flames of division and will send the Church down a slippery slope that it may never be able to recover from. Parishes must reject the tactics the critics now advocate. There must be reconciliation and peace. People should get off the Archbishop's back and give him the chance to succeed that he never had. The critics apparently do not want this to happen. Instead, they embrace division and rancor, goals which are disgraceful. Their tactics must be repudiated for the good of the Church. The Stewards believe that most of the faithful want to do the right thing. People can quibble over what "doing the right thing" means. What is clear, however, is that it does not include withholding funds.
George C. Rockas
Editor of the Stewards' Website
[ Greek Orthodox Stewards of America
April 9, 1999 ]