The Hellenic Chronicle - May 5, 1999

Hellenic Chronicle readers express their views

To Those Who Have Expressed Negative Views Against Archbishop

I have been following the crisis in our Church from the beginning and with a very sad heart have decided to express my feelings to GOAL and everyone else who has expressed negative views with regards to Archbishop Spyridon and the direction our Church is heading; you should all be ashamed of yourselves and you need to pray to God for forgiveness for your total disrespect of our highest religious figure in the United States. How can you expect your children and grandchildren to respect you as parents and Greek Orthodox?

Our Church, from the beginning of Christianity, has been fighting for recognition and acknowledgment, that we exist and we have struggled against other religions that have constantly tried to eradicate or destroy us. Out Church is not a Democracy, any more than the military of the United States is a Democracy; as a matter of fact, Democracy is a word that is used all too easily but in essence is abused and violated every single day. You repeatedly use the work democracy in reference to our Church, well, our Archbishop was not elected to his position like our politicians who get elected for an X amount of years. His position is for life, as are all our priests and hierarchs.

If in fact the Archbishop has committed acts against the Church, then it is for the Patriarch to decide how to handle the problem and not for a group of people who have put themselves above the Church to get involved and make a mockery of our sacred religion.

I was born in this country and am just as proud as the rest of you, but I haven't forgotten the struggles of my parents and all our parents to build and sacrifice to hold on to our faith, customs, language and everything that keep us bound to our beloved Greece. I realize that through the years we have had more than our share of inter-marriages. I feel that these Christians of other faiths that have embraced our faith and chose to marry and raise their children in the Greek Orthodox tradition, should do so in every sense; not just cooking Greek foods because they love it, not just in our festivals and dances because they are fun, but the most important of all, the learning of our language which is the bond that keeps our ethnicity alive.

Someone wrote in awhile ago stating that the Archbishop embarrassed the choir of their Church. Well, I am just a lay person but I also find it disgraceful to listen to a choir trying to sing in English what should only be sung in Greek. It is also one thing for the priest to say some of the mass in English, but to revert to complete English is another mockery of our faith.

Also, I realize that Archbishop Iakovos has been our leader in America for a very long time, and yes, he has many devoted followers, but it is a shame to keep that from showing that same devotion to a new Archbishop. It appears that many have forgotten many, many mistakes that Iakovos has committed in the past and continue to blindly admire and even try to canonize him; but if given half a chance, I'm sure our current Archbishop can do the same and maybe even better. If the priest does not respect the bishop, how can the priest expect his parishioners to respect him; and if the bishop doesn't respect the Archbishop, how can the bishop expect the priests to respect him.

I am sure that the Synod did not choose him at random; they must have had enough faith in his capability to serve us all in this country. I believe that GOAL is against him because he is aggressive in his attitude of trying to pull us back into feeling and acting as Greek Orthodox and not as American Orthodox. You have not only shown disrespect toward the Church, but also of your parents and grandparents that came here, worked hard to educate and to have you slap them in the face as a thank you!

I'm sure that your parents and grandparents are turning over in their graves by your actions. They are the ones that built the churches in America, not GOAL. They built them as Greek Orthodox Churches and not as American Orthodox Churches. Also, let us not forget that if it was not for our Greek Orthodox Church that struggled for 400 years to preserve our religion and our Greek heritage, unfortunately, we would all be Turks and yet you have the audacity to try to take the ethnicity of our religion and rename it American Orthodox Church.

We have a Patriarch that lives in fear of his life from the Turks on a daily basis because of his strong faith in God and you behave like children toying with something as precious as our faith. We are the first and only true Christian faith in existence and you people are trying to defile it with your anger, rage, greed and God only knows what else. Please stop now before it is too late. Don't let outside forces propel you to annihilate what we should all hold dearest in our hearts.

Meza, AZ

[ The Hellenic Chronicle - May 5, 1999 - p. 3 ]