The Hellenic Chronicle - April 14, 1999
Hellenic Chronicle readers express their views
GOAL Director Responds To Rockas
I am the GOAL director who was invited to speak at the meeting in Lynnfield, MA on December 28, 1998, to which George C. Rockas refers in the piece he wrote and posted on his Gostewards website on March 19, 1999. I am writing to set the record straight about what I said and what I did not say at that meeting. It will be interesting to see if Mr. Rockas will post this letter on his website.
Mr. Rockas was present at that meeting and it was he who asked me to state GOAL's vision for the long range future of our Church. I told Mr. Rockas that GOAL's immediate objective was to protect the Greek Orthodox Church that we had built over the past 100 years for our children and future generations, and that GOAL's mission statement and National Conference Resolutions were a matter of record.
When Mr. Rockas nevertheless pressed me further on the point, I told him that my own personal opinion was that somewhere down the road we would probably have an Autocephalous Church and somewhere further down the road we would probably have one Orthodox Church in America. I stressed several times that this was "my own personal opinion." I never stated that this was "GOAL's vision for the Church." In fact, GOAL's directors have never taken an official position on that issue. I challenge him to produce a written official position by our directors contradicting this statement. However, the subjects do come up at our many GOAL Open Forums by the attendees and I feel it is a legitimate issue to be discussed openly. I am of the belief that as free citizens and Greek Orthodox Christians we have the right to discuss and debate any issue that concerns the future of our Church. To attempt to suppress free speech is the primary tactic of all despotic regimes. As a point of information to Mr. Rockas and to our readers, I refer them to pages 42 and 43 of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese 1998 Yearbook. There will be found a "simplified directory of Autocephalous Churches." Upon examination it will be noted that many ethnic churches are listed including the Church of Greece, Church of Cyprus, Albania, Russia, etc. Also, when they became Autocephalous, Canonical Status and much more. It should also be noted that the Church in America is in fact, a Colonial Church lumped in with the rest of the Diaspora. So for any one to bring up the subject is natural and expected.
I made no statement at that meeting about the issue of Hellenism in our Church. What I did was to ask how many of those present had children who were married. Many people raised their hands. I then asked how many of those had married non-Greeks. Again, many people raised their hands. I then made the statement that "this was the reality that our Church in America is facing." For him to take my comments and twist them into an Anti-Hellenic position by the Board of Directors of GOAL or myself is a fabricated untruth. Is also insulting not only to my immigrant parents, wife, children, grandchildren and to myself, but to the many Greek born, first generation and second generation Greek Americans who constitute our board and GOAL supporters nationwide.
Mr. Rockas, by his own admission at that meeting has only recently become involved in his local parish council. He is also a very recent political appointee to the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee of Hellenic College/Holy Cross Seminary by Archbishop Spyridon. As such, his motives in his attempt to discredit the critics of the Archbishop and his inner circle are very obvious. Mr. Rockas should also take the time to read and understand the Charter of the Archdiocese, Uniform Parish Bylaws and his local Parish Bylaws. Those are the protocols by which all the faithful in this country are expected to abide by in the governance of our church. The Archdiocese cannot usurp the articles in these bylaws that suits their purpose and then turn around and insist that the laity blindly obey the rest of them.
It is quite telling that Mr. Rockas feels that he must resort to distortions of the facts, unfounded claims and false innuendos about GOAL, the St. Andrew Clergy Brotherhood of New England, the four fired professors of Hellenic College/Holy Cross and our five Metropolitans. All in his futile effort to try to deflect attention away from the financial irregularities and administrative mismanagement at our Archdiocese. GOAL's message is the same message that our five Metropolitans unanimously delivered to Patriarch Bartholomew - that our Church is in crisis and that Archbishop and those around him are the immediate cause of that crisis. To quote what Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is reported to have said a few months ago, "we are losing the Church in America."
[ The Hellenic Chronicle - April 14, 1999 - p. 6 ]