Voithia - May 1, 1999
Dorothy Coutsakis defends the Archbishop and Fr. Passias,
asserts that "Voithia helps keep alive a vendetta held by a few."
I have been following Voithia since it emerged on the internet. At first I read what you printed from the Greek newspapers and thought you were a pretty harmless group of troublemakers. But, in the last year you have caused damage to both our Holy Orthodox Church and to people on a personal level. At a time when all Orthodox Americans should be supporting and praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Serbia, Voithia helps keep alive a vendetta held by a few. If you were as attentive to the disasters occuring in Serbia, Greeks would be up in arms and demonstrating throughout the country. I truly believe it is not in your best interests to highlight the Serbian massacres but to attack an Archbishop that has held to the Canons of our Church. He is not perfect, my friends, but neither are any of us.
I have read Archbishop Iakovos' letter to the National Herald. I will pray for him. I could write volumes on what he has said and did not say, but I will spare you that. I am certainly not an authority on the Canons of our Church nor am I a perfect Orthodox Christian. I fall often and pray often. Perhaps instead of living in a million dollar home in Rye, New York, Archbishop Iakovos' golden years would be better spent building up the Church and not tearing it down. Orthodoxy does not change with the times. We are not the Roman Catholic Church who waters down it's Canons.
I have been privileged to be at Churches where the Archbishop has done services. I have seen him in New Rochelle, St. Nicholas in Flushing, and heard him speak to a group at the Archdiocese. I have witnessed a compassionate man, who listened and spoke without malice. Maybe it was not what we wanted to hear but he in no way was insulting or rude or anti-semetic or any of the hundreds of things that he has been accused of.
As for Father George Passias, I am appalled at what you have written and how he has been slandered. In your rush to repeat gossip, you have caused much pain to people who do not deserve this kind of treatment. I have been a parishioner of St. Nicholas since Father George's arrival there. He has helped both my son and myself through some very difficult times in our lives. To accuse Father George of any illegal dealings is absolutely ridiculous. As for the report sent to Father George and Mr. Cherpelis by Mr. Tryforis, I cannot believe that anyone reading that letter does not realize that this was written by a retired IRS paper pusher who for many years needed to justify another government job. Father George asked a man to help keep the Church records clear and double check the legalities of what was being done at the Church. Why don't you let Mr. Tryforis see all your tax returns for the last few years and see what he has to say about those? I am sure he will find fault with those as well. Do you mean to imply that the CPA's working for the Church don't know their business but a government worker's opinion holds more weight? The only thing that Father George is guilty of is being one of the most spiritual priests that have come out of the Seminary in quite a few years. When I look at St. Nicholas in Flushing I am amazed by the young families with their children who appear every Sunday and every Feast Day in Church. I am awed by the amount of adult conversions to Orthodoxy that I have seen at St. Nicholas. Yes, Father George was instrumental in converting many people who were married to non-Greek Orthodox people. Our Church blossomed with the fruits of his labor as it still does today under the guidance of Father Paul Polesty.
Does it upset you that Father George has had so many of his spiritual children decide that they have a calling to spend their lives as monastics? Are you trying to stop the terrible work that has Father George converting your spouses and children to Orthodoxy? Are you upset that his Presbytera has had her home filled with your children for meetings each week, every night of the week? Does it offend your senses that we now have monasteries being built in the US? What has he done that offends you. Or is he simply "too religious" for you and has made many of us too aware of Orthodoxy. Being Orthodox is very tough and that is why other Churches have split from us. At least they did not have the audacity to try to change the Church. They simply abandoned it. If you are so disenchanted with the Orthodox Church, why don't you start your own Church as the Roman Catholics and Protestants have done before you?
I know that Father George has helped many of you who now slander him. For you, I pray fervantly as I know Father George and his Presbytera does. Would you have nailed Christ to the Cross as quickly as you have judged the Archbishop and Father George Passias?
In His Love,
Flushing, New York
Editor's Note: Since the bombing of Serbia began, a substantial portion of Voithia's news coverage has been devoted to that topic and to the reaction of Orthodox Churches and hierarchs around the world to it. As to the opinions expressed on our website, Voithia is the only website of which we are aware that publishes letters and opinions from all viewpoints regarding the current situation in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. As indicated on every Voithia page, the opinions we publish are those of the writers, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Voithia or GOAL. As to the general allegation that we have slandered Fr. Passias, or anyone else, if any of our readers can document any specific factual error in any of our news coverage, we will be happy to correct it. As to the Tryforos report specifically, we published the report verbatim, exactly as it was filed in the New York Supreme Court. The factual assertions in that report are those of the writer. Voithia has reported them accurately and completely.
[ Voithia - www.voithia.org/content/dc041399a.htm - May 1, 1999 ]