The GreekAmerican - September 1, 2000


Negative Triumphalism

Dear Editor:

Thank you for the translation of Archbishop Spyridon's interview (The GreekAmerican, July 28, 2000) It shows the nobility of his character in every aspect. A nobility that is above the political practices in our community.

Contrary to Mr. Popps' letter (The GreekAmerican, August 18, 2000), it is common knowledge here in Westchester, that if one does not criticize and condemn Archbishop Spyridon, he is not considered a friend of Archbishop Iakovos and therefore becomes "the enemy."

This is an outcome of the unchristian political negativism that prevails within our church today. The productive attitude, that is common among Christians, where only the positive aspects of others are mentioned, has given way to a negative triumphalism. Sin has become passé, for people must gain ascendancy over others in whatever way possible and that includes mocking, degrading, humiliating, or the use of any form of slander and calumny.

This, unfortunately, they extend, not only to other faiths, and to anyone who gets in their way, but to certain clergy as well.

Of course certain individuals more than others have this "anything goes" mentality. Black can be made white, and white, black. Every lie can be rationalized away, as Dean Popps has been doing, in our "everything is relative society," by merely excusing it as a "spin" or (better yet) as "political smarts."

Dean Popps and cronies in GOAL, whether they accept it or not, through their judgmental and unchristian arrogance, imposed their likes and dislikes on the whole Greek Orthodox Church in America.

They were under the obvious assumption that the Holy Spirit only works through them. That he and his group disliked Archbishop Spyridon is understandable though, since we can only like those that are on the same end of the moral spectrum as ourselves. And certainly mean spiritedness (to coin their misused phrase) of their hate mongering, personal attacks, threats and insinuations on the part of Dean Popps and company, shows that they could never be on the same end of the moral spectrum as Archbishop Spyridon, or, for that matter, of Archbishop Spyridon's truly devout followers.

The Greek Orthodox people in this country through, should know the truth. As Archbishop Demetrios stated regard to Our Lord, it should be the central component in our lives. We should try to find out what is really going on with Archbishop Spyridon's pension.

A pension that is, incidentally, being funded by Mr. Cantonis. There is today, because of it, a lawsuit against the archdiocese. This lawsuit, unlike the previous ones that were merely meant to harass Archbishop Spyridon at the cost to the archdiocese of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year (and, I should add, that contrary to what Dean Popps had said, they were all thrown out, with the exception of one, by the judge), is not a harassment suit. There are justified grievances.

It especially shocks me that the very members of GOAL and certain clergy, that were so vocal in expressing a desire for more openness in regard to the church, especially when it was detrimental to the image of the Church and personally harmful to certain students, regardless of what had occurred at the seminary (so much for GOAL's compassion), could be so indifferent to the secrecy surrounding the archdiocese today. The hypocrisy is appalling.

Because of everything that had occurred, we have, today, a severe moral crisis in our Church. One that could have been stopped had the clergy and hierarchs put their total faith in Our Lord, and had the moral courage to stand firm and condemn the slander and untruths that were being thrown ceaselessly on an innocent man. They did not stand up to their priestly moral obligations and by not doing so, they started an unholy precedence. Is it any wonder today that letters are being circulated with rumors of things that are unspeakable, towards those who should be above reproach: our spiritual leaders.

Didn't our esteemed patriarch have the foresight, Christian faith and courage to realize that when he gave in and bowed down to an evil injustice, that it would have dire consequences.

Very truly yours,
Jeannette Kotsonis
White Plains, N.Y.


Editor's Reply: Having given equal space to both "camps,' the editorial staff of The GreekAmerican believes it is important to state that all of the issues remaining from the "war that consumed the community in the last years can be solved through constructive, peaceful dialogue. Name calling and saber rattling can only bring us back to confrontation and further fragmentation. If we are to move forward as a community and as a Church, we must put personal issues aside and find ways to work together to preserve and promote that which we hold so dear - our Greek Orthodox faith and the archdiocese that administers it.

[ The GreekAmerican - September 1, 2000 ]