Hellenic Times Online - December 5, 2000

Publisher's Comments


By John Catsimatidis

Hellenic Times Publisher John A. Catsimatidis

I received a number of calls concerning my last editorial regarding the new Archdiocesan Council, Archbishop Spyridon and the conflict which raged in our Archdiocese during his 3-year tenure.

For the record, I concede that Archbishop Spyridon made some, if not many, mistakes. But that's part of any normal learning process. Like I told the Patriarch when I met with him: there's no school for how to be the Archbishop of America.

Although some of Archbishop Spyridon's administrative methods were not clearly understood, my argument then was that we should not take a sledgehammer to the chief cornerstone of our Church just to prove a point to the Patriarch and the community.

Let's not forget that there were individuals who circumvented proper ecclesiastical procedure. Instead of trying to work with the Archbishop and give him a chance, they went over his head.

Let's not forget that certain individuals went to American authorities in a deliberate effort to take away the accreditation of our only theological school.

Let's not forget the destructively negative information they fed American newspapers, generating publicity which was detrimental to our Church and our school. They took our dirty laundry out for the whole world to see. This embarrassed the entire community. Let's not forget how certain people took the Church to the courts, bearing false witness against the Archdiocese.

Let's not forget the accusations, which continue to this day, from the very same people who were themselves responsible for the debacles of 1988-96, placing financial strain on the Archdiocese which Archbishop Spyridon had to inherit.

Even under all that hostility and financial duress, I advocated resolving these problems among ourselves through dialogue.

All my pleading fell on deaf ears, but the facts are inescapable.

Archbishop Spyridon never stole or mismanaged any money. He might have had a different style of management, but much of these losses were incurred by the Church during those three years were a result of certain people urging our parishes and individuals not to remit funds to the Archdiocese.

Archbishop Spyridon resigned because he felt it was best for the Church. Even though he did not deserve such mistreatment at the hands of his accusers, he also felt that this sort of conflict could not continue, and he made a great sacrifice.

He assured me that he reached agreements with the Phanar about retirement, yet the Archdiocese and the people who currently run it have tried to eradicate his very existence from the walls, files and records.

They have tried to remove all evidence that he was ever Archbishop of America, and they refuse to pay him his pension. They tried to ruin him ecclesiastically, and now they want to bring him to his knees economically.

Now I ask them, is that any way for Christians to behave? Is that any way for a Church which loves Christ to treat a retired Archbishop? Have we not learned anything from the Crucifixion?

All I can say is, shame on us.

Archbishop Spyridon is an American citizen who left the United States at 14 years of age. He lived abroad for most of his life. He spent 15 years in Italy, right in the backyard of the Roman Catholic Church, where the Pope and the College of Cardinals reign supreme.

Archbishop Spyridon came to America with little knowledge of the inner workings of the Archdiocese or how the Church in America operates. He was not a politician, and he never wanted to be. He was a direct and forthright person. Unfortunately, when you're the Archbishop of America, you have to be somewhat of a politician, too, but that's not Archbishop Spyridon's fault.

Give the Archbishop his pension and let him live in peace!

[ Hellenic Times Online - - December 5, 2000 ]