Orthodox Truth - June 12, 2000


Spyridon's Pension To Be Granted Within 7 Days

By Apostolos Zoupaniotis  (η Πρωϊνὴ - June 12, 2000)

New York -.  The Executive Committee of the Archdiocese of America declared this morning that it had decided to order a definitive solution of the matter of granting a pension to the former Archbishop Spyridon of America. By unanimous resolution last Friday, it requested that the legal and financial departments of the Archdiocese enforce within (7) seven days, in accordance with the resolution adopted on June 15, 1999 by the same committee offering retirement benefits to the former Archbishop.

The resolution noted that the archbishop is entitled to benefits from the clergy pension fund immediately following his resignation or retirement from active duty, regardless of age.

In the recent Executive Committee resolution it was revealed that Archbishop Spyridon had resigned following an agreement with Ecumenical Patriarch, Mr. Bartholomew, and the Holy Synod, and that he will receive this pension, to which he is entitled legally and as a hierarch. The pension for the former Archbishop of America will amount to $112,000 dollars per year, 80% of the salary of $140,000 dollars which he received during the final years of his service.

The resolution of the Executive Committee enters into the technical details of the reinforcement of bishop's supplementary fund, including the donation from Michael Cantonis (amounting to 1,000,000 dollars including interest) and concludes with a direct order to the director of financial department of the Archdiocese to implement the resolution of the Executive Committee offering the pension to the former Archbishop within 7 days.

It should be noted that the Archbishop Demetrios, who did not participate in the Executive's teleconference, requested that the matter be postponed, hoping to gain time, until the meeting of the Clergy-Laity Congress in July, to resolve the issue of his predecessor's pension, which has been dragging on since September of 1999. The members of the Executive Committee, however, given the fact that Archbishop Spyridon has not been receiving a salary from the Archdiocese for two months now, pushed through their resolution, considering that they have exhausted all the chronological leeway that they could provide Archbishop Demetrios, who has been asking for more time since last December.

As was recently reported in the Proini, activity on the pension issue has stepped up in the past few days, with the involvement of Archbishop Demetrios on this occasion, who transmitted a message to the chairman of the Archdiocesan Council, John Catsimatides, that he is prepared to receive former Archbishop Spyridon at his residence in New York on Saturday, June 3. The suggestion was not acceptable to former Archbishop Spyridon, as be foresaw negotiations between the two bishops on the pension issue. As Proini has reported in the past, the proposal from the Phanar which was conveyed to the Executive Committee by Archbishop Demetrios included, for one thing, the meeting between Demetrios and Spyridon, and for another thing, a commitment from the former Archbishop of America to move to the Phanar and accept the title of Metropolitan of Chaldnea.

Former Archbishop Spyridon counter proposed that members of the Executive Committee, whose resolution has not been carried out for some time now, be present at the meeting, but this appears to be unacceptable to Archbishop Demetrios, which obliged the Executive Committee to reassemble and issue the decision it had stated above.

In any case, the Patriarch's friends suggest that the decision not be implemented but the whole matter be forwarded to the assembly of the Clergy-Laity in Philadelphia, with the aim of overturning it.

It should be noted, in view of the assembly of the Clergy-Laity Congress, that lists of nominees have already been submitted to the Phanar for the new Archdiocesan Council of the Archdiocese and the boards of the institutions of the Church. The "Patriarch's friends" have offered suggestions for change and for the total removal of Spyridon's appointees, in addition to the officers with many years' service in the organization, but who had supported the prior Archbishop of America. Among the persons they wish to remove is Eve Condakis, president of the National Philoptochos Society, while Mrs. Froso Beye, officer of GOAL, is being put forward for the presidency.

[ Translated from the original Greek ]

[ Orthodox Truth - - June 12, 2000 ]