The National Herald - January 13, 2001

As Synod and Leadership 100 meet in Fla.
finances top subject list

By Theodore Kalmoukos

BOSTON, January 13, 2001 (TNH) - The Holy Synod and two other major organs of the Archdiocese, namely the Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council and the Leadership 100, are set to meet in Naples, Florida, this weekend.

On Saturday, the two Executive Committees, of the Archdiocesan Council and of Leadership 100 are scheduled to hold a joint session for the first time in the history of both organizations. The National Herald has learned that the main subject of the meeting will be the Archdiocese's finances.

The Archdiocese is still under the burden of the seven-million dollar debt that was inherited from the previous administration. Archbishop Demetrios' plea for help to the members of the Executive Committee a few months ago generated approximately half of the money but the Church is still more than three million dollars short. The possibility that recommendations will be made to Leadership 100 to cover the remaining deficit was not ruled out by sources in the Archdiocese.

The Leadership's coffers have today more than $60 million, the annual interest from which is used to support various ministries of the Church.

The rules and regulations of Leadership 100--which became independent from the Archdiocese two years ago in order to protect the fund from potential lawsuits--prohibit it from providing funds for operational or general use. Its funds are to be used specifically to fund National Ministries and Programs of the Archdiocese.

In its own session, the Synod is expected to focus on the new Charter, especially in view of what transpired on December 1, 2000, in Constantinople during the first meeting of the Patriarchal and Archdiocesan charter committees. A second meeting of the two committees will be held again in Constantinople on February 20-22.

The Holy Eparchial Synod, presided by Archbishop Demetrios, unanimously approved the new Charter in four specially held meetings last year. A representative committee of clergy and laity from all the Dioceses, which met under the presidency of Archbishop Demetrios, studied in depth and unanimously approved the new Charter last May.

As The National Herald revealed in its January 6-7, 2001 edition, the Charter has been already in essence "denied" by the Phanar which is trying to find a formula that will make the rejection less "painful" for the Greek American community and will thus minimize negative reactions.

The new Charter basically provides for a semiautonomous administrative status, but at the same time safeguards the canonical and ecclesiological bond with the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

The Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council is also expected to discuss pending legal cases against the Archdiocese, especially the defamation lawsuit filed by Theodora Lee Corsel, a former advisor of the Order of Archons of St. Andrew.

Corsel, who recently settled another suit against Hellenic College and Holy Cross School of Theology for breach of contract, is asking $500 million dollars. In her lawsuit Corsel names as defendants former Archbishop Spyridon and former officials of the Executive Committee including its Vice Chairman John Catsimatidis.

Corsel's lawyer has also subpoenaed Patriarch Bartholomew to offer a sworn deposition on February 6. A number of individuals including Anthony Limberakis, the Archon's commander and Catsimatidis have been deposed on the case.

The Herald has learned that Rev. Alex Karloutsos, Leadership 100 Executive Director and pastor of Koimisis tis Theotokou parish in Southampton, New York, attempted to avoid being deposed by providing an affidavit from Jerry Dimitriou, the Archdiocese Director of Personnel, stating that Fr. Karloutsos is not an employee of the Archdiocese.

The judge, however, signed a subpoena recently ordering Fr. Karloutsos to appear for the deposition on the grounds that he is a priest of the Archdiocese, pastoring in one of its parishes and thus is affiliated directly with the Archdiocese.

Corsel was appointed to the Order of the Archons and to the institutions of the Archdiocese by Spyridon at the recommendation of Fr. Alex Karloutsos.

Meanwhile, former Archbishop Spyridon resides in Portugal, according to an interview to reporter Ioustini Fragouli, the author of a memoir of his tenure in America.

[ The National Herald - January 13, 2001 ]