Methodios Exonerates Archbishop Spyridon
by Justine Frangouli
MONTREAL, Que. - On 27 September 2001, a little more than two years after Archbishop Spyridon's dramatic resignation from the archiepiscopal throne of America, Metropolitan Methodios of Aneon sent a revealing letter to Hellenic College/Holy Cross authorities, in which he provided an extensive account of the tactics used by the School's faculty establishment in the so-called "sex scandal" of February 1997.
In the letter (the full text of which is published below), the Metropolitan also complained strongly to HC/HC President Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou and George Behrakis, Vice Chairman of the School's Board of Trustees, that the Self Study which was prepared for the school's accrediting bodies last fall contained many unsubstantiated references and was improperly submitted.
The Metropolitan and presiding Hierarch of the Diocese of Boston acknowledged the long-standing tension between archbishops, faculty and administration "concerning issues of authority." But, he pointed out, the School "belongs" to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, which funds most of its budget.
Since the School "educates the future clergy of the Archdiocese," Metropolitan Methodios wrote, the Archbishop of America, as Primate of the Church in America and Chairman of the School's Board of Trustees, has the right to be "intimately involved" with HC/HC's day-to-day affairs.
He cited that Archbishop Iakovos often involved himself with the school, as Spyridon did after him and Demetrios does today. He added that Archbishop Spyridon should not have been accused of interfering with the institution's matters, for that would imply the use of "two sets of standards," one for Spyridon and one for Iakovos and Demetrios.
Metropolitan Methodios also stressed that, in spite of what Archbishop Spyridon's detractors repeatedly alleged at the time, the former Archbishop of America did not attempt to cover anything up, but rather that he exercised good discretion in order to protect the School from tarnishing its reputation and compromising its academic status.
The Metropolitan pointed out that the investigation of the so-called scandal by the 1997 disciplinary committee was unwarranted. Nor should there have been any reports written to the accreditation agencies afterwards, he added, because these only threatened to place the institution's academic status in jeopardy.
In his letter, the presiding hierarch of the Boston Diocese underscored that it was not necessary to describe the alleged scandal "in gory details" in the Self Study, which was prepared for the Joint Visitation Committee of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and the Association of Theological Schools (ATS).
According to Methodios, this could only further damage the image of the Holy Cross School of Theology, the academic status of which was reaffirmed by NEASC and ATS three years ago, shortly before Archbishop Spyridon resigned (see Hellenic Times, May 28 and June 10, 1999 issues, pages 3 and 4 respectively).
Referring to his own forced resignation as president of the school in the fall of 1995, the presiding Bishop of Boston noted that, even so, he himself refrained from using polemics as a way to react to his ecclesiastical superiors and chose instead to follow the path of obedience.
"I did not choose to protest to NEASC or ATS because I didn't want to endanger the accreditation of the institution," he states.
The Metropolitan's view, as expressed in his letter, provides a stark contrast with respect to what is commonly believed to have transpired during Archbishop Spyridon's tenure and the criticism to which the former Archbishop of America had been subjected regarding the School.
The text of Metropolitan Methodios' letter follows:
[ hellenic times - Vol. XXVIX, No. 7 - May 24-June 6, 2002 - pp. 1, 6-7 ]