Greek America Magazine - May-June 2005

As more and more reports are coming out of New York about the deepening crisis at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the dismal financial state of affairs and lack of confidence by many Metropolitans in their very own Archbishop, I keep asking myself, where are "the leaders"?

Of course, by "leaders" I am referring to the self-proclaimed "Greek Orthodox American Leaders" or "GOAL" who organized a groundswell of support-- and eventually succeeded-- in their efforts to oust then Archbishop Spyridon.

These "leaders" scrutinized every move of Archbishop Spyridon, published dozens upon dozens of letters on their website and spent millions of dollars to mail hundreds of thousands of anti-Spyridon newsletters, detailing what they thought were his transgressions and calling for his removal.

If I recall correctly, the issues then were about Archbishop Spyridon's leadership style, a handful of firings of professors at the Holy Cross Seminary and other issues that today, are a drop in the ocean when compared to the problems facing the Archdiocese. Yet the "leaders" are quiet. No websites, no email blasts, no full page advertisements in Greek American newspapers. No mobilization. Nothing... Silence.

For starters, if a debt of $11.5 million isn't enough to start a discussion amongst the faithful and make the "leaders" start leading, then what is? Who is spending this money? Where is it going? I have every right to ask because it's coming out of my pocket-- and yours too. A portion of every single dollar your home parish receives from your stewardship contributions is sent to your Metropolis, which in turn, is sent to fund the activities of the Archdiocese in New York.

There are also reports of a substandard state of affairs at Holy Cross/Hellenic College-- the seminary of the Archdiocese where future priests are trained. Recent discussions focused on selling off prime property on campus to raise money and a serious morale problem amongst professors and staff.

There is the ever-so-secretive sexual abuse issue, which although doesn't receive headlines or even a mention in the Orthodox Observer, the newspaper of the Archdiocese, millions of dollars have been spent these past few years alone in legal fees and settlements to victims.

The list goes on-- There is an embarrassing debacle going on at the Transfiguration Church in Corona, NY-- which is under the direct jurisdiction of the Archdiocese, that has opposing camps at court against each other and the Archdiocese Chancellor’s office in the middle of it all; threats to the accreditation of St. Basil’s Academy; public expressions of no confidence by some Metropolitans.

Wake up leaders... start leading. But wait... I’m wondering to myself why the leaders remain silent... Perhaps they were all awarded posh positions in the structure of the Archdiocese after Archbishop Spyridon was kicked out... and these very same “leaders” are the ones in charge now, who have created this very mess we are in today.

[ Greek America Magazine - May-June 2005 - p. 6 ]