Photo: Dimitrios Panagos
From the very first moment when the clouds thickened over the Archdiocese of America we forthrightly stated the following:
First, the crisis is triggered because some people want to profit from it. It is because they want to perpetuate their fiefdoms and maintain parallel power centers within the Archdiocese and the Greek American community, so their financial and non-financial interests are served.
Second, despite the incited tensions and the underground or open war against the Archbishop, aimed at forcing him to resign, THERE IS NO division in the Archdiocese. Demetrios took over in order to pacify the passions and he achieved it without pursuing to organize his own “personal garrison” or “movement” to defend him. To his credit, he was the Archbishop of all the people in the Church. He tried specifically to immediately embrace all those who had supported and fought for Spyridon, thus contributing to unity and the healing of the wounds of the 1996-99 crisis.
Third, we insist that the problem for the Archdiocese of America is that it has two Archbishops. This became evident in the years 1995-96 with Iakovos, and it was confirmed during 1997-99 with Spyridon and is repeated now with Demetrios.
In our last issue, due to the noise caused by the statements of Valiotis about “autocephaly” during the graduation ceremony of Hellenic College Holy Cross, we stated that the cause for “the Archdiocese and the Phanar turned upside-down” is not the statements of a layman that represent very few people in America, but the over-the-top reactions of the Archons (who have as their spiritual advisor Fr. Alexander Karloutsos) and the reactions of some of the Metropolitans. And all these actions aiming at creating a “climate,” or an atmosphere if you will, that would force the resignation of Archbishop Demetrios, during the Holy Synod that began Tuesday, May 29 (a symbolic date) and will conclude on Wednesday.
Our assessment has been confirmed. We should note though the order of events. On Tuesday, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew himself first said it in private to Archbishop Demetrios to resign and he then conveyed to the Synod – and in the presence of the Archbishop – Demetrios’ negative response, and the Synod continued with its meeting and agenda.
We have been reading for at least 12 years in the National Herald that the Ecumenical Patriarch asks Archbishop Demetrios to resign, let us say that this was the first and only time that it has been confirmed. As for all the other times – for 12 years – what were those and what goal were they serving? you be the judge of that.
Knowing well Archbishop Demetrios for the last 19 years, I believe that the reason he refused to resign is neither the glory of the Archdiocesan Throne, nor selfishness, nor irreverence or disrespect for the Mother Church and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, but the defense and protection of normality in the life of the Church and the Greek American community.
SO THE ARCHDIOCESE DOES NOT GET INTO NEW ADVENTURES
And when he (Demetrios) does what he should – years are not needed, just months – he will depart, calmly and voluntarily.
Judging by the comments we received on our article titled “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto Brutus the things that are Brutus’,” we believe that the majority of our faithful, including the lay leaders of the Archdiocese, want Archbishop Demetrios to stay until the affair with St Nicholas clears up – the first report created more questions that it answered – and the project gets back on track. The majority believes that the pressures for Demetrios’ resignation aim to cover-up the St. Nicholas affair, a practice that we have seen applied many times in the life of the Archdiocese and our parishes.
They also believe that this is an attempt to prevent any discussion about the problems and challenges facing our Archdiocese in the Clergy Laity Congress, as it has been decided this time to give a chance to people to express themselves and not spend time in many of the usual rituals.
If Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew believes that with a change of Archbishop the people will be reassured and the spigots will start flowing again with dollars, he is mistaken. People, and the grand benefactors most of all, want transparency. Without it, even if he himself decides to resign the Throne and become Archbishop of America, the result will be the same. Moreover, if someone carefully reads statements of great benefactors of the Church in the last year, and in various occasions, will appreciate this.
We also believe that the Ecumenical Patriarch should find a way to reassure the Greek American Community that the “evil” of the “two archbishops rule” occurring three times already, will not be repeated again, for the shake and benefit of the Archdiocese of America and Hellenism. The “favors” of “facilitating” priests lead to a client based state of affairs and that leads to corruption, crisis and decline of states and organizations. We experience it for 30 years in the Archdiocese of America.
It is therefore necessary to deal with the situation with calmness and, most importantly, to put an end to disruptive moves, through announcements of the sort that we have seen in the past few days. After all, these methods have been tried in the past and the only thing that was attained was for some to get richer with the paid announcements of GOAL, paid by a wealthy member of the community.
Nineteen years ago the Archdiocese of America was fortunate that a peacemaker was found in the person of Demetrios. This time, Your All Holiness, we do not have to challenge our good fortune or to test the tolerance of divine providence. With patience, and if everything is done as it should in the next few months, in a way that the unity of our people is protected, the next Archbishop need not be a peacemaker.