Greek Orthodox Stewards of America - March 19, 1999
Stewards' partial response to T. Peter Limber's editorial posted on Voithia
"Who speaks the truth about the state of the Greek Orthodox Church in America"
Dear Voitha Editors and Mr. Limber:
I read with great interest Mr. Limber's editorial regarding the Stewards' full page advertisement that ran in the February 17, 1999 edition of the Hellenic Chronicle. At this time I would like to address Example 1 in Mr. Limber's editorial dealing with the de-Hellenization issue (i.e. no Grecian festival, no Greek language, no Greek School, no Christos Anesti at Easter, etc.). Other issues will be addressed at a later date.
Upon reading Example 1 in Mr. Limber's editorial, my initial reaction was that he is being hoodwinked by the G.O.A.L. Corporation. Upon reflection, I know he is being hoodwinked. I say this based upon a personal experience.
On Monday night, December 28, 1998, I attended a meeting in Lynnfield, Massachusetts at the home of a person who said he is a G.O.A.L. Corporation supporter. In attendance at the meeting were representatives from various Greek Orthodox Churches north of Boston, including individuals representing churches located in Newburyport, Woburn, Lynn, Andover and Peabody. At the beginning of the meeting, the host stated that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss Church affairs. Attendees then went around the room and introduced themselves. One person identified himself as being a member of G.O.A.L. Corporation's board of directors.
During the course of the meeting, a hodge podge of church related issues were discussed. Toward the end of the meeting, one of the attendees asked the G.O.A.L. Corporation director what G.O.A.L.'s vision for the Church was. The director stated that the vision was two part. He said that part one was the creation of an autocephalous church in the United States. He then said that part two of the vision, which would happen after autocephaly, was the creation of an "American" Orthodox Church. He said that this was the vision of "most" of G.O.A.L. Corporation's board of directors.
Earlier in the meeting before the director's statement about G.O.A.L. Corporation's vision, the attendees discussed whether Greek customs and traditions should play a role in the
Church. The director and other people who identified themselves as G.O.A.L. members were of the view that "Hellenism" should not play a role. To demonstrate what this meant, I told the attendees that under this vision for the Church we would not say Christos Anesti at Easter. In reply to my comment, the director's wife asked "why would we ever want to say 'Christos Anesti'?". She said that we are American and that instead we should say "Christ has risen". G.O.A.L. Corporation supporters stated they agreed with the director's wife. Thus, what Mr. Limber says about "Christos Anesti" is just plain wrong.
Given the tenor of the prior discussion, when the director said that part two of the G.O.A.L. vision was the creation of an American Orthodox Church, it was clear that the director was talking about a pan - Orthodox Church (i.e., American Orthodox) that totally disassociates itself from Greek customs and traditions. It also was clear that the autonomous and autocephalous church envisioned by the G.O.A.L. Corporation would not be a Greek Orthodox Church. It is true that an autocephalous church can still be a Greek Orthodox Church. However, according to what the director said, "most" of G.O.A.L. Corporation's directors want to go one step further and create an American Orthodox Church. Contrary to what Mr. Limber states, the G.O.A.L. Corporation apparently wants to take the Greek out of Orthodox. Mr. Limber is wrong when he says this is paranoia. It is just simply what a well known, active G.O.A.L. director said "most" of G.O.A.L. Corporation's directors want to do.
Indeed, the very idea of an American Orthodox Church connotes a church that would not be associated with Hellenism, otherwise it would be a Greek Orthodox Church and not an American Orthodox Church. If the G.O.A.L. Corporation does not want to take the Greek out of Orthodox, why did the director say "most" of G.O.A.L. Corporation's directors want to create an American Orthodox Church? I suggest Mr. Limber take the issue of Hellenism up with the G.O.A.L. Corporation's directors, not the Stewards. They are only reporting what a director of the G.O.A.L. Corporation has said in public. The bottom line is that if the G.O.A.L. Corporation has its way, there will in fact be no Grecian festival with Greek food and a Greek band, a tradition most of us have come to love. The reason for this is that the Church would not be a Greek Orthodox Church. Instead, there will be an "American" festival where hot dogs, hamburgers and barbecued ribs will be served and Willie Nelson songs will be played in the background. There is nothing necessarily wrong with this. If that is what the people want, so be it. However, the faithful should be told what the "game plan" is and make their decision based upon truthful information.
Very truly yours,
George C. Rockas
Editor of the Stewards' Website
[ Greek Orthodox Stewards of America
March 19, 1999 ]