Greek Orthodox Stewards of America - April 9, 1999
Regardless of their motives or objectives, those who urge or facilitate the tactic of a parish withholding their financial obligations to the Archdiocese are guilty of the following:
1. Manufacturing a False Crisis
There is no crisis in our Church, there is GOAL. There is a failed attempt to manufacture the impression of a crisis. However, the results of this failed attempt are real. The results are harm to our Church. It is now long past time for the attackers of our Church establishment to stop this madness and to join in its healing.
2. Rejecting Law and Order
No organization can survive if self-anointed leaders, saints and saviors go outside of the established constitutional and traditional laws and traditions and enforce their will with brute force. Withholding parish remittances to the Archdiocese is brute force resorted to by those who know they represent a minority who failed to convince and convert the majority. This is a prescription for guaranteed destruction of our Church. No one will accept results so achieved. No one.
3. Demonization of Traditional Leadership and Established Institutions
The slanderous, utterly irresponsible, SICK message of a parish withholding remittances to the Archdiocese reflects an increase in the ongoing demonization of the Church established leadership and ecclesiastic traditions. Our Church has done a genuine, superb job of welcoming converts to our faith. However, now we see ugly and false attacks by Greek-Americans on the traditional and legal Church leadership and traditions. These shameless personal and institutional attacks are empty of both truth and proof, both of which are substituted for by shrill repetition and ongoing leaks to an uninformed American media, including some unfortunately interested in ratings and circulation rather than honest and thorough reporting.
Recent attacks on the integrity of our Patriarch, the attacks on our Archbishop, even the totally irrelevant but ugly attacks on the integrity of Greece stain no one but the accusers. Incredibly, the majestic and awesome guardian of the faith over the millennium of attacks, Byzantium, was recently converted into a poorly camouflaged word of contempt, in an ugly contextual use of the adjective "Byzantine." This by a member(s) of the Church whose survival, theology, traditions and soul flowed from Byzantium. One can only surmise that this was one more clear window into the standards of decency used by organized partisans for an autocephalous Church who are emboldened by GOAL. This is profoundly offensive to any civilized person of any race, faith or persuasion. This is one more twin assault upon both truth and decency.
We are better people than some of our recent doings. It is not a happy moment for a member of the Greek Orthodox Church to feel compelled to oppose the false, escalating trashing of our traditions and leadership. It is not a happy moment to feel compelled to oppose the distortion and trashing of the person and the inspiring commitment of Archbishop Spyridon to preserve the theological and traditional purity of our faith, its sacred jewel. Only a foolish person would say that any Church, any mortal being is without weakness or mistakes. Not only common sense, not only history, but our very faith tells us that. There is no institution, no leader, nothing other than our Lord Jesus Christ without weakness or sin. If the consequence of either weakness or sin of every institution or institutional relationship were its destruction, the world would be left with none. None.
The story of mankind ever since Adam and Eve is its need to overcome its failings and lift up to its highest Christian potential building upon its resources and strengths. We must build upon the unsurpassed strengths and treasures of our unique religious and traditional inheritance which is a universal beacon to the entire world. We must come together, really together, not as a tactic but as an act faithful to our God, nature, history and still-thrilling future potential. NOW.
[ Greek Orthodox Stewards of America
April 9, 1999 ]