by Nick Karakas
The Protestant hymn as I sat down to write this message came to mind. Our Greek Orthodox Church is forever striding along, a bump, a rocky plain, a mountain, all in the passing of a century or two, and once in a while we have a synod. Those in charge feel they are spiritually competent in all facets of our Holy Faith and have it in tack and under the usual constraints. Not so!
There are yet committed, faithful and vociferous calls for redress and reconciliation urgently needed to encourage others in these specific areas.
- The simmering reality of the Alma Realty Androitis debacle must be addressed and resolved. For too long these entities have funneled contributions they have received to themselves who decide how to spend and conduct school and church operations at St. Demetrios of Astoria.
- Dear esteemed AB, do the contributions to you by the Androitis family early in your assignment preclude you from acting? If so, please appoint an outside committee to truly and honestly investigate the matter, make a decision and make it final. Why does our leadership delay and procrastinate in deciding on verifying situations at the local level when even the priest is complicit? The St. Demetrios community have suffered plenty while the school children have become pawns and their tuition and funds siphoned away for some 30 years.
Now that a lawsuit has entered this church and parish damaging scene, it’s not too late for hierarchal action to end these pernicious and damaging control of Alma Realty Androitis and free up the St. Demetrios community.
But fellow readers you know the drill as our esteemed AB will do nothing to alleviate or cure this vexing sore as it goes against the European style of action.
- I am surprised that our fine Greek writers, Mr. Scaros and others have not exposed the antics of Alma Realty/Androitis. Why have we allowed these and other malfeasances to continue? Is it because it is a “Greek hot wire”?
- In the pantheon of our bishops is there anyone, including the clergy who could or would stand up at the risk of his position, comforts, awards and emoluments to call out that Greek Orthodoxy in the 21st century has become a rudderless, leaderless faith at a time when proper, sturdy qualities of HR and sheer business acumen are sorely needed. Have the often-used words of “transparency and responsibility” by the Hierarchy become obsolete?
I shudder as our leader, the esteemed AB points a crooked finger at the direction we Greek Orthodox are going. Now that he has been among us for a year and showered with praise, dinners, awards and honors what do we have to show for his administration of our Church? Ok his appointment of Mr. George Cantonis to President of HCHC. Other than a recent short puff piece in the back pages of TNH, we have heard nothing about what really was happening at the schools. No stats on students, professors or courses. Yet Mr. George Cantonis in his comprehensive plea for contributions for HCHC did find enough funds to place an ad extolling our esteemed AB. Such funds could have been better placed urging our young Orthodox to visit both schools and apply for admission.
Sorry to digress as this subject can be covered and explored in a future article.
Dear readers, I peacefully hope you are still here. We few writers who comment, criticize and offer common sense solutions to wrongs, failings and misdirection of our Greek Orthodox leaders do so only to bring balance, dignity, love and peace to our faith.
Sure, the issues we write about sometimes bring anger to our thoughts and writings, mostly caused by the clergy’s and hierarchy’s lack of any response or refusal to make corrective changes.
We are not a bunch of stumble bums. We are or were, a collection of people from many aspects of entrepreneurial businesses, government, military, restaurant, medical and manufacturing during which our careers, have encountered and solved a multitude of problems concerning the public, financial and the welfare of our employees.
I believe we have standing to pray, observe and call out on societal and financial matters which affect our church. That’s us, the guys in the pews.
- It is wrong that while other Orthodox jurisdictions and their respective Patriarchal offices have taken steps to officially welcome women to the status of Deaconess? As you may know Deaconess are responsible for as many as 13 named duties including pastoral cares to women, ministry to the sick and elderly, supervision at liturgy, administration of properties. The other duties include sheltering of guests, teaching, taking the Eucharist to the home bound, even those and more. In this day most of these needs are necessary and spiritually useful and welcomed.
In our Greek Orthodox Faith women outnumber men. Think of it, women have carried the church on their backs for hundreds of years. They certainly have earned the right and duty to have the order of the Deaconate re-established.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him (James 1:12 NIV).