By Nick Stamatakis

At the center of the leadership choices facing AB Elpidophoros: If someone approaches ANY of the faithful who have abandoned GOA asking them to come back into the Church to help revive the now dying parishes, the answer will be uniformly ONE: “Not while the gang of thieves is there”.  Other issues are also important – but practically speaking this is at the center of it all…

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At the end of last year, we attempted an evaluation of the status of the Greek-American community, titled “GOA and the Greek-American Community at a Crossroads”. I invite you to take another look at it;  I had to revisit it myself before writing today’s commentary in order to see whether the points made then have any value today.  I am sure you will agree with me that they do, especially regarding the Church.  A year later, after a series of disastrous decisions (some related to the pandemic), GOA is simply on the brink of collapse.

If I had to pick the two most important events/trends during last year, I would first note the continued “country club” organization of GOA, where a small group of wealthy donors is put front and center, while the democratic traditions of Orthodoxy are blatantly violated and the masses are ignored (the latest example was the introduction of the “Senators” – as if we did not have enough titles of “nobility” in our church)…  Second, a disastrous decision by AB Elpidophoros to participate in a Black Lives Matter (known to be a communist group representing almost everything our faith is against) march in Brooklyn last June.  It created a giant wave of disgust in our community, known for its deep faith, its traditional values, and its entrepreneurial spirit, all woven into the Greek-American DNA.

Both of these events/trends point to a leadership “vacuum”.  If anyone does a simple internet search on the top qualities of a successful leader, the number one among them is honesty and integrity.  I did this short search and I invite you to see for yourself by following the links here, here, and here: There are hundreds of similar lists, and every single one of them puts honesty and integrity at the top.  Could GOA “leadership” seriously claim that they have honesty and integrity? The distance between “faith” and “practice” is becoming bigger by the day… Also, just the fact that Karloutsos, the “Prince of Darkness”, is still around would be enough to throw out any pretense of honesty and integrity… No need to mention any other persons and events, many of which are now under federal investigation (Here is the latest update on Jerry Dimitriou’s case)…

How do you repair such a huge vacuum, synonymous with a huge lack of trust? A sensible leader would start with “cutting to size” the “country club” organization of GOA. This is based on the long-standing false assumption that the wealthy few are more important than the tens of thousands of the faithful.  They are not!… A few “mega-rich” organized into Archons”, “Leaders” (and now “Senators” – don’t be fooled by the participation of a few priests, they will act as bait to attract more wealthy “donors”…) send the wrong message to the faithful: that contrary to the most essential teachings of Christianity, GOA prioritizes the “moneyed” class and ignores the rest.

Let me give a plain example. If, instead of 150,000 members (or about 10% of the size of the Greek-American community) GOA had 300,000 here is the difference that would make: A $200 average special donation per member would be enough to solve most of the current financial problems.  This is the power of numbers in a well-run organization… (My numbers here are an approximation to facilitate the discussion…)

But such numbers – and such “special requests” – require trust and to get to building trust there are other, more serious obstacles, beyond the “country club” mentality.  Our readers have noticed my emphasis on the happenings at St.Demetrios of Astoria, where a gang of ALMA Realty predators has been exploiting the community for four decades (You can link to one of our most inclusive articles on this subject here).  They are organized like “mafia”: they consider the community as their own “property”, their own “business”, and they threaten or blackmail anyone who wants to selflessly serve the parish as a council member or officer – if they dare ask dangerous questions… They have committed crimes (well known to whoever has been involved in the community even briefly) which went largely unreported – until the arrival of the writings of yours truly and “Helleniscope”…

Hundreds, maybe thousands, of successful Greek-American professionals and businessmen live and work within a 5-mile radius of St.Demetrios of Astoria.  Among them, many very talented people in every field – and this Church needs these creative and talented people more than any “fat cat”. If someone approaches ANY of them asking them to get involved in the Church and help revive the now dying community the answer will be uniformly ONE: “Not while the gang of thieves is there”. Your Eminence, you do not have to take my word for it, you can try the “test” yourself…

The biggest truths are always plain and simple.  And this is a really big truth permeating our Church at all levels.  Astoria is not the only parish suffering similar situations, there are many others.  But Astoria, because of its history in the midst of a still very lively community so close to GOA headquarters (and also because of its over $7 million budget between the parish and the school) has become emblematic of the problems of GOA. (For purposes of comparison let me note that the entire GOA budget is only about $23.6 million…)

What then is the right choice for a good Church leader? Will he allow the gang (and the other gangs all over the country) to continue their predatory behavior? Will he let them step all over the GOA charter and regulations – specifically regarding “conflicts of interest”? Or he will gather the courage to send the message to the predators that “the game is over”? The faithful are anxiously awaiting…

There is no room for fallacies here: There is no room for Phanariot duplicitous ideas that “we will keep both the old and the new” in the governance of the Church.  Everybody has a place in the Church, the sinful first of all, we are all sinful… But a good leader does not have the option to allow the corrupt, “the thieves”, to be part of the Church’s governance.

Question to AB Elpidophoros: Your Eminence, if you had a store, your own store, would you allow these people to manage even a small part of it? If not, why do you allow it in our Church and our parishes? Without honesty and integrity, there is no good leadership.  If AB Elpidophoros wants to “leave the past behind and move on” the “thieves” have no place in the Church’s governance. The names are well known, just follow our links or use the search function of Helleniscope…

Will AB Elpidophoros choose honesty and integrity? The time to answer the call is now. Soon, (many people are less optimistic than me) the Church will enter a road of or no return…

PS. I left aside, for now, the role of the priests in controlling corruption.  Obviously, they are a big part of the problem. I am sure that the GOA headquarters are well aware –  but as always hesitant to take action…

December 26, 2020, n.stamatakis@aol.com   www.helleniscope.com

 

 

 

 

5 COMMENTS

  1. The picture of Elpi accompanying this article is worth a thousand words. Seething arrogance and delusional grandeur with nothing else to show.

  2. Is it allowed many wonder if Elpi can do apologies? Will he ever apologize?

    The list of his disasters is terribly long to mention here & besides, it’s Christmas, don’t want to regurgitate more than one here:

    It was Elpi’s callous Twitter blocking a pious Orthodox girl for calling him out on slobbering over RBG the Jewish abortionist.
    Didn’t he declare he’s our a Sheppard? But he kicks out a pious Christian for exposing his hypocrisy in favor of an anti Jesus Jewish leftist?

  3. When the software has been corrupted so badly, you have to toss out the whole computer, the network, and all the work stations and start from scratch.

  4. Only disagree with one thought: that the ‘faithful’ will be sending any message to the ‘Orthodox’ church.

    There will be no dialogue. The writing is on the wall. One team has left the field of battle and boarded the ships, likely never to return. So sad.

    The debts, the disgrace of epic failures, any shame to be borne, the indelible stain of monumental arrogance, is all on the hierarchy and their stooges, those wealthy patrons with their need for prestige. Wear it proudly until the end, which is coming when only memories will remain.

    Happy New Year.

  5. With a smile on his face, he holds the Bible in one hand and a dagger in the other. Don’t believe it? Ask Evangelos, former Metropolitan of New Jersey.

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