PHOTO: Fr. Nektarios…
UPDATE OCTOBER 19, 6.45 PM… Today, anamniseis.net published an article showing all the improvements the “reformers” of Astoria have accomplished in a few months of leadership. Over 10 years of inept “leadership” by Fr. Nektarios and the other so-called “leaders” had left the school without air conditioning, modern toilets, modern labs, etc… Yes, Fr. Nektarios had to spend money for “hagiography” (i.e. “retreats” and other useless things)…
By Nick Stamatakis
In a letter that will remain in GOA history as a prime example of why this church has disintegrated into a criminal enterprise, AB Elpidoktonos directed Chancellor Fr. Andreas Vithoulkas, to remove Mr. Gerasimos Asprogerakas, the Treasurer of the St. Demetrios of Astoria Parish and one of the leaders of the reform movement within the parish, who sought to put an end to persistent corruption.
The letter (you can read it at the end of this post) is a monument of injustice, a compilation of false accusations, and a real example of Turkish authoritarianism. Please keep it and frame it – along with the Treasurer’s Response: Years from now you can look back to it when you want to show your children and grandchildren the lowest point GOA ever reached (so far). From this point on we all have two choices: 1) Go to any other Orthodox Church or Monastery for services, or establish an independent Church of our own, OR 2) Rise up and kick the “Turkish Pashas”, dressed as Archbishop and Metropolitans (and some priests like Fr. Nektarios Ppazafiropoulos), out of America.
The letter cannot be judged by “Christian” standards: its style and choice of words put it far away from any measure of morality. If Fr. Nektarios or the Archbishop wanted a “Christian” solution they would simply ask for Mr. Asprogerakas privately to resign, and I am sure he would have gladly accommodated the request. The Archbishop could simply tell him: “Mr. Asprogerakas, there is a lot of friction in the parish between you and the presiding priest. I cannot remove the priest so I am asking you to resign”. Mr.Asprogerakas who is deeply Orthodox Christian and a regular, annual, visitor to Mt.Athos would have certainly obliged the request… But neither Elpidoktonos nor Nektarios chose the “Christian” and sensible solution. Instead, they chose to project power and authority.
This letter crosses the boundaries of professionalism, ethics, and justice at several points:
- It shows that the “Phanariots” have established a “Turkish authoritarian” system of governance of our Church, where the priests can falsely accuse anyone who they do not approve of (or who resists a priest’s improper requests with Parish council finances) and remove him INSTANTLY. This letter practically tells us: Do not ever get involved in a parish council EVER AGAIN. If you do participate you are at the mercy of the priest, and your role there will be the equivalent of a “decorative plant” – or a cow to be milked for all the money you have, which money will be wasted in “retreats” and other nonsensical activities. So long as you fund a priest’s lavish requests
for monies from Parish accounts, your position in a Parish Council is safe.
- AB Elpidoktonos committed one of the most unjust and anti-Christian acts any Archbishop ever did. Two years ago in 2019, Mr. Asprogerakas was elected Parish Council member (What’s the use of elections anymore?) but he was not approved by AB Elpidoktonos, based on slanderous accusations. A month later Mr. Asprogerakas visited Elpidoktonos and then the Archbishop, recognizing his mistake, apologized to him in front of Fr. Andreas Vithoulkas. In the following elections (December 2020) Mr.Asprogerakas was elected first in votes (!!!) and in January 2021, he
was elected by the Parish Council, unanimously, as a Treasurer again. Recently, based on similar slanderous accusations (likely from Fr. Nektarios), the Archbishop removed him again. We say the accusations are likely from Nektarios because Mr.
Asprogerakas was not given the right to confront his accuser and address the
accusations lodged against Mr. Asprogerakas. At a minimum, if GOARCH acted like a
pseudo-democratic institution, it would have allowed Mr. Asprogerakas the opportunity to address Nektarios’s false accusations. On both occasions (2019 & 2020), they did not invite him to state his positions! Well, I have to say this: The Jewish Rabbis and Pontius Pilate, allowed Jesus a trial, even though they had sentenced him beforehand… The Phanariots, trained in centuries of “Ottoman rule” do not need the “luxury” of hearing both sides…
- As you will see below, the letter uses words like “harsh, abrupt, aggressive, belligerent, condescending and obscene”!! Well, well, well… The community of Astoria has seen various “mafia-like” acts – including drawing a pistol during a parish council meeting about 20 years ago!
- Foul mouthing by previous so-called “leaders” was the least important compared to various criminal acts Fr. Nektarios has been witnessing (during his ten years of dis-service) – but he did not say a peep. So long as Nektarios got his way financially, he chose to look the other way. But he chose to slander Mr. Asprogerakas who resisted Nektarios’s pressures to raid Parish Council accounts. He chose to slander a person who simply wanted to treat the Parish’s limited funds correctly and exercised his anti-corruption efforts to protect the Parish from Nektarios’s predacious financial appetite. If raising the tone of your voice against corruption is a crime, then Asprogerakas is certainly guilty!!… That is why the Community of St. Demetrios voted him into the Parish Council, and that is why he was voted unanimously as Treasurer of the Community!! Elpidoktonos is TONE DEAF. The flock has spoken through elections!
- Elpidoktonos’ letter states ironically that such (false) accusations “have no place within the ministries or parishes”… How cynical! In our Church we allow homosexuals as Archbishops and Metropolitans against the teachings of our faith, we accept thieves and embezzlers of all kinds, we hide pedophiles, and all other criminal types. BUT NO, we have no room for those who are after corruption and are seeking to create a healthy Church appropriate for the next generation! It is rumored that Nektarios is being groomed for the Chancellor’s position. If this is true, it would not be the first time that Elpidoktonos has appointed inept people into high positions in GOARCH.
- As for the rest, it is obvious that we are dealing with a serious legal issue – and I am sure it will be dealt with appropriately. In addition to the baseless, slanderous accusations, the fact that the letter is sent to all 25 members of the Parish Council is certainly grounds for defamation, along with all other issues we stated above.
This is one more misstep by AB Elpidoktonos who is now sinking in the consciousness of the faithful faster than the Titanic sank in the cold waters of the Northern Atlantic. Unfortunately, he will take down with him Fr. Andreas Vithoulkas, who, before succumbing to the Phanariots, had shown all the charisma and promise a priest can have.
If our priests reach the low point of slandering volunteers of our parishes and lying in favor of the Phanariots, then saving this Church will take a miracle.
YOU CAN READ HERE THE LETTER BY CHANCELLOR FR. ANDREAS VITHOULKAS
AND HERE IS THE RESPONSE BY MR ASPROGERAKAS
RESPONSE BY GERASIMOS ASPROGERAKAS TO FR. ANDREAS VITHOULKAS
BELOW THE TEXT OF THIS LETTER
Dear Father Andreas,
This is so pathetically bush league and laughably juvenile that I cannot imagine why anyone would want to be Greek Orthodox in America. It’s like some bad Greek comedy, set in Piraeus about 1908. KARAGIOZITHES.
At least the comedy was funny. This is trajic. Since 1996 this Church has gone steady downhill led by crook, charlatans, aided by soft living lazy ao called bishops who need publically shaving and de -frocking. I fear ir is not just financial scandal that will see the light of day.
The OCA went through it’s dark period but it reformed itself because it had the will to do ao and because it answered ro no foreign power, especially not Turkish.
The quicker this farce of a church is shut down the better.
Well, what a mess. I would say the Treasurer has the proof of what is going on and needs to report it to proper authorities in New York. Wow!
I saw idiocy take place at the GOA church I attended. They had one of the parishioners (not on the Parish Council) do the bank statements each month and report it to the priest’s wife who was involved in investments of some sort. As a convert newbie, I had no knowledge of how a Greek Orthodox church managed itself.
One day, about 6 church members came into the office where I was volunteering full time as the priest’s assistant and said they were doing an audit. I thought this was strange because none of them were accountants. One of them was in her eighties.
Jane, I’m curious, you’re a convert newbie from what? Evangelicals?
Nope. No longer engaged to any corrupt churches. Never Evangelical! How about you? I am curious.
Unfortunately, there is no morality in our church anymore. It is a ship without a captain, without
compass, going with the wind and abandoned by Christ.
Δει τον αγαθόν άνδρα παυόμενον της αρχής μη πλουσιώτερον, αλλά μάλλον ενδοξότερον γεγονέναι.
How ridiculous! I hope that they clean house at the GOA! My brother and sister Greek Americans…seek out OCA and Antiochian parishes to attend, you won’t be sorry!