Useless Parish Council Elections in Astoria: The Dictator-Priest Fr. Nektarios Obeys the “Pasha” Elpidoktonos who is a Slave of the “Sultan” Bartholomew!
By Nick Stamatakis
The recent debacle in St. Demetrios of Astoria, where a totally inept priest, Fr. Nektarios, with the help of an equally clueless Archbishop removed (for the second time in two years!) the parish treasurer based on pure falsehoods and malice has shaken the community to its foundations. The parishioners lost any trust they had left for the leadership of this Church. As a result, the upcoming parish council “elections”, scheduled for next Sunday, have been rendered totally useless: Why do they feel the need to fake “democracy” by performing “elections” when the dictatorial powers of the parish presiding priest and the AB Elpidoktonos canceled the voice of the community by removing someone who had received the most votes (the former treasurer Mr. Gerasimos Asprogerakas)?
The parishioners have already voted with their feet:
1) The two Churches, St. Demetrios and St. Ekaterini, are empty and the collection trays rarely exceed a couple of hundred dollars every Sunday in each of the two Churches – and please do not blame the pandemic for this. We are dealing with failures of leadership: it was the anti-social and lazy Fr. Nektarios who chased the people away. 2) The local old calendar churches – esp. Agia Markella – are filled to capacity on every Sunday and other holidays, while many faithful have opted to abstain completely or go to other Orthodox Churches. 3) In a recent event to honor one of the “regular” Parish Council members Fr. Nektarios failed to convince even the other P.C. members to attend: only 4-5 of them were present… 4) Many recent fundraising efforts have failed or produced very mediocre results -or were canceled, people talk also with their pockets naturally… 5) On November 25, at the vespers of Agia Ekaterini, in the presence of the Archbishop the pews were filled only at 30% with a total of no more than 90 people (at least 30 of which were clergy, school children, and P.C. members!!) This is something that has never happened before: when the Archbishop visits any parish, even the most remote, the Church is full. But we are living in a new era: During Patriarch Bartholomew’s scheduled visit to the Cathedral of Hagia Sophia in Washington DC, they were empty seats!!
Yes, the people have voted with their feet – as it usually happens in America. The Church is supposed to offer a “service”, also offered by many other competitors. The “service” the Church offers is the word and the work of Christ. Not only it did not offer these, but under the leadership of a callous and failed priest, Fr. Nektarios, it has reached the lowest of the low points as it approaches its 100th anniversary… Fr. Nektarios was meant to be an engineer and he shows it by displaying his discomfort, unfitness and his lack of social and other skills at every occasion…
Fr. Nektarios is now frantically trying to fill the empty seats in the Parish Council by inviting either very old parishioners to serve (average age over 80!!) or by adding one or two totally inexperienced people – so they can act as “yesmen”. The end result will be the same, the way things work in GOARCH: The parish council serves a decorative role, and those involved are “plants” occasionally posing for photos.
I would close this commentary here if we did not have in front of us a malicious attempt by the predatory “wolves of the Patriarchate” to take charge of all the parish properties all over America. Those of you who have any doubts please take this link to inform yourselves about the legal document (“Amicus Curiae” Brief) filed by GOARCH to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington DC, in support of the Hierarchy of the Episcopalian Church. The Episcopal hierarchy was fighting their Diocese of Fort Worth, TX. Several parishes of this diocese disagreed with the “blessing of homosexual marriage” (among other reasons) which their Church supported, took their $100 million worth of property, and left for the Anglican Church!! The Supreme Court of Texas vindicated them!! In our case, the US Supreme Court refused to hear the case – and this is a huge legal precedent against the “wolves” of the Patriarchate”…
Pay close attention to what specifically the GOARCH lawyers support in the legal document above: “All church property – regardless of which church entity it is held by – is held expressly for carrying out the faith and purpose of the Greek Orthodox Church. See Regulations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (“Regulations”), Art. 16 § 1 (2007). Only the church hierarchy is vested with the authority to determine if a parish is carrying out the faith and purpose of the Greek Orthodox Church, so any property dispute is inherently entwined with ecclesiastical matters”… This explains why the parishioners’ vote has no meaning at all – the priest and the archbishop act as dictators.
The question is whether they violate any laws – and the answer is probably yes: Each parish is organized under the laws of this land as a separate non-profit corporation. GOARCH and the Episcopalians LOST THE CASE above and there is even more powerful legal precedent from other cases. Helleniscope is collecting all precedent cases and at the appropriate moment will provide it to those parishes which will choose to organize to throw out this unlawful internal organization of GOARCH and take back control of our churches. The Churches that were built with the sweat and blood of our parents and grandparents…
But GOARCH in Astoria has been violating its own unlawful and dictatorial REGULATIONS, and especially the part that specifically describes “Conflicts of Interest” (pages 53-58). If anyone enters the words “conflict of interest in Astoria” in Helleniscope’s search button, they will see a whole list of violations and an extensive analysis of all aspects… Let me note here that if it was not for Helleniscope raising the issue nobody would care to even bring it up in P.C meetings – very few really knew what “conflict of interest” meant before we started explaining it three years ago…
In Astoria, all these problems are exacerbated by the failed priest Fr. Nektarios whose many vices are leading the parish over the cliff. His specific choices (for example, the new building across the street from St. Demetrios) or his earlier positions (in the fight against turning the school into a charter) for him have always had a very selfish meaning. Building a school across the street for Father Nektarios is simply “business”: it does not mean anything else but an effort to grab government money to secure his very high salary and advance himself in the Church hierarchy – achieving finally the position of Bishop. But above all, we have been witnessing unbelievable selfishness: Fr. Nektarios repeatedly mentioned that he wanted one of the apartments to be built across the street to be kept for his own “personal use”: So he can take a “nap” there without having to commute to his house in Whitestone 20′ minutes away! Never, not once, have we heard that he suggested the creation of a home for the needy – especially those who come from Greece to seek medical treatment!!
Fighting against the St.Demetrios School becoming a charter for Fr. Nektarios did not have anything to do with preserving its Greek and Orthodox identity; if it did, he would have no problem now teaching and expanding on religious education within the school – but he refuses… It was all about himself… The same purpose is served by his “need” to be surrounded by many priests as “assistants”; how else would he play the “boss”? When they tell him “we cannot afford four priests’ salaries” he closes his ears! When he sees the true financial numbers he also makes believe “he knows better”. The disaster of the new building, which has already reached a projected cost of about $8 million, means nothing to him!
Because of the dictatorial nature of GOARCH regulations Fr. Nektarios could turn into a mine that could blow up the historical Astoria parish… The time will not be far away when people like Fr. Nektarios will have to mortgage the Churches, and the school buildings – and discussions have already started… Unfortunately, I have heard similar “smart ideas” from several other parishes. Considering the story of the “Amicus Brief” we presented above, it seems to me that the “new method” the predatory wolves of the Patriarchate will start using is very simple: They will mortgage the church properties using the “yesmen” of parish councils they completely control. And in the end, they will sell the properties – saying that they are “dying parishes”… Thank God in New York they will have to obtain approval from the Attorney General’s office. This will make things a lot more difficult – but it will not stop them…
Fr. Nektarios, who for years was telling all the parishioners that “he is the boss” and “he decides” fits perfectly that role: Having totally lost touch with the community, with no other concern in life but his own self-serving goals, he will not hesitate one moment to execute this generic plan: First, abandon the ministries of the Church and chase the people away; then claim that the parishes died on their own… Yes, my fellow Orthodox, they are not “wolves in sheep’s clothing”, they are real “wolves” in “wolves’ skin”…
Are there any faithful with guts in Astoria and elsewhere to organize and put up the legal battle to save our Church? Are there any courageous faithful to ask a court of law to enforce the laws of the land? How could the priest and the hierarchs remove (without a hearing!) a dutifully elected member of the Parish Council? Absolutely shameful and illegal! Furthermore, since the problem is not local but organizational to GOARCH, are there any faithful who will come together to file a class-action lawsuit or take any other legal road necessary to chase the “foreign bodies”, the “Greco-Turks” out of our Church?
December 11, 2021, email@example.com www.helleniscope.com
DISCLAIMER: The views and statements expressed in this article constitute constitutionally protected opinions of this author.
Helleniscope calls on each and every one of you, clergy and laity, to follow this link to change.org and sign the declaration of Independence of our Church from the Patriarchate
My response to your questions:
“Are there any faithful with guts in Astoria and elsewhere to organize and put up the legal battle to save our Church? Are there any courageous faithful to ask a court of law to enforce the laws of the land? How could the priest and the hierarchs remove (without a hearing!) a dutifully elected member of the Parish Council? Absolutely shameful and illegal! Furthermore, since the problem is not local but organizational to GOARCH, are there any faithful who will come together to file a class-action lawsuit or take any other legal road necessary to chase the “foreign bodies”, the “Greco-Turks” out of our Church?“
🙏✔️ In order to get the interest of the spiritually sleepy, volunteers must be involved from every church membership roster.
🙏✔️ To procure volunteers, a concise document
must be written for the volunteers to distribute to their local parishioners.
🙏 An attorney or two or three must be hired to review the document for distribution.
🙏✔️ Most parishioners are under the influence of propaganda by the GOA that it is sinful to open their mouth or rise up against the leaders of the GOA. Provide Scripture to relieve guilt and anxiety that it’s okay to speak out.
🙏✔️ Written into the document, must be information as to how the GOA seems to be manipulating the minds of their flock.
🙏✔️ Faith in the COA leaders must be weakened by truth and truth alone.✝️
👏✔️ A “website dedicated to this movement to save the GOA church leaders” sold or the pattern used by GOA leaders to put them up for sale must be created. No comments allowed – just a distribution center with updates as to the creation of the lawsuit against the GOA leaders to stop them from selling off any more churches.
🙏✔️ Facts only presented in website – not opinions or conjecture.
👏✔️ The distribution volunteers must sign a paper with the clear mission statement that their role is to distribute a document to parishioners outside the church – or inside during coffee hour etc. Nothing more.
👏✔️ An attorney(s) must review the volunteer sign up paper with the mission statement which can be done online in the main website to be created which offers no ability to comment – only updates about the formation of the legal case against the GOA. Again, every step of the way must be reviewed by attorney(s)
These are just a few quick thoughts I had after reading this article.
🙏✔️ Another thought: Building the case to stop the sale of these churches must be done by proving historically who donated to them, audit of church records, and the machinations by GOA church leaders to sell them for profit and where the money went from each church sale. Lots of audits needed by those without any conflict of interest. The church leaders will pull out their little book of Canons. Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Jane some very salient points, time and organization you put into this methodical list.
Whom among is ready to take a stance?
I can be a volunteer
The right to speak about important faith matters in public space
The word “political” comes from the Greek, polis, which means “citizens,” including residents. And “theology” involves the study of God. So, political theology means that voters and residents speak publicly about their understanding of God and justice. All faith traditions have protection from the First Amendment to participate in political debate. The foundation of American democracy requires us to help shape policy and law. After all, “We [are] the People.” We have a duty to create as just a society possible.
Therefore, political (or public) theology can be described as having 2 traits. The first trait involves speaking about important faith matters in public space. And, the second trait requires us to reach as wide an audience as possible for our faith-based political messages.
I think we should give up on this topic.
No matter what anyone says he will become the chancellor and a Bishop. As long as his brother is in the archdiocese and Drosos protects him he will walk around pushing people around.
Nekatarios needs to start focusing on his community that is falling apart. The churches are empty and the school is failing. The current administration has no idea what they are doing. Dumb and Dumber are at the helm. The school has shut down because of an outbreak and it’s shutting down again because they had a GOYA party and all the kids got sick.
Such a shame he single handedly destroyed an entire community that was flourishing.
This priest needs to be defrocked!!! He’s lucky that his skeletons have not come out of the “CLOSET”.
No Worries Street News he will be out the door in 2022. If we are lucky he would be around spring.
On another note never mind the mess he will leave behind. I went to church Christmas Eve. No one checked my temperature and I asked how communion is given. An individual by the candles told me the priest uses only one spoon. Nektarios follows no covid guidelines. He wants just to look good and let someone or others take blame. This is real Mafia of Astoria. By the way Goya was not a school event. It was a church community event. Let’s forget the other Christmas church community event held at Saint Catherine’s finer bread making, More Covid. The community President agrees to hold events because it brings families together. We forget about Covid. Mr. President, the events do bring families together. You are holding Covid parties. Also our parents of the children are ignorant to rules. They rather have a lifestyle with partying.
I’m not defending anyone here… just wishing all a healthy season of spirituality….temperature -taking is not on the mandate list- masking is….