By Nick Stamatakis
We were flooded early this morning with emails and calls with the news that GOA has decided to start the discussion for a new charter and has established a website for that purpose – here is the link to this website. People were furious!… Frankly, I do not see the reason to worry about the Charter at a time when: a) The faithful are abandoning GOA by the thousands in search of another Church that follows our Orthodox Faith and tradition. b) The Patriarchate has lost any credibility after it decided to give “Cacocephaly” to Ukraine (with the Russians winning the war, this fatal decision will likely mean the end of the Patriarchate as we know it). c) GOA is making one wrong decision after the other on Faith issues and everything else; discussing the new charter as the Titanic sinks is a total waste of time…
The Faithful are asking for the Church to return to the basics of our Faith, and the failed Archbishop offers a new Charter!! Such monumental callousness is rarely seen anywhere!
But let’s start by making some points:
- First, let’s return to the Patriarchal apology of a few weeks ago, explicitly issued for suspending the previous Charter of 2003. Establishing this 2003 charter was also his grave mistake and was based on Bartholomew’s Ottoman attitude: He wanted to split the Archdiocese into many parts so that the Archbishop of America would only govern New York… The effect would be that he would reign supreme, not because of his faith and wisdom but because of the legalities of the hierarchical structure… All that happened in 2003, after he split the formerly glorious Archdiocese of North and South America into several parts…
- From the above, any logical person would surmise that you cannot correct a mistake with another mistake. You have to change your course of action; you have to listen to the faithful of America – they are the ones who know best the needs of their Church. The faithful of America spoke, answering last year’s survey/questionnaire. Their response was loud and clear: they demanded a form of self-governance for their Church. AB Elpidoktonos did not like the overwhelming demand for self-governance. Instead, he had the gall to stand up in the Clergy-Laity Congress, saying that “the questionnaire proved to be divisive and will not be taken into account”!! I remember watching him in disbelief!!
- In other words, Bartholomew and Elpidophoros are guided by their Ottoman upbringing, and their goal was to consolidate power and nothing else. Conversely, for the Church (or any other Christian Church) in America to function and grow, it would have to put Christ and Faith first. The “Ottoman Turks” of Constantinople put their power first.
- And then, they “imported” to America foreign-born bishops and priests and other “puppets” and encircled themselves with ignorant immigrants, hoping that this way they would “take control” of this Church – again “power” is their elixir... (among them the “pizza-man” Fr. Gedeon Varytimos is a prime example, while Bishops Apostolos and Athinagoras follow closely). They exhausted their “innovating” energies in proposing “gay baptisms” and “LGBTQ ministries”, but when it came to honest service and ministry, they stayed away. Recent examples: they guided the Philiptochos organizations to write $100,000 checks to support the …needy Archdiocese!
- To get a taste of their plans, please see how they answer the question: “What is the process of revision of the Charter, and who are the decision-makers?” This is how they respond: The current process was initiated by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, consistent with its supreme ecclesiastical and canonical authority. Accordingly, the Mother Church will determine the process. Here, a Mixed Commission of representatives has been formed to ensure a collaborative process and the Archdiocesan Council and the Clergy-Laity Congress will have the opportunity to comment on any proposed revisions to the Charter.Our current Charter acknowledges “the supreme, ecclesiastical and canonical jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.” Accordingly, the decision regarding the Charter, like all canonical and ecclesiastical matters, falls to the Holy and Sacred Synod at the Ecumenical Patriarchate, just as been the case with all ecclesiastical Charters both for our Archdiocese and for other eparchies under the Ecumenical Patriarchate.Some confusion on this final point may exist because of Article 25 of the Charter which sets forth one procedure for amending the Charter (a process that is codified in Article 7 of the Archdiocesan Regulations) when the request for amendment originates in the United States. This is the process that was utilized in 2003. That process, however, is inapplicable here because the current process was not initiated by a formal request of the Holy Eparchial Synod or the Archdiocesan Council.
In other words: “Shut up, you fools who believe you are worth governing your Church!! The corrupt Patriarch (who was bribed with $25 million from the Saint Nicholas Ground Zero fund to give “Autocephaly to Ukraine) will decide for you!! And do not expect any autonomy – all decisions will be made 5,000 miles away by the Ottoman Turks!”
- It is exasperating to read that all those who regularly practice corruption will install transparency through a new charter… Words such as “transparency” and “better functionality” on their website, are there to fool those of you who have any trust left in the “Band of Thieves of Istanbul”… Just a few weeks ago, a leading “Archimandrite” close to the Patriarch was arrested stealing a jewelry store in Istanbul!
I will close these first notes on the Charter process by reminding you that our Founding Fathers, who wrote the “ultimate Charter,” the American Consitution, aimed to establish transparency and accountability by “checks and balances.” Our Founding Fathers gave enhanced powers to the States and decentralized and weakened the federal government. They knew that you create the best conditions for increased corruption when you have concentrated power and finances.
But our “Sultans of Istanbul” want us to believe they will have more transparency with centralization!…
DISCLAIMER: The views and statements expressed in this article constitute constitutionally protected opinions of this author.