EDITOR’S NOTE (Nick Stamatakis): A member of this audience spent a substantial amount of time reviewing the new website in great detail and analyzed the statements made in it (here is the link to this website.). The results were as you will see below and as our title says: 84% inaccurate, Illogical, Misleading!!
A Detailed Review of the Website, “A New Charter for the Second Centennial” June 2023
The website titled, A New Charter for the Second Centennial was launched in June
2023. It presents articles, FAQ, news articles, and a page for submitting questions. The
website is hosted under the Archdiocese domain and bears the logo of the Archdiocese.
However, it contains material and opinions that only represent the opinion of select
individuals (presumably led by the current Archbishop). It is disappointing that
Archdiocesan resources are being diverted to promote personal opinions and present a
misleading representation of reality at the expense of the sanity, stability, and salvation
of the Greek Orthodox faithful in the United States.
When reviewed in detail, this website contains fallacies, misleading statements, and
inaccuracies that read like a politically-leaning news source (e.g., FoxNews or MSNBC)
rather than a faith-based organization. The content from the site was reviewed and
assertions were identified. Each assertion was scored as Accurate, Illogical or
Misleading, or Inaccurate.
● Accurate – the assertion can be supported by objective evidence.
● Illogical – the assertion is not logically sound.
● Misleading – the assertion uses facts to make the wrong impression.
● Inaccurate – the assertion cannot be supported by objective evidence.
Overall, the assertions made on this site center on the following themes:
1. The Charter requires revision to deal with financial inefficiencies and concerns
2. The pastoral needs of the faithful are not being met under the current Charter.
3. Archdiocesan resources and tools are not adopted because they are implicitly or
explicitly blocked by Metropolises.
Summary of Findings
Across the 50 assertions identified and reviewed the following scores were assigned. Only 16% of the assertions were identified to be accurate while 84% were identified to be either illogical, misleading, or inaccurate.
Section 1: Why Do We Need a New Charter? (charter.goarch.org/why)
Assertion 1: Guidelines, Curricula, and Metrics [Illogical]
No matter where we live— or where we move— clear institutional guidelines, curricula,
and metrics will empower regional and parish leaders with the tools, collaborative
network, and support they need to serve their faithful, while allowing for creativity in meeting the unique contexts, challenges and gifts of their localities.
● Institutional guidelines do not empower. Institutional guidelines set expectations
for conformance. If guidelines are representative of best practice that is proven to
achieve results, they may provide support.
● Curriculum development is not a process that is dependent upon the organization of the Archdiocese. Curricula for various topics could be developed and made available for use to the Archdiocese with or without Metropolises.
● Metrics in and of themselves do not empower. Metrics are used to provide a
quantitative output. The collection, reporting, and interpretation of metrics requires personnel and experience that add to the administrative costs of the Archdiocese. Furthermore, metrics are meaningless without a clear understanding of what the goal of the measurement activity is. For a discussion of how “data junkyards” impede decision making, see the book Failure of Nerve (Friedman 2007).
Assertion 2: National Ministries Give a Voice to All [Illogical]
At the same time, dynamic national ministries and programs will call in [sic] all faithful to articulate and build up our values in the matters that affect every one of us, like clergy protections, the education of our seminarians, religious education, and more.
● It is highly unlikely that one national ministry will be able to distill the values of “all faithful” to create meaningful programs for the entire nation. Furthermore, it is
unlikely that “all faithful” will be interested in articulating their values on a national
level. For a recent study demonstrating the adage that the loudest voices are the
only ones heard, see The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease—An Empirical Analysis of Customer Voice and Firm Intervention on Twitter in “Marketing
Science” (Ma et al 2015).
● Values are “a set of ethical beliefs and preferences that determine our sense of
right and wrong” (Oxford Reference). Clergy protections, education of
seminarians, and religious education do not have values in and of themselves
and if they did they certainly would not be built up “all faithful.”
Assertion 3: Role of Canonicity [Inaccurate]
Canonicity isn’t just a technicality— it sets the practical foundations for us to live the truth of our faith more fully. It prepares us to confront the challenges and opportunities we face in a rapidly changing world, especially as they relate to engaging with young people, mitigating contemporary risks, developing social ministries, and reaching out to people of all backgrounds.
● The canonicity of the Archdiocese’s structure could not be more irrelevant to the
pastoral challenges of our “rapidly changing world.”
● The chief concern with regards to the canonicity of the ecclesiastical structures of the Orthodox Church in America are the presence of multiple hierarchs with
overlapping jurisdictions (Ephesus, Canon 8). This matter is within the scope of
the committee for Canonical Matters of the Assembly of Bishops and cannot be
resolved exclusively by the Archdiocese.
● To better understand the position of the site’s creators on the Archdiocese’s
canonical structure.The Structure of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of
America: Considerations Regarding Canonical Structure, Primacy, and
Prerogatives (Mercado 2023) which is posted on the site was reviewed.
○ The article fails to identify a canon that the current structure contradicts,
rather it argues that “the nature of the Metropolitan and Patriarchal
systems of governance changed over time.” Without a clear presentation
of which canon the present system violates it is difficult to establish the
canonicity of the present structure.
○ The article fails to state that one solution to the “canonically anomalous”
situation in the Archdiocese would be the further dilution of the
Archdiocese. The next revision of the Charter could designate a
Metropolitan for the present Direct Archdiocesan District and eliminate the
role of Archbishop of America. National matters would be dealt with by the
Synod collectively under the chairmanship of the Ecumenical Patriarch
and / or his designee. The present national ministries would come under
the jurisdiction of the local ruling hierarch (e.g., St. Nicholas Shrine under
Metropolitan of New York or HCHC under the Metropolitan of Boston).
○ NOTE: Given the broad and complex history of our Church’s canons, it
seems unwise that the perspective of an early-career, adjunct instructor in
canon law should be promoted as an official position of the Archdiocese.
Assertion 4: Inconsistent Structure [Inaccurate]
Though the Metropolis system under our current Charter has yielded a number of
blessings, its structure is inconsistent with the traditional canonical structure of an
eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
● Simply put, there is no “traditional canonical structure” of an eparchy of the
● The local churches of the Ecumenical Patriarchate consist of 6 archdioceses, 66
metropolises, 2 dioceses, and 1 exarchate.
● Each of these local churches has their own level of organization and structure
that fits the needs of their geography and surrounding culture.
● In fact the only eparchy that reflects the structure proposed by the authors of this
site is the Archdiocese of Australia.
Assertion 5: Duplication Crushes Parishes and Faithful [Inaccurate]
From the replication of ministries to the unnecessary duplication of services– and their duplicative costs— parishes and faithful are facing a crushing, and unnecessary, financial burden.
● The “crushing” and “unnecessary” financial burden born by the parishes and by
extension their faithful members is not due any duplication or replication at the
○ The 2023-2024 Adopted Budget as posted by the Archdiocese indicates
that $23.68M is collected from the parishes.
○ Of this amount, only $7.23M is returned to the Metropolises in the form of
Metropolis Commitment Sharing and through paying Metropolis
○ The remaining $16.45M is used directly by the Archdiocese.
○ Nearly 70% of the burden born by the parishes and the faithful are directly
attributable to the Archdiocese.
● In the recommendations presented in Mercado 2023, the idea of “transforming
the Metropolises into Archdiocesan Districts in which certain aspects of the
already existing administrative structure stays the same” is presented. If aspects
of the existing administrative structure will stay the same, then it is not clear how
the proposed change in the Charter will reduce the costs borne by parishes in the
Assertion 6: Lack of Oversight Leads to Inequality and Heightened Risk [Illogical]
Coupled with a lack of consistent transparency and adequate oversight, our Church structure under the current Charter has also resulted in uneven services across the country and heightened risks for everyone.
● Uneven Services
○ It is not clear what “services” are being referred to here; a response is not
● Heightened Risk
○ At present, the Archdiocese is named as a defendant in dozens of
lawsuits. However, it is unrealistic to think that the Archdiocese could have
had any kind of reasonable or meaningful oversight regarding these
matters. These are primarily sexual abuse cases stemming from a time
when administration was centralized in New York. Returning to that more
centralized model allows the whole Greek Orthodox Church to come
under accusation and indictment when one person or unit stumbles.
○ More generally, centralized leadership by a distant ruling hierarch leads to
an overall lack of controls and ensures that policies will not be
○ The level of administration required from a centralized unit to provide
“adequate oversight” would require a significant investment of resources.
Assertion 7: Crucial Changes for the Future [Accurate]
As stewards of the contributions of the devout faithful, there are crucial changes that must be considered to ensure the financial security, integrity, and flourishing of our Archdiocese in the twenty-first century and beyond.
● There are certainly crucial changes that must take place. The question is what
are these changes and who is proposing them? Does the revision of a high-level
governance document really help our Archdiocese flourish or will other changes
be more effective?
● The financial security, integrity, and flourishing of the Archdiocese cannot be
secured by a rogue, isolated, and small group.
Section 2: Frequently Asked Questions (charter.goarch.org/faq)
QUESTION 1: Why are revisions to the Archdiocesan Charter being considered?
Assertion 1: The Mother Church Wants It [Illogical]
Our Mother Church of Constantinople has made the determination that the present
Charter must be revisited. The present Charter of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has been in use for over 20 years. Having reached the 20-year milestone of this Charter’s existence, it makes sense to consider both its benefits and shortcomings to determine if some modifications are necessary as we enter our Archdiocese’s second century.
● The faithful of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese have yet to receive any official
indication or message directly from the Ecumanical Patriarchate about the
urgency of this matter.
● The official communiqués from the Ecumenical Patriarchate seem to indicate
anything other than a “determination that the present Charter must be revisited.”
Emphasis added to the quotes below.
○ 05 April 2023: “In this context, it was realized that further ripening was
necessary for the proposed amendments with regard to the canonical
foundation of the administrative shape of the Sacred Archdiocese of
America, combined with a future regulation of its internal boundaries on a
○ 30 May 2023: “ἀπεφασίσθη ὅπως ἀφ᾿ ἑνός μέν ἡ Ἱερά Ἐπαρχιακή
Σύνοδος αὐτῆς μελετήσῃ εἰς βάθος χρόνου [in the long-term] τάς
προτάσεις περί ἀναθεωρήσεως διατάξεών τινων τοῦ Συντάγματος..”
Asserion 2: 20 Years is a Good Milestone [Accurate]
The present Charter of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has been in use for over 20 years. Having reached the 20-year milestone of this Charter’s existence, it makes sense to consider both its benefits and shortcomings to determine if some modifications are necessary as we enter our Archdiocese’s second century.
● Two decades is a reasonable amount of time to gather data about the benefits
and shortcomings of a Charter. All available data should be objectively gathered
and reviewed. Opinions cannot be considered as objective data without
conducting surveys and independent analysis.
● Revisions to governance documents like the Charter should be done
independently of specific people. If a governance document depends on a
particular person then it is not a good governance document. For example, if the
Constitution needed to be revised every time there was a new President it would
provide little utility in securing the future of our country.
Assertion 3: The Past 20 Years Have Seen Growth [Illogical]
There is no question that the Archdiocese, its parishes, and its Metropolises have seen growth over the past twenty years—growth in ministries, institution of new programs, expansions in certain areas and enhancements to physical plant and other resources. Those are all positives. Our parishes and Metropolises are not just buildings or offices or programs, however. They should function as thriving centers of resources and people and ministries, working in synergy with the national church as we share our faith with others.
● This assertion is contradictory.
● On the one hand it acknowledges that there has been “growth in ministries” and
“institution of new programs.”
● On the other it says that parishes and Metropolises are not “buildings or offices
or programs” and that they “should function as thriving centers of resources and
people and ministries.”
● If ministries and programs offer resources produced by people, it is unclear why
the answer provided to this question includes negations like “however” and “but”.
Assertion 4: Signs of a Healthy Organization [Accurate]
Assessing progress, making course corrections if needed and reviewing our pluses and minuses are signs of a healthy organization
● This statement is accurate.
● Additionally, a healthy organization has a cohesive culture, excellent
communication, attracts the best and brightest, and shares a vision for the future.
QUESTION 2: What problems or issues need to be addressed?
Assertion 5: Focusing Locally Leads to Silos [Misleading]
The Metropolis system which the Charter created has yielded both benefits but also some unintended consequences which did not serve the Church well on a national basis. The Archdiocesan District and eight Metropolises ended up becoming nine independent silos which lacked adequate transparency and accountability and consistency. Individually, each one has focused on its own programs, its own people, its own goals, and its own priorities. Focusing on regional and local needs and ministries is a worthy cause but not to the detriment of integrated ministries and resources for the benefit of our national church.
● Focusing on regional and local needs is more than a worthy cause. It is the only
○ The Church, however it is structured or governed, exists to guide the
faithful to salvation. As human beings we live within a community that is
inherently linked with a place.
○ Integrated ministries and resources at a national-level are only useful
insomuch as they are used by real people in a local setting.
● Over the past 20 years, Metropolises have not become silos, rather each
Metropolis has learned from one another. This started from emulating and
improving upon what was observed in other parts of the country.
○ Over time nearly every region of the country has developed a vibrant
Summer Camp ministry with facilities and programs to serve the young
people in that region.
○ Several Metropolises have created regional programs that bring young
people together to focus on culture or the arts.
Assertion 6: 8 Mini-Archdioceses [Inaccurate]
Instead of one unified Archdiocese with nine regions having their uniqueness
represented as part of the unified whole, what emerged were eight mini-Archdioceses.
● There are not 8 mini-Archdioceses as evidenced by the fact that all parishes in
every Metropolis pay a commitment to the Archdiocese and the Archdiocese
pays the employees of the Metropolises.
● In fact, there is already a unified Archdiocese with nine regions that represent
Assertion 7: Sharing and Dissemination [Inaccurate]
There has been limited sharing of successful programs so that the entire Archdiocese can benefit from creative local initiatives and, conversely, there is no mechanism for beneficial initiatives developed by the Archdiocese to reach the local parish level.
● The ubiquitous use of the internet for communications and information sharing
makes it impossible for something not to be shared between different regions of
● Similarly, the beneficial initiatives developed by the Archdiocese can reach the
local level using the many forms of technology in use today. If they are not used
at the local level that is perhaps the result of the disconnectedness a distant
central office will inherently have with its constituents.
Assertion 8: Duplication of “Duplication Crushes…” [Inaccurate]
This has led to a replication of ministries, duplication of services, and an accumulation of duplicative costs resulting in a crushing and ultimately unsustainable financial burden on the parishes and the faithful. Our parishes simply cannot afford this financial burden. See prior response about the allocation of monies to the local and national level.
Assertion 9: Duplication of “Lack of Oversight…” [Illogical]
This, coupled with a lack of adequate oversight and a lack of consistent transparency has resulted in very uneven services for the faithful, increased financial burdens on us all and increased risks for parishes, Metropolises, and the Archdiocese. See prior response about oversight and transparency.
Assertion 10: Unified Archdiocese Facilitates Growth [Accurate]
Our focus must be to meet the needs of our faithful, grow their ranks, expand spiritual engagement and be good stewards of our financial resources. One unified Archdiocese would facilitate the growth that we all desire.
● There already is one unified Archdiocese and it should be facilitating the growth
that all constituents (hierarchs, clergy, and laity) desire.
● The focus of the Charter revision is completely disconnected from meeting the
needs of the faithful, increasing their numbers, expanding spiritual engagement,
and being good stewards of financial resources. If anything, the present
discussion of the Charter revision has taken away our focus from these important
Assertion 11: Consistency is Key [Illogical]
Likewise, the lack of consistency in pastoral care, youth ministry, youth protection,
clergy matters, and the administration of our national ministries has left the Church, as a whole, in a weaker position to respond to the manifold spiritual and practical needs of our Greek Orthodox faithful and their parishes. Our obligation as a church is to meet the needs of our faithful, their children and grandchildren now and for the future.
● Pastoral care is inherently a local concern. No priest and no parish are the same.
● Youth ministry is rather consistent on a regional level. Almost every Metropolis
has a person designated for developing and executing programs for young
people in concert with national ministries (e.g., Oratorical Festival) and affiliate
organizations (e.g., OCF). Almost every Metropolis has a summer camp, a
number of retreats for various ages, and Greek folk or artistic events.
● Youth protection is a matter of compliance that stems from the requirements of
the Archdiocese’ insurers. The inability of the Archdiocese to administer one
simple program for compliance demonstrates how a more centralized
administrative structure would be ill-conceived.
● The administration of national ministries has always been the responsibility of the Archdiocese. If it has not properly administered them that is not due to the
existence of the Metropolises, rather it indicates that the personnel and
processes at the Archdiocese should be improved.
● Overall, it is not clear that there is a lack of consistency in any of the areas
except for those directly within the purview of the Archdiocese.
● None of these areas presented likely has any bearing on the “Church, as a
whole” which exists as Divine-human institution, Christ’s body, that is headed by
Christ Himself. It would be blasphemous to suggest that the administration of the
clergy pension fund could somehow impede Christ’s position to respond to the
needs of humanity. Furthermore, “the Church” extends beyonds the
administrative boundaries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and our internal
woes will not impede the progress of other Orthodox jurisdictions in the United
QUESTION 3: We have one seminary; we have one Department of Religious
Education. Doesn’t that demonstrate that the church is united?
Assertion 12: We Only Have Vestiges of Unity [Inaccurate]
The fact that we have one seminary and one department of religious education
demonstrates the vestiges or remnants of a previously unified Church in America.
● If this statement were true then since 2003 there would have been no additional
national ministries introduced.
● However, there have been numerous activities and ministries implemented
successfully by the Archdiocese.
Assertion 13: Selfish Metropolises Damaged the Archdiocese [Misleading]
Over the past 20 years, each Metropolis focused on its own planning, ministry and
growth. Looking inward, each one engaged in a “building” phase. Some built camps; others focused on Metropolis offices and structures; some gave priority to ministries, and programs; each one focused on itself and what it believed was most important. However, while each Metropolis flourished, the national resources—those that serve all the Metropolises and clergy across the country—suffered greatly:
● Holy Cross Hellenic College (HCHC), our one seminary, was in a precarious
financial condition and losing its accreditation;
● Our Archdiocese was in dire financial straits and in risk of bankruptcy;
● The Maliotis Center located on the HCHC campus was immersed in
● The clergy pension fund was not being funded adequately; and much more.
While everyone was working and focused on their Metropolis, their own silo as it were, there was no unified vision or plan to address each of these national issues or the needs of the national church. It was always someone else’s responsibility.
● Certainly each Metropolis did grow over the past 20 years as noted in another
part of the site. However, it is a logical fallacy to imply that this growth came at
the expense of national ministries. Correlation does not prove causation!
● The examples presented here are in fact the only semblances of “success” that
can be associated with the tenure of the current Archbishop which indicates his
obsessive, egotistical focus on building a governance structure centered on his
person. However, the Metropolises had no jurisdiction or purview to address
○ Hellenic College Holy Cross: This institution is a separate organization
with its own Board, governance, and financial structure. The financial
situation of the school and its potential loss of accreditation can only be
attributed to the poor management of the School and its resources. While
the Metropolitans hold positions on the board they are not authorized by
the School’s bylaws to have control over the administration of the school.
Many would contend that the continued interference by the Archbishop as
the board chair is the root cause of the many problems the School faces.
This interference has only increased during the current Archbishop’s
tenure which has led to less visible, although more deeply damaging,
decisions that will take substantial time and resources to heal.
○ Archdiocesan Finances: The potential bankruptcy of the Archdiocese is
due to the poor financial controls of the Archdiocese. During this time, no
Metropolis would have visibility or authority to control the financial
practices of the Archdiocese or its staff.
○ Maliotis Center: This litigation in no way involved any Metropolis but rather
was an internal issue between the Archdiocese, HCHC, and the Maliotis
Board. Furthermore, to elevate a single center at HCHC, like the Maliotis
Center, to the level of importance where it would be listed as a “national
resource” is preposterous.
○ Clergy Pension: The Clergy Pension fund was not funded appropriately
because of the poor financial practices of the Archdiocese. The
Metropolises would not have had visibility or authority to control the
financial practices of the Archdiocese or its staff.
○ And much more: Because the above examples fail to demonstrate the
point, perhaps the website can be updated with “much more.”
● The unified visions or plans to address the issues listed above would be the
responsibility of the person or persons who have direct governance responsibility.
If they did not take on that responsibility it indicates a failure of the leadership in
place at the time.
○ HCHC → HCHC Board of Trustees
○ Archdiocese Finances → Archdiocesan Council
○ Maliotis Center → HCHC Board of Trustees
○ Clergy Pension Fund → Archdiocesan Council
Assertion 14: The DRE is Handicapped [Inaccurate]
As it stands today, the Archdiocese, for example, could develop the best programs
through the Department of Religious Education, yet they are ignored and never
implemented because each Metropolis is developing its own programs; replication of efforts has been rampant and of course with that comes replication of costs, lack of accountability and inconsistent financial reporting to the faithful.
● The development of “the best programs” is not related to the implementation of
these programs. If the department in fact did develop best-in-class programs they
would be adopted and implemented because their effectiveness and popularity
would facilitate their adoption.
● Furthermore, the DRE’s flagship ministry under its new leadership is the “Sermon
Series.” This type of offering is not in any way replicated by any Metropolis. It is
delivered by social media and email to countless people. Therefore to state that
there are “rampant” replication of efforts is inaccurate.
● It is not clear how duplicate programs (if they exist) result in inconsistent financial reporting to the faithful.
Assertion 15: Leadership 100 Suffers [Inaccurate]
It is not just the national programs of the Archdiocese that suffer. Leadership 100 has had to compete with local endowment programs for the limited donations of the faithful.
● Leadership 100 is a fund that requires donors to pledge $100,000 over a 10 year
period; there are no local endowment programs that ask donors for this type of
Assertion 16: Conditions for Growth [Illogical]
These conditions do not pave the way for growth. Our growth should be fueled by new ideas, strategic investments, wise and measured deployment of financial resources and, above all, spiritual engagement.
● None of the “conditions” presented as an answer to this question exclude the
possibility of new ideas, strategic investments, wise use of funds, and spiritual
engagement. In fact, none of these things (ideas, investments, spiritual
engagement) are even related to the structure of the Archdiocese.
QUESTION 4: What is the objective of a revision of the Charter that has been in
existence for over 20 years?
Assertion 17: Maintain Benefits [Illogical]
It is hoped that the revision of the Charter will maintain those elements that have
worked to the benefit of the church and addresses the unintended consequences
created by the Charter of 2003
● The site does not present any elements of the current charter that have worked
to the benefit of the church.
● The site does not describe the unintended consequences of the 2003 Charter.
Assertion 18: New Benefits [Illogical]
1. Provide more effective ministry and services to our faithful to meet their needs in
this rapidly changing society;
2. Provide a more canonical structure so our church can grow and reach its full
potential of spreading the Gospel and the truth of Orthodoxy
3. Increase transparency, accountability, and financial efficiencies, while eliminating duplicative and ineffective spending.
● Benefit 1: The ministries and services provided by the Archdiocese and the
Metropolises are not within the scope of the Charter.
● Benefit 2: It is not clear that the proposed structure is “more canonical.” It is also
not clear how this supposed canonicity will facilitate evangelism.
● Benefit 3: Thus far, the site has not established where there is duplicative and
ineffective spending between the Archdiocese and the Metropolises. If anything,
the current Archdiocesan spending should be evaluated:
○ Between the Office of the Archbishop, the Office of Chancellor, Finance,
Public Relations, and Admin/General Services the Archdiocese spends
Assertion 19: Strengthen our Connections and Meet our Mission [Illogical]
These critical steps will help strengthen our connection and alignment with each other no matter where we live and will enhance the unity of the Church in America. Most importantly it will help us grow and meet our mission as Orthodox Christians to share the truth of Orthodoxy by increasing the number of faithful, enhancing spiritual enrichment for all, and being good stewards of our financial resources.
● There are no steps outlined. This section presents supposed benefits but it is not
clear what steps should be taken. Nothing has been stated with any specificity.
Vague statements without any support are made but there are no concrete steps.
● None of the ideas presented make it clear how more people will become
● It is unclear what “enhancing spiritual enrichment” is and how it would be
Assertion 20: Unity in Archdiocese → Unity with Mother Church [Inaccurate]
One unified Archdiocese would facilitate the growth that we all desire and ultimately will enhance not only our unity in America but also with our Mother Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
● In fact, if the proposed structure is implemented, the faithful of the Greek
Orthodox Archdiocese will be further away from the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Currently, any member of a Metropolis of the GOA is only one hierarch away
from Patriarch Bartholomew. In the proposed structure the faithful will have two
layers hierarchy between them and the Ecumenical Patriarch.
QUESTION 5: What are the opportunities that a revised Charter will provide for our Sacred Archdiocese?
Assertion 21: Everyone Will Benefit [Illogical]
1. For the Hierarchs:
a. The same Synodical system as in the past will continue.
b. Reassess the geographic boundaries of the existing Metropolises and
develop manageable geographic areas for the Hierarchs to effectively
perform their pastoral duties.
c. Adopt a canonically sound structure for the Archdiocese.
2. For the Clergy:
a. Establishing national criteria for the relocation of clergy from a parish to
protect clergy and their families from sudden transfers and to ensure
consideration of family and financial circumstances.
b. More uniformity in the administration of benefits and other services.
c. Protecting the hard-earned sabbaticals that our clergy deserve.
3. For the Laity:
a. Strengthen national ministries for greater consistency throughout the
country and support of the faithful and their families. We must recognize
the reality that our society is more mobile and transient than ever before.
People move from coast to coast. There should be some consistency in
the Church they encounter while at the same time recognizing that there
will be some regional differences.
b. More direct access and pastoral services from their local hierarch through
more practical and reasonable geographic borders.
c. More streamlined administrative structure for more efficiency and
cost-effectiveness through the elimination of duplicative services.
d. Growth in the coordinated fund-raising capacity of the Archdiocese
thereby reducing the Total Commitment burden on the parishes and
further diversifying the revenue streams supporting our ministries,
parishes, and National Institutions.
4. For the Youth: Recognizing that our youth may call one state “home”, live
elsewhere as college students and in yet another location as they begin their
professional lives, we must provide:
a. More consistent and more manifold youth programs to prepare them for
b. Consistent and coordinated YAL and other young adult programs /
ministries to support them while they pursue higher education and career;
c. Consistent religious education programs that will be implemented
d. Solid and increased Greek education opportunities for a sound foundation
in our common culture;
e. A nationwide, consistent camp program that all our youth will have fair
● The scope of the Charter does not consider the majority of these areas that are
presented as benefits (except for 1b and 1c). The Charter will change the
structure of the Archdiocese but it will not directly lead to the “opportunities”
presented here unless there is an associated plan to realize these opportunities.
● At no point, in public fora or in writing, has there been any coherent explanation
for how the change in the structure of the Archdiocese will be the miraculous
panacea proposed by the current Archbishop.
QUESTION 6: What is the process for the revision of the Charter and who are the decision-makers?
Assertion 22: Ecumenical Patriarchate Can Initiate [Accurate]
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.
● The Ecumenical Patriarchate can initiate a revision outside of the process
dedicated in Article 25.
● It is recommended that whenever a revision is initiated, a clear rationale by the
initiating party (in this case the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate) be
provided to the faithful.
QUESTION 7: What is the Mixed Commission?
Assertion 23: Mixed Commission [Accurate]
The Mixed Commission is a 10-member group of clergy and men and women laity
appointed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate to represent the concerns, and issues
regarding the Charter of the Archdiocese.
● The Ecumenical Patriarchate appointed 4 members: Their Eminences Metropolitan Geron Emmanuel of Chalcedon and Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira
and Great Britain, the The V. Rev. Grand Ecclesiarch Archimandrite Aetios,
Director of the Patriarchal Private Office, and Dr. Konstantinos Delikostantis,
Archon “Didaskalos Tou Genous,” Director of the First Patriarchal Office, and
Professor Emeritus of the University of Athens.
● The remaining 6 were proposed in a November 2022 meeting of the Eparchial
QUESTION 8: What is the role of the Archdiocesan members of the Mixed
Assertion 24: Mixed Commission [Misleading]
The Archdiocesan members of the Mixed Commission were recommended by the Holy Eparchial Synod in November 2022 and subsequently appointed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Their role under the leadership of the Archbishop is to listen to the concerns of the clergy and faithful and present this information to the Patriarchal appointees of the Mixed Commission so that together a framework for an amended or new charter can be developed.
● To date, the Archdiocesan members of the Mixed Commission have not solicited
or formally interfaced with the clergy and faithful.
● The current Archbishop travels widely to share his opinions but in these sessions
there is very little listening that takes place.
QUESTION 9: What will happen to the Holy Eparchial Synod?
Assertion 25: Expanding the Synod [Misleading]
Ultimately, that is the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. His Eminence’s vision is that the Holy Eparchial Synod will be expanded in number based on participating hierarchs. This will give the faithful a more direct voice through their local hierarch who serves their pastoral needs, represents them directly and who knows their concerns. Additionally, the Holy Eparchial Synod will not meet only twice a year, as the current Charter requires, but every month as His Eminence has already been implementing during the last four years.
● The larger a Synod grows the less likely the Synod will be able to work effectively and in turn, the less likely the voice of the faithful will be heard.
● The number of meetings specified by the 2003 Charter is a minimum
requirement. The current Archbishop was not limited by this requirement in the
QUESTION 10: Is this a consolidation of power for the Archdiocese or the role of the Archbishop?
Assertion 26: Greater Sharing of Authority [Misleading]
Let us bear in mind that this process was initiated by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and it is our Mother Church that will be the ultimate decision maker regarding the new Charter, including if it should create a more centralized organization. In any event, the proposed revisions of the Charter provide for a greater sharing of authority given the fact that the Holy Eparchial Synod would be increasing in size and frequency of meetings, therefore allowing for more voices to be heard and the concerns of the faithful to be addressed in the traditional Orthodox synodical manner more regularly.
● The answer here cannot be “yes” and “no.” The answer is “Yes, it will consolidate
● Having an expanded Synod will not increase the sharing of authority as the
members of the Synod will be directly under the Archbishop and he will be their
QUESTION 11: Will our current Metropolitans still be Metropolitans?
Assertion 27: No Change [Misleading]
There is no desire to change this and indeed, having been elevated to the rank of
Metropolitan, they will continue to hold that rank.
● According to the recommendation made by Mercado 2023 the existing
Metropolitans will retain their title by “oikonomia” however future hierarchs will not
have this title.
QUESTION 12: What about the current councils that operate in each Metropolis?
Assertion 28: No Change [Illogical]
The regional councils have proven to be of particular importance and have brought
great benefit, so of course they will continue. The voices of the faithful must continue to be heard through these bodies. The councils may be increased in number so even more voices can be heard on a local/regional level. At the same time, the Archdiocesan Council would address matters of a national nature such as unified pastoral concern for clergy and their families, the existence and consistent support of Hellenic College Holy Cross, and other national institutions and concerns.
● There has been no practical consideration for how regional councils will interface
with the Archdiocesan council with respect to legal or financial issues.
● Additionally, in other areas of the site, the existence of local administration has
been seen as a hindrance to hearing the voices of the faithful while in this section
these same structures are presented as being necessary for hearing the voices
of the faithful.
QUESTION 13: Why is a National Church important?
Assertion 29: An Appeal to Emotion [Misleading]
It cannot be disputed that there is strength in being a national church and we are proud of what we have achieved over the last 100 years in America. Our forefathers came to this country with nothing, and when they came here, their
priority was to establish a parish and to celebrate the Divine Services with a priest. The success of that initiative was the growth of the national Church, especially under Archbishop (and later Ecumenical Patriarch) Athenagoras as well as Archbishop Iakovos. Their successes were greatly aided by the structure of the national Church at that time, which underscored its unity.
● It is not possible for anyone to definitively say whether the growth of the Greek
Orthodox Church is due to the growth of the so-called “National Church” because
the two are effectively the same thing.
● In any case, neither of the aforementioned Archbishops were successful because they focused on the revision of governance documents.
QUESTION 14: How will the revised Charter increase accountability?
Assertion 30: Financial Benefits [Misleading]
One of the most important anticipated outcomes of a revised Charter is the potential for increased effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability. A revised Charter that permits more consistent administration of ministries and stewardship which will assist in increasing accountability. Financial accountability including uniform, streamlined and efficient financial systems, audit processes, and external financial reporting are critical and more economical when implemented and monitored under a unified structure. As stewards of the contributions of the devout faithful, we are compelled to take these crucial steps to ensure the financial security and integrity of our Archdiocese. The church must be as transparent and accountable as any other 21st century entity that we interact with. A flatter organization with fewer administrative roles can serve to improve efficiency and
provide cost savings resulting in lower Total Commitment obligations to our parishes. Examples include fewer Chancellors, administrative positions, unified data and financial systems and purchasing power efficiencies afforded the Archdiocese. Another possible outcome would be to invest the cost savings in increased funding for the Clergy and Lay Employees Pension Plan or Hellenic College Holy Cross.
● There is nothing about the current Charter that is preventing the implementation
of national guidelines or processes for financial reporting or audits.
● It is not clear who “we” is – that is – the stewards who are “compelled to take
these crucial steps.” It is also not clear why the revision of the Charter will help
people who are already appointed to oversee financial security and integrity
perform their job better.
● The new structure of the Archdiocese that is being proposed may be in one
sense flatter but will require a greater number of employees at a centralized
office in order to administer operations across the United States. In addition to
more employees, “unified data and financial systems,” will need to be purchased,
configured, tested, and implemented. These types of projects are very expensive
and often take a long time to see a return on investment.
● The two examples of cost-savings presented do not directly benefit the faithful of
Assertion 31: Examples of Better Service [Inaccurate]
Examples of how we could serve the faithful better:
Youth Safety: Our current structure doesn’t facilitate us determining how many of our parishes are compliant with the youth safety requirements such as obtaining
background checks on those working with our children and ensuring that they have proper training. The inconsistent application of these requirements from metropolis to metropolis undermines our goal to protect and care for our children.
Greek Education: Whether one sees Greek education as a regional or national issue, the reality is that Greek education is not embraced across all our Metropolises as an important or necessary ministry. Instead, the burden falls to our parishes with inconsistent results. Despite an Archdiocesan developed curriculum and professional development opportunities for our Greek education teachers, these resources are not widely used or disseminated by the Metropolises. Every parish should have the benefit of these programs and materials and then make the local decision regarding their implementation.
● The current Youth Safety structure allows any administrator in the Archdiocese’s
Youth Protection portal to see the compliance status of the registrants from each
● Ultimately, every parish will decide whether it benefits from the Greek Education
programs developed by the Archdiocese. The existence of the Metropolises does
not change the regional relevance of Greek education nor does it change the
quality of the resources produced by the office.
QUESTION 15: Will these changes generate a need for additional Hierarchs?
Assertion 32: No New Hierarchs [Misleading]
Currently there are fifteen active hierarchs serving the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese holding the ranks of Archbishop, Metropolitan, or Auxiliary bishop all of whom are all paid by the Archdiocese. If the new charter results in more pragmatic borders and the creation of districts as proposed these bishops can be assigned to allow all these hierarchs to serve the faithful more directly and meet their pastoral needs. There are parishes today that have not seen a bishop for years because of the current geographic configuration of the metropolises and allocation of hierarchs. Depending upon the final borders decided upon, it is possible that one or two more bishops may be needed.
● An analysis of the 15 hierarchs (excluding the Archbishop) yields the following
○ 7 of 15 include the current Metropolitans
○ 4 of 15 are already serving as assistant roles to the Metropolitans
○ 1 of 15 serves as the director of the Department of Religious Education which is a responsibility that would presumably grow under a new structure given its frequent reference in this report. He would be precluded him from more pastoral work
○ 1 of 15 already serves a Metropolis as a vicar
○ 1 of 15 serves as the librarian for the Archbishop Iakovos Library which is
a full-time job and therefore preclude him from more pastoral work
○ 1 of 15 does not have an assignment but is presumably retired from active
● In effect, there are only 12 possible hierarchs and all 12 are already deployed in
pastoral ministry. It is not possible that more bishops will be needed but it is
Assertion 33: Not Replicating Current Systems [Misleading]
It is important to note that what is NOT contemplated is the replication of the current, expensive duplication of staffs, chancellors, administrators, buildings, and more support staff … what is contemplated is better pastoral care for the faithful by the bishops.
● The expensive duplication will not take place at a regional level; rather, additional roles and expenses will be incurred by the Archdiocese.
QUESTION 16: Can you give some examples of how the proposed changes might impact the Clergy?
Assertion 34: Protecting Clergy [Misleading]
These proposed changes are intended to have positive benefits for the clergy and
resolve some of the outstanding issues of the past. Compensation and benefits packages must be uniformly applied for all the clergy. This is not the case today.
For example, the sabbaticals which are included in the clergy compensation guidelines must be protected and clergy should be encouraged to seek out further education This benefits both clergy and laity alike. Further, one of the unintended consequences of the current Charter has been the abrupt and repeated transfer of clergy causing them to uproot their families without concern for family circumstances, the presvyteres, the children, their financial situation, or other important factors. The revision of the Charter will include protections for the
clergy so that they are assured stability. Included in this will be certain criteria which must be met for a transfer to take place as well as the collaboration with the parish council.
● There is no barrier to the Archdiocese enforcing its compensation and benefits
guidelines as currently laid out in the UPR.
● Sabbaticals cannot be taken due to the shortage of available clergy to serve the
parishes of the Archdiocese.
● Changes to clergy transfer practices can be introduced through the Eparchial
Synod or the Clergy-Laity Assembly today. Furthermore, the current Archbishop
himself has established a reputation for “abrupt and repeated transfer of clergy.”
QUESTION 17: What impact, if any, will a revised Charter have on Hellenic College Holy Cross?
Assertion 35: No Change to Governance [Accurate]
It is not expected that a revised Charter will change Holy Cross Hellenic College and its governance through its Board of Trustees.
● This is correct. HCHC is a separate institution with its own governance.
Assertion 36: Assist in Recruiting Students [Misleading]
For the school to flourish, however, it needs a steady stream of students. For the
Church to flourish we must be sure that we will have clergy. A unified Archdiocese will assist in the identification and recruitment of students interested in Hellenic College or Holy Cross School of Theology through the development of consistent programs which will allow students and those discerning their future vocations more opportunities to visit the campus of Hellenic College Holy Cross. Our common goal must be that, through their experience of the Orthodox Christian environment on campus, they will be better able to discern their vocation, if they are called to serve the Church.
● There is nothing in the current charter that prevents the Archdiocese from
developing these programs for vocational discernment or recruitment.
Assertion 37: Broader Financial Aid [Misleading]
The ability to administer financial assistance including student scholarships or debt
reduction programs will also be enhanced if developed as a National Ministry. Currently, some seminarians receive Metropolis assistance retiring their student debt while others do not.
● There is nothing in the current charter that prevents the Archdiocese from
developing this type of program.
QUESTION 18: How will a revised Charter specifically benefit the Youth and
Young Adult Ministry?
Assertion 38: Improved Youth and Young Adult Ministry [Misleading]
The potential benefits a revised charter may have on the Youth and Young Adult
● Uniform priorities, economies of scale, and organized investment in our youth
and young adults will help grow the church in America as we minister and
support our youth. Nationwide access to camps, all having the same youth
protection standards, is imperative for the safety and spiritual growth of our
● Propagation nation-wide of successful local, grass-roots programs that can
benefit all our youth;
● Consistency of programming throughout the Archdiocese will allow families to
find familiar, nurturing programs whenever they relocate; Consistency in the
church’s educational, spiritual, and camping programs supports our families and
faithful. Specific to young adults, the revision of the Charter will allow more effective organization and coordination of YAL ministries throughout the Archdiocese and on a national scale. It will also provide an opportunity for young adults to grow their faith, to connect, network, and to develop professionally all in the embrace of the Church wherever they reside and wherever they relocate. The Church, consistent, and welcoming with recognizable ministries, will be there for them.
● There is nothing in the current charter that prevents the Archdiocese from
developing these potential benefits.
QUESTION 19: How will the finances of the Archdiocese, Metropolises, Districts, and Parishes be impacted by a new Charter?
Assertion 39: Cost Savings [Illogical]
If a new structure is created by a revised Charter, it is expected that this will result in economies of scale and cost savings which the faithful deserve in the administration of the Archdiocese and Metropolises. Many large not-for-profit organizations have reorganized from separate regional structures to one entity with local or regional representation to take advantage of fund-raising capacity, ministry delivery and cost effectiveness and the Archdiocese should be no different.
● The statement, “Many large not-for-profit organizations have reorganized from
separate regional structures to one entity with local or regional representation”
actually supports the current Metropolis model. We are in fact, already, one entity
with regional representation.
● The economies of scale should be easy to calculate, however as previously
noted only $7.23M is currently used at the Metropolis level.