By Nick Stamatakis
“How many iterations of this cycle of “Apostolic Succession” must we undergo before unveiling the individuals pulling the strings behind the scenes?“, asks Jerry Dimitriou, almost in desperation, in his initial response to our questions, drawing from his three decades of experience in the GOA administration. By doing so, he points to the essence of the problems of our Church today. I will refrain from further comments and open the discussion to all of you – but first, let me say a few words about this back-and-forth process and how it started…
A week ago, right after his sentencing, Jerry Dimitriou allowed us to ask him any questions we would consider important about his case in writing. This was not an easy task for me, considering his long service at the Archdiocese, spanning over three decades and three Archbishops, From Iakovos to Spyridon to Demetrios. But it was a very tempting and necessary task. When I started writing the questions, I knew that some of them could not have a straight answer – or any answer – because the lawyers would immediately intervene for apparent reasons. Some others would also be difficult for other reasons.
Ultimately, I decided to ask the questions freely as they came to my mind from the point of view of the GOA faithful. Jerry Dimitriou took a week, probably among the most challenging weeks of his life, to settle his immediate affairs, and then last night, he sent us the initial response. I underline “initial”: as you will see from the questions, the scope is so broad and touches so many issues that, hopefully, this first exchange will lead to more. Mr. Dimitriou says so at the end of his response.
This process may positively affect GOA and our community if it continues for some time. At the minimum, it will restart a deeper dialogue with someone like Jerry Dimitriou, who has seen this Church at its best and worst. But it is natural to hope that some solid ideas about the Church’s future will also arise from this process.
Out of a thorn, we hope to see a rose…
HELLENISCOPE’S QUESTIONS TO JERRY DIMITRIOU
JERRY DIMITRIOU’S INITIAL RESPONSE TO HELLENISCOPE
I want to express my gratitude for shedding light on the accurate sequence of events from last week and clarifying the details of my final plea. However, it is disheartening that the Archdiocese has once again strayed from its professed commitment to “transparency,” opting instead for a press release that distorts the truth and misleads readers. It’s worth noting that their silence persisted after the dismissal of the initial charges against me, only to be replaced by a carefully prepared and defamatory press release containing misleading information about their perceived “unfathomable betrayal of trust” following my sentencing.
Allow me to address the matter of the so-called “unfathomable betrayal of trust” from a personal perspective. My experience of such a betrayal was endured under the leadership of my former boss, Archbishop Demetrios, the former Archbishop of America. My tenure began with Archbishop Iakovos and continued during Archbishop Spyridon’s administration. In 1997, I left the Archdiocese due to the tumultuous period that unfolded under Archbishop Spyridon’s leadership.
However, my return to the Archdiocese was facilitated by Michael Jaharis (of Blessed Memory) and the then “new” Archbishop Demetrios. Their request for me to contribute in “rebuilding” the aftermath of the Spyridon era was accompanied by negotiations, which I intend to elaborate on at a later point. Recognizing that my service to the Church remained incomplete, I embraced a new role as Executive Director within the Archdiocese, driven by a desire to support the Church’s ministries.
As you are aware, the inception of the Archdiocese in 1922 aimed to unify the structure of the National Church and Parishes across the country, enabling them to engage in ministries that align with Christ’s Great Commission to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19, NKJV).
Our mission was clear—to bring people closer to Christ and the Church while providing impactful and meaningful ministries to nurture the faithful. In collaboration with Archbishop Demetrios, the Metropolitans, Clergy, and Laity, we introduced numerous ministries (over 11 unique programs), fostering genuine connections and genuine contributions to the Church’s growth. These initiatives were spearheaded by proficient and trained Clergy and Laity, channeling their dedication towards impactful work.
Regrettably, many of these once-thriving ministries have dwindled or vanished under the present administration, due to purported funding constraints. This is particularly concerning as these ministries were sustained by the dedicated Stewardship contributions of our communities. The diminished scope of these initiatives stems from reasons that will inevitably come to light.
Those responsible for orchestrating this misleading scenario, reminiscent of Judas’ actions, will eventually be held accountable for their deeds. It’s worth noting that Demetrios’ downfall was a consequence of misplaced trust in affluent, self-centered donors, leading to his eventual dismissal by the Church’s “Holy and Apostolic Leadership.”
This narrative of upheaval has sadly reoccurred since Archbishop Iakovos’ retirement in 1996. How many iterations of this cycle of “Apostolic Succession” must we undergo before unveiling the individuals pulling the strings behind the scenes?
The irony is striking—the popular HBO series “Game of Thrones” fails to capture the essence of the true “Hierarchical Game of Thrones” within our Church. Although it may not involve dragons or an “Iron” throne, it will undoubtedly feature numerous Crowns and Thrones.
Mr. Stamatakis, I’m thankful for your reporting thus far. I’ll pause my comments here for now, as there’s more to convey at an appropriate time and place. With 27 years of behind-the-scenes insights into both Patriarchal and Archdiocesan dynamics, a much more compelling narrative is poised to emerge.
Thank you for your reporting, and for understanding that, for now, this is where I’ll end my comments…
DISCLAIMER: The views and statements expressed in this article constitute constitutionally protected opinions of this author.