Mark Arey, a former priest of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America who served in various capacities, including the director of the Office of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations reporting directly to the Archbishop’s office has published a Facebook post calling on the retirement of Archbishop Demetrios of America.
Although Arey holds no official role with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, he maintains a great deal of respect amongst leaders in the Church and Greek American community overall and his comments are certain to resonate both here in the United States, and across the Atlantic at the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Arey devoted much time and effort during his tenure at the Archdiocese to negotiations between the Archdiocese and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, landowners at Ground Zero where St. Nicholas National Shrine is being constructed. He appeared on numerous television channels and gave countless interviews to local and national media.
Upon leaving the priesthood, he became Executive Director at the Hellenic Initiative, an organization that was created by dozens of powerful businesspeople to raise humanitarian relief funds and develop programs in Greece.
In his Facebook post on April 23, Arey spoke lovingly about his former boss, but said that the time had come for him to retire. The full Facebook post which appears publicly on Arey’s page follows:
Dear Facebook Friends;
I have thought a lot about posting these thoughts, and I certainly do not wish to scandalize anybody, but with the growing crisis in the GOA and the abysmal publicity about the Saint Nicholas National Shrine, I felt that I should. For those of you who take offense, I ask your forgiveness beforehand.
The last seven years of my life as a clergyman (2007 – 2014) were spent in service at the Archdiocese and to the Archbishop. The Archbishop is a good man who is truly impressive in his academic abilities. Nevertheless, with all of the managerial and financial problems swirling around the Archdiocese, and the fact that HIs Eminence is now over ninety years old, I feel it is unjust for the faithful of the Archdiocese to expect him to continue to serve. Indeed, it is as unreasonable as it is unjust. He clearly does not have — and should not be expected to have — the expertise, energy, and facility to restore the Archdiocese to its former stability.
There will be blame enough to spread around for the current sorry conditions, but what we should be seeking are solutions! His Eminence is no longer part of the solution; his continuing presence at the helm of the Church of America is part of the problem. I do not intend to be unkind toward His Eminence nor ungrateful for the many opportunities of service that he gave to me. What I am trying to be here is honest, to speak the truth with love.
It is time for a new captain to take the helm and help restore the Archdiocese to a position of trust and responsibility. The nineteen years of the Archiepiscopacy of His Eminence Demetrios deserve a better end than the continual unravelling of Archdiocesan affairs. The Saint Nicholas National Shrine is singularly the most important project in the history of the Archdiocese. After years of fighting to maintain our legal right and moral responsibility to rebuild, Archbishop Demetrios has led the project to exhaustion and an embarrassing mismanagement that in the corporate world, would demand the immediate resignation of the CEO. But we are not a corporation, we are the Body of Christ. And the member who has been our leader these last nineteen years is deserving of a dignified retirement and rest.
I understand that it is hard to give up a glorious position. But I was there at the the last address to the clergy by the ever-memorable Archbishop Iakovos at the 1996 CLC. His voice quaked with emotion and my eyes filled with tears as he said, “I lost none of you….” Archbishop Demetrios may have only served half as long as Archbishop Iakovos, but he deserves just as as much. Let us pray that he makes the right decision sooner rather than later, and submits a grateful resignation to His All-Holiness and the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Then the Church can move on and his legacy of nineteen years of service will not be lost and can abide with dignity and grace.
Since you’re here… I have a small favor to ask.
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