Money raised by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia that was intended for supporting the victims of a June earthquake was instead used for church building repairs, according to a letter from the Iakovos, Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Mytilini.
Generous Australians raised $150,000 after their Archbishop issued an encyclical to parishes in June following a destructive earthquake that leveled an entire village.
In his letter to faithful, Archbishop Stylianos asked parish priests to pass a special offering tray to help people in need.
The head of the Church in Mytilini had other plans in mind, claiming in a “thank you” letter to Stylianos that he had used the money for repairs on more than 20 church buildings— of which, only two were in the earthquake-ravaged village.
From Melbourne to Perth, we spoke to numerous readers who said their donations were intended for people— not building repairs.
“This whole thing is shameful. It’s yet another instance when we cannot trust where our money goes,” wrote Matina Mavrigiorgis from Melbourne, adding that “They clearly told us in church that day that the money would go to help the victims of the earthquake, not to repair buildings.”
Church officials in Australia even listed donations received from parishes and mentioned in the headline that the money raised was intended for “earthquake victims” (σεισμόπληκτους).
In his letter to his Australian counterpart, Metropolitan Iakovos of Mytilini even listed the church buildings where repairs would be made.
Iakovos’ letter to Stylianos came after many months of ignoring requests for accountability from victims of the earthquake who had seen published stories about the generosity of the Greek Australian community but hadn’t been beneficiaries of any support.
After numerous unanswered letters to local Church officials, representatives of the Vrisa earthquake victims contacted the Archbishop and members of the Synod of the national church headquarters based in Athens.
It was only after extensive media coverage of the matter in Greece, Australia and elsewhere did the Metropolitan in Mytilini even respond with his letter to Stylianos, outlining the way in which the funds would be used.
We first reported on the silence from the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Mytilini after numerous readers emailed us about donations they made during the Sunday collections.
Since you’re here… I have a small favor to ask.
More and more people than ever before are reading The Pappas Post and despite increasing costs to maintain the site and provide you with the quality content that you deserve, I will never “force” you to pay for our website or add a paywall.
I believe in the democracy of the internet and want to keep this site and its enriching content free for everyone.
But at the same time I’m asking those who frequent the site to chip in and help keep it both high quality— and free.
We’ve implemented a “free-will” annual subscription for those who want to support our efforts. I guess it’s fair to call it a philotimo subscription… because you don’t have to do it but it’s really the right thing to do if you love the site and the content we publish.
So if you like The Pappas Post and want to help, please consider becoming a “philotimo subscriber”. Click here to subscribe.
If you’d rather make a one time donation, we will gladly accept any amount, with appreciation. Click here to donate any amount.