By Nicholas Karakas
The following editorial was submitted by Mr. Nicholas Karakas, a long-time Greek Orthodox Church activist and philanthropist from St. Louis, Missouri who resides in Naples, Florida. The opinions expressed may not necessarily belong to The Pappas Post.
I have had a number of faithful find fault with my op-ed essays regarding the actions or non-actions of members of the hierarchy and the Archdiocesan Council.
When one observes the egregious errors committed by church officials in observing the rules and policies promulgated by themselves, how could any faithful remain quiet? My thoughtful, yet provocative criticisms are meant to be constructive as well as poignant reminders to the church administration to follow their own decrees. By concealing, disregarding and objecting to any criticism to our faith, we are making it more difficult or impossible for any reforms to occur, allowing the hierarchy free reign to vicariously administer our church lives.
Here is an item. As a new-by on a permanent basis to Florida and wanting to learn about my wonderful parish and acquire a “lay of the land”, I asked my priest for a meeting. His response was, that because of the holidays and the upcoming church events, he could not meet with me until February or March. What a shame! In defense of my priest, he’s a good righteous and family man, a provocative sermonizer, a priest any parish would give their eye teeth to have as their own.
You can guess how many times I have been advised to “stay the course”, as these events “will pass.” If, I was to constrict my views as expressed, the hierarchal administration may end up with an unsustainable clericalism. God forbid!
What the Archdiocese must understand is that we faithful are not going to strike a fustian bargain in order to fit in with their current direction. My writings are for the purpose of raising awareness among the Orthodox faithful and try to interpret the actions of our Archdiocese.
In a church so fragmented and hardened by ethnicity, does one person’s private struggle for unity among the various jurisdictions, for transparency and responsibility in the Greek Church really matter? You dear reader, clergy and maybe even bishops through the years have you ever pondered these issues? Is this the kind of church, the homage to Christ that He would have us build? Or is this a maligned design by the devil to keep our faith partners apart until the second coming? As of now, it seems as if the Antiochian jurisdiction model has a grasp of what Orthodox Christianity should be like in the US today and in the future. Their liturgy is 100% in English, frequently conducts Orthodox outreach at fairs and community events, invites Protestant seminary students to vespers with questions and answers following plus other efforts in actively advancing the faith.
The Greek jurisdiction at present and it seems for the future has major problems at the archdiocese, severe financial pressures at Holy Cross and Seminary College, plus the burden of restarting the construction at the St. Nicholas Shrine. Our erudite Archbishop Demitrios, refuses to retire or accept another assignment after the two-time soft request of his superior Patriarch Bartholomew. It seems as if this is a church where bishops and above follow the rules of their choosing. When the archbishop refuses public requests to resign from his longtime friends, supporters, and benefactors, the likes of John Catsimatidis and Michael Psaros plus several other prominent members of the faith, one has to surmise that it’s a sad case of narcissism or ego.
In the meanwhile, we the faithful people in the pews, those who are left, the people who regularly attend services, the ones who contribute yeoman work at the festivals and year-round and assist in other parish events. Then too, what about our children, the precious commodity of our hopefully strong future?
The current and next “Greek” Orthodox Christian generations will determine its future existence and success of our faith.
The bugle has sounded twice your eminence. I pray you will resign or accept appointment to another higher status. You owe this to the thousands of Orthodox believers who are immeasurably grateful for your services and pray that you have a peaceful and long retirement.
Memo to our parish priests: Thank you for your spiritual work but remember, that this is America where English is the national language.
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