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Nov 24, 1997

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GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA

8-10 East 79th St.

New York, NY 10021

Tel: (212) 570-3500 Fax: (212) 861-2183

web: www.goarch.org

e-mail: archdiocese@goarch.org

Contact: Press Office

For Immediate Release:

M E M O R A N D U M

TO: The Faithful of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

FROM: The Office of the Archbishop

V. Rev. Archimandrite John Heropoulos,

Director of the Office of the Archbishop

DATE: November 24, 1997

Dear Faithful of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America,

The message of the Church for nearly 2,000 years has been the proclamation of the love of our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ to all people. The Church, the Body of Christ, was manifested by the Lord through the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost in order to be the household of God, to bring all people to the knowledge of truth and to sanctify (make holy) the lives of the faithful.

The Church preaches peace and love to the entire world, and must always be the source of peace. When certain issues are discussed without the proper understanding of facts, and rumors and innuendoes threaten the peace of the Church, then it is in the best interest of all for the truth to be plainly articulated, in order that peace always be present in the life and ministry of the Church.

For this reason, the following issues are succinctly and specifically addressed for the edification of all.

1. Lay Participation in the Governance of the Church

Lay people are involved in all aspects of Church administration. There have been no changes in any of the established ways in which lay people participate in Church administration.

On the Parish, Diocesan and Archdiocesan levels, all Boards, Councils and Committees exist and function according to established Archdiocesan guidelines,

which include the Archdiocesan Charter and Uniform Parish Regulations.

2. Charter of the Archdiocese

The current Charter of the Archdiocese has been granted to our Church by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. There are no changes proposed by the Archdiocese to the Charter and the current Charter functions as always. (As regards the new titles of the Diocesan Bishops of the Archdiocese, please see the enclosed Press Release.)

3. Language in Liturgical Worship

Every priest of the Archdiocese is encouraged to minister to the best of his ability to the faithful of his parish community. Each priest is to minister to the faithful entrusted to his care in the language which the faithful understand and to make every effort to speak to all members of his Community. The one priority is to preach the Gospel so all can understand, without changing the Greek Orthodox way and tradition of worship.

4. Church Choirs

All people, men and women, are encouraged to sing in the parish church choirs. No one is to be excluded, and all are invited to add their voice to the worship of God in the Liturgical Services.

Youth, or children choirs, are also encouraged to be established throughout the Archdiocese.

5. Clergy to Wear Cassocks and Wear Beards

It must be noted that for a priest to wear a beard and to dress in a cassock is customary for an Orthodox priest.

Therefore, it is most certainly not odd to see a priest dressed in this way in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

It must be noted, however, that there is no directive or decree mandating these issues to the priests of this Archdiocese.

6. Orthodox Christian Mission Center

There has been no change in the organization, structure or mission of the OCMC. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has fully supported and encouraged this vital missionary outreach under the auspices of SCOBA, and will work towards the future growth and expansion of Orthodox missions.

7. SCOBA

The Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in America exists and functions as it always has. It is an expression of Orthodox unity in America whose chairman is His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, and whose ministry is fully supported by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. All the members of SCOBA met with His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in New York and were given the commission to enhance and encourage its work in the future.

8. Monasticism

Monasticism is growing and developing in the United States. The Archdiocese encourages its growth according to the Canons and the Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church. The particular prayer life and daily cycle of the Monastery is a blessed thing, different from the life of the parish community. The monastery is a place of pilgrimage and an oasis of spirituality for the entire Church. The Monastery and parish community are separate entities and each must with integrity and truthfulness fulfill its mission, without one imposing its own way on the other. The goal of saving the soul of every person is shared by both communities, however, each has its own particular way of functioning.

9. Leadership 100

Leadership 100 is a perpetual and inviolate endowment of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. The income derived from the endowment is used solely for seeding and nurturing programs of the National Ministries of the Archdiocese.

For many years, there has been a desire to give the organization a more substantial form within the Archdiocese, as well as clearer definition to the endowment nature of the funds. The Archbishop has worked with the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of Leadership 100 to make this a reality. At the Leadership 100 Board of Trustees Meeting in Chicago, on November 20, 1997, a plan which achieves these objectives was adopted by the Trustees. This plan has the blessing of His Eminence and will result in a separate corporate status for Leadership 100 in the very near future. The mission and purposes of Leadership 100 remain as they have always been, although they will now be enhanced by a revitalized organizational structure.

10. Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedure

The Archdiocese is strongly committed to preventing sexual misconduct. A Statement of Policy on Sexual Misconduct has been adopted by the Archdiocese which establishes the policies and procedures to be followed in any case of sexual abuse or harassment. The policy outlines specific procedures and guidelines for cases of misconduct and provides for independent Contact Persons. This policy is one aspect of a comprehensive program of informational and educational programs, screening practices, insurance programs and pastoral responsibility.

11. St. Basil's Academy

St. Basil's Academy, supported generously by the Philoptochos Chapters throughout the country, is open and ministers to needy children. The Academy offers the children lodging, food, religious education, and Greek cultural and language instruction, a loving environment and family atmosphere. The formal schooling is now provided by the Highland Falls Central School District which is one of the best in New York State.

The Archdiocese has and will continue to offer the best to these children and to all who are in need. The Archdiocese encourages any person who knows of children who could benefit from the care that the Academy offers not to hesitate in contacting the Archdiocese, the National Philoptochos, or the Academy directly.

12. Hellenic College/Holy Cross

The beloved School of our Archdiocese is concluding its Fall Semester. The School has a total of 63 students in the College and 109 students in the School of Theology.

All classes have been taught by well qualified professors with the customary full range of core and elective classes. His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon has visited the campus five times this semester in order to fellowship with the students, and chair Executive Committee meetings and full meetings of the Board of Trustees.

Regarding the question of the accreditation of Hellenic College/Holy Cross, the following quote is taken from the statement on the accreditation status of HC/HC issued on November 14, 1997 by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.:

"[HC/HC's] current official status is the same as any other

accredited institution. However, because of a complaint lodged

against the institution regarding its fulfillment of the standards on

Organization and Governance and Faculty the Commission has

determined to send a fact finding team to the institution. It would not

be accurate to say that the accreditation of the institution is now in

jeopardy because of the complaint nor does the site visit represent

an impending loss of accreditation."

13. Archbishop Iakovos Library

The construction of the "Archbishop Iakovos Library" is proceeding according to schedule on the campus of Hellenic College/Holy Cross with an anticipated opening scheduled for the Fall Semester of 1998.

14. Legal Affairs of the Archdiocese

The Archdiocese has established an Office of General Counsel to review legal matters involving the Archdiocese. The General Counsel works closely with the Legal Committee of the Archdiocesan Council to provide legal advice and guidance to the Archdiocese.

15. March 6-7, 1998 Meeting of the Archdiocesan Council

The upcoming meetings of the National Philoptochos and the Archdiocesan Council will be held at the Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral and Center in New York City. By holding these meetings in our own facilities rather than hotels, the Archdiocese will save significant funds which can be re-directed for the National Ministries of the Church.

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