New York, NY - In a Christmas Message published in the Hellenic Times, Archdiocesan Council President John A Catsimatidis called for unity and mutual understanding throughout the Archdiocese of America. The full text of his message is given below.
Christmas: A Time of Peace and Unity
I have a dream.
I have a dream that all Hellenes will come together as a people.
We are well aware of the Greek axiom, Everyone wants to be the Captain and no one wants to be the deck hand. It has been true for thousands of years. In our Church, for example, certain members of the Church have organized a group knows as Greek Orthodox American Leaders (GOAL.) GOAL paints itself as representative of mainstream Hellenism in America. These members are good, God-fearing people who love their Church and want the best for their Community. Many of these people have served their Church in leadership positions in the past.
These same people are upset with our current Church leadership for not being appointed to positions that they have been accustomed to in the past. We are Americans and people should understand when a new leader arrives whether in government, a corporation, or Church, this leader has the right to choose his/her own team.
Archbishop Spyridon has every right to choose his team.
This does not mean that these former officers or leaders of our Church are any less worthy.
Those who have differences should work within the system to make changes they feel would improve our Church and our people.
Criticism, innuendo, and false rumors are no way for God-fearing people to act.
Members of GOAL may disagree with the Archbishops choices but they should not burn down the Church in protest.
I do not understand other members of GOAL who advocate autonomy from the Patriarchy. What is the purpose of working against the Ecumenical Patriarch when we should be helping him bring world Orthodoxy together?
Still others are advocating breaking up the Archdiocese to regional offices with Metropolitans in charge. Again, what is the purpose? This will only serve to weaken our Churchs infrastructure which Archbishop Iakovos worked so hard to build over the past forty years. Archbishop Spyridon is well qualified to take over our Church, the Archdiocese and our people unified into the next millennium.
As President of the Archdiocesan Council, I call upon the members of GOAL to come forward and discuss your differences. Join in the dialogue to work within the system for the Churchs benefit.
Speaking as a lay person, our Church has come a long way in the last few years. We have good financial controls, with independent, certified financial statements. We have modernized our communications systems and have set up internal controls to better administrate our Church.
The Executive Committee and I are actively participating in the financial and business operations of the Church. We meet on a monthly basis and discuss the operation of the Archdiocese. We review the year-to-date financial statements of the Archdiocese with His Eminence. The Executive Committee advises the Archbishop and reviews with him the current situation and plan for the future direction of the Church. We lend our corporate experience and background to His Eminence. Any hint of an impropriety in the fiscal administration of our Church will be dealt with openly and immediately.
I pledge to you, that the Executive Committee and I have only the best interest of the Church and our people in mind.
Greek Americans are amazing. Just think of how far we have come in a relatively short time. With less than 3,000,000 of us in this country of more than 265,000,000, look at the impact we have made in this country at all levels of business, government and education. The Church has indeed played a historic and significant role in all aspects of our lives, the most important of which is to serve as the glue which binds us together.
I have a dream of bringing all of our people together and the Church is the force to keep us together