New York -- Hellenic College-Holy Cross School of Theology Board of Trustees addressed a wide range of issues affecting the institution at a special meeting on Aug. 16 during which His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon announced to the Board the unanimous appointment of His Grace Bishop Isaiah of Denver as president of Hellenic College-Holy Cross by the Corporate Board of the School.
In their nearly six-hour meeting at the Archdiocese chaired by His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, the trustees heard a report from the Archdiocesan Council Legal Committee outlining several requirements of the by-laws that had not been followed during the past several years.
Trustees adopted the committee recommendations, which require naming a maximum of 40 voting members, naming a executive committee of 14 trustees and electing executive committee officers.
Executive Committee officers are: Archbishop Spyridon, chairman; Bishop Isaiah, president; Andrew Athens, vice chairman; George Behrakis, treasurer; and Emmanuel Milias, secretary. Other committee members are: Michael Cantonis, Constantine Caras, Leo Condakes, the Rev. Spencer Kezios, Michael Krone, Elias Kulukundis, Demitrios Moschos, the Rev. Dean Paleologos, George Safiol and Michael Sophocles.
The trustees also heard reports on Hellenic College-Holy Cross School of Theology from Bishop Isaiah, school president; and the Rev. Deacon John Chryssavgis, acting dean of Holy Cross.
Bishop Isaiah reported on the status of Hellenic College-Holy Cross for the fall semester, stating that he will focus on the administrative side of the school, and that the academic and the administrative must be kept separate.
The Bishop also announced three new faculty appointments: the Rev. Dr. Joachim Cotsonis as director of the library, Dr. Brant Pelphrey as administrative assistant and adjunct instructor at Hellenic College, and Dr. Nektarios Papadopoulos as visiting adjunct lecturer in New Testament. Fr. Cotsonis currently is assistant bibliographer at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington. Dr. Pelphrey is at the University of Denver and has taught at various colleges and universities, and Dr. Papadopoulos is a member of the Theological School at the University of Athens.
The Very Rev. Fr. George Passias, Archdiocesan chancellor, reporting on the role of the Church in the governance of the schools, noted several weaknesses of the past which must be addressed, including the enhancement of the spiritual life of the student body.
The Rev. Deacon Chryssavgis, reporting on various rumors of the institution being in danger of losing its accreditation as a result of the administrative and faculty changes made in June, emphasized that there is no issue of the schools accreditation being in jeopardy, which he attributed to malicious misinformation on the Internet. To the contrary, he reported that the New England Association of Colleges and Schools and the Association of Theological Schools informed him that the question of the loss of accreditation has never been raised and that officials of both organizations expressed dismay over the rumors and incorrect statements being made.
Fr. Chryssavgis further added that the Massachusetts Attorney Generals office, which had received a complaint on the changes from a Hellenic College-Holy Cross staff member, told him they will not get involved because they see the issue as a church matter.
The acting dean also reported that all courses at the school are being enriched and that such noted international Orthodox theologians and scholars as Bishop Kallistos Ware and Fr. Vasilios Gondikakis, the abbot of the Iviron Monastery on Mount Athos, will visit the school this fall to lecture.
In open and frank dialogue with all members of the Board of Trustees, Archbishop Spyridon affirmed that the recent decisions were taken in order to raise the spiritual and academic standards at the institution. His Eminence emphasized his deep desire that Hellenic College-Holy Cross take its rightful place among the other Orthodox theological institutions around the world. In so doing, the Archbishop stressed that the academic life of the school must continue in freedom always aspiring to the highest academic standards. His Eminence articulated the hope of all members of the Board of Trustees to offer our students excellence in the academic and spiritual life of the school.
The Archbishop charged the Trustees to take an active and creative role in the affairs of the College and School of Theology, consistent with the bylaws and regulations of the School.
It was also noted that the Legal Committee was conducting a review of the disciplinary matter and will present a report on that issue at the next regular meeting of the Trustees.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the Archbishop and the Board departed from the Archdiocese with a renewed spirit that the College and School of Theology will continue as an accredited institution of higher learning and as a graduate theological school in dedication and commitment to the mission of the Church.