An open letter from Greek-American businessman, John Catsimatidis, attackingthe Archbishop of America, Mr Demetrios, and asking him to resign before the Clergy-Layty Assembly has caused an uproar.
Mr. Catsimatidis, who has served as Vice President of the Archdiocese Council and has contributed financially to the Church, attributes "national shame" to the issue of the St Nicholas church at "Ground Zero", and emphasizes that the Archbishop is "responsible" for the wrongs in the Greek Orthodox Church of America, and should have already resigned!
He emphasizes that “unfortunately, Archbishop Demetrios is holding on to his office at the expense of the Church.”
The entire text of Catsimatidis’ open letter follows:
I have been involved in Church affairs my whole life.
As an Altarboy, as a donor to numerous Churches, Ministries and Institutions, as an advisor, as Vice Chairman of the Archdiocesan Council, as a participant in the life of our Archdiocese.
I served both Archbishops prior to Archbishop Demetrios and I have never seen a worse crisis than what we are facing now.
Loss of Credibility
Unfortunately, Archbishop Demetrios is holding on to his office at the expense of the Church.
The time has come for the crisis of Church leadership and management to come to a close.
The financial mismanagement that has occurred is inexcusable. Saint Nicholas at Ground Zero should be our crowning jewel; instead we are a national embarrassment. The Archdiocese has misused funds, the priests’ pension, and God knows what else! The Seminary is in danger of closing, but the Archbishop refuses to resign, saying that he wants to fix the problems. But he is the one who was in charge when these problems happened in the first place!
When I think of my late friends, Nicholas Bouras and Michael Jaharis, and how they supported Archbishop Demetrios, and how their sacrifices have been squandered by a combination of inexperience and pride, I feel embarrassed that this has been allowed to go on.
Archbishop Demetrios is ninety years old, and whatever good he did is now being wasted by his refusal to accept responsibility, and his desire for position and glory. But there is no glory in failure.
All of us, clergy and laity alike, are responsible for the health of our Church. I, for one, know there are many who are ready and willing to step up and fix the problems. But we will only step up to our responsibilities when the Archbishop accepts his responsibility for the mess we are in and steps down.
Even retired Pope Benedict says it was his “duty” to resign from papacy.
Your Eminence its time that you retire.
It should be done before the Clergy Laity Congress.
Let’s have a New Beginning for the Church on America’s 4th of July.
John A. Catsimatidis
Former Vice Chairman of the Archdiocesan Council