Letter from a GoTruthReform Reader

By dogcatcher on January 2nd, 2017
To the Editors of GoTruthReform: In addition to following the Articles on this website and others there have been published (The National Herald) reports on the “cancer” of the Ephraimite Cult and Ephraimite influence over an increasing number of parishes that was referred to by the late Michael Jaharis in his role as the Vice-Chairman of the Council in two of his final addresses on the “State of the Church”. I am disappointed that the Archbishop, Eparchial Synod and lay leadership of the Church., i.e., Archdiocesan Council, Metropolis Councils, Clergy-Laity Congress, Archons, Leadership 100, Faith Endowment, Parish Councils, and faculty of Holy Cross have not addressed this serious issue. Other than becoming informed (and increasingly frustrated) what can the clergy who recognize the problem and the laity, who support the Church with their time, talent and treasure, do about this problem? Where does the responsibility lie? How can this “cancer” be excised from the Body of our Church? An initial answer can be found in the “General Regulations for the Establishment and Operation of Holy Monasteries in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America”. This eleven-page (English version) document can be found on the website of the Archdiocese (goarch.org). It was promulgated by the Patriarchate on February 26, 2005 (Protocol # 1204/2004). The relevant provisions of these Regulations are as follows: Article 1 (a): “ … Monasteries are ecclesiastical institutions functioning under the direct canonical jurisdiction and supervision of the Hierarch in whose Metropolis they are located”. .. : Monasteries are legal entities from the standpoint of both ecclesiastical and civil law..” Article 1 (b): “.. Monasteries .. Function according to.. The letter and spirit of the Regulations that will define their operation.” Article 1 (c): “Monasteries are .. Not independent or separated from … the spiritual and administrative oversight of the local Metropolitan to whose canonical jurisdiction they belong.” Article 4: Rights and Duties of the Metropolitan Article 4 (a) “..each Monastery functions under the canonical and ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the local Metropolitan..” Article 4 (b) “.. The local Metropolitan exercises the highest oversight of the Monasteries… ensuring their regular operation in accordance with… The Charter and the Regulations of the Archdiocese, and the current civil law.” Article 4 ( c) : In particular, the rights and duties of the Metropolitan include: (4): The dispensation of judgment.. in cases of … infractions on the part of those affiliated with the Monastery..” (5): The auditing of the financial records of the Monastery in accordance with the Regulations of the Archdiocese and civil law;” Article 15: Finances, Management Article 15 (b) “The economic resources of the Monasteries shall consist of income derived from every source and activity. The Monasteries .. Shall contribute financial assistance to the local Metropolis and the Archdiocese for the benefit of the Church and the community.” Article 15 ( c): “..At the end of each year, every Monastery shall submit to the Metropolis a financial report for the previous year and a budget for the coming year..” Article 15 (e) “In each Monastery , financial records are judiciously maintained, detailing the exact daily income and expenditures, as well as the documents pertaining to their entries.” Article 16 (d): The Monastery Sanctuary is not a parish church. As such, the celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage is fully prohibited in the Monasteries of the Archdiocese.. In special cases, the Sacraments of Baptism and Chrismation may be conducted in the Monasteries, provided there is a compelling reason that is deemed acceptable by the local Metropolitan, who grants the prerequisite episcopal permission for the celebration of the Sacrament and issues the proper certificate. In any case, the registration of such a Baptism and/or Holy Chrismation shall be done in the official books of the parish to which the one baptized or Chrismated (anointed) belongs. Article 16 (e) “As legal entities from the standpoint of civil law, the Monasteries are obliged to conform to the applicable corporate law of the state in which they are located. …The documents of incorporation must state the Ecclesiastical Authority to which the Monastery belongs: the Metropolis, the Archdiocese, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.” So, who is responsible for the proper operation of the Monasteries under the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America? The Metropolitans? (certainly) .. the Archbishop? (of course, the Regulations are the Archdiocese’s Regulations) .. The Ecumenical Patriarch? (ultimately, they were approved and issued by “the Patriarchal Synod”). What happens when those in charge fail to act? This brings to mind the best known lines of the Roman poet, Juvenal: “quis custodiet ipsos custodes”. Who will guard the guardians? Have the Hierarchs confirmed that heresies are not being preached in the Monasteries under their jurisdictions? Or by certain priests in parishes in their Metropolises? Have the Metropolitans received the mandated financial reports annually from each Monastery? If so, publish them! If not, explain why? How much money have the Metropolitans received from each Monastery for their support and for the support of their communities? How many baptisms have been conducted in each Monastery under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese? What were the “compelling reasons” which each Metropolitan “deemed acceptable” in each case? Were each of these baptisms/Chrismations registered in the parishes to which those baptized/Chrismated “belonged”? Publish the numbers and explain the “compelling reasons” for each. These are all legitimate questions which the entire body of the Church are entitled to have answered. GoTruthReform should publish the email addresses of all of the leaders of the Archdiocese so that everyone can pose these questions to those leaders and respectfully ask for answers. The Regulations of the Archdiocese clearly state that all Monasteries are accountable to the Hierarchy of the Archdiocese. The leaders of the Archdiocese are accountable to those who support the Archdiocese with their time, talent and treasure. The time has come for the leadership of the Archdiocese to be worthy of that support. Everyone who is concerned about the Ephraimite Cult and the operations of the Monasteries established by Ephraim in the US should contact the leaders of the Archdiocese and call for the enforcement of its own Regulations. Editor’s Note: This letter was submitted to us by an Attorney who has been an active participant in the Greek Orthodox Church their entire life. We have redacted their name as we are concerned about retaliations against them.