“The measure of a man is what he does with power”

By dogcatcher on March 10th, 2017

Plato 428 BC to 348 BC

Part One

There is a sickness that has become so pervasive in the Metropolis of Chicago that it is emptying our Parishes. We have written about these issues before, including those of failing Parishes, Priests who blindly follow their Ephraimite “spiritual Fathers”, and leadership that has attempted to manipulate the remaining faithful. One completely offensive example that has gone unaddressed by our “leadership” is the Fr. James Dokos mess that was at a minimum mishandled by all of them. Clergy and Laity alike participated in this mess. Mishandling is one thing, it is regrettable, but excusable. What is inexcusable and for many reprehensible is the way the Dokos mess was “sold” to our Laity. And yet, these mostly obvious attempts to deceive were never censured or condemned by other Hierarchs. There was nothing to indicate remorse, or any indication of wrongdoing, not even a slap on the wrist. To add insult to injury to the faithful and the Parishes involved, not so much as even a halfhearted apology. We wrote about the Dokos matter. In our article: “THOSE WHO THE GODS WISH TO DESTROY, FIRST THEY ELEVATE!” in February 2015. Here are examples posted in a then contemporaneous Facebook discussion, of the way this crime against the Faith and its Church was presented by “leadership”: • Tom Kanelos [member of both the Metropolis Council of Chicago and Archdiocesan Council]: “We as Greek are very quick to devour ourselves. We relish spreading this stuff around before all the facts are out. People use misbehavior (real or perceived) all the time to criticize the Church. Keep in mind the Church is bigger than us. Frankly I believe it is because we want the Church to be our cultural haven and preserver of our ancestral language and customs. What we need it to be is a place to help us work out our salvation. I’m neither condemning nor defending anyone involved, merely pointing out how quick we are to jump in and criticize, even when we do not have all the facts and even when many of us are not even regular Church attenders and supporters. If the Church is losing people (and it is) it is because of BOTH the laity and the clergy. • David Bissias [He is a Greek Orthodox Parish Priest in Hammond Indiana and an appointed member of the Metropolis Council of Chicago]: “While the correspondence reported took place months ago, it is odd that it is just now being reported to the public, and in all this time no charges or other “accusations” against Bishop Demetrios (and the caption even mentions it being a warning, not an accusation–and there is a difference both legally and morally). Fr. Artemas remains in place, though it seems he wanted to return to Glenvire (sic) [He means “Glenview”] according to bloggers from that parish. Funny, that someone as normally reasonable as John Kass would actually perpetuate what amounts to unproven allegations and sensationalistic grandstanding, something akin to yellow journalism, and draw conclusions before the facts are presented. So the “tropi”, or shame, probably lies with someone who knows better and yet, in the interest of selling newspapers, is willing to gossip without knowledge of the facts. Expected better from Kass, but in the end, getting attention trumps journalistic integrity. Not unusual today but…Shame” Link to article containing the above quotes: http://gotruthreform.org/those-who-the-gods-wish-to-destroy-first-they-elevate So where are the apologies from the church or lay leaders? The constant attempt to “shame” victims into silence and to defend the indefensible has become the learned reaction in the Metropolis of Chicago. So, when the history of this failing Metropolis is written, it is our collective goal that all of this is well documented. When our grandchildren ask “Whatever happened to the Greek Orthodox Church?”, we need to have evidence of our conclusions. Our website will never come down. It will follow those who have damaged the Faithful. We cannot allow those responsible to build a wall around the guilty to keep the truth from emerging. We believe that this constant deflection of blame is a sign of moral decay and inept management and has led to the decline of our failing Metropolis, and has had such a detrimental effect upon the Laity. In successful Religions and Institutions, those people who speak the truth are rewarded and celebrated. They are not sidelined and vilified. In any environment, whether non-profit, for profit, charitable enterprise or religion, those who react to a crisis by airing the facts quickly and decisively can rely on their efforts to bear fruit. Those who act in a manner that resolves an issue correctly and convincingly see their institution grow. Here in our failing Metropolis we have seen no evidence of this since the passing of Bishop Timotheos of blessed memory. We find ourselves praying for a loving atmosphere where leaders exhibit contrition, remorse or even the slightest repentance. In the Metropolis of Chicago, where the vilest actions can be justified or ignored, this is only something we can dream about. In response to this atmosphere of intimidation one of our readers recently posted the following on their Facebook page: “When this story first broke a couple years ago, some of my fellow Greek Orthodox Christians chose to attack the messengers for doing their jobs. A priest took to this social media platform [Facebook] to condemn media coverage of “unproven allegations” as “sensationalistic grandstanding” and “yellow journalism.” This priest accused a respected colleague, John Kass, of “gossip without knowledge of the facts” and concluded that “getting attention trumps journalistic integrity.” At the same time, a prominent lay leader similarly said, “We relish spreading this stuff around before all the facts are out. People use misbehavior (real or perceived) all the time to criticize the Church.” Our reader who posted the above on Facebook then directed his followers who number over 1,000 to the following news story which appeared on the Chicago Tribune website with this headline: Judge to priest who stole $100K from church: You abused position of trust. A Greek Orthodox priest from Chicago who pleaded guilty to stealing more than $100,000 from his church had his felony theft conviction reduced to a misdemeanor Wednesday February 22. Here is the link to the story: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-greek-orthodox-priest-court-dokos-met-20170222-story.html Now, the thief who has confessed to a felony later sought leniency from the court did not have the decency to apologize, at least not publicly. And the reaction of his enablers, those who attacked other Christians for expressing sincere concern? Their silence is deafening. The legal process has taken its course, but where are those who called the truthtellers concerns and observations “alternative facts”. Where are the “facts” that they assured us would come out at the end? Turns out the stories in newspapers and on this website, were not “fake news.” Not only were the original stories true, but they were corroborated by the confession of the miscreant. We used one of Plato’s quotes as our title to this article. He also said “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” In our church, a vast number of people prefer darkness over the light. Truth is the light. Those who speak with a view to keeping us in the dark or purposefully advocating positions which are meant to “Deny, Defendant or Deflect” away from the truth are not the real defenders of our Faith. Irrespective of their titles or being ordained, we have learned that keeping their positions and clout within the Church is their only mission. In part two of this article we will examine the documents and the efforts made to distort the truth.