Editorial Edition

By dogcatcher on February 27th, 2012
Editors’ Note The following letter to the Editors at gotruthreform.org provides insightful reflections concerning how some members of the laity are working to support the financial operations of the monasteries under the spiritual guidance of Elder Ephraim. We are interested in hearing your thoughts and comments on the following letter. Ephraimites Peddling at Secular Festival On a recent visit to the “Taste of Park Ridge” (which is the suburban version of the Taste of Chicago) where one can stroll and sample foods and beverages of the local vendors, I discovered a booth whose placard was entitled, “St. John Chrysostom Monastery of Kenosha, WI. The booth was manned by several people whom I recognized as being members of St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church community (Des Plaines, IL). The booth did not sell icons, candles, reading materials, DVDs or the usual monastic products, but rather gyros, pastichio and other Greek delicacies. A monastery having a booth at an urban food fest which sells food and liquor, with loud rock and roll music playing in the background and people milling about in all sorts of attire, in and of itself is extremely unusual. However, selling food products in competition with other food establishments is totally out of character of a monastery. Incidentally, churches of other faiths, which are well established in that community, did not have booths to sell goods. I assume they take the high road and make every effort to stay within the realm of their specialty, which is preaching and praying and ministering to their parishioners. Some would say that the monastery deserves the opportunity of raising money, as do our parishes which conduct festivals all summer. To that I say that these parishes are communities which use these festivals as methods of raising money to support community ministries like schools, missions, youth organizations, philanthropy, support the Metropolis, Archdiocese and the like. It is also a way of the community getting together to function as a community organization to make the festival work. A monastery is NOT such a unit. It does not have a parish community. It does not have ministries. Other than a simple building structure and utilities, it should have practically no overhead expenses at all. I would assume it also is not financially accountable to the metropolis. This monastery is notorious for its methods of gathering income. These methods range from selling baked goods and religious items outside of its area to conducting sacraments and funerals, and having an associated cemetery. This monastery, by every indication, is a covert parish without the responsibilities of being a parish. It is close in distance to other viable Greek orthodox parishes and almost certainly drains resources from those parishes that are needed to survive. I find this highly out of character and an embarrassment to our Orthodox community.