By dogcatcher on February 21st, 2015


In part one of this article, we gave our readers a “taste” of life in the Metropolis of Chicago. The Editors of this website did not write any of the posts quoted. The Laity spoke for themselves in their posts on Facebook and other sites on the internet. The few individuals who carry the party line for the Hierarchs also spoke. We will include more examples of “All the President’s Men” doing what is expected of them; acting as defenders of the Hierarch’s decisions even if they are not in the best interest of the parish and illogical. If you read the posts placed on John Kass’ FaceBook page and reach a different conclusion, please email us at: Over 5 years ago when we established this website we chartered our mission which states:

“Mission Statement”

We Greek Orthodox Christians of the Metropolis of Chicago will no longer accept the conditions that have spread and caused irreparable harm to our Faith. We are of the opinion that our current Hierarchs of the Metropolis of Chicago are complicit in allowing a cancerous cult to permeate the theology of our church. Therefore, we will focus the efforts and attention of our members to expose inappropriate teachings, practices and customs as they concern our Faith.” Some may say that we were both foolish and naïve because we fully expected that once faced with overwhelming evidence of damage and destruction to both our Faith and the greater institution, someone would stand up like an adult and do something. We must now acknowledge that we were wrong; proof is in the actions and words of the “Hierarchs” and “their Men.” Tom Kanelos: “If the Church is losing people (and it is) it is because of BOTH the laity and the clergy.” Response: So here we have two statements by Mr. Kanelos. First, we agree with him that the Church is losing people. Second, he holds both the Clergy and the Laity responsible for the loss of members to our Faith. Holding the Laity responsible is akin to blaming the victim of a crime for the commission of the crime. A few years back, one of our Editors was in a meeting regarding the negative impact a former priest was having upon the congregation at St. George Greek Orthodox Church of Chicago and heard Metropolitan Iakovos tell the Parish Council “you are all merely advisors to the Parish Priest”. One month later the Parish Council President, Vice President, Corresponding Secretary and Legal Counsel resigned. Within a year from Metropolitan’s Iakovos’ words, half the Parish Council Members resigned. So Mr. Kanelos, if you are looking for people to hold responsible for the clear and continuing fall of our Church, please begin by looking at the Hierarchs and its Council. Interestingly Mr. Constantine Armiros, a well-regarded Attorney and former President of the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago had the following observation on Mr. Kass’ FaceBook exchange: “Dino Armiros: There’s none so blind as those who will not see.” Mr. Kanelos who is he talking about? The arrogance and absurdity of trying to hold the Laity responsible for the conditions here is also a factor in adherents leaving our Faith. There are many who believe that acting as a contrarian when there are clear facts and valid opinions exist somehow helps the Church. You see Mr. Kanelos, that we Orthodox Christians in this Metropolis have lost our “collective community trust” in the Hierarchy. Think about that. Those who the Church is here to serve no longer trust it. Why you may ask? Simply put, in order to manage the loss of trust in the leadership, the Hierarchs have escorted us into a new era of the Church. The keystone principle of this new era is the imposition of silence and forced obedience on anyone who will subjugate themselves to this version of Orthodoxy in this Metropolis. Mr. Kanelos we all know we are losing members; let’s do something new and novel. There is a concept that seems to work for other Christian Faiths referred to as “transparency”. For example, how about publishing the number of Stewards/members we have had each year since the Metropolitan came here from the Diocese of Detroit. Thankfully Mr. Kanelos is not yet done posting as he continues to grant our Editors and readers insight into the thinking process of a Member of the Metropolis Council of Chicago. Here because the text is so “rich” our responses to his assertions are indented and in brackets. He says the following: Tom Kanelos: “What I mean, Stacy, is when something like this happens, we seem to be all too willing to weigh in, some reasonably and some by just lashing out at either side, instead of letting the facts play out in the legal arena.  

{This is his personal opinion; he would like all of us to keep our head in the sand until such time as the legal process concludes. First, we all understand and acknowledge that the legal system can operate slowly. In this case, the Metropolis of Chicago conducted its own investigation into Dokos using funds of the trust for his own personal use “finding no evidence of wrongdoing”!}

Tom Kanelos: We devour ourselves and we tear down the Church be [sic, “we”] claim to love. {Using the analogy “we devour ourselves” is a fallacy which is defined as a misleading or unsound argument. His fallacy is used to shield those who are creating the damage from being called on it. By blaming the whistle blower, that focus is diverted away from the real issue at hand. Mr. Kanelos’ asserts that we just “claim to love the Church”. If the Metropolis of Chicago engaged in responsible and compassionate leadership, we would be growing instead of watching people exit out the back door.} Tom Kanelos:” We remember that we love the parish where we grew up but we don’t understand that the Church exists beyond that.” {Another false argument where Mr. Kanelos assumes that “we don’t understand.” Here, once again, he takes the position that he has some superior knowledge about the Church. Debaters call this “argument from authority”} Tom Kanelos:” If we teuky [sic, “truly”] love Chirat [sic, “Christ”] and His Church, we will Let the courts (sadly) do what they do and when all is said and done, the guilty will pay their price and the innocent will be vindicated.” {Often times, religious leaders or institutions believe they need not operate within the realm of the legal institutions governing the country in which they exist. Mr. Kanelos expects us to ignore our duty as responsible citizens in order to prove we truly love Christ and His Church. It is because of our deep love for Christ and his Church that we need to work with our courts in order to protect the Church from Priests who unlawfully take from the Church.} Tom Kanelos:” The problem is, when we become a court of public opinion, sometimes one proven innocent is already destroyed. These terms are general terms and not just applicable in this case only.” {A healthy and transparent institution welcomes dialogue and opinion, in fact it thrives on it. Such engagement demonstrates that people care enough to open their mouths and speak. It also encourages self-reflection; stifling dialogue invites decay and decline. Also, one is never “innocent” The courts prove someone is either guilty or not guilty. In this case, charges have been filed based on evidence. And now Bishop Dimitrios has been accused of intimidating witnesses.} Tom Kanelos: “No one should be immune from prosecution for breaking a law if that happened………………….Let me give you an example of how our judgment is detrimental to the Church. We are building a retreat center in Wisconsin and I am involved. We have raised a lot of money and are nearing completion. Many folks and parishes have worked hard to bring this to fruition. It will serve thousands of folks each year, young young [sic] and old. Bringing them closer to Christ through Fanari Camp, parish retreats, senior outings, campus ministry retreats etc. As I said many individuals have contributed large and small. In the course of fundraising we have come across several VERY wealthy individuals who have been approached and asked to give. These asked re people for whom the 3.5 million dollar mortgage would be a drop in in the bucket. They refuse to give and the main reason they refuse to give is because they do nit [sic, “not”] like the metropolitan or the bishop (for whatever reasons). Now that is their right. But isn’t that sad? Never mind the thousands of faithful faithful [sic] this will help bring closer to Christ. Never mind that from from [sic] the first day that the books are completely open on this project. Never mind that the retreat center is is [sic] a separate Wisconsin corporation. Never mind that the land was purchased and paid for without asking parishes for a dime. They don’t like the metropolitan and the bishop so they won’t give.” {Is this kind of reasoning based on reliable fact gathering information and gathered intelligence or is it merely guessing? These “VERY wealthy” people see the mentality present in this Metropolis and have decided they would rather give their money elsewhere. Is it too much to ask that someone in the system understand why do our Hierarchs fail to inspire confidence? Well we have asked some of these “VERY wealthy” people and they see decline and decay in this Metropolis. Here is a simple case in point, let us look at John Pappajohn who was raised in Mason City Iowa. He is acknowledged to be one of the wealthiest men in Iowa. He has endowed seven different colleges and Universities with Millions of Dollars to start Entrepreneurial Centers. There have been over 35,000 students who have benefited from his generosity. He has built a wing at the University of Iowa Hospital as a Cancer Pavilion. He has donated millions to the City of Des Moines Iowa for a Sculpture Park. Mr. Kanelos we ask you, do you know about the Priest that carried Elder Ephraim’s message into the Parish that Mr. Pappajohn’s extended family attends? Do you know about the treatment his Parish Priest received from your Metropolis when his wife left him and that Priest was in need of support? Do you know about another “VERY wealthy” businessman from the Northern Suburbs who called one of our Editors and asked about Camp Fanari because his grandson was cornered by an Ephraimite Clergyman. Do you know this man vowed to never again provide financial to support that camp? Do you have an appreciation for how these matters extinguish one’s desire to help a failing institution? All our Editors have our eyes and ears open and we completely understand why the “VERY wealthy” and others have a lack of confidence in anything proposed in this Metropolis. Are we supposed to take the Hierarchs at their word after we have seen them in practice? Do you expect those that do not believe in, nor like the majority of individuals associated with this Metropolis to invest in it by giving money to those they do not believe in, or for that matter even remotely trust? It’s a simple questions: “why would anyone who does not trust an institution because of the things they are doing or not doing, give money to the same institution enabling them to continue doing or not doing those same things? You acknowledge that we are losing people, yet you blame those who have voted with their feet and have left. Mr. Kanelos may we suggest a different perspective? How about taking responsibility for the loss of adherents? If consumers stop going to McDonalds is the customer wrong, or as in the case of McDonalds should the President and the Board of Directors be replaced? Will there come a time when we no longer carry an “Autocratic King’s” mentality concerning the approach to our Laity, or will this go on for another 30 or more years should the Bishop replace the Metropolitan of Chicago? One of our Editors insists that our collective Hierarchy in the Greek Orthodox Church is a few decades away from having to secure day jobs due to their mismanagement of OUR Church! Finally Mr. Kanelos would it be possible to help foster a collective mentality among your fellow defenders of the institution to use a new approach before those who are left do not become so turned off that they run for the exit doors? Has it dawned on anyone at Burton Place that they are literally not only retarding the spiritual development, but also destroying the collective development of our once great Church?} What has occurred in the Metropolis of Chicago is a “bursting of the Containment Wall” which has artificially protected the Hierarchs from the objective observations of their Laity. All the President’s Men have been trying to reinforce the wall and now that it has burst, they are doing damage control. For years they have laid out a series of fallacious arguments whenever a member of the Laity asks about or voices constructive criticism. Thankfully this crisis of character has been so damaging to all of us that many have finally found the courage and opportunity to open their mouths. There were many thoughtful posts that we feel correctly set forth the conditions in this Metropolis, here are some examples: Alex Michalakos: “There’s no doubt the priests are protected by the Metropolis even to the detriment of a parish and parishioners. I know this from a very difficult personal experience 10 years ago as the Vice-President at a parish. The Metropolis chose to unjustly protect the priest, who was on a vicious counterattack. It was quite clear who was to be protected despite the damage to several good people as well as the parish itself. I found some solace in reading about St. Nectarios. But there was nowhere else to go. The difference now is that it is in the hands of the local prosecutor, who won’t bend to the Metropolis. So the facts and the law will prevail—why is that bad? As a lawyer I have followed this case closely, read the Complaint and seen the documents, and I can say there are so many things wrong with what the Trustee did and they were clearly not innocent mistakes; I can’t believe anyone is really contesting any of it. There is talk of the “other” side of the story—unlikely; there may be “another” story [there usually is] but not the “other” side to this one. And I was not surprised by what ensued with the stubborn refusal to do anything. The defenses put forth by the Defendant, especially the one about this being an “ecclesiastical matter” would be laughable if they were not so sad. It should never have gotten to this point but the Metropolis has long asked for it. If it had for once taken appropriate action on this obvious, though sad, criminal act, then the parish would not have “gone rogue.” The By-Laws and Uniform Parish Regulations clarify what are the priest’s jobs and what are the Parish Council’s. But these are very selectively observed and enforced by certain priests and the Metropolis. The current situation has nothing to do with the truths that we are all sinners and we should have appropriate respect and deference for clergy, and not gossip or stir up controversy and scandal in the church. This is NOT our fault. It is a false choice, for us and for the leadership. The church is hierarchical, yes, but there is a long tradition of the faithful having a firm voice. I respect Lisa Black for being objective and the journalistic perspective of Dan Mihalopoulos and John Kass, both of whom write without guile. As long as we are not gloating, acting as the Pharisee, or leaving the church, we shouldn’t be made to feel guilty. Although always remaining humble, we should not feel shamed into condoning stealing and abuse of power. It’s in everyone’s best interests in the long run.” (Mr. Michalakos is an Attorney in the Northwestern Suburbs of Chicago). Louis G. Atsaves: “Yup, reading and posting about this scandal on Facebook is “out of order” according to several priests in several parishes this past Sunday. Somehow, the Facebook mentions in my mind probably increased readership. Time for our Church to face up to this and clean house in the Chicago Metropolis, including some priests. They are truly harming the Church. The harm isn’t coming from those demanding reforms.” John Kass: “There are many agendas now at play. Some masquerading as legitimate, but also as much about power and leverage as the others. I am not opposed to hierarchs. I am not opposed to authority in church matters. I guess you could say I’m orthodox (small o) in this. But church leaders must understand, by hiding things, by taking money, by intimidating, by imperiousness and pride, they weaken the legitimate authority they have. Be good shepherds! Bring all issues into the light. Hiding in darkness is not our way. It is not Christian. It is not good. Leadership isn’t about extending a hand to kiss. It is about humility, humbleness and love of Christ. This is why I hope the Patriarch takes notice. To see the attacks against myself and others was an eye-opener. What do they do to others, to good priests, to lay people like those at Sts. Peter and Paul? Everything in the light from now on.” Andy Sotiropoulos: “Mr. Kanelos, the problem with your premise is three fold: 1) apparently, Bishop Dimitrios himself is not allowing the legal process to work, or at a minimum interfering…to a level of criminal culpability 2) a FB page discussion on issues involving PUBLIC FIGURES does not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt nor a finding of guilt, and 3) this maniacal insistence on keeping even the hint of scandal within the Greek Orthodox Church hush hush is the very thing which has enraged and infuriated so many of your faithful.” (Mr. Sotiropoulos is an Attorney in the Western Suburbs of Chicago). Andy Sotiropoulos: “Tom, we can respectfully agree to disagree, but as a person who has distanced himself from the Church for many of the reasons stated here, I can tell you what my perspective is, which appears to coincide with the perspective of most of the remaining posters on this thread. If you read my initial post you would see that I sincerely hope these allegations are unfounded. I also firmly believe in the presumption of innocence in this country, and in our criminal justice system. That being said, I also believe its counterproductive for the church to so actively and blatantly attempt to hush hush this situation and/or obstruct justice, and apparently most of my fellow Greek Orthodox Christians on this thread feel the same way.” We ask our readers to reflect on the following issues generated by the Fr. Dokos matter based on copies of checks that are part of the court record: 1. A clear reading of the Franczak Trust limits Fr. Dokos to a trustees fee of $5,000.00; where is the approximately $110,000.00 that was spent on him, his family and his personal expenses? Has there been restitution? If not, why not? 2. Bishop Dimitrios of Mokissos received $6,700.00; where is this money? The trust clearly states that the residue (i.e. what is left after all payments and expenses of the trust and estate are made) shall go to the Annunciation Parish in Milwaukee. Have they received the money? If not, why not? 3. Metropolitan Nikitas of Dardanelia received $4,500.00; where is this money? Has it been returned to the Annunciation Parish in Milwaukee? Have they received the money? If not, why not? 4. Metropolitan Tarasios of South America received $10,000.00; where is this money? Has it been returned to the Annunciation Parish in Milwaukee? Have they received the money? If not, why not? 5. Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco received $2,600.00; where is this money? Has it been returned to the Annunciation Parish in Milwaukee? Have they received the money? If not, why not? 6. Should the Parish Council at the Annunciation Parish in Milwaukee file a grievance under the Dispute Resolution Procedures of the GOA against everyone who has failed to return funds they obtained from Fr. James Dokos? Clearly there is no provision in the Trust or the law that allows a Trustee, under the documents in question here to give his hierarchal bosses money. 7. How is it possible that The Metropolis did not retain an outside appointee to head the internal investigation of the Dokos matter? Given the fact that money went from the Trust to individuals within the Metropolis of Chicago, the failure of a simple yet necessary outside appointment reeks of collusion to hide the truth? Where was the recusal that would have created confidence instead of distrust that consistently exists in this Metropolis? 8. How about the money that went to an employee of the Metropolis of Chicago? Has it been returned to the Annunciation Parish in Milwaukee? Has the Parish received the money? If not, why not? 9. How about asking if the recipients of the money were in actual need or is there another reason? Are the salaries being paid to these Hierarchs not enough to live on? Do we have a new class of indigents in our Church that cannot live on the salary they are normally paid? 10. What about the Estate of Myron G. Stamos? We believe that those who are in authority should also be looking at that estate. 11. What about the Estate of James Pihos? We believe that those who are in authority should also be looking at that estate. 12. What about the internal report that was done by the Metropolis of Chicago? In a transparent procedure, that report should have been posted on the Metropolis website; everything above board, everything in the light of day, for all to see, read and understand. Instead we are sold “snake oil” and expected to accept it! 13. What will now happen to Fr. Angelo Artemas, perhaps the only person in this story with clean hands? Will he pay the price for being open and truthful? The Editors of this website have been contacted by numerous Attorneys offering to work Pro Bono to sue the Metropolis of Chicago and ALL those responsible should the slightest violation of law occur in how he is treated. Perhaps this message is not clear enough for those who choose to obfuscate the truth in the discharge of their orders in this Metropolis. SHOULD ANYONE ATTEMPT TO OBSTRUCT JUSTICE, COMPROMISE THE CIVIL RIGHTS OF, OR VIOLATE ANY WISCONSIN OR ILLINOIS EMPLOYMENT LAW AS IT CONCERNS FATHER ANGELO J. ARTEMAS, OUR EDITORS AND ATTORNEYS WORKING ON BEHALF OF THIS TRUTH TELLER WILL USE EVERY LEGAL AND ETHICAL RESOURCE TO VINDICATE HIS RIGHTS, SO HELP US GOD! Our Editors would like to thank the following people who are true Heroes. They have shown tremendous conviction and posted their feelings on FaceBook to foster an important dialogue about the Metropolis of Chicago: 1. John Kass 2. Dan Mihalopoulos 3. Steven Johnson 4. Stacy Vasilatos Sennett 5. Louis Atsaves 6. Frank Bexes 7. Angelo Kafkes 8. Andy Sotiropoulos 9. Zorica Petrovic 10. Sandra Efstathiou 11. Diane Alexander White 12. Constantine J. Argiris 13. Dino Biz 14. Tom Delis 15. Dino Armiros 16. Alex Michalakos 17. As well as the many others who have weighed in on this whose posts were not used. Finally, a large measure of gratitude is owed to Fr. Angelo Artemas who has been the most open about this matter; who has borne a tremendous amount of burden and pain as a result of the actions of the agents of the Metropolis of Chicago against him personally; who has generously supported the parishes over which he tends; who has taken it upon himself to bring the truth to light, and who has been a much needed catalyst by holding up a mirror enabling everyone who can reason to sit up, understand and do the right thing. PANTA AXIOS!