Archdiocese Faces Financial Difficulties
Date Published: 01/03/2009
Publication: The National Herald
Cutbacks and Staff Layoffs at Archdiocese May be on the Horizon
BOSTON – The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America appears to be going through a difficult financial period, according to sources from within, to the extent that reductions in spending or even personnel layoffs are being considered.
Specifically, parishes either do not send their monthly financial support at all to the Archdiocese or they sent much less than the amounts that have been set as their obligation. As a result, the Archdiocese has pressed the local Metropolises, and then the Metropolises press their parishes. As a matter of fact, in some instances the Metropolises even use blackmail and threat tactics. For example, they threaten not to validate the parish council elections or even worst to withdraw the priest from the parish or not to assign a priest unless the full amount is paid to the Archdiocese.
At the same time, the new financial system that was put in place that states each parish is obligated to give to the Archdiocese 15% of its total expenses, as well as the arbitrary setting of the amount that the parish is obligated to pay have brought many parishes to their knees and voted upon at the Clergy-Laity Congress in Nashville, Tennessee in 2006. More specifically, there are parishes whose annual assessment to the Archdiocese was doubled without any regard or consideration of the existence of special conditions and circumstances that the parishes face. A parish which was paying $20,000 annually, now is obligated to pay $40,000 or from $95,000 to $130,000.
According to sources inside the Archdiocese, there are three essential reasons that parishes reduce their financial giving to the Archdiocese: a) The general state of the economy in the U.S. which has caused many people to lose their jobs, has also caused drastic reductions of the values of their real estate properties used as sources of income. b) The sexual scandals of the clergy. The out-of-court settlement of many millions of dollars in the pederasty case of former priest Nicholas Katinas to compensate the five victims from Texas, as well as other payments paid to victims of the former Archimandrites Stanley Adamakis and Michael Rymer for homosexual abuse and c) the lavish and neo-wealthy lifestyle of some officials of the Archdiocese especially clergy including hierarchs. All of the above have caused the faithful to reduce or even to completely stop their donations and financial support to their parishes and consequently the parishes to the Archdiocese.
The Metropolises receive in return 25% of the total amount sent by their parishes to the Archdiocese. At the same time, some Metropolises have established their own fundraising methods and programs and are getting donations and contributions directly from the parishes and from individual members of their congregations to their coffers in order to support their programs.
The National Herald is in a position to know that Archbishop Demetrios has been receiving recommendations for drastic reductions of the expenses and even to layoff some personnel. The Archdiocese today has some 83 personnel, but those who know say that no more than 25 are needed for the
Archdiocese to operate smoothly. The Archbishop does not seem to be willing to reduce the expenses, neither to let people go because he does not want to give the impression that the Archdiocese faces a financial problem, but he rather prefers to continue to present a rosy picture and a feel-good mentality.
It is reminded here that during his visit to Greece last October the Archbishop had asked for financial help from the Greek government. Specifically, he asked from George Alogoskoufis the Minister of Finance for 6 million euro, in order to renovate the Camp Center of the Ionian Village in Vartholomio of Peloponnesus Greece. Up to this day it has not been known if the requested monies were given to the Archdiocese and how they are spent.