In Defense of Haig Dadourian and the Eastern Diocese

Author: Nicholas Gallo
Date Published: 12/28/2002

Yes, I am not an Armenian. Yes, I am not a member of your church or of an Orthodox faith. I am a member of the Church of England.

I have, however, long been a business associate of Haig Dadourian. I have recently watched as he, and no doubt others, agonized over how to handle the matter of Father Sasoon.

All faiths are searching for the correct modus for handling such matters. From the newspapers one can see the various approaches that are being considered and the quite different solutions proposed from week to week or even day to day by the same people and/or groups as the global thinking on the subject evolves. One can also see the different views that are often held by groups in the laity and in the formal church hierarchy.

In an individual case should one consider and/or balance what is best for an individual parish, what is best for a diocese and what is best for the church globally; or is it preferable to decide what is philosophically right in an absolute sense, apply it to the established facts in every case and let the chips fall where they may?

Certainly Haig Dadourian is anything but a liar or the devil. What some of you saw was the evolution of a position over a period of time while and after listening to the pragmatic views of a parish, the perhaps different and changing pragmatic and philosophical views of his colleagues and, what must ultimately be controlling, the view, also changing over time perhaps, of your Archbishop and ultimately that of your Primate.

Perhaps the evolution of a position or the reaching of a decision would have been better done much earlier and outside of the quasi public eye and then simply disclosed to those impacted. There no doubt would have been less misunderstandings and perceived treachery. Certainly some things were not well handled, but evolving a position on such a matter for the first time is not an easy task.

As I said at the outset, I have been a business associate of Mr. Dadourian for some time and also at times I have been a confidant. He asked for my view because I am not involved in your church nor am I an Armenian. In order to best respond to the question posed, I asked for access to the entirety of his quite voluminous file on the matter. As soon as I read it, I had an opinion. Greta Larson of The Protection of the Theotokos has since expressed her views eloquently. They happen to be the same as mine and I cannot improve on her statement of them.

There were the primary pertinent facts that were well established. Other allegations that at first seemed to call out for investigation, in the end did not need to be considered in order to reach a primarily philosophical decision.

I want to mention one other aspect. It has been said that Father Sasoon offered to answer any and all questions on these subjects. I recently saw the letter written by Father Sasoon making what has been said to be such an offer. It was in my opinion an arrogant letter and placed conditions on any discussions that would have made it impossible to gain any useful information from them. It seemed to me to be disingenuous and carefully written “for the record.” If there had ever been any doubt in my mind as to the correct decision in the matter, that letter would have decided it for me.

My sole reason for writing this is my concern for Haig Dadourian. He agonized over this matter both before and after the decision was taken. Please give him your respect and thank him for his efforts. Do so even if you are not sure you agree with the conclusion.

Flemington, NJ