Leadership 100 Passes Resolution Against Charter

By Theodore Kalmoukos
Reprinted from The National Herald

BOSTON -- The executive committee of Leadership 100 passed a resolution on May 8, in which it describes the proposed charter of the Archdiocese, also known as the patriarchal charter, as “unacceptable” and proposes, with one abstention, its withdrawal.

In the resolution, Leadership 100 talks about the existence of “controversy [which is] now engulfing the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America,” but it also commends the Archdiocese’s initiative “to solicit the opinions of all parishes.”

It states: “It is healthy for our Archdiocese to encourage open discussion of matters of such import to the future of the Greek Orthodox Church in America.

Leadership 100 members Arthur Anton, chairman; Gus Stavropoulos, vice-chairman; Constantine Caras, secretary; Bert Moyar, treasurer; Andrew Athans, George Chimples, Peter Dion, Michael Jaharis, George Kokalis, George Marcus, John Payiavlas, and James Rigas met at Packman Hilton Hotel in Chicago on May 8, where they discussed the charter.

Sources from the organization told the Herald that before the meeting took place, some of its members indicated to Fr. Alex Karloutsos, who is the Leadership 100 Executive Director, that the charter issue was going to be discussed, and encouraged him not to attend the meeting, which would have put him in a difficult position with the patriarchate, since he maintains close ties to the patriarch.

The proposed text that was recently sent to the U.S. parishes has been named the patriarchal charter in order to be distinguished from the original, which was drafted and submitted by the Archdiocese in June 2000. The Archdiocese's charter, which provides for a semiautonomous administrative status, has been rejected by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

The vote of the executive committee of Leadership 100 to turn down the patriarchal charter was almost unanimous, except for one abstention, which is attributed to Michael Jaharis.

All members of the executive committee of Leadership 100 are Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

John Payiavlas and Peter Dion, who are also members of the executive committee of the Archdiocesan Council, assumed the initiative to bring the resolution to the Archdiocesan council, which met on May 9, in the same hotel.

While Payiavlas was informing the council about the resolution of Leadership 100, he was interrupted by Archbishop Demetrios who rejected such a statement, telling Payiavlas that "we are not talking here about rejection."

Demetrios attacked Payiavlas for using the term “rejection” and asked him if he knew its meaning. Payiavlas became uneasy and offered to resign. “The matter here is not personal. and we are not talking about resignations,” Demetrios replied.

Payiavlas, however, who is a successful businessman in the food business, told Archbishop Demetrios that he feels he cannot talk to Demetrios with ease about the charter.

The archbishop requested that the statement be destroyed in order to prevent its leak to the press.

The following day, Anton did not present the resolution to the general meeting of the Archdiocesan council.

The Leadership 100 chairman only talked about the organization’s decision to give a grant of $1 million to the Holy Cross School of Theology over a four-year period.

The Herald's telephone calls to Anton went unanswered.

Fr. Alex Karloutsos, meanwhile, told the Herald that since he was not present at the meeting he was not aware of the resolution. “I was not in the meeting and I have not seen the resolution. It took place during the executive session."

Fr. Karloutsos said that he sometimes attends the Leadership's executive sessions, and other times he doesn’t. “In this one I was not present," he said.

Asked to give an interpretation of the resolution, Fr. Karloutsos said that he has not seen it, adding that “everything is in the hands of the Archbishop, the Metropolitans and the Patriarch.”

He did say, however, that 'I have heard that the resolution was rescinded by the Leadership 100 executive committee."

Sources from Leadership 100 confirmed that the resolution was eventually rescinded, while they expressed disapointment with the way the issue was handled by the Archbishop. The same sources told the Herald that Leadership 100 declined a proposal by Archbishop Demetrios that would have allowed him to appoint members on the organization’s executive committee. It accepted, however, that the Archbishop has the right to recommend candidates -- a fact that Demetrios took as an insult.

The organization has in its coffers approximately $60 million.

The entire text of the resolution follows:

Resolved, that, on May 8, the executive committee of the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund, by unanimous vote, with one abstention, hereby adopts the following statement of position with respect to the Charter revision controversy now engulfing the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America:

We, the executive committee of Leadership 100, are greatly concerned for the future well being of our beloved Church and the unity of the Archdiocese and wish to see an end to the current dissension. We applaud the process initiated by the Archdiocese to solicit the opinions of all its parishes.

It is healthy for our Archdiocese to encourage open discussion of matters of such import to the future of the Greek Orthodox Church in America. However, the proposed Charter, in its present form, is unacceptable and should be withdrawn until it can be modified in such a way as to put an end to the divisions now being created."
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