Between now and the Clergy-Laity Congress, scheduled for July, 2002 in Los Angeles, Hellenic Communication Service will pose a number of thought-provoking questions and ideas in preparation for and in anticipation of the substantial issues that must be addressed by the clergy and laity of our Church. A series of articles and editorials in the upcoming weeks will cover such topics as the charter crisis, the reopening of Halki, Leadership One Hundred, operations of the Dioceses, a review of the biography of former Archbishop Spyridon, and surveys on Greek language education.
Although many faithful are discussing the direction that the Greek Orthodox Church of American, with its 560 parishes, should take regarding its relationship with the Patriarchate in Constantinople, there are many other subjects that should be raised. Not least of these is the poor financial state of the Archdiocese as reported recently by the National Herald (Kalmoukos, "Holy Synod Discusses Church's Poor Finances," April 27, 2002). Not only is there insufficient funding for the Archdiocese, but emerging liabilities threaten to overwhelm it. The Director of Finance, John Barbagallo, states, "our case shortage for April 2002 was so serious that for the first time, the Archdiocese was forced to borrow $100,000 against a line of credit it has with Atlantic Bank."
As with every organization, periodic review of policies and practices is healthy and can lead to improvement. A fresh look at an accepted practice -- not ecclesiastical practice or ritual -- can bring about a creative and better method of meeting needs. Hellenic Communication Service proposes, then, in the first of a series of editorials, a review of the physical location of the Archdiocese itself.
As we move ahead to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century, would a relocation of the Archdiocese better meet the needs of the Church? Since March 1942, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has been located at 8-10 East 79th Street in New York City. Perhaps a location like Washington, D.C., where all of the international embassies and principal U.S. governmental offices are situated, would be more advantageous? Or would it be better for an Archdiocese to be more centrally located, providing easier access to all? In that case, perhaps Chicago would be a good candidate. Should a site in California be considered in order to compensate for the many decades that the Archdiocese has been located on the East Coast? Perhaps instead the Archdiocese should be relocated to the Boston area to consolidate with the Archdiocese's sole -- and very important --- theological school in the United States?
And, as we consider the advantages and disadvantages of each location, perhaps concurrently we should review operations on a broad scale. How can we strengthen the operation of the Archdiocese and help it to function more effectively and efficiently?
Let us all consider these questions very carefully. We, the publishers of Hellenic Communication Service, propose the formation of a Blue-Ribbon Committee to study all of these questions, with input from all of the Church faithful. Please take a moment to fill out the survey below and give us your opinion.