We here at Monomakhos have been approached again by concerned students at Holy Cross. As you know, there has been a festering situation there involving members of the faculty and administration.
In order to be more fair, we have now decided not to take sides in this issue as it is our opinion that it is more complex that we previously believed. From our earlier reportage, it appeared that we took the side of the students and in this sense, we erred. And thus, apologize.
To put our cards on the table, we believe that the problem is more systemic and rooted in the lack of evangelism that plagues the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. To lay this at the feet of one man (in this case Fr Chris Metropulos) is unfair. While the problems may have come to a boil under his leadership (and any possible personality conflicts) is to miss the point. The same problems would beset the next President and his successor and so on down the line.
The cause of these grievances (whether overstated or not) are endemic to the GOA –both the people, their lay leaders (i.e. the Archons) and the hiearchy. Specifically the assertion that “there are no jobs for HC/HC graduates”.
This is astounding. Unfortunately, it’s also true.
One of the things that Your’s Truly has commented on in the past on other blogs is the fact that the GOA –the flagship jurisdiction of American Orthodoxy–has not grown. I know from my own personal experience how hard it is to start a mission in the GOA. Some of these strictures are justifiable to an extent, after all, the GOA wants to make sure that their graduates are paid moderately well. There’s nothing wrong with that.
In the Diocese of the South on the other hand, we were told that Archbishop Dmitri could start a mission with “two old ladies and a phone booth”. Some of the priests are paid well, others receive more mediocre remuneration. That’s not good but that’s not exceptional within the OCA either. Regardless, there are no dearth of priest-candidates for the Diocese of the South and more young men seem to want to pursue vocations within the DOS (and this, despite the problems that beset the OCA over the last several years).
The bottom line however is that the strictures that the GOA places upon opening missions are doubly dangerous in that the laity in the GOA for the most part are not mission-minded anyway. For the small minority that are, well, the metrics needed for a new mission serve as a brick wall.
Unfortunately, the GOA has now hit that brick wall. The lack of new church openings (the demand side) has now outpaced the supply (i.e. new graduates). And so we come to the concerns of these students, who are not only saddled with debt, but have prospect for future employment.
If there is to be a break in this impasse, the parties involved –students, faculty, administration–as well as hierarchy and laity, must address the issue of evangelism and stewardship needed to sustain it. Otherwise, the problems addressed below will not go away. Instead, they will only intensify.
Go to: Fixing the Seminary