We at GOCCL.ORG join with all Orthodox Christians in the prayers of our Holy Church in mourning the passing of Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago.
“May he find rest the in bosom of Abraham, where all pain, and sorrow and sighing has fled away; and may all of his sins, both voluntary and involuntary be forgiven; and may he have a good defense before the awesome judgement seat of Christ.”
We call on you to contact his Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, members of the Holy Eparchial Synod and the Ecumenical Patriarchate and urge them to NOT elevate Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos to the throne of the Metropolis of Chicago.
We hope to make this easy and efficient for you. Below are the email addresses, as well as a template you may use to express your concern for the future of the Metropolis of Chicago. Just copy and paste.
Thank you again for your support.
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Concern for the Metropolis of Chicago
Out of concern for the future of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, I urge you to NOT elevate Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos to the throne of the Metropolis of Chicago.
We at GOCCL.ORG are heartbroken to have learned that Fr. John Ketchum (who replaced Fr. Angelo Artemas at Annunciation Church in Milwaukee) has taken punitive action against a council member of the parish, citing “disobedience to the authority of the parish priest”. This parish member has been banned from the chalice for one month as penance, as stated by Fr. Ketchum.
The high level of dedication and service of this council member is well known to the parish, and fellow council members were astonished and utterly demoralized that such action was taken by Fr. Ketchum.
So fed up with the bullying and intimidation by the Metropolis of Chicago and their enabling sycophants, the majority of fellow council members responded with a letter of resignation shared with the parish community. We encourage you to read the letter we have provided in the link, that chronicles the deep level of “disrespect” they have endured that has “crippled” any chance of a Christ-like focus within the parish. They end the letter stating “In order to heal and restore our beloved church we recommend new leadership in the form of a new pastor as well as Bishop”.
Fr. John Ketchum leads the Metropolis of Chicago Clergy Syndesmos, and has shown unwavering support in the media for Bishop Demetrios, despite clear immoral actions and behavior. Fr. Ketchum served as the clean up pawn once Fr. Artemas was shipped out, to ensure the parish accepts the plea deal from Fr. Dokos and enforced endless parish wide guilt trips to “forgive” (even though no apology was offered).
The parish council member in Milwaukee who was excommunicated, showed courage and conviction to sign our petition. Active parish members across the Metropolis are very familiar with the intimidation and bullying they experienced from the Metropolis of Chicago after signing our petition. Phone calls were placed by the Metropolis to some of these people. An outspoken attorney at the Glenview parish was asked to step down from a volunteer position for speaking to the media about the parish decline from the Dokos fiasco. He and many others in Milwaukee and Chicago, were mailed anonymous slander mail through the post office.
There are no words to express how undeniably broken and dysfunctional the Greek Orthodox Church leadership has become, to allow such bullying and intimidation. As this news spreads in the community, we hope and pray more people stop ignoring the atrocities, have the courage and conviction to sign this petition to remove grossly dysfunctional leaders, and speak your mind to those with the power and influence to enact change:
Copy the email line listed below for the ARCHBISHOP, FAITH, LEADERSHIP 100 and the ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH – send your plea that they will address the crisis and take action to save the Church:
Yesterday, a Chicago Tribune article was published detailing the reduction of Fr. James Dokos’ felony theft conviction to a misdemeanor, after fulfilling the community service required by the court.
The article states that Dokos “fulfilled his court-imposed community service by working at St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church in Chicago, where he was involved in preparations for Lent and other church functions.”
The article also states, “As was the case when he pleaded guilty a year ago, Dokos did not offer an apology in court Wednesday.”
Nor did the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, in a statement released yesterday, for defending the innocence of Dokos despite being presented with evidence to the contrary, as well as for the punitive measure taken against parish members and clergy who refused to be intimidated by pressure from the Metropolis to be quiet about their concerns:
“The court has rendered its verdict, including the approval of all terms and conditions of Rev. Dokos’ probation and community service. The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago has no additional comment regarding this tragic case.”
“The spokesman did not address whether Dokos will return to formal priestly duties.”
Based on the cover-up and punishment administered to whistleblowers, we would be SHOCKED if the Greek church did not allow Fr. Dokos to return back to his formal priestly duties. This would include administering the sacrament of Confession, and being “counseled” toward repentance as a necessary step for our redemption in Christ.
With a clear message of NO apology or repentance necessary from Dokos or the leaders who pocketed his “tips”, defended his innocence (despite evidence to the contrary), and intimidated/punished those who followed moral conscience, we continue to witness false prophets who lead the Greek Orthodox Church.
Our own modern day Pharisees.
The very wolves in sheep’s clothing that Jesus warned us about, and admonished.
His Word is TRUTH.
It has been 6 months since Fr. James Dokos was suspended by the Synod after pleading guilty to criminal theft.
The residual damage continues for the two parishes scandalized by Dokos and the Metropolis of Chicago. Stewardship at both parishes has dropped dramatically and has yet to recover to pre-scandal levels. A recent letter went out to parishioners at The Annunciation Church in Milwaukee, exploring the prospect of closing their doors due to the inability to sustain the parish.
It has been well documented by the Chicago Tribune and National Herald, that Metropolitan Iakovos and Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago attempted to cover up theft by Fr. James Dokos, with the latter hierarch having received “gifts” from the stolen money.
Yet no statement or acknowledgement has been made by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America regarding the blatant immoral behavior and systemic corruption that is clearly evident among leaders of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago.
These leaders remain, as does the corruption.
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Greek Orthodox Church leaders refuse to uphold the very basic moral standard set forth by the faith, and thus, its’ branches will continue to wither.
“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.
For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush.
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
But why do you call Me ‘Lord’ and not do the things which I say?”
We ask this of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America:
Why do you represent faith in Christ and His teachings, yet do nothing in the face of very evil deeds?
The National Herald article published yesterday (featured below), has reported that the Synod has decided to suspend Fr. James Dokos for one year, upon which it is assumed he can resume his priestly duties.
After denying guilt for several years, Fr. Dokos finally admitted guilt to the court on the day before his trial was to begin. We know of no verbal or written apology issued to the parishes damaged by Fr. Dokos, nor has any public remorse or repentance been displayed. Nor have the Metropolis of Chicago leaders apologized, shown any remorse, or even acknowledged their pathetic attempts to cover up a crime.
We are reminded once again, that the Greek Orthodox Church leaders don’t actually believe the tenets of the faith apply to them or their fellow ordained clergy!
And we are to trust that these leaders have our souls at heart? We wonder how many Orthodox faithful will be lining up to receive the Sacrament of Confession from Fr. Dokos next year, and will listen to his guidance on the importance of repentance for the salvation of our souls.
Fr. Dokos Suspended, Fr. Gounaris Defrocked
THURSDAY, APRIL 14, 2016 | BY THEODORE KALMOUKOS
NEW YORK – The Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America during its spring meeting decided to punish Rev. James Dokos with a one year suspension for stealing money from a trust fund established by a parishioner in Milwaukie Wisconsin.
Dokos pleaded guilty to felony theft on February 22, 2016 admitting to stealing more than $100,000. He repaid the money, and if he stays out of trouble for a year and performs 40 hours of community service, the felony theft charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor.
Recently the Spiritual Court of the Metropolis of Chicago recommended as punishment a one year suspension from his priestly duties. The Eparchial Synod agreed with that decision.
The Holy Synod also recommended the defrocking of Rev. Anastasios Gounaris for abandoning his parish, St. Nicholas Cathedral in Tarpons Springs, FL, and his family to go with his mistress to Crete, Greece and Canada.
Gounaris notified his parish and his bishop, Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta, via an e-mail from the airport as he was leaving. Details will follow.
The National Herald is one of the most popular and highly regarded newspapers, both here and across seas, for news that affects the Greek community.
This newspaper has continued to chronicle the failed leadership in the Greek Church, month after month, over the past few years, as scandal after scandal is mishandled with no accountability. Accountability only happens when the situation has gone so far off the rails, as in the Fr. Passias affair, that the entire world is taken aback by how bad the situation is.
This week, TNH weighs in on the Dokos/Metropolis of Chicago scandal labeling the response by Church leaders as “My Big Fat Greek Unholy Joke”. This is essentially what it has become for all who have commented on social media and websites in response to continued media coverage in the Chicago Tribune and other outlets. You can read the article by TNH HERE.
One concerned TNH reader also submits a letter to the editor in this issue that can be read HERE.
This reader says “We will continue to have this kind of clerical administration and we deserve it, until and unless we Orthodox insist on proper administration – honest and transparent.”
He is right!
Where is the voice of more laity? Why haven’t prominent lay leaders – those on the Archdiocean Council, Leadership 100, Faith Endowment, Archons etc., insisted on accountability and transparency from ordained leaders of the Church?
The reader also wisely asks, “Would Jesus run his faith this way?”
This is a profound question to ponder, especially those among the laity who come out shaming those brave enough to sign this petition, or publish the truth about the poor leadership in the church, or make a statement in the media.
It is also a question Parish Councils in the Metropolis of Chicago should ask themselves. Some of these councils have imposed a gag order on themselves to control information, sweep it under the rug, and cut their losses of faithful members who have walked away. For those who claim they don’t want to “rehash the past”, and just want to “move forward”. Move forward to what? More of the same? What will be different this time, with the same corrupt leadership at the helm?
Do these lay leaders not realize that they, too, will be held accountable for their role in losing faithful members when choosing blind obedience to false leaders over obedience to Jesus Christ’s example?
And we should also ask ourselves: As Orthodox Christians, are we more concerned about the church title we hold, or what others may think of us, over striving to be Christ-like in renouncing unfit spiritual leadership?
And, until Greek Orthodox Church leaders hold accountable those who commit AND harbour criminal activity, their spiritual commitment to the faith will continue to be “My Big Fat Greek Unholy Joke”.