"Police Guard a Church - Pastorage of the Greek Congreation Unchanged" article - Chicago Daily Tribune, September 13, 1897
Published in the Chicago Daily Tribune, September 13, 1897
POLICE GUARD A CHURCH
Pastorage of the Greek
Presence of the Officers Prevents the
Friends of the Rev. Father Theodore
Papaconstantine from Ousting the
Rev. Father Peter Phiambolis -
Difficulty to Be Referred to the
Metropolitan of Athens - Rival
The faction of the congregation of the Greek Church, 191 Kinzie street, who are trying to supplant the Rev. Father Peter Phiambolis and install the Rev. Father Theodore Papaconstantine in his place did not make the threatened attempt to seize the church at the morning service yesterday. The announcement that there would be policemen present to suppress any outbreak had the desired effect, as Father Papaconstantine and his friends did not come near the place.
When seen later in the day Father Papaconstantine said he was desirous of avoiding trouble and would refer the whole matter to the Metropolitan of Athens for settlement.
The friends of the new priest are more radical. They say they will have Father Papaconstantine in any event, and declare they will not attend the church until the matter has been decided by the Metropolitan.
May Organize a New Church
In case the Metropolitan decides against Father Papaconstantine, his supporters say he will have to be accepted as assistant priest or they will organize a new church and place him in charge.
The church was crowded during the services yesterday. Father Phiambolis presided as usual, and not an interruption of any kind occurred. The greater portion of the 300 people present were supporters of the old priest. There were a few others whose sympathies were in the opposite direction. They made no open manifestation, however. This may have been due to the presence of Lieutenant T. H. Seery of the East Chicago Avenue Police Station and ten policemen, who attended the services in citizens' dress, on orders issued by Assistant Chief of Police Lyman Lewis and Inspector Schaack, at the request of Father Phiambolis, for the express purpose of preventing a clash between the two factions. Only one trustee was present.
Stand by Phiambolis.
At the conclusion of the service Father Phiambolis announced that they had voted unanimously to support him in the fight and that he would continue in charge of the church so long as he was backed up by them. He was given an informal reception after this announcement.
"The whole fight has been brought about by one unprincipled man," said Father Phiambolis. "It dates further back than the recent Greek war. About four years ago Diamatius Coyeonis obtained $50 from us by what I considered unfair methods. I made him return the money, and told the church what I thought of him. Since then he has tried to stir up all the trouble he can. When the war broke out he hunted up some volunteers and persuaded them to ask the church for $700. I refused to give it to them. Then they made complaint to the Metropolitan at Athens and asked that another priest be sent here. The Metropolitan sent a priest before consulting with the trustees of the church, which he should not have done, according to the laws of the church, and the present trouble is partially his fault.
"The new priest will not be allowed to officiate at any service in the church. No matter if he is sent by the Metropolitan he must get the consent of the trustees before he can hold services."
In the Greek restaurant at 11 Dearborn street each of the opposing priests has posted a notice that he is the legal head of the church here, having been so commissioned by the Metropolitan. The place is the headquarters of the friends of the new priest.
George Manate, a leading supporter of Father Papaconstantine, said: "A large proportion of the members want the new priest. They are satisfied that two priests are needed, and if Father Papaconstantine is not accepted there will certainly be a new church organized for him."
The name of Diamatius Coyeonis, whom Father Phiambolis accuses of being responsible for the trouble, is not given in the directory. No one seemed to know where he was yesterday.