Saturday, November 11, 2017

Baptism, Wedding and Funeral Registry of GOC Archdiocese in Danger


THE REGISTRY OF THE ARCHDIOCESE IS IN DANGER
COMPANY DIGITIZING RECORDS REFUSES TO RETURN THEM UNTIL PAID IN FULL BY ARCHDIOCESE
By Theodore Kalmoukos

Published in The National Herald, October 21-27, 2017  

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I am excited to announce that The National Herald has given Hellenic Genealogy Geek the right to reprint articles that may be of interest to our group. 

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NEW YORK – The Registry of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is in danger because it was given to a special company to digitalize it without keeping copies, but the company refuses to return the data until the Archdiocese pays it in full. The Registry contains the names of all the Greek-Orthodox faithful who have had baptisms, weddings and funerals performed by the Church. 

Practically speaking, the Archdiocese doesn’t have the ability to issue any certificate of baptism or wedding in case some faithful members of the parishes request one, especially before the creation of the local Metropolises when all of that information was stored at the Archdiocese. 

The entire cost of the digitalization was going to be more than a million dollars. A half million was given as deposit to the company to start working on it. The company finished the job but it refuses to return the information unless it receives the total amount. 

Meantime Director of Registry Fr. Michael Kontogiorgis was recently fired. He held the position for a number of years. He was brought in by former Archbishop Spyridon as assistant to the chancellor. Also a few weeks ago, an assistant to Fr. Kontogiorgis was also dismissed. 

Kontogiorgis and Archdiocesan Chancellor Bishop Andonios of Phasiane did not respond to TNH’s request for comment. 

Sources from within the Archdiocese told TNH that the situation is so dire that there was no paper for copies. Also, the elevator at the Archdiocese was out of use for months because there was no money to repair it. 

Also the pest control company – the problem of rats in New York City is well-known – stopped servicing the Archdiocese due to lack of money. 

The same sources told TNH that department heads and other Archdiocesan officials were wasting a lot of money by using credit cards for travel expenses to Greece and many other purposes, without quality control. 

There were cases of Archdiocese officials traveling to Greece with first class air tickets and also expensive dinners and wines. The credit cards were recalled recently and those eligible to use them must first obtain authorization first from new Archdiocese CFO Fr. Soterios Baroody. 

Also, the frequent changing of the flowers at the Archdiocese entrance cost thousands of dollars.

 TNH has learned that His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios knew all that was taking place even by some of his trusted persons, whom he had brought to the Archdiocese, but he never did anything to stop the lavishness and mismanagement. 

It is reminded here that in the announcement he issued on October 10 in essence admitted that the waste of money of the Church was out of control and badly mismanaged. He wrote the following: “Beginning in October of 2016, and continuing through early 2017, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America, and the officers of the Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council learned that the Archdiocese faced a severe and complex financial deficit that had been building for several years.” 

As TNH has revealed, the deficit is $8.5 million.