LETTER TO PATRIARCH DIODOROS, 5/18/1989
Patriarch Diodoros of Jerusalem
Jerusalem, May, 18, 1989
It is more than a year now that I am persecuted simply because I protested your behavior towards me in general and specifically as a Patriarchal representative in Irbet, Jordan. And we have reached the point where you are threatening me with extremely harsh punishments because of my protests and because I submitted my resignation from Irbet, due to the fact that, as I explained, I could not serve there under the current circumstances.
You called me a revolutionary and a communist because of my protests. If to express one’s opinion for what one thinks is proper and right means that he is a revolutionary, then yes, indeed, I am a revolutionary. However I never was a communist and I am not going to become one now just in order to please you. You have established Communism and dictatorship in the Patriarchate. And as in communism and in any other kind of dictatorship, those who speak the truth are not welcome and are persecuted; likewise you are persecuting the brothers who speak the truth.
This situation cannot be continued. We have reached the bottom: The Patriarchate is on the way to dissolution; chaos everywhere; no people to serve; the finances miserable; and as you said recently, in a little while we will not be able to pay for the expenses of the Patriarchate. Our Flock faces dangers of all kinds and, generally speaking, the world is falling apart and you are after the brothers, young and old, who dare to say something for the well being of the Patriarchate. The only thing you care for is having a good time: Houses, automobiles, a complete zoo for the pleasures of the flesh, countless number of servants in your service, receptions, travels, etc. The Patriarchate exists to serve just one purpose: Your personal comfort and luxury. You see it as your own private business and as a means to give you pleasure.
However, the Patriarchate is very important and too great an inheritance for our Church to allow you to use it as you do and to destroy it.
You said, a few days ago, that you want to develop the assets of the Patriarchate for the future of the Brotherhood. First of all, I would like to remind you that the future of the Brotherhood cannot be secured with financial assets but rather with the blessings of God and when there is love amongst its members. If the development you are talking about is going to be like the other developments you have done until now, it is better that you skip it, because this is not development; this is a waste of the assets of the Patriarchate. Can you tell us what happened to the money left by your predecessor? Could it be that you ran out of money and want to secure more for your expenses? You sent and spent money, but for what? To build villas and palaces for your own enjoyment; not for anything useful for the Patriarchate. The funny thing is that you have no time to enjoy them all. Others enjoy them or they are abandoned and are falling apart. Should I mention our Monastery at Jaffa? So much money spent and in the end all we see is ruins and the Superior living amongst them. How about the building in Bethlehem? While it could cost only half the money you spent until now to be finished within a year, it is still not finished five years later. Or the building in Irbet; so many years and it is still left half finished and abandoned with no interest to finish it and use it.
Of course you built your Palace in Amman. A dictator should definitely have his Palace in the Capital, and a Villa in Jericho, and a vacation house in Akaba, and in Cyprus and I do not know where else. Of course, we do not have money for the needs of the Patriarchate and the Brotherhood.
A brother asks for some money to fix his room, but we have no money. We also have no money for the medical care of the Brothers. And don’t lie and say that the brothers have medical care. If we did, as we did in the past before you came up, many of them (those who can afford it), wouldn’t have bought medical insurance themselves. The students of the Patriarchal School do not have enough to eat, but we have no money for them. They go around without adequate clothing, but we have no money for that. We force them to do all the work at school themselves because we have no money to hire personnel. They were left for two years without heating during the winter; we had no money for them. We have a guest at the Patriarchate but we have not even one room to host him. Of course, you will say that we have no room to receive a newcomer to serve in the Patriarchate and so we send them to the hotels and I ask for rooms for the guests! However for our personal friends and servants we find the way and the money to solve all of their problems. And if we do not have anything available, we somehow find thousands of dollars to build something in no time. There is never a shortage of money when there is a need for your personal assistants, to fix their houses or anything else they may need. There is never a shortage of personnel for your needs: drivers, cooks, cleaners, etc. Only for the needs of the Patriarchate is there a lack of money. Of course, how could there be any? Do you leave anything for that?
Who knows what is going on with the finances of the Patriarchate? No one! You do anything you want without having to give account to anybody. And so, after all this “development”, now you want to develop more assets. Well no sir! We must not let you to do anything like that. Only when the finances will be controlled by the brotherhood and by a committee that will be overseen by the Synod, only then can we proceed to develop our assets and any of the properties of the Patriarchate. Nobody is enjoying such immunity as you, not even the Pope or the President of the USA.
Your indifference for the affairs of the Patriarchate and your dictatorial behavior towards the brothers have reduced the number of the brothers and caused a great shortage of members. On the other hand, not only do we lack a program to attract new students for the School but, on the contrary, we try hard to force out those who are already here. All the brothers are dissatisfied with the present situation. We live under medieval conditions: under terror and obscurantism.
There is no spirituality of any kind in the Patriarchate. At this time there is not one brother studying abroad. Why? Because you do not want the brothers to be educated, because if they are, they will understand more and “we” do not want people around who “understand”. You only want simpletons who will blindly obey your orders. I cannot imagine greater obscurantism. Or, maybe, you did not send anybody to study because we do not have enough brothers around to fill the needs of the Patriarchate? Indeed, even though we do not have enough brothers for the needs of the Patriarchate, something for which we alone are responsible because we did not do anything to attract new brothers, when it comes to the education of the brothers and their training to better serve the needs of the Patriarchate then, we can and must make any and all the sacrifices that are needed. The brothers must be well equipped to face the challenges of the times and difficulties that the conditions in our area present, to fend off the dangers that we face every day and every hour, and to fill the needs of the Patriarchate and our Flock.
While we are doing nothing to attract new brothers, we gather the first to come, regardless of their qualifications. Sometimes they are unsuitable to serve anywhere in the Patriarchate, but maybe we think that if they are not worthy of anything, then they will not have any expectations and will not complain if they are sidestepped. Then, even they threaten us that they will leave the Patriarchate if we do not satisfy their demands.
It is so sad to see the present state of the Patriarchate, and yet nobody seems to pay any attention to it, and especially the man in charge. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, our life and our reason of existence is in miserable condition mainly because of lack of enough and adequate personnel. Where the best members of the Patriarchate should serve, we see people of all kinds and qualifications, strange and completely unsuitable for the purpose. Services are conducted and there is no one to say “Kyrie Eleison”. There is no one to light the censer or to help the Priest. We see a Nun (may God have mercy on her), ruling in the Holy Sepulchre like ten Superiors together and scandalizing everybody around. But, of course, all these are of less importance to you. It is enough for you that the collection of the day be delivered to you. It is a whole another story that the way the money is collected and comes to you is not ensuring that the money gets to its destination. We all know that but you do not seem to care. Or maybe you think that since they serve your needs as you want, it doesn’t matter if they withhold the worth of their services. The problem is that others are then wrongly accused for stealing the money.
Now, if such a situation prevails at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, someone can easily imagine what the conditions are at the other Holy Places and Monasteries. May God have mercy on us all.
You have said many times that you are not an embezzler. And yet you are! You are an embezzler of the vote of the Brotherhood that elected a Patriarch, yet found a Dictator. It elected a father and found a tyrant. It elected a coordinator and found a dismantler. We were brothers and we became slaves. No one can speak up and express his opinion. We can only say what is pleasant to the ears of the Patriarch if we do not want to be thrown out in the streets. When you expel someone from the Synod, just as it pleases you, because he expressed his opinion and protested for certain things, then someone can imagine what can happen to the other brothers of lower rank. Of course I do not accept my expulsion from the Synod, nor do I accept the other punishments you imposed on me just as it pleased you, and extorting me : “either you go back (to Irbet) or I will punish you”, without the free consent of the Synod and under the present conditions. Only when the Synod will vote in a free and secret ballot, will I accept its verdict. Not even in the prisons of the Zulu, in Africa, can someone meet such obscurantism. Even there, there exists better security than here at our Patriarchate.
Otherwise, everything is okay. We have the situation under control and should someone dare to pretend he is smart and raise his head, we cut it and we continue our good time.
Your Beatitude, today, even in the most austere communist State they have Perestroika & Glasnost, because they realized that the dictatorship brings only destruction. Bu you do not want to accept that. This is an opportunity. I tried in the past to ring the alarm and I am doing it even now, before it is too late, because I want to stop you from the downturn that you are in, leading the Patriarchate to destruction. Some of those who did not want you as a Patriarch see the situation in the Patriarchate and laugh with us saying, “You wanted him as a Patriarch, then you are worthy of your fate”. Others, who are cowards say, “Don’t expect me to straighten the situation”. And others, “Unfortunately, only when the Patriarch dies we can expect the situation to improve”. What do you think, your Beatitude? Is there no hope for this situation to change? Must we wait for your death in order to see a better day? I say, no. The situation can change right now, if you want it to. Please your Beatitude: Change your ways. Extend your hands to the Brotherhood and cooperate with it for the best interest of us all. All the brothers are willing and ready to cooperate with you and even to give their lives for the Patriarchate and for a good Patriarch, a real father for all. Do it for this incredible inheritance of our faith and our people, to which we dedicated our lives. Do it, if not for anything else, at least so that history will write that you helped the Patriarchate to go ahead and not that you destroyed it. Finally, do it for your own sake, so that you may live the rest of your life amongst brothers who will love you and will do everything they can to please you. You can do it now. It is never too late.
As for myself, do not worry about me. If I am the one to blame for the situation, I am ready and willing, if the Brotherhood will ask it of me, to quit from any position I may have and serve as a door man, or even to leave the Patriarchate.
If, on the other hand, you will continue to think that everything is okay and that you must eliminate me, I am informing you that I am not afraid of you and that I am going to fight you in any possible way, until the end of my life. I wouldn’t be scared of you even if you could burn me on the stake or even hang me. And I do know that I may lose in this effort of mine, as no one can tell what the final out come may be.
In anticipation of your answer I remain,
+Bishop Nikiphoros of Constantine
THE CHRONICLE OF MY PROTESTS
LETTER TO PATRIARCH DIODOROS
OPEN LETTER TO PATRIARCH EIRINEOS
ANNOUNCEMENT OF MY REINSTATEMENT
LETTER #1 TO PATRIARCH THEOPHILOS
LETTER #2 TO PATRIARCH THEOPHILOS
OPEN LETTER OF RESIGNATION
ANNOUNCEMENT OF ANATHEMA