Let the truth prevail! A publisher and former clergyman responds to Vasso Morali

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So far to date I have made a conscious decision to refrain from making any comment on your posts.

However, the slander and very much biased account that you portray, opens a floodgate of temptation in me to defend the truth as I and many others have lived it. On face value it seems you have been ill treated, but after some genuine objective assessment it is very apparent this predicament is an unfavourable development in a partnership- with an adverse fallout for all parties concerned.

The most difficult task for me is to provide a fair and honest reply without offending the memory of a good hierarch, [the late Archbishop Stylianos] a hierarch that no one can deny was both a charismatic and strong leader.

 He courageously led the church through many storms and difficult times, but nonetheless made decisions that sometimes were harsh and unjustified at the expense of many good people.As a deacon of almost four years I can personally attest to many such incidents.

 I also can attest with hardcore evidence that he was not the humble and pious man that you and certain others vehemently cry out about.  In actual fact most Australian Greeks would confirm the same.In his own words, he repeatedly told us during theology class – he was a man who preferred to teach theology and have a family – instead the circumstances saw him being thrust into ordination as a celibate priest only to be sent to the other end of the world to sort out chaos.No easy task and most men would have crumbled, yet he forged on.

For this courage we should all acknowledge this and be eternally grateful he did not turn his back on Australia. However, the fact remains that during his tenure, right until the very end he was flanked by good people and some not so good.

He protected and covered up  many that should not have held positions of a pastoral or administrative capacity. He was the epitome of light and darkness. After one passes, clergy or lay, we are obligated to honour and remember them for the good work they did and leave the rest for God’s discretion. However, posts like yours and similar campaigns that have been systematically run the last 6 months or so, against a good man -our new archbishop, serve no purpose to the church that archbishop Stylianos fought for so hard to build. Further, the slander campaign forces a comparison between the two leaders [past and present] that does no justice to either man.In actual fact you are forcing 99% of the orthodox population to remember the dark and negative aspects of Stylianos’s tenure whilst comparing them to Makarios’s loving and placid nature.

 The faithful are gauging the two hierarchs by example whilst your pitiful attack is actually doing harm to Archbishop Stylianos memory.In twelve months alone Archbishop Makarios has done nothing but visit and unite communities that Stylianos had ostracised and exiled – some of these communities did not even know what a bishop’s mitre looked like. I ask you and your likeminded minority- under the old regime, had we become so accustomed to being screamed at, abused whilst trying to survive in an environment in which the moral and righteous  [clergy and laity] were exiled as lunatics? Are we finding it difficult to come to terms with a loving fatherly figure? Are we so accustomed to emotional and spiritual abuse we now find ourselves too numb to trust again leaving us in a confused state of behaviour ? Perhaps archbishop Makarios should adopt the same heavy handed and cruel approach?  Perhaps this will make him more favourable to the 1 % very loud minority?

As publisher of the O Kosmos newspaper for the last decade, I could have adopted a more hardline approach – particularly with those archbishop Stylianos protected and covered up – Instead for the good of the church I chose to neither attack nor defend – but remain neutral.

Myself and hundreds of thousands of people here in Australia are grateful for the new Archbishop. Archbishop Makarios’s vision and love for the church is one that seeks to build, fulfil and exceed on archbishop Stylianos’s good works and legacy.Ultimately, we cannot memorialise and honour the good works of previous archbishops by attacking the new archbishop.

Spiro Haralambous

Publisher of O KOSMOS

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