Services Suspended at Salt Lake's Greek Orthodox Churches
There will be no religious services at Salt Lake City’s two Greek Orthodox churches until a dispute between parish members and the church hierarchy can be worked out. Prophet Elias church in Holladay and the Holy Trinity cathedral in downtown Salt Lake are both part of the same parish. Lay leaders looking at a budget shortfall informed the parish’s three priests last week that their salaries would be cut by 40-percent. Metropolitan Isaiah, the regional leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in Denver, responded by saying the priests would not officiate at any liturgies or sacraments until further notice. That includes worship services, weddings and baptisms.
There was one exception made for services celebrating the Feast of the Transfiguration, an important event on the Orthodox calendar earlier this week. The priests will also be allowed to officiate at services marking the Assumption of the Virgin Mary on Thursday, August 15th.
Responding to KUER's questions by e-mail, Metropolitan Isaiah said the priests are not employees of the parish council and their salaries are set by the archdiocese. He said the parish had been financially solvent until 2010, but "increasing disunity" has led to its money problems.
The head of the parish council, Dimitrios Tsagaris told KUER this is an internal issue for the church that is being resolved.
Church members say plans for the annual Greek Festival are going ahead without interruption.
(updated at 9:30 a.m. Friday 8/9)
Metropolitan Isaiah responds to questions from KUER reporter Dan Bammes