The Greek Community of Toronto (GCT), a charitable organization and separate entity from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has announced in a press release that it is looking to sell one of four Greek Orthodox Churches that it owns, in an effort to pay down a $4.5 million debt.
The organization, established in 1909 by early immigrants from Greece, has provided numerous community services over the years, including cultural and educational programming for young people, Greek language education and Greek Orthodox worship through four churches under its auspices and ownership.
Now, according to an official announcement by the GCT. The organization is set to lose earnings of more than $2 million by the end of 2021, adding to an already high debt of $4.5 million. The situation, according to the statement, is blamed on the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and the organization’s inability to hold fundraisers.
The Greek Community of Toronto owns and operates four Greek Orthodox churches— St. Demetrios, St. John the Baptist, Annunciation of the Virgin Mary and St. Irene Chrisovalantou.
Although technically under the spiritual auspices of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Canada with canonical status and priests provided by the Archdiocese, there is a long history of bad blood between the current Archbishop Sotirios and the Greek Community. These four parishes share a different status amongst Greek Torontians as “community churches” and not “Archdiocese parishes.”
One scenario playing out in various social media channels on line is that Archbishop Soterios could use Archdiocese funds to purchase the property and bring the parish under the direct jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Canada.
The contentious relationship between Soterios and many individuals in the leadership of the Greek Community could, however, complicate such a transaction.
Hundreds of people have commented on the Greek Community’s Facebook post, some supporting the decision to sell one of the four parish properties, while others passionately oppose the move.
The complete statement by the Greek Community of Toronto is here.
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