Greek Orthodox Community Divided Over Metropolitan Isaiah’s Decision

Stella Tsolakidou

After the October 24 meeting of Greek Orthodox parishioners regarding their Church leader’s decision to split the Salt Lake City community into two parishes, the outraged parishioners decided to sue Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver — the Greek Orthodox leader for a 12-state region including Utah — for his decision to disregard both the parishioners will and the directive of the Synod.
Back in 2007, a survey amongst parishioners has shown that 87% were against the split of the Greek Orthodox Community into two parishes, the Holy Trinity Cathedral located in Salt Lake City downtown and the Prophet Elias Church in Holladay.

In the October 24 meeting, 90 community members discussed ways of keeping the 105-year-old community intact, which included possible suing and judicial action on behalf of them.
Holy Trinity Cathedral was the original parish church and then in the 1960’s the community added a second church, the one of Prophet Elias. Today, the combined parish has more than 1,200 families.

Metropolitan Isaiah claimed that the two churches have been “de facto” separate parishes for several years, and he has become convinced that most parishioners want them to formally separate.

“The anger and the animosity between these parishes, involving an increasing number of members, have verified the fact that this situation could last for many more years,” Metropolitan Isaiah wrote, “and this would be a continuing detriment to the teachings and traditions of our holy Orthodox faith.”

Parishioner John Saltas finds no particular reason to undo what the community has built over more than a century. “Our community has been neighbors, work partners and communes at the holy altar for over 100 years,” he said. “The majority of us do not want this to happen, and that’s by a wide, wide, wide majority.”

Now, the concerned parishioners are planning to continue with the legal actions against The Metropolitan and the Proistameno of Prophet Elias Church, since their only wish is to get things back the way they were before the arrival of the Proistameno.