Arch-enemy: Castimatidis calls for resignation of Greek Orthodox Archbishop

Photo by Joseph M. Calisi
Work on the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at the eastern tip of Liberty Park was halted last year because the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America defaulted on payments to its contractors.
Photo by Joseph M. Calisi

BY COLIN MIXSON

Billionaire grocer John Catsimatidis penned a letter to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America calling for its leader to resign over allegations he squandered millions of dollars by mismanaging the rebuilding of a Downtown church destroyed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“The financial mismanagement that has occurred is inexcusable,” Catsimatidis wrote. “Saint Nicholas at Ground Zero should be our crowning jewel; instead we are a national embarrassment. The Archdiocese has misused funds, the priests’ pensions, and God knows what else!”

Greek-born grocery magnate John Catsimatidis.
Associated Press / Seth Wenig

The Greek-born multi-billionaire penned the incendiary missive after the church failed to pay contractors working to rebuild the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at 130 Liberty St., leading construction to grind to a halt last December.

The project’s budget, originally set at $30 million, has ballooned to $80 million, the New York Post reported, and the state Attorney General’s office launched an investigation into the church’s handling of the project funds in April.

Catsimatidis alleges that the church’s financial difficulties are the direct result of Archbishop Demetrios’s negligence, and said its time for the 90-year-old to resign his post as the archdiocese’s high priest.

“The Seminary is in danger of closing, but the Archbishop refuses to resign, saying that he wants to fix the problems. But he is the one who was in charge when these problems happened in the first place!” Catsimatidis railed.

The supermarket magnate suggested that, should Demetrios choose to take the high road and step down, he would be in good company.

“Even retired Pope Benedict says it was his ‘duty’ to resign from the papacy,” he said.

But if he doesn’t, Catsimatidis said he and other well-heeled supplicants will withhold the financial and managerial assistance needed to complete the long-anticipated rebuilding of the church.

“I, for one, know there are many who are ready and willing to step up and fix the problems. But we will only step up to our responsibilities when the Archbishop accepts his responsibility for the mess we are in and steps down,” Catsimatidis said in his letter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *