A group of parishioners at Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church in Holladay are looking at future options for their church after a letter from the church’s national leadership asked them to suspend any talk about dividing the parish.
Bill Souvall is the leader of a group of about two dozen people who want to study options for change in the parish. Those options include maintaining the status quo, talking to the church hierarchy about a new Greek Orthodox parish, a new parish affiliated with another Orthodox jurisdiction such as the Antiochan or Russian Orthodox churches or joining another Orthodox parish in Utah.
Most importantly, Souvall says they need to put recent disputes within the parish behind them.
“The most important thing now is to create an environment where we can heal," Souvall told KUER, "because good people on both sides of this thing have been mean and there’s been too much vitriol and we just need to stop that. It’s not productive and it’s not going to convince anybody that they’re right or wrong or vice-versa.”
The current parish council that represents both Prophet Elias and Holy Trinity Cathedral in Salt Lake City is not part of this group. Council president Dimitrios Tsagaris says he knows very little about the effort, but he says people have the freedom to associate with the church in the way they choose.