Whern it comes to Constantinople, you have to wonder WHY they are taking American money. What is going on in Constantinople which requires that money - $750,000 this year? Where are the new churches? the extensive charitable programmes? the relief work? How is it expended by the Patriarchate? Is it consumed by the Patriarch's travel expenses?
A few notes...
When I went to Constantinople in 2006, I believed that the US Archons and Archdiocese made up a major part of the Patriarchate's income stream, and that they (EP) should be more grateful than they appear to be (and more accommodating). I too wondered where the missionary efforts were, and wondered what they were doing wrong to be losing so many of the faithful who were permitted to stay in Constantinople. While I had the historical perspective on the persecution of the Rum (Roman/Greeks in Turkey) that continues to this day, I had no idea about the widespread extent and brutal severity of it.
In Constantinople, I got a wake-up call. (1) The government of Greece is the major supporter of the Patriarchate, providing enough money for most of the salaries, living expenses, heavy taxes, legal fees, etc. that are needed. American money, while not insignificant, certainly would not be able to support the Patriarchate, seeing as the Patriarchate supports not only itself but the active Churches, monasteries, schools, and the hospital.
(2) The persecution of the Rum and the Church is active, widespread, constant, oppressive, and nearly impossible to stem. The government routinely seizes Churches (hence, why the EP needs legal money); they will not permit the construction of new Churches; since much of the "wealth" of the Church is tied to the hundreds of Churches it owned, it has been left in a compromised position thanks to these seizures. It is even impossible to perform repair work on the existing Churches, leaving many of them in dangerous states, close to collapse (Agia Sophia is not free from this - the government had under-funded its own "museum" for so long that it needs extensive repair work now). The Patriarchate does perform charitable work - the operation of the hospital sits at the forefront, where they do not question potential patients about their faith or political leanings, but treat all equally, and often times for no remuneration. However, their charitable activities are severely crimped by the restrictions on movement and public activity placed upon them by the government. In essence, the EP and the parishes within the Archdiocese of Constantinople (as well as the neighboring Archdiocese and Metropolises that have been absorbed into the city limits of Istambul) must operate as a mix between a catacomb Church and an open one. And then there is the issue of the Muslim zealots who are constantly looking to kill members of the Patriarchate, damage the buildings, and disrupt life so as to drive all Christians out of Turkey for good.
However, as we discovered in our travels around the city, their activity and persecution does not go unnoticed. We spoke with a number of people who were sympathetic to the plight of the Rum and the Rum Patriarchate; still others who had married an Orthodox person and who were raising their children as Orthodox Christians; still others who speculated that there were many "secret Christians" who only awaited the freedom to express this without death threats from their Muslim neighbors and "Secularist" government.