Archbishop Demetrios and Hierarchs of America in Defiance of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

BOSTON – The Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America defied the Synodical decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to revise the List of Candidates for the elevation to Episcopacy.

Instead in a unprecedented move they decided that the Archbishop with a representation of hierarchs travel to Constantinople to try to convince Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to reverse the initial Synodical decision that canceled the election of Bishop Sevastianos of Zela as Metropolitan of Chicago.

The decision was taken on Thursday July 20 in a special session of the Eparchial Synod convened by its president His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America. All the Synodical hierarchs were present except Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver.

Archbishop Demetrios will send a letter to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew requesting an audience at the Phanar.

The above decision could ignite ecclesiastical developments of historic magnitude.


  1. Baby that you ask you finally become all the capitals and make our own decisions it seems religion does not play much roll on the decision Constantinople made but politics. Although born Greek my family and I are choosing to move away from Eastern Orthodoxy at the moment too much politics not enough God.

    1. Please excuse the post above my s voice and auto correct went nuts and i can’t delete.

    2. So you think that leaving the Church is a good idea? There are humans everywhere that do stupid things. That’s not a reason to leave the Church. Who cares if you’re Greek? We go to worship God, not worry about stupid politics. So, go and worship and pray.

      Also, if you think you’ll find a group with no politics, you’ll learn quickly that doesn’t exist.

    3. Maybe you should stay, because church and state are inseperable with the Orthodox. Especially with the Greeks. Look at Russia.

    4. That would be an unwise thing to leave the ONLY TRUE church. There is no grace outside of our Holy Orthodoxy. Don’t voluntarily become a heretic.

    5. What a strange decision. Moving away from the Church is certainly not how you get more of God.

      “To be Christian means to belong to the Church.

      “According to the words of Saint Cyprian, to be a Christian means to belong to the visible Church and to submit to the hierarchy which God has placed in it. The Church is the realization of Christ’s love and any separation from the Church is a violation of this love, in which both heretics and schismatics sin equally.

      “…Saint Cyprian even expressed the decisive thought that, not only can there be no Christian life outside the Church, but there can be no Christian teaching either. The pure faith exists only in the Church. Saint Cyprian also calls the Church by the name ‘Truth,’ and teaches that the unity of the faith cannot be separated from the unity of the Church, for truth is one even as the Church is one.

      “He who does not adhere to the unity of the Church cannot think that he is preserving the faith. Any separation from the Church is, without fail, connected with the distortion of the faith. ‘The enemy has contrived heresies and schisms in order to overthrow the faith, distort the truth, and dissolve unity. His servants proclaim the treachery under the pretense of faith, herald the antichrist in the name of Christ and, concealing the lie by means of imitation righteousness, subtly and guilefully destroy the truth.'”

    6. Please do not move away from Orthodoxy, go to another Archdiocese. I am Romanian but I am with the Antiochians. Very happy. Our Bishop Thomas is awesome, and our Priests focus on our spirituality and growth in our faith. You don’t have to be Greek to be Orthodox. You just have to love Christ and want to follow his commandments. Love God, and love your neighbor. Lord, have mercy.
      Doamne ajuta.

    7. Indeed too much politics and no transpenracy. What happened when the Archbishop went to see the Patriarch?

  2. I respectfully disagree with you on the use of “defiance.” Since the issue is of paramount importance for the Chicago Metropolis, I would agree with them in their decision to enlighten the patriarch by a personal visit and engage in a logical (also “Christian?”) dialogue. Will he listen? It remains to be seen! Unless he does listen,
    the ecclesiastical developments will be catastrophic!

    1. The Us Greek Eastern Orthodox church needs to become autocephalous and govern our own stay away from politics and concentrate on keeping our faith or we will soon not be relevant on any level.

  3. The Patriarchate should respect the decision of the Church in America, as expressed in its selction of Bishop Sevastianos to lead the Metroppolis of Chicago. The decision was made by Archbishop Demetrios and seven of the eight members of the Eparchial Synod after consulting with the clergy and laity of the Archdiocese as provided by the rules. No one in Istanbul knows the needs of the Church in America better than those who are here, living and practicing their faith. This is not a hill the Patriarchate should choose to die on. A decision by the Patriarchate to overrule the decision of the Church in America will be seen as arbitrary and capricious. It will weaken the ties and the support, both financial and political, that the Church in America provides to “The Great Church in Captivity” in Istanbul.

    1. As an Orthodox Christian living in the Metropolis of Chicago, I completely disagree with you. It is a fact that Archbishop Demetrios hijacked the Eparchial Synod meeting and refused to let the other Hierarchs discuss the other candidates and that they DID NOT discuss the input to from the Archdiocesan Council to the Consultation Committee! The laity have no voice, so please stop pretending that you do! This decision was forced by the Archbishop. I am glad to see that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is calling out the Archbishop publicly. It’s about time we have Hierarchs who promote Orthodoxy over Hellenism. May our Lord continue to give the Ecumenical Patriarch and Patriarchate many years as they combat against people (even other Christians) who want to see Church fail.

    2. I read this comment by Andrew Pappas and am saddened. The laity have no voice? The laity have been voting with their feet and their donations in Chicago for years as it suffered under their Hierarchy. Let’s allow the Church to appropriately resolve this matter and send us a true Hierarch who will cleanse the Chicago Metropolis of the Ephramites who have swarmed the region and turned the Church against itself and against the laity it is supposed to shepherd.

      First the “list” was approved, now suddenly it is not. One person on the list served my community briefly (and shamefully) as an assistant priest and had serious emotional issues causing his removal. He is a candidate merely because he is unmarried? What is wrong with this? Everything!

      Enough sufferings. Enough scandal. Enough “pray, pay and obey” mentality that reduced the Chicago Metropolis to a shell of what its potential should be. Send us a worthy Hierarch as Metropolitan and send the current “chancellor” Bishop packing until he is humbled and willing to serve. It is time to clean house in Chicago.

      Restore true Orthodoxy to the Chicago Metropolis, and remove this strange fascination with money and strange teachings of Ephramites. Do it now or the Church’s future will continue to be one of failure to its flock.

    3. Show us the link to this fact. And show us your relationship to Archbishop Demetrios.

    4. “It’s about time we have Hierarchs who promote Orthodoxy over Hellenism. May our Lord continue to give the Ecumenical Patriarch and Patriarchate many years as they combat against people (even other Christians) who want to see Church fail”

      This is the way we have to proceed in the future for our Church… we have to support the Ecumenical Patrirch to his imprtant work for us. Not to argue… I completely agree with you Mr. Andrew Pappas

  4. May God continue to bless the work of the Holy Eparchial Synod of America. Once again, the Most Revered Hierarchs, led by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, took a stand in support of their earlier inspired work to reinforce their support for the Three Person Ballot it submitted to the mother Church, in complete compliance with the Constitutional Charter of the Holy Archdiocese of America.

    It seems the venerable Ecumenical Patriarchate is attempting to confuse the matter of the election to fill the widowed See of Chicago, and may have in mind the election of a hierarch other than the most favored choice of America’s Eparchial Synod. The Ecumenical Throne must understand that a due process is not to be interrupted by Byzantine Intrigue, which would likely result in the selection of an inappropriate candidate selected by the Phanar, just as it did in 1996 which was the cause of substantial distension in the Holy Archdiocese of America for three years. Archbishop Demetrios brought peace and unity to the Holy Archdiocese at that time which has characterized his blessed Archepiscopal tenure which he is working to preserve.

    Congratulations also to the esteemed President of Orthodox Christian Laity for his appropriate support for the work of the Eparchial Synod of America.

  5. In response to Agatha and her wanting to drift away from Christian Orthodoxy for something else, everyone is free to worship any way and in any manner they wish. When we go to school we don’t go because we love the teacher or the administration but we go to learn and to here the message in the curriculum which always seems to change with the times and in many cases according to the teachers political and social beliefs which in today’s society are very liberal and very anti God. In Eastern Orthodoxy the curriculum and the message never change and are never altered or played with regardless of who the priest is or what city the church is located in and regardless of the priests personal beliefs or his private life when he’s not in the church. When you go to one of our beautiful Greek Orthodox Churches, go for the message, not the messenger. Don’t judge the parish council and the other church members, go to better yourself and your family. I hope this helps.

  6. As a member of the Chicago diocese, I know for a fact that dozens of letters were faxed to Constantinople by parishioners in the diocese in support of a Metropolitan that was not on the original list for consideration. This is a man familiar to our parishioners and diocese. Perhaps the Patriarch listened.

  7. This whole situation is yet another example I do not regret shaking the dust from the Greek Church off my shoes. May God help all those still confined in that den of vipers.

    1. “This whole situation” is… a disagreement between hierarchs about candidates for an office in the Church. Which they are trying to resolve by meeting and talking.

      What do you want instead? A Church in which no one ever disagrees about anything? Good luck with that.

    2. Thank you for proving my point. You did such a great job of doing so that some might think I paid you to do so!

      The Body of Christ has frequently had disagreements; that is why the Church has had Councils. These were disagreements about God, about Christ, and about the Holy Spirit; so these were disagreements about Truth.

      But this nonsense is all about who wields power: some want their puppet in place, and others want a different tool to serve them in their own echo chamber. This is all that the Greek church is: a place for some people to try to wield power in a limited arena, to puff up their ego.

      Again, thank you. Your statement saying that I want a “church without disagreements” shows that you do not recognize the argument for what it is: a church guided towards Truth, and sharing that Truth with the world is not only what I want but what the world needs. The Greek church has failed in their God-given mission. But they do want to invest their time in who gets to lead Chicago.

      You do not see this because the example you have been given through the Greek church is one of ignoring Truth and sticking your head in the sand. You’re just following the example given you by your hierarchs, may God have mercy upon them.

  8. @Agatha@ Mariam
    “The Church is not simply an institution. She is a ‘mode of existence,’ *a way of being*. The mystery of the Church is deeply bound to the being of man, to the being of the world and to the very being of God.
    Ecclesial being is bound to the very being of God. From the fact that a human being is a member of the Church, he becomes [participates as/in] an ‘image of God’, he exists as God Himself exists, takes on God’s *way of being*. This way of being is not a moral attainment, something that man *accomplishes*. It is a way of *relationship* with the world, with other people and with God, as an event of *communion*, and that is why it cannot be realized as the achievement of an *individual*, but only as an *ecclesial* fact.
    However, for the Church to present this way of existence, she must herself be an image of the way in which God exists. Her entire structure, her ministries etc. must express this way of existence.”
    Source: Metropolitan John Zizioulas

  9. The priests get paid too much. If u took away some of their goodies, then they would do their job. U need to have carrot and stick method with some people in life. Funny how the apostolic choir did not live In palaces like many bishops now. The apostles toiled . St Peter was fisherman , his hands were working mans hands. He did not have time for pedicure as he netted fish. The priests and bishops seem to forget this maybe.

    1. Would you like to contact me personally on that point, Markos? Where is your parish? I have a reality “check” waiting in my chequebook for anyone who thinks Priests are overpaid.

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