Archbishop Demetrios and Patriarch Bartholomew Met in Geneva (Adds)

FILE - Archbishop Demetrios with Patriarch Bartholomew in a previous meeting at the Theological School of Halki. (Photo by GOA/Dimitrios Panagos)

BOSTON – Archbishop Demetrios of America and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew met in Geneva where His All Holiness is participating in a conference of the World Council of Churches.

The meeting was kept secret from everyone. According to high ranking ecclesiastical officials of the Ecumenical Throne, there are potentially two explanations for this meeting: (1) the Patriarch called the Archbishop in a very last attempt to convince him to submit his resignation willingly; or (2) the Archbishop was informed that his transfer to another Metropolis will be announced in the next meeting of the Holy Synod (November 27-29) and thus, the Archbishop went to Geneva in a last desperate attempt to convince the Patriarch to allow him to stay.

It is reminded here that His All Holiness has urged Archbishop Demetrios, in the most official way, to submit his resignation to the Synod, but he has refused.

In the meantime, Archbishop Demetrios called a special teleconference of the Executive Committee meeting for Monday, November 26 at 3 pm. His chief secretary Alice Kurian informed the Executive Committee members on Monday afternoon, November 19, shortly after The National Herald had broken the story about the meeting between Archbishop Demetrios and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Geneva.

Kurian didnot mention the reason for the special Executive Committee teleconference to which the members of the Eparchial Synod have been invited as well since they are also members of the Executive Committee.

Finance Committee Chairman Lazaros Kyrkos is showing the budgets of past Clergy Laity Congress while Archdiocesan Council vice chairman George Tsandikos listens.
TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos

The exclusive story of TNH regarding the meeting in Geneva spread quickly everywhere in the U.S., in Greece, and around the world. Also the hierarchs and the members of the Archdiocesan Council of the Archdiocese learned the news from TNH.

The general sense is that developments at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of American are imminent in light of the meeting of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate next week at the Phanar.

High ranking ecclesiastical officials of the Ecumenical Throne told TNH that His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew wished to give one more opportunity to Archbishop Demetrios to make a dignified exit because the decision for his removal from the Archdiocese of America has already been made.

It is reminded here that the Archdiocese has reached a stage of bankruptcy economically and otherwise. It was forced to use as collateral its Manhattan office buildings and took out a bank loan to pay its debt. The construction of the St. Nicholas nave has stopped just about one year ago with no set date for resuming while another $40 million are required for its completion. Also, Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA are in a dire situation in terms of the student body which amounts to only 154 students for both Schools and they face serious financial problems. TNH has learned that the School has financial resources until the end of November. After that it will dip again into the endowment fund which has been almost exhausted with just $1.5 million left.