Many observers in the Orthodox Church became speechless not only in America but everywhere in the world, including, of course Greece and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, with the revealing article of The National Herald in last week’s edition regarding the anti-ecclesiastical and dangerous behavior of officials of the Metropolis of Boston, especially Metropolitan Methodios and his chancellor Fr. Theodore Barbas. Those who live in Boston, in the United States, and also at the Phanar know that both of them are capable of anything. The expression of surprise came mostly from Greece, the rest of Europe, and Mount Athos simply because they couldn’t believe that they dared go so far.
Someone must be simpleminded to believe that Fr. Barbas wrote the letter to the priests on his own basically urging them to revolt against the School of Theology and its president George Cantonis and the Archdiocese and Archbishop Elpidophoros.
As I stated in my article, “Fr. Barbas as chancellor of the Metropolis of Boston, according to ecclesiastical order and protocol, acts, writes, and operates on behalf of Metropolitan Methodios of Boston.” The fact that after a few days he wrote a new e-mail saying “please understand that my August 25 email, sent under my own signature, expresses my own personal opinion and recommendations. As a brother and senior clergyman of our Archdiocese, I felt it my responsibility to write to you about my concerns” simply widens the lie and the mockery even more.
Someone must wonder why the concerned Fr. Barbas didn’t write anything all those years that former Archbishop Demetrios led the Archdiocese to spiritual, administrative, and financial bankruptcy. Why didn’t Fr. Barbas write one single word when for fifteen and more years during Demetrios’ archieratical tenure the Archdiocese didn’t contribute to the pension plan of the clergy? Why didn’t he say anything when they sold the late Archbishop Iakovos’ residence when the real estate market was at its lowest point so that the new Archbishop doesn’t have a place to live? Furthermore, what happened to the monies from the sale? Where was Fr. Barbas when Demetrios mortgaged the office buildings of the Archdiocese to get a bank loan? He didn’t write anything when Demetrios abandoned the St. Nicholas Church and Shrine, leaving it unfinished after spending tens of millions of dollars. Where was he when Demetrios and his cronies brought the School of Theology to the edge of closing and of losing its academic accreditation? On the contrary, Fr. Barbas admired and praised archdiocesan administrators Jerry Dimitriou and George Vourvoulias. I am sure everybody remembers them.
Let me repeat one more time that Demetrios wasn’t the only one responsible for the bankruptcy of the Church and the School, but also the members of the Eparchial Synod, the Archdiocesan Council, and the latter’s Finance Committee. Yes, they are all responsible and instead of keeping their mouths shut they have the audacity to present themselves as wise men, with some hierarchs undercutting Archbishop Elpidophoros, who inherited the chaos which they created.
Certainly the essence of our revelatory article was in the following paragraph: “This is not the first time that the Metropolis of Boston provoked a `revolt' against the Archdiocese. We reveal here that at the beginning of July Metropolitan Methodios of Boston led a serious ecclesiastical deviation by convening through a teleconference the Eparchial Synod without the knowledge of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, during which they discussed the issue of the retirement age for hierarchs as well as their retirement benefits. This ecclesiastical coup, known in Orthodox tradition as `faction and intrigue' (τυρεία και φατρία), is one of the most serious anti-ecclesiastical and uncanonical acts and it can even lead to defrocking. It is emphasized that is only Archbishop Elpidophoros who presides (President of the Synod – Πρόεδρος της Συνόδου) and has the right and the privilege to convene the Synod, and nobody else.”
It is really tragic, the lack of self-knowledge which leads to every form and level of “coups and factions” (τυρείες και φατρίες) “without the opinion” and even knowledge of the First (δίχα της γνώμης του Πρώτου). One is really surprised by the magnitude of the tolerance of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
And just a reminder: Archbishop Elpidophoros didn’t come to the Archdiocese of America out of the blue. He was sent by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Holy Synod around him. The Archdiocese of America is one, unified, and undivided Ecclesiastical Eparchy of the Ecumenical Throne. The par excellence Archbishop of America, as well as of Australia, Great Britain, and Canada is the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. When Archbishop Elpidophoros in the Eucharist commemorates the Patriarch saying “among the first remember, Lord, our Archbishop and Patriarch Bartholomew; grant him to Your holy churches in peace, safety, honor, and health, unto length of days, rightly teaching the word of Your truth.”
Archbishop Elpidophoros’ enthronement was done in the name of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, manifesting the order and the connection of the Archdiocese and the Archbishop of America with the Ecumenical Patriarch. In other words, Elpidophoros is an extension of the Ecumenical Patriarch at the Archdiocese of America, or if you prefer in more theological terms at the Local Church of America. This very simply means that whichever hierarch opposes or organizes coups and factions (τυρείες και φατρίες) against Archbishop Elpidophoros, in essence goes against the venerable person of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. This doesn’t only apply to Methodios of Boston but to all hierarchs of the Archdiocese.
Thank God the Archdiocese of America is not Autonomous, neither Autocephalous, because we would have come to our historic end. Fortunately, it is an Ecclesiastical Eparchy of the First Throne of the Church of Constantinople which is a special honor and blessing for the flock of the Archdiocese.