SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco issued a strong encyclical to his parishes rejecting comments made by Hellenic College-Holy Cross (HCHC) honorary doctorate recipient Efstathios Valiotis calling for the Archdiocese to become autocephalous. Gerasimos was present at HCHC’s Commencement on May 19, where Valiotis made the comments.
The metropolitan’s encyclical follows:
“Beloved in the Lord,
“‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand’ (Matthew 12:25).
“Upon reflection, I have decided to address the unfortunate public statements regarding the relationship between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America at the commencement exercises at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology on Saturday, May 19, 2018. At the time, the remarks (in Greek) were missed by many in the assembly; I myself was stunned that such sentiments would be expressed so blatantly in the presence of Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne, much less in front of the graduates of our School and their families. Although I did subsequently confront the individual in private for his inappropriate comments, I do feel that the faithful of the Metropolis of San Francisco deserve a decisive, deliberate, and dutiful affirmation to serve as a correction to the unfortunate remarks given at our School.
“The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is under the spiritual and canonical aegis of our beloved Ecumenical Patriarchate. For anyone to randomly call for the Greek Orthodox Church in America to abandon her duty to the Mother Church is as foolish as it is absurd. Usually, such imprudence would not be worthy of our attention; however, the fact that these remarks were given at our Seminary – the very place where we train the future clergy for our Church in America – demands a complete, resolute and public response. Let there be no mistake. We absolutely reprove and repudiate any call for separating our Holy Archdiocese from the Body of our Ecumenical Patriarchate and assure our faithful that this will not happen.
“Let us remember that without its roots, a tree will dry up and wither. We cannot sever our spiritual and ecclesiastical roots without serious consequences. Praying that the Lord will grant His peace and healing upon our Church and all those who labor for His Glory."