Tensions between Bartholomew and Ieronymos


From the last visit of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece at the Archdiocese of Athens in June of 2018 (Photo by Eurokinisi/Christos Bonis)

ATHENS – Tensions have surfaced once again between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Church of Greece having as its epicenter the Metropolises of the New Lands of Greece.

Specifically, His Beatitude Ieronymos Archbishop of Athens and All Greece refused to forward the letters-invitations of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew –according to the protocol – inviting the metropolitans of the New Lands to the Synaxis of the Hierarchy of the Ecumenical Throne to be convened September 1 to 3 at the Phanar.

Thus, Patriarch Bartholomew sent the invitations to the 36 Metropolitans of the New Lands in Greece directly, a move that has intensified the already-tense months-long relations between the two. Archbishop Ieronymos did not attend the festivities of the proclamations of the new Saint Iakovos Tsalikis in Euboea, as had been announced and expected.

Meanwhile, the Church of Greece’s Holy Synod will convene on August 27 in Athens, and reportedly the issue of the Metropolitans’ participation will be discussed. If the Synod decides to send only a representative committee – say, three or five – of the metropolitans rather than all 36, the Phanar could be humiliated.

As the Herald wrote in “Patriarch Readies for a Series of Decisions” (Aug. 2), “the Ecumenical Patriarchate is getting ready for a series of serious ecclesiastical decisions and events over the next few weeks, out of which the most important ones are the election of a new archbishop for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the Synaxis of the Hierarchy of the Throne, the meeting with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, and the granting of Autocephaly to the Church in Ukraine.

“The National Herald has learned that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew called a meeting of the hierarch who dwells in Turkey on July 28 announced his decision to convene the Hierarchy of the Ecumenical Throne from throughout the World from September 1 to 3.

“All the metropolitans and archbishops (approximately 120) will be invited, including the metropolitans of the United States,, Canada, Europe, Crete, Asia, New Zealand, Australia, the Dodecanese Islands, and New Lands of Greece. The auxiliary bishops will not be invited this time.

“Among the topics that will be discussed will be the life of the Church after the Holy and Great Council (HGC) of the Orthodox Church in Crete in 2016, the imminent granting of Autocephaly to the Church in Ukraine, and the Ecclesiastical Eparchies of the Ecumenical Throne abroad. The last Synaxis of the entire Hierarchy took place in August, 2015.”