BOSTON – The Order of St. Andrew Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate issued a strong statement condemning the statements regarding the Ecumenical Patriarchate made in a speech given by Steve Efstathios Valiotis of New York at the Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology Commencement ceremony in Brookline, MA. Mr. Valiotis was being awarded an honorary doctorate by the School.
He called for the Church in America “to become autocephalous or the Ecumenical Patriarchate to move to the U.S.” Valiotis also stated that “we can’t be governed by a small group of people from Turkey without any flock and purpose, with no mission and with different agenda.”
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios who is also Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Metropolitans Methodios of Boston, Gerasimos of San Francisco and Savas of Pittsburgh were among those in the audience during Valiotis’ speech. Also present was Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.
The statement of the Order of St. Andrew states among other things that “all of the Hierarchy, clergy, and laity of the Holy Archdiocese owe their allegiance to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and we, the Archons, express our deep concern that while one spoke against the Mother Church, no one seems to have spoken for Her.”
The full text follows:
“Statement regarding reported sentiments against the Mother Church during HCHC commencement exercises-
The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, express their concern and disappointment that at the commencement exercises at our beloved Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, the reported public discourse included sentiments against the Mother and Great Church of Christ, as well as inopportune references to ‘autocephaly’ for the Holy Archdiocese of America. As any cleric or layperson should know, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is an Eparchy of the Most Holy Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople -- the First Throne of the worldwide Orthodox Christian Church -- and as such, has its ecclesial, canonical, and liturgical bases rooted in the Vineyard planted by the Right Hand of the Lord through the First Called Disciple, the Holy Apostle Andrew. All of the Hierarchy, clergy, and laity of the Holy Archdiocese owe their allegiance to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and we, the Archons, express our deep concern that while one spoke against the Mother Church, no one seems to have spoken for Her.
We pray earnestly and with every good intention that such foolishness not afflict the Body of the Church any longer, and that all of us, clergy and laity, remain steadfast to the Mother Church of Constantinople with gladness and gratitude for the blessings She has bestowed, with blood and tears, upon Her children in this great Land of Freedom and Promise.
Anthony J. Limberakis, MD