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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: A Captive of His Choices

May 18, 2024
Analysis by Theodore Kalmoukos

What is proven, and quite clearly indeed by the article which is published in this edition of The National Herald titled ‘Church of Crete Sends Letter to Patriarch Bartholomew Telling Him Not to Interfere’, regarding the ongoing issues within the Semi-Autonomous Church of Crete, is the fact that Patriarch Bartholomew has become a captive of his own choices in general.

It is difficult to say, but it is a harsh reality that in the case of Crete, his disregard for Church canons and despite what is stipulated in the Charter of the Church of Crete and Greek state laws regarding the administration and management of the Monasteries, has created the problem.

It is astonishing that no one dared to tell him what these actions entailed, even though he himself has pursued postgraduate studies in Canon Law. Of course, here it must be said that no one dares to speak, not so much out of respect, but out of fear, unfortunately, because it is now known that if anyone dares to have a different opinion, Bartholomew immediately considers them to be his ‘opposition’, targets them, and finishes them, to speak plainly.

The selection of members of the Synod in Constantinople is, of course, done by Bartholomew himself, so that its composition consists of hierarchs who will not open their mouths and will not express a different opinion. That’s why we see in the announcements that all elections of Metropolitans, Archbishops, Bishops and other decisions are made ‘unanimously’. If you can believe it!

Now, in Crete, he was faced with the strong opinion of the local Eparchial Synod to implement the Charter and the provisions of state law, something which, as I am informed, he did not expect because he is accustomed to everyone agreeing with him and ratifying his decisions, even if belatedly.

However, to be fair, I must say that in our case here, in the United States, there was a strong reaction to the abolition of the Charter of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America on October 8, 2020, to the point that he was forced to tell the Eparchial Synod to request ‘the abolition of the abolition’ of the Charter in order to save his prestige, as was revealed by The National Herald, and he indeed did so. Not only that, but he also ‘apologized’, as The National Herald also revealed, while regarding the seizure of the Metropolis of New Jersey, comrade Elpidophoros (poor thing, Koutsoumpas), was forced to retract and a new Metropolitan of New Jersey, Apostolos, was elected. Meanwhile, during the leaky five-year tenure of comrade Elpidophoros, the Archdiocese has become a ‘dumpster’ for clergymen, since it has collected and continues to collect many ‘cymbals’, in the sense of hollow personalities, from Turkey and Greece, except for very few exceptions.

In America as well, Bartholomew is trapped by his own choices, hearing shouting and criticism from all sides, including the Greek Government, which discreetly tries to protect the Patriarchate, the Archdiocese of America, and Bartholomew’s own prestige.

And as if all this were not enough, the Patriarch continues to trap himself, as for example with his refusal to go to Athens at the end of May for the notorious Archon Conference, sending comrade Elpidophoros to represent him at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens and the other events, as if he wants to shove comrade Elpidophoros in the government’s face despite knowing its repeatedly expressed position regarding him. Of course, from Wednesday of that week onwards, he will send Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon for the receptions and the feasts.

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