BOSTON – A new row has erupted between Archbishop Elpidophoros of America and George Cantonis, President Hellenic College-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (HCHC), which reached its climax in exchange of letters the eve of Thanksgiving Day, Tuesday and Wednesday November 23 and 24 respectively.
Last May, as The National Herald had revealed, there was another episode between Elpidophoros and Cantonis that led Cantonis to resign but later he recalled his resignation.
The reason for this new strong disagreement and fight was Cantonis’ decision to have the students complete their final two weeks of the semester remotely for helath and safety reasons due to the pandemic.
Archbishop Elpidophoros, who is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of HCHC in a letter dated October 20 had warned Cantonis of his disagreement with that decision, but Cantonis went ahead and implemented his decision invoking the need to secure the safety of students, faculty and staff during the pandemic.
The correspondence between Elpidophoros and Cantonis that was obtained by TNH shows that this time the Archbishop requested the assistance of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese. The Synod continues to meet under the presidency of Archbishop Elpidophoros despite the fact that the Charter of the Archdiocese was suspended by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Holy Synod in Constantinople on Thursday October 8, 2020. Since the beginning of the pandemic the Eparchial Synod meets remotely via ZOOM.
The National Herald contacted George Cantonis but he refused to make any comment. Archbishop Elpidophoros did not respond to TNH’S written message, although that could have been due to his traveling to Constantinople for the Thronal Feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The Archbishop in his letter to Cantonis dated November 23, 2021, wrote among other things the following: “Dear Mr. Cantonis, I would like to communicate with you by means of this letter in order to inform you of the Holy Eparchial Synod’s disagreement and sadness with the School’s decision to continue the fall semester via remote virtual learning following the Thanksgiving break.”
In another instance the Archbishop expressed the total disappointment of the Eparchial Synod and his own to Mr. Cantonis, stating the following: “together with my fellow brothers members of the Synod, I would like to express our collective displeasure with this action and request that such decisions are not repeated again in the future.”
Also, the Archbishop informed Cantonis that he copied his letter to the members of the Board of Trustees.
Cantonis in his reply letter dated November 24 wrote to the Archbishop, among other things the following: “Having received the letter from Your Eminence regarding the recent opinion of the Holy Eparchial Synod, I want to communicate my appreciation for the love and concern therein expressed. Please know that the administrative decision to have the students complete their final two weeks of the semester remotely was not an easy one and was also made with love and concern.”
He also wrote, “the letter of Your Eminence dated October 20th was indeed taken seriously and discussed. Respectfully, it was felt that the decision to complete the final two weeks of the semester remotely, as I communicated to you, was the safest and most cautious decision that needed to be made to keep the students, the faculty, and the administration safe.”
Cantonis also copied the members of the Board of Trustees, as he so noted to Elpidophoros: “As you have with your correspondence, I will also be sharing this with the Board of Trustees to assure them of the unwavering commitment of our leadership team to the mission of both our School and our Faith.”