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Church

Eparchial Synod Meets, Elects Two new Bishops for Archdiocese of America

BOSTON – The Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, which convened in the city of Boca Raton, FL under the presidency of Archbishop Elpidophoros, proposed through the ‘triprosopon’ (the three-person ballot) Fr. Nektarios Papazafiropoulos, Chancellor of the Archdiocese, and Fr. Anton Vrame, Director of Holy Cross Orthodox Press, which is located at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, be elevated to the rank of assistant bishop.

The issue of their election was brought to the Synod by Archbishop Elpidophoros, who spoke warmly about both candidates. Present in person at the Synod were Metropolitans Gerasimos of San Francisco, Savas of Pittsburgh, Nathanael of Chicago, and Apostolos of New Jersey, while three others, Methodios of Boston, Alexios of Atlanta, and Nicholas of Detroit, participated electronically via ZOOM. Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver was entirely absent.

A thorough discussion was held regarding the candidacy of Fr. Vrame, as Metropolitan Methodios stated that there is no need for an assistant bishop in the Metropolis of Boston and that he wanted Fr. Vrame to serve in the parishes of New England as a liturgical and pastoral figure.

Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese V. Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Papazafiropoulos and His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros at the Archbishop’s Nameday Gala which raised over $400,000 for the Youth Summer Camp Scholarship Fund. (Photo: GOARCH/Brittainy Newman)

It was suggested that he remain at the School of Theology, noting that there is already a bishop, is his metropolis, Bishop Joakim of Amisos, serving as the director of the library. It was proposed that that when Fr. Fr. Vrame is elevated that he become the spiritual father of the School of Theology. A proposal was also made for him to move and serve in the Metropolis of San Francisco, as Metropolitan Gerasimos had recommended him for election to the Episcopal rank, but it was noted that this was not feasible due to the lack of resources for his salary there. The ideas was expressed that since the new Bishop Anton would continue to be at the School of Theology, the president of the School and its officials should be consulted, but Archbishop Elpidophoros reportedly said it was unnecessary. The president of the School, Dr. Demitrios Katos, requested that the Sunday of the Veneration of the Holy Cross be proclaimed as a Sunday dedicated to the School of Theology.

Extensive discussion took place regarding Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver, who, as reported by TNH on March 4, “has been residing for several months now at the Monastery of the Archangels in Kendalia, Texas, and not in his Metropolis, while refusing to resign. The Metropolis of Denver is essentially governed and administered by Assistant Bishop Constantine of Sasima.”

It was decided at the Synod that Archbishop Elpidophoros would visit him at the Monastery in Texas, conduct an on-site inspection, and diagnose his overall condition to determine whether he is able to fulfill his episcopal duties, and based on this, the Synod would make a decision.

Very Rev. Dr. Archimandrite Anton Vrame.
(Photo: HCHC)

Discussion was also held based on correspondence from the Phanar regarding the Dependencies of the Patriarchal Monastery of St. Irene Chrysovalantou in Astoria. It was stated that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has referred the report from America to the relevant committees of the Phanar. The same was said regarding the Charter of the Archdiocese, for which, however, Archbishop Elpidophoros reportedly said, “the Patriarch does not wish any further discussion on this.”

There was also discussion about the monasteries established throughout North America by the late Fr. Ephraim, and it was mentioned among other things that the monks do not accept a particular article of the Charter given to them by the Archdiocese, and generally seek to operate autonomously from the ecclesiastical supervision of the Archdiocese and the local metropolises within whose boundaries they exist and operate.

Archbishop Elpidophoros referred to the illness and death of the Abbot of the Monastery of Chrysovalantou, Bishop Ierotheos of Eukarpia, and pointed out that due to his illness, the implementation of the decision of the Synod of the Phanar to place the Dependencies under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese did not proceed. However, after the new situation that will arise from a decision of the Patriarchate, the matter will move forward.

At the Synod meeting, the Archdiocesan Treasurer, Elaine Allen, also spoke about the retirement program for the Hierarchs, stating that “there is no fund that provides and supports the receipt of eighty percent of the salary of the Metropolitan upon retirement.”

It is noted that so far, Archbishop Elpidophoros has elevated the following six assistant Bishops: Athenagoras of Nazianzos, Spyridon of Amastris, Ioakim of Amisos, Timothy of Hexamilion, Ioannis of Phocaea, and Constantine of Sasima.

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