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Church

How Patriarch Bartholomew Overturned the Plans of Archbishop Elpidophoros and Metropolitan Joseph

BOSTON – On the occasion of the election and enthronement last weekend of the new Metropolitan Iakovos of Mexico, formerly Archimantrite Fr. Iakovos Andriopoulos, who is Greek-American and studied at Holy Cross School of Theology in Boston, The National Herald can now reveal how Patriarch Bartholomew overturned the plans of Archbishop Elpidophoros of America and his spiritual son, Metropolitan Joseph of Buenos Aires, regarding Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and the Caribbean islands.

Specifically, The National Herald is in a position to know that Archbishop Elpidophoros for some time tried to persuade Patriarch Bartholomew to redistribute the Metropolitanate of Mexico as follows: He himself would take Mexico and Panama, and Joseph would absorb Colombia, Venezuela, and the islands of the Caribbean. To this end, Elpidophoros had even visited Panama, planning to propose the promotion of one of the celibate priests he had ordained as an assistant Bishop and to place him in Panama. Elpidophoros had even taken that priest with him to Panama.

We reveal today that Patriarch Bartholomew entrusted Metropolitan Joseph of Buenos Aires to make a report on this matter, which Joseph did, and he handed it over to the Patriarch. While those who masterminded the plan, namely Elpidophoros and Joseph, expected the fulfillment of their scheme by the Patriarch, he proceeded to completely overturn their proposal and on January 24, 2024, the Synod in Constantinople elected Archimandrite Iakovos Andriopoulos as Metropolitan of Mexico at the age of 32. On the Feast of the Presentation on February 2, 2024, he was ordained a Bishop by Patriarch Bartholomew at the Phanar, and on Saturday, March 16, he was enthroned by Metropolitan Joseph, representing the Patriarch.

Until the day of his election, Archimandrite Iakovos was the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Athens and had become the most confidential and close collaborator of Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, to the great surprise of many, and causing many hierarchs of the Church of Greece to try to explain ‘the how and why’ of the enigmatic case. Fr. Iakovos Andriopoulos was ordained by Metropolitan Gabriel of Nea Ionia, served with him for some time, and then transferred to the Archdiocese of Athens.

A few days before Iakovos’ transfer from the Archdiocese of Athens to the Phanar, Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon, and Archimandrite Fr. Aetios, Director of the Office of Patriarch Bartholomew and a close friend of Archimandrite Iakovos, had visited Athens, and according to information The National Herald obtained from the Phanar, conveyed to Archbishop Ieronymos the Patriarch’s desire that he provide an ecclesiastical release (απολυτήριο) to Iakovos so that he can be elected Metropolitan of Mexico.

When Patriarch Bartholomew entered the session of the Synod on January 24, 2024, and began praising Archimandrite Iakovos for twenty minutes or more, many of the Synodal hierarchs exchanged glances. Some of them then spoke out and expressed objections, referring to Iakovos’ young age. At one point, Patriarch Bartholomew, apparently annoyed, is said to have told them, “Go into the church, make the election, and vote conscientiously.” Synodal hierarchs who asked for anonymity for obvious reasons told TNH, “so we voted for him reluctantly,” and thus the unanimous election took place.

Meanwhile, earlier on the same day, the Patriarch had a trusted member of the Patriarchal Court call and request the resignation of then-Metropolitan Athenagoras Anesti of Mexico, about whom the Patriarch said many accusatory things during the Synod. He proposed to the Synod and they elect him Metropolitan of the once illustrious Metropolitanate of Vizie (Βυζίης) as the best way to remove him from Mexico City.

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BOSTON – The Semi-Autonomous Church of Crete, through its Holy Eparchial Synod, sent a letter on Tuesday, April 30 to Patriarch Bartholomew in response to his inquiry about his rights regarding the Patriarchal Monasteries of the island, telling him not to interfere administratively with them, according to information obtained by The National Herald.

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