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I See a Tragedy Brewing

April 30, 2024
Analysis by Theodore Kalmoukos

The title I chose for today’s analysis, ‘I See a Tragedy Brewing’ comes from a message I received from one of the most fervent and dedicated supporters of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Patriarch Bartholomew, after he read the article in The National Herald titled ‘Patriarch Bartholomew Will Not Attend Archon Conference,” which was first published in both our electronic editions, in Greek at www.ekirikas.com and in English at www.thenationalherald.com, on Thursday, April 25, and in our print edition last weekend.

The news spread rapidly among the members of the Archon Orders worldwide, and of course, in the United States, among members of the Archdiocesan Council and Leadership of 100, but most importantly among the vast Church community, the hierarchy, the clergy, and our devout Greek-American people. The aforementioned orders and organizations are not the Church, but merely religious associations. That’s it. I believe those with at least basic theological and ecclesiological knowledge fully understand my perspective.

So, the different orders of the Archons – as we wrote in January 2023 and reiterated recently – are organizing a major Conference in Athens from May 26 to 29, titled ‘Protecting Religious Freedom, Democracy, and Human Rights’ – whatever that means, essentially, apart from what is commonly said: “just to say that we are doing something.”

Essentially, this is a conference to defend the Ecumenical Patriarchate and its rights and freedoms, which have been violated by the Turks. It is puzzling for this writer, however, to hear many prominent Greek-Americans, professors, intellectuals, businessmen, and our devout Greek-Americans, speak about that topic – but doesn’t the Patriarchate itself violate the rights of its own people? They who perpetrate the unjust, inexplicable, and violent deposition of Metropolitan Evangelos and the punitive three-month liturgical suspension of Metropolitan Methodios, the highest ranking hierarch of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. And then there are the controversies over the much-discussed Charter.

I emphasize once again that for us, the Ecumenical Patriarchate is the greatest landmark of the ‘Genos’, and everyone knows my great love, respect, and appreciation for it over a whole lifetime. However, the burning question is how and why Patriarch Bartholomew now, in these critical times, seems unable to lead, as even many close and dedicated collaborators, friends, and supporters attest, in the Phanar, in Athens, in the USA, in Europe, everywhere unfortunately, including Mount Athos?

His non-attendance at the Archons’ Conference not only constitutes a kind of ‘disregard’ or even ‘contempt’ for those who support the institution of the Patriarchate, but it also lowers himself before our Order of the Archons of America, and it is also a provocation towards the Greek Government, which has expressed its concern for America due to the actions of Archbishop Elpidophoros, Patriarch Bartholmew’s spiritual son. The latter will be present, in order to convey the message that whether you like it or not, he is the Archbishop. Respectfully I say that there is terrible wrong here. Even the conference organizers fear an impending disaster if things don’t change – what will happen if the Greek government doesn’t receive the Archons and the Patriarch’s representatives?

I can’t imagine that an intelligent hierarch, like Bartholomew, doesn’t understand the risks of coming into conflict with Greece, because without Greece, he won’t get anywhere.

When I asked hierarchs and other people of Phanar about who advises the Patriarch, they turned our question around, saying that it is more correct to ask “who runs the Phanar today?”

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