Issue of the Church of Crete Reaches Synod of Constantinople

BOSTON – At the recent session of the Synod of the Phanar, which convened on May 17 and 18, the issue of the Semi-Autonomous Church of Crete was briefly addressed. According to a letter dated April 23, 2024, revealed by The National Herald, the Church of Crete communicated to Patriarch Bartholomew that he should refrain from intervening in the affairs of the monasteries on the island.

Specifically, the matter was brought up during the reading of correspondence amid other letters on different subjects. Today, we reveal that when the letter from the Church of Crete was read, Patriarch Bartholomew, visibly angered, turned to the Synodal Hierarchs from Crete, Archbishop Eugenios of Crete and Metropolitan Prodromos of Rethymnon and Avlopotamos, and reportedly said, “we did not ask you to interpret the Charter and the Law for us; we know these,” and added, “but I will stop here.” Meanwhile, the hierarchs exchanged glances, not knowing what to make of the way the matter was handled by Patriarch Bartholomew, who proceeded to read other unrelated correspondence. Thus, no decision was made, nor was there any further discussion.

From the concelebration of the Divine Liturgy at the historic Monastery of Baloukli in Constantinople in which hierarchs of the Bulgarian and the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine participated, signaling the recognition of the Autocephaly of Ukraine by the Church of Bulgaria.
(Photo Ecumenical Patriachate/Nikos Papachristou)

It is recalled that recently The National Herald wrote that “the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Semi-Autonomous Church of Crete, in its letter dated Holy Tuesday, April 30, 2024, leaves no room for any misinterpretation or involvement by Patriarch Bartholomew.”

The letter, known to The National Herald, states, among other things, that “the legal status of the Holy Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monasteries in Crete is defined by paragraph 2 of article 89 of Law 4149/1961.”

The unanimous decision of the Provincial Synod of Crete makes it clear that “there is no issue of our opinion and thought on the Law; only its faithful implementation is required.”

The letter also states that “the above Law is clear, explicit, and does not admit interpretations.”

The Cretan hierarchs clearly tell Patriarch Bartholomew that “his canonical rights are not a matter of interpretation” and that “they are regulated specifically and restrictively by the Charter and the Laws.”

Furthermore, the Patriarch announced that at the upcoming conference of the Orders of Archons in Athens from May 26 to 29, he will be represented by Archbishop Elpidophoros of America for the part of the conference concerning the Archons of America, while Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon will represent him for the part concerning the Archons from the rest of the world.

Patriarch Bartholomew himself does not intend to attend, which many Archons, especially those from the United States, have perceived as “disdain” towards them.

He announced that he has been invited and will attend the election of the new Patriarch of Bulgaria on June 30, 2024, and also the enthronement, as according to Bulgarian tradition the enthronement takes place on the same day as the election.

He also announced that the delegation that will attend the Thronal Feast of the Church of Old Rome will consist of Metropolitans Emmanuel of Chalcedon and Nathanael of Chicago.

Additionally, at the concelebration of the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers at the Valoukli Monastery, hierarchs of the Church of Bulgaria and hierarchs of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine concelebrated for the first time, signaling the recognition of the Autocephaly of Ukraine by the Church of Bulgaria.


NEW YORK – The 47th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America will take place at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina from June 30 to July 4, 2024 with the theme, ‘In Christ we are one’, inspired by Romans 12:4-5.

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