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His Eminence Metropolitan Antonios of Glyfada, Hellinikon, Voula, Vouliagmeni and Vari. (Photo: Provided by Metropolis of Glyfada)
BOSTON – Metropolitan Antonios of Glyfada, Hellinikon, Voula, Vouliagmeni and Vari, whose jurisdiction includes the Church of Panagia Faneromeni in which Archbishop Elpidophoros performed the baptism of the children of the Greek-American same sex couple Evangelos Bousis and Peter Dundas, on July 9, spoke in an exclusive interview with TNH about what transpired. He openly states that Archbishop Elpidophoros actually misled him in order to obtain the canonical license in order to minister within the boundaries of his Metropolis.
He said, “I feel distress for the following reason: Archbishop Elpidophoros sent me a letter and asked my permission to do a baptism. It specifically said ‘the baptism of the children of the Greek-American family of Bousis from Chicago.’ As you can understand from this, I understood that they were a traditional family and therefore it was logical to give my permission for him to celebrate the baptism. Later, however, it emerged that these children, who are innocent and have no involvement, are being raised by two persons of the same sex. I believe that the baptism of such children has never been done in Greece, this is the first time it has been done. This would have to be kept very quiet, and, of course, I don’t think His Eminence himself should do such a baptism without telling me. If I had known, I would have told him that Your Eminence, I cannot give such permission, I would have to report to the Holy Synod in writing, that the Holy Synod should answer me in writing on what should be done, and according to the orders I receive from my superior Authority, I will tell you what the decision will be.”
Metropolitan Antonios also said that “I do not think that a Bishop should do such a baptism in order not to give nourishment to anyone who thinks that everything is permissible in the Church.”
When asked if he felt that he was misled, he answered: “Of course, because when he writes to me that it was a traditional family and when in the end it is not a family in the form that our Church considers it to be a family, is that not a misrepresentation?”
Asked if he intends to directly denounce Archbishop Elpidophoros to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Metropolitan Antonios said, “I filed a report-complaint to the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, from then on the Holy Synod as the proper authority will decide whether or not he should be report it to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”
When asked if since then, he contacted Archbishop Elpidophoros to say ‘my Holy Brother why did you do this?’ he answered: “No, I did not call him, nor did he call me. I was informed from elsewhere that he was aware of the controversy that began, he knew that they had started cursing him, he knew that he was wondering what attitude I took and I think he should have some communication with me.”
Of the registry office issue and how the neophyte children were registered in his Metropolis with the father’s and mother’s name,” Metropolitan Antonios answered that “basically, from what we saw, they were already registered with their names in the registry office in the U.S., because the people who raise them live in the U.S. and have already registered them with their baptismal names which they have already received.”
To the question of if one day these children look for a baptismal certificate and turn to his Metropolis, he said that “I think a certificate was given that says that the child was baptized so and so and received the name Eleni, no further details were given.”
Metropolitan Antonios also said: “That’s why I’ve decided and I’m already preparing a plan and we will issue a baptism license, just as a marriage license is issued. Our Metropolis will issue a baptism license after all the necessary information is gathered and after the competent office that we will have in the Metropolis decides whether the baptism can take place, because I’m afraid I will have problems again.”
Regarding what the people of the Metropolis are saying, he said that “they were very upset. Thank God we have very pious people who are close to the Tradition of our Church and they were disturbed, and I won’t hide from you that I was also very disturbed, because he should have informed me in a basic way and told me, ‘Your Eminence, this is not a normal baptism, it is a special baptism,’ that’s what upsets me.” He added that “it should have been done modestly, humbly, without any publicity and, of course, without the presence of a hierarch. A hierarch cannot say that I, with my presence, essentially validate this way of raising children.”
About Metropolitan Antonios
His Eminence Metropolitan Antonios of Glyfada was born in Corfu. He studied in the Law, Theology and Economics Department of the University of Athens. He is fluent in English and French, and German and Italian fairly well. In 2012, he was ordained Bishop of Salona under His Beatitude Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos. He served as a Preacher in the Metropolis of Nikopolis and Preveza and as a Chaplain at the “Aglaia Kyriakou” Children’s Hospital and at the parish of Skepis Papagou. He settled for four years on Mount Athos and served as Hegumen’s advisor at the Holy Monastery of Taxiarches – Petraki. He worked for a long time in the Financial Department of the Holy Synod, of which he was the General Director for eight years. During his tenure he contributed to the recovery of the finances of the Church, the construction of several buildings and the renovation of the Synod Court. He has written articles and scientific studies. He is especially distinguished as a preacher and confessor. He was elected Metropolitan of Glyfada on March 20, 2019.
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