His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos officiates from the throne of St. George Patriarchal Church at the Phanar. (Photo: Ecumenical Patriarchate/ Nikos Papachristou)
BOSTON – His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos of Sardis, formerly of New Jersey, officiated during Matins and Divine Liturgy at the St George Patriarchal Church at the Phanar on Sunday, December 5 upon the invitation of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
Metropolitan Evangelos had meetings with Patriarch Bartholomew, during some of which Archbishop Elpidophoros of America was present. The Νational Herald has learned that although Patriarch Bartholomew listened attentively as Metropolitan Evangelos spoke, answering all the allegations Archbishop Elpidophoros had made in his recommendation report to the Patriarch and the Holy Synod of October 2020, as well at those which surfaced recently, the Patriarch sided with Elpidophoros, applying the usual approach of siding with the ‘First’ of the local Church in such disputes.
The only intervention that Patriarch Bartholomew made was to issue an order to Archbishop Elpidophoros “not to allow matters to end up in courts” and to avoid legal entanglements of persons and institutions of the Archdiocese.
It is reminded here that Metropolitan Evangelos served as Metropolitan of New Jersey for seventeen years, to which he had been elected by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
On Thursday October 8, 2020 after the recommendation of Archbishop Elpidophoros, the Patriarch and the Synod removed Evangelos from the throne of the Metropolis of New Jersey and the same day elected him Metropolitan of Sardis in Asia Minor. Archbishop Elpidophoros later appointed Bishop Apostolos of Medeia as Archepiscopal Vicar and Archimandrite Christophoros Oikonomidis Chancellor for the Metropolis of New Jersey.
According to information obtained by TNH there a growing disappointment among hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate about the way the removal of Metropolitan Evangelos from the Metropolis of New Jersey was handled. Even hierarchs who participated in the decisions in October 2020 and voted in support of the decisions retrospectively say that “it was a mistake.”
Meanwhile an intense episode took place at the Phanar between two prominent hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne and Archbishop Elpidophoros. The encounter regarded the issue of the Theological School of Halki during the tenure of Elpidophoros as Abbot of the Holy Trinity Monastery, which is also located on the island of Halki. Patriarch Bartholomew had to intervene and in the end it was demonstrated that Elpidophoros was correct, because he had taken care the issue and had given a proper accounting of matters before he departed from there.
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