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Patriarch Bartholomew Denies Involvement in Dimitrios’ Intervention

BOSTON – On May 24 the Ecumenical Patriarchate issued a peculiar statement regarding the conferral of honorary distinctions by academic institutions, universities, schools, and other entities, to hierarchs of the Phanar, emphasizing that Patriarch Bartholomew does not meddle in such matters.

The statement reads as follows:

“Due to recent involvement of His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Mr. Bartholomew in academic ceremonies for the conferral of honorary distinctions upon hierarchs of the most holy Ecumenical Throne, it is hereby declared that:

a) His All-Holiness the Patriarch does not involve himself in such proceedings, which fall outside his jurisdiction. His All-Holiness respects the autonomy, judgment, and authority of the Highest Educational Institutions, many of which, both in Greece and abroad, have honored Him in various ways through the years, for which He expresses His grateful thanks.

b) The Patriarch is pleased whenever a Hierarch of the Mother Church is justly honored, as such honor, as well as in cases of distinctions bestowed upon Him, reflects upon the institution of the primatial Church of Constantinople, of which we are all servants.
In conclusion, a plea is expressed that the name of His All-Holiness not be used (positively or negatively) in similar academic procedures.

Phanar, May 24, 2024.”

The National Herald is able to ascertain that many who read the above statement from the Phanar could not interpret it and understand what lies behind it and what provoked it.

However, the puzzle of the Patriarchal statement was unraveled after an investigation by The National Herald, which reveals the following: Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Messinia, who is one of the most esteemed hierarchs of the Church of Greece and the Orthodox Church in general, being a professor at the Theological School of the University of Athens, specifically in the Department of Theology, which is also the first department of the School, proposed in the Department that Metropolitan Dimitrios Geron of Princes’ Islands of Constantinople be honored with the conferral of an honorary doctoral degree. The proposal of Metropolitan Chrysostomos was accepted and voted upon unanimously, while the professors of the Department expressed extremely friendly words for Metropolitan Dimitrios.

It is noted that formally, such proposals go through the Department, then the Assembly, and subsequently the ceremony of conferment is scheduled. It is emphasized that the substance of the matter lies in the decision of a department, the rest being merely procedural.
In this particular case, information received by The National Herald indicates that the Dean of the School of Theology at the University of Athens, Emmanouil Karageorgoudis, who is not favorably disposed towards Metropolitan and Professor of Messenia Chrysostomos, unsuccessfully attempted to obstruct the process from the beginning. He did not succeed because he could not obtain a majority of votes in the departments.

Meanwhile, it was artfully disseminated to many quarters that Patriarch Bartholomew does not wish to honor Dimitrios of Princes’ Islands, putting himself in a difficult position because everyone knows that for over ten years he had sidelined Metropolitan Dimitrios for reasons of small consequence, despite his being one of his closest and devoted collaborators and closest confidants, serving also as director of his private Patriarchal Office.

Dimitrios had fallen into disfavor with Bartholomew because he always had the courage of his convictions and did not hesitate to express his opinions. This was the main reason why, while Bartholomew promoted other hierarchs, Dimitrios was marginalized, but ultimately Bartholomew was forced to elect Metropolitan Dimitrios to the Metropolis of the Princes’ Islands and to give him the title of Geron, as he received complaints and grievances from many quarters, especially from Constantinople’s Greek population who ‘know people and situations well’ and have great respect and admiration for Metropolitan Dimitrios.

Moreover, individuals within the University of Athens, who continuously read the articles of The National Herald, informed us that one of the reasons the issue of honoring Dimitrios was temporarily stalled is to prevent him from receiving more glory and encouragement.
Furthermore, information from within the Phanar supports the belief that it cannot be ruled out that Patriarch Bartholomew, through “underground channels,” conveyed the message to Dean Karageorgoudis not to honor Dimitrios. Hence he was forced to issue the announcement, the thorough reading and analysis of which reveal the opposite of what is stated therein. Also, interventions regarding Dean Karageorgoudis and others from the Phanar should not be ruled out.

In communications between The National Herald and Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Messenia, the latter stated that he does not wish to make any comments.

Also, in his communication with TNH, Metropolitan Geron Dimitrios of Princes’ Islands initially expressed his gratitude for the unanimous decision of the Theology Department of the University of Athens and the honorary remarks made by the chairmen and professors of both departments regarding his person and his long ecclesiastical ministry, but he later spoke of his deep regret over the obstructionism of the Rectorate and the rumors that are circulating about it.

TNH also contacted Dean Emmanouil Karageorgoudis, who initially tried to suggest to us not to publish an article about the issue, and then said, “I have nothing to comment on.”


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