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Report on Resignation of Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver and What Transpired at the Phanar

BOSTON – Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver has resigned and the Synod of the Phanar in Constantinople, with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew presiding, has elected him Metropolitan of Lystra, an honorary position.

The National Herald in its publication on Friday, March 15, 2024 titled ‘Eparchial Synod Meets, Elect Two new Bishops for Archdiocese of America’ also reported on others matters addressed by the Synod and had revealed, among other things, the following: “Extensive discussion took place regarding Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver, who has been residing for several months now at the Monastery of the Archangels in Kendalia, TX, and not in his Metropolis, while refusing to resign. The Metropolis of Denver is essentially being governed and administered by Auxiliary Bishop Constantine of Sasima.”

TNH also reported that, “it was decided at the Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese of America that Archbishop Elpidophoros would visit him [Met. Isaiah] at the Monastery in Texas, conduct an on-site inspection, and diagnose his overall condition to determine whether he is able to fulfill his episcopal duties, and based on this, the Synod would make a decision.”

A commemorative photo of the visit of Archbishop Elpidophoros at the Monastery of the Archangels in Kendalia, TX, where he received the resignation of Metropolitan Isaiah.
Photos GOA

The Archbishop Elpidophoros visited the Monastery in Texas where Metropolitan Isaiah resides on Thursday, March 21, and received his resignation, which he conveyed to Patriarch Bartholomew.

In his letter, Metropolitan Isaiah, signed as “former Denver,” requested the Patriarchate to elect him to a Metropolitan See of the Throne, which was indeed done. He was elected to the once-illustrious Metropolis of Lystra, which now exists only on paper since the Turks have demolished it, as they have done with almost all the Metropolises except for a few exceptions, such as Chalcedon, Derkon, Prinkiponissa, Smyrna, and Pisidia – which have minimal flocks.

Metropolitan Isaiah will continue to reside at the Monastery of the Archangels in the city of Kendalia, receiving his full pension and related benefits, including medical insurance.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, March 23, Archbishop Elpidophoros, following the publication of related articles by TNH, posted on FACEBOOK photos from his visit to Metropolitan Isaiah at the Monastery in Texas, writing the following: “I visited our beloved Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver, who has now retired from active service, and prayed at his right hand last Thursday at Holy Archangels Monastery in Kendalia, Texas, where he is resting. I thanked him for his many years of valuable service to our Archdiocese, serving in many positions to which he was called. I pray that the Lord give him many more years of health and that the Lord will enlighten us with a worthy successor.”

At the Synod session in the Phanar on Saturday, March 23, extensive discussion took place regarding Metropolitan Evangelos of Sardis, former New Jersey, and it was noted by at least five hierarchs that it is not right and that certain injustices against him should continue and that the situation should be rectified. It was argued that he cannot be considered ‘retired’ because he is serving as member of the Synod of the Patriarchate. It was also mentioned, however, that other hierarchs of the Throne are retirees, such as, for example, Theodoritos of Laodicea, who is an active Metropolitan of the Throne and also the director of the Phanar Office in Athens and a member of the Synod during this synodal period, as well as Makarios of Aneon. It was emphasized that Theodoritos served for years as auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Thyateira but at some point left and returned to Athens.

It was also argued that Evangelos should be included on the list of candidates for Metropolitans of the Archdiocese of America, from which Archbishop Elpidophoros has excluded him on the grounds that he is ‘retired’. While all this was being said, Patriarch Bartholomew remained silent and merely listened. He asked the chief secretary to bring the list of the active Metropolitan of the Throne and sure enough Evangelos is among them. Bartholomew didn’t know what to make out of this.

It is recalled that Archbishop Elpidophoros in August 2020, in a meeting he had with Patriarch Bartholomew in Constantinople, persuaded him to dethrone the then-Metropolitan of New Jersey Evangelos, to place Methodios, the first-ranking hierarch of the Archdiocese of America, on liturgical suspension, and to abolish the Charter of the Archdiocese, which he did with his recommendation to the then-Synod on October 8, 2020, which met at the Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi of Baloukli. It is emphasized that all this was done without giving Evangelos and Methodios the opportunity to defend themselves against Elpidophoros’ allegations and also without any notification of the abolition of the Charter being given to the Eparchial Synod and the Archdiocesan Council, as provided in Article 25 of the Charter.

More known reversals regarding the Charter, followed, leading to divisions among clergy and laity across America, and finally the Patriarch was forced to restore the Charter as it was, and to stop Elpidophoros from any further actions.

The Patriarch even went so far as to apologize for what he had done in America, as revealed by The National Herald when it obtained a confidential report, but apart from the restoration of the Charter, he did nothing else to rectify the unjust and unjustifiable decisions and other actions contrary to the best interests of the  Archdiocese and the Greek Community of America.

More About Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver

Isaiah Chronopoulos was born in Portsmouth, NH in 1931, one of four children of Dennis and Mary (Kapsimalis) Chronopoulos, who had immigrated to the United States from Olympia, Greece. After completing his pre-college education, he joined the United States Marine Corps and served with distinction during the Korean War.

He studied theology at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Boston and at Halki Theological School. He was ordained a deacon at the Holy Church of St. Spyridon in San Diego on February 25, 1962, by Archbishop Iakovos of America and a priest at the Cathedral of St. Sophia in Los Angeles on March 18, 1962, by Bishop Dimitrios of Olympus. On November 30, 1969, he received the rank of Archimandrite. He served as chancellor of the Diocese of Chicago and also served for several years as Dean of student life at the School of Theology in Boston. On May 25, 1986, he was ordained titular Bishop of Aspendus, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of America. He served as chancellor of the Archdiocese from 1986 to 1992. On June 23, 1992, he was elected Bishop of Denver. On November 24, 1997, he was elected Metropolitan of Proikonnisos and continued to pastor the Diocese of Denver. On December 20, 2002, following the elevation of the Diocese of Denver to a Metropolis, he was promoted to Metropolitan of Denver.

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