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Some Thoughts on the Anniversary of the Repose of Metropolitan Joachim

April 23, 2024
Analysis by Theodore Kalmoukos

It has been a year since Metropolitan Joachim of Nicomedia – formerly of Chalcedon – passed away and definitively rests in the earth of Chalcedon, in the Metropolis he served with exemplary discretion and dedication. I used the word ‘definitively’ because Joachim was ‘alive-dead’ for twenty years in a room at the American hospital in Constantinople where he was hospitalized, following a serious stroke that left him bedridden in a comatose state and had made him exist ‘in another form’.

I had visited him a few years ago in the hospital, but I don’t know if he recognized me since “he didn’t respond at all.” We were connected by a strong acquaintance and friendship for many years, which was decisive, being a part of the effort to make sure that the Patriarchate would not lose the Archdiocese of America in 1994… Patriarch Bartholomew knows very well, and I am sure that with today’s reference, he will remember.

Many, seeing and experiencing paralyzed state of the Archdiocese of America today, say that it was ultimately a mistake to prevent Iakovos from “liberating our Church and our Greek-American Community…”

I am sure Bartholomew understands what is written here and hopefully will put the sacred interest of the Archdiocese of America, the Patriarchate, and his own reputation above problematic figures and proceed with the purge, otherwise a famine looms. Perhaps the Greek government knows more, given that it was forced to convey its dissatisfaction to Bartholomew through three officials familiar with the issues here in America.

It is unfortunate that Joachim isn’t alive to close the door of the Patriarchal Office and tell his spiritual brother, Bartholomew, “where are you going?” as he did many times and for many issues because Joachim was a hierarch with wisdom, prudence, and a calm soul. And everyone said and still says today that Joachim was the hierarch with the aristocratic figure and soul, one of the last aristocratic hierarchs of the Phanar born in Constantinople. Unfortunately, there are only a few left, which can be counted on the fingers on one hand, because the Phanar is now full of problematic exceptional mediocrities at all levels, and of course in the Patriarchal Court itself. It is understandable that the lack of clergy in Turkey and in the Constantinople is nightmarish, however, the paradox is that if people with character, with churchliness and wisdom are sought in Greece and in the Greek Diaspora, right and honest people can be found.

What happened and is happening in the Archdiocese and consequently in the Greek Community of America is simply the symptom; the root of the evil lies elsewhere…

And let no one doubt – I emphasize this – that these things are always written with much pain because our respect and love for our venerable Center of Orthodoxy are known to all.

The blessed Joachim was a close friend, spiritual brother, and confidential collaborator of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Their common spiritual father, Metropolitan Meliton Hatzis of Chalcedon, who was the ‘strong man’ of the Phanar for decades, prepared both Bartholomew and Joachim for the Patriarchal Throne with the agreement that if the Turks erased one of the two from the list of candidates, the other would support him wholeheartedly, as it happened. Yes, unfortunately, even today the Turks have the final say about the list of candidates for the Patriarchy. In fact, this is the drama and the wound both of the First-Throne and Primate Church of Constantinople – which lives in captivity – and here, where we live in the freest and most advanced modern empire, the United States.

In conclusion, I must say that the illness and repose of Joachim was tragic for the Phanar and the Church in general, because many things could have been prevented or corrected there and here and everywhere, as is widely understood everywhere.

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What is proven, and quite clearly indeed by the article which is published in this edition of The National Herald titled ‘Church of Crete Sends Letter to Patriarch Bartholomew Telling Him Not to Interfere’, regarding the ongoing issues within the Semi-Autonomous Church of Crete, is the fact that Patriarch Bartholomew has become a captive of his own choices in general.

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What is proven, and quite clearly indeed by the article which is published in this edition of The National Herald titled ‘Church of Crete Sends Letter to Patriarch Bartholomew Telling Him Not to Interfere’, regarding the ongoing issues within the Semi-Autonomous Church of Crete, is the fact that Patriarch Bartholomew has become a captive of his own choices in general.

BOSTON – The Semi-Autonomous Church of Crete, through its Holy Eparchial Synod, sent a letter on Tuesday, April 30 to Patriarch Bartholomew in response to his inquiry about his rights regarding the Patriarchal Monasteries of the island, telling him not to interfere administratively with them, according to information obtained by The National Herald.

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