BOSTON – The Ecumenical Patriarchate strongly rejected the proposals and attempts of Archbishop Elpidophoros to change the Charter of the Archdiocese of America. The message was conveyed during a meeting that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew had with four of the seven members of the Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese on Wednesday, April 5 in Constantinople at the Phanar. The Metropolitans who participated were Methodios of Boston, Savas of Pittsburgh, Gerasimos of San Francisco, and Nathanael of Chicago.
Also present at the meeting were Archbishop Elpidophoros, Metropolitan Emmanuel Geron of Chalcedon, Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain, and Archimandrite Aetios, director of the private Patriarchal Office.
As The National Herald has written in its recent editions, Archbishop Elpidophoros was trying to impose the idea that he be commemorated in the Sacred Services, claiming that this is how the unity of the Archdiocese is best ensured. He also aimed for the reduction of authority of the existing Metropolises and the establishment of ‘Districts’, as well as an artificial power to ostracize Metropolitans.
He wanted to establish Districts within the boundaries of the Metropolises, and to appoint assistant Bishops to serve therein who would report to him and not to the local Metropolitan, thus weakening the Metropolises and the Metropolitans.
Information received by The National Herald indicates that all the hierarchs from America unanimously presented a host of disagreements and arguments against Elpidophoros, speaking boldly and defiantly before Patriarch Bartholomew, saying that what Elpidophoros wanted should not be done as it was uncanonical and anti-ecclesiological. The Metropolitans from America, Metropolitan Emmanuel Geron of Chalcedon, who has been appointed as the chairman of the joint committee for the Charter, as well as Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain, a member of the aforementioned committee, agreed and fully cooperated.
The National Herald is in a position to know that Patriarch Bartholomew welcomed the Metropolitans from America with much love and honor and treated them impeccably. Sources from the Ecumenical Patriarchate told TNH that “nothing of what Elpidophoros wanted passed,” and they added that “he returns defeated to America.”
The meeting took place in the shadow of the revealing interview of Elpidophoros’ professor at the University of Thessaloniki, Despo Lialiou, who among other things she said that “if Mr. Elpidophoros came out illiterate and presumptuous at the same time, as I read, I will say again, it is his responsibility, as well as his responsibility that he did not enrich his theological and ecclesiastical training (17 years inside the Phanar!) and he exposes his position with his incredible improvisations of uneducated speech and his foolish acts and his actions of a blithe sensationalism, all of which is not based on anything. He is better off not speaking and not doing anything. Moreover, I could never be a police officer for people, or for their choices, nor did I have time, a lifetime being sleepless. Now that I have time, I follow events, and I am saddened, especially saddened that the Patriarch is being insulted.”
The Patriarchate issued the following announcement:
“Communiqué on the visit by the Archbishop of America and members of the Holy Eparchial Synod to the Phanar – On Wednesday morning, April 5, 2023, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America and the members of the Holy Eparchial Synod, Their Eminences Metropolitans Methodios of Boston, Savas of Pittsburgh, Gerasimos of San Francisco, and Nathanael of Chicago, arrived at the Phanar in response to the related invitation by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with whom they held an extensive work meeting on the matter of revising the Charter of the Sacred Archdiocese of America. The meeting was also attended by His Eminence Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon, President of the Mixed Commission on the revision of the Charter, along with His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain and the Very Rev. Grand Ecclesiarch Aetios, Director of the Private Patriarchal Office, members of the same Commission, while Their Eminences Metropolitans Isaiah of Denver, Alexios of Atlanta and Nicholas of Detroit were unable to participate for health reasons.
During the meeting, which was carried out in an atmosphere of unity, sincerity and mutual appreciation, all those present discussed at length and freely their opinions and positions on the recommendations of the Archbishop of America and expressed their gratitude toward His All-Holiness for the invitation, emphasizing simultaneously the great value of the deliberations. In summarizing the outcomes of the entire session, the Ecumenical Patriarch underlined the importance of demonstrating confidence in the appropriate agencies of the Church in order to adopt the most beneficial decisions for the Christ-loving plenitude of this sacred Eparchy of the venerable Ecumenical Throne. In this context, it was realized that further ripening was necessary for the proposed amendments with regard to the canonical foundation of the administrative shape of the Sacred Archdiocese of America, combined with a future regulation of its internal boundaries on a pragmatic basis.
Before the conclusion of the meeting, His All-Holiness and the Most Reverend Hierarchs exchanged festive greetings for a blessed and fruitful Holy and Great Week and a joyous Holy Pascha, while through the Archbishop of America and the members of the Holy Eparchial Synod His All-Holiness conveyed his most heartfelt paternal Paschal wishes to all the beloved children of the Mother Church in the USA.”