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Church

The Revocation of the Archdiocese’s Charter Will be Reversed

BOSTON – It was decided during the meeting of the Synodal Committee of the Eparchies of the Ecumenical Throne Abroad on Thursday June 9, 2022 at the Phanar that Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, upon his return from Constantinople, will convene the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, which will then send an official request to the Ecumenical Patriarchate asking for the reversal of the revocation of the Charter of 2003, which was done on Thursday, October 8, 2020.

The Patriarchate will then accept the request of the Holy Eparchial Synod and it will officially reply that the Charter continues to be in effect and will remain as it is. If in future the need arises for any modifications of some of its articles it will done according to what Article 25 provides.

A detailed and in-depth discussion took place in the Committee in the presence of Archbishop Elpidophoros, who was visiting religious and historic places in Turkey and specifically, Pontos and Constantinople, with a group of Greek-Americans.

As The National Herald had reported in last week’s edition, “the Archbishop has requested to meet on June 9 with the Committee of the Eparchies of the Ecumenical Throne Abroad in order to discuss the Charter because there has been confusion, questions, and intense concern among the clergy and the laity as well because the Charter was revoked on Thursday October 8, 2020 by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Holy Synod around him upon the recommendation of Elpidophoros without the knowledge of the Eparchial Synod and the Archdiocesan Council – although he claims that the Charter continues to be in effect.”

Reference was made at least twice to the articles of The National Herald regarding the Charter issue. It is reminded here that the most recent time that TNH wrote on the issue was in last week’s edition, June 10, in which we wrote the following: “It is emphasized here that there is a danger of Legal and other statute complications and problems not only in the State on New York where the headquarters of the Archdiocese is situated and is registered as a religious entity but also at the local level, in states and cities where the metropolises and the parishes operate.” It is noted here that Metropolitan Geron Emmanuel of Chalcedon is the Chairman of the Committee of the Eparchies of the Ecumenical Throne Abroad.

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America. Photo TNH/Archive/Zafiris Haitidis

Article 25 of the 2003 Charter which was revoked but is thus still in effect states the following: “The present Charter regulating the affairs of the Holy Archdiocese of America as an ecclesiastical institution, may be amended in its entirety or in part after a proposal of the Holy Eparchial Synod submitted to the Ecumenical Patriarchate following the appropriate procedure in the Archdiocesan Council and the Archdiocesan Clergy-Laity Congress, and after the approval of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to which the proposal has been submitted.”

The National Herald has learned that prior to the meeting of the Synodic Committee of the Eparchies of the Throne Abroad a meeting took place between its chairman Metropolitan Emmanuel Geron of Chalcedon and Archbishop Elpidophoros and soon after the two met with His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

A few months ago, a strong message was sent to Archbishop Elpidophoros which among other things instructed him to provide in writing all his recommendations and everything that has transpired about the Charter as well as the minutes of the meetings of the Holy Eparchial Synod because many hierarchs said that they didn’t have any information about his actions.

It is noted here that during his three years on the Archbishopric Throne of America Elpidophoros hasn’t sent any reports in writing regarding the context of the meetings of the Holy Eparchial Synod or the Archdiocesan Council. His predecessor Archbishop Demetrios former of America use to send extensive written reports twice or more per year about the meetings of the Eparchial Synod and the Archdiocesan Council which were read in the meetings of the Holy Synod of the Phanar and then were sent to the Committee of the Eparchies of the Throne Abroad.

Mention was made to the revealing interview given by His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago to TNH on April 8, 2022, who in his answer to a question about whether Archbishop Elpidophoros had the consensus of the Eparchial Synod prior to recommending to Patriarch Bartholomew that the Charter be placed in abeyance, he said that, “the Holy Eparchial Synod was not aware that His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros submitted reports to the Ecumenical Patriarchate related to the Charter of the Archdiocese. We never discussed the idea or a possible need to request a new Charter from the Patriarchate. On September 9-10, just one month before the announcement from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, our Archdiocese held its 45th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress, with more than 1,200 delegates in participation. Except for His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos, who raised concerns about rumors of a group commissioned by the Archdiocese to study changes to the charter, no one raised any question related to the Charter. The Clergy-Laity Congress went about its work assuming that everything was proceeding as normal. No one could have imagined that we would find ourselves in the present predicament just a month later.”

A reference was also made to the letters of the Clergy Syndesmos of the Metropolises of Chicago and Boston regarding the Charter and the questionnaire that has been distributed about it, as TNH has revealed.

Regarding the Metropolis of New Jersey, Elpidophoros said that the late Archbishop Iakovos had created the Metropolis specifically for the person of Metropolitan Silas, just to accommodate him, by cutting off a piece from the New York Metropolitan Area. He also said it wouldn’t work for Evangelos to be on the one side of the river and him on the other side.

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