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OPINIONS

The Shame of Decline

The recent tragicomic events at the church of the All-Holy Taxiarhes in the area of Megalo Revma of Constantinople, specifically, the assault by Archimandrite Chrysanthos on Metropolitan Athenagoras of Kydonion which involved the slapping of the archpriest’s cheeks while he was venerating the icon of the Virgin Mary, are not only lamentable but also pitiful for the Patriarchate itself.

I mention this with a heavy heart because my respect, appreciation, and love for our Venerable Center of Orthodoxy and its Leader, Patriarch Bartholomew, with whom I have been acquainted for many years, are well known to all. And this article is not indented to diminish the prestige and value of institutions and individuals, but to express the pain I feel about the damage inflicted upon the Patriarchate and the Patriarch by the cruel and unacceptable act of Archimandrite Chrysanthos. It is beyond heinous, as the video of the incident has traveled ‘to all nations’.

We will not provide any further descriptive details about this shameful act of degradation. After all, Metropolitan Athenagoras himself described the assault in detail in his statement, which the National Herald published on April 4 along with the video evidence. I’m not sure if Athenagoras did the right thing by seeking refuge with the Turkish authorities, although, to be honest, Turkish intelligence services know a lot about many people who have served or currently serve in Turkey…

It will suffice here to make some revelations derived from reliable, as always, insider information from within the Phanar, as follows: This was not the first time that this specific Archimandrite has assaulted a Hierarch of the Throne, but there have been other occasions in the past. As an example, I refer to the case involving the always serious and venerable Hierarch, Geron Metropolitan Apostolos of Derkon. When the Archimandrite served in a parish of the Metropolis of Derkon, he menacingly lifted a chair towards the Metropolitan. Following the report of Metropolitan Apostolos to Patriarch Bartholomew, the latter transferred the Archimandrite to a parish of the Archdiocese of Constantinople, but also awarded him the office of Grand Catechist!

Now, with this recent incident, instead of another punishment, such as defrocking and returning him to the ranks of the laity, Patriarch Bartholomew retired him, meaning he will sit idle at home and be paid by the Patriarchate.

The Grand Catechist is also known to be a friend of our Chief hierarch – Archbishop Elpidophoros – who comes from Constantinople, and the Archimandrite is well aware, as we are informed, of many secrets of the past…

Hence, it wouldn’t be surprising if Elpidophoros brings him here, as he has done for many others, including another priest specializing in ‘catechism’, whom Bartholomew had to put on liturgical suspension for a month following a report from his supervising Metropolitan, Maximos of Silivria. That priest is now here, liturgizing, preaching, and blessing in a parish of our Archdiocese.

Let me remind you that a similar incident of assault, not just slapping but also punching and kicking, occurred some years ago in our Archdiocese, specifically at the Office of the Chancellor, now Bishop Nektarios Papazafiropoulos, when an Archimandrite who was living at Archdiocesan headquarters – he has now returned to Greece – assaulted a then-Deacon and now-Archimandrite whom Elpidophoros had brought from Halki.

In conclusion, Elpidophoros is who he is, as he has proven and demonstrates daily… but why has Bartholomew filled the martyred Mother Church with all these problematic and low life individuals? And it is truly a pity, because indisputably he has emerged as one of the greatest Patriarchs of recent centuries, notwithstanding all his mistakes and impulsive decisions, unfortunately including allowing Elpidophoros and others in his Court to influence him and destroy local Churches like ours here, the Archdiocese of America, and its people, such as Metropolitan Evangelos and the expelled professors of Holy Cross School of Theology, Fr. Emmanuel Clapsis and Fr. George Dragas, who faithfully served him for many years.

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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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