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Church

What Happened at the Phanar Regarding Archimandrite Siskos

BOSTON – The issue that dominated the recent Synod of the Phanar was the case of the Grand Archimandrite Agathangelos Siskos. As The National Herald first revealed on April 21, 2023, the Turkish authorities arrested him on April 17 for the theft of a pocket watch of great value. He went to jail, from which he was, however, released with the intervention of the police guard of Patriarch Bartholomew.

The Patriarch put him on indefinite leave and the issue was raised by the Patriarch on the first day of the Synod. In fact it could be said that almost the entire session throughout the day was consumed with this topic.

The Patriarch reportedly said that it was a matter that concerns all of them, that it is not a matter that concerns only the Patriarch, but of the Patriarchate, and that is why he brought it before them.

A nearly unanimous reaction against the Grand Archimandrite Agathangelos followed among the synodal hierarchs, led by Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, who emphasized that the Patriarchate has been dragged down everywhere and scandalized people, and he recommended his dismissal. Metropolitan Bartholomew of Smyrna followed in the same vein as Archbishop Elpidophoros, joined by other hierarchs who pointed out that the matter has received so much publicity that the institution of the Ecumenical Throne is being affected and that people are being scandalized.

Grand Archimandrite of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Agathangelos Siskos.
(Photo: TNH/Archive)

The exception was Metropolitan Joachim of Proussa (Bursa), originally from Thessaloniki, who made a desperate attempt to defend Fr. Agathangelos, going so far as to say that the news was publicized because they wanted to harm the Patriarchate. Hierarchs answered him that when someone holds a public office, he must know that his actions have an impact on the institution he represents, while others asked: “did they publicize it unnecessarily?”

There were others inside and outside the Phanar who made an effort to defend Fr. Agathangelos, and who had told the Patriarch that he had inadvertently and by mistake put the watch among the items he bought from the goldsmith-antique shop. They even tried to convey this view to Greek media in Greece, some of which adopted it.

Finally, it was decided to expel the Grand Archimandrite from the Phanar after he was stripped of all his responsibilities. He was sent to the Theological School of Halki to reside there. It is not known where he will go to serve from now on. TNH can reveal that he has been banned from leaving the country for two months.

We point out that the announcement of the Phanar was written by the Patriarch himself. It states the following:

“The Holy and Sacred Synod met today, April 25, 2023, under the presidency of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. The Patriarch brought before it the issue of the Archivist Grand Archimandrite Agathangelos Siskos.

“After an exchange of views and taking into account the defamation of the institution of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, it was decided to put an end to the ministry of the above-mentioned cleric in the Phanar.

From the Archsecretariat of the Holy and Great Synod.”

The Holy Synod of the current synodal period is made up of the following hierarchs: Apostolos, Geron of Derkon; Panteleimon of Vryoula; Evangelos of Sardes; Cyril of Rhodes; Hilarion of Winnipeg; Elpidophoros of America; Job of Pisidia; Bartholomew of Smyrna; Kyrillos of Ierapetra and Siteia; Vissarion of Spain and Portugal; Joachim of Bursa; and Dimitrios of France.

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