Eleftherotypia (Sunday Edition) - December 25-27, 1998
[ From an Interview with Patriarch Bartholomew conducted by Justine Frangouli ]
Eleftherotypia: What is your view about how things
are developing in the Archdiocese of America? Do you believe that there is
a crisis there or that the crisis is artificially devised, as Archbishop Spyridon
has often claimed?
Patriarch Bartholomew: We are following the situation
closely and carefully.
Eleftherotypia: Many, including Iakovos, the former
Archbishop of America, accuse you of having fragmented the Archdiocese of
North and South America. Today, with the revolt of the five Metropolitans
and the silence kept by the Patriarchate on this matter, the charges that
your goal is to further fragment the Archdiocese of the USA are intensifying.
What is your position on this issue?
Patriarch Bartholomew: Our goal was not the fragmentation
of the Greek Orthodox Church of America. We simply took certain measures to
improve her administration, because the vast distances involved were making
that difficult. We did the same when we set up the Metropolitanate of Hong
Kong, without intending to break up the Metropolitanate of New Zealand. Today,
decentralization is practiced on a large scale. Also, in the primitive Church
efforts were made to see that dioceses covered a small area, so that there
could be governed more efficiently. Furthermore, as you will be aware, such
re-arrangement took place in the Church of Greece some years ago, precisely
for the same reason. The new Patriarch of Alexandria has also done the same
Eleftherotypia: Is there any truth in the rumors
that it is only a matter of time before the Archbishop of America is removed
from office? How will you explain the dismissal of two Archbishops in so short
a span of time?
Patriarch Bartholomew: The Patriarchate is not responsible
for these rumors.
[ Translated from Greek ]
[ Ελευθεροτυπία (Κυριακάτικη) - December 25-27, 1998 ]