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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 in Africa.

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 ]