New York Daily News - September 19, 1999

Hil Is Mum On Rudy, Hails Greek Prelate

By Paul Schwartzman and Dave Saltonstall,
with Frank Lombardi

Hillary Rodham Clinton swept through Manhattan yesterday but maintained a First Lady-like posture, forswearing all politics a day after Mayor Giuliani pointedly questioned the financing of her future New York home.

Clinton, in town to attend the enthronement of Archbishop Demetrios as head of the nation's Greek Orthodox Christians, limited her comments to the sacred, not the secular, in her only public address of the day.

"You brought us a message of unshakable faith, love and unbreakable unity," Clinton told the archbishop during a luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria, after which she took no questions. "That is a fitting message for our country and our world."

Clinton's visit came one day after Giuliani, who is maneuvering to run against Clinton for the U.S. Senate, blasted her for allowing a financial backer to guarantee a $ 1.35 million mortgage for their new Chappaqua home. The mayor also extended his criticism to President Clinton.

Asked about the mortgage by a caller to his WABC Radio call-in show Friday, Giuliani said, "Yes, it is a significant issue that people are going to look into, and not just with regard to Hillary Clinton, but with regard to the sitting President of the United States taking money like that."

Yesterday, the mayor added, "People are trying to figure out how they can get someone to give them $ 1.3 million dollars to buy a house."

The Clintons' purchase of the $ 1.7 million home in Westchester County which will give the First Lady residency status in New York if she runs was guaranteed by Terence McAuliffe, a longtime ally and fund-raiser for the President.

But diplomacy, not politics, seemed the only thing on the First Lady's mind yesterday. Dressed in a black, double-breasted suit with pink lapels, Clinton watched the enthronement from the first row of the Holy Trinity Cathedral on E. 74th St. in Manhattan.

In 1995, Clinton traveled to Istanbul with her daughter where they had a private audience with Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of more than 250 million Orthodox Christians worldwide.

The New York cathedral's dean is the Very Rev. Robert Stephanopoulos, the father of former White House press secretary George Stephanopoulos, who also attended the service.

Clinton and the younger Stephanopoulos who had few kind words for the First Lady in his recent Clinton memoir, "All Too Human" sat just 15 feet apart and apparently never even traded glances.

Yesterday's enthronement comes at a critical time for the Greek Orthodox Church, whose 1.5 million members make it the largest Orthodox group in the country.
The archdiocese has undergone two years of unprecedented turmoil over the leadership of Archbishop Spyridon, who resigned under pressure last month.

Priests and lay activists complained that Spyridon the first American-born leader of the U.S. church was abrasive, high-handed and out of touch with his flock.

[ New York Daily News
  September 19, 1999 ]