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#20529 - 04/12/04 10:58 PM Interview With +Archbishop Spyridon
balaban Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 125
Loc: Mesa, AZ
2004.03.03 National Herald:

Published by National Herald, March 3 2004
Interview given to the National Herald in Tarpon Springs, Florida, by his
Eminence, Spyridon, former Archbishop of America, as published in the Greek
Edition of the National Herald on March 3, 2004.

Translation by Efthymios G. Ponticas
Former Archbishop of America Spyridon during his interview with "N.H.",
although he initially acknowledged it was too early for anyone to judge if
the decision to expand the Holy Synod is historical, still expressed
reservations that the decision was taken not for "the establishment of
Synodic rule, but to deal with certain problems in the Patriarchate's
relationship with the Church of Greece, and specifically with the subject
of the New Lands".

By the same token, he stresses that "this development illustrates that
there existed no Turkish prohibitive order on the subject of naming of
hierarchs" and that "it was an internal affair of the Patriarchate, which
cost the Patriarchate itself dearly".

With regard to the OCL-Archdiocese court dispute on the subject of the
Charter, he emphasized that "no one can doubt that the plaintiffs are right
at this time, since the 1977 Charter made provision for approval by the
Clergy-Laity Congress in the matter of modification or establishment of new

Asked about the present reorganization of the Archdiocese, he stressed
that "metroplitanization" is not the solution to the ecclesiastical
problems in America", and among others stressed that "the establishment of
metropolitanates and the division of the Archdiocese into ten sections
harms the unity of the Archdiocese of America".

The entire text of the interview is as follows:

"National Herald": What is your purpose for coming to this
Greek Village?

Archbishop Spyridon: I came exclusively and only to visit my
faithful friend, Mihali Kandounia, who is one of the great benefactors of
the Archdiocese and the Patriarchate, is a member of the Archdiocesan
Council and active for the common good. This visit to Tarpon took place
five years after I came as Archbishop in 1999 for the Theofanion Holiday.

"N.H.": How do you see the currently reshaped state of
affairs of Orthodoxy in America and in general in the whole world?

Spyridon: An acute observer would note that that which is
missing primarily in Orthodoxy is the internal dialogue between the
Orthodox Churches.

This dialogue is sought after by various leaders of the
Orthodox Churches and has not materialized because perhaps each meeting and
dialogue might provide a reason to discuss subjects that should not be
discussed during that time, subjects that are not considered timely.

In general, Orthodoxy must face many problems, such as the
youth issue, the proselytizers, and issues which arise from new conditions
in which the Orthodox Church exists, lives and grows.

Additionally, a chief characteristic of our existence and
harmony are the jurisdictional criteria of the past which perhaps should be
valued more so they may be confronted, to openly discuss all the problems
which all the churches face, regardless of the jurisdiction and
Patriarchate to which they belong.

I would say therefore that the main element from which a
renewal of our Church, a revitalization of the Orthodox love, could begin
would be an internal open dialogue.

"N.H.": What hopes does the recent expansion of the Holy
Synod of the Patriarchate, as decided by the Fanar, have for the canonical
restoration of the rule?

Spyridon: If the decision that was taken for the
reorganization of the Synod is a first step for a complete restoration of
the Synodic rule, then it is an important and praiseworthy decision.

If, however, the decision stops there, having already been
decided, then we cannot but think that the decision was not taken for the
restoration of Synodic rule, but to deal with certain problems which are
faced in the relationship between the Patriarchate and the Church of
Greece, and specifically with the subject of the New Lands.

I think that this decision cannot be characterized one way or
the other at the present time, and surely not as historical because instead
of solving problems it creates even more.

I am referring to the creation of a new distinction between
the hierarchs of Turkey and those abroad. Heretofore we said that those
abroad did not participate in the governing of the Church because of
Turkish prohibitive orders.

The development of the matters revealed
there was no Turkish prohibitive order. Therefore it was an internal
affair of the Patriarchate, a decision which was very costly to the
Patriarchate because it was forced to create a policy in the New Lands to
protect this system which favored the hierarchs in Turkey, sacrificing
those abroad and specifically those in the New Lands.

Therefore, we can understand how serious this subject is for
the Patriarchate, in other words the hierarchs of non-Turkish citizenship
and Turkish citizenship.

If half of Greece was sacrificed to retain that system, it
cannot be abandoned in one night and neither can I imagine that there is a
serious intention to return to the pre-1922 state of affairs.

It creates, I think, various problems which cannot in any way
fit into the thinking of the Church. We cannot separate, create new
distinctions, we cannot accept that we are partners on a percentage basis
in a Synod.

If there are no prohibitive orders, the easiest solution for
the restoration of the canonical, traditional Synodic rule would be as if
we open the gates and everyone participates indiscriminately, in rotation,
and based on the constitution.

With this method of selection of inviting some hierarchs, and
not certain others, I think that even more problems are created, instead of
attaining specific solutions.

"N.H.": How do you comment on the legal dispute on the
subject of the Charter of the Archdiocese?

Spyridon: I am grieved about this situation and especially
grieved when it is necessary to go to the civil courts for the resolution
of ecclesiastical and religious matters.

On the other hand, no one can doubt the right that plaintiffs
have at this moment, since the Charter of 1977 made provisions for approval
by the Clergy Laity Congress in the matter of modification or establishment
of new Charter.

What I want to say is that the plaintiffs are not acting
without a well-founded reason. Since, indeed, the Charter of 1977 was
approved by the Patriarchate, the Patriarchate itself should have respected
it and not attempted the application of a new Charter which has not gone
through the normal procedure provided by the Patriarchate
itself. Therefore they have some basis.

I do not know how the case will develop. I hope the case
ends quickly so that the two parties can agree, find a solution and move
forward, because it is very bad for the Church's prestige and it will
scandalize our people even more, as they have been scandalized enough by
the governance, ecclesiastical and financial scandals which are continually

"N.H.": How do you view the reorganization of the
Archdiocese of America?

Spyridon: I have a fixed position on the subject and based
on the numbers, metropolitanization is not the solution to the American
ecclesiastical problem.

I do not believe that the number of the faithful justifies
the establishment of ten metropolitanates, when surely those
metropolitanates will burden the Church finances to the utmost, because
where one office covered the youth, now we have eleven youth offices.

Those offices all need desks, personnel, financing.

The establishment of those metropolitanates and the division
of the Archdiocese in ten sections, however we view it, damages the unity
of the Archdiocese.

"N.H.": A decision was made by the Holy Synod of Greece to
reduce the crisis between the Church of Greece and the Patriarchate with
regard to the New Lands. How do you view this crisis and what do you

Spyridon: I belong to those who for years have warned of the
danger lying in ambush on the subject of the New Lands. I have remarked in
various discussions that this matter should be overcome as painlessly as
possible. There is no doubt that the Patriarchate has historic rights on
the New Lands and it is right for every organization to want to maintain
its rights.

Today the politicoeconomic conditions in the area of the New
Lands have changed. It must be taken into consideration that the majority
of hierarchs have a given position on the matter.

I am sorry there was no effort made to avoid this sad
collision which exposed the Church and Orthodoxy in the eyes of the
non-Orthodox, but has also reduced the stature of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

"N.H.": What is your view of the future of the Greek
language and, in general, the Greek Letters in America, and what is your
opinion on "charter" schools which teach the Greek language?

Spyridon: I am glad for what is happening with the creation
of the "charter" schools. Here we have a new school phenomenon that seems
to cover the needs of the Greek Letters.

On the other hand, I am sad because it shows that the
Archdiocesan position thus far has failed. This has resulted in the
creation of the "charter" schools. I think this phenomenon should guide us
into deeper thoughts.

In reality I do not know what is happening, and in reality
there is an interest since we notice that the budget for Greek Education is
continually reduced instead of increasing.

Personally I believe that we ourselves must look after Greek
Education, because the Hellenic principles are worldwide principles and are
the basis for every civilization.

"N.H.": What are the role and the purpose of the Archbishop
Spyridon Foundation?

Spyridon: The foundation was created about one year ago with
an inaugural ceremony that took place in New York.

When my friends came to Montreal for the presentation of my
book, they saw the school miracle that succeeded there within the framework
of the community and were encouraged.

They believed that an attempt could be made to strengthen the
Greek Letters elsewhere in the diaspora, in other places outside America
where there are Greeks.

Mr.John Katsimatidis, Mrs. Evanthia Condakes, then president
of the National Philoptohos, and Demetri and Georgia Kaloidi were
instrumental in the creation of the Foundation.

Today we are in the stage of forming the Governing Council
and Academic Council to start the project, which is the advancement of
Greek Letters in America.

We must tell the people to believe, to remain faithful to
their traditions and their roots. It is a tremendous project.

"N.H.": What are your future plans?

Spyridon: Now I am resting and am occupied with reflection,
reading and studying. I believe that in this manner I will continue to
maintain the relationships that I have here in America, dedicating, as much
as possible, more time for the missions of the foundation for the Greek
Language, Education and Civilization.
There is room for action in order to consider that I, too,
can contribute to the greater society to which I belonged and still belong.

#20530 - 04/13/04 07:43 AM Re: Interview With +Archbishop Spyridon
Alice Offline

Registered: 01/12/03
Posts: 9083
Loc: New York
Dear Balaban,

Thank you for this article. His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, someone whom my family and I still exchange holiday wishes with, is a brilliant church man having served in Italy and Switzerland as well as the U.S., and whose opinions are objective, well thought out and are always in the spirit of what he thinks would be best for the church (Greek Orthodox) that he loves so much. I had and still have the utmost respect for him, his intelligence, and his integrity.

In Christ,


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