Orthodox Observer - November 1996

Archbishop Addresses Issues at First Press Conference

NEW YORK — Archbishop Spyridon held his first press conference at Archdiocese headquarters on Oct. 3 for the Greek American press and fielded many questions from a roomful of journalists. The press conference, which lasted more than an hour, was conducted primarily in Greek.

HIS EMINENCE reads his statement to the Greek American press at Archdiocese headquarters.

Reporters questioned him on topics that included interfaith marriages, finances, relations with the old calendarists, monasticism, clergy and the communities, ethnic concerns and several other subjects.

On the issue of interfaith marriages, His Eminence said that he views the couples "with a lot more compassion and affection." He said the Church must try to help the non-Orthodox partner of the marriage under­stand what Orthodoxy is about. "If we can't explain Orthodoxy, how can they consider Orthodoxy in an objective way."

Regarding disputes that arise within communities, the Archbishop said that use of the democratic process is desirable, but canon law should also guide communities in governing their parishes.

The Archbishop also said that the financial dealings of the Church and each parish should be open and clear.

Responding to a question on whether he would remain neutral about ethnic issues, in light of the Patriarchate's situation in Turkey, His Eminence said that he would be supportive of ethnic concerns both in this country and abroad.

On relations with the old-calendarists, Archbishop Spyridon said he did not see the calendar as being a divisive issue.

As to whether he favors the establishment of monasteries in this country, His Eminence explained that the issue would have to be looked at carefully, and that it should only happen under canon law.

The Archbishop responded thoroughly and frankly to each reporter's questions and said he hoped to speak with them regularly.

Reaction to the new Archbishop from several reporters was positive. "I think the Archbishop made a great effort to accommodate the Greek American press," said Vicki Yannias, New York correspondent for the Hellenic Chronicle. "The Archbishop made himself very accessible and gave us a lot of his time. I think he was very careful and thoughtful about ensuring that his answers reflected his thinking."

"I think it is a new beginning for the Archdiocese," said another reporter covering the press conference. "I believe the it will help the community and the young people come closer to the Church."

Following is the text of his opening statement to the press.

[ Orthodox Observer - Vol. 61, No. 1120 - November 1996 - p. 3 ]