October 16, 1997

The Editor,

I never expected to see now that I am ninety one years old Greek Orthodox to work with so much rage for the destruction of our Church. Recently I read a letter signed by a certain Mr. Dimitriou who, without a sliver of proof, hurls the despicable charge that Patriarch Bartholomaios is an agent and a pawn of Turkey.

Since the time of the Asia Minor Catastrophe and the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne, the Turkish leadership has made every effort to limit the prestige of the Ecumenical Patriarch into the narrow confines of the "bishop of the Romios in Istanbul". They had been successful to a very large extent. But in the last few years Turkey found that it was not so easy to suppress the Patriarchate because this caused a negative reaction in Washington and in the European Union.

The Turks are not stupid. They realized that the best method to neutralize the Ecumenical Patriarchate was to undermine it "from within". More specifically, to exploit internal disagreements and misunderstandings in order to turn the Greek Orthodox against the Patriarch. And what more effective way than to have the Patriarch portrayed as Turkey's pawn, a person untrustworthy even treasonous. They have been able to promote this goal thanks to the narrow-mindedness and simplicity of many Greek Orthodox in America.

What is the objective of all those who undermine the Patriarch with such venom, especially at the very moment he is coming to the U.S. on an official visit? What do they hope to achieve? No matter how many administrative mistakes we may find in the record of the new Archbishop Spyridon, nothing justifies the destructive frenzy against the Ecumenical Patriarch at a time when the Patriarch is struggling to uplift the prestige and the influence of the centuries-old institution. I hope God will put some sense into them.

Emmanuel S. Athanasiades
401 So. Garfield Street
Arlington, VA 22204

[ ALITHEIA-ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ |  -  October 16, 1997 ]