"PROINI" - July 15, 1997
MOBILIZATION OF THE ARCHBISHOP'S OPPONENTS
Certain circles, both inside and outside the Church, are pushing for the "autonomy" of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America from the Ecumenical Patriarchate and it is in this context that the current polemic being waged lately both here and in Greece against Archbishop Spyridon and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew can be explained. In this same context, a systematic series of articles and newspaper coverage in the written and electronic press (both in the USA and Greece) has been enjoined on the issues at the Theological School in Boston.
The aforementioned assessment is confirmed by certain authoritative observers of religious affairs who have conducted an evaluation, and according to informed and reliable sources, at the end of this week and the beginning of the next, a meeting of clergy and lay people will take place in New York, in order to discuss the removal of Archbishop Spyridon and the probability for autonomy of the Greek Archdiocese from the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Those who will take part in the meeting are worried over the current situation in the Greek Archdiocese, as it is being presented, and the impression of "anarchy" observed of late. According to this same information, this discussion will have more of an academic character. There will be an assessment of the situation which has arisen in ecclesiastical affairs in the USA, following the disclosures against Archbishop Spyridon, listing outlooks and assessments for the near and distant future.
The common denominator among those at the meeting is their good to excellent relations with his Eminence Iakovos, the predecessor of Archbishop Spyridon in the Archiepiscopal Throne of America, who, it should be noted, has yet to speak out on the recent developments surrounding the Theological School in Boston, as well as the now open attacks against the Ecumenical Patriarch, which attacks, as the reader shall see below, are completely associated with Archbishop Spyridon.
At this meeting, there will occur a "lining up of forces" -- as much ecclesiastical as well as financial -- since in this group of people it has been strongly rumored that extremely important Greek-American businessmen are included.
The attack against His Eminence Spyridon, Archbishop of America is also continuing in Greece, much like in the United States, not only through the press ("The Free Press" - [Eleftheros Typos] a daily paper in Greece has carried the stories). They have the Ecumenical Patriarch squarely in their sights, especially when that same paper uses expression like "suffocating control by Ankara" which "advances the policies of Turkey to the 'omogenia' in the USA and beyond ..."
These comments come twenty four hours after the front and full page article of the same paper with the headline "Pink Rasa in the Archdiocese of America" and the sub-heading, "How Spyridon denigrates Orthodoxy in the Omogenia".
The article Eleftheros Typos has adopted wholesale the unsubstantiated rumors of an alleged "cover-up of a sexual scandal" at the Theological School in Boston, specifically mentioning that "the Greek Orthodox Church of America is in disarray over the action of Archbishop Spyridon to behead distinguished professors of the School who did not wish to conceal the 'pink scandal' which occurred at the School with celibate clergyman as protagonists."
The article, signed by the religion editor of Eleftheros Typos, G. N. Papathanasopoulos, was full of titillating and very specific details about the rumor of a homosexual incident at Holy Cross, which Eleftheros Typos completely accepts as fact.
The day before yesterday, the Sunday edition of Eleftheros Typos, "The Sunday Press" in the unsigned commentary column "The Exorcist", there appeared the following:
"The Ecumenical Patriarchate, under the stranglehold control of Ancyra, kicked out Iakovos from the Archdiocese of America to replace him with Spyridon. So have we passed from the efficiency of the Greek 'Lobby' to pink Church scandals. The difference was made clear in Madrid [sic]. It will cost the Greek government 350 million drachmas for the ecological conference by sea voyage on the Black Sea, organized by Patriarch Bartholomew. We should support our symbols, but not if they advance the policies of Turkey to the 'omogenia' in the USA and beyond."
A PATRIARCHAL RESPONSE
Today, the newspaper Adesmevtos Typos took a stand against Eleftheros Typos and pro the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the whole matter in an article by Editor-in-Chief Yiannis Daska, where he writes, among other things, that the real reason for the scandal-mongering against Archbishop Spyridon is to attack the Ecumenical Patriarch.
The newspaper contacted the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which communicated that it does not address the published reports case by case, but in a generally and referred to the speech of the Patriarch delivered on June 11, 1997, which refers to slanderers and extortionists. The excerpt of the Ecumenical Patriarch's speech they printed is as follows:
"In the exercise of its ecumenical mission, the Throne is often misunderstood and attacked. By co-religionists and those of other faiths. By extreme conservatives, who condemn the Ecumenical Patriarchate for being too liberal, and by extreme liberals who condemn us for being too conservative. Those who would crucify us are many and of many stripes, said the Metropolitan of Hliopolis and Theira, 'both open and concealed, of all different classes, social strata, and nuances.'
"However, the mind of Christ which the Mother Church has, is neither dissuaded nor choked off. Her mouth shall speak wisdom, 'the wisdom which is not of this world, but the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which before the ages God ordained unto glory' (I Corinthians 2:6,7) and the meditation of Her heart shall be understanding. For this reason, She lives in a manner and perspective which is different from that of the world, and She is not influenced by the methods which her enemies use to hold sway over Her.
"She is neither muzzled nor strangled by threats, extortion, even extreme slander. She resists and continues to preach the Gospel as Christ empowers Her. She resists and continues the course of Orthodoxy, the road of truth, hope and duty. With such a sense of her historical obligations, the Great Church marches on into the 21st century after Christ, as a Church 'praying, fighting the good fight, teaching, being vigilant," as our brother who is present, the Metropolitan of Demetrias would say, marching on with love for all, without a trace of vengefulness and without any gloating when She is vindicated and Her enemies are shamed -- because in such a case the Church would not be the Church of Christ, the God of love. She marches on without swerving, because She believes steadfastly that 'our God is refuge and strength, a helper in afflictions which mightily befall us' - according to the Psalm (45:1) -- 'God is in the midst of her, she shall not be shake; God shall help her right early in the morning.' (Psalm 45.6)."
[ Translated from Greek ]
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