ERA-5 - February 26, 1999

Archdiocese of America :

Synod of Bishops Holds Spring Session

By Justine Frangouli

It was in a calm atmosphere and a climate of mutual understanding that the regular spring session of the Eparchial Episcopal Synod of the Archdiocese of America, chaired by Archbishop Spyridon, took place.

The tension created by two letters written by the five Metropolitans against the Archbishop seems to have relaxed, and the Eparchial Synod yesterday compiled without major confrontations a list of three candidates for each vacant diocese of the Archdiocese: Atlanta, New Jersey and Detroit. The list of candidates will be sent to the Patriarchate that will have the last word in selecting the future bishops.

The 12 demands presented by the five Metropolitans in their lengthy report to the Phanar were also examined. The only ones remaining open are those pertaining to the Metropolitans' privileges and powers. On the other hand, the Metropolitans expressed their satisfaction that certain court cases have come to a conclusion and that the "Leadership 100" endowment fund has been re-established as an independent organization.

Furthermore, the five Metropolitans who seemed to identify themselves with the church pressure group known as GOAL (especially when they called for the lawsuit regarding the Archdiocese's mailing list to be dropped), stressed yet again that they do not fall into line with any lay body or church pressure organisation and do not consent to the use of their name by such groups.

As to the issue of financial contributions made by the communities, the Metropolitans were specifically urged to be on the alert. The issue, as a means to oppose the Archbishop, seems to have arisen in some parishes at the instigation of the aforementioned pressure groups.

In whatever way seen, the fact is that the Eparchial Synod's regular spring session has encouraged the Patriarchate's active involvement in the internal affairs of the Archdiocese of America, since certain issues pertaining to the interpretation of the Archdiocese’s charter are now referred directly to the Phanar. At the same time, however, church pressure groups continue to raise their voices in favour of an autocephalous (independent) status that should be granted to the Church of America.

[ Translated from Greek ]

[ ΕΡΑ - - February 26, 1999 ]