Eleftheros Typos - June 24, 1999

Nevertheless he is preparing for a heroic exodus

Last Attempts by Spyridon To Save His Archiepiscopal Throne

By G. N. Papathanasopoulos

LAST and desperate attempts are being made by Archbishop Spyridon of America to save his throne.  Simultaneously, he is preparing a "heroic" exodus.  As first and only the ELEFTHEROS TYPOS had written, after the special meeting which Patriarch Bartholomew had with Prime Minister Simitis (when in fact the Archbishop himself had accorded him the honor of... contradicting him), the counter struggle for his expulsion has begun. Events have fully vindicated our paper.  They vindicate us in another aspect, that the Archbishop in the difficulties which he has faced and will continue to face, does not regard with gratitude the Patriarchate which has promoted him, but seeking to save himself has exposed it to dangers.  At the same time, "anonymous circles" who evidently lean toward him have circulated innuendos that his expulsion is not a result of his inadequacy to unify the Greek American community in the USA, but a product of financial arrangements between powerful sources of the Greek American community who are against him and the Fanar.  The "heroic exodus" by the Archbishop of America will derive from a strong projection of our national issues on his part, together with information leaks to the press that such activity irritates the Fanar and that this is why he has become undesirable.

 In the perspective of this endeavor Archbishop Spyridon recently called together the representatives of HALO (Hellenic American Leaders and Organizations), an organization which the Archbishop established in response to the organization GOAL (Greek Orthodox American Leaders) strongly opposing him, in order to examine the initiatives relative to the program to take place at the Archdiocese on the 25th anniversary of the invasion of Cyprus by the Turkish forces of "Attila." Notable is the difference in titles of the organization friendly to the Archbishop, marked by the word "Hellenic" instead of the usual word "Greek" used by his opponents.  This differentiation carries its own significance, namely, that he himself and his supporters think ethnically and not as the members of GOAL who, according to those leaning to him, "have been estranged, think more as Americans and seek the Americanization of the Greek Orthodox Church in the USA."  A critical element in the current developments will be, with the blessing of the Archbishop, the magnitude of activity by Greek Americans and especially by those of Cypriot origins in the USA for the 25th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.  This will constitute, according to his supporters, a provocation to the Fanar, but at the same time a shield for his stay or a justification for his expulsion.

 Events in the Greek American community in the USA are unfolding dramatically, together with the active involvement in support of Archbishop Spyridon by the Haghiorite Hieromonk Ephraim who, despite living now in the USA, remains "patron" of the Monastery of Philotheou [on the Holy Mountain]. Ephraim has established eight monasteries in America of which in the two male, in Arizona and Texas, he has set Greek Americans as abbots, whereas in the female the abbesses come mostly from Greece.  A confidant of Ephraim was the Chancellor of the Archdiocese, Protopresbyter Fr. George Passias, whom Archbishop Spyridon recently removed because his activities have provoked equal reactions by the Fanar as by many Greek Americans.  It should be noted that Ephraim is followed by certain Orthodox faithful, some of whom with letters to the Patriarchate and other activities have declared their support of the Archbishop.  Archbishop Spyridon is in symbiosis with Ephraim because, even though the latter himself is not a welcome figure to the Patriarchate, the Archbishop offers him freedom of action and from him he receives the support of his followers whose aid he now is seeking in the struggle for his stay.

[ Translated from Greek ]

[ Eleftheros Typos - June 24, 1999 ]