Voithia - July 13, 1999

A translation of the Greek article which appeared
in the Athens newspaper ELEFTHEROTYPIA, July 13, 1999

In the Morning He Resigns, in the Evening He Remains

By Thomas Tsatsis

Two days ago in the morning Archbishop Spyridon declared that he will not resign. Yesterday morning he signified that he placed himself at the disposition of the Church, thus indirectly indicating that he would resign, just as the Patriarch had asked him to do. But last evening a news release by the Archdiocese of America generated surprise.

According to the news release, "His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, has concluded his discussions on the affairs of the Archdiocese with His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and will be returning from the Fanar this week. It was decided that the Archbishop would visit the Ecumenical Patriarchate again next month to continue their dialogue on issues pertaining to the welfare of the Archdiocese."

In other words, different things were said two days ago, others yesterday morning, and still others became known last night. Rather than the surprise of Spyridon's removal, which is requested by a part of the Omogeneia and the Metropolitans in America, the Fanar has chosen to support Spyridon at this specific time. That is, at least, what the latter is saying. As far as the Ecumenical Patriarchate and its representatives are concerned, no one has taken the trouble to comment on the news release by the Archdiocese of America.


Yesterday afternoon, after his talks with the Ecumenical Patriarch and other members of the Synod, Spyridon to everyone's surprise emerged from the Fanar smiling, expressing satisfaction. Speaking with his associates, he said that there is no problem and they need not fret at all.

According to reports, he indeed said to John Catsimatides, president of the Archdiocesan Council, that all went well and that therefore there was no need for the latter to meet with Bartholomew.

The Patriarchate, for unknown reasons, did not release an official communication. The game played by the Fanar hierarchs called "who is the Archbishop of America" will perhaps end today after the meeting of the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. If the Synod convenes, it is expected to clarify the murky situation that has developed these last days regarding the archiepiscopal throne.

Yesterday morning, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew received once again at the Fanar the head of the department of religious affairs of the Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Stylianos Valsamas Rallis, and it seemed that nothing had changed as compared to the day before yesterday. The name of Archbishop Stylianos of Australia was the prevailing one for the position in America. Indeed, trustworthy sources reported that Stylianos had asked of Bartholomew that the position of Archbishop in America be upgraded to that of Archbishop of North and South America, as it was under Iakovos.

According to a telegram from the Athens News Agency released last night, Archbishop Spyridon of America was to depart for New York today. But a meeting of the Metropolitans of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is expected to be held today in which the question of the Archdiocese of America will be discussed. Two Metropolitans from America will also participate in this meeting. It is a perplexing matter if, finally, Spyridon will be removed or if his position will be further secured.

His Absence is Preferred

In any case, it is clear that the Fanar does not want Spyridon to be present at the meeting of the Synod. As sources from the Patriarchate reported, Spyridon insists that the Fanar's perception of the situation in America is not accurate and that it stems from slanders of a small group of the Archbishop's "enemies." According to the Athens News Agency, "the Synod has formed the contrary conviction that many of the Archdiocese's problems stem from the Archbishop's own dealings and his captivity to only one group of the Church and the Omogeneia.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that according to other reports Spyridon will perhaps announce his resignation when he reaches America. Still other sources report that developments contrary to those expected until yesterday should not be excluded, that is to say, the removal of Metropolitans from America who are at odds with Spyridon.

It must also be noted that Spyridon's adversaries, taking aim at the Ecumenical Patriarch, posed the following question: "If, finally, Archbishop Spyridon remains in his position and does not leave, will there be someone to take the trouble to explain to us what has transpired during this period and why Bartholomew called him to the Fanar in the first place?"

[ Voithia |  -  July 13, 1999 ]