The National Herald - January 6, 2001
Phanar looks for ways to make charter rejection palatable
By Theodore Kalmoukos
BOSTON -. The newly drafted charter of the Archdiocese, which has
already been submitted for discussion and approval to the Ecumenical
Patriarchate, has been in essence "rejected" by the Phanar, highly
placed ecclesiastical officials from the Patriarchate told The National Herald.
sources said that the Phanar is now trying to come up with a formula that will
make the rejection less "painful" for the Greek American community
and will minimize negative reactions.
new charter provides for a semiautonomous administrative status for the church
in America (these provisions are contained specifically in articles 13 and 14)
regarding the election of local Metropolitans as well as the selection of the
three-person ballot, known as triprosopon,
for the office of the Archbishop. At the same time, the charter also provides
for the continuation of the canonical and ecclesiological status of the
Archdiocese of America under the spiritual jurisdiction of the Ecumenical
new charter was drafted under the supervision and study of a special charter
committee. It was then approved unanimously by the Holy Eparchial Synod of the
Archdiocese in four special meetings last year under the leadership of
Archbishop Demetrios. The new charter has also been reviewed and unanimously approved
by a broader representative committee of clergy and laity from each Diocese
the first meeting between the Patriarchate and the Archdiocesan charter
committees that took place on December 1, 2000 at the Phanar, the
representatives of the Patriarchate expressed reluctance to accept the proposed
charter as the Herald revealed in its December 9-10, 2000 issue.
meeting is scheduled to be convened, also at the Phanar, on February 20-22.
Well informed sources told the Herald that the Patriarchate is trying to come
up with a formula "to convince the people of the Archdiocese of America
that the proposed charter is not to their benefit."
the plans of the Patriarchate is also the thought "to try to use
Archbishop Demetrios' popularity and the wide respect and acceptance that he
enjoys to convince the faithful in the U.S. that the new charter is against
their interests," the high ranking ecclesiastical officials told the
Demetrios was a vocal supporter of the draft charter during the last
Clergy-Laity Congress in Philadelphia last July. In an effort to pacify of the
delegates who anxiously wanted to see the charter he assured them that "It
is a very good charter. Trust us," and promised to make its text available
to the faithful in short order.
case Demetrios refuses to follow Phanar's directions, the Patriarchate "is
planning through articles in newspapers in Greece to exercise pressure on him
by presenting him as uncooperative and the one who is trying to disassociate
the Church of America from the Patriarchate."
is believed that one of the plans the Phanar has under consideration is to
procrastinate until some of the Metropolitans of the current Synod of America
retire and are replaced by Patriarchate appointees who will tilt the will of
the Synod in favor of the Phanar. "The magic word here is control,"
sources close to the Phanar told the Herald. It is not a coincidence that no
bishop has been named for the Diocese of New Jersey more than a year after the
death of the late Bishop George.
is also possible that during the meeting of the charter committees in February
the Patriarchal committee will present their own charter "completely
different from the one the American committee has drafted, in another effort to
buy time" the sources said.
seems that the Patriarchate has misinterpreted the relative calm in the Church
in America which is due to the personality of Archbishop Demetrios and his
fruitful cooperation with his Synod. The Herald is in position to know that
Archbishop Demetrios has made very clear to Patriarch Bartholomaios the growing
discomfort of the people of the Church in America towards the Patriarchate
because off the events of the last three years.
Herald has learned that there is a growing number of clergy and laity in this
country that have begun to organize themselves against the prospect of
rejection of the charter by the Patriarchate. They are also resolved that they
are not to allow a repetition of the unfortunate selection to the Archdiocesan
throne of a hierarch like former Archbishop Spyridon. The reason this group has
not officially made its existence known is out of respect to the person of
Archbishop Demetrios. It seems that everybody is waiting to see the results of
the upcoming meeting in February.
is the text of the crucial Articles 13 and 14 of the draft charter:
ARTICLE 13 - Election of the Archbishop
election of the Archbishop is the right of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical
Patriarchate, with the participation of the Eparchial Synod and the Council as
following the vacancy of the office of the Archbishop, the Locum Tenens shall
convene the Eparchial Synod for the purpose of establishing the Archdiocesan
list of those who are eligible for the office of the Archbishop. This list is
submitted to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for approval. Following receipt of the
approval list from the ecumenical Patriarchate by the Eparchial Synod, the
advice of the Council is requested.
(40) days following the vacancy, the Locum Tenens re-convenes the Eparchial
Synod for the purpose of nominating three (3) persons for election to the
office of Archbishop from the list of those eligible and approved by the
Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate will elect the new Archbishop within
ninety (90) days from the submission of the list of the three nominees in
accordance with the holy canons of the Church.
nominee for the office of the Archbishop shall be a person of deep faith, a
Greek Orthodox Christian, a graduate of an academically recognized Orthodox
School of Theology, have a fluent knowledge of spoken and written English and
Greek, have proven ability in administration and pastoral work, be fully aware
of ecclesiastical affairs of the Archdiocese and be totally committed to the
preservation of unity within the Archdiocese as well as to the bond of unity
with the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In addition, he shall not be less than
thirty-five (35) of age and have a period of service in the Archdiocese on not
less than ten (10) years.
fulfilling the above conditions are included in the catalogue of those
eligible, regardless of the place of residence during the time of the
ARTICLE 14 - Election of the Metropolitan
election of a Metropolitan is the province of the Eparchial Synod and
accomplished according to the following order:
following the vacancy of the office of the Metropolitan, the Archbishop shall
convene the Eparchial Synod for the purpose of establishing the list of
eligible persons for the position of Metropolitan. The list thus established is
submitted by the Eparchial Synod to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for approval.
Following receipt of the approval list from the Ecumenical Patriarchate by the
Eparchial Synod, the advice of the Council is requested.
(40) days following the vacancy, the Archbishop re-convenes the Eparchial Synod
for the purpose of nominating three (3) persons for election to the office of
Metropolitan. The three persons nominees are taken from the approved
Archdiocesan list of candidates as established above.
the list of three (3) nominees thus established, the Eparchial Synod will elect
the new Metropolitan.
nominee for the office of Metropolitan shall be a person of deep faith, a Greek
Orthodox Christian, a graduate of an academically recognized or accredited
Orthodox School of Theology, have a fluent knowledge of spoken and written
English and Greek, and have a proven ability on administration and pastoral
work. In addition, the nominee shall not be less than thirty five (35) years of
age, and have had a period of preferably ten (10) years, but not less than five
(5) years of service in the Archdiocese.
fulfilling the above conditions are candidates and are included in the
catalogue of those eligible, regardless of place of residence during the time
of the election."
[ Orthodox Truth - www.orthodox-truth.bugs3.com/art_41.html - January 6, 2001 ]