Huff Post - January 4, 2018

Archdiocese of America:

The Leaking of A Resignation

By Justine Frangouli-Argyris

The climate is heavy in the Archdiocese of America as Phanar sources a few weeks ago “leaked” the resignation of Archbishop Demetrios to journalistic circles in Athens. The “secret agreement” between the Patriarchate in Turkey and the outgoing Archbishop of America was unveiled in the “well-known way of Byzantine politics,” through a very detailed report in the Athenian daily, “Ethnos.” Although the reports of Archbishop Demetrio’s resignation have been officially denied by the Archdiocese of America the rumors are still running high on this issue.

It is worth noting that the scenario of the “holding of the letter of resignation of an Archbishop in the patriarchal drawer” is a tactic that has been used over and over by the Phanar. The late Archbishop of North and South America, Iakovos, had “surrendered his resignation” with the intent that it be made public one year later. However, as he descended from his flight on his return to a Greek island, journalists were already waiting for him to make statements about the said resignation. The great ecclesiastical leader’s famous statement about “non proper behavior” still rings in my ears.
Being the official biographer of the former Archbishop of America, Spyridon (“The Lonely Path of Integrity”), I bore witness to the exact same scenario. Spyridon was asked to submit his resignation to the Patriarch in the summer of 1999 and, although he had made “prior arrangements” with the Phanar, before he knew it he had been replaced by his successor, Archbishop Demetrios and had been demoted to Metropolitan of Chaldea, a title he never accepted.

So now, here we are again partaking in the same well-known drama. Geron Archbishop Demetrios of America is, on the one hand, being attacked for the great economic scandal of the Archdiocese, namely the transfer of 15 million dollars from the special and restricted fund of Saint Nicholas parish to cover the large operating deficit of the Archdiocese and, also, being humiliated with the leak of his resignation.

Undoubtedly, the Phanar has every reason not to want its Archdiocese in America led by:

  • an aging archbishop (Demetrios will turn 90 in February);

  • an Archbishop who left the complete administration of his Archdiocese in the hands of lay people, led by the late Michael Jaharis and its dismissed financial director, Jerry Dimitriou;

  • an Archbishop who has headed the Archdiocese for 18 years but who hails from the Church of Greece;

  • an Archbishop who disobeyed the Phanar’s orders with respect to the issue of the nominees of its bishops for the Metropolis of Chicago.

The Phanar, quite rightly, wants to take control of the largest and most powerful province in its empire. And, trustworthy ecclesiastical sources have been whispering that the Patriarch will opt for a new Archbishop of America from amongst those in the Patriarchal Circle of Constantinople.

It appears that Patriarch Bartholomew does not have an appealing choice among his Metropolitans in the United States as most of them are aged and ready to be replaced while the younger ones do not enjoy the Phanar’s praises.

Also, he appears unwilling to hand over the reigns to the prized throne to his hierarchs in Europe or the other continents while he does not consider it politically correct to elect another Archbishop of America from the Church of Greece. At last, that time has come for Patriarch Bartholomew to gain control through an Archbishop from his inner circle, one with whom he will be able to have direct contact and who will respect and depend on the Mother Church.

As for the Metropolis of Chicago, it has been heard that the Metropolitan of the Dardanelles, Nikitas, will be elected. Meanwhile, the thrones of Metropolises in South America, Australia and Europe seem destined to be soon vacated so an important movement of church leaders and a dramatic change in the map of the First Church of Orthodoxy is expected to occur.

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