October 20, 2014

Archbishop Demetrios Visits Ecumenical Patriarchate and Athens

From the GOA Press Office. Note the last paragraph:

Upon his arrival in New York yesterday, Archbishop Demetrios was informed about some false reports in the Media referring to information of a supposed resignation. His Eminence stated categorically that the reports were baseless and patently false. The Archbishop further added that there is no discussion about any resignation whatsoever. He said that he is looking forward in the coming years to the continuation of the sacred and vital mission and work of the Holy Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, with the same faith, zeal, methodical planning and love, especially in view of the difficulties confronting our contemporary world.

++++++++++++++

Contact: PRESS OFFICE
Stavros Papagermanos
pressoffice@goarch.org

NEW YORK – Archbishop Demetrios of America made a five-day trip to Constantinople and Athens. He arrived in Phanar on Friday, April 23 – the feast of the St. George the Trophybearer – in order for his visit to coincide with the visit of His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of Jerusalem to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

The next day, the Archbishop was present at the official welcome of the Patriarch of Jerusalem and his delegation of Hierarchs and clergy who had come from the Holy Land for the re-opening of the Jerusalem Patriarchal Metochion of St. George in Neochori. After the formal reception of His Beatitude, the Archbishop participated in a meeting with the two Patriarchs and other Hierarchs aiming at a final resolution of pending issues related to the Palestinian-Jordanian communities in the United States, which concluded successfully.

On Sunday, April 25, the Archbishop attended the Divine Liturgy with His All Holiness. The Liturgy was celebrated by the Patriarch of Jerusalem and his synodia in the Metochion of St. George. In the afternoon, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in a special meeting with the Archbishop reviewed the arrangements for the forthcoming Episcopal Assembly of North and Central America.

The next day, the Archbishop traveled to Athens. On Tuesday April 26, the Archbishop visited in succession His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, Prime Minister George Papandreou, Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Dimitris Droutsas, and Foreign Affairs Chief of Protocol Ambassador Aikaterini Boura (formerly the Consul General in New York). In all the above cases the Archbishop had substantive discussions concerning Greece and the Omogeneia in the U.S. The Archbishop, during the same day, also had two meetings with the advance teams that prepare Ionian Village for the summer sessions.

Upon his arrival in New York yesterday, Archbishop Demetrios was informed about some false reports in the Media referring to information of a supposed resignation. His Eminence stated categorically that the reports were baseless and patently false. The Archbishop further added that there is no discussion about any resignation whatsoever. He said that he is looking forward in the coming years to the continuation of the sacred and vital mission and work of the Holy Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, with the same faith, zeal, methodical planning and love, especially in view of the difficulties confronting our contemporary world.

Comments

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    Petr says:

    On with the American Orthodox Autocephalous Church! We can invite Bishop Savas of Troas to our celebration party as an international guest.

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    Scott Pennington says:

    So . . . how reputable is the National Herald with respect to reporting of this kind? Do they have a track record?

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      George Michalopulos says:

      Echoing Harry, I can confidently assert that Kalmoukos does have his agenda but having said that, he has always been on the mark. I’m quite sure that he has sources inside 79th Street. He certainly has sources in Boston ;-).

      If I may speculate, things are escalating in DiasporaWorld: a certain “metropolitan” decided to try and take out the current archbishop and two potential rivals at the same time. The dreaded name was actually mentioned, tarring one of these potential rivals by association. I thought long and hard about being dismissive about faux metropolitans but now TNR has given me license to do so. Also, I’ve wondered about whether the Palestinians accepted their transfer to the GOA, looks like they haven’t. And probably won’t.

      Stay tuned…

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    Harry Coin says:

    Yes. In the past the facts asserted in Kalmoukos’ stories have turned out to be accurate. Of course not all the relevant facts appear in every story, remember his is a Greek language newspaper printed in New York, that’s his audience, those are his customers.

    However, he was a seminarian many years ago and definetely has inside access and amazing sources overseas. Not much happens in the G world that Ted Kalmoukos doesn’t know before nearly anyone else.

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    Scott Pennington says:

    Well, if the original story was true, I suppose this indicates that Archbishop Demetrios isn’t going without a fight.

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    Andrew says:

    Has anyone ever looked at the list of all the hierarchs of the EP? They are posted at:

    http://patriarchate.org/patriarchate/hierarchy-of-the-throne

    A good exercise for AOI readers is to go up and down the list and ask yourself, Who among these bishops has the skill set to lead the GOA into the future?

    When you consider all the names it really is slim pickings. The options are very limited. Its also very sad in more ways than one. When you look at the demographics its hard to imagine how the EP digs itself out of this hole.

    I think it also begs the question, would the EP dare to bypass all his hierarchs and elevate a young celibate priest immediately to Archbishop of America?

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      Geo Michalopulos says:

      Andrew, that is the wrong question. In the culture of the Phanar, they may feel that they has no other choice. If so, it will be the latest in a long line of disastrous actions going all the way back to 1991.

      I know this sounds harsh, because I mean no ill-will to the man or the institution, it’s just that the ecumenical patriarchates is now at the tail-end of 1,000 years of subservience to Caesar/Sultan and they simply don’t know of any other way to function. The culture that this position is engulfed in is endemically inept, even if the office holder himself isn’t.

      Think of it: when they booted out +Iakovos, they thought that +Spyridon would be a good replacement. Why? Because he was born in America. Ergo: the Greek-Americans will love him. Now they think that Lambrianides will fill the bill; why? because he’s young and educated! They simply don’t get the fact that the Church is an organic institution and that wherever it implants itself, it takes on the color of the culture and then christianizes the culture. This means that it becomes native. It follows then that natives will rise from within that culture to pastor the congregations. If on the other hand the Church continues to view itself as a colonial outpost/cash-cow for the Empire, then it will wither.

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    Andrew says:

    George, do you really think Lambrianides has a shot at Archbishop of America in his current position? I can see him moving up to a local bishop but I am not sure the entire political culture at the EP would tolerate such a radical promotion. It undoes the feudal system and aristocracy that is at the heart of Constantinople Politics.

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      Geo Michalopulos says:

      Andrew, there is no rhyme or reason involved. It’s simply favoritism, byzantine intrigue, who-knows-what-else, and sometimes the luck of the draw.

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    Bruce Wm. Trakas says:

    Well here’s what I think, just guessing. Kalmoulkos is afraid the OCA will lead an autocephalous movement. He has interlocutors at the Phanar and aroused them over this issue. Archbishop Demetrios has never been the Patriarch’s man. +Demetrios played a significant role in negotiating within the Patriarchal Synod, the matter of the break in Communion with the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Christoudolos, of blessed memory; a role that the Patriarch found too aggressive. (+Demetrios did mollify what the Patriarch was seeking in terms of the language of the sanction.) He is also the right man to foster mechanisms for the unified work of Holy Orthodoxy in America, as opposed to a typical Phanar guy, like +Spyridon, or Fr. Elpidoforos (Is that his name?), the Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod. Archbishop Demetrios is respected by his fellow SCOBA hierarchs. A patriarchal man would would operate the Episcopal Assembly with the principle of Byzantine intrigue, accomplishing nothing of substance other than promotion of the Patriarchate. Also, while Archbishop Demetrios is not insubordinate, he negotiates the more bizarre directives from the Patriarchate, while +Bartholomew expects absolute (and “perfect”) compliance. Recall the language of Archbishop Spyridon’s response at the Greater Mandate ceremony in 1996.

    Since his 80th birthday, the Patriarchate has shown shown signs that they think Archbishop Demetrios has served his purpose, uniting the Holy Archdiocese from the mess created during +Spyridon’s archepiscopacy.

    So probably with the Patriarch’s knowledge, they didn’t mind watching what effects Kalmoulkos’ false reports, which could only help with their agenda of creating chaos, which they think will benefit their agenda ultimately.

    I know this is quite an unfounded stretch, but it’s based on circumstances I’ve observed during Patriarch Bartholomew’s tenure.

    I’m interested in replies.

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      Isa Almisry says:

      Recall the language of Archbishop Spyridon’s response at the Greater Mandate ceremony in 1996.

      What was that?

      As for Archb. Demetrios, Met. Jonah has expressed his full confidence inn him, which of course would be the kiss of death in the Phanar. The Chief Secretary is the ilk they want to run the EA in America into the ground under the Phanar’s feet.

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        Bruce Wm. Trakas says:

        “By Archbishop Spyridon Upon His Election to the
        Archepiscopal Throne of America
        During the Ceremony of the Minor Announcement”

        The Phanar-July 30, 1996

        “Your All Holiness, God-Chosen Father and Shepherd,

        “…As I stand in this holy place, I consider it my duty to clearly declare that in my task to fulfill the responsibilities of the new and extensive ministry entrusted to me today, my dedication to your most venerable person and to the Great Church of Christ, which nurtured me, will be complete and whole hearted, and my obedience to Her mandates absolute and perfect.

        Furthermore, I wish to assure Your All Holiness that the first and primary concern of my ministry in the Western Hemisphere will be to ensure growth of relations and bonds between the pious Orthodox faithful and the Mother Church…”
        ___________________________________________________________________
        I had to find a book to get the exact quote, and upon reading, I was reminded, the Patriarch’s address is even more revealing. It follows.

        “…You bear many qualifications, the crowning qualification of which is your unlimited fidelity and devotion to this venerable Ecumenical Throne, to the Mother Church which nourishes our pious people and all the pious and Orthodox Christians under heaven. It was to this last virtue of yours over all the others that the Mother Church looked when reaching her decision. For even if one of her hierarchs has every talent, every qualification, and all other virtues, but does not have unlimited devotion and blind loyalty and lifelong gratitude, he has nothing, nothing is gained, he is but a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal ( I Cor. 13)…”

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          George Michalopulos says:

          Bruce, what a travesty! The actual quote from Paul is not “blind loyalty” but “love.” This is almost cultic (in the negative sense of the word.)

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            Harry Coin says:

            Notice that this sort of ‘loyalty oath’ thing happens elsewhere in the church than the GOA (you’d think the Creed would be enough). Anyhow notice the letter used by Archbishop Nathaniel mentioning a ‘loyatly oath’ to Fr. Susan published during that controversy.

            Anyhow, you know, please give generously, no doubt the people who’ve taken loyalty oaths to other people will certainly account for your donation honestly, and will pay careful attention to whatever the text might be in agreements published broadly to gain your trusted support.

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      George Michalopulos says:

      Bruce, I think you’re on to something.

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        George Michalopulos says:

        Bruce, in re-reading your post, the only quibble I have is with your characterization of Kalmoukos reports as “false.” He may indeed be stirring the pot (or more likely an American bishop somewhere on the Eastern Seaboard), but I trust the sentiments that he attributes to the Phanar. They’ve been stated before in writing back in November during the orphangate scandal.

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      Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

      It’s not an unfounded stretch at all. I think your analysis is entirely reasonable. In the ten years since the destruction of Ligonier (did former Abp. Iakovos see the future?), what really has been accomplished by Constantinople? Not much apart from political self-aggrandizement including:

      1) Estonia,

      2) Global warming (including the marshaling the entire infrastructure of the GOA in service to global warming activism including the passage of the Geneva Protocols — a statist program that was the brainchild of EU bureaucrats),

      3) Coddling Castro,

      4) Subsuming the Gospel to a self-serving historical redefinition of Hellenism and replacing the universality of the Gospel with the putative universality of the redefinition,

      5) Coddling American Progressives by giving the false impression that the Orthodox moral tradition and Progressive ideals are synonymous,

      6) Abandoning the moral tradition in critical cultural debates like abortion,

      7) Dividing the fledgling Church in Indonesia,

      8 ) Fostering an increasing authoritarianism in the GOA hierarchical culture and destabilizing clergy families and parishes as a result,

      9) Ham-fisted (Byzantine?) administrative offensives like Fr. Elpidophoros’ speech at Holy Cross (essentially a demand for administrative control), Orphangate, and most recently the transparent attempt to remove Abp. Demetrios (confirming Orphangate in the process).*

      10) Surreptitious destabilization of the Chambesy Accords (if Kalmoukas is correct which he probably is since it fits the template),

      and more I’m sure.

      I acknowledge, respect and will even the defend the primacy of Constantinople on historical grounds. But I am hard pressed to find anything that isn’t calculated to serve Constantinople’s political self-interest and see the the employment of its historical authority in service to these interests as illegitimate. For the progress of the American Orthodox Church, the leadership of Constantinople has been a failure.

      _________

      *(Constantinople does not comprehend that Americans offer all leaders a large presumption of goodwill. Once that goodwill is betrayed however, Americans easily see the ham-fisted/Byzantine machinations for what they are and dismiss them. Constantinople responds with a predictable heavy-handedness that grows heavier each time. They are oblivious to the fact that each offensive increases the chance of greater back-fire and don’t understand why they keep failing.

      What’s coming forward in these conflicts (especially the administrative offensives) is a very deep element of the American cultural character. Americans are reluctant to obey putative claims of authority that are not backed-up with any substance beyond a hammer. Constantinople interprets the reluctance as recalcitrance and insubordination and responds the only way they know how — with increasing authoritarianism. [This too explains why the hierarchical culture in the GOA is becoming increasingly authoritarian. It will remain that way until GOA bishops break free, something we may not soon see since Constantinople holds approval rights over the American episcopacy in the GOA.])

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        Geo Michalopulos says:

        Fr, let’s not forget another blunder made by the Phanar. With the publication of that letter to the editor last October and the mishandling of the Polish bishops in South America, +Demetrius has been seriously undercut as chairman of the upcoming Episcopal Assembly. He’s been knocked back on his heels.

        Now, we can speculate that that’s exactly what the Phanar wants but in doing so, they’re shooting themselves in the foot. Don’t they realize that regardless of any disagreements they may have with +Demetrios, he’s still their man? They were able to salvage the fig leaf of Constantinopolitan chairmanship of these assemblies after all. Now we could say that in that case, it doesn’t matter if he was forced out and replaced with another GOA bishop, but in reality, it undermines the overall stability of the GOA in that it raises the hackles of all other non-GOA bishops.

        Let’s not forget that for all the pretty talk and inscrutable detail in the Chambesy report, there are many “escape hatches.” The number one being that every eparchy is still distinct and retains its own peculiarities. Number two is that every eparchy retains its ties to its mother church. Number three, there is no real deadline set in stone. We are instead told that things must settled before the Great and Holy Council meets but given the fractiousness of the Old World patriarchates, that may take place on the first of Never.

        As for the intricacies of Orthodox life in America, there are too many people who have a vested interest in keeping things divided, including priests who want to jurisdiction-hop, parishes that want to do the same (as did the mission parish in Fargo which left AOCNA and went to the OCA), and of course parishioners who want to leave for whatever reasons.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Fr, you forgot to mention the EP’s meeting at Coca-Cola HQ in Atlanta, in which he tenderly and reverentially gave a “holy Qu’ran” to Muhtar Kent, the president of Coca-Cola.

    The narrative of failure is a long one. It’s been a bumptious ride. Is there a silver lining? It’s possible that he or his advisors will come to this same conclusion and force him to expedite the meeting of the Great Council.

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    It is still unclear why the visit to Coca Cola was made and why a Muslim business titan was given a Koran. What was the purpose of this visit?

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      Harry Coin says:

      Well, I think the main purpose was to set the Coke people straight on how tragic a mistake the ‘New Coke’ was and to never do it again. Also the importance toward sustainability eco green production getting away from the cans and back to the green bottles.

      Or maybe it was to ask for help making peace with some people in Turkey, what with Mr. Kent being Turkish, his father saving Jewish lives while Turkish counsel during WWII, etc. etc.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhtar_Kent

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    Geo Michalopulos says:

    Perhaps because of the globalist agenda?

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    Eliot Ryan says:

    COULD THE PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE FALL INTO SCHISM?

    Among Orthodox believers the phrase ‘common Easter’ means Non-Orthodox renouncing their calendar errors and returning to celebrating the Orthodox Easter. Sadly, many use it in the opposite sense, i.e. the Orthodox Churches renouncing the canonical date of Easter in favour of a secular date, as already used by the Roman Catholic/ Protestant world, or else in favor of a fixed date for Easter put forward by secular experts

    A Greek politician, Manolis Mavrommatis wrote: ‘The spring holiday (sic) of the European Parliament traditionally coincides with the Roman Catholic Easter. With that logic and for the benefit of all concerned, the same should be the case for the celebration of the Orthodox Easter.”

    That a politician in the European Parliament has spoken thus comes as no surprise. More disturbingly, however, Patriarch Bartholomew, of the tiny Patriarchate of Constantinople, has since sent Mr Mavrommatis a letter, stating that he had discussed this matter with the Pope of Rome: ‘Pope Benedict XVI responded positively to the subject and when he returned to the Vatican City, he personally looked into the issue’.

    Patriarch Dimitrios of Constantinople showed no interest in the concept, declaring that it was of interest ‘only to travel agents’.
    What is new then is the attitude of Patriarch Bartholomew. Of course, if he personally wishes to adopt the Roman Catholic Easter, he can do so. At least one of his predecessors was a Uniat. If he adopts this new Easter, he will similarly be placing himself above the decisions of the First Oecumenical Council of the fourth century and under the anathema of the Orthodox Patriarchs of the sixteenth century. He will be ignored, followed by virtually no-one in the Orthodox world, least of all by those in his own Patriarchate on Mount Athos. In other words, he will be placing himself outside the Church in his own self-made, schismatic world.

    CONSTANTINOPLE VERSUS ATHENS: MOSCOW WITH NEW YORK

    … ever since the fall of Imperial Russia in 1917, the Patriarchate of Constantinople has been striving to present itself, in the words of a twentieth-century Serbian saint, St Justin of Chelije, as ‘an Eastern Papacy’.

    Patriarch Meliton Metaksakis refused to recognize the martyred Russian Church and instead recognized the renovationist movement in Russia which was a puppet of the atheist Communists.

    Patriarchate of Constantinople was in the forefront of ecumenism and modernism in the twentieth century. However, the latest move of excommunicating the Archbishop of Athens, is quite breathtaking. For now Patriarch Bartholomew risks isolating himself from the Orthodox world, including most of his own clergy and people in the diaspora, whose origins are in Greece.

    The Geopolitical Crisis in Contemporary Orthodoxy

    As Fr Paisios, a true Athonite Elder, wrote only a few years ago:
    But when the time comes, the Lord will raise up new Marks of Ephesus and new Gregory Palamases, who will gather together all our scandalized brethren, confessing the Orthodox Faith, strengthening the Orthodox Tradition and bringing great joy to our Mother Church.

    Amen! Amen! Amen!

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