Well, the New York-Constantinople brouhaha seems resolved — sort of (see: Abp. Demetrios on the way out?). You still wonder though why a hierarch wrote of Abp. Demetrios in terms we could charitably call disparaging over what should have been an easily resolvable dispute. It’s all a misunderstanding Constantinople assures us, even though it took a synodal meeting to reach this conclusion.
Metropolitan Theoliptos, the hierarch who wrote the screed, allegedly went rogue. If so, then shouldn’t his disparagement of Abp. Demetrios (“conscienceless shepherd”) require a public apology? After all, if you besmirch a man in public, you owe him an apology in public.
What we see instead is reassurance that the Ecumenical Patriarch supports Abp. Demetrios alongside the statement that the majority of the synod did not want to send out the letter of support. Yet even the EP’s support is qualified. He says that American Archons (lay members who support the Ecumencial Patriarchate) made him do it. So, no apology, the statement that Abp. Demetrios does not have the support of the synod, and the admission that the EP was “pressured” by some Archons to offer the support that he did. Tepid reassurance all around.
What does it indicate? Relations between New York and Constantinople are rockier than anyone is letting on.
Oh yes, the release mentioned that Archimandrite Elpidophoros Lampryniadis, the Constantinopolitan legate who delivered the untimely speech at Holy Cross Seminary last year, was also in attendance. Why this was reported is anyone’s guess.
From the National Herald
By Theodore Kalmoukos
His All Holiness Was Reportedly Pressured By U.S. Lay Leaders
BOSTON – Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew declared his complete support for Archbishop Demetrios of America regarding the way he handled the case of two orphans of Greek heritage from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The children’s uncle had requested that they be admitted to St. Basil’s Academy.
Archbishop Demetrios’ refusal prompted Metropolitan Theoliptos of Iconium of the Ecumenical Pariarchate to address a letter to The National Herald castigating Archbishop Demetrios.
The Patriarchate’s press release reads as follows:
It is announced that the letter written by His Eminence Metropolitan Theoleptos of Iconium to the newspaper in America, The National Herald, was a result of the author’s own personal decision and initiative. This letter was sent without the knowledge of the Mother Church and its content does not reflect the views held by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The sentiments of appreciation and love of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios were expressed by His All Holiness repeatedly during his official visit to the United States this past autumn, which was also intended to honor the conclusion of His Eminence’s 10th year of fruitful ministry to the Archdiocese of America.
At the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the 18th of January 2010
From the Chief Secretariat of the Holy and Sacred Synod.
Patriarch Bartholomew issued the above announcement approximately ten days after the parent publication of The National Herald, Ethnikos Kyrix, broke the story of the orphans in its Greek edition. According to reliable sources of The National Herald, Patriarch Bartholomew was pressured by members of Archdiocesan Council to publicly support Archbishop Demetrios.
On Monday, the Patriarch called an unofficial meeting of hierarchs who reside in Turkey to deal with the issue, at which the following hierarchs were present: Evangelos of Perga, Konstantinos of Derkon, Demetrios of Sebasteia, Chrysostomos of Myra, Ireneos of Myriofitos and Peristasis.
Also present was the chief secretary Archimandrite Elpidoforos Lampryniadis.
The majority of the hierarchs did not want to issue such an announcement, but Patriarch Bartholomew – who also praised Metropolitan Theoliptos during the meeting – insisted, saying that he had been pressured by prominent laymen from the Archdiocese of America.
The National Herald reported the drama of the twin brothers, Kostakis and Demetris, in last week’s edition The boys were born to a Greek father and a Congolese mother. They lost their father (Stylianos Sporidis) in 2002 and their mother is terminally ill with cancer.
Mr. John Sporidis, the brother of the twins’ deceased father who resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is retired, legally blind and advanced in age.
He called on St. Basil’s Academy as well as the Archdiocese of America with a request for help to save the orphaned twin boys and help them find shelter.