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Politika Themata - October 17, 2003

[Excerpt from the essay "Church Controversy and National Concerns" by Christos A. Sartzetakis, former President of the Hellenic Republic, on the controversy between Ecumenical Patriarchate and Church of Greece over the issue of the so-called "New Lands" dioceses in Northern Greece. The essay was reproduced in its entirety by major Greek newspapers and websites].

Church Controversy and National Concerns

By   CHRISTOS A. SARTZETAKIS

[ ... ]

Τhe Patriarchate should content itself with the respect it enjoys as an ecclesiastical institution and with the universally recognized ecclesiastical (doctrinal) authority it exercises over Orthodox Hellenism --an authority also ratified by our modern Greek State in its constitution.

It should also cease to serve --whether consciously or not does not really matter-- political goals by engaging in anti-hellenic actions which in recent times have increased in number.

Such actions are determined:

  • by having replaced the Greek language with English in liturgical services in Greek churches under its jurisdiction in America (a practice introduced early on during Iakovos' pastoral tenure).
  • by having fragmented the Archdiocese of North and South American through the elevation of its local bishops to Metropolitans, a fact which deprived the Greek American community of a unified representation and consequently led to losing all possibility of effective intervention in favor of Hellenic interests.
  • by having contrived the forced resignation of Archbishop Spyridon after a merely three-year tenure when he, with the full support of the Greek American community, methodically sought to re-invigorate the hellenization of the Archdiocese in its various aspects and activities (a documented depiction of the medieval intrigues used is provided by Justine Frangouli-Argyris "The Lonely Path of Integrity, Spyridon, Archbishop of America 1996-1999", Athens Exandas, 2000). Let it be noted that Spyridon was chosen by the Patriarchate itself to succeed Iakovos, who also had resigned under coercion.
  • by having spread discord within the Church of Australia as a result of recent patriarchal initiatives, a fact which led to the clash with the local Archbishop.
  • by having ousted, several years ago, Archbishop Methodios of Thyateira and Great Britain, an illustrious intellectual, etc.

[ ... ]

[ Translated from Greek ]

[ Πολιτικά Θέματα - Issue No. 1386 - October 17, 2003 - pp. 28-30, 43 ]