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The National Herald - May 1-7, 2010

Archbishop Demetrios on the Way Out?

   By Theodore Kalmoukos

BOSTON- At 83 years old and beleaguered by a raft of questions about his ability to keep leading, Archbishop Demetrios may leave his position at the Archbishopric Throne of America, it emerged after intense discussions at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, where he traveled unannounced, as well as among prominent Greek-American leaders who want him retained. The National Herald was unable to reach him at press time.

Those familiar with the issue attribute the possible development to his age the constant accumulation of various unresolved problems under his tenure recently.

Sources said it was believed at the Patriarchate that these questions have stagnated the ecclesial life of the Archdiocese of America. TNH also has learned that a group of prominent Greek Americans do not agree with the possibility of Archbishop Demetrios leaving his post and threatened to stop all financial and other support to the Ecumenical Patriarchate if he does not stay.

The speculation about a possible exodus were re-enforced after his meeting with Prime Minister George Papandreou and the Deputy Minister of State Dimitris Droutsas in Athens on April 27. The Archbishop's statement to The National Herald after the meeting that he discussed "issues that concern him" intensified even more the reports his departure is being arranged, especially after his visit to Constantinople.

The discussion became more intense after the last visit of Patriarch Bartholomew to the United States for an ecological symposium about the environment and the cleaning of the Mississippi river which coincided with the Archbishop's 10 year anniversary as head of the church in America. TNH has learned that despite Bartholomew's public praise and congratulatory remarks about the Archbishop, upon his return to the Phanar, the Patriarch said that "We have problems in America." Senior Metropolitan Athanasios of Chalcedon enforced the Patriarch's view as well. Metropolitan Athanasios was a member of the Patriarchal entourage at the US visit.

Patriarchal officials were said to have blamed Archbishop Demetrios with a "lack of administrative competency" and "inability" to control the "honorary Metropolitans" although he has jurisdiction over the Archdiocese of America and Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Metropolitans hold honorary status, a strange combination of auxiliary Bishops and titular Metropolitans while Archbishop Demetrios is commemorated as "shepherd" (ποιμενάρχης) at the Liturgy when visiting the local Metropolises.

Savas the Successor?

Greek Prime Minister
George Papandreou met with Archbishop of America Demetrios on April 27 in Athens. They discussed “personal issues” of the Archbishop and Greece’s crisis.

Although Archbishop Demetrios did not discuss the issue of his possible departure, TNH also learned that previously, and in recent days and at Patriarchate during his visit, he indicated that he wanted Bishop Savas of Troas, his former Chancellor, to be his successor saying that "He is capable and his confidant and he will continue his work." The reason that Archbishop Demetrios relieved Bishop Savas from his duties as Chancellor was reportedly to protect him as Savas was said to be creating constant problems with various parishes and their councils.

But Patriarch Bartholomew, on the suggestion of Rev. Alex Karloutsos, seemed to favor Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, a graduate of Holy Cross Theological School in Boston, to be the successor. The Patriarch has assigned the role of "Secretary of State" of the Phanar to Metropolitan Emmanuel ,sending him to various assignments everywhere in the world and constantly projecting him. He was also a member of Bartholomew's entourage during his last visit to the US.

Metropolitan Emmanuel, knowing the huge responsibility of the Archbishopric Throne of America, said he didn't want the job. Rev. Karloutsos, who appears and acts as some type of an "unofficial Archbishop" in America because of his nearness with Patriarch Bartholomew, has taken on the task to convince Metropolitan Emmanuel to accept it. The current government of Greece also reportedly favors Metropolitan Emmanuel's candidacy. {Karloutsos was also instrumental in the election of the former Archbishop Spyridon.

The reason that Archbishop Demetrios traveled to the Ecumenical patriarchate was primarily to discuss with Patriarch Bartholomew and Patriarch Theofilos of Jerusalem the issue of the Orthodox Palestinian parishes of the US, especially in the California area, which were turned over to the Archdiocese by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and will accept no other leader. Patriarch Bartholomew discussed with Archbishop Demetrios various issues of the Archdiocese including the upcoming Synaxis of all the canonical Bishops in America and Canada on May 26. Patriarch Bartholomew appears to be angry with Archbishop Demetrio's decision to include the OCA (former Russian Metropolia,) to which the Patriarchate of Moscow gave autocephalous ecclesiastical status which is not recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate despite the clear directive of Patriarch Bartholomew not to include them. Archbishop Demetrios claims it was included by mistake, but Fr. Mark Arey, Director of Interchurch Relations, gave a different explanation.

There are hierarchs at the Phanar who fear that such a Synaxis convened with the knowledge if not the directive of the Patriarchate, could get out of control and develop into some type of an ecclesiastical coup for the creation of an American Orthodox Autocephalous Church, similar to that attempted by the late Archbishop Iakovos at the Ligonier on Pennsylvania in 1994 which became the beginning of the end of his Archbishopric tenure.

[ The National Herald - May 1-7, 2010 - pp. 1 and 3 ]
[ The National Herald - www.thenationalherald.com/article/44897 - April 28, 2010 ]


Comments on the AOIUSA related post
( http://www.aoiusa.org/archbishop-demetrios-on-the-way-out/" )

[...]

Andrew :
April 28, 2010 at 4:46 PM
|
Many Greek Orthodox in America will be more than convinced of the need for a United American Autocephalous Church if the Phanar decides to forcibly remove Demetrios and install Archbishop Spyridon 2.0 in America.


How do you say pass the popcorn in Greek?

______________________________________________

Harry Coin :
April 29, 2010 at 11:43 AM

In the end, perhaps this is about Turkey not wanting to give Archbishop Demetrios the due honor of presiding at the upcoming assembly. I think they’ve figured out that it will be a big PR event and so the various are scrambling to have ‘their guy’ ‘be seen’ running it instead of ‘wasting’ the ‘photo op’ on a person near retirement.

You have to chuckle at some of the things in the article. Complaining about Archbishop Demetrios being 20 years older than a typical US retirement age– when he was already 10 years older when they gave him the job. Or the notion that the Metropolitans are ‘honoary, auxilliary’ etc on the basis that only when the archbishop is present do they commemorate him. Here in the regions near Chicago we hear of Bishop Demetrios of somewhere-with-no-people in Turkey commemorated even when he’s not around, then the Metropolitan in Chicago– happily this is often done in Greek so most people don’t understand and so can avoid being upset about it during services.
}
I remember Fr. Arey’s missives from the Spyridon days when he was in charge of Communications. While he was given some fairly dubious water to carry, he seemed to like carrying it overmuch. 
Now he’s addressing the OCL, and OCL is giving money to the Archdiocese ‘for something’. I hope they got an accounting at least.

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Harry Coin :
April 29, 2010 at 1:12 PM

George,

If only the OCL would have engaged doing what it took, privately, quietly to cause those who do not live according to their promises when accepting high office to leave those jobs. The leadership would always find some reason to avoid doing that. The OCL should have been firm about forcing high leadership to police its own ranks and also used its money to offer a gentle, quiet outplacement service for ‘unrecognized ordination errors’. There were many in the OCL leadership that just couldn’t stomach how hard that work would be, what it might mean to ‘their guy’ and so they published and educated and donated instead. } Except under the visionary leadership of George Coupounas when OCL was an essential vast national speaking-tour educator regarding Spyridon.

The point is without uncompromised, ‘unowned’ people in decision making positions, able to police their own ranks, no amount of ‘watchdogging’, whether ‘ocanews’ or ‘voithia’ or OCL or the various ‘congresses’ and ‘councils’ can do more than slow the rate of decay.

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Dean Calvert :
May 1, 2010 at 5:55 PM

Hi Everyone,

Christ is Risen!!!

Was just re-reading this incredible report today…and the abject arrogance of this paragraph really struck me:

“Metropolitan Emmanuel, knowing the huge responsibility of the Archbishopric Throne of America, said he didn’t want the job. Rev. Karloutsos, who appears and acts as some type of an “unofficial Archbishop” in America because of his nearness with Patriarch Bartholomew, has taken on the task to convince Metropolitan Emmanuel to accept it. The current government of Greece also reportedly favors Metropolitan Emmanuel’s candidacy.  } Karloutsos was also instrumental in the election of the former Archbishop Spyridon.”

What struck me was this: Ok, so we know who the archbishop favors (Bp Savas), and we know who the EP, the government of Greece and Fr. Karloutsos favor, (Met. Emmanuel)…they all get votes.

…but not an ounce of consideration is given to the question: Who does the GOA want?

That really hit me today…and the answer is: We really don’t care who the GOA wants…they don’t get to vote in the matter.

Just incredible. Another one of those, “disappointing, but nor surprising” moments.

Best Regards,
Dean

[...]

A Comment
on the St. Andrew House Discussion Forum related post
( http://members5.boardhost.com/STANDREWHOUSE/msg/1272506329.html )

Posted by Dean Calvert on 4/28/2010, 7:58 pm, in reply to "Wait a minute!"

Hi Leo,

Christ is Risen!

Yeah..that "honorary" metropolitan comment caught my attention too, but then I'm the guy who got yelled at by GOA supporters by saying that there are no Episcopal elections of any kind for the GOA in this country.

I heard a bishop in the OCA one time make a comment that I didn't understand at the time...he said, "the only ruling bishops in the USA are the OCA bishops."

5 years later, I understand EXACTLY what he meant...and he was right.

Abp Demetrios is apparently your shepherd, but only on occasion.
}
Let's see now, if Abp Demetrios is not your ruling bishop, and your local metropolitan is only honorary, that probably means Abp Spyridon is still your ruling bishop. Or, from the sounds of the article, perhaps Fr. Alex Karloutsos...


....and whoever it is right now, if Ted is right, Bp Savas is about to be.

Seriously, pretty interesting article eh?

You honestly could not make this stuff up.

Best Regards,
Dean