What had been up to now considered rumor and heresy was confirmed by the very words of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew himself, who alluded to changes in the leadership of the Greek Orthodox Churches in the United States, Great Britain and Australia.
During remarks at the end of Divine Liturgy that were posted on the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Facebook page, Bartholomew discussed the matter of autocephaly that was recently granted to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and mentioned that the Patriarchate doesn’t get involved in politics, a reference the open wounds that have opened between Constantinople and Moscow.
At approximately 9:55 into the live video, Bartholomew said that the Patriarchate will also go ahead with the election of new hierarchs in Australia, the United States and Great Britain, stating that these elections were part of the sacred responsibilities of the Mother Church.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, arguably the wealthiest and most populous of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s “eparchies” or provincial churches throughout the world, has been plagued by numerous controversies under the leadership of its current head, Archbishop Demetrios, involving finances and misappropriated funds.
According to numerous sources familiar with the relationship between the New York City-based Archbishop of America and Constantinople, Bartholomew has asked Demetrios to resign numerous times with the latter resisting, claiming to want to see the completion of St. Nicholas National Shrine at Ground Zero.
In both Australia and Great Britain, illness and advanced age of the hierarchs have led to the Patriarchate’s decision to promote younger leaders to head the churches.
Archbishop Stylianos of Australia is 83 years old and suffering from a debilitating illness that has prevented him from performing many of the duties required of him and his expansive territory that covers all of Australia.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Gregorios, who oversees the Greek Orthodox parishes in the United Kingdom, is more than 90 years old.
A Metropolitan who serves on the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Synod told The Pappas Post on the condition of anonymity that Bartholomew had grown “increasingly frustrated” with the various “controversies” that had plagued the Church in America.
Watch the video below during which Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew announces his decision to elect new hierarchs in the United States, Great Britain and Australia.
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