Process for Drafting New Charter of the Archdiocese Begins

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Source: The National Herald

By Theodore Kalmoukos

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros presiding via Teleconference at the meeting of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. (Photo: GOA)

BOSTON – The process that will lead to a new charter for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is beginning based on a decision by the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese, which was convened by its president Archbishop Elpidophoros of America.

According to the Communiqué of the Holy Eparchial Synod, the purpose of the new charter is to meet “the visions and expectations of the clergy and laity in view of the completion next year of the 100th anniversary since its founding.”

For this purpose, “the process envisions the establishment of a broader Committee, in which all the organizations and bodies of the Church and of the Omogenia will be represented, plus four representatives from each Holy Metropolis chosen by the respective hierarch. Every member of the faithful will be given the opportunity to send their opinions to a designated email address: [email protected].”

It is reminded here that the existing charter of the Archdiocese was revoked by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in its meeting of Thursday October 8. At the same meeting the Holy Synod decided on the removal of Metropolitan Evangelos from the Metropolis of New Jersey and his election to the Metropolis of Sardes in Asia Minor. Also in the same meeting the Synod imposed the serious punishment of a three-months suspension from all liturgical functions on Metropolitan Methodios of Boston which ended on Christmas Day.

Also according to the official Communiqué, “the Eparchial Synod lifted the suspension that was imposed upon the cleric of the Holy Metropolis of Boston, Fr. Nicholas Kastanas, and included him among the ranks of the retired clergy.” It is reminded here that more than three-and-a-half years ago Metropolitan Methodios had placed Fr. Kastanas, the former presiding priest of St. Athanasios parish in Arlington Massachusetts for 28 years, on suspension. Fr. Kastanas was placed in the ranks of the retired clergy which means that he can function liturgically again only with permission from the local hierarch, in this case Methodios, or outside of the boundaries of the Metropolis of Boston only with permission of the area’s hierarch.

The Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese under the presidency of Archbishop Elpidophoros consists from the following hierarchs: Methodios of Boston, Isaiah of Denver, Alexios of Atlanta, Nicholas of Detroit, Savas of Pittsburgh, and Gerasimos of San Francisco. Its new Chief Secretary is Athenagoras Ziliaskopoulos.

The Communiqué of the Holy Eparchial Synod follows:

“Today, April 5, 2021 His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America convened the Holy Eparchial Synod via video conference for a regularly scheduled meeting.

During this gathering, the Holy Eparchial Synod:

1) was officially informed of the release from the status of academic probation which had been imposed upon Hellenic College Holy Cross by the New England Commission on Higher Education, and it unanimously congratulated the President of the School, Archon George Cantonis, and all the administrators for this success.

2) expressed its satisfaction with the favorable outcome of a funding solution for the Clergy and Lay Employees Pension Plan of the Archdiocese.

3) approved the establishment of a Foundation of the Holy Metropolis of Chicago.

4) lifted the suspension that was imposed upon the cleric of the Holy Metropolis of Boston, Fr. Nicholas Kastanas, and included him among the ranks of the retired clergy.

5) approved the request of the National Sisterhood of Presvyteres that the Sunday closest to the feast of the patron Saints of the Sisterhood, Martha and Mary, be celebrated as a National Day recognizing the role of the Presvytera.

and,

6) according to the announcement of October 12, 2020, it decided to start drafting the new Charter of the Sacred Archdiocese so that it meets the visions and expectations of the clergy and laity in view of the completion next year of the 100th anniversary since its founding.

The process envisions the establishment of a broader Committee, in which all the organizations and bodies of the Church and of the Omogenia will be represented, plus four representatives from each Holy Metropolis chosen by the respective hierarch.

Every member of the faithful will be given the opportunity to send their opinions to a designated email address: [email protected]

The collection and organization of all opinions will be the responsibility of the Administration Committee of the Archdiocesan Council.

In the next phase, after receiving instructions from the Mother Church for the appropriate number of members, the composition of members from the Archdiocese to the Mixed Drafting Committee for the new Charter with the members from the Ecumenical Patriarchate will be announced.

Finally, the Archbishop and the hierarchs of the Holy Eparchial Synod exchanged well-wishes for the remainder of Holy and Great Lent and a blessed Holy Pascha.

From the Chief Secretariat of the Holy Eparchial Synod.”

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