Source: The National Herald
BOSTON – In this article, The National Herald exclusively reveals part of the confidential report of what was said and discussed during the meeting at the Phanar between Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the metropolitans who are members of the Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese of America, including Archbishop Elpidophoros, on Wednesday, April 5, 2023, on the issue of the Archdiocesan Charter.
The report consists of twelve pages, is dated May 29, 2023, and is signed by Archimandrite Aetius, Ecclesiarch and Director of the Patriarchal Office. Today we are publishing some sections of the report and future articles will also address it.
The report clearly states that Patriarch Bartholomew apologized for his mishandling of the Archdiocese of America, as the Greek-language National Herald had written in its revealing article of June 1, 2023: “Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has apologized for mishandling the issues pertaining to the Archdiocese of America and the Greek-American Community. The issues have arisen from the decisions of Thursday, October 8, 2020, regarding the abrogation of the Charter of the Archdiocese, the dethronement of Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey, and the imposition of a suspension upon Metropolitan Methodios of Boston.”
The secret report of the Phanar states, among other things, the following:
“The meeting was long, but it was held in an atmosphere of unity, sincerity, and mutual respect. The main subject of discussion was the question of the revision of the current Charter of the Holy Archdiocese of America. At the beginning of the meeting, His All Holiness [Patriarch Bartholomew] expressed his joy and emotion at the occasion of the meeting, but also regret over the absence of three of the members of the Holy Eparchial Synod for health reasons.
“It was then stressed that the Charter is only a part of the matters pertaining to the relations between the Mother Church and the Holy Archdiocese of America, which have been tested in the past and through the errors of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, for which His All Holiness, in a profoundly substantial gesture of high symbolism, has apologized.”
In another part of the report, it is stated that the Patriarch gave the floor to Elpidophoros “to briefly state his proposal for the revision of the Charter. Elpidophoros thanked the Patriarch for the meeting and invoked “the intercession of the blessed Bishop of Avydos Gerasimos, for whose canonization” the Eparchial Synod has submitted a request.
The report further states that:
“Archbishop Elpidophoros acknowledged that transformation of Metropolises into Archdiocesan Districts – but without the demotion of metropolitans to bishops – is the most difficult point of his whole proposal, but he pointed out the canonical strangeness of the present system of administration, of which, as he said, the reason for its establishment has long since passed away, rendering the necessity of restoring things to normalcy by the action of the declaration in the Charter that the Holy Archdiocese of America constitutes a single province [of the Ecumenical Patriarchate].
He then raised the question of the commemoration of hierarchs during Church services, describing as canonically problematic the commemoration by the Metropolitans of the Archdiocese of the name of His All Holiness [Patriarch Bartholomew] instead of the ‘first’ among them, the Archbishop of America, and reiterated his position in favor of a double commemoration of the name of both His All Holiness and the Archbishop of America, since, as he said, both in the United States under Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America, of blessed memory, and also in the Phanar, when an auxiliary bishop officiates or presides, there is a double commemoration – “for our Archbishop [of Constantinople, i.e. the Ecumenical Patriarch]… and the Bishop…”
Elsewhere in the report, Archbishop Elpidophoros then offered the floor to the ranking hierarch of the Archdiocese of America, Metropolitan Methodios of Boston. The report notes: “Having thanked His All Holiness for his appointment, the Archbishop of America then gave the floor to the Metropolitan of Boston, who raised the issue of the circumstances under which the current Charter was suspended in October 2020. In response to this question, His All Holiness replied that this was done at the request of the Archbishop of America, which was accepted by the Holy Synod, but he admitted that this decision was taken without being given prior notice [to the Eparchial Synod in America]and without following the review procedure provided for in Article 25 of the Charter.
“Subsequently, the Metropolitan of Boston refuted the claims of a ‘divided Archdiocese’, citing as an example the obligation to obtain prior permission from the Archdiocese for ordinations at the level of Metropolises, as well as the payment of salaries, which again comes from the Archdiocese, while stressing that no one is seeking autocephaly. He wondered whether the issue of autocephaly was being raised as a ‘scare tactic’ with the Ecumenical Patriarchate so that it would consent to the modification of the administrative system provided for in the Charter.”