By Nick Stamatakis
According to a report by TNH just hours ago, “during the meeting of the Committee of the Ecumenical Throne on the Provinces Abroad, which met in Phanar on the afternoon of Thursday, June 9, 2022, it was decided that a request will be submitted from the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese of America to the Patriarchate asking to lift the suspension of the Charter, which was ordered on October 8, 2020….” It seems that the decision was made by the “triumvirate”, Pat. Bartholomew, Met. Emmanuel (second in command at the Patriarchate) and AB Elpidophoros.
It was decided that when the Archbishop returns to New York (tomorrow, June 11) will call the Eparchial Synod and will send a letter to the Patriarchate to request Pat. Bartholomew to take back the suspension.
What truly underlines this decision are several factors:
- At the top of the list is the ongoing federal criminal investigations that may be related to the suspension of the Charter in the first place. The federal probes are directed toward GOARCH itself and also to the construction of Saint Nicholas at Ground Zero. A number of legal complications can happen not only in New York but in all states because of the lack of a Charter in effect to determine the affairs of the Church.
- Second in importance is the widespread demand for autonomy for the Church in America, a demand that GOARCH itself had the chance to feel during the submission of the “questionnaire on the New Charter” at the beginning of 2022. Characteristically, the overwhelming response, even by the so-called “Archons” and even from ardent supporters of “the Ecumenical Throne”, was for “Autonomy for the Church in America”. This phenomenon was very visible when GOARCH decided to widen the distribution of the questionnaire beyond the initial 80 respondents…
- The continuing friction between AB Elpidophoros and certain Metropolises. It is already known that the clergy of Chicago and Boston has sent letters containing their disagreements. It is also known that the whole Eparchial Synod is discontent because it is kept uninformed on serious matters by the Archbishop.
- In the meantime, Helleniscope has learned that the demand for one unified, pan-orthodox church of America has gained significant ground and will be among the central matters to be presented by the faithful and discussed in the upcoming Clergy-Laity conference to be held in New York this July 3-7.
Under these circumstances the last article of the 2003 Charter, article 25, regarding the Amendment of the Charter acquires great importance. States article 25: “The present Charter regulating the affairs of the Holy Archdiocese of America as an ecclesiastical institution, may be amended in its entirety or in part after a proposal of the Holy Eparchial Synod submitted to the Ecumenical Patriarchate following the appropriate procedure in the Archdiocesan Council and the Archdiocesan Clergy-Laity Congress, and after the approval of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to which the proposal has been submitted.”
It seems to me that sooner or later the Holy Eparchial Synod, pressed by the continuing problems and the demands of the faithful will present to AB Elpidophoros an offer “he will not be able to refuse…”