New York, May 13, 2019
Having accepted the forced resignation of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople unanimously elected Metropolitan Elpidophoros of Bursa, a bishop of an empty diocese, as the new Archbishop for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America on May 11.
Elpidophoros, whose name means “bearer of hope,” will be enthroned on June 22 in New York’s Holy Trinity Cathedral, reports vimaorthodoxias.gr.
He will take up his new post amidst a number of long-existing problems and scandals, including the deep financial problems at Hellenic College-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Boston that threaten its very existence, the halt on the construction on the St. Nicholas shrine at Ground Zero, and the Archdiocese’s financial troubles as a whole.
Moreover, Elpidophoros is himself a controversial figure, known as the author or expositor of the “First Without Equals” doctrine that elevates the Patriarch of Constantinople above all his brother bishops in a manner that is rejected by the entire Orthodox world save the most loyal Constantinople devotees.
Among his limited experience with the Church in America, a speech he offered at Holy Cross in 2009 stands out, as his unfounded statements and attacks on other jurisdictions left many in the audience disgusted.
It is also noteworthy that Elpidophoros was elected to lead the American flock without any input from the American flock. The Council of the Holy Archdiocese of America was informed by the Patriarchate on May 9 that they had until 2:00 PM the following day to develop a list of potential candidates in an advisory role to the Patriarchate, as required by the Archdiocesan charter and regulations, though these documents stipulate the allotment of at least a 10-day period.
Given the inappropriateness and unfeasibility of such a short timeline, the Council requested that the election be delayed in order to give the Council 30 days to commence and complete the advisory process. The Patriarchate did not heed this request, but instead elected Elpidophoros the next day, thus violating the Archdiocesan charter.
It is widely believed that Elpidophoros, a Turkish citizen, was elected to head the American Archdiocese, the largest and wealthiest territory of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, as preparation for becoming the next Patriarch of Constantinople, who by Turkish law must be a Turkish citizen.
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