Istanbul, May 8, 2019
As was long-expected, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, a jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, tendered his resignation to Patriarch Bartholomew in Constantinople on Saturday, May 4.
Pat. Bartholomew had been pressuring the Archbishop to resign for several years, but had granted him several extensions, with the latest giving him until Pascha.
The Greek Archdiocese is the largest jurisdiction in America and the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s main source of funding, thus the question of who will replace Abp. Demetrios is of particular importance. The Holy Synod of Constantinople next meets this weekend, from Thursday through Saturday, and it is expected that the hierarchs will officially accept Abp. Demetrios’ resignation and choose his successor.
It is also expected that the enthronement of the new first hierarch would take place in July during Pat. Bartholomew’s visit to America, though there is also information, according to Orthodoxia.info, that the Synod is in no rush and may choose to delay the consideration of the issue.
Several Greek outlets, including the Orthodoxia News Agency and Romfea, list Metropolitan Elpidophoros of Bursa, the author of the infamous “First Without Equals” essay, and Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden and All Scandinavia as the most likely candidates, with a less likely His Eminence Nathanael of Chicago. Orthodoxia.info also lists Metropolitan Methodios of Boston as a contender.
Reports circulated recently that another favorite, Metropolitan Emmanuel of Gaul, had withdrawn his name from consideration, though sources with contacts in the Patriarchate have also informed OrthoChristian that this information is incorrect and that Met. Emmanuel remains Abp. Demetrios’ likely successor.
A decision also could be made regarding the Archdiocese of Australia, the second-most powerful diocese in the Patriarchate, given the recent passing of Archbishop Stylianos. As previously reported, there is a strong possibility that the Archdiocese will be divided into three separate dioceses, to avoid the rise of a strong central figure, as occurred with Abp. Stylianos.
According to Romfea, if the Archdiocese is not divided, then Met. Emmanuel is a likely candidate to replace Abp. Stylianos, but if it is divided, the successors will most likely be members of the Archdiocese of Australia.
The Archdiocese of Great Britain could also be divided in two, into a Metropolis of Ireland and the Archdiocese of Thyateira for the rest of Great Britain. Likely successors to Archbishop Gregory, who has ruled the Archdiocese for 31 years, are Metropolitan Nikitas of the Dardanelles and Bishop Makarios of Christoupolis.
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