U.S. influence on Church of Greece grows – OpEd – Eurasia Review


The position of the Greek Orthodox Church is changing rapidly. After the election of the new Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, all proposals to lift state support were revoked. On July 16, Mitsotakis and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens met to discuss a new era in church-state relations. However, even if the new government brings back the authority of the Church, it will have to act according to the political interests of the United States and the EU.

The new Greek government intends to improve relations with the Archbishop, but it seems that one of the main reasons is to convince him to collaborate with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and possibly to recognize the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which is the goal of Constantinople supported by the United States. .

Mitsoutakis is the right person to promote the interests of the Phanar. The new Prime Minister and Patriarch Bartholomew know each other personally – they met in May 2017 on the island of Imbros.

Guided by the United States, Mitsotakis intends to directly control the internal life of the Orthodox Church and its external relations. It was he who lobbied for the election of Metropolitan Elpidophoros as Archbishop of America. During one of the meetings between the Patriarch and the future Prime Minister, the latter’s wife asked the Patriarch to replace Archbishop Demetrios with the Metropolitan of Bursa.

Another lobbyist for American interests (including those related to the church) in the new cabinet is Antonis Diamataris, a Greek American editor of the National Herald newspaper who has been appointed deputy foreign minister for Greeks in the Diaspora.

Politicians around the world cynically use the Orthodox Church as a tool of influence, and as we can see Mitsotakis is doing the same. Obviously, one will say to Archbishop Ieronymos: “There will always be people in the Church of Greece who will mumble; but are they not the ones who stand up against you? Why should Your Eminence not undermine their position? Especially alongside such a powerful ally from the outside?

However, the role of the Orthodox Church is to preserve the spiritual and cultural heritage of Greek civilization. Now we are told to divide this world into Greeks and Slavs. But the world of the Slavs takes its origin from the Greek world in the history of its religion and its culture: by destroying it, the Greeks destroy themselves. For what purpose should the Greeks quarrel with the Serbs who condemned the establishment of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church? What is the point of a standoff on Mount Athos where some monasteries recognize Metropolitan Epiphanes and others refuse to admit OCU pilgrims? Will it be good for such a conflict to develop between the Greek metropolitans?

Alexis Tsipras’ left-wing cabinet sought to limit the Church’s impact on society and use its financial resources, but it did not interfere in the internal affairs of the Greek Orthodox Church and did not interfere with it. tells how to develop relationships with other churches.

On the other hand, state interference in the affairs of the Church carried out by force without the consent of a Church, no matter under what specious pretexts, is a great road to political shipwreck. One such example is Ukraine, whose National Church is still the UOC of the Moscow Patriarchate. This year during the celebrations of the Baptism of Rus, 300,000 people participated in the procession of the UOC MP while the Orthodox Church of Ukraine gathered only 20,000.

Ukrainian believers are conservative and are slow to join the OCU. They are concerned about economic problems, corruption and war in Donbass, but not about the Tomos of autocephaly, which is why Poroshenko lost the elections. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is going through a serious crisis. Former Patriarch of Kiev and All Ukraine Filaret said he left the Church and re-established the UOC of the “Kyiv Patriarchate”. The OCU primate Epiphanius is unable to keep the situation under his control.

The local Churches have understood this well: despite requests from Constantinople, some Churches have openly refused to recognize the OCU. Some even condemned the policy of Constantinople in Ukraine.

If none of the local churches recognized the OCU, why should the Greek Orthodox Church? Why should she worsen her relationship with other churches? First, unanimity is to be achieved among those who are older by the Diptych, the aged Patriarchates (πρεσβυγενεῖς) and the Autocephalous Churches: Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Cyprus. For the whole of the Greek world and the Greek state, this will be the best scenario. And as an Orthodox believer, Mr. Mitsotakis must understand this much better than the brains of Ecumenical Orthodoxy in Washington.

* Sophia Iliadi is a freelance blogger from Athens, currently based in the United States. and wrote articles for Veterans Today, voreini.gr, exapsalmos.gr, etc.

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