New Charter Granted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate: Unity Affirmed?

by Christos Papoutsy

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America and Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, recently announced that the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Patriarchate has concluded its work and granted a new charter to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. This new document includes the elevation of all of the American Dioceses to Metropolises of the Archdiocese and all of the presiding Hierarchs of the Dioceses as Metropolitans of the new Metropolises. With these changes, the titles and sees for each American Metropolitan will now be His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta, His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony of San Francisco, His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago,

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His Eminence Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh, His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, and His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit. The Archdiocese indicated that additional information about the charter would be forthcoming.

Yet, despite this brief announcement, important questions remain unanswered, questions that affect the very future of the Greek Orthodox Church in America. These questions about the governance and functioning of the Church need to be answered and clarified for both the clergy and laity, some of whom have lobbied strenuously for fundamental changes. We list just a few of the most salient questions below to initiate a dialogue about these important topics:

· What else was included in the new charter?

· What does the Church’s organizational structure now look like?

· What will be the procedure for replacing Archbishops and Metropolitans in America?

· What changes, if any, will this new charter bring to the Archdiocesan Council and future Clergy-Laity Congresses?

· Does the new charter provide more autonomy for the Metropolises in the U.S.?

· Does the new charter provide less autonomy for the Metropolises in the U.S.?

· How does the new charter effect all the Parishes and individual Church members?

· Will the new charter be accepted by those who argued for more autonomy or for an autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church in America?

As we all think about the impact that these changes will have upon our Church, we urge you to put your thoughts into writing: take a moment to answer the survey below. Results will be posted on the Hellenic Communication Service website.


1) Are you pleased with the granting of the new charter?

Yes: No:


2) Of which Diocese are you a member?

[Posted February 2003. Edd: (June 2007) Although HCS is no longer compiling results of this survey, we continue to welcome input from readers. Site visitors who wish to express their opinions about the questions listed in the survey are invited to type out the question numbers and their selected answers and to submit them to HCS via email at ]

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