‘Patriotic’ blast at Patriarchate

A bishop who is close to Archbishop Christodoulos yesterday fired a broadside at the Ecumenical Patriarchate regarding a dispute between the Church of Greece and the Patriarchate in Istanbul, which has retained spiritual authority and some administrative powers over churches in the «New Territories» in northern Greece and the Aegean that became Greek after the Balkan Wars (1912-13). The clash has taken on new urgency over who will appoint a new bishop for Thessaloniki after the incumbent’s death. Metropolitan Amvrosios of Kalavryta charged that any reference to the issue disputed Greece’s territorial holdings «from Larissa upward» and encouraged Turkey to lay claim to them. He said that the patriarch was not recognized as pastoral head of the church anywhere in Greece and that this would only occur «when and if the borders of the Greek State reached as far as Constantinople.» Amvrosios also launched attacks on Prime Minister Costas Simitis and the press, warning the prime minister not to encourage the Patriarchate and the press not to «publicize Church games.»

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