NEWS

Christodoulos blinks first

The head of the Church of Greece appears to have blinked first in his standoff with the Istanbul-based Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate over control of more than 20 northern Greek and Aegean sees. The Church of Greece confirmed yesterday that Archbishop Christodoulos has written to Patriarch Vartholomaios inviting him to a meeting «at a place and a time that will be mutually agreed.» The dispute focuses on sees in parts of Greece that were liberated from the Turks after 1912, and which, nominally, come under the patriarch’s jurisdiction. The matter came to a head in July after the death of the bishop of Thessaloniki. The Patriarchate insists it has a right to pick his successor from a list submitted by the Greek Church. The letter was sent last Friday, and arrived yesterday. There was no official comment from Istanbul, with officials noting that Vartholomaios is resting after a visit to Georgia. Vartholomaios has urged the Greek government to intervene in the dispute. But Athens has ruled out such a step.