Patriarch vows to hold firm

Raising the stakes in his feud with the Church of Greece over control of more than 30 Greek sees, Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios vowed yesterday not to back down and «sell out» his rights. The patriarch, who claims jurisdiction over sees in parts of Greece freed from the Turks after 1912, also said he would only meet Archbishop Christodoulos should the Church of Greece leader agree to visit his Istanbul base. «There is no call for me to run hither and thither in order to meet (Christodoulos),» he said during a visit to Turkish Thrace. «The Patriarchate will not back down, as this is a case of canonical and institutional matters, and centuries-old rights that we will not betray,» Vartholomaios added. «We cannot sell out our rights simply to avoid certain difficulties.» The long-simmering row boiled over in the summer, when two bishops in the contested sees died. Vartholomaios insisted that Christodoulos should send him a list of candidates for approval, while the Greek Church said the list would be for his information alone.