Patriarch says 1928 Act valid

Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios said yesterday that he accepts the Church of Greece’s administration of 36 northern Greek sees but stressed that the Patriarchiate retains spiritual jurisdiction of the so-called New Territories. «We do not want to change the existing state of affairs – that is the administration of the sees… by the Church of Greece – as has been the case since we handed them over in 1928… but (the sees) will continue to fall under (our) spiritual jurisdiction,» Vartholomaios told a visiting delegation from Thessaloniki’s journalists’ union. «The Patriarchal Act of 1928 has always been valid. has not been modified by any body with greater influence,» Vartholomaios said, adding that much of the confusion surrounding an ongoing dispute over jurisdiction of the sees was due to «misinformation by certain circles in Athens.» On the subject of elections to appoint a new Bishop of Thessaloniki – which have stalled due to disagreement over who will conduct them – Vartholomaios simply said: «May the best candidate win.»