Holy Synod calls brief truce in bishopric fight

The Church of Greece decided yesterday to put off until after the March 7 polls a crucial decision on the election of new bishops in northern Greece, which could destroy its relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The two Orthodox churches are engaged in a bitter turf war for control of over 30 bishoprics in northern Greece. Matters reached a crux – with senior churchmen warning of an impending schism – after the deaths of two northern bishops in the summer, which raised the issue of who should choose their successors. The Patriarchate in Istanbul claims the right to change a list of candidates submitted by the Church of Greece, which will only agree to send the names as a gesture of courtesy. Yesterday, the Church of Greece’s governing body, the Holy Synod, met to discuss the matter, but agreed to postpone any decision until after the national election.