Third northern see in administrative limbo

The power vacuum in northern Greece’s ecclesiastical affairs grew yesterday after the resignation, on health grounds, of Ambrosios, Bishop of Kozani. This means that, due to the ongoing turf war between the Greek Church and the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate, three northern Greek dioceses are now without bishops. The acrimonious dispute, which threatens to develop into a full-blown schism, concerns who should have the final word on appointments of new bishops in over 30 dioceses that became part of Greece after 1912. The problem emerged after the summer deaths of the bishops of Thessaloniki and Eleftheroupolis. They have still to be replaced, and the Church of Greece has put off any decision on the matter for after the March 7 elections. Meanwhile yesterday, Church officials in Athens said a new reconciliation bid with the Patriarchate had failed.