Patriarch broadens top council

Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios has decided to broaden the executive council of the Istanbul-based Patriarchate, bringing in six bishops from outside Turkey as of March 1, the Athens News Agency reported yesterday. The six from outside Turkey will include the archbishops of America, Britain and Crete – Demetrios, Gregorios and Ierotheos, respectively. The remaining six council members will come from Turkish provinces. The change, which was among the goals listed by Vartholomaios following his enthronement in 1991, aims to start tackling the problems caused when Greeks started leaving Turkey early this century. The Patriarchate in Istanbul is currently involved in a battle with the Church of Greece over who has authority over the naming of bishops in sees that became part of Greece after the Balkan Wars early last century. One of the criticisms aimed at the Patriarchate is that it represents very few actual members of the Church.