Letter from Istanbul could end Church feud

In what could prove a breakthrough in the turf war between the Church of Greece and the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate, Patriarch Vartholomaios has approved a list of candidates to fill three vacant northern Greek bishoprics, sources said yesterday. In a letter to Archbishop Christodoulos, parts of which were leaked yesterday, Vartholomaios approved the lists sent for the sees of Thessaloniki, Eleftheroupolis, as well as Servia and Kozani. But he stressed that this would only apply if the Church of Greece’s ruling body, the Holy Synod, softened its previous stance and sanctioned a compromise advanced by Christodoulos earlier this year to end the crisis – which had threatened to escalate into a schism. The two churches disagreed over who should have the final word in appointing bishops to sees that became part of Greece after 1912.

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