Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios sent a letter to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras last year to protest potential changes to Article 3 of the country’s Constitution, according to reports.
In his two-page letter dated August 1, 2017, which was made public Monday by the orthodoxia.info website, Vartholomaios said that the Phanar objects to plans to remove references in the Constitution to the patriarchate and its jurisdiction, as well as references to the Patriarchal Act of 1928 with which the patriarchate granted the Greek Church temporary administrative powers over 36 bishoprics belonging to the patriarchate.
Doing so would alienate the patriarchate, Vartholomaios said in the letter which was personally addressed to Tsipras.
On Monday, Education and Religious Affairs Minister Costas Gavroglou was to travel to Istanbul to meet with Vartholomaios amid ongoing tensions over a tentative deal between Tsipras and Archbishop Ieronymos to relax church-state ties.
Gavroglou is to visit the patriarchate on Tuesday when the Holy Synod is due to convene to discuss the deal among other issues, including the anticipated replacement of Archbishop Demetrios of America.
According to sources, Gavroglou aims to brief members of the patriarchate’s Holy Synod of the details of the agreement being proposed by Tsipras and the archbishop.