Synod to discuss rich church’s annexation

Following strong reactions by powerful bishops, Archbishop Christodoulos said yesterday he would «once again» bring before the Church body his controversial decision to wrest a rich Athens church from the Nea Smyrni bishopric. The Church of Greece leader’s critics – who include the bishops of Thebes, Zakynthos, Piraeus and Goumenissa – say the Holy Synod never approved the annexation of the church of Aghios Sostis in the first place, as Christodoulos claims. In a statement yesterday, the archbishop’s office said the matter would be reintroduced at next week’s session of the 13-member Synod, «to reconfirm the valid and proper decision that has already been made.» Aghios Sostis, in Nea Smyrni, has annual revenues of about 50 million drachmas (146,000 euros). Christodoulos, whom dissidents have even accused of forging the Synod minutes in an attempt to prove that the issue was discussed in October, initially claimed the 80-bishop Hierarchy council approved his seizure of Aghios Sostis. He then said this was unnecessary as he had the Synod’s approval.

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