Christodoulos, late leader of the Church of Greece

On April 28, 1998, almost three weeks after the death of Serapheim, the Church of Greece acquired a new leader, Archbishop Christodoulos. «This is a historic day for the Archbishopric of Athens and the autocephalous Church of Greece,» Christodoulos said in his first statement to the press. He went on to promise «the renewal, meritocracy and modernization of the Church,» adding, «I envision a lively, dynamic church that will be among our people with an open heart.» The Church was to have its say on everything, with the archbishop speaking on national, political and social issues. Bishop Kallinikos of Piraeus, Bishop Ambrosios of Kalavryta and other supporters felt vindicated, but some clerics who had been close to Serapheim were cautious. The new leader, who had defeated Ieronymos of Thebes in the third vote, took up his post at a time when financial scandals had overshadowed the Church of Greece. The name of Ieronymos had been unjustly connected, with the scandals, and he was acquitted of all charges some years later.