First name in hat for archbishop

Bishop Ignatios of Dimitrias became yesterday the first metropolitan since the death of Archbishop Christodoulos to declare his candidacy to become the new head of the Church of Greece as the contest threatens to be marred by scandal. The Holy Synod is due to meet on Thursday to elect a new archbishop but Ignatios stole a march on his rivals by putting forward 10 points on which he wants to focus if he succeeds Christodoulos. Several candidates are expected to follow suit. Among the expected contenders are Bishop Efstathios of Sparta, Bishop Ieronymos of Thebes and Bishop Anthimos of Thessaloniki. However, Bishop Chrysostomos of Messinia caused a stir by claiming he was blackmailed by people who want him to support the bishop of Sparta. Chrysostomos said that he was withdrawing his support for Efstathios as a result of the pressure being put on him. A total of 77 hierarchs will vote for the Church’s next leader. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent in the first round, a second round will be held and the bishop with the most votes will win.