A Decade of Challenges & Achievements for Archbishop Demetrios

Author: Theodore Kalmoukos
Date Published: 10/24/2009
Archbishop Demetrios of America blessing a congregation. The remarkable life of His Eminence includes distinguished work as a scholar of Christian origins, beloved teacher and servant of the Orthodox Church.
Archbishop Demetrios of America blessing a congregation. The remarkable life of His Eminence includes distinguished work as a scholar of Christian origins, beloved teacher and servant of the Orthodox Church.

His Eminence Discusses His Ten Years of Service in an Exclusive Interview with TNH

BOSTON – It has been ten years since the election and enthronement of Achbishop Demetrios to the Archiepiscopal throne of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

In an exclusive interview with The National Herald, His Eminence touched upon a variety of ecclesiastical issues, and answered the tough questions that must be asked about the challenges, problems and prospects of the ecclesial life of the
Archdiocese and the Greek American community.

His Eminence spoke about the telephone call he received from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew offering him the position of Archbishop, the changes in the Archdiocesan
charter, the formation of uniform parish regulations, the finances of the Church and the $16 million paid to the victims of the pedophile priests, the School of Theology and much more.

TNH: Your Eminence, 10 years have gone by and it seems like it was yesterday. What were your thoughts then and what are your thoughts today?

ARCHBISHOP DEMETRIOS: The time went by so fast that it really seems like lightning. On Thursday, August 19 in 1999 I was at my desk at home in New Psychiko in Athens and I was writing something when the phone rang. It was His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch who called and told me that
“We are in a Synodal session and I am calling to announce to you that we have taken the decision for you to go to America as Archbishop and I would like to ask you not to postpone
or decline.” I told the Patriarch, “I am speechless. It is a calling from God, and although I am mindful of the tremendous difficulties that exist, I have no right to decline
at this moment.”

The Patriarch said, “I thank you very much; we will contact the Church of Greece to request your ecclesiastical release.”

Archbishop Christodoulos of blessed memory responded immediately, releasing me [from my duties to the Church of Greece] and the official election took place within an hour. The next day I traveled to The Ecumenical Patriarchate. I appeared before the Holy Synod, and the election was announced to me officially. I accepted it and we then went to the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George and offered the Great Minima