Eparchial Synod of Archdiocese in New York for Spring Session

Author: Theodore Kalmoukos
Date Published: 05/09/2009
Publication: The National Herald

BOSTON.- The Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese convened its regular spring meeting last week under the presidency of Archbishop Demetrios of America. The Synod discussed the need to increase the number of students at Holy Cross School of Theology and stressed that parish priests make stronger efforts to cultivate the priestly calling among young people, especially among altar boys.

The Synod devoted much time to the finances of the School which are threatened by the financial crisis in America and throughout the world. The Hierarchs expressed their gratitude to the Leadership 100 for the poersonal donations of its members in the amount of more one million dollars. The funds were collected to continue the program of scholarships offered to students of Holy Cross School of Theology who are studying to become priests for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

The Synod discussed one more time the issue of the creation of a permanent Diaconate, especially the practical aspects of the Special Program that has been initiated at the Theological School. The Permanent Deacons will remain Deacons throughout their lives; they will not advance to the priesthood. Their function will be to assist in their local parishes.

Among the Canonical issues that were discussed, the Synod examined the case of a married priest of the Metropolis of Atlanta, who has been placed on liturgical suspension because of a serious problem of ethical nature. He is expected to be sent to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to be defrocked.

The Synod also dealt with the list of candidates for the Episcopacy. The names of certain candidates removed either because they lacked the proper credentials or they have passed the age limit. The name of Archimandrite Gabriel Karambis was also removed. Fr. Karambis has been placed on Liturgical suspension because of an incident involving a masseur who he had retained from the Internet for massage sessions. Fr. Karambis was blackmailed by the masseur and a former priest to whom he paid $38,000.

A lengthy discussion took place about Metropolitan Jonas, primate of the Orthodox Church in America, known as the OCA (formerly the Russian Metropolia), who made comments in his sermon on this year’s Sunday of Orthodoxy against the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the issue of the Orthodox Diaspora. He expressed doubts about the role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate as the Protothrone Church in the administrative system of the Orthodox Church in the world.

Jonas’s comments elicited a serious reaction from many Orthodox leaders including Archbishop Demetrios, the Order of St. Andrew and others. Metropolitan Jonas did issue a statement of apology. The OCA is a member of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) but its autocephaly is not canonically recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and other Orthodox Churches. Its autocephaly was granted in 1970 by the Patriarchate of Moscow. Only the Ecumenical Patriarchate has the privilege of granting autocephaly to local Churches.