The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical of Ecumenical Patriarchate will decide when will move to elect his successor – The Archbishop received an emotional welcome at the JFK
New York.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
Photos: Dimitrios Panagos
Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America returned from Constantinople to JFK, little before the midnight of Saturday, May 4, after he met with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and submitting his resignation.
In spite of the long trip and the late hour, Archbishop Demetrios – who stayed in Constantinople less than 48 hours – was in good spirits and greeted each and every one of the people who waited to welcome him back to New York. Among them, the Director of his Office Alice Kurian, his spokesman Stavros Papagermanos, Fr. John Vlahos Dean of the Cathedral, Fr Vasilios Louros, Fr. Aristides Garines, Deacon Eleftherios Constantinides and the chantor of the Cathedral Nectarios Andoniou. Archdeacon Panteleimon Papadopoulos accompanied the Archbishop in Turkey.
In comments to the “Gree News”, Archbishop Demetrios said that “as we have announced and the statement says, we went to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. I briefed His All Holiness for the issue of our Archdiocese; we are at a stage that many things move forward. In addition we had the issue of the resignation and I read him (the letter). He listened to me, he thanked me and he said that he will bring the issue to the Holy Synod.”
Archbishop Demetrios told the “Greek News” that “the status of the Archbishop Geron former of America is a status that means no inactivity. It means participation in many things that the Ecumenical Patriarchate may need and my own contribution is necessary.”
“It is hereby announced that today Saturday, May 4, 2019, His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch received His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America, who apprised Him on various affairs of his God-saved Eparchy.
Thereafter, His Eminence, the Archbishop submitted his written resignation from the throne of the Holy Archdiocese of America, which he shepherded with God-loving care for twenty years, and which the Patriarch will bring for consideration before the Holy and Sacred Synod in its upcoming meeting of next Thursday, May 9.”
Archbishop Demetrios travelled to Constantinople on Thursday, May 2, after he attended along with other religious leaders the National Day of Prayer Service at the White House Rose Garden. The previous evening, Wednesday May 1, Archbishop Demetrios accompanied by Fr. Alexander Karloutsos participated in the formal dinner at the White House hosted by President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania.
The new of the resignation of Archbishop Demetrios received big coverage in the Greek media, that started predicting possible successors. The Holy Synod will convene at the Fanar from May 9-11 to examine Demetrios’ resignation, along with the situation in the Archdioceses of Australia (Archbishop Stylianos died in March) and of Great Britain.
Regarding Archbishop Demetrios, it is unclear if the Synod will move immediately forward to elect his successor, or wait few days. In the case of an election, the Synod must also choose a vicar, to deal with the affairs until the enthronement of the new Archbishop. According to the Charter of the Archdiocese, the vicar should be one of the neighboring metropolises (New Jersey or Boston).
Archbishop Demetrios was expected to participate on Sunday of Thomas at the feast of the Parish of the Resurrection in Brookville and on Thursday and Friday to preside at the meeting of the Archdiocesan Council. On May 18 he is scheduled to take part at the graduation ceremony of the Holy Cross/ Hellenic College.
Although the statement of the Ecumenical Patriarchate leaves the decision to the Holy Synod, it is possible the resignation to be effective by the end of May, instead of immediately.
According to Wikipedia:
Demetrios was born in Thessaloniki, Greece on February 1, 1928 to Georgia and Christos Trakatellis. He attended the School of Theology at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, graduating with distinction in 1950. He became a deacon in 1960 and was ordained as a priest in 1964. He moved to the United States in 1965, attending the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and obtaining his PhD in 1972. He later returned to the University of Athens, obtaining his Doctor of Theology degree in 1977. He served as auxiliary bishop to the Archbishop of Athens from 1967, and in 1968 declined to serve as metropolitan bishop of Attika and Megaris due to the political upheaval then taking place in Greece.
He was Distinguished Professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Origins at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts, from 1983 to 1993, and was a visiting professor at Harvard Divinity School in 1984–85 and 1988–89. He returned to Greece in 1993 to serve at the Archdiocese of Athens.
On September 18, 1999, Elder Archbishop Demetrios was enthroned at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity as Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. The cathedral on New York City’s Upper East Side serves as the national cathedral of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and is the seat of the Archbishop.
On November 26, 2015, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America announced the elevation of the archdiocese to the rank of Gerontiki Eparchy (meaning an eparchy headed by a Geron/Elder hierarch) of the Ecumenical Throne in the person of Archbishop Demetrios of America, who will henceforth be titled His Eminence Geron Archbishop Demetrios of America.
Demetrios was elected as a member of the Academy of Athens in November 2002 and was inducted on November 14, 2003. He was elected to the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on February 19, 2004.
Archbishop Demetrios delivered invocations at the Democratic National Convention on August 27, 2008 and the Republican National Convention on September 4, 2008. He also delivered the benediction at the Presidential Inaugural Luncheon on January 21, 2013.
Writings: Demetrios is the author of six books as well as hundreds of articles and essays published in various periodicals.