The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate after discussing extensively the crisis in the Monastery of Chrysovalantou in Astoria decided to accept the resignation of both Abbot Metropolitan Paisios and his assistant Bishop Vikentios and appoint Bishop Ilias as acting abbot.
The new abbot is going to be assisted by three monks from the Holy Mount Athos. The decision was received with mixed feelings by the flock of Chrysovalantou, the vast majority of which supports Metropolitan Piasios, but at the same time felt pressure by negative publicity.
A communiqué by the Holy Synod, dated December 2, 2010, says the following:
In its deliberations, the Holy and Sacred Synod revisited the issue of the Patriarchal and Stavropegic Monastery of St. Irene Chrysovalantou in Astoria, New York. After examining the report of the commissioned Patriarchal Exarchy, the Holy and Sacred Synod unanimously decided:
a) To accept the submitted resignations of the Abbot, His Excellency Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana, and of the Deputy Abbot, His Grace Bishop Vikentios of Apameia, both of whom are henceforth to remain away from America;
b) To assign as Acting Abbot of the Monastery His Grace Bishop Ilia of Philomelion who serves in America;
c) To send a small brotherhood of monks in order to assist the work of the Acting Abbot.
At the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the 2nd of December 2010
From the Chief Secretariat
of the Holy and Sacred Synod
His Grace Bishop Ilia Katre
Titular Bishop of Philomelion
Bishop Ilia was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan in 1937, the son of Albanian immigrants who migrated to the United States in 1920. In his youth he attended St. George Greek Orthodox Church whose priest was a primary influence for young Ilia to become a priest. He mastered both the Greek and Albanian languages while still in high school. He chose to serve the Albanian Church. On the advice of his father, he trained to serve both Albanian and Greek Churches.
Bishop Ilia graduated from Hellenic College and Seminary at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological School in Brookline, Massachusetts, with a Bachelor in Theology Degree in 1961. He was ordained to the priesthood in Boston in 1962 where he served at Holy Trinity Albanian Orthodox Church until August 31, 1983. He pursued advanced degrees including a Masters of Divinity before being assigned as Dean of Student Affairs at Hellenic College and Holy Cross School of Theology. He remained there until 1988. He also held the position as Vicar General of the Albanian Orthodox Church of American until May 2002.
Bishop Ilia served as the priest of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Las Vegas, Nevada from 1988 to 2002. The Parish benefited from his strong leadership and dedication to the Orthodox Faith and a magnificent new church, community center and administration building were built under his guidance.
In 1992, Bishop Ilia was sent twice on a mission to Albania by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to help rebuild the Albanian Orthodox Church after years of subjugation by communist rule.
The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate elected His Grace, Bishop Ilia Katre as Titular Bishop of Philomelion to lead the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of American. The ordination took place in Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey on May 12, 2002, with the blessings of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
In 2004, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sent Bishop Ilia to serve the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania. His Beatitude Anastasios Archbishop of Tirana, Durres and All Albania assigned Bishop Ilia as the Dean of the “Resurrection of Christ” Theological Academy at St. Vlash Monastery near the city of Durres where he served for three years.
Bishop Ilia and his beloved wife, Helen, were married for 39 years before her death in 2001. They became the parents of two children, Sotir Mark and Eugenia, and have three grandchildren.