ATHENS.- The Hierarchy of the Orthodox Church of Greece on Friday ratified a verbal agreement with the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Phanar, Istanbul on the ecclesiastical administration of the so-called ‘New Lands’ sees in northern Greece. All present voted in favour of a proposal by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece except Kalavryta Metropolitan Ambrosius, who said Friday’s agreement demoted to the level of a provinicial synod.
In an open vote, the gathered prelates decided that the Church of Greece will respect and abide by the law of 1850 and the Act of 1928, though during the session there was mild criticism of the Archbishop’s handling of the issue over the past 10 months.
Emerging from the meeting, Christodoulos himself described Friday’s decision as “an act of sacrifice in order to preserve peace in the Church” and a gesture of unity and peace.
Commenting on the decision from Brussels, where she is attending the EU education ministers’ council, Education and Religious Affairs Minister Marietta Yiannakou said she welcomed this positive development in relations between the Church of Greece and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The government is interested in supporting the ecumenical role and international prestige of the Patriarchate, and in supporting the role of the Church of Greece, she told the ANA correspondent in the city.
“In the framework of the system of relations between the Church and the State, the government will ensure legality,” she added, noting that the top priority was the unity of the Orthodox faith and harmonious cooperation between the two Churches for the good of Hellenism.