CONSTANTINOPLE.- (ANA) – The Ecumenical Patriarchate restored communion with Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, according to an announcement issued by the Phanar on Friday. The Ecumenical Patriarchate “accepted and assessed with satisfaction the decision taken on May 28 by the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece on honouring and observing the Patriarchal and Synod Volume of 1850 and all the clauses contained in the Patriarchal and Synod Act of 1928,” the announcement said.
“As a result it restored operational and administrative communion with his eminence Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Mr. Christodoulos,” it added.
Athens daily Kathimerini describes the announcement “frosty”.
The announcement added that the Patriarchate had decided to recognize “on sufferance” the newly appointed bishops of Thessaloniki, Eleftheroupolis and Kozani, whom Christodoulos picked without first securing Istanbul’s approval.
The bitter turf war, which broke out following the deaths last summer of two northern bishops, hinges on which church has ultimate control over sees in parts of Greece that were wrested from Turkey after 1912. When it came to a list of candidate replacements being sent to Istanbul, Athens insisted that the document was just for the patriarch’s information, while Vartholomaios claimed the right to approve the list.
Education Minister Marietta Giannakou, who brokered a preliminary peace deal between the belligerent churches last month, expressed satisfaction with yesterday’s news from Istanbul. “I hope a new era is starting in relations between the two churches,” she said. “What has been agreed… regarding the recognition of the three bishops must be followed to the letter.”
There was no immediate official reaction from the Church of Greece.