Monday, January 9, 2023

The ever-revised Greek Archdiocesan Charter

(GOARCH) - His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America is currently participating in the regularly scheduled session of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Holy and Sacred Synod for the month of January (10-12). Upon the conclusion of this synodal session — under the chairmanship of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew — the very first meeting of the Mixed Commission on the Charter of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (“Mixed Commission”) will take place at the Ecumenical Patriarchate on January 13th. 

As an Eparchy of the Ecumenical Throne of Constantinople, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has been granted five Charters over the course of its century-long history in the United States (most recently in 2003). This process has always been conducted with the utmost care, concern, meticulousness, and prudence, to address the contemporary pastoral needs of the Church with each passing era. Except, of course, most recently when it was unilaterally suspended by the archbishop and then had to be put back into place by patriarchal dictate when a new one was never enacted. While celebrating the 2022 Centennial Year of the Sacred Archdiocese of America, and in conjunction with the July 2022 Clergy-Laity Congress in New York City, the voices of our faithful were heard at a Plenary Charter Session attended by all the delegates, clergy, and laity. It was recognized that a fresh vision must be implemented to preserve and perpetuate the ongoing spiritual development and well-being of the Archdiocese and its Christ-loving flock. Fresh vision has a lot to do with who holds the power and who loses it. Will the GOA become a single ruling hierarch with auxiliaries or will it bring in real synodality? If you see the word "Omogenia" over and over in the new documents, it is not so much an issue of "freshness," but of shoring up Hellenic identity.

To this end, the Ecumenical Patriarchate formed the Mixed Commission to review the Charter’s current text to help meet the present-day spiritual development and practical needs of an ever-evolving Greek Orthodox community in America. An esteemed body of highly distinguished hierarchs, clergy, and laity representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Sacred Archdiocese of America has been tasked with leading this effort. 

At their first meeting, the members of the Mixed Commission will begin their deliberations on how the future Charter can best meet the needs of the Greek Orthodox faithful in the United States as our Sacred Archdiocese embarks on its second century. 


  1. The current charter has so much doublespeak going on that one can reasonably argue the EXISTING Greek Archdiocese is still a single eparchy ("diocese" in common parlance) in spite of the use of titles like "Metropolitan" for other bishops. My guess is that +Elpidophoros would like to make that arrangement crystal clear and unambiguous. Whether the faithful of the Greek Archdiocese are willing to go along with that is another matter.

  2. I cannot understand why the parishioners in the USA cannot elect their nwn leader and why some foreign men who do not understand the needs of those in the USA will dictate ther church's future direction. Those present at the assembly shouldm have the responsibility of choosing as they do in the OCA, shouldn't they?
    Also I do not understand why the best candidate for an American church was not on the list - Rev. Nicholas Belcher. If there is a possibiity of success for the Eastern Orthodox Church in the USA, It needs to be with unity of purpose and administration. Those on the short list well perpetuate the division, the old country will see to that, and I fear this will not enhance the presence of and stature of the Eastern Orthodox Church in the USA. Why are we so blind to the message of of our Lord and Savior,, we choose division and conflict other than unity and cooperation. My heart is heavy.