Newspaper says Istanbul leaders rejected charter for the U.S. Greek church

Posted: Friday, March 30, 2001

NEW YORK (AP) -- Church leaders in Istanbul, Turkey, have rejected a bid for increased self-government from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in America, according to the English edition of the National Herald, a Greek-American newspaper.

The Herald said it had obtained the text of a paper from the office of Istanbul's Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew that opposes a new governing charter endorsed by the U.S. bishops. The patriarch's see exercises direct jurisdiction over the U.S. Greeks, the largest branch in American Orthodoxy.

An American delegation went to Istanbul last month and the U.S. Greek bishops discussed the situation in New York March 13-14, but issued no details.

The Herald said the U.S. bishops want their leader, the archbishop, to be chosen in Istanbul from three nominees they propose, but the patriarch's office wants the Americans to have only an undefined advisory role. Also rejected was a requirement that a U.S. archbishop have pastoral experience in the nation.

In addition, the Herald reported, the Istanbul see wants the power to name other U.S. bishops rather than having them elected in the United States, and to decide on all decisions by the U.S. bishops, including creation or elimination of any U.S. institution. Also, the powers of a congress of U.S. priests and laity would be reduced.

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