Archbishop Elpidophoros of America Discusses Church and Broader Topics in Interview with "Ta Nea" Newspaper

Archbishop Elpidophoros of America

Archbishop Elpidophoros of America granted a significant interview to the Athens-based newspaper “Ta Nea” and journalist Michalis Mitsos, addressing a range of topics encompassing church and broader news.

His presence alongside Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens, especially during a time when the latter publicly stated that he would consider baptizing children of same-sex couples when they autonomously decide to do so upon reaching adulthood, sparked considerable debate regarding whether Archbishop Elpidophoros aligns with the perspective of the Primate of the Church of Greece.

“We cannot scrutinize how a child came into the world”
Regarding this matter, the Archbishop of America remarked, “I do not have the capacity to agree or disagree with the Archbishop of Athens. In our Church, there is no obstacle for a child of any background. We cannot scrutinize how a child was conceived and born.

Our role is to ensure legitimacy. We should ensure that those who have custody of this child, whether biological parents or legal guardians, provide their consent for the baptism. That’s the legal aspect. From a church perspective, it is essential to have an Orthodox godparent who serves as the guarantor for the child’s Orthodox upbringing. Parents cannot subject their own Orthodox devotion to evaluation and then decide whether the child should or should not be baptized. That’s the godparent’s task. Hence, if these two conditions are fulfilled, there is no church or legal obstacle to the baptism of a child. That’s what I did in 2022.”

“No serious Archbishop will relinquish or delegate his responsibilities to a media outlet”
Regarding his relations with the Greek Diaspora, Archbishop Elpidophoros of America stressed, “Those who view the Greek Diaspora from the standpoint of Athens may be influenced by specific media outlets attempting to shape this perception. However, living in the US and discussing with the institutions operating there provides a completely different perspective. AHEPA, one of the most well-connected and well-established Greek Diaspora organizations in the United States, does not agree with the view that I am causing division within the Greek-American community. Nor does the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, a very powerful and representative US organization. Those who try to sow division within the Greek Diaspora are those who would like the Archbishop to do what they say. However, no serious Archbishop can relinquish or delegate his responsibilities to a media outlet that aspires to wield influence over diaspora matters to collect the price again from Greece.”

On relations with Turkey: “Well, certainly not a spy!”
Archbishop Elpidophoros also addressed criticism alleging that he holds “excessively friendly positions with Turkey.” Some even suggest that he does so to secure the position of Patriarch after the passing of the current officeholder, and there are even accusations of him being a spy for Turkey.
“Well, certainly not a spy! I am no one’s spy. I am a person of the Church, a child of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and I was born and raised in Constantinople. I believe I have become a target of the mentality that casts suspicion on any Greek who was not born and does not reside in Greece. This mentality has existed since the independence of the Greek State.

We have experienced this in Constantinople for so many years, where we genuinely feel caught between two mentalities. On one hand, Turkey sees us as potential spies for Greece and potential traitors to Turkey, and on the other hand, some extreme circles in Greece perceive us as Turkish-speaking. Many times Greece hurts us, but this is not a reason to turn to the other side. Never. Blood is thicker than water.”

“There was an attempt to undermine my relationship with the prime minister”
The Archbishop of America answered the journalist’s question about whether he has good relations with the prime minister and the government.

“I have always maintained and continue to maintain excellent relations with the prime minister and his family. There was a significant effort to undermine this relationship, which, in my opinion, ultimately failed and collapsed. It did leave a trace of bitterness, but this bitterness does not pertain to the prime minister. It is simply the lingering taste of disappointment, recognizing that some individuals attempted to undermine a longstanding friendship that was genuine, sincere, and devoid of personal gain. Because we both serve the nation from different relationships.”

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024