The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople has removed Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey and transferred him to the once-renowned Metropolis of Sardis in Asia Minor.
Furthermore, the Patriarchate has also announced the suspension of Metropolitan Methodios of Boston until Christmas.
Archbishop Elpidophoros of America will become the temporary Patriarchal Vicar and manage the affairs of the Metropolis of Boston.
No reasons were given for the abrupt decisions.
Metropolitan Methodios had come under fire from many faithful in his Metropolis for the firing of a popular priest from a parish in Arlington, Massachusetts.
The abrupt removal of Fr. Nicholas Kastanas brought negative publicity to the Church and the Metropolis’ handling of his removal sparked widespread media coverage and a local protest movement against the Metropolitan.
Furthermore, Methodios came under fire from the New Hampshire Attorney General for his refusal to stop communion in the state’s parishes, which are under the jurisdiction of the Metropolis of Boston.
While Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has articulated the Church’s tradition of administering Holy Communion by the common practice of a single spoon, Bartholomew also instructed his Metropolitans to— first and foremost— abide by the laws of the local government.
Methodios insisted his parishes continue to use a single spoon, despite New Hampshire State regulations prohibiting such practices that could help spread the Coronavirus.
The reasons for Evangelos’ removal could emanate from an early-Coronavirus pandemic exchange of words he had with Archbishop Elpidophoros of America when he called the Archbishop’s actions “wrongful and uncanonical.”
The official announcement from the Ecumenical Patriarchate follows in English and Greek:
Today, Thursday, October 8, 2020, on the third day of its work in this current month, the Holy and Sacred Synod extensively examined, among other items, issues of the Holy Archdiocese of America, and considered reports of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America. The following decisions were taken:
a) It placed into abeyance the force of the Charter of the Holy Archdiocese of America, with the objective of constituting a joint Committee of representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Archdiocese for the composition of a new Charter.
b) It placed His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of Boston under a penance of suspension until the Feast of Christmas, on account that he had fallen into canonical transgressions.
c) It transferred His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey to the Holy Metropolis of Sardes and appointed as Patriarchal Vicar in the vacant Eparchy of New Jersey, Archbishop Elpidophoros of America.
From the Chief Secretariat of The Holy and Sacred Synod
October 8, 2020
Σήμερον, Πέμπτην, 8ην Ὀκτωβρίου 2020, τρίτην ἡμέραν τῶν ἐργασιῶν αὐτῆς τοῦ τρέχοντος μηνός, ἡ Ἁγία καί Ἱερά Σύνοδος ἠσχολήθη, μεταξύ ἄλλων, διεξοδικῶς μέ θέματα τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀμερικῆς καί ἐθεώρησεν ἐκθέσεις τοῦ οἰκείου Ἀρχιεπισκόπου Σεβ. κ. Ἐλπιδοφόρου, ἔλαβε δέ τάς ἑξῆς ἀποφάσεις:
α) ἀνέστειλε τήν ἰσχύν τοῦ Συντάγματος τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀμερικῆς μέ τήν προοπτικήν συστάσεως μικτῆς Ἐπιτροπῆς ἐξ ἀντιπροσώπων τοῦ Οἰκουμενικοῦ Πατριαρχείου καί τῆς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς πρός σύνταξιν νέου τοιούτου.
β) ἐπέβαλε τῷ Σεβ. Μητροπολίτῃ Βοστώνης κ. Μεθοδίῳ τήν ποινήν τῆς ἀργίας μέχρι τῆς Ἑορτῆς τῶν Χριστουγέννων διά τά εἰς ἅ ὑπέπεσε κανονικά παραπτώματα.
γ) μετέθεσε τόν Σεβ. Μητροπολίτην Νέας Ἰερσέης κ. Εὐάγγελον εἰς τήν Ἱεράν Μητρόπολιν Σάρδεων καί ὥρισε Πατριαρχικόν Ἐπίτροπον ἐν τῇ οὑτωσί χηρευσάσῃ Ἐπαρχίᾳ Νέας Ἰερσέης τόν Ἀρχιεπίσκοπον Ἀμερικῆς κ. Ἐλπιδοφόρον.
Ἐκ τῆς Ἀρχιγραμματείας
τῆς Ἁγίας καί Ἱερᾶς Συνόδου
8 Ὀκτωβρίου 2020
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