Kalami - November 2000
The Lonely Path of Integrity:
Spyridon, Archbishop of America
Archbishop Spyridon's biography is a critical account
of the activities and life of a hierarch who rose to the high rank of Primate
of the Greek Orthodox Church of America after many struggles and a long ministry
in the Church, only to be "ousted" after three years, when it became
evident that he had no intention to serve the dubious interests of the Center
of Orthodoxy in Constantinople.
Written by an eyewitness to these events, the Greek journalist Justine Frangouli,
this book attempts to shed light on the forces and interests that intertwined
with the destiny of the throne of Archbishop of America. It reveals the thrilling
details of Spyridon's ousting, hitherto unknown to Greek Americans and
the world of journalism.
More than a simple portrayal of a religious leader, who from an early age
was destined for the cloth, the book endeavors to shed light on the journey
of a child who was born in America, grew up in Greece, was educated in Europe,
and served the Church for 25 years in Switzerland and Italy as a cleric of
the Ecumenical Patriarchate before coming full circle and ending up in his
native America as Archbishop.
A careful reading of his multifaceted life and ecclesiastical career reveals
a man who brought luster to the Orthodox Church in Italy and America as he
strove to preserve Byzantine Orthodox tradition and to ensure the survival
of Hellenism in the Diaspora.
The game to oust Spyridon after a tumultuous three-year tenure permeated the
Church's relations with the Patriarchate, the Greek State, the clergy
in America, and prominent Greek-Americans, threatening the unity of Orthodoxy
and Hellenism in America.
The upshot of the three-year struggle was the consolidation of the autocephalous
movement in the Church of America, the revival of partisanship among Greek-Americans,
the marginalization of the vital issues facing this community and the now
firmly entrenched belief that the Patriarchate aims at all costs to diminish
the role of the Archbishop of America.
Archbishop Spyridon, now withdrawn from active ministry, has consented to
put on record -through his notes, diary, and archives- the dramatic
triennium, which has left an indelible mark on Hellenism in America.
The book has been put out by Exandas Publishers
[Translated from Greek]