May 1, 2004
On the new controversy Ecumenical Patriarchate-Church of Greece
It is with profound sorrow that I was informed of the decision taken by the enlarged Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, a decision that prolongs the ecclesiastical controversy with unforeseeable consequences on Orthodox unity and Hellenism.
At times when the Greek-Orthodox presence in the European Union is being enhanced through the adhesion of the Republic of Cyprus, the Orthodox front should be united and strong among Europe's Roman Catholic majority. Instead, it is some time now that we are witnessing a series of clashes between ecclesiastical leaders, which are irreparably impairing the authority of our Church and her sacred institutions. Unfortunately, this sad fact, now being broadcast to all corners of the globe by the worldwide media, is traumatizing the faith of all Greek-Orthodox Christians and damaging Orthodoxy's message of love, conciliation, dialogue and consent.
The situation appears to be equally alarming with regard to its political ramifications in that recent developments are jeopardizing Greek national unity in an extremely critical period where Greek foreign policy is being called upon to confront more than a few important national issues.
With regard to the specific issue of the New Lands, here, too, I am afraid a prolonged controversy may be the beginning of new afflictions. When fragile balances are broken, political solutions and summary procedures are usually implemented without taking historical and canonical privileges into account.
I pray that this sad phase is soon over with the smallest possible damage to our Orthodox Church, a church that belongs solely and only to the people of God.
[Translated from Greek]