Nov 20, 2021
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Who will Washington appoint to replace Patriarch Bartholomew?

81-year-old Ecumenical Patriarch is being replaced by an even more anti-Russian candidate

According to the Greek Orthodox information website RomflorOn November 19, Karen Donfried, a senior US State Department official in charge of European and Eurasian affairs, visited the headquarters of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Phanar. His Holiness, the website continues, during the meeting mentioned his recent visit to the United States, expressing his satisfaction with the warm welcome and contacts he had there.

State Department spokesman with Bartholomew

State Department spokesman with Bartholomew

Now the Greek media are discussing the possibility of the upcoming resignation of 81-year-old Bartholomew for health reasons. And his health is unimportant, as the sudden hospitalization of the head of Phanar made a lot of talk about during his trip overseas. Barely arriving in the United States, the patriarch ended up in a hospital in Washington on October 23. On October 25, he briefly left the hospital to meet with President Joe Biden and the head of the State Department Anthony Blinken. However, on November 3, the patriarch was again put in a hospital bed, this time due to heart surgery. He underwent stenting, then returned to Istanbul.

In America, Patriarch Bartholomew said twice that he always “keeps a possible resignation in mind.” However, on November 12, the site “Light of Phanar” published a note from just one sentence: “Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will not resign.” Soon Bartholomew personally denied resignation rumors. And the head of the Phanariot Archdiocese in the United States declared that God brought Bartholomew to the United States to rule … for another 30 years. Until the age of 111, you have to understand.

One way or another, talk about who will take the place of Bartholomew is in full swing. It is unlikely, however, that the Ecumenical Patriarch will be able to choose his successor on his own. In the United States, they say, he traveled in order to get the go-ahead from Washington for one or another candidate.

Elpidifor (Lambriniadis) in the oval office

Elpidifor (Lambriniadis) in the oval office

It is believed that the greatest chances to take the place of the Ecumenical Patriarch have the Archbishop Elpidifor of America, in the world Ioannis Lambrinidis, a native of Istanbul for 54 years. He, like Bartholomew, served in the Turkish army. In December 1995, he was appointed junior secretary of the Holy Synod. Then he quickly made a church career, becoming a confidant of the patriarch. In September 2011, ordained a metropolitan, he became abbot of the Holy Trinity Monastery on the island of Halki. In 2019 he was appointed head of the American Archdiocese.

“The White House is on the side of Elpidiphorus (Lambriniadis), – writes the online newspaper “Russian Athens”. – This hierarch has direct links with the upper circles of the American government. Thanks to his connections, Lambriniadis helped arrange meetings of the President of Greece and Patriarch Bartholomew with the President of the United States. In addition, rumors have long been circulating that the US government is using Elpidifor to negotiate with Erdogan. “… So, quite recently, Lambriniadis, together with Erdogan and the head of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (not recognized by anyone except Turkey) Ersin Tatar, cut the red ribbon at the opening of the “Turkish House” in New York …

Elpidifor and Trump

Elpidiforos was a key figure in the Ecumenical Patriarchate in legalizing the Ukrainian schism. For many years he was engaged in diplomacy in this area, and at a convenient moment pushed Petro Poroshenko to establish “Ukrainian autocephaly.” Even before that, in 2008, President Yushchenko was awarded the highest Ukrainian award – the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, V degree, and in 2019, after the end of the split in Ukraine, Poroshenko awarded Elpidophorus with the same IV degree order.

Prominent British journalist Martin Banks in an investigation entitled “Washington is preparing a successor to its spiritual representative in Turkey”, wrote: “… Mr. Lambriniadis has repeatedly attended the meetings of Patriarch Bartholomew and Joe Biden … Elpidifor himself was visited by the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon, a man apparently connected with the US intelligence services …”

Adamakis together with Poroshenko

Adamakis together with Poroshenko

There is, however, another contender for the post of patriarch – Emmanuel Adamakis, Metropolitan of Chalcedon since 2021 (the second most important chair in the Ecumenical Patriarchate). He is also called the “Minister of Foreign Affairs” of the Phanar. Adamakis is a Greek who was born in Crete (unlike Lambriniadis, an ethnic Kurd), he has been in the priesthood since 1985, and became a bishop in 1996.

Whichever of these two candidates is chosen in Washington, the relationship of the Russian Orthodox Church with Constantinople will not improve. Russian media noted that an even more anti-Russian candidate was coming to replace Patriarch Bartholomew.

In any case, the last word regarding who will replace Bartholomew in the place of the Ecumenical Patriarch will be said in the United States. This is, alas, the situation in world Orthodoxy today.

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