The Very Rev. Robert Stephanopoulos, father of former White House aide George Stephanopoulos, has been relieved of administrative and liturgical responsibilities at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York.
A spokesman for Archbishop Spyridon, head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, denied reports from church dissidents that the step was taken to punish Stephanopoulos for joining more than 100 other priests who signed a letter critical of Spyridon. Stephanopoulos could not be reached for comment.
Father Mark Aray, spokesman for the archbishop, confirmed that administrative and liturgical responsibilities had been shifted to Spyridon's cathedral vicar, Father Gabriel Karambis. The change was outlined by Spyridon in a Jan. 15 letter to Stephanopoulos, Aray said. Aray said that Stephanopoulos would continue other priestly duties at the cathedral.
A posting on the World Wide Web site http://www.voithia.org by a group opposed to Spyridon said Stephanopoulos had been demoted in retaliation for signing the critical letter. Voithia said that Spyridon's action represented "a new wave of attacks against his critics."
Critics, including the church's five American metropolitan bishops, have accused Spyridon of being autocratic and dictatorial. Two weeks ago the worldwide spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians, His All Holiness Bartholomew I, rebuffed requests from Spyridon's critics to replace the archbishop.