NEW YORK--A dispute in the United States' Greek Orthodox Archdiocese over the way it is governed was worsened when parishes were given just two weeks to respond to a proposed new charter.
The touchiest issue is whether U.S. Greeks should gain more autonomy from the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul, Turkey, especially in choosing bishops.
Under the proposed charter, the Istanbul patriarchate would continue to name all U.S. bishops. The U.S. bishops' synod and the Archdiocesan Council, which includes priests and lay delegates, would have an undefined advisory role in Istanbul's choice of the head archbishop. With other bishop appointments, the synod would consult the council and submit three nominees to Istanbul.
However, U.S. Greek negotiators wanted Istanbul to choose future archbishops from three nominees sent by the U.S. synod after consultation with the Archdiocesan Council. The U.S. synod would elect other bishops.
The debate was reported by the Greek press and Orthodox Christian News Service, a Web site.