Battlefield – USA. Financial problems of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, a new Primate and the September 11 attacks.

  • USA
  • 20.Aug ‘19
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The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America was established in 1922. Now it includes the dioceses of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the USA and Canada. The administrative centre of the Archdiocese is located in New York. The Archdiocese has 550 parishes, the number of its parishioners, predominately Greeks, is from 500,000 to 2,000,000. Besides, the Ukrainian parishes in America (the ex-autocephalists (The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada), the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, etc.) also belong to the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese.

On May 4, the Primate of the Archdiocese archbishop Demetrios (Trakatellis) resigned from his post. On May 9, Patriarch Bartholomew I confirmed archbishop Demetrios’ resignation and appointed archbishop Elpidiphoros (Lambriniadis) to a position of the head of the Archdiocese.

Few people know, that archbishop Demetrios’ letter of resignation was due to illegal financial transactions, led by the Archdiocese. The Greek diaspora of the USA has a significant impact on politics, for one of the Political Advisers of D. Trump in his presidential campaign was George (Giorgos) Papadopoulos. So called ‘The Order of St Andrew’ and its members-‘archonts’ – the representatives of the Greek-American business elite are one of the instruments of influence on political and business elite of the USA.

The Archdiocese has a special charity fund, the main goal of which is funding the construction of a memorial complex at the site of the terrorist attack. The head of the fund is the Primate of the Archdiocese, i.e. archbishop Demetrios (Trakatellis). The government of the USA, as well as nongovernmental organizations and individuals transfer money to the fund.

In 2017, the constructional estimates were significantly increased from 20,000,000$ to 78,000,000$. It also became evident that the complex would not be open on schedule, which was planned on autumn 2018.

For the reason of archbishop Demetrios did not manage with the project, which should raise the prestige of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America, patriarch Bartholomew sent to him a private letter, where asked archbishop Demetrios to leave the post of the Primate of the Archdiocese voluntarily.

Nevertheless, archbishop Demetrios decided to remain the head of this structure. As the financial verification of the Archdiocesan fund showed, in 2017 5,000,000$ was spent for purposes unknown. At the same time the debts of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the value of 4,750,000$ was settled. It is evident, that archbishop Demetrios kept his control over the USA dioceses due to corruption schemes.

In 2018, after failure of the opening of the memorial complex, tax services of New York became interested in the financial activities of the Archdiocese fund. Apart from archbishop Demetrios, a priest Alex Karloutsos was suspected in ‘money-laundering’. He owned a mansion to the value of more than 1,000,000$ in the north part of New York State.

In connection with the probability of initiation of criminal proceedings against archbishop Demetros (Trakatellis) and his high-ranked circle, Patriarch Bartholomew decided to change the leaders of the Archdiocese. Archbishop Elpidiphoros (Lambriniadis) was appointed to a post of a new bishop of the Archdiocese. His extremely anti-Russian position will provide him hearty reception in the political spectrum of the USA. In contrast to archbishop Demetrios, archbishop Elpidiphoros is a citizen of the Republic of Turkey, and if the situation of the Archdiocese fund gets out of control, this fact can protect him from the USA justice.

Should archbishop Elpidiphoros successfully complete his missions, that is, solemnly opening the memorial complex in memory of the victims of September 11 attacks and closing the matter of misappropriation of Archdiocese funds, he can claim to the cathedra of the Ecumenical Patriarch (his citizenry will help him in this).

On May 4, bishop Mathew (Andreev) of Sourozh, the temporary administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes of Russian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada, arrived to the USA for the monitoring of the situation. On May 7, bishop Mathew had a meeting with archbishop Joseph (Al-Zehlaoui), the head of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. During the meeting bishops denounced the action of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the Ukraine, approved Russia’s aid to Syrian Arab Republic, where the centre of the Antiochian Orthodox Church is located.

Therefore, in opposition to the orthodox Greeks and Ukrainians, belonging to the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Russian Orthodox Church tries to improve relations with the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, for the number of its parishioners significantly increased due to the immigrants from the Middle East. We will see the results of struggle between the Orthodox in this field.

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