Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and all of Greece sends out a clear message to many people, both inside and outside the Hierarchy, through the interview he gave to the newspaper Kathimerini on Sunday.
Moreover, when he was asked whether he has been fighting for the succession due to the recent attacks, he replied: “80 out of 82 people are candidates. There is nothing wrong with having such an ambition. But it is a different thing when one keeps this ambition for himself and does his best in order to achieve his goal and when one is acting in a foolish way. They are two things totally opposed to each other. We should not disparage those who have ambitions. But at the same time, we should not be ridiculed or humiliated either.”
Although Archbishop Ieronymos said that he did not feel attached to the high position he has been occupying, he pointed out that he was not thinking of resigning. However, he is positive about introducing an age limit for the term of Metropolitans: “When one between the ages of 70 and 75 declares his resignation from the Hierarchy at the Holy and Sacred Synod, then the Holy Synod is to decide.”
In addition, Archbishop Ieronymos also revealed that hypocrisy was frightening him the most. Regarding the discussion on Holy Communion, he said, “Minor issues are usually discussed and resolved through mutual comprehension and cooperation. But important issues, such as the Holy Communion, are not subject to the jurisdiction of the Church of Greece nor to the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. They are pan-Orthodox matters, which are the very essence of the Orthodox Church in general. There is no Church without the Mystery of the Holy Communion.”
The Archbishop of Athens once again expressed the sorrow that both he and the Hierarchy felt for closing the churches. However, it was a measure that was deemed necessary for the protection of the faithful. “Our fellow human beings are above all. We, the clergy, must reflect well on whether the Church can exist without our fellow human beings. What would be the mission of the Church without the faithful? There is a fundamental rule that says ‘The salvation of the people should be the supreme law.’ So, it is our sacred duty to fight this thing, after all, it will not stay with us forever.”
Regarding the disagreements within the Hierarchy, Archbishop Ieronymos said that it was normal to have different views on the matter: “It would be inappropriate if we did not obey the majority. No one can do what they want. Otherwise, such behaviour would show a lack of faith and consistency,” he said.