The new Archbishop of America, Elpidophoros, is determined to put the finances of the Orthodox Church of America in order, so that the management of the donations is fully transparent. The first aim in this direction is to complete, within a year, the construction of St. Nicholas Church on Ground Zero.
In his interview to ‘Kathimerini’ newspaper, Archbishop of America states that he shall support from his new position not only the rights of Hellenism all over the world, but also the national issues, in cooperation with Greek-American and Cyprian organizations.
One of the first things he plans to do as Archbishop of America is to help Greek expats to broaden their horizons: “Let us not confine to Greek Orthodoxy, let us open up to American society and to the rest of our Orthodox brothers of whatever origin in America. This will give us wings”.
Elpidophoros also stresses that St. Nicholas Church is an issue of crucial importance. “It is a matter of national pride, an issue of honor for the Archdiocese of America. This issue shall be resolved once for all. It should actually have been settled before my enthronement, because it reflects who we are in American society, sinceit is built at a very important place for the latter, i.e. Ground Zero”.
“Another important issue is the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Boston – it is the seed nursery that nurtures the officials of the Archdiocese. The third issue is the economic problem intriguing the Archdiocese”, continued Archbishop of America.
Furthermore, Elpidophoros promised complete transparency as to the donations to the Archdiocese, confirming the use of the standard method that every single American state organization uses, including auditing, a report on what has been done up to now.
On national issues, the new Archbishop of America emphasized that he himself is ready to help the Greek-American lobby to promote Greek interests: “One thing I have learned from our Patriarch is to raise my voice whenever I see that Orthodoxy is being oppressed and its freedoms are restricted”.
Elpidophoros also referred to the relations with Turkey, stating that Greece and Cyprus are “doomed” to have friendly relations with the former, because any tension shall be disastrous for all of them.
The new Archbishop of America also spoke about the Ecclesiastic “Cold War” that broke out on the issue of the granting of the status of Autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine.
In particular, Elpidophoros said that the relations with Russia are a very sensitive issue, while he stressed that the Russian propaganda has created bridgeheads to Greece and the Balkans. ”The Ukrainian issue is not only an ecclesiastic one. The ecclesiastic part is only a dimension of it. The Ukrainian issue is a very sensitive one for the Russians, from a geostrategic, energy, military and ecclesiastic point of view”, stressing that this geopolitical game preexisted and was not raised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
He also claimed that after his enthronement, a visit of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to America, possibly a meeting with President Trump as well, is being scheduled. Elpidophoros stressed that this shall be the first crash test of his administration.
In concluding, the Archbishop of America said that as a heritage in the future, he would like to bequeath a worthy successor: “I wish to raise Archdiocese to its rightful place, because it is the tour de force of the provinces of Ecumenical Patriarchate, the best thing it has to display abroad. May the new succeeding generation exceed myself and all the previous Archbishops”.