Metropolitan Maximos of Ioannina replied through a letter to the opinion issued by Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Messinia.
Metropolitan Maximos thinks that Metropolitan Chrysostomos is wrong when he claims that a Titular Metropolitan or Titular Bishop cannot stand as a candidate in a Metropolis.
The Metropolitan of Ioannina explains that for this issue there is no provision in law 590/1977. It is natural to have such a legal obstacle, since the law does not explicitly provide for the institution of the Titular Bishops or Auxiliary Bishop. “The Metropolitan of Messinia interpreted this lack of provision as a prohibition. Thus, he considers that the Titular Bishops can not be elected to the position of Metropolitan Bishop. But is this view correct?” he wonders.
He also points out that no article in the Charter lays down that the election of Titular Bishop to the position of Metropolitan Bishop is forbidden. And it is perfectly reasonable, Metropolitan of Ioannina adds.
Because the Charter does not in principle provide for the existence of this position. “But the non-explicit reference or prohibition can be interpreted as a prohibition? Answering this question, it will determine whether the elected and ordained Titular are finally eligible to the position of Metropolitan Bishops since law 590/1977 came into force.”
The Metropolitan of Ioannina concluded in his letter that the Church decided and, therefore, Titular Bishops and Titular Metropolitans can stands as a candidate.
Moreover, the Titular Bishops are eligible to fill a vacant position as a Metropolitan Bishop following the application of Article 25 (2) of law 590/1977, as asserted in their recent opinions by Professor Vlassios Fidas, Professor of the University of Athens, and prestigious lawyer Anastassios Vavouskos.
In fact, Metropolitan Maximos comments that they are not removed from the list of the Archbishopric when they are elected, because they maintain their permanent post or the status of preacher which they held before their election.
Moreover, he pointed out that the refusal to elect them to fill a vacant position of a Metropolitan Bishop may trigger a recourse to the Council of State “with all the consequences, as long as this is not provided for by the Charter either explicitly or by the Canonical Act of the Church, which has an archive of canonical elections of Titular Bishops and Titular Metropolitans to the position of Metropolitan and Archbishop, and by any other state law or church regulation”.