Money and power do not bring happiness. They do not even “make” an Archbishop. The election of the Archbishop in Cyprus proved this to a great extent. Behind the scenes there has been a lot of mobilization, this is not hidden.
With the Vatopedi Monastery as an arranger, many forces have come together to elect Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol as the fifth autocephalous Church. Αlas. Neither money nor power counted.
The people elected Athanasios of Limassol as the most popular one, but the Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus chose clear-headed through the Triprosopo (Metropolitans of Limassol-Paphos-Tamasos, George of Paphos.
It decided to elect with other logic. The one who would continue the legacy of his predecessor, Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus. To whom he recognized the route, but also the hardships he suffered in the past.
The Holy Synod of Cypriots chose a path of neutrality. Not with the westerners, not with the Russians. Equal distances. I hear that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is happy to have George of Paphos as their interlocutor as Archbishop of such a great Church in the Orthodox ecosystem.
At Vatopedi Monastery, on the other hand, are not very happy about it. It was almost an end in itself to elect Athanasios of Limassol. The majority of Cypriots, the abbot, and the monks who regulate the affairs of this monastery wanted to have an “open door” with Cyprus.
I remind you that the late Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus did not speak at all flatteringly about the Vatopedi, whom he had known since the 80s from Cyprus. Before they even go and “resurrect” the Vatopedi and make it what it is today.
Let me make two points about this election. Firstly, power and influence do not “make” an Archbishop. The monasteries, however powerful they may be, should be confined to their role.
To deal more with the spiritual and less with issues of ecclesiastical and social power and intervention. In any case, since God decides our life and the future, let them leave something in His hands and not try to “take care” of everything.
The second important conclusion from the election of the new Archbishop of Cyprus George is the biological age. The new Archbishop in the New Year we welcome will be 74 years old.
The Church in matters of succession does not look at balances, or at ages. No big ones, no small ones. He’s looking at who’s right for the time frame. Who will be the most beneficial and who not.
Because the Church and the world need Archbishops with substance, not “elders”. With spirituality, certainly, but also with managerial skills.