By Nikos Kolokythas
A background with ecclesiastical repercussions that touch on the patriarchal succession, is said to exist behind the sudden attack of the Turkish media against the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The targeting by the systemic newspaper Aydinlik of the movements of the Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon and Archbishop Elpidophoros of America is particularly striking.
People who act as the shield of the Ecumenical Patriarch and, at the same time, it is not accidental that they are considered by a specific Metropolitan of the throne as his “opponents” and he wants to “burn” them in the Turkish public opinion.
This particular Metropolitan does not hide his aspirations for the throne and maintains very close relations with the Turkish media, as a native of Constantinople, say well-established sources in the Phanar.
The day before yesterday, the article in the Turkish newspaper which was signed by the journalist – originally from Constantinople and this is important – Kaan Arslan is typical of those that take place in the Phanar since the installation of Metropolitan Chalcedon on the side of the Patriarch.
Emmanuel, the “number two” as he is described in the Turkish newspaper, is presented as a figure who “disturbs” Turkish politics. He saw the Pope in the Vatican and in his meetings, writes the Turkish journalist, he always finds the opportunity to criticize the Turkish policy towards Greece and Cyprus. The article directly accuses Emmanuel of the way he walks and points out the semiology of his visit to his birthplace in Crete during the week of the anniversary of the invasion of Cyprus.
The newspaper article also refers extensively to Archbishop Elpidophoros of America in an attempt to get him – along with Emmanuel – out of a future “succession race”.
He is accused of his public stances and reaction to the conversion by the Turkish government of Hagia Sophia into a mosque and of what he said during his important meetings with officials during his visits to the United States on human rights in Cyprus and the violation by the Turks.
The journalist also criticizes Elpidophoros for referring to the Patriarch with the term “ecumenical” in violation, as the article states, of the Treaty of Lausanne.
Well-informed sources from the Ecumenical Patriarch’s environment attribute the publication to the informal pre-election period that has started by a specific group of high priests who allegedly support the specific Metropolitan from the Phanar.
This Metropolitan, who was once considered the “number two” in the Phanar, has been permanently sidelined by Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon who has taken on – with the blessings of the Patriarch – a very active and important role on his side.
In fact, they consider that Arslan used as his source for the article the Metropolitan himself who “files” all the moves of Emmanuel and Elpidophoros to find “flaws” that will burn them in Turkey and make them personae non-gratae in town.
After all, according to the same sources, the patriarchal “dauphin” maintains excellent relations with all the systemic Turkish media and, most importantly, the deep state of Turkey.
At the Patriarchate the atmosphere is tense among the high priests. “The Metropolitan of Chalcedon is trying to leave his own mark on Constantinople”, explains a new Metropolitan of the Throne. “But this bothers that Metropolitan who once had the first say and also exercised power in the Phanar.”
“However, cooperating with Turkish journalists to create problems for two specific people, namely your brothers, archpriests, and because you consider them an obstacle in your plans, this goes beyond the ethics of the Patriarchate,” he concludes.
* Republished from today’s issue of the newspaper “Democracy”