Following a Royal Decree, the Holy Synod of the Independent Orthodox Church met this morning at the Metropolitan Cathedral to elect a successor to the late Archbishop of Athens Dorotheos.
Following a Royal Decree, the Holy Synod of the Independent Orthodox Church met this morning at the Metropolitan Cathedral to elect a successor to the late Archbishop of Athens Dorotheos. Sixty-three Bishops had the right to vote and to be elected, but only 59 attended this morning's election meeting and this because four of them (Iakovos of Mytelene, Dionyssios of Sparta, Sophronios of Eleftheroupolis and Joakim of Didymotycho) could not travel to Athens in view of their deep old age. The list containing the names of the 63 Bishops was pinned up at the doors of the main entrance of the Cathedral since yesterday morning and was being guarded by Police force, for its destruction would mean postponement of the election according an old byzantine tradition. The Committee which undertook the formalities and the scrutiny of the votes was formed by three Bishops, headed by the Vicar General Bishop Ierotheos. Since 0815 (local time) this morning the candidates started to arrive at the Cathedral the doors of which closed down and sealed at 0900 sharp; they did not open until the new Archbishop is elected. The new Archbishop concentrated complete majority and was being elect--following the Royal Decree. At 1120 hours the doors of the Cathedral were unsealed again and the announcement of the new Archbishop was made by a joyous pealing of church bells. The new Archbishop is elected. He is the Bishop of Patras Theoclytos, the younger candidate, with 31 votes majority.
The Vicar General of the Holy Synod announces the results and the crowds waiting outside the Cathedral shouts the traditional "good" and "worthy".
GREECE: ARCHBISHOP OF ATHENS
With all the ancient rites and securities befitting the occasion the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church yesterday (Wednesday) elected Theoklitos, former Bishop of Patras, then new Archbishop of Athens and Primate of Greece. His first message as Archbishop affirmed his intention to maintain the policy of his predecessors in striving for the freedom of Cyprus.
There were 63 candidates for the Archbishopric and their names were listed and pinned to the main door of the Metropolitan Cathedral. Police guarded the list night and day immediately before the election for, according to an old byzantine tradition, its destruction would have meant the postponement of the election.
Fifty nine of the candidates attended the election - the other four were too old to travel to Athens - and they started to arrive at the Cathedral at 8.15 a.m. local time.
The Cathedral doors were closed and sealed at 9. a.m. sharp and they were not opened again until votes had been cast and scrutinised by a committee headed by Vicar General Bishop Ierotheos.
The announcement of the new appointment coincide with a peal of church bells throughout Athens. Waiting crowds responded to the announcement that Theoklitos had been elected with a 31 - vote majority with traditional shouts of 'good' and 'worthy'.
The new Archbishop, aged 67, was born at Dimitsana, in Peloponnesus. He graduated in Theology at Athens University and was consecrated Bishop in 1931. He had been head of the Patras Diocese since 1944.