Archbishop Christodoulos to postpone Vatican visit
***The Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church on Friday voted for the postponement of the scheduled visit by Archbishop Christodoulos to the Vatican. Christodoulos, Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, was due to to to meet with the Pontiff on the occassion of a planned visit to Rome where he was to be honoured by the University of Laterano.
62 metropolitan bishops took part in the secret vote, only 15 of whom were in favour of the archbishop’s meeting with Pope John Paul II. 42 out of the 62 officials supported that the conditions for such a meeting were not favourable.
*** Christodoulos did not hide his annoyance regarding the outcome of the vote and when asked by journalists as to whether he continued to beleive that the Greek Church should be more open to progressive ideas, he replied: “What I believed then, I still believe now”.
*** The church High Clergy also re-examined the matter of the ordination of deaconesses, a practice common in the Church during the 4th and 5th centuries which was later faded away. The synod decided that bishops could decide at their own discretion to ordain certain high-ranking nuns if no priest was available, for example in isolated monasteries. It was stressed that the role of deaconesses should be social, for example the granting of last rites to the sick. According to the Archbishop of Peristeri, deaconesses should “play a role in society and not in the monastery”…