Friday, February 08, 2008

Greek Orthodox conclave picks successor to Archbishop Christodoulos - International Herald Tribune

re: "ATHENS: Greece's top Orthodox clerics elected a seasoned primate Thursday to succeed Archbishop Christodoulos, who died last month. /The new archbishop, Metropolitan Ieronymos of Thebes, received 45 votes from a conclave of 74 bishops who gathered behind closed doors at the capital's main cathedral to elect the 20th leader of the Greek Orthodox Church... [snip]... The unusually brief conclave - the new church leader was elected in four hours - seemed to suggest that Ieronymos, 70, was a popular choice among the clerics who chose him as a man who shared Christodoulos's forward-thinking views but supported closer ties with the ecumenical patriarch, Bartholomew I. / Relations between the Greek church and the spiritual head of the world's Orthodox Church were nearly severed during a 2003 dispute over who should have the final say in the appointment of bishops in northern Greece... [snip]... Born Ioannis Liapis, the new archbishop was one of the main contenders for the church leadership in the previous election in 1998. A professor of philosophy and archaeologist by training, Ieronymos switched to the priesthood in 1967 after a brief academic career. He was enthroned as the bishop of Thebes in 1981 and gained local prominence for the charity work carried out by his diocese. /Viewed as capable administrator, the German-trained cleric served on the church's council for educational affairs and helped manage its popular radio station but shied from media appearances. /Although Greece is formally secular, the Orthodox faith is constitutionally recognized as the prevailing religion, representing 97 percent of the country's population of 11 million..."...

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