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Ecumenical Patriarchate Elects Metropolitan Demetrios of Vresthena (Greece) New Archbishop for America

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Aug 20, 1999

New York, NY - On Thursday, August 19, the twelve-member Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate convening in the Phanar (Istanbul) under the chairmanship of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew transferred His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon of America to the Metropolis of Chaldea in Turkey, pending a new assignment.

His Eminence Metropolitan Demetrios of Vresthena was elected to the vacant throne of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and on Friday, August 20th was welcomed at the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the Formal Election Announcement (Mega Minima)and received the good wishes and blessings of the Mother Church upon the assumption of his new duties.

His Grace Bishop George of New Jersey has been appointed Archiepiscopal Vicar of the Archdiocese, effective today, and will serve as administrator until the Enthronement of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, expected within the next two to three weeks.

Archbishop Demetrios ,71, was born in Thessaloniki,Greece in 1928. An honors graduate of the University of Athens School of Theology (1946-1950), he also received his Doctor of Theology from the University of Athens in 1977. He came to the United States in 1965 and enrolled at Harvard University where he was awarded a Ph.D (with distinction) in 1972.

In June, 1993 he left the United States where he had spent over 20 years ,and returned to Greece to pursue full-time scholarly research and writing and assumed responsibilities at the Archdiocese of Athens. He was for 11 years the Distinguished Professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Origins at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline,MA. He also taught at Harvard Divinity School as Visiting Professor of New Testament. He has published extensively, including three major books: Authority and Passion (1987), The Transcendent God of Eugnostos (1991), and Christ, the Pre-exsisting God (1992)

The newly-elected Archbishop was ordained a deacon in 1960 and priest in 1964. He was elected titular Bishop of Vresthenis in 1967 as auxiliary bishop to the Archbishop of Athens with primary responsibility for the programs and theological education of the clergy. In 1968, he was elected Metropolitan of Attika and Megaridos, not accepting the election because a military junta was ruling Greece at that time.

Archbishop Demetrios speaks Coptic, English, French, Greek, German, Hebrew and Latin. His brother Andonios, a biochemistry professor and former Rector of the University of Thessalonika, is currently serving a second term as a member of the European Parliament.

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