I came across a couple things which, yes, came as no suprise. Still, interesting.
For starters, there is an interesting synopsis of a book that claims, evidently, that Met./Arb./EP/Pope Meletios was planning to create a autocephalous Church in America:
The History of the Greek Church in America
in Acts and Documents by Paul G. Manolishttp://www.helleniccomserve.com/bookhistgrkchurchamerica.html
The main thread of the work is that the Church of America was not able to determine its own destiny, but became a pawn of external forces and interests, such as the Greek Government, the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Church of Greece and was a victim of political events and controversies in Greece. Many of us were unaware that for a short time the Church of America was a diocesan see of the Church of Greece. In the final analysis the American church was not left free to choose its own leaders or to determine its own governing structure. Neither the clergy nor laity of the American Church was able to play a role or have a voice in the important decisions, which determined their future.
Since the American Church wasn't invited to Chambesy, nothing has changed.
Included are the minutes of a meeting held at the Greek Foreign Ministry with representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Church of Greece, which decided on the course of action to be taken to solve the problems of the then turbulent Church of America. This included the dispatching of an Exarch who would carry out the predetermined plan. When the Archbishop (Alexander) refused to resign and acquiesce to the plan he was defrocked by the Ecumenical Patriarch. Following his repentance, Alexander was elected Metropolitan of Corfu to replace Athenagoras who in 1931 was elected at Archbishop of America
Again, how interesting that a deposed primate and a defrocked Metropolitan supposedly lay the canonical foundation of, according to the EP's Chief Secretary, the only fully canonical jurisdiction not only in North America, but South America as well.
The Greek Orthodox Church of America however was established on May 17, 1922 by the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a self-governing autonomous church, headed by an Archbishop and three bishops who comprised the Holy Synod, which was the governing body of the church of America. This autonomy was abolished in 1930 by means of a fabricated document, which the Archbishop and the bishops of the Holy Synod were coerced into signing. Manolis fully documents this action. Students of church history will also find it interesting to note that when the Archdiocese was established by Patriarchal Tome (the term use to describe an official action of the Patriarchate) is was called the “Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America” (without mention of the word Greek in the original title). The omission was not an oversight but rather indicative of the plan of Patriarch Meletios to establish an entity in America which would include all ethnic Orthodox jurisdictions.
This Holy Synod was New York, with San Francisco, Chicago and Boston. I leave aside New York (a special case, as the scene of episcopal consecrations before a Greek bishop arrived), San Francisco (THE flagrant and wanton disregard of the canons in the 1922 charter), and Chicago (where the pan-Orthodox parish that almost was went on to become three seperate bishopricks), and focus on Boston:
Prior to 1890, there was little effort to organize the pioneering Greek immigrants living in the Boston area. In 1890, approximately one hundred Boston Hellenes formed the Plato Society to help themselves with the many problems of living in their new setting and to provide religious services. The Society engaged a Syrian Orthodox priest who spoke Greek to celebrate the Divine Liturgy at a rented hall.
The Syrian Orthodox priest was at hand because the Syrians had becoming a decade earlier, and had already formed a parish by 1900. As its website states:
Our parish was founded in Boston's South End in 1900 by newly arrived immigrants from the Middle East. The new community placed themselves under the patronage of St. George the Great Martyr. Desiring to maintain their Orthodox Christian faith and heritage they established themselves as a parish of the Syrian Orthodox Mission of the Russian Orthodox Churchhttp://www.stgeorgeofboston.org/about/history.html
Of course, that Church doesn't count.
Nonetheless, it had its reaction:
In 1899, with an increase in immigrants and finances, efforts were resumed to bring the Greeks in Boston together....Outstanding among them was Michael Anagnostopoulos who acquired the services of Rev. K. Papageorgiou, a priest that had stopped briefly in Boston. A hall was rented on Kneeland Street and Fr. Papageorgiou became the first Greek priest to hold regular church services in Boston. After.two years he departed from Boston and was replaced by Rev. Constantinos Papakonstantinou who continued holding services until leaving for Greece. Rev. Panagiotis Phiambolis, another priest from Greece, then assumed priestly responsibilities and conducted services in a rented hall on the corner of Stuart and Tyler Streets. Church services in Boston continued without an official Parish organization until the Fall of 1903. At this time, only five other Greek Orthodox churches existed in the United States -Holy Trinity in New Orleans (1867), Holy Trinity in New York (1892), Holy Trinity in Chicago (1892), Evangelismos in New York (1893), and Holy Trinity in Lowell, MA (1900)
Around the time that the Russian Diocese had almost as many bishops as the Greeks had parishes, a point I'll be returning to.
At the time, Holy Trinity Cathedral served as the See for North America, having been founded by the Greek counsul along with the Russian, and serving the Greek and others in San Francisco since 1864 (hence the flangrant violation of canon 6 of Ephesus by the 1922 Charter).
Under the leadership of Michael Anagnostopoulos, a committee of nine was formed to collect funds for a Church and to draft by-laws for its functioning. Their meetings and perseverance resulted in a Massachusetts Charter granted on August 25, 1905. The Church was incorporated under the name Hellenic Association of Boston - the corporate name of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of New England
Cathedral? Since when do laymen get secular non-Orthodox charters to create Cathedrals for non-existent bishops in non-existant dioceses?
The purpose of the Greek Community, as stated in the Charters' By-Laws, was to establish a Greek church, a school for teaching Greek and a reading room...In 1906, Fr. Phiampolis resigned due to poor health and was replaced by Rev. Nestor Souslides a priest appointed by the Patriarch. During this period, Anagnostopoulos founded the National Union to bring all Greek immigrants under one organization and to keep alive a sense of duty to the homeland.
What Patriarch and homeland was that?
Note:The Russian Church had replaced the commemoration of the Czar with that of the US President by that time.
The "homeland" brought its problems here:
In the middle of this and various fund raising activities" a serious split occurred in the Church community over political and nationalistic ties to Greece between Liberals (Venizelists) and Loyalists (King Constantine). This led to the formation of a rival church. The split continued until 1915 when the two churches united under Rev. Constantine Douropoulos.
Jurisdictional disunity returned, if it ever left.
[/quote]WorId War I, political factionalism following the Greek disaster in Turkey, financial problems and lack of ecclesiastical authority and supervision resulted in a delay of building plans for several years. Rev. Joakim Malahias replaced Fr. Douropoulos as Cathedral Dean in 1920. Shortly thereafter, he was succeeded by Rev. Joakim Alexopoulos who revitalized the idea of building a new church...The Cathedral was finally built during the years 1923-4 by the J. R. Worcester Company. It was to symbolize the diligence, sacrifice and achievement of pioneering Greek immigrants wishing to sustain the bond between their faith in America and the Mother Church in Constantinople...The twenties were years the Boston Community was absorbed in their own immediate problems and participating effectively as responsible citizens. The notion of returning to the homeland became remote, and the political questions of their distant homeland were left to be decided by its own citizens. On June 28, 1923, Joakim Alexopoulos was appointed the first Bishop of Boston and the new Church, his seat, became a Cathedral. In this capacity, the Cathedral served as the Mother Church of New England and helped establish and support new parishes in the region that had become a magnet for Greek immigration....In June 1930, the Cathedral took initial steps to encourage the centralization of a Greek
Emphasis added, as the record shows that there was no unity among the Greeks, let alone caring about the Orthodox.
Orthodox Archdiocese in New York City as a unifying element for all Greek Orthodox parishes in the United States."We, your Bostonian parishioners respectfully request his Eminence, Archbishop Damasinos of New York, to appoint clergy and national committees to form one constitution for all Greek churches in America." (Parish Council notes) The following year, Archbishop Athenegoras became the second Archbishop of the Church in America.
That is, after the defrocked Archb. Alexander.
His ideas were as progressive as the Bostonians and he is credited with establishing a sound cultural authority in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America. Athenegoras frequently visited the Cathedral and it was in New England that he established the Holy Cross School of Theology in Pomfret, CN. This was the predecessor of the Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology in Brookline, MA. Athenegoras saw support and intellectual leadership in the Boston Community which may have been the reason why the Boston Cathedral became a stepping stone to higher ecclesiastical leadership in the Greek Orthodox Church for many deans, bishops and archbishops.
Which promoted the "Cathedral"'s goals:
The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral of New England will celebrate its 100th Anniversary during the year 2003. Being one of the oldest parishes in the United States and one of the first to be declared a Cathedral of the Greek Orthodox Church in the western hemisphere, it is officially designated a Boston landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
As the Seat of the Diocese of Boston, the Cathedral is recognized as The Mother Church for the faithful of New England, and through its history has provided spiritual inspiration and guidance for many Greek Orthodox communities in New England and throughout America.
From the beginning, the Cathedral demonstrated concern for the unity of the Greek Orthodox Church in America. It gave support to the Ecumenical Patriarch by promoting its canonical jurisdiction over the Church in America. It undertook initiatives for the unification of the Greek Orthodox Church under a central administrative authority. Once the Greek Archdiocese of North and South America was established, it gave wholehearted support to its institutions and programs.
How does such goals not violate canon 8 of Ephesus?
Our brother bishop Rheginus, the beloved of God, and his fellow beloved of God bishops, Zeno and Evagrius, of the Province of Cyprus, have reported to us an innovation which has been introduced contrary to the ecclesiastical constitutions and the Canons of the Holy Apostles, and which touches the liberties of all. Wherefore, since injuries affecting all require the more attention, as they cause the greater damage, and particularly when they are transgressions of an ancient custom; and since those excellent men, who have petitioned the Synod, have told us in writing and by word of mouth 235that the Bishop of Antioch has in this way held ordinations in Cyprus; therefore the Rulers of the holy churches in Cyprus shall enjoy, without dispute or injury, according to the Canons of the blessed Fathers and ancient custom, the right of performing for themselves the ordination of their excellent Bishops. The same rule shall be observed in the other dioceses and provinces everywhere, so that none of the God beloved Bishops shall assume control of any province which has not heretofore, from the very beginning, been under his own hand or that of his predecessors. But if any one has violently taken and subjected [a Province], he shall give it up; lest the Canons of the Fathers be transgressed; or the vanities of worldly honour be brought in under pretext of sacred office; or we lose, without knowing it, little by little, the liberty which Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Deliverer of all men, hath given us by his own Blood.
Wherefore, this holy and ecumenical Synod has decreed that in every province the rights which heretofore, from the beginning, have belonged to it, shall be preserved to it, according to the old prevailing custom, unchanged and uninjured: every Metropolitan having permission to take, for his own security, a copy of these acts. And if any one shall bring forward a rule contrary to what is here determined, this holy and ecumenical Synod unanimously decrees that it shall be of no effect.