I thought I had posted these sources contempory to the founding of the 1922 Charter, but evidently not:
I just came across a near contemporary account (1922) of “The Greeks in America” which sums up the scattered circumstances of Bishop Alexander’s position, what he was doing, and what Archb. Alexander might have intended with his recognition:
“Supervision of the churches.—The Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, constituting the highest authority in the Greek church, claimed and had the right of founding and supervising churches in America. It transferred, however, this right to the Holy Synod of Greece in 1908. Until recently, the whole matter of the organization and supervision of the Greek churches was ill-defined and neglected and Congregationalism reigned supreme in an episcopal church. Individuals organized a community, owned property and found a priest to carry on the religious services, as independent bodies. Some secured their priests through the patriarchate and others from the Synod of Greece. There have been cases of individuals unconnected with either, and without proper credentials of ordination, acting as priests, in isolated colonies or communities….
“Organization of the churches.—In 1918 Archbishop Meletios Metaxakis, then Metropolitan of Athens and Primate of Greece, accompanied by other prominent ecclesiastics, visited the United States. Plans were then laid down for the organization and systematization of the church work in America. The plan provided for an archbishop, probably with seat at Washington, D.C., and two or three bishops with New York, Chicago, Lowell or San Francisco as their respective seats. There were financial and other difficulties in carrying it out, the main one being how to harmonize the right of jurisdiction and administration by the church of Greece, an established and state church, over congregations constituted as corporate bodies and holding property in accordance with the laws of the United States. Ultimately there will doubtless be an Independent Greek Orthodox Church of America as in various patriarchates, and the national churches of Greece, Rumania, etc.
“Pending further settlement of the organization of the churches, Archbishop Meletios left Bishop Alexander Rodostolou as delegate of the Holy Synod of Greece, to supervise the Greek churches in America. The office of the delegation is at 140 E. 72nd Street, New York. He has visited various Greek communities and is completing plans for the better organization of the work….
“Politics and churches.—Politics continue to have their factional influence even in ecclesiastical matters. The leaders of the Royalists, or the Constantine Party, characterized the delegation as Venizelist and tried to divide the churches on political grounds. Jn general, however the communities were united in acknowledging and respecting the authority of the delegation, in spite of the political views of the individuals, priests, or layman until June, 1921. The fall of Venizelos on Nov. 14, 1920 had far reaching consequences in the church both in Greece and America. The revolutionary government of Venizelos started at Salonica in 1917. The Holy Synod of Greece under the presidency of Metropolitan Theocletos, at the instigation of the Court anathematized Venizelos, not*ior*any spiritual offense or heresy but to discredit him and his act in the eyes of the people. After the exile of Constantine to Switzerland, Venizelos returned to Athens. A special ecclesiastical council of bishops, including those of the new Grecian territories, under the presidency of archbishop Gennadios, Metropolitan of Salonica, found Theocletos and some of his associates guilty in the matter of the anathema, unfrocked them and sent them to monasteries in Crete and elsewhere. Later Archbishop Meletios Metaxakis, Metropolitan of Kition, Cyprus, a Cretan, was called to Athens as Metropolitan and Primate of Greece. On Venizelos’ fall (Nov. 1920) the new Greek Government asked Archbishop Meletios to vacate his palace and seat claiming his appointment was null and void. He yielded, protesting against the interference of the state in affairs of the church, and claiming to be the lawful Metropolitan of Athens. The government restored Theocletos to the Metropolitan throne, ignoring the former action of the ecclesiastical council. Bishop Alexander Rodostolou in America refused to recognize the authority of the Synod and Metropolitan, as they were still under ecclesiastical discipline. The Synod charged him with disloyalty and summoned him to Greece. He refused to obey, saying he would acknowledge fealty only to the Patriarch of Constantinople, the highest authority in the church. The Synod then appointed Germanos Trojanos, bishop of Sparta and Monemvasia, as Synodical Exarch in North and South America. He reached New York in June, 1921. His office is at 12 W. 76th Street, New York City. A part of the priests and communities acknowledge Rodostolou and a part Trojanos as bishop. Each claims a majority. In December, 1921 a majority acknowledged Bishop Rodostolou. The breach widens, churches and communities are divided and the effect is depressing on the spiritual life of the church. In April, 1921, Archbishop Meletios came to America. He supported Rodostolou. The patriarchate at Constantinople recognized him as head of the Greek Church in America and refused to recognize the Synod in Greece. In November, 1921, Meletios was elected Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch. The Royalists or Constantinists refuse to recognize the election as legal. The Venizelists insist it was the most regular patriarchal election in years, and whatever dissensions there were among the bishops, the people of Constantinople were unanimous. The Synod of Greece besides refusing recognition of Meletios charged him with usurpation of the Metropolitan throne of Athens, and starting schism in the churches in America. He was tried in his absence and condemned to be unfrocked and shut up in a monastery in Zanta. Meletios regards his condemnation as a political move by the Court and that the Synod was illegally composed of unfrocked clergymen.http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA125&dq=Meletios+Greek+isle&id=Am12AAAAMAAJ#v=onepage&q&f=false
It might be added, that the Ecumenical Throne had been vacant since the end of WWI:
“THE play of politics finally led, just after the armistice in 1918, to the removal of Germanos V., who was suppsed to be unfavorable to the Allies. Dorotheos, Metropolitan Bishop of Brousa, was selected as the locum teiifns, the election of a regular Patriarch being postponed to a more favorable time. When, in March of 1921, Dorotheos died while on a visit to Eng
land, the Metropolitan Nicholas of Caesarea was chosen in his place. There was a growing feeling that the time had come to hold the regular election ; but several deterring features caused it to be postponed till December last.
“THE Patriarch, ever since the conquest by Mohammed II., has been a civil functionary of the Ottoman Government, and the civil head of all the Orthodox Christians of the Ottoman Empire. But since the armistice, nobody has been able with approximate exactness to define what is and what is not the Ottoman Empire.
Another trouble in the election was to bring about a general agreement among the Greeks. Church and State are so inextricably united in the Hellenic mind that party politics necessarily have their influence inside the church. Royalists and Venizelists find it very hard, if not impossible, to agree on ecclesiastical matters, and feeling is bound to run high when such a matter as a Patriarchal election is concerned. The Greek of Constantinople is as much a Hellene as is the Greek of Athens; and while he has no part in the government of Greece, he considers this as merely because he is still ” unredeemed,” and that justifies his being as strong a Venizelist or Royalist as if he were in Free Greece. Nor has the Greek of Athens any right to take part in the election of a Patriarch, who is an Ottoman functionary and has jurisdiction only within the Ottoman dominion ; but your Athens Greek is just as much interested as if he were under the Patriarchal See.
The strange mental somersault by which, after the armistice, the Hellenic people dropped their pilot, Venizelos, and recalled Constantine to power, had the effect of a wet blanket on the Greeks of Constantinople. The latter had banked on Venizelos to continue the work of political redemption till the two great dreams of the past four hundred and fifty years should come true—the Unfinished Liturgy in Saint Sophia should be resumed, and the Closed Gate at the Patriarchate at Phanar on the Golden Horn, closed in sign of mourning at the hanging of the Patriarch Gregory V., in 1821, should be opened once more with rejoicing. Almost to a man, the Greeks of Constantinople are Venizelists. It is natural that in choosing a Patriarch, they should wish one of the party; while this would be the very thing the Hellenic Government would wish to avoid.
[THIS btw is interesting, as the letter refers to the "citizens and former citizens of the Kingdom of Greece" but nothing on Ottoman subjects]
“The choice of a Patriarch was twice postponed, after it had been decided upon; and finally the majority of the electors and their friends became impatient of further delays and made up their minds that the election should be held. December 8th (Nov. 25h, old style) was fixed for the event. The Hellenic Government, though utterly incompetent legally to interfere in ecclesiastical matters outside of Greece, made a last effort by forbidding any of the Bishops in regions occupied by Greece to be present. This, however, could not prevent the holding of the election.
“The law, as laid down by Mohammed the Conqueror, is that this Mixed Council shall nominate three candidates, who shall then be voted on by the eligible Metropolitans ; and this election shall be submitted to the Sultan for his sanction. Should he wish to cancel the election, he may indicate that one of the other two candidates must be elected instead. The further stipulation has been, that the candidates shall always be subjects of the Ottoman Empire.
“It was understood that the favorites among whom the choice lay were the Metropolitans of Amasia, Trebizond. Cacsarca, Smyrna, and Athens, but that the second had not much chance because he was a Royalist sympathizer, and the last-named had no chance because he was a Hellenic subject.
[It would seem that disqualified Meletios in the last election, as he was not an Ottoman subject, as the source the turns to:]
“To add to the illegality of choosing a Hellenic subject as Patriarch, the election was never submitted to the Sultan for confirmation. This is the perfectly natural consequence of the anomalous state of affairs in the city of Constantinple today, where every Greek church flies over it the blue-andwhite flag of Greece, and the Patriarchate has long had no relations at all with the Sublime Porte. Under the martial law control of the Allied Powers, the Greeks can do about as they please in such matters.
“Two steps remained to be taken by the enemies of Meletios. During the same month of December, by order of the Hellenic Government a, so-called Synod was held in Salonica, attended by twenty-nine Metropolitan Bishops, who had also the proxies of nine others; and this Synod declared the election of Meletios illegal, null and void. Among the twenty-nine were the seven who had refused to attend the Holy Synod in Constantinople, and one of these was the chairman of the meeting. Very naturally, the Patriarchate regards this Salonica gathering as utterly unauthorized, and pays no attention to it.
“The other step was taken by the re-enthroned Metropolitan of Athens, in revenge for his own displacement years before by Meletios. On the basis of a message from a bishop in America, he declared that the said Meletios had been guilty of schism and of unlawful communion with heretics (meaning by this the American Episcopal Church), and was therefore condemned to anathematization and to spend the rest of his life in a monastery on one of the Greek islands. This, however, had no effect on the Patriarch-elect, even if it warmed the heart of Theoclitus. Inasmuch as the Hellenic Government has had no chance to seize the person of Meletios, the sentence cannot be carried out.
Consider now the abnormal and uncomfortable position of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Meletios IV. He is a man without a country—condemned to anathema and incarceration in his own land, not only not recogized but cordially hated in the Ottoman dominions. His election was full of irregularities. He is the civil and spiritual head of a large body of subjects of the Turkish Empire, and yet not a subject himself. By the autocephalous Church of Greece, he is sentenced to pass the rest of his life in a monastery prison; yet by his own constituency in Constantinople, he is so adored that beneath his photograph in the official organ of the Patriarchate appeared the words: ” Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”…Furthermore, the Angora government of Mustafa Kemal is doing its best to nullify his authority by setting up what it calls the “Turkish Orthodox Church,” under the present leadership of a certain Papa Eftim, a priest from the Caesarea region, and requiring the adherence of all Greeks who are Turkish subjects within the Nationalist domains, and insisting that the language of the new body shall be Turkish.
As long as the Allied forces occupy Constantinople, the Patriarch Meletios IV. is safe; and his strong sense of duty will probably make him stick to his post despite all his troubles. Should the Turkish Government regain absolute control of the city, there is little doubt they would wish to hang him, as they did his predecessor of a hundred years ago. Should the Hellenic dream come true, and the Hellenic Government secure control of Constantinople, he would at least be banished to a monastery on a distant island. His one safety seems to be in the continuance of the present situation until the Orthodox Church can become reunited and as a whole recognize his right to the post.”http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA40&dq=Meletios+Greek+isle&cd=2&id=VPwaAAAAYAAJ#v=onepage&q&f=false
So to put the letter of Archb. Alexander’s letter into perspective: He could have recognized Met. Germanos. He could have taken notice of the actions of the Church of Greece. He was not bound to await action of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, a vacant throne to which Bp. Alexander had appealed. Given the jurisdictional disunity of both the Church of Greece and the Patriachate of Constantinople, we cannot conclude that Archb. Alexander “knew that Demoglou represented a jurisdiction other than his own.” Perhaps “Nemolovsky couldn’t have possibly thought that Demoglou was one of his vicars.” It would seem, however, that he intended to co-opt him as one: the status of the Greek jurisdiction of Met. Meletios and Bp. Alexander, at the time of this letter, resembles that of the Romanian and Bulgarian Episcopate at the time of their incorporation into the OCA. Given Archb. Alexander’s designation of Bp. Alexander “as the only valid and canonical head of the Hellenic Mission (for care of the spiritual interests of citizens and former citizens of the Kingdom of Greece)” (despite what the CoG was saying)-far less than the universal claims of Bp. Alexander (as we know from his latter correspondence to Aftimos) and Met. Meletios (as know from this report to the CoG, his press releases, etc.)-it is clear that he was attempting to take advantage of the situation (much like ROCOR’s until the Act of Canonical Communion)) to bring the Greeks into his fold.
This came up to the posting of the letter of the primate of the Russian Archdiocese to the not yet primate of the incipient GOANSA:
a letter from Archbishop Alexander Nemolovsky — the Russian Archbishop of North America — to his Greek counterpart, Bishop (later Archbishop) Alexander Demoglou, dated November 11, 1921. The letter is included in Paul Manolis’ The History of the Greek Church of America in Acts and Documents, and I have reprinted it in full below:http://orthodoxhistory.org/2010/05/the-russian-archbishop-welcomes-the-greek-archdiocese-1921/#comments
Most Reverend and Dear Brother in Christ:
After taking counsel and acting accordance with our knowledge and understanding of the Canon Law, we herewith inform you that our interpretation of the duty confronting us in relation to the established intercommunion of our Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic Communion, we look to you and your Canonical Superiors as the head in America, North and South, of the interests of the Hellenic members of our Holy Faith.
By this, you will therefore understand that until further action by the Oecumenical Patriarchate at Constantinople, the Russian Mission established in America with jurisdiction known as the Archdiocese of the Aleutian Isles and North America, as well as our local American work known as “The American Orthodox Catholic Church” under the immediate direction of the Right Reverend Archimandrite Patrick [Mythen], who is under obedience to us as Archbishop, are in full fellowship and communion with you, as the only valid and canonical head of the Hellenic Mission (for care of the spiritual interests of citizens and former citizens of the Kingdom of Greece).
We beg you to take note of this, our official communication and pray that together under God’s direction, we may work in fraternal harmony in the Apostolic responsibilities resting upon us.
Prayin[g] God’s blessing on you and your work, I am
Archbishop of the Aleutian Isles and North America