Speculation on the future of the Archdiocese of Australia has been rampant since the death of His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos on 25 March.
Patriarch Bartholomew had already confirmed that a Holy Synod would vote on the new leaders for the Archdioceses of Australia, America and Thyatiron and Great Britain after Easter.
The murky landscape is due to clear this month as sources of Neos Kosmos say that leadership changes will be discussed at the Holy Synod due to take place from 9-11 May.
His Grace Bishop Ezekiel has confirmed that five representatives from Australia – one from each state – have been invited to the Ecumenical Patriarchate at Fener, Istanbul, for meetings with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and to attend the Holy Synod. Victorian church representative Andreas Georgiou will be meeting with the Patriarch on 9 May.
Patriarch Bartholomew had asked for bishops of Australia to meet for a discussion on the church situation and accession. Sources state that the results of the meeting and submission of views were called for by the Orthodox leader. The findings of the unprecedented meeting will be taken into account by the Patriarch in the decision-making process.
Sources have indicated that Patriarch Bartholomew plans to change the administration of the Australian church body by creating three autonomous administrative organs. It is believed that the Australian church headquarters will continue to be located in Sydney, with the base of the Archdiocese functioning as it currently does. The religious leader in Sydney will maintain the title of Archbishop, whereas the other two elected heads will be Metropolitan Bishops and run independently while carrying equal status.
The new form will better meet the demands of Orthodoxy as it grows and will also best serve the needs of the communities of Australia. The search is on for a highly educated and competent leader to take the Australian Orthodox church to the future.
In Adelaide, His Grace Bishop Nikandros has already proven himself a diligent and worthy leader.
The current considerations are not set in stone, and could be overturned as deliberations continue.
America and Great Britain
The replacement of Archbishop Demetrios of America is also imminent even though he has yet to resign from his post. Meanwhile, Archbishop Gregorios, who oversees the Greek Orthodox parishes in the United Kingdom, is more than 90 years old and will also be replaced.