Greek Bishops Debate Retirement Age
The unusual voluntary retirement of Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Zakynthos has raised the question in the Greek Orthodox Church of the need for lifelong service by metropolitans, reports the “Romfea” website.
The retirement of Metropolitan Chrysostomos has inspired several other Greek metropolitans to declare that they too will voluntarily leave their Sees when they reach 72 years of age.
This was stated by, for example, by 48-year-old Metropolitan Kirill of Kifissia, who has been in his See just one year. “The Sacred Canons presuppose that the Metropolitan has physical ability - not for administrative work, but to conduct a service. To give Communion. To travel around the diocese. But if you can not stand by yourrself and do everything, does it make sense to continue to be a Metropolitan ? “ asks Metropolitan Kirill.
“If the bishop does not have physical and spiritual strength, he should retire with dignity. Therefore, -- when to retire -- is a question of spiritual maturity and discernment. And the Synod of Bishops of the Greek Church should define the upper age limit for bishops,” says 63-year-old Metropolitan Ephraim of Hydra.
However, 81-year-old Metropolitan Theoklit objected: “I’m not a bureaucrat who should be forced to retire” . He is supported by 92-year-old Metropolitan Damascene of Maroni: “A Bishop is made such for life. Figuratively speaking, he enters into marriage with the Church, with a diocese, with his flock,” - said Metropolitan Damascene. The Metropolitan then added that a Metropolitan can retire for his own reasons, if he has reason to do so.
(Adapted from a story that first appeared in the Smeditsa.ru website.)