Vasilios (Komvopoulos) of Chaldea
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Latest revision as of 12:54, February 26, 2012
Metropolitan Vasilios (Komvopoulos) of Chaldea, also Vasilios (Komvopoulos) of Methimnes, was a hierarch of the Church of Greece who on arrival in the United States of America in 1923 supported the establishment of the royalist centered schismatic Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Metropolis of America and Canada in spite of his excommunication by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece.
In November 1923, Metropolitan Vasilios Komvopoulos of Methimnes, a supporter of the royalist faction in Greece, after refusing an appointment as Metropolitan of Chaldea, arrived in the United States and established himself at Holy Trinity Church in Lowell, Massachusetts, then a strong royalist community. As a royalist and an adherent of the Julian calendar, Metr. Vasilios was accepted by the community of thirteen royalist parishes that pledged ecclesiastic allegiance to him for four years. The adoption of the new Gregorian calendar by the Church of Greece and the Greek Archdiocese in North and South America provided the reason for the formation of the royalist Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Metropolis of America and Canada.
Metr. Vasilios proclaimed Lowell, Massachusetts as his see and designated Holy Trinity Church as his cathedral. His qualities as a preacher, liturgist, and administrator were characteristics that aided him in his struggle against the authority of the canonical archdiocese. When he was deposed on May 10, 1924, by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, he became viewed by his Royalists supporters as a martyred hero.
In February 1928, parish elections at Holy Trinity Church returned the Venizelists to control of the parish. The new church board immediately repudiated all the jurisdictional claims of Metr. Vasilios and his followers. The board also did not allow the metropolitan or any of his priests to conduct services. A dispute then ensued between the two factions that did not end until Metr. Vasilios and his supporters moved on September 17, 1928 to a church on Worthen Street, later to be known as St. George Greek Orthodox Church, where Metr. continued serving at well attended services.
The schism continued into 1930. After the election of Metropolitan Athenagoras (Spyrou) of Kerkyra, as Archbishop of America on August 13, 1930 by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the transfer of most of the Greek hierarchs in America to new sees the schism began to heal. Archbishop Athenagoras arrived in New York on February 24, 1931 and began the difficult job of healing the wounds between the Royalists and Venizelists.