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Ieronymos (Kotsonis) of Athens

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His Beatitude, the Most Reverend '''Ieronymos (Kotsonis) of Athens''', Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, also '''Jerome (Kotsonis) of Athens''', was the ruling hierarch of the [[Church of Greece]] from 1967 to 1973. He was the palace [[chaplain]] to the King of Greece and succeeded to the [[cathedra]] of Greece in 1967 after the retirement of Abp. Chrysostomos (Hadjistavrou).
Born Ieronymos was born in 1901 on the island of Tinos. He received his early education from his widowed mother and the Rizarevskoy school. He then entered the Theological Faculty of the University of Athens. He continued his education at theological schools in England and Germany on scholarships, and in 1940 earned a doctorate from the University of Athens. He became an authority on [[canon]] law, with some ninety published works to his credit.  Ieronymos was [[ordination|ordained]] a [[deacon]] in 1932. Entering , and entered a [[monasticism|monastic]], life , in which he rose to the dignity of [[archimandrite]]. He attended theological schools in England and Germany on scholarships, then earned a doctorate from During the University World War II years of Athens. He became an authority on [[canon]] lawGerman occupation, with some ninety published works he helped opening kitchens and provided spiritual and material assistance to his creditthe sick and poor orphans.
After World War II, Ieronymos took part in a movement that repatriated Greek children who had been kidnaped by Communist Guerillas during the civil war in Greece. Impressed by this work, Queen Frederika caused him to be named the palace chaplain in 1949.
During the years from 1950 to 1956, Ieronymos was General Secretary of the Commission Liberation of Cyprus, led by Archbishop Spyridon of Athens. In 1959, he was appointed full-time professor of Canon Law and Pastoral Theology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, while still remaining the palace chaplain.  In 1967, Ieronymos was appointed by King Constantine II to succeed Abp. Chrysostomosas Archbishop of Athens, following his retirement under the imposition by the junta of colonels of a requirement for retirement at the age of 80. Abp. Chrysostomos was then 87 years old. Archimandrite Ieronymos was elected on [[May 11]], 1967, [[consecration of a bishop|consecrated]] on [[May 12]], and on [[enthronement|enthroned]] on [[May 17]]. Abp. Ieronymos soon initiated a program of reviving the Greek Church. He started special drives to aid the poor and sick, to revamp the welfare system of the church, and to provide hundreds of "homes of tranquillity" for the aged. He initiated improvements in the salaries of the [[clergy]] and increased participation of the [[laity]] in the church operations. He also gave the [[church]] more responsibility for religious education and established a new charter that set 72 as the age for retirement of bishops.
The application of his reforms, however, had a dictatorial side as he took action against those clergy of questionable morality. The issue of his administrative actions came to a head in November 1971 when he ignored the desires of Patr. [[Demetrius I of Constantinople|Demetrius I]] of Constantinople concerning the new territory [[diocese]]s in the assignments to a new [[Synod]] of Bishops, engineering the election of younger "men of merit" who backed Ieronymos' policies. These actions were attacked as violations of the canons.
After retiring to his native island of Tinos for a short time, Abp. Ieronymos offered his resignation, which the [[Synod]] refused. The dissident [[bishop]]s, instead, went to court and got the whole Synod declared illegal. The bishops then formed a Synod based on the old territorial arrangement in which Ieronymos' faction was reduced to three of the ten seats.
*[ Athens Archbishop]
*[,9171,843834-1,00.html Time Magazine May 26,1967]
*[,9171,879235,00.html Time Magazine July 2,1972]

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