On [[April 22]], 1928, Corinth was destroyed by a massive earthquake. Damaskinos led a massive effort to raise funds for the reconstruction of the city, which prompted him to tour American cities to solicit the help of the Greek-American community. While in America, he witnessed the difficulties which the Greek community was experiencing and was solicited by the leaders of the community to offer assistance. When the [[Church of Constantinople|Ecumenical Patriarchate]] and the Church of Greece resolved to address the matter shortly thereafter, Damaskinos was prevailed upon to accept an appointment as Patriarchal [[Exarch]] to investigate and offer a resolution to the crisis. He arrived in New York on [[May 20]], 1930 and spent the next nine months working with [[clergy]] and [[laity|lay]] representatives. It was Damaskinos who recommended that Metropolitan [[Athenagoras I (Spyrou) of Constantinople|Athenagoras of Corfu]] be sent to America to replace the incumbent Archbishop [[Alexander (Demoglou) of America|Alexander]].
On [[November 5]], 1938 he was elected Archbishop of Athens. John Metaxas, dictator of Greece at the time, objected to Damaskinos and forced the cancellation of his election on [[December 1]], 1938, and the
re-appointment of Metropolitan [[Chrysanthos (Philippidis) of Athens|Chrysanthos]] to the post. After the 1941 German invasion of Greece and the fall of the Greek government, the metropolitans who had elected Damaskinos seized the opportunity to eject Chrysanthos from the throne (with German agreement, as the latter had refused to be present at the oath-taking ceremony of the quisling Prime Minister Georgios Tsolakoglu), and Damaskinos was reinstalled.