In a move to restore a lost Metropolis of Asia Minor,two new hierarchs of the Great Church of Christ at Constantinople have been recommended by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and approved by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.They are the Very Rev. Archimandrite Bartholomew Samaras,who will be consecrated to the episcopacy and enthroned as the new Metropolitan of Smyrna;and the Very Rev. Archimandrite Kirill Sikis,who will be consecrated as the new Bishop of Erythrae and serve as the auxiliary bishop to the Metropolitan of Smyrna.*
Father Bartholomew will be consecrated on 11 September and enthroned on 24 September;while Father Kirill will be consecrated on 25 September by several hierarchs of the Patriarchate and the Church of Greece in St.Voukolos' Church,recently restored after being shuttered for 93 years.*
Father Bartholomew has been serving as Chief Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Secretary to the President of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church.Father Kirill has worked tirelessly to bring back the Church's presence in Smyrna/Izmir.Both men are highly regarded for their devotion to the Church and their loyalty to His All-Holiness personally.*
The consecrations have a great deal of significance in that they are part of an effort to restore a Metropolis in Asia Minor that was destroyed during a Greco-Turkish war in the early part of the twentieth century that ended with a massacre of Greek and Armenian citizens by the Turks.The project is consonant with a general theme of Patriarch Bartholomew's growing legacy of promoting the restoration and conservation of every Church institution,land and building that has fallen in the struggle of Christian Byzantium to survive Islamic rule.