"In June of 2000, I visited Athens hoping to see Kallistos, but Olympiou was unable to contact him. So 1 returned to Athens in August 2000. When I arrived in Glyfada from America on the afternoon of August 6, I found a message to call Professor Olympiou. He said we could see Kallistos later that evening, if I was up to it. We drove to the church, where Kallistos, Olympiou, and Vassilios Chryssovitsiotis (a student of Professor Olympiou), and I met to talk about the missing letter of Clement. Chryssovitsiotis translated. From what Kallistos told us, Olympiou and I were able to put together the following sequence of events.
- Smith visits the monastery in 1958 and photographs the letter of Clement still in the back of the 1646 edition of Ignatius published by Voss.
- Fifteen years later (1973) Smith simultaneously publishes his two books.
- Four years later (1977), Archimandrite Melito brought the Voss book, with the letter of Clement still attached, to the Patriarchate library from Hagios Sabbas.
Although Melito acted on his own initiative in bringing the single volume to the library, the transfer was described by Kallistos as part of a general transfer of manuscripts from Hagios Sabbas to the Patriarchate library in order to better provide for their care. Kallistos planned on shelving printed books in one location and manuscripts in another location, but that distribution of library holdings never occurred.
That same year (1977), Kallistos removed the Clement manuscript from the printed Voss edition of Ignatius for the purpose of photographing it, and then for shelving along with other manuscripts in the Patriarchate library, in keeping with his original plan for distributing the library holdings.
For as long as he was librarian (until 1990), the Clement letter was kept with the Voss edition, but as separate items. Kallistos does not know what has happened to the manuscript since he ceased being librarian. He does not recall whether or not he catalogued the Voss book and the letter of Clement into the library. He thinks the reason the present staff cannot find the letter is that the Clement letter has nothing distinctive about it, and for that reason is difficult to locate. He says they frequently ask him where to find things.
Kallistos intends to return to Jerusalem on September 14, 2000, and will look for the Clement letter. If it is there, he is optimistic that he will be able to find it. When I asked him why he photographed the Clement letter he replied that it was because of its importance. I asked him why it was important; he replied because it is the only copy of the manuscript that exists, and also because it contains a great deal of "diversity." (I took this to mean that the text diverges significantly from the acknowledged tradition of the Church.) He further said (without a question from me) that the manuscript may provide the basis for a "sexual Jesus," as has been portrayed in popular movies and hooks. He said that he had not read Smith's books, but others have spoken to him about them. He does not remember meeting Thomas Talley (who had reported on his failure to see the manuscript in 1980). In addition to the negatives of the photographs printed with this article, he has color slides of the Clement manuscript."