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HERESIES, SCHISMS AND UNCANONICAL ACTS REQUIRE A LIVING SYNODICAL JUDGMENT An Introduction to Councils and Canon Law The Orthodox Church, since the time of the Holy Apostles, has resolved quarrels or problems by convening Councils. Thus, when the issue arose regarding circumcision and the Laws of Moses, the Holy Apostles met in Jerusalem, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles (Chapter 15). The Holy Fathers thus imitated the Apostles by convening Councils, whether general, regional, provincial or diocesan, in order to resolve issues of practice. These Councils discussed and resolved matters of Faith, affirming Orthodoxy (correct doctrine) while condemning heresies (false teachings). The Councils also formulated ecclesiastical laws called Canons, which either define good conduct or prescribe the level of punishment for bad conduct. Some canons apply only to bishops, others to priests and deacons, and others to lower clergy and laymen. Many canons apply to all ranks of the clergy collectively. Several canons apply to the clergy and the laity alike. The level of authority that a Canon holds is discerned by the authority of the Council that affirmed the Canon. Some Canons are universal and binding on the entire Church, while others are only binding on a local scale. Also, a Canon is only an article of the law, and is not the execution of the law. For a Canon to be executed, the proper authority must put the Canon in force. The authority differs depending on the rank of the person accused. According to the Canons themselves, a bishop requires twelve bishops to be put on trial and for the canons to be applied towards his condemnation. A presbyter requires six bishops to be put on trial and condemned, and a deacon requires three bishops. The lower clergy and the laymen require at least one bishop to place them on ecclesiastical trial or to punish them by applying the canons to them. But in the case of laymen, a single presbyter may execute the Canon if he has been granted the rank of pneumatikos, and therefore has the bishop’s authority to remit sins and apply penances. However, until this competent ecclesiastical authority has convened and officially applied the Canons to the individual of whatever rank, that individual is only “liable” to punishment, but has not yet been punished. For the Canons do not execute themselves, but they must be executed by the entity with authority to apply the Canons. The Canons themselves offer three forms of punishment, namely, deposition, excommunication and anathematization. Deposition is applied to clergy. Excommunication is applied to laity. Anathematization can be applied to either clergy or laity. Deposition does not remove the priestly rank, but is simply a prohibition from the clergyman to perform priestly functions. If the deposition is later revoked, the clergyman does not require reordination. In the same way, excommunication does not remove a layman’s baptism. It only prohibits the layman to commune. If the excommunication is later lifted, the layman does not require rebaptism. Anathematization causes the clergyman or layman to be cut off from the Church and assigned to the devil. But even anathematizations can be revoked if the clergyman or layman repents. There Is a Hierarchy of Authority in Canon Law The authority of one Canon over another is determined by the power of the Council the Canons were ratified by. For example, a canon ratified by an Ecumenical Council overruled any canon ratified by a local Council. The hierarchy of authority, from most binding Canons to least, is as follows: Apostolic Canons (Universal) refer to those compiled by the Holy Apostles and their immediate successors. These Canons were approved and confirmed by the First Ecumenical Council and again by the Quinisext Council. Not even an Ecumenical Council can overrule or overthrow an Apostolic Canon. There are only very few cases where Ecumenical Councils have amended the command of an Apostolic Canon by either strengthening or weakening it. But by no means were any Apostolic Canons overruled or abolished. For instance, the 1st Apostolic Canon which states that a bishop must be ordained by two or three other bishops. Several Canons of the Ecumenical Councils declare that even two bishops do not suffice, but that a bishop must be ordained by the consent of all the bishops in the province, and the ordination itself must take place by no less than three bishops. This does not abolish nor does it overrule the 1st Apostolic Canon, but rather it confirms and reinforces the “spirit of the law” behind that original Canon. Another example is the 5th Apostolic Canon which states that Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons are not permitted to put away their wives by force, on the pretext of reverence. Meanwhile, the 12th Canon of Quinisext advises a bishop (or presbyters who has been elected as a bishop) to first receive his wife’s consent to separate and for both of them to become celibate. This does not oppose the Apostolic Canon because it is not a separation by force but by consent. The 13th Canon of Quinisext confirms the 5th Apostolic Canon by prohibiting a presbyters or deacons to separate from his wife. Thus the 5th Apostolic Canon is not abolished, but amended by an Ecumenical Council for the good of the Church. After all, the laws exist to serve the Church and not to enslave the Church. In the same way, Christ declared: “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath (Mark 2:27).” Ecumenical Canons (Universal) are those pronounced by Imperial or Ecumenical Councils. These Councils received this name because they were convened by Roman Emperors who were regarded to rule the Ecumene (i.e., “the known world”). Ecumenical Councils all took place in or around Constantinople, also known as New Rome, the Reigning City, or the Universal City. The president was always the hierarch in attendance that happened to be the first‐among‐equals. Ecumenical Councils cannot abolish Apostolic Canons, nor can they abolish the Canons of previous Ecumenical Councils. But they can overrule Regional and Patristic Canons. Regional Canons (Universal) refer to those ratified by Regional Councils that were later confirmed by an Ecumenical Council. This approval gave these Regional Canons a universal authority, almost equal to Ecumenical Canons. These Canons are not only valid within the Regional Church in which the Council took place, but are valid for all Orthodox Christians. For this reason the Canons of these approved Regional Councils cannot be abolished, but must be treated as those of Ecumenical Councils. Patristic Canons (Universal) refer to the Canons of individual Holy Fathers that were confirmed by an Ecumenical Council. Their authority is only lesser than the Apostolic Canons, Ecumenical Canons and Universal Regional Canons. But because they were approved by an Ecumenical Council, these Patristic Canons binding on all Orthodox Christians. Pan‐Orthodox Canons (Universal) refer to those ratified by Pan‐ Orthodox Councils. Since Constantinople had fallen to the Ottomans in 1453, there could no longer be Imperial or Ecumenical Councils, since there was no longer a ruling Emperor of the Ecumene (the Roman or Byzantine Empire). But the Ottoman Sultan appointed the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople as both the political and religious leader of the enslaved Roman Nation (all Orthodox Christians within the Roman Empire, regardless of language or ethnic origin). In this capacity, having replaced the Roman Emperor as leader of the Roman Orthodox Christians, the Ecumenical Patriarch took the responsibility of convening General Councils which were not called Ecumenical Councils (since there was no longer an Ecumene), but instead were called Pan‐Orthodox Councils. Since the Ecumenical Patriarch was also the first‐among‐equals of Orthodox hierarchs, he would also preside over these Councils. Thus he became both the convener and the president. The Primates of the other Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches were also invited, along with their Synods of Bishops. If the Ecumenical Patriarch was absent or the one accused, the Patriarch of Alexandria would preside over the Synod. If he too could not attend in person, then the Patriarchs of Antioch or Jerusalem would preside. If no Patriarchs could attend, but only send their representatives, these representatives would not preside over the Council. Instead, whichever bishop present who held the highest see would preside. In several chronologies, the Pan‐Orthodox Councils are referred to as Ecumenical. In any case, the Canons pertaining to these Councils are regarded to be universally binding for all Orthodox Christians. National Canons (Local) are those valid only within a particular National Church. The Canons of these National Councils are only accepted if they are in agreement with the Canons ratified by the above Apostolic, Ecumenical, Regional, Patristic and Pan‐Orthodox Councils. Provincial Canons are those ratified by Councils called by a Metropolitan and his suffragan bishops. They are only binding within that Metropolis. Prefectural Canons are those ratified by Councils called by a single bishop and his subordinate clergy. They are only valid within that Diocese. Parochial Canons are the by‐laws of a local Parish or Mission, which are chartered and endorsed by the Rector or Founder of a Parish and the Parish Council. These by‐laws are only applicable within that Parish. Monastic Canons are the rules of a local Monastery or Monastic Order, which are chartered by the Abbot or Founder of the Skete or Monastery. These by‐laws are only applicable within that Monastery. Sometimes Canons are only recommendations explaining how clergy and laity are to conduct themselves. Other times they are actually penalties to be executed upon laity and clergy for their misdeeds. But the penalties contained within Canons are simply recommendations and not the actual executions of the penalties themselves. The recommendation of the law is one thing and the execution of the law is another. Canon Law Can Only Be Executed By Those With Authority For the execution of the law to take place it requires a competent authority to execute the law. A competent authority is reckoned by the principle of “the greater judges the lesser.” Thus, there are Canons that explain who has the authority to judge individuals according to the Canons. A layman can only be judged, excommunicated or anathematized by his own bishop, or by his own priest, provided the priest has the permission of his own bishop (i.e., a priest who is a pneumatikos). This law is ratified by the 6th Canon of Carthage, which has been made universal by the authority of the Sixth Ecumenical Council. The Canon states: “The application of chrism and the consecration of virgin girls shall not be done by Presbyters; nor shall it be permissible for a Presbyter to reconcile anyone at a public liturgy. This is the decision of all of us.” St. Nicodemus’ interprets the Canon as follows: “The present Canon prohibits a priest from doing three things… and remission of the penalty for a sin to a penitent, and thereafter through communion of the Mysteries the reconciliation of him with God, to whom he had become an enemy through sin, making him stand with the faithful, and celebrating the Liturgy openly… For these three functions have to be exercised by a bishop…. By permission of the bishop even a presbyter can reconcile penitents, though. And read Ap. c. XXXIX, and c. XIX of the First EC. C.” Thus the only authority competent to judge a layman is a bishop or a presbyter who has the permission of his bishop to do so. However, those who are among the low rank of clergy (readers, subdeacons, etc) require their own local bishop to try them, because a presbyter cannot depose them. A deacon can only be judged by his own local bishop together with three other bishops, and a presbyter can only be judged by his own local bishop together with six other bishops. The 28th Canon of Carthage thus states: “If Presbyters or Deacons be accused, the legal number of Bishops selected from the nearby locality, whom the accused demand, shall be empaneled — that is, in the case of a Presbyter six, of a Deacon three, together with the Bishop of the accused — to investigate their causes; the same form being observed in respect of days, and of postponements, and of examinations, and of persons, as between accusers and accused. As for the rest of the Clerics, the local Bishop alone shall hear and conclude their causes.” Thus, one bishop is insufficient to submit a priest or deacon to trial or deposition. This can only be done by a Synod of Bishops with enough bishops present to validly apply the canons. The amount of bishops necessary to judge and depose a priest are seven (one local plus six others), and for a deacon the minimum amount of bishops is four (one local plus three others). A bishop must be judged by his own metropolitan together with at least twelve other bishops. If the province does not have twelve bishops, they must invite bishops from other provinces to take part in the trial and deposition. Thus the 12th Canon of Carthage states: “If any Bishop fall liable to any charges, which is to be deprecated, and an emergency arises due to the fact that not many can convene, lest he be left exposed to such charges, these may be heard by twelve Bishops, or in the case of a Presbyter, by six Bishops besides his own; or in the case of a Deacon, by three.” Notice that the amount of twelve bishops is the minimum requirement and not the maximum. The maximum is for all the bishops, even if they are over one hundred in number, to convene for the sake of deposing a bishop. But if this cannot take place, twelve bishops assisting
ARE THE HOLY CANONS ONLY VALID FOR THE APOSTOLIC PERIOD AND NOT FOR OUR TIMES? In his first letter to Fr. Pedro, Bp. Kirykos writes: “After this, I request of you the avoidance of disorder and scandal regarding this issue, and to recommend to those who confess to you, that in order to approach Holy Communion, they must prepare by fasting, and to prefer approaching on Saturday and not Sunday. Regarding the Canon, which some people refer to in order to commune without fasting beforehand, it is correct, but it must be interpreted correctly and applied to everybody. Namely, we must return to those early apostolic times, during which all of the Christians were ascetics and temperate and fasters, and only they remained until the end of the Divine Liturgy and communed. They fasted in the fine and broader sense, that is, they were worthy to commune. The rest did not remain until the end and withdrew together with the catechumens. As for those who were in repentance, they remained outside the gates of the church. If we implemented this Canon today, everyone would have to go out of the church and only two or three worthy people would remain inside until the end to commune. And if the Christians of today only knew how unworthy they are, who would remain inside the church?” From the above explanation by Bp. Kirykos, one is given the impression that he believes and commands: a) that Fr. Pedro is to forbid laymen to commune on Sundays during Great Lent in order to ensure “the avoidance of disorder and scandal regarding this issue,” despite the fact that the canons declare that it is those who do not commune on Sundays that are causers of disorder, as the 9th Canon of the Holy Apostles declares: “All the faithful who come to Church and hear the Scriptures, but do not stay for the prayers and the Holy Communion, are to be excommunicated as causing disorder in the Church;” b) that Fr. Pedro is to advise his flock “to prefer approaching on Saturday and not Sunday,” thereby commanding his flock to become Sabbatians; c) that the Canon which advises people to receive Holy Communion every day even outside of fasting periods is “correct” but must be “interpreted correctly and applied to everybody,” which, in the solution that Bp. Kirykos offers, amounts to a complete annulment of the Canon in regards to laymen, while enforcing the Canon liberally upon the clergy; d) that “we must return to those early apostolic times,” as if the Orthodox Church today is not still the unchanged and unadulterated Apostolic Church as confessed in the Symbol of the Faith, “In One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church,” with the same Head, the same Body, and the e) f) g) h) same requirement to abide by the Canons, but that we are supposedly some kind of fallen Church in need of “return” to a former status; that supposedly in apostolic times “all of the Christians were ascetics and temperate and fasters, and only they remained until the end of the Divine Liturgy and communed,” meaning that Communion is annulled for later generations supposedly due to a lack of celibacy and vegetarianism; that supposedly only the celibate and vegetarians communed in the early Church, and that “the rest did not remain until the end and withdrew together with the catechumens,” as if marriage and eating meat amounted to a renunciation of one’s baptism and a reversion to the status of catechumen, which is actually the teaching and practice of the Manicheans, Paulicians and Bogomils and not of the Apostolic Church, and the 9th Apostolic Canon declares that if any layman departs with the catechumens and does not remain until the end of Liturgy and does not commune, such a layman is to be excommunicated, yet Bp. Kirykos promotes this practice as something pious, patristic and acceptable; that Christians who have confessed their sins and prepared themselves and their spiritual father has deemed them able to receive Holy Communion, are supposedly still in the rank of the penitents either due to being married or due to being meat‐eaters, as can be seen from Bp. Kirykos’ words: “If we implemented this Canon today, everyone would have to go out of the church and only two or three worthy people would remain inside until the end to commune. And if the Christians of today only knew how unworthy they are, who would remain inside the church?” that we are not to interpret and implement the Holy Canons the way they are written and the way the Holy Orthodox Church has always historically interpreted and implemented them, but that these Canons supposedly need to be reinterpreted in Bp. Kirykos’s own way, or as he says, “interpreted correctly and applied to everybody,” and that “if we implemented this Canon today, everyone would have to go out of the church.” All of the above notions held by Bp. Kirykos can be summed up by the statement that he believes the Canons only apply for the apostolic era or the time of the early Christians, but that these Canons are now to be reinterpreted or nullified because today’s Christians are not worthy to be treated according to the Holy Canons. He also believes that to follow the advice of the Holy Canons is a cause of “disorder and scandal,” despite the fact that the very purpose of the Holy Canons is to prevent disorder and scandal. These notions held by Bp. Kirykos are entirely erroneous, and they are another variant of the same blasphemies preached by the Modernists and Ecumenists who desire to set the Holy Canons aside by claiming that they are not suitable for our times. Bp. Kirykos’ incorrect notions regarding the supposed inapplicability of the Holy Canons in our times are notions that the Rudder itself condemns. For in the Holy Rudder (published in the 17th century), St. Nicodemus of Athos included an excellent introductory note regarding the importance of the Holy Canons, and that they are applicable for all times, and must be adhered to faithfully by all Orthodox Christians. This introductory note by St. Nicodemus, as contained in the Holy Rudder, is provided below. PROLEGOMENA IN GENERAL TO THE SACRED CANONS What Is a Canon? A canon, according to Zonaras (in his interpretation of the 39th letter of Athansius the Great), properly speaking and in the main sense of the word, is a piece of wood, commonly called a rule, which artisans use to get the wood and stone they are working on straight. For, when they place this rule (or straightedge) against their work, if this be crooked, inwards or outwards, they make it straight and right. From this, by metaphorical extension, votes and decisions are also called canons, whether they be of the Apostles or of the ecumenical and regional Councils or those of the individual Fathers, which are contained in the present Handbook: for they too, like so many straight and right rules, rid men in holy orders, clergymen and laymen, of every disorder and obliquity of manners, and cause them to have every normality and equality of ecclesiastical and Christian condition and virtue. That the divine Canons must be kept rigidly by all; for those who fail to keep them are made liable to horrible penances “These instructions regarding Canons have been enjoined upon you by us, O Bishops. If you adhere to them, you shall be saved, and shall have peace; but if you disobey them, you shall be sorely punished, and shall have perpetual war with one another, thus paying the penalty deserved for heedlessness.” (The Apostles in their epilogue to the Canons) “We have decided that it is right and just that the canons promulgated by the holy Fathers at each council hitherto should remain in force.” (1st Canon of the Fourth Ecumenical Council) “It has seemed best to this holy Council that the 85 Canons accepted and validated by the holy and blissful Fathers before us, and handed down to us, moreover, in the name of the holy and glorious Apostles, should remain henceforth certified and secured for the correction of souls and cure of diseases… [of the four ecumenical councils according to name, of the regional councils by name, and of the individual Fathers by name]… And that no one should be allowed to counterfeit or tamper with the aforementioned Canons or to set them aside.” (2nd Canon of the Sixth Ecumenical Council) “If anyone be caught innovating or undertaking to subvert any of the said Canons, he shall be responsible with respect to such Canon and undergo the penance therein specified in order to be corrected thereby of that very thing in which he is at fault.” (2nd Canon of the Second Ecumenical Council) “Rejoicing in them like one who has found a lot of spoils, we gladly embosom the divine Canons, and we uphold their entire tenor and strengthen them all the more, so far as concerns those promulgated by the trumpets of the Spirit of the renowned Apostles, of the holy ecumenical councils, and of those convened regionally… And of our holy Fathers… And as for those whom they consign to anathema, we anathematize them, too; as for those whom they consign to deposition or degradation, we too depose or degrade them; as for those whom they consign to excommunication, we too excommunicate them; and as for those whom they condemn to a penance, we too subject them thereto likewise.” (1st Canon of the Seventh Ecumenical Council) “We therefore decree that the ecclesiastical Canons which have been promulgated or confirmed by the four holy councils, namely, that held in Nicaea, and that held in Constantinople, and the first one held in Ephesus, and that held in Chalcedon, shall take the rank of laws.” (Novel 131 of Emperor Justinian) “We therefore decree that the ecclesiastical Canons which have been promulgated or confirmed by the seven holy councils shall take the rank of laws.” (Ed. note—The word “confirmed” alludes to the canons of the regional councils and of the individual Fathers which had been confirmed by the ecumenical councils, according to Balsamon.) “For we accept the dogmas of the aforesaid holy councils precisely as we do the divine Scriptures, and we keep their Canons as laws.” (Basilica, Book 5, Title 3, Chapter 2) “The third provision of Title 2 of the Novels commands the Canons of the seven councils and their dogmas to remain in force, in the same way as the divine Scriptures.” (In Photius, Title 1, Chapter 2) “I accept the seven councils and their dogmas to remain in force, in the same way as the divine Scriptures.” (Emperor Leo the Wise in Basilica, Book 5, Title 3, Chapter 1) “It has been prescribed by the holy Fathers that even after death those men must be anathematized who have sinned against the faith or against the Canons.” (Fifth Ecumenical Council in the epistle of Justinian, page 392 of Volume 2 of the Conciliars) “Anathema on those who hold in scorn the sacred and divine Canons of our sacred Fathers, who prop up the holy Church and adorn all the Christian polity, and guide men to divine reverence.” (Council held in Constantinople after Constantine Porphyrogenitus, page 977 of Volume 2 of the Conciliars) That the divine Canons override the imperial laws “It pleased the most divine Despot of the inhabited earth (i.e. Emperor Marcian) not to proceed in accordance with the divine letters or pragmatic forms of the most devout bishops, but in accordance with the Canons laid down as laws by the holy Fathers. The council said: As against the Canons, no pragmatic sanction is effective. Let the Canons of the Fathers remain in force. And again: We pray that the pragmatic sanctions enacted for some in every province to the detriment of the Canons may be held in abeyance incontrovertibly; and that the Canons may come into force through all… all of us say the same things. All the pragmatic sanctions shall be held in abeyance. Let the Canons come into force… In accordance with the vote of the holy council, let the injunctions of Canons come into force also in all the other provinces.” (In Act 5 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council) “It has seemed best to all the holy ecumenical council that if anyone offers any form conflicting with those now prescribed, let that form be void.” (8th Canon of the Third Ecumenical Council) “Pragmatic forms opposed to the Canons are void.” (Book 1, Title 2, Ordinances 12, Photius, Title 1, Chapter 2) “For those Canons which have been promulgated, and supported, that is to say, by emperors and holy Fathers, are accepted like the divine Scriptures. But the laws have been accepted or composed only by the emperors; and for this reason they do not prevail over and against the divine Scriptures nor the Canons.” (Balsamon, comment on the above chapter 2 of Photius) “Do not talk to me of external laws. For even the publican fulfills the outer law, yet nevertheless he is sorely punished.” (Chrysostom, Sermon 57 on the Gospel of Matthew)
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DEMANDING A STRICT FAST ON SATURDAYS IS THE FIRST HERESY OF THE PAPISTS In his two letters to Fr. Pedro, in several other writings on the internet, as well as through his verbal discussions, Bp. Kirykos presents the idea that a Christian is forbidden to ever commune on a Sunday, except by “economia,” and that if per chance a Christian is granted this “economia,” he would nevertheless be compelled to fast strictly without oil on the Saturday, that is, the day prior to receiving Holy Communion. For instance, outside of fasting periods, Bp. Kirykos, his sister, Vincentia, and the “theologian” Mr. Eleutherios Gkoutzidis insist that laymen must fast for seven days without meat, five days without dairy, three days without oil, and one day without even olives or sesame pulp, for fear of these things containing oil. If someone prepares to commune on a Sunday, this means that from the previous Sunday he cannot eat meat. From the Tuesday onwards he cannot eat dairy either. On the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday he cannot partake of oil or wine. While on the Saturday he must perform a xerophagy in which he cannot have any processed foods, and not even olives or sesame pulp. This means that the strictest fast will be performed on the Saturday, in violation of the Canons. This also means that for a layman to ever be able to commune every Sunday, he would need to fast for his entire life long. Yet, Bp. Kirykos and his priests exempt themselves from this rule, and are allowed to partake of any foods all week long except for Wednesday and Friday. They can even partake of all foods as late as midnight on Saturday night, and commune on Sunday morning without feeling the least bit “unworthy.” But should a layman dare to partake of oil even once on a Saturday, he is brushed off as “unworthy” for Communion on Sunday. Meanwhile during fasting periods such as Great Lent, since Monday to Friday is without oil anyway, Bp. Kirykos, Sister Vincentia and Mr. Gkoutzidis believe that laymen should also fast on Saturday without oil, and even without olives and sesame pulp, in order for such laymen to be able to commune on Sunday. Thus again they require a layman to violate Apostolic, Ecumenical, Local and Patristic Canons, and even fall under the penalty of excommunication (according to these same canons) in order to be “worthy” of communion. What an absurdity! What a monstrosity! A layman must become worthy of excommunication in order to become “worthy” of Communion! The 9th Canon of the Holy Apostles advises: “If any clergyman be found fasting on Sunday, or on Saturday (except for one only), let him be deposed from office. If, however, he is a layman, let him be excommunicated.” The term “fasting” refers to the strict form of fasting, not permitting oil or wine. The term “except for one” refers to Holy and Great Saturday, the only day of the year upon which fasting without oil and wine is expected. But it was not only the Holy Apostles who commanded against this Pharisaic Sabbatian practice of fasting on Saturdays. But this issue was also addressed by the Quintisext Council (Πενδέκτη Σύνοδος = Fifth‐and‐Sixth Council), which was convened for the purpose of setting Ecclesiastical Canons, since the Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Councils had not provided any. The reason why this Holy Ecumenical Council addressed this issue is because the Church of Old Rome had slowly been influenced by the Arian Visigoths and Ostrogoths who invaded from the north, by the Manicheans who migrated from Africa and from the East through the Balkans, as well as by the Jews and Judaizers, who had also migrated to the West from various parts of the East, seeking asylum in Western lands that were no longer under Roman (Byzantine) rule. Thus there arose in the West a most Judaizing practice of clergy forcing the laymen to fast from oil and wine on every Saturday during Great Lent, instead of permitting this only on Holy and Great Saturday. Thus, in the 55th Canon of the Fifth‐and‐Sixth Ecumenical Council, we read: “Since we have learned that those in the city of the Romans during the holy fast of Lent are fasting on the Saturdays thereof, contrary to the ecclesiastical practice handed down, it has seemed best to the Holy Council for the Church of the Romans to hold rigorously the Canon saying: If any clergyman be found fasting on Sunday, or on Saturday, with the exception of one only, let him be deposed from office. If, however, a layman, let him be excommunicated.” Thus the Westerners were admonished by the Holy Ecumenical Council, and requested to refrain from this unorthodox practice of demanding a strict fast on Saturdays. Now, just in case anyone thinks that a different kind of fast was observed on the Saturdays by the Romans, by Divine Economy, the very next canon admonishes the Armenians for not fasting properly on Saturdays during Great Lent. Thus the 56th Canon of the Fifth‐and‐Sixth Council reads: “Likewise we have learned that in the country of the Armenians and in other regions on the Saturdays and on the Sundays of Holy Lent some persons eat eggs and cheese. It has therefore seemed best to decree also this, that the Church of God throughout the inhabited earth, carefully following a single procedure, shall carry out fasting, and abstain, precisely as from every kind of thing sacrificed, so and especially from eggs and cheese, which are fruit and produce from which we have to abstain. As for those who fail to observe this rule, if they are clergymen, let them be deposed from office; but if they are laymen, let them be excommunicated.” Thus, just as the Roman Church was admonished for fasting strictly on the Saturdays within Great Lent, the Armenian Church is equally admonished for overly relaxing the fast of Saturdays in Great Lent. Here the Holy Fifth‐and‐Sixth Ecumenical Council clearly gives us the exact definition of what the Holy Fathers deem fit for consumption on Saturdays during Great Lent. For if this canon forbids the Armenians to consume eggs and cheese on the Saturdays of Great Lent, whereas the previous canon forbids the Westerners to fast on the Saturdays of Great Lent, it means that the midway between these two extremes is the Orthodox definition of fasting on Saturdays of Great Lent. The Orthodox definition is clearly marked in the Typicon as well as most calendar almanacs produced by the various Local Orthodox Churches, including the very almanac as well as the wall calendar published yearly by Bp. Kirykos himself. These all mark that oil, wine and various forms of seafood are to be consumed on Saturdays during Great Lent, except of course for Holy and Great Saturday which is marked as a strict fast without oil, in keeping with the Apostolic Canon. Now, if one is to assume that partaking of oil, wine and various seafood on the Saturdays of Great Lent is only for those who are not planning to commune on the Sundays of Great Lent, may he consider the following. The very meaning of the term “excommunicate” is to forbid a layman to receive Holy Communion. So then, if people who partake of oil, wine and various permissible seafood on Saturdays during Great Lent are supposedly forbidden to commune on the Sundays of Great Lent, then this means that the 55th Canon of the Fifth‐and‐Sixth Council would be entirely without purpose. For if those who do partake of such foods on Saturdays are supposedly disqualified from communion on Sundays, then what is the purpose of also disqualifying those who do not partake of oil on Saturdays from being able to commune on Sundays, since this canon requires their excommunication? In other words, such a faulty interpretation of the canons by anyone bearing such a notion would need to call the Holy Fathers hypocrites. They would need to consider that the Holy Fathers in their Canon Law operated with a system whereby “you’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t!” Thus, according to this faulty interpretation, if you do partake of oil and wine on Saturdays of Great lent, you are disqualified from communion due to your consumption of those foods. But if you do not partake of these foods on Saturday you are also disqualified from communion on Sunday, for this canon demands your excommunication. In other words, whatever you do you cannot win! Fast without oil or fast with oil, you are still disqualified the next day. So how does Bp. Kirykos interpret this Canon in order to keep his Pharisaical custom? He declares that “all Christians” are excommunicated from ever being able to commune on a Sunday! He demands that only by extreme economy can Christians commune on Sunday, and that they are to only commune on Saturdays, declaring this the day “all Christians” ought to “know” to be their day of receiving Holy Communion! Thus the very trap that Bp. Kirykos has dug for himself is based entirely on his inability to interpret the canons correctly. Yet hypocritically, in his second letter to Fr. Pedro he condemns others of supposedly “not interpreting the canons correctly,” simply because they disagree with his Pharisaical Sabbatianism! But the hypocrisies continue. Bp. Kirykos continuously parades himself in his printed periodicals, on his websites, and on his various online blogs, as some kind of “confessor” of Orthodoxy against Papism and Ecumenism. He even dares to openly call himself a “confessor” on Facebook, where he spends several hours per day in gossip and idletalk as can be seen by his frequent status updates and constant chatting. This kind of pastime is clearly unbecoming for an Orthodox Christian, let alone a hierarch who claims to be “Genuine Orthodox” and a “confessor.” So great is his “confession,” that when the entire Kiousis Synod, representatives from the Makarian Synod, the Abbot of Esphigmenou, members from all other Old Calendarist Synods in Greece, as well as members of the State Hierarchy, had gathered in Athens forming crowds of clergy and thousands of laity, to protest against the Greek Government’s antagonism towards Greek culture and religion, our wonderful “confessor” Bp. Kirykos was spending that whole day chatting on Facebook. The people present at the protest made a joke about Bp. Kirykos’s absence by writing the following remark on an empty seat: “Bp. Kirykos, too busy being an online confessor to bother taking part in a real life confession.” When various monastics and laymen of Bp. Kirykos’s own metropolis informed him that he should have been there, he yelled at them and told them “This is all rubbish, I don’t care about these issues, the only real issue is the cheirothesia of 1971.” How lovely. Greece is on the verge of geopolitical and economical self‐destruction, and Bp. Kirykos’s only care is for his own personal issue that he has repeated time and time again for three decades, boring us to death. But what does Bp. Kirykos claim to “confess” against, really? He claims he confesses against “Papo‐Ecumenism.” In other words, he views himself as a fighter against the idea of the Orthodox Church entering into a syncretistic and ecumenistic union with Papism. Yet Bp. Kirykos does not realize that he has already fallen into what St. Photius the Great has called “the first heresy of the Westerners!” For as indicated above, in the 55th Canon of the Fifth‐and‐ Sixth Ecumenical Council, it was the “Church of the Romans” (that is what became the Papists) that fell into the unorthodox practice of demanding laymen to fast strictly on Saturdays during Great Lent, as a prerequisite to receiving Holy Communion on the Sundays of Great Lent. This indeed was the first error of the Papists. It arrived at the same time the filioque also arrived, to wit, during the 6th and 7th centuries. This is why St. Photius the Great, who was a real confessor against Papism, calls the error of enforced fasting without oil on Saturdays “the first heresy of the Westerners.” Thus, let us depart from the hypocrisies of Bp. Kirykos and listen to the voice of a real confessor against Papism. Let us read the opinion of St. Photius the Great, that glorious champion and Pillar of Orthodoxy! In his Encyclical to the Eastern Patriarchs (written in 866), our Holy Father, St. Photius the Great (+6 February, 893), Archbishop of the Imperial City of Constantinople New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch, writes: St. Photius the Great: Encyclical to the Eastern Patriarchs (866) Countless have been the evils devised by the cunning devil against the race of men, from the beginning up to the coming of the Lord. But even afterwards, he has not ceased through errors and heresies to beguile and deceive those who listen to him. Before our times, the Church, witnessed variously the godless errors of Arius, Macedonius, Nestorius, Eutyches, Discorus, and a foul host of others, against which the holy Ecumenical Synods were convened, and against which our Holy and God‐ bearing Fathers battled with the sword of the Holy Spirit. Yet, even after these heresies had been overcome and peace reigned, and from the Imperial Capital the streams of Orthodoxy flowed throughout the world; after some people who had been afflicted by the Monophysite heresy returned to the True Faith because of your holy prayers; and after other barbarian peoples, such as the Bulgarians, had turned from idolatry to the knowledge of God and the Christian Faith: then was the cunning devil stirred up because of his envy. For the Bulgarians had not been baptised even two years when dishonourable men emerged out of the darkness (that is, the West), and poured down like hail or, better, charged like wild boars upon the newly‐planted vineyard of the Lord, destroying it with hoof and tusk, which is to say, by their shameful lives and corrupted dogmas. For the papal missionaries and clergy wanted these Orthodox Christians to depart from the correct and pure dogmas of our irreproachable Faith. The first error of the Westerners was to compel the faithful to fast on Saturdays. I mention this seemingly small point because the least departure from Tradition can lead to a scorning of every dogma of our Faith. Next, they convinced the faithful to despise the marriage of priests, thereby sowing in their souls the seeds of the Manichean heresy. Likewise, they persuaded them that all who had been chrismated by priests had to be anointed again by bishops. In this way, they hoped to show that Chrismation by priests had no value, thereby ridiculing this divine and supernatural Christian Mystery. From whence comes this law forbidding priests
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The Position of Bp. Kirykos Regarding Re‐Baptism Differs From the Canons of the Ecumenical Councils In the last few years, Bp. Kirykos has begun receiving New Calendarists and even Florinites and ROCOR faithful under his omophorion by re‐baptism, even if these faithful received the correct form of baptism by triple immersion completely under water with the invocation of the Holy Trinity. He also has begun re‐ordaining such clergy from scratch instead of reading a cheirothesia. But this strict approach, where he applies akriveia exclusively for these people, is different from the historical approach taken by the Holy Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils. Canon 7 of the Second Ecumenical Council declares that Arians, Macedonians, Sabbatians, Novatians, Cathars, Aristeri, Quartodecimens and Apollinarians are to be received only by a written libellus and re‐chrismation, because their baptism was already valid in form and did not require repetition. The Canon reads as follows: “As for those heretics who betake themselves to Orthodoxy, and to the lot of the saved, we accept them in accordance with the subjoined sequence and custom; viz.: Arians, and Macedonians, and Sabbatians, and Novatians, those calling themselves Cathari, and Aristeri, and the Quartodecimans, otherwise known as Tetradites, and Apollinarians, we accept when they offer libelli (i.e., recantations in writing) and anathematize every heresy that does not hold the same beliefs as the catholic and apostolic Church of God, and are sealed first with holy chrism on their forehead and their eyes, and nose, and mouth, and ears; and in sealing them we say: “A seal of a free gift of Holy Spirit”…” The same Canon only requires a re‐baptism of individuals who did not receive the correct form of baptism originally (i.e. those who were sprinkled or who were baptized by single immersion instead of triple immersion, etc). The Canon reads as follows: “As for Eunomians, however, who are baptized with a single immersion, and Montanists, who are here called Phrygians, and the Sabellians, who teach that Father and Son are the same person, and who do some other bad things, and (those belonging to) any other heresies (for there are many heretics here, especially such as come from the country of the Galatians: all of them that want to adhere to Orthodoxy we are willing to accept as Greeks. Accordingly, on the first day we make them Christians; on the second day, catechumens; then, on the third day, we exorcize them with the act of blowing thrice into their face and into their ears; and thus do we catechize them, and we make them tarry a while in the church and listen to the Scriptures; and then we baptize them.” Thus it is wrong to re‐baptize those who have already received the correct form by triple immersion. The Holy Fathers advise in this Holy Canon that only those who did not receive the correct form are to be re‐baptized. Now then, if the Holy Second Ecumenical Council declares that such heretics as Arians, Macedonians, Quartodecimens, Apollinarians, etc, are to be received only by libellus and chrismation, how on earth does Bp. Kirykos justify his refusal to receive Florinites and ROCOR faithful by chrismation, but instead insists upon their rebaptism as if they are worse than Arians? The 95th Canon of the Quinisext (Fifth‐and‐Sixth) Ecumenical Council declares that those baptized by Nestorians, Monophysites and Monothelites are to be received into the Orthodox Church by a simple libellus and anathematization of the heresies, without needing to be re‐baptized, and even without needing to be re‐chrismated! The Canon reads: As for Nestorians, and Eutychians (Monophysites), and Severians (Monothelites), and those from similar heresies, they have to give us certificates (called libelli) and anathematize their heresy, the Nestorians, and Nestorius, and Eutyches and Dioscorus, and Severus, and the other exarchs of such heresies, and those who entertain their beliefs, and all the aforementioned heresies, and thus they are allowed to partake of holy Communion. Now then, if the Quinisext Ecumenical Council allows even Nestorians, Monophysites and Monothelites to be received by mere libellus, without requiring to be baptized or even chrismated, and following this mere libellus they are immediately free to receive Holy Communion, how is Bp. Kirykos’s approach patristic, if he requires the re‐baptism of even Florinites and ROCOR faithful?!!! Is Bp. Kirykos not trying to outdo the Holy Fathers in his attempt to be “super‐Orthodox”? Can such an approach taken by Bp. Kirykos be considered Orthodox if the Holy Fathers in their Canons request otherwise? Are the Canons of Ecumenical Councils invalid for Bp. Kirykos? Certainly the Latins (Franks, Papists) are unbaptised, because their baptisms consist of mere sprinklings instead of triple immersion. Likewise, various New Calendarists are also unbaptised if they were not dunked completely under the water three times. But can such be said for those Orthodox Christians, and even Genuine Orthodox Christians (be they Florinite, ROCOR or otherwise), who do have the correct form of baptism? In the Patriarchal Oros of 1755 regarding the re‐baptism of Latins, the Orthodox Patriarchs make it quite clear that their reason for requiring the re‐ baptism of Latins is because the Latins do not have the correct form of baptism, but rather sprinkle instead of immersing. The text of the Patriarchal Oros actually refers to the Canons of the Second and Quinisext Councils as their reasons for re‐baptizing the Latins. The relevant text of the Patriarchal Oros of 1755 is as follows: “...And we follow the Second and Quinisext holy Ecumenical Councils, which order us to receive as unbaptized those aspirants to Orthodoxy who were not baptized with three immersions and emersions, and in each immersion did not loudly invoke one of the divine hypostases, but were baptized in some other fashion...” Thus we see in the above Patriarchal Oros of 1755, that even as late as this year, the Orthodox Church was carrying out the very principles of the Second and Quinisext Ecumenical Councils, namely that it is only those who were baptized by some obscure form other than triple immersion and invocation of the Holy Trinity, that were required to be re‐baptized. How then can the positions of the Holy Ecumenical Councils and the Holy Pan‐Orthodox Councils be compared to the extremist methods of Bp. Kirykos and his fellow hierarchs of late? Is Bp. Kirykos’ current practice really Orthodox? Is it possible to preach contrary to the teachings of the Ecumenical and Pan‐Orthodox Councils and yet remain Orthodox? And as for those who believe that there is nothing wrong with being strict, let them remember that the Pharisees were also strict, but it was they who crucified the Lord of Glory! The Orthodox Faith is a Royal Path. Just as it is possible to fall to the left (as the New Calendarists and Ecumenists have done), it is also quite possible to fall to the right and spin off on a wrong turn far away from the tradition of the Holy Fathers. It is this latter type of fall that has occurred with Bp. Kirykos. In fact, even Bp. Matthew of Bresthena was quite moderate compared to Bp. Kirykos. For Bp. Matthew of Bresthena knew the Canons quite well, and required New Calendarists to be received only by chrismation, or in some cases by only a libellus or Confession of Faith.