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First Witness of Stavros (Letter to Joseph Suaiden) Dear Joseph Suaiden, Thank you for your inquiry. I will give you a brief explanation about the Matthewite archives themselves, about my trip in Greece in 2009, and about my current understanding of the ʺsystematizedʺ ecclesiology observed by Matthewites post‐1976, and my current opinion regarding the Kirykite faction. The Matthewite archive is the richest archive for GOC research because it is in fact the original archive since 1924, and documents had continuously been added to it since then. The archive was owned by Fr. Eugene Tombros, secretary of the Matthewite Synod, until as late as 1974, when he was forced to retire. It was at this time that the two laymen theologians, Mr. Eleutherios Gkoutzidis and Mr. Menas Kontogiannis were appointed secretaries and spokesmen for the Synod, and they were given complete access to this archive. They then began writing historical treatises and ecclesiological treatises, in order to boost the position of the Matthewite Synod. It was also they who prompted the Synod to sign a document (written by them) in which they sever communion with the ROCOR Synod. The document was composed and signed in 1975, but the hierarchs demanded that this document not be published until all agree for its publication. But then the two laymen theologians opened up the new official Matthewite periodical with the name ʺHerald of the Genuine Orthodoxʺ in 1976, and published the severing of communion in the second issue, namely, the February issue. This prompted Bishops Kallistos, Epiphanios, and several others to protest against the publication of the document, since it was done contrary to the decision of the hierarchy to wait until they all agree with it before publishing. From 1976 onwards, the Matthewite Synod’s polemics and apologetics were largely controlled by Mr. Gkoutzidis and Mr. Kontogiannis. They re‐ constructed the history of the GOC in their own way, deliberately leaving out several documents that didn’t suit their mindset. They also ʺsystematizedʺ the Matthewite ecclesiology, to apply a word that Gkoutzidis and Kontogiannis use in their new periodical, ʺOrthodox Breathʺ (Quote: ʺὁ κ. Γκουτζίδης... ΕΣΥΣΤΗΜΑΤΟΠΟΙΗΣΕΝ τὴν ὁμολογίανʺ). The latter of these theologians, Mr. Menas Kontogiannis, was ordained to the diaconate and priesthood in 1981, and eventually became a bishop in 1995. From 1983 until 2001 he served as the official chief‐secretary and arch‐chancellor of the Matthewite Synod. But when Archbishop Andrew and his fellow bishops unanimously voted to dismiss Met. Kirykos from his duties in 2001, Met. Kirykos took the vast majority of archives with him to his Monastery at Koropi. This was confirmed to me when I asked if documents were available at the Matthewite Synodal Headquarters at Peristeri, but was informed that none of the archives had remained, since Met. Kirykos had taken them all when he was dismissed. During the four months I was in Greece (from the last week of August until the last week of December, 2009), fires had swept throughout the entire Attica region, and I was informed that a few days before my arrival a fire had raged just outside the Koropi Monastery itself. The adjacent hill was blackened from the fire, and the atmosphere was smoky, making it difficult to breathe. I was also bitten by a mosquito that had been infected by an animal burned in the fires, which caused my whole body to become almost paralyzed. I thank God daily that Fr. Pedro was able to take me to the hospital, where I was given cortisone and antibiotics to get rid of the numbness my whole body had suffered, but it took weeks for the swelling in my legs to disappear. I am perfectly fine now, but I must say that my first week in the Koropi Monastery was possibly the most frightening week of my life. But I did not care so much for my own health, for any suffering I receive is a punishment for my sins. The destruction of my health was the least of my worries, for seeing the fires in close proximity to the Koropi Monastery prompted me to fear another kind of destruction. I was horrified by the idea that perhaps one day a fire will burn Met. Kirykos’ office and destroy all of these important Synodal documents from 1924 onwards, which are nowhere else to be found in their entirety. This would cause an immensely important spiritual treasure to be lost forever. I then requested the blessing from Met. Kirykos to scan documents from the archive at Koropi for the purpose of apologetics, and so as to create an electronic database of documents, which could be saved on flash drives or computers at different locations, thereby ensuring that nothing hazardous (such as a fire, theft, etc) could cause the loss of these documents to future generations. Met. Kirykos gave me this blessing, thinking that I would become lazy and only scan a few documents here and there. Little did he know that I am a diligent worker, and that I hardly slept, night or day, but spent most of the time in my cell, photographing documents, to make sure I complete the task in its entirety before the time I would have to fly back home. While in Greece for four months, I spent the majority of time residing at Koropi Monastery, except for various trips to other parts of Greece. I took a three‐week road trip to Northern Greece to venerate relics and visit Metropolitan Tarasios. I also took a one‐week trip to Crete to serve as chanter for an important feast day and to visit the village of Panethymo where Bishop Matthew of Bresthena was born, as well as Mt. Kophinas, where the miraculous appearance of the cross had occurred in the sky above the chapel of the Holy Cross in 1937. I also spent a week on the island of Andros, where I have relatives, and spent most of the time at St. Nicholas of Vounena Monastery, where I was able to venerate several holy relics, including those of many of the Kollyvades Fathers who I have always had a great reverence towards. So if all of this time I was on road‐trips is taken into account, it adds up to five weeks of absence, meaning that I was only in Koropi Monastery for eleven weeks, which is one week short of three months. I also spent three weeks traveling to Athens every morning so as to photograph books and documents at the National Library, as there is much information there concerning ecclesiastical history and biographies of hierarchs and clergy from the 1920s, which would help give us a clue as to how the schism of 1924 was allowed to happen in the first place. Thus, if these three weeks are also taken into account, it means that I only spent eight weeks (two months) of working around the clock, day and night, to complete the task of photographing every document in the archive that pertained to GOC history and ecclesiology. There were several folders that I didn’t bother scanning as they were entirely of a local nature to the Monastery and Diocese itself, which were of little interest to me, or anyone seeking the true history of the GOC. Although residing at Koropi, I was seldom seen by anyone, except for Fr. Pedro, Matushka Lucia, and their little baby daughter. Theoharis was also residing in the monastery, but he was never there because he was fulfilling his army duty that whole time. So I spent most of the time practically alone, because I wanted to get this work done as soon as possible. I had to reschedule my flight twice, because the task had not been completed, and then I even had to allow my return flight to expire. When I completed scanning all the documents, I booked and paid for a new return flight. During my time in the Monastery I had become sick from the food in the first week, so I stopped eating and began to purchase my own food, which I would also share with others. I would also assist Fr. Pedro and Matushka Lucia with their shopping, and with various of their chores wherever I was able. For the most part I was under the spiritual guidance of Fr. Pedro, because Met. Kirykos was never present at Koropi Monastery (supposedly his ʺresidenceʺ and ʺdiocesan houseʺ). Fr. Pedro was an exceptional spiritual father, and I still consider him to be a spiritual father even today, although since the beginning of Great Lent of 2010 I have been confessing to a priest of the Russian True Orthodox Church, and receiving communion in that parish. My decision to depart the omophorion of Met. Kirykos is based on several reasons. But the most important reason is the fact that when I returned home, I began reading through all of the documents I had collected in the archive, and I began to realize that the ʺstoryʺ Met. Kirykos has been giving us was quite different from what the fullness of the documents portrayed. It seems as though from 1976 onwards, that the two laymen theologians, Mr. Gkoutzidis and Mr. Kontogiannis (the latter of whom is now known as Met. Kirykos) did not just ʺsystematizeʺ the Matthewite ecclesiology, but they slightly changed the ecclesiology, taking it towards the ultra‐right extreme. The documents also prove that today’s Matthewite super‐correctness and their refusal to allow any union with the Florinites, their fanatic mentality that led to their current factionalism into four rival groups, and their gradual disappearance into the realm of obscurity, is a product of the Gkoutzidian‐Kontogiannian dictatorship over the Matthewite Synod from 1976 until they were thrown out of the Synodal headquarters in 2001, in which period the two laymen theologians through their publications brainwashed the Matthewites into a certain mindset which is based only on the documents they chose to reveal, deliberately hiding the plethora of documents that prove otherwise, and conditioned the Matthewites to an ecclesiology that at first glance appears completely sound and logical, and yet in light of all the missing documents, proves itself to be self‐refuting, utterly illogical, and certainly not the ecclesiology of the original GOC, and not even the ecclesiology of St. Matthew himself, whose hundreds of writings I have now compiled. What all of the documents in this archive prove is that although Mr. Gkoutzidis and Mr. Kontogiannis (Met. Kirykos) thought of themselves as ʺsaving the Matthewites,ʺ they proved to be the very ones who destroyed the Matthewites from within. The unfortunate truth is that each of the four current groups in which the Matthewites exist are victims of this brainwashing for over 30 years now, and their current positions reflect the Goutzidian‐Kontogiannian influence on their understanding. Surprisingly, even the Nicholaitan Synod, which appears to be antagonistic towards Met. Kirykos and Mr. Gkoutzidis more than any other, is in fact tainted by this same Gkoutzidian‐Kontigiannian ecclesiological unsoundness, which can be clearly expressed by their 2007 ʺencyclicalʺ in which they ʺcondemnʺ the ʺcheirothesia.ʺ The truth is that this is all simply a product of the 30‐year long brainwashing process, beginning with the premature departure from the ROCOR in 1976, and resulting in the ensuing schisms of 1995, 2003, 2005, and the departure of clergy and laity in 2009. The first people to bring up the charges of ʺiconoclasmʺ in the official Matthewite periodical were Mr. Gkoutzidis and Mr. Kontogiannis themselves, as they were using it as a means to slander the clairvoyant Metropolitan Kallistos for his refusal to accept the uncanonical method in which the Synod was being run by two lay theologians, namely Gkoutzides and Kontogiannis, and that these two had opened the new periodical ʺHerald of the Genuine Orthodoxʺ and had published the severing of communion with ROCOR in its second issue (February, 1976) despite the fact the Synod had agreed not to publish it until all were in agreement with it. It was also Gkoutzidis and Kontogiannis that sent the copy to the ROCOR headquarters, again without complete Synodal approval. The version they sent contains the typed form of the signatures, without possessing the signatures of all the bishops themselves, since four of the hierarchs were not in agreement with it. Of those four hierarchs, two of them (Demetrios and Kallistos) were among the very bishops that St. Matthew himself had ordained. Meanwhile the third hierarch (Epiphanios) was also the first‐hierarch of his own Local Church (Cyprus), while the fourth hierarch was Bishop Pachomios of Corinth (still living today and serving as the vice‐president of the Nicholaitan faction). Yet Gkoutzidis and Kontogiannis published their printed version of the document and sent it off to the ROCOR, as well as in the new official Matthewite periodical they were in charge of, with the names of all the bishops included as having signed, yet without signatures, but rather with their typed names. When Kallistos, Epiphanios and Pachomios protested against this, while Demetrios could not as he reposed within months of that time, their protests were ignored. After Kallistos departed the Matthewite Synod, the two lay theologians were responsible for ʺdepositionʺ of Kallistos, in which the first and most important charge and reason for deposition is given as ʺiconoclasm against the [western] icon of the Holy Trinity.ʺ Thus it is from this pact that we see for the first time the use of so‐called ʺneo‐iconoclasmʺ to judge hierarchs as ʺheretics.ʺ Together with this was coupled the charge of ʺcheirothesia,ʺ as if the cheirothesia received by Kallistos was a consecration, when in reality all of the documents in the archive, both from ROCOR as well as Matthewite and Florinite sources, prove that the cheirothesia was not real at all. This was just a rumor spread among the Florinites themselves, and also falsely spread by Holy Transfiguration Monastery, in order to convince Greek parishes in ROCOR not to follow the Matthewites into breaking communion with the ROCOR in 1976. Recently the HOCNA made similar comments, but that was at request of the Nicholaitan faction, with whom they sympathized at the time. The schism among the Matthewites in 1995 over so‐called ʺiconoclasmʺ and so‐called ʺcheirothesiaʺ is also a direct product of the Gkoutzidian‐ Kontogiannian brainwashing from 1976 onwards. After all it was Gkoutzidis and Kontogiannis who were first to accuse Met. Kallistos of ʺiconoclasmʺ and even published an article in their official periodical ʺHerald of the Genuine Orthodoxʺ at this time, regarding this same issue. If my memory serves me correctly, the article has the title of ʺWhy do they war against the icon of the Holy Trinity?ʺ The author of the article is Mr. Eleutherios Gkoutzidis. In 1983, 1986, 1989, 1991 and 1992 the Matthewite Synod also published official
The Bishop Who Consecrated Bishop Matthew of Bresthena Was An “Old Calendarist Ecumenist” Metropolitan Germanus of Demetrias, who consecrated Bishop Matthew of Bresthena in 1935, did not have the Gkoutzidis‐style ecclesiology. On the contrary, Metropolitan Germanus of Demetrias believed that all of the Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches that continued to retain the Patristic Calendar were still canonical and Orthodox, even if they had not severed communion with the New Calendarists. Accordingly to this quite moderate ecclesiology, Metropolitan Germanus of Demetrias published a Pastoral Encyclical in 1935, in which he writes that the very PURPOSE of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece was to CO‐OPERATE with the Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches that kept the Old Calendar! In the said Encyclical we read: “…Remaining faithful to the tradition of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, the ordinances of which our Church respects and unwaveringly retains, we shall collaborate [Greek: synergazometha] with the Orthodox Churches of Jerusalem, Antioch, Mt. Sinai, Mt. Athos, Russia, Poland, Serbia and the remaining Orthodox Churches that keep the Patristic Old Festal Calendar, not acquiescing to remain under the curses and anathemas of the Holy Fathers and the Orthodox Patriarchs, who in Ecumenical and Regional Councils, appointed what is befitting…” The original text in Greek reads: «...Ἐμμένοντες πιστοὶ εἰς τὰς παραδόσεις τῶν ἑπτὰ Οἰκουμενικῶν Συνόδων, τῶν ὁποῖων τὰς διατάξεις σέβεται καὶ διακρατεῖ ἀπαρασαλεύτως ἡ ἡμετέρα Ἐκκλησία [τῶν Γ.Ο.Χ. Ἑλλάδος], θὰ ΣΥΝΕΡΓΑΖΟΜΕΘΑ μετὰ τῶν ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΩΝ Ἐκκλησιῶν Ἱεροσολύμων, Ἀντιοχείας, Ὄρους Σινᾶ, Ἁγ. Ὅρους, Ρωσσίας, Πολωνίας, Σερβίας καὶ λοιπῶν ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΩΝ Ἐκκλησιῶν, αἴτηνες κρατοῦσι τὸ πάτριον παλαιὸν ἑορτολόγιον, μὴ στέργοντες νὰ διατελῶμεν ὑπὸ τὰς ἀρὰς καὶ τὰ ἀναθέματα τῶν Ἁγίων Πατέρων καὶ τῶν Ὀρθοδόξων Πατριαρχῶν, οἴτινες ἐν Οἰκουμενικαῖς καὶ Τοπικαῖς Συνόδοις ὡρισαν τὰ συμφέροντα...» Since Metropolitan Germanus of Demetrias believed that the Patriarchates of Jerusalem, Antioch, Russia, Serbia, etc, were valid Orthodox Churches, and that the role of the G.O.C. was to collaborate with them, does this not make him an “Old Calendarist Ecumenist” according to the extremist Gkoutzidian ecclesiology? If so, then that would make Germanus a graceless heretic even at this time that he was consecrating Bishop Matthew. So then, with which grace did he perform the consecration? Behold the original document in Greek, as it was found in the archive of Bp. Kirykos Kontogiannis, and criminally hidden for all of these years:
The Matthewite Bishop Kirykos Kontogiannis Is Himself An “Old Calendarist Ecumenist” Bp. Kirykos Kontogiannis is responsible for the Matthewites separating from communion with the ROCOR in 1976 on the charge of “old calendarist ecumenism.” He is also the one who warred against the theological dialogue between the Matthewites and the Kiousis Synod from 1985 to 2005, again on the charge of “Old Calendarist Ecumenism.” Bp. Kirykos also even severed communion with the holy Archbishop Andrew (Anestis) of Athens and the remaining Matthewite hierarchs, and created his own personal schism (the “Kirykite” faction), again on the charge that all other Matthewite hierarchs had supposedly fallen into “Old Calendarist Ecumenism.” But now it has been proven that this charge has always been false, because Bp. Kirykos is HIMSELF exactly what he would describe an “Old Calendarist Ecumenist.” Thus it becomes apparent that Bp. Kirykos’ reasons for schism were entirely personal, in order to promote his egotistic self‐esteem, and also as a rage of anger that he did not get elected as Archbishop of Athens instead of Nicholas. There are many proofs that Bp. Kirykos is an Old Calendarist Ecumenist. The main proof is the fact he united with the Romanian Victorite hierarchy, which traces its apostolic succession from Bp. Victor Leu (+1980) who was consecrated in 1949 by three ROCOR hierarchs, whereas Bp. Kirykos believes that the ROCOR was void of grace from 1924 onwards, and claims that anyone who believes the ROCOR had grace during this time is an “Old Calendarist Ecumenist.” Bp. Kirykos received the Romanian hierarchy into communion without re‐consecrating them, without reading a cheirothesia or prayer of absolution, but by a simple recognition! This very act is a clear sign of “Old Calendarist Ecumenism” as Bp. Kirykos himself would describe it. Another proof of Bp. Kirykos’s “Old Calendarist Ecumenism” is his recent official glorification of St. John the Romanian of Hozeva, a priest of the Jerusalem Patriarchate, who was ordained in 1947 by a bishop of the Jerusalem Patriarchate, and never severed communion with the Jerusalem Patriarchate. According to Bp. Kirykos’ own definition, St. John the Romanian was most definitely an “Old Calendarist Ecumenist.” Yet, by glorifying him and consecrating a chapel in his honour, Bp. Kirykos has proven himself to also be an “Old Calendarist Ecumenist,” thereby negating all the reasons for the schisms he has caused in the past. This therefore proves that Bp. Kirykos’ schism (the “Kirykites”) is nothing more than an egotistic parasynagogue. And it cannot be said that Bp. Kirykos was unaware that St. John the Romanian was ordained and belonged to the Jerusalem Patriarchate, because no sound hierarch glorifies a Saint without first reading the Saint’s life! And a copy of St. John the Romanian’s life was found in Bp. Kirykos’ own archive, in one of his recent folders which contained the decision of his Synod to glorify St. John the Romanian. In that book, it is clearly written in Greek that “The Patriarch of Jerusalem approved the ordination and on the 13th of May, 1947, the feastday of St. Glycheria, he was ordained as a hierodeacon by Bishop Irenarchus. On the 14th of September of the same year, he was ordained as a hieromonk and abbot of the Romanian Church in Jordan. His ordination took place in the Church of the All‐ holy Sepulchre.” A scan of the section follows: Below are photographs of Bp. Kirykos’ glorification of St. John the Romanian: Bp. Kirykos believes that the Jerusalem Patriarchate lost grace in 1924, yet at the same time he believes grace was somehow “provided” for the ordination of St. John the Romanian in 1947, and that the latter therefore performed valid mysteries and belonged to the True Church, despite having been a member of the Jerusalem Patriarchate until his very repose! In other words, grace doesn’t exist anywhere until Bp. Kirykos fancies to “grant” it a whole 61 years later! This theory that the Holy Spirit sanctifies only “wherever Kirykos wants” is NOT an example of Orthodox ecclesiology. On the contrary, it is a satanic, egotistic blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. It is not an Ecclesiology, but rather a “Kirykology.” It is an ecclesiological heresy that is not based on the Holy Fathers, but rather on the egotistic whims of a deluded man, Mr. Kirykos Kontogiannis, who for 30 years has prevented the unity of the Genuine Orthodox Christians, and has even caused several schisms (including his current Kirykite schismato‐heretical parasynagogue), supposedly due to saving the Church from “Old Calendarist Ecumenism,” whereas in actual fact among “Old Calendarist Ecumenists” is none other than Bp. Kirykos himself! May God enlighten him to repent, and for his followers to denounce his treacherous schism and work towards the unity of the G.O.C.
A “TRINITARIAN” THEOLOGY OF RELIGIONS? AN AUGUSTINIAN ASSESSMENT OF SEVERAL RECENT PROPOSALS by Keith Edward Johnson Department of Religion Duke University Date:_______________________ Approved: ___________________________ Geoffrey Wainwright, Supervisor ___________________________ Reinhard Huetter ___________________________ J. Warren Smith ___________________________ J. Kameron Carter Dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Religion in the Graduate School of Duke University 2007 ABSTRACT A “TRINITARIAN” THEOLOGY OF RELIGIONS? AN AUGUSTINIAN ASSESSMENT OF SEVERAL RECENT PROPOSALS by Keith Edward Johnson Department of Religion Duke University Date:_______________________ Approved: ___________________________ Geoffrey Wainwright, Supervisor ___________________________ Reinhard Huetter ___________________________ J. Warren Smith ___________________________ J. Kameron Carter An abstract of a dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Religion in the Graduate School of Duke University 2007 Copyright by Keith Edward Johnson 2007 Abstract Contemporary theology is driven by a quest to make the doctrine of the Trinity “relevant” to a wide variety of concerns. Books and articles abound on the Trinity and personhood, the Trinity and ecclesiology, the Trinity and gender, the Trinity and marriage, the Trinity and societal relations, the Trinity and politics, the Trinity and ecology, etc. Recently a number of theologians have suggested that a doctrine of the Trinity may provide the key to a Christian theology of religions. The purpose of this study is to evaluate critically the claim that a proper understanding of “the Trinity” provides the basis for a new understanding of religious diversity. Drawing upon the trinitarian theology of Augustine (principally De Trinitate), I critically examine the trinitarian doctrine in Mark Heim’s trinitarian theology of multiple religious ends, Amos Yong’s pneumatological theology of religions, Jacques Dupuis’ Christian theology of religious pluralism and Raimundo Panikkar’s trinitarian account of religious experience (along with Ewert Cousins’ efforts to link Panikkar’s proposal to the vestige tradition). My Augustinian assessment is structured around three trinitarian issues in the Christian theology of religions: (1) the relationship of the “immanent” and the “economic” Trinity, (2) the relations among the divine persons (both ad intra and ad extra) and (3) the vestigia trinitatis. iv In conversation with Augustine, I argue (1) that there is good reason to question the claim that the “Trinity” represents the key to a new understanding of religious diversity, (2) that current “use” of trinitarian theology in the Christian theology of religions appears to be having a deleterious effect upon the doctrine, and (3) that the trinitarian problems I document in the theology of religions also encumber attempts to relate trinitarian doctrine to a variety of other contemporary issues including personhood, ecclesiology, society, politics and science. I further argue that contemporary theology is driven by a problematic understanding of what it means for a doctrine of the Trinity to be “relevant” and that Augustine challenges us to rethink the “relevancy” of trinitarian doctrine. v
The Apostolic Succession of the Matthewites Derives From A Freemason and Ecumenist “Patriarch” In his book “Elenchos Kai Anatrope” Mr. Gkoutzidis writes about the various ecclesiological books that were printed by the Zealot Athonite fathers: “At the very same time important documents of an ecclesiological nature are circulated by the Zealot Hieromonks who had departed Mt. Athos, the foremost of which was the then Hieromonk and later Bishop and Archbishop of the G.O.C., Matthew Karpathakis. From among these documents we mention the most important, namely, ‘Apostasias Elenchos,’ ‘Distomos Romphaia’ published in 1934 and ‘Phos tois en Skotei’ published in 1936, which widely shocked the innovative process of Chrysostom Papadopoulos…” From the last of these Athonite books, ‘Phos tois en Skotei’ of 1936, we provide the following quote: “…Therefore, the Official Church of Chrysostom Papadopoulos, recognized by the State, is naked and deprived of the grace and gift of God, because it betrayed the Faith of our Christ by its tolerance and collaboration with atheistic Judeo‐Masonry!!!...” Below is a photocopy of the actual page from which the quote is taken: We agree wholeheartedly with the above quote, that if a bishop enslaves himself to antichristian and satanic Judeo‐Masonry, his mysteries are invalid and his hierarchical status is “naked and deprived of the grace and gift of God.” But unfortunately, “Archbishop” Chrysostom of Athens was not the first, nor was he the last, of these Mason “hierarchs.” Among the masons of high rank also happened to be the Ecumenical Patriarch Joachim III, the first Masonic “Patriarch” of Constantinople. This information is derived firstly from the official website of the “Grand Lodge of Greece,” as well as from several books published by the Zealot Fathers themselves, many of which refer to Joachim III as “the first Mason Ecumenical Patriarch.” On the Greek version of Wikipedia, in the article regarding Joachim III, we read: “According to the official website of the Grand Lodge of Greece, he was a member of the Masonic Lodge called ‘Progress.’ (Πρόοδος).” And he wasn’t only a Mason, but also an Ecumenist. In the Patriarchal Encyclical of 1904 he asked of the Primates of the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches to discuss the following: “a) the meeting and strengthening by concordance and love, of the Holy Orthodox Churches of God, b) the possibility of relation and Christian love and rapprochement of our Churches with the two great branches of Christianity, namely, Catholicism and Protestantism, c) how it is possible for the Orthodox Church to approach the so‐called Old Catholics, who desire a union with us, and d) whether it is possible or not for us to formulate and better adjust our current Calendar.” He also wrote: “It is beloved of God and Evangelical for me to ask of the leadership of the Holy Autocephalous Churches regarding our present and future relations with the two great branches of Christianity, the Western Church and the Protestant Churches. And it is known that every genuine Christian must pray and petition, as is found in the texts of our Church, for the Evangelical Unity, a teaching constituting a pious and heartfelt desire in the Orthodox Faith, for the unity of them and all who believe in Christ…” Further down he writes: “Not without worth is our attention towards the issue of a common calendar, so that we can adequate document things said and written, using the same proposed systems of reform of our Julian Calendar, which has been kept by the Orthodox Church for a long time. [This reform shall take place] either by adopting the Gregorian Calendar, since [the Julian Calendar] is scientifically lacking, whereas this one is more accurate. We must consequently also consider the transformation of our ecclesiastical Paschalion. Regarding this topic, the opinions are divided, as we can see from the resulted specific opinions of our Orthodox people…” Thus, ‘Ecumenical Patriarch’ Joachim III was not only a Mason (member of the Lodge called ‘Progress’), but he was also a branch theory Ecumenist (he called Catholicism and Protestantism ‘branches of Christianity’ and he expressed a desire for unity with them). Additionally he was also in favour of the reform of the ecclesiastical calendar, either by the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar or the creation of a new calendar. In any case his purpose is spelled out quite clearly as “common calendar,” meaning a single calendar for Westerns and Orthodox, to better promote their unity. In other words, ‘Patrarch’ Joachim III was the forerunner of ‘Archbishop’ Chrysostom Papadopoulos! He was the ‘Metaxakis’ before Meletius Metaxakis!!! But this very Mason, Ecumenist and very‐well‐would‐have‐been New Calendarist ‘Patriarch’ is the very bishop who consecrated Metropolitan Chrysostom Kavouridis of Florina in 1909, who in turn consecrated Bishop Matthew of Bresthena in 1935! In other words, the Apostolic Succession of the Matthewites derives from a Mason, Ecumenist and Modernist ‘Patriarch’!!! So by what means does Bp. Kirykos Kontogiannis and Mr. Eleutherius Gkoutzidis preach to us that supposedly Bishop Matthew offered a “pure” line of Apostolic Succession, whereas all other lines (Russian Church Abroad, etc) are looked upon as “unclean”? What could be more unclean than a consecration derived from a Mason, Ecumenist and Modernist ‘Patriarch’ such as Joachim III??? Such a line of Apostolic Succession is by far as “unclean” as one can possibly get! Yet Bp. Kirykos presents it as some kind of “spotless bastion” of Apostolic Succession! The fact that Joachim III was a Mason is enough to disqualify the validity of this line, without even mentioning the fact he was also a ‘branch‐theory’ believing Ecumenist heretic, and was also in favour of the reformation of the ecclesiastical calendar! But the hypocrisy doesn’t stop there. This Mason, Ecumenist and Modernist ‘Patriarch’ Joachim III did not only pass on the Apostolic Succession to the Matthewites. He was also the very ‘Patriarch’ who blessed the Holy Chrism in 1903 and again in 1912, the very Holy Chrism that the Matthewites were using until as late as 1958! Thus the Matthewites were rechrismating converts from New Calendarism by anointing them with the Holy Chrism blessed by a Freemason, Ecumenist and Modernist ‘Patriarch’!!! Behold a photograph of ‘Patriarch’ Joachim III and the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate shortly after the blessing of the Holy Chrism on Holy Thursday, 1912: The consecration of Holy Chrism by Patriarch Joachim III in 1912 Now let us again read the quote from “Phos tois en Skotei” published in 1936: “…Therefore, the Official Church of Chrysostom Papadopoulos, recognized by the State, is naked and deprived of the grace and gift of God, because it betrayed the Faith of our Christ by its tolerance and collaboration with atheistic Judeo‐ Masonry!!!...” What does this mean? This means that according to their own ecclesiology, the Matthewites THEMSELVES are “naked and deprived of the grace and gift of God” because they derive not only their Apostolic Succession but even their Holy Chrism from a ‘Patriarch’ who “betrayed the Faith of our Christ by his tolerance and collaboration with atheistic Judeo‐Masonry!!!...” Alas! But let the Matthewites rethink as to whether they truly do have “pure” Apostolic Succession and “valid mysteries” before they dare to judge or doubt the Apostolic Succession and Valid Mysteries of the historic Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, and the Acacian hierarchy it founded in Greece.
Pedro!!!” By the things which he said, he revealed his formerly displayed cacodox opinion regarding the Confession – Ecclesiology (for which he was then censured), and his contemptuous characterizations of this Confession – Ecclesiology, e.g.
ANCIENT AND CONTEMPORARY FATHERS REGARDING SO‐CALLED “WORTHINESS” OF THE HOLY MYSTERIES St. John Cassian (+29 February, 435) totally disagrees with the notion of Bp. Kirykos that the early Christians communed frequently supposedly because “they fasted in the fine and broader sense, that is, they were worthy to commune.” Blessed Cassian does not approve of Christians shunning communion because they think of themselves as unworthy, and supposedly different to the early Christians. Thus whichever side one takes in this supposed dispute of Semipelagianism, be it the side of Blessed Augustine or that of Blessed Cassian, the truth is that both of these Holy Fathers condemn the notions held by Bp. Kirykos. Blessed Cassian writes: “We must not avoid communion because we deem ourselves to be sinful. We must approach it more often for the healing of the soul and the purification of the spirit, but with such humility and faith that considering ourselves unworthy, we would desire even more the medicine for our wounds. Otherwise it is impossible to receive communion once a year, as certain people do, considering the sanctification of heavenly Mysteries as available only to saints. It is better to think that by giving us grace, the sacrament makes us pure and holy. Such people [who commune rarely] manifest more pride than humility, for when they receive, they think of themselves as worthy. It is much better if, in humility of heart, knowing that we are never worthy of the Holy Mysteries we would receive them every Sunday for the healing of our diseases, rather than, blinded by pride, think that after one year we become worthy of receiving them.” (John Cassian, Conference 23, Chapter 21) Now, as for those who may think the above notion is only applicable for the Christians living at the time of St. John Cassian (5th century), and that the people at that time were justified in confessing their sins frequently and also communing frequently, throughout the year, while that supposedly this does not apply to contemporary Orthodox Christians, such a notion does not hold any validity, because contemporary Holy Fathers, among them the Hesychastic Fathers and Kollyvades Fathers, have taught exactly the same thing as we have read above in the writings of Blessed Cassian. Thus St. Gregory Palamas, St. Symeon the New Theologian, St. Macarius Notaras of Corinth, St. Nicodemus of Athos, St. Arsenius of Paros, St. Pachomius of Chios, St. Nectarius of Aegina, St. Matthew of Bresthena, St. Moses of Athikia, and so many other contemporary Orthodox Saints agree with the positions of the Blessed Cassian. The various quotes from these Holy Fathers are to be provided in another study regarding the letter of Bp. Kirykos to Fr. Pedro. In any case, not only contemporary Greek Fathers, but even contemporary Syrian, Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian and Romanian Fathers concur. St. Arsenius the Russian of Stavronikita (+24 March, 1846), for example, writes: “One can sometimes hear people say that they avoid approaching the Holy Mysteries because they consider themselves unworthy. But who is worthy of it? No one on earth is worthy of it, but whoever confesses his sins with heartfelt contrition and approaches the Chalice of Christ with consciousness of his unworthiness the Lord will not reject, in accordance with His words, Him that cometh to Me I shall in no wise cast out (John 6:37).” (Athonite Monastery of St. Panteleimon, Athonite Leaflets, No. 105, published in 1905) St. John Chrysostom (+14 September, 407), Archbishop of the Imperial City of Constantinople New Rome, speaks very much against the idea of making fasting and communing a mere custom. He instead insists on making true repentance of tears and communion with God a daily ritual. For no one passes a single day without sinning at least in thought if not also in word and deed. Likewise, no one can live a true life in Christ without daily repentance and frequent Communion. But in fact, the greatest method to abstain from sins is by the fear of communing unworthily. Thus, through frequent Communion one is guided towards abstinence from sins. Of course, the grace of the Mysteries themselves are essential in this process of cleansing the brain, heart and bowel of the body, as well as cleansing the mind, spirit and word of the soul. But the fear of hellfire as experienced in the partaking of communion unworthily is most definitely a means of preventing sins. But if one thinks that fasting for seven days without meat, five days without dairy, three days without oil, and one day without anything but xerophagy, is a means to make one “worthy” of Communion, whereas the communicant then returns to his life of sin until the next year when he decides to commune again, then not only was this one week of fasting worthless, not only would 40 days of lent be unprofitable, but even an entire lifetime of fasting will be useless. For such a person makes fasting and Communion a mere custom, rather than a way of Life in Christ. Blessed Chrysostom writes: “But since I have mentioned this sacrifice, I wish to say a little in reference to you who have been initiated; little in quantity, but possessing great force and profit, for it is not our own, but the words of Divine Spirit. What then is it? Many partake of this sacrifice once in the whole year; others twice; others many times. Our word then is to all; not to those only who are here, but to those also who are settled in the desert. For they partake once in the year, and often indeed at intervals of two years. What then? Which shall we approve? Those [who receive] once [in the year]? Those who [receive] many times? Those who [receive] few times? Neither those [who receive] once, nor those [who receive] often, nor those [who receive] seldom, but those [who come] with a pure conscience, from a pure heart, with an irreproachable life. Let such draw near continually; but those who are not such, not even once. Why, you will ask? Because they receive to themselves judgment, yea and condemnation, and punishment, and vengeance. And do not wonder. For as food, nourishing by nature, if received by a person without appetite, ruins and corrupts all [the system], and becomes an occasion of disease, so surely is it also with respect to the awful mysteries. Do you feast at a spiritual table, a royal table, and again pollute your mouth with mire? Do you anoint yourself with sweet ointment, and again fill yourself with ill savors? Tell me, I beseech you, when after a year you partake of the Communion, do you think that the Forty Days are sufficient for you for the purifying of the sins of all that time? And again, when a week has passed, do you give yourself up to the former things? Tell me now, if when you have been well for forty days after a long illness, you should again give yourself up to the food which caused the sickness, have you not lost your former labor too? For if natural things are changed, much more those which depend on choice. As for instance, by nature we see, and naturally we have healthy eyes; but oftentimes from a bad habit [of body] our power of vision is injured. If then natural things are changed, much more those of choice. Thou assignest forty days for the health of the soul, or perhaps not even forty, and do you expect to propitiate God? Tell me, are you in sport? These things I say, not as forbidding you the one and annual coming, but as wishing you to draw near continually.” (John Chrysostom, Homily 17, on Hebrews 10:2‐9) The Holy Fathers also stress the importance of confession of sins as the ultimate prerequisite for Holy Communion, while remaining completely silent about any specific fast that is somehow generally applicable to all laymen equally. It is true that the spiritual father (who hears the confession of the penitent Orthodox Christian layman) does have the authority to require his spiritual son to fulfill a fast of repentance before communion. But the local bishop (who is not the layman’s spiritual father but only a distant observer) most certainly does not have the authority to demand the priests to enforce a single method of preparation common to all laymen without distinction, such as what Bp. Kirykos does in his letter to Fr. Pedro. For man cannot be made “worthy” due to such a pharisaic fast that is conducted for mere custom’s sake rather than serving as a true form of repentance. Indeed it is possible for mankind to become worthy of Holy Communion. But this worthiness is derived from the grace of God which directs the soul away from sins, and it is derived from the Mysteries themselves, particularly the Mystery of Repentance (also called Confession or Absolution) and the Mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ (also called the Eucharist or Holy Communion). St. Nicholas Cabasilas (+20 June, 1391), Archbishop of Thessalonica, writes: “The Bread which truly strengthens the heart of man will obtain this for us; it will enkindle in us ardor for contemplation, destroying the torpor that weighs down our soul; it is the Bread which has come down from heaven to bring Life; it is the Bread that we must seek in every way. We must be continually occupied with this Eucharistic banquet lest we suffer famine. We must guard against allowing our soul to grow anemic and sickly, keeping away from this food under the pretext of reverence for the sacrament. On the contrary, after telling our sins to the priest, we must drink of the expiating Blood.” (St. Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ). St. Matthew Carpathaces (+14 May, 1950), Archbishop of Athens, while still an Archimandrite, published a book in 1933 in which he wrote five pages regarding the Mystery of Holy Communion. In these five pages he addresses the issue of Holy Communion, worthiness and preparation. Nowhere in it does he speak of any particular pre‐communion fast. On the contrary, in the rest of the book he speaks only about the fasts of Wednesday and Friday throughout the year, and the four Lenten seasons of Nativity, Pascha, Apostles and Dormition. He also mentions that married couples should avoid marital relations on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Aside from these fasts and abstaining, he mentions no such thing about a pre‐communion fast anywhere in the book, and the book is over 300 pages long. In the section where he speaks specifically regarding Holy Communion, Blessed Matthew speaks only of confession of sins as a prerequisite to Holy Communion, and he mentions the importance of abstaining from sins. Nowhere does he suggest that partaking of foods on the days the Orthodox Church permits is supposedly a sin. For to claim such a thing is a product of Manicheanism and is anathematized by several councils. But Blessed Matthew of Bresthena was no Manichean, he was a Genuine Orthodox Christian, a preserver of Orthodoxy in its fullness. The fact he had 600 nuns and 200 monks flock around him during his episcopate in Greece is proof of his spiritual heights and that he was an Orthodox Christian not only in thought and word, but also in deed. Yet Bp. Kirykos, who in his thirty years as a pastor has not managed to produce a single spiritual offspring, dares to claim that Blessed Matthew of Bresthena is the source of his corrupt and heretical views. But nothing could be further from the truth. In Blessed Matthew’s written works, which are manifold and well‐ preserved, nowhere does he suggest that clergy can simply follow the common fasting rules of the Orthodox Church and commune several times per week, while if laymen follow the same Orthodox rules of fasting just as do the priests, they are supposedly not free to commune but must undergo some kind of extra fast. Nowhere does he demand this fast that is not as a punishment for laymen’s sins, but is implemented merely because they are laymen, since this fast is being demanded irrespective of the outcome of their confession to the priest. Yet despite all of this, Bp. Kirykos arbitrarily uses the name of Bishop Matthew as supposedly agreeing with his positions. The following quote from the works of Blessed Matthew will shatter Kirykos’s notion that “fasting in the finer and broader sense” can make a Christian “worthy to commune,” without mentioning the Holy Mysteries of Confession and Communion themselves as the source of that worthiness. The following quote will shatter Bp. Kirykos’ attempt to misrepresent the positions of Blessed Matthew, which is something that Bp. Kirykos is guilty of doing for the past 30 years, tarnishing the name of Blessed Matthew, and causing division and self‐destruction within the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece, while at the same time boasting of somehow being Bishop Matthew’s only real follower. It is time for Bp. Kirykos’ three‐decades‐long façade to be shattered. This shattering shall not only apply to the façade regarding the pharisaic‐style fast, but even the façade regarding the post‐1976 ecclesiology held by Bp. Kirykos and his associate, Mr. Gkoutzidis—an ecclesiology which is found nowhere in the encyclicals of the Genuine Orthodox Church from 1935 until the 1970s. That was the time that Mr. Gkoutzidis and the then layman Mr. Kontogiannis (now Bp. Kirykos) began controlling the Matthewite Synod. On the contrary, many historic encyclicals of the Genuine Orthodox Church contradict this post‐1976 Gkoutzidian‐ Kontogiannian ecclesiology, for which reason the duo has kept these documents hidden in the Synodal archives for three decades. But let us begin the shattering of the façade with the position of Blessed Matthew regarding frequent Communion. For God has willed that this be the first article by Bishop Matthew to be translated into English that is not of an ecclesiological nature, but a work in regards to Orthopraxia, something rarely spoken and seldom found in the endlessly repetitive periodicals of the Kirykite faction.
The Position of Bp. Kirykos’ Romanian Counterparts Regarding Re‐Baptism is Extremely Hypocritical The Romanians who are in communion with Bp. Kirykos require all New Calendarists, Florinites, Glicherians, ROCOR faithful, etc, to be re‐ baptized, even if their baptism was performed in the canonical manner, by triple immersion and invocation of the Holy Trinity. They have even begun re‐baptizing people who had already been received into the Matthewite Church by chrismation. Thus, in Cyprus, several laymen who had been received even decades ago by chrismation, are now being rebaptized by the Romanian bishop Parthenios! So then, one might ask, all of these years were they communing or not? If they were communing as members of the Church, then how is it that they are now being regarded as foreign to the Church and in need of baptism? This isn’t Orthodox ecclesiology, it is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, a crime that the Lord has declared to be unforgivable. But this very act of rebaptizing by the Romanians is extremely hypocritical considering their own origins. The truth is that according to their own principles, they themselves are very much in need of being rebaptized. This is because the Romanian bishops derive their Apostolic Succession from Bishop Victor Leu, who was consecrated in 1949 by three bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. The main consecrating hierarch who actually passed the Apostolic Succession (for the other two were mere witnesses, as is the case), was Metropolitan Seraphim (Lyade) of Berlin. Metropolitan Seraphim was actually born into a Protestant family and was “baptized” by sprinkling in the Lutheran Church. When he was received into the Russian Orthodox Church, he was received by mere chrismation, despite not having the correct form of baptism. He was then elevated to the deaconate and priesthood within the Russian Orthodox Church. However, on 1st of September, 1923, he was “consecrated” as a “bishop” by Renovationist hierarchs who had been anathematized a year earlier by Patriarch St. Tikhon. In 1929, the Renovationist “bishop” Seraphim Lade was received into communion by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, but he was not reordained nor was a cheirothesia read on him, but he was received by mere repentance. Thus, according to the strict point of view, Metropolitan Seraphim Lyade was both un‐baptized and un‐consecrated! Yet this Metropolitan Seraphim is the very source of priesthood of the Romanian hierarchs. Thus, if they have their origins from a bishop who was un‐baptized and un‐consecrated, how is their baptism and priesthood valid? If the Romanian hierarchs are so strict that they reject economia, should they not be the first to re‐enter the baptismal font before they dare to re‐baptize others?
Fr. Eugene Tombros “Regarding Frequent Communion” in 1966 In 1966, Fr. Eugene Tombros, the arch‐chancellor of the Matthewite Synod, published a Prayer Book in Greek. On the last page, he provides a quote from the book “Regarding Continuous Communion” by St. Macarius Notaras of Corinth. This means that Fr. Eugene Tombros, the most influential person in the Matthewite Synod between 1940 and 1974, knew about this book and respected its contents enough to desire to quote from it. The quote is as follows: A QUOTE FROM THE BOOK “REGARDING CONTINUOUS COMMUNION” If you like the kindle in your heart divine love and to acquire love towards Christ and with this to also acquire all the rest of the virtues, regularly attend Holy Communion and you will enjoy that which you desire. Because it is absolutely impossible for somebody not to love Christ, when he conscientiously and continually communes of His Holy Body and drinks His Precious Blood.” - St. Macarius Notaras It is clear, therefore, that Fr. Eugene Tombros was aware of the Kollyvades movement and in favour of it. The quote below advocates frequent communion. This falls perfectly in place with an earlier work by St. Matthew of Bresthena, published in 1933, which also was written in the spirit of the Kollyvades Fathers. This makes one ask the question: If the most important Matthewite leaders, namely, Bishop Matthew of Bresthena in 1933 and Fr. Eugene Tombros in 1966, published works regarding Frequent Holy Communion that clearly reflected the beliefs of the Kollyvades Fathers such as St. Macarius Notaras, St. Nicodemus of Athos, St. Athanasius of Paros, St. Pachomius of Chios, St. Nectarius of Aegina, etc, how did this all change in the Matthewite Synod? Why did their practices become so anti‐Kollyvadic from the 1970s onwards? The answer is that in 1979 during a week‐long “clergy synaxis” at Kouvara Monastery, all of the bishops and priests were trained to demand laymen to adhere to a strict fast for a week, and the last three days without oil, while making this exempt from clergy. The people who led this course at Kouvara were the laymen theologians, Mr. Gkoutzidis and Mr. Kontogiannis, the latter of whom lated became Bp. Kirykos. Just as usual, the same people who “systematized” (changed) the ecclesiology, the same people who re‐wrote Matthewite history “their own way,” are the same people who removed the spirit of the Kollyvades Fathers from the Matthewites. After over three decades of this, the majority of Matthewites now think their practices are normal, and if they read the book of St. Macarius Notaras or of St. Nicodemus of Athos regarding Frequent Holy Communion they would shudder. But it is time for the brainwashing to end and for truth to shine. May the prayers of the Holy Kollyvades Fathers enlighten us all. Amen.
Translation from the Greek: [Letterhead symbol of double‐headed eagle] [Seal of the Metropolis of Mesogaea] GENUINE ORTHODOX CHURCH OF GREECE HOLY METROPOLIS OF MESOGAEA AND LAUREOTICA EPISCOPAL HOUSE OF ST. CATHERINE, KOROPI, ATTICA 19400 P.O. 54 KOROPI, ATTICA, TEL: 2106020176, TEL+FAX: 2106021467 Protocol No. 518. In Koropi on 19 September 2009 (O.C.) APPOINTMENT OF PRIEST FR. PEDRO AS RECTOR OF THE HOLY CHURCH OF ST. SPYRIDON IN KAREA [ATHENS] We, the Metropolitan of Mesogaea and Laureotica, Kirykos (of the unadulterated Genuine Orthodox Church), taking into account: 1) the event that the Holy Church of St. Spyridon from the year 1974 has been served by the Protopresbyter Fr. Thomas Kontogiannis, and after the schism of the Nicholaitans, due to the petition of the Rector and the Parishioners, is ecclesiastically and administrationally subject to the Holy Metropolis of Mesogaea and Laureotica; 2) the event that the Holy Metropolis of Mesogaea and Laureotica is the only Holy Metropolis of the unadulterated Genuine Orthodox Church, which “unadulteratedly and unchangingly,” according to the phrase of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, the good Confession of Faith, both in the Ecclesiology and other dogmatics, and also in the Apostolic Succession which we received from the Holy Father Matthew, in whose name, together with St. Spyridon and St. Mark Eugenicus, the Church is in honor, from the dedication [of the Church] on 12 October, 2006; 3) the event that the Holy Church of St. Spyridon at Karea is the only Church of the Metropolis of Athens which remained in the Genuine Orthodox Church after the “barbaric invasion” of the Nicholaitans and the abandoning of the Spiritual Centre at Peristeri, and the Shelter for Hospitality of the Clergy, and the remaining Churches, which they placed into the service of Old Calendarist Ecumenism; 4) the event that the new ecclesiastical circumstances which have become apparent after the convening of the Pan‐Orthodox Holy Synod in 2008, require, in the Metropolis of Athens, the existence of a “MISSIONARY ECCLESIASTICAL CENTRE OF THE WORLDWIDE GENUINE ORTHODOX CHURCH” for the better managing of the Missionary work on a Pan‐Orthodox scal; 5) the event that we have already appointed the Priest Fr. Pedro, of Brazilian origin, as the assistant Rector of the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. Demetrius in Acharnae; DECIDE That we appoint the Priest, Fr. Pedro, as the second Rector of the Holy Church of St. Spyridon, since he is well educated and intelligent, and we give him the position of responsibility for the organization of the “MISSIONARY ECCLESIASTICAL CENTRE OF THE WORLDWIDE GENUINE ORTHODOX CHURCH “HOLY FATHERS OF THE SEVEN ECUMENICAL COUNCILS,” to be located near the existing Church. We also declare, by the current [certificate] that Fr. Pedro will serve, depending on our command, at the two above Holy Churches according to the program and depending on the needs, or anywhere else the needs of the Missionary work require. METROPOLITAN OF THE GENUINE ORTHODOX CHURCH OF GREECE [Seal and Signature] + KIRYKOS OF MESOGAEA AND LAUREOTICA
If we consider the case of ecclesiology, what the East considers ‘economical’ or ‘functional’ tends to be seen as ‘ontological’ and ‘dogmatic’ in the West.
PRESIDENT OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OUTSIDE OF RUSSIA 75 EAST 93rd STREET, NEW YORK, N.Y. 10028 Telephone: LEhigh 4‐1601 A SECOND SORROWFUL EPISTLE TO THEIR HOLINESSES AND THEIR BEATITUDES, THE PRIMATES OF THE HOLY ORTHODOX CHURCHES, THE MOST REVEREND METROPOLITANS, ARCHBISHOPS AND BISHOPS. The People of the Lord residing in his Diocese are entrusted to the Bishop, and he will be required to give account of their souls according to the 39th Apostolic Canon. The 34th Apostolic Canon orders that a Bishop may do ʺthose things only which concern his own Diocese and the territories belonging to it.ʺ There are, however, occasions when events are of such a nature that their influence extends beyond the limits of one Diocese, or indeed those of one or more of the local Churches. Events of such a general, global nature can not be ignored by any Orthodox Bishop, who, as a successor of the Apostles, is charged with the protection of his flock from various temptations. The lightening‐like speed with which ideas may be spread in our times make such care all the more imperative now. In particular, our flock, belonging to the free part of the Church of Russia, is spread out all over the world. What has just been stated, therefore, is most pertinent to it. As a result of this, our Bishops, when meeting in their Councils, cannot confine their discussions to the narrow limits of pastoral and administrative problems arising in their respective Dioceses, but must in addition turn their attention to matters of a general importance to the whole Orthodox World, since the affliction of one Church is as ʺan affliction unto them all, eliciting the compassion of them allʺ (Phil. 4:14‐16; Heb. 10:30). And if the Apostle St. Paul was weak with those who were weak and burning with those who were offended, how then can we Bishops of God remain indifferent to the growth of errors which threaten the salvation of the souls of many of our brothers in Christ? It is in the spirit of such a feeling that we have already once addressed all the Bishops of the Holy Orthodox Church with a Sorrowful Epistle. We rejoiced to learn that, in harmony with our appeal, several Metropolitans of the Church of Greece have recently made reports to their Synod calling to its attention the necessity of considering ecumenism a heresy and the advisability of reconsidering the matter of participation in the World Council of Churches. Such healthy reactions against the spreading of ecumenism allow us to hope that the Church of Christ will be spared this new storm which threatens her. Yet, two years have passed since our Sorrowful Epistle was issued, and, alas! although in the Church of Greece we have seen the new statements regarding ecumenism as un‐Orthodox, no Orthodox Church has announced its withdrawal from the World Council of Churches. In the Sorrowful Epistle, we depicted in vivid colors to what extent the organic membership of the Orthodox Church in that Council, based as it is upon purely Protestant principles, is contrary to the very basis of Orthodoxy. In this Epistle, having been authorized by our Council of Bishops, we would further develop and extend our warning, showing that the participants in the ecumenical movement are involved in a profound heresy against the very foundation of the Church. The essence of that movement has been given a clear definition by the statement of the Roman Catholic theologian Ives M. J. Congar. He writes that ʺthis is a movement which prompts the Christian Churches to wish the restoration of the lost unity, and to that end to have a deep understanding of itself and understanding of each other.ʺ He continues, ʺIt is composed of all the feelings, ideas, actions or institutions, meetings or conferences, ceremonies, manifestations and publications which are directed to prepare the reunion in new unity not only of (separate) Christians, but also of the actually existing Churches.ʺ Actually, he continues, ʺthe word ecumenism, which is of Protestant origin, means now a concrete reality: the totality of all the aforementioned upon the basis of a certain attitude and a certain amount of very definite conviction (although not always very clear and certain). It is not a desire or an attempt to unite those who are regarded as separated into one Church which would be regarded as the only true one. It begins at just that point where it is recognized that, at the present state, none of the Christian confessions possesses the fullness of Christianity, but even if one of them is authentic, still, as a confession, it does not contain the whole truth. There are Christian values outside of it belonging not only to Christians who are separated from it in creed, but also to other Churches and other confessions as suchʺ (Chretiens Desunis, Ed. Unam Sanctam, Paris, 1937, pp. XI‐XII). This definition of the ecumenical movement made by a Roman Catholic theologian 35 years ago continues to be quite as exact even now, with the difference that during the intervening years this movement has continued to develop further with a newer and more dangerous scope. In our first Sorrowful Epistle, we wrote in detail on how incompatible with our Ecclesiology was the participation of Orthodox in the World Council of Churches, and presented precisely the nature of the violation against Orthodoxy committed in the participation of our Churches in that council. We demonstrated that the basic principles of that council are incompatible with the Orthodox doctrine of the Church. We, therefore, protested against the acceptance of that resolution at the Geneva Pan‐Orthodox Conference whereby the Orthodox Church was proclaimed an organic member of the World Council of Churches. Alas! These last few years are richly laden with evidence that, in their dialogues with the heterodox, some Orthodox representatives have adopted a purely Protestant ecclesiology which brings in its wake a Protestant approach to questions of the life of the Church, and from which springs forth the now‐ popular modernism. Modernism consists in that bringing‐down, that re‐aligning of the life of the Church according to the principles of current life and human weaknesses. We saw it in the Renovation Movement and in the Living Church in Russia in the twenties. At the first meeting of the founders of the Living Church on May 29, 1922, its aims were determined as a ʺrevision and change of all facets of Church life which are required by the demands of current lifeʺ (The New Church, Prof. B. V. Titlinov, Petrograd‐Moscow, 1923, p. 11). The Living Church was an attempt at a reformation adjusted to the requirements of the conditions of a communist state. Modernism places that compliance with the weaknesses of human nature above the moral and even doctrinal requirements of the Church. In that measure that the world is abandoning Christian principles, modernism debases the level of religious life more and more. Within the Western confessions we see that there has come about an abolition of fasting, a radical shortening and vulgarization of religious services, and, finally, full spiritual devastation, even to the point of exhibiting an indulgent and permissive attitude toward unnatural vices of which St. Paul said it was shameful even to speak. It was just modernism which was the basis of the Pan‐Orthodox Conference of sad memory in Constantinople in 1923, evidently not without some influence of the renovation experiment in Russia. Subsequent to that conference, some Churches, while not adopting all the reforms which were there introduced, adopted the Western calendar, and even, in some cases, the Western Paschalia. This, then, was the first step onto the path of modernism of the Orthodox Church, whereby Her way of life was changed in order to bring it closer to the way of life of heretical communities. In this respect, therefore, the adoption of the Western Calendar was a violation of a principle consistent in the Holy Canons, whereby there is a tendency to spiritually isolate the Faithful from those who teach contrary to the Orthodox Church, and not to encourage closeness with such in our prayer‐life (Titus 3:10; 10th, 45th, and 65th Apostolic Canons; 32nd, 33rd, and 37th Canons of Laodicea, etc.). The unhappy fruit of that reform was the violation of the unity of the life in prayer of Orthodox Christians in various countries. While some of them were celebrating Christmas together with heretics, others still fasted. Sometimes such a division occurred in the same local Church, and sometimes Easter [Pascha] was celebrated according to the Western Paschal reckoning. For the sake, therefore, of being nearer to the heretics, that principle, set forth by the First Ecumenical Council that all Orthodox Christians should simultaneously, with one mouth and one heart, rejoice and glorify the Resurrection of Christ all over the world, is violated. This tendency to introduce reforms, regardless of previous general decisions and practice of the whole Church in violation of the Second Canon of the VI Ecumenical Council, creates only confusion. His Holiness, the Patriarch of Serbia, Gabriel, of blessed memory, expressed this feeling eloquently at the Church Conference held in Moscow in 1948. ʺIn the last decades,ʺ he said, ʺvarious tendencies have appeared in the Orthodox Church which evoke reasonable apprehension for the purity of Her doctrines and for Her dogmatical and canonical Unity. ʺThe convening by the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Pan‐Orthodox Conference and the Conference at Vatopedi, which had as their principal aim the preparing of the Prosynod, violated the unity and cooperation of the Orthodox Churches. On the one hand, the absence of the Church of Russia at these meetings, and, on the other, the hasty and unilateral actions of some of the local Churches and the hasty actions of their representatives have introduced chaos and anomalies into the life of the Eastern Orthodox Church. ʺThe unilateral introduction of the Gregorian Calendar by some of the local Churches while the Old Calendar was kept yet by others, shook the unity of the Church and incited serious dissension within those of them who so lightly introduced the New Calendarʺ (Acts of the Conferences of the Heads and Representatives of the Autocephalic Orthodox Churches, Moscow, 1949, Vol. II, pp. 447‐448). Recently, Prof. Theodorou, one of the representatives of the Church of Greece at the Conference in Chambesy in 1968, noted that the calendar reform in Greece was hasty and noted further that the Church there suffers even now from the schism it caused (Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, 1969, No. 1, p. 51). It could not escape the sensitive consciences of many sons of the Church that within the calendar reform, the foundation is already laid for a revision of the entire order of Orthodox Church life which has been blessed by the Tradition of many centuries and confirmed by the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils. Already at that Pan‐Orthodox Conference of 1923 at Constantinople, the questions of the second marriage of clergy as well as other matters were raised. And recently, the Greek Archbishop of North and South America, Iakovos, made a statement in favor of a married episcopate (The Hellenic Chronicle, December 23, 1971). The strength of Orthodoxy has always lain in Her maintaining the principles of Church Tradition. Despite this, there are those who are attempting to include in the agenda of a future Great Council not a discussion of the best ways to safeguard those principles, but, on the contrary, ways to bring about a radical revision of the entire way of life in the Church, beginning with the abolition of fasts, second marriages of the clergy, etc., so that Her way of life would be closer to that of the heretical communities. In our first Sorrowful Epistle we have shown in detail the extent to which the principles of the World Council of Churches are contrary to the doctrines of the Orthodox Church, and we protested against the decision taken in Geneva at the Pan‐Orthodox Conference declaring the Orthodox Church to be an organic member of that council. Then we reminded all that, ʺthe poison of heresy is not too dangerous when it is preached outside the Church. Many times more perilous is that poison which is gradually introduced into the organism in larger and larger doses by those who, in virtue of their position, should not be poisoners but spiritual physicians.ʺ Alas! Of late we see the symptoms of such a great development of ecumenism with the participation of the Orthodox, that it has become a serious threat, leading to the utter annihilation of the Orthodox Church by dissolving Her in an ocean of heretical communities.