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PELAGIANISM IS NOTHING OTHR THAN THE “CHRISTIAN” VERSION OF PHARISAISM Although we are speaking of the heresy of Pelagianism and not that of Pharisaism, it is difficult not to mention the Pharisees because their positions were also a kind of Pelagianism. In fact, the Pharisaic view of fasting is very much identical to the view held by Bp. Kirykos, since he thinks that “fasting in the finer and broader sense” makes someone “worthy to commune.” But our Lord Jesus Christ rebuked the Pharisees for this error of theirs. Fine examples of these rebukes are found in the Gospels. The best example is the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, because it shows the difference between a Pharisee who thinks of himself as “worthy” due to his fasts, compared to a Christian who is conscious of his unworthiness and cries to the Lord for mercy. It is a perfect example because it mentions fasting. This well‐ known parable spoken by the Lord Himself, reads as follows: “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted (Luke 18:9‐14).” Behold the word of the Lord! The Publican was more justified than the Pharisee! The Publican was more worthy than the Pharisee! But today’s Christians cannot be justified if they are “extortionists, unjust, adulterers or even… publicans.” For they have the Gospel, the Church, the guidance of the spiritual father, and the washing away of their sins through the once‐off Mysteries of Baptism and Chrism, and the repetitive Mysteries of Confession and Communion. They have no excuse to be sinners, and if they are they have the method available to correct themselves. But how much more so are Christians not justified in being Pharisees? For they have this parable spoken by the Lord Himself as clear proof of Christ’s disfavor towards “the leaven of the Pharisees.” They have hundreds of Holy Fathers’ epistles, homilies and dialogues, which they must have read in their pursuit of exulting themselves! They have before them the repeated exclamations of the Lord, “Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men! For ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in (Matthew 23:13).” They have even the very fact that it was an apostle who betrayed the Lord, and not a mere disciple but one of the twelve! They have the fact that it was not an idolatrous nation that judged its savior and found him guilty, but it was God’s own chosen people that condemned the world’s Savior to death! They have even the fact that the Scribes, Pharisees and High Priests were the ones who crucified the King of Glory! Yet despite having all of these clear proofs, they continue their Pharisaism, but the “Christian” kind, namely, Pelagianism. But who are we to condemn them? After all, we are but sinners. Therefore let them take heed to the Lord’s rebuke: “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? (Matthew 23:33). A Genuine Orthodox Christian (i.e., non‐Pelagian, non‐Pharisee), approaches the Holy Chalice with nothing but disdain and humiliation for his wretched soul, and feels his utter unworthiness, and truly believes that what is found in that Chalice is God in the Flesh, and mankind’s only source of salvation and life. If a man is to ever be called “worthy,” the origin of that worth is not in himself, but is in that Holy Chalice from which he is about to commune. For a man who lives of himself will surely die. But a man who lives in Christ, and through Holy Communion allows Christ to live in him, such a man shall never die. As Christ said: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world (John 6:51).” Thus a Genuine Orthodox Christian does not boast that he “fasts twice a week” as did the Pharisee, but recognizing only his own imperfections before the face of the perfect Christ, he smites his breast as did the Publican, saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Like the malefactor that he is in thought, word and deed, he imitates the malefactor that was crucified with the Lord, saying, “I indeed justly [am condemned]; for I received the due reward for my deeds: but this man, [my Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ,] hath done nothing amiss (Luke 23:41).” And he says unto Jesus, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom (Luke 23:42).” To such a Genuine Orthodox Christian, free of Pharisaism and Pelagianism, the Lord responds, “Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43),” and “I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me, that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom (Luke 22:29).” How does all of the above compare to Bp. Kirykos’ statement that “fasting according to one’s strength” causes one to “worthily receive the body and blood of the Lord?” How can Bp. Kirykos justify his theory that the early Christians supposedly “fasted in the fine and broader sense, that is, they were worthy to commune?” Can anyone, no matter how strictly they fast, ever be considered worthy of Holy Communion? Does someone’s work of fasting make them worthy? Is Bp. Kirykos justified in believing that fasting for three days without oil or wine supposedly makes an individual worthy of Holy Communion? If Bp. Kirykos is justified, then why does he not do this himself? Why does he eat oil on every Saturday of Great Lent, and yet communes on Sundays “unworthily” (according to his own theory) without shame? Why does he demand the three day fast from oil upon laymen, but does not apply it to himself and his priests? We are not speaking of laymen with penances and excommunications. We are speaking of laymen who have confessed their sins and are permitted by their spiritual father to receive Holy Communion. When such laymen receive Holy Communion they are not meant to kiss the hand of the priest after this, because the Orthodox Church believes in their equality with the priest through the Mysteries. There is no difference between priests and laymen when it comes to the ability to commune, except only for the fact that the clergy receive the Immaculate Mysteries within the Holy Bema, whereas the laity receives them from the Royal Doors. Aside from this, there is no difference in the preparation for Holy Communion either. The laymen cannot be compelled to fast extra fasts simply for being laymen, whereas priests are not required to do these extra fasts at all on account of being priests. The equality of the clergy and laity with regards to Holy Communion is clearly expressed by Blessed Chrysostom: “There are cases when a priest does not differ from a layman, notably when one approaches the Holy Mysteries. We are all equally given them, not as in the Old Testament, when one food was for the priests and another for the people and when it was not permitted to the people to partake of that which was for the priest. Now it is not so: but to all is offered the same Body and the same Chalice…” (John Chrysostom, Homily 18, on 2 Corinthians 8:24) This is why the Orthodox Church preserves this tradition whereby the priest forbids the laymen who have communed from kissing his hand. These are the pious laymen we refer to: those who are deemed acceptable to approach the Chalice. Aren’t the bishops and priests obliged to fast more strictly than the laymen, especially since the bishops and priests are the ones invoking the Holy Spirit to descend on the gifts, while the laymen only stand in the crowd of the people? So then why does Bp. Kirykos demand the three‐ day strict fast (forbidding even oil and wine) upon laymen, while he himself and his priests not only partake of oil and wine, but outside of fasting periods they even partake of fish, eggs, dairy products (and for married clergy, even meat) as late as 11:30pm on the night before they are to serve Divine Liturgy and commune of the Holy Mysteries “worthily” yet without fasting? Are such hypocrisies Christian or are they Pharisaic? What does Christ have to say regarding the Pharisees who ordered laymen to fast more heavily while the Pharisee hierarchy did not do this themselves? Christ rebuked and condemned them harshly. Thus we read in the Gospel according to St. Luke: “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying: “The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Mosesʹ seat. All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” (Luke 23:1‐4). So much for the Pharisees and their successors, the Pelagians! So much for Bp. Kirykos and those who agree with his blasphemous positions, for these men are the Pharisees and Pelagians of our time! May God have mercy on them and enlighten them to depart from the darkness of their hypocrisy. May God also enlighten us to shun all forms of Pharisaism and Pelagianism, including this most dangerous form adopted by Bp. Kirykos. May we shun this heresy by ceasing to rely on our own human perfections that are but abominations in the eyes of our perfect God. Let us take heed to the admonition of one who himself was a Pharisee named Saul, but later became a Christian named Paul. For, he was truly blinded by the darkness of his Pharisaic self‐righteousness, but Christ blinded him with the eternal light of sanctifying and soul‐saving Divine Grace. This Apostle to the Nations writes: “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:17‐31).” Yea, Lord, help us to submit entirely to Thy will, and to learn to glorify only in Thee, and not in our own works. For in truth, even the greatest works of ours, even the work of fasting, whether for one day, three days, a week, forty days, or even a lifetime, is worthless before Thy sight. As the prophet declares, our works are an abomination, and our righteousness is but a menstruous rag. Therefore, O Lord, judge us according to Thy mercy and not according to our sins. For Thou alone can make us worthy of Communion. Note that in the above short prayer by the present author, the word “us” is used and not “them.” This is because, in order to preserve oneself from becoming a Pharisee, one must always include himself among those who are lacking in conduct, and must ask God for guidance as well as for others. In this manner, one does not fall into the danger of the Pharisee who said “God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are…” but rather acknowledges his own misconduct, and thereby includes himself in the prayer, imitating the publican who said “God be merciful to me a sinner.” For there is no point preaching against Pharisaism unless one first admonishes and reproves his own soul, and asks God to cleans himself from this hypocrisy of the Pharisees. For we are not to hate the sinners, but rather the sin itself; and we are not to hate the heretics, but rather the heresy itself. In so doing, our Confession against the sins and heresies themselves constitute a “work of love.” But when it comes to people judging Christians for food, or Sabbaths, such as what Bp. Kirykos has done by his two blasphemous letters to Fr. Pedro, this is definitely not a “work of love” but is in fact the leaven of the Pharisees in its fullness. It is a work of demonic self‐righteousness and satanic hatred towards mankind. For rather than being a true spiritual father towards his spiritual children, he proves to be a negligent and self‐serving, and a user of his flock for his own personal gain. He allows himself to commune very frequently without the slightest fast, while demanding strict fasting on his flock while also forbidding them to ever commune on Sundays. Thus it is well that Mr. Christos Noukas, the advisor to Fr. Pedro, asked Bp. Kirykos: “Are you a father or a stepfather?” By this he meant, “Do you truly love your spiritual children as a true spiritual father should, or do you consider them to be another man’s children and nothing but a burden to you?” Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, in the sermon in which he taught us to pray to “Our Father,” explained the love of a true father towards his children. The account, as contained in the Gospel of Luke, is as follows: “And [Jesus] said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with
CONCISE SUMMARY of the Soteriological Heresies of Bp. Kirykos Kontogiannis Bp. Kirykos tells his followers that those who have reacted against his policy regarding the issue of Holy Communion, supposedly teach that believers should eat meat and dairy products in preparation for Communion. But this slander is most ludicrous. He spreads this slander solely in order to cover up his two heretical letters to Fr. Pedro. The aforesaid letters were sent during Great Lent, during which not only is there no consumption of meat, but even oil and wine are not partaken save for Saturdays and Sundays only. Therefore, since the scandal occurred on the Sunday of Orthodoxy and continued further on the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross (both of which fall in Great Lent), and since Fr. Pedro denounced Bp. Kirykos prior to the commencement of Holy Week, how can Bp. Kirykos’ slander be believed, regarding meat‐eating? In reality, it is Bp. Kirykos himself who blasphemes and preaches heresies without the slightest sign of repentance. Heretical is the theory of Bp. Kirykos that Christians should not commune on Sundays, but only on Saturdays. He destroys the Christian Soteriological meaning of Sunday as the day of Salvation and of Eternal Life, and he replaces it with the Saturday of the Jews! (Heresy = Sabbatianism) Heretical is the theory of Bp. Kirykos that fasting without oil makes a Christian “worthy” of Communion without any reference to the Mystery of Confession and the teaching of the Church that only God makes man worthy, because without God, no one is worthy. (Heresy = Pelagianism). Heretical is the theory of Bp. Kirykos that continuous Holy Communion was permitted to the early Christians supposedly because they were all ascetics and fasters, and that it was this fasting that made them “worthy to commune,” when in reality the early Christians lived among the world, and even the bishops were married, and they only knew of the fasts of Great Lent and of every Wednesday and Friday, whereas today’s Orthodox Christians have several more fasts (Dormition, Nativity, Apostles, etc). The Holy Apostles in their Canons forbid us to fast on Saturdays. The Synod of Gangra anathematizes those who call meat or marriage unclean or a reason of unworthiness to commune, as is written in the 1st and 2nd canons of that Synod. (Heresy of Bp. Kirykos = Manichaeanism). Heretical is the theory of Bp. Kirykos that if “by economy” he permits someone “lucky” to commune on a Sunday during Great Lent, that such a person must fast strictly on the Saturday prior, without oil, whereas the 64th Apostolic Canon forbids this, and the 55th Canon of the Quinisext Council admonishes the Church of Old Rome, in order for this cacodoxy and cacopraxy to cease. Additionally, St. Photius the Great in his “Encyclical to the Eastern Patriarchs” calls the act of fasting strictly on the Saturdays of Great Lent “the first heresy of the Westerners” (Heresy of Bp. Kirykos = Frankism). Heretical is the theory of Bp. Kirykos that laymen are unworthy due to the fact they are laymen, and that outside of the fasting periods they must prepare for Communion by fasting for 7 days without meat, 5 days without dairy, 3 days without oil or wine, 1 day without olives and sesame products. He demands this fast upon all laymen, whether married or virgins, whether old or young, and without allowing the spiritual father to judge those who confess to him with either a stricter or easier fast, according to one’s sins. In other words, their only sin causing the necessity for this long fast is the fact that they are laymen! Paradoxically, Bp. Kirykos himself eats eggs, cheese, milk, etc, as late as midnight on a Saturday night and then he serves the Liturgy and Communes on Sunday without feeling “unworthy.” He justifies his hypocrisy by saying “I am permitted to eat whatever I want because I am a Bishop!” Phew! In other words, he believes that his Episcopal dignity makes him “worthy” of communion without having the need to fast even for one day, whereas laymen need to fast for an entire week simply because they are laymen! This system was kept by the Pharisees, and they were condemned by the Lord because they placed heavy burdens on the shoulders of men, while they would not lift the weight of even a single finger. (Heresy = Pharisaism). Heretical is the theory of Bp. Kirykos that the Holy Canons do not apply in our times but that they are only for the Apostolic era. He preaches that back then the Church was “worthy” to commune but that now we are all fallen and because of this the Holy Canons must be interpreted differently, and not in the same context as they were interpreted by the Holy Fathers. In other words, Bp. Kirykos preaches that of one kind was the Apostolic Church, and of another kind are we today, and that “we must return.” In so saying, he forgets that the Lord’s promise that “the gates of hell shall not prevail” against the Church, and he blasphemes the verse in the Symbol of the Faith in which we confess that also we today, by God’s mercy, belong to the “One, Holy, Catholic and APOSTOLIC Church,” and that there is no such thing as another Church of the Apostolic times and a different Church today, but that there exists ONLY THE ONE CHURCH OF CHRIST, both then and now, with the same requirement to abide by the Holy Canons and to interpret them exactly how the Holy Fathers interpreted them. The only ones who believe in a first “Apostolic Church” and a later fall, and that “we must return,” are the Chiliasts and Ecumenists, these very heretics that Bp. Kirykos supposedly battles, yet he preaches their cacodoxies (Heresies = Chiliasm and Ecumenism).
THE PAN‐HERESY OF ECUMENISM EXISTED AMONG THE ORTHODOX PRIOR TO 1924 In 1666‐1667 the Pan‐Orthodox Synod of Moscow decided to receive Papists by simple confession of Faith, without rebaptism or rechrismation! At the beginning of the 18th century at Arta, Greece, the Holy Mysteries would be administered by Orthodox Priests to Westerners, despite this scandalizing the Orthodox faithful. In 1863 an Anglican clergyman was permitted to commune in Serbia, by the official decision of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church. In the 1800s, Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow wrote that the schisms within Christianity “do not reach the heavens.” In other words, he believed that heresy doesn’t divide Christians from the Kingdom of God! In 1869, at the funeral of Metropolitan Chrysanthus of Smyrna, an Archbishop of the Armenian Monophysites and a Priest of the Anglicans actively participated in the service! In 1875, the Orthodox Archbishop of Patras, Greece, concelebrated with an Anglican priest in the Mystery of Baptism! In 1878 the first Masonic Ecumenical Patriarch, Joachim III, was enthroned. He was Patriarch for two periods (1878‐1884 and 1901‐1912). This Masonic Patriarch Joachim III is the one who performed the Episcopal consecration of Bp. Chrysostom Kavouridis, who in turn was the bishop who consecrated Bp. Matthew of Bresthena. Thus the Matthewites trace their Apostolic Succession in part from this Masonic “Patriarch.” In 1903 and 1912, Patriarch Joachim III blessed the Holy Chrism, which was used by the Matthewites until they blessed their own chrism in 1958! Thus until 1958 they were using the Chrism blessed by a Masonic Patriarch! In 1879 the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople decided that in times of great necessity, it is permitted to have sacramental communion with the Armenians. In other words, an Orthodox priest can perform the mysteries for Armenian laymen, and an Armenian priest for Orthodox laymen! In 1895 the Ecumenical Patriarch Anthimus VII declared his desire for al Christians to calculate days according to the new calendar! In 1898, Patriarch Gerasimus of Jerusalem permitted the Greeks and Syrians living in Melbourne to receive communion in Anglican parishes! In 1902 the Patriarchal Encyclical of the Ecumenical Patriarchate refers to the heresies of the west as “Churches” and “Branches of Christianity”! Thus it was an official Orthodox declaration that espouses the branch theory heresy! In 1904 the Patriarchal Encyclical of the Ecumenical Patriarchate refers to the heretics as “those who believe in the All‐Holy Trinity, and who honour the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and hope in the salvation of God’s grace”! In 1907 at Portsmouth, England, there was a joint doxology of Russian and Anglican clergy! Prior to 1910 the Russian Bishop Innokenty of Alaska, made a pact with the Anglican Bishop Row of America, that the priests belonging to each Church would be permitted to offer the mysteries to the laymen of one another. In other words, for Orthodox priests to commune Anglican laymen, and for Anglican priests to commune Orthodox laymen! In 1910 the Syrian/Antiochian Orthodox Bishop Raphael (Hawaweeny) permitted the Orthodox faithful, in his Encyclical, to accept the mysteries of Baptism, Communion, Confession, Marriage, etc, from Anglicna priests! The same bishop took part in an Anglican Vespers, wearing his mandya and seated on the throne! In 1917 the Greek Orthodox Exarch of America Alexander of Rodostolus took part in an Anglican Vespers. The same hierarch also took part in the ordination of an Anglican bishop in Pensylvania. In 1918, Archbishop Anthimus of Cyprus and Metropolitan Meletius mataxakis of Athens, took part in Anglican services at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London! In 1919, the leaders of the Orthdoxo Churches in America took part in Anglican services at the “General Assembly of Anglican Churches in America”! In 1920 the Patriarchal Encyclical of the Ecumenical patriarchate refers to the heresies as “Churches of God” and advises the adoption of the new calendar! In 1920, Metropolitan Philaret of Didymotichus, while in London, serving as the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Conference of Lambeth, took part in joint services in an Anglican church! In 1920, Patriarch Damian of Jerusalem (he who was receiving the Holy Light), took part in an Anglican liturgy at the Anglican Church of Jerusalem, where he read the Gospel in Greek, wearing his full Hierarchical vestments! In 1921, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury took part in the funeral of Metropolitan Dorotheus of Prussa in London, at which he read the Gospel! In 1022, Archbishop Germanus of Theathyra, the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in London, took part in a Vespers service at Westminster Abbey, wearing his Mandya and holding his pastoral staff! In 1923, the Ecumenical Patriarchate recognized the mysteries of the “Living Church” which had been anathematized by Patriarch Tikhon of Russia! In 1923, the Ecumenical Patriarchate recognized Anglican mysteries as valid! In 1923, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem recognized Anglican mysteries as valid! In 1923, the Church of Cyprus recognized Anglican mysteries as valid! In 1923, the “Pan‐Orthodox Congress” under Ecumenical Patriarch Meletius Metaxakis proposed the adoption of the new “Revised Julian Calendar.” In December 1923, the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece officially approved the adoption of the New Calendar to take place in March 1924. Among the bishops who signed the decision to adopt the new calendar was Metropolitan Germanus of Demetrias, one of the bishops who later consecrated Bishop Matthew of Bresthena in 1935. Thus the Matthewites trace their Apostolic Succession from a bishop who was personally responsible (by his signature) for the adoption of the New Calendar in Greece.
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
IS IT SINFUL TO EAT MEAT? ARE MARITAL RELATIONS IMPURE? In his first letter to Fr. Pedro, Bp. Kirykos writes: “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.” In the above quote, Bp. Kirykos displays the notion that early Christians supposedly abstained from meat and from marriage, and were thus all supposedly “ascetics and temperate and fasters,” and that this is what gave them the right to commune daily. But the truth of the matter is that the majority of Christians were not ascetics, yet they did commune every day. In fact, the ascetics were the ones who lived far away from cities where Liturgy would have been available, and it was these ascetics who would commune rarely. This can be ascertained from studying the Patrologia and the ecclesiastical histories written by Holy Fathers. The theories that Bp. Kirykos entertains are also followed by those immediately surrounding him. His sister, the nun Vincentia, for instance, actually believes that people that eat meat or married couples that engaged in legal nuptial relations are supposedly sinning! She actually believes that meat and marriage are sinful and should be avoided. This theory appears much more extreme in the person of the nun Vincentia, but this notion is also found in the teachings of Bp. Kirykos, and the spirit of this error can also be found in the above quote, where he believes that only people who are “ascetics and temperate and fasters” are “worthy of communion,” as if a man who eats meat or has marital relations with his own wife is “sinful” and “unworthy.” But is this the teaching of the Orthodox Church? Certainly not! These teachings are actually found in Gnosticism, Manichaeism, Paulicianism, Bogomilism, and various “New Age” movements which arise from a mixture of Christianity with Hinduism or Buddhism, religions that consider meat and marriage to be sinful due to their erroneous belief in reincarnation. The Holy Apostle Paul warns us against these heresies. In the First Epistle to Timothy, the Apostle to the Nations writes: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” If all of the early Christians abstained from meat and marriage, as Bp. Kirykos dares to say, how is it that the Apostle Paul warns his disciple, Timothy, that in the future people shall “depart from the faith,” shall preach “doctrines of demons,” shall “speak lies in hypocrisy,” shall “forbid marriage” and shall “command to abstain from meats?” The heresy that the Holy Apostle Paul was prophesying about is most likely that called Manichaeism. This heresy finds its origins in a Babylonian man called Shuraik, son of Fatak Babak. Shuraik became a Mandaean Gnostic, and was thus referred to as Rabban Mana (Teacher of the Light‐Spirit). For this reason, Shuraik became commonly‐known throughout the world as Mani. His followers became known as Manicheans in order to distinguish them from the Mandaeans, and the religion he founded became known as Manichaeism. The basic doctrines and principles of this religion were as follows: The Manicheans believed that there was no omnipotent God. Instead they believed that there were two equal powers, one good and one evil. The good power was ruled by the “Prince of Light” while the evil power was led by the “Prince of Darkness.” They believed that the material world was inherently evil from its very creation, and that it was created by the Prince of Darkness. This explains why they held meat and marriage to be evil, since anything material was considered evil from its very foundation. They also believed that each human consisted of a battleground between these two opposing powers of light and darkness, where the soul endlessly battles against the body, respectively. They divided their followers into four groups: 1) monks, 2) nuns, 3) laymen, 4) laywomen. The monks and nuns abstained from meat and marriage and were therefore considered “elect” or “holy,” whereas the laymen and laywomen were considered only “hearers” and “observers” but not real “bearers of the light” due to their “sin” of eating meat and engaging in marital relations. The above principles of the Manichean religion are entirely opposed to the Orthodox Faith, on account of the following reasons: The Orthodox Church believes in one God who is eternal, uncreated, without beginning and without end, and forever good and omnipotent. Evil has never existed in the uncreated Godhead, and it shall never exist in the uncreated Godhead. The power of evil is not uncreated but it has a beginning in creation. Yet the power of evil was not created by God. Evil exists because the prince of the angels abused his free will, which caused him to fall and take followers with him. He became the devil and his followers became demons. Prior to this event there was no evil in the created world. The material world was not created by the devil, but by God Himself. By no means is the material world evil. God looked upon the world he created and said “it was very good.” For this reason partaking of meat is not evil, but God blessed Noah and all of his successors to partake of meat. For all material things in the world exist to serve man, and man exists to serve God. If there is any evil in the created world it derives from mankind’s abuse of his free will, which took place in Eden, due to the enticement of the devil. The history of mankind, both good and bad, is not a product of good or evil forces fighting one another, but every event in the history of mankind is part of God’s plan for mankind’s salvation. The devil has power over this world only forasmuch as mankind is enslaved by his own egocentrism and his desire to sin. Once mankind denies his ego and submits to the will of God, and ceases relying on his own works but rather places his hope and trust in God, mankind shall no longer follow or practice evil. But man is inherently incapable of achieving this on his own because no man is perfect or sinless. For this reason, God sent his only‐begotten Son, the Word of God, who became incarnate and was born and grew into the man known as Jesus of Nazareth. By his virginal conception; his nativity; his baptism; his fast (which he underwent himself but never forced upon his disciples); his miracles (the first of which he performed at a wedding); his teaching (which was contrary to the Pharisees); his gift of his immaculate Body and precious Blood for the eternal life of mankind; his betrayal; his crucifixion; his death; his defeating of death and hades; his Resurrection from the tomb (by which he also raised the whole human nature); his ascension and heavenly enthronement; and his sending down of the Holy Spirit which proceeds from the Father—our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, accomplished the salvation of mankind. Among the followers of Christ are people who are married as well as people who live monastic lives. Both of these kinds of people, however, are sinners, each in their own way, and their actions, no matter how good they may be, are nothing but a menstruous rag in the eyes of God, according to the Prophet Isaiah. Whether married or unmarried, they can accomplish nothing without the saving grace of the crucified and third‐day Risen Lord. Although being a monastic allows one to spend more time devoted to prayer and with less responsibilities and earthly cares, nevertheless, being married is not at all sinful, but rather it is a blessing. Marital relations between a lawfully married couple, in moderation and at the appointed times (i.e., not on Sundays, not on Great Feasts, and outside of fasting periods) are not sinful but are rather an expression of God’s love and grace which He has bestowed upon each married man and woman, through the Mystery of Holy Matrimony. The Orthodox Church went through great extremes to oppose the heresy of Manichaeism, especially because this false religion’s devotion to fasting and monasticism enticed many people to think it was a good religion. In reality though, Manichaeism is a satanic folly. Yet over the years this folly began to seep into the fold of the faithful. Manichaeism spread wildly throughout the Middle East, and throughout Asia as far as southern China. It also spread into Africa, and even St. Aurelius Augustinus, also known as Blessed Augustine of Hippo (+28 August, 430), happened to be a Manichaean before he became an Orthodox Christian. The heresy began to spread into Western Europe, which is why various pockets in the Western Church began enforcing the celibacy of all clergy. They also began reconstructing the meaning of fasting. Instead of demanding laymen to only fast on Wednesday and Friday during a normal week, they began enforcing a strict fast on Saturday as well. The reason for this is because they no longer viewed fasting as a spiritual exercise for the sake of remembering Christ’s betrayal and his crucifixion. Instead they began viewing fasting as a method of purifying one’s body from “evil foods.” Thus they adopted the Manichean heresy that meat, dairy or eggs are supposedly evil. Thinking that these foods were evil, they demanded laymen to fast on Saturday so as to be “pure” when they receive Holy Communion on Sunday. In so doing, they cast aside the Holy Canons of the All‐famed Apostles, for the sake of following their newly‐found “tradition of men,” which is nothing but the heresy of Manichaeism. The Sixth Ecumenical Council, in its 55th Canon, strongly admonishes the Church of Rome to abandon this practice. St. Photius the Great, Patriarch of Constantinople New Rome (+6 February, 893), in his Encyclical to the Eastern Patriarchs, in his countless writings against Papism and his work against Manichaeism, clearly explains that the Roman Catholic Church has fallen into Manichaeism by demanding the fast on Saturdays and by enforcing all clergy to be celibate. Thanks to these works of St. Photius the Great, the heretical practices of the Manicheans did not prevail in the East, and the mainstream Orthodox Christians did not adopt this Manichaeism. However, the Manicheans did manage to set up their own false churches in Armenia and Bulgaria. The Manicheans in Armenia were referred to as Paulicians. Those in Bulgaria were called Bogomils. They flourished from the 9th century even until the 15th century, until the majority of them converted to Islam under Ottoman Rule. Today’s Muslim Azerbaijanis, Kurds, and various Caucasian nationalities are descendants of those who were once Paulicians. Today’s Muslim Albanians, Bosnians and Pomaks descend from those who were once Bogomils. Some Bogomils migrated to France where they established the sect known as the Albigenses, Cathars or Puritans. But several Bogomils did not convert to Islam, nor did they leave the realm of the Ottoman Empire, but instead they converted to Orthodoxy. The sad thing is, though, that they brought their Manichaeism with them. Thus from the 15th century onwards, Manichaeism began to infiltrate the Church, and this is what led to the outrageous practices of the 17th and 18th centuries, wherein hardly any laymen would ever commune, except for once, twice or three times per year. It is this error that the Holy Kollyvades Fathers fought. Various Holy Canons of the Orthodox Church condemn the notions that it is “sinful” or “impure” for one to eat meat or engage in lawful marital relations. Some of these Holy Canons and Decisions are presented below: The 51st Canon of the Holy Apostles reads: “If any bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, or anyone at all on the sacerdotal list, abstains from marriage, or meat, or wine, not as a matter of mortification, but out of abhorrence thereof, forgetting that all things are exceedingly good, and that God made male and female, and blasphemously misinterpreting God’s work of creation, either let him mend his ways or let him be deposed from office and expelled from the Church. Let a layman be treated similarly.” Thus, clergy and laymen are only permitted to abstain from these things for reasons of mortification, and such mortification is what one should apply to himself and not to others. By no means are they permitted to abstain from these things out of abhorrence towards them, in other words, out of belief that these things are disgusting, sinful or impure, or that they cause unworthiness. The 1st Canon of the Holy Council of Gangra reads: “If anyone disparages marriage, or abominates or disparages a woman sleeping with her husband, notwithstanding that she is faithful and reverent, as though she could not enter the Kingdom, let him be anathema.” Here the Holy Council anathematizes those who believe that a lawfully married husband and wife supposedly sin whenever they have nuptial relations. Note that the reference “as though she could not enter the Kingdom” can also have the interpretation “as though she could not receive Communion.” For according to the Holy Fathers, receiving Communion is an entry into the Kingdom. This is why when we are approaching Communion we chant “Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom.” Therefore, anyone who believes that a woman who lawfully sleeps with her own husband, or that a man who lawfully sleeps with his own wife, is somehow “impure,” “sinful,” or “evil,” is entertaining notions that are not Orthodox but rather Manichaean. Such a person is anathematized.
However, improvements in technology made the development of AEDs possible, so even laymen will have the opportunity to use the device safely and prevent a fatal cardiac arrest.
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.
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.
1 1 Note that, according to the Ecclesiastical History of Theodoret (Book V, ch. 17), notwithstanding the fact that the believer Emperor Theodosius was absolved by St. Ambrose of guilt due to the foul murder he had caused, yet, in spite of this, when he offered the gifts to God inside the Holy Bema and expected to commune there, St. Ambrose would not let him in, telling him that “the inner sanctuary, O Emperor, is accessible to priests alone”; and he was ordered to stay out of the Bema. Thereafter even when the Emperor went to Constantinople, he offered the gifts to God inside the Holy Bema, but immediately stepped outside, and did not go back in to commune, according to custom. For, says Theodoret, after offering the gifts at the sacred table, he at once went out, the most faithful emperor thus showing by his example that emperors who have committed foul murders ought not to commune inside the Bema. See also Nicephorus Callistus, Book XII, ch. 41. Hence let priests and confessors be induced to see to it that the unlawful custom prevailing in many places be cut out — the custom, I mean, of letting laymen come into the Holy Bema, which, failing to distinguish between priests and laymen, causes the latter to incur the penalty which befell King Ahaz, who, though a layman, undertook to perform the functions of those in holy orders. For they too, in such a case, are in a way usurping the functions of priests by entering the place allotted to priests. But if it is unlawful for laymen even to enter the Bema, how much more unlawful must be that which some ignorant priests do in having laymen or anagnosts prepare the holy elements in the holy prothesis on Maundy Thursday inside the Bema! So, for the love of God, let them cease doing this, lest they incur deposition from their holy order. Symeon of Thessalonica, on the other hand, says (ch. 143) that an emperor may commune within the Bema only at the time when he is being anointed as emperor, after from the deacons, and not at the Holy Table, but at a credence table placed beside it and having an antimension laid upon it.
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 PROFILE OF A CONTEMPORARY PHARISEE The Pharisees of Israel were meticulous in obeying the law. In fact, they came up with hundreds of their own laws, which were supposed to help them better obey God’s laws. They constantly opposed Jesus Christ, and sought to trap him. But the Pharisees are not a past phenomenon but also exist today. They are not only among the Jews, but even among the Christians, even among the “Genuine Orthodox Christians.” Thus we must beware of them, because they are truly the greatest enemies of Christ. We must remember that the harlots and the tax‐collectors were changed by Christ’s message and they truly became Christian. But the Pharisees not only refused to change, but it was they who judged Christ and demanded his crucifixion. We must never cease to forget this historical Christian truth. Pharisees lurking within Christianity were also the source for almost every heresy, including the heresies of Papism and Ecumenism. The following quote is from the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 23:1‐35): 1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 ʺThe teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Mosesʹ seat. A Pharisee is someone in the position of authority. 3 So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. The Pharisees does not practice what he preaches (otherwise known as hypocrite or actor). 4 They tie up heavy loads and put them on menʹs shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. The demands of a Pharisee are burdensome. They offer no help or assistance. 5 ʺEverything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; A Pharisee makes sure you know how spiritual he is, much more spiritual than you! 6 they love the place of honour at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; Pharisees live for prestige and recognition. Even if they only complete two years of theology they will dare to call themselves “theologians,” when the Church in her entire history only deems three people worthy of this title, namely St. John the Theologian, St. Gregory the Theologian and St. Symeon the New Theologian. They will not only consider themselves “theologians,” but will even try their best to rise to the top of entire Synods, even if they are still laymen. Then they will slowly influence the Church to follow their false ideologies, until they climb the ranks of the hierarchy. For instance, this is exactly what the “theologians” Mr. Gkoutzidis and Mr. Kontogiannis did among the Matthewites in the 1970s until today, while this is what the “theologians” Mr. Sarantopoulos and Mr. Sakarellos did among the Florinites. 7 they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ʹRabbi.ʹ A Pharisee lives for titles; “professor” “theologian,” “master,” “confessor,” self‐appointed “president of the pan‐orthodox council,” “only real bishop left in the world,” etc. 8 ʺBut you are not to be called ʹRabbi,ʹ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. The Kingdom of God on earth, namely, the Church, should be a level playing field. No special titles or privileges. All laymen are members of the Royal Priesthood (Βασιλικόν Ιεράτευμα) otherwise known as the “Holy Nation” (Ἔθνος Ἅγιον). The clergy are only those who are chosen from the Royal Priesthood, and elected to be the servants and not the rulers of the people. There are also no such things as “theologians.” Only three theologians exist in the Church, and these are Ss. John, Gregory and Symeon the New. All clergy and laymen who “theologize” should only be followed if their teachings comply with the dogmas and teachings of the Scriptures, Apostolic Canons, Ecumenical Councils, Pan‐Orthodox Councils, Local Councils and Patrology of the Orthodox Church. Even a hundred bishops and a thousand theologians are not infallible, for even entire councils have been rejected by the Church (i.e., the “Robber Synod” under Dioscoros, the false councils of Lyons and Florence, and others). Thus, one bishop and one theologian are also not infallible and should never be treated as such, because even if they theologize correctly one day, they could fall the next day. Even Popes and Patriarchs have fallen. Why, even the highest angel, the bright Lucifer, fell and became the darkest of demons. As Orthodox we know only of one infallible man, and this was our Lord Jesus Christ, who was theology in human form (i.e., Θεός Λόγος σεσαρκωμένος – God the Word in the flesh). Those who truly follow Christ abide in his words and this is exemplified in their actions. By actions we do not mean outward appearance, but inward reality. Those who speak of or seek after outward appearance are Pharisees in their “finest” form. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ʹfather,ʹ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called ʹteacher,ʹ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The Pharisee finds it hard to survive in an atmosphere which is God‐centred in its focus. They need the focus to be on themselves! 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. In the Kingdom of God on earth, namely the Church, there is meant to be a revolution of leadership. The greatest in rank is the servant of all. 12 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. In the Kingdom of God, one truly increases his spiritual ‘rank’ by demoting himself, utterly humiliating himself, and making himself the least of all. 13 ʺWoe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in menʹs faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Pharisees make it hard to enter the Kingdom. Their near‐dead souls and bodies block the way to those seeking entrance. 15 ʺWoe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. Pharisees are zealous to win people over to their way (consider Saul of Tarsus before Christ converted him). Their errors are magnified and amplified as they are passed onto their followers. 16 ʺWoe to you, blind guides! You say, ʹIf anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.ʹ 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 You also say, ʹIf anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.ʹ 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 Therefore, he who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven swears by Godʹs throne and by the one who sits on it. A Pharisee always focuses on human efforts and endeavours, while completely missing divine purpose and intention. 23 ʺWoe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices‐‐mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law‐‐justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. Pharisees are meticulous about carrying out the fine details of their own law (not God’s law). Their ‘spiritual’ labours are measured to the last gram, but they cannot see the heart of the law which beats within a true Christian, for the law has been written on our heart and in our inward‐parts. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. A Pharisee always excels at nit‐picking, while missing the nose on his head! 25 ʺWoe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self‐indulgence. A Pharisee slaps a fresh coat of paint on, to hide the rotten boards. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. True change begins inwardly, and naturally works outward. 27 ʺWoe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead menʹs bones and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. The grass is mowed and the windows are washed, but beware the killer lurking just behind the curtains! 29 ʺWoe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ʹIf we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.ʹ Pharisees of today like to think that they are not at all like the Pharisees of bygone days. 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Pharisees can’t quite hide who they really are. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers! 33 ʺYou snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. (Matt 23:1‐35) The following quotes are from the Gospel of Mark (Mark 7:4‐9, 7:13):
So, as laymen, we must conclude from this study?
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)
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
In laymen terms, accounting is the art and the science of recording all the transactions of business in per specified format.
In Laymen's terms:
In other words, they are favorites of both experts and laymen looking for legal help.
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?
ARE CHRISTIANS MEANT TO COMMUNE ONLY ON A SATURDAY AND NEVER ON A SUNDAY? In the second paragraph of his first letter to Fr. Pedro, Bp. Kirykos writes: “Also, all Christians, when they are going to commune, know that they must approach Holy Communion on Saturday (since it is preceded by the fast of Friday) and on Sunday only by economia, so that they are not compelled to break the fast of Saturday and violate the relevant Holy Canon [sic: here he accidentally speaks of breaking the fast of Saturday, but he most likely means observing a fast on Saturday, because that is what violates the canons].” The first striking remark is “All Christians.” Does Bp. Kirykos consider himself to be a Christian? If so, why does he commune every Sunday without exception, seeing as though “all Christians” are supposed to “know” that they are only allowed to commune on a Saturday, and never on Sunday, except by “economia.” Or perhaps Bp. Kirykos does not consider himself a Christian, and for this reason he is exempt of this rule for “all Christians.” It makes perfect sense that he excludes himself from those called Christians because his very ideas and practices are not Christian at all. Is communion on Saturdays alone, and never on Sundays, really a Christian practice? Is this what Christians have always believed? Was Saturday the day that the early Christians ʺbroke breadʺ (i.e., communed)? Let us look at what the Holy Scriptures have to say. St. Luke the Evangelist (+18 October, 86), in the Acts of the Holy Apostles, writes: “And on the first day of the week, when we were assembled to break bread, Paul discoursed with them, being to depart on the morrow (Acts 20:7).” Thus the Holy Apostle Paul would meet with the faithful on the first day of the week, to wit, Sunday, and on this day he would break bread, that is, he would serve Holy Communion. St. Paul the Apostle (+29 June, 67) also advises in his first epistle to the Corinthians: “On the first day of the week, let every one of you put apart with himself, laying up what it shall well please him: that when I come, the collections be not then to be made (1 Corinthians 16:2).” Thus St. Paul indicates that the Christians would meet with one another on the first day of the week, that is, Sunday, not only for Liturgy, but also for collection of goods for the poor. The reason why the Christians would meet for prayer and breaking of bread on Sunday is because our Lord Jesus Christ arose from the dead on one day after the Sabbath, on the first day of the week, that is, the Lordʹs Day or Sunday (Matt. 28:1‐7; Mark 16:2,9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1). Another reason for the Christians meeting together on Sundays is because the Holy Spirit was delivered to the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, which was a Sunday, and this event signified the beginning of the Christian community. That Pentecost took place on a Sunday is clear from Godʹs command in the Old Testament Scriptures: “You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the Lord (Leviticus 23:16).” The reference to “fifty days” and “seventh Sabbath” refers to counting fifty days from the first Sabbath, or seven weeks plus one day; while “the day after the seventh Sabbath” clearly refers to a Sunday, since the day after the Sabbath day (Saturday) is always the Lord’s Day (Sunday). It was on the Sunday of Pentecost that the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles. Thus we read: “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance (Acts 2:1‐4).” A final reason for Sunday being the day that the Christians met for prayer and breaking of bread was in order to remember the promised Second Coming or rather Second Appearance (Δευτέρα Παρουσία) of the Lord. The reference to Sunday is found in the Book of Revelation, in which Christ appeared and delivered the prophecy to St. John the Theologian on “Kyriake” (Κυριακή), which means “the main day,” or “the first day,” but more correctly means “the Lordʹs Day.” (Revelation 1:10). For the above three reasons (that Sunday is the day of the Resurrection, the Pentecost and the Second Appearance) the Apostles themselves, and the early Christians immediately made Sunday the new Sabbath, the new day of rest, and the new day for Godʹs people to gather together for prayer (i.e., Liturgy) and breaking of bread (i.e., Holy Communion) Thus we read in the Didache of the Holy Apostles: “On the Lordʹs Day (i.e., Kyriake) come together and break bread. And give thanks (i.e., offer the Eucharist), after confessing your sins that your sacrifice may be pure (Didache 14).” Thus the Christians met together on the Lord’s Day, that is, Sunday, for the breaking of bread and giving of thanks, to wit, the Divine Liturgy and Holy Eucharist. St. Barnabas the Apostle (+11 June, 61), First Bishop of Salamis in Cyprus, in the Epistle of Barnabas, writes: “Wherefore, also, we keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead (Barnabas 15).” The eighth day is a reference to Sunday, which is known as the first as well as the eighth day of the week. How more appropriate to keep the eighth day with joyfulness other than by communing of the joyous Gifts? St. Ignatius the God‐bearer (+20 December, 108), Bishop of Antioch, in his Epistle to the Magnesians, insists that the Jews who became Christian should be “no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s Day, on which also our Life rose again (Magnesians 9).” What could commemorate the Lord’s Day as the day Life rose again, other than by receiving Life incarnate, to wit, that precious Body and Blood of Christ? For he who partakes of it shall never die but live forever! St. Clemes, also known as St. Clement (+24 November, 101), Bishop of Rome, in the Apostolic Constitutions, also declares that Divine Liturgy is especially for Sundays more than any other day. Thus we read: “On the day of the resurrection of the Lord, that is, the Lord’s day, assemble yourselves together, without fail, giving thanks to God, and praising Him for those mercies God has bestowed upon you through Christ, and has delivered you from ignorance, error, and bondage, that your sacrifice may be unspotted, and acceptable to God, who has said concerning His universal Church: In every place shall incense and a pure sacrifice be offered unto me; for I am a great King, saith the Lord Almighty, and my name is wonderful among the nations (Apostolic Constitutions, ch. 30).” The reference to “pure sacrifice” is the oblation of Christ’s Body and Blood; “giving thanks to God” is the celebration of the Eucharist (εὐχαριστία = giving thanks). The Apostolic Constitutions also state clearly that Sunday is not only the most important day for Divine Liturgy, but that it is also the ideal day for receiving Holy Communion. It is written: “And on the day of our Lord’s resurrection, which is the Lord’s day, meet more diligently, sending praise to God that made the universe by Jesus, and sent Him to us, and condescended to let Him suffer, and raised Him from the dead. Otherwise what apology will he make to God who does not assemble on that day to hear the saving word concerning the resurrection, on which we pray thrice standing in memory of Him who arose in three days, in which is performed the reading of the prophets, the preaching of the Gospel, the oblation of the sacrifice, the gift of the holy food? (Apostolic Constitutions, ch. 59).” The “gift of the holy food” refers to Holy Communion. The Holy Canons of the Orthodox Church also distinguish Sunday as the day of Divine Liturgy and Holy Communion. The 19th Canon of the Sixth Ecumenical Council mentions the importance of Sunday as a day for gathering and preaching the Gospel sermon: “We declare that the deans of churches, on every day, but more especially on Sundays, must teach all the clergy and the laity words of truth out of the Holy Bible…” The 80th Canon of the Sixth Ecumenical Council states that all clergy and laity are forbidden to be absent from Divine Liturgy for three consecutive Sundays: “In case any bishop or presbyter or deacon or anyone else on the list of the clergy, or any layman, without any grave necessity or any particular difficulty compelling him to absent himself from his own church for a very long time, fails to attend church on Sundays for three consecutive weeks, while living in the city, if he be a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be removed from communion.” Take note that if one attends Divine Liturgy for three consecutive Saturdays, but not on the Sundays, he still falls under the penalty of this canon because it does not reprimand someone who simply doesn’t attend Divine Liturgy for three weeks, but rather one who “fails to attend church on Sundays.” The reference to “church” must refer to a parish where Holy Communion is offered every Sunday, for an individual who does not attend for three consecutive Sundays cannot be punished by being “removed from communion” if this is not even offered to begin with. Also, the fact that this is the penalty must mean that the norm is for the faithful to commune every Sunday, or at least every third Sunday. The 9th Canon of the Holy Apostles declares that: “All those faithful who enter and listen to the Scriptures, but do not stay for prayer and Holy Communion must be excommunicated, on the ground that they are causing the Church a breach of order.” The 2nd Canon of the Council of Antioch states: “As for all those persons who enter the church and listen to the sacred Scriptures, but who fail to commune in prayer together and at the same time with the laity, or who shun the participation of the Eucharist, in accordance with some irregularity, we decree that these persons be outcasts from the Church until, after going to confession and exhibiting fruits of repentance and begging forgiveness, they succeed in obtaining a pardon…” Both of these canons prove quite clearly that all faithful who attend Divine Liturgy and are not under any kind of penance or excommunication, must partake of Holy Communion. Thus, if clergy and laity are equally expected to attend Divine Liturgy every Sunday, or at least every third Sunday, they are equally expected to Commune every Sunday, or at least every third Sunday. Should they fail, they are to be excommunicated. St. Timothy of Alexandria (+20 July, 384), in his Questions and Answers, and specifically in the 3rd Canon, writes: “Question: If anyone who is a believer is possessed of a demon, ought he to partake of the Holy Mysteries, or not? Answer: If he does not repudiate the Mystery, nor otherwise in any way blaspheme, let him have communion, not, however, every day in the week, for it is sufficient for him on the Lord’s Day only.” So then, if even those who are possessed with demons are permitted to commune on every Sunday, how is it that Bp. Kirykos advises that all Christians are only permitted to commune on a Saturday, and never on a Sunday except by extreme economia? Are today’s healthy, faithful and practicing Orthodox Christians, who do not have a canon of penance or any excommunication, and who desire communion every Sunday, forbidden this, despite the fact that of old even those possessed of demons were permitted it? The above Holy Canons of the Orthodox Church are the Law of God that the Church abides to in order to prevent scandal or discord. Let us now compare this Law of God to the “traditions of men,” namely, the Sabbatian, Pharisaic statement found in Bp. Kirykos’s first letter to Fr. Pedro: “… 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.“ Clearly, Bp. Kirykos has turned the whole world upside down, and has made the Holy Canons and the Law of the Church of God as a matter of “discord and scandal,” and instead insists upon his own self‐invented “tradition” which is nowhere to be found in the writings of the Holy Fathers, in the Holy Canons, or in the Holy Tradition of Orthodoxy. The truth is that Bp. Kirykos himself is the one who introduced “disorder and scandal” when he trampled all over the Holy Canons and insisted that his priest, Fr. Pedro, and other laymen do likewise! The truth is that Fr. Pedro and the laymen supporting him are not at all causing “disorder and scandal” in the Church, but they are the ones preventing disorder and scandal by objecting to the unorthodox demands of Bp. Kirykos. Throughout the history of the Orthodox Church, Sunday has always been the day of Divine Liturgy and Holy Communion. This was declared so by the Holy Apostles themselves, was also maintained in the post‐apostolic era, and continues even until our day. Nowhere in the doctrines, practices or history of Orthodox Christianity is there ever a teaching that laymen are supposedly only to commune on a Saturday and never on a Sunday. The only day of the week throughout the year upon which Liturgy is guaranteed to be celebrated is on a Sunday. The Liturgy is only performed on a few Saturdays per year in most parishes, and mostly only during the Great Fast or on the Saturday of Souls. Liturgy is more seldom on weekdays as the Liturgies of Wednesday and Friday nights have been made Pre‐sanctified and limited to only within the Great Fast. Liturgy is now only performed on weekdays if it is a feastday of a major saint. But Liturgy is always performed on a Sunday without fail, in every city, village and countryside, because it is the Lord’s Day. The purpose of Liturgy is to receive Holy Communion, and the reason for it being celebrated on the Lord’s Day without fail is because this is the day of salvation, and therefore the most important day of the week, especially for receiving Holy Communion. For, “This is the day that the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).” What greater way to rejoice on the Lord’s Day than to commune of the very Lord Himself? The theory of diminishing Sunday as the day of salvation and communion, and instead opting for Saturday, is actually a heresy known as
This can help as you should understand that your targets may be most of the times laymen.
t h e ba sic a rgu m e n t for taql ī d 3 Laymen are not scholars 4 The subjects and skills to master in order to become a mujtahid (Expert Scholar) 5 The greatness of the early scholars over those who came later 11 Sunni scholars practised taqlīd of the four schools 12 A Muslim’s leaving taqlīd is an innovation 13 chapter chapter 2:
The Division of the G.O.C. Into Factions The first division among the Old Calendarists occurred in 1936, when three of the seven bishops returned to the New Calendarist State Church of Greece. The fallen hierarchs were Metropolitan Chrysostom Demetriou of Zacynthus, Bishop Christopher Hatziz of Megara and Bishop Polycarp Liosis of Diaulia. The remaining hierarchs of the Synod of the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece were Metropolitan Germanus Mavromatis of Demetrias, Metropolitan Chrysostom Kavouridis of Florina, Bishop Germanus Varykopoulos of the Cyclades and Bishop Matthew Karpathakis of Bresthena. The second division among the Old Calendarists also occurred in 1936, when the government‐recognized entity of the “Religious Community of the Genuine Orthodox Christians” (a group of laymen theoloigians without any bishops or priests) severed communion with the President of the Holy Synod, Metropolitan Germanus, and also severed communion with all the remaining hierarchs of the Synod, and went off alone, forming a parasynagogue. The third division among the Old Calendarists occurred in September 1937, when Bishop Matthew of Bresthena severed communion with the Synodal President, Metropolitan Germanus, and instead formed his own party, and took over the leadership of the schismatic “Religious Community of the Genuine Orthodox Christians” which had severed communion from the Church a year earlier. Bishop Matthew left for ecclesiological reasons. The fourth division occurred in October 1937, when Bishop Germanus of the Cyclades severed communion with the President of the Holy Synod, Metropolitan Germanus of Demetrias, and instead joined Bishop Matthew. The fifth division occurred in 1942, when Bishops Germanus of the Cyclades and Matthew of Bresthena severed communion with one another due to dogmatic reasons. Bishop Germanus of Cyclades condemned Bishop Matthew for his writings and publications, which included a statement that if it were not for the birth of St. John Chrysostom, there would have needed to be a “second incarnation of Christ,” and another statement that Christ’s teeth were supposedly broken, etc. Bishop Matthew retaliated against this by stating that Bishop Germanus was guilty of blaspheming against King Abgar’s letter to Christ, and the response from Christ to Abgar, and for mocking the “symbols of the Theotokos” that Bishop Matthew had published in his book “Garden of Graces.” The sixth division among the Old Calendarists occurred in 1943, when Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina severed communion with the Synodal President, Metropolitan Germanus of Demetrias, due to political reasons. In other words, by 1943, there were four Old Calendarist bishops, and four factions! Each of the four bishops was the “president” of his own faction. Unfortunately, these hierarchs managed to preserve themselves from new calendarism, but they fell into the passion of factionalism, a passion that still runs wild among the Old Calendarist hierarchs even today. This is what occurs when bishops are led by their passions, make hasty decisions to condemn their brothers, and make themselves leaders of their own parties. In 1946, this factionalism began to come to an end when Bishops Christopher and Polycarp returned to the Old Calendar and joined the Synod of Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina. Soon after this, Bishop Germanus of the Cyclades also began meeting with the above three bishops for the sake of reuniting all the factions of the Old Calendarists of Greece. However, he was placed in prison from 1947 to 1949, and it was not until he was released that he joined formally with the Synod of Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina. The only bishop who remained separated was Bishop Matthew of Bresthena, mainly for ecclesiological reasons, but he was much more open to unity than were those immediately surrounding him. The below photograph is of Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina and Bishops Germanus of Cyclades, Christopher of Megaris and Polycarp of Diaulia in 1946, when the factionalism began to end and a united Synod began to form again (with the exclusion of Bishop Matthew who did not meet in person with any of the remaining hierarchs). Germanus of Cyclades, Chrysostom of Florina, Christopher of Megaris, Polycarp of Diaulia
Once, the impulse reaches the muscle, the neurons fire up and begin to stimulate the muscle fibers to contract or in laymen’s terms:
Laptop Buy Guide For Individuals And Laymen Laptops are easy to carry, portable, battery operated, high storage computing device used for professional or personal use.