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The Creation of the Matthewite Hierarchy On the 26th of August 1948, Bishop Matthew of Bresthena together with only a handful of clergy consisting of only one archpriest, six archimandrites, seven hieromonks and two priests (hardly anything compared to the remaining four bishops and 300+ Old Calendarist priests alive in Greece at this time), decided that Bishop Matthew was permitted to create a provisional “Holy Synod” with himself as president and four priests (who he was to select) to be members. Bishop Matthew selected the four priest‐members of his provisional “Holy Synod” to be Fr. Gideon Pasios, Fr. Eugene Tombros, Fr. Athanasius Anestis and Fr. Callistus Makris. On the 28th of August 1949, Bishop Matthew together with the four priest‐members of his provisional “Holy Synod” took part in the election of one of the members, Fr. Gideon Pasios, to fill the roll of “Bishop of Trimythus in Cyprus.” Bishop Matthew then performed the consecration with five archimandrites, seven hieromonks and one archpriest serving as “witnesses” in the place of a second bishop (since Bishop Matthew was the only bishop present at the consecration, just as he was the only bishop present at the election). The consecration took place at Prophet Elias chapel, Kroniza, Attica. At the consecration, Fr. Gideon was renamed Spyridon, so that he became “Bishop Spyridon of Trimythus.” In the next few weeks, Bishops Matthew of Bresthena and Spyridon of Trimythus took part in the elections and consecrations of Bishops Andrew of Patras, Demetrius of Thessalonica and Callistus of Corinth. Standing (left to right):
The Matthewite Encyclical of March 1, 1957, Accepts a Synodical Regularization for the 1948 Consecrations (Which Became a Reality By Cheirothesia in 1971) …And the portion of those who disagree, being led astray and leading others to stray, causes division by preaching that the Bishops not be recognized because of the taking place of the supposedly anticanonical consecration of a Bishop by one Bishop. Children beloved in the Lord, this refusal to recognize is an error; it is an excuse for division. It has been witnessed scientifically and historically that dogmatically the consecration is valid. Dogmatically, the Bishops are in order. They are Bishops having the fullness of Episcopal authority. The matter is solved. For the sake of ecclesiastical order from the standpoint of administration in this matter the question is judgeable before the appropriate Synod for investigation if the consecration was justified, and if it was not, then the application of the appropriate penalties. Therefore there might be some justification to contend that there is here a matter yet to be judged, which neither invalidates, nor impedes, nor suspends the full exercise of the Episcopal authority. All of our Episcopal activities and deeds are absolutely valid canonically and dogmatically until the calling‐together of an Orthodox Synod in which circumstance we might be condemned administratively. Therefore it is an excuse which is put forward as an unjustified reason to justify the work of division. Even though this canonical and not dogmatic pretext is offered, it is not generally accepted, yet, for the sake of unity, for the sake of the Struggle, for the sake of love, for the sake of peace, we accept being administratively subject to trial, eager to come before a Canonical Orthodox Synod, whenever it might come together to render an account and to be judged for the administrative rationale of the consecration of a Bishop by one Bishop, which took place in a time of circumstantial need for the sake of the faithful… Your Fervent intercessors before the Lord, The Holy Synod + [Metropolitan] Demetrius of Thessalonica, President + [Bishop] Spyridon of Trimythus + [Bishop] Andrew of Patras + [Bishop] Callistus of Corinth + [Bishop] Bessarion of Tricala and Stagae + [Bishop] John of Thebes and Lebadia + [Bishop] Meletius of Attica and Megaris + [Bishop] Matthew of Bresthena + [Bishop] Anthimus of Piraeus