Recently the Synod of the GOC-K announced it would be celebrating the Glorification of Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina, who reposed in 1955. Metropolitan Chrysostomos was one of three Bishops that returned to the canonical Orthodox Calendar in 1935, and helped lead the True Orthodox Christians in Greece. He had originally in the early 1920s retired from his see in disgust and protest at the Phanar’s modernism. Florina, in Northern Greece, was not under the State Church of Greece, but, was, instead, a See under the Ecumenical Patriarchate. This meant that all the ‘reforms’ being promoted by the Phanar in the early 1920s, hit these areas of Greece first; ‘reforms’ such as the New Calendar (as well as the founding document of the Phanar’s ecumenism “To the Churches of Christ Everywhere”), etc. The Church of Greece would only be affected directly in 1924.
Metropolitan Chrysostomos (Kavroudis) of Florina, along with Met. Germanos, of Demetrias and Metropolitan Chrysostomos (Demetriou) of Zakynthos, became the most prominent leaders, and the only hierarchical leaders of the True Orthodox Christians in 1935; originally up to 16 Bishops had indicated they would follow the same path, however, when the time came, only three came forward. The three Bishops issued this statement in their move to defend Orthodoxy:
“Those who now administer the Church of Greece have divided the unity of Orthodoxy through the calendar innovation, and have split the Greek Orthodox People into two opposing calendar parts. They have not only violated an Ecclesiastical Tradition which was consecrated by the Seven Ecumenical Councils and sanctioned by the age-old practice of the Eastern Orthodox Church, but have also touched the Dogma of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Therefore those who now administer the Greek Church have, by their unilateral, anticanonical and unthinking introduction of the Gregorian calendar, cut themselves off completely from the trunk of Orthodoxy, and have declared themselves to be in essence schismatics in relation to the Orthodox Churches which stand on the foundation of the Seven Ecumenical Councils and the Orthodox laws and Traditions, the Churches of Jerusalem, Antioch, Serbia, Poland, the Holy Mountain and the God-trodden Mountain of Sinai, etc….That this is so was confirmed by the Commission made up of the best jurists and theologian-professors of the National University which was appointed to study the calendar question, and one of whose members happened to be his Blessedness the Archbishop of Athens in his then capacity as professor of Church History in the National University…Since his Beatitude the Archbishop of Athens has by his own signature declared himself to be a Schismatic, what need do we have of witnesses to demonstrate that he and the hierarchs who think like him have become Schismatics, in that they have split the unity of Orthodoxy through the calendar innovation and divided the Ecclesiastical and ethnic soul of the Greek Orthodox People?”
Later that year they consecrated four additional Bishops. During this time fighting erupted between the majority of the True Orthodox Christians and a smaller minority over statements made by Met. Chrysostomos of Florina over the exact nature of the schism of the New Calendar. Met. Chrysostomos issued several statements publicly abandoning his controversial statements, but, the division between the vast majority and the small minority (i.e. “Florinite” and “Matthewite”) was never healed. After travelling throughout the East to seek support, and having promising results, little concrete action was ever taken by the Eastern Patriarchates that still continued to follow the canonical Orthodox calendar. After several exiles and imprisonments, Met. Chrysostomos reposed in 1955. His repose was met with great sanctity and holiness.
The struggle and battle within Greece, led by persons such as Met. Chrysostomos of Florina, was but the first salvo in the war between Orthodox Christian Faith and Tradition against modernism and ecumenism. In many other places, such as Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, and also across Western Europe, the Americas, and in many other places throughout the world, a similar struggle was beginning and still continues.