English Text of GOC-K Official Response to Objection to Union

Patriarch Kirill Baptizes by Sprinkling
October 7, 2014
The Significance of the Change to the New Calendar by Vladimir Moss
October 8, 2014

English Text of GOC-K Official Response to Objection to Union

October 07, 2014 (Source: http://www.hsir.org)

The English text of the GOC-K Official Response to the absorption of the former SiR is now published. The original Greek text can be found here.

 

NFTU Editor’s Note:

The Official Response is well worth reading.  It does seem to take into account many of the previous points raised against the union. Interestingly, it answers the accusations raised against Met. Agafangel, since it was reported that he stated in an interview-article in the early 1990s that certain Non-Orthodox had true Sacraments.  It brings up the issue of the Serbian Church and Tsar Dushan and their separation from the Church of Constantinople, in the context of the exoneration of the memory of Met. Cyprian (Katsumbas).  Other aspects seem to focus on addressing the questions raised about statements made by the former SiR Bishops and how this relates to the fact that they are now currently members of the GOC-K Synod.

  • Daniel Smith

    What I really appreciate about this letter is that it clearly states the Encyclicals of 1935, 1950 and 1974 have not been abrogated.

    In addition, it clearly states what many others said: Metropolitan Cyprian was deposed, not anathematized, his teaching was a personal opinion which he never insisted upon dogmatically (which insistence is what MAKES a heretic). However, the letter also makes it clear that if he DID insist on his opinions they definitely would have been heretical.

    Also it really calls into focus the point that the Union of True Orthodox is based upon our Orthodox confession of faith, not upon whether or Not the New Calendarists have grace or not.

    • The letter from the Matthewite use to defend the GOC-K/Cyprianite union suggests that the GOC believe that until a Pan-Orthodx Synod of the traditionalists has convened, Ecumenism has not officially been condemned? This is the GOC-K excuse as to why the Official Union statement does not opine on the validity of the new calendarist sacraments. This is Cyprianism at its core (see the cyrpiranite link http://www.hsir.org/Theology_en/Resistance.html). What is more troubling is that all GOC synods in Greece have their roots in ROCOR, which OFFICIALLY declared Ecumenism a Heresy under the presidency of St Philaret of New York. The Synodikon of the Sunday of Orthodoxy has a statement on Ecumenism to which the faithful reply ANATHEMA! We don’t need a unifiying synod to tell us Ecumenism is a Heresy.
      Another significant flaw in this new statement of clarification, is the attempt to cover up herectical ideas by Cyprianite bishops and excusing them as being personal opinions. No Bishop is permitted to have a personal opinion otherwise when would we know when he is speaking the truth….read the canons…bishops are not allowed to own anything personally or have any personal opinions….

      • Daniel Smith

        none of these opinions you proffer are theologically accurate and actually involve a lot of sloppy thinking and a failure to make fine distinctions. Allow me to elucidate:

        1. What separates heresy from an erroneous opinion? The will. There are no accidental heretics. To BE a heretic requires dogmatic insistance on an erroneous point. This is why St. Cyril initially dealt with the heretic Nestorius in a calm and unperturbed fashion, to give him a chance to abandon an erroneous opinion and to prove his Orthodoxy. Metropolitan Cyprian never insisted on the dogmatic correctness of his erroneous opinions, and you fail to point out that this document says that if he WOULD have done so it would have been heresy.

        • Daniel Smith

          In addition you also fail to acknowledge the historical precedents in the Church for the convocation of Pan-Orthodox synods. A Pan-Orthodox synod is not required to make the findings of local synods legit, but is for the benefit of the entire church and to give that which has occurred locally a pan-Orthodox character. That is why after the council of the Lateran in Rome, the 6th ecumenical council was held, or after the local synod of Alexandria which condemned Nestorius the Ecumenical council of Ephesus was held. Your opinions are wrong, fanatical and counterproductive and have no basis in patristic thinking. At all.

        • Marlon Scott

          Daniel,

          You make some great points. However, doesn’t separating and making one’s own synod on the basis of one’s theology imply that one insists that his theology is correct, and therefore, more than private opinion? Surely, someone who held to a mere private opinion would have behaved more like Met. Petros of Astoria than Met. Cyprian. No one should form a synod on some novel idea that they conceive. Met. Cyprian’s theology was the identifying characteristic and the very basis for the existence of SiR.

          I celebrate the union so my comments are not meant to be negative.

          • Daniel Smith

            I think the reason he separated was because he saw (and I think there is some degree of truth here) the confusion arising in the synod of Auxentios due both to the bad administration of Auxentios and the sort of fixation on the New Calendarists being
            Graceless. Orthodoxy is MORE than the condemnation of New Calendarists and the attendant consequences, and I think that was his main point. That I believe is why this document goes out of its way to state that our union in Orthodoxy must be on the basis of the confession of Orthodox faith, not simply the gracelessness of the New Calendarists, who in any case are acknowledged as fallen away from the Church and our communion.

            Also, if you look at the unofficial dialogues with the SiR in 2008, the GOC provided a bullet list at that time of what the SiR needed to do for Union. At the time, they had done some things, and some of the points they make is that it is not necessary for them to use the terminology “ailing members” for heretics who had not been synodically condemned. Now they have completely abandoned it. In addition they mention that “one of their bishops” (who could only be Metropolitan Cyprian) had at times said the New Calendarist Churches were mother churches, but that he had retracted this.

            Finally, I have a link to the text of the deposition of Metropolitan Cyprian. While, in the personal testimony section he is said to hold heretical ideas, and at one point it is said that the bishops unanimously agree that he has heretical notions, nevertheless, it is expressed as an opinion of the bishops because in the final section, the actual act of SENTENCING metropolitan Cyprian he is deposed not for heresy (which deserves anathema) but for schism. In addition let us recall that deposition is not expulsion from the church.

            Let me
            Quote here the text of the actual SENTENCE against Metropolitan Cyprian
            “Then, the Holy Synod unanimously held the accused guilty, that they violated the holy rules of the Church based on the 34th rule of the 6th holy Ecumenical Synod condemning: The actions of the bishops mentioned above, Cyprian and Ioanni and the other prelates who were ordained by them, the Holy Rules of the Church, such as the 34th Rule of the 6th Holy Ecumenical Synod are foreseeing and condemning: The crime of conspiracy, faction and always blocks out the laws, many of which are prohibited in the Church of God… if any cleric or monk are found to conspire or to belong in certain groups or want to destroy bishops or other clergy, will be dropped to a low degree .” The sixth rule of the Synod of Gangra states: someone who worships the Church, despises the Church and wants to officiate separately from their elders , without the permission and the opinion of the Bishop, let him be anathema”, the 5th rule of Antiochia mentions: if a Presbyter or a deacon despises his bishop and excommunicates himself from the Church, the latter would try to convince him and turned to the Bishop and if he does not want to be convinced, nor to obey and called a second time without treatment he cannot receive the honour. If he remains noisy and disturbs the Church through the power returned to him (see the 10th and 11th of Kathargeni) 13th of the AB session, which mentions’ Bishop if someone makes a crime under the pretext against the respective Metropolitan, to remove himself from the society and not to mention his name, as defined in the Divine Mystagogy but it is evident that the created schism, appointed by the Holy Synod of the whole priesthood alienated. And these were sealed and designated on pretexts such crimes of their departing presidents and made ​​schism and joined the Church of the dissociated” etc, and imposed them the penalty of defrocking, removing their rank and making them priests.”

          • HmkEnoch

            I might be mistaken, but, I remember that starting maybe 6 or 7 years or more ago, the old Synod in Resistance actually had a special rite of Chrismation designed for receiving New Calendarists. Now, while reception by Confession always happens, it seems like is always open to a great variety of interpretations; however, when one begins to receive by Chrismation, it is generally a negative statement on the group you are receiving from, the statement being that they are outside the Church (or at the very least, doubtful?). Interestingly, the Romanians under Met. Vlasie had long had the policy of chrismating (and in some cases, because of lack of immersion, even baptising) New Calendarists, and either receiving by cherothesia, or a whole new cherothonia rite, New Calendarist clergy (exceptions of economy excempting). I think the Bulgarians under Bp. Photii had for some time been Chrismating; it seems that it was more the SiR and the ROCOR (both before the break with Phyle and then Phyle’s resumption of communion with ROCOR-A) that were a bit more pliable on these questions and issue. The Romanians, I suppose had a long history of existence before associating with Met. Kallistos and then Met. Cyprian, since they really derived from Met. Galaction int he early 1950s (and before that being groups of priests, monastics, laity, etc) and then St. Glicherie.

          • Daniel Smith

            That is true, the SiR did have that. That is mentioned in their Unofficial Dialogues from 2008.

            What is fascinating about the Romanians, is they have never been “Moderate” Resisters. They have always had a strict and clear cut ecclesiology. There is even a document of theirs out on their ecclesiology where they flat out call the New Calendarists schismatics and devoid of Grace, no mincing words.

            You can find it on scribd here: https://www.scribd.com/doc/238680781/Ecclesiology-of-the-Old-Calendar-Orthodox-Church-of-Romania

            My favorite part:

            Synodal decisions

            “Through Can. 3 (2nd Ecumenical Synod); Can. 7 (3rd
            Ecumenical Synod), Can. 1 (4th Ecumenical Synod); Can. 1 (6th
            Ecumenical Synod); Can. 1 (7th Ecumenical Synod), the Holy
            Fathers defrock those who “introduce or only accept allegations
            in matters of faithʺ (introduction of the Gregorian calendar in
            the use of the Church; changing Easter date from 1926 and 1929
            and celebrating it at the same date as the Jews; reducing or even
            cancelling the fast of the Holy Apostles; celebrate the great
            holidays of the Church at the same date as Catholics,
            Protestants and Neo‐protestants). To these canons of the Holy
            Fathers, are added the anathemas of the Patriarchs of the four
            Orthodox Patriarchates (Alexandria, Constantinople, Antioch
            and Jerusalem), recognized and published as Synodal
            Encyclicals (Patriarchal Sigillions) from 1583, 1756, 1848, by
            which those who have introduced or only accepted innovations
            in matters of faith (as the examples above), are defrocked by the
            Synods of the Orthodox Patriarchates and called ʺwithout
            Graceʺ. In accordance with the Holy Fathers, who (by their
            canons), and with the Synods of the Orthodox Patriarchates (by
            the anathemas of Synodal Encyclicals) ‐ call them ʺdefrocked and without Graceʺ, so do we, the Holy Synod of the Old
            Calendar Orthodox Church of Romania call all those who have
            received innovations in matters of faith ʺdefrocked and without
            Graceʺ. According to Can. 15 of the First and the Second Synod
            of Constantinople in 861, the Holy Synod of the Old Calendar
            Orthodox Church of Romania sets its own boundaries and does
            not accept the liturgical communion or other religious relations
            with those who have received the change of the calendar since
            1924 (in Romania).”

            No wiggle room here. So why did they Commune with the SiR? Some say out of Gratitude to Metropolitan Cyprian for bringing their struggle to the world. It really was his work that brought them out in the open, which is Ironic, considering they are the largest of all the True orthodox, and at 2 million members, maintain a strict ecclesiology comparable to the Matthewites and The Akakians.

      • Stephanos Karavas

        With respect, if you are unsure of the GOC’s anti-ecumenist stance, perhaps you should avail yourself of “The True Orthodox Church and the Heresy of Ecumenism: Dogmatic and Canonical Issues”, co-authored synodally by the GOC’s of Greece and Romania and ROCOR-A. If you are still unsure, I suggest you read some of the works of the GOC’s bishops, whether they be encyclicals or statements, regarding Ecumenism. In all honesty, though, your emphatic tone seems to suggest that you are content with your misconceptions vis-a-vis the GOC and the former SiR. As Daniel pointed out, it seems like (1) you didn’t actually read the document you are commenting and (2) you are unaware of the basic facts surrounding the union and its precedent.

        • Daniel and Sephanos, it is clear from your tone that you are pro GOC-K and only try to understand the surface of the documents being presented and the most key of details.
          The Cyprianites have always preached against ecumenism and so has the GOC. That is not what is at quesiton here, or what A Filipou is trying to explain (A Filipou can correct me). The idea that world orthodoxy (not just new caledarists) is graceless is very significant otherwise why are we in a traditional synod. The Cyprianites, and now the GOC have left the door open with this concept that a Pan-Orthdoox Synod has to make “the final Call”, regardless of there tone to world orthodoxy in other parts of the offical union document. This is what Cyprianites taught and is considered heretical by most traditional synods around the world. Try to understand the view points of the other traditional synods and not just the GOC. After all the GOC has allowed Met Paul and his Predessor (Petros) to be cryto cyprianites for a lond time.
          Danile – Stephanos, what do you say about Chrysytom of Etnas letter, where he believes new caledarists have grace?

          • Stephanos Karavas

            Hi Sam, I recently joined the GOC-K with my family and have spent a lot of time grappling with these documents, statements, historical precedent, etc… so forgive me if my understanding is imperfect, as I am new to much of these issues. There are some things, however, that are self-evident about this union. Based on the ecclesiastical/ecclesiological document drafted and signed synodally for the recent union, the GOC-K has not changed its stance regarding the void mysteries of the Ecumenists. Section VI, paragraph 4 states the following:

            “The Holy Orthodox Church has never recognized—in an absolute sense and, as it were, from a distance—either by exactitude or by œconomy, mysteries performed outside Her,since those who celebrate or who partake of these mysteries remain within the bosom of their heretical or schismatic community.”

            Again, this was drafted and signed by three synods as a seal on the union. This document, as well as the synod’s recently published response to critics of the union, states that the encyclicals of 1935, 1950, and 1974 have lost no force of power and still stand (all of which deny the efficacy of the mysteries of the Ecumenist jurisdictions). This collectively is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that, not only does the GOC-K value the matter of how to regard the mysteries of heretics/schismatics as important, but that it is following in its own synodal footsteps in doing so.

            What seems to have thrown a lot of people off (including myself at the onset) was the conciliatory tone of much of the GOC’s recent rhetoric regarding the mysteries of the New Calendarists. This tone should not be viewed at the expense of anything, but rather as pastoral solicitude on the synodal level for those who have gone astray.

            What I believe is important to remember, though, is that how one regards the mysteries of the New Calendarists should not become the new measuring stick for one’s Orthodoxy. We as True Orthodox know what canonical tradition calls for, and where we stand in following the inerrant path of Orthodoxy. This was the rationale behind ROCOR’s historic stance regarding the mysteries of the Ecumenists in not passing judgment on them and not really being concerned with their regard at the synodal level. ROCOR was actually in communion with the Ecumenist jurisdictions including the Ecumenical Patriarchate up until the lifting of the anathemas on Roman Catholicism by Athenagoras in 1964 (forty years after the imposition of the Calendar Innovation in Greece). This fact in no way altered the integrity of the Orthodox confession of ROCOR back then, and only demonstrates that much time has been needed for the consolidation of the Orthodox conscience regarding the issue of the Ecumenists’ mysteries. This recent union has been yet a further step in this process of consolidation, and has as its vehicle conciliarism and moderation – not alarmism and extremism.

            I personally disliked Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Etna’s recent encyclicals for many reasons, both in the way of content and tone. At the end of the day, though, they were of a pastoral nature directed towards a limited audience and thus in no way reflective of synodal opinion. For all intents and purposes, they were private opinions that should not have been publicized. This matter has been dealt with though, as Metropolitan Chrysostomos has resigned and the synod has addressed his opinions in the abovementioned document addressing the critics of the union.

          • Metropolitan Petros of Astoria was not a Cyprianite, as I explain in my book, “Metropolitan Petros of Astoria: A Microcosm of the Old Calendar Movement in America,” available here: http://www.anastasioshudson.com/publications/new-book-metropolitan-petros-of-astoria/

            By you stating what you state, you are throwing terms around loosly, and that doesn’t help anyone.

          • Anastasio – just because you write a book, does not mean your position is correct. Your comments on Bishop Petros leniency are not factual, but are your own personal and bias opinion, because you belong to the GOC-K. The fact remains that Petros of Astoria was suspended from the GOC for his refusal to sign the encyclical of the confession of faith, which did/does not permit the mysteries to be administered to the Heretical new calendarists.
            In your responce of who Bishop Gregory of Colorado is, you state that administering the mysteries to heretics is not Heretical, but only a personal sign. If you are a Bishop and administer the mysteries to Heretics, you are going against the synod and the canons of the Church, which is heretical. The thing I fear the most is that the GOC-K has recently taken the view that Bishops (Cypriane+, Petros+, Chrysystom of Etna, Paul of America) can have personal opinions on matters of faith. A Bishop’s personal opinion is that which the Universal Orthodox Church believes and confesses, otherwise he is outside the Church.

          • “Anastasio – just because you write a book, does not mean your position is correct.”

            I think that should be obvious to anyone who engages in serious scholarship, or grapples with these issues. I will state, however, that I formed my positions based on my research in the ROCOR, GOC, and OCA archives, where I had access to several hundred pages of primary sources.

            “Your comments on Bishop Petros leniency are not factual, but are your own personal and bias opinion, because you belong to the GOC-K.”

            Your argument is basically that because I belong to the GOC, I cannot be trusted to produce an unbiased account. If you take that line of thinking to its logical conclusion, you could never trust anyone, because everyone has a “bias” in some way. I think a better approach is to show me how I might have possibly misinterpreted the evidence that I have (which, I assume, you have access to as well, and have studied?), or show me where there is additional evidence that I missed. Otherwise, you are just making an emotional argument.

            “The fact remains that Petros of Astoria was suspended from the GOC for his refusal to sign the encyclical of the confession of faith, which did/does not permit the mysteries to be administered to the Heretical new calendarists.”

            I agree, which I point out in my book. He was removed from the Synod from 1974-1985. What also is a fact, however, is that he was readmitted in 1985, without ever signing the Encyclical of 1974, and without ever ceasing his practice of communing New Calendarists (which, for the record, I think was wrong).

            “In your responce of who Bishop Gregory of Colorado is, you state that administering the mysteries to heretics is not Heretical, but only a personal sign. If you are a Bishop and administer the mysteries to Heretics, you are going against the synod and the canons of the Church, which is heretical.”

            Actually no, it’s not. You are conflating disobedience, schism, and heresy. Disobeying a Synod is not heretical–it is disobedient at first, and can become schismatic if the actions are continued in the face of more stern reproaches, and ultimately communion is ruptured. Even between 1974 and 1985, however, Metropolitan Petros was never deposed by the Holy Synod.

            Actions are not heretical, beliefs are. If someone is giving communion to New Calendarists because he believes they are part of the Church, then yes, the act of communing a New Calendarist would be the physical sign of someone’s heresy. But that has to be investigated by a Synod and judged, which the Synod never did in the case of Metropolitan Petros. His views were clearly different than the position espoused by Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Phyle (which I point out in my book; if they had the same views, ask yourself why Metropolitan Petros never joined them?) To summarize, Metropolitan Petros believed that his lentient approach would get New Calendarists back into the Church. He did not believe in any of the theories that were later presented in the “Ecclesiasiological Position Paper” or in essays such as “On the Status of Uncondemned Heretics.” His views were much closer to those of “old ROCOR” under Metropolitan Anastasy, which is still different than the GOC position, but obviously not heretical (or else the GOC would have fallen by accepting ordination from ROCOR).

            “The thing I fear the most is that the GOC-K has recently taken the view that Bishops (Cypriane+, Petros+, Chrysystom of Etna, Paul of America) can have personal opinions on matters of faith. A Bishop’s personal opinion is that which the Universal Orthodox Church believes and confesses, otherwise he is outside the Church.”

            No, that’s not how it works. Bishops have private opinions and speculations all the time–spend some time with any bishop and that will become clear. However, if someone has an opinion that is contrary to established teaching, and presents it bear-headedly, then that is a different story. We have these distinctions for a reason, and they are enshrined in the canonical Tradition…if people fell from the church for holding opinions that were different than a Synod’s, which they never express openly or officially because they do not want to contradict the Synod or they are not sure about things, they cannot be called a heretic. Someone has to be judged and adjuticated to be a heretic after publicly teaching a heresy. Someone might hold heretical opinions inadvertantly (everyone to some degree has views which could become heretical if taken to their logical conclusion), but such a situation is one of the person needing to be educated and needing to pray for God’s grace to reveal the truth of the matter. Such is a process which takes time, and humility. But what you present is a view which does not admit that people can be mistaken and still in the Church, and which seeks to punish rather than rehabilitate.

  • Justin Kolodziej

    So, just to be clear, there actually no longer is a “Synod in Resistance”? And that the hierarchs have indeed genuinely renounced their views of those taking part in the falsely so-called “World Council of Churches” as being ailing members of the Church? If so my objection to the GOC-K has been satisfactorily answered.

    • Daniel Smith

      That is 100% true. Look:

      “a2. By way of this document, which constitutes an Orthodox Confession of Faith, the Hierarchs of the former Synod in Resistance set aside their previously formulated ecclesiological views, which they also withdrew from their official website. They have also stated in writing that they will not henceforth employ terms and phrases antithetical to the ecclesiologi- cal basis of the Union document.
      a3. The contents of the Union document, which the Hierarchs of the for- mer Synod in Resistance today confess and proclaim with full knowl- edge and sincerity, leave no margin for doubt as to their mind-set, which is in every respect Orthodox.
      a4. The Hierarchs of the former Synod in Resistance have, through their Orthodox Confession, and also through their self-sacrificial actions, forcefully emphasized the genuineness of their mind-set and attitudes, in- asmuch as they
      • dissolved their distinct Synod;
      • relinquished all of their pastoral prerogatives;
      • placed their prodigious pastoral and missionary work under the pro- tection of our Synod;
      • displayed exceeding humility;
      • regretfully accepted any responsibility on their parts for the es-
      trangement from 1984 onwards and its ramifications.”

      • Daniel Smith

        Anyone who is willing to even try to cast doubt on this in my opinion cannot be called a Christian. What kind of Christian spits on another’s humility and willful self-abnegation? The prideful who hide their arrogance under a veneer of “superdoxy”. These are not motivated by Christ, but solely by their passions and fears.

        • Justin Kolodziej

          I wouldn’t go that far, but I do think the fighting between True Orthodox jusrisdictions hinders potential converts.