GOC-K Official Proclamation of the Holiness of Martyr St. Joseph of Desfina (+1944)

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GOC-K Official Proclamation of the Holiness of Martyr St. Joseph of Desfina (+1944)

August 7, 2015

In the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul (Daphni, Athens), during two days, July 21 (OS) / August 3 (NS) and July 22 (OS) / August 4 (NS), 2015, there were completed the events of the first official celebration of the Holy New Martyr Joseph of Desfina (+ 08/22/1944 NS). [St. Joseph of Desfina was a True Orthodox priest murdered by Communist Greek forces in 1944.]

Vespers was celebrated by His Grace, Photios, Bishop of Marathon. At Orthros and Divine Liturgy were present His Beatitude, Kallinikos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece.

Four Presbyters and two deacons were also present. Also in attendence were several clergy from neighboring metropolis, monks, nuns, and some laity.

The approval for the official Glorification of St. Joseph of Desfina was reached by the GOC-K Synod at a meeting on September 6/19, 2014. Approved on the list were five saints to be glorified:

1) Saint Parthenios of Chios (+12/08/1880)
2) Saint Pachomios of Chios (+10/14/1905)
3) Saint Catherine Routis of Mandra (+15/11/1927)
4) Saint Joseph of Desfina (+07/22/1944)
5) Saint Ieronymos of Aegina (+03/10/1966)

The most prominent on the list was the Holy Elder Ieronymos of Aegina.  In the history of the True Orthodox in Greece who struggled against the heretical-schismatic State Church, the presence of these saints, and especially of the later three who confirm the continual life of sanctified persons in the Church, counters the arguments of the World ‘Orthodox’ who state “the Old Calendarists don’t have saints”. Not included are the many other holy monks, clerics, and others who have resisted the apostate State Church and apostate Patriarchates.

So searching have the New Calendarists been for saints in their organization that they have, on many occasions, attempted to ‘steal’ the saints of the True Orthodox and claim them as their own (such as St. Ieronymous of Aegina or the Holy Fool for Christ, Haralambos, both of which refused communion with the fallen Ecumenical Patriarchate and the State Church of Greece and their allies).

  • Marlon Scott

    Fr. Enoch,

    I always thought that Old Calendarists didn’t have Saints simply for one reason: because they rarely glorified any. These glorifications are likely to due to decreasing True Orthodox disunity and the relative stability derived from the recent unions. Bravo! Btw, has your Synod glorified any? It would be awesome if Trues followed the gentle example of St. Ieronymos of Aegina, who “simply and quietly, without the beating of drums, excommunications, and fanatical manifestations followed the Old Calendar the rest of his life, and always chose to calm spirits” and himself declared that he “was with all (Old and New Calendarists), not quarrels or factions”. We also have eminent persons who reposed preferring to use the Old Calendar, Elder Philotheos Zervakos and P. Kontoglou; or refusing to celebrate on it: Met. A. Khrapovitsky.

    But why wouldn’t World Orthodox recognize sanctity where God manifests it? This has happened many times in Church history despite apparent schisms and administrative disunity (e.g. Sts. Hippolytus of Rome, Isaac the Syrian). For instance, True Orthodox venerate St. Nikolai Velimirovich, who was with the Metropolia, which the blessed Met. Philaret of New York (a True Orthodox Saint) viewed to be schismatic and graceless. Trues also venerate Sts Justin Popovich, Hilarion Troitsky, Elder Joseph the Hesychast and Hieromonk Seraphim of Platina. Are they stealing them?? Of course not.

    This sort of vitriolic commentary does not help to manifest the peace and truth which is needed to heal the errors which abound on both sides of World and True Orthodoxy. Forgive me.

    • Deacon Joseph @ NFTU

      “I always thought that Old Calendarists didn’t have Saints simply for one reason: because they rarely glorified any.”

      In fact, certain New Calendarists have made claims for years that our lack of glorifications was due to “a lack of grace”. There’s noting vitriolic about the commentary at all.

      • Marlon Scott

        Dcn. Joseph,

        But True Orthodoxy rarely glorified any though. Surely, just as Trues question the grace in World Orthodoxy due to us having canon-despising, ecu-maniacal hierarchs and clergy in high places; likewise, we could also question the grace in True Orthodoxy in the past for lacking Saints, canon-despising activities and splintering into various mutually anathematizing groups.

        I know you’ll disagree, and perhaps even legitimately, but I’m of the mind of St. Ieronymos and these eminent persons:

        Archbishop Dorotheos of Athens – The Old Calendar movement is neither a heresy nor a schism, and those who follow it are neither heretics nor schismatics, but are Orthodox Christians.

        Elder Joseph the Hesychast – While I was praying, I saw a brilliant, beautiful church. It had a small exit on the side, and everyone was coming out of the church. In the courtyard, they were arguing. One person shouted, ‘I am right!’ Another person shouted, ‘I am more right!’ And a third person, ‘I am the true church!’ This reveals that although they were arguing, they all belonged to a single church. They have dogmas in common, and they have grace, but they were arguing because they don’t have an open mind and haven’t achieved sainthood. So how could I say now that the official Church of Greece is heretical and lack’s God grace. Should I call it heretical only because of the Calendar? And should I say that their bishops are damned? I am with the Old Calendar, but I think differently from the Old Calendarists.

        Photios Kontoglou – The Old Calendarists truly are the most genuine Orthodox. However, I think that there is no schism; simply a division.

        Of course, these quotes are VERY idealistic at this point. But at least we can both agree that there are indeed heretics and schismatics in both True and World Orthodoxy. I just don’t think that World Orthodoxy should consider every True to be a graceless over-zealous schismatic and I also don’t think that Trues should consider every World Orthodox to be a innovative ecu-maniacal heretic. It’s very easy to paint with a broad brush.

        • Deacon Joseph @ NFTU

          You complained the commentary was vitriolic. Now you’re justifying it. It’s not that complicated.

          • Marlon Scott

            You’ve misread me terribly if you read my comments to justify: “heretical-schismatic State Church… apostate State Church and apostate Patriarchates… steal True Orthodox Saints” rhetoric.

            It’s more complicated than it appears, gentleman. Especially when that outstanding document that was posted quotes “St” Justin Popovich, who died in World Orthodoxy, numerous times. Did the GOC-K steal him from schismatico-heretico-apostate World Orthodoxy or did they glorify him too?

          • HmkEnoch

            St. Justin might be our St. Procopius of Sazava.

          • Marlon Scott

            I can agree with that…and carry the implications of your analogy even further. St. Procopius belonged to a Church on the precipice, not in the abyss. Likewise St. Justin, you suggest.

            I’m praying for repentance on a large scale analogous to how the Eastern Patriarchs of the 7th century repented of Monothelitism and other Monophysite compromises. This 2016 Council will reveal much.

          • HmkEnoch

            If St. Justin’s our St. Procopius, then Bartholomew is Urban II, with his own ecumenist crusade underway!

        • HmkEnoch

          I should note that the Holy Elder Ieronymous did not concelebrate with the New Calendarist State Church. He was against it, and was with the True Orthodox (Old Calendar) Church of Greece. We don’t always have to be foaming at the mouth with vitriol against people to be against something; for example, I’m against the Protestant heresy, but, I certain don’t viciously attack some family members, instead, presenting Orthodoxy to them, and calmly trying to explain the heresies of Protestantism.

    • HmkEnoch

      One of the very bad excuses the WO have used against True Orthodoxy is the ‘lack of saints’, or, lack of Glorification of Saints. It’s, of course, a terrible argument for its subjectiveness. For example, the State NC Church of Greece hasn’t glorified anyone in the past 90 years who wasn’t specifically before the Schism in the 1920s. The same for Antioch, Alexandria, etc. In the case of the Communist dominated countries, we are dealing mainly with hosts of New Martyrs killed in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, figures who mostly sided against Sergius. I think the Phanar has only glorified one Athonite monks who reposed in the 1920s, and, of course, Mthr. Maria Skobstskova.

      In the case of people like St. Catherine, St. Joseph, and St. Ieronymos, these were venerated as saints, had icons, and I believe, at least in the case of one, had services dedicated to them for some time, that is, before an official act by any Synod was given.

      All 5 of these saints are in various Calendars and Martyrological books used by people in my Church, and have been for years. But, I’m sure the same was true for many others. I see the move by the GOC-K as being one that gives something like ‘binding’ force to this in their Church. For many of us, of course, it has been simple enough to have people who have been venerated, lived an holy life, defended the Faith, and died in sanctity, with miracles to their intercession, simply added to the Calendar by the local Bishop.

      The presence of Saints, at least at some interval, is, of course, a sign of the sanctity of a Church. However, it must not be in sudden succession, sometimes, as in the case of some Church, few saints have been officially glorified for not just decades, but, 100 years or more. For example, the Orthodox Church of Alexandria, from the year 1790 to 1910, we might ask, how many people were glorified by the Alexandrian Church in that period (we know St. Nektarios was a saint, but, he was still alive)? There are, of course, saints who may be among us, but, sometimes they are not revealed to us until after their death, and sometimes far longer.