Union Between GOC-Kallinikos and SiR Completed; Concelebration Sunday

Abp. Chrysostomos of Etna on GOC(K)-SiR Union: None of our principles have been set aside.
March 14, 2014
BREAKING: Metropolitan Philip Saliba Has Died
March 20, 2014

Union Between GOC-Kallinikos and SiR Completed; Concelebration Sunday

GOC-K Synod
GOC-K Synod

The Holy Synod of the GOC under Archbishop Kallinikos

At the completion of the Official Dialogue of the Church of the G.O.C. of Greece with the Orthodox Community in Resistance, the Press Office of the Holy Synod of the G.O.C. makes the following announcement:

Today, March 5/18, 2014 the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece under the Presidency of His Beatitude Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens and all-Greece convened in the church of the All-Holy Theotokos “The Unfading Rose” to unite and incorporate the Orthodox Ecclesiastical Community in Resistance into the Church of the G.O.C. of Greece.

After the confirmation of the ecclesiological agreement and the lifting of the canonical impediments, the Bishops of the Orthodox Community in Resistance finally are full and canonical members of the Holy Synod of the Church of the G.O.C. of Greece.

In continuation, the Holy Synod, with its new enlarged composition, successfully addressed the various organizational and jurisdictional issues related to the practical part of the Union.

Finally, the Holy Synod appointed the Hierarchical concelebration to take place this coming Sunday, the Veneration of the Holy Cross, March 10/23 in the Monastery of St. Nicholas in Paiania, presided over by His Beatitude Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens and all-Greece.

Translated from the Greek

Source: http://www.hotca.org/eparchial-synod/announcements/529-announcement-concerning-the-union-of-the-synod-in-resistance-with-the-church-of-the-goc


  1. BD says:

    GOC-K offcially accepts that new calendarist have grace. shamefull!
    “First, be assured that none of our principles, none of our moderation, and none of the spirit bequeathed to us by our late and venerable Metropolitan Cyprian have been set aside, as some naysayers have suggested.” AB Chrysystom of Etna

    • Dcn Joseph Suaiden says:

      Wow. I am sure there will be more details but I believe that had been resolved as a private and temporal opinion among the SiR Bishops, but will not affect the general ecclesiology of the GOC-K (and other Synods, such as my own) that the New Calendarists are outside the Church.

      That fight’s gone on 30 years, appears to be over and no one’s coming back to put the gloves on is my guess.

      It’s time to let go and focus on building True Orthodoxy, not pushing the “agenda of domination” where any excuse is used to build another little empire. The people are tired.

      • Joseph says:

        Really BD? It’s that simple? I assume that you have read an official document stating this position? Perhaps, AB Chrysostom realized that his stance was hindering the union and altered his position to be in line with his fellow bishops and GOC-K. The mutual document is clear regarding its position on the new calendarists and ecumenism. The GOC-K made acceptance of this document a must in order to pursue unity. This is why there were 13 meetings to discuss these issues. I am curious to find out when AB Chrysostom actually wrote this letter.

        • Tzourtzoulos says:

          He wrote it just couple days ago. Simply they say to their folk what they want to hear. “Nothing changes but….it will not exist synod in resistance anymore only GOC” “We haven’t changed anything in our beliefs but…we withdrew all our previous official documents” “Nothing changes but we will not have a president anymore but just a bishop like all the others” . Come on people. Accept it. The former SiR bishop are 100% GOC Bishops from now on and parties strived hard for this with solemnity, dignity and loyalty to the holy canons.

          • Dcn Joseph Suaiden says:

            Just my opinion here but it’s not as simple as Metr C. pandering to his flock, as much as it is that both sides made rational concessions. The assumption that both sides didn’t stand a level of risk in this unity is unfounded; certainly there are other things that need to be worked out, such as communion with the Synods that the SiR was in communion with. And certainly this not only makes the GOC larger but as I understand gives it a “bigger tent” in terms of what is acceptable theologumena within True Orthodox ecclesiology. In fact, I’d say it will be precisely on the basis not only of separating faith from opinions as well as dealing with the hard facts that led to the separation in the first place that will ultimately resolve them.

            As I understand there will be an opportunity for dialogue now with the other Synods the SiR was in communion with. My biggest concern is that this will not become an opportunity to anathematize all the True Orthodox that do not submit to the union– which will only exacerbate our existing problems– but an opportunity to restore hope in the possibility of unity among all those who share the True Faith.

          • Herman says:

            Yes Father Joseph, I hope this does not mean anathematizing all the other True Orthodox synods. This would be unfortunate, especially for the True Russian Synods: ROAC and the RTOC. If they only recognize ROCOR-A, and anathematize the more traditional/zealot hard line synods, this would be scandalous to many, and many will not respect the GOC any longer amongst the Russian Catacombniks.

          • Marlon Scott says:

            Fr. Deacon Joseph,

            Didn’t you and most True Orthodox view SIR as ecclesiological heretics? If so, shouldn’t the SIR have repented and then been received in their orders by oikonomia? Does this also mean that viewing World Orthodoxy as the Church (in some way) is now an acceptable theologumenon in True Orthodoxy?

            Thank you.

          • HmkEnoch says:

            Yeah; it seems like from Metropolitan (formerly Archbishop) Chrysostomos of Etna’s letter that the SiR (‘Cyprianite’) ecclesial view is now considered a theological opinion within the GOC-K. Maybe there will be a clarificatory statements; especially the documents and instruments of union.

          • Marlon Scott says:

            Hieromonk Enoch,

            Do you view this as an acceptable theologumenon? On what basis? Also, hasn’t the New Calendar churches been declared graceless by multiple synods in the history of what is now GOC-K?

          • HmkEnoch says:

            “Do you view this as an acceptable theologumenon?”
            I don’t believe it is defensible. In the past of Church history, especially, from the late 17th to the early 20th century, it was more or less the view of many Russian hierarchs, and even of Encyclicals, to make statements that groups like the Latins, Monophysites, and Nestorians, while not part of the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, did retain Sacraments (see 1903 Encyclical of the Russian Synod to the Church of Constantinople). This view, while wrong, and the result of the heavy scholastic influence then present throughout the Orthodox world, especially its almost overwhelming presence among Russian hierarchs, clergy, etc, nevertheless would have been different than the Cyprianite ecclesiological formulation; i.e., the erroneous scholastic view of the Russian Church stated that while certain types of heretics/schismatics had ‘valid Sacraments’ they were nevertheless not part of the Church but outside of Her and thus salvation, whereas, on the other hand, the Cyprianite ecclesial formulation, whether it is found it is proto-formulations of Met. Chrysostomos of Florina (which he himself rejected eventually, in numerous statements), or in the formulations of Met. Cyprian of Oropos and Phyil stated that certain heretics (i.e., the false World Orthodox) were part of the Church and had ‘valid Sacraments’. I do not defend either view, but, it is certainly not hair splitting as some would maintain. Even the erroneous Augustinian-Scholastic view never admitted heretics as part of the Church, and said that while certain types of heretics/schismatics had “valid Sacraments”, they were nevertheless deprived of any efficacy from them, and from being part of the Church; instead, receiving spiritual harm. The Cyprianite extends itself further and states that heretics are part of the Church of Christ until such time as an ecumenical council ejects them from the Church.

          • Dcn Joseph Suaiden says:

            Which, in the commission documents– hence the “Uncondemned heretics” documents I refer to that Anastasios has said are removed– states that “sick members” are “uncondemned heretics”, which– by nature of heresy– *already* ejects them from the Church.

          • HmkEnoch says:

            Wait…Are you referring to the removed SiR documents? Or to newer documents? I think it is difficult to refer to everything on the website of the defunct SiR as it would take some time to remove everything off, and re-arrange things.

          • Dcn Joseph Suaiden says:

            Referring to clarifications in documents from the joint commission and personal information I received in the past few weeks indicating a relaxed position on the departure of grace on the part of the GOC-K. If I understood correctly and things suddenly changed after the fact…. sigh. I’d call it more “politics as usual”.

          • HmkEnoch says:

            “Also, hasn’t the New Calendar churches been declared graceless by multiple synods in the history of what is now GOC-K?”

            Yes, that is, ‘by multiple synods in the history of what is now GOC-K””, in other words, by the True Orthodox “Old Calendar” Church of Greece.

            The ROCOR, on the other hand, never made any statements like that. The ambiguous attitude of the ROCOR on the position of the fallen Patriarchates, and even attempts to maintain partial communion with some of them, even while maintaining communion with the True Orthodox in Greece, would ultimately prove too contradictory internally.

          • Anastasios says:

            Yes, the GOC has issued such encyclicals in 1935, 1951, 1974, and I believe 1998. Those encyclicals all still stand.

          • Dcn Joseph Suaiden says:

            But we’re Westerners– we aren’t bound by them. Using that very same logic I could say they only apply to New Calendarists in Greece, which would be ridiculous, but using the “to the letter” argument that’s where we go.

          • HmkEnoch says:

            Anastasios is making reference to Marlon Scotts question about the Greek situation; though, it certainly has application later.

          • Dcn Joseph Suaiden says:

            Since I brought up the “uncondemned heretics” point I assumed it was directed to me.

          • Marlon Scott says:


            Thank you. How then could the GOC-K allow a New Calendarist bishop to consecrate Akakios the Elder for them in the first place? Seraphim of Chicago (on the Old Calendar) and Bp. Theophil Ioanescu (New Calendar) were both in communion with the EP and the State Church of Greece at the time. Met. Anastassy sent a letter to the GOC and copied to the Greek Church stating:

            Our Church remains loyal to the use of the Old Calendar and considers the introduction of the new calendar to be an error. Nonetheless, its tactic was always to preserve spiritual unity with Orthodox Churches, even those who have adopted the New Calendar, but only to the degree to which they celebrate Pascha in compliance with the decision of the First Ecumenical Council. Our Church has never labeled the Ecumenical Patriarchate or the Greek Archdiocese of North and South America as schismatic, and never abrogated spiritual union with them. (Letter dated 27 September 1961 from the Synod of Bishops to the True Orthodox Church of Greece)

            The same kind of statements were issued from ROCOR under Met. Philaret as well.

            Synod of Russian Bishops Abroad 1974

            Concerning the question of the presence or absence of grace among the new calendarists the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad does not consider herself or any other Local Church to have the right to make a conclusive decision, since a categorical evaluation in this question can be undertaken only by a properly convened, competent Ecumenical Council, with the obligatory participation of the free Church of Russia. (Thirty Years of Trial: The True Orthodox Christians of Greece, 1970-200 pg. 9 by Vladimir Moss)

            By GOC-K reasoning, in lieu of those synodal judgments, the ROCOR should’ve been considered heretical, at least by association.

          • HmkEnoch says:


            I’ll try to answer this even though you were asking it of Anastasios, since the wider question applies to everyone who doesn’t claim to be part of the ‘Matthewite’ Church. You ask:

            “How then could the GOC-K allow a New Calendarist bishop to consecrate
            Akakios the Elder for them in the first place? Seraphim of Chicago (on
            the Old Calendar) and Bp. Theophil Ioanescu (New Calendar) were both in
            communion with the EP and the State Church of Greece at the time.”

            First, just to be strict with our terminology, there was no GOC-K, etc. There were in Greece, at that time, only two groups using the name “Genuine Orthodox Christians”, i.e, the Matthewites and the Florinites. The Matthewites had no part in this, as they considered the matter to have been practically settled concerning bishops during the late 1940s. The Florinites were in trouble, since, with the death of Met. Chrysostomos of Florina in 1955 they had no bishops. I believe it was considered acceptable because it was done by the ROCOR, and in general, whatever ROCOR did was accepted by a large portion of traditionalists; therefore, because the ROCOR was officially on the Old Calendar, etc, the idea that they had a new calendar Romanian bishop as a co-consecrator (though, of course, not the chief-consecrator), while irksome and upsetting, was not fundamentally considered detrimental. At any rate, it would be considered certainly no worse a situation than that by which St. Meletius of Antioch received episcopal consecration.

            “By GOC-K reasoning, in lieu of those synodal judgments, the ROCOR should’ve been considered heretical, at least by association.”

            Yes, there was a great deal of confusion. If you read the history of the Acacian Schism you reach much similar problems. Yet, Macedonius II and Euphemius are still commemorated on the Church calendar, even though the Orthodox Roman Church never communicated with them because it considered their consecrations tainted canonically by their consecrators union with Peter Mongus, and other MOnophysite court party leaders under Zeno and successive emperors.

            It would be more reasonable, historically, to say the following:

            1. The period in which other local Church fall away completely from Orthodoxy is sometimes difficult to establish as in the numerous historical precedents that demonstrate such schisms (i.e., one need only look at the 50 years it too the Church of Antioch to finally severe communion with the Papists, doing so finally in 1104 AD; yet, it eventually did happen, which represents that the Church had come to a full conclusion on the matter).

            2. Therefore, if there are some in the GOC (K) or others that attempt to reason and say that because ROCOR maintained communion with the Phanar during this period, and because the previous GOC encyclicals had declared the State Church (and by extension the Phanar) to be without mysteriological grace, that this back affected the ROCOR, then, such argument fall flat as appropriate solution considering historical situations (i.e., no one maintains Antioch lost Grace after Constantionple broke communion with Papist Rome, and that therefore, Constantinople lost grace because they were still in communion with Antioch while Antioch still maintain communion with Rome; or, no one maintains that St. Daniel the Stylite was an heretic because he was under Constantinople while it supported Peter Mongus the Infamous Monophysite of Antioch, while he at the same time denounced Peter as an atrocious and blasphemous heretic, yet Rome was the only Orthodox Church during this period of the late 400s that had unabashedly continued to proclaim Chalcedon).

          • Marlon Scott says:

            Hieromonk Enoch,

            Thank you for your thorough response. I read your postings on the net frequently. It seems as though pre-2007 ROCOR always gets a pass although they never completely broke communion with World Orthodoxy and never condemned the New Calendar as graceless. I’m in World Orthodoxy, so perhaps I’m demented as you put it, nevertheless, it begs the question: With all those historical precedents of grace yet abiding in churches with heretical hierarchs that you brought up, how then can you guys be so sure that World Orthodoxy has completely loss grace?

            Fr. Matthew Raphael Johnson makes these statements in his reference to the pre-Revolutionary Church of Russia:

            “It is very difficult to accept the canonicity of the hierarchy if we apply the canons with strictness… the Petrine state took the selection of bishops away from the hierarchy, the synod and the local community and rather placed it in the hands of the State…”

            “As Peter had been initiated into a masonic Lodge in Amsterdam during his ‘grand embassy’, the official church was forced to take an oath of obedience to him as ‘chief judge’ of the Church…the synod swore an oath to a Freemason, and did his will thereafter. As a result, the precedent was laid for Sergii’s oath to the Soviets.”

            “Athonite hesychasm re-vivified the corpse of Russian monasticism in the late 18th century, culminating in Optina. Nevertheless, these groups, while manifestly saintly, existed on the fringes of Russian life, and were held in suspicion by the increasing secular and servile Synod. These elders were saints despite the synodal system and western European-style state, not because of them… Eldership at Optina, truth be told, was condemned by the Synod, as was the practice of hesychasm…”

            “If the Church that accepted Bolshevism was ‘graceless’ according to St. Philaret of ROCOR then why not this church? (ie the Russian Church of the Synodal Period) What’s the difference? As it turns out, six bishops were tortured and murdered for refusing to accept Anna’s coronation (and again, none of the six were ever entered into the martyrologies). Under Anna’s German lovers, hunderds of monasteries were destroyed. There seems to be no real difference between this era and that of the Bolsheviks, albeit one of scale.” (Sobornosti, Essays on the Old Faith)

            If this Church, with many hierarchs holding flat-out false beliefs and a completely uncanonical structure, can have grace here and there and continue to produce Saints, then why can’t World Orthodoxy? No, I’m not making an apology for the heresies of ecumenism nor am I a relativist. There are still people holding on and fighting for the Truth. For instance, Met. Anastassy and St. John Maximovitch, make these statements:

            Met. Anastassy: “They say that Patriarch Alexy sinned more than his predecessor. Whether he sinned more or less, we cannot deny his ordination. Much is said of their apostasy. But we must be cautious. We can hardly make an outright accusation of apostasy. In no place do they affirm atheism. In their published sermons they attempt to hold to the Orthodox line. They took and continue to take very strict measures with regard to the obnovlentsy, and did not tear their ties with Patriarch Tikhon. The false policy belongs to the church authority and the responsibility for it falls on its leaders. Only heresy adopted by the whole Church tarnishes the whole Church. In this case, the people are not responsible for the behavior of the leaders, and the Church, as such, remains unblemished.”(Synodal Archives, Council of Bishops 1953, Protocol No 5, 3/16 October, p. 16 excerpted from Nun Vassa [Larin] The Ecclesiastical Principle of Oikonomia and the ROCOR Under Metropolitan Anastassy)

            St. John Maximovitch: when under Metropolitan Anastassy they began to speak about ‘the incorrect actions of the Church’, he used to stop them, pointing out that one must not ascribe the actions of the hierarchy to the Church, since the hierarchy is not the whole Church, even if it speaks in her name. On the see of Constantinople there were Paul the Confessor, Macedonius, Gregory the Theologian, John Chrysostom, Nestorius, Proclus, Flavian and Germanus. Some of them shone in sanctity and Orthodoxy, but others were the leaders of heresies. But the Church remained Orthodox. During iconoclasm after the expulsion of Severnin, Nicephorus and others, not only their sees, but also the majority of Episcopal sees were occupied by Iconoclasts. The other Churches did not even have communion with it [the see of Constantinople], according to the witness of St. Paul, who abandoned the heresy and his see, since they did not wish to have communion via the iconoclasts. Nevertheless, the Church of Constantinople remained Orthodox, although part of the people, and especially the guards and the bureaucrats, were drawn into iconoclasm. So now it is understandable when people who are not familiar with the language of the Church use the expression ‘Soviet church’, but it is not fitting for responsible and theological discussions. When the whole hierarchy of South-Western Rus’ passed into uniatism, the Church continued to exist in the person of the believing Orthodox people, which after many sufferings restored its hierarchy. (New Zion in Babylon IV pg. 144 by Vladimir Moss)

            Are these sentiments wrong or no longer pertinent? I’d be eager to discuss these issues with someone via email or even by phone as long as their level-headed. They could be completely forthright.

          • NFTU says:

            As the person who did some editing and publishing work on the first book you are referring to years ago, I admittedly found a few of Fr Raphael’s positions problematic to say the least. However, I hadn’t noticed that in fact he had claimed the issue with Sergianism was one of scale– a common claim in post-Soviet Russia but one that simply does not jive authentically with history.

            Even if the claims in the book about pre-revolutionary Russia were all true– and I think at times the author unintentionally veered towards hyperbole– Sergianism in essence is accepting the legitimacy of Anti-Christian authority, moral character (or lack thereof) notwithstanding.

            While I to some degree agree with Fr Raphael’s admiration for the Old Believers as well as Ukrainian nationalism, I couldn’t agree with a number of the premises of the book. That said, as far as I know Fr Raphael does condemn Sergianism as it appears on the confession of faith in use by the American Metropolia.

          • Marlon Scott says:


            Thank you. Much of his history actually checks out, I’ve read Russian histories from many different schools of thought. I haven’t corroborated if Tsar Peter was a Mason though. A consistent True Orthodox would have to doubt the canonicity of Synodal Church just for the fact that the Patriarchate was abolished and subjected to protestantized, freemasonic, and even atheist oberprocurators.

            Tsar Nicholas II abolished the ultimate judge vow. Met. Hilarion Alfeyev even said that hesychasm was labeled as a heresy in standard texts for priests at that time. V. Moss says this:

            ‘the official service-books of the Russian Church reveal an unclear, ambiguous attitude towards the sacraments of the heretics and schismatics. Thus in the Trebnik, or Book of Needs, we read: “Know this also, that a schismatic baptism, and a heretical one, by those who believe in the Holy Indivisible Trinity, in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Holy Orthodox-Catholic Church determines to be ultimately acceptable in every way.” (New Zion in Babylon I, The Russiain Church and Proto-Ecumenism pg. 60)

            I purchased St. Nikodemos’ excellent Christian Morality text by SiR and they even said that Jesuits were taking confession on Athos in his day. These have been terrible times for the Church!

          • Deacon Joseph @ NFTU says:

            I don’t put much stock in the writings of the MP’s chief ecumenist.

            I don’t agree with the assertion that the Church ceases to exist when the Patriarchate does. That’s simply not a realistic reading of Orthodox history. If we apply it consistently, the Church’s canonicity would be consistently in question.

            Even if the oberprocurators were *all* atheists, their role– which varied over time– was intended to be that of a civilian watchdog. It simply cannot be equated to an atheist government actively & continuously infliltrating and hand-selecting the leaders of the Church, isolating it from the rest of Orthodoxy.

          • Marlon Scott says:

            Fr. Deacon Joseph,

            I know you could care less about a “chief ecumenist” opinion. However, it says something when Fr. Matthew Raphael AND the “chief ecumenist” can agree on a historical fact. That was my point in quoting him.

            I would never assert that when the Church is not a Church when it loses a Patriarch. That’s not how it works, I agree. However, how the Russian Church lost its patriarch is the issue. Tsar Peter replaced the office based on models from Dutch Protestantism. Additionally, the Oberprocurator was more than a watchdog, the office came with power and the Synod was subjected (perhaps not absolutely) to an atheist, or freemason to some degree. It definitely had its effect on the Faith.

          • More than fair. I’m simply saying that I grant them equal credibility.

            It would be more accurate to say that the Church had become reduced to a state institution and regulated. Unfortunately this was also the case in the Ottoman empire. But the Church still operated in relative freedom, as much as apologists for the Soviet state refused to admit it– because national policy towards the Church, while admittedly a bastardization of what it was– was still nominally Christian in its ethos.

          • HmkEnoch says:

            If you are referring to “Third Rome” by Fr. Raphael, Fr. Raphael has, as I understand, modified several of his view from that book written several years ago.

          • Marlon Scott says:

            Hieromonk Enoch,

            No. I’m referring to Sobornosti. In the book he states that he has indeed adjusted his view from Third Rome. This work IS the adjustment.

          • HmkEnoch says:

            Then it could just contain errors, opinions, I don’t know, frankly. I sent you my contact info via an email, if you wanted to talk ‘level headed’ on the phone; like you mentioned.

            In Christ,

            Fr. Enoch

          • Sort of….

            “Sobornosti” was actually a compilation of essays Fr Raphael wrote approaching a decade ago– truth be told, it’s probably better to contact the author directly on the matter than either of us or any third party for that matter.

          • NFTU says:

            I intended to write a response to this yesterday, but I will only say things are always different *on paper* than they are *in practice*.

            If we wrote things as they were *in practice*, our positions would be more consistent *on paper*.

          • ProdromosTO says:

            Your comment is a bit cryptic Father. Could you clarify? The reality is that the loss of our hierarchy and its re-establishment in 1960 by one ROCOR bishop and a sympathetic new calendarist does raise important questions and should certainly cause us to approach the question of whether the modernist mysteries have Grace and when they may or may not have lost it with a lot of caution and humility.

            Its quite disappointing to see the historic and joyous union that was proclaimed this week is being greeted with such skepticism by some here who have fixated on precisely the issue that had led to so many schisms and the dilution of our witness over the years. Do we really believe that the Holy Spirit guides the church and its hierarchs, or do we believe in pet grudges and arm chair Orthodoxy where anyone regardless of their level or spiritual state has the right to be a theologian and judge?

          • Deacon Joseph @ NFTU says:

            “Your comment is a bit cryptic Father. Could you clarify?”

            It was intentionally cryptic– because I know my opinions can be controversial.

            You write: “The reality is that the loss of our hierarchy and its re-establishment in 1960 by one ROCOR bishop and a sympathetic new calendarist does raise important questions….”

            This is a great example of *precisely* what I am talking about. Everyone knows that the New Calendarist was involved: but what few people realize is that he refused to confirm his participation in any way– in practice making the Florinite consecrations appear **exactly** the same as the Matthewite ones. (The letter is here: http://euphrosynoscafe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=6968&start=0)

            So… *on paper* the Florinites appear, thanks to the magic of hindsight and careful propaganda, to be the more canonically correct than the Matthewites.

            *In Practice*…. there was little difference between the two canonically, and the Florinites engaged in a great deal of character assassination against the Matthewites without cause leading to the end of their reunion. Before the speed of the internet, it was easy to write agit-prop uncontested for years.

            To continue: “…and should certainly cause us to approach the question of whether the modernist mysteries have Grace and when they may or may not have lost it with a lot of caution and humility.”

            It should…. but the truth is many in True Orthodoxy don’t usually have such an approach at all. We had ardent advocates of handling that question with care in my Synod– which led to its inclusion in the confession of faith for new clergy (thank God)– but the truth is people *say one thing*, and then *practice* another.

            I heard this from someone this past week: “it’s over– they’ve completely capitulated to us.” As though the Church is a game of dominoes! It’s precisely that arrogance that makes me totally suspicious of this union. I have to look at what the hierarchy’s official statements are– because backroom dealings aside, what counts is what is officially being said.

            And I will further say this: for those who think this is “proof” of the superiority of their Synod over other True Orthodox– pride goeth before a fall. I’ve seen that so many times over the years in True Orthodoxy I’m surprised how often that simple point is still ignored.

          • Marlon Scott says:

            Fr. Deacon Joseph,

            Thanks for the clarification.
            What’s your synod’s view of World Orthodox mysteries? There is a big difference in the Matthewite/Florinite case though. The Florinites allowed a man they condemned as graceless to participate. This same bishop was called a “drug addict” by Bp. Grabbe’s daughter and subsequently got into trouble for commemorating a Roman Catholic bishop.

            Both ROAC and ROCOR-MP sources state that Archbishop Leonty, another Greek GOC consecrator, believed that the RCC had valid Mysteries.

          • Deacon Joseph @ NFTU says:

            Our Synod’s position, taking into account Bl Augustine, in a nutshell is that since we consider World Orthodox heretical and schismatic, the question of grace– while having many factors in favor of total denial– is irrelevant since such mysteries– if they did have grace– would be to their ultimate destruction. I hope to think Abp Leonty believed similarly– such a view was a typically Western influenced and common view believed for centuries and commonly elucidated from the 16th century onward, and I tend not to think anything wrong with it.

            My point is that if Theophilus Ionescu ultimately denied participation and refused to sign the consecration certificate, the Florinites’ attempt to look more “correct” than the Matthewites, in the end, was meaningless– officially, it was a single handed consecration and more importantly, as you point up, they allowed in a Bishop who they considered graceless to participate.

            I would argue that the Russian Synod did not consider Ionescu schismatic– let alone– graceless at the time; while ultimately tragic for him, the fact remains steps to resolve the question fully in ROCOR didn’t occur until the process of union began in earnest with the removal of Metropolitan Vitaly in 2001 and subsequent reorganizations.

          • Marlon Scott says:

            Fr. Deacon Joseph,

            Thanks for the forthrightness without the diatribe. Archbishop Leonty believed that RCC sacraments were “of some benefit to faithful Catholics” but after Vat II he was in doubt. One thing I would ask, based on historical precedent, is how persons can be so sure that a Church has had it’s lampstand blown out. For instance, St. Maximus thought that the EP of his day, and those in communion with, were utterly graceless heretics:

            “Because the leaders of this Church have rejected the definitions of four holy councils and accepted the Nine Chapters published in Alexandria; the Ekthesis written by Sergius, Patriarch of Constantinople; and the recently issued Typos. What they proclaimed as dogma in the Ekthesis they rejected in the Typos. They have repeatedly excommunicated themselves from the Church and are completely unstable in the faith. Additionally, they have been cut off and stripped of priesthood by the local council held at Rome. What Mysteries, then, can they perform? And what spirit descends on those whom they ordain?” (St. Dimitri Rostov: Life of St. Maximus)

            Would you say that the Eastern Church of his day was graceless because the Lateran Synod of 649? If so, who received them back into Orthodoxy?

            One sign of lost grace is a continuing and pernicious falling away from Truth, I grant you, that is occurring in some circles. However, we could say the same with the perpetual splintering into various sects anathematizing each other. Hopefully that’s a thing of the past for True Orthodox because unity preaches the Gospel better than sermons.

          • Deacon Joseph @ NFTU says:

            Heresy automatically removes someone from the Church, particularly if it was in a cleric’s public statement, maintained even after attempts at correction.

            Thus St Maximus’ assurance came from the fact that he knew they were teaching heresy. Furthermore, they were in fact deposed at the Lateran Council. Canonically Rome’s involvement at the time could have come from one of two directions. Thus from a canonical standpoint the question of course becomes whether or not Rome simply acted as the Orthodox party in widespread heresy (one that is commonly accepted) or in fact as final court of appeal, which is what I would suspect– I don’t have the council documents nearby, but a brief refresher indicates that not only was St Maximus heavily involved but prepared over the course of four years, indicating that other alternatives were in fact exhausted.

            The Lateran Council is unique is that it applied the Church’s spiritual authority against its temporal authority, because the Orthodox understood themselves as the minority party. Thus the Council existed to proclaim the faith, and dozens of monks and abbots from the East subscribed to the council’s signatures. Yet the Council’s authority stemmed solely from the very strength of the faith proclaimed in it.

            So St Martin and St Maximus understood that they had little temporal power and in fact were arrested four years later and martyred. Indeed while the next Popes retained the faith, they were disinclined to make an issue of it. St Maximus’ “bet”, along with St Martin, worked: the incursions of the Saracens and a series of Popes disinclined to enter the heresy gave safe haven to the Orthodox. I imagine those times would look incredibly confusing.

            Still, that’s why the New Calendar schism doesn’t strike me as particularly difficult to make sense of. It began as precisely that– a local schism– eventually being revealed as the underpinning for the heresy of ecumenism through joint celebrations. It caused schism wherever it was introduced unless the Church was already under hostile authority. As Orthodox theocracies continued to fall, an already heavy dependence on Russia became problematic with the introduction of Soviet influence in the hierarchy.

            In the end, the Soviet Church made it into the WCC with the aim of spreading leftism. The gambit worked– leftists at the WCC heralded the Soviet Patriarchate’s involvement, and what was left of resistance among the tired, shaken, broken and infiltrated official church followed suit.

            Because of this, I see what is happening as far closer to the Antiochian schism of 1724– as a microcosm of a worldwide fall. The battered Orthodox of the early 20th century were replaced, by hook or by crook, by professional ecumenists and Sergianists. (If you are wondering what I mean by “professional”, I mean they made good money selling out the faith.)

            But this is all old, much of it before my lifetime. What I do know is: it’s gotten worse within my lifetime, and I’ve been around long enough to know that it isn’t changing but becoming completely cemented. The chaos of True Orthodoxy in the 20th century has largely passed– the lines have been drawn. We’re just rebuilding the world over, and that’s why unions like this are a good thing. It probably won’t be resolved except by a true Pan-Orthodox Council (or the tribulation) and I think most of my generation of True Orthodox are moving past the chaos and getting back to doing the plain old, normative work of the Church.

            There’s just no going back now for either side. World Orthodoxy knows it can’t just *unite* with Rome. So it is making Rome’s presence commonplace. Union by association. That’s just not where I want to be. I want to be with the Church. Whether in my Synod, a Russian one, Matthewite, Florinite– these are just names. The unchanging and True Faith is the same. And that, over “unity” or “disunity”, is the Gospel I want to hear.

          • Marlon Scott says:

            Fr. Deacon Joseph,

            I’m at a loss as to what you mean.

          • I hope my response to @ProdromosTO helps?

          • Marlon Scott says:

            What’s your view of the statements by Met. Anastassy and St. John?

          • Deacon Joseph @ NFTU says:

            I understand them, they make sense to me– but I do not understand them in the same way the ROCOR-MP, for example, understands them. You can’t divorce a statement from its historical context– and Metropolitan Anastassy, writing at a time when the True Church in Russia was literally being targeted by the Church, when catacomb Bishops occasionally allowed local flocks some level of flexibility because of the heaviness of the persecution, and most importantly, before the Soviets managed to take the WCC by storm and thus change the character of the debate by changing from a “pro-Soviet faction” fighting the Church in the public eye to, largely “the Church” itself– I would say those statements are simply not relevant to today.

            Of course, the Sergianists would rather skip inconvenient facts against them, like the fact that the ROCOR refused to accept the election of either Patriarch and that Metr Anastassy’s opinion was contrary to much of ROCOR at the time. The question of union is one that has to be assessed both historically and in a contemporary context, and knowing what we do now– for example the levels of involvement in Russia, Romania and elsewhere, on the part of the state police– in fact many “Bishops”
            were agents of the state– it’s a no-brainer. This very blog reported when the overwhelming majority of the Bulgarian Orthodox were revealed to be state agents.

            Were any deposed? Nope. (Actually I think one guy was and replaced with– surprise– another Securitate.) In the internet era, the appearance of legitimacy is revealed to be a shell game put on by these people.

            So, was *this* what St John and Metr Anastassy were talking about? In short– no.

          • Dcn Joseph Suaiden says:

            I would presume we would take those statements into consideration but in fact we are not part of the GOC of Greece, as our jurisdiction is Western.

          • Anastasios says:

            You are taking one person’s opinion/interpretation and assuming it is reflective of the position of the Church of the GOC of Greece. I would suggest you would instead assume that one person’s private email correspondence may not be indicative of an entire Church’s position.

            BTW, if you go to the Synod in Resistance’s website, you will note that the article, “On the Status of Uncondemned Heretics” no longer exists.

            If you go to the GOC’s website (in Greek), you will note that the hierarchs are listed in terms of seniority, and it is clear that the former SiR bishops are listed last–because they entered the Synod of the GOC last, even though they were ordained bishops in some cases decades before the other bishops.

            These are all points to keep in mind.

          • HmkEnoch says:

            Of course, I keep that in mind. Until there is a confirmation of an official position it is somewhat vague. I did, however, say, that you could only draw these conclusions from Met. Chrysostomos of Etna’s letter. Indeed, he could very well be giving his interpretation; if, however, his interpretation is completely contrary to the official views concluded in the confirmed documents of union, then, this will be a major problem for any hierarch(s), such as possibly Met. Chrysostomos, who still attempts to maintain a Cyprianite view when such a view has either been repudiated or condemned.

          • Jason says:

            “BTW, if you go to the Synod in Resistance’s website, you will note that the article, ‘On the Status of Uncondemned Heretics’ no longer exists.”

            just FYI – the document is still on their site:


          • Anastasios says:

            Are you sure that’s not what happened?

          • Dcn Joseph Suaiden says:

            Since I didn’t say that, I am not sure where you are getting it. I don’t– nor does any member of my Synod, nor I presume the former SiR at this point– view World Orthodoxy as “the Church” in any way. The question of the speed of the departure of grace remains an open question in my Synod, and I for one believe it to be gone. However, if someone believes that God may be in some odd way granting mercy with the possibility of their repentance and joining the Church for however long, I cannot fault them for doing so.

          • HmkEnoch says:

            No one seriously (assuming they aren’t mentally ill, demented, or deranged) views the World Orthodox as part of the Church anymore. Unless I’m mistaken, Fr. Joseph, the now dissolved and abolished SiR, that is, its bishops who are now members of the GOC(K), affirm that the World Orthodox are not part of the Church, correct?

          • Dcn Joseph Suaiden says:

            I would assume that if this wasn’t the case no union could have seriously occurred.

          • Dcn Joseph Suaiden says:

            I guess the word remains “wait and see”.

          • Joseph says:

            I do hope an official dialogue begins with the RTOC. Don’t know much about ROAC yet, but I’m curious to look into them.

          • Herman says:

            You should look into them, they are a little older than the RTOC and much larger. In fact, they are the largest of the True Russian synods. The great canonist and secretary of Old ROCOR Bishop Gregory Grabbe was with them before he reposed. They are True Orthodox, on the Old calendar, anti-ecumenists, anti-Cyprianite (in the old sense of the word), and anti-name worshiping. They have suffered persecution from the MP and Russian Government probably more than any other Russian synod of our time, not including the constant false lies and slander they endure constantly. They are made up of mostly Catacomb Christians and people who have converted from the MP. Very admirable people. Just be careful, they have two false “ROAC” synods out there that give the real Synod a bad reputation. One is a small sect in America headed by Gregory of Colorado, who was deposed by the ROAC years ago, and the other is a small sect in St. Petersburg with Gregory Lourie, who was also deposed by the ROAC.

          • Joseph says:

            Thank you for your message Herman! It is very much appreciated. I will definitely look into the two synods.

  2. BD says:

    AB Chrysytom of Etna wrote it a couple of days ago in anticipation of the union.
    If one bishop in a certain synod believes in a heresy (ie ecumenism) does not the whole synod fall into the same heresy? That what our priests at St Nekatrios church in Toronto taught us all these years. (BTW St Nektarios churhc is a GOC-K church).

    • Dcn Joseph Suaiden says:

      But Metr Chyrsostom doesn’t believe in ecumenism– this was clarified in joint communiques that their use of the term “ailing” was specifically in reference to uncondemned heretics.

      I don’t have a dog in this fight– I’m not a member of either Synod

      • Joseph says:

        BD, this article was posted on NFTU a few days ago. The question I have is when exactly was it written by Abp. Chrysostom? Not, when did someone submit it to NFTU for publication. Let me clarify. Was this written in December, early/late January, possibly February? Can anyone here actually answer this question? Numerous meetings have taken place between these two synods. I’m pretty sure that many members didn’t see eye to eye regarding many of these matters throughout this long process. Thus, the need for 13 or so meetings. I’m also pretty certain that throughout this dialogue members of the SIR tried hard to maintain beliefs they always held to be true. However, GOC-K made it very clear that these heretical beliefs would have to be corrected in order for unity to take place. I have spoken to bishops in the synod firsthand regarding what the SIR would have to do in order for this union to take place. Renouncing these false beliefs was mandatory. Your priests at St Nektarios have clearly done a great job educating you in these types of matters. Hopefully, you are still a member of this church. If not, then you sadly chose to follow bishops and priests who openly preach heresy, which inevitably means that you didn’t follow the good example of your priests as you point out.

  3. Christian Orthodox says:

    A word of advice to the Orthodox GOC-Kallinikos Synod from someone who knows. Be on guard. Their words (Synod in Resistance) are filled with hypocrisy and intrigues.

    • Joseph says:

      So I guess what many people are saying here is that there is no repentance in Orthodox Christianity. For now, I will trust in our Saviour who can soften the hardest of hearts.

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