His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos with His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew

His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos with His-All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Some people avoid the issue of which churches are canonical by saying that they do not have “sufficient knowledge” or are not “qualified” to answer questions like:

Does the Ecumenical Patriarchate or the Church of Greece recognise GOCSA as part of the Orthodox church?

In reality it is quite easy to discover which organisations or churches are part of the communion of the Orthodox Church by simply reading the information that is published officially by sources like the Ecumenical Patriarchate or the Church of Greece.  Given the seriousness of the issues involved any faithful Orthodox Christian who is confused by the schism in Australia should take the time to examine the available information.

GOCSA publish that they are part of the “Autocephalic  Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia” so we can examine if any Orthodox churches are in communion with this organisation.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate publishes on its website a list of dioceses around the world that it administers on the Administration of the Patriarchate page. In it we find the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia which clearly demonstrates that the Archdiocese is in communion with the Patriarchate.  Nowhere is the “Autocephalic Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia” listed.

His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew with the Archbishop of Greece

His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew with His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos (Archbishop of Athens and All Greece)

The Church of Greece publishes on its website a list of all the Patriachates and Autocephalic churches. It links to the Ecumenical Patriarchate (which as noted above links to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia).  Nowhere is the “Autocephalic Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia” listed.

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America publishes a useful page listing Patriarchates, Autocephalous, and Autonomous Churches as well as Archdioceses, Metropolises, and Dioceses.  Again the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia is listed.  Nowhere is the “Autocephalic Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia” listed.

Non-official sources such as the wikipedia article on the Eastern Orthodox Church list the autocephalous churches along with their exarchates (ie, overseas jurisdictions).  Again the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia is listed.  Nowhere is the “Autocephalic Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia” mentioned, not even in the list of churches with canonical anomalies or excommunicated bishops.

Here is a summary table listing all of these sources:

Source Greek Orthodox Archiocese of Australia recognised? “Autocephalic” Greek “Orthodox” Church of America and Australia recognised?
Ecumenical Patriarchate Yes No
Church of Greece Yes (through the Ecumenical Patriarchate) No
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Yes No
Wikipedia Yes No

What sort of rational conclusion can be drawn after examining this information?

  • The “Autocephalic Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia” and hence GOCSA churches are not in communion or recognised by any jurisdiction of the Orthodox church.
  • It is a self granted title intended to impress people who do not have sufficient knowledge of the ecclesiastical organisation of the Orthodox Church.
  • “Churches” under the “Autocephalic Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia” are not part of the Orthodox Church. They are not autocephalous, they are not Orthodox, and they are not even American!
Advertisements