Dear all,

Things have been a bit quiet on our blog lately. Mainly because we bloggers have been busy with other priorities, but also because we’ve been doing some research which we hope will bear fruit in the form of more interesting blog posts in the coming days. In the meantime we thought we might put up another “reflections” post to look at what has transpired recently.

Cathedral of the Annunciation, Redfern NSW

Cathedral of the Annunciation, Redfern NSW

One thing that has occurred to us is that some people may have misconstrued our attacks due to some of the images we have put up. In an August blog on “canonicity”, we put up photos of the uncanonical churches with big red crosses through them in order to emphasise the fact that they are uncanonical. However, what we need to make clear is that it is not actually the buildings themselves that are at fault. We realise that many faithful Greek Orthodox of our city put their time, effort and money into building or acquiring these places of worship as an offering of love for and as a sign of their devotion to God.

But at the end of the day, a building is just a building. Just about any building can be used as an Orthodox temple, even if it was not built specifically for that purpose. The Cathedral Church of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in Redfern, Sydney, for example (pictured), was not originally built as an Orthodox temple, rather it was built by the Anglican Church and was later purchased by the Archdiocese. Similarly there are many Orthodox parishes in Adelaide and around Australia (and indeed around the world) of both Greek and non-Greek heritage that worship in temples that used to be places of worship for non-Orthodox Christians. Even the schismatic temple of Ss Constantine & Helen at Goodwood was not built as an Orthodox temple. So while elaborate, Orthodox-style temples are a beautiful tradition and a part of the Orthodox Faith, nevertheless they are not an essential part. It is possible to have Orthodox worship in a temple that once belonged to non-Orthodox Christians.

Unfortunately, the opposite is also true – it is possible to have non-Orthodox worship in a temple that once belonged to Orthodox Christians. When it happens this is a great tragedy, but of course the building itself is not to blame – it is the fault of those who conduct their non-Orthodox worship services. It is this idea that we are trying to express by those photographs and in this blog in general – we are not against the temples, but against what is happening inside of them. It is the Greek pseudo-Orthodox worship services, and pseudo-Orthodox Baptisms and pseudo-Orthodox Marriages, conducted by Greek pseudo-Orthodox priests and headed by their Greek pseudo-Orthodox bishop – this is what we are against. We are against it because of the deliberate attempt to mislead people into thinking that they are Orthodox when they are not. Unsuspecting Greeks of Adelaide go to services at these buildings expecting true Orthodox worship and to be served by real Orthodox priests – not fake ones.  They deserve to have nothing less.

From now and in the future we will be making a concerted effort to stress that our criticisms are not directed at the properties themselves. It is our fervent prayer that, for the sake of all the Greek Orthodox faithful who built these temples that one day soon they will again become places of Orthodox worship. As His Grace Bishop Nikandros (the canonical bishop in Adelaide for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese) said not too long ago: “[we] are not interested in the properties as only the people are the wealth of the Church” (see His Grace in this recent Neos Kosmos article).

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