Patriarch Theofilos

Patriarch Theofilos of Jerusalem

Dear readers,

In previous posts we have made reference to what constitutes priesthood in the Orthodox Church. Upon this foundation it is appropriate to present an example of an uncanonical member of the clergy, namely Prokopios Kanavas of St Nicholas’ “Greek Orthodox Church” Thebarton.

Below you will find an extract from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem highlighting Prokopios’ defrockment and his restoration as a “lay person”. In its contents mention is made of his “unacceptable behaviour as a deacon… contrary to the Holy Canons of the Church” which included amongst other things his involvement in “organizations of questionable and suspicious activities”. This led to Prokopios being “subjected to threats… forcing him to flee terrified to Greece where he discarded and gave up his priesthood”.

In response to people’s request we have attached below a scanned version of the original Greek document written and faxed by the Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Archbishop Aristarchos of Konstantini. The letter from Archbishop Aristarchos was addressed to His Grace Bishop Nikandros of Dorylaeon (the canonical Greek Orthodox bishop residing in Adelaide), and is stamped with the official seal of the Patriarchate.

In close we would like to say the following to the beloved people of GOCSA: be warned, this so-called priest is not what he seems. You have the right to know if your priest is canonically ordained, and you have the right to be served by a legitimate Orthodox priest – not to make do with the Orthodox Church’s leftovers or self appointed clerics. Demand that your community leaders do what is necessary to supply you with real priests. Do not settle for anything less.Jerusalem Patriarchate


(Extract from the letter of the GREEK ORTHODOX PATRIARCHATE OF JERUSALEM to His Grace Bishop Nikandros of Dorylaeon, on 19th June 2010)

Your Grace,

With reference to Prokopios (birth name as Panagiotis) Kanavas, who represents himself in Adelaide as an Archimandrite, we advise that he was ordained and served within our Patriarchate as a deacon. He became involved without our knowledge in organisations of questionable and suspicious activities. As such he became subjected to threats and his own life was endangered thus forcing him to flee terrified to Greece where he discarded and gave up his priesthood. Following this, the Holy and Sacred Synod of our Patriarchate during its deliberations on 24th of June 2008, after considering his unacceptable behaviour as a deacon, which behaviour was contrary to the Holy Canons of the Church as well as his position as a member of the Brotherhood of the Holy Patriarchate of Jerusalem, defrocked the above mentioned deacon (Prokopios Kanavas) restoring him back to the classification of a lay person hence severing him from the said Brotherhood of the Holy Patriarchate of Jerusalem which has since then ceased to have any relationship or be in communion with him.

Your Grace, informing you on the above for the purpose of making them known to the faithful of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, I convey to you and to His Eminence, Archbishop Stylianos of Australia, the blessings and brotherly love of His Beatitude Theofilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, as well as my personal ones, and I wish you, from the All-Holy and Life-accepted Tomb, every strength from above in your burdensome pastoral work.

In the Holy City of Jerusalem, 19th June 2010.

With love in Christ and great honour,
Archbishop of Konstantini Aristarchos

Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

Prokopios’ defrockment (scanned copy of original, in Greek)