Dear Readers,

May we take this opportunity to pour out our love for all of God’s children and pray for their salvation. As we hear in the Bible our Lord desires “everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1Tim 2:4). We are especially called upon in our troubled city of Adelaide to exert greater efforts to live out this prayer, if for no other reason than the presence of the schism.

The churches administered by GOCSA are not canonical and therefore outside of the world wide communion of the Orthodox Church.

What does this mean?

  • Their so called “priests” are not priests.
  • Therefore the actions of these “priests” have no validity.
  • Thus Holy Communion, Baptisms and Weddings that take place from these individuals masquerading as priests are not recognised as valid within the Orthodox Church.

What does this not mean?

  • That the current GOCSA priests and their churches are canonical and thus Orthodox.

These simple facts are brought to your attention in response to the outrageous comments posted by Mr Prokopios Kanavas on the St. Nicholas Church & Adelaide Greek Orthodox Youth Facebook Pages. (Apart from signing off on one of the comments, his typical gross misrepresentation of reality, unrealistic exaggerations and audacity to present himself as a credible source of knowledge and generally poor writing style betray his identity.)

Please take a moment to read a sample of the following from the St. Nicholas Church & Adelaide Greek Orthodox Youth Facebook Pages:

facebook screen shots 2 facebook screen shots

So as not to give any dignity to the above hubris and further to that so as not to insult your intelligence we will limit ourselves to making general comments.

Some Facts:

  • Prokopios is correct in highlighting that the canonical Orthodox Church identifies schismatics and their actions as not Orthodox.
  • Prokopios is correct in highlighting that the canonical Orthodox Church identifies the churches that GOCSA are administrating as not Orthodox (especially while Prokopios and his colleagues make up its so called “priesthood”.)
  • Prokopios wrote a blog post explaining why he was not going to defend himself against allegations raised against him in the media – in summary, because he is “too spiritual” and as a priest-monk he shouldn’t respond. One wonders then why he solicited a collection of money in order to take Nigel Hunt (journalist with the Sunday Mail) to court? And, for that matter, what happened to the money that he raised by this collection if he doesn’t intend to defend himself?
  • One of the posts entitled “HAS THE CHURCH LOST ITS YOUNG PEOPLE?” is uncharacteristically well-written. A search revealed that this is because the post has been plagiarised (without a proper reference) from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, in clear breach of international copyright laws (not to mention plain-old rules of etiquette). See the original sermonette by Fr Andrew Demotses.
  • The comment about fees for Renmark’s community doesn’t make any sense. What is the problem with charging a hall hire fee? And $50/year membership is pretty cheap. How much does it cost to hire the hall at St Nicholas?

Some Lies:

  • There are no fees involved when people who have innocently paid for ceremonies from GOCSA under the mistaken belief that they were recognised Orthodox sacraments subsequently come to the canonical Orthodox Church (ie, the Archdiocese) to receive the real thing. The reunion agreement with GOCNSW two years ago proves this.
  • We do not believe that all those who are are uncanonical are going to hell (we plead for Prokopios to stop saying this). We do believe that they are missing out on the fullness of our Faith, but this doesn’t mean that they’re all going to hell!
  • One of Prokopios’ posts is a thinly-veiled accusation that we have committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (and presumably therefore going to hell). In light of the complaint noted in the previous point, the hypocrisy of such an accusation is plain. As noted, we do not claim that they are going to hell (that is for God to judge). But what we are saying is that they are not part of the communon of the Orthodox Church.

Prokopios since you present yourself as a conformist to Orthodox Canon Law, perhaps you may want to be aware of the following:

  • The Holy Canons of the Apostles, the Seven Ecumenical Councils and the local Councils constitute the living word of the Holy Spirit which governs the Church and leads Her to all truth.
  • In becoming schismatic through aligning yourself with the pseudo Archbishop Auxentios Marinis and now with no bishop; according to the Worldwide Orthodox Church, Her Theology and Canon Law you are violating the following Holy and Sacred Canons: 31st and 34th of the Holy Apostles; 18th of the 4th Ecumenical Synod; 34th of the 6th Ecumenical Synod; 14th and 15th of the First/Second Synod; 6th of the Synod of Gangra and 10th of the Synod of Carthage. Subsequently you were defrocked as a deacon from the Patriarchate of Jerusalem (see here) and returned to a lay person in accordance to the Orthodox Church’s rights based on the above mentioned canons.

Here it is important to remind our readers that the Orthodox Church worldwide is governed by Bishops who “in the place and presence of Christ” are successors of the Holy Apostles. These bishops are elected by the Holy Synods of the various local Orthodox Churches and are ordained by canonical Bishops who have uninterrupted Apostolic Succession. Lay people, including defrocked clergy, are called to be the Flock not Shepherds.

Through their canonically ordained bishops, the various local Orthodox Churches constitute one unified body, with a single dogma, constitution, ethos and worship. Consequently we have the same Church in Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Athens, Moscow, Cyprus, Bucharest, Belgrade, Sophia, Australia and Mount Athos amongst other places. The GOCSA churches are not in communion with any of these centres of Christianity and therefore outside of the Communion of the Orthodox Church. Thus for the Worldwide Orthodox Church of 300 000 000 faithful, whatever is conducted in the GOCSA churches is ecclesiologically and theologically non-existent – in other words without any spiritual value and importance. So we are not re-baptising those who come to our Orthodox Churches from GOCSA (as Mr Kanavas claims) – because they never received Orthodox baptism in the first place!

Furthermore, according to Canons: 10th and 31st of the Holy Apostles; 6th of the Synod of Gangra as well as the 10th canon of the Synod of Gangra, the mere acceptance of defrocked and/or schismatic clergy (which is how GOCSA obtain all of their clergy) is a violation of Orthodox Ecclesiology and Canon Law. It is entirely a Protestant prerogative that allows one to create their own “Church” and “clergy” and name them as they wish. Consequently when Orthodox Christians pray in schismatic churches they are considered to be outside of the communion of the Orthodox Church. Specifically in the words of the 10th Canon of the Holy Apostles:

If anyone, even in a home, prays with a person who has been severed from the Church, then that person is excommunicated.