August 2013


And so it seems, given all the available documentation concerning Mr Kanavas and Mr Haros, that yet again, the Greek Community in Adelaide is faced with more troubles which weigh on top of those that have already brought enough sadness and tragedy to many families in this city for over 50 years.

How many of our children have been lost to the Orthodox Faith because of the scandalous attitudes shown during this time which were seemingly evolved around Archdiocese versus Community? How many of our young people fell away from the Church. How many children noted that their parents only honoured their ethnic identity in Church and not worship the LORD? How many of our children did not see and feel in their hearts the Self-Emptying Love of Our LORD Jesus Christ and to come to a faith where they loved the LORD with all their heart, mind, strength and to love their neighbour as themselves? How many did not realise that the Orthodox Church was preaching that the LORD loved them and died for them? How many were torn apart by their misgivings about the motivations of people involved in these communities, people who have been driven by either their own hurts or their beliefs and/or even perhaps HATRED OF JESUS HIMSELF AND HIS HOLY CHURCH? How long will it be before we stop lying to ourselves?

This schism is not about property or money…IN FACT IT NEVER WAS…it was about about ONE PERSON, OUR LORD and HIS HOLY CHURCH and appropriate Canonical Order, as in accordance with the Seven Ecumenical Councils. Anyone who has a working knowledge of Orthodox Theology understands that schism is an extremely serious error. Of course there have been very personal human failings of those involved in this dispute over the years, whether from those within the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia or in GOCSA itself.

God only knows what has been said and done and what hatred there has been. We are all sinners. We all fail. We all seek forgiveness and to forgive. God only knows the suffering that we have all undergone. However the simple fact remains…GOCSA is and remains uncanonical…the so-called Autocephalic Church is uncanonical….the so-called Former Exarchate is uncanonical…the so-called “bishops” are not bishops.

We stand NOW with Christ in Our Midst. We call upon those in the GOCSA, those acting as “bishops”, “priests” and the laypersons to recall the Love of God and His Forgiveness, Who is as Humble as He is Almighty, and the Holy Theotokos whom we commemorate today and our Fathers and Mothers Amongst the Saints to come to their senses about this situation within GOCSA and come to metanoia/repentance and home to the Mother Church. We pray that the “priests” of GOCSA lead the way and bring their people back into the embrace of the Church. Show courage. The LORD forgives all in His Love when we repent. The Holy Orthodox Church awaits you in the Love of our LORD Jesus Christ. God bless you on this Holy Day. May the Theotokos cast her Protection over our people.

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Petros Haros the new "Star" of GOCSA

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Mr Petros Haros is the gentleman who goes by the self title: “Archbishop of the Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of America and Canada – Former Exarchate of the Alexandria (sic) Patriarchate”. Of course he was first introduced to us by Prokopios as the “Archbishop of Athens and all Greece” to which we spoke about in an earlier blog. By now our readers are well accustomed with the tendency of some to invent titles since these titles come part and parcel with dressing up and claiming something that clearly you are not. However such digressions from Christianity are not new to the Christian Church. Saint Basil of Caesarea saw the exact same occurrences take place within his very own diocese of Caesarea at c. 370 A.D. What we saw in Adelaide and specifically on Franklin Street on Sunday is exactly what Saint Basil saw happening within his diocese of Caesarea. Listen to his very words:

The teachings of the true faith have been overthrown and the ordinances of the Church have been set at naught. The lust for office on the part of men who do not fear the Lord leaps upon the positions of high authority, and quite openly now the foremost prize is offered as a prize of impiety; and consequently that man who has uttered the more horrible blasphemies is accounted the more worthy of the episcopal direction of the people. Gone is the dignity of the priesthood. Wickedness goes beyond all bounds, the laity are deaf to admonition… (Ep. 257)

Sound familiar? Is there really a need to say anything more?

But what about Petros Haros, the “consecrator” of Prokopios. Further to what Saint Basil has already said we provide you with the following official documentation (just like we did with Prokopios).     

Let’s begin with what the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria has to say about Mr Petros Haros. After all it is the claim of Haros that they have their ecclesiastical validity through being aligned with the Patriarchate of Alexandria.   A translation (the original can be viewed below) of the relevant section from an official statement from the Patriarchate of Alexandria reads as follows:

We inform you that the Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa has no ties with this religious formation, the self-called “Former Exarchate of the Patriarchate of Alexandria”.

 

The Patriarchate of Alexandria has never ordained any of their bishops and thus there is no case under any circumstances of apostolic succession.

 

As for their alleged recognition, this was stolen fraudulently and instantly retracted.

 

Hence, we fully share your feelings of abhorrence towards this religious dysplasia which is disruptive of ecclesiastical unity.

 

We remain yours with much love in Christ and great honour.

 

+ Gabriel, Bishop of Leontopolis

Patriarchal Vicar of Alexandria

 Letter from Patriarchate concerning Petros Haros

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Athens “Church of Greece” has also produced its own official statement that testifies to the uncanonicity of Petros Haros as well as informing the faithful that Petros Haros is known within the realms of the Greek Police Force and Greek Media.

 

Holy Synod of the Church of Greece

Holy Synod of the Church of Greece

All the Greek News Papers from 2003-2006 have been involved with Petros Haros, primarily for fraudulently acting as a Medical Practitioner, when truly he was not. The Greek Medical Board of Athens has categorically stated that Petros Haros is not a registered medical practitioner. Consequently Haros was arrested by the Greek Police because he had an illegal medical practice and in 2011 was handed a sentence of six months imprisonment.

Below you will also find documents from the Greek Medical Association as well as articles from Greek media sources. This linked article from “Neos Kosmos” (9th August, 2013) brings together all the facts from these sources and others.

 Greek Medical Association

The Pretend Healer - Petros Haros

50 Euros, the cost of "healing"

Haros in the hands of the Police

We are saddened with the above realisations. However we consider it a duty to inform all the Greek Orthodox faithful of Adelaide about the characters taking on positions of responsibility and trust within the Greek Community. No doubt you will find notable resemblances between these characters, as if to say that they attract each other. How is this so? And why does this happen? Let us once again turn to Saint Basil, him seems to be an expert in this area:

[They] were not partakers of the Holy Spirit, and were not governing their churches by the grace of God, but had seized their dignity by human power and a desire of empty glory… Their aim is one, as it seems – to seek their own advantage everywhere, and to consider him a friend who assists in accomplishing their desires, but to judge him an enemy, and to spare no calumny against him, who opposes their desires”. (Ep. 244)

Brothers and Sisters we end with a litany of peace that forms the opening foundation of every Divine Liturgy. We ask you to please think about the division that plagues our Orthodox faithful in Adelaide each time it is said.

For the peace of the whole world, the stability of the Holy Churches of God and for the union of all, Let us pray to the Lord!

For those who caught yesterday (Sunday) evening’s news on Channel 7 Adelaide, you may have caught an answer by Elias Gratsias (on behalf of GOCSA and the Autocephalic “Greek Orthodox” Church of America and Canada) to the question of why a division exists (and remains) between GOCSA and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia. He gave the following answer (we paraphrase):

The division exists because of disputes over property ownership.

We are absolutely gobsmacked that this bold-faced lie continues to be circulated by officials closely connected to the GOCSA executive after all this time.

Here we are, more than two years after the reunion between GOCNSW and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, and not a single property transfer has taken place from GOCNSW to the Archdiocese. To this day,  there are dozens of Greek Orthodox parish-communities in the Archdiocese that own their own property in their own name, and have done for decades. Further, His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos and His Grace Bishop Nikandros have categorically denied that they are interested in the property. And as we have explained previously it’s not even legally possible for the Archdiocese to take property without a Community’s consent.

Of course, we have addressed this vicious rumour before, but hitherto we thought it was a misconception mostly among the GOCSA faithful and that the Executive knew otherwise. But now it is obvious that this is misconception is held (perhaps even perpetuated) at the highest levels of their organisation. Or perhaps even more sinister, this lie is deliberately and knowingly perpetuated by the executive – they know the truth but continue to spread the lie because the lie is more convenient. Either way, this has to stop. How can an organisation call itself “Christian” while propagating such blatant and defamatory lies?

To all those of our readership who love truth and hate lies (both those of GOCSA and those of the Archdiocese), we implore you to help put these vicious rumours to an end. As we wrote on the post on Unity way back in 2011: the Archdiocese does not want your property, and it does not want your money. It wants one thing and one thing only: your souls. It wants to bring them back into the safety of the Orthodox Church, to be ministered by real priests and served real Mysteries (Sacraments) and nourished with the real Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. If this is what you want too, then spread the word!

The Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia (GOCSA) remains an uncanonical entity. The entity with which it has apparently united itself and is self-styled with words such as “Holy” and “Sacred Synod of Greece” IS NOT THE HOLY ORTHODOX CHURCH OF GREECE.

The entity known as the Autocephalic Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia (AGOCAA) is not and has never been canonical. Nothing, absolutely nothing has changed. For all the grandeur and beauty of an “ordination”, the “bishops”, vestments, “titles” and emotions felt, NOTHING HAS CHANGED. Anyone, absolutely anyone, can buy any vestment and any Church ornament and any service book. It does not make them a “priest” “bishop” or “canonical”.

Canonicity is of the One Holy and Catholic and Apostolic Church professing the Orthodox Faith. Recognition by a government as a religious entity, DOES NOT MAKE GOCSA CANONICAL OR INDEED ORTHODOX, no matter how one self-styles their entity. Canonicity AGAIN is of and ONLY OF the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church professing the Orthodox Faith. It is for this Faith and for this Church that the Holy Martyrs died from the birth of the Church.  It is for this Church and this Faith that untold of thousands died in Greece, the Balkans and in the Soviet Union.

To remain in schism is an extremely serious spiritual error that IN FACT casts disrespect for the witness of the Saints. It is for this Church and this Faith, that St Nectarios of Pentapolis who had been so terribly wronged and hurt by individuals including a Patriarch himself DID NOT LEAVE THE CHURCH BECAUSE HE WAS IN THE CANONICAL CHURCH. St Nectarios trusted in the Holy Trinity, Who glorified Him as Saint. St Nectarios never thought of leaving the Church, never thought of starting his own entity, never thought of anything except the LOVING GRACE OF GOD and GODS WILL. This is why he is so loved by us, because he kept faith and struggled and brought the individuals in a Church to repentance.

There are many Saints who stood against all who would harm the Church including St Luke the Surgeon who died in 1962, St Mark of Ephesus, the Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils who in the Holy Spirit gave us the Canons, by which GOCSA and AGOCAA and whoever else is in schism are made uncanonical. Members of the Orthodox Church of course are not perfect, no one is…HOWEVER we, as utterly fallen as we are, beset by sin, sadness and personal tragedy, longing for God, accepting His Loving Grace through the Mysteries because of His Love, because He first Loved us, stand well and with fear of His Love, in His Mercy, in Faith, Hope and Love.

MAY THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST THROUGH THE PRAYERS OF THE HOLY THEOTOKOS AND OUR FATHERS AND MOTHERS AMONGST THE SAINTS SAVE US AND PROTECT US AGAINST ALL EVIL. GOD BLESS YOU.

As reported by Nigel Hunt in today’s Advertiser (“Warning not to disrupt priest”, p15), GOCSA have been issuing the following warning in their invitations to tomorrow’s “ordination”:

We advise and caution members against engaging in possible mischief by obstructing, disturbing or acting in a calculating manner for a church interest other than the AGOCAA.

As noted in an earlier post, somewhat more forceful threats have been made on the St Nicholas Facebook page, where reference is made to legal prohibitions and punishments ( up to $10,000 fine and 2 years in prison!). This law prohibits anyone from obstructing a religious service.

But what if the religious service in question explicitly calls for the people to express their view? Such as in an Orthodox ordination service, where the laypeople are asked if they think the candidate is “worthy” (axios)? Shouting “anaxios” wouldn’t be obstructing such a religious service – it would simply be participating.

Unless of course it’s a different type of ordination service where the laity do not have that right. A different type of service run by a different organisation which is not obliged to use the standard rules that apply to ordinations. Then of course they can have whatever rules they want. For example, they may insist that the laypeople must not speak their minds at the appropriate time, and insist that the laypeople must shout “axios”, or else risk being fined or imprisoned for obstructing the service. If it was a different type of ordination service, run by a different type of organisation, then they might try to do this.

In other words, if it’s a non-Orthodox ordination service run by a non-Orthodox organisation, they might try to do this…

Of course, if the only way you can get everyone to say “axios” is by threatening everyone with imprisonment if they say “anaxios”, then that’s hardly a vote of confidence (a true “axios”) in the ordination candidate, is it?

GOCSA is not part of any Canonical Orthodox Church. That of course includes the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia which is an Archdiocese of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (or Orthodox Church) of Constantinople which is in turn, in complete spiritual and canonical union with all of its sister Churches of the worldwide Orthodox Church including the Autocephalous Orthodox Patriarchates (Churches) of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Russia, Serbia, Romania, Georgia and Bulgaria and the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches of Greece, Cyprus, Poland, Czech & Slovak Republics and Albania.

Each of these Autocephalous Churches may also be responsible for a number of Autonomous Orthodox Churches around the world such as the Church of Finland which is a self-governing Church under the aegis of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Japanese Orthodox Church which are self-governing Churches under the aegis of Patriarchate of Russia.

Each Church is administered by a Synod under the presidency of its Patriarch or Metropolitan or Archbishop and consists of Archdioceses and Dioceses. Each (arch)diocese has of course a responsible (arch)Bishop, who is in turn completely accountable to his Synod for his Diocese.

If anyone, absolutely anyone or any entity (e.g. GOCSA) is in schism with any one of these Orthodox Churches then they are automatically in complete schism with the entire Orthodox Church that is every Church mentioned above which are the Canonical Orthodox Churches which are in complete communion with each other. All of these Churches are united and fulfilled completely in the Holy Spirit, as the Church of Christ, the Bride of Christ. These Orthodox Churches are of the same Faith, Tradition and Canons, each recognising the Ecumenical Patriarch as the “first amongst equals” that is the Presiding Bishop of the entire Orthodox Church.


Any entity whatsoever, and by whatever name it chooses to call itself, including the use of the name “Orthodox”, which is not in communion with any of the worldwide Orthodox Churches, is therefore not part of it, and its so-called “sacraments” or “mysteries” are of no consequence or invalid. This includes GOCSA. GOCSA is not in communion with any Canonical Orthodox Church of Christ. There are many entities that use the word “Orthodox” and “Sacred Synod” and “Archbishop” and numerous canonical sounding names designed to fool and to divert attention away from their falsehood, that is that they are NOT PART OF THE CANONICAL ORTHODOX CHURCH. ALL SO-CALLED “SACRAMENTS” MEAN ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IF YOU ARE NOT IN COMMUNION WITH THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE AND ITS SISTERS CHURCHES. PERIOD.

The Communion of these Canonical Churches is in the Holy Spirit which preserves the Bride of Christ, that is the Holy Orthodox Church. Every tide of persecution waged against Christ and His Church and the Saints of Christ, whether through the Early Roman Persecutions, or Fall of Constantinople, or the Communist Rule in the Soviet Union could never destroy the Church. The Church can never be extinguished, precisely because of the Holy Spirit. Anyone, but anyone who goes into schism with the Church commits a extremely serious spiritual error because it denies the work of the Holy Spirit. All of this of course does not mean that everyone in the Orthodox Church is perfect. History knows of course of how certain individuals and groups who were within the Church, including malignant Bishops and Lay Persons have caused much controversy and hurt, but even then, the Holy Spirit protected the Church. The Orthodox Church of Christ, is where we come laden with our sins and hurts to the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, whether Bishop, Priest, Deacon, Monk, Lay person and to receive Christ, forgiveness, Life itself. The Orthodox Church is what it is and cannot compromise even one iota of what it is because it is in the Holy Spirit. This is the Doctrine of the Church that is central to Orthodox Christian Theology. This is why schism is so serious.

This is not about being Greek or Russian or whatever. Our ethnicity is immaterial to our salvation. It is about JESUS CHRIST, it is about LOVE.

We are truly sorry for the historical events that lead to GOCSA’s schism. May the LORD of LOVE guide those who wish to seek Jesus. May the LORD bless those in GOCSA who seek Him completely and truly.

WE ARE ALL PRAYING FOR THE LOVE OF GOD TO ENTER OUR HEARTS SO THAT WE CAN ASK FOR FORGIVENESS AND TO FORGIVE. The Orthodox Church calls its children home. 

Dear Brothers and Sister in Christ,

As promised here is an update. Justice Trish Kelly handed down her decision not so long ago. In short the application for a Supreme Court Injunction was overturned and thus will not be carried out. What this means is that Prokopi’s so-called “ordination” will continue as scheduled. We know that many are unsettled by this news as we are also.

Our prayers however are for the Lord’s mercy to comfort us so that we can love even more all people, who despite their short comings do not cease to be children of God.

Our hope and joy is realised in the potential that we all have in Christ. Through our humility, repentance and life of sanctification not only will this schism eventually be healed (sooner rather than later) but our Lord’s holy name will be glorified.

Dear Beloved, “Let us stand well!”

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” (Ps. 136)

One thing is certain: Our journey is not over.

Thank you for your prayers and love for Christ and His Church.

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