November 2013


We have some breaking news – it looks like an official deposition of Prokopios by Haros’ synod may have been issued recently. We’ll post here once we have more information…

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Dear readers,

A circus

A circus – which is what this latest episode has become for GOCSA’s “bishop”. Source: Adelaide Now.

It seems that on Monday 25th of November (a couple of days ago), Mr Kanavas finally responded to his own deposition with a deposition notice of his own. It is currently available on the Adelaide Greek Orthodox Youth and St Nicholas Facebook pages, but if for some reason it should go missing or get changed we’ll post our own copy up here.

In this latest notice, Mr Haros and a couple of other bishops of his synod (John of Brazil and Meletios of Achaia) were supposedly deposed by Mr Kanavas along with a new synod, headed by one Christophoros of New England. This time he has an official signature and even a seal, and although it’s difficult to make out due to the poor image quality it looks like the seal is actually that of Christophoros (the words “New England” in Greek can be seen, sort-of). So it looks like he’s learned a lesson after the criticism that we gave him when he published the suspension notice of Haros at the beginning of the month. (Curiously, that suspension notice seems to have gone missing from the Adelaide Greek Orthodox Youth page… Mr Kanavas trying to cover his tracks, perhaps? If so he hasn’t done a good job because the suspension notice is still on the St Nicholas page. But we digress.)

Unsurprisingly, there are a number of anomalies about this deposition notice which give cause for suspicion about this alleged deposition notice, which we discuss below.

Who was there? Where are the signatures?

Although this time Mr Kanavas has actually presented something with a seal and a signature (which, as we noted, is an improvement on the last effort), there is still only one signature (that of Christophoros). Where are the signatures of the other “bishops” that were allegedly in attendance at the hearing?

For that matter, how were the bishops in attendance? The notice is written as if all the “bishops” were in attendance to take part in giving evidence & passing judgement. Yet they come from as far abroad as Brazil, Montreal and the Ukraine as well as Adelaide. Were they all present? As far as we know, Mr Kanavas was here in Adelaide on “ΟΧΙ” day – how did he get to Greece in time for the hearing at noon (which would have been about 8:30pm Adelaide time)?

The alleged dating of the notice and its publication

There are a number of reasons to be suspicious of the alleged date on this deposition notice:

Why do we only hear about it now? Apparently the deposition took place on the 28th of October. Surely this is a severe dereliction of duty to leave it go unannounced for nearly a month, if indeed the deposition did happen on the 28th of October as claimed.

The alleged timing is extremely convenient for Mr Kanavas.  Haros’ notice suspending Mr Kanavas was issued on the 31st of October. So if this latest deposition notice did actually take place on the 28th of October as alleged (assuming for the sake of argument that its decisions are valid), this would mean that Haros had already been deposed before he suspended Mr Kanavas. This would of course mean that Mr Kanavas was not validly suspended. Very convenient for him, no?

The alleged timing is inconsistent with the suspension notice he issued. Note that according to this latest deposition notice, Mr Kanavas was allegedly present at the hearing that deposed Haros on the 28th of October. And yet on the 2nd of November (a mere 5 days later) Mr Kanavas announced Haros’ suspension on Facebook and warned that ‘…[a]ny further action from his side may cause penalties and will depose him to the laity rank’ – showing no knowledge of the fact that Mr Haros had actually already been given the more severe & permanent punishment of being deposed, nor making any mention of his new “Archbishop” (Christophoros) at all!

Did Mr Kanavas suffer a severe memory lapse? Or has he been caught out by an inconsistency while trying to weave a web of deception?

Webs of deception: Is Mr Kanavas being entangled in one of his own? Source: Wikipedia

Will the real “Former Exarchate of the Patriarchate of Alexandria” please stand up?

All this is rather confusing because we have two competing synods here who both claim to be “the Former Exarchate of the Patriarchate of Alexandria/Autocephalic Greek “Orthodox” Church of America and Canada”:

At the end of the day though, what we have here is two different and independent synods. What does this mean for this alleged deposition?

Christophoros has exceeded his jurisdiction. According to the canons, one synod cannot judge or depose a bishop who is a member of another independent synod. This would be like a Supreme Court judge in SA being stood down by a decision of the Supreme Court of Victoria or vice-versa! This cannot happen because the Supreme Courts of Victoria & South Australia are independent. Only the Supreme Court of SA can stand down one of its own judges, or maybe the High Court on appeal (the highest court in Australia). Similarly in the Church a bishop can only be stood down by his own synod or by a higher synod (like an Ecumenical or Pan-Orthodox Synod) – he cannot be stood down by another independent synod.

Christophoros is therefore guilty of the same charge of which he convicted Mr Haros. In the deposition notice, one of the charges of which Mr Haros was found guilty (and for which he was deposed) was interfering in the jurisdiction of another diocese (ie, Mr Kanavas’). By deposing Haros, Christophoros is guilty of exactly the same offence.

Sheer hypocrisy

Of course, even more ironic is the fact that Mr Kanavas is accusing another bishop of interfering in another bishop’s diocese. After all, it is Mr Kanavas who was installed as bishop of Adelaide when Adelaide already belongs to another bishop’s diocese (namely, Archbishop Stylianos of Australia). In other words, ever since he was “ordained” bishop Mr Kanavas has been interfering in another bishop’s diocese – exactly the same charge he laid against Haros!

Conclusion

Dear brothers and sisters, while the above is both comical and sad, unfortunately none of it is surprising to us, nor to anyone who has been following this blog. Let us all take time to pray that this circus comes to a speedy end, for the sake of our Church and our Faith and for the sake of all Orthodox Christians in this blessed city of ours.

Presentation of the Theotokos to the Temple. Source: Orthodox Church in America

This Thursday just past (21st of November) was the Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the temple. In honour of this day we offer the following reflection.

As we journey through the Nativity Fast towards Christmas, New Year’s, Epiphany, and beyond towards the Presentation of Christ, we will again commemorate and venerate, the Feasts of many great Saints who were bishops. People such as St Andrew the First-Called Apostle who was crucified in Patras, St Nicholas of Myra the archtype of all bishops, whose Christ-like love brought many to Christ, St Spyridon of Trimithountos whose meekness and humility was so great that along with St Nicholas defended Holy Orthodoxy at the First Ecumenical Council by destroying the great lie of the Arian heresy. Others like St Basil the Great, St Athanasius of Alexandria, St Theophan the Recluse, St Isaac the Syrian, and St Ignatius of Antioch the God-Bearer thundered to us the “violent” Love of Almighty God, which is as gentle, humble and meek as He is Almighty. The God who identified with and sat and ate with the discarded and the despised of the world, who raised the dead, healed the sick, demanded that we uphold peace, justice, righteousness, the protection of the weak, the poor, the downtrodden and the unborn!  A love, which was described, thus, by the late Blessed Archimandrite Fr Lev Gillet most eloquently wrote:

God is fire. God is love. God is a self-propagating emotional power, a fire that shares itself. Centuries after Moses beheld the flames of the Burning Bush, this same fire merged with the tongues of flame at Pentecost, and with the fire that burned within the hearts of the disciples at Emmaus. In saying that God is a fire of love we are certainly stating a truth that plays havoc with many of our ideas, in fact almost all our ideas.

These bishops dedicated their lives to Christ and His Church and its Holy Tradition, which is of the Holy Spirit. St Cyprian of Carthage who died in 258 wrote of the great importance of the bishop and what he represents: ‘The episcopate is a single whole, in which each bishop enjoys full possession. So is the Church a single whole, though it spreads far and wide into a multitude of churches as its fertility increases’. There are many churches but only one Church; many episcopi but only one episcopate.” Totally united and equal as vicars in Christ. And St lgnatius the Godbearer the Martyr who was ordained a bishop by St John the Theologian, wrote in 107, as he was been taken to Rome to be martyred. ‘The bishop in each Church, presides in place of God…‘Let no one do any of the things which concern the Church without the bishop … Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be, just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church”. The centrality of the Bishop in the Church, just as the centrality of the Church as our Mother in our lives, the Church, which is the Ark of the Holy Spirit to which we are grafted and in which we are saved is extremely important.

Christ is the Head of the Church and the Church is the Body of Christ. And we the sinners, the fallen, the ill, the imprisoned, and we who have betrayed Christ through our sins, compromises, lack of integrity and lovelessness, and self-absorbance, whether we be Patriarchs, Bishops, Presbyters, Deacons, Monks/Nuns, Abbots/Abbesses or Laity, we need the mercy of God which is freely given to us through His violent love for us within the Church. All is healed within the Church. The Holy Spirit will heal, as God wills! Vladimir Lossky wrote: “Eastern [Orthodox] theology never thinks of the Church apart from Christ and from the Holy Spirit.”

God will lovingly embrace and defend His humble beloved children just as He did St Nectarios of Aegina, or St Luke the Surgeon and Archbishop, just as He embraces the repentant sinners, just as He embraced the Prodigal Son. Through His Love, those at fault will be embraced and healed within the Church. And no malignancy or evil we can bring or engender, whether we be Patriarchs, Bishops, Presbyters, Deacons, Monks/Nuns, Abbots/Abbesses or Laity can overcome the Love of God and His Holy Orthodox Church. NOTHING so long as we are in the Church!!! As the LORD said “I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven…” Matt 16:18. As Orthodox Christians we know that “In Orthodoxy today, as in the years gone by, the basics of Christian doctrine, worship, and government are never up for alteration. One cannot be an Orthodox priest, for example, and reject the divinity of Christ, His virgin birth, resurrection, ascension into heaven, and second coming. The Church simply has not left its course in nearly 2000 years. It is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. It is the New Testament Church. The gates of hell have not prevailed against it.” (Introducing the Orthodox Church in the Orthodox Study Bible.)

During the Nativity Fast we also commemorate the Holy Confessors of the Orthodox Catholic Faith such as St Seraphim of Sarov and St Anthony the Great and the Great Martyrs such as St Tatiana of Rome, St Barbara of Palestine and St James the Persian inspire us to stand up to all in the world that would take us from Christ’s Love. Others like St Herman of Alaska who in his meekness, humility and Christ-likeness protected the oppressed, the orphans, the widows becoming the Patron Saint of the Indigenous Alaskans.

These where people whose depth of meekness, humility and Christ-likeness we cannot begin to fathom. These were people who rose from sin again and again and again to meet Jesus because He loved them. People whose love for Christ was so great that nothing, absolutely nothing could separate them from Him, absolutely nothing on earth, including torture and death. These are Our Fathers and Mothers in Christ, who as the cloud of witnesses stand with us in Our One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church during the Liturgy, when we say during the Nicene Creed  “And I believe in One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church”.

These like all our Holy Saints, were men and women who watered the Church with the blood of their martyrdoms, because their deaths begot greater love and their lives glorified God. They stood as witnesses that Christ has destroyed the power of death because they saw and knew Christ personally, and knew God is Love. This statement is the only cataphatic definition of God in the entire Bible (ie, a definition that says what God is, rather than what God is not) and was written by St John the Theologian in his First Epistle: “Beloved let us love one another, for love is of God: and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” 1 John 4:7-8. St Isaac once wrote “Fear God because of His love and not because of the reputation of austerity that has been attributed to Him”. If we claim to love God then we love His Holy Church, recognizing full well it is perfect, just as Christ is perfect.

It is this belief in the Church that allows the Church to thunder during the Sunday of Orthodoxy concerning the icons a statement as profound as the following:

As the Prophets saw, as the Apostles taught, as the Church has received, as the Teachers express in dogma, as the inhabited world understands together with them, as grace illumines, as the truth makes clear, as error has been banished, as wisdom makes bold to declare, as Christ has assured, so we think, so we speak, so we preach, honouring Christ our true God, and his Saints, in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in icons, worshipping and revering the One as God and Lord, and honouring them because of their common Lord as those who are close to him and serve him, and making to them relative veneration. This is the faith of the Apostles; this is the faith of the Fathers; this is the faith of the Orthodox; this faith makes fast the inhabited world.

St Ignatius the Godbearer of Antioch

St Ignatius the Godbearer of Antioch. Source: Orthodox Church in America.

As we hope you have gathered, the Doctrine of the Church is extremely important. All bishops of the Church are equals sharing in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and by the Grace of God despite their sins and failings, and come as we all do to Christ, Our Lord God and Saviour for His merciful forgiveness and love, as we all do!! The importance of the “spiritual process” or “healing” so to speak, of how, when or where the LORD ministers to His Bishops within the church is not for us to know. Just as in the example of St Nectarios who, while treated abysmally as he was by the Patriarchate of Alexandria, waited upon Christ in His Holy Church to answer his prayers within the same Holy Church. And as you know the Patriarchate of Alexandria did seek forgiveness for what had happened, This is why St Nectarios is loved worldwide and why the Church glorified him. This process cannot occur by choosing to go into schism. That is a rejection of Christ and His Church.

Therefore, Mr Panagiotis Kanavas and his own “synod”, incorporating a cohort of fake bishops, within the so-called “Former Exarchate” are not part of the Orthodox Church. If any of them had acted upon their consciences with regards to their previous apparent grievances, they would have sought forgiveness within the Church, and had asked for their grievances to be heard within the appropriate canonical processes which are governed by the rule of canon law as per the Ecumenical Councils and Holy Tradition. The same applies to GOCSA.

We write all of this to emphasize one point, that GOCSA has separated itself from the Church of Christ. No matter what it may apparently accuse the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of doing, in its statements and its historical accounts of what they perceive grieved them…it remains however…that GOCSA has separated itself from the Church, and therefore from the Holy Tradition of the Church which is the Life of the Holy Spirit within the Church and the Life of the Church within the Holy Spirit.

It is now quite apparent that Mr Panagiotis Kanavas has many, many questions to answer, in particular, to GOCSA as he has already been suspended and forbidden to “liturgise”, by his own fake “Archbishop” Mr Petros Haros, who in turn, has been suspended by Mr Kanavas and his own “synod” of “Bishops”. Mr Kanavas has already disobeyed his “Archbishop”. All within a few months of Mr Haros “ordaining” Mr Kanavas, and following the very public Supreme Court ruling. Recognition by a government of one’s right to exist as a religious organisation, by whatever name you chose, does not make you Orthodox. Only the Autocephalous Churches of the world-wide Orthodox Church can do that.

On that matter, the Orthodox Patriarchate (Church) of Alexandria has accused the so-called “Former Exarchate” of fraud with regards to their false claims of autonomy. This accusation pertains to the letters that are presented on their websites, where they also include photographs of both Canonical Bishops and uncanonical bishops, as way of confusing people and masking their falsifications. The legal arguments concerning their canonicity presented on associated websites by legal advisors incorporate valid arguments, albeit with one grand mistake, that is an important a priori assumption; the Patriarchate of Alexandria has clearly stated that this “Former Exarchate” fraudulently obtained their so-called letter(s) of autonomy. The “Former Exarchate”‘s website does not have a rebuttal to this accusation.

We are truly sorry for this situation in GOCSA and are praying for their faithful to return to the Canonical Church. It has been a difficult road for GOCSA. The hurt of the events of the late 1950s and the GOCSA resolution to continue opposition against the Canonical Church were based on assumptions about the Archdiocese that have clearly been shown to be false (as the return of GOCNSW demonstrates), and this must cause even greater frustration. Christ conquers all. Those who love the LORD will come quickly. Have courage. The Holy Orthodox Church awaits all, including Mr Kanavas and Mr Haros. Both of these men and their cohort of fake bishops along with the “clergy” within GOCSA need to return in sincere repentance to the Church. May the LORD bless them, may both come in humility and repentance to the Church for healing, which we all seek. May the LORD bless our people through the prayers and Aghia Skepi of the Holy Theotokos Whom we commemorate with the Feast of Her Entrance into the Temple, and Saints Nicholas, Spyridon, Basil, Seraphim, Athanasius and Anthony our Fathers in Christ amongst the Saints.   

 Apolytikion (Fourth Tone): Today is the prelude of God’s pleasure and the proclamation of man’s salvation. The Virgin is clearly made manifest in the temple of God and foretells Christ to all. Let us also cry out to her with mighty voice, “Hail, fulfillment of the Creator’s dispensation.”

Kontakion (Fourth Tone): Today, the most pure temple of the Savior, the precious bridal chamber and Virgin, the sacred treasure of God, enters the house of the Lord, bringing the grace of the Divine Spirit. The Angels of God praise her. She is the heavenly tabernacle.

St Nectarios of Aegina

St Nectarios of Aegina

St Nectarios of Aegina and Bishop of Pentapolis (1846-1920) was canonised in 1961. We recently celebrated his Feastday on the 9th November (which this year was Saturday just past). The story of his life in Christ is extremely well known. He along with many other 20th Century Saints such as St Nicholas Planas, St Luke the Surgeon and Unmercenary, St John of Kronstadt, St Anthimos of Chios, St Elizabeth the New, St Justin Popovich, St Silouan the Athonite, St John of Shanghai and our own St Nicanor of New Hilander (whose relics are in the Holy Monastery of St Sava in Elaine Victoria), amongst many, many others were and continue to be Holy Vessels of the Grace and Mercy of the Holy Trinity to us. They restored and continue to restore people to hope, faith and love in the “violent” unconditional love of God Who is as Humble, as He is Almighty, Whose love for us is so violent that nothing, absolutely nothing can stand between Him and His beloved. These Holy men and women healed the sick, restored the fallen, visited the discarded and the despised, fed the poor, and touched peoples souls and hearts so personally, as to raise their eyes and hearts to Our Resurrected Lord.  At no time, absolutely at no time did any one of these Saints ever talk of schism within the Holy Body of Christ, His Holy Orthodox Church when they encountered human sin and even corruption!! At no time!!!

In particular, St Nectarios, who by the standards of the world, had every worldly reason to walk away, never did so, because there is only one Church as there is only one Lord Jesus Christ!!! While we all understand that the Church is holy and perfect in Christ, this does not mean that individuals within the Church are perfect. In fact, we are all sinners and fallen needing the Mercy and Grace of God as we walk on our path of Theosis towards Our Lord Jesus Christ, Judge and Saviour, with Him next to us through the prayers of the Panagia Theotokos and the Saints – whether we be Patriarchs, Bishops, Priests, Monks, or Laypersons, only by the grace of God.

The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is what it is. No one, but no one, can separate themselves from the Body of Christ (that is, the Church) and still somehow remain united to Christ. The Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia is in an extremely serious schism – ie, it has cut itself from Christ! Full stop!

St Nectarios did not leave the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church when he was wronged, but trusted in God to right the wrongs that were done to him. In 1998, the Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All-Africa finally asked for forgiveness from the LORD and St Nectarios himself for his unjust expulsion from Alexandria. The Patriarchate admitted its faults and in humility, repented of what had been done to St Nectarios. They admitted the sin and received the Grace of God to do what is right. This is what happens within the Church as the Church consists of imperfect people. The History of the Church testifies to this…but also in the wonderful and fearful Grace of Our Lord, Who protects the Church even at its darkest moments in history from human sin and corruption. Why?….because the Church is the Body of Christ, which gathers the fallen in His perfect love!

Make absolutely no mistake the events that have recently occurred and are occurring with the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia are those of “wolves in sheep clothing”. This very sad situation, involving this fake so-called “bishop” Prokopios, who has now elevated himself to “metropolitan” and “exarch”, and who has been suspended within months of his so-called “ordination” by the same fake Archbishop who “ordained” him, and who has now in retaliation “suspended” with his own apparent “synod” of fake Bishops their own “Presiding Archbishop” (that is, the same man who ordained him), is so, so laughable and so pathetic, so absolutely pathetic, that one wonders to what further depths of total stupidity and embarrassment the Greek Community in general will be plunged and subjected to, in particular as the Adelaide newspapers and media still find it difficult to understand this schism and equate all of this as pertaining to the “Greek Orthodox Church”, despite efforts to educate the public that the Greek “Orthodox” Community of South Australia has absolutely nothing to do with the world-wide Orthodox Church, and that this so-called Former Exarchate has in fact nothing to do with the Patriarchate of Alexandria.

Recently Fr Nicholas Despinoudis and Deacon John Pokkias (who was ordained a deacon on Sunday 10th of November) have been received in the Archdiocese. May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ visit all the humble faithful within the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia and protect them from this evil, and grant them the courage to come home to the Orthodox Church. May the LORD through the prayers of the Holy Theotokos and St Nectarios protect our people.

The offspring of Selyvria and the guardian of Aegina
The true friend of virtue who appeared in the last years
Nectarios we faithfully honour you as a godly servant of Christ
For you pour forth healings of every kind on those who piously cry out:
Glory to Christ who has glorified you
Glory to Him who has made you wondrous!
Glory to Him who works healings for all through you.

Ioannis (secretary of Haros' synod) endorses Haros' decision to depose Prokopios

Ioannis (secretary of Haros’ synod) endorses Haros’ decision to depose Prokopios

Dear readers,

It is apparent that Mr Prokopios Kanavas has already been deposed from the synod of Petros Haros. Please see the scanned letter whereby this decision is wholeheartedly supported by the so-called “bishop” Ioannis of “Santa Catarina – Brazil” – secretary of Haros synod. (N.B “Santa Catarina – Brazil” just like GOCSA’s “Autocephalic (sic) Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia” are just words to these people and thus not indicative of the geographical distribution of their faithful.) The official English translation is rather awful (more on this later), but the original Portuguese is quite clear: Ioannis agrees with archbishop Haros in deposing [em depor] and terminally removing [e afastar terminantemente] bishop Prokopios of Adelaide from this ‘synod’.

We wonder how long it will be before Prokopios announces that we have it mixed up (or perhaps are deliberately mixing it up), and this deposition doesn’t really count because he (along with Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny and the Tooth Fairy who unfortunately forgot to sign the letter) actually deposed Ioannis a couple of weeks ago… he just forgot to tell us until now…

Please note that by quoting these official letters from representatives of the so-called Autocephalic Greek Orthodox Church of America and Canada, we do not mean to imply that we endorse or recognise their ecclesiastical validity, nor the validity of any schismatic “bishop”. These are all dodgy organisations cobbled together and run by dodgy individuals. This latest deposition letter is actually a case in point: as we mentioned, the translation into English is quite poor. In fact, it is not just poor, but it has something odd about it… and Bishop utterly away Prokopios is the kind of weird, nonsensical word order you’d expect to get from a machine translation. In fact, it is a machine translation – it’s a Google Translate jobWhat kind of mickey-mouse organisation uses Google Translate verbatim for its official translations on documents concerning such important matters??? And why does an organisation like GOCSA – which supposedly prides itself on being a professional and well-run organisation – continue to prefer uniting with such mickey-mouse organisations as these instead of the Archdiocese? (Although admittedly, however mickey-mouse this official deposition letter from Ioannis is, it at least has official letterhead, signature and a seal – which makes it infinitely more professional than the suspension letter issued by GOCSA’s own bishop first appearing on Facebook!!!)

‘Bishop’ Ioannis of Brazil – secretary of Haros’ ‘synod’

‘Bishop’ Ioannis of Brazil – secretary of Haros’ ‘synod’. Source: AGOCAC web site.

By mentioning all these characters we seek to highlight that at the end of the day they are all as bad as each other. What Mr Prokopios Kanavas is, so also are Mr Petros Haros and Mr Ioannis of Brazil: cut off from the communion of the Orthodox Church! Our point here is that schism begets schism. In simple terms, less than three months ago Prokopios together with Haros and his clan (“holy synod”) became a syndicate – now they are divided and rival enemies. As we speak Prokopios is now shopping for new buddies to make a new syndicate. Will this new syndicate last? Of course not. Why? Because all that is cut off from the Church does not lead to growth but deterioration. These syndicates are not united by the bond of love that characterises the Orthodox Church, but by their own desires for self-aggrandisement, self-preservation and power-mongering – this is not a recipe for anything except for jealously, bickering, betrayal and eventual self-destruction.

Some more thoughts to ponder:

  • How can Prokopios accept “ordination” from the hands of Haros but now insinuate that Haros is an imposter? Prokopios wants to have his cake and eat it too, but he can’t have it both ways – either Haros is a legitimate bishop (and hence Prokopios’ deposition by Haros is legitimate), or he isn’t (and hence Haros’ ordination of Prokopios is not valid). If Prokopios truly believed Haros is an imposter then Prokopios would relinquish his grandiose title of “bishop”.
  • In a previous post we showed you an official document signed by Haros notifying the public about Prokopios’ suspension by Prokopios’ “president”, Haros. Today this is taken a step further with a signed & sealed declaration by “bishop” Ioannis who appears to totally agree with Haros “deposing” Prokopios from their synod.
  • For three years the Greek Orthodox faithful of Adelaide have been plagued by similar sagas as the above. When will this stop?

Who is responsible for this mess? (multiple choice):

  1. The GOCSA Executive Committee
  2. The President and Executive Committee of GOCSA
  3. The elected members that make up the Presidency and Executive Committee of GOCSA
  4. All of the above

Dear faithful members of the Greek Orthodox Church and GOCSA. The Lord desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of his truth (cf. 1Tim. 2:4). Please realise that this commandment from God cannot be realised whilst falsehood is personified in presence of schismatic “bishops”. We await the blessed day when the GOCSA executive will respond to this heavenly calling.

Prokopios' "suspension" notice of Haros

Prokopios’ “suspension” notice of Haros

And the saga continues… and Mr Kanavas’ response is worthy of all the accolades that a kindergarten playground might bestow.

As many of you have probably seen, Mr Kanavas’ has his response to our previous post up on various Facebook pages around the place, including Adelaide Greek Orthodox Youth (see right).

Apparently we have it all backwards. Haros didn’t suspend Prokopios – Prokopios and a couple of his friends suspended Haros! And in fact, they did this in a letter sent to Haros a couple of weeks ago!

So should we believe this letter? A letter that has:

Compare this with the suspension notice that we produced, which was signed, dated and appeared on official letterhead… there are so many things wrong with Prokopios’ letter it is difficult to know where to start, but let’s try:

  • Prokopios has exclusive control of Haros’ web site. He can put whoever he wants there and pretend that they are part of the synod. (This is quite obvious when you look at the photos page and see that 1/3 of the photos feature Mr Kanavas – this fits with his egomaniacal personality.)
  • No signatures. Who knows if Evangelos, Alexandros and Volodmyr actually support Prokopios’ action, or for that matter (given the previous point) if they are part of Haros’ synod, or in fact if they even exist?
  • There are only four “bishops” named – not enough for a majority. Supposing for a moment that they do actually support the letter & actually are on Haros’ synod, then there’s still not enough support to make their action count. According to the web site, there are eight bishops in the synod (not counting the deceased patriarch and deceased former “archbishop” Dionysios) – the four names given don’t constitute a majority of votes. Wouldn’t common sense dictate that they need at least a majority of votes to support an action as serious as suspending the president of the synod?
  • Why do we only hear about Prokopios’ suspension of Haros now? The suspension allegedly took place two weeks prior to Prokopios posting the notice on Facebook. Did Mr Kanavas really suspend his own “archbishop” and switch to another synod without thinking to tell any of his flock (ie, GOCSA) for two weeks??? This would be severe dereliction of his duty as a bishop! More likely, the reason that we didn’t hear about it until 2nd of November is because Prokopios only thought of it after he was suspended by Haros (31st of October), and so Prokopios tried to back-date it as a smokescreen.
  • The agreement was between the synod and GOCSA. It was not a personal agreement between Haros and Prokopios. What then gives Prokopios the right to act unilaterally on behalf of GOCSA to break this agreement and leave the synod, apparently without the permission or approval of the GOCSA constituency or of its executive committee?
  • How will GOCSA’s now claim to be canonical? Joining Haros’ synod was supposed to make GOCSA canonical (so GOCSA claimed, even though this claim was wrong), and now they are not even a part of that synod. What is their cover story now to claim to be canonical? What new sophistry will they come up with to try and claim that their sacraments are recognised in Greece and the rest of the Orthodox world?
Prokopios with His Beatitude Patriarch Theolphilos III of Jerusalem

Picture of Prokopios as a deacon before he was deposed, with Patriarch Theophilos III (the current Patriarch, whose  synod deposed Prokopios from the diaconate). Source:  Haros’ Prokopios’ web site photos page

The sad thing is, even if this letter was legitimate, it still doesn’t look good for Prokopios – after all, if Haros was so hopelessly and obviously corrupt that Prokopios had to suspend him after less than three months, then how did he not notice this three months ago, prior to his ordination? The only possible conclusions are that Mr Kanavas either:

  • is a complete fool for being taken in by Haros in the first place,
  • didn’t do his due diligence when checking up on Haros,
  • knew about Haros’ corruption but turned a blind eye to it so that he could get “ordained”, or
  • possibly all of the above.

None of these conclusions looks particularly good for Prokopios (nor for the GOCSA executive, who supported his move to join with Haros).

Prokopios’ misconduct

While we’re on the topic, we have some more information about some of the reasons that Haros alluded to as to why Prokopios was suspended. Haros wanted proof of Mr Kanavas’ age, ordination and tertiary education before he would ordain him. 

Of course, those who have been reading this blog since the beginning will know why this was a fatal and foolish mistake by Haros – Prokopios still hasn’t sent him the relevant documentation and in fact never intended to send it to him, because he either doesn’t have it or it would incriminate him.

  • With respect to his age, Mr Kanavas is reported in a Feb 2012 Advertiser article as being 25 years of age. That would mean he is probably 27 now. Thus he doesn’t meet the minimum age requirement for an Orthodox bishop (which is 30 years according to the canons). Why Haros is suddenly interested in the canons of the Church being followed is a great mystery to us…
  • With respect to his tertiary qualifications, we know he doesn’t have any even though he once claimed to on Facebook.
  • With respect to his official ordination papers, given that he was deposed from the diaconate and ordained to the priesthood by an uncanonical group (and then deposed from the priesthood by that same group), he again doesn’t have any.

Prokopios has responded to the above requests (which are entirely reasonable requests) with threats of legal action.

If Haros had known all of this before 11th of August he wouldn’t have ordained Prokopios. Of course, this just goes to show that Haros is a fool also, because he was in fact comprehensively warned of all this prior to the “ordination” but trusted in Prokopios’ promises to provide the information anyway.

Brothers and sisters, it is sad that this soap opera continues to drag the good name of the Orthodox Church through the mud. We pray that one day soon GOCSA wake up to this man and his cunning ways.

Invitation to consecration of the Holy Unmercenaries

Invitation to consecration of the Holy Unmercenaries

Brothers and sisters, we have some amazing news. Given the time-critical nature of this news we will have to eschew the normal niceties and try (unsuccessfully, it seems) to keep this brief.

As some may be aware, GOCSA are in the process of opening a chapel dedicated to the Holy Unmercenaries Kosmas and Damien at their nursing home in Ridleyton. (Under ordinary circumstances this would be a tremendous occasion and a cause for celebration, if only it were not being done by an imposter!) The Vespers for this service was held this evening, with Orthros and the Consecration itself planned for tomorrow morning followed by the Divine Liturgy.

A Church Consecration is a beautiful and rare service that many Orthodox never get to witness in their lifetime. You can read more about it on the Orthodox Wiki as well as read the service on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America website. In short: Relics of saints are sealed inside what is to become the Holy Altar, which then undergoes its own Baptism and Chrismation, being washed and then sealed with Holy Chrism (also known as Holy Myrrh) and wiped clean by the antimension. However, unlike Chrismating a new Christian, a lot more Holy Chrism is needed for a Consecration of a Church – in fact, it requires more Holy Chrism than parishes have on hand, and certainly Prokopios as a newly-“ordained” bishop would not have such a large supply on hand. That is why normally the Chrism (and the relics also, which are likewise difficult to obtain) is obtained from the hierarch who presides over the Synod. In Australia, for example, one would need to get the Chrism from His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, or in Greece from His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos.

Embedding the Holy Relics in the Altar

Embedding the Holy Relics in the Altar of the Church as part of its consecration. Source: www.romfea.gr

Here’s where things get interesting: knowing that he needs to explain where he got hold of the Holy Chrism & Relics necessary to perform the consecration, Prokopios is claiming that his hierarch (Petros Haros, whom we have written about) gave it to him.

There’s just one problem: Haros denies giving it to him.

In fact, Haros even denies giving him permission to perform the consecration at all, and views Prokopios’ actions as disobedience to the Holy Synod. Accordingly (and after repeated acts of misconduct since his ordination) the so-called Synod of the Former Exarchate of the Patriarchate of Alexandria (aka the Autocephalic Greek Orthodox Church of America and Canada) has placed him on suspension, effective today, until he travels to Greece to answer to his synod. See here for the notice from Haros suspending Prokopios Kanavas (see below for an unofficial translation into English).

For those who don’t know, being on suspension means that he is not permitted to carry out any liturgical function. It is one level short of being deposed, which means to be removed completely from the priesthood and be unable to carry out liturgical functions.

Wiping off the Chrism (Myrrh) at a Consecration using antimensia. Source: www.romfea.gr

Of course, given his track record it is rather unsurprising that Mr Kanavas would engage in such an act of open defiance and outright deception. We also think it is rather unlikely that he will bother to front up for trial at his so-called synod in Greece, as he has spent quite a bit of his life running away from such situations. If he keeps this up, he could suffer the ignominious distinction of having being deposed:

  • three times,
  • by three different synods,
  • from three different ranks of the priesthood,
  • in the space of only three years!

A translation of the suspension notice follows below (original Greek here):

In Athens, 31st of October 2013

With deep sadness we were informed by publications that Bishop Prokopios who was ordained by us will conduct the consecration service of the Greek Community’s nursing home chapel of “Saints Anargyroi”, without the knowledge, permission and blessing of the Holy Synod that the said bishop belongs to and without my personal consent as the Holy Synod’s president.

At no time were holy relics of saints and Holy Myrrh administered to him for the conducting of a consecration. For this reason we forbid him from conducting the consecration of the above mentioned temple.

Also for his disobedience, irreverence and his misconduct in general since his ordination until today, we call upon him to answer before the Holy Synod and place on him a temporary suspension in which we forbid him from performing any liturgical rites whatsoever until the ruling of the Holy Synod.

The Archbishop

Petros

(Former Exarchate of the Alexandrian Patriarchate in America and Canada)

(signed)