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)

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