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.

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