Dear readers,

On the basis of the correspondence sent to Mr Nigel Hunt of the Advertiser by Mr Petros Haros (that is, the fake “Archbishop Petros”), the concerns of those people who approached the State Supreme Court to halt the fake “ordination” of Mr Kanavas appears to have been entirely warranted. An ever-darkening cloud continues to hang over the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia (GOCSA). Many Greek Orthodox Christians within the Canonical Orthodox Church are sincerely concerned for the faithful in GOCSA and these circumstances. There is no triumphalism. We are praying in Christ for these Greek Christian faithful, as we would for our own brothers and sisters, for their return home to their Canonical Orthodox Church, as have almost all of the former GOCSA “priests” including Fr Nicholas Despinoudis and Fr John Pokkias.

St Dionysios of Zakynthos, whom we commemorated yesterday (17th of December). Source: Orthodox Church in America.

This dark cloud has hung over the Greek Community in Adelaide since the late 1950s, when the then GOCSA Committee defied the then Metropolitan and later Archbishop Ezekiel, Primate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople’s Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, and chose schism from the entire world-wide Canonical Orthodox Church, instead of choosing to follow the path of patience, obedience and humility in Christ, prayer, faith and hope and the use of Canonical processes within Holy Tradition that were and are available for their perceived grievances to be addressed. The Greek Orthodox faithful that were forced to depart GOCSA by that Committee’s action, again built up the Canonical Archdiocesan Church in Adelaide.

This schism has continued to divide some families and has resulted in the loss of many (especially younger) Greek-Australians to the Orthodox Church and Faith – the same Church and Faith that sustained the Greeks, the Serbians, and the Bulgarians, through centuries of Turkish rule and enslavement, the same faith that sustained the Russians, Ukrainians and Georgians through the years of Mongol and Communist Rules and the same faith in the Holy Spirit that sustained the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church through 2000 years of persecution. 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/Orthodox Study Bible).

Those who left the Church, perhaps searching for the Lord, may not have experienced or witnessed sincere Orthodox Christian Faith and life, but possible only saw worldly attitudes, cultural politicking, and misplaced emphases that insulted true Orthodox Christian Faith. Perhaps these people perceived that the Church was only a bastion of Greek culture and ethnicity, rather than a place in which, the Faithful worshipped Christ and which preached Faith in Christ and His Holy Church. The saying: “to be Orthodox one does not have to be Greek, but to be Greek, (or Serbian, Bulgarian, Russian or Ukrainian) one has to be Orthodox” has probably caused much heartache for those for whom the Faith is a stumbling block. This is not the place to discuss socio-cultural theory and the core values of our culture in which the Orthodox Church protected our cultural heritages and identity, whether you are Greek, Serbian, Russian etc. But if you wish to understand and see and hear what is the very core of our Greek Byzantine culture then look first at the significance, beauty and joy of Holy Pascha, and the Resurrection of Our God, Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The Lord is at the heart of our Orthodox culture, not a “Greekness” without Christ.

GOCSA has effectively reduced its “churches” to a sideline social activity or an addendum to its community services. If the Orthodox faith is an inconvenience, and GOCSA would rather be rid of it, then convert your “churches” into bingo halls, Greek cultural palaces and cafes and leave the descriptor Orthodox and Christian out of your name. Look at the GOCSA website site Our Churches/Religion Information which for years has carried the following: “Sorry. This page is closed for maintenance.” Maintenance indeed! Every other page seems to be working well with the GOCSA website!

The matter regarding the so-called mutual “defrockings” or “depositions” between Mr Panagiotis (aka Prokopios) Kanavas and Mr Petros Haros, is now a point of mirth. The levels of stupidity have now reached new heights or should we say depths! Who first deposed whom, is of very little consequence. Both are fake “bishops”. The incredible irony is, of course, that both are judging each other using the one and same Canon Law by which they themselves were deposed by the Canonical Orthodox Church (see here for Mr Kanavas and here for Mr Haros). They have with all due “righteousness”, “integrity” and “indignation” shown an incredible dedication to upholding and using the Canons of the same Orthodox Church that deposed them, to depose each other, while completely denigrating the Canonical Church.

Mr Haros volunteered that he “ordained” Mr Prokopios without the accepted checks, credentialing and examination used by the Canonical Church, which he implies are the standards he upholds. What does that say about his devotion to upholding Holy Tradition and Canon Law with his all his mind, strength and being as is expected of a Bishop. Indeed, one would be almost certainly deposed for ordaining a Bishop in this manner, unless one was suffering a neurocognitive impairment. Who has heard of ordaining a man whom he did not know at all, on the hearsay of another person whom he also apparently did not know well enough? No preliminary “Synodal” recommendations, assessments, discussions and interviews. No reports from any Spiritual Father or Confessor. No assessment of performance and suitability. No checks. No documentation. No background check. No police check. No personal communication or meeting. Nothing!! Absolutely nothing!! All Mr Haros reports was the recommendation of a member of the GOCSA Committee. Who has ever heard of this? People in the secular world of companies & employment even do more due diligence than this when hiring a new employee, or appointing a new director to a company. Is the Bishop’s standing so devoid of any respect, so absolutely cheap, and such a joke, that it didn’t matter, even pretentiously for appearance’s sake, to look as if you had done something…anything… in the way of due diligence (even if you fabricated the evidence)? Why cry foul now when you decided to ordain in this manner contrary to the Holy Tradition, which you say that you uphold? After all, as a “Bishop” (and especially an “Archbishop”) the buck stops with you! Why hurry to ordain? What was the urgency or incentive to ordain? Or perhaps, this was a result of not being able to play the façade of being a (fake) “Archbishop”, or are there other reasons? And then we hear his story that he was later threatened with legal action by Mr Kanavas. If this is true where is the proof? Where is the resulting legal action either here or in Greece? Of course, in Greece, if you are not recognised as a Church in any case, the courts would essentially be trying to sort out a squabble between two men who are deluded enough to think they both are Bishops, and who have both deposed each other, via their fake Synods. If any of this is remotely true, then one worries even more about GOCSA.

Both Mr Haros and Mr Kanavas have weaved stories and misrepresentations to each other and to those that have trusted them. The antics of the so-called Holy Orthodox Metropolis of Australia and Oceania (HOMAO) (another uncanonical and schismatic group consisting of 3 deposed clergy in Australia), is as essentially pathetic as the story of the so-called Former Exarchate of Alexandria (Haros Synod) and the now Former Exarchate of Alexandria (“Prokopios” Synod) both claiming to control the so-called Autocephalic Greek Orthodox Church of American and Canada (AGOCAC) and the Autocephalic Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia (AGOCAA). The relationship breakdown between the Federation of Greek Orthodox Communities of Australia (FOGOCA) and the so-called “priests” in HOMAO has been documented.

Mr Kanavas, if you are Canonically ordained, please show the relevant documents so that they can be seen and crosschecked with their relevant Synod, because all relevant Canonical Church Synods claim that you are deposed. If the letters of the relevant Autocephalous Churches documenting your deposition are fabrications, then what have you done about it (as it would appear that an incredible injustice has been done to you)? What has been the legal follow-up? Please show the letters of communication between yourself and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem addressing this matter. After all, if this is such a great misunderstanding or mistake, or the Patriarchate of Jerusalem are lying; then all is very, very wrong, and would require follow-up within the appropriate channels and appeals.

Likewise if you have a tertiary qualification or completed courses then please present the relevant degrees and documentation. If you have lost them, then do you have your University Student Numbers, or any other correspondence or documentation with the relevant University of Academic Institutions, which can be presented as showing that you completed a degree or diploma, or perhaps a course of study, or were admitted for study to a University before perhaps deferring or withdrawing or whatever? Have you documentation or correspondence showing your concern about the University’s lack of responsibility and apparent negligence concerning their lack of knowledge of your attendance. Surely you must have some documentation of something? If all this is lacking then what has been your course of action about having your grievance addressed by the relevant University or Academic Institution?

Are you not concerned that Mr Haros has made these claims? They are easily sorted out by simply showing the credentialing paperwork that you have obviously sent to him for the purposes of being “ordained” a “Bishop”, as well as referees reports including that of your spiritual father(s) and confessor and your declaration that there is nothing, absolutely nothing precluding you from the bishopric.

Of course all this shows the incredible façade being played out by Mr Kanavas, Mr Haros and their cohorts. Mr Kanavas is a fake “Bishop”, “Metropolitan”, and “Exarch”, and GOCSA and all of its “clergy” are uncanonical. GOCSA is at the cross-roads. They need to know when to cut their losses and stop throwing “good money” after bad.

St Dionysios of Zakynthos forgiving the murderer of his brother. May we all have this capacity to forgive. Source: Antiochian Village.

The Good News

The Good News is that the Orthodox Church, specifically, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia welcomes its children home to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Have courage, as did your former “clergy”. The Faithful of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia will continue in Christ, with sincerity, and without triumphalism, to pray for those in GOCSA, and those who have left the Canonical Orthodox Church altogether, to come to Christ in humility and love. We pray that St Dionysios, whom we commemorated yesterday (as every year) on the 17th of December, pray for GOCSA and all of our people. St Dionysios the Archbishop of Aegina is an incredible example of forgiveness, mercy, and love.

God is love, and if we live in God, we live in His Love. The Orthodox Christian faithful are baptised in Christ in His One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, our Holy Orthodox Church, Our Mother in which we are led in faith and Theosis, through the Prayers of The Holy Theotokos and all the Saints, no matter the sins, failings, mistakes, shortcomings of all within the Church whether Patriarchs or lay. We do this with boldness in faith, because as St John the Theologian writes in his First Epistle: “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgement; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because he first loved us. If someone says I love God and hates his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother (1 John 16-21 Orthodox Study Bible).

God bless you and our people through the Prayers of the Holy Theotokos and Saint Dionysios of Zakynthos.

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