Christodoulos


In his letter, one of the main areas where Christodoulos argues that our bishops have “infringed the formulation of the Fathers” is in the area of relations with non-Orthodox. This is of course a common argument used by Old Calendarists – accusing the canonical Church of being guilty of “Ecumenism” (which we discussed in our last post). They cite our use of the “New Calendar” as one such example.

The goal of this post is to simply hold up a mirror to Christodoulos’ accusation.

Christodoulos’ Ecumenist clergyman

Specifically, we remind our readers that in 2010, Mr George Athanasiadis distributed a letter to non-Orthodox offering to co-officiate at marriages in their churches. In other words, Mr Athanasiadis was offering (for a fee, presumably) to engage in precisely the kind of “ecumenist” behaviour (concelebrating with non-Orthodox) that Christodoulos is criticising. Why is this relevant? Because Mr Athanasiadis is Christodoulos’ current chancellor (see here)!!

Conclusion

Christodoulos justified his separation from the canonical Church on the grounds of its alleged Ecumenism. But if he really is serious about separating from clergy who engage in “ecumenism” (such as common prayer with the non-Orthodox), then he should start by separating himself from his own chancellor. The fact that he has not done so exposes his criticism of the canonical Church for the hypocrisy that it is, and again suggests that he is more interested in ambition than principle. We again pray that he soon sees the error of his ways and returns from schism to rejoin the Church in repentance.

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Christodoulos claims that one of the main reasons he left the canonical Church was because we use the “heretical” New Calendar. This criticism is laughable, given that ever since leaving the canonical (New Calendar) Church in Greece and arriving in Australia, Christodoulos has operated under the New Calendar.

In his letter, Christodoulos attempts to justify this obvious hypocrisy by claiming that:

  • due to the “special ecclesiastical situation in Australia”,
  • he is using “much leniency and economy”, and that
  • “there will soon be a local church that will be using the Traditional calendar”.

The strength of this justification quickly evaporates when these points are examined. We address each one in turn.

Elder Paisios of Mount Athos – a contemporary elder (widely expected to be proclaimed a saint) who spoke out against Old Calendarist schismatics. Source: OrthodoxWiki

What is so special about the ecclesiastical situation here in Australia?

Christodoulos asserts that the ecclesiastical situation here in Australia is “special”, which is why the use of the New Calendar is justified. But we ask: what exactly is so special about the ecclesiastical situation in Australia, with respect to the calendar issue?

  • In Greece, the Orthodox Church of Greece uses the New Calendar while Mt Athos  (who are canonical, non-schismatic) and a handful of schismatic groups use the Old Calendar.
  • Here in Adelaide & Australia, most Orthodox (Greek, Antiochian, Romanian) use the New Calendar while the Russians & Serbs (who are canonical, non-schismatic) and a couple of minor schismatic groups use the Old Calendar.

So both here and in Greece, there is a mixture of calendar use, with the majority of Orthodox under the New Calendar, while a handful of smaller jurisdictions (some of them canonical Orthodox, some of them not) are using the Old Calendar. Thus as far as the issue of different calendars is concerned, the situation here in Adelaide or in Australia doesn’t really seem to be all that special after all.

Why the use of economy justified here, but not in Greece?

Christodoulos justifies the use of the New Calendar here in Australia as an exercise of “much leniency and economy”. For those who don’t know, “economy” in Orthodox theology is a “bending of the rules” – usually to be more lenient (but occasionally to be stricter when required) – for the benefit of the Church. Of course, in Orthodox Tradition we don’t exercise economy unless there is a good reason & the Church will benefit.

Christodoulos argues that the alleged “special ecclesiastical situation” here in Australia is a good enough reason for using economy. Of course, we already pointed out that the situation here isn’t that special, but ignoring that for a moment: why couldn’t such economy also be used in Greece? As we have noted elsewhere, schism is a terrible tragedy in the Church and must be avoided. In Greece, this single-minded insistence on using the Old Calendar by people such as Christodoulos has resulted in several schisms, and if they’d permitted the use of the New Calendar (through “much leniency and economy”) these schisms would have been prevented. Surely the prevention of such schisms should also be a good enough reason to be lenient?

Where is this new church using the Old Calendar?

Here we are, nearly three years after that letter was written, and Christodoulos is finally starting the new church in Adelaide that he wrote about. This church is still using the New Calendar, and not the Old Calendar like he claimed it would. On what basis does he justify this? It might make sense to continue using the New Calendar “by much leniency & economy” in an existing parish that is already accustomed to using the New Calendar, but it makes no sense at all for a parish that is starting from scratch! As noted above, Adelaide already has several Old Calendar parishes (both canonical Orthodox and schismatic), so it is obviously possible to run an Old Calendar parish here – there is no reason why Christodoulos couldn’t if he wanted to.

Conclusion

It would be beyond the scope of this post to go into a detailed defense of the use of the New Calendar and explain why its use is not heretical – for that, we defer to the words of our Father among the Saints, Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain, who commented on the “calendar issue”. But when it comes to Christodoulos and his criticisms, all we can see is hypocrisy and expedience over principle.

“Real” die-hard Old Calendarists won’t permit or tolerate the New Calendar under any circumstances (not even the alleged “special circumstances” here in Australia) as a matter of principle, because to their way of thinking the mere use of the New Calendar is a heresy. While we (along with Elder Paisios) believe that this is misguided, at least we can afford them some amount of respect for adhering to their principle.

Christodoulos, however, is a different story. On the one hand he (like other Old Calendarists) acts as if the mere use of the New Calendar makes one guilty of heresy, and yet now he seems to think he can use the New Calendar in his own church without falling into the heresy. He can’t have it both ways – either it is possible to use the New Calendar without being a heretic, or it is not. If the former, he was not justified in leaving his canonical jurisdiction in Greece in the first place; if the latter then he is not justified in using the New Calendar in his new jurisdiction. This double-standard exposes his hypocrisy and suggests that his actions are driven more by ambition than principle. We pray that he and his followers may be enlightened to end their schism and return to the true Church.

Dear readers,

As we learned in the earlier post, John Vasiliaris (aka Christodoulos) is a former priest of the Orthodox Church in Greece who left the Church to join a schismatic Old Calendarist pseudo-Orthodox faction. Of course, for anyone (and especially a clergyman) to leave the Church and join a schismatic group (or worse, to start a new one) is considered a terrible sin by the Orthodox Church. How then does Christodoulos (and other schismatics like him, such as Mr Kanavas) justify such a terrible sin?

In his letter to Bishop Nikandros, Christodoulos writes:

The Sacred Canons not only allow, but in fact require that the clergy in particular, and the faithful in general, cut themselves off from Bishops who violate, ignore and continually infringe the formulations of the Fathers on faith and doctrine.

Note that Christodoulos does not actually cite any of these canons (as this would invite scrutiny, which he is anxious to avoid), but we can have a pretty good guess at which canons he might be referring to. We will return to those canons shortly.

Christodoulos cutting himself off from the Church. He would have us believe that he has cut the tree off from his tiny branch, whereas it is obvious to all that his branch has been cut off from the tree. Source: Free Christian Illustrations

God is a God of order

The Church is not a place of anarchy & confusion – rather, as St Paul writes:

Let all things be done decently and in order. (1 Cor 14:40)

So when the question is raised about whether a bishop has violated the canons, then there is an orderly process by which he ought to be judged by the Church. In particular, the following principles apply:

  • He is innocent until proven guilty.
  • He cannot be officially judged by those under his authority, but must be judged by a higher authority.
  • Once an official judgement is reached on a case, it is binding on all members. People are not free to act according to their own judgement once an official judgement has been reached.
  • An official judgement can only be appealed to a higher-ranking authority.

Of course, none of this is rocket science – they are common-sense principles that apply in all free and just societies that have the rule of law (which of course includes the Church).

This is how the Church preserves good order when resolving issues relating to the Canons/laws of the Church. We are not permitted to cut ourselves off on a whim from bishops with whom we happen to disagree – this is the way of Protestantism (where every individual judges the matter for him/herself). Rather, we must follow the orderly process set out for us by the canons of the Church, and only after a bishop has officially been found guilty and cut off by the Synod are we (the clergy in particular and the faithful in general) then permitted (and indeed, obliged) to cut ourselves off from him.

Canons on judgements against bishops

Some of the canons that describe the above process can be found in the so-called 1st & 2nd Council, which was convened under the presidency of the Ecumenical Patriarch St Photios the Great in the 8th century. Of particular relevance to Christodoulos’ case is canons 13, 14 & 15, which are all very similar. The start of Canon 13 is as follows:

 13. The All-evil One having planted the seed of heretical tares in the Church of Christ, and seeing these being cut down to the roots with the sword of the Spirit, took a different course of trickery by attempting to divide the body of Christ by means of the madness of the schismatics. But, checking even this plot of his, the holy Council has decreed that henceforth if any Presbyter or Deacon, on the alleged ground that his own bishop has been condemned for certain crimes, before a conciliar or synodal hearing and investigation has been made, should dare to secede from his communion, and fail to mention his name in the sacred prayers of the liturgical services in accordance with the custom handed down in the Church, he shall be subject to prompt deposition from office and shall be stripped of every prelatic honor…

Canons 14 & 15 are similar, but instead of dealing with the case of a presbyter (ie, priest) and his bishop, they respectively deal with the cases of a bishop and his metropolitan, or a clergyman separating from his Patriarch respectively.

The bold portion is the important point here, affirming what we discussed above – basically, that the bishop must be considered innocent until proven guilty, and that his guilt must be established by a proper hearing. This is of course where Christodoulos’ excuse for leaving his bishop (and the Orthodox Church) falls short – he has seceded from his bishop without any trial having taken place. Instead, he has taken matters into his own hands and appointed himself as judge over his own bishop.

The exception of canon 15

Canon 15 does make an exception that allows the faithful to separate from their bishop before going to trial, but only under a specific set of circumstances:

  1. They may only split before trial if the the bishop is guilty of the highest offence – that is, openly professing a heresy that has been explicitly condemned by one of the Holy Synods. They cannot split for any other less serious violation of the canons until the bishop has been tried.
  2. The exception only seems to apply to those directly under a Patriarch. This exception does not apply to a priest against his local bishop, or a bishop against his metropolitan, and does not give a person carte blanche to separate from all bishops.
  3. The understanding is that any split under these circumstances is provisional until the bishop’s case has been addressed by his Synod. Once the Synod has made a decision, their decision is binding on all clergy and laity (though the decision may also be appealed to a higher Synod). If the Synod decides that the Patriarch is not professing heresy, then those under him are no longer permitted to separate from him.

Of course, while Christodoulos (and other schismatic Old Calendarists like him) try to justify their schism on the basis that the Ecumenical Patriarch or the Archbishop of Greece are supposedly guilty of the heresy of “ecumenism”, they don’t actually meet the 2nd and 3rd criteria. In particular, this exception clause doesn’t give them the right to separate from all bishops, as if they were all guilty of heresy (as Christodoulos has done). This is rather like arguing that he has cut the tree (representing all of the Orthodox bishops in the world) off from the branch (ie, him and his faction) when it is obvious that the reality is the other way around.

Conclusion

The most deceptive kinds of arguments are those that are partly true, and Christodoulos’ argument is of such a kind. It is true that we (the clergy in particular and the faithful in general) are obliged to cut ourselves off from bishops who violate, ignore and continually infringe the formulations of the Fathers on faith and doctrine. The key point that Christodoulos glosses over is that it is not up to each individual to pass judgement against our bishops – this is the job of our Synods. When the Synod decides that a bishop ought to be cut off, only then are we (the clergy in particular and the faithful in general) obliged to cut ourselves off. But until such a synodal decision has been made, we are obliged to remain faithful to our bishop.

Christodoulos has violated these canons and the good order of the Church by bypassing the Synod and acting on his own judgement, and therefore he stands condemned by these canons. And most importantly, this is not a private judgement by the authors of this blog – it is a decision of a properly-constituted Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Thus, in obedience to the Synod’s judgement, we (the clergy in particular and the faithful in general) are obliged to cut ourselves off from Christodoulos and all those who associate with him. We pray that he may come to repentance and rejoin the Orthodox Church that he has forsaken.

Christodoulos’ statement to describe our venerable bishop, Nikandros of Dorylaeon, the assistant bishop in Adelaide to His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, is rather a confession that describes him and Prokopios.

This blog page has attempted to inform our faithful that Christodoulos, Prokopios and all false clergy aligned with schism are indeed sinful children of a sinful mother.

We pray for them and wish them a blessed repentance.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Your Servant.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Your Servant.

“He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother.”

This was written by Saint Cyprian of Carthage in the third century AD (died 258). Here is the quotation in context:

“The spouse of Christ cannot be adulterous; she is uncorrupted and pure. She knows one home; she guards with chaste modesty the sanctity of one couch. She keeps us for God. She appoints the sons whom she has born for the kingdom. Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress, is separated from the promises of the Church; nor can he who forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is a stranger; he is profane; he is an enemy. He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother.” (Treatise on the Unity of the Church 6)

The Prodigal Son, Luke 15:11-32

Christodoulos

John, aka Efstratios, aka Christodoulos Vasilaris

Dear readers,

Given that Christodoulos has come back to town, it is timely to revisit him. In particular, there is a letter he wrote to His Grace Bishop Nikandros in March 2011 which reveals a lot about his character.

Background of the letter

Christodoulos (aka John/Efstratios Vasilaris) was (for a brief time) the bishop of GOCSA (the so-called Autocephalic Greek Orthodox Church of Australia and America), and assistant bishop to “Archbishop” Auxentios’ Old-Calendarist schismatic group in Greece (the so-called “Genuine Orthodox Christians-GOC”) . He arrived in Adelaide at the beginning of March 2011 after their former “bishop” (Iakovos Giannakis) split with their “Archbishop” (Auxentios of GOC) and went back to Greece to start his own synod. (See Neos Kosmos for more info about Christodoulos’ history.)

When Christodoulos arrived, His Grace Bishop Nikandros (acting in accordance with his duty as the canonical hierarch of the Orthodox Church in South Australia) invited him to appear before him. Christodoulos responded with a strongly-worded letter dated 17th of March 2011 (included below in both its original Greek and an English translation).

Content of the letter

You can read the full content of the letter here in Greek, as well as a translation here in English. Of all the points and comments that he makes in this letter, the one that got the biggest response was the following comment:

The church you [Bishop Nikandros] belong to is the sinful daughter of a sinful mother…

The “sinful daughter” that he was referring to was the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, and her “sinful mother” was the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Obviously, this was a great insult to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and to her daughter Church, the Archdiocese of Australia.

As for the rest of the letter, here is a summary Christodoulos’ points:

Each of these claims is either misleading, hypocritical, outright wrong, or sometimes all three! But rather than bloat this post by addressing them all now, we will defer that discussion to separate posts at a later date. (Edit: links have been added to those posts now that they have been written.) 

Fallout from the letter

Prior to entering into schism, Christodoulos had been a canonical priest-monk. As a result of his actions for entering into schism and for the insult to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and its canonical Australian branch contained in this letter, he was (unsurprisingly) deposed from the priesthood and returned to the status of a simple monk by the Church of Greece in May 2011.

But surprisingly (and amusingly), Christodoulos’ own synod (the so-called Genuine Orthodox Christians-GOC  headed by Auxentios) also took offense at the insult to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and they too decided to depose him from the GOC “bishopric” they had assigned to him! Details about all this can be read in this Neos Kosmos article dated 1st of June 2011.

Of course, Christodoulos and GOCSA simply ignored both of these depositions and consequently split from Auxentios’ synod, going their own way and once again becoming an orphaned pseudo-Orthodox jurisdiction. As a result, all of GOCSA’s clergy (including Mr Kanavas, who was a “priest” with GOCSA at the time) were deposed. (Thus it was with a sense of deja-vu that we saw the same pattern followed again when Mr Kanavas was deposed (for the third time) back in November last year, which Mr Kanavas & GOCSA have again ignored.)

Later in 2011 Christodoulos was sacked by GOCSA, for reasons that have not been made clear publically. The Greek Communities of Clayton (headed by Mr George Athanasiadis) and Wollongong (Mr Savvas Pizanias) both refused to acknowledge his sacking. Instead they split from GOCSA to form the so-called “Holy Orthodox Metropolis of Australia and Oceania” (HOMOAO), retaining Christodoulos as their head. GOCSA remained in the so-called “Autocephalic Greek Orthodox Church of Australia and America” (of which they now comprise the clear bulk). Thus begun  a fresh schism within the schismatic community.

As an old Orthodox saying goes, “schism begets schism”. Sadly the above is typical of the kind of soap opera that naturally unfolds when people try to break the unity of the Church and go off their own way.

Conclusion

Christodoulos’ excuses for leaving the canonical Church and for establishing his own rival jurisdiction are wafer-thin. He preys on the uninformed, well-intentioned Orthodox faithful whom he tries to impress & bamboozle using vague references to important-sounding, “churchy” things like “Sacred Canons” and ecclesiastical order to justify his actions, knowing that most of these people are not well-informed enough about these things to know how he has misused them. We hope (with the help of God) to rectify that situation in our future posts by explaining exactly how and why Christodoulos is wrong, with proper references to actual canons. And as always, we hope that by providing such references, people will be able to verify what we say for themselves, rather than simply being expected to take our word for it.

His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens and All Greece – the real Archbishop of Athens. Beware of impostors. Source: Church of Greece

Dear readers,

It seems that Christodoulos, Mr Athanasiadis and their friends of the so-called “Holy Orthodox Metropolis of Australia & Oceania” have been busy over the Christmas break. Perhaps motivated by jealousy of the attention that GOCSA’s scandals have been attracting, not to be outdone they have decided to have a go at their own.

According to their news page (see 20/12/2013), they are undertaking an expansion of their presence here in Australia, having increased the number of member parishes in the “Holy Metropolis” by a whopping 50% in this Christmas period! This sounds impressive… until one realises it means they’ve increased their number of parishes from two to three!

Their newly established parish is a “monastery” here in Adelaide (of no fixed address as yet) dedicated to St John the Forerunner & Baptist. It seems they are planning to celebrate their inaugural feast day on the Synaxis of  the Forerunner (7th of January) 2014 at a local venue.

By setting up yet another competing “Orthodox” jurisdiction for Adelaide’s Orthodox of Greek descent (in direct competition with both the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and GOCSA), they are further cementing the schism that began back in the beginning of 2012. Perhaps there is a bit of spite going on here over the way Christodoulos was unceremoniously dumped by GOCSA (for reasons that still remain a mystery to us). It seems that Christodoulos and friends still haven’t learned the point of the simple message that we posted at Christmas (one Christ – one Church) – or perhaps they think that the Holy Virgin gave birth to the Word of God as triplets on that blessed day?

Of course, the so-called “Holy Orthodox Metropolis of Australia and Oceania” is neither Holy, nor Orthodox, nor a Metropolis, nor is it of Oceania (in fact, with only three parishes and in only three States it barely even qualifies as “of Australia”). Their head (“Archbishop” Seraphim) claims to be the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece while living on the tiny island of Salamina – when (as we pointed out a couple of months ago) the real Archbishop of Athens is His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos and he actually lives in Athens. Seraphim was of course deposed by the Church of Greece (in 1984), as reported by Neos Kosmos, and so any “services” celebrated under him are no more legitimate or canonical than those of GOCSA (which is to say, neither of them are legitimate or canonical Orthodox jurisdictions). We advise all of our readers to stay well clear on the 7th of January (and indeed every day).

Such is Christodoulos’ Christmas gift to the Greeks of Adelaide – an amusing little sideshow. Or rather, it would be amusing if it weren’t so serious & so sad.

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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