George Athanasiadis


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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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.

Dear readers as we see below the only thing that can arise from a schism is more schism. Here we find an internal schism awaiting those eight communities (GOCSA and four others) that are part of the Federation of Greek Communities. In particular it is only those communities that are in schism that are threatened.

This intending schism comes as a result of GOCSA’s sacking of Christodoulos. Christodoulos upon the advice of dissident stake-holders of the federation responded by seeking partnership with a renegade “Archbishop of Greece and all Athens” Seraphim, who has his headquarters on the tiny Greek islet of Salamina. Together they invented the “Holy Orthodox Metropolis of Australia and Oceania” which upon the last count has three clerics and no laity.

Christodoulos without the knowledge of the Federation made these deliberations, and together with the two clergy men loyal (for now) to his cause, the self appointed “chancellor and vicar-general” George Athanasiades and Savas Pizanias, will set up shop in opposition to the Federation. Mr Athanasiades who in the past has said «υπάρχουν και άλλες πορτοκαλιές που βγάζουν πορτοκάλια» (there are other orange trees that produce oranges) and Mr Pizanias who once in the Greek Herald News Paper categorically denied he had any involvement with rogue churches, are both included in the media release of this new *Orthodox Metropolis*. (See image below.)

Of concern to us are the following words from the Neos Kosmos:

According to reliable sources the coup was hatched by a number of renegade communities with the specific aim to impede attempts by interested members of the Federation to engage dialogue with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.

In the announcement of the schismatic community of Clayton, Victoria, in the program for the “feast day” of St. Spyridon, mention is made that “the first and only church that is dedicated to St. Spyridon” is the schismatic one (see announcement above). The “parish priest” at the helm of all this is George Athanasiadis. Mr Athanasiadis for those who are not aware of it has been defrocked twice. As a former canonical priest he would officiate at weddings and baptisms without declaring and registering these sacraments with the civil authorities or the Archdiocese. All this naturally met the protests of the disturbed faithful including members of his family (see relevant article here).

We must remind you that Mr Athanasiadis is the one that advertises his services to conduct weddings at non Orthodox churches because he shamelessly boasts of being “independent” and therefore it follows cut off from the Orthodox Church. Ironically Mr Athanasiadis criticises Clayton’s canonical Greek Orthodox Church “The three Hierarchs” for having a “nonexistent chapel” dedicated to St. Spyridon, labelling its autonomy to worship on this great feast day as an “unholy parody”.

All Greek Orthodox Churches across the world will be celebrating the Divine Liturgy for the feast day of Saint Spyridon on the 12th of December. According to Mr Athanasiadis and his fellow schismatics these churches are nonexistent and have no ecclesiological status, they are an “unholy parody”. Indeed we ask who are the schismatics to speak? They are the ones who are unholy since they have cut themselves off from the body of Christ as they themselves know all too well.

Perhaps Clayton’s canonical Greek Orthodox of “The Three Hierarchs” which neighbours Clayton’s schismatic community needs to seek permission from Mr Athanasiadis and Mr Pizanias (who by the way has been defrocked twice and married twice) to serve the Divine Liturgy! “Stubbornness” and “opposition” is not new to Clayton’s schismatic community, for forty years they have been rejecting to be united to the body of Christ, which in Australia for the Greek Orthodox faithful is the “Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia”. Thankfully Sydney’s former schismatic community has now been regrafted into the body of Christ.

Only canonical clergy can celebrate in Orthodox Churches, only they have the validity to impart the grace of sanctification on the faithful through Christ’s gift of priesthood. For Mr Athanasiadis and Mr Pizanias all they can ever do with any degree of validity on the feast day of St. Spyridon, is to create a gathering where the consumption of food and loukoumathes will take place. To quote Saint Cyprian from the third centuary “Outside of the Church nobody is saved”.

In terms of what is “unholy” and provocative, this is personified with the presence at Clayton’s schismatic community of the fake “His Eminence Bishop Christodoulos of Trimythous”. Not only has Mr Christodoulos been defrocked twice  but as we read in the newspaper “O Parikos”  his “tourist” visa has lapsed forcing him to take occasional trips to New Zealand or the islands of Fiji. His visa status is further compounded by the alleged belief that he is a carrier of the Hepatitis B virus.

On account of the above Christodoulos is no eminent bishop of any Orthodox Church. Of course the faithful will tell you this, in particular those who understand, listen, read and discern.

George Athanasiadis

George Athanasiadis – proud to co-celebrate with non-Orthodox

Dear readers,

A recent trend seems to have developed on our Facebook page of accusing the Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia of being “ecumenists” and “pope lovers”.

This is extremely ironic, for two reasons: First of all because we are apparently being criticised for following the commandment of our Lord and loving our enemy & trying to bring them to Orthodoxy. But secondly (and most importantly) because people that make such accusations do so to justify their separation from the canonical Orthodox Church – and yet, they have an arch-“ecumenist”/modernist among them.

George Athanasiadis is a former priest of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese who was defrocked for questionable practices (pocketing money for wedding certificates without actually legally registering the marriages with the Orthodox Church or with the Victorian Government). Since being defrocked he has become somewhat of a freelance “Greek Orthodox” priest – offering his services to co-officiate at weddings, funerals and baptisms in non-Orthodox Churches. He even went so far as to send a letter to a bunch of non-Orthodox priests advertising his services. He also has his own website advertising his services and is listed on a civil celebrant’s listing web site and in the Yellow Pages.

As he himself admits in his letter, the practice of co-celebrating mysteries/sacraments is strictly forbidden by the Orthodox Church. It is exactly the kind of thing that anti-“ecumenists” would criticise (and rightly so) as being against the canons of the Church.

Where would such a former Orthodox priest go after being defrocked? To the so-called “Autocephalic Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia” – the organisation that gets all the Orthodox Church’s rejects. As their own page says, he is now the priest at St Spyridon’s, Clayton (Melbourne), Victoria. In other words, one of Christodoulos’ priests.

Christodoulos, Prokopios, Petros: before you criticise the Ecumenical Patriarchate or the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese for being “ecumenist” or “pope loving”, make sure you have a word to your own fellow pseudo-priest and get him sorted out.

A transcription of the letter follows below (see here for the original):

George S. Athansiadis
Protopresbyter

Indepented [sic] Greek Orthodox Minister – Civil Marriage Celebrant A13157

9-2-10

Dear Father.

For many years now I’ve had requests from couples wanting an Orthodox minister to co-officiate at their marriage in a church of another denomination.

As you may know, the official Orthodox Church forbids it and thus has created an obstacle to their well-founded wishes. Personally, I believe that there is no scriptural or doctrinal reasons to support this prohibition and can only attribute it to superseded practices of long past. In my 34 years with the Church, I did confront this time and time again with my superiors, however, my representations were in vain.

In 2002 I left that jurisdiction and have been acting as an independent Orthodox Minister. I am also an authorised civil and religious celebrant and can now offer my services to couples wanting to celebrate their wedding at your church with the participation of a Greek Orthodox minister.

I would like to ask you, if you feel it appropriate, to pass this information and my details when couples inquire about the availability of the services I’m offering.

I hope that this information will assist you in your ministry.

Yours in our Saviour

8 CLIFTON GVE, COBURG VIC 3058 – 0410 323 558
fr.george_athanasiadis@hotmail.com