Falsehood


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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As we mentioned a couple of posts ago, our purpose of this blog was never to disparage the people of GOCSA, but to help raise awareness of the lies that are being fed to them from their own management. The hope was that, armed with this information, they may be empowered to stand up to their management themselves and ask questions.

Glory to God, this is now happening. We have already mentioned the meeting that was held on Saturday and the Supreme Court injunction that is being pursued as we type. But further to this, we have also had an email from a concerned GOCSA member (who was at Saturday’s meeting) expressing her own frustrations at Mr Kanavas and the current GOCSA administration, and who decided to take matters into her own hands.

Regular readers (especially from the early days of this blog) are no doubt familiar with the fact that Mr Kanavas uses a number of Facebook pages to spout his lies & propaganda, where it is lapped up by his small but highly devoted band of followers. These pages include:

Most recently he has been using these sites as a platform to promote his upcoming “ordination”, and to try and convince his readers of the validity of the Synod to which they have signed up. There is also a post there which is a veiled legal threat towards anyone who might dare to shout “anaxios!” this Sunday (a threat which carries no legal weight, we might add, because the opportunity to shout “anaxios!” is an integral part of the Orthodox ordination service).

Fed up by lies and threats such as these, Paula Lambrou (the above-mentioned member of GOCSA) decided to take a stand and dared to challenge his statements openly on Facebook. Of course, Mr Kanavas did as we all know that he does when challenged – he simply deleted the comments. Paula, however, anticipated this eventuality and was prepared for it, so she took screenshots in order to have evidence of this censorship. Because she felt it was important for people to know she emailed the screenshots to us for us to use on this blog so that her message could still get out. You can see these below, with the time & date included to show when the were written.

None of Paula’s comments are left on St Nicholas’ Facebook page (at the time of writing). They have all been deleted as Prokopios & the GOCSA executive try to hide the truth from their own members!

Some of the propaganda comments in these screenshots (in particular those from Mr John Lesses, who is the current president of the GOCSA executive committee) are interesting to say the least, and might make the topic of a blog post in the not-too-distant future (hopefully later today).

We would also like to take this opportunity to publicly  thank Paula for this information and for her diligence in these matters, and to apologise that it has taken us this long to get her screenshots up for all to see. We pray that God gives her (and those like her) to continue this fight as we work together towards unity.

St Nicholas Facebook page, 11:59:55AM on 5th of August 2013

St Nicholas Facebook page, 11:59:55AM on 5th of August 2013

St Nicholas Facebook page, 12:03:18PM on 5th of August 2013

St Nicholas Facebook page, 12:03:18PM on 5th of August 2013

St Nicholas Facebook page, 12:03:31PM on 5th of August 2013

St Nicholas Facebook page, 12:03:31PM on 5th of August 2013

St Nicholas Facebook page, 12:12:15PM on 5th of August 2013

St Nicholas Facebook page, 12:12:15PM on 5th of August 2013

St Nicholas Facebook page, 12:54:28PM on 5th of August 2013

St Nicholas Facebook page, 12:54:28PM on 5th of August 2013

St Nicholas Facebook page, 1:04:54PM on 5th of August 2013

St Nicholas Facebook page, 1:04:54PM on 5th of August 2013

St Nicholas Facebook page, 1:05:03PM on 5th of August 2013

St Nicholas Facebook page, 1:05:03PM on 5th of August 2013

St Nicholas Facebook page, 11:31:30AM on 7th of August 2013

St Nicholas Facebook page, 11:31:30AM on 7th of August 2013

Dear Readers,

May we take this opportunity to pour out our love for all of God’s children and pray for their salvation. As we hear in the Bible our Lord desires “everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1Tim 2:4). We are especially called upon in our troubled city of Adelaide to exert greater efforts to live out this prayer, if for no other reason than the presence of the schism.

The churches administered by GOCSA are not canonical and therefore outside of the world wide communion of the Orthodox Church.

What does this mean?

  • Their so called “priests” are not priests.
  • Therefore the actions of these “priests” have no validity.
  • Thus Holy Communion, Baptisms and Weddings that take place from these individuals masquerading as priests are not recognised as valid within the Orthodox Church.

What does this not mean?

  • That the current GOCSA priests and their churches are canonical and thus Orthodox.

These simple facts are brought to your attention in response to the outrageous comments posted by Mr Prokopios Kanavas on the St. Nicholas Church & Adelaide Greek Orthodox Youth Facebook Pages. (Apart from signing off on one of the comments, his typical gross misrepresentation of reality, unrealistic exaggerations and audacity to present himself as a credible source of knowledge and generally poor writing style betray his identity.)

Please take a moment to read a sample of the following from the St. Nicholas Church & Adelaide Greek Orthodox Youth Facebook Pages:

facebook screen shots 2 facebook screen shots

So as not to give any dignity to the above hubris and further to that so as not to insult your intelligence we will limit ourselves to making general comments.

Some Facts:

  • Prokopios is correct in highlighting that the canonical Orthodox Church identifies schismatics and their actions as not Orthodox.
  • Prokopios is correct in highlighting that the canonical Orthodox Church identifies the churches that GOCSA are administrating as not Orthodox (especially while Prokopios and his colleagues make up its so called “priesthood”.)
  • Prokopios wrote a blog post explaining why he was not going to defend himself against allegations raised against him in the media – in summary, because he is “too spiritual” and as a priest-monk he shouldn’t respond. One wonders then why he solicited a collection of money in order to take Nigel Hunt (journalist with the Sunday Mail) to court? And, for that matter, what happened to the money that he raised by this collection if he doesn’t intend to defend himself?
  • One of the posts entitled “HAS THE CHURCH LOST ITS YOUNG PEOPLE?” is uncharacteristically well-written. A search revealed that this is because the post has been plagiarised (without a proper reference) from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, in clear breach of international copyright laws (not to mention plain-old rules of etiquette). See the original sermonette by Fr Andrew Demotses.
  • The comment about fees for Renmark’s community doesn’t make any sense. What is the problem with charging a hall hire fee? And $50/year membership is pretty cheap. How much does it cost to hire the hall at St Nicholas?

Some Lies:

  • There are no fees involved when people who have innocently paid for ceremonies from GOCSA under the mistaken belief that they were recognised Orthodox sacraments subsequently come to the canonical Orthodox Church (ie, the Archdiocese) to receive the real thing. The reunion agreement with GOCNSW two years ago proves this.
  • We do not believe that all those who are are uncanonical are going to hell (we plead for Prokopios to stop saying this). We do believe that they are missing out on the fullness of our Faith, but this doesn’t mean that they’re all going to hell!
  • One of Prokopios’ posts is a thinly-veiled accusation that we have committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (and presumably therefore going to hell). In light of the complaint noted in the previous point, the hypocrisy of such an accusation is plain. As noted, we do not claim that they are going to hell (that is for God to judge). But what we are saying is that they are not part of the communon of the Orthodox Church.

Prokopios since you present yourself as a conformist to Orthodox Canon Law, perhaps you may want to be aware of the following:

  • The Holy Canons of the Apostles, the Seven Ecumenical Councils and the local Councils constitute the living word of the Holy Spirit which governs the Church and leads Her to all truth.
  • In becoming schismatic through aligning yourself with the pseudo Archbishop Auxentios Marinis and now with no bishop; according to the Worldwide Orthodox Church, Her Theology and Canon Law you are violating the following Holy and Sacred Canons: 31st and 34th of the Holy Apostles; 18th of the 4th Ecumenical Synod; 34th of the 6th Ecumenical Synod; 14th and 15th of the First/Second Synod; 6th of the Synod of Gangra and 10th of the Synod of Carthage. Subsequently you were defrocked as a deacon from the Patriarchate of Jerusalem (see here) and returned to a lay person in accordance to the Orthodox Church’s rights based on the above mentioned canons.

Here it is important to remind our readers that the Orthodox Church worldwide is governed by Bishops who “in the place and presence of Christ” are successors of the Holy Apostles. These bishops are elected by the Holy Synods of the various local Orthodox Churches and are ordained by canonical Bishops who have uninterrupted Apostolic Succession. Lay people, including defrocked clergy, are called to be the Flock not Shepherds.

Through their canonically ordained bishops, the various local Orthodox Churches constitute one unified body, with a single dogma, constitution, ethos and worship. Consequently we have the same Church in Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Athens, Moscow, Cyprus, Bucharest, Belgrade, Sophia, Australia and Mount Athos amongst other places. The GOCSA churches are not in communion with any of these centres of Christianity and therefore outside of the Communion of the Orthodox Church. Thus for the Worldwide Orthodox Church of 300 000 000 faithful, whatever is conducted in the GOCSA churches is ecclesiologically and theologically non-existent – in other words without any spiritual value and importance. So we are not re-baptising those who come to our Orthodox Churches from GOCSA (as Mr Kanavas claims) – because they never received Orthodox baptism in the first place!

Furthermore, according to Canons: 10th and 31st of the Holy Apostles; 6th of the Synod of Gangra as well as the 10th canon of the Synod of Gangra, the mere acceptance of defrocked and/or schismatic clergy (which is how GOCSA obtain all of their clergy) is a violation of Orthodox Ecclesiology and Canon Law. It is entirely a Protestant prerogative that allows one to create their own “Church” and “clergy” and name them as they wish. Consequently when Orthodox Christians pray in schismatic churches they are considered to be outside of the communion of the Orthodox Church. Specifically in the words of the 10th Canon of the Holy Apostles:

If anyone, even in a home, prays with a person who has been severed from the Church, then that person is excommunicated.

In the below article from Neos Kosmos Newspaper, journalist Kostas Nikopoulos takes issue once again with Mr Prokopios Kanavas’ false claims.

As a reminder to all, on the 31st of January 2012, Mr Nikolopoulos had the following to say about Mr Kanavas:

Adelaide priest, the Reverend Prokopios Kanavas, has been asked by the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia to give evidence over claims he posted on his Facebook wall.

Reverend Prokopios, from St Nicholas Parish in Thebarton, South Australia, claimed that he has completed a degree in Theology and International Law at Israel’s Hebrew University of Jerusalem, represented the Patriarchate of Jerusalem at conferences, and restored a monastery at his own expense.

However, the university has stated that they have no record of him studying there, and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem has denied these claims in a letter sent to Bishop Nikandros, the head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in SA.

The chairman of the Federation of Greek Communities in Australia, property developer Theo Maras, told Adelaide Now he was “concerned” about the allegations. He called on the council to “deal with this quickly and ensure that the communities’ concerns are allayed”.

The letter sent by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem made serious allegations about the priest – which can’t be stated due to legal reasons – that subsequently led to his defrocking in 2008. It said Reverend Prokopios, who represents himself in Adelaide as an Archimandrite, was ordained and served within the Jerusalem patriarchate as a deacon and that the Synod of the patriarchate deliberated on July 24, 2008, and defrocked him, at which time he reverted back to a lay person.

He then joined the Greek Army, later joining another faction of the church, was again ordained and made his way to Adelaide in 2010.

As yet Mr Kanavas has not provided any evidence to the GOCSA Council, or the Sunday Mail and Neos Kosmos News Papers, who are eagerly awaiting a response from him about his false credentials. Personally Mr Nikopoulos is also awaiting an apology from Prokopios which he believes he owes to all those who came across his fake biographical information online. Furthermore he believes this apology will be for his own redemption and wellbeing.

The only response that we have had so far from Mr Kanavas is that he admits he desired to study at the Hebrew University but was not given the blessing from his superiors. Well as the author of the article says it is one thing to dream and another to be real. When one takes into account his academic record it becomes obvious that his ambitions are well beyond the realms of reality and into the impossible. To usurp positions, qualifications and fabricate achievements for ones own expediencies is to undermine the integrity of those who you interact and deal with. In all human professions this is not simply dismissed as an error of judgment (as Prokopios proclaims) but rather a crime against human nature.

When the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was asked about Mr Prokopios (Panagiotis) Kanavas’ status as a student, the following reply was given by Dr Joel Alpert:

We do not have any record of a person of this name being a student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (see image below)

May the Lord our God alleviate the Greek Orthodox faithful in Adelaide and all Australia from the schism plaguing our Church. May the schismatics come to repentance and may the unrepentant limit the harm they cause to themselves and everyone else.