Reflections


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Who the heck are Meletios and Volodymyr?

Meletios and Voldymyr are two so-called bishops of the so-called “Autocephalic Greek Orthodox Church of American and Canada – Former Exarchate of the Patriarchate of Alexandria“. Meletios is one of the “bishops” who physically came to Adelaide to partake in the “ordination” of Mr Kanavas. Volodymyr is one of the names that appears on Mr Kanavas’ pseudo-defrockment notice for Petros Haros which we discussed in more detail here (it appears Volodymyr’s since had a change of heart).

Let’s go to Meletios:

In August of 2013, Mr Kanavas continued with his perversion of Orthodox Christianity and was so called “ordained” as a “bishop”. At his ordination was a gentleman by the name of Meletios the so called “Metropolitan of Achaia and all of the Peloponnese” who came especially from Greece to take part in this Modern Greek tragedy.

In the letter below we hear Meletios request from the president of GOCSA Mr John Lesses that Mr Prokopios Kanavas stop his “lies, threats, reviles” and “pseudo-defrockments” against Petros Haros and Meletios. It is Petros Haros and Meletios who ordained Prokopios. How is it though, that within three months Prokopios divorces himself from them? Truly a case of corruption begetting corruption.

MeletiosLet’s move on to Volodymyr who is a bit more interesting.

Volodymyr claims that Prokopios was the secretary of Petros Haros’ synod in April 2013 a fact unbeknown to GOCSA and to Haros himself! In any case Prokopios took advantage of the fact that Volodymyr does not speak Greek but only conversational English and that Haros does not speak Ukrainian or English. Prokopios played the role of the interlocutor which meant that according to the language deficiencies of Haros and Volodymyr, he could orchestrate a dialogue that was vested in his own interests and ultimately not coherent with reality. The end result:

  1. Prokopios is seen as a hero because he inducts Volodymyr into what Volodymr believes is a canonical Orthodox Church.
  2. Haros sets up a franchise in the Ukraine all through the efforts of Prokopios.

1.      Volodymyr realizes (for the time being) that he was set up by Mr Prokopios Kanavas and details this in the letter written below (see the original in Ukrainian here). Of course Volodymyr is yet to wake up and accept that he is receiving the just deserts of his own uncanonical actions. To his credit Volodymyr admits the following:

  1. Mr Prokopios Kanavas is uncanonical and that he deceived Volodymyr into thinking that Prokopios was canonical.
  2.  Volodymyr did not sign any letter defrocking Petros Haros.
  3. Volodymyr apologies to the only canonical bishop in Adelaide, His Grace Bishop Nikandros of Dorylaeon and asks for his forgiveness.

The Letter from Volodomyr:

14th December, 2013

God bless all of us, dear bishops, fathers, brothers in Christ Jesus!

I, bishop of Pereyaslav and Bohuslav, Volodymyr (Vilde) from Ukraine am writing to you. I had a phone conversation with Father Silouan, also I have received letters from Bishop Nikandros from Australia about the conflict between the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the so called Autocephalic Greek Orthodox Church of America and Canada. I understand your concern; please forgive me I could not give the necessary answer to you for a long time. In Ukraine at the moment there is a very tense social and political situation and, unfortunately, I could not give my attention to your letters. Please forgive me once more.

I have read all the materials, which Father Silouan from Adelaide kindly sent to me. I am not indifferent about the current situation affecting the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia. I do not wish to participate in any divisions and misunderstandings because of Prokopios’ acts. I wish for the Greek Orthodox Church of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople to be undivided and united. The thing is that when I was asked to be included into Petro Haros’ Synod, I thought that his synod called the “Autocephalic Greek Orthodox Church of America and Canada” (former exarchate of Alexandria’s Patriarchate) which was led by Archbishop Dionysus Makrogambrakis was indeed canonical.  But Father Silouan explained to me, that Petros Haros’ documents of canonicity were fraudulently obtained. Consequently, Peter Haros and Prokopios do not belong to the canonical church (Patriarchate of Alexandria) of which they proclaim. 

Also, from the documents that Father Silouan sent to me I found out that Prokopios was defrocked from the Jerusalem Patriarchate as a deacon, and that Petros Haros was involved in suspicious and so called non-traditional healing practices. In any case their structure is not canonical and is not recognised by any of the World’s Orthodox churches. Also I discovered that Petros Haros and Procopios Kanavas were involved in several other scandals and caused division amongst the Greek Orthodox Communities of South Australia.

I would like to mention that I do not wish to belong any further to the structure which are led by Petros Haros and Prokopios Kanavas. For the last 2 months I did not sign their letters and petitions.

Also I want to mention that I recognise the authority of the Constantinople Patriarchate and respect their decisions. I do not wish to have conflict with the Ecumenical Patriarchate or to have any misunderstandings with your bishops. I greatly appreciate that Bishop Nikandros of Australia addressed me multiple times with archpastoral love and care, highlighting my mistake. I owe many thanks to Bishop Nikandros and pray for his health and wellbeing.

Keeping in mind everything written above, I repent of my own mistakes and officially declare my exit from the Synod of Haros and Kanavas and beg you to help me to be united with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

I wish to belong to the great Church of Constantinople and wish to hear the conditions on which I can be accepted as an active bishop of the Ecumenical Patriachate. I am inspired and filled with hope by the fact that the Estonian Metropolitinate and the Ukrainian Autocephalic Church in America where included into the Ecumenical Patriarchia. I humbly beg for the same mercy to be granted to me and am ready to listen to your conditions.

I kneel before the Ecumenical order of the Constantinopolitan Church.

I hope for your mercy and understanding. I ask for your holy prayers for myself.

Volodymyr (Wilde) – The Bishop of Pereyaslav and Bohuslav.

Where to from here:

Prayer, patience and perseverance are needed by all devout Orthodox Christians. May this be expressed through our personal prayer life, our reading of the Holy Scriptures and our sincere worship in Church. If we all did this there would be no schism.

A final thought:

If schismatics like Meletios and Volodymyr denounce the schism in Adelaide how much more so should we the faithful of the canonical Greek Orthodox Church in Adelaide.

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St Basil the Great of Caesaria, the Heaven-revealer

Icon for 1st of January. Top: St Basil the Great of Caesaria, the Heaven-revealer. Bottom: The circumcision of Christ. Source: OCA

Dear readers,

Of course, yesterday was the civil New Year. It also happens to be a major feast day of the Orthodox Church, in which we commemorate the Circumcision of our Lord Jesus Christ, along with the great hierarch and ecumenical teacher St Basil the Great. We pray that everyone had a blessed time with family as we remember the occasion that the God of all submitted to the shame & pain of circumcision in the flesh, and shed blood for humanity for the very first time.

On the feast day of St Basil, we thought it would be appropriate to remind our readers of an earlier post back in 2011 where we briefly discussed St Basil’s teachings on schism. His comments are as relevant today as they were 1,600 years ago.

More posts to follow in the coming days – there is obviously a lot happening at the moment.

The Nativity of Christ. Source: Orthodox Church in America

Your birth, Christ our God,
dawned upon the world as the light of the knowledge.
for then those who worshiped the stars were taught by a star
to reverence you, the Sun of righteousness,
and to know you are the dawn from on high.
Lord, glory to you!

Christ is born! Glorify Him! As we celebrate the Feast of the Nativity (According to the Flesh) of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ, let us remember that when He took on flesh, He only assumed one Body. So must the Church also be one. Let us pray that that day will come soon to our city.

We pray that all of our readers have had a blessed and safe time this Christmas.

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.

Presentation of the Theotokos to the Temple. Source: Orthodox Church in America

This Thursday just past (21st of November) was the Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the temple. In honour of this day we offer the following reflection.

As we journey through the Nativity Fast towards Christmas, New Year’s, Epiphany, and beyond towards the Presentation of Christ, we will again commemorate and venerate, the Feasts of many great Saints who were bishops. People such as St Andrew the First-Called Apostle who was crucified in Patras, St Nicholas of Myra the archtype of all bishops, whose Christ-like love brought many to Christ, St Spyridon of Trimithountos whose meekness and humility was so great that along with St Nicholas defended Holy Orthodoxy at the First Ecumenical Council by destroying the great lie of the Arian heresy. Others like St Basil the Great, St Athanasius of Alexandria, St Theophan the Recluse, St Isaac the Syrian, and St Ignatius of Antioch the God-Bearer thundered to us the “violent” Love of Almighty God, which is as gentle, humble and meek as He is Almighty. The God who identified with and sat and ate with the discarded and the despised of the world, who raised the dead, healed the sick, demanded that we uphold peace, justice, righteousness, the protection of the weak, the poor, the downtrodden and the unborn!  A love, which was described, thus, by the late Blessed Archimandrite Fr Lev Gillet most eloquently wrote:

God is fire. God is love. God is a self-propagating emotional power, a fire that shares itself. Centuries after Moses beheld the flames of the Burning Bush, this same fire merged with the tongues of flame at Pentecost, and with the fire that burned within the hearts of the disciples at Emmaus. In saying that God is a fire of love we are certainly stating a truth that plays havoc with many of our ideas, in fact almost all our ideas.

These bishops dedicated their lives to Christ and His Church and its Holy Tradition, which is of the Holy Spirit. St Cyprian of Carthage who died in 258 wrote of the great importance of the bishop and what he represents: ‘The episcopate is a single whole, in which each bishop enjoys full possession. So is the Church a single whole, though it spreads far and wide into a multitude of churches as its fertility increases’. There are many churches but only one Church; many episcopi but only one episcopate.” Totally united and equal as vicars in Christ. And St lgnatius the Godbearer the Martyr who was ordained a bishop by St John the Theologian, wrote in 107, as he was been taken to Rome to be martyred. ‘The bishop in each Church, presides in place of God…‘Let no one do any of the things which concern the Church without the bishop … Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be, just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church”. The centrality of the Bishop in the Church, just as the centrality of the Church as our Mother in our lives, the Church, which is the Ark of the Holy Spirit to which we are grafted and in which we are saved is extremely important.

Christ is the Head of the Church and the Church is the Body of Christ. And we the sinners, the fallen, the ill, the imprisoned, and we who have betrayed Christ through our sins, compromises, lack of integrity and lovelessness, and self-absorbance, whether we be Patriarchs, Bishops, Presbyters, Deacons, Monks/Nuns, Abbots/Abbesses or Laity, we need the mercy of God which is freely given to us through His violent love for us within the Church. All is healed within the Church. The Holy Spirit will heal, as God wills! Vladimir Lossky wrote: “Eastern [Orthodox] theology never thinks of the Church apart from Christ and from the Holy Spirit.”

God will lovingly embrace and defend His humble beloved children just as He did St Nectarios of Aegina, or St Luke the Surgeon and Archbishop, just as He embraces the repentant sinners, just as He embraced the Prodigal Son. Through His Love, those at fault will be embraced and healed within the Church. And no malignancy or evil we can bring or engender, whether we be Patriarchs, Bishops, Presbyters, Deacons, Monks/Nuns, Abbots/Abbesses or Laity can overcome the Love of God and His Holy Orthodox Church. NOTHING so long as we are in the Church!!! As 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. As Orthodox Christians we know that “In Orthodoxy today, as in the years gone by, the basics of Christian doctrine, worship, and government are never up for alteration. One cannot be an Orthodox priest, for example, and reject the divinity of Christ, His virgin birth, resurrection, ascension into heaven, and second coming. The Church simply has not left its course in nearly 2000 years. It is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. It is the New Testament Church. The gates of hell have not prevailed against it.” (Introducing the Orthodox Church in the Orthodox Study Bible.)

During the Nativity Fast we also commemorate the Holy Confessors of the Orthodox Catholic Faith such as St Seraphim of Sarov and St Anthony the Great and the Great Martyrs such as St Tatiana of Rome, St Barbara of Palestine and St James the Persian inspire us to stand up to all in the world that would take us from Christ’s Love. Others like St Herman of Alaska who in his meekness, humility and Christ-likeness protected the oppressed, the orphans, the widows becoming the Patron Saint of the Indigenous Alaskans.

These where people whose depth of meekness, humility and Christ-likeness we cannot begin to fathom. These were people who rose from sin again and again and again to meet Jesus because He loved them. People whose love for Christ was so great that nothing, absolutely nothing could separate them from Him, absolutely nothing on earth, including torture and death. These are Our Fathers and Mothers in Christ, who as the cloud of witnesses stand with us in Our One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church during the Liturgy, when we say during the Nicene Creed  “And I believe in One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church”.

These like all our Holy Saints, were men and women who watered the Church with the blood of their martyrdoms, because their deaths begot greater love and their lives glorified God. They stood as witnesses that Christ has destroyed the power of death because they saw and knew Christ personally, and knew God is Love. This statement is the only cataphatic definition of God in the entire Bible (ie, a definition that says what God is, rather than what God is not) and was written by St John the Theologian in his First Epistle: “Beloved let us love one another, for love is of God: and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” 1 John 4:7-8. St Isaac once wrote “Fear God because of His love and not because of the reputation of austerity that has been attributed to Him”. If we claim to love God then we love His Holy Church, recognizing full well it is perfect, just as Christ is perfect.

It is this belief in the Church that allows the Church to thunder during the Sunday of Orthodoxy concerning the icons a statement as profound as the following:

As the Prophets saw, as the Apostles taught, as the Church has received, as the Teachers express in dogma, as the inhabited world understands together with them, as grace illumines, as the truth makes clear, as error has been banished, as wisdom makes bold to declare, as Christ has assured, so we think, so we speak, so we preach, honouring Christ our true God, and his Saints, in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in icons, worshipping and revering the One as God and Lord, and honouring them because of their common Lord as those who are close to him and serve him, and making to them relative veneration. This is the faith of the Apostles; this is the faith of the Fathers; this is the faith of the Orthodox; this faith makes fast the inhabited world.

St Ignatius the Godbearer of Antioch

St Ignatius the Godbearer of Antioch. Source: Orthodox Church in America.

As we hope you have gathered, the Doctrine of the Church is extremely important. All bishops of the Church are equals sharing in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and by the Grace of God despite their sins and failings, and come as we all do to Christ, Our Lord God and Saviour for His merciful forgiveness and love, as we all do!! The importance of the “spiritual process” or “healing” so to speak, of how, when or where the LORD ministers to His Bishops within the church is not for us to know. Just as in the example of St Nectarios who, while treated abysmally as he was by the Patriarchate of Alexandria, waited upon Christ in His Holy Church to answer his prayers within the same Holy Church. And as you know the Patriarchate of Alexandria did seek forgiveness for what had happened, This is why St Nectarios is loved worldwide and why the Church glorified him. This process cannot occur by choosing to go into schism. That is a rejection of Christ and His Church.

Therefore, Mr Panagiotis Kanavas and his own “synod”, incorporating a cohort of fake bishops, within the so-called “Former Exarchate” are not part of the Orthodox Church. If any of them had acted upon their consciences with regards to their previous apparent grievances, they would have sought forgiveness within the Church, and had asked for their grievances to be heard within the appropriate canonical processes which are governed by the rule of canon law as per the Ecumenical Councils and Holy Tradition. The same applies to GOCSA.

We write all of this to emphasize one point, that GOCSA has separated itself from the Church of Christ. No matter what it may apparently accuse the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of doing, in its statements and its historical accounts of what they perceive grieved them…it remains however…that GOCSA has separated itself from the Church, and therefore from the Holy Tradition of the Church which is the Life of the Holy Spirit within the Church and the Life of the Church within the Holy Spirit.

It is now quite apparent that Mr Panagiotis Kanavas has many, many questions to answer, in particular, to GOCSA as he has already been suspended and forbidden to “liturgise”, by his own fake “Archbishop” Mr Petros Haros, who in turn, has been suspended by Mr Kanavas and his own “synod” of “Bishops”. Mr Kanavas has already disobeyed his “Archbishop”. All within a few months of Mr Haros “ordaining” Mr Kanavas, and following the very public Supreme Court ruling. Recognition by a government of one’s right to exist as a religious organisation, by whatever name you chose, does not make you Orthodox. Only the Autocephalous Churches of the world-wide Orthodox Church can do that.

On that matter, the Orthodox Patriarchate (Church) of Alexandria has accused the so-called “Former Exarchate” of fraud with regards to their false claims of autonomy. This accusation pertains to the letters that are presented on their websites, where they also include photographs of both Canonical Bishops and uncanonical bishops, as way of confusing people and masking their falsifications. The legal arguments concerning their canonicity presented on associated websites by legal advisors incorporate valid arguments, albeit with one grand mistake, that is an important a priori assumption; the Patriarchate of Alexandria has clearly stated that this “Former Exarchate” fraudulently obtained their so-called letter(s) of autonomy. The “Former Exarchate”‘s website does not have a rebuttal to this accusation.

We are truly sorry for this situation in GOCSA and are praying for their faithful to return to the Canonical Church. It has been a difficult road for GOCSA. The hurt of the events of the late 1950s and the GOCSA resolution to continue opposition against the Canonical Church were based on assumptions about the Archdiocese that have clearly been shown to be false (as the return of GOCNSW demonstrates), and this must cause even greater frustration. Christ conquers all. Those who love the LORD will come quickly. Have courage. The Holy Orthodox Church awaits all, including Mr Kanavas and Mr Haros. Both of these men and their cohort of fake bishops along with the “clergy” within GOCSA need to return in sincere repentance to the Church. May the LORD bless them, may both come in humility and repentance to the Church for healing, which we all seek. May the LORD bless our people through the prayers and Aghia Skepi of the Holy Theotokos Whom we commemorate with the Feast of Her Entrance into the Temple, and Saints Nicholas, Spyridon, Basil, Seraphim, Athanasius and Anthony our Fathers in Christ amongst the Saints.   

 Apolytikion (Fourth Tone): Today is the prelude of God’s pleasure and the proclamation of man’s salvation. The Virgin is clearly made manifest in the temple of God and foretells Christ to all. Let us also cry out to her with mighty voice, “Hail, fulfillment of the Creator’s dispensation.”

Kontakion (Fourth Tone): Today, the most pure temple of the Savior, the precious bridal chamber and Virgin, the sacred treasure of God, enters the house of the Lord, bringing the grace of the Divine Spirit. The Angels of God praise her. She is the heavenly tabernacle.

St Nectarios of Aegina

St Nectarios of Aegina

St Nectarios of Aegina and Bishop of Pentapolis (1846-1920) was canonised in 1961. We recently celebrated his Feastday on the 9th November (which this year was Saturday just past). The story of his life in Christ is extremely well known. He along with many other 20th Century Saints such as St Nicholas Planas, St Luke the Surgeon and Unmercenary, St John of Kronstadt, St Anthimos of Chios, St Elizabeth the New, St Justin Popovich, St Silouan the Athonite, St John of Shanghai and our own St Nicanor of New Hilander (whose relics are in the Holy Monastery of St Sava in Elaine Victoria), amongst many, many others were and continue to be Holy Vessels of the Grace and Mercy of the Holy Trinity to us. They restored and continue to restore people to hope, faith and love in the “violent” unconditional love of God Who is as Humble, as He is Almighty, Whose love for us is so violent that nothing, absolutely nothing can stand between Him and His beloved. These Holy men and women healed the sick, restored the fallen, visited the discarded and the despised, fed the poor, and touched peoples souls and hearts so personally, as to raise their eyes and hearts to Our Resurrected Lord.  At no time, absolutely at no time did any one of these Saints ever talk of schism within the Holy Body of Christ, His Holy Orthodox Church when they encountered human sin and even corruption!! At no time!!!

In particular, St Nectarios, who by the standards of the world, had every worldly reason to walk away, never did so, because there is only one Church as there is only one Lord Jesus Christ!!! While we all understand that the Church is holy and perfect in Christ, this does not mean that individuals within the Church are perfect. In fact, we are all sinners and fallen needing the Mercy and Grace of God as we walk on our path of Theosis towards Our Lord Jesus Christ, Judge and Saviour, with Him next to us through the prayers of the Panagia Theotokos and the Saints – whether we be Patriarchs, Bishops, Priests, Monks, or Laypersons, only by the grace of God.

The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is what it is. No one, but no one, can separate themselves from the Body of Christ (that is, the Church) and still somehow remain united to Christ. The Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia is in an extremely serious schism – ie, it has cut itself from Christ! Full stop!

St Nectarios did not leave the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church when he was wronged, but trusted in God to right the wrongs that were done to him. In 1998, the Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All-Africa finally asked for forgiveness from the LORD and St Nectarios himself for his unjust expulsion from Alexandria. The Patriarchate admitted its faults and in humility, repented of what had been done to St Nectarios. They admitted the sin and received the Grace of God to do what is right. This is what happens within the Church as the Church consists of imperfect people. The History of the Church testifies to this…but also in the wonderful and fearful Grace of Our Lord, Who protects the Church even at its darkest moments in history from human sin and corruption. Why?….because the Church is the Body of Christ, which gathers the fallen in His perfect love!

Make absolutely no mistake the events that have recently occurred and are occurring with the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia are those of “wolves in sheep clothing”. This very sad situation, involving this fake so-called “bishop” Prokopios, who has now elevated himself to “metropolitan” and “exarch”, and who has been suspended within months of his so-called “ordination” by the same fake Archbishop who “ordained” him, and who has now in retaliation “suspended” with his own apparent “synod” of fake Bishops their own “Presiding Archbishop” (that is, the same man who ordained him), is so, so laughable and so pathetic, so absolutely pathetic, that one wonders to what further depths of total stupidity and embarrassment the Greek Community in general will be plunged and subjected to, in particular as the Adelaide newspapers and media still find it difficult to understand this schism and equate all of this as pertaining to the “Greek Orthodox Church”, despite efforts to educate the public that the Greek “Orthodox” Community of South Australia has absolutely nothing to do with the world-wide Orthodox Church, and that this so-called Former Exarchate has in fact nothing to do with the Patriarchate of Alexandria.

Recently Fr Nicholas Despinoudis and Deacon John Pokkias (who was ordained a deacon on Sunday 10th of November) have been received in the Archdiocese. May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ visit all the humble faithful within the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia and protect them from this evil, and grant them the courage to come home to the Orthodox Church. May the LORD through the prayers of the Holy Theotokos and St Nectarios protect our people.

The offspring of Selyvria and the guardian of Aegina
The true friend of virtue who appeared in the last years
Nectarios we faithfully honour you as a godly servant of Christ
For you pour forth healings of every kind on those who piously cry out:
Glory to Christ who has glorified you
Glory to Him who has made you wondrous!
Glory to Him who works healings for all through you.

Dear readers,

Today is dedicated to the Feast of the Holy Protection of the Theotokos, when we commemorate the Theotokos’ deliverance of the city of Constantinople from invaders in the 10th century. In the Greek tradition, we celebrate this feast on October the 28th so that it coincides with  “ΟΧΙ” day – the day in 1940 that the Hellenic Republic famously said “No!” to Italian occupation during World War 2. In this way we also recognise the protection of the Theotokos of the Greek nation.

As we commemorate this day, we are reminded of another “οχι” which we commented on this time two years ago: the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW saying “No” to schism, rejoining the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and being restored to canonical status. This day two years ago was a very special Οχι! day, because it marked the first time since the schism began in NSW that GOCNSW was represented at the Archdiocesean Cathedral in Redfern for their “Οχι!” day celebrations together with the Archdiocese. Likewise, this year’s celebration is also special because it is the first “Οχι!” day that Fr Nicholas Despinoudis has commemorated in the canonical Orthodox Church, having followed the example of GOCNSW two years earlier by himself saying “No!” to the irregularities and corruptions within GOCSA, “No!” to schism.

May the blessed Theotokos by her intercessions, protect our holy nation (the Orthodox Church) from the evils that currently afflict us in this city (schism and division). And by her intercessions, may GOCSA also one day soon find the courage to follow the example set by their NSW counterparts and by their beloved former clergyman Fr Nicholas, saying “Οχι!” to the prospect of continuing schism in our blessed city.

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