Schism


Icon of the Last Judgement. Source: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Dear readers,

Next week is Meatfare Week and Sunday 23rd of February is Meatfare Sunday – the last day before Great Lent that meat is permitted. On this day we commemorate the Final Judgement – which is why this day is more properly known as the Sunday of Judgement. It is a timely reminder for us all that now is the time to repent and turn to God and His Church.

In honour of this event, we feel that the time has also come for us to offer our own final thoughts (a “final judgement” of sorts –  but infinitely less awesome than our Lord’s!) on the schism, as we wind up our posting on this blog.

When we started this blog, we were vehemently criticised for criticising GOCSA (the irony of which was not lost on us, though it was on our critics!) and for exposing the scandals that were going on under the watch of the current GOCSA executive and the “clergy” that they appointed (in particular the one that has since become their “bishop”). However, as scandal after scandal has continued to come out (and we have only reported the tip of the iceberg), we have been joined by a growing voice of dissent & criticism coming from within GOCSA itself. In the last few months this has culminated in their two most senior & respected clergy (Fr Nicholas Despinoudis and Fr John Pokkias) leaving the organisation in disgust to be canonically ordained in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (leaving GOCSA in the extremely strange position of being an 80-year-old organisation with clergy that have only served a few years each). As such, we feel that our critical attitude is vindicated.

These scandals have highlighted the fruits of schism better than any theoretical or theological discussion of the issue could have. When a branch is cut off from the vine, it does not bear fruit but instead it withers and dies (John 15:6). Sadly, this is what we have been witnessing, and are still witnessing. But we feel it is by now so obvious (to all who have eyes to see and ears to hear) that there is nothing to be gained by reporting on any further scandals (as there surely will be). Hence our decision to wind up this blog.

Traffic on our blog over the last six months has been steadily increasing. Recently we have been getting thousands of visits per month, and three of our best four months ever have been the last three (Nov/Dec/Jan). So we feel we are going out on a “high note”, so to speak. We still plan to respond to emails & comments occasionally, as well as leave our site up for posterity (perhaps rearranging our pages to make them easier for a newcomer to navigate), but after this post there will be no more new posts. The one possible exception will be to announce if/when GOCSA decide to rejoin the Archdiocese – which will be a day truly worth celebrating, when we can put all of these scandals behind us. We pray that this day comes soon.

But before we sign off for the last time, we thought it would be appropriate to end with our own “last judgement”, where (without judging anyone in particular) we identify what we believe to be the fundamental problem that separates us, and what needs to be done about it.

What is the fundamental problem?

We have spent a lot of time on this blog talking about what the problem is not. Regular readers will know that we have exposed the weakness often-heard excuses that the schism is “all about money“, “all about politics” or “all about property” and shown that these don’t hold water. The Archdiocese has shown over and over again (both in its relationship with its existing parish-communities, and with those entering the fold such as GOCNSW) that for them it is not about any of these things. So what is it about? From the Archdiocese’ perspective, it is very simply about proper Orthodox Church order, due process and accountability.

There are two fundamental problems in the structure of GOCSA (among other possible problems) that have led to the current situation.

The board of GOCSA has no theological qualifications

Imagine a hospital that was run by a committee consisting entirely of people with no qualifications in health or medicine. Or imagine a bank run by a committee consisting entirely of people with no qualifications in economics or accounting. Such committees, in spite of their best efforts, would not be able to run the organisation properly simply because they don’t have the necessary qualifications or experience for these highly specialised professions.

This is exactly the case with the GOCSA executive committee, which consists entirely of people with no qualifications in Orthodox theology. If training & experience is important for those running secular organisations like banks and hospitals, how much more important is it for the sacred organisation that is the Orthodox Church. Even if the GOCSA executive consisted entirely of people acting in good faith, they simply cannot run an Orthodox Church properly without the necessary qualifications or experience.

At various times in history there have been attempts by laypeople to try and control & dictate the operations of the Church – from various Emperors to the Communists in countries such as Russia, Romania and Serbia. In every case it has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster, even when done with the best of intentions (which it wasn’t always). It is a hard enough task to shepherd the Church for people who do have the necessary qualifications!

It is because of this flaw that the executive is unable to see the other fundamental flaw…

Complete independence = complete separation = complete lack of accountability

GOCSA’s Constitution emphatically asserts its complete independence. In the very clause that they hold most dear:

Rule 2A Independence:
“(1) The Community shall always remain self‐governing independent and autonomous and shall be governed according to this paramount clause, and the other clauses of the Constitution. At no time and under no circumstances shall the Community relinquish any of its rights or be bound by terms or clauses foreign to this Constitution. Neither in its government nor in its administration shall the Community be subject to any ecclesiastical, political, or other, body or authority.”

See here for the newsletter that cites this clause.

Unfortunately this clause is quite fanciful. For one thing, it claims that “the Community shall not be subject to any political body”. This would be news to Consumer and Business Services – the State government (ie, political) authority that regulates all associations that are incorporated in this State (including GOCSA)! It would also be news to the Supreme Court and to other State & Federal courts, governments & authorities in this country – whether GOCSA like it or not, they are subject to these political authorities in spite of this clause’s claim to the contrary.

Icon of Christ the Judge, as found on the iconostasis of every Orthodox church. Source: Blessed is the Kingdom blog.

But more importantly, the above also states that GOCSA will not be bound by clauses foreign to this Constitution. Because the Canons of the Orthodox Church are foreign to the Constitution, this implies that they cannot even be bound by the Canons of the Orthodox Church! How can they claim to be Orthodox and part of the Church when their Constitution forbids them from being bound by its rules – rules that we Orthodox hold as divinely-inspired?

And herein lies the fundamental problem: No person or organisation can simultaneously be a part of the Orthodox Church and yet completely independent from it. It comes down to accountability: the very nature of the Orthodox Church means that all its members and institutions (from the lowly layperson right up to the Ecumenical Patriarchate) are accountable to the rest of the Church, and must submit to Her will – because She is the body of Christ, and Her will is the will of Christ. Complete independence from all ecclesiastical authority can only be achieved by complete separation (ie, schism), which in turn leads to complete lack of accountability. This is completely contrary to the spirit of Orthodoxy.

That is why GOCSA is separated from the Orthodox Church – it’s not because of money, or politics, or property, or unreasonable demands by the Archdiocese (as we have shown on this blog) – it’s because GOCSA’s own Constitution demands that it be so. Just as Lucifer demanded independence from God and found himself separated from Him, so too does GOCSA’s constitutionally-mandated independence lead to its complete separation from the Church and results in complete lack of  any accountability to the Church. The consequences of this lack of accountability are plain for all to see (and clearly testified by posts in this blog). In the meantime, it is the people who suffer.

Independence is illusory

It is also interesting to note that, while GOCSA as a whole may be independent, within GOCSA it is a different story. Their parishes & clergy lack autonomy and are kept on a very tight leash by the central GOCSA administration and don’t have much independence. In the Archdiocese, in contrast, although the parishes are ultimately answerable to the Archdiocese’s central administration, in practice they have a great deal of autonomy and independence in their day-to-day runnings – with their own bank accounts, their own ABNs, their own Greek Schools, etc. The irony of this is that GOCSA’s independence actually translates into less freedom for their individual parishes!

A complicating factor

Further compounding this is clause 28 (1), which reads:

Clauses 2, 2A [that is, the independence clause], 2B,  4A, 27 and this clause 28 shall not be capable of amendment, alteration, addition or substitution unless all the financial members of the Community decide otherwise.

This extraordinary clause means that the independence clause (along with others) cannot be changed unless all the financial members of GOCSA vote for the change. This means that even if almost the entire organisation wanted rejoin the Orthodox Church, they can be held to ransom by a single recalcitrant person.

That one person’s will can override everyone else’s in what is supposed to be a “democratic” organisation is truly amazing. As there is always bound to be at least one person with a grudge or vested interest in maintaining the status quo, this clause (if enforced) would essentially prevent any hope of reunification with the Archdiocese. Clearly, this clause was put in place by people who did their utmost to ensure that this would never happen.

The good news

The good news is that there is hope. The law governing associations in South Australia foresaw situations exactly like this one – where an association (for historical reasons) may end up encumbered by a Constitution that is unworkable. So in spite of clause 28 (which of itself makes reunification near impossible), there is provision in the State law for the Supreme Court to change the rules on GOCSA’s behalf, if GOCSA requests it. All that is required is for a simple majority of the members at their AGM to agree to ask the Court to remove the overly-restrictive clause 28 (1) from their Constitution, and then they will be in a position to fix the rest of their Consitution to pave the way for reunification with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. And if they need help to do so, the Archdiocese has lawyers with experience in these matters (having handled similar reunifications with GOCNSW and the communities in Melbourne and Tasmania) who would be only too willing to help. All they need to do is ask!

Icon of St Basil the Great – author of the beautiful prayer that asks for unity in the Church and healing of schism. Source: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

Thanks & conclusion

We would like to thank all of those who have contributed posts to this blog. Their efforts are much appreciated.

We would also like to thank our readers for their support and their prayers. Please remember to say this prayer by St Basil, which has been something of a “theme prayer” for this blog:

And first of all, remember Your Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, which You have purchased with Your precious blood. Confirm and strengthen it, enlarge and multiply it, keep it in peace and preserve it unconquerable by the gates of hell forever. Heal the schisms of the Churches, quench the ragings of the heathen, speedily undo and root out the growths of heresies and bring them to naught by Your Holy Spirit.

We wish to leave our readers with this thought: In the Orthodox Church, there are two sides to every schism – inside and outside. Which side are you on?

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.

Hello all, while we are still getting to know Yiannis Conidaris allow us to introduce you to Mr Nikolaos Fourtounis.

Mr Nikolaos Fourtounis was “ordained” by a Greek Old Calandarist (GOC) faction in September 2013 for their church in Melbourne called St. Gregorios. Today according to the “important announcement” below he is with Prokopios. Why? Well that is not important to us; suffice to say that these types of people have a way of attracting each other. Generally speaking they are as untrustworthy to our faithful as they are of each other and look to schism to satisfy their insatiable greed and disguise their passions. There is no ending in sight for them since truth and the existence of God have been effortlessly blocked from their world view. As long as they get what they want they will always be around; take this away from them and they are gone like a flash. To question, challenge and resist them means that you are no longer one of their victims. Only in this way can all GOCSA constituents and all the Orthodox faithful be liberated from their sway and corruption.

croydon-fb-fourtounis

Now to Prokopios’ contradictory announcement. According to Prokopios, Nikolaos’ ordination by Bishop Photios of GOC is valid but the church that he was assigned to by GOC is a “schismatic non canonical church”. Do you mean to say Mr Kanavas that anyone who serves in your “churches” is canonical whereas everything that they did before took place in a “schismatic non canonical church”? Or are you saying that you are part of the GOC synod in Greece and therefore recognize each others ordinations? But how can this be? GOCSA never have and never will have anything to do with the schismatic Greek Old Calandarists. GOCSA and GOC are two mutually independent schismatic groups that are cut off from the world wide communion of the Orthodox Church. The simple truth is that if someone officiates in a non-canonical church (like Nikolaos did in Melbourne) this is because (1) their ordination is non-canonical or (2) they left a canonical church and joined a non-canonical church. Mr Kanavas has had the rare occurrence of being in both predicaments.

We ask Mr Prokopios Kanavas to cease insulting the intelligence of the Greek Orthodox faithful in Adelaide, especially the poor GOCSA faithful who are exposed to his convoluted lies.

Saint Athanasios

Recently on January the 17th it was the feast day of St. Anthony and on January the 18th the feast day of St Athanasios. We noticed that Prokopios and all of the GOCSA churches held under Prokopios’ captivity honored the memories of St Anthony and St. Athanasios with a church service. It is timely then that we remind Prokopios what St. Athanasius said about schism and heresy in his book on the life of St. Anthony.

In things having to do with belief, he [Saint Anthony] was truly wonderful and orthodox. Perceiving their wickedness and apostasy from the outset, he never held communion with the Meletian schismatics. And neither toward the Manicheans nor toward any other heretics did he profess friendship, except to the extent of urging change to right belief, for he held and taught that friendship and association with them led to injury and destruction of the soul.  So in the same way he abhorred the heresy of the Arians, and he ordered everyone neither to go near them nor to share their erroneous beliefs. Once when some of the Ariomaniacs came to him, sounding them out and learning that they were impious, he chased them from the mountain, saying that their doctrines were worse than serpents poison. (Source: Athanasius – The life of Antony and the Letter to Marcellinus, Paulist Press, 1980, p81-82)

In the Orthodox Church we honor our saints by imitating them. ΤΙΜΗ ΑΓΙΟΥ, ΜΙΜΗΣΗ ΑΓΙΟΥ.

As we mentioned two weeks ago, we found out that Mr Kanavas’ deposition by Mr Haros’ “synod” is official, having taken place in a meeting of Mr Haros’ “synod” on the 26th of November. It seems the official notice has been posted on the news page of the website of the so-called Orthodox Metropolis of Australia and Oceania (the rival schismatic communities of Clayton, Vic and Woollongong, NSW who split from the rest of the Federation at the beginning of 2012). For the so-called Metropolis to publicise Mr Kanavas’ deposition in this manner is a breathtaking display of hypocrisy, given their own uncanonical status & the fact that all of their clergy have been deposed (sometimes more than once!), but that’s a story for another day…

You can find the official deposition notice at the end of this post. This notice has the seals and signatures of Petros Haros “of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania”, Meletios “of Achaia” and John “of Evia”. Additionally, all three of these have stamped & signed the deposition notice by John “of St Catherine’s (Brazil)” which we originally posted on the 10th of November (the one with the Google translate translation from Portugese into English).

Reasons for deposition

The reasons given for the deposition are:

  1. Seceding from the “Holy Synod”
  2.  Contempt for ecclesiatical authority
  3. Trying to steal bishops from the “Holy Synod” with threatening phone calls
  4. Withholding the necessary documents for promotion to the Episcopacy
  5. Completing of the “Holy Consecration” in the Chapel of the Nursing home of the community of Adelaide, the Holy Unmercenaries on 1st of November 2013 without the knowledge and permission of the “synod”. He used “Holy Relics” and “Holy Chrism (Myrrh)” necessary for the “Consecration” of unknown origin and authenticity.
  6. Gravely scandalising the conscience of Christians. That being officially Bishop of the “Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of the Diaspora” (“Former Exarchate of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in America and Canada”) and serving in the Holy Metropolis of Adelaide in Australia, on the 17th of October 2013 he sent the following secession to Archbishop Petros: <letter follows>

The letter that follows was the same letter that Mr Kanavas posted on Facebook on 2nd of November, so it seems that Mr Haros is corroborating the 17th of October date that Mr Kanavas claimed in that post. This confirms (contrary to our earlier suspicions) that Mr Kanavas did not back-date the “suspension” letter when he posted it on the 2nd of November – that he really did “suspend” Haros on the 17th of October (or rather, he tried to suspend Haros). However, while he may be cleared of that particular “charge”, this still leaves other difficulties for Mr Kanavas (as we mentioned in the earlier post), which we discuss now.

More questions still to be asked

  1. Why the delay in publicising such an important decision? This is clearly a dereliction of duty.
  2. He put the names of other “bishops” against the suspension notice but without their seals or signatures. How do we know that this wasn’t Mr Kanavas acting by himself?
  3. If Mr Kanavas has seceded from Haros’ synod, then who is now Mr Kanavas’ (and GOCSA’s) “archbishop”? Which synod is he now a part of?
  4. If Mr Kanavas really has seceded from Haros’ synod, then Mr Kanavas doesn’t have the authority to suspend Haros (only the members of Haros’ synod or a higher synod can do that). Mr Kanavas can’t have it both ways – he can’t secede from Haros’ synod and suspend/depose him.
  5. If the man who ordained him really is so corrupt that he had to suspend him after barely two months, what does that say about Mr Kanavas’ judge of character/diligence?
  6. It is curious that apparently Mr Haros is so corrupt that Mr Kanavas had to suspend him & leave his synod, yet apparently not corrupt enough that Mr Kanavas’ own ordination is rendered invalid.

This also raises interesting questions for the GOCSA executive, who were selling this union with Haros to members as if it were going to finally make them a legitimate, canonical Orthodox church. Now that they are no longer part of Haros’ synod, how can they still pretend to be canonical?

Conclusion

Brothers and sisters, as we have stated repeatedly, these events are a source of sorrow to us. However, while these scandals are ongoing, serious questions like these need to be asked if we are to ever put the scandals behind us. The GOCSA executive in particular owe their members (ie, those whom they were elected to represent) an explanation as to:

  • why they have been kicked out of three synods in as many years?
  • to which synod (if any) do they now belong? and
  • why do they continue to support a “cleric” as their head who has been deposed three times?

The deposition letter follows below:

Prokopios Kanavas' defrockment, page 1 of 3

Prokopios Kanavas’ defrockment, page 1 of 3. Source: the so-called “Orthodox Metropolis of Australia and Oceania”

Prokopios Kanavas' defrockment, page 2 of 3

Prokopios Kanavas’ defrockment, page 2 of 3. Source: the so-called “Orthodox Metropolis of Australia and Oceania”

Prokopios Kanavas' defrockment, page 3 of 3

Prokopios Kanavas’ defrockment, page 3 of 3. Source: the so-called “Orthodox Metropolis of Australia and Oceania”

And so it seems, given all the available documentation concerning Mr Kanavas and Mr Haros, that yet again, the Greek Community in Adelaide is faced with more troubles which weigh on top of those that have already brought enough sadness and tragedy to many families in this city for over 50 years.

How many of our children have been lost to the Orthodox Faith because of the scandalous attitudes shown during this time which were seemingly evolved around Archdiocese versus Community? How many of our young people fell away from the Church. How many children noted that their parents only honoured their ethnic identity in Church and not worship the LORD? How many of our children did not see and feel in their hearts the Self-Emptying Love of Our LORD Jesus Christ and to come to a faith where they loved the LORD with all their heart, mind, strength and to love their neighbour as themselves? How many did not realise that the Orthodox Church was preaching that the LORD loved them and died for them? How many were torn apart by their misgivings about the motivations of people involved in these communities, people who have been driven by either their own hurts or their beliefs and/or even perhaps HATRED OF JESUS HIMSELF AND HIS HOLY CHURCH? How long will it be before we stop lying to ourselves?

This schism is not about property or money…IN FACT IT NEVER WAS…it was about about ONE PERSON, OUR LORD and HIS HOLY CHURCH and appropriate Canonical Order, as in accordance with the Seven Ecumenical Councils. Anyone who has a working knowledge of Orthodox Theology understands that schism is an extremely serious error. Of course there have been very personal human failings of those involved in this dispute over the years, whether from those within the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia or in GOCSA itself.

God only knows what has been said and done and what hatred there has been. We are all sinners. We all fail. We all seek forgiveness and to forgive. God only knows the suffering that we have all undergone. However the simple fact remains…GOCSA is and remains uncanonical…the so-called Autocephalic Church is uncanonical….the so-called Former Exarchate is uncanonical…the so-called “bishops” are not bishops.

We stand NOW with Christ in Our Midst. We call upon those in the GOCSA, those acting as “bishops”, “priests” and the laypersons to recall the Love of God and His Forgiveness, Who is as Humble as He is Almighty, and the Holy Theotokos whom we commemorate today and our Fathers and Mothers Amongst the Saints to come to their senses about this situation within GOCSA and come to metanoia/repentance and home to the Mother Church. We pray that the “priests” of GOCSA lead the way and bring their people back into the embrace of the Church. Show courage. The LORD forgives all in His Love when we repent. The Holy Orthodox Church awaits you in the Love of our LORD Jesus Christ. God bless you on this Holy Day. May the Theotokos cast her Protection over our people.

Petros Haros the new "Star" of GOCSA

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Mr Petros Haros is the gentleman who goes by the self title: “Archbishop of the Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of America and Canada – Former Exarchate of the Alexandria (sic) Patriarchate”. Of course he was first introduced to us by Prokopios as the “Archbishop of Athens and all Greece” to which we spoke about in an earlier blog. By now our readers are well accustomed with the tendency of some to invent titles since these titles come part and parcel with dressing up and claiming something that clearly you are not. However such digressions from Christianity are not new to the Christian Church. Saint Basil of Caesarea saw the exact same occurrences take place within his very own diocese of Caesarea at c. 370 A.D. What we saw in Adelaide and specifically on Franklin Street on Sunday is exactly what Saint Basil saw happening within his diocese of Caesarea. Listen to his very words:

The teachings of the true faith have been overthrown and the ordinances of the Church have been set at naught. The lust for office on the part of men who do not fear the Lord leaps upon the positions of high authority, and quite openly now the foremost prize is offered as a prize of impiety; and consequently that man who has uttered the more horrible blasphemies is accounted the more worthy of the episcopal direction of the people. Gone is the dignity of the priesthood. Wickedness goes beyond all bounds, the laity are deaf to admonition… (Ep. 257)

Sound familiar? Is there really a need to say anything more?

But what about Petros Haros, the “consecrator” of Prokopios. Further to what Saint Basil has already said we provide you with the following official documentation (just like we did with Prokopios).     

Let’s begin with what the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria has to say about Mr Petros Haros. After all it is the claim of Haros that they have their ecclesiastical validity through being aligned with the Patriarchate of Alexandria.   A translation (the original can be viewed below) of the relevant section from an official statement from the Patriarchate of Alexandria reads as follows:

We inform you that the Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa has no ties with this religious formation, the self-called “Former Exarchate of the Patriarchate of Alexandria”.

 

The Patriarchate of Alexandria has never ordained any of their bishops and thus there is no case under any circumstances of apostolic succession.

 

As for their alleged recognition, this was stolen fraudulently and instantly retracted.

 

Hence, we fully share your feelings of abhorrence towards this religious dysplasia which is disruptive of ecclesiastical unity.

 

We remain yours with much love in Christ and great honour.

 

+ Gabriel, Bishop of Leontopolis

Patriarchal Vicar of Alexandria

 Letter from Patriarchate concerning Petros Haros

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Athens “Church of Greece” has also produced its own official statement that testifies to the uncanonicity of Petros Haros as well as informing the faithful that Petros Haros is known within the realms of the Greek Police Force and Greek Media.

 

Holy Synod of the Church of Greece

Holy Synod of the Church of Greece

All the Greek News Papers from 2003-2006 have been involved with Petros Haros, primarily for fraudulently acting as a Medical Practitioner, when truly he was not. The Greek Medical Board of Athens has categorically stated that Petros Haros is not a registered medical practitioner. Consequently Haros was arrested by the Greek Police because he had an illegal medical practice and in 2011 was handed a sentence of six months imprisonment.

Below you will also find documents from the Greek Medical Association as well as articles from Greek media sources. This linked article from “Neos Kosmos” (9th August, 2013) brings together all the facts from these sources and others.

 Greek Medical Association

The Pretend Healer - Petros Haros

50 Euros, the cost of "healing"

Haros in the hands of the Police

We are saddened with the above realisations. However we consider it a duty to inform all the Greek Orthodox faithful of Adelaide about the characters taking on positions of responsibility and trust within the Greek Community. No doubt you will find notable resemblances between these characters, as if to say that they attract each other. How is this so? And why does this happen? Let us once again turn to Saint Basil, him seems to be an expert in this area:

[They] were not partakers of the Holy Spirit, and were not governing their churches by the grace of God, but had seized their dignity by human power and a desire of empty glory… Their aim is one, as it seems – to seek their own advantage everywhere, and to consider him a friend who assists in accomplishing their desires, but to judge him an enemy, and to spare no calumny against him, who opposes their desires”. (Ep. 244)

Brothers and Sisters we end with a litany of peace that forms the opening foundation of every Divine Liturgy. We ask you to please think about the division that plagues our Orthodox faithful in Adelaide each time it is said.

For the peace of the whole world, the stability of the Holy Churches of God and for the union of all, Let us pray to the Lord!

The Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia (GOCSA) remains an uncanonical entity. The entity with which it has apparently united itself and is self-styled with words such as “Holy” and “Sacred Synod of Greece” IS NOT THE HOLY ORTHODOX CHURCH OF GREECE.

The entity known as the Autocephalic Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia (AGOCAA) is not and has never been canonical. Nothing, absolutely nothing has changed. For all the grandeur and beauty of an “ordination”, the “bishops”, vestments, “titles” and emotions felt, NOTHING HAS CHANGED. Anyone, absolutely anyone, can buy any vestment and any Church ornament and any service book. It does not make them a “priest” “bishop” or “canonical”.

Canonicity is of the One Holy and Catholic and Apostolic Church professing the Orthodox Faith. Recognition by a government as a religious entity, DOES NOT MAKE GOCSA CANONICAL OR INDEED ORTHODOX, no matter how one self-styles their entity. Canonicity AGAIN is of and ONLY OF the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church professing the Orthodox Faith. It is for this Faith and for this Church that the Holy Martyrs died from the birth of the Church.  It is for this Church and this Faith that untold of thousands died in Greece, the Balkans and in the Soviet Union.

To remain in schism is an extremely serious spiritual error that IN FACT casts disrespect for the witness of the Saints. It is for this Church and this Faith, that St Nectarios of Pentapolis who had been so terribly wronged and hurt by individuals including a Patriarch himself DID NOT LEAVE THE CHURCH BECAUSE HE WAS IN THE CANONICAL CHURCH. St Nectarios trusted in the Holy Trinity, Who glorified Him as Saint. St Nectarios never thought of leaving the Church, never thought of starting his own entity, never thought of anything except the LOVING GRACE OF GOD and GODS WILL. This is why he is so loved by us, because he kept faith and struggled and brought the individuals in a Church to repentance.

There are many Saints who stood against all who would harm the Church including St Luke the Surgeon who died in 1962, St Mark of Ephesus, the Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils who in the Holy Spirit gave us the Canons, by which GOCSA and AGOCAA and whoever else is in schism are made uncanonical. Members of the Orthodox Church of course are not perfect, no one is…HOWEVER we, as utterly fallen as we are, beset by sin, sadness and personal tragedy, longing for God, accepting His Loving Grace through the Mysteries because of His Love, because He first Loved us, stand well and with fear of His Love, in His Mercy, in Faith, Hope and Love.

MAY THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST THROUGH THE PRAYERS OF THE HOLY THEOTOKOS AND OUR FATHERS AND MOTHERS AMONGST THE SAINTS SAVE US AND PROTECT US AGAINST ALL EVIL. GOD BLESS YOU.

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