Republic of Greece
CHURCH of the G.O.C. of GREECE
KANINGOS 32 (3rd floor)
106 82 ATHENS
TEL. 21038 28 280 - FAX 21038 47 365
ΕΛΛΑΣ - GREECE
Protocol no. γ-1883
To the entire Church
“Today the Grace of the Holy Spirit hath gathered us together, and we all take up Thy Cross saying, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord."
Much beloved children in the Lord,
On this day precisely, 90 years are completed since the imposition of the calendar innovation in the Orthodox Church of Greece. March 10th, the 2nd Sunday of the Fast was named March 23rd through an encyclical of the Archbishop of Athens at that time, Chrysostomos Papadopoulos. The pious people of our Fatherland thenceforth were divided into those who adopted the calendar reform (New Calendarists) and those who remained faithful to the Patristic Traditions (“Old Calendarists”) namely the Genuine Orthodox Christians. There followed various persecutions against the people of God to compel them to accept the innovation. But one year later during the Vigil of the Orthodox for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in the chapel of St. John the Theologian in Hymettos, at midnight the bright Cross of the Lord appeared. This appearance is the divine confirmation of the correctness of our Holy Struggle. During the suffering of the Genuine Church of Christ that followed: the persecutions, imprisonments, stripping of clergymen, exiles of bishops, demolishing of churches, etc. the remembrance of this great miracle of the 3rd appearance of the Holy Cross was a support and a fount of power for the Genuine Orthodox.
Today, this froward day of the imposition of the calendar innovation coincides with the Veneration of the Cross. This fortunate coincidence makes the present day especially filled with symbolic connotations, so that the great event of the Synodal Concelebration of unity and confession be celebrated on this day. Rightly is it appropriate at this point to exclaim: “For behold, through the Cross joy hath come to the whole world!”
Today, according to the goodwill of God, we are truly celebrating a great event, a thirty year division has come to an end. The years of eruptions and divisions have passed away. Behold, the day of peace and harmony has shined upon us.
Truly, the event of the unification of those formerly separated is a great benefaction, according to St. Basil the Great: Thus its seems generally that the state of the Church (if I may use a vivid figure, though it may seem too lowly) is like an old garment, which is always being torn easily on whatever pretext, and which can never be restored to its original strength. At such a time, then, there is need of great effort and diligence that the Churches may in some way be benefited. It is a good deed that parts hitherto severed be united." ("Letter to the Presbyters of Tarsus")
This good deed was accomplished last Tuesday March 5/18 of the present year in the church of the All-Holy Theotokos “The Unfading Rose” in Piraeus where the Holy Synod of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece convened under the presidency of His Beatitude Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens and all Greece, exclusively to address the issue of the union and incorporation of the Orthodox Ecclesiastical Community in Resistance with the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece which was accomplished by the Grace of God.
The ecclesiological agreement, based on the findings of the official dialogue between the two sides, an arduous union attempt throughout fourteen months produced an in-depth Ecclesiological Text entitled: The True Orthodox Church in Opposition to the Heresy of Ecumenism: Dogmatic and Canonical Issues which constitutes the sure ecclesiological basis of the union which was accomplished.
Having established this, and the canonical impediments having been removed, the Bishops of the Orthodox Ecclesiastical Community in Resistance are now full, canonical members of our Holy Synod and the pious faithful of this Community finally belong to the one, sole ecclesiastical body of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece.
But our joy is not simply a local event, on this past Friday, March 8/21, an Inter-Orthodox Deliberation convened in the Monastery of the All-Immaculate Virgin in Megara, with the participation - aside from the hierarchs of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece - of hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, with its President Metropolitan Agafangel being present, as well as the non-innovating Church of Romania under His Eminence Metropolitan Vlasie. During this deliberation each article of the the above-mentioned Ecclesiological Text was examined, the hierarchs having expressed agreement on it, in principle, some days prior. They discussed other dogmatic and canonical issues and by the Grace of God, the many-hour deliberation came to a close in full agreement.
The presentation and the solemnizing of the union occurred through the present Synodal Concelebration of unity and confession today, the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross, March 10/23 in the historic monastery of St. Nicholas in Paiania, presided over by His Beatitude Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens and all Greece, and His Eminence Metropolitan Agafangel of New York and Eastern America of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, and in the presence of hierarchs of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Church of Romania. The selection of this place is not without meaning because in this monastery the hierarchical ordinations, and the reconstitution of the hierarchy of our Church in cooperation with hierarchs of the Russian Church Abroad took place in 1962. Through this inter-Orthodox concelebration today’s feast of the Veneration of the Cross becomes finally a worldwide joyous event. It is appropriate straightway to repeat the verse: ”For behold, through the Cross joy hath come to the whole world!”
Beloved children in the Lord,
Our union in love and truth was not motivated in us by worldy authority, nor by some material interest. Our only motivation was the love of our Lord Jesus Christ and our dearest Orthodoxy.
Simultaneously, our hearts turn with love and forbearance towards those who in various ways have cooperated and continue to cooperate with the truly worldwide scandal of the division of the Orthodox in the name of unity with the heterodox, and have breached the ecclesiological and soteriological exclusivity of Orthodoxy. We call them to repentance and to return to the immovable borders of the True Faith and the True Orthodox Church of Christ, where the fullness of Grace and Truth is found exclusively.
In this regard, we paternally urge all our spiritual children who participate in the joy of our Church, to continue to pray for the stability of this union, and also that this unity may expand among all the True Orthodox in the Truth and Love of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen!
In the year of Salvation MMXIV the 10th/23rd of March
THE HOLY SYNOD
† KALLINIKOS of Athens
† AKAKIOS of Attica and Diauleia
† MAXIMOS of Thessalonica and Demetrias
† ATHANASIOS of Larisa and Platamon
† JUSTIN of Euripus and Euboea
† GERONTIOS of Piraeus and Salamis
† CHRYSOSTOMOS of Attica and Boeotia
† MOSES of Toronto
† DEMETRIUS of America
† CHRYSOSTOMOS of Etna
† CYPRIAN of Oropos and Phyle
† GREGORY of Christianoupolis
† PHOTIOS of Marathon
† SERGIOS of Portland
† AMBROSE of Philippi
† AMBROSE of Methone
† MICHAEL of Nora
† SILVANO of Luni
† CLEMENT of Gardikion
† THEODOSIOS of Bresthena
† CHRISTODOULOS of Theoupolis
† AUXENTIOS of Photike
Translated from the Greek
In the early 20th century, the idea of promoting the union of Churches (Orthodox and heterodox) began to gain ground among circles in the Eastern Orthodox Church by establishing a "Communion of Churches" modeled on the League of Nations.
The Patriarchal Encyclical of 1920 foresaw a series of steps toward the “union of the Churches,” of which the first was the change of the calendar for the simultaneous celebration of feast days by all the “Churches.” The content of the encyclical was kept secret from the faithful and only after a few years became known. Read more...
St. John of Kronstadt Orthodox Church began as a mission parish in the year 2000, in a home chapel in Palm Coast, FL – a small town on Florida’s northeast coast located between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach. After two years, it became necessary to have services in area community centers, rented for Sundays and other Holy Days. Read more...
Q. There seems to be a lot of variation in how people observe fasting, but my confessor told me to fast from oil on Wednesday and Friday. Oil is a pretty vague category, though, and I was wondering if I could get a more explicit description of what kinds of food and drink are excluded on strict fast days. Read more...