Pascha Before Pascha for the Church of the G.O.C.

An Inter-Orthodox Concelebration of Unity and Confession of Faith

On the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross 2014, exactly 90 years were completed since the imposition of the calendar innovation on the Orthodox Church of Greece. It was the 2nd Sunday of the Great Fast 1924 when, by his personal order Archbishop Chrysostomos Papadopoulos renamed March 10th of that year as March 23rd. Later, the pious people of Greece were divided into those who adopted the New Calendar innovation, and those who remained faithful to the Patristic Traditions, namely, the Genuine Orthodox Christians.

Many persecutions against the people of God followed, such as imprisonments, clergy being forcibly stripped of their clerical garb, the demolition of churches, the exile of hierarchs, and other atrocities, so that the innovation might be imposed by force. However, the divine sign of the 3rd appearance of the precious Cross on the night of September 14th 1925 according to the Patristic Calendar, was a support, strengthening and confirmation of our righteous struggle.

Ninety years later, this sorrowful anniversary of the division caused by the calendar innovation has been transformed into an anniversary of peace, unity, and concord among the Genuine Orthodox Christians through the festal concelebration of unity and Confession of Faith which took place on Sunday March 10/23 2014, the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross.

The historic meeting of the Holy Synod had taken place on Tuesday, March 5/18, 2014 in the church of the “Unfading Rose” in Piraeus under the presidency of His Beatitude, Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens at which the union took place of the Orthodox Ecclesiastical Community in Resistance with the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece.

The Ecclesiological Document entitled: The True Orthodox Church and the Heresy of Ecumenism: Dogmatic and Canonical Issues was the sure theological basis of the union. It is a concise and thorough treatise which puts on paper the features of the Genuine Orthodox Church against the ecumenistic, so-called World Orthodoxy.

Church unity simultaneously expanded on an inter-Orthodox level also. On Friday, March 8/21 2014, in the Holy Monastery of the All-Immaculate Virgin in Megara, a lengthy inter-Orthodox meeting took place with Bishops of the non-innovating Romanian Orthodox Church, and the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad whose Primate, Metropolitan Agafangel was also present. During this meeting there was discussion on the Ecclesiological Text article by article, and by the Grace and Blessings of God, the hierarchs came to full agreement.

The Hierarchical Concelebration took place on the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross, March 10/23 in the historic Monastery of St. Nicholas Paianias as the culmination and formalization of the actual unity of the Genuine Orthodox of Greece and abroad.

His Beatitude, Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens presided over the Divine Liturgy, and the following members of the Holy Synod took part: Metropolitans Justin of Euripus and Euboea, Gerontios of Piraeus and Salamis, Chrysostomos of Attica and Boeotia, Demetrius of America, Cyprian of Oropos and Phyle, and Bishops Gregory of Christianoupolis, Ambrose of Philippi, Ambrose of Methone, Silvan of Luni, Clement of Gardikion, and Auxentios of Photike.

On behalf of the Sister Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, its Primate, His Eminence Metropolitan Agafangel of New York and the Eastern United States, and Archbishop George of Kishinev and Moldova took part, and from the Sister Orthodox Church of Romania Bishops Antonie of Ploieşti, Dionisie of Galaţi, and Evloghie of Sibiu took part.

His Grace, Bishop Photios of Marathon, Chief-Secretary of the Holy Synod read the Encyclical of Unity, while His Eminence, Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Phyle proclaimed the festal sermon for the feast and the unity. The large Orthodox Ecclesiastical Byzantine Choir under the direction of the music teacher Michalis Makris appropriately chanted the hymns of the feast.

The ever-memorable Primates Chrysostomos (formerly) of Phlorina, and Akakios of Talantion were also present through their holy relics which were in the church from the morning so that they could take part in the joy of their spiritual grandchildren and so that they could intercede on behalf of the Holy Orthodox Church of Christ.

The choice of the church in which the Concelebration of Unity took place was not by chance. The historical hierarchical ordinations, and the reformation of the hierarchy of the Church of the True Orthodox took place in the Monastery of St. Nicholas in Paiania in 1962 with the cooperation of hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. The Elder Metropolitan Akakios of Attica and Diauleia, the most senior bishop (according to ordination) of True Orthodoxy, who was ordained during the previously mentioned ordinations of 1962, was a living witness of these historic and truly wondrous events for our Church. Although ill, he was present at the concelebration and he blessed the faithful with his presence.

Ninety years later, the True Orthodox Christians, not only of Greece but of the whole world have demonstrated their Unity in Truth and Love. It is the beginning of a new and blessed period of Confession of Faith for our Church, and an effective response to syncretistic, ecumenistic cacodoxy.

Ninety years later, the True Orthodox Christians celebrated Pascha before Pascha as it was aptly stated. The desired unity of the Genuine Orthodox Christians is a fact.

With this Inter-Orthodox concelebration this year's Feast of the Veneration of the Cross became world-wide joyous event, for truly: “through the Cross joy hath come to the whole world”!

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