Moderated Forums => Faith Issues => Topic started by: Anastasios on April 19, 2004, 11:49:41 PM

Title: Two articles about the GOC and ROCOR
Post by: Anastasios on April 19, 2004, 11:49:41 PM

I scanned these in for the Ecafe but figured since this is my, Robert's and Phil's site that I should post it here too.  It won't seem too relevant what is going on if you are not interested in the intricacies of the Old Calendar movement.

Title: Re:Two articles about the GOC and ROCOR
Post by: Anastasios on April 19, 2004, 11:49:46 PM
Metropolitan Petros

Your last issue said that Metropolitan Petros was in communion with you and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. I have learned that this is not so. Metropolitan Petros only celebrated the anniversary of his ordination at Jordanville. ...He does not accept Grace in the New Calendarist Mysteries. How could you be in communion with him? This would be inconsistent. ...His nephew is an ecumenist who considers Old Calendarists schismatics. How do you deal with that? (PL, NY)

The January 15/28, 1995, issue of Pravoslavnaya Rus' ( No.2, p. 8 ), published by Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY, takes note of "A Joyful Event," the establishment of "prayerful and liturgical communion" by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad "with Archbishop Peter of Astoria and with the clergy and Faithful of his diocese. Archbishop Peter, following the establishment of communion, served at the Holy Trinity Monastery on the third day of the Feast of the Nativity." The former Metropolitan was received by the ROCA with the title "Archbishop."

Archbishop Peter, an Athonite monk who served the Old Calendar movement in Greece at its very inception, was Consecrated to the Episcopacy by Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, along with other among the Hierarchs of the Old Calendar Church of Greece, following the death of Metropolitan Chrysostomos four decades ago. Though he refused, in 1974, to follow the extremist Old Calendarists in declaring the New Calendar Church of Greece to be without Grace, he wavered in this policy and a decade later joined with Archbishop Chrysostomos (Kiousis), whose Synod issued a similar declaration and deposed Metropolitan Cyprian and his Bishops (even though they had never belonged to Chrysostomos' Synod) for ecumenism and betrayal of the Old Calendarist movement.

Long protesting that his private views were different from those of Archbishop Chrysostomos and his Bishops, Archbishop Peter's appeal for communion with the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, and thus with our Church, suggests no inconsistency on our part. We are simply delighted to see one more step towards unity among Orthodox traditionalists, adding to our coalition of moderate resisters the several parishes and monastic institutions of Archbishop Peter's Hellenic Orthodox Traditionalist Church of America.

The accusation. that Archbishop Peter's able nephew is an ecumenist or that he considers Old Calendarists schismatics is unfair. These accusations stem from a newspaper interview in which he was misquoted and his thoughts and ideas misrepresented. Moreover, they are of little relevance to Archbishop Peter's admirable moves towards unity and peace with his traditionalist Orthodox brothers.

from Orthodox Tradition 12:3 (1995), pp. 25-26.
Title: Re:Two articles about the GOC and ROCOR
Post by: Anastasios on April 19, 2004, 11:50:45 PM

Orthodox Tradition, Volume XIII, Number 1 (1996), pp. 10-17.


Chancellor of the Archdiocese
Hellenic Orthodox Traditionalist Church of America

The following interview was conducted by the editorial staff of the Russian language periodical Pravoslavnaya Rus’, which is published by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in Jordanville, New York. Father Paul, a graduate of the theological faculty of the University of Athens, demonstrates, in his comments, both a keen sensitivity to contemporary Church affairs and a deep commitment to unity among Orthodox traditionalists. Though we present these words for the edification of our readers, we must note that subsequent to this interview, unfortunately, Archbishop Peter has been strongly assailed by certain extremists for his commitment to the principles outlined by Father Paul; both have, however, repeatedly affirmed their commitment to a moderate resistance.

1. Father Paul, please tell us about the consecration of Archbishop Peter to the Episcopacy.
It is well known that, following the repose of the Blessed Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina, first Hierarch of the True (Old Calendar) Orthodox Church of Greece, on September 8, 1955 (Old Style), the Greek Old Calendarists approached the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad for the consecration of new Bishops, since they had been left orphaned by Metropolitan Chrysostomos. A number of the Russian Bishops were very sympathetic to the Greek Old Calendarists—among them, St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco, Archbishops Leonty of Chile, Seraphim of Chicago, Averky of Jordanville, and Theoffi, a Romanian Bishop who for a short time belonged to the Russian Church Abroad. Other of the Russian Bishops were hesitant to interfere in the internal matters of the Church of Greece, preferring to wait for that Church to fall more openly—as it subsequently did—to the heresy of ecumenism, the primary cause of the introduction of the calendar innovation into the Greek Church.
In this atmosphere, without the approval of the synod, Archbishop Seraphim and Archbishop Leonty, with the help of the Romanian Prelate just mentioned and with the encouragement of the other Bishops of like mind, went ahead with the consecrations of new Bishops for the Old Calendarists thirty-five years ago. Thus it was that Archbishop Peter, who had come to Astoria, NY, in the early ‘50s to serve the traditionalist Greek emigration, was also consecrated to the Episcopacy by Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad. The consecrating Bishops felt that such action was warranted by the needs of the traditionalist Orthodox Greeks, and in 1969 the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad accepted this logic and officially recognized all of the consecrations performed by their several Bishops, including the consecration of Archbishop Peter, whose Certificate of Consecration was issued directly by the Holy Synod.

2. To whose ecclesiastical authority did he submit following his consecration?
Until the recognition, in 1969, of the consecrations of the Greek Old Calendarists by the Russian Bishops, Archbishop Peter maintained communion with the Greek Old Calendarists and considered himself in communion with the Russian Church Abroad, having many personal friends and supporters among its Hierarchs. In 1969, when the True Orthodox Church of Greece, then under the Presidency of Archbishop Auxentios, and the Russian Church Abroad declared themselves “Sister Churches,” this relationship was formalized.

3. How did Archbishop Peter’s relations with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia develop after his consecration?
Like all Greek Old Calendarists, Archbishop Peter enjoyed, after 1969, full liturgical communion and good relations with the Russian Church Abroad well up to 1974. In June of that year, the True Orthodox Church of Greece issued an encyclical declaring the Mother Church of Greece to be without Grace. In this way, the Synod of Bishops hoped to attract the Old Calendarist extremists into union. Archbishop Peter, who was ordained to the Priesthood by Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina and knew his ecclesiology, understood the trap that this compromise for the sake of unity entailed. In 1950, to bring the Greek Old Calendarist factions—which had, again, split over the issue of Grace in the Mysteries of the New Calendarists—into unity, Metropolitan Chrysostomos signed a similar declaration, only to fail at achieving unity and to see his compromise misused by unscrupulous individuals to misrepresent his true ecclesiological beliefs. Archbishop Peter thus refused to sign this encyclical. In this act, he was supported by his friends in the Russian Church Abroad, whose ecclesiology he shared.

As Archbishop Auxentios and his Bishops began to embrace an increasingly extreme ecclesiology, they also undertook an attack against the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, in part because of its sympathy for Archbishop Peter and his ecclesiology. The latter isolated himself from the Old Calendarists in Greece and began to operate independently of them. When Archbishop Auxentios’ Synod split in 1979, and again in 1984, and the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad subsequently ceased concelebrating with any single group of Old Calendarists, Archbishop Peter remained loyal to the Church Abroad, with whom he occasionally concelebrated unofficially (as did the Bishops under Metropolitan Cyprian, who had separated from Auxentios in 1979).

In 1985, Archbishop Peter joined with Archbishop Chrysostomos (Kiousis) in an attempt to bring the Old Calendarist factions in Greece together. But this soon proved to entail compromise that His Eminence had not anticipated. The Bishops proceeded with the deposition of the righteous Metropolitan Cyprian and his Bishops (who never joined the new Synod under Kiousis) for “ecumenism,” on the grounds that, like Archbishop Peter, they considered the New Calendarists to have Grace. They also forced His Eminence to accept communion with individuals who had for years caused scandal to the Old Calendarist movement and who were clearly not fit for clerical service. And finally, Archbishop Chrysostomos and his Bishops began to preach officially that the New Calendarists were without Grace and to condemn the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad not only as “crypto-ecumenical” in its stand, but more concerned with Slavism than the Orthodox Faith. Archbishop Peter, I, and many of our clergy began to feel in good conscience that we could not countenance all of these things.

4. Why has Archbishop Peter now decided to enter into communion with the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad?
Given what I have just said, and the extremist course that is being followed by Archbishop Chrysostomos (Kiousis), we saw no recourse but to return to the Church which gave Archbishop Peter his Episcopacy and which has an ecclesiology similar to his own, that of recognizing Grace among the ailing New Calendarists and modernists. I can also say that when the Russian Church Abroad studied carefully the situation in Greece and restored full liturgical communion with the Synod of Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Fili, with whose Bishops in America we have cordial relations and with whom we have been friends for years, it became clear that we should follow the same path and restore full liturgical communion with the Russian Church Abroad.

5. How has Archbishop Chrysostomos of Athens reacted to this reunion?
Archbishop Peter was called to appear before Chrysostomos’ Synod this summer [1995]. He was encouraged by the Archbishop and other Bishops to disavow his actions with regard to the Russian Church Abroad. He refused to do so. As of this writing, the Synod has taken no action against Archbishop Peter, except to point out that he is de facto no longer under its jurisdiction, as long as he maintains communion with the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. The various publications of Archbishop Chrysostomos’ Synod have begun to decry the Russian Church Abroad, in general, as a political organization and to condemn it, specifically, as an ecumenical organization. This is unfortunate, but it is simply a tactic, similar to the one being used by the so called Holy Orthodox Church of North America, a group of Greeks and converts who left the Russian Church Abroad when its leaders were charged with infractions of a moral kind that we hesitate to describe here. At any rate, Archbishop Chrysostomos and his Synod will no doubt eventually take official action against Archbishop Peter, unless he rejoins them.

6. Does Archbishop Chrysostomos have the competence to make such a decision?
Since Archbishop Chrysostomos and all of his Bishops derive their clerical orders from the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, it is impossible, from a logical standpoint, for them to object when, in the face of their vagaries and the adoption of an untenable theology—that is, ecclesiology—, one of their Bishops returns to that Church, especially when he was originally consecrated by the Russian Church Abroad. This is not a canonical issue, since the Holy Canons do not clearly cover many of the extraordinary situations that exist in contemporary Orthodoxy and in the resistance, but a matter of faith and conscience which transcends canonical boundaries. In terms of “competence” as such, we need simply reflect on the fact that Metropolitan Cyprian and his Bishops, without ever having been notified of the charges against them or called to appear before the Synod of Bishops (one to which they never even belonged) to defend themselves, were deposed by Archbishop Chrysostomos’ Synod-and, once more, for “ecumenism,” that is, believing that the New Calendarists have Grace. This is not the act of competent individuals, if you will forgive me. And where incompetence rules in matters of proper order, how can one look for authoritative competence?

I should also add that there are rumors of an imminent division among Chrysostomos’ Bishops [this indeed took place in July 1995-Ed.], showing once again the instability that has been caused by their present course. With the proliferation of synods, no one can doubt that whatever action is taken against us, it is meaningless. The only sane, and thus implicitly canonical, path for anyone is to rectify relations with the Russian Church Abroad, as we and Metropolitan Cyprian and his Bishops have done, and seek unity among the moderate and sober traditionalists of all nationalities.

7. What is the current status of Archbishop Peter within the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad?
Archbishop Peter has entered into full liturgical communion with the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, along with his entire Archdiocese. He is not a voting member of the Russian Church Abroad. He administers his own Archdiocese independently.

8. How many parishes does Archbishop Peter have in his Archdiocese?
He has a monastery, a convent, and four parishes, all Greek-speaking, in the U.S., as well as monastic communities in Greece.

9. Can you give us a brief account of your ecclesiology?
When the Greek Old Calendarists under Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Fili entered into communion with the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in the summer of 1994, the union decree stated that Metropolitan Cyprian’s ecclesiology was identical to that of the Russian Church Abroad: While the New Calendarists and ecumenists have deviated from correct belief and have been influenced by theological and political ideologies foreign to Orthodoxy, being led by teachers and Bishops who are either false or who tolerate the errors of their fellow false teachers and Bishops, they have not wholly succumbed to heresy; nor has a general council of the Church yet declared them to have done so. Nonetheless, we have cut ourselves off in resistance from them, on account of their errors, and have no liturgical communion with them.

This ecclesiology of resistance, like that of the Cappadocians and St. Theodore the Studite, is precisely ours.

We hope and pray for the restoration of unity in the Church, according to the Truth and Holy Tradition, even if such comes only at the Second Coming of Christ. And we consider it our duty to minister to those who are innocently or naIvely caught in the traps of modernism and ecumenism, hoping by our ministrations to lead them into resistance. We wish to avoid all arrogance and triumphalism and to work, even to the last hour, for the salvation not only of all Orthodox, whether lapsed or not, but of all non-Orthodox, by bringing them to correct confession. The way of condemnation, hatred, and un-Christian feelings of superiority, which has led many would-be traditionalists to delusion, is not our way. If we are condemned for this, then we are condemned with the Church Fathers and the great Councils, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, Metropolitan Cyprian and his Bishops, and the Bulgarian and Romanian Old Calendarists.

10. On what basis would it be possible to establish ecclesiastical communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch?
First, let me say that, being of Greek background, I have a great respect for the Church of Constantinople, just as Russians always look to the Moscow Patriarchate, even in its hour of degradation, as a beacon. I have, I must admit, let this “ethnic” bias mislead me in the past. I have been widely condemned for an interview that I gave last year in which, having just returned from Constantinople, where I was graciously welcomed by the Patriarch, I spoke glowingly of what I had seen. I was, in fact, tempted to join with the New Calendarists, thinking that there might be some hope for working for Holy Tradition within their ranks. I soon came to my senses. And when I did, I came to reflect on the Ecumenical Patriarchate with sobriety, looking - more carefully at its betrayal of Orthodoxy through ecumenism.

Second, before I list the criteria which Constantinople must fulfill before I would consider ecclesiastical communion with it, let me say something painful. In the Early Church there were no great Patriarchates. Christianity was local in its catholicity and catholic in its local focus. And Orthodoxy is, as a continuation of the Early Church, not essentially Patriarchal or Papal in structure. It may be that the days of the Patriarchates are gone. I heard one Russian say about the Moscow Patriarchate that talk of reviving it is silly; it is already dead. This may be true of Constantinople, Antioch, and the other Patriarchates, too. The Remnant Church, which many believe is near at hand, will not have Patriarchs; indeed, as the late Hieromonk Seraphim of Platina said, Antichrist will win over all of the “official” Churches of Orthodoxy-the same official Churches which his former monastery, now in schism, courts!

Union with Constantinople is for us Greeks not that different from what union for you Russians is with Moscow. You may think that this is untrue, since Moscow suffered under a political demon. But it is. The present Hierarchs in the Great Church of Constantinople are victims of ecclesiastical and world politics. I cannot judge them personally. The ones whom I met treated me quite well. Perhaps they are caught in a situation which they cannot clearly see. But they nonetheless act in political ways. In fact, ecumenism is as political as communism, if not more so, since communism is a symptom of the spirit which engenders ecumenism. Just as you believe that Moscow must apologize for its past sins, so Constantinople must apologize for its ecumenical sins, beginning in 1920 with the famous encyclical that led to the calendar change and which courted the West in words that betray the very essence of our Faith. Constantinople must also, of course, restore the Church Calendar, but this as part of a total return to tradition. In this total return, the Ecumenical Patriarchate must cease calling its Chief Hierarch the “spiritual leader” of world Orthodoxy. He is no such thing. This is neo-Papism, an innovation first condemned by Pope Gregory I of Rome! The Patriarchate must humbly listen to all Orthodox Bishops, New Calendar and Old. It must heed the zealots on the Holy Mountain, who are its spiritual guides and captains. It must disavow the lifting of the Anathemas in 1965 by Athenagoras and his co-Pope in Rome. It must cease all of its ecumenical activities. And the official actions of the Patriarchate must match the cordial and kind behavior of Patriarch Bartholomew himself—to which I can attest. The vile threats made against the Patriarch of Jerusalem, over whom Constantinople has no jurisdiction whatsoever, and attacks against sincere and moderate Old Calendarists as heretics and schismatics, as “the scum and trash of the gutter,” in the words of one Bishop attached to the Ecumenical Throne—these things are all inconsistent with the kind man that I found in Patriarch Bartholomew, inconsistent with Christian conduct, and unbecoming a man of obvious intelligence and good breeding, as the Patriarch is. The Patriarch must see that such things come to an end.

11. How do you assess the activity of Archbishop Iakovos in North America?
Especially when certain other Old Calendarists in New York City caused great scandal for the Church in general, Archbishop lakovos approached us with kindness, hoping to incorporate us into his jurisdiction. I must admit that, scandalized as I was by the various antics of these other Old Calendarists, I was tempted to join him. But once again, on reflection, I saw the weaknesses of the Greek Archdiocese. It exists more to preserve Greek ethnicity than Greek spirituality. Many of its parishes are Greek social clubs. And second- and third-generation Greek-Americans know nothing of their Faith. Most of them have embraced Evangelical Protestantism, which is taught openly in their Churches instead of Orthodoxy. One Archdiocese Priest in Florida preaches outright Protestant Evangelical ideas in the name of Orthodoxy, speaking in “tongues,” rolling about, and calling for “testimonies” at his “altar calls.”
This is not to say, however, that everyone in the Greek Archdiocese has lost his Orthodoxy. There are many older people who, because of circumstances beyond their control, must attend parishes of the New Calendarist Archdiocese. After all, we Old Calendarists are poor and few in number in this country, with a limited number of parishes scattered all about. Many of the simple Faithful in the Greek Archdiocese are also unaware of the nature and dangers of ecumenism. When we explain such things to them, they are often surprised and shocked. These people we must not dismiss. Nor should we forget that there are Priests and at least one Bishop in the Archdiocese who are in secret contact with us and other Old Calendarists, waiting for the right time to join us-a dangerous and ill-conceived position, but one which we must honor for its intentions.

12. What is your reaction to SCOBA’s attempt to form a single jurisdiction in North America (December, 1994, in Ligonier, Pennsylvania)?
First, this whole move is political and a lie. The move for a single jurisdiction is the brainstorm of modernist Orthodox, who want to use their united power to put us traditionalists to rest and to elevate themselves to highranking positions—one in particular, the American Patriarchate. For this reason, you will note that Greek Old Calendarists or Hierarchs of your Church have been excluded from this movement and from the union of self-styled “canonical” Orthodox, the SCOBA. We would not accept a modernist union. Nor would we probably accept the preposterous idea of an “American Patriarch” in a country which is not only not Orthodox, but the values of which are inimical to Orthodoxy. It is also a move undertaken chiefly by outspoken and active ecumenists. It is thus not Orthodox in its source.

Moreover, these American “unionists” argue that national Orthodox pluralism in America, with Bishops of different nationality or jurisdiction in the same See, is not canonica1. Hence, we need a single” American” jurisdiction. The Holy Canons were not meant to address the kind of religious pluralism that we have in America. It is thus ludicrous to describe our present situation as “uncanonica1.” It is “a-canonica1.” Here we have modernists, who usually mock the canons, using them for their own self-serving ends. In the end, I would ask: Is not national pluralism perfectly natural to Orthodoxy? And should we not be suspicious of modernists, many of them recent converts from Evangelical Protestantism, who want to make Orthodoxy “American” and to abolish the diverse national and cultural traditions that Orthodox have enjoyed for centuries? We must be cautious about this whole movement. Unity in the truth does not preclude local differences. Political unity, however, demands conformity, which always violates the freedom of the Truth.

13. What should be the principle objective for us Christians who adhere to traditional Orthodoxy?
Here I speak from experience. We must, if we are to preserve Orthodox traditions, avoid all compromise with the world. We must avoid being drawn into unions that appeal to our ethnic or emotional sensitivities. We must avoid unions which address external unity and neglect internal unity in the Faith. We must find unity even in disunity, if that disunity is the only way that we can preserve the Truth. We must never compromise our principles. If we are loyal to this objective, we will always be in communion with the universal body of Orthodoxy; for, indeed, even one man who correctly confesses the Truth constitutes a majority.

14. What would you desire for those who read “Orthodox Russia”?
I would hope that all of your readers would pray for us and remember us as brothers, since we Greeks and Russians, along with those who convert to Orthodoxy, are of one blood and one flesh, that of Jesus Christ. We have one mother, a common baptismal font. As Metropolitan Philaret once described your Russian Church Abroad, it is a bastion of traditionalism that has become “multinational” and “multilingual,” a model for us other traditionalists. I would also ask your readers to stand up firmly and in truth against the extremists who today wish, for personal reasons, to divide us traditionalists. They are hateful people with foul tongues and the tactics of politicians and propagandists. Crush them with the truth and then try to attract them with your love. For if we all find unity in love, we will draw even our enemies to us. And so it is that the “small flock,” which will be persecuted and reviled, will survive and find spiritual joy amidst its trials.