When I refer to the Old Calendarist schism, I am speaking specifically of the event of 1935 when three bishops of the Church of Greece separated from the Church of Greece, declared themselves the bishops of the Old Calendarists, and declared the Church of Greece to be in schism and without grace in its mysteries. I certainly realize that this took place 11 yrs after the introduction of the New Calendar, but I do not necessarily consider “schismatics” those clergy and faithful who refused to accept the New Calendar after 1924 prior to the formal schism of 1935.
During the first years after the introduction of the New Calendar, it is true that St. Nikolai of Zica in the Serbian Church, and perhaps other bishops from other local Orthodox churches, provided the Old Calendarists with chrism and supported them when they were without bishops. St. Nicholas Planas, while still serving privately on the Old Calendar after the introduction of the New, did not agree with separating from or disobeying the bishops who introduced the New, but it is understandable why so many people at first rejected this change and protested against it.
It is lamentable that those who continued to follow the Old Calendar were persecuted, just as it was lamentable that those who continued to follow the Old Rite after the Nikonian reforms were harshly persecuted. During the time of this persecution, however, there was complete unity among the Old Calendarists until a separate hierarchy was formed and condemnations of the Church of Greece occurred. It was only in 1935, when the three bishops joined the Old Calendarists and made such denunciations, that this united movement fell into disunity and lost the favor of other local Orthodox Churches and the grace of God.
There was in reality a lot of hopping back and forth with clergy and laity during the first decade of the schism. Which is why in my opinion I view it as a good protective measure to state that the Greek State Church had no grace, as it helped put an end to this hopping back and forth between the two Greek Churches and it showed that only where the Orthodox Church is can you be assured of the sacraments.
We cannot blaspheme the Holy Spirit to promote church attendance. Three bishops in a Synod have no authority to declare an entire local Church to be schismatic and without grace. A bishop can be declared deposed and in schism by the Synod to whom he is accountable, but an entire local Church can only be declared in schism and outside of the Church by the rest of the Church to which that local Church is accountable. That is why only a Pan-Orthodox Council was competent to judge the matter of the Church of Greece after the adoption of the New Calendar. After the introduction of the New Calendar in Greece, every other local Orthodox Church considered the Church of Greece to be part of the body of Christ and to have true mysteries. For the Old Calendarist hierarchs in 1935 to declare true mysteries graceless when the whole Church recognizes their mysteries is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and nothing justifies such blasphemy.
Now no TOC synod, not even the Matthewites, state in their confession of faith's that grace left the Greek Church immediately when the calendar was changed. For a good reading on this issue I would recommend reading HOCNA's confession of faith and Met. Ephraim's letter that follows the HOCNA confession, which can be found on their website.
In 1935, the three bishops who broke away from the Church of Greece declared the Church of Greece to be without grace. Likewise, Abp Auxentius (who HOCNA joined in 1986 when they fled ROCOR to avoid facing spiritual court) in 1974 stated:
”The celebration of a Mystery and the giving of Holy Communion to new calendarists was forbidden from the time that the schism created by the State Church began. Therefore, it is necessary that you uphold this position without deviation, in obedience to the understanding of all that has been transmitted unto us by our God-bearing Fathers, and that they renounce and condemn every heresy and innovation, among which is the new calendar in the Greek Church, which became schismatic from its acceptance thereof in 1924 until the present, according to the very confession of the innovator, Archbishop Chrysostom Papadopoulos, and, as a consequence, its mysteries are deprived of sanctifying grace.”
I am very well aware of HOCNA’s position on “grace” and schism, but their position is pretty irrelevant. Even before Holy Transfiguration Monastery fled ROCOR and hastily joined Abp Auxentius, they were critical of the Old Calendarist position on “grace” and the implications of the calendar change. In 2003, HOCNA made an official statement on the subject of grace and essentially rejected the 1935 Confession that was at the foundation of the Old Calendarist schism, as well as the 1974 Confession of the very Archbishop that they joined! They said,
”We believe and affirm that, as the Holy Fathers and Holy Canons teach us, according to
strictness there is no grace in the mysteries of those in heresy or schism. However, as we discern
from the incidents cited in the letter above, we see that we cannot speak of the precise moment
when God, in His wisdom and economia, withdraws His uncreated power and grace from the
mysteries of those who are being led astray.”
HOCNA here declares that they do not agree with those who they joined, for the Old Calendarists whom they joined clearly declared from 1935 on that the Church of Greece was indeed without grace in its mysteries by virtue of introducing the New Calendar. Today, HOCNA is becoming increasingly irrelevant even in the Old Calendarist movement as they now consist of only 2 ruling bishops and 1 auxiliary bishop, all of whom received their formation in the same monastery (hardly a model for “catholicity”). Recently, as you know, HOCNA lost 2 bishops and several parishes and clergy to those Old Calendarists who do indeed uphold the cacadox ecclesiology that the Church of Greece became schismatic and deprived of grace in its mysteries when the calendar was changed.
I know that Met. Chrysostom did not consecrate any other bishops after him but to say that he tried to be received back into the Greek State Church I have never heard before.
After declaring in 1935 that the Church of Greece was without grace, Met Chrysostom of Florina came to see that such a decision was entirely cacadox and erroneous. In 1943, Met Germanus of Demetrias and Met Chrysostom of Florina (2 of the original 3 original Old Calendarist bishops – the third returned to the Church of Greece already) both petitioned the Church of Greece to be received back into communion. Their petition, however, was rejected. Met Chrysostom then petitioned the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. But because the Patriarchate of Jerusalem was in communion with the Church of Greece, and since the latter church had deposed Metropolitan Chrysostom in 1935 and reduced him to the rank of a monk, the Jerusalem Patriarchate informed Metropolitan Chrysostom that he could only be received in the rank of monk.
This episode is referred to in a letter from the Old Calendarist Bishop Matthew of Bresthena to Met Chrysostom of Florina in a 1944 Encyclical. By this time, Met Chrysostom had repented of the cacadox ecclesiology and affirmed that the grace of the Holy Spirit resides in the Church and those whom the entire (catholic or universal) Church recognizes as its bishops and clergy. By breaking off from the entire universal Church, the Old Calendarist bishops cut themselves off of divine grace which resides in the Church. Met Chrysostom himself stated this on June 1, 1944:
“... it is the whole Church, as the Treasury of grace, that establishes the Churches and endows them with the Mysteries and the grace of the All-holy Spirit, and not a certain number of individual laity and clergy who, owing to a disagreement on some ecclesiastical issue that is capable of being resolved [such as that of the calendar], have broken away from a recognized Orthodox Church, one that has not been stripped of its ecclesiastical validity or of the grace of the All-holy Spirit following a trial and sentence pronounced by the entire Church...”
“... The parasynagogue Bishops, who have a different opinion on this matter, fall into the heresy of Protestantism, and in celebrating the Mysteries in the name of a non-existent Church, or, to put the point better, of their personal Church, they are deprived of all grace, of which the Treasurer is the entire recognized Orthodox Church...”
“This, you see, is why the parasynagogue Bishops of Bresthena and the Cyclades cannot have the grace of Orthodoxy or the right to impart this grace to those who follow them on this ecclesiastical downward slope of theirs, because they do not belong to the canonical Church, the sole Treasury of grace in an Orthodox sense.”
On December 11, 1950, in the national newspaper, “Bradyne,” and in his official periodical “Voice of Orthodoxy,” for the month of December, 1950, Met Chrysostom of Florina wrote:
"...The (state) hierarchy, for the sake of the authority and prestige of the Church, should suggest for one Metropolitan (of the state church) to pretend to be an old calendarist, and to become the head of the old calendarists, while controlling the struggle from within the canonical boundaries (of the state Church).”
Here, Met Chrysostom (who had declared the Church of Greece to be without grace in 1935) stated that the Old Calendarists are in schism from the Church, and to bring the Old Calendarist schismatics back into communion with the Church, the Church of Greece should have one of its bishops serve as the bishop for those who wished to continue serving on the Old Calendar. He believed that the Old Calendar should be followed, but that schism from the Church of Greece because of the calendar change was impermissible.
Met Chrysostom had been in negotiations with Abp Spyridon of the Church of Greece regarding this matter, and in March of 1951 the “National Herald” published a statement from the Greek Minister of Internal Affairs regarding these negotiations:
“The negotiations… are going well and have reached the point that the former Bishop of Florina has completely recognized his error… The official Church has exceeded all limits in the concessions it has made. In time it would have rehabilitated the Old Calendar bishops, and ordained their priests… and recognized the sacraments accomplished by them as valid, and churches would have been offered for those who would want to celebrate according to the old calendar. Both the former Bishop of Florina and the other bishops (Germanus of the Cyclades, Christopher of Megara and Polycarp of Diaulia) agreed with all this, and, according to our information, their representatives, distinguished lawyers, had to formulate a corresponding act… Unfortunately, at the last moment irresponsible activists from the lay estate interfered… and influenced the weak character of the former Bishop of Florina, who rejected all that he had said earlier…”
So, in the end Met Chrysostom of Florina wished to join the Church of Greece and bring all of the Old Calendarists back into communion with the Church, but the Old Calendarists who were with him did not all support him in this decision. The Old Calendarist bishops Christopher and Polycarp who were with him then, returned to the Church of Greece in 1954 without him, and Met Chrysostom himself reposed alone, outside of the Church, and without any fellow bishops around him. He was encouraged by the Old Calendarist clergy to consecrate more bishops before his repose, but he refused, instructing them to return to the Church of Greece as Bishops Christopher and Polycarp had done. He encouraged those with him to work with the other Old Calendarists under Bp Matthew of Bresthena toward reuniting with the Church and ending the schism.
You're right, I do not think he wanted to create a rival synod with the Greek State Church, but in his mind, and in the mind of many Old Calendarists of the time, they thought that the other synods and Patriarchates of the Church would help support their Orthodox cause and bring the Greek Church back to an Orthodox calendar.
It is true that when the three bishops in 1935 declared the Church of Greece to be without grace and in schism, that they believed the other local Orthodox churches would agree with them. They were wrong, and today it is still they who are in schism and without grace.
The claim that the councils which anathemized the new calendar are "forgeries" is questionable, as there is actually no reliable proof which shows that it was indeed a forgery.
There is not much on the subject in English, but this summary by the “Synod in Resistance” is perhaps the most detailed and informative:http://www.synodinresistance.org/pdfs/2011/07/04/20110704aSigillion/20110704aSigillion.pdf
Why would an Old Calendarist group make this up if it wasn’t true? The “Synod in Resistance” are not the only ones to make this claim, but their position is certainly significant since they themselves are Old Calendarists (though not as fanatical as the rest).
I have honestly never heard the claim that today's Old Calendarist's believe that the Old Calendarists of the 20s and 30s thought that the calendar change was the first step towards a false union with Rome.
In the problematic paper entitled “Why the True Orthodox are Truly Orthodox”, Fr. Maximos (Maretta) states:
”… it was in large measure because the calendar change was the first step in the union with the Papists and Anglicans that the [Old Calendarists] rejected it.”
Similar statements are found in practically every polemical work aimed at promoting Old Calendar schisms.
However, since the new calendar was introduced, liturgical services have indeed been served with Orthodox and Catholic clergy together, the lifting of anathemas has taken place (for whatever reasons I do not understand), there has been a sort of semi-unity with the Non-Chalcedonians, and many heretical events taking place.
The “lifting of the anathemas” was a very unfortunate but completely meaningless event. Nobody outside of the Patriarchate of Constantinople ascribes any meaning to this act. As it is claimed, the anathemas that were “lifted” by Patriarch Athenagoras were those made against Rome in 1054 in response the Bull of excommunication given to Constantinople by the Papal legates. However, the Filioque was anathematized at the 8th Ecumenical Council under Patriarch Photios, which was affirmed by the entire Church (including the Pope of Rome at that time). The Patriarchal Encyclical of 1848 acknowledged this fact that the Filioque was anathematized at this Council, and the Patriarchal Encyclical of 1848 was signed by the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Patriarch Athenagoras was not an “Eastern Pope” and had no authority to “lift” anathemas against the Filioque or any other heresy that was anathematized by the entire Orthodox Church. So, this act is void and is only a shameful gesture that has no meaning for the rest of the Church. The rest of the Church was not consulted prior to this empty gesture, nor has the rest of the Church rallied behind it.
Regarding joint services and the rest, this is all very shameful and unfortunate, but in no way connected to the change of the calendar. Today the Church of Greece, who was the first local church to adopt the New Calendar, is perhaps the most vocal in opposition to compromise within the Ecumenical Movement. But, again, Ecumenism is an entirely separate issue that is not in any way connected to the calendar change.
St. Mark of Ephesus did not have the same situation as the Old Calendarists of the 20s and 30s had. The Old Calendarists were highly persecuted by the government for voicing their belief that the Church should stick with the Julian calendar; they were beaten, arrested, and shaven of their beards. There's even an incident where a New Calendarist Bishop of Boston returned to Greece, went to an Old Calendarist Church, threw the chalice on the ground, ripped out the priest's (Hieromonk Theonas) beard, pushed him to the ground, and began kicking him, causing wounds which Fr. Theonas died from shortly later. So it wasn't as if they could just partake in a council with the New Calendarist bishops and work out this situation like Christians. The situation was too bad for this even to be considered happening at the time. Sure, there were some who thought that this council would take place, but sadly it never did, as it might have brought the Greek State Church back to the Orthodox calendar and save us from the situation we have today.
Again, the way the Old Calendarists were treated was shameful, as was also the case with those who wanted to continue serving on the Old Rite after the Nikonian reforms in Russia centuries before. I do not think, however, that it was impossible for the three bishops who left the Church of Greece in 1935 to lead the Old Calendarists, to have first consulted with other local Orthodox Churches regarding the patristic and canonical way to respond to what was occurring in Greece. Before declaring that the Church of Greece was automatically in schism from the rest of the Church and without grace by virtue of adopting the New Calendar, these bishops should have first determined if other local churches actually agreed with them on this critical claim. I certainly understand the difficulty of successfully convening a Pan-Orthodox Council at that time (particularly during Communism), but they could and should have consulted with other local church informally.
It should be pointed out that other local churches had been consulted regarding the implications of adopting the New Calendar, and the other local churches agreed that such a change is not of dogmatic nature, would not contradict the canons as long as the original Paschalian was preserved, and would create no obstacle to communion. These are the responses that Patriarch Meletios received when he wrote to the other local churches concerning the question prior to the 1923 “Pan-Orthodox” Congress, and this is what was also stated by the representatives of those local churches who did participate in the Congress.
There is much regarding the 1923 Congress that the Old Calendarists twist for purposes of propaganda, and much could be said about this, but what I want to point out here is that the Church of Greece adopted the New Calendar only after consulting with the other local Orthodox Churches. It is true that the 1923 Congress envisioned that all Orthodox churches would agree on whether to adopt the New or stay on the Old, and it is unfortunate that the Church of Greece adopted the New when other local churches decided to stay on the Old, but nevertheless they did consult with the other churches unlike the Old Calendarist bishops who created their schism in 1935 and declared the Church of Greece to be schismatic completely on the basis of their own self-declared authority.
Regardless though, a council is not needed to declare a heresy. For example, during the 7th Ecumenical Council, the iconoclasts were already considered to be outside the Church even before the council took place. In the Council it states, "For they [the Iconoclasts] have dared to slander the God-befitting beauty of the sacred offerings, being called 'priests,' while in reality they are not." So it was acknowledged that the Iconocasts priests were being called priests from before the 7th Ecumenical Council, and that in reality the Iconoclast priests were not priests at all.
So you are saying that the adoption of the New Calendar is a heresy, and one comparable to Iconoclasm?
In any case, we have to handle such phrases as “being called ‘priests,’ while in reality they were not” with great care. There have been many instances in history where a saint will refer to a bishop as a “false bishop” or a bishop “in name only” while that bishop is formally recognized as a bishop by the universal Church. A bishop can be a heretic or very immoral, and yet as long as the Church recognizes him as a bishop of the Church he serves grace-filled mysteries. As a “false bishop” (by virtue of heresy or immorality), that bishop may very well be condemned by God at the Judgment, but only when and if that “false bishop” is anathematized and/or deposed by the Synod to which he belongs do the mysteries he serves become actually devoid of grace.
Another way that a bishop, or synod of bishops, becomes deprived of grace in their sacraments is by actually going into schism; by actually breaking off from the universal Church wherein sacramental grace resides. The three bishops in 1935 went into schism from the Church of Greece, and the whole universal Church recognized the Church of Greece as having grace-filled mysteries and not the Old Calendarists who departed into schism.
If you also read the 31st Apostolic canon it forbids a Christian from breaking communion with his bishop except when the bishop has offended against "piety and justice," which allows the Old Calendarists of the time to break communion with their synod. But again, they did not think of themselves as breaking off of the Orthodox Church; just severing communion with the Greek State Church until the time that the Greek State Church returns to the Orthodox calendar, which they did not see as taking that long.
And the 32nd Apostolic canon states, "As for those persons…who on account of some heresy condemned by the holy councils or Fathers withdraw themselves from communion with their president who preaches heresy publicly and with a bare head in the Church, such persons are not only not subject to any canonical penalty on account of their having walled themselves off from any and all communion with the one called a bishop before any conciliar or synodical verdict has been rendered, but on the contrary, they shall be deemed worthy to enjoy the honor which befits them among Orthodox Christians. For they have defied not bishops, but pseudo-bishops and pseudo-teachers; and they have not sundered the unity of the Church with any schism, but on the contrary, have been sedulous to rescue the Church from schisms and divisions."
By “32nd Apostolic canon”, I believe you are referring to the 15th canon of the First-Second Council. To apply this to the Old Calendarists, then you have to claim that the adoption of the New Calendar constitutes “preaching heresy”, which even the three bishops in 1935 did not claim. In the 1935 Encyclical they condemned the Church of Greece for supposedly being “schismatic”, while acknowledging that they “have not erred in doctrines.” Following Apostolic canon 31 was perhaps applicable to the Old Calendarists between 1924 and 1935, but does not justify the path taken by the Old Calendarists from 1935 on, nor does it justify their position today. Withdrawing from one’s own bishop while awaiting justice is not the same as breaking communion with the entire Orthodox Church as the Old Calendarists have done. There is absolutely NO canonical or patristic basis for the Old Calendarist schism as it actually took place in 1935 and as it exists at the present time.
Ecumenism is a hard to define heresy, but HOTCA defines it as "In its weakest form, Ecumenism holds that the Church of Christ is larger than the Orthodox Church, or that other churches posses some real, albeit imperfect, ecclesial status." This heresy goes completely against the fathers and councils of the Orthodox Church, and this heresy is openly preached and practiced by many bishops in World Orthodoxy, so the fact that the Old Calendarists haven't joined the World Orthodox is completely justified. I'm not saying that ecumenism is preached and practiced everywhere in World Orthodoxy as I've been to very traditional World Orthodox parishes, but the fact that these traditional parishes are in communion with others who openly preach this heresy is the reason why the Old Calendarists cannot enter in communion with those in World Orthodoxy who are more traditional. A kind of "guilty by association" type of situation.
The Ecumenism that is protested by the Old Calendarists only began to develop in the 1960s. What justification to the Old Calendarists have for being completely out of communion with the entire Church for the thirty to forty years prior to questionable participation in Ecumenism by various Orthodox churches?
And the reasons not all of the Old Calendarists are not in communion with each other are due to persecutions, misunderstandings, and historical circumstances. Today things have been getting better than they were even a decade ago. Promising talks between synods have taken place, the RTOC and GOC under Met. Kallinikos had some promising talks with each other until some more recent events which took place in Serbia, the synod I am a part of has united with a Russian Catacomb Church, Greek Church, and a Bulgarian Church, so things are looking better than they were a decade ago. I have even heard from a GOC priest that after his church finishes their liturgy and the RTOC church in his area finish their liturgy, they gather together for a common meal. While certainly this is far from perfect, today the situation among the TOC synods are getting better.
I do not see the situation as you do. The Synod that you belong to just fell apart. The Synod you belong to entered into communion with two bishops who were in schism from another Old Calendarist group that was in schism from another Old Calendarist group, and the madness simply propagates. RTOC was in dialogue with the “GOC-Kallinkos” but this dialogue disintegrated. “GOC-Kallinikos” was in dialogue with HOCNA, then a couple bishops just left HOCNA to join “GOC-Kallinkos” and now these two groups that were very warm toward each other are now against each other (or rather what is left of HOCNA has turned even further away from “GOC-Kallinikos” than they were before). When you look at the history of the various “True Greek” and “True Russian” groups, you just see exponential multiplication. This is because the very foundation of these movements is sectarian, and they do not have the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit did not guide the three bishops in 1935 to condemn the Church of Greece in papal fashion, and neither has the Spirit been guiding the movement which is built upon this rotten foundation.
I still disagree with you about 4th century Antioch. Sure, from your POV I understand what you have said. But from a TOC POV, the TOC is the true Church, not a schism from the true Church, as we do not view it schismatic to cease communion with a body which has introduced un-Orthodox ideas and practices into the Church. So I believe that while we are all not in communion with each other yet, we are still the true Orthodox Church, as in 4th century Antioch those synods were not in communion with each other but today we recognize saints on both sides.
Again, the situation in Antioch in no way relates to the self-proclaimed “True Orthodox”. In the Meletian schism, there were competing synods in one local area and other local Orthodox churches could not agree on which was the right canonical and Orthodox Synod. While the competing synods were not in direct communion with each other, the different Synods remained in communion with the Church. What is of critical importance here is that these competing synods in Antioch recognized the authority of the Church over them. As long as the competing Synods recognized an ecclesiastical authority greater than their own local synods, the situation was able to be resolved, as indeed it was.
In the case of the Old Calendarists, the Old Calendarist bishops who created the formal schism in 1935 acknowledged in their writings the authority of the other local churches (Patriarchates of Jerusalem, Antioch, etc.). However, once it was realized that none of these churches agreed with their schism, the Old Calendarists no longer acknowledged the authority of any other local Church and began to divide amongst themselves. Today there is a situation where numerous small, competing Synods have developed, and none of them acknowledge an ecclesiastical authority greater than themselves. All of these groups have established churches in the territory of other local churches to demonstrate that they only recognize themselves as the Church. With this kind of Protestant mentality, what kind of Pan-Orthodox Council or decision would they acknowledge? None! If all of the local Orthodox Churches and all of the Patriarchates throughout the world made a decision regarding them, they would not acknowledge such a decision because for them, only they have the truth and only they are being guided by the Holy Spirit.
A Pan-Orthodox Council to resolve the matter concerning the calendar would only have been possible if those who continued serving on the Old Calendar in Greece after the introduction of the New, believed in the catholicity of the Church and acknowledged in the universal Church an authority greater than themselves. This hope was dashed in 1935, and the situation is now hopeless because the Old Calendarists today have at their foundation the 1935 Protestant and cacadox confession.
But as time went on and certain members of the clergy of the ROCOR starting becoming more ecumenical without being called to repent or repudiating what they thought, going against what ROCOR had stood for, that's when splits from ROCOR began happening and that's when unions with the ROCOR and the Old Calendarists began severing.
ROCOR’s relationship with the Old Calendarists was mistaken from the very beginning. ROCOR did try to unite the two (at that time there were only two) Old Calendarist groups but without first understanding the ecclesiology that was at the foundation of the Old Calendarist schism. The reason that Communion did not ever occur between ROCOR and the traditional Old Calendarists to any real extent is that once ROCOR came to understand the cacadox ecclesiology that was at the very foundation of these groups they could not agree with it. ROCOR also came to see that the Old Calendarists were hopelessly sectarian and incapable of unity amongst themselves because of the ecclesiology on which they were established. Of course, ROCOR did later enter into communion with the “Synod in Resistance” whose canonical foundation is the most problematic of all Old Calendarist groups, because their ecclesiology is much more Orthodox that the others. Since ROCOR reunited with the MP, this Old Calendarist group also became cut off from ROCOR and the entire Orthodox Church.
Of course, we can only feel true sorrow for the state of the sectarians and their separation from the Church which is the Ark of Salvation. We do live in very difficult times when the conciliarity and dogmatic conscience of the Church is struggling to recover from the blows inflicted upon the universal Church during the Soviet era. Many prayers need to be said for the hierarchs guiding the Church at such a difficult time, and we must look to the recent saints and God-bearing elders for guidance on how to save our souls at such a perilous time. It is true that we must resist the temptations to grow lax in our faith and in our struggle against the passions, but we must not leave wide open to the devil the other temptation to fanaticism and condemnation of others which is rooted in pride and spiritual delusion. As the Fathers say, schism is worse than heresy and not even the blood of martyrdom can wash away the sin of an unjustified schism.
The Old Calendarists did not break off from the Church because of heresy, but because they have separated from the grace of the Holy Spirit on account of the calendar, they do not have the ability to understand and properly respond to the issue of Ecumenism or any other challenge that the Church today faces. Not having any connection with the Church, they are also completely powerless to help the Church at such a difficult time. By their unjustified schism, they rather bring greater shame to Orthodoxy and allow our spotless Faith to be further blasphemed.