I have been away from the computer for several days and have not been carefully following this thread, but I did want to respond to a couple of direct challenges to my previous posts:
today’s Old Calendarists would do well to follow the counsel of this man who was one of the first bishops to take leadership of the Old Calendarists and later repented of the false Old Calendarist ecclesiology and sought reception back into communion with the Church of Greece.
You're not honest at all because the Encyclical of 1950 that you don't quote is very clear. And it is signed by the same Archbishop Chrysostom that you present as always having believed in the presence of Grace in the New Calendar church. The only official documents expressing the position are the encyclicals although, due to the complexity of the situation, Metropolitan Chrysostomus may have had many hesitation.Some extracts here ….
I have not been dishonest in representing the views of Met Chrysostom. The 1950 encyclical is a strange anomaly and is not consistent with what Met Chrysostom preached and taught from 1937 until 1950, or from after the encyclical was signed until his repose in 1955.
The life of Elder Harlambos Dionysiatis, who was with Met Chrysostom until 1950, relates events surrounding the signing of this encyclical as follows:
“When we separated from the official Church because it followed the new calendar, we encountered a very serious problem. We were leaderless. Many clergy joined the Old Calendarists. Some priests from the Holy Mountain also came down. However, we didn’t have a bishop. In 1935, the Bishop of Florina, Chrysostomos, left the official Church and joined us. This was hailed with great joy. However, there was dissension among the ranks of the Old Calendarists. Some believed that grace was lost in the official Church along with the change of the calendar, while others said that grace remained, and ours was a stance of protest. I agreed with the latter.
“When the Bishop of Florina joined us, he believed the same as the latter group. Actually, he circulated an encyclical, from what I remember, which declared: ‘The Church of Greece is our Mother and we receive grace from there. However, we protest and sever our responsibilities because of the change in the calendar.’ However, in 1950 the fanatics prevailed. We gathered for a meeting with the bishop as president. He explained and pleaded with them:
— Please, don’t take an extreme position. Listen to me and I promise that we will win the struggle. I was a bishop with the new calendar for 10 years. If I support the view that grace has been lost from the New Calendarists then I don’t have grace either. I am a pseudo-bishop.
“The fanatics took no notice. They answered:
— You are a bishop. You have grace because you are an Old Calendarist. However, the New Calendarists don’t have grace to have proper Sacraments.
“I also tried to argue with them, but I saw nothing would come of it, only misunderstanding and confusion. They finally forced Chrysostomos, as president, to sign an encyclical that the official Church of Greece, by following the new calendar, had automatically become heretical and lost grace. The bishop is believed to have said, ‘I sign that which I don’t believe.’ But he signed. As soon as the encyclical reached my hands I was so upset, I wept whole-heartedly. I was so disheartened I said to myself, ‘Oh, you wretch. God called you to the angelic life and you have stayed to save the world. And here are the results. Go to your destination, as quickly as possible, lest you suddenly die and find you have been unfaithful to the promise you made to God.”…
Despite the disagreement of the bishop, the Old Calendarists released the infamous encyclical of 1950 with which they declared the Church of the new calendar heretical and divorced from grace. Haralambos, disheartened by the outcome of the struggle, could no longer be held back by anything. He said goodbye to his relatives and quickly went to Little St Anne, to meet his Godfather and uncle. He then planned to go to Aegina, to see and farewell his aunt—Nun Efpraxia, student of leronimos the ascetic—before returning to the Holy Mountain to stay permanently near his uncle, as a monk.
Like a thirsty deer, Haralambos reached the Holy Mountain’s port of Daphne and continued his journey to the shore of St Anne. From there, he was shown a steep pathway that led to the caves of the brotherhood of the great Joseph the Hesychast. With the famous Elder was the equally worthy fellow ascetic, Elder Arsenios, who was Haralambos’ uncle by the flesh and also his Godfather.
The encyclical was signed by Met Chrysostom in March of 1950. The fact that he signed what he did not believe, that he signed under pressure, and that he immediately retracted this position, can be seen by what he both said and did after signing the encyclical. On July 2, 1950, the "Bradyni" ("Evening") newspaper in Greece quoted Met Chrysostom (just a few months after signing the 1950 encyclical which affirmed the 1935 encyclical), as saying:
"the Synodical Decision of 1935 [regarding the Church of Greece] does not finally apply until the [Calendar Issue] is discussed at the future Pan-Orthodox Council."
Later that same year, in the December 11, 1950 issue of the same newspaper, Met Chrysostom made the following additional comments:
"... the Hierarchy [of the Church of Greece], for the sake of the authority and prestige of the Church, should suggest for one Metropolitan to act as an Old Calendarist, and to become the head of the Old Calendarists, while controlling the struggle from within the canonical boundaries [of the Church of Greece]... Only now have these ideologies emerged, which direct the [sacred struggle] and control it within the frames of the Sacred Canons..."
In other words, just a few months after signing the encyclical which declared the Church of Grace to be without grace and in schism on account of the calendar change, Met Chrysostom continued teaching that the Church of Greece was not in schism nor without grace; and he proceeded to negotiate with the Church of Greece with the hopes of establishing an Old Calendar diocese within the Church of Greece. The hope was for there to be an Old Calendar bishop of the Church of Greece for those who wished to remain on the Old Calendar without breaking communion with the Church of Greece. Met Chrysostom considered this arrangement as the only way to legitimately follow the Old Calendar in Greece according to the canons and still remain as part of the Church (just as Jerusalem, Russia, Serbia, etc. used the Old Calendar but in communion with churches that had changed the calendar).
By 1952, Met Chrysostom’s Old Calendarist synod consisted of only himself and the bishops Christopher (Chatzis) and Polycarp (Liosis). The Old Calendarist bishops Christopher and Polycarp agreed that their position as Old Calendarist bishops was illegitimate, they recognized that the Church of Greece had been right to depose them as bishops for their schism, and they were finally received back into the Church of Greece in 1954. Sadly, Met Chrysostom was not received back into the Church of Greece and reposed alone, refusing to consecrate more bishops for the Old Calendarists, and refusing to perpetuate the schism.
Today the Old Calendarists justify their uncanonical and anti-Orthodox schism based on contemporary problems with Ecumenism. Orthodox participation in Ecumenism has indeed been problematic, and a number of participants in the Ecumenical Movement from the Orthodox side have both done and said things which are not consistent with Orthodox ecclesiology. However, the Old Calendarist schism has nothing to do with these later questionable words and deeds, so their uncanonical schism from the Church remains an uncanonical schism from the Church regardless of whatever real (or fabricated) abuses occur from individual Orthodox participants in this movement.
Today, almost 100 yrs after the change of calendar, we still have no “heresy of Ecumenism” being preached. Certainly we have instances of words and actions which blur ecclesiastical boundaries, which cause confusion, and which are questionable, but I cannot think of a single bishop today who is preaching that we must unite with Roman Catholics, Protestants, or anyone else and disregard our dogmatic differences. Met Hilarion of Volokalamsk in particular has been very involved in ecumenical dialogues, and constantly calls for the return of all to the faith of the first millennium as a precondition for any real unity. Statements of Orthodox participants in the WCC say the same. Yes, unfortunate words and deeds have occurred, but the public preaching of heresy is something else entirely.
Some proofs of ecumenical heresy….
…Isn't all this a proof of branch theory?
The “proofs of ecumenical heresy” do highlight very objectionable agreements made in the past by individual Orthodox participants in the Ecumenical Movement. None of these events, however, had anything to do with the Old Calendarist schism which occurred many decades prior. Orthodox participation in the Ecumenical Movement, as I have already said, has been very problematic and the local Orthodox churches do recognize this. None of the local Orthodox churches have changed their confession of faith as a result of such participation, and none have adopted heresies that have been proclaimed as such by past Councils or Fathers. You can argue that perhaps some have come close to doing so, but this is essentially a problem for the Orthodox Church to resolve. While those who have removed themselves from the Orthodox Church, and have departed into numerous schisms, may enjoy pointing out whatever real or invented problems they can identify in the Orthodox Church; by departing into schism and amputating themselves from the living body of Christ, they are unable to be part of the solution and can do nothing to build up or support the living body.