What, Briefly, Is the “GOC?

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In Defense of Holy Orthodoxy


Further information has been added to this web page (08-23-07); however, if you are reading this brief history of the GOC for the first time, it is suggested that you continue to read this page, then, come back here for the additional material to preserve continuity.

The Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece (the GOC, the Holy Synod) is representative of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ. The Local Greek Churches: the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the State Church of Greece; and the other Local Churches calling themselves the "GOC," or the "Florinites," are not in union with the Church which is featured on this website. Why this is so, along with a brief history of how the GOC came to be, is the subject of this web page. The following is a brief history of the GOC. This history is necessary in order to establish, as fact, the canonical basis of the GOC presently under the Primacy of His Beatitude Stephanos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece.

 In 1924, and in the succeeding years until 1935, a majority of the bishops of Greece decided not to follow the Orthodox (Julian) calendar (the old calendar). Instead, they adopted the new calendar. By this act, they fell under the judgements of the Pan-Orthodox Councils of 1583, 1587, and 1593, and many other Local Councils held by the Greek Church herself. The majority of the Greek people went along with their bishops. However, from the beginning, a minority of the people remained on the Church calendar. They would not place themselves under the leadership of the new calendar bishops. They called themselves the TOC (True Orthodox Christians). They were collectively known as the "Traditionalists," or "The Old Calendarists." For eleven years, the faithful were without bishops and they were harshly persecuted.

One of the bishops, Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina, retired from his position in the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a protest to the introduction of the new calendar.

In 1925, on September 14 (Julian Calendar), the Feast of the Exaltation of the Precious Cross, the Cross appeared in the heavens over the church of St. John the Theologian on Mount Mymettos, just outside Athens, where two thousand faithful had gathered to celebrate the Vigil. The police, who were sent by Archbishop Chrysostom of Athens to break up the service and arrest the priest, were converted. Since then, this vision has been considered a sign of God's approval of the act of separation of the GOC from the new calendar Churches.

In 1929, in July, Archbishop Chrysostom Papadopoulos of the New Calendarist State Church of Greece, called a meeting of his Synod in an effort to legitimize the adoption of the new calendar and to condemn all those who remained faithful to the traditional Church calendar. Of the forty-four bishops present, thirteen depart from the Synod meeting, twenty-seven refuse to endorse his decree. Only four bishops sign.

On May 12/25, 1935, three Greek bishops: Metropolitan Germanos of Demetrias (second in authority in the State Church of Greece), Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina (a retired bishop of the Ecumenical Patriarchate), and Metropolitan Chrysostom of Zakynth, assumed the leadership of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece. They officially declared in an official Encyclical, as a synod of living bishops, that the new calendar Churches were in a state of schism. They then consecrated four new bishops, one of whom was Bishop Matthew of Bresthena.

In the face of intense persecution, two of the newly consecrated bishops, (Christophoros (Hatzi) of Megara, Polykarpos (Liosi) of Diavleia, and also Chrysostomos of Zakynth, one of the original three, joined the New Calendarist Church, leaving four bishops: Germanos of Demetrias (the president of the Holy Synod), Chrysostomos (Kavourides) of Florina, Germanos (Varykopoulos) of the Cyclades, and Matthew (Matthaios Karpathakes) of Vrestheni (Bresthena).

Then, in June 1937, the President of the Holy Synod, Metropolitan Germanos of Demetrias, joined Metropolitan Chrysostom, the retired bishop of Florina, in declaring (contrary to the Encyclical of 1935) that the New Calendarists were not actually schismatic, but only "potentially" schismatic, and that their Mysteries retained sanctifying grace. Metropolitan Matthew of Bresthena issued an Encyclical on 17/30 June, calling on the two Metropolitans to return to the Orthodox Confession of 1935. They refused to reply, leaving Metropolitan Matthew with no choice but to cease fellowship with them, which he did, on 5/18 September.

On 9/22 September, Metropolitans Germanos of Demetrias and Chrysostom of Florina changed their minds and issued an Encyclical in which they reaffirmed the Encyclical of 1935. However, on 9 November, Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina wrote a strongly worded letter to Metropolitan Germanos of the Cyclades in which he admonished Metropolitan Germanos for receiving New Calendarists by Chrismation, and again repeated his errors of June. Because of this letter, Metropolitan Germanos of the Cyklades also severed communion with the two bishops, Metropolitans Germanos of Demetrias and Chrysostom of Florina, and re-established communion with Bishop Matthew.

We shall now pass over some details (for a time, none of the four bishops were in communion with each other). Suffice to say, the Greek Old Calendarists have been divided ever since into the GOC, and those who are not a part the GOC. They are commonly known as the "Florinites." These Churches represent themselves as having roots in the original Parataxis of Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina.

In 1943, Metropolitan Germanos of Demetrias petitioned the New Calendarist Church to receive him as a bishop. The petition was refused. As a result, Metropolitan Chrysostom severed communion with Germanos, and remained as the only bishop of his movement. In 1944, Metropolitan Germanos died, and was buried by the New Calendarists.

In 1944, Metropolitan Chrysostom issued an Encyclical re-affirming his teaching that the New Calendarists were only “potentially” in schism. In the same year, he was joined by the wavering bishops Christophoros Hatzi and Polykarpos Liosi, who left the State Church for a time. In November 1944, Metropolitan Chrysostom told the newspaper Eleutheria that he would never consecrate another bishop, since his "Parataxis" (party, or movement) existed only as a safeguard against the errors of the New Calendarists, and was not intended to replace the State Church.

Since Metropolitan Matthew was advanced in age, and alone, the faithful of the GOC began to urge him to proceed with the consecration of bishops, so that the original, Traditional, old calendar episcopate of the Church of Greece could be continued. After "turning to bishops of other nationalities and jurisdictions," (quoted from the letter sent to the Synod of Bishops of the ROCOR), and after failing to find a co-consecrator (Metropolitan Germanos of the Cyclades was imprisoned at the time and refused to agree to a new consecration, even by letter, for fear of even harsher persecution), Metropolitan Matthew, alone, consecrated Bishop Spyridon (Pasios) of Trimython, and then the two of them together consecrated more new bishops. That was in 1948. In 1949, Metropolitan Matthew was elected Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, and in 1950 he reposed in the Lord, having faithfully served our Savior and His Church, and having preserved the episcopate of the Church of Greece. He was a true Orthodox Confessor.

In 1955, on September 8/21, Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina, the last remaining separated bishop, died, leaving no successor bishops for his movement (Parataxis). As was pointed out above, his intention was not to provide for a succession of bishops. This marks the end of the Florinite episcopate and the end of its lineage to the pre-1924 Greek old calendar episcopates of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the State Church of Greece.

From 1955 to 1960, the movement remained without bishops, as was the intention of Metropolitan Chrysostom; however, it was governed by a twelve-member commission of priests.

In 1960, a deposed former member of the GOC, Akakios (Papas), received an uncanonical consecration from Archbishop Seraphim of Chicago and Detroit, a Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) bishop, assisted by the Romanian New Calendar Bishop Theophilus (Ionescu). It was uncanonical due to the fact the ROCOR Synod of bishops forbad, twice, the consecration to take place, and one of the bishops was a New Calendarist. The consecration was also against the will, while he was still alive, of the reposed Metropolitan Chrysostom. Despite the ROCOR's refusal, the two bishops proceeded with the consecration. Later, the Holy Synod of the ROCOR recognized the consecration. The movement of Metropolitan Chrysostom now took the first step, with the Akakios consecration, in establishing a Local (Akakian) Church. By doing so, it placed itself in direct opposition to the GOC which was already the Local Greek Church, on Greek soil, adhering to the old calendar.

In 1971, the GOC, under the Primacy of Archbishop Andreas (+2005), petitioned the ROCOR for unity in "the sacred struggle for Orthodoxy." Unity was establish. However, five years later, in 1976, this unity was broken because of concelebrations with the New Calendarists by Archbishop Anthony of Geneva.

For a more in-depth look at the history of the GOC, including her relationship to the ROCOR, please refer to the end of this page.

Those who are separated from the GOC have accused our Holy Synod of being uncanonical because of the single-bishop consecration of Bishop Spyridon (even though the Greek Church, herself, ratified, in Council, the lone-bishop consecrations of three bishops by Bishop Gabriel of Zarna, in 1825. This ratification took place nine years after the fact!). We maintain that this act of pastoral discretion (economia) was necessary under the circumstances and that it is in accordance with the Apostolic Injunctions (The RUDDER, p.4), which state: ". . . The Apostolic Injunctions (Bk. VIII, ch. 27), on the other hand, command that anyone (a bishop) ordained by a single bishop be deposed from office along with the one who ordained him, except only in the case of persecution or some other impediment by reason whereof a number of bishops cannot get together and he has to be ordained by one alone, just as was Siderius of Palaibisca, according to Synesius, not by three, but by one bishop, Philo, because of the scarcity of bishops in those times." So the Holy Synod of the GOC finds it difficult to take this accusation of "uncanonical" seriously.

As the only Greek Holy Synod that has, from the beginning, steadfastly remained faithful to Orthodoxy, and at the same time continues the historic episcopate of the Churches of Greece, the GOC truly, and historically, is the continuation of the Traditional, old calendar Churches of Greece. We hope for an end to the sad division between the GOC of Greece, and all the TOCs who are not united with us. By the grace of God, most of the TOC Synods have abandoned Metropolitan Chrysostom's teaching of the new calendar Church being "potentially schismatic," and recognize the New Calendar Churches as being in heresy (ecumenism.)

IMPORTANT UPDATE:
Recently, a Union of the Orthodox Community in Resistance ("Cyprianites"), with the Church of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece ("Kalinikites"), occurred "...on the Tuesday of the Third Week of Great Lent, March 5/18, 2014, and was officially proclaimed by a "Union" Liturgy concelebrated on March 10/23, 2014, on the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross" (The Ecclesiastical Union, A. Preface.) However, without the GOC, Complete union has still not been achieved. May God grant the healing.
(One problem, among several, preventing union with the GOC: The "Union" teaches there are heretics in the Church as well as outside the Church. This teaching needs immediate clarification.)



If you are interested in learning more about  the GOC,
an 80 page book titled:
"GENUINE ORTHODOX CHURCH OF GREECE (GOC):
A Brief History and Commentary"
is available.
Please click here.