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.
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,
Chrysostom of Florina, retired from his position in the Ecumenical
Patriarchate as a protest to the introduction of the new calendar.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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"
Please click here.