The Sacred Synod of the

Church of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece


ENCYCLICAL

Protocol No. 3280/28-11-2007


Published in

ATHENS (Only The Original In Greek Is Official)

FEBRUARY, 2008


To the Sacred Clergy, the Monastic Orders and the Pious Laity


           Children, beloved in the Lord!


“The right hand of the Lord hath wrought power……”


In these latter days of the world, where there is apostasy and rebellion of the many against the principles of Faith and Orthodox Confession, there are, according to the prophetic words of the Apostle Paul “terrible times.” “For men will be,“ he writes, “lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despises of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.” And concluding, he counsels all of us saying, “From such, turn away.” (II Timothy 3:1-5)


        Living in our times, we are all witnesses of the emboldening of the devil against the righteous God. On a daily basis, we observe, because of our own sins and the permission of God, the continually spreading authority of the enemy over the nobility of human nature and over all our natural environment.

All around us, we see shamelessly manifested and praised: alienation, corruption, degeneration, and the imposition of that which is unnatural as if it were natural. Beginning with the opening of the way by desensitization, there follows the total overturning of every principle and every moral order and justice. And all this in the name of progress and human freedom.

But our Lord God doth live unto the ages! And His Church, which is “the pillar and foundation of truth,” as the Apostle of the nations declares, lives unto the ages founded upon the Lord’s words: “and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”

She walks humbly and piously upon her martyric path in the world from the time of the holy Apostles even until today, while her children, in the words of Holy Scripture, are “…destitute, afflicted, tormented,” but being witnessed to by faith, they “…subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness and obtained promises….

From the very day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples of Christ, leading them unto “all the Truth,” the Church has never ceased facing the attacks and assaults of the devil, the enemy of Truth, who as the “prince of this world,” desperately attempts to take revenge upon our God in Trinity, the Former and Creator of all, by abusing all of the Divine creation, but especially man, who was formed in the image of God.

Schisms, heresies, and rebellions have throughout the ages troubled, and even now trouble, the Church and are all the works of the “prince of this world,” having as their source his continual maniacal warring against the Creator God.

Children beloved in the Lord!

The “first schism” in the New Testament, the rebellion and betrayal of Judas, is the pattern and example of every schism or apostasy that followed throughout the ages. Similar movements and behaviors are manifested and realized from then even until today.

The Seven Ecumenical Synods; Pan Orthodox Synods held in various places; and the Local Synods; stood up to, with the Grace of the holy Spirit, the imitators of Judas throughout the ages, that is, the leaders of heresies, and showed them to be in error, and their heretical teachings to be kakodoxies.

Gnostics, Cathars, Nikolaites, Arians, Nestorians, Monophysites, Patropaschites, Monothelites and others, (in our days, the Ecumenists and whatever other deniers of the Orthodox Faith and Confession), are all examples of those who troubled the people of the Church, tearing asunder the unsewn Robe of Christ as imitators of Judas.

But the Church of Christ lives unto the ages!

However, it is natural and understandable that every heresy, every ecclesiastical schism or separation that sprouted forth, brought difficult times to the peace, like-mindedness, and unity of the members of the Church.

The harmony, concerning God, of those who are sincere in their relationship to God, that is, the Orthodox Confession of the members of the Church, is threatened by the disagreement and the battling evoked by those who do not have an Orthodox Confession, that is, by those members of the Church who act insincerely toward God, in opposition to the Orthodox Confession which they held up to now. And, as we are informed by St. Gregory the Theologian: “Nothing is mightier for the harmony of those who are sincere toward God as their agreement in Godly matters. And nothing creates antagonism like disagreement in this matter.” (Sermon VI Eirenical I).

But while the Church receives attacks and wounds from those who deny the Truth, and even while many of her children distance themselves and fall from the Truth, she, herself, as the Body of Christ, remains unto the ages. According to St. John Chrysostomos, “… being warred against, she is victorious; plotted against, she prevails; being cursed, she is made even more brilliant; she receives wounds, but does not succumb to the ulcers; she is battered by waves but does not sink; she is tempest tossed, but suffers not shipwreck; she wrestles, but is not beaten; stricken by fists, but is not crushed….” (Second Homily To Eutropios) Yet, all the while, she struggles and uses every means, and tries in every way to return to her all who have been beguiled into error from the Truth and Tradition of Orthodoxy.

All of this is true, because the work of the Church in the world is the revelation of the will of God unto mankind and its participation in the eternal life and the Kingdom. In addition, she works for the gathering of those who are scattered and the return of those who have strayed from the path of Truth. As we read in the prayer of the Anaphora of the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great: “… gather up those who are scattered, restore those who have strayed and unite them to the Holy and Apostolic Church …”

The Holy Church experienced a tempest in our times when, in 1924, the Ecumenical Patriarchate; the local Church of Greece; and, in consequence, other Patriarchates and local Orthodox Churches, accepted the introduction of the New Papal Calendar and its imposition upon the Ecclesiastical Festal Calendar as the first step to the pan-heresy of Ecumenism.

Having come to this difficult situation, the Orthodox Church in Greece remained, as is known, until 1935, without Orthodox Bishops, even while many of her clergy, along with many monastics, mainly from Holy Mountain, labored to fortify the people in the struggle for piety and the defense of the Tradition of the Fathers.

Thus, In 1935, the Orthodox Church in Greece (having found her canonical, Orthodox, ecclesiastical leadership by means of the return of three Bishops from the New Calendarist Innovation and their rejection of the Innovation) struggled to accomplish her purpose: the healing of the New Calendarist schism and the returning to her (due to the rejection, by the three Bishops, of New Calendarist Ecumenism) of those who had been led astray.

In 1937, however, a new schism troubled the Church when Metropolitan Chrysostomos, formerly of Florina, rejected his original Orthodox Confession and put forward his kakodox teaching of the “potential but not actual” schismatic nature of the New Calendarist schism, which made, by this means, the New Calendarist “Church” simply “subject to trial,” but not in actual schism from the beginning (as she had been considered by all the faithful members of the Church) with all the consequences of this condition,

In 1948, by condescension, the ever-memorable Bishop of Vresthena and afterwards Archbishop of Athens, Matthew I, after many fruitless attempts to re-unite all the Bishops who followed the traditional Ecclesiastical Festal Calendar in the Orthodox Confession of Faith, consecrated Bishops alone, thus passing along Apostolic Succession to those Bishops he consecrated and thus preserving unchanged and pure the traditional Orthodox Faith and Ecclesiastical teaching.

The unjust attacks and the theologically unfounded assaults by those who strayed from and who were torn from the Body of the Church (the clerical and lay followers of Metropolitan Chrysostomos, formerly of Florina) under the pretext of the “consecrations by one bishop” (consecrations of Bishops by Matthew of Vresthena) once again threatened the struggling Church with a tempest.

Under the Episcopal leadership of the successors of Archbishop Matthew, the Church continues her work. In addition, she continues to struggle for the healing of the New Calendarist schism along with the return of those who were, and are today, torn away: Metropolitan Chrysostomos, formerly of Florina, who refused, and now his followers, citing uncanonical status because of the consecration of Bishops by one Bishop.

In this continuous attempt of the Church, that is, the return to her of those who had strayed according to St. Basil, there occurred by the permission of God inapt deeds and actions on the part of the Ecclesiastical Leadership, and human errors, among which were the cheirothesias of the year 1971. When, in that year, a Synodical representation of Bishops traveled to America, and coming into contact with the Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad, and placing before their Synod the request that they examine and judge the matter of the Episcopal consecrations by one bishop of 1948, so that the excuses relating to this matter by the followers of Metropolitan Chrysostomos, formerly of Florina, might cease, accepted the relevant Decision of the Synod of the Russian Church Abroad.

Wherefore, because of the lack, to date, of a consistent, single, stable, and correct (from an Orthodox standpoint) position concerning the cheirothesias of 1971, and because of this lack, many and various questions concerning this matter which are expressed via a variety of opinions which of late became the cause of things concerning the cheirothesias of 1971 (being said by persons who war against the Church in various ways) the Sacred Synod of the Bishops of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece, moved by pastoral concerns and responsibility, needed to act accordingly.

And so it was that the Holy and Sacred Synod, the time having come and the circumstances insuring (and the impediments for the ecclesiastical confrontation in its fullness having disappeared) in the fear of God and with full understanding and sure knowledge of our Episcopal responsibility, met and considered together this matter (of the cheirothesias) during the Meeting of the Holy Synod of the Hierarchy of the Church of the T.O.C. of Greece, which took place on the 27th of December, 2007, under the presidency of His Beatitude Archbishop Nikolaos of Athens and All Greece,, and with the participation of all the Members of the Holy Synod: that is, the Metropolitan of Argolis k.k. Pachomios, the Metropolitan of Peristerion k.k. Galaction, the Metropolitan of Verroia and Naousa k.k. Tarasios, the Metropolitan of Thevae and Levadeia k.k. Andreas, the Bishop of Phillipi k.k. Chrysostomos, who was represented by the Very Rev. Abbot Archimandrite Stephanos Tsakiroglou, and the Chief Secretary, the Very Rev. Protopresbyter Demetrios Tsarkatzoglou. It is concerning this work (matter), and of the unanimous Decision taken in this regard, that we, as canonical Shepherds and leaders of the rational Flock of the Church of Christ, now humbly inform you by these presents.

The ambition and the greedy disposition of burdensome men, and the general spirit of our times, inspired by Western philosophy and shaped on the anvil of impiety and the denial of our God, were the motivational power behind those who attacked ecclesiastical piety; who by many and various excuses acted and succeeded in the imposition of New Calendarism as the first step of the already planned-upon and since applied (as is provided for by the (Ecumenical) Patriarchal Encyclical of 1920)) pan-heresy of Ecumenism, which, for reasons God alone knows, was followed by all the Bishops of the Church of Greece.

Thus, the Church of Greece which was left orphaned of Orthodox Bishops in 1924, after 11 years, in 1935 acquires once again canonical ecclesiastical leadership in the persons of the three Bishops who returned from the Innovation and confessed Orthodoxy; that is, Metropolitan Chrysostomos Demetriou of Zakynthos, Metropolitan Chrysostomos Kavouridis formerly of Florina, and Metropolitan Germanos Mavromatis of Demetrias, who also consecrated four Bishops to form a canonical Holy Synod, among whom was the Athonite Hieromonk Matthew Karpathakis, who was canonically consecrated Bishop of Vresthena.

Therefore, his consecration, as well as those he performed in 1948, proceeds in succession from the Holy Apostles and their successors, the Orthodox canonical Bishops of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. And all the Episcopal consecrations of Bishops of the Church of Christ (which is called in these times the Church of the T.O.C. or True Orthodox Church to distinguish her from the Innovating Church) in Greece, up until now (given indeed that no other Bishop, not of those who returned in 1935, nor of those four who were consecrated in that same year, performed consecrations in Greece) draw their succession in these latter times from the aforementioned Consecrations of 1935 and those performed in the year 1948 by the Confessor of Orthodoxy, the ever-memorable Archbishop of Athens, Matthew (+1950).

And without question, the Episcopal consecrations which were performed in 1948 by the then Bishop of Vresthena and later Archbishop of Athens, Matthew (the first of which he performed alone) are considered to be (and are, indeed, from a dogmatic and ecclesiological point of view) complete and genuine, in so far as the grace and authority of the episcopate was transmitted.

We say this despite the noted transgression, or rather deviation, from the order provided for by the sacred canons concerning the participation of at least two or three bishops at the consecration of a bishop, taking into account the ecclesiastical situation then: that is, on the one hand the refusal of the bishops in Greece, who followed the traditional calendar, (Metropolitans Chrysostomos formerly of Florina and Germanos of the Cyclades Islands), to act together with him (under the condition that they would have previously been in harmony as regards Orthodox Confession) in the Consecration of Bishops. Bishop Matthew responsibly urged these ordinations for the good of the Church and the salvation of the faithful, even though and despite his advanced age he continued to struggle mightily for the Orthodox Confession; and on the other hand the stubborn clinging of the aforementioned two bishops in supporting kakodox positions and theories and the unquestionable ecclesiastical need, in the midst of this situation, of the assurance of the Apostolic succession of the episcopate.

This, in retrospect, has been clearly certified by the consequences (of the consecrations) to the point that, today, those consecrations are considered of the greatest importance for the Church of Greece and even beyond, relevant to the Struggle of True Orthodox against the Innovation of New Calendarism and the Pan Heresy of Ecumenism.

The cheirothesias which occurred in 1971, under whatever form and meaning they took place, and under whatever interpretation they might be viewed, according to the faith of the True Orthodox Church of Greece and indeed in the conscience of her ecclesiastical flock, neither added to, nor completed, anything to the validity, to the fullness, to the grace, or to the power of the Episcopate of the Bishops of the Church of the T.O.C. of Greece; and further, from a strictly canonical point of view, it should never have even occurred, because Bishops consecrated by one Bishop according to the canonical order of the Church are either recognized by her, or they are condemned and punished; since they are considered, in one way or the other, as Bishops having the fullness of the Episcopate from their very consecration.

Cheirothesia” performed upon Orthodox clergy is not provided for at all, nor is it permitted under any interpretation whatsoever. In the practice of the Church, cheirothesia was implemented only upon schismatics to validate the invalidly performed mystery of their ordination. Even if understood as a blessing or a simple prayer, cheirothesia means a vitalization and validation of those things performed invalidly by heretics or schismatics. (See Canon VIII of the First Ecumenical Synod, the Letter of the First Ecumenical Synod to Alexander of Alexandria, Act I of the Seventh Ecumenical Synod, and the relevant commentary of St. Nikodemos in the Rudder.)

Consequently, in order for the relevant Decision of the Synod of the Russian Church Abroad (Prot. No. 16-II/15)28-9-1971) concerning the Bishops consecrated by the Bishop of Vresthena in 1948 (by which the “cheirothesia” upon the Bishops of Corinth Callistos and Kition Epiphanios was decided) to be within the limits of canonicity, it was necessary for it (the ROCOR Synod, trans. note) to choose theoretically between only two choices, either of which required indispensable canonical foundation for either choice. Either there is the simple recognition, as consecrations performed by oikonomia because of real and unquestionable necessity, or condemnation and punishment as inexcusably (the consecrations) performed, together with the appropriate ecclesiastical penalty, and nothing further.

In this case, the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad should have, if it was to judge justly on the basis of the divine and sacred Canons (the practice of the Church, and the historical conditions and circumstances of that particular ecclesiastical period) recognized these consecrations as dogmatically complete, and as certainly neither wanting nor needing anything further. Instead, as it is known, the aforementioned Synod, accepting and receiving suggestions and pressures of third parties, especially from the Auxentian party (as is obvious from the very text of the Decision), made its choices and decided upon this altogether anticanonical and unfounded decision concerning the cheirothesias of the aforementioned Bishops.

Therefore, as canonical Shepherds of the Church of Christ, with understanding of our responsibility, and humbly accepting the paternal advice of that Atlas of Orthodoxy, St. Mark of Ephesus, according to whom: ”No ecclesiastical matter was ever set aright by compromise, for between truth and falsehood there is nothing,” we unanimously declare that: The actions and deeds of that period, (which occurred in the context of the effort of the Church for union within the Church and the healing of schisms, [especially that of the followers of Metropolitan Chrysostomos formerly of Florina, the leaders of whom, on the pretext of the “consecration by one bishop,” gave this (“consecration”) as the excuse against union, and among which actions is the cheirothesia which was based upon an unacceptable and most condemnable (from an ecclesiastical and canonical point of view) Synodal Decision; as well as the previous to this hasty entering into communion with the Russian Church Abroad without the required canonical presuppositions and guarantees, and the acceptance of her as Judge in our ecclesiastical matters, but especially the subsequent acceptance in Greece of the aforementioned Synodal Decision of the Russian Church Abroad1, and the application subsequently of this Decision’s requirement of “cheirothesia” of the rest of the Members of the Holy Synod) were, and are, adjudged ERRONEOUS, and as such are condemned and rejected.

        The Holy Synod, with the very same Faith and Confession which she had from the beginning concerning the Episcopal Consecrations of 1948, (by which Apostolic Succession was assured) has even, up until today, consecrated her Bishops; and again, whenever she judges it needful, she will proceed to elect and consecrate new Bishops for the further strengthening and progress of the work of the Church of Greece, which, by Divine Grace, she preserves unchanged the sacred Deposit and especially the Apostolic Succession unsullied, these two characteristics of the Church of Christ, are indeed the necessary presuppositions of the salvation in Christ of the faithful within the Church.

        Concerning the Decision of the Bishops to refer the matter of the ordination by one Bishop of the ever-memorable Hierarch and Confessor of Orthodoxy Matthew, to the Synod of the Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad, it must be clarified that there was never any doubt or ambivalence on their part concerning the validity and fullness of these ordinations, but only of the theoretical recognition, and this as the result of a healthy ecclesiastical mentality of an ecclesiastical “being subject to trial” before the appropriate ecclesiastical body for judgment and investigation if, and to what extent (the ordinations by one Bishop) were, or were not, justified. And even this, not because there was any ambivalence on our part, but chiefly as an expression of the concern of the Church for those outside of Her who followed the traditional Calendar, but who used, as reasons, such things as excuses and justifications for the continuation of schisms and divisions among them, in order precisely to heal these very schisms. This desire was not expressed willy-nilly, from time to time, but formally and Synodically. It was expressed clearly and in documents (among other times) by the Pastoral Encyclical of the Holy Synod on March 1, 1957, which, it must be noted, was signed (along with the other signatory member Bishops) by the four Bishops who were consecrated in 1948 by the ever-memorable Archbishop Matthew, where, among other matters, the following is mentioned:

“…And the portion of those who disagree, being led astray and leading others to stray, causes division by preaching that the Bishops not be recognized because of the taking place of the supposedly anticanonical consecration of a Bishop by one Bishop.

Children beloved in the Lord,

This refusal to recognize is an error; it is an excuse for division. It has been witnessed scientifically and historically that dogmatically the consecration is valid. Dogmatically, the Bishops are in order. They are Bishops having the fullness of Episcopal authority. The matter is solved. For the sake of ecclesiastical order from the standpoint of administration in this matter the question is judgeable before the appropriate Synod for investigation if the consecration was justified, and if it was not, then the application of the appropriate penalties. Therefore there might be some justification to contend that there is here a matter yet to be judged, which neither invalidates, nor impedes, nor suspends the full exercise of the Episcopal authority. All of our Episcopal activities and deeds are absolutely valid canonically and dogmatically until the calling-together of an Orthodox Synod in which circumstance we might be condemned administratively. Therefore it is an excuse which is put forward as an unjustified reason to justify the work of division.

Even though this canonical and NOT DOGMATIC pretext is offered, it is not generally accepted, yet, for the sake of unity, for the sake of the Struggle, for the sake of love, for the sake of peace, we accept being administratively subject to trial, eager to come before a Canonical Orthodox Synod, whenever it might come together to render an account and to be judged for the administrative rationale of the consecration of a Bishop by one Bishop, which took place in a time of circumstantial need for the sake of the faithful …


              “Your Fervent intercessors before the Lord,

The Holy Synod,

+Demetrios of Thessalonika, President

+Spyridon of Trimythus, +Andreas of Patras

+Kallistos of Corinth, +Bessarion of Trikki and Stagae

+Ioannis of Thevae and Levadeia, Meletios of Attica and Megaris

+Matthew of Vresthena, +Anthimos of Piraieus


Concerning the problematical reception from the beginning, at least in Greece, of whether or not to accept the cheirothesias that had occurred, there must be a reference to the reluctance of certain Bishops to accept it upon themselves, their total refusal, as that of the rest of the clergy to act and to received it upon themselves, despite whatever the Synodal Decision required in this relevant matter.

As for the clear rejection of the cheirothesias under the meaning of completion or of activation of the Episcopate of the Hierarchs who drew their Episcopate from the Bishops consecrated by Matthew of Vresthena, there was the characteristic canonical confrontation of the then Metropolitan Callistos who believed such things (the canonical need for cheirothesia) who was finally deposed by the Holy Synod in September of 1977, and who then joined the Auxentian party.

It is important that it be noted, that all the bishops of the True Orthodox Church and successors of the Bishops consecrated by the ever-memorable Hierarch Matthew (despite whatever they might be accused of as appropriate and certainly responsible for ecclesiastical matters from the standpoint of human frailties, omissions and mistakes) they, nevertheless, never accepted the cheirothesias that occurred as a completion or activation or establishment of their Episcopate, but as a means of lifting the “subjection to trial” because of the infringement of the canonical order in the consecration of a bishop by one bishop, and even this, by fear of God and respect for canonical order, being ignorant or having unclear knowledge of it, and by extension a clear position of it in this meaning, it (the cheirothesia, trans. note) was permissible or acceptable. Unfortunately, instead of the Bishops of that time being helped by their theological advisors, who were better educated, they were given by them unfortunate advice. So, because of weak support from these advisors of strong and correct ecclesiological positions, and receiving instead confused, ignorant or otherwise poor positions, they depended upon weak foundations. Consequently, by adopting and accepting these positions, the ecclesiastical and canonical confrontation of this matter was alienated, and was replaced by positions and declarations or Decisions which could be challenged as to the consistency and canonicity of their foundations and criteria.

Concerning the admixture or the participation in the dealing with the matter of the cheirothesias of those who have only recently come forward as critics of the Holy Synod, that is, the former Metropolitan of Mesogaea and Lavreotiki k.k. Kirikos2 and those with him, who have chosen this matter to distract their followers from the shipwreck they have suffered in matters of the Faith which has been accomplished by their support, even unto warring against the Church, of the ecclesiological and Trinitarian innovation concerning “the communion of the three Divine Persons as the first beginningless Church,” we must refer to the Patristic saying of Saint Basil the Great: “We will instruct the ignorant, but we will not tolerate evil doers,” that during the thirty years that have passed, their position and contribution in this matter (the cheirothesia) has been, in the final analysis, negative. They have been unsuccessful, in any case, in hiding behind their supposed confessional zeal and their merciless condemnation and judgment of everyone as diminishers and deniers of an Orthodox confession; they are greatly responsible for the obvious dearth of theological and Patristic criteria in their positions and activities, and for their unprecedented immoderation in their positions, opinions and suggestions relevant to this matter.

It is especially indicative and revelatory concerning them that they (while in 1977, by their “Report/Accusation” of 9-10-1977 to the Holy Synod of the T.O.C., among other things) accept that the cheriothesias took place, which indeed they characterize as “anti-canonical and blasphemous;” and while yet a lay theologian, the former Metropolitan of Mesogaea, already from the year 1972, supported in his relative “Opinion” that the cheriothesias that had occurred were an attack on the consecrations of 1948, and that we must, having confessed the error of accepting it, reject it3. They have, therefore, become their own deniers: on the one hand, denying the historical truth and reality saying that the cheirothesia did not even occur as an event, or that, of late, they have supposedly been informed of what really happened, “playing,” essentially, “in things that should not be played with;” and on the other hand, contending that whoever should imagine and declare “that mistakes were made” on the matter of the “cheirothesias” of 1971, attacks and does away with the Episcopal Consecrations of 1948! (“Confession of Orthodox Faith,” Holy Metropolis of Mesogaea and Lavreotiki, 6-9-2006.)

We pray, however, 1) that the grace of God will help them to take up their responsibilities in coming to an understanding of their great and burdensome activities against the Truth of the Church; 2) they will repent; being helped in this effort by the exhortation of one of the great fathers of the Church who, very much to the point, comments, saying: “We shall see all these things together as if presented before us: all of our works shown before our faces in our minds in their individual forms, each thing as it was pronounced and as it was enacted.” (St. Basil the Great, Sermon on Repentance)

However, as is our responsibility, according to the Psalms: “Incline not my heart unto words of evil to make excuse with excuses in sins …” (Psalm 140). We reject the cheriothesias that took place under whatever form in which it may have taken place, because according to the divine Scriptures “ … there is shame which brings about sin and there is shame of glory in Grace. Take not into account persons against your soul and be not ashamed in your fall. Impede not word in time of salvation; for in the word shall be known wisdom and trial in the words of the tongue. Unto death struggle for the sake of truth and the Lord God shall fight for you.” (Wisdom of Sirach) At this point, it is required that we refer to the agreeing opinion concerning the ecclesiastical and canonical confrontation of this matter according to God of our ever memorable Archbishop of Athens and our Spiritual Father Kyros Andreas, who (according to his text which he read before the meeting of the Holy Synod of Bishops of 5/2/2003) on the one hand, spoke of the mistakes that had been made in the handling of this matter because of human weakness, and on the other hand, he emphasized that in the consciences of the bishops, there had never been any doubt or question of the fullness and completeness of the Episcopal consecrations of the ever memorable Bishop Matthew in 1948. We know and we bear witness that our ever memorable First Hierarch had a fervent desire that the Holy Synod act so as to bring about the final ordering of this matter. This time has come.

Wherefore, the Holy Synod of the True Orthodox Church of Greece by Her unanimous decision of all the holy Bishops of which It is composed (showing care for the Truth and only for the Truth, for according to the sacred Scriptures, the Church is “… the Pillar and Foundation of Truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15), and according to the voice of the fathers, “ …those who are of the Church are of the Truth; and those who are not of the Truth are not of the Church of Christ.” (St. Gregory Palamas), and having responsibility before God and men, by the Grace and the help of our Lord and God Jesus Christ, Who is the Eternal Head of the Church, shepherding the flock of the Church unto pastures of salvation) recognizes and confesses, as it should, that those human errors which happened in this matter because of ignorance, and carelessness, and erroneous understanding of Her representative and ministers for which she begs the mercy of the man-befriending God according to the Wisdom of Sirach: “… we shall fall in the hands of the Lord and not into the hands of men, for as His majesty is great so is His mercy”, are rejected (as has already been said, not only the cheirothesias that occurred in the United States of America, but also that which occurred in Greece) as actions incompatible with the Canonical order and the Orthodox Tradition relevant to the validity and fullness of Episcopal Consecrations by one canonical and totally Orthodox Bishop, even if alone, especially when this action was required by a truly unquestionable ecclesiastical need to transmit the Episcopate and to continue the work of the Church of Christ, embattled as She is by heresies and schisms and especially by the Pan-Heresy of Ecumenism..

This being the case, we call upon the Lord our God as our helper, and taking to heart the fear of Him, and having in mind the future judgment, we gird the loins of our intellect in truth and being vigilant in everything in an apostolic manner, we judge a balanced judgment: so that every innovation, subtraction or addition we weed out without further delay as being as weeds admixed with pure wheat and as being antagonistic to truth and warring upon the Church. For those things passed onto the Church are not simply yes and no, but are yes in Truth and remain impregnable and unshaken unto the ages.

Wherefore, together with the authentic recapitulation of the Orthodox Teaching of the Holy Fathers and of him who has been shown forth as the Greatest Theologian nearest to our time, our God-Bearing Father of the Church, Saint Gregory Palamas Archbishop of Thessalonica, we confess:

+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+

    “One God before all, over all, in all, and above everything do we worship and believe in, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is Unity in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, unconfusedly united and indivisibly divided, the same Unity and Trinity, being all-powerful.

    “The Father is without beginning, not only as being outside time, but also as being in every way without cause. He alone is the cause, root and source of the Godhead beheld in the Son and the Holy Spirit; He alone is the primary cause of what has come into being; He is not the Creator alone, but the sole Father of the one Son and the sole Originator of the one Holy Spirit. He always is, and is always the Father and always the sole Father and Originator, greater than the Son and the Spirit, but only as cause; in all other respects He is the same as Them and equal in honor.

    “Of Him there is one Son, without beginning, as being outside time, but not without origin, as having the Father for origin, root and source, from Whom alone He came forth before all ages incorporeally, immutably, impassibly, and by generation, but He was not divided from the Father, being God from God; not one thing insofar as He is God, but another insofar as He is the Son, He always is, and is always the Son and always the sole Son. Always being unconfusedly with God (St. John 1:1), He is not the cause and origin of the Godhead apprehended in the Trinity, since He exists from the cause and origin of the Father, but He is the cause and origin of all that came into being, since an things came into being through Him {St. John 1:3}, Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God (Philppians2:6), but at the end of the ages emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant for our sake. (Philippians 2:7), and was by the law of nature both conceived and born of the Evervirgin Mary by the goodwill of the Father and the cooperation of the Holy Spirit, God and Man at the same time; having become truly incarnate, He was made like us in all things except sin (Hebrews 4:15), remaining what He was, true God, uniting without confusion or change the two natures, wills and energies, and remaining one Son in a single hypostasis even after the Incarnation, performing all the Divine actions as God and all the human actions as Man, being subject to the blameless human passions. Being and remaining impassible and immortal as God, but voluntarily suffering in the flesh as Man, He was crucified, died, and was buried, and rose again on the third day. He appeared to His disciples after the Resurrection, and when He had promised them the power from on high and exhorted them to make disciples of all the nations, to baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and to teach them to observe all that He had commanded (St. Matthew 28:20), He was taken up into Heaven and sat at the right hand of the Father (St. Mark 16:19), making our mixture equal in honor, enthronement and divinity, the mixture with which He is going to come in glory to judge the living and the dead, and to reward each man according to his deeds (St. Matthew 16:27).

    It was then that after ascending to the Father, He sent upon His holy disciples and Apostles the Holy Spirit Who proceeds from the Father. He is co-beginningless with the Father and the Son as being outside time, but not without beginning as Himself also having the Father for root, source and cause, not as generated, but as proceeding; for He also came forth from the Father before all ages immutably and impassibly, not by generation, but by procession being indivisible from the Father and the Son. as proceeding from the Father and resting in the Son, having union without confusion and distinction without division. He is God and is Himself from God, not one thing insofar as He is God, but another insofar as He is the Comforter; He is the self-subsistent Spirit, proceeding from the Father and sent, that is manifested, through the Son, the cause of all that came into being, since they were perfected in Him; the same equal in honor with both the Father and the Son without ingenerateness and generation. He was sent from the Son to His own discip1es, that is, He was manifested. For how otherwise would He Who is not separated from Him be sent by Him? How otherwise, pray tell, would He come Who is everywhere? Wherefore, He is sent not only from the Son, but also from the Father and through the Son; and He comes from Himself when He is being manifested. For the sending. that is the manifestation, of the Spirit is a common work. He is manifested. not according to essence, for no one hath ever either seen or declared the nature of God, but according to grace, power and energy which are common to the Father, the Son and the Spirit. For the hypostasis of each, and whatever belongs to it, is peculiar to each of these. Not only is the super-essential essence, which is entirely nameless, inexpressible and incapable of participation. since it is above every name, expression and participation, common to Them all, but also the grace, the power, the energy, the radiance, the kingdom and the incorruption. and in general everything according to which God communicates and is united by grace with both holy angels and holy men. Departing from His simplicity neither on account of the divisibility and difference of the hypostases, nor on account of the divisibility and variety of powers and energies, we thus have one all-powerful God in one Godhead.. For neither from perfect hypostases couId there ever come about any composition, nor could what is potential, because it has power, or powers, ever truly be called composite by reason of potentiality itse1f.

    In addition, we accord relative veneration to the holy icon of the Son of God, Who was circumscribed as having become incarnate for us, ascribing veneration in a relative manner to the prototype. We venerate the precious wood of the Cross, and all the symbols of His sufferings, as being true divine trophies over the common enemy of our race. In addition to the saving image of the precious Cross, we venerate the divine churches and places, as well as the sacred vessels and the divinely transmitted Scriptures, because of the God Who dwells in them. Likewise, we venerate the icons of alI the Saints. because of our love for them and for God, Whom they truly loved and served, in our veneration lifting our minds up to the figures depicted in the icons. We also venerate the relics of the Saints, since the sanctifying grace of the same has not departed their most sacred bones, just as the Godhead was not separated from the Master's body in His three-day death.

    We know of nothing that is essentially evil; nor is there any other origin of evil than the perversion of rational men, who abuse the free will given them by God. We cherish all the ecclesiastical Traditions, both written and unwritten, and above all the mystical and all-sacred Rite, Communion and Assembly, the source of perfection for all the other rites, at which, in recollection of Him Who emptied Himself without emptying and took flesh and suffered on our behalf, according to the divine command which He Himself fulfills: the most Divine Consecration of the bread and the cup is celebrated, in which these become the life-giving Body and Blood. He bestows ineffable communion and participation on those who approach in purity. We cast aside and subject to anathema al1 those who do not confess and believe as the Holy Spirit foretold through the prophets, as the Lord decreed when He appeared to us through the flesh, as the Apostles preached after being sent by Him; as our Fathers and their successors taught us, but who have either started their own heresy or followed to the end those who have made an evil start

    “We accept and salute the Holy Ecumenical Synods: the one in Nicaea of the 318 God-bearing Fathers, against the God-fighting Arians, who impiously degraded the Son of God down to the level of a creature and sundered the Godhead that is worshipped in Father, Son and Holy Spirit into created and uncreated.; the one after it in Constantinople of the 150 holy Fathers, against Macedonios of Constantinople, who impiously degraded the Holy Spirit down to the level of a creature and no less than the former sundered the one Godhead into created and uncreated; the one after it in Ephesus of the 200 Fathers, against Patriarch Nestorios of Constantinople, who rejected the hypostatic union of divinity and humanity in Christ, and completely refused to call Theotokos the Virgin who truly gave birth to God; and the fourth in Chalcedon of the 630 Fathers, against Eutyches and Dioscoros, who propounded the evil doctrine of one Nature in Christ; and the one after it in Constantinople of the 165 Fathers, against Theodore and Diodoros, who entertained the same ideas as Nestorios and commended his ideas in their writings, and against Origen, Didymos and Evagrios, who were from an older period, but had attempted to infiltrate the Church of God with certain fables; and the one after it in the same city, of the 170 Fathers against Sergios, Pyrrhos and Paul of Constantinople, who rejected the two energies and two wills appropriate to the two natures of Christ; and the one in Nicaea of the 367 Fathers against the Iconoclasts

    “In addition to all these affirmations, we await the resurrection of the dead and the unending life of the age to come. Amen.”

+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+

    In addition to these, we accept and embrace all the Holy Synods which according, to the grace of God, were called together in various times and places to certify matters of piety and evangelical behavior, among which are those called together against the Innovation of the New Calendar and Paschalion in the years 1583,1587, 1593 and 1848, and in general against all the innovations by which the Faith and Order of the Church is upset, and by which those things which we have received from our Holy Fathers are rejected, which for this reason are condemned according to the words of God Who declared aforetime through His prophet Jeremiah concerning them who would introduce innovations into the Church of Christ: “Two evil things have they done: they have abandoned Me Who am the source of the water of life, and they have dug for themselves crushed pits which cannot hold water.” These “crushed pits” are the words of heretics, from which these introducers of this Christianity condemning heresy (as is every heresy and innovation) have brought forth and irrigated their simple followers with this muddy potion, and unto whom the “woe” is directed by the prophetic voice.

    If, therefore, there are some who quarrel with those things which are commanded by their disobedience, they kick against the thorns and are unjust to their own souls and clash with Christ. They slander the Church of Christ and fight with manic warfare against piety, and, in this manner, they are communicants with the ancient heretics, being in conformity and of one nature with them according to their impiety, so that even as our Fathers so regarded them, in like manner do we view these.

    We tread the straight and most unerring and most secure path of salvation which was laid for us by the Holy Fathers before us through their decisions: the path of total separation from the New Calendarist innovation, which in its implementation caused the creation of the New Calendarist schism. This is the path our ever-memorable Father and Hierarch Matthew, trod, and this self-same path, we tread and confess following in his footsteps which he verified by the Episcopal consecrations which he performed in 1948, by which he gave unto us the Apostolic Succession, which we hold along with the Apostolic Faith, and by which we have until now trodden, and by the grace of God we will continue to tread.

    Regarding the cheirothesia which took place in 1971, we regard it (whether in its parts or whether in its entirety) as a decision or as an action (or procedure, or a deed, or as a movement or an attempt by whomsoever, whensoever and under whatsoever form or meaning it took place, or it is said to have taken place,) and is put forth as having occurred. And by whatsoever interpretation the events around it may be viewed, in part or in whole, we remove far away the causes of the unhealthy doubts and whatsoever questions which lead to confusion and error, granting unto the Church her mighty health, and to her members by being in agreement of heart, tongue and hands with the unerring and most secure Confession of the Holy Fathers who preceded us, and of him who followed them in these latter times our ever-memorable Father and Confessor Hierarch Matthew, being as Shepherds leading the Flock, and we judge that this cheirothesia, in whatever way it might be viewed, according to the above mentioned, as being adjudged and understood as ecclesiastically erroneous, and it is therefore rejected and denied, as being without basis and as though never having occurred.

    In addition to all of this, as being of the Body of which our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ is the Head, and as following the exhortation of the holy Father of our Church St. John of Damascos, who wrote: “We stand upon the rock of Faith, and upon the Tradition of the Church, not moving the boundaries which were placed by our Fathers; giving no place to those who would wish to innovate and demolish the edifice of the catholic and apostolic Church of God. For if such license were to be given to anyone who wished it, bit by bit the entire edifice of the Church would be demolished;” we condemn and reject the ecclesiological and Trinitarian Innovation concerning the communion among the divine Persons as being the “first, uncreated Church” as coming from the heresy filled West, indeed from atheist and anti-Christ Papism, and widely disseminated among the New Calendarist/ecumenists being used as a basis for the theories of the pan-heresy of Ecumenism, as a position not witnessed to by the Fathers, as not being transmitted to the Church, and therefore an innovation, and those who defend it and use it as a crutch to theologize as totally excommunicated from the Church until such time as they reconsider and confess the traditional Faith according to the God-inspired theology of the Saints and the reverent piety of the Church.

    Thus do we understand, thus do we believe and thus do we preach.

    This Encyclical, having been read during the regularly-scheduled Meeting of the Sacred Synod on the 28th of November of this year, with the participation of all of her members as well as of the hierarchs of the Autocephalous Church of Cyprus, and having been approved, it is signed as follows:

    In the Year 2007, the 28th of the month of November.


The Sacred Synod

+ Nikolaos of Athens, President

+ Pachomios of Argolis +Galaction of Peristerion

+Tarasios of Verroia and Naousa +Andreas of Theva and Levadeia

+Chrysostomos of Philippi +Panteleimon of Piraeus and the Islands

+Ignatios of Larisa and Ternavo


For the T.O.C. of Cyprus

+Sevastianos of Kition

+Lazaros of Amathous


The Chief Secretary

Protopresbyter Demetrios Tsarkatzoglou

1 Broken off by the Decision of the Sacred Synod No. 1097 of 2/5/1975.See the relative document Prot. No. 1158/20-1976 formal document of the Sacred Synod of the Church of the T.O.C. to the Hierarchy of the Russian Church Abroad.

2 Who is already deposed for kakodoxy and schism by Decision No. 3282/28-11-2007 of the Sacred Synod of the Hierarchy of the Church of the T.O.C. of Greece.

3 Characteristically among other things it refers to the following: “Wherefore let the holy Bishops study this matter and let them seek its remedy. The Church can remedy everything. Let them reject this deed… Let them reject the cheirothesia, while confessing that the made a mistake” (Menas Kontogiannis: “The Cheirothesia,” Athens, 1972)