This Article, (A Translation of which was published in Keryx Gnesion Orthodoxon, issue 294, October, 2002, pp. 249-251) Is Necessary to the Understanding of the Current (2005-6) Schism From the G.O.C. Involving Kyr Kirikos

The Holy Trinity and the Church

As it is well known among the faithful
children of the Church, the Holy Synod of Hierarchs of the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece characterized by her resolution(1) "that the publicly purported position of the theologian Mr. Eleftherios Goutzides that 'the perfect communion of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the perfect and complete communion and inseparable unity of the three divine persons of the one God as being the first beginningless eternal and invisible church(2),' to be a position 'lacking patristic witness, that is, not transmitted by the church [as an orthodox teaching] consequently [being] an innovation.'"

Then followed the obstinate attempt of the above-mentioned theologian to justify and support his position without any real explicit scriptural or patristic substantiation and proof.  Typically, in a desperate bid to justify himself, he even resorted to deception, transferring the central weight of the issue to another point, that of supporting or referring to the Church as an icon of the triune God (whilst he was criticized not for this position, but rather for characterizing the Holy Trinity as being Himself "the first beginningless church").  From this, however, it becomes apparent just how superficially the theologian at hand confronts the matter, for, in order to justify, or rather not confess his fault, and thus assuming analogous responsibility, he did not hesitate to inaugurate new topics, tampering with ease in sectors of which he is ignorant and which fatefully lead him into successive impasses.  Whence eight months have elapsed and, as of yet, he has still not managed, in spite of his relevant manifestos in the magazine Orthodoxos Pnoi,(3) to confront, theologically, the 17-page recommendation of the Most Reverend Metropolitan of Pireaus and Islands Kyr Nicholaos,(4) addressed to the Holy Synod of Hierarchs by which the unacceptable attitude and stance of the theologian Mr. Eleftherios Goutzides, with regard to this issue, is reproved.

However, the above mentioned events do give rise to a prime opportunity allowing us to observe this matter at close range.  It is an issue which, as it seems, possesses greater width and depth further afield than the theological wreckage of this or that theologian, bishop, or even former Metropolitan, like the former Bishop of Thessalonika Chrysostom(5) (who would have expected it?) who has proven to be of one accord and a fellow traveler of Mr. Goutzides in the deluded conviction with respect to the Holy Trinity's being the first Church.

Thus in this small article, and as an initial phase, we are in the position to inform our readers, and anyone interested, that the correlation of Trinitarian Dogma with the Church (that is, the Church's unity or the communion of the Local Churches), truly does constitute a major issue where the involvement or rather the guidance of Ecumenism and its instruments is somewhat more than observable and obvious.

Specifically, the State Church New-Calendarist Metropolitan of Nafpaktos, Kyr Hierotheos Vlahos, who is well known for his anti-ecumenist ecclesiological convictions, when referring to the topic of ecclesiastical union in his recent book The Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Church of Greece (2002), among other points observes: "The unity of the Church cannot be apprehended through the theological dogma of the most Holy Trinity, but rather via the dogma of the Oeconomy, that is Christ's incarnation.  First of all because just as Christ Who with his incarnation united the created with the uncreated, thus likewise union exists in the Church without confusion, division or separation of the created with the uncreated; something that cannot occur in the unity of the Holy Trinity in Which everything is uncreated. 

"Secondly, because the unity and distinction among the Churches cannot be associated with the unity and distinction of Persons (or hypostases) of the Holy Trinity precisely because the unity of Persons of the Holy Trinity owes itself just as much to the sole principality (monarchia) of the Father, as it does to the common essence (ousia) /energy (energeia) [of the All-holy Trinity].  At the same time the distinction of characteristics belonging to each hypostasis (hypostatika idiomata)(6) is located in the Father's begetting before the ages (proaionioV gennan), the Son's being begotten and the procession of the Holy Spirit.  It thus becomes evident that in the way of union and distinction of Persons of the Holy Trinity there can be no correlation with the unity and distinction of the local Churches because it is not possible to pinpoint the essence of the Church, neither of course can one determine, in the Churches, the meaning of timeless begetting, begottoness, and procession, as well as the Fathers sole principality.

"Thirdly, because the unity and distinction of the Churches may be authentically expounded through the undivided distinction of Christ's Body.  As it is known, the Eucharistic Bread is 'divided and distributed… the One who is divided yet not disunited…' This also takes place within the Church which is discerned in local Churches, which are located in various places, yet without any dismemberment, precisely because each local Church is the complete Body of Christ, just like each specific particle of sanctified Bread in the sacred Eucharistic chalice is a complete Christ.

"For these fundamental reasons I prefer, just as we find it in the Patristic texts, to interpret the Church primarily as the Body of Christ and not as a type of the Holy Trinity"

Moreover the "revelations" of the professor of theology Mr. Nicholaos Matsukas in his book Protestantism (3rd edition, pp.197-198 in Greek) are particularly significant: 

"At the Third General Assembly of the World Council of Churches in New Delhi, India in 1961, not only was the presence of the Orthodox Church observable in the course of ecumenical activity, but so too were the fruits of such a presence.  The assembly members decided to revise or broaden the basic charter article so that the Communion of participant Churches in the Assembly, recognizing Christ as Saviour, be guided towards the glorification of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Thus the clause's Christological foundation was broadened to that of a Trinitarian one.  The Orthodox professor-theologian Nikos Nisiotis attempted, by means of his proposal, to lay the foundations of Church unity on the Trinitarian dogma via Pentecost, so that the life of the Spirit may take precedence, rather than forms, types, and creeds, in defining or delineating primarily the boundaries of unity…  This proposal, courageous and most importantly with, essentially, Orthodox foundations aroused intense reactions on the part of not a few Orthodox."

We believe that this is characteristic of Mr. Nikos Nisiotis, who is renown for his ecumenistic opinions, that he "attempted to lay the foundations of unity on the Trinitarian dogma," so that the creeds (such as is Orthodoxy according to the ecumenists) may cease "to define…the boundaries of unity."! 

Enough for the time being, though while already following the commendable interests from our various clergy, we have received significant documentation on this issue from the Papist domain and its directed "ecumenical movement" which, when translated into Greek and evaluated, will be published soon in the pages of our journal.

In conclusion, we remind our readers of the conclusion of Metropolitan Nicholaos'  recommendation to the Hierarchical Synod (14/27 Feb. 2002): "The theological position of Mr. Eleftherios Goutzides is not only unacceptable and mistaken, but also constitutes a distortion of Orthodox ecclesiology and an introduction of the corrupt opinions of the Ecumenists into the realm of the Church." (Keryx Gnesion Orthodoxon, Issue 287 Page 61); and, likewise, the Decision of the Holy Synod of Hierarchs which states: "The position of (Mr. Goutzides) in question constitutes a serious deviation from the Orthodox teaching concerning the Church… expressing the convictions of teachers foreign to the Church, in fact, followers and supporters of the pan-heresy of Ecumenism."  These Synodal documents are founded on the Rock of the Orthodox Faith and the teachings of the Holy Fathers of Christ's Church.

End Notes

1. During its regular meeting on May 17, 2002 (eccl. Cal.)

2. From Mr. Goutzides's speech delivered at the official celebration of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, 1997 in Thessalonika, where he stated: "The perfect communion of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the complete and perfect communion and inseparable unity of the three divine Persons of the one God," as being the "First, beginingless eternal and invisible Church (ecclesia)."

3. The notorious diocesan magazine of Metropolitan Kirikos (trans. note)

4. Now the newly elected and enthroned Archbishop of Athens and All Greece of the G.O.C.

5. Chrysostomos Metropoulos. One of the prime instigators of the 1991-1995 intra-ecclesial disturbances which led to his breaking-away, along with four other Metropolitans, in 1995.  He was placed under indefinite ban (argia) by the Holy Synod.  In late 2002, the remnants of this schism denounced him and placed him under ban over the issue of the "Holy Trinity as beginingless Church" innovation.  NOTE: In  mid-2003, he retaliated by deposing, alone, his antagonists. In his polemics, interestingly enough, he appeals to the authority of Mr. Goutzides's apologetics on this specific issue.  The former Metropolitan Chrysostomos is currently alone with a tiny following.

6. It is vital to remember that each hypostatic characteristic is unique and incommunicable, belonging specifically to each hypostasis, and not to the remaining two.  For example, the Father's characteristic of timeless begetting does not belong to the Son or the Holy Spirit.  The Son's characteristic of being timelessly begotten does not belong to either of the other Persons, and the Holy Spirit's timeless procession from the Father does not belong to the Father or the Son.  (Trans. Note)