FURTHER INFORMATION
ABOUT
THE GENUINE ORTHODOX CHURCH OF GREECE
(part one)

19 April/May 03, 2015
St. John of the Ancient Caves





There has been, of late, much written about the so called "Matthewites," and the so-called GOCs/TOCs/Florinites. The following represents the point of view of a priest of the GOC. Since I am not an official spokesman of the GOC, the Holy Synod of the GOC has the authority to extend and/or revise my opinions and remarks.

NOTE: This article will upset some people, no doubt; however, silence may contribute more to confusion and misunderstanding than to truth and clarity. There are some posters on the Internet lists who may be mistaken for members of the GOC. Certain segments of his article make a distinction between them, and the GOC which they left, or from which they were deposed. Please forgive me. No offense or slander is intended or given; just the recounting of historical and factual information. Those who seek to understand and/or join the GOC (the Primate of which is His Beatitude Stephenos, Archbishop of  Athens and All Greece) must be aware of those who are in separation from Her. In the final analysis, the reader, in good and informed conscience, will have to make the final decision.

The Holy Synod of the GOC is anything but a well kept secret. We have an official website where one may read a short history of the Church and our Orthodoxy. There is a book that has been published about the history of the GOC and our relationship to the TOCs, world orthodoxy, and the ROCOR. It also touches upon the so-called cheirothesia of 1971, and other pertinent topics. We have also been very generous in answering inquiries by email, telephone, and on this and other lists. However, despite the attempt at clearing up slander, misunderstandings, pejorative remarks, fractured accounts of history, and despite the fact that we have answered every inquiry, still, world orthodoxy (and the TOCs) seem not to care about, not want to learn about, or to acknowledge the Holy Synod, preferring instead to ignore the truth about her. Understandable. However, the fault lies not with the GOC, but with those who are of world orthodoxy and with others who will not accept Her. I think the message is getting out to some, it just takes time and, it seems, endless repeating.

If someone really wants a basic understanding of the GOC, he/she should obtain the book advertised here:

Http://www.orthodox-christianity.net/order_book.html

It will give a better understanding of the GOC - its historical and theological stance.

Judging by all the information and misinformation about the Holy Synod on various websites, one would think our bishops, parishes, and missions had no secrets at all.

What some call "uncommunicative, suspicious, and seemingly paranoid," is simply a refusal to be drawn into protracted discussions about whether the GOC is heretical, schismatic, anti-Icon, extremist, unloving, etc. Call me, or any one of our clergy. Questions about the Holy Synod will be answered to the best of our understanding and ability. There have been recent schisms from the GOC that are rooted in personal loyalty and ambition. We do not publicly debate these divisions from us partly due to this fact. Besides, every schism has its apologists. It is futile to engage in vain argument.

Lately, there have been various posters who are trying to relay the facts about the Holy Synod. God bless them. They have, (as we say in English) "a long row to hoe." Why? well, unfortunately, there are some excellent word meisters on the Internet lists who successfully obfuscate, lead off track, and who are also experts at hiding their true understanding of any point that is made. Some, it seems, cannot even recognize the point. Some just do not want to be confused by the facts. And most, I believe, prefer to remain where they are, so, understandably, they are not interested in arriving at a better understanding of why the GOC exists.

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N
ow, for those who do not know, and a refresher for those who do. . .

The GOC is the continuation of the pre-1924 Ecumenical Patriarchate and the State Church of Greece. These two Local Churches went into schism when they accepted the innovation known as the new calendar. A group of traditional (those who refused to accept the unilateral imposition of the new calendar) Orthodox remained apart from the schismatic bishops. They were severely persecuted, murdered, and thrown into prisons. The clergy were banished to monasteries and some were shorn of their hair and beards.

In 1935, three bishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the State Church of Greece, accepted the invitation of the Traditional Orthodox Christians (TOC) and joined them in order to preserve the traditions of the Church and the teachings of the Ecumenical Councils. They proclaimed, as a Holy Synod of Bishops, that the Churches of Greece had become schismatic. The GOC, under the Presidency of His Beatitude Stephanos, is the only Church that may rightfully claim unbroken succession to these bishops of the Pre-1924 Greek Churches. He is the true successor to the Orthodox Throne of Athens And All Greece. All others claimants have their episcopacy derived from a "foreign" Local Church.

In 1937, one of the bishops repudiated his signature on the "proclamation" and insisted that the Greek Churches were only "potentially" schismatic. He, in effect, went into schism from the GOC (TOC).  He later recanted and accepted the "Proclamation" once again, only to change his mind, again, later. Metropolitan (at that time) Matthew, begged him (sometimes quite "directly") to return to his former witness against the innovators, but he was rebuffed. The TOC "Florinites" derive their name from this bishop (Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina) even though they have no genealogical connection to him. He reposed, refusing to establish a Hierarchy to sustain what he referred to as only "a movement" (parataxis). He was the retired bishop of Florina. Upon the repose of Metropolitan Chrysostomos, his episcopal succession to the pre-new calender Churches of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the State Church of Greece was brought to an end. He left the clergy and faithful of his movement without bishops, which was his intention.

In 1948, when "foreign" bishops (Blessed Archbishop Matthew never considered himself the only bishop in the world) refused to be co-consecrators, and the dissident bishop also refused to be a co-consecrator, Metropolitan (at that time) Matthew, out of necessity, consecrated, by himself, another bishop, Spiridon. Although done infrequently, Metropolitan Matthew (he was not a vicar Bishop) had no choice if he was to maintain Apostolic Succession and genealogical ties with the old calendar Ecumenical Patriarchate and the State Church of Greece. Certainly, one bishop consecrations had taken place before, in times of turmoil and necessity. Such consecrations are canonical according to the Apostolic Injunctions (see the "Rudder," page 4). They take place even today. When the Holy Synod of the GOC, in 1971, sought unity with the ROCOR in a common cause against ecumenism, the bishops of the GOC were accepted ~without~ consecration, and only a prayer of blessing (to appease Archbishop Auxentios) was read over the fully vested bishops. All this, and more, are featured in the book mentioned above.

Incidentally, the Apostolic Injunctions do record an historical event (a single bishop consecration) that is mentioned in "The Rudder," regardless of whether one accepts them as canon. The Koran is false scripture, certainly not part of Orthodox canon, however, it does contain a certain element of truth. One such truth is the fact that Mohammad is an historical figure and that he founded the religion of Islam. Many documents record historical truth even though they are not included in the canons of the Orthodox Church.

There have been two schisms (factions) from the GOC: one in 1995 by the "Five Bishops," who accused the Holy Synod of "Neo-Iconoclasm," and again in 2006, by the now deposed Kyr Kirikos. He, and those with him, claim that a bishop may retire only if he has committed some personal sin that precludes his effectiveness as a bishop (even though, as mentioned above, one of the three bishops called to join the Traditional Orthodox, was a retired bishop); and also over his teaching of "The Communion of the Three Divine Persons as the First Beginningless Church." These two groups are not only in schism from the GOC, but from each other as well. These schisms should never have taken place. They were inspired by long standing internal, personal disputes. May God resolve these divisions and re-unite, once again, the souls now separated from the GOC and Orthodoxy.

The groups mentioned above (actually, the "Five" finally split into two factions) are not connected, in any way, to the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece and the Holy Synod of which he is First Hierarch. The information found at the following URL:

http://www.orthodox-christianity.net/concerning_icons.html

is the official belief and teaching of the GOC, concerning Icons. The URL:

http://www.orthodox-christianity.net/latest_letter_to_kirikos.html

outlines the reasons for the deposition of Kyr Kirikos. Each of These three groups call themselves Matthewites. As Matthewites, they are distinguished from, and therefore not numbered with, the faithful of the GOC. The GOC does not refer to Herself as Matthewite. Each of the three does not believe the other has grace. These three factions from the GOC truly do not know, or are intentionally disregarding, fundamental Orthodox teachings and canon law (such as the fact: "The latest encyclical supersedes the one(s) before it"). There is the GOC, and then there are the Matthewites.

It may be true, and I believe, no Local Church keeps canon law perfectly. However, not all non-canonical action, or inaction, amounts to schism and heresy.

Part two of this article can be found here.