(part two)

Today, because of heresy and ecumenism, world orthodoxy is no longer in communion with the GOC. The Holy Synod confines the Holy Mysteries only to those in communion with Her. Those who wish to join the Holy Synod, and if they have been properly baptized (triple immersion with the proper form and prayers) are chrismated and are required to read a confession of faith HERE. Clergy, who are properly baptized, receive cheirothesia. These requirements alone, even though correct and canonical under present circumstances, are enough to discourage those who are not sure of their reasons for joining the GOC.

Those who join the Church from world orthodoxy are not baptized if they have received the proper form. In general, if the correct, Orthodox form has been maintained, the GOC accepts it when celebrated by the clergy of world orthodoxy, and the TOCs. The final decision resides, of course, with the Ruling Bishop.

Even though the Holy Synod has never declared, in Synod, that there is no grace in world orthodoxy, the general consensus among the GOC clergy and faithful is that there is not. (By the way, some, if not all, of world orthodox Churches consider the GOC graceless.) The lack of grace in world orthodox Churches is due to adherence to the new calendar, and the universal acceptance, and practice, of ecumenism (con-celebration of the Divine Liturgy by the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch, and the unity of all Local Churches of world orthodoxy with the Serbian Church, the Alexandrian Church, the Antiochene Church, the Moscow Patriarchate, SCOBA, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, all of which either contain heretical elements within themselves, or are in communion with Local Churches which are in heresy).

Someone may ask the question: "Is it possible to join the GOC and, at the same time, believe there is grace in any  of the Churches not in communion with her?" The answer is, in my opinion, until the Holy Synod declares, in Synod, that grace (of the priesthood, that is) no longer exists in the world, and is confined solely to the GOC, those who believe there is grace (at least, in some of the Churches), as well as those who do not believe there is grace, can still be brothers. However, both are enjoined from receiving the Holy Mysteries in any Church not in communion with the GOC. They may visit Churches, venerate Icons in world orthodox Churches, venerate "local" Saints such as St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco and the New Martyrs of Russia, and keep, with the permission of the Ruling Bishop, any local parish traditions, etc. It should be pointed out in the case of the veneration of local Saints, even those Saints recognized officially by a Local Church, the GOC  advises caution. Until the GOC declares, or agrees, that someone has attained the exalted state of Sainthood, his or her veneration is considered to be private veneration and may not be necessarily accepted by the Holy Synod or all the Faithful.

Which is more likely?: 1) the Churches of world orthodoxy are correct in believing the GOC is wrong; or 2) the GOC is correct in believing the ecumenist, New-Calendarist Churches of world orthodoxy no longer reflect Traditional, canonical Orthodoxy.

World orthodoxy is the end-time Church in ecumenical union either directly, or by association, with the one world church about to be revealed.

The "light-switch" teaching that schism or heresy is an instantaneous phenomenon (Orthodox Church at 1:00 PM, schismatic or heretical at 1:01 PM) is not the teaching of the GOC. Some do believe that the Ecumenical Patriarchate went into schism in 1924 at the immediate imposition of the new calendar; however, only after years of warnings and anathemas by various Local Councils of the Greek Churches themselves. The GOC has never officially declared that in all the world only She has grace, neither has She officially declared that a Local Church becomes schismatic or heretical in an instantaneous manner - as one would switch off a light bulb.

As proof of the statements in the above paragraph, the then Metropolitan Matthew sought co-consecrators from among "foreign bishops" (found in the letter to the ROCOR as printed in "Struggle Against Ecumenism," published by the HOCNA, Boston); and when the GOC discovered that ROCOR Archbishop Anthony of Geneva was con-celebrating with New Calendarists, the GOC remained in communion with the ROCOR until it was finally realized nothing would be done to stop him.

It is my observation those who speak and write about the GOC look at Her from the perspective of a forest, not being able to see the individual trees. By this I mean, there is only one GOC. All others are pretenders. (Any Local Church may refer to itself as "the GOC.") The history of the GOC bears witness to this fact. One cannot dump the GOC into the melting pot called the TOCs (although, the GOC is also a TOC - a True Orthodox Church). She existed before the various TOCs, which are separated from her. The various TOCs came into existence only after the repose of Metropolitan Chrysostomos, the Hierarch who separated himself from Archbishop Matthew. The ROCOR established the various GOCs/TOCs through the unlawful consecration of the deposed Akakios Papas (one consecrating bishop was even a New Calendarist). At first, the ROCOR refused to consecrate bishops for the movement founded by Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina understanding, perhaps, that there was already an occupier of the Throne of Athens and All Greece. There were, at that time, Traditional, old calendar bishops on Greek soil. More than likely, the ROCOR did not want to further complicate  the Greek "situation," preferring, instead, that the Greeks sort out their own problems without adding anything further to them. Unfortunately, self-serving and ambition ruled the hour. The unlawful, secret Episcopal consecration of a deposed priest was later "ratified" by the ROCOR Synod of Bishops.

The ROCOR is, in fact, the mother church of the (Greek) GOC/TOC Local Churches which are separated from the GOC (exception: The Churches that sprang directly from the GOC, after 1968, such as those headed by two bishops of the "Five," and Monk Kirikos).

Only one man fulfills the prerequisites of succession to the throne of Athens and All Greece (thanks to the untiring efforts of Blessed Archbishop Matthew to preserve proper succession) - His Beatitude Stephanos, of the GOC.

nly one Church has remained unwavering in Her commitment to Greek Orthodoxy and the 1935 "Proclamation" of the original three bishops - the GOC. Only this GOC can rightfully claim historical succession to Blessed Archbishop Matthew and, through him, to the pre-new calendar Throne of Athens and All Greece, now occupied by His Beatitude, Archbishop Stephanos.

The main purpose in writing this article is not to give offense, but for the sake of clarity. Yet, I know, some will say The Holy Synod has spoken on certain matters, and taken positions on others, to which they do not agree. Certainly, no Local Church is immune to criticism. Fortunately, Orthodoxy does not depend on personal preferences or on what one believes or feels is right for him or her. Nevertheless, many settle on what they believe is true by appealing to emotion, family, friends, language, national origin, and what is comfortable for them.

For over 90 years, the GOC has weathered internal strife and forces designed to destroy Her, however, She has, through the mercy and grace of God, stayed the course and prevailed.

On a personal note, we, of the GOC,  thank God, every day, that He has led us to the Holy Synod of the GOC and out of the confusing, apostatizing, conscience rendering body of world orthodoxy and from the ever-growing plethora of Slavic and Greek GOCs/TOCs.

To those who cannot make decisions ("middle of the road") and to those without discernment ("fight from within") are you better off this year than you were five years ago, one year ago? The Orthodox do not stand and fight toe to toe with schism or heresy, we flee from it to the protection of the Church. It is impossible to be in communion with an heretical or schismatic Local Church, and still be Orthodox - regardless of how long it may take for grace to leave such a Church.

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 Stephanos, 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.

In Christ,
Protopresbyter Stephen