1935 Formation of GOC & Anathama of New Calendarists

Discuss the Canons of the Orthodox Church and the Anathemas, especially those against various heresies that have arisen since the beginning of Christ's Holy Orthodox Church. All Forum Rules Apply. No Polemics. No heated discussions. No name-calling.
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1935 Formation of GOC & Anathama of New Calendarists

Post by Isaakos »

A question was recently asked about the history of the GOC back in 1935.

"How could hieromonk Matthew receive the three bishops from the state Church if it was truly schismatic in 1935? As a priest he could not give them their orders, and if they were schismatics, they would have been laymen? SO how could he receive them and at the same time give them their orders if he was just a priest and they were bishops?"

This was my favorite recently because there really is a lot of shoddy thinking out there in regard to this topic.

First, let's establish premises:

1. Hierarchs who depart into schism are considered laymen.
2. BUT the sacrament of Holy orders, conferred in Orthodoxy is indelible. It cannot be repeated.
3. Between the appearance of a schism and it's SYNODICAL condemnation, there is a period of time that allows a certain amount of flexibility.
4. Priests can certainly receive the confessions of bishops and absolve them of sin and return them to the Church. The question is, what can they do about their orders, since they are not bishops?

Here is what happened:

The hierarch Chrysosotom of Florina who was from the EP, and Germanos of Demetrias and Chrysostom of Zakynthos who were hierarchs of the State Church of Greece, remained members for 11 years, between 1924-1935 when the state Church of Greece was in schism.

During that time, were they in schism? Yes. And their actions themselves depict their understanding. Of the three bishops, only Chrysostom of Zakynthos was consecrated a bishop AFTER 1924 by the State Church of Greece. After all three bishops had made confession to the Hieromonk receiving them (Which was Hieromonk Matthew, being the de facto leader of the GOC in 1935), and confessed their faith to the people, then BOTH Metropolitan Chrysostom and Metropolitan Germanos together performed a rite of Cheirothesia on Metropolitan Chrysostom of Zakynthos! This is a clear testimony of the fact that they believed they were in schism and were leaving schism, and Chrysostom of Zakynthos needed Cheirothesia, because he was ordained in schism. The other two did not, because their consecrations were before 1924.

It was under these conditions that the GOC accepted them as its hierarchs. This was possible because, remember, between the first appearance of a schism and its synodical condemnation, there lies a period of uncertainty where discernment needs to take place. It is a fact that no SYNOD had formally deposed these three hierarchs or stripped them of their ranks. This means that there was no synodical decree that had to be UNDONE or accomplished by a synod. The GOC was the Church, and the simple fact that it embraced two men who were bishops, who had repudiated their schism, and who had received absolution for the sin of schism, and who were returned to the church, continued in their episcopacy and corrected the ordination of the third. There is no impropriety here at all, because there is no canonical transgression. There is no need for hieromonk Matthew to RETURN their episcopacy, because its return was guaranteed on their being readmitted to the Church, being that no one had formally defrocked them or stripped them of their episcopal rank!

Now, AFTER 1935, when the schism of the New Calendarist Greek State Church was synodically condemned in the sight of all, this decision communicates to the state Church, so this period of vagueness or wiggle room was over. All those men in the State Church lay under the accusation of being schismatics. This is exactly WHY the New Calendarists couldn't simply counter their accusations with a trial, because men under accusation cannot counter accuse!

And after their persistent and unrepentant abiding in schism, it became clear that these New Calendarists have truly come under anathema. It's the exact same way we treated the far more numerous Latins. Through prolonged exposure to all the various elements we had anathematized over the years, we simply considered them heretics and schismatics eve BEFORE a synod ever condemned their Church AS A CHURCH.

That is what is going on here.
Blessed is the man who has volunteered to hold and keep until the end of his life our holy Orthodox faith, the faith of the one Church of Christ and our mother, the Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Archbishop Matthew Karpathakis
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