Announcements - Encyclicals

Hellenic Republic

Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece

The Holy Synod

To be read in Church on the

Feast of the Nativity

Protocol No. 2978 Athens, December 14/27, 2019

NATIVITY MESSAGE for 2019

“A Mystery wondrous and extraordinary do I behold”

Beloved Fathers and Brethren, Beloved Children in the Lord:

The Nativity of Christ is the Feast of the Divine Condescension, which we taste amid the warm embrace of our Holy Orthodox Church. The Holy Gospel affirms that “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (St. John 1:14). It is truly a wondrous and extraordinary Mystery, to which the Holy Angels bear witness with regard to the Birthgiving of the Ever-Virgin in a manner surpassing nature through the Holy Spirit.

We find ourselves before an incomprehensible act of the Preëternal God in time, the purpose of which is to raise the dead, to free the captive, to redeem him who is imprisoned in corruption and the passions, and ultimately to deify man, fashioned by God and yet fallen away from Him. For, according to Saint Athanasios the Great, “The Word became flesh so that He might render man capable of receiving Divinity.”

* * *

If this astounding event of the Divine Incarnation, which took place in Bethlehem of Judæa, is to be received and experienced properly in our life as a great Mystery, it is needful that we be initiated into the Mystery: thus, it is indispensable that we renounce a secular way of thinking, turn away from sin, and repent, and also that we prepare a suitable place for the Mystery in our minds and hearts.

The Mystery is occluded and hidden by our many worldly diversions, by way primarily of gastronomic interests, materialistic extravagance, vanity of every kind, and indulgence in debauchery, drunkenness, wantonness, and the cares of this life.

It is all too typical that when the All-Holy Virgin, who was with Child, and the Righteous Joseph the Betrothed were seeking a place to stop and stay overnight, there was no such place in Bethlehem. All of the lodging houses were filled to capacity: “There was no room for them in the inn” (St. Luke 2:7).

Thus, for the Birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, there was only a cold and dark cave, a place of shelter for irrational animals, a stable.

This deficiency did not exist only back then. The majority of people are habitually so full—that is, in reality so empty—that they find neither place nor time for the God-Man in their lives. The mind is replete with a heap of other things, unworthy and sinful, with the result that the Divine teaching of the Gospel and the consolation of compunctious prayer do not make their way into it. And the heart is hermetically sealed, cold and icy, so that Divine Grace does not enter to renew and transform it.

The people of today are for the most part busy and in a hurry, have interminable worries and distractions, as well as fears and insecurities. As a result, they have no time left over nor any inclination for Christ and, naturally, none for their fellow men, but only the time and inclination to satisfy that which pleases them. Their brains are brimming with all manner of ideas and opinions, to say nothing of delusions and nonsense. And their hearts are swollen with overweening egotism, individualism, hedonism, and indifference, or even terrified by fantastic scenarios and rumors, and also embittered by life’s various disappointments and tribulations. What prevails is vapid curiosity, superficial extroversion, and an inability to focus the mind or foster a self-sacrificial attitude towards God and man. One observes a lack of spiritual zeal, a tendency to criticize and reject everything, a pursuit of automatic and magical solutions, an abdication of responsibilities, and a cultivation of reprehensible compromises in faith and life.

In this way, however, we are imprisoned in our ego, with mind and heart impervious to Divine visitation, advent, and abidance.

* * *

Children in the Lord Who is Born:

The Divine Infant longs to find lodging in us through the Mysteries, since He was Born in a cave out of exceeding love and humility, provided we desire it and prepare ourselves suitably. Let us open a space, let us leave a place open in our minds and hearts. Repentance in the Church betokens internal emptying of all those things that are piled up and bar entrance to our Lord and God, but also render it difficult for us to achieve mutual understanding and coexistence with our brethren. The young Child, the preëternal God, awaits our poor gifts, too, and our sincere worship with true and guileless faith, with love and humility, in deeds, indeed, and not just in words.

Wherever Christ enters, Heaven descends and Paradise blooms. The Angels give glory, all things are filled with joy, and creation exults. Light, purity, fragrance, hymnody, and praise hold sway, and peace prevails and reigns!

Let us not remain strangers to this radiant heavenly and earthly gladness, unable to participate therein! May there exist in us a place for God to sojourn, so that we may receive the unwaning Light and be transformed into beneficent persons, fiery souls, and bearers and transmitters of faith, hope, and love!

Christ is Born!

THE HOLY SYNOD

The Archbishop

† Kallinikos of Athens

The Members

† Athanasios of Larisa and Platamon

† Justin of Evripos and Euboia

† Gerontios of Piræus and Salamis

† Chrysostomos of Attica and Boiotia

† Gregorios of Thessalonike

† Photios of Demetrias

† Moses of Toronto

† Demetrius of America

† Ambrosios of Philippi and Maroneia

† Cyprian of Oropos and Phyle

† Ambrose of Methone

† Silvano of Luni

† Klemes of Gardikion

† Auxentios of Etna and Portland

† Theodosios of Bresthena

† Christodoulos of Theoupolis

† Maximus of Pelagonia

[signed and sealed as a BONA FIDE COPY]

The First Secretary

† Photios of Demetrias

Announcement of the Decisions of the Holy Synod: December 10/23, 2019

On Monday December 10/23, 2019 the Holy Synod of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece convened in a regular session under the Presidency of His Beatitude, Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens and All-Greece in the hall of the Church “The Unfading Rose” in Piraeus, it discussed, and decided on the following items:

1. His Grace, Bishop Ambrose of Methone informed the Holy Synod concerning his recent pastoral visits to Australia and Belgium. Especially concerning the Parish of Archangel Michael in Brussels, he reported significant growth of the faithful coming to it.

2. His Grace, Bishop Ambrose of Methone expressed the reasons he submitted his resignation from the Locum Tenens of the Holy Metropolis of Sydney, Australia and all Oceana as well as his health issues which make it necessary for him to lessen his pastoral work load. His Beatitude, the President and the entire Holy Synod expressed the thanks of the Hierarchy to His Grace for the Missionary work which he has accomplished, but understanding the need to lessen his load, they accepted his resignation from the position in question of Locum Tenens. In continuation the Holy Synod assigned the Locum Tenens of the Holy Metropolis of Sydney to His Eminence, Metropolitan Photios of Demetrias.

3. The Holy Synod addressed anew issues of the Holy Diocese of Luni in Italy and it reached appropriate decisions.

4. The Holy Synod discussed issues in relation to the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.

5. The Holy Synod examined the subject of serving Parishes distant from the large cities, in view of the Feasts of Christ’s Nativity and Theophany.

6. The Holy Synod concerned itself with other current issues.

From the Chief Secretariat

Announcement of the Decisions of the Holy Synod: November 15/28, 2019

On Thursday November 15/28, 2019 the Holy Synod of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece convened in its fourth regular session under the Presidency of His Beatitude, Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens and All-Greece in the hall of the Church of “The Unfading Rose” in Piraeus, it discussed, and decided on the following items:

1. The Holy Synod was updated by the Hierarchs who recently traveled outside Greece, and specifically:

a. His Eminence, Metropolitan Photios of Demetrias informed the Holy Synod concerning his trip to Indonesia and Australia.

In Indonesia, His Eminence traveled to the city of Solo on the island of Java, and following the directions of the Holy Synod, he received into the Church of the GOC a great number of Clergymen together with their flock, coming mostly from the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (Patriarchate of Moscow), as well as the Patriarchate of Constantinople. He also performed new ordinations of Readers, Sub-Deacons, Deacons, and Priests. He gave sanctified antimensia to the incoming and newly-ordained Priests, as well as a sufficient amount of Holy Myrrh for the needs of the Parishes. As a result, our Church now has in Indonesia 12 Priests, 3 Deacons, about 50 Sub-Deacons and Readers, as well as a few thousand faithful.

In Australia, His Eminence visited the Parishes of the Church of the GOC in Melbourne, Adelaide, and Sydney where he concelebrated with His Grace, Bishop Ambrose of Methone who had also come from Greece, and His Grace, Bishop Christopher of Brisbane (of the Russian Synod under Metropolitan Agafangel) during the Feast of the Holy Unmercenaries.

b. His Eminence, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Attica and Boeotia reported on his trip with Metropolitan Photios to Toronto, Canada for the events surrounding the 50th Anniversary of the Parish of St. Nektarios upon the Feastday of the Parish, presided over by His Eminence Metropolitan Moses of Toronto and with the participation of His Grace, Bishop Maximus of Pelagonia.

2. The Holy Synod addressed issues of the Holy Diocese of Luni in Italy and it reached appropriate decisions.

3. The Holy Synod read the resignation sent to it by His Grace, Bishop Ambrose of Methone (who is in Melbourne on a pastoral visit) from the Locum Tenens of the Holy Metropolis of Sydney Australia, and Oceana. The resignation was accepted in principal, but the Holy Synod awaits His Grace’s return from Australia, at which time it will make appropriate decisions with his participation.

4. The Holy Synod discussed the process of organizing events by various organizations to which the flock of our Church are invited, and it confirmed that the permission of the Local Bishop is also necessary before such events are organized.

5. The Holy Synod examined the petition of a group of clergy and laity coming from other Muslim countries, it wants to examine carefully these situations having accepted into audience their representatives as it did with the Indonesian Clergy.

6. The Holy Synod concerned itself with other current issues.

From the Chief Secretariat

Encyclical on Marriage and Divorce


Hellenic Republic

Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece

The Holy Synod


Protocol no. 2957

In Athens, on October 24th/November 6th, 2019

ENCYCLICAL

Concerning Marriage and Divorce

Beloved Fathers and Brethren in Christ,

Beloved children in the Lord,

One of the Mysteries of our Holy Orthodox Church is the Mystery of Marriage, which is called “Great” (Eph. 5:32). It exists in order to bless the willing, lifelong bond of the spouses: one man and one woman who are members of the Church, so that their married life may be sanctified for mutual assistance in their common life, and their Christian path, and for the legitimate birth of children and their education.

Marriage is a path God has given us to achieve the ultimate aim for which man was created and exists, namely his sanctification (see Leviticus 20:7, 26 and 1 Peter 1:16).

This Mystery is clearly described in Holy Scripture: “therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:24, Matt. 19:5-6, Eph. 5:31). However, it is a means and not an end for man’s perfection and salvation, it is certainly not meant to be for his falling away and the loss of his soul. It is a very important means from which are derived important good things in life and man’s blessing (childbearing, companionship, security, protection, filling up one another’s deficiencies, communal living, etc.). So that with the aid of Divine Grace, the spouses’ life being spiritual and pure may imitate the spiritual marriage which the members of the Church have with Christ the Bridegroom. In this way man partakes in the creative love of God, Christ’s sacrificial love for the Church.

There exists a hierarchy in marriage, which when it is not taken into consideration causes dysfunction and problems. The man is placed as the head, and imitating Christ he loves his wife and his family sacrificially, while the woman as a member of equal honor who has been called to the enjoyment of the same eternal good things, is obligated to exhibit respect and submission to her husband. In this way they constitute a blessed married couple, a “house-Church” where the peace and love of God reign, and where the children God sends them are accepted as His most-valued gifts, they are products and proofs of the couple’s love for one another.

The married couple’s love, as the impenetrable harmony of souls and bodies, completes and perfects them in Christ, Whose perfection is everlasting. With the Holy Mysteries and the cultivation of the virtues it is fed and given life, so that the married couple as one soul and one body can cooperate together toward the growth of the Church and the betterment of society. Their unbreakable bond has such importance and gravity that our Lord absolutely forbids even the possibility of separation and division, saying: “What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matt. 9:16, Mark 10:19) And the Apostle Paul stresses: “Let not the wife depart from her husband… and let not the husband put away his wife.” (1 Cor. 7:10-11)

However, man’s goodwill is not sufficient to achieve this, in order to grow and succeed continuous human effort is needed to activate the Divine Gift, but primarily the invocation of Divine assistance is necessary. Only in Christ can a married couple hope for perfection in love, because only His Grace provides the possibility to accomplish such a lofty aim. Only Christ transforms relationships just as He changed the water into wine at the wedding in Cana. He deepens relationships and He cleanses them from the danger of being corrupted into sinful and profane relationships. Only Christ redeems us from the shockwaves of life which strike at us form various directions, both internally and externally, they strike at the relationship of even the most loving married couple.

***

The insolubility of marriage is lifted, naturally, only by death. They are only separated in body because the one party has gone on to the next life. The other party who remains in the present life properly should have the feeling that the marital connection does not exist in the next life as we know it here, but the spouses’ spiritual communion has an eternal outlook, since it is completed in eternity as a communion of true love and unity. In the lifting of the Crowns at the Marriage Service we surrender them to God that He may “undertake” them in His Kingdom, declaring precisely this essential truth.

If, however, in the case of widowhood there are serious reasons to perform another marriage, then this is permissible and ecclesiastically acceptable, even if it is not compulsory and obligatory. After all, the Apostle Paul suggests, for example, that it is better for younger widows to marry in order to avoid scandals and physical falls caused by careless behavior (see 1 Timothy 5:14).

***

As concerning Divorce, we know that in the Old Testament, the Law of Moses allowed the man, when he found some “unbecoming” thing in his wife he could not endure, to give her a “bill of divorcement,” i.e. a divorce (Deut. 24:1-4). However, even then he had to bring forward evidence because otherwise he was compelled to pay a fine and he was not permitted to divorce his wife. The customs were very strict and divorce was considered “hated” by God (Malachi 2:13-16). That is why the Law commanded “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:13) and “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife… nor his maid” (Deut. 5:21)

The Lord, in the period of Grace, answering a relative question from His Disciples confirmed the indissolubility of Marriage and He reminded them that although divorce had been allowed it was due to their hardheartedness and barbarism, in order even to avoid murder. Only because of marital infidelity is divorce allowed (“saving for the cause of fornication” Matt. 5:32), but once again divorce is not obligatory, because the Lord’s word allows for separation in the instance where the faithful spouse cannot endure what is happening and certainly for the unfaithful spouse there is no possibility for a second Marriage. Even in such instances permission to marry again is not granted immediately to the faithful spouse, awaiting the repentance of the adulterer and the couple’s reconciliation. And only if this does not occur then properly only the innocent party may receive permission to enter into a second Marriage and not the guilty party. Because they are obligated to weep over their fall for the rest of their life (see the commentary of St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain on the 48th Apostolic Canon).

Anyway, when it is deemed to be unavoidable, the Divorce decree is issued under preconditions. From of old in the history of the Church the innocent party and not the guilty party submitted a petition for Divorce to the Ecclesiastical Authority so that the case can be considered, and an attempt at reconciliation can be made by the Bishop. Only when this attempt fails is the Divorce decree issued. This act has always been the exclusive responsibility of the Ecclesiastical Court where properly no extraneous persons may interfere in its proceedings.

Nevertheless, the issuance of an Ecclesiastical Divorce has always been considered an abhorrent act. In the early years of Christianity a second marriage, even in the case of widowhood, was called “permitted adultery” (See the Apology of Athenagoras Concerning the Christians § 33).

As concerning the forbiddance of Divorce in order to enter into a second Marriage, the 48th Apostolic Canon is clear: “If any layman who has divorced his wife takes another, or one divorced by another man, let him be excommunicated.” For this reason if any separate not because of marital infidelity on the part of the spouse but rather in order to enter into another relationship they should be penalized as adulterers until they repent (namely, they are not permitted to receive Holy Communion for seven years according to the 87th Canon of the Sixth Œcumenical Council, the 20th Canon of the Synod in Ancyra, and the 77th Canon of St. Basil the Great).

The 113th Canon of the Synod in Carthage says that the married couple who separates without adultery being the cause should either remain unmarried after separating or they should reconcile. This certainly resembles the teaching of Holy Scripture that if a woman separates from her husband she should remain unmarried after separating. If she cannot remain unmarried, then she should reconcile with her husband. And the man should not abandon his wife (1 Cor. 7:10-11).

He who separates from his wife not because of marital infidelity on her part becomes the cause of the separation because, morally speaking, he is the instigator of the separation. She will be considered an adulteress if she should marry another (Matt. 5:31-32) as likewise she who abandons her husband in order to marry another (Mark 10:12).

The Lord’s word is absolutely strict: “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery” (Luke 16:18). The clear conclusion is that divorced couples who are remarried (except for the aforementioned marital infidelity) are properly considered as adulterers.

The prohibition of Divorce is particularly important when there are children, especially underage children. This applies also to those who wish to abandon the marriage “for ascetical reasons” – that is, to become monastics.

For the serious problems which exist in marriages which sometimes shake them to their foundations, such as injustices etc., the recommendation of the Church is that the married couple ought to endure whatever they suffer from one another. Exceptions are made only in specific, extraordinary circumstances when, for example, we have a proven attack against the one’s life, namely a death threat or some other reason which is addressed in the Canonical Tradition of the Church (such as heresy, close familial or spiritual affinity, dedicating themselves to the monastic life by mutual agreement, disappearance for a long period of time, abandonment of the family house, captivity, entering into an adulterous relationship, enticement to commit unnatural acts, false accusation of adultery, cohabitating with a paramour, abortion in spite of the other party’s objection).

Now, due to human failings and weaknesses, in certain cases a second Marriage is performed and the Orthodox Church shows condescension and elasticity in the spirit of Oikonomia, but certainly without undermining the basic Scriptural and Canonical principals concerning this sensitive issue.

However, the second Marriage, even in the few instances it is allowed, is an exception, without always being proper and blameless. For this reason whoever enters into a second Marriage, even if it is justified, receives a penalty: they are not permitted to receive Holy Communion for one or two years (4th Canon of St. Basil the Great). Also, in the second Marriage Service properly Crowns are not used (2nd Canon of St. Nikephoros of Constantinople), even though the Service Books in use foresee the Crowning of second Marriages, the Priest who performs the second Marriage is not permitted to attend the Marriage Banquet which follows (7th Canon of Neocaesarea) because it is not proper to rejoice in something that is punishable.

In connection to this, it is appropriate to remind you that for those dedicated to God in Monasticism, namely Monks and Nuns, Marriage is absolutely forbidden, even if they put off the Schema of Repentance (6th Canon of St. Basil the Great, 16th Canon of the Fourth Œcumenical Council), and married Priests and Deacons are not permitted to enter into a second Marriage even if they are widowed or if they are deposed from the Priesthood/Diaconite (26th Apostolic Canon, 6th and 44th Canons of St. Basil the Great, 6th Œcumenical Council).

But the third Marriage, which also exists, is considered “unlawfulness” by St. Gregory the Theologian, and “rotten fornication” by St. Basil the Great. St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain calls it “shameful.” Whoever enters into a third Marriage receives a penalty: they are not permitted to receive Holy Communion for five years (3rd Canon of Neocaesarea, 4th Canon of St Basil the Great), and afterward they are only permitted to receive Communion three time a year.

***

We remind you, the Clergy and Laity of our Church, of all this not so as to cause some legalistic or scholastic fear within you, but to proclaim from our Holy Synod the salvific, evangelical, and canonical exactitude concerning the serious subjects of Marriage and Divorce because generally there exists ignorance of basic things concerning our Faith, as well as attempts sometimes to bypass whatever is in force using secular and extra-ecclesiastical criteria.

Nowadays we know that many are gripped by worship of the flesh, both the married and the unmarried, and this is projected in every way and by every means, as something natural, acceptable, and even necessary! The ecclesiastical principals of our Faith and Ethics are shaken to the core, relationships are being tested, the family’s unity and cohesion is wounded in every way. This is why it is urgent to preserve at all costs the Traditions of Holy Orthodoxy in order to preserve ourselves from falling into that which is forbidden.

Unacceptable economies, allowances and infringements may seem to put “at ease” modern people who usually seek to satisfy their sinful desires, but even though they receive false assurance for their consciences, it is not possible for them to have the Approval and Blessing of God, nor certainly should they be taught that they will thus attain eternal salvation.

We live in an age where the tragedy of “easy” and “no-fault” divorce reigns. With bureaucratic procedures the State now very easily and quickly resolves the legal side of Marriages, even those Marriages properly performed by our Church. This is because people, even those considered to be faithful members of the Church, have sold the standard and criterion of their choices. Instead of the Eternal God and His indestructible Teaching and Law, the following prevail: human will and passions, impatience, an inclination to descend from the Cross, abandonment of responsibilities, disturbance of balance, and preference for that which satisfies over that which is proper.

The easy recourse is to the courts, to the secular authorities in order to “dissolve” the marriage, so that after the fact the Ecclesiastical authorities, sometimes even by court order, are forced to “certify” spiritually that which was achieved secularly. The terms have unfortunately been reversed. What should happen first, as always, is that an attempt should be made ecclesiastically to avoid the Divorce, and only if this repeatedly fails would it be possible to start the process of dissolving the Marriage. If the continuous cohabitation of the married couple is deemed by the Spiritual Fathers/Clergy of our Church to be impossible and their separation unavoidable, then with a heavy heart and deep pain the Ecclesiastical Divorce is issued by the Local Hierarch.

As concerning the possibility of performing a second Marriage, it is necessary that a careful examination take place of whether or not this is permissible. And if there really is a need –to avoid worse things – such permission is granted. This should indeed constitute a pastoral economy and not an obvious lawlessness which only brings a burden and not the repose and blessing of the Holy Spirit upon those involved.

***

Beloved Children in the Lord,

It is an urgent necessity that we: Clergy and Laity, endeavor to establish the proper awareness of the blessings, and the obligations which the Mystery of Marriage brings to those who chose it, so that its sanctity and indissolubility can be safeguarded at all costs since it has been given to us by God as a means for our salvation, even if it is difficult and martyric. It has not been given to us for our destruction. The denial of this path, even by only one member of the Married couple, perhaps against the will of the other member, possibly because the necessary transition from “I” to “we” has not taken place, is a tragedy and a betrayal with very serious consequences both in the present life and in the future life.

As difficult and seemly different as the conditions of modern life may be, the essence of things does not change, the word of God and the voice of the Church are not distorted nor do they adapt to man’s sinful habits, but on the contrary they protect the true nature of man, and his eternal salvation in Christ. They do not consent to his deprivation and disobedience, in spite of the benevolent economythat is applied in certain cases to safeguard and correct the one who has fallen, economy is not applied in order to accept and “legalize” that which is not permissible.

May the Grace of our Lord guide us to the knowledge and the consistent execution of His Divine Will in our life, to our eternal salvation. Amen!

THE HOLY SYNOD

The Archbishop

† Kallinikos of Athens

The Members

† Athanasios of Larisa and Platamon

† Justin of Evripos and Euboia

† Gerontios of Piræus and Salamis

† Chrysostomos of Attica and Boiotia

† Gregorios of Thessalonike

† Photios of Demetrias

† Moses of Toronto

† Demetrius of America

† Ambrosios of Philippi and Maroneia

† Cyprian of Oropos and Phyle

† Ambrose of Methone

† Silvano of Luni

† Klemes of Gardikion

† Auxentios of Etna and Portland

† Theodosios of Bresthena

† Christodoulos of Theoupolis

† Maximus of Pelagonia


[signed and sealed as a BONA FIDE COPY]

The First Secretary

† Photios of Demetrias

Announcement of the Decisions of the Holy Synod: October 9/22, 2019

On Tuesday October 9/22, 2019 the Holy Synod of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece convened in its third regular session under the Presidency of His Beatitude, Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens and All-Greece in the hall of the Church of “The Unfading Rose” in Piraeus, it discussed, and decided on the following items:

1. The Holy Synod was updated by the Hierarchs who recently traveled outside Greece, namely His Eminence, Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Phyle who reported on his recent Pastoral Visit to Sweden, and His Eminence, Metropolitan Gerontios of Piraeus and Salamis who reported on the participation of the Synodal Hierarchs in the Consecration of the large, newly-built Cathedral Church of the Holy Metropolis of Slatioara in Romania.

2. The Holy Synod discussed the petitions of His Eminence. Bishop Silvano of Luni concerning the promotion of the Diocese of Luni to a Metropolis and certain other issues. It decided that at present the appropriate conditions do not exist for such an action.

3. The Holy Synod discussed issues of the Holy Metropolis of Serbia based on relative reports from the Clergy, and it made appropriate decisions.

4. The Holy Synod decided to organize a Clergy Synaxis

6. The Holy Synod concerned itself with other current issues.

From the Chief Secretariat

Announcement of the Decisions of the Holy Synod: September 18/October 1, 2019

On Tuesday September 18/October 1, 2019 the Holy Synod of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece convened in its second (extraordinary) session under the Presidency of His Beatitude, Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens and All-Greece in the hall of the Church of “The Unfading Rose” in Piraeus.

The Holy Synod discussed, and decided on the issue of the petition for reception of Deacon Fr. George SalaBuchhaus of Lebanon, son of Elias, who was present and answered the questions of the Hierarchs. The Holy Synod accepted his petition and it arranged the manner of his and his family’s acceptance as ones coming from a certain uncanonical group of so-called Matthewites. Fr. George is married, and the father of four children.

The Holy Synod concerned itself with other current issues.


From the Chief Secretariat

Announcement of the Decisions of the Holy Synod of the Hierarchy: September 5/18, 2019

On Tuesday September 5/18, 2019 the Holy Synod of the Hierarchy of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece convened in its first regular session of the New Synodal Period, under the Presidency of His Beatitude, Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens and All-Greece, in the hall of the Church of the “The Unfading Rose” in Piraeus.

After the Holy Water Service by His Beatitude, Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens and All-Greece upon the New Ecclesiastical Year, and the beginning of the New Synodal Period, as well as the Trisagion for the repose of the Ever-Memorable Metropolitan-emeritus Akakios of Diauleia, the Holy Synod of the Hierarchy discussed, and decided on the following items:

1. It concerned itself with issues of the Holy Diocese of Luni and Exarchate of Italy.

2. The organization of the Annual Synodal Events took place. The details were decided for the Blessing of the Waters in each place on the upcoming Feast of Theophany. His Eminence, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Attica and Boeotia was appointed the Keynote Speaker for the Synodal Event on the Sunday of Orthodoxy in Athens, and His Eminence, Metropolitan Gerontios of Piraeus and Salamis was appointed the Keynote Speaker for the Synodal Event on the Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas in Thessalonica. For the Synodal Vespers for the Feast of the Apostle Paul in Athens, Archimandrite Euthymios Bardakas was appointed the Keynote Speaker. At the established Concelebrations in Athens with His Beatitude, Archbishop Kallinikos, on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, their Graces, Bishop Ambrose of Methone (who is also the morning Homilist) and Clement of Gardikion will take part. For the Third Appearance of the Holy Cross 2020, the same hierarchs will concelebrate, His Grace, Bishop Clement of Gardikion being the Homilist.

3. The persons to whom Honorary Awards will be given on the Sunday of Orthodoxy 2020 were decided.

4. The dedication of the 2021 Pocket Calendar was decided: the contribution of the Clergy to the Greek Revolution of 1821.

5. The makeup of the annual Synodal representations was appointed for the Feasts of St. Glicherie and Transfiguration in Slătioara, Romania for 2020.

6. The Holy Synod of the Hierarchy was informed by the Hierarchs who traveled outside Greece concerning their actions there, namely His Eminence, Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Phyle concerning his recent Pastoral Visit to Georgia, His Grace, Bishop Ambrose of Methone concerning his visits to the Congo, France, and England, and His Grace, Bishop Clement of Gardikion concerning the visit of the Synodal Representation to Romania.

7. The Holy Synod of the Hierarchy discussed the new developments relative to the Religious Lessons in the Schools. It decided to send a Memorandum to the Ministry of Education, to publish a specific Announcement to the flock, and to cooperate with other agencies who agree to maintain the religious character of the Religious Lessons.

8. Concerning the Electronic Identities, the Holy Synod of the Hierarchy likewise decided to send a Memorandum to the responsible Ministries, to publish a specific Announcement to the flock, and to cooperate with other agencies agreeing to the protection of the citizens’ right to privacy.

9. The Holy Synod of the Hierarchy discussed the Report of the Synodal Committee on Dogmatics and Canonical Issues concerning Marriage and Divorce, namely, it approved the publication of a relative Encyclical based on the spirit of the Report.

10. The Holy Synod of the Hierarchy concerned itself with Missionary issues in Muslim countries. Concerning this issue there will be a future more analytical report.

11. His Grace, Bishop Ambrose of Methone mentioned his say until the end of the current civil year as the Locum Tenens of the Holy Metropolis of Sydney (Oceana and Southeast Asia). At a future meeting, the Holy Synod will decide concerning his replacement.

12. The Holy Synod of the Hierarchy appointed a committee made up of their His Eminences, Metropolitans Photios of Demetrias, and Cyprian of Oropos and Phyle, and His Grace, Bishop Clement of Gardikion for the required prudence and careful preparation towards the convocation of the awaited Great, namely Pan-Orthodox, Synod of the Genuine Orthodox Churches.

13. The Holy Synod of the Hierarchy concerned itself with other current issues.

From the Chief Secretariat

Concerning Pseudo-Saints

Protocol no. γ – 1830

In Athens, Nov. 23/Dec. 6, 2013

Communiqué

To all clergy and laity

Beloved children of the Church of Christ,

The Holy Synod of the G.O.C., during its meeting on October 10/23 2013, discussed the issue of the pseudo-saints who are alleged to be Saints by the Ecumenists, and the danger of deceiving the faithful through their systematic propaganda. For this reason, we call this to the attention of all clergy and laity of the non-innovating Church, that they not fall victim to this propaganda. No one who died in schism, communing with the heresy of Ecumenism may be honored as a saint by the Church. They do not fulfill the criteria of Sainthood which the Church of Christ has always had.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate, which has ceased to be the beacon of Orthodoxy, continually proclaims many new-found elders as saints, in order to fortify the delusion that the communicants of Ecumenism can also be sanctified, and can become examples to follow. From this delusion, it would then follow that there is no reason for those who object to the heresy of Ecumenism to wall themselves off from it. In their Synodal proclamations, the Ecumenists mix the pseudo-saints of recent years with true saints of the past centuries, such as St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain and St. Cosmas of Aetolia, so that this perception may be believed without question. We, however, rightly differentiate the good from the evil; on the one hand, we accept the older saints as truly being saints – and that, without regard to Patriarchal decisions – and on the other hand, we reject the new-found elders. We hope that these new-found elders returned to Holy Tradition sometime before their death, but they are certainly not examples for the faithful to imitate.

This also holds true for those new-found elders proclaimed as “saints” by the other Patriarchates who have been equally vitiated by the Ecumenistic delusion or by Sergianism, such as the Patriarchate of Moscow. Therefore pilgrimages and parish excursions to reverence such new-found pseudo-saints are not permitted either is honoring them individually as real saints nor painting icons nor serving the divine services for them.

Holy figures have existed in recent decades, but those who were sanctified belonged to the ranks of those who struggled against the innovation of the Papal calendar and the heresy of Ecumenism. There will soon be a Synodal decision of the Church concerning them.

Having said that, we pray that you pass the remainder of the time of the Nativity fast in compunction and prayer.

By the mandate of the Holy Synod

The Chief-Secretary

† Photios of Marathon