Saturday, November 13, 2010

New First Hierarch of the 'Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece'

Also under the heading of old news, the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece has a new first hierarch, Archbishop Callinicus of Athens. His enthronement was celebrated on 17 October in Athens' Church of St. Athanasius.

The Genuine Orthodox Church is a rigorist Old Calendrist schism and one of the larger Old Calendrist movements in Greece, deriving its hierarchy from the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCOR) and the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate in Western Europe. Although the first Greek Orthodox Old Calendrist bishop in North America, Bishop Peter (Astyfides) of Astoria of the ROCOR, eventually joined this synod prior to his death, its presence in North America is rather limited numerically.


  1. Greetings. I wanted to point out that Metropolitan Petros's ecclesiastical career is a complex topic (which I happened to have done my thesis at St. Vladimir's Seminary on). I realize you are trying to summarize things, but I think your post might cause some confusion.

    Metropolitan Petros was never a permanent member of the Synod of ROCOR per se. He was ordained by two ROCOR bishops acting on their own initiative, because these bishops believed that it was necessary to help the Greek Old Calendarists. Such actions are only understandable and justifiable during a persecution situation or under great need. The ROCOR Synod was not especially pleased that this happened at the time, but eventually they warmed up to the reality and issued the official ordination certificates. Metropolitan Petros's certificate was issued in 1968.

    However, even between the ordination in 1961 and the certificate being issued in 1968, Metropolitan Petros concelebrated with ROCOR bishops. We have footage of this up on youtube (GreekOrthodoxTV, "The 50 Year Struggle.") After 1969, when the Synod of the GOC was officially recognized as a sister Church by ROCOR and full communion was established, Metropolitan Petros, who by this time had been added officially to the ranks of the Synod of the GOC of Greece, continued to concelebrate with the ROCOR the most, being so close to them geographically. The ROCOR bishops always had a warm place in their hearts for Metropolitan Petros, and vice-versa.

    Metropolitan Petros found himself in a precarious position in 1974, because he refused to sign the Encyclical of the GOC re-affirming the gracelessness of New Calendarist mysteries. He did this on the advice of ROCOR (although not a member of ROCOR, he argued that because his ordination certificate stated that "in all questions I will confer with the Synod which ordained me" that he was obligated to get their view on the matter). When the GOC removed him from the Synodal list, the ROCOR stopped concelebrating with him, since they were in communion with the GOC. This was a grave injustice against Metropolitan Petros, which he protested on numerous occasions.

    Official communion between the ROCOR and the GOC was short-lived due to some of the administrative errors of Archbishop Auxentios. In 1976, communion was broken, but unofficially communion continued to be given to members of both Churches.

    In 1985, Metropolitan Petros was re-added to the Synod of the GOC of Greece, which he remained a member of until his death. In 1995, he briefly flirted with the idea of rejoining the ROCOR Synod, and indeed they synodally received him as a retired bishop and made plans to ordain now-Metropolitan Pavlos as his successor. It seems that in Metropolitan Petros's mind, he was in communion with both Synods. He last concelebrated with ROCOR bishops in 1996 in Jordanville. He reposed in January 1997.

    His successor Metropolitan Pavlos continued good relations with ROCOR, being present in the altar during the enthronement of Metropolitan Laurus, and trying to discourage them from rejoining the Moscow Patriarchate. Unfortunately from our standpoint, they went ahead with their plans, and from 2007, we have had no communion, official or unofficial, with the majority of ROCOR which went under the MP.

    Feel free to contact me for more information on this topic if you wish. You can find my info on the Metropolis website.

    In Christ,

    Fr. Anastasios

  2. Thank you very much for your comments Father! I was aware of a great deal of what you wrote, but not of many of the details. Forgive me for over-simplifying Metropolitan Petros' jurisdictional affiliation - I didn't want to change the focus of the post. May his memory be eternal! I hope that someday the walls that have arisen between the ROCOR and the True Orthodox in the Balkans and the former USSR (not to mention between the latter and world Orthodoxy generally) can be removed.