Written by Vladimir Moss




     “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts,” said Virgil, thinking of the famous story from Homer’s Iliad of how the city of Troy was betrayed by the gift of a giant wooden horse. Once the horse was received inside the gates of Troy, soldiers jumped out of it during the night and captured the city… The True Orthodox Church of Greece (GTOC) could be compared to the city of Troy, and its union with the Greek Old Calendarist Cyprianites – to the Trojan horse, a gift that GTOC has hailed as a gift from God, but which may well turn out to be a very damaging trap. 

     The trap is revealed by the Cyprianite Bishop Auxentios of Etna and Portland, who, helped by his spiritual father, the retired Metropolitan Chrysostomos (emeritus professor, as we are yet again reminded), has published a statement that proclaims something that very many have known for a long time but which GTOC has assiduously tried to conceal: that these two bishops, at any rate, have neither repented of their Cyprianism nor have any intention of hiding the fact.

     The statement is written in the very distinctive Cyprianite style – over-long, flowery and self-indulgent. But we shall cut to the quick, ignoring the rights and wrongs of Bishop Auxentios’ quarrel with an anonymous Greek critic, and highlighting the following sentences:

     1. “Little more than a year ago, the two major canonical groups of Old Calendarists in Greece and in this country united…” This is false. One of the canonical groups in question – GTOC – was canonical; the other – the Cyprianites – was not. In 1984 the Cyprianites separated from GTOC accusing GTOC of having a false ecclesiology. In 1986 GTOC defrocked Metropolitan Cyprian, accusing him of schism and other things. In this situation, there is no way in which both these groups could be called canonical – and they certainly did not consider each other to be so.

     2. “As for the Consecration of Metropolitan Cyprian the Elder of Oropos and Phyle, there has never been any question about its validity. One point alone rather clearly underscores this fact: He was one of the co-Consecrators of His Beatitude, Archbishop Κallinikos, now the First Hierarch of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece.” Not true. From February 20 to 23, 1979, Metropolitan Callistus of Corinth, together with Metropolitan Anthony of Megara, ordained eight archimandrites to the episcopate, who were, in order of ordination: Cyprian (Koutsoubas) of Fili and Orope, Maximus (Tsitsibakos) of Magnesia, Callinicus (Sarantopoulos) of Achaia, Matthew (Langis) of Oinoe, Germanus (Athanasiou) of Aiolia, Calliopius (Giannakoulopoulos) of Pentapolis, Mercurius (Kaloskamis) of Knossos and Callinicus (Karaphyllakis) of the Twelve Islands. During the services, Archbishop Auxentius was commemorated; but they had not informed him! It was only on February 27 that they called Auxentius and asked for his approval. The “Callistites” claimed that this was only a “temporary and curable deviation from the canonical order” whose aim was the cleansing of the Church from moral vices, especially sodomy, since “men have been raised to the priesthood who are both unworthy and incapable.” On February 27 Archbishop Auxentius, Metropolitan Gerontius and those with them met “in order to formulate a position on the sedition brought about by its members, Callistus of Corinth and Anthony of Megara, who illegally severed themselves from the body [of the Holy Synod] and high-handedly undertook to consecrate bishops. Upon discussing this matter at length, on the basis of the holy canons of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ, [the Holy Synod] unanimously decreed and imposed upon the two seditious Metropolitans the punishment of deposition, as the holy canons themselves enjoin.” Some days later, the Auxentiite Synod, augmented by no less than ten new bishops, met in order to confirm the invalidity of the Callistite ordinations and the deposition of the Callistites as “conspirators, factionalists, establishers of unlawful assemblies and schismatics”.ROCOR refused to confirm the canonicity of either faction, while the independent Metropolitans Chrysostomos (Kiousis) of Thessalonica and Acacius of Diauleia condemned both sides. So to affirm that “there has never been any question about the validity” of Metropolitan Cyprian’s consecration is manifestly untrue.

     3. “The matter was not that of one side submitting to the other.” But we know for a fact that three bishops – Cyprian the Younger, Ambrose and Klimis – received some kind of absolution from GTOC. So they submitted… The details have not been published, unfortunately. However, the stubborn refusal of Bishop Auxentios and his elder to act likewise does them no credit.

     4. “Regarding the ‘heresy of Cyprianitism,’ the ecclesiology of the Synod in Resistance was not an invention of Metropolitan Cyprian, but was based on the Synod’s interpretation of the Conciliar, Patristic, and historical precepts of theOrthodox Church—an interpretation, in fact, expressed in many of the writings of the ‘Father’ of the Old Calendar movement, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Phlorina.” Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina made some mistakes. Cyprian seized on the mistakes and built them up into a full-grown ecclesiology. Chrysostomos repented of his mistakes. Cyprian never repented. Metropolitan Chrysostomos never created a schism on the basis of his mistakes. Cyprian did. Metropolitan Chrysostomos was never condemned in a formal canonical trial. Cyprian was. The difference is great…

    5. “No prayer of any kind was ever read over either of us, nor did we submit any sort of confession for our supposed past heresy. Nor would we ever have accepted such provisions. I think that this fact speaks for itself.” It does indeed. It demonstrates that whether we call Cyprianism “heresy”, “crypto-ecumenism” or “justification for schism”, the false teaching that it undoubtedly embodies – as witnessed by many statements of the canonical GTOC before the union of 2014 – has not been repented of by Bishop Auxentios. Moreover, he appears even to be glorying in his stubborn lack of repentance

     All this represents a very serious challenge to the Synod of GTOC. In a previous article, I pointed out that Bishop Auxentios, in spite of his defiant refusal to repent, had been given an enormous amount of power – virtually a “Pan-North American” diocese – in flagrant defiance of the territorial principle of Church administration. And I concluded that "this arrangement constitutes a de facto broadening of the influence of the Cyprianite ecclesiology (as represented by Bishop Auxentius) at the expense of the influence of the True Orthodox ecclesiology (as represented by Metropolitan Demetrius). For if Bishop Auxentius is a true follower of his "abba" Metropolitan Chrysostomos - and there is not reason to think otherwise - then we can expect not only that Cyprianism will be consolidated in the hearts and minds of the Cyprianites themselves, but also that it will begin to infect areas formerly under truly Orthodox bishops but not under the Cyprianite "Pan-North American, Hawaiian and Alaskan" diocese. The cancer has metastised... “ 

     If the Synod of GTOC is to retain its credibility as an upholder of the True Faith, it must act against Bishop Auxentios. If it does not, then the cancer will spread, and if there are any True Orthodox left in the union they will separate from the compromisersso as to save their souls. After all, we have the terrifying example of the fall of the Russian Church Abroad to warn us. In 1983 ROCOR under St. Philaret anathematized ecumenism and Cyprianism. And yet, only eleven years later, after the death of St. Philaret, Cyprianism was proclaimed the official ecclesiology of ROCOR. And that in spite of many protesters and doubters… Today, the protesters have melted away; there is an ominous silence from the former zealots of GTOC. ROCOR had a Hector under St. Philaret. GTOC today appears to have no Hector to stand out against Achilles – and Cyprianism remains, as before, its Achilles heel… We conclude that their glorying in this deeply flawed union “is not good. Do they not know that little leaven leavens the whole lump?” (I Corinthians 5.6).


July 10/23, 2015.



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