Bishop Matthew’s Errors

Matthewite Postings

Below is a series of postings to an internet news group that Archbishop Gregory made pointing out many of Vicar Bishop Matthew’s Errors. Most of the information was taken from Vicar Bishop Matthew’s own writings. It reveals a great deal of his personality, and spirituality.


Matthew’s Schism #1

In March of 1924 Archbishop Chrysostomos (Papadopoulos) head of the Church of Greece, instituted a new calendar for use in the Church of Greece. The pious Orthodox Christians of Greece, choosing to use the traditional calendar sanctioned by the holy Fathers, and refused to accept the change. This caused a potential schism in the Church of Greece, and approximately 1/10 of the population refuse to accept this innovation. They were served by priests only. No bishops from the Church of Greece would align themselves with these Orthodox laymen and priests.

Seeing that Archbp. Chrysostom(Papadopoulos) will not reject the new calendar innovation, three Metropolitans eventually left the State Church, to help these hundreds of thousands of Orthodox Christians. In May of 1935, eleven years after the introduction of the new calendar, the old calendar movement finally had bishops. The Synod of “Genuine Orthodox Church” (G.O.C.) was formed by the three Greek bishops, Met. Chrysostomos of Florina, Met. Germanos of Demetrias and Met. Chrysostomos of Zakynthos. in the presence of 25,000 faithful. They also made an official pronouncement that the new calendarists are schismatics. Over 800 parishes were established all over Greece.

During this same year, the newly established G. O. C. Synod ordains three new bishops. One of them is the Vicar-Bishop Matthew. In the year 1937, Vicar-Bishop Matthew creates the first schism of this old calendar movement by holding the extreme view that the new calendarist are graceless from the very moment they accepted the new calendar innovation.

Metropolitan Chrysostom said that in the narrow usage of the word a “heresy” is a group rebelling against the Church in its holding erroneous beliefs about God and the Divine Economy; a “schism” is a group rebelling against the Church in its holding erroneous beliefs about the Church’s appointed order, which might be in the areas of ecclesiastical administration, the canons, the appointement of this bishop to that see, or the order of divine worship. A parasynagogue overlaps here with a schism in that it also rebels against the Church’s appointment to or removal of clergy or bishops from their offices and duties. These are the narrow usages of the terms, but in its original, broader meaning a “heresy” is any sect or group rebelling against the Church.

Metropolitan Chrysostom considered the unilateral introduction of the Gregorian Menaion Cycle into the Church’s Calendar by the majority of the Greek hierarchy to potentially fall into the category of a schism since it violated the common and traditional order of the Church’s worship and broke the unity of the Church in regard to her observance of the Apostle’s Fast and simultaneous observance of the major Fasts and immovable Feasts. However, he said, that to be a real or actual schism from the Church, the adoption of the Gregorian Menaion Cycle (alone) would have to either have already been condemned as a schismatic act by the Church or that it would have to be condemned as such in the future by Her. Since the Church had NOT yet declared this, the New Menaionist hierarchs could only be called schismatics in the sense that they held erroneous beliefs about the order of divine worship and had departed from what was commonly handed down in regard to it. It was potentially a rebellion against the Church, but since it violated no express command of the Church, it was not yet an actual rebellion. Until the (whole) Church condemned the innovation, it is not actually condemned.

And so with regard to the Church, if the innovating hierarchs were said by any individual or group (e.g. three Greek hierarchs) to be schismatics and to have forfeited divine grace, this only would have force if the law and penalty had already been established.

In summary, Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina was very careful and very discerning, as were the hierarchs of the Russian Church Abroad, when it came to schism and heresy. The new calendar was not sufficient for the holy and patristic hierarchs mentioned above to declare them graceless schismatics.

Vicar Bishop Matthew had no discretion concerning what constitutes a real schism and therefore broke the canons of the Church on innumerable occasions. He was an extremist. He had no foundation in the Fathers. This is why it is important to ordain someone with discretion and humility, which were mightily lacking in Matthew. It is no wonder that Metropolitan Chrysostom said to him, “It was a great sin, the day I ordained you.” Anybody following the Vicar-Bishop Matthew is jeopardizing their salvation.

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #2

Vicar-Bishop Matthew was ordained for the little village town called Bresthena. This village is south of Corinth and had no Old Calendarists in residence. A ruling bishop is given a city and a region (e.g. a large city like Florina in Northern Greece), and in such case he would be called Bishop or Metropolitan. A vicar-bishop is given only a small city, village, or town (e.g., Bresthena) which is subject to another hierarch.

It is also obvious that Matthew was a vicar-bishop in another way, in that he did never live in this little village but lived all his life as a bishop in the convent of Keratea. The consequences of Matthew being a vicar-bishop, is that he did not have the authority to ordained anyone without permission of his Synod.

When a vicar-bishop in Greece signs his name, he does not write “Vicar-Bishop So-and-so”. The same thing can be said for Russian bishops and those of all other Churches. Therefore, if Vicar-Bishop Matthew signs his name “Bishop Matthew”, this does not mean he is a ruling bishop.

Another observation: Everyone here in America is at a disadvantage in this Greek tragedy. We are not in Greece and cannot obtain a complete story of this schism. We are unfortunately deluged from the Matthewite-side, with information which is, unfortunately always untrustworthy. I am not an adequate defender of the Florinites, but I would like to put this observation before you: Why is it that conversions between these two Old Calendarist groups, Florinites and Matthewites, are always to the Florinite side, with very minor exceptions. Laypeople, theologians, married priests, archimandrites, and even a bishop, left the Matthewite-side to join the Florinites. Going the opposite way... you cannot come up with one name. Think about it.

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #3

On Aug 26, 1948, Bp. Matthew (Karpathakes) of Bresthena was “authorized” by his Church assembly, led by the Abbess Mariam and Protosyngellos (Protopriest) Evgenios Tombros, to elect and consecrate bishops by himself, an uncanonical act, prohibited by the Apostolic Canons and the whole sacred canonical law of the Church. They declared “that our most Reverend Bishop Matthew of Bresthena should proceed to the consecration of new bishops, insofar as the other pseudo-bishops of the True Orthodox Christians neither understand nor confess Orthodoxy, nor unite with us, nor even agree to make consecrations. We grant him the authority to proceed both to the election of people and to their immediate consecration, in accordance with the divine and sacred canons and the opinions of our canon law experts, and in accordance with the practice of the whole Church of Christ, which has accepted, in case of necessity (as is the case today) such a dispensation [oikonomia], as we have just heard from our Protosynkellos, Protopriest Eugene Tombros, who explained the validity of the consecration of one Bishop by one Bishop in accordance with the law of our Orthodox Church.” They had deceived themselves to believe that Matthew was the only Orthodox bishop left in the world. Furthermore, the idea that the laity and lower clergy can give a bishop (vicar-bishop) authority denied to him by the Holy Apostles and Holy Councils is Protestantism. And it is interesting to note, that there is no mention of persecution, which is an argument that has been put forward by the Matthewites in later years to justify their actions.

There is a book by Stavros Karamitsos in Greek called “H AGONIA” (pp. 165-166) which speaks of one instance of how Metropolitan Chrysostom was treated by the Matthewites. In the book it is related how, in response to a complaint by Bishop Matthew’s Synod, to the effect that Metropolitan Chrysostom had failed to visit their ailing leader (probably after his stroke), Met. Chrysostom, who himself was not in good health, ventured out into the January cold, for the sake of love and the restoration of unity, to visit Bishop Matthew. On arriving at the convent in Keratea, where Matthew was living, the Metropolitan and those accompanying him were forced to stand outside in the snow for some time; they were not even invited into to the convent’s reception room. One of the nuns was dispatched to tell them that the Abbess, Mother Mariam, was not disposed to receive them, to which the Metropolitan replied that it had been a mistake for him to consecrate Bishop Matthew in the first place. They then left to go back to their homes.

As evidence of Metropolitan Chrysostom’s virtuous character, that he harbored no personal animosity towards his opponents, there is this too. Once, when he was described by Father Evgenios Tombros (the then-protosyngellos of the Matthewite Synod), in a certain publication, as “a ram with big horns,” he made the following comment: “The poor fellow thinks that he is doing a service to Orthodoxy by insulting me. May he be forgiven.” [Karamitsos, “The Contemporary Confessor” (in Greek), p. 43].

Bishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #4

In 1937, when Bishop Matthew created a schism, he was joined by Bishop Germanos of the Cyclades. They remained together until 1943, when Bishop Germanos finally understood the inner motivations of Bishop Matthew and left him.

The following is from a letter of Metropolitan Chrysostom to Bishop Germanos of the Cyclades, written shortly after the latter (Bishop Germanos) left his fellow bishops to join Bishop Matthew, written in November 9, 1937.

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To His Grace, Bishop Germanos of the Cyclades:......

...Likewise, Your Grace, you dissemble and utter outright falsehoods when you assert that it is unnecessary and superfluous to convene a Pan-Orthodox Synod or a major local Synod for the authoritative and definitive condemnation of the calendar innovation by the Archbishop [of Athens], since the Pan-Orthodox Synods of 1583, 1587, and 1593 condemned the Gregorian Calendar.

And this is so, because you know fully well that the aforementioned Synods condemned the Gregorian Calendar, and that this condemnation concerns the Latins, who implemented this calendar in its entirety, whereas the Archbishop [of Athens] adopted half of it, applying it to the fixed Feasts and retaining the Old Calendar for Pascha and the moveable Feasts, precisely in order to bypass the obstacle of this condemnation.

In view of this, the innovation of the Archbishop in applying the Gregorian Calendar only to the fixed Feasts and not to Pascha, which was the main reason why the Gregorian Calendar was condemned as conflicting with the Seventh Apostolic Canon, is an issue that appears for the first time in the history of the Orthodox Church. Consequently, the convocation of a Pan-Orthodox Synod is not only not superfluous, as Your Grace declares ex cathedra, like another Pope, but is actually required for the canonical and authoritative adjudication of this issue.

This is precisely why the other Orthodox Churches which stand on the ground of the traditional calendar have not broken off ecclesiastical communion with the innovating Archbishop, waiting to express their opinion and judgment until a Pan-Orthodox Synod should convene in the future, which alone has the right to try and condemn him, if he adheres obstinately to his innovation.

And when Your Grace, like another Pope, characterizes us [the Florinite synod] as heretics, because we have not proclaimed the Church of Greece schismatic and her Mysteries invalid on account of the Archbishop’s innovation, but have restricted ourselves to breaking off ecclesiastical communion with him even before a Synodal verdict, in accordance with the Fifteenth Canon of the First-Second Ecumenical Synod, then you must also proclaim the other Orthodox Churches, which have not broken communion with the innovating Archbishop, heretics twice over, in which case you will be left as the sole Orthodox Hierarch, along with your like-minded collaborator, the Bishop of Bresthena [Matthew]!

If you take this step, Your Grace, you put an end to the life and the age-old history of the Orthodox Church, since you are proclaiming all of the Orthodox Churches as a whole to be heretical, thereby falsifying the declaration of the Lord to His Disciples when He said: “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”...

+Metropolitan Chysostomos Athens, November 9, 1937

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So we see from this letter some interesting points which I would again endeavor to bring to the attention of those who had accepted the Matthewite line of thinking.

First, it was recognized by all soundly-believing zealots in the 1930’s that the Pan-Orthodox Synods only condemned the adoption of either the complete Gregorian Menaion and Paschalion Calendar or the adoption of the Gregorian Paschalion, and that this condemnation concerns the Latins because they were the only ones that have adopted it in its entirety.

Second, Archbishop Chrysostom Papadopoulos deliberately adopted the Gregorian Menaion without adopting the Gregorian Paschalion so as to not fall under any condemnations by the Pan-Orthodox Synods or the Ecumenical Councils. Therefore, this was the first time in the history of the Orthodox Church that She had encountered such a innovation with regard to the calendar.

Third, the decision or fate of the Church of Greece because of this innovation should not be made at the hands of two vicar-bishops, Matthew and Germanos. Let us have some sense here. What authority do they have to try the autocephalous Church of Greece and condemn them as graceless schismatics for this issue?

Lastly, by doing this (breaking off ecclesiastical communion) they have isolated themselves from every Orthodox Church in the world, and, yes, these two bishops are wondering why does not anyone follow their lead? Sadly, the answer is, because they are in prelest. Thank God, Bishop Germanos came to his senses and left Bishop Matthew alone in his way of thinking.

I really hope that the Matthewites in this country can come to understand that they have made a very serious mistake in their decision to join this parasynagogue.

The two priests who make up the Matthewite leadership in this country have a history of errors in their judgment with regard the most important aspect of their lives, that is, the Church.

I believe that Fr. A, if he had the opportunity to live his life over again, would never have been duped by Fr. Pantaleimon and the homosexual leadership of HTM; then he would never have been duped to join Akakios and Gabriel; then he would never have been duped to remain without a bishop for so many years; and finally, I think that he would never have been duped to join the Matthewites.

Fr. S on the other hand, would not have been duped to be in communion with Cyprian for so many years. This resulted in an over-reaction to his lack of judgment, and instead of blaming himself, it seems to me that he blamed the entire Russian Church Abroad and became duped to join the Matthewites who blame, of course, the ROCA for everything that they can get away with.

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #5

This is from Metropolitan Chrysostom’s November 9, 1937, Epistle to Bishop Germanos of the Cyclades.

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Likewise, Your Grace, you knowingly dissemble and lie, when you place us in the camp of the holy monasteries of the Holy Mountain, which keep the traditional calendar, but commemorate the New Calendarist Ecumenical Patriarch in their services. And this is so, because you are fully aware that we not only do not commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch, as a New Calendarist, or the innovating Archbishop [of Athens], but have also broken off all ecclesiastical communion with these Hierarchs, who personally bear sole responsibility for the innovation. But you draw this parallel witlessly, Your Grace, thinking, in your superficiality, that you might thus provoke the Sacred League of Zealots of the Holy Mountain, because the League in fact concurs with our canonical and Orthodox opinion and has very sternly repudiated and condemned the zealot Priests Gideon, Hilarion, and Akakios, who apostatized from us, as well as the separatist Bishops of Bresthena [Matthew] and of the Cyclades [Germanos], for splitting our Orthodox segment, and this on the eve of the return to the Old Calendar by the official Church......

For your part, Your Grace, you and your fellow-apostate, the Bishop of Bresthena, deluded by the prestige of the Episcopal rank, rebelled against us, out of lust for power and luciferian pride, precisely at a crucial point of the struggle, in order to divide the unifying Orthodox segment and thereby to thwart the victory and triumph of Orthodoxy......

+Metropolitan Chrysostom

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We see from the above statements more interesting facts that should be noted.

First, Metropolitan Chrysostom had always been working to bring back the New Calendarist hierarchy to the Old Calendar. We understand from what he said here and from other testimonies that the New Calendarist hierarchs, seeing the great protest, which was a sustained movement since the adoption of the New Calendar, were about to reconsider their innovation. When Bishop Matthew broke from the confessing, Orthodox segment of the Church of Greece, these hierarchs saw the disunity among the Old Calendarists and decided that the movement would be of little consequence in the future. They, therefore, stayed in their innovation, not being persuaded by the holy Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina. Rightly, therefore, do I consider this schism of Matthew’s as the first among the Old Calendar segment of the Church of Greece. Many more schisms were to follow, but the bishop who had the nerve to introduce this ‘tradition’ first was none other than Matthew, who spent his life as a bishop living in a convent.

Second, the monks of Mt. Athos who initially started the protest and formed the League of Zealots were of the same opinion as the holy Metropolitan Chrysostom. When Bishops Matthew and Germanos along with three priests apostasized from the rightly-confessing Metropolitans, the zealots of the Holy Mountain sternly repudiated and condemned them.

So we see that from the very start, Bishop Matthew and his opinions were a radical departure from true Orthodoxy. May the Matthewites here in the U S, before it is too late, come to understand their mistake.

One other interesting note to show the true Orthodox understanding of the overwhelming majority of the Greek Old Calendarists at the beginning of their struggle is the following:

In October of 1934, one year before yhe three Metropolitans left the state church, George Paraschos and Basil Stamatoulis, the President and Secretary General respectively of the Community of Genuine Orthodox Christians, appealed to the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky, to consecrate bishops for the Old Calendarists and take them under his omophorion. [For the letter see: Stavros Karamitsos, The Agony (in Greek), pp. 111-112].

So we see that on the Holy Mountain as well as in mainland Greece, the true confessors believed the same way as Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina among the Greeks and Metropolitan Anthony of the Russians, that the adoption of the new Menaion was not serious enough to declare all the New Calendarist graceless schismatics.

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #6

This is more from Metropolitan Chrysostom’s 1937 letter to Bishop Germanos.

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Your Grace, you have reached such a degree of madness as to state with mouth wide open and the tongue of Thersites that we have abandoned the flag of our struggle and betrayed it to the Archbishop of Athens! Your Grace, we joined the struggle under the banner of the restitution of the Patristic Calendar to the Church, setting as our primary goal, not the creation of a permanent ecclesiastical division, but the pacification of the Church and the union of all [Orthodox] Christians in the celebration of the Feasts. When we raised this flag of Orthodox unity, we proclaimed right from the beginning not only that we would uphold the right-believing authority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Church of Greece, which the innovators have unworthily upset, but also that we would curb the excesses towards which the calendar struggle was deviating, bereft, as it was, of pastoral supervision, by way of the Hagiorite Priests who headed it, because of a lack of theological and canonical education, uncanonically re-Chrismating the children of New Calendarists, to the detriment of the struggle and to the diminution of its Orthodox authority.......

Let this be my last word on the subject, Your Grace, for the satisfaction of the truth, and I pray to God that, in His infinite merry and forbearance, He may forgive us for the great sin that we committed in elevating you to the rank of Bishop, may bring you to your senses and guide you on the saving paths of conscience and repentance, and may at the same time crown our sacred struggle with success, through the restitution of the Patristic Calendar, to the glory of Christ and of His Orthodox Church.

Athens, November 9, 1937

+Metropolitan Chrysostomos

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>>From the above portions of the blessed Metropolitan Chrysostom’s letter, we note the following:

1) The primary goal of the holy struggle was not the creation of a permanent ecclesiastical division, but the reinstitution of the Church’s Patristic calendar and the union of all Orthodox Christians in the celebration of the major moveable and immovable feasts. This was a noble struggle. If in this struggle, the New Calendarist hierarchs of the Church used force to resist the true confessors, this does not mean that these hierarchs were bereft of the grace of God in their Mysteries. They were at that time as yet not condemned by the Church for their lawlessness.

2) The Holy Struggle was being led for eleven years without archpastoral supervision by Hagiorite Priests, certain of whom were re-Chrismating New Calendarists’ children, who were uniting with the Old Calendar Church and the Holy Struggle was being brought into disrepute by this uncanonical re-Chrismation. Why? Because the Archbishop of Athens’ innovation in regard to the Menaion had never been condemned by the Church, therefore re-Chrismating them was not correct.

3) Metropolitan Chrysostom right from the very beginning stated what his policy was going to be and for two years there was no objection until Bishops Matthew and Germanos got it into their heads to direct the Old Calendarists in another direction.

4) Metropolitan Chrysostom understood the great sin that he had committed in elevating Bishop Germanos and, of course, Bishop Matthew to the episcopal rank. He lamented this act, because of the great damage that they had done to the Holy Struggle.

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #7

This is the 1942 Letter to Metropolitan Chrysostom from Vicar-Bishops Matthew and Germanos.

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The True Orthodox Church of Greece

Athens, January 27, 1942

To His Eminence, Archbishop Chrysostomos of Florina.

Your Eminence:

Several days ago, when we received your invitation for us to come on January 15/28, 1942, to discuss certain serious questions concerning our sacred struggle in your offices at No. 7, Chalcondyle. We sent you a letter by way of Mr. Stavrianos, in which we made it known to you that in order for us to come into contact with you and the Metropolitan of Demetrias, it would first be necessary to remove the spiritual reasons for our disagreement, which compelled us to denounce you. Since, as we are informed, you desire union-as at any rate, you state orally before the people-, for this reason, we state very clearly, through this letter of ours, that meetings and discussions will be superfluous until you accept the points of faith set out below, which provoked our disagreement, and that, from such a moment, we will then be united and can then come together and meet with each other.

1. That the Church of Greece, by accepting the Papal Calendar, has become schismatic.

2. That her Mysteries are invalid.

3. That her Chrism does not have any sanctifying Grace.

4. That the children of those in the Orthodox Church who are wrong-believing should be re-Chrismated.

When you have communicated these points to the wrong-believing Church through a court notary, whose certification you show us; and when, in the same way, you also revoke the document that you sent to the Ministry of Religion; and when you proclaim all of this in the Churches-then, we say, our union will come about automatically, without meetings and disputations. We will await your written response to these questions of ours for a period of eight days from today.

With fraternal greetings,

+Bishop Germanos of the Cyclades

+Bishop Matthew of Bresthene

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We see from this letter the mentality of Bishops Matthew and Germanos, who say that they cannot even come into contact with the bishops who ordained them to discuss their differences until they agree totally to the way of thinking of themselves.

They acknowledge the invitation to discuss these serious questions concerning the sacred struggle of the Old Calendarists, yet they will not come into contact, as if their senior bishops were plague-ridden or lepers.

For example, if I visited my old friend Fr. Stephen, would he say to me first, “Unless you profess Matthewitism, I cannot come into contact with you”? I doubt that he would say this, because he is not really a Matthewite in heart, he has just been converted intellectually, which is bad enough.

Matthew’s extremism as expressed in this letter is indeed a hallmark of the Matthewites in previous years, because they considered themselves the only Orthodox left on earth. Now with the appearance of the internet, their fanatic mentality has softened; they will not state this openly.

Vicar-Bishop Matthew acknowledges the desire of Metropolitan Chrysostom for union and apparently the Metropolitan had stated this openly before the people many times. Take note: have we ever heard of Matthew’s desire for union expressed in such a way that he would call Metropolitan Chrysostom to come for a discussion?

Here is how Metropolitan Chrysostom comments upon this letter’s fourth requirement

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“Proof that these parasynagogue Bishops know ‘neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm’ is that they do not apply all that they teach even to themselves, not daring, the hapless ones, to repeat the Mysteries for those coming over from the Papal Calendar to the Orthodox Calendar, hereby accepting into their bosom those who are un-Baptized, unmarried, and in general, according to their opinion and understanding, unhallowed and un-Chrismated.

The perversity and insanity of such an opinion and doctrine as theirs become more plain and obvious, if one takes into account the fact that these parasynagoguers restrict themselves to re-Chrismating infants, who are completely innocent of the innovation of the New Calendar, making their parents exempt from such a penalty when they come over, without re-Chrismation, to their brand of Orthodoxy. And when, as we steadfastly believe and hope, after this terrible and most pernicious conflict has come to an end, the innovating Churches, having been suitably enlightened by a pan-Orthodox and legitimate Synod, are compelled to return to the Old Calendar, the calendar of the Holy Fathers, will thousands and millions of Christians who were born in the bosom of the innovating Churches, following the opinion and dogmatic decree of the parasynagogue Bishops, be re-Baptized, remarried, and re-Chrismated, so that they may receive the anointing of Orthodoxy?”

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Given the fact that Bishop Matthew is not working towards converting the New Calendarists but rather simply condemning them, one wonders does he really want the New Calendar innovation to end? If the New Calendarists did revert back to the Old Calendar as the Blessed Metropolitan Chrysostom hoped, does anyone think that Matthew would accept their Mysteries, who has always maintained that they were graceless since 1924?

Lastly, the vicar-bishops, Germanos and Matthew, say, “We will await your written response to these questions of ours for a period of eight days from today.” What happens after eight days? Well, in the Matthewite mentality, if a response is given after eight days, it ought not to be received. Or maybe they have to reapply with another request to meet and then they would be given another eight days as an extension for scheduling an appointment. Or maybe this was an ultimatum, that ‘after eight days, you are not worthy to repent’.

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #8

This is from the Pastoral Encyclical of Metropolitan Chrysostom of June 1, 1944. To the entire Orthodox Christian Flock that follows the Festal Calendar of the Holy Fathers:.......

“Among your own selves men shall rise up, speaking things which have been perverted, to draw away the disciples after themselves.” [Acts 20:30] These false teachers “went out from among us, but they were not of us; for if they were of us, they would have remained with us,” [1 Jn. 2:19] as the Evangelist says. We made them Bishops by the grace of the All-holy and consecrating Spirit, so that with us they might serve the sacred struggle for the Orthodox Festal Calendar.

But when these men became Bishops, not only did they not comprehend or value their Episcopal office, and the serious and sacred character of the calendar struggle, but they also fell into a whole host of uncanonical deviations, not flinching or shrinking, the wretched ones bereft of ecclesiological or canonical reasons, from breaking their spiritual ties and ecclesiastical communion with us; setting up their own altars and thereby rending the seamless garment of Christ for reasons of personal vainglory and ambition, they created an actual schism in the bosom of our Orthodox faction. When we saw that all of the peaceful means that we had employed to enlighten them and turn them aside from their indefensible schism came to nothing, we were compelled, with grief, to accept their secession and to deprive them and their followers of our blessing. Since that time, separated from our spiritual jurisdiction and care, these men have perpetrated acts that are so uncanonical and criminal from an ecclesiastical standpoint, that they were brought to trial before the Criminal Court of Chalke, which dismissed the case, not because they were innocent of the accusation, but because they were unfit to stand trial due to mental debility and advanced age. These parasynagogue Bishops Matthew (Karpathakis) of Bresthena and Germanos (Varykopoulos) of the Cyclades, from the moment they split off from us, who bestowed Episcopal rank on them, remained Bishops, owing to the indelibility of the Priesthood, but as simple individuals and not as representatives of a Church from which they could draw the grace and the authority validly to perform any ecclesiastical function and to celebrate Her Mysteries.

According to the Orthodox Faith and understanding, it is the whole Church, as the Treasurery of grace, that establishes the Churches and endows them [bishops] with the Mysteries and the grace of the All-holy Spirit, and not a certain number of individual laity and clergy who, owing to a disagreement on some ecclesiastical issue that is capable of being resolved, have broken away from a recognized Orthodox Church, one that has not been stripped of its ecclesiastical validity or of the grace of the All-holy Spirit following a trial and sentence pronounced by the entire Church.......

Athens, June 1, 1944 +Metropolitan Chrysostomos

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>>From the above segment of this pastoral encyclical, we see:

1) how the blessed Metropolitan Chrysostom viewed Bishops Matthew and Germanos: “...as simple individuals and not as representatives of a Church from which they could draw the grace and the authority validly to perform any ecclesiastical function and to celebrate Her Mysteries.” “...not flinching or shrinking, the wretched ones, bereft of ecclesiological or canonical reasons, from breaking their spiritual ties and ecclesiastical communion with us; setting up their own altars and thereby rending the seamless garment of Christ for reasons of personal vainglory and ambition, they created an actual schism in the bosom of our Orthodox faction.”

His opinion of them in 1944 seems to be the same as what he held at the beginning of their schism in 1937. He called them and their followers parasynagogues and actual schismatics and we know from the Holy Canons that such are deprived of the grace of God.

2) that he had ordained them hoping that in their obedience to their synod, they might serve the sacred struggle for the Orthodox Festal Calendar. He, however, was greatly grieved, because they did not comprehend the value of their episcopal office or the serious and sacred character of the struggle, as their subsequent actions showed.

3) that he pointed out that these bishops had broken away from a recognized Orthodox Church which had not been stripped of its ecclesiastical validity or the grace of God by any trial and sentence pronounced by the Universal Church.

So we see that Bishop Matthew in these actions committed a very audacious act, which according to the canons makes him liable before God.

Canon XIV of the First-Second Council:

If any Bishop, on the allegation that charges of crime lie against his own Metropolitan [i.e. the president of the Synod], shall secede or apostatize from him before a conciliar or synodal verdict has been issued against him, and shall abstain from communion with him, and fail to mention his name, in accordance with the established practice, in the course of the divine mystagogy (i.e., liturgical celebration of the Eucharistic Mystery), the holy Council has decreed that he shall be deposed from office, if merely by seceding from his own Metropolitan he shall create a schism. For everyone ought to know his own bounds, and neither ought a presbyter treat his own bishop scornfully or contemptuously, nor ought a bishop to treat his own Metropolitan so.

Bishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #9

This is from the 1944 Pastoral Encyclical of Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina.

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According to the spirit of the relevant Canons, when the Primate or the majority of the Hierarchs of a recognized Orthodox Church introduce into the Church an innovation that is contrary to the Canons and to Orthodox Divine worship, the right-believing Hierarchs of this Church are justified in breaking ecclesiastical communion with the innovators, even before a Synodal judgment, lest they too, be responsible before the whole Church for the innovation that has been evilly and uncanonically introduced; but they cannot declare the innovating Hierarchs schismatics or subject them to deposition, for that is the exclusive prerogative of the entire Church when it comes together in a Synod, states its opinions with the aid of the Holy Spirit, and issues its verdict, after a thorough clarification and a detailed defense by the innovating Hierarchs under judgment. When those who are right-believing sever ecclesiastical communion with a ruling Synod and cease to commemorate it, not only are they not condemned, but they are indeed extolled for not having created a schism, but rather having saved the Church from schism, in accordance with the Fifteenth Canon of the First-Second Ecumenical Synod....

See also the Third Canon of the Third Ecumenical Synod....... These Canons, as any fair and sincere inquirer can understand, afford right-believing clergy, who reject an innovation on the part of the presiding Church authorities, the right solely to break ecclesiastical communion with the governing body and not to obey or submit to it in any way, and yet not the right to pronounce it heretical and to cut it off from the universal body of Orthodoxy, this being reserved for a canonical Synod. However, the parasynagogue Bishops, Matthew (Karpathakis) of Bresthena and Germanos (Varykopoulos) of the Cyclades, despite their knowledge of these Canons, and not being content to break ecclesiastical communion with the innovating Hierarchy of Greece, declared not only the innovating Hierarchy-without any trial or defense-, but also the entire Church of Greece, to be in schism, arrogating to themselves, the wretches, nothing less than a right that belongs to an Ecumenical or a local Synod. In our refusal to follow them on this slippery and hazardous downward slope, which overturns age-old and fundamental canonical norms, and in our vain attempts to turn them aside from this abysmal and soul-destroying precipice, they proceeded to declare us schismatics, without first coming to any understanding with us, rejecting every invitation of ours to clarify matters........

Athens, June 1, 1944 +Metropolitan Chrysostomos

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>>From the above, we see how the blessed Metropolitan Chrysostom was directing the Old Calendar Church in a most conservative and proper way. He showed firstly how the spirit of the canons must be applied to an *introduction* of an innovation that is contrary to the Canons and to the Orthodox Divine worship. When we say *introduction* it is obvious that this is something new which has not been previously addressed by the Church (i.e. the Menaion innovation of 1924). He says that pronouncing the innovating hierarchs schismatics and deposed is the exclusive prerogative of the entire Church, especially in this instance since no one was preaching heresy.

Blessed Metropolitan Chysostom goes on to say again that we all have the sole right to break ecclesiastical communion with an innovating hierarchy (which does not preach heresy against the Faith), but the right to pronounce it heretical and to cut it off from the Universal Body of Orthodoxy is reserved for a canonical Synod. He says that the parasynagogue bishops, Matthew and Germanos (and notice how he puts Matthew before Germanos, because Matthew was the instigator of this schism), without any trial, declare the entire Church of Greece to be in schism and without grace, “arrogating to themselves, the wretches, nothing less than a right that belongs to an Ecumenical or a local Synod.” And here they are but *vicar-bishops* and they think they can take this right to themselves.

He also says that they were invited on many occasions to come to their senior bishops to discuss and clarify these fundamental Orthodox precepts, but the deceived ones, refused.

One could understand from the letters and histories that are being translated about this period that, before the three bishops assumed the shepherding of the Old Calendarists, they saw a most worthy movement within the Church to correct this innovation, but that most of the priests that were leading it were very, very ill-equipped theologically as can be seen by the fact that the candidates that were ordained in 1935 were people like Matthew and Germanos and the rest, and that they were very unstable people. We can showed how Matthew was brought to trial in Chalke, but the judge dismissed him because of his mental incapacity. We will see further that when Vicar-Bishop Matthew writes something (probably on his own) it is illogical and incoherent.

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #10

This taken from the 1944 Pastoral Encyclical of Blessed Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina.

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Now, it is true that in our publications, in defending ourselves against the sentence of deposition passed against us by the Synodal Tribunal which the innovating Hierarchy convened, we called the innovating Hierarchs schismatics for having created grounds for a schism in the Orthodox Church of Greece, by introducing the innovation of the Western Calendar, and for having cut themselves off from the other Orthodox Churches, which held fast to the Orthodox Calendar, in their celebration of the Feasts, and that we have imputed to them the blame and the fearful consequences entailed by the schism in the process of emerging in the peaceful and right-believing life of the Church; but we have called them schismatics-and we do not hesitate to call them such to this day -, however, not actually but only potentially. For the former, that is, the proclamation of an innovating clergyman or layman who departs from the enclosure of the Orthodox and Divine Canons as actually schismatic, is a right that belongs only to a Synod when it assembles and states its opinions with the aid of the Holy Spirit, as I have said; whereas the second, that is, calling such a clergyman or layman potentially schismatic, is the right of any Orthodox clergyman, who is justified not only in severing ecclesiastical communion, but also in denouncing him to a competent Synod, which is precisely what we did in denouncing the innovating Hierarchs to the Orthodox Churches. In our view of this matter, we are in harmony with the Pedalion of the universal Orthodox Church, which, in the first footnote on page 18, makes a clear distinction between a potential and an actual schismatic and calls those who equate these two terms foolish and their language sacrilegious, since they do not understand that unless it is actually implemented by a Synod, the imperative force of the Canons remains unexecuted and does not act of itself, either immediately or before a decision....

Athens, June 1, 1944 +Metropolitan Chrysostom

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Again we see that Metropolitan Chrysostom reiterates how his diction in the 1935 Pastoral Encyclical should be understood. For a bishop of his synod to use the diction as a pretext to break communion and cause a schism in the Church is a grave sin. The Matthewites should take note and not be led astray, especially if this opinion is contrary to that of the Orthodox Church as a whole; for, no one else in the world had the opinions of the parasynagogue bishops, Matthew and Germanos.

Also, Matthewites should take note that if they believe that the innovating bishops broke the canons, the enforcing of the canons is not left to mere individual vicar-bishops, but to a canonical synod (which Matthew and Germanos were certainly not).

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #11

This is taken from the 1944 Pastoral Encyclical of the Blessed Metropolitan Chrysostom.

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Along these lines, we Old Calendarists, in that we present the appearance in our outward expression of faith, of having our own houses of prayer and our own ministers, nevertheless, although we are not in spiritual communion with the innovating Hierarchy, since we adhere steadfastly to the Divine Canons and the Holy Traditions, do not, in terms of canonicity, constitute a Church distinct from that with which we have temporarily broken ecclesiastical communion for canonical reasons, but we are the unsleeping sentinel, as I have already said, which vigilantly keeps the beacons alight on the adamantine battlements of the one Autocephalous Greek Church, in whose name we are continuing her history in the spirit of her original and unsullied Orthodoxy. The parasynagogue Bishops, who have a different opinion on this matter, fall into the heresy of Protestantism, and in celebrating the Mysteries in the name of a non-existent Church, or, to put the point better, of their personal Church, they are deprived of all grace, of which the Treasurer is the entire recognized Orthodox Church.

Let these men tell us: which Church do they belong to, when, like Popes of the East, they have quite shamelessly appropriated the power of a Synod and have declared the Autocephalous Church of Greece to be actually schismatic, in whose name they received from us the rank of Bishop by the visitation of the All-holy and consecrating Spirit?

Since it is well known that none of the local Orthodox Churches that adheres to the Orthodox Calendar of the Fathers has recognized them as constituting an Autocephalous and independent Church, it is self-evident that they do not belong to a recognized Orthodox Church, but to the Church of their followers; and, consequently, they cannot have an Orthodox, but only a Protestant, character, because they derive the authority and the grace of their ecclesiastical acts, not from the notion of the Church as the Treasurer of grace, but from their persons and those of their followers, as the Protestants think and believe, who substitute their personal and individual character and authority for the Divine character and nature of the Church. This, you see, is why the parasynagogue Bishops of Bresthena and the Cyclades cannot have the grace of Orthodoxy or the right to impart this grace to those who follow them on this ecclesiastical downward slope of theirs, because they do not belong to the canonical Church, the sole Treasurer of grace in an Orthodox sense. For this weighty reason, from an Orthodox standpoint, we, being familiar with the Divine Canons and the holy Dogmas and Traditions of the Orthodox Church, refuse to consider the Hierarchy of the Greek Church actually schismatic, but only potentially, until a valid Synod convenes in order to try the innovating Hierarchs and, if they refuse, after a sufficient clarification, to return to the Tradition of the Orthodox Festal Calendar, to depose them, cut them off, and declare them schismatics in actuality, in which case it will recognize the few right-believing Hierarchs as the sole representatives of the Orthodox Church of Greece. However, until this happens, and they put both their persons and their affairs in order, if the parasynagogue Bishops behave as they have been behaving, it is obvious that, according to a precise understanding of the Canons, they are not right-believing but Protestantizers and that, under the pretext of a supposedly pure Orthodoxy and without fear of God, they are dashing themselves and their followers down into the soul-destroying abyss of wrong belief and spiritual perdition.

Athens, June 1, 1944 +Metropolitan Chrysostom

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>>From this segment, we see that in 1944 Blessed Metropolitan Chrysostom again reiterates that the Old Calendarists do not constitute a Church distinct from that which the Old Calendarists had temporarily broken ecclesiastical communion. The Metropolitan then concludes that the vicar-bishops, Matthew and Germanos, have fallen into Protestantism by starting a Church which is not in communion with any recognized Orthodox Church, since they have cut themselves off from all Orthodox Churches by their convoluted theology. This is Protestantism: a Church is established apart from THE CHURCH. How? ‘The Church of Greece became graceless and schismatic in 1924 and we derive our episcopacy from her bishops in 1935.’

In the second paragraph of this segment, the Metropolitan asks them, then, to what Church do they belong since they have declared the Autocephalous Church of Greece graceless schismatics? To a Church with no bishops or a church with disjointed ‘Apostolic Succession’?

Next, Blessed Metropolitan Chrysostom asks if none of the Orthodox Churches who have kept the Julian Calendar recognize Matthew or the Matthewites from where do they get the idea that they constitute an Autocephalous and Independent Church? And the conclusion is that they only constitute an independent Church from the authority of their followers and, therefore, only have a Protestant character, not an Orthodox character.

So the Metropolitan rightly concludes that the parasynagogue bishops cannot have the grace of Orthodoxy or the right to impart this grace to those who follow them. He then says, that “...we, being familiar with the Divine Canons and the holy Dogmas and Traditions of the Orthodox Church, [as if to say that the parasynagogue bishops are not familiar with these canons] refuse to consider the Hierarchy of the Greek Church actually schismatic, but only potentially, until a valid Synod convenes in order to try the innovating Hierarchs”. The Metropolitan then continues on to say that if the parasynagogue bishops continue their behavior, it will be obvious, according to the canons, that they are not Orthodox but Protestantizers and that they are leading themselves and their followers “down into the soul-destroying abyss of wrong-belief and spiritual perdition”.

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #12

This is taken from the June 1, 1944 Pastoral Encyclical of Metropolitan Chrysostom of Blessed Memory.

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Let them not say that, such being the case, it is not worth the bother for one to be an Old Calendarist, subject as he is to persecutions, mockery, and so many other difficulties, which are entailed by withdrawing from the innovating Hierarchy and joining the side of the right-believing Hierarchy, because he who knowingly follows a Hierarch who is merely potentially liable to deposition and excision, and embraces his innovation, becomes himself liable to the curses and anathemas which the Divine and Sacred Canons unleash against those who violate written or unwritten Tradition. “Let anyone who violates written or unwritten Tradition be anathema,” decrees the Seventh Ecumenical Synod. This being so, we exhort the like-minded and faithful followers of our Orthodox faction to avoid and to pay no attention to the babblings and foolish arguments of the parasynagogue Bishops of Bresthena and the Cyclades, whereby they attempt, under the pretext of a supposedly pure Orthodoxy, to ensnare them in the corruption of wrong-belief and to lure them into the abyss of spiritual perdition, while we recommend those who follow them in good faith and with a clear conscience to denounce them and their unholy prattle and soul-destroying teachings, which are contrary to the pure and healthy spirit of Orthodoxy, if they desire to obtain the salvation of their souls, which is found only within the saving Ark of a canonical and recognized Church. Wishing to protect his disciple Timothy from similar false teachers, the Apostle to the Nations offers him the following advice: “O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to thy care, turning thyself away from the profane and vain utterances and oppositions of that falsely-named knowledge, which some professing for themselves missed the mark concerning the faith” [1 Tim. 6:20-21]; and elsewhere: “But evil men and cheats shall advance to the worse, leading astray and being led astray. But thou, keep on abiding in what thou didst learn and wast assured of, knowing from whom thou didst learn” [2 Tim. 3:13-14]. Directing, out of pastoral duty, these paternal counsels and exhortations of ours to you, to the spiritual children of our right-believing faction, and to those who in good faith follow the opposing faction of the parasynagogue Bishops, our hope is that this advice, which flows from Orthodox faith and paternal love, will make the appropriate impression on the hearts of our followers and, above all, of those belonging to the opposing and erring faction of the parasynagoguers, all the more so because failure to comply with this advice excludes the parasynagoguers from the precincts of the Greek Church, alienates them from divine grace, and is fraught with the danger of their spiritual perdition. With this good hope, we call down upon us all the power from on high and the illumination of our Lord Jesus Christ, Whose grace and infinite mercy, together with our paternal prayer and blessing, be with you all. Amen.

Athens, June 1, 1944 +Metropolitan Chrysostomos

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>>From the above segment, we see the loving and caring pastoral diligence of the holy Metropolitan. In speaking to the Old Calendarists, he says, let not anyone say that they should not bother confessing the Faith and be subject to persecution and mockery and such, if indeed the New Calendarist Hierarchy is only potentially schismatic. He says that if they knowingly join with these innovating hierarchs who are potentially subject to deposition and excision and embraces their innovation, then they themselves become liable to the curses and anathemas which the sacred canons unleash against those who violate Holy Tradition.

Then he exhorts all Old Calendarists to avoid and pay no attention to “the babblings and foolish arguments of the parasynagogue bishops of Bresthena and the Cyclades”. He says that they use the pretext of the purity of Orthodoxy to ensnare into the abyss of spiritual perdition anyone who will believe them.

Of all the hierarchs in 20th Century Greece, there is only one name that stands out far above all the others and that is that of the great Metropolitan of Florina, Chrysostom. He is sanctified by the same theology and ecclesiology as the great hierarchs of the Russian Church, St. Patriarch Tikhon, the Blessed Metropolitans Anthony, Anastassy, and St. Philaret as well as St. John of Shanghai and the blessed Archbishop Andrew of Spring Valley.

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #13

This is taken from the September 1944 Pastoral Encyclical by Bishop Matthew of Bresthena.

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To the Most Pious Flock of the True Orthodox Church of Greece:.....

“Herodias is at times mad with rage, at times troubled,” seeking the head of John the Baptist on a platter, that is to say, Chrysostomos, the former Metropolitan of Florina, is seeking, through his recent encyclical of June 1, 1944, to throw us and all the True Orthodox Christians of Greece, if possible, through the heretical and malignant ideas that are very clearly expressed in his aforementioned encyclical, through his false and deceitful sophistries, down into the pit of perdition, for this reason we are once again sounding an alarm bell to warn you of the danger to your souls, so that you may pay absolutely no attention to these heretical encyclicals of his that are full [sic ], because they are nothing more or less than heretical and perverted false teachings that will corrupt your immortal souls....

In the Holy and Venerable Monastery of our Lady Theotokos Pevkovounogiatrissa, Keratea, Attika, September 21, 1944

Matthew of Bresthena

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Through this encyclical of Vicar-Bishop Matthew, we can come to a better understanding of him, because it is a document which most likely was written by himself since he is the only signatory. In the previous letters from the Matthewite faction, both Germanos and Matthew signed them.

It is interesting to note how Bishop Matthew describes or portrays his opponent, likening him to Herodias, as a person mad with rage. This likening of a man to a woman is a deliberate insult to the one who ordained him. He likens himself and those who follow him, however, to St. John the Baptist.

Bishop Matthew does not hesitate to call Metropolitan Chrysostom and the ideas expressed in the June 1, 1944 Encyclical, heretical. He is asking whoever would listen to him to pay absolutely no attention to Metropolitan Chrysostom’s “HERETICAL” encyclicals, which are, he says, “perverted with false teachings”. Now, how he can find even one sentence of heresy in these encyclicals is indicative of Matthew’s mentality.

The sentence in the above paragraph of Bishop Matthew is broken because it is an exact translation, and indicates the incoherent way he writes.

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #14

This is taken from Bishop Matthew’s September 1944 Pastoral Encyclical, in answer to Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina’s June 1, 1944 Encyclical.

“It was you, then, not we, who created the schism, because when you came, we handed over to you eight hundred united parishes, our holy community, our clergy, united and in perfect harmony, the unity of our Christian Faithful, and you splintered, scattered, and essentially destroyed it all with your erudition and wisdom. So who created the schism of the former Metropolitan of Florina? We or you? You, of course. On account of your heavy-handedness, your arrogant behavior, and your false ideas. And if you do a little serious reflection on the account that you will give at the hour of judgment, to say nothing of the fact that you should have a millstone hung around your neck and be cast into the sea - “woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”-, you should immediately give up everything and go to the steep cliffs of the Holy Mountain to weep unceasingly for your sins, on the off chance that the Lord may have pity on you..........”

“You see, therefore, the fruits of all these pseudo-bishops [the three bishops who joined the Old Calendarists in 1935] who came over to our sacred struggle from wrong belief solely for glory and honors, and have not only not benefited our struggle for Orthodoxy, but, on the contrary, have dealt it a mortal blow. They have scandalized the souls of thousands of Orthodox and destroyed almost eight hundred communities which they took over, creating disturbances, schisms, and divisions daily with their false ideas, each of them finally retreating into wrong belief, either during his lifetime, or at the hour of his death..........”

In the Holy and Venerable Monastery of our Lady Theotokos Pevkovounogiatrissa, Keratea, Attika, September 21, 1944

Matthew of Bresthena

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These are two sections taken from the above Pastoral Encyclical of Vicar-Bishop Matthew.

In one paragraph, he states that *in 1935* “....we handed over to you eight hundred united parishes, our holy community, our clergy, united and in perfect harmony, the unity of our Christian Faithful.......”

Then in the same epistle, the Vicar-Bishop of Bresthena in 1944 states that Metropolitan Chrysostom and his fellow Metropolitans “have scandalized the souls of thousands of Orthodox and destroyed almost eight hundred communities which they took over”.

Therefore, we conclude, as we have always said, that the mentality of Bishop Matthew and his extremist ideas, are unique to himself and his fanatical followers only. They constitute a very minute group of Old Calendarists as can be attested to by Bishop Matthew’s own words, for he said in 1935 we gave you 800 parishes and that then in 1944 Metropolitan Chrysostom still had almost 800 parishes, for Bishop Matthew says that he destroyed almost 800 communities which he took over. So almost 800 communities stayed with Metropolitan Chrysostom.

What constituted the Matthewite schism then? It was Matthew and the area around the city of Keratea and whatever other hot-blooded Greeks would follow him.

Does not this Encyclical show us a picture of a very embittered person, who says to the one who ordained him that a millstone should be hung around his neck and he be cast into the sea and you see, therefore, the fruits of all these pseudo-bishops who came over to our sacred struggle from wrong belief...? And that he should go to the cliffs of the Holy Mountain to weep for his sins on the *off-chance* that God might have mercy on him?

So we see this picture: Matthew as a priest is one of the leaders of 800 parishes; three bishops join the struggle and take over. Bishop Matthew, after two years, accuses them of abandoning the holy struggle and says to the 800 parishes, ‘Follow me instead. I am the only hierarch that is keeping the Faith. I am the only confessor. I am the only faithful leader left in the world. I have separated myself from these bishops who have abandoned our struggle.’ Out of the 800 parishes, who follows him? Six parishes? Shouldn’t he have said to himself: ‘Why isn’t anybody following me? Am I in prelest?”

The almost 800 parishes remained with the ruling hierarchy throughout the decades of their struggle and, as we see, they preferred to have no bishops rather than Matthewite (invalid) bishops after Metropolitan Chrysostom reposed, until they could receive bishops from the Russian Church Abroad who had the same ecclesiology as Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina.

It should be noted that, for some unknown reason, the original three bishops ordained these particular four candidates from among the presbyters leading the struggle. These consecrations made a very strong statement to the governing hierarchy as a very persuasive act to convince the innovating hierarchy to renounce the New Calendar. It is unfortunate, however, that these presbyters, who were selected and consecrated quickly, were not examined more thoroughly. However, the senior hierarch of the Synod was not Metropolitan Chrysostom at that time. It was Metropolitan Germanos of Demetrias, and, perhaps, the greater responsibility for this mistake rested on his shoulders. As we said, because of Bishop Matthew’s schism, the New Calendarists dismissed the vote in the Synod to go back to the Patristic Calendar.

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #15

This is an excerpt from Bishop Matthew’s encyclical of 1944...

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[Addressing Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina]

O wise teacher, you ought to know that the first deadly sin is pride, and that “every proud-hearted man is unclean before God.” So do not blow your own trumpet. Likewise, you should know that “God hath chosen foolish things to confound the wise.” For “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” And that “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Moreover, the Holy Apostles, Saint Spyridon, and a multitude of holy men and women were illiterate and theologically uneducated, but through the Grace of the All-holy Spirit they enlightened the whole world. So do not boast and give yourself airs on account of your erudition and your theology. For we have seen the state to which you modern theologians have reduced the Church of Christ, you who have “a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof.“ Where are your fasting, your vigils, your prayer, and the other virtues? You will have nothing to say in reply because these are evident [sic], and we are at one in this, because we see your complicity, in that you have reached such a pitch of moral depravity as to sell your aforementioned encyclicals for five thousand drachmas, to pass collection plates around at the time of the Divine Liturgy, to tax the Christians in your communities, as if we were under the Turkish occupation, to abolish the appointed fasts and vigils, and so many other things that we will leave them aside in order to avoid controversy. O clever theologian! We, by the grace of Christ, come from the heart of the Orthodox Church, and to Her we cleave and in Her we will abide until the end of our life, and you should know that, by the grace of Christ, unlike you with your wise intellect, we were never initiated into wrong belief, in which you remained for an entire eleven years. You should also know that we have neither corrupted nor infected any Orthodox Christian, but that, on the contrary, for so many years we have been doing nothing other than just training and preparing Christians for eternal life, as the works of each individual, at any rate, testify. And the proof is that for so many years before you Hierarchs came forth into the struggle for Orthodoxy, how much progress, unity, and harmony there was! But from the moment you entered it, schisms, divisions, and scandals have constantly taken place, on account of your false ideas, of course........

In the Holy and Venerable Convent of our Lady Theotokos Pevkovounogiatrissa, Keratea, Attika, September 21, 1944

Matthew of Bresthena

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First, in this segment of Vicar-Bishop Matthew’s 1944 Pastoral Encyclical, he proceeds with a disrespectful tone, to instruct the Blessed Metropolitan Chrysostom, who had then been a bishop for 36 years, on the deadly sin of pride.

Then, Matthew says that the Apostles and St. Spyridon were theologically uneducated and illiterate, which is not true. It seems he did this to justified his own (admitted) lack of theological education.

Then, he criticizes the Metropolitan by saying:

“Where are your fasting, your vigils, your prayer, and the other virtues?”

These words come before us with greater force during this week when we celebrate the week of the Publican and the Pharisee.

He then continues on to say to the bishop who ordained him:

“...you have reached such a pitch of moral depravity as to sell your aforementioned encyclicals for five thousand drachmas, to pass collection plates around at the time of the Divine Liturgy, to tax the Christians in your communities, as if we were under the Turkish occupation, to abolish the appointed fasts and vigils, and so many other things that we will leave them aside in order to avoid controversy.”

What can be said of this segment? His bitterness is such that he is making the most ludicrous accusations. For instance, where has it ever been said that Metropolitan Chrysostom ‘abolished the appointed fasts and vigils’? He always adhered to the Old Calendar.

Matthew continues:

“O clever theologian! We, by the grace of Christ, come from the heart of the Orthodox Church, and to Her we cleave and in Her we will abide until the end of our life, and you should know that, by the grace of Christ, unlike you with your wise intellect, we were never initiated into wrong belief, in which you remained for an entire eleven years.”

It is as if he were saying,

“O God, I thank Thee that I am not as the rest of men-rapacious, unjust, adulterers, or even as this one, the tax collector (Metropolitan Chrysostom who “taxes the Christians in his communities...”). I fast twice a week; I tithe all things, as much as I acquire” [Lk. 18:11,12] Yes, my friends, the likeness is astounding. It is as if Matthew was blinded to exactly put himself in the position of the Pharisee. And this is the one who is instructing the Blessed Metropolitan Chrysostom about pride!

Vicar-Bishop Matthew continues:

“But from the moment you entered it, schisms, divisions, and scandals have constantly taken place, on account of your false ideas, of course.”

Now, we know that the first schism in the Old Calendar Movement was caused by none other than Bishop Matthew himself. When Bishop Matthew left by himself and broke communion with his Synod without even speaking with them, but only issuing an ultimatum, tell me who caused the first schism in 13 years among the Greek Old Calendarists?

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #16

This is an excerpt from Bishop Matthew’s encyclical of 1944...

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[Addressing Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina]

So do not suppose that we have any obligation to follow you in your heretical views because you consecrated us, for in that case, why, in 1935, did you repudiate the schismatic Church, which consecrated you and whose children you are? For assuredly, through her innovation she became schismatic. And so, since you have retracted your first, or rather, your many confessions on behalf of Orthodoxy since 1935, for precisely this reason we have disavowed you as rotten members of our Most Holy Church. Do not, therefore, deceive simple Christians that you consecrated us and that we are thereby obligated to follow you. This is called perversity.

In the Holy and Venerable Convent of our Lady Theotokos Pevkovounogiatrissa, Keratea, Attika, September 21, 1944

Matthew of Bresthena

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In this segment, Vicar-Bishop Matthew, after previously implying that he is enlightened and knows the precepts of Orthodoxy, says to the bishop who consecrated him: “So do not suppose that we have any obligation to follow you in your heretical views because you consecrated us.......”. First he accuses Metropolitan Chrysostom of heresy, where there is no heresy, so he may separate from him under the 15th Canon of the First-&-Second Council, which says:

The rules laid down with reference to Presbyters and Bishops and Metropolitans are still more applicable to Patriarchs. So that in case any Presbyter or Bishop or Metropolitan dares to secede or apostatize from the communion of his own Patriarch, and fails to mention the latter’s name in accordance with custom duly fixed and ordained in the divine Mystagogy, but, before a conciliar verdict has been pronounced and has passed judgment against him, creates a schism, the holy Council has decreed that this person shall be held an alien to every priestly function if only he be convicted of having committed this transgression of the law. Accordingly, these rules have been sealed and ordained as respecting those persons who under the pretext of charges against their own presidents stand aloof, and create a schism, and disrupt the union of the Church. But as for those persons, on the other hand, who, on account of some heresy condemned by holy Councils, or Fathers, withdrawing themselves from communion with their president, who, that is to say, is preaching the heresy publicly, and teaching it barehead in church, such persons not only are not subject to any canonical penalty on account of their having walled themselves off from any and all communion with the one called a Bishop before any conciliar or synodal verdict has been rendered, but, on the contrary, they shall be deemed worthy to enjoy the honor which befits them among Orthodox Christians. For they have defied, not Bishops, but pseudo-bishops and pseudo-teachers; and they have not sundered the union of the Church with any schism, but, on the contrary, have been sedulous to rescue the Church from schisms and divisions.

But actually, Bishop Matthew falls under the condemnation the 14th Canon of this same council, which says:

If any Bishop, on the allegation that charges of crime lie against his own Metropolitan [i.e. the president of the Synod], shall secede or apostatize from him before a conciliar or synodal verdict has been issued against him, and shall abstain from communion with him, and fail to mention his name, in accordance with the established practice, in the course of the divine mystagogy (i.e., liturgical celebration of the Eucharistic Mystery), the holy Council has decreed that he shall be deposed from office, if merely by seceding from his own Metropolitan he shall create a schism. For everyone ought to know his own bounds, and neither ought a presbyter treat his own bishop scornfully or contemptuously, nor ought a bishop to treat his own Metropolitan so.

This is exactly what HOCNA\Fr. Panteleimon did in 1986. They used the example which Bishop Matthew created: the precedent which he established. You accuse someone of heresy,(when they are not heretical) to justify yourself in leaving them.

Showing that he falls under the 14th Canon (that is, for “the allegation that charges of crime lie against his own Metropolitan”), Bishop Matthew states the crime, saying: “And so, since you have retracted your first, or rather, your many confessions on behalf of Orthodoxy since 1935, for precisely this reason we have disavowed you as rotten members of our Most Holy Church.”

So, he admits that he does not use the word heretical as we all understand it, and that because Metropolitan Chrysostom said one time that the New Calendarists were schismatics, and then qualified or clarified that by saying that he meant that they are “potentially” schismatic until they are condemned by a canonical Synod, this is the crime in his mind. However, it does not justify him, since he was forbidden by the canons to break from his Metropolitan for such a “crime”.

“This is called perversity”, to use Vicar-Bishop Matthew’s own words.

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #17

This is an excerpt from Bishop Matthew’s encyclical of 1944...

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[Addressing Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina...]

So it is apparent that your mind has been completely darkened by envy and egotism, and that you do not know what you are writing. You mention in your encyclical that from the moment we split off from you, from whom we received the Episcopal rank, we remained Bishops, owing to the indelibility of the Priesthood, but as simple individuals and not as representatives of a Church from which we could draw the Grace and the authority validly to discharge any ecclesiastical function and to celebrate Her Mysteries.

We are convinced that, from the moment the schism befell the Church of Christ through the introduction of the Papal Calendar,

1) the Churches which accepted this innovation became schismatic,

2) and likewise, that local Churches which concelebrate and in general pray with the innovating Churches themselves bear the same liability.

3) From the very outset of our entry into this sacred struggle {i.e. 1924}, we have been drawing Grace, whether as Priests or as Bishops, from the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, and Eastern Church of Christ, to which we cleave and from which we have never been cut off, and not from the innovating, wrong-believing Churches, which through schism have been deprived of the grace of the All-holy Spirit...

In the Holy and Venerable Convent of our Lady Theotokos Pevkovounogiatrissa, Keratea, Attika, September 21, 1944

Matthew of Bresthena

_________________________

In this segment we hear Bishop Matthew again speaking to Metropolitan Chrysostom and stating he is a man with a mind darkened by envy and egotism, etc., again exhibiting the bitterness which is characteristic of those who have willfully broken the laws of God and try to defend themselves.

He goes on to say that he is convinced that from the moment the new menaion (papal calendar) was introduced into the Church in 1923-24, all those churches that accepted it as well as those churches that prayed with or concelebrated with them, all became graceless schismatics. This means Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, etc., became graceless schismatics. From whom? The answer has to be only from him, who remained “faithful“, only from Matthew and no one else. Now this thinking makes Fr. Matthew and some zealot priests and laity the only Orthodox left in the world. Therefore, Orthodox Church was reduced in 1923-1924 to a handful of priests and laypeople. How ludicrous.

Vicar-Bishop Matthew says that he draws grace from none of the schismatic Churches (all Orthodox Churches are guilty of schism according to him!), which have not had grace since 1924, but rather from “the Orthodox Church“! This is brilliant! What Orthodox Church was there for him to draw grace from when all Her parts were graceless? And from where did he derive his episcopacy in 1935 if it was bestowed by bishops that were from a graceless Church?

To prevent these ludicrous ideas from undermining the holy struggle in Greece, the most wise Metropolitan Chrysostom and the other two bishops with him took its leadership. If they were the accepted leaders, they naturally should expect obedience from their subordinates. Everyone accepted and received this as we see from history, except for Matthew and his schism.

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #18

This is an excerpt from Bishop Matthew’s encyclical of 1944...

----------------------------

[Addressing Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina...]

...Your Eminence, because you suppose the Church of Greece did not become even schismatic after the calendar innovation, before being condemned by the whole Church, and if she was not stripped of her ecclesiastical authority and the Grace of the All-holy Spirit, then her decisions are valid, [referring to the deposition of Metropolitan Chrysostom by the new calendarists] and, consequently, the Church of Jerusalem was quite right not to receive you as a Bishop, but as a simple monk. From this day and henceforth, we now recognize you, by your own admission, written and unwritten, as a monk and not as a Bishop. So, most reverend monk Chrysostomos Kavourides, we are of the opposite opinion on this issue. That the Church of Greece became schismatic through the introduction of the Papal Calendar and that her Mysteries are invalid, and that she no longer has the Grace of the All-holy Spirit, and it is not we who say this, but the decisions of the Pan-Orthodox Synods, of Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremiah in 1583, 1587, and 1593, and of the holy ecumenical Patriarch Anthimos in 1848.

Let us hold fast to our confessions [sic]....

And according to the decision of this Pan-Orthodox Synod, we see that whoever dares to add, subtract, or alter anything in our immaculate Faith, or even thinks of so doing, has already denied the Faith of Christ and is subject to eternal anathema as a blasphemer against the All-holy Spirit....

In the Holy and Venerable Convent of our Lady Theotokos Pevkovounogiatrissa, Keratea, Attika, September 21, 1944

Matthew of Bresthena.........................................

>>From the above segment of Vicar Bishop Matthew to Metropolitan Chrysostom, we see he reiterates his ideas on how to interpret the decisions of the so-called Pan-Orthodox Synods, of Patriarch Jeremiah in 1583, 1587, and 1593, and of Patriarch Anthimos in 1848. Before this however, he said to him that since you say that the State Church has grace, his deposition by them should be recognized. Therefore, he will call Metropolitan Chrysostom only a monk. This indeed he does throughout the rest of his 1944 Epistle.

Apparently Vicar Bishop Matthew does not believe that a true Church can deposed someone unjustly. Of course, we know that this does happen, and that’s why certain canons were written to regulate this occurrence.

Apparently, Vicar-Bishop Matthew did not comprehend the fact that the Synods of the 16th century anathematized those who adopt both the papal paschalion and papal menologian, not those who adopt solely the papal menologian. Besides this, the fact remains that the State Church did not adopt the Gregorian Calendar (Paschalion or Menologian), but rather the so-called “New or Revised Julian Calendar”, which coincided with the Papal Menologian for one or two hundred years and then the two diverged once more.

At the end of this segment, Bishop Matthew states his famous utterance that if anyone dares to add, subtract or alter anything from the Orthodox Faith, *or even thinks of so doing, [he] HAS ALREADY denied the Faith of Christ and is subject to eternal anathema as a blasphemer against the All-holy Spirit.*

I have to hear this again to believe it.

So, for Bishop Matthew, if one has the thought only, he has already denied the Faith and he is subject to eternal anathema and is a blasphemer of the Holy Spirit!

In the Church, we ordain bishops from the ranks of monastics, and one of the reasons that we do this is to be reasonably certain that the person elevated will have the basic understanding of obedience. In the monastic life, if your spiritual father says do “A” and then a day later he says do “B” instead, the disciple cannot say “No, since you said ‘A’, that is all I am going to do. You do not have the right to change your mind since you first said ‘A’.”

Now, I know that we are dealing with matters of tradition here with Bishop Matthew. Metropolitan Chrysostom initially stated that the Greek New Calendarists are schismatics. Then he qualified or clarified this by saying they are schismatics potentially until they are condemned by a canonical synod, when they will be schismatics in actuality. The question is: “Did Bishop Matthew have the right to say, ‘No you cannot change your mind, qualify, or clarify this, even though I am the only Orthodox Bishop in the world that believes the way I do.’ Shouldn’t he have obeyed his Metropolitan and given him the benefit of the doubt?

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #19

This is an excerpt from Bishop Matthew’s encyclical of 1944...

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[Addressing Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina...]

But you, who have frequently written, your Reverence [way of addressing a monk], and believe that an Ecumenical Synod will be convened, which will, of course, be called the Eighth, are deplorably in error. For there are seven dogmas, seven Mysteries, seven gifts of the All-holy Spirit, and seven Ecumenical Synods; as it says in Scripture: “Wisdom hath built a house for herself, and set up seven pillars.” There is, therefore, no question of an Eighth Synod ever being convened...........

In the Holy and Venerable Convent of our Lady Theotokos Pevkovounogiatrissa, Keratea, Attika, September 21, 1944

Matthew of Bresthena.........................................

In our continuing examination of the 1944 Pastoral Encyclical of Vicar-Bishop Matthew, we come upon the above remarkable section, which is very informative. In the previous parts of this encyclical, does not Bishop Matthew imply that he is enlightened by the Holy Spirit? And yet in this paragraph one is again justified in seriously doubting this.

He says that the idea of an Eighth Ecumenical Synod is a deplorable error (!) and that “There is, therefore, no question of an Eighth Synod ever being convened.” Apparently, Bishop Matthew has never heard of the Synod under St. Photios the Great. This is even more astounding given that he has just cited the Encyclical of the Patriarchs of 1848 (which gives one the impression that he has read it). Yet the Eastern Patriarchs wrote in their famous 1848 Encyclical in the 5th paragraph:

“xi. It (the Filioque) was subjected to anathema, as a novelty and augmentation of the Creed, by the eighth Ecumenical Council, congregated at Constantinople for the pacification of the Eastern and Western Churches.”

He also refers to St. Mark of Ephesus in his encyclical, giving us the impression that he knows the saint’s life and teaching. Yet St. Mark of Ephesus said in his well-known “Confession of Faith”: “In addition to the said seven Ecumenical Councils, I accept and embrace also the one assembled after them in the reign of pious Basil, Emperor of the Romans, and of the most holy Patriarch Photios, which has also been called the Eighth Ecumenical Council” (cited in pp. 172 and 734 of the Dodecabiblos of Patriarch Dositheos of Jerusalem).

Now I would like to say a few words about the “seven dogmas, seven Mysteries, and seven gifts of the Holy Spirit” without ridiculing (too much) the ‘Holy Father’ [the title given by his disciples to Matthew]. If the assertion of absolute number of only seven Ecumenical Councils was a deplorable blunder, what can be said of Vicar-Bishop Matthew’s assertion that there are only seven dogmas, mysteries, and spiritual gifts? Has the mighty defender of unspotted, true belief been reading, believing, and teaching Roman Catholic ideas? Think about it. Has the father of the Matthewite schism, who ‘preserved’ the Orthodox Church from the Papal Calendar, embraced the Tridentine papal dogmas concerning the number of Sacraments and Gifts of the Spirit?

If I was to tell him that he is wrong, would he not anathematize me as an innovator? After all, “if anybody even *thinks* of innovating, he has already denied the Faith of Christ and is subject to eternal anathema as a blasphemer against the All-holy Spirit....”. I think that we can get a fairly accurate picture of what Blessed Metropolitan Chrysostom had to deal with in the person Vicar-Bishop Matthew. He was a very uneducated, unqualified, impudent and audacious individual who had no business being ordained a bishop. His ignorance, as can be seen above, has caused great damage to the church.

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #20

This is an excerpt from Bishop Matthew’s encyclical of 1944...

----------------------------

[Addressing Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina, Bishop Matthew cannot fathom how the Metropolitan can clarify the 1935 position...]

“So, was the Church of Greece schismatic then, yet now, once again, is not? Has she perhaps taken some remedy of which we are unaware, and wiped away from herself the innovation, the heresy, and the schism which she maintains in her bosom? If such a secret remedy exists, which is known only to you, Your Reverence [monk], we beseech you to make it known to us, too....

“How is it, therefore, Your Reverence [monk], that back then you wrote such beautiful words and truths, which you now retract and stifle? Could it be that you lost heart when you saw that you had not attained your goal of dethroning the Metropolitan of Athens and ascending it yourself, together with the late Metropolitan of Demetrias, as it was your dream to do? Certainly something like this must have happened. And here is the proof of it. Although, on the one hand, you proclaimed the Church of Greece to be schismatic and without grace, for canonical reasons, and, indeed, on an oath, as we said above, and with intensity, assurance, and conviction, you now say the opposite, and not [just] now, but since 1937, when the grievous schism between you and us came to pass.......

“In the Holy and Venerable Convent of our Lady Theotokos Pevkovounogiatrissa, Keratea, Attika, September 21, 1944

Matthew of Bresthena”.........................................

In this above section of Vicar-Bishop Matthew’s 1944 letter, he continues in a mocking way to refer to Metropolitan Chrysostom as only a monastic, but it is interesting how he now elevates the acceptance of the new menaion to a heresy. If it is a heresy, then he could justify himself in breaking away from his Synod. Very convenient.

He goes on to accuse the Metropolitan of trying to dethrone the Archbishop of Athens and desiring to ascend to his throne himself, as if the Metropolitan were possessed by a desire for power and a spirit of ambition. But if anyone knows the life of the blessed Metropolitan Chrysostom, they would see that he had no covetous desire on the Archiepiscopal throne, nor made any pretensions to it. He always referred to himself as the former Metropolitan of Florina. Matthew on the other hand, as one totally guilty of lusting for power, usurped that very title himself, which was “Archbishop of Athens and All-Greece”, ruling from the convent at Keratea, no less.

He says, “Certainly something like this must have happened”, contending that “it was your dream to do [i.e., usurp the Archiepiscopal throne].” ‘And the proof of it’, he says, ‘is that you changed your 1935 opinion that the New Calendarists were graceless and, ever since 1937, you maintain that they are only potentially schismatic and still actually have grace.’ This is the proof that Vicar-Bishop Matthew puts forward to confirm that Metropolitan Chrysostom wished to dethrone the Archbishop of Athens and place himself upon that throne. If this sounds illogical, it is because it is.

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #21

This is an excerpt from Bishop Matthew’s encyclical of 1944...

----------------------------

[Addressing Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina...]

You say, Your Reverence [monk], that you did not have all the canonical wherewithal to judge the innovating Hierarchs of Greece, because you are not a recognized Church, and that only a recognized Church can validly judge her clergy. And we respond to you, on this point, that you had the canonical wherewithal, but you did not have the faith to implement it. What is this wherewithal? 1) After your secession from the wrong-believing Church, you should have consecrated enough hierarchs - ten, twenty, or thirty - from among the experienced hieromonks in the struggle, so as to have the number required for convening a canonical ecclesiastical tribunal. 2) You should have protested to all of the Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches about this innovation, and 3) if the Patriarchates and the Autocephalous Churches would not take steps to help you and to decide on their position towards the Church of Greece, then you should have done your duty and proclaimed the Church of Greece schismatic and purged her hierarchs, etc. Since you say that you had to have the means - well, there are the means. But you did not do this. Instead, you took wrong-believing hieromonks, who had diplomas in theology, but not faith expressed in deeds, as has been proved, and consecrated them hierarchs. So if you think that you should have proclaimed this Church schismatic, this is what you ought to have done.........

In the Holy and Venerable Convent of our Lady Theotokos Pevkovounogiatrissa, Keratea, Attika, September 21, 1944

Matthew of Bresthena.........................................

This is another brilliant piece of logic from Vicar-Bishop Matthew. He pointed out that Metropolitan Chrysostom could not validly declare the New Calendarists graceless schismatics, because he was not a recognized Church; therefore, Bishop Matthew’s conclusion is that he should have simply ordained a multitude of bishops and wah-lah (!) the problem would be solved. Somehow, ecclesiastical recognition would fall down out of heaven just because of the sheer numbers of ‘bishops’.

In this passage, we see that he suggests that Metropolitan Chrysostom should have ordained, not just four hierarchs after he withdrew from the New Calendarists, but he should have ordained ten, twenty or thirty from among the hieromonks in the struggle, so that he would have the required number of bishops to form a canonical ecclesiastical tribunal, setting aside recognition as a valid Church body by the rest of Orthodoxy.

In other words, Metropolitan Chrysostom couldn’t find even four who were obedient, yet he should have ordained thirty more. Would not the outcome have been thirty different Matthewite-type Synods, everybody going their own way as Matthew did, disregarding all Canon Law to establish their own Church and opinon?

Then Matthew said go and protest to the Patriarchates about the innovation and if they do not accept your position (that the New Calendarists are schismatic and graceless) then you should do your *duty*, unilaterally, and proclaim the Church of Greece schismatic and purge her hierarchs. This is the way Bishop Matthew would have solved the problem!

He said go to the Patriarchates and if they do not agree with you, do your duty. In other words, there is no debate, no question, no doubt, no compromise: if the whole Orthodox world does not agree with you, then *they* must be wrong, of course! Do your duty, he said, and proclaim the Church of Greece schismatic.

Isn’t this what Matthew did even without thirty bishops to support him? Why didn’t Matthew go to the other Patriarchates himself, as he suggests to his Metropolitan to do? Moreover, why didn’t Matthew consecrate his “canonical synod” of thirty bishops himself? Perhaps there were not enough hieromonks in his small faction, (although Metropolitan Chrysostom had almost eight hundred parishes); perhaps, this was his excuse?

Then Matthew chides him for taking “wrong believing hieromonks, who had diplomas in theology, but not faith expressed in deeds,...and consecrated them hierarchs.” Of course, when he said this, he was excluding himself, as one of those four hieromonks who were consecrated, being the only one without a theological education. Yet we are to suppose that he had faith expressed in deeds.

Isn’t it interesting, the only one without a theological education, Matthew, came to the undeniable conclusion and ‘truth’ that the new calendarists are graceless schismatics, while the rest of the bishops of his Synod ultimately came to the conclusion that he was wrong. Not only the bishops of his Synod, but the rest of the bishops of the whole world, including the most respected hierarch in the world at that time, Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky, also had the same opinion.

Does not one get the feeling that Bishop Matthew thought that he was a St. Mark of Ephesus or a St. Athanasius ‘contra mundum’ (one man against the world). Isn’t this one of the greatest examples of prelest?

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #22

This is an excerpt from Bishop Matthew’s encyclical of 1944...

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[Addressing Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina...]

But when we are dealing with an ancient heresy or innovation which has been condemned by Ecumenical or Pan-Orthodox Synods, it is not necessary to convene a new Synod to condemn it, because then the new Synod would be committing impiety and violating the decision of the old.......

But since these have all been condemned, there is certainly no need for a new condemnation of them; according to the maxim of the Divine and Sacred Canons, “thou shalt not punish a man twice for the same offense.” Something similar to this is the case also with the calendar innovation, which has been condemned four times by Pan-Orthodox Synods, and is not only potentially, but also in actuality schismatic. Do not stumble around, O wise teacher, or blaspheme against the All-holy Spirit........

In the Holy and Venerable Convent of our Lady Theotokos Pevkovounogiatrissa, Keratea, Attika, September 21, 1944

Matthew of Bresthena.........................................

In the above segments taken from Vicar-Bishop Matthew’s 1944 Pastoral Encyclical, he continues to “instruct” Metropolitan Chrysostom, saying that once an innovation has been condemned by one Synod, it is an act of impiety for another Synod to assemble and condemn it again. He says it is violating the decision of the old Synod to do this!

Once again we see the talk, which one would expect from a child, but it comes from a bishop; such ignorance is inexcusable.

Is he so bereft of knowledge that he does not know the fact that practically all the Ecumenical Councils condemned those heretics and schismatics condemned by previous Ecumenical Councils? And, of course, he loses sight of the fact that he is always referring to four so-called “Pan-Orthodox” Synods that have condemned the same innovation: “......the Latin calendar innovation, which has been condemned four times by Pan-Orthodox Synods......”. So, apparently, according to Matthew, the last three were impious. Of course, the contradictions throughout his epistle are quite numerous, as we have seen thus far.

He says again, “But since these have all been condemned, there is certainly no need for a new condemnation of them; according to the maxim of the Divine and Sacred Canons, ‘thou shalt not punish a man twice for the same offense.‘” Here again in his lack of knowledge, he equates the punishment of a man to the condemnation of a heresy.

Again we see the haughtiness and prideful spirit that Bishop Matthew when he says...“Do not stumble around, O wise teacher...” Oh the arrogance and prelestof a man so blind. He is talking a hierarch who is older than him by decades.

However, there is one point by Met. Chrysostom that Vicar-Bishop Matthew seems to deliberately sidestep and refuses to answer. Matthew, in this epistle, establishes the whole defense of his actions upon the four “Pan-Orthodox” Synods which he cites more than twenty times in this epistle. Metropolitan Chrysostom explained to him already that the innovating bishops deliberately evaded the condemnations of these Synods by accepting the Gregorian Menaion only, but not the Gregorian Paschalion. This point, we see, leaves Matthew speechless, and, therefore, he offers no answer.

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #23

This is an excerpt from Bishop Matthew’s encyclical of 1944...

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[Addressing Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina..........]

With regard to schismatics who come to Orthodoxy, we deal with them as instructed by the Church, which tells us, in the First Canon of Saint Basil the Great, 1) to Chrismate those Baptized by schismatics, 2) according to the Eighth Canon of the First Ecumenical Synod, to receive them through a written statement [libellus], 3) through a profession of faith, according to the luvobtxov of the Third Ecumenical Synod, and 4) to receive Priests Ordained by schismatic Hierarchs through *cheirothesia*, according to the same Eighth Canon of the First Ecumenical Synod..........

“In the Holy and Venerable Convent of our Lady Theotokos Pevkovounogiatrissa, Keratea, Attika, September 21, 1944

Matthew of Bresthena”

---------------------------

>>From the above segment, we can see that it was well-known, even to Matthew who had no theological education, that receiving clergy by *cheirothesia* meant that the clergy were schismatics and that they were recieved into the Church by the laying-on-of-hands. He refers to the Eighth canon of the First Ecumenical Council which states that the Novatian schismatics may be received into the Church’s clergy after they have had cheirothesia (laying-on-of-hands) performed upon them.

>>From the Resolution of the Synod of Bishops (ROCA), however, it says, concerning the Matthewite schismatic bishops, that:

“A simple recognition of their orders could bring scandal *as a direct violation of the canons*.......” “Therefore”, the resolution continues, “two bishops must perform the laying-on-of-hands over them [Kallistos and Epiphanios]. They in turn must subsequently perform the same over their brethren and all the bishops over their priests.”

It would be right to assume that these bishops did know that the laying-on-of-hands upon them meant that they were being brought out of schism. They consented. Each was perfomed on a separate day, and they rejoiced after the completion of these rites. Even their own official periodical correctly describes what occurred in Boston.

The following is from the Matthewite official organ (Kyrix Ekklesias Orthodoxon, November, 1971, pp. 3-13): “the Most Reverand Hierarchs Archbishop Philotheos of Germany and Konstantinos of Australia were sent by the Holy [Russian] Synod to Boston in order to lay their hands on [“heerothesia”] our Hierarchs Kallistos of Corinth and Epiphanios of Kition. Thus on September 17, 1971 according to the Orthodox calendar, Metropolitan Kallistos of Corinth was consecrated [“heerotoneetheeke”] by the above Hierarchs, and Metropolitan Epiphanios of Kition on the 18th of the same month” The Russian text of the official Act reproduced in the same Matthewite organ declares that the Russians “read prayers with the laying on of hands [??????????????????????????????]” on the two hierarchs. On returning to Greece, Metropolitans Kallistos and Epiphanios were to duly perform the same Mystery on their brother hierarchs. So, without doubt, the corrections in Boston did indeed happen as such and with the consent and knowledge of the Matthewite Synod.

Why these hierarchs did not perform the laying on of hands upon all their brother bishops can only be inferred. The most likely reason is that they (the bishops in Greece) understood that the laying-on-of-hands meant that they had indeed been in schism, and, if they did accept this, they would be nullifying everything which Vicar-Bishop Matthew had stood for since 1937, as can be seen by the above segment of Matthew wherein he describs the way he receives graceless schismatics.

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #24

This is an excerpt from Bishop Matthew’s encyclical of 1944...

----------------------------

[Addressing Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina...]

But you are of the opinion that only a recognized Church has the right validly to judge her clergy, and that we all constitute one and the same Church with the innovating Church of Greece, and, since she is a recognized Church and judges validly, then your condemnation was completely valid, and, as we said above and we repeat it now: you are now deposed. What do you want then and [why] do you exploit Orthodox Christians? And why do you not respect the decision of your Church? You are disobedient and insubordinate towards your Church and it is shameful for you to say that you are an Orthodox Christian.

We, by the Grace of Christ, belong to the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, and Eastern Church of Christ, and it was in her name that we received the Episcopal office, and not in the name of the wrong-believing, schismatic Church. And we are puzzled, Your Reverence [monk], not at you, but at your followers, and above all, at the clergy, and what obtuseness of soul they have suffered when they see what you write, that you belong to the Church of Greece, that she has Grace and her actions are valid, and they still follow you.......

In the Holy and Venerable Convent of our Lady Theotokos Pevkovounogiatrissa, Keratea, Attika, September 21, 1944

Matthew of Bresthena.........................................

Here again, we see the unchristian attitude of Vicar-Bishop Matthew. Again and again, in the same epistle, he does not shrink from insulting his father, the bishop who ordained him, Metropolitan Chrysostom.

In this section, he maintains that since Met. Chrysostom considers the New Calendarists to still have the grace of God until they are ecclesiastically condemned, therefore, he says, when they deposed you for breaking communion with them, this was undoubtedly valid. He then proceeds to call him again “Your Reverence” as if he were a simple monk instead of “Your Eminence” as is appropriate for a bishop. Of course, Matthew is deliberately overlooking the fact that this deposition was an uncanonical deposition, since it was both unjust and part of the persecution that had started in 1935, which he himself never recognized at that time either.

He proceeds to further deride the Metropolitan, saying: “Why do you not respect the decision of your Church? You are disobedient and insubordinate towards [it]”. “Why do you exploit Orthodox Christians”, maintaining that you are a bishop? And finally, “It is shameful for you to say that you are an Orthodox Christian”!

He said all this to the very bishop who ordained him!

He continues to speak of his bewilderment at the fact that so many followers, and especially the clergy, still remain with Metropolitan Chrysostom. Even after they read his writings, he says, “they still follow you”! He concludes that they must do this because they suffer from “obtuseness of soul”, i.e. they are stupid or dim-witted. He cannot even imagine that perhaps everybody follows Metropolitan Chrysostom because of his correctness and due to the fact that he [Matthew] himself is perhaps being stupid and dim-witted, by his illogical ideas about the Faith and by his extremism. A sensible person would say to himself, ‘Is it they who remained with Metropolitan Chrysostom and have almost 800 parishes in the Holy Struggle who are obtuse of soul, or is it I who broke away from them, with my six churches, who am the one who is really obtuse of soul?’

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #25

Excerpt from; A CLARIFICATION BY METROPOLITAN CHRYSOSTOMOS OF HIS PASTORAL ENCYCLICAL

....Through this printed pastoral encyclical, as is our duty, we drew to the attention of Christians belonging to our Orthodox faction the fact that they should not give any credence or listen to all of the false and un-Orthodox teachings that are being disseminated by the apostate Bishops of the Cyclades and of Bresthena, under the guise of a supposedly pure Orthodoxy. These Bishops are causing divisions and offenses among the Faithful, because such people, according to the Apostle of the Nations, serve not Christ, but their own belly, and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple Faithful.

In the same encyclical, we called the aforementioned Bishops both parasynagoguers and Protestantizers, judging them as such from their beliefs and their official actions.

For after these men had been consecrated bishops by us, in order that our sacred struggle might be better served, instead of contributing to its service and success, cooperating with us in complete harmony and concord, in accordance with the sacred Canons, and, in particular, the Thirty-fourth Apostolic Canon, they, on the contrary, used the episcopal office in order to split and divide the Orthodox Christian flock. To this end, without ecclesiastical or canonical reasons, and without first coming to some common understanding and clarifying matters, they disavowed us on the grounds that we had, allegedly, apostatized from our former Orthodox confession, and they set up their own altars for reasons of ambition and self-interest.

+Metropolitan Chrysostom

Athens, January 18, 1945

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In January 1945, Metropolitan Chrysostom published his Clarification of his Pastoral Encyclical of June 1, 1944. In the above segment, the Blessed Metropolitan labels the two bishops, Germanos and Matthew, as apostates and proceeds to state why. He said that the faithful should not listen to them because they are disseminating false and un-Orthodox teachings. What are these false and un-Orthodox teachings?

That one bishop can declare a local Orthodox Church, e.g. the Church of Greece, schismatic and graceless on his own authority, solely by the way he interprets a ‘Pan-Orthodox’ Synod. Even if the whole Orthodox world does not interpret that ‘Pan-Orthodox’ Synod in the convoluted way he does, he, Matthew, is right and they are all wrong. In condemning the Church of Greece and all those who pray or concelebrate with her, he thereby condemns the whole Orthodox world.

By this time, these two bishops had developed a schism among themselves, but neither of them had returned to Metropolitan Chrysostom yet. This is why the Encyclical of September 21, 1944, was signed only by Vicar-Bishop Matthew. This is fortunate because it lets us see the very words and thinking of Matthew and how they are so convoluted.

The Metropolitan Chrysostom states that these two bishops seceded from their synod and president, violating the Apostolic Canons and “without ecclesiastical or canonical reasons, and without first coming to some common understanding and clarifying matters, they disavowed us........”

So it is obvious that the first one to break the canonical rules of the old calendar Greek Church was Matthew, the Vicar-Bishop of Bresthena. He shall ever been known as the first bishop to cause a schism in the old calendar movement and because he had never been punished for such lawlessness, it set an example and an unholy precedent which other bishops in the future who lacked the fear of God would also follow.

Archbishop Gregory

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APOSTOLIC CANON 34

It behooves the Bishops of every nation to know the one among them who is the premier or chief, and to recognize him, as their head, and to refrain from doing anything superfluous without his advice and approval: but, instead each of them should do only whatever is necessitated by his own parish and by the territories under him. But let not even such a one do anything without the advice and consent and approval of all. For thus will there be concord, and God will be glorified through the Lord in Holy Spirit, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

(cc. VI, VII of the 1st; cc. 11 III of the 2nd; c. VIII of the 3rd; c. XXVIII of the 4th; cc. XXXVI, XXXIX of the 6th; c. IX of Antioch.)


Matthew’s Schism #26

Excerpt from; A CLARIFICATION BY METROPOLITAN CHRYSOSTOMOS OF HIS PASTORAL ENCYCLICAL

We called them [Matthew and Germanos] Protestantizers, because the parasynagogue bishops in question were not content merely to disavow us, from whom, by the judgments which the Lord alone knows, they received the episcopal rank, but they also, like Eastern Popes, appropriating the rights of an Ecumenical Synod, declared the Autocephalous Church of Greece and the entire Greek Hierarchy to be actually schismatic, without any trial or defense, for dishonoring the Divine and Sacred Canons and ecclesiastical Canon Law, according to which no clergyman, and certainly no hierarch, is to be deposed for wrong belief and excised from the universal body of the Eastern Orthodox Church without a prior trial and defense.....

In view of this, the aforementioned Bishops of the Cyclades and of Bresthena, having lost all dogmatic contact and having broken off all ecclesiastical communion with us and the recognized Orthodox Church of Greece, and not being recognized as Orthodox Bishops by any other local Orthodox Church, have ceased to represent any sense of Orthodoxy, in the name of which they are entitled to celebrate the sacred Mysteries in an Orthodox manner and validly. And having thus cast off the royal robe of Orthodoxy, the wretches have donned the rough sackcloth of Protestantism.....

+Metropolitan Chrysostom

Athens, January 18, 1945

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In the above segment we see blessed Metropolitan Chrysostom again describe the wretched plight of the two bishops who schismatically broke communion from the hierarchs of the Old Calendar struggle. He says that Vicar-Bishops Matthew and Germanos took upon themselves the rights of an Ecumenical Synod, like “Eastern Popes”, and declared the Church of Greece schismatic and graceless without a trial and without a defense! For what reason? A dogmatic reason? No. If it was dogma, then they would have good reason for their seperation. But this was due to dates. The dates to celebrate the feast days of the Church, other than Pascha and the movable cycle, had not risen to the state of being considered a part of the Apostolic Tradition. The requirements for the Paschal celebration had been fixed by the Ecumenical Synods. To break these requirements is a sin against the Church.We know from the history of the Church that there were many different calendars used in many different regions of the empire.

If one did not keep these rules for Pascha, one was subject to reprimand and disciplinary action, even to deposition, under most instances. Now, here we have Matthew, like a Pope, cutting off completely from the Orthodox Church all who do not keep the tradition of the Old Menaion! Yes, he cuts off all the Orthodox Church from himself and calls himself the Orthodox Church.

Metropolitan Chrysostom says that no clergyman, and certainly no Hierarch, is to be deposed for wrong belief and excised from the universal body of the Eastern Orthodox Church without a prior trial or defense.....as if to say, if you cannot depose one clergyman or one hierarch for heresy without a trial or defense, how can these renegade bishops excise (a far greater penalty than deposition!) from the Orthodox Church the whole Church of Greece, all their bishops and all their clergy and all their laymen, over a calendar innovation, the new menaion, without a canonical trial or defense?

He continues on to say that these two bishops (but ultimately only Matthew) haveing broken off all communion with all other Orthodox Churches have thereby “ceased to represent any sense of Orthodoxy, in the name of which they are entitled to celebrate the sacred Mysteries in an Orthodox manner and validly.” In other words, he says they are graceless by their schismatic actions, which are similar to those of Protestants.

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #27

Excerpt from; A CLARIFICATION BY METROPOLITAN CHRYSOSTOMOS OF HIS PASTORAL ENCYCLICAL

--------------------------------

This, you see, is why, in our recent pastoral encyclical, we called the Bishops of the Cyclades and of Bresthena parasynagoguers and Protestantizers, because, although they were elected and consecrated by us as titular Bishops, through the invocation of the All-holy and consecrating Spirit, they did not hesitate, the wretches, not only to disavow us in encyclicals, which they signed themselves without any ecclesiastical right, without first coming to some understanding with us, and, incontrovertibly, for reasons of ambition and self-interest, and to set up their own altars, but also to declare the New Calendar Hierarchy and Church schismatic, without any trial or defense, as the Canons provide, and arbitrarily to seize from the ruling Hierarchy the rights of sovereignty that belong to the Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church...........

+Metropolitan Chrysostom

Athens, January 18, 1945

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In the above segment of Blessed Metropolitan Chrysostom’s 1945 “Clarification”, he explains why he called the secessionist bishops of the Cyclades and Bresthena parasynagoguers and Protestantizers. He says:

“Although they were elected and consecrated by us as titular Bishops......, they did not hesitate, the wretches, not only to disavow us in encyclicals, which they signed themselves without any ecclesiastical right, without first coming to some understanding with us, and, incontrovertibly, for reasons of ambition and self-interest, and to set up their own altars.........”

So, we see that Bishop Matthew was indeed a Vicar-Bishop, and Metropolitan Chrysostom is saying that the secessionists did not even have the right, by themselves, to even sign encyclicals, not to speak of setting up their own altars and breaking communion from their president. A vicar-bishop has only a very limited scope of activity and independence. A vicar-bishop can do nothing on his own authority.

This is why it is so important for the Matthewites to lie and say that he was not a vicar-bishop. It is precisely because Matthew broke the canons by his unilateral activity. A vicar-bishop was not even allowed to sign an encyclical. This is why his name was not on the 1935 Encyclicals. From this we see he has no rule or authority, precisely because his position did not warrant it. One can infer from this that since he was but a vicar-bishop, Matthew had really no right to even interpret the 1935 Encyclicals which he neither composed nor signed.

Why Bishop Matthew went on such an obviously treacherous path has always been a perplexing question for historians of the “Holy Struggle” of the Old Calendar Greek Church, Metropolitan Chrysostom, who was an indisputably spiritual person, says here that the reasons were “ambition and self-interest”. It is regrettable that every subsequent schism among the Greek Old Calendarists can be traced back to these reasons of “ambition and self-interest”.

Below is a canon that further demonstrates that Matthew was a vicar-bishop:

-----------------------------

Canon 57 of Laodicea:

That in villages and in small towns and country districts bishops are not to be appointed, but only circuitors [chorepiscopi or vicar-bishops], who however, having been preappointed, may do nothing without the consent and approval of the Bishop.

Interpretation

In order to prevent the office of the bishop from being regarded scornfully, the present Canon prohibits the appointment of bishops to villages and small towns; in such contingencies it allows the appointment of only circuitors, or exarchs, which means the same thing as chorepiscopi (auxiliary bishops), and once having been preappointed as vicar-bishops of such small towns, they were to do nothing without the consent and approval of the bishop of that area.

---------------------

Bresthena was a small village with no Old Calendarist Christians. This village according to the above canon can only receive a vicar-bishop. Of course, everyone knows that because Matthew was just titular bishop of Bresthena, he did not live there. He just had the title. The fact that He had no seat there (cathedra) is another proof that he had no right to rule, to ordain, to judge, or to sentence, on his own authority.

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #28

Excerpt from A CLARIFICATION BY METROPOLITAN CHRYSOSTOMOS OF HIS PASTORAL ENCYCLICAL

The Bishops in question [Matthew and Germanos], who are parasynagoguers and Protestantizers, according to the Canons and according to our opinion, become, through such high-handed actions as these, accountable before the universal Orthodox Church, whose Canon Law and Divine and Sacred Canons they have freely violated. For the age-old history of the Orthodox Church teaches us that no wrong-believing person who is liable to deposition and excision has ever been declared heretical or schismatic by Hierarchs acting in isolation, without any trial or defense, but by a valid and canonical Synod, coming together and taking counsel with the aid of the Holy Spirit and putting forth its vote of condemnation only after the defendant has stood trial and defended himself, and after all means of enlightenment and admonition have been exhausted.......

+Metropolitan Chrysostom

Athens, January 18, 1945

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In the above segment, we see Blessed Metropolitan Chrysostom articulately describing the unacceptable actions of Vicar-Bishop Matthew, how he, on his own authority acting in isolation from the rest of the Orthodox Church (because he believed that he was the only Orthodox bishop alive), declared the Church of Greece and everyone either praying with or in communion with Her, schismatic, heretical, and, yes, graceless. This is the first time in history, that the whole Church has been cut off and declared graceless by one hierarch, who believes that he is the only Orthodox one left.

The Metropolitan points out that this is an impossibility, for one hierarch to do such a thing, saying that the sacred and Divinely-inspired Canons do not allow this. He points out that wrong-believing hierarchs, who are liable to deposition and excision, are never actually deposed and cut off and thrown out of the Church without a trial or defense first; but only by a valid and canonical synod coming together in council, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, and putting forth their vote of condemnation after all means of enlightenment and admonition have been used for the defendant to be converted.

It seems obvious that Matthew came together with himself (and with the aid of what spirit?) to condemn the Church of Greece, because it accepted the new menaion. Had he the power? No.? There is no precedent in the history of Orthodoxy, from St. Cyril condemning Nestorius down to our present age where one bishop has the authority to cut off and assign to perdition an entire national autocephalos church and all those in commuion with it. The only one to claim such authority has been the Pope of Rome. This is why Metropolitan Chrysostom labeled Matthew “an Eastern Pope”.

Let no one think that this is Cyprianism. Metropolitan Chrysostom broke communion with the New Calendarist hierarchy because of the new menaion’s adoption which was a potentially schismatic action. There is no doubt in my mind that over a heretical action, such as modern-day Ecumenism, he would have declared them heretics as they are today. Cyprian, on the other hand, can only be called an Ecumenist because he has accepted the Mysteries and communes those who have been declared heretics and have been anathematized, and this by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA), whom he, oh the irony, is in communion with. Not because he accepted the Orthodoxy of the confessing ROCA, but because ROCA abandoned their confessing stance and accepted his Ecumenist confession.

Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #29

Excerpt from; A CLARIFICATION BY METROPOLITAN CHRYSOSTOMOS OF HIS PASTORAL ENCYCLICAL

Second to reply was the Bishop of Bresthena; but we did not respond to him, because he renders it impossible in what he writes, aside from the fact that it constitutes a farrago of incoherent and disjointed words and phrases, to answer his perverse arguments, weaving together, as he does, what is incompatible and combining what cannot be combined.

+Metropolitan Chrysostom

Athens, January 18, 1945

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There were three responses to the June 1944 Pastoral Encyclical of Metropolitan Chrysostomos. Metropolitan Chrysostom in this encyclical made mention of all three, but only responded to the third. The second response of Bishop Matthew received a reply stating that Vicar-Bishop Matthew writes his letters in an “incoherent” manner comprised of “disjointed words and phrases”. Therefore Bishop Matthew did not receive a response in writing.

When the encyclicals were issued which had Germanos of the Cyclades as co-signer and co-composer, they were coherent, whereas when Matthew writes by himself, they are not. This allows us to glimpse somewhat into the state of mind of one that can produce a document like Matthew’s 1944 Encyclical.

Unfortunately, this also allows us a glimpse into the caliber of candidates that were available in 1935 for the Old-Calendarists to ordain. The caliber was quite low, considering that they had to accept someone so uneducated as Vicar-Bishop Matthew. This undoubtedly explains why he fell into the sin of schism.

I know this does not deal with Matthew’s errors, but it is good to be familiar with the personality that originated them.

+Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #30

Excerpt from; A CLARIFICATION BY METROPOLITAN CHRYSOSTOMOS OF HIS PASTORAL ENCYCLICAL

According to the fundamental principle of Orthodox ecclesiastical Canon Law, and according to the spirit of the dogmatic theology and the age-old practice of the Orthodox Church, the character of the Church, as a Divine and self-subsistent institution, is in principle different from, and independent of, that of the persons of the Bishops who represent and administer her. For this reason, any ideas and opinions of the Bishops that may be erroneous from an Orthodox standpoint, insofar as they are not judged or condemned by a canonical and valid Synod as un-Orthodox and false, do not affect the Orthodox character of the Church to which these Bishops belong.

For example, when one or more of the Bishops who belong to a ruling Church introduce into her an innovation that is at odds with the healthy and pure spirit of the Orthodox character of the Church, the sinful and anti-Orthodox character of this innovation weighs on the innovating Bishops, as individuals, and renders them culpable before God and the entire Church; but it does not affect or diminish the Orthodox authority of the Church which they govern.

The Orthodox character of the Church is affected and her Divine authority is diminished only when the Bishops who govern her, and who have introduced the innovation, are tried by a valid Synod - either a major local Synod or an Ocumenical Synod - for wrong belief and an anti-Orthodox innovation, and, after being sufficiently enlightened, are unwilling to conform to the recommendations of the Synod or to reject their wrong belief, adhering obstinately and unyieldingly thereto, in which case they are deposed by the Synod and excised from the universal body of the Orthodox Church....

All of these people, who are under the anathema of a Synod, then constitute, not an Orthodox, but a schismatic, Church.

+Metropolitan Chrysostom

Athens, January 18, 1945

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Here Metropolitan Chrysostomos explains a fundamental principle of Orthodox Canon Law. That Law declares (see 15th Canon of the 1st-and-2nd Council) that if a bishop or bishops introduce a new false idea, that is, something contrary to Orthodox tradition, this does not affect the Orthodoxy or grace-bearing character of that local church. Only in the case that the idea has already been condemned as contrary to Orthodoxy by a valid major local or ecumenical synod does such an innovation destroy the Orthodoxy and grace-bearing character of the Church that follows them. Therefore, until a valid major or ecumenical synod condemns the idea and these hierarchs, cutting them off from Her as schismatics or heretics, they and the church that follows them remain valid, albeit the hierarchy bears a heavy, fearful liability before God and the Church for their sinful introduction of their error.

Thus, from the above segment of Metropolitan Chrysostomos’ Clarification, we see that the change to the new menaion in 1924, since it was a newly-appeared false idea or innovation and not yet condemned by a valid major local or ecumenical synod, did not actually cause the New-Calendarist hierarchy to become schismatics, and they could only become schismatics by being condemned for their innovation and cut off from the Church by a major local or ecumenical synod. Until that time, while they personally were under a heavy threat of judgment by God and were even potentially schismatics (should they be judged so by a synod of the Church), yet the local Church they administered did not cease to be a member of the Orthodox Church with valid, grace-filled mysteries.

+Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #31

Excerpt from; A CLARIFICATION BY METROPOLITAN CHRYSOSTOMOS OF HIS PASTORAL ENCYCLICAL

Hence, we draw the conclusion that a recognized Orthodox Church only loses her Orthodox character and the validity of her Divine Mysteries when she is recognized as heretical or schismatic by a Pan-Orthodox Synod, which alone has the right to withhold from her the Grace and the Divine validity of her Mysteries, since it alone has the right to impart these to her.

In view of this, since the sanctifying Grace and validity of the Divine Mysteries are not bestowed by the Bishop or the Priest who celebrates them - he being simply a means or an instrument for imparting Grace -, but by the Orthodox character of the Church, in whose name these Mysteries are celebrated, what may be an un-Orthodox understanding of certain ecclesiastical questions that are, in the expression of Saint Basil the Great, capable of solution cannot diminish, much less remove, the Orthodox character of a Church or the validity of the Mysteries that are celebrated in her name, as long as this understanding is not judged or condemned by a valid Synod...

+Metropolitan Chrysostom

Athens, January 18, 1945

---------------------------------------------

Here again, Metropolitan Chrysostom explains that, according to Orthodox Canon Law, if a hierarch or a hierarchy errs by accepting an un-Orthodox idea, yet this idea has never yet been condemned by a valid Synod, then the Orthodoxy and grace-filled character of the Church over which he or it presides is not affected, until that false understanding and the wrong-thinking hierarchy are judged, condemned, and cut off from the Church by a valid major or Pan-Orthodox Synod. This is exactly what we learn from the 15th Canon of the First-and-Second Council. Thus, the new-menaion innovation, which appeared for the first time in 1924 and had never been condemned as schismatic by any previous valid major synod, did not cause the New-Calendarist Church of Greece to become schismatic and graceless.

+Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #32

Excerpt from; A CLARIFICATION BY METROPOLITAN CHRYSOSTOMOS OF HIS PASTORAL ENCYCLICAL

This is precisely what happens in the case of moral lapses on the part of the Church’s ministers. For example, it may be that certain clergy are truly unworthy to approach the holy Altar on account of their moral character; but nonetheless, their bad morals cannot affect the Divine Mysteries celebrated by them, which retain their validity undiminished, provided that these unworthy clergy have not been tried or deposed by the Church, and provided they perform their sacred duties and celebrate the Divine Mysteries in the name of the Orthodox Church.

+Metropolitan Chrysostom

Athens, January 18, 1945

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What Metropolitan Chrysostom is saying here, in the context of his previous explanations, is that the innovations of particular hierarchs or even a hierarchy, provided these ideas have not been condemned already by a valid major synod, remain their personal responsibility and are not of such seriousness as to effect the Orthodox confession and grace-bearing character of their local Church; rather, they have the same effect on the clergy as their serious moral lapses, such as fornication, do on their status in the Church - it makes them liable to deposition, but, as in all such cases, this personal moral lapse does not affect their ability to perform valid mysteries until they are actually judged and deposed by a synod.

Of course, in this personal and moral sense, a clergyman who lapses into a sin that would prevent him from being a clergyman (i.e., make him liable to deposition or other similar penalties), should on his own retire from the priesthood, since any further ministration on his part, while guilty of this sin, would be to his own personal condemnation.

+Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #33

Excerpt from; A CLARIFICATION BY METROPOLITAN CHRYSOSTOMOS OF HIS PASTORAL ENCYCLICAL

Every local Orthodox Church is established and endowed with sanctifying Grace and the Divine Mysteries by the universal Eastern Orthodox Church, as the Treasurer of Divine Grace. She is comprised of the Bishops in their entirety, as those who govern her, and of the plenitude of faithful and Orthodox Christians, as those who are governed, and, as such, she is simple and undivided. If differences of opinion appear in a local Orthodox Church between the governing clergy and the laity whom they govern, and, as a result of these differences, a rupture of ecclesiastical communion between them comes about, the question naturally arises: Who among those who disagree and have broken off ecclesiastical communion with each other represents the one and undivided, recognized Church, given that both of the discordant parties that have separated from one another derive from her and draw from her the sanctifying Grace and the ecclesiastical validity of their Mysteries?

+Metropolitan Chrysostom

Athens, January 18, 1945

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In the above segment, Metropolitan Chrysostomos puts forward a very important question, which he will answer and we will review in the subsequent sections. He says that every local Orthodox Church is endowed with grace by being part of the universal Orthodox Church (universal because it holds the constant, original, Apostolic faith of the Church), and, if differences of opinion arise between bishops, and there is a rupture in communion between two groups, which group retains the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit in their Mysteries?

As we know, this is exactly what happened with the innovation of the New-Calendar (new menaion) into the local Church of Greece in 1924.

+Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #34

Excerpt from; A CLARIFICATION BY METROPOLITAN CHRYSOSTOMOS OF HIS PASTORAL ENCYCLICAL

To this question, which is as important as it is hard to resolve, we reply as follows.

According to the spirit of the Divine and Sacred Canons and the administrative polity of the Eastern Orthodox Church, in the event that a segment of clergy and laity, breaking ecclesiastical communion with the presiding authority for ecclesiastical and canonical reasons and separating itself, for reasons of religious conscience, from the ruling Hierarchy, sets up its own altar, however much it may seem, from its separate worship, its own houses of prayer, and its own ministers, that it constitutes a Church distinct from that from which it is separated, this segment nonetheless does not cease belonging canonically to the same one and undivided Church, as an unsullied and integral part of her, drawing its spiritual life and power from the organism of the Mother Church, whose history it continues under the pure and uncorrupted mien of an unadulterated Orthodox identity, by keeping the Canons intact and the reliable Traditions of the Church undiminished.

And this is so until the difference and the discord between this segment and the ecclesiastical authority and ruling Hierarchy that is deviating from the boundaries of Orthodoxy is adjudicated by a major Synod that represents all of the local Orthodox Churches.

And when this major Synod has tried and condemned the majority of the ruling Hierarchy as thinking and acting contrary to the nature of Orthodoxy, and has vindicated the minority segment that stands on the ground of Orthodoxy, it then deposes and excises the former from the universal body of Orthodoxy if, after being enlightened by the major Synod, they refuse to renounce their error, while it recognizes the latter, who preserve the institutions of Orthodoxy inviolate, as the only canonical representatives of this one and undivided local Orthodox Church, from which the former are estranged, being proclaimed schismatics, not only potentially, but also in actuality.

+Metropolitan Chrysostom

Athens, January 18, 1945

----

In this segment, Metropolitan Chrysostomos explains that when a potential schism occurs between hierarchs and each side has a ruling hierarchy, set up their own altars, has separate worship, houses of prayer and clergy, even though it is potentially a schism, nevertheless, both sides still retain the grace of the Holy Spirit, until such time as a major synod is convened and makes a judgement on the issues and the innovators. Then, either they would have to repent or be cut off from the Church.

Of course, if we apply this to the appearance of the New-Calendar (new-menaion) innovation in the official Church of Greece, the obvious conclusion is that, since the new-menaion innovation was not previously condemned, the Church would have to wait until the conclusion of a major synod convened to decide the issue. The conclusion, therefore, is that both sides still possessed the grace of the Holy Spirit.

+Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #35

Excerpt from; A CLARIFICATION BY METROPOLITAN CHRYSOSTOMOS OF HIS PASTORAL ENCYCLICAL

However, until such a thing comes to pass, this minority segment, insofar as a major Synod does not grant it the right to represent the Church or anoint it with sovereignty over the Church, is justified in breaking ecclesiastical communion and ceasing to commemorate the First Hierarch; but it cannot, although it is in all respects right-believing, arbitrarily withdraw the right of sovereignty from the majority of the Hierarchy, even if the latter are innovators, or assert that it alone constitutes the one and undivided local Orthodox Church.

+Metropolitan Chrysostom

Athens, January 18, 1945

---

In the above segment, Metropolitan Chrysostomos rightly states that, until a major synod meets to pass judgment on either an innovating segment or a separating segment of the Church, the separating traditional segment is justified in breaking ecclesiastical communion and separating from the segment of the innovating hierarchs.

Having said that, the separating segment of hierarchs, does not have the right to declare the innovators actually schismatics and already deprived of grace, even though they may be innovators indeed.

Neither can they declare themselves the only and complete local Orthodox Church.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what Vicar-Bishop Matthew did. He declared [see, for instance, his 1944 encyclical] to be ‘graceless schismatics’ everyone who had accepted the New-Calendar or remained in communion with or even simply prayed with those who had accepted it - which meant all the local Churches, since all the Orthodox Church’s hierarchs had in fact kept communion with the innovators and continued to do so until 1935, when the three Greek hierarchs separated from them. This meant the end of the Orthodox Church, the failure of Christ’s promise [cf. Matt. 16:18], the irretrievable loss of her Apostolic succession, and thus Matthew was rightly rebuked for this insane (protestant-like) idea in Metropolitan Chrysostom’s 1937 letter to Vicar-Bishop Germanos of the Cyclades. Consequently, one may also justly liken Matthewitism to Russian Old-Believerism - for the essence of it is the same.

+Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #36

Excerpt from; A CLARIFICATION BY METROPOLITAN CHRYSOSTOMOS OF HIS PASTORAL ENCYCLICAL

The Bishops [Vicar-Bishop Matthew and Germanos of the Cyclades] in question, who are parasynagoguers and Protestantizers, according to the Canons and according to our opinion, become, through such high-handed actions as these, accountable before the universal Orthodox Church, whose Canon Law and Divine and Sacred Canons they have freely violated. For the age-old history of the Orthodox Church teaches us that no wrong-believing person who is liable to deposition and excision has ever been declared heretical or schismatic by Hierarchs acting in isolation, without any trial or defense, but by a valid and canonical Synod, coming together and taking counsel with the aid of the Holy Spirit and putting forth its vote of condemnation only after the defendant has stood trial and defended himself, and after all means of enlightenment and admonition have been exhausted.

This canonical path was recently followed by the Synod of the Ocumenical Patriarchate in the Bulgarian Schism and by the Synod of the Autocephalous Church of Greece in the condemnation of Theophilos Kairis for the heresy of Pietism and of Apostolos Makrakis for his heretical teaching concerning the threefold composition of the human person.

+Metropolitan Chrysostom

Athens, January 18, 1945

----

Metropolitan Chrysostom is not saying here that all innovating hierarchs without exception remain in the Church until a synodal condemnation; rather, he is speaking of all innovating hierarchs within a certain scenario with which he is dealing - the case where the innovation is a new false idea, not yet condemned by the Church. Although this is not stated explicitly in this paragraph, it is necessarily understood as part of its context by what he wrote in the previous paragraphs. For, in starting out his encyclical he said several times that the false ideas of a hierarch do not de facto separate him from the Church, but only his trial and condemnation by a Pan-Orthodox or Oecumenical Synod - adding the important qualifying clause: “insofar as the unorthodox understanding has not already been condemned by an Oecumenical or major synod”. This condition and exception had already been made clear by the Metropolitan before he wrote this present paragraph. Therefore, we should understand that he held this to be the rule - that is, that a bishop is not severed from the Church by his false understanding of Orthodoxy before a synodal condemnation - with the important exception of the case where his false understanding has already been condemned by a previous Oecumenical or Pan-Orthodox Synod. The qualifier “insofar as....” means that the rule he is formulating - that is, that the innovating hierarch does not de facto lose grace or leave the Church - applies only in cases where the unorthodox understanding has not been condemned by an Oecumenical or major (Pan-Orthodox) synod; moreover, adding this qualifier necessarily also implies the converse of this rule - that insofar as an idea *has* been condemned as heretical or schismatic by such a Synod, the hierarch who teaches it *does* de facto lose grace and leave the Church.

Therefore, what he teaches here is that no single hierarch has the authority to speak for the whole Church and explicate the faith against this new false idea, and condemn, depose, anathematize, or excommunicate the innovator. An individual hierarch simply cannot claim to speak for the whole Church, nor claim to exercise the authority proper to the Church to try and depose his fellow-hierarchs, with which he has not been empowered by the canons - which authority only belongs to the particular synod of hierarchs authorized by the Universal Church. Instead a *synodal* trial of the proper kind must be held, the person must be given his chance at defense in the manner defined by the canons, and only when he has been truly shown to be holding an innovation contrary to the Church’s faith, and does not recant of his innovation, then can the authority authorized by the Church in her Canons (the synod) act in her name and cut the innovator off. This is the law laid down in the canons, particularly in the 15th Canon of the 1st-and-2nd Council. Again all this applies in the case of a new false idea, which as the 15th Canon says has not been recognized as heretical by previous Fathers or Councils, whereas the same canon explains, as earlier Metropolitan Chrysostom also said, that in the case of a hierarch consciously and publically teaching an already recognized/condemned heresy, the hierarch ceases to be a hierarch, and separating from him is not schism, but deliverance from schism.

Thus, Vicar-Bishop Matthew and his successors err horribly in asserting not only that the new menaion change (a new, unheard of innovation) caused its adopters to become actual schismatics and lose grace, but, moreover, that the Florinites also have been severed from the Church by what the Matthewites deem a false teaching - the teaching that the new menaion innovation in itself, insofar as it has never been condemned by a valid pan-orthodox or ecumenical synod, was not sufficient to separate the New-Calendarists from the Church. Vicar-Bishop Matthew in protestant-wise or pope-like arrogates to himself the place of the whole Church and pretends to have the authority to declare the adopters of an uncondemned false teaching severed from the Church - which authority belongs only to the Church Herself. The magnitude of Vicar-Bishop Matthew’s pride is thus utterly astounding - he deems himself to be the Church so as to have the authority of an Oecumenical Council! May God spare us from such a Lucifer-like fall.

+Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #37

Excerpt from; A CLARIFICATION BY METROPOLITAN CHRYSOSTOMOS OF HIS PASTORAL ENCYCLICAL

One contradicts and gainsays himself when he expresses one opinion about a question today and utterly rejects it the next day, thereby falling into blatant contradiction.

But when, after deeper study of the issue and more serious reflection and judgment, he modifies his previous opinion for the better, giving it a broader interpretation and formulating it more clearly and distinctly, such a modification, broader explanation, and more detailed formulation of an opinion about one and the same issue cannot be called either contradiction or discrepancy, but should rather be called an explanation and a more complete clarification of a compact and condensed idea, so that it may more easily be understood by another person....

The author [most likely Metropolitan Germanos of Demetrias]of the pastoral encyclical [1935]can be accused of this, for at the outset, he called the New Calendarist Hierarchs schismatics and the New Calendar Church schismatic, failing to add, owing to an oversight, that they are schismatic potentially, and not in actuality, which means that they will only suffer the consequences of their excision from the body of the universal Orthodox Church, being deprived of the right to celebrate valid Mysteries and to impart Divine Grace and sanctification to the Faithful, when they are tried by a valid major Synod and condemned to deposition for wrong belief, as adhering obstinately thereto.

And this is because it is possible that they are erring out of ignorance and misunderstanding, in which case, when they are tried and enlightened by a Synod, it is not inconceivable for them to change their minds and reject their error, their deposition and excision being thereby averted.

+Metropolitan Chrysostom

Athens, January 18, 1945

----

Metropolitan Chrysostom here answers his detractors who rebuke him for allegedly contradicting his original position on the Calendar change in 1935. He replies that what his position is now, is what it was then, but owing to lack of care for precision at the time, he expressed himself in an imprecise manner and thus some lack of clarity of idea resulted. He says that when one returns to one’s original ‘roughly-expressed’ idea and refines it to a more precise reflection of one’s thought, this is not a contradiction, but a clarification or explanation. Therefore, he can be blamed only for haste or negligence in his speech.

Undoubtedly the same expectation of rapid punishment by the State that led the three hierarchs to the hasty selection and sudden consecration of vicar-bishops less than a month after their taking up the leadership of the Old-Calendarists, also led to this lack of care and precision in expression of ideology in 1935. Only such precipitateness, driven by expedience or necessity, can explain why the three hierarchs could ordain a person so at variance with their common view and the aims of their struggle as Vicar-Bishop Matthew. Only by understanding that they felt they had to ordain vicars for themselves to carry on the struggle when they themselves would undoubtedly be exiled or separated from their flock can we comprehend how they could miss by oversight such an unsound and contrary character in the person of their ordinee. Alas, not only did their vicars not assist them in carrying out the purpose of their struggle, but they actively brought it to the brink of destruction by dividing it with bickering and schism. If the three hierarchs had known the real rather than assumed character of ‘Archimandrite’ Matthew Karpathakis, a run-away planimenos from Mt. Athos, so far from ordaining him, they would have suspended, deposed, or excommunicated him as a dangerous threat to the Orthodox struggle.

+Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #38

Excerpt from; A CLARIFICATION BY METROPOLITAN CHRYSOSTOMOS OF HIS PASTORAL ENCYCLICAL

To this point of view the authors of the memorandum pose the objection that it should not be said, and much less written, that the Hierarchs who innovated regarding the calendar will only be deprived of Grace and the right to impart it to the Faithful when they are declared to be actual schismatics and deposed by a major Synod, because this not only does not benefit, but even harms, our sacred struggle through the defection of followers from our Orthodox segment, since they are kept in it by the idea that the New Calendarist clergy, even before they are proclaimed schismatic by a Synod, are deprived of the capacity to perform any sacred functions validly. But this objection, aside from the fact that it is mistaken, carries with it a certain dose of demagogy and the deception of the Faithful, which are antithetical to the Divine mission of the Church, which ought to teach aright the word of truth, in all places and at all times, as well as uphold the uprightness and principles of our sacred struggle. The error of this objection rests on the misapprehension that the Old Calendarists adhered to the ancestral traditions because the New Calendar Church was deprived of Divine Grace from the outset, as the parasynagogue Bishops say. This perhaps can happen to those who follow a parasynagogue. But the Old Calendarists who knowledgeably belong to our Orthodox segment are well aware that following the Old Calendar is not a corollary of the validity or invalidity of the Mysteries of the New Calendarists, a question on which a valid Synod alone has the right to pronounce. It is, rather, an inevitable necessity if one is to avoid sharing in the New Calendarists’ responsibility for the innovation, and a shining example of the boundless reverence and the sacred and godly zeal by which the followers of our Orthodox segment are animated with regard to the venerable traditions of the Church.

+Metropolitan Chrysostom

Athens, January 18, 1945

----

In the above segment, Metropolitan Chrysostomos answers the authors of the memorandum who pose an objection - that to say that the new-calendarists will be deprived of grace only when a major synod convenes and declares them actually schismatics is of no benefit to the sacred struggle and even harms it. For, they say, our people (the Old-Calendarists) are kept faithful to us by the idea that the new-calendarists are graceless.

The Metropolitan answers and says that this objection is not only mistaken, but also deceitful, and, therefore, not permissible for the Church to proclaim, which always teaches aright the word of truth in all places and all times.

He says something now which is very profound. He says that this objection rests in a mistaken idea that the Old-Calendarists keep the traditions because the new-calendarists have been deprived of grace since the beginning of their innovation, as the parasynagogue bishops Germanos and Matthew say. Then he says that perhaps this can happen to those who follow Germanos and Matthew - the parasynogoguers or conventiclers, meaning that they have caused a schism with no justification and that they from the outset could indeed be graceless.

But the Old-Calendarists, he says, are following the traditions of the Church, not on account of the validity or invalidity of the New-Calendarists, but rather to avoid sharing in the new-calendarists’ responsibility for the innovation and, by godly zeal for the sacred struggle to preserve the traditions of the Church.

+Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #39

Excerpt from; A CLARIFICATION BY METROPOLITAN CHRYSOSTOMOS OF HIS PASTORAL ENCYCLICAL

The demagogy and the opportunism of the contrary opinion lie, on the one hand, in the hope of attracting other converts to the Old Calendar, brandishing the invalidity of the Mysteries of the New Calendarists as a bugbear, and, on the other hand, in keeping these followers, and especially the gullible and the lukewarm, in our sacred struggle. But the use of such demagogic and illegitimate means in order to hunt after followers for our Orthodox faction, while it may be permitted by the Latin Church, which has as an ethical maxim the Jesuit dictum, “The end sanctifies the means,” is not permitted by the Eastern Orthodox Church, which always teaches aright the word of truth.

With regard to the criticism of us, which the authors of the memorandum hurl at us so naively and with such an easy conscience, that in our pastoral encyclical we called the Bishops of the Cyclades and of Vresthene parasynagoguers, we must give them a second lesson, since they are, it seems, unfamiliar with ecclesiastical terms. The word “parasynagogue” is applied literally to those clergy who, bereft of ecclesiastical or canonical justification with regard to the Faith or Canon Law, disavow the canonical presiding ecclesiastical authority and set up their own altars, acting in a partisan spirit for personal reasons and serving their own lust for power and self-interest. The Synods endorsed this term for factionalists and those who lift their heels against the Church without any canonical justification, and all of the Fathers of the Church used it for those who rebel against the presiding ecclesiastical authority in order to replace it with their own unlawful and uncanonical rule. And just as the word “heretic” was established for those who have wrong beliefs about the dogmas of the Church, and the word “schismatic” for those who have wrong beliefs about traditions and Divine worship, so the name “parasynagogue” was established for those who act in a partisan spirit and rebel against the Church for reasons of ambition and personal advantage.

+Metropolitan Chrysostom

Athens, January 18, 1945

----

In the above segment of Metropolitan Chrysostomos’ “Clarification” of 1945, he continues to state that the demagogy and opportunism of the contrary side, that is, the side of the parasynagogue bishops, in trying to attract converts by saying that the new-calendarists are graceless, is not permissible for the Orthodox, although it may be permissible for the Latins who use the Jesuit maxim: ‘the end justifies the means.’

With regard to their criticism of his labeling the two vicar-bishops (Germanos and Matthew) as “parasynagoguers or conventiclers”, he explains that this is a well-established ecclesiastical term for those who disavow their canonical and ecclesiastical authority and set up their own altars, acting in a spirit of pride, serving their own lust of power and self-interest. The holy Synods have endorsed this term for factionalists, for those who unjustly rebel against the authority God has put over them.

He says the word “heretic” was established for those who have wrong beliefs in the realm of dogma, the word “schismatics” for those who have wrong beliefs about tradition and divine worship, and the word “parasynagoguers” was established for those who rebel against the church out of ambition or pride and set up their own altars.

+Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #40

Excerpt from; A CLARIFICATION BY METROPOLITAN CHRYSOSTOMOS OF HIS PASTORAL ENCYCLICAL

Consequently, we have used this ecclesiastical term for the Bishops of the Cyclades and of Vresthene, because these wretches, too, for reasons of ambition and self-interest, dared to split our Orthodox segment and thereby to cause, aside from spiritual damage to themselves and their followers, incalculable harm to our sacred struggle, which is made to appear, in the general conscience of the New Calendarists, as opportunistic and reckless. This being so, those who wrote and signed the memorandum ought to have addressed their criticism, not to us, who rightly and in accordance with the canons called those in question parasynagoguers and Protestantizers, but to the parasynagogue Bishops, if, as they say in their memorandum, they were seeking to allay their scandalized consciences and to serve the sacred goal of our struggle.

+Metropolitan Chrysostom

Athens, January 18, 1945

----

In the above segment, Metropolitan Chrysostom rightly calls the vicar-bishops Germanos and Matthew wretches because their schismatic actions have cause irreparable damage to the sacred struggle of the Old-Calendarists to restore the Church of Greece back to the entirety of the traditions of the Orthodoxy. He says that the New-Calendarists, who up until that moment had seen the Old-Calendarists as steadfast and rightly-confessing against the innovation, now view the sacred struggle as something that is weak and inconsistent. For now the New-Calendarists saw the Old-Calendarist bishops splitting for the first time.

Unfortunately, this would be a harbinger or foreshadowing of many more schisms in the future, because, in the sight of the weak-minded, the schism of the Matthewites continues to exist without any punishment or deposition by the bishops who had authority over them. That is not to say that Matthew was not punished by God for his breaking of the canons.

+Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #41

Excerpt from; A CLARIFICATION BY METROPOLITAN CHRYSOSTOMOS OF HIS PASTORAL ENCYCLICAL

Finally, with regard to the fifth and last point of the memorandum, in which the differences and dissonance that exist between us and the parasynagogue Bishops are mistakenly characterized as deriving from personal issues, we have this to say. You do an injustice, gentlemen and authors of this memorandum, to your intelligence and sound judgment, if you suppose that the disagreement between us and the parasynagogue Bishops derives from personal issues. At the same time, you do us an injustice, when you portray us as capable of sacrificing on the altar of human passions, not only the precious and lofty interests of our sacred struggle, but also the salvation of our soul and the salvation of the souls of those belonging to our segment, which constitutes the primary spark and the effective fulcrum of our thoughts and activities. For we, and let this not be construed as boasting, but as a reflection of the truth and as a defense of the honor and reputation that I enjoy - we say that, for the idea of Orthodoxy and its restoration, we have sacrificed, as you also are aware, the material and social capital that we acquired through the honorable and conscientious services that we rendered on behalf of the Church and the nation during our thirty-five years as a Hierarch. Struggling faithfully and steadfastly with the aid of Divine and all-strengthening Grace on the adamantine battlements of Church and nation, we neither hesitated nor shrank from unmurmuringly accepting even this exile, and in old age, at that.

We are truly perplexed at how, despite knowing all of these things, you have succeeded in imagining and persuading yourselves that we, who have sacrificed everything for the ideal of our struggle, would show ourselves to be so lacking in self-respect and so malevolent as to divide our Orthodox segment for reasons of pride and ambition, and to deprive ourselves of the manifest reward which future historians and Jesus Christ, the Giver of rewards, reserve for those who fight the good fight.

+Metropolitan Chrysostom

Athens, January 18, 1945

----

Metropolitan Chrysostom makes himself very clear here that his sole motivation for his conduct is the love and restoration of Orthodoxy, not the acquisition of any personal benefits or glory. Indeed, rather he has even given up his high position of honor in society and in the Church and the material benefits that went along with it in order to struggle faithfully and wholeheartedly for Orthodoxy, and has even suffered exile in old age for its sake, so that any accusation of ill motives or personal passions guiding his actions is simply ludicrous and has no factual basis or evidence to support it. He declares that he full well knows that his conduct will be either the cause of salvation for himself and those following him or his damnation, and therefore, there is no way that he would sacrifice any principle of Orthodoxy and thus his soul and those of others for the sake of some personal passion like pride or ambition. From this it is clear that Metropolitan Chrysostom cannot make a compromise or surrender to the parasynagogue bishops - Vicar-Bishops Matthew and Germanos - not on account of pride or personal grievances, but on account of true, essential Orthodox principles, of which he will speak more in the subsequent paragraphs of his “Clarification.”

+Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #42

Excerpt from; A CLARIFICATION BY METROPOLITAN CHRYSOSTOMOS OF HIS PASTORAL ENCYCLICAL

In accordance with this, if those who composed and signed the memorandum were inspired by the incentive of allaying their scandalized consciences and were motivated by the interests of the struggle, they ought to have sent their instructive memorandum, which urges us to seek after unity, not to us, who are not responsible for the division and have no need of instruction or encouragement from individuals whose role it is not to enlighten us or urge us on to what is good, but to the parasynagogue Bishops who created the division and are in greater need of being enlightened and encouraged to look to the good of the struggle, which they have, unfortunately, made the object of ambition and exploitation. That these Bishops aimed, from the outset, at dividing the struggle with a completely easy conscience is evident from all that the Bishop of the Cyclades, who is of the same mind as the Bishop of Vresthene, wrote to us when we were in Jerusalem during the first year of our exodus into the struggle; he encouraged us to depose the ever-memorable president (Metropolitan Germanos of Demetrias) and leader of the struggle and to replace him with our humble self. And because we rejected this malicious proposal and responded to them that they should submit to our leader, since we did not throw ourselves into the struggle in order to lay claim to leadership, but to serve Orthodoxy, these men then proceeded to disavow both of us, so that they might themselves be leaders of the struggle and be independent in their opinions and activities, dividing the benefits of leadership equally. But they ended up disavowing each other and excommunicating each other as heretics or schismatics.

This being the case, we advise the authors of this memorandum.....if they are truly aiming at union for the good of the struggle, to devote their efforts and activities in this regard to the apostate Bishops, pointing out to them the great responsibility which they bear before God and the Church for having, with a complete ease of conscience, split the Orthodox flock into two opposing factions, which inflicted mortal damage on the struggle and made them, as the saying goes, “a spectacle to Angels and to men.”

+Metropolitan Chrysostom

Athens, January 18, 1945

---- Having previously demonstrated from facts the sincere motive of service to Orthodoxy that led him to enter the sacred struggle and conduct his course as he has been doing, Metropolitan Chrysostom now provides factual evidence for the insincere, unorthodox motives that led Vicar-Bishops Matthew and Germanos to break communion with Metropolitans Chrysostom [F.], Germanos [D.], and Chrysostom [Z.] in 1937. He also further establishes his own sincere motive and outlook as free from ambition.

He relates how while in Jerusalem, seeking that patriarchate’s support for the convening of a council to judge the 1924 New-Calendar innovation, he received a letter written by Vicar-Bishop Germanos and suported by Vicar-Bishop Matthew. The letter called on Metropolitan Chrysostom, together with them, to uncanonically depose Metropolitan Germanos, the then-president of the Old-Calendarist synod, and establish himself in the dominant position of leadership. This would have consequently given more power or authority to both Germanos and Matthew, having disposed of the leader of their synod. If this actually had happened, the faction formed by them with Chrysostom of Florina at the head would be in power, and thus they would be more in power than before. Simply put, this was a demonic spirit of schism and division, a temptation which the devil sowed within the first year that the Old-Calendarists had an episcopacy. When Metropolitan Chrysostom rightly spurned this proposal and rebuked their ungodly ambition, the two bishops proceeded to find fault with Metropolitan Chrysostom as well and to form their own schism under their own vainglorious leadership. Having disposed of all competition for leadership but themselves, they proceeded to find fault with each other and excommunicate each other as putitative heretics or schismatics - so as to then become sole leaders and authorities for the Old-Calendarists. In view of these facts concerning the origin of the Matthew-Germanos schism, Metropolitan Chrysostom rightly calls them the apostates and urges the authors of the memorandum to direct their efforts at bringing the apostate bishops back around to true Orthodox unity and their proper place, holding before their eyes the horrible sentence that awaits them at the Judgment for having caused a schism and damaged the sacred struggle for the restoration of the Church of Greece to the fullness of the Orthodox traditions.

From the above, we see the sinful and perverted traits of Vicar-Bishop Matthew, who is constantly provoked by the prideful lusts of ambition. This spirit of death and unorthodox behavior will follow this man to the end of his life.

+Archbishop Gregory


Matthew’s Schism #43

Excerpt from; A CLARIFICATION BY METROPOLITAN CHRYSOSTOMOS OF HIS PASTORAL ENCYCLICAL

Indeed, we should not overlook this extremely delicate and sensitive point, that if we were to unite and cooperate with the apostate Bishops, who have no intention of putting off the old man of erroneous beliefs and antiquated ideas - as a consequence of which, they committed uncanonical and altogether outrageous acts, which provoked disgust and revulsion in the general conscience of Christians -...our sacred struggle would, in all probability, be very seriously damaged in thereby adopting the mistaken ideas and arbitrary actions which have beset these apostate Bishops in the recent past...

...Let this be the last word on this subject, and may the God of peace grant the desired union of all Christian Churches within the bounds of Orthodoxy, that with one mouth and one heart we may all glorify Him at one and the same time.

+Metropolitan Chrysostom

Athens, January 18, 1945

---- Metropolitan Chrysostom sums up his Clarification with the reiteration that union with Matthew and Germanos is not possible until they do away with their false, unorthodox, and scandalous teachings, and that to attempt to unite with them (which would mean accepting their ideas) would seriously damage the sacred struggle, taking it off a right-believing, canonical path onto a path of error and anti-canonical acts. Consequently, his closing prayer is not for a union with the apostate vicar-bishops at any cost, but for a union within the bounds of Orthodoxy with unity of heart and mind.

+Archbishop Gregory


Archbishop Gregory
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