Announcement Concerning the Situation in Australia

The following is a translation of a Greek notice that appeared on the website of our Archdiocese in Greece: "Ἀνακοίνωση περί τῆς ἐν Αὐστραλία Καταστάσεως." It is the second article concerning this issue; the first appeared originally in Greek as "Γ.Ο.Χ. και «Αὐτοκέφαλοι» Αὐστραλίας" and was translated into English here.

We have learned from the foreign press of Australia of an attempt to create a false impression relative to an agreement between the Federation of Greek Orthodox Communities of Australia and a group who present themselves as the “Church of the GOC of Greece.”

From their publications it is clear that this agreement has only one objective: to obtain recognition of the sacraments performed by the “Autocephalous Church of Australia and America(!),” i.e. the ecclesiastical institution formed by the Federation of Greek Orthodox Communities of Australia. We have always known the disagreement between the communities and the Archdiocese of Australia. We knew very well that this disagreement was never for reasons of faith; it has to do with administrative issues. The communities were never willing to submit complete control of the churches, which were built by the sweat of simple immigrants, who are members of the community, to the Patriarchate. The issue is mostly one of economic control of the churches. For this reason they separated from the New Calendar Archdiocese of Australia and founded their own “Autocephalous” Church.

This “Autocephalous” Church also follows the New Calendar; it uses as its clergy mostly people who have come from the New Calendar Church, from which they do not differ at all in ecumenistic practices such as mixed marriages and shortened divine services; they accept into their ranks as members high-ranking Greek-Australian Freemasons, etc. The only exception is that the sacraments performed by clergy of the “Autocephalous” Church are not recorded in the registry office of the Greek Consulate. From the beginning this has been a device used to pressure the “Autocephalous” Church, and it expressed the preference of the Greek authorities for the other New Calendarist faction, i.e. the Archdiocese.

The issue of recognizing the sacraments of the “Autocephalous” Church concerns the Greek authorities; the “Autocephalous” Church could have resolved it with political or legal means. However, the solution which the Federation of Greek Orthodox Communities of Australia has found is absurd and offensive for the Genuine Orthodox Christians.

The sacraments of the GOC performed outside Greece are registered in the books of the Greek Consulate, but not indiscriminately. The clergymen who perform these sacraments must have been canonically ordained and not have been deposed.

The communities have as their Bishop a former New Calendarist clergyman of the Archdiocese of Athens who was “ordained” by individuals who do not have canonical ordination. Auxentios, who bears the title of Archbishop of Aegina, was “ordained” in 1996 by Maximus Ballianatos and Demetrios Biffe. The former was at one time Metropolitan of Cephalonia of the Church of the GOC of Greece; however, he was deposed in 1985 because of an illicit ordination which he performed, and later he was excommunicated when it was proven that he had lied under oath. The latter was a New Calendarist hieromonk who suddenly presented himself as the “Archbishop of Crete” without anyone knowing whence he came.

The group of Auxentios “of Aegina” is of infinitely small scope in Greece. If the sparse sacraments performed by their few “clergymen” are recorded by municipal registrars (which we doubt), this is undoubtedly due to the poor observance of governmental regulations on the part of said municipal registrars. Wherever the registrars fulfill their responsibilities, such sacraments are not listed.

Moreover, the sacraments performed by the clergy of the “Autocephalous” Church of Australia cannot be registered as GOC sacraments, because, very simply the clergymen in question have never been clergy of the GOC. They were and are New Calendarists. They were not transformed into Genuine Orthodox clergy simply by the signature of the honorable president of the Federation of Greek Orthodox Communities of Australia with the agreement of someone who bears the title of “Archbishop of the GOC.” Neither did entrusting the administration of the “Autocephalous” Church to a former New Calendarist clergyman who received a nonexistent “ordination” from those who bear the title of GOC, in order to return to Australia and liturgize once again as a New Calendarist for New Calendar parishes suddenly change them—as if through magic—into GOC clergymen.

Moreover, the use of certificates which bear the heading “Church of the GOC of Greece—Autocephalous Church of Australia and America” is at least absurd: how are they autocephalous when they are under a greater Church authority? It is obvious that the use of the name of the GOC is a pretext for the deceitful manner of getting the sacraments of the “Autocephalous” Church registered.

If they want their sacraments to be registered, they should go to the courts responsible for such things, “entering by the gate,” and obtain recognition for what they are in reality, and they should not take advantage of a name which does not belong to them, because “he who enters in not by the gate but by another way, such a one is a thief and a robber,” according to the Gospel.

Besides, we should mention that from our research until now with the Supreme Court of Athens there does not exist a legal person with a registration number which the announcement of the Federation of Greek Orthodox Communities of Australia mentions.

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