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GENUINE ORTHODOX CHURCH of GREECE

HOLY SYNOD

ACT OF UNIFICATION

Athens 2019
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ACT OF UNIFICATION

COMMON CONFESSION OF FAITH

Published by The Holy Synod


of the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece.
86 Astrous Street, 104 41 ATHENS GREECE

Translated from the original text of Greek to English:


Hieromonk Fr. Anthony Giokas

Edited by: Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod


Archimandrite Fr. Gerasimos Kosmas.

© Rev. Hieromonk Gerasimos Kosmas, 2019


86 Astrous Street, 104 41 Athens GREECE (HELLAS)
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ACT OF UNIFICATION
signed on 27th January 2019
in the Katholikon
of the Holy Trinity Monastery,
Examilia, Corinth

&

COMMON CONFESSION OF FAITH

signed on
26th January 2019

Athens 30-1-2019
4
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ACT OF UNIFICATION
27 JANUARY 2019

Our god-bearing Fathers, who ordained all things


in the most inspired way, have set delimitations and
canons for the good and in Christ shepherding of the
rational flock within the Holy Church of Jesus Christ.
Furthermore, they delivered themselves as models of
orderliness in ruling, with the main and fundamental
objective of saving immortal souls.
Following those very canons of the Holy Fathers
and their god-enlightened models of orderly ruling, we
humble ministers and servants of His Holy Will, the
signatories of this very “Act” and Hierarchs of the
Genuine Orthodox Church, forever seek the good and
salvific ministration of God’s people, the pious and
orthodox Christians. And with humility of heart, and
deep awareness of the weighty responsibility of the
task, whilst aspiring to achieve unity according to Christ
and restoration of canonical ecclesiastical communion
which unfortunately had been disrupted over recent
years, we have embraced the fatherly recommendation
6
and invitation of our venerable elderly Bishop of
Argolis Pachomios to walk hand in hand before the
Crucified Christ, and firstly beseech His infinite mercy
for the forgiveness of each and every one of our sins,
and secondly fervently implore for divine enlighten-
ment for the restoration of ecclesiastical communion
according to our Lord’s will.
Therefore, recognizing that we are all imperfect
and weak, inclined on the one hand to judge and
condemn others, whilst on the other hand reserving for
ourselves the good portion and justification, bearing in
mind the prophetic word: “We have sinned, we have
done wrong, we have acted wickedly” (1 Kings 8:47), as
well as the apostolic admonition: “Let him who thinks he
stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12); we
have with one accord set this work and our related
activities to the judgement of the All-Wise Creator and
Governor of His Holy Church, the Crucified Christ,
clearly aware that our Righteous Judge and Merciful
Father, as He who “searches out the hearts and reins”
(Psalm 7:10) and foreknowing the intention, the will
and the action of each man, will administer righteous
and man-befriending judgement for the acts and
omissions of each and every one of us, and will confirm
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the position and ministry of each and every one of us in
His Holy Church.
Hence, in deep understanding of our duty before
God and man, we have confessed and re-affirmed the
Orthodox Faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic
Church of Christ, confessing together with the Holy
Fathers and god-enlightened Teachers of the Church
whatsoever they have dogmatized in the Holy Synods
and in god-lovingly manner recorded in their writings,
for the safe and sure spiritual guidance of the faithful
Christians and the salvation of their immortal souls, in
full and firm belief that “This is the Faith of the Apostles,
this is the Faith of the Fathers, this is the Faith of the
Orthodox, this Faith hath established the whole world” as
the Synodicon of Orthodoxy states.
In particular we signed, in the beginning and
before any other action, a written COMMON
CONFESSION OF FAITH, which is attached to this “Act of
Unification”, as an integral part of it, in which with all
our soul and heart we confess: firstly, that we accept
the Symbol of Faith, namely “the Creed”; and secondly,
that we embrace all the decisions taken by the
Ecumenical and Regional Synods, as well as the
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opinions of our Holy Fathers which have been validated
by Ecumenical Synods; thirdly, the decisions of the
Synods during the time of Saint Photios and Saint
Gregory Palamas; fourthly, the decisions of the Pan-
Orthodox Synods of the 16th century in which the
implementation of the new papal calendar by the
Eastern Orthodox Church was condemned and rejected
in full. Likewise, we condemn and reject all that Christ’s
Holy Church has condemned and anathematized
Synodically, and in particular we condemn and reject
the introduction of the new papal calendar into the
Orthodox Church, which took place in the year 1924, or
whenever it took place in other countries, as well as the
introduced heresy of ecumenism (which also came
through the introduction of the new calendar),
confessing that any spiritual communion with this
heresy constitutes acceptance and embracement of the
heresy itself and communion with it.
Furthermore, we accept: firstly, the Confession of
Saint Photios the Great, Patriarch of Constantinople,
and that of Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of
Thessaloniki; secondly, the Confession of the Athonite
Fathers in the year 1934, which was accepted by the
Declaration of the three Hierarchs who had returned
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from the new-calendar church in 1935; thirdly, the
confession of Bishop Matthew of Vresthenis, which was
published in the year 1944; fourthly, the confession of
the Holy Synod of Hierarchs published via encyclical in
the year 1954; fifthly, the quasi-encyclical published
with the definite blessing of Bishop Matthew of
Vresthenis in the year 1945, and republished in the
year 1985 in the G.O.C. Church’s periodical “Genuine
Orthodox Herald” (Κήρυξ Γνησίων Ὀρθοδόξων), and in
which forbiddance of joint prayer and ecclesiastical
communion with heretics and schismatics and those
outside the Orthodox Confession of faith is canonized
(decreed) as according to the Holy Canons; and sixthly,
the Confession of Orthodox Faith and condemnation of
the heresy of ecumenism made via the 6/13-7-1983 act
of the Greek G.O.C. Church’s Holy Synod of the
Hierarchy.
Specifically, concerning the two matters which
have caused frictions and divisions in the past, namely
the holy icons and the “communion” (κοινωνίας) of the
Three Divine Persons, in order to abide by the
preciseness of the orthodox faith and ensure the good
shepherding of the Church’s rational flock, we have
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decided the following, which have been included in our
written “Common Confession of Faith”:
First, “Regarding the reverent veneration of the
Holy Icons, we accept the god-enlightened decisions of
the Holy Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Synod and we
consider them as the everlasting foundational teaching
of the Orthodox Church regarding the Holy Icons. We
declare that: all the holy icons which the tradition of the
Orthodox Church has accepted and uses, we too respect
and venerate, as did our fathers and memorable pre-
decessors before us; whilst honoring at the same time
the opinions of the Holy Fathers regarding the non-
depiction of God the Father; as we try to achieve in God-
loving manner the good shepherding of the faithful
Christians.”
Second, “Regarding the existence, the life and the
energizing (action) of the Holy Trinity, our One and
Only Triune God, the Father, the Son and the Holy
Spirit, we confess and embrace everything that the Holy
Church of Christ defined in dogma and teaches
regarding the Triune God, and all that the Holy Fathers
with God’s enlightenment expressed in their sacred
writings. More specifically, everything that the Holy
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Fathers of one accord express and teach with exactness
and subtlety of spirit in their sacred writings regarding
the non-communion of the hypostatic attributes and the
communion and synergy of the natural attributes of the
Divine Persons of the Holy Trinity, we too in humility of
spirit and timidity of heart confess and accept, adding
nothing and subtracting nothing.”
Furthermore, regarding the term “Anarchos
Ecclesia” (Ἄναρχος Ἐκκλησία, or Beginningless Church)
for the Triune God, we decided that hereafter the
aforementioned term not be attributed to the Holy
Trinity: firstly, in order to not create confusion and
disturbance with the term Church which is used for the
“One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”; and
secondly, because the term “Anarchos Ecclesia” as an
essential definition of the Triune Divinity is never
mentioned in the Patristic writings, that is to say, as a
term attributed to the Holy Trinity it remains
unattested by the Holy Fathers, for this reason we
remain content to confine ourselves solely to what the
Holy Fathers descriptively mention about the energies
(actions) of our Triune God.
12
Regarding the so-called “laying-on of hand”
(«χειροθεσία») of 1971 by the Synod of the Russian
Church Abroad, we have decided and included in the
document titled “Common Confession of the Orthodox
Faith” the following: “we consider the 1971 decision of
the Russian Church Abroad Synod, and the ecclesiasti-
cal action resulting from the enactment of that decision,
as having no relation whatsoever with the canonical
Apostolic Succession of the Hierarchs of the Church of
Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece; as having
added and subtracted nothing from the ordinations of
Matthew of blessed memory”, and for this reason “we
reject and condemn as not expressing the truth all
reports or publicized opinions regarding the supposed
recognition of ordinations by our Church’s bishops
derived from the 1971 decision of the Russian Church
Abroad, whether these be Judicial decisions, or personal
opinions of individuals, or old and or recent publica-
tions from old-calendar church groups.”
Therefore, because of the devious influence of the
spirit of ecumenism even on Orthodox Christians, who
are the children of our Mother Church, we have decided
to introduce in a fatherly manner through appropriate
catechism, but also via synodal encyclical: on the one
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hand that spiritual communion and joint prayer with
ecumenists is not permitted, and on the other hand that
“rites” (i.e. mysteries) performed by ecumenists are not
recognized by the Church and therefore must be per-
formed anew, except in extreme cases where, on a case
by case basis, following the reasoned decision of the
presiding bishop, or of the local Synod, economy is used
as foreseen by the Holy Canons.
Having accepted and signed the written “Common
Confession of Faith” and agreeing on the remaining
matters of Orthodox Faith, we jointly examined issues
of proper order regarding canon law and relevant
resolutions. As far as this matter is concerned, firstly,
we took into consideration the patristic recommenda-
tion of the wise Teacher of the Church, Saint Basil the
Great: “Let us then seek no more than this, but propose to
all the brethren, who are willing to join us, the Nicene
Creed. If they assent to that, let us further require that
the Holy Spirit ought not to be called a creature, nor any
of those who say so be received into communion. I do not
think that we ought to insist upon anything beyond this.”
(Saint Basil, Letter CXIII); and secondly, the similar case
of the Holy Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Synod, who
received the iconoclast bishops solely through their
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acceptance of the 7th Synod’s decision regarding Holy
Icons. Hence, we have decided to exercise economy in
every case which does not obstruct the exactness of the
faith. Therefore firstly, regarding decisions involving
accusations of wrongdoings, and decisions imposing
ecclesiastical punishments, and decisions terminating
ecclesiastical communion, and other related decisions
and actions by both sides: the decision has been made
and steps have been taken to have these withdrawn,
declared invalid and considered as never having
existed; secondly, regarding accusations and characteri-
zations, and inappropriate expressions and insulting
wordings, in any which way made by both sides,
especially those published via press or via internet: the
decision has been made and steps have been taken to
have all these recalled. And for all these things we
request hereby the forgiveness: firstly, of our Man-
befriending God; secondly, of those who have been
wrongfully condemned; and thirdly, of any of our
brothers and sisters who through these publications
have been scandalized.
Regarding the matter of Bishop ordinations that
have taken place on both sides, we have decided that
these ordinations be accepted as canonic and valid from
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the time of the ordination, provided that canonic order
concerning candidate election and ordination was
maintained and the ordained bishops are willing to sign
this “Act of Unification” as well as the attached
“Common Confession of Faith”. And as far as bishop
ordinations performed by one bishop are concerned,
we have decided that: because they were performed out
of imperative ecclesiastical need and during times of
persecution and lack of a bishops’ synod, they must be
accepted as having been performed in valid purpose
and action; for Bishops who were ordained by one
bishop and are still living, because a second vote of
agreement on the ordination was absent at the time of
their ordination (due to the existence of only one
bishop at the time), the vote of agreement will now be
fulfilled according to canon law by those who now meet
all the required preconditions, namely, those who were
bishops at the time when the single bishop ordination
took place.
Regarding the ordination to bishop of Victor Leu,
from whom the two Romanian Bishops the Most-
Reverend Kassianos and Gerontios received their
ordination, it has been determined, after presentation
and examination of the relevant historic documents,
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that the Bishops who performed the ordination of
Victor Leu had been accepted by the Synod of the
Russian Church Abroad, and at the time of Victor Leu’s
ordination these bishops possessed unbarred priest-
hood. As far as the matter of whether Bishop Victor Leu
observed the orthodox faith is concerned, it has been
attested, after examination of recently published facts
and reliable information, that although he was inter-
ested and engaged in ethnic causes, mainly the
liberation of his home country, he at the same time
observed the Orthodox Confession, abstaining from
spiritual communion with heterodox and new-
calendarists, even when he was confined in prison.
Thus, we have accepted that he observed the Orthodox
Faith and Confession despite the difficult times.
As far as other ecclesiastic acts and sacred rituals
by both sides are concerned, we have decided to
recognize each and every one of them and consider
them having been done in valid purpose and action,
provided that they were conducted according to the
proper order and requirements of the Orthodox Church.
In case that there should be a dissent or appeal
regarding those acts or rituals in the future, we hereby
decide that it should be brought before the Holy Synod
17
according to the Holy Canons and the Church tradition
within a year after the sealing of this act of unification
with the performance of a hierarchical concelebration.
In view of all the aforementioned, having exa-
mined all matters presented and opted for the chief
amongst them, that is the unification in Christ and
according to Christ, we have decided and sanctioned
the restoration of ecclesiastical union and spiritual
communion according to ecclesiastical order among us
the Hierarchs of both sides and through us all the
Clergy and the faithful Christians of both sides, which is
confirmed and made valid by the signing of the present
“Act of Unification” by the Reverend Hierarchs of both
sides.
Through this present “Act of Unification” restora-
tion of ecclesiastical unity and spiritual communion has
been enacted, and is sealed ecclesiastically by the
Hierarchical Concelebration of Unity which has been
decided to take place on Saturday 27th January 2019,
according to the ecclesiastical calendar (on which day
the Church remembers the Translation of the relics of
Saint John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople),
in the Holy Trinity Monastery of Examilia Corinth.
18
Presiding over the Concelebration will be the eldest
among us, Metropolitan of Argos Elder Pachomios with
the participation of all the Eminent Bishops. Before the
commencement of the Divine Liturgy a special
ecclesiastical ceremony will take place, during which
the present “Act of Unification” will be officially signed
and prayers and supplications will be directed toward
the God of Glory, our Lord Jesus Christ, as His divine
power and peace-giving grace will seal this decided
union, to the glory of His Divine Name and the salvation
of the pious Orthodox Christians.
In ending the present “Act of Unification” and as
its final decision and act, fervent prayer is directed
toward our All-Companionate Lord and God, and a
brotherly appeal is made to all our Brothers and Sisters,
those who have either long ago or recently broken off
from the Holy Church of Christ, to put aside the
accusations and the slanders, the “de-frockings” and the
“excommunications”, and instead to work diligently and
with brotherly love in both word and deed “for the
union of all” according to the commandment and the
high-priestly prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ, indeed
that prayer of the Crucified Savior Christ regarding the
salvation of we humans: “Holy Father, keep them in Thy
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name which though hast given Me, in order that they may
be one, even as We are one” (John 17:11,22).
This “Act of Unification” authenticating, certifying
and asserting the restoration of ecclesiastical unity and
spiritual communion, is signed today, the 27th of
January 2019 A.D., in the Katholikon of the Holy Trinity
Monastery of Examilia Corinth, by the following
Hierarchs: Metropolitan of Argolis and acting Bishop of
Corinth, Pachomios; Metropolitan of Mesogaia and
Lavreotiki, Kirikos; Metropolitan of Vrancea, Gerontios;
Metropolitan of Kenya and acting Bishop of Tanzania,
Matthew; Metropolitan of Kiev and Exarch of all Russia,
Seraphim; Metropolitan of Kition and Exarch of all
Cyprus, Parthenios; Metropolitan of Patra and acting
Bishop of Australia, Efstathios; and Metropolitan of
Lebanon and Phoenicia, Seraphim; unto the glory,
honor, worship and thanks-giving to our Triune God,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever,
and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Metropolitan of Argolis and acting Bishop of Corinth


PACHOMIOS
20
Metropolitan of Mesogaia and Lavreotiki
KIRIKOS

Metropolitan of Vrancea and of Romania


GERONTIOS

Metropolitan of Kenya and acting Bishop of Tanzania


MATTHEW

Metropolitan of Kiev and Exarch of all Russia


SERAPHIM

Metropolitan of Kition and Exarch of all Cyprus


PARTHENIOS

Metropolitan of Patra and acting Bishop of Australia


EFSTATHIOS

Metropolitan of Lebanon and Phoenicia


SERAPHIM
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COMMON CONFESSION OF FAITH


26 JANUARY 2019

With the grace and invocation of the All-Holy and


Life-Giving Spirit, the signatories of the present
common confession of Faith, together confess and
accept the following:
First. We believe in the Triune God, the Father,
the Son and the Holy Spirit, as we confess in the Creed
of Faith, which was authored and sanctioned by the
Holy Fathers of the 1st and 2nd Ecumenical Synods.
Specifically, we believe and confess that the Church of
Christ is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic; for She is the
Holy Body of the One Christ, as taught by the Holy
Apostles. And lastly, we believe that there is the
resurrection of the dead and the everlasting life, of
which we look forward to.
Second. We accept the Holy Seven Ecumenical
Synods and the Ten Local Synods which the 6th
Ecumenical Synod recognized. In these synods the god-
bearing Fathers of the Church with the enlightenment
of the Holy Spirit authored the dogmas of the Church,
namely the unchangeable principles of the faith:
22
regarding the Triune God, regarding the Christological
dogma, regarding the salvific work of the Church, and
regarding the reverent veneration of the Holy Icons.
Third. Specifically, regarding the reverent
veneration of the Holy Icons, we accept the god-
enlightened decisions of the Holy Fathers of the 7th
Ecumenical Synod and we consider them as the
everlasting foundational teaching of the Orthodox
Church regarding the Holy Icons. We declare that: all
the holy icons which the tradition of the Orthodox
Church has accepted and uses, we too respect and
venerate, as did our fathers and memorable pre-
decessors before us; whilst honoring at the same time
the opinions of the Holy Fathers regarding the non-
depiction of God the Father; as we try to achieve in God-
loving manner the good shepherding of the faithful
Christians.
Forth. We accept the decisions of the following
Holy and Sacred Synods, whose decisions hold
universal and pan-orthodox authority: the so-called
First-and-Second Synod of 871, the Synod of 879 held in
Constantinople during the tenure of Saint Photios, and
the Synod of 1351 held also in Constantinople during
the time of Saint Gregory Palamas. We also accept the
23
decisions of the Eastern Patriarchate’s Pan-Orthodox
Synods of the 16th century, in which was written down
and sanctioned the stance of Eastern Orthodox Church
against the pope’s change of the ecclesiastical calendar
in 1582, which itself has been completely and conclu-
sively rejected and condemned.
Fifth. We confess and accept the teaching in the
Creed of Faith which states that the Church of Christ is
One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic and consequently
reject and condemn the protestant branch theory
regarding the Church, which professes that all heresies
constitute separate members of the Church (i.e.
branches of the tree) and must unite to constitute the
One Church.
Sixth. We reject and condemn the patriarchate
encyclical of 1920, which accepts the abovementioned
heretical branch theory regarding the Church of Christ.
That encyclical formed the precursor for the intro-
duction into the Orthodox Church of the condemned
papal calendar in 1924 and, in consequence, the
acceptance of the terrible heresy of ecumenism.
Ecumenism, furthermore, leads those who consciously
and manifestly follow it to heresy, which is the loss of
spiritual salvation.
24
Seventh. We reject and condemn the heresy of
ecumenism, which leads to the condemned by the Holy
Canons ecclesiastical communion and joint prayer with
heretics and heterodox and, worst still, to religious
syncretism. All communion and prayer of this type
constitute the first step towards ecumenism and the
loss of communion with the body of Christ’s Holy
Church; for the Church is man’s only path of commu-
nion with the body of Christ and secure source of
salvation.
Eighth. We accept and jointly confess the
confession of faith made by the three hierarchs, who,
having returned from the schism of the new calendar, in
1935 before the faithful people of God confessed both in
public and via written encyclical that, in accepting the
introduction of the new calendar (i.e. the papal calen-
dar), the new-calendar church has become schismatic,
and therefore, according to the Holy Canons and the
tradition of the Orthodox Church, no ecclesiastical
communion or joint prayer is permitted with any of its
members.
Ninth. We accept and honor the stance in
orthodox faith and confession upheld during 1937 by
the memorable then Bishop of Vresthenis and later
25
Archbishop of Athens Matthew. We consider the said
Matthew’s Bishop ordinations of 1948, which were
performed because of impassable ecclesiastical need,
complete and perfect, and as the proper continuation of
Apostolic Succession and Apostolic Faith, which
themselves are being preserved unbroken and proper
through the Hierarchy of the Church of Genuine
Orthodox Christians of Greece.
Tenth. Consequently, we consider the 1971
decision of the Russian Church Abroad Synod, and the
ecclesiastical action resulting from the enactment of
that decision, as having no relation whatsoever with the
canonical Apostolic Succession of the Hierarchs of the
Church of Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece; as
adding nothing and subtracting nothing from the
ordinations of Matthew of blessed memory. Therefore,
there is none whatsoever relation or dependence
between the Apostolic Succession of the Hierarchs of
our Synod and the Synod of the Russian Church Abroad,
which unfortunately has ended up in communion with
the Patriarchate of Moscow, which itself is in commu-
nion with ecumenists.
Eleventh. We reject and condemn as not
expressing the truth all reports or publicized opinions
26
regarding the supposed recognition of ordinations by
our Church’s bishops derived from the 1971 decision of
the Russian Church Abroad, whether these be Judicial
decisions, or personal opinions of individuals, or old
and or recent publications from old-calendar church
groups.
Twelfth. In consequence of all the above and in
accordance with both the proper ecclesiastical order
and the ecclesiastical tradition from eternity, no
ecclesiastical communion or joint prayer is permitted
with those outside the Church, be it new-calendarist or
old-calendarist groups not in communion with us. Our
Church has indeed always proclaimed such, and the
Holy Synod of Hierarchs through act no. 6/13-07 1983
does likewise. Indeed, neither do we accept without
scrutiny their ecclesiastical works, for instance their
“rites” (i.e. mysteries), their ecclesiastical services, their
declaration of new saints, and other similar things.
Thirteenth. Regarding the existence, the life and
the energizing (action) of the Holy Trinity, our One and
Only Triune God, the Father, the Son and the Holy
Spirit, we confess and embrace everything that the Holy
Church of Christ defined in dogma and teaches
regarding the Triune God, and all that the Holy Fathers
27
with God’s enlightenment expressed in their sacred
writings. More specifically, everything that the Holy
Fathers of one accord express and teach with exactness
and subtlety of spirit in their sacred writings regarding
the non-communion of the hypostatic attributes and the
communion and synergy of the natural attributes of the
Divine Persons of the Holy Trinity, we too in humility of
spirit and timidity of heart confess and accept, adding
nothing and subtracting nothing.
The present document was agreed to and signed
initially by the members of the Committees on 3rd of
October 2018. Some points were modified during the
meeting of the Committees on 18th of October 2018,
with the updated document being signed on the 10th of
January 2019 by members of both committees. And
today, 26th January 2019, this document is signed by all
the Hierarchs, as follows:

Metropolitan of Argolis and acting Bishop of Corinth


PACHOMIOS

Metropolitan of Mesogaia and Lavreotiki


KIRIKOS
28

Metropolitan of Vrancea and of Romania


GERONTIOS

Metropolitan of Kenya and acting Bishop of Tanzania


MATTHEW

Metropolitan of Kiev and Exarch of all Russia


SERAPHIM

Metropolitan of Kition and Exarch of all Cyprus


PARTHENIOS

Metropolitan of Patra and acting Bishop of Australia


EFSTATHIOS

Metropolitan of Lebanon and Phoenicia


SERAPHIM

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