Act of the Major Holy and Sacred Resident Synod convened in Fanar.
Protocol No. 384
The Holy Canons ordain that actions which certainly cause harm to canonical order and infringe upon it, in constituting an encroachment on the canonical territory of another Church, should be decried and condemned.
For according to Holy Scripture and the Fathers of the Church, order holds all things celestial and terrestrial together. All are duty-bound to maintain good order for it is the constitutive and cohesive element of peace: especially those presiding over the Churches, who, in full awareness of their own measure and bounds should remain within them. The holy canons of the Church, in perennial concord, enjoin that “a Bishop should not venture to effect ordinations outside of his own bounds in the townships and lands that are not subject to him, against the authority of those that hold such townships or lands”. Those who operate and act beyond their bounds are to be dealt with severely (35th Canon of the Holy Apostles, 2nd canon of the second Ecumenical Council, and others that concur), since by such encroachments on the provinces of others they drive away concord and good order, and confuse the Churches by becoming the tutors and perpetrators of disorder.
The Most Holy Church of Greece, which in the first place wilfully and against the canons seceded from the Constantinopolitan Holy and Great Church of Christ and presented a bad example to other Churches, realized with the passage of time the crooked path on which she was embarked and contritely asked that she regain the straight and orderly path. Thus on the basis of ecclesiastical and canonical arrangements, the Ecumenical Patriarchate granted her independence and autocephaly by the Patriarchal and Synodical Tome of 1850, which as her supreme ecclesiastical authority designated not some primate but a Permanent Synod, to be mentioned by the Hierarchs of Greece, whilst its President, the Metropolitan of Athens is not vested with the privileges of the head and primate of a church, but with those of the president of a local Synod, the Ecumenical Patriarch remaining her primate, to whom “the Holy Synod of Greece [should] refer on ecclesiastical matters that concern both and require joint deliberations and joint action ..., and the Ecumenical Patriarch with the Holy and Sacred Synod about Him willingly vouchsafes his participation, announcing what must be to the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece”. The Holy Synod of the new Autocephalous Church obtained full authority to regulate affairs pertaining to internal ecclesiastical administration by Conciliar Acts provided they would not contravene the Holy Canons of the Holy and Sacred Councils or the patrimony of traditional usage or the formulae of the Orthodox Eastern Church.
Then the Septinsular provinces initially, followed by the provinces of Thessaly were fully annexed to the Autocephalus Most Holy Church of Greece, so that “they should be spoken of, and be known by all as conjoined and attached to her, and as being an inalienable part of her” by the Patriarchal and Conciliar Acts of 1866 and of 1882 respectively, which released them from any dependence under the Ecumenical Throne.
However subsequently, after the disaster of Asia Minor and the flight or exchange of populations, as times and circumstances took a turn for the worse, and threatened the very existence of the Holy Great Church of Christ, this common Mother and protectress of the Orthodox, no longer able to give a gift of her own without incurring danger, made other arrangements in respect of the Provinces of the so-called New Lands by means of an Act appropriate to the occasion and circumstances, with the consent of those in charge of the Race, so that the Mother who from the beginning has born fair progeny, who has thrived as a vine in the gables of the house of the Lord and has lavishly and unstintingly provided, by diminishing her own but not thereby becoming destitute, so that she might wither not and perish not but continue to perform her role as the Church with the prime throne amongst the Orthodox, ministering to their unity and commonweal, and continuously, through history as well as in the present, magnifying the Race of the Greeks and of the Orthodox generally. If other nations possessed this most ancient, unique and majestic institution of the Ecumenical Throne they would do their utmost to reinforce it and to increase its status and its influence.
Therefore to this purpose the ecclesiastical provinces that have been mentioned of Crete, the New Lands and the Dodecanese, to which should be added the Holy Mountain Athos and the other Holy Patriarchal and Stavropegic Monasteries in Greece continue under various degrees of dependence to constitute canonical territory of the Church of Constantinople which, until now, has not ceded her full jurisdiction over them to any other Church , nor is she intending so to do. They all lie within the canonical boundaries of the Church of Constantinople. In consequence, the person who proceeds with elections and ordinations of Bishops without the opinion and consent and agreement of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, who acts thus arbitrarily and without invitation, perpetrates the most grievous canonical offence of acting beyond his bounds and outside his see, thus encroaching on another’s provinces, and usurping and robbing another’s rights.
Now, wherefore His Beatitude Christodoulos, our brother the Archbishop of Athens, from the moment of his accession to the Archiepiscopal Throne of Athens, repeatedly and frequently did wilfully transgress against the Patriarchal and Synodical Tome of 1850 on the one hand, by seeking to be mentioned as Primate both within the Autocephalous Church of Greece and in the New Lands without the concurring opinion of the Holy Great Church of Christ, and against the Patriarchal and Synodical Act of 1928 on the other hand by failing to observe its Terms and, despite the express and stated objection of the Ecumenical Throne, by intervening arbitrarily with the ordination of Bishops in those provinces, wherein the supreme canonical rights of the most sacred Ecumenical Throne remain entire, and wherefore by all he does, despite the warnings and canonical claims of the Mother Church, he persists in disorder, and harms himself and the pleroma of the Church, becoming thus the cause of scandal and division in the Hierarchy and the laity, and therefore, in order to arrest any further progress of this evil, and in the hope of achieving the swift restoration of canonical order which has been disturbed:
a) we deem the recent elections and translations to be invalid, having been held and effected in violation of the specific Terms of the Act of 4 September 1928, through acts passing beyond proper bounds and impinging within an another’s jurisdiction, and consequently un-canonically, and the holy sees of Thessaloniki, Eleftheroupolis, and Servia and Kozani still vacant;
b) with unutterable sadness and pain we resolve the interruption of communion with His Beatitude Christodoulos, Archbishop of Athens, his name being stricken from the Diptychs of our Holy Great Church of Christ, and himself being rendered unable to commune with us, or with the clergy and monks who are subject to our Church, either in worship or in administration;
c) we enjoin those thus “elected” not to assume their provinces: otherwise communion will be interrupted with them as well;
d) we earnestly beg the Honourable Hellenic State not to assist in the dissolution of canonical order by the promulgation of the pertinent Presidential Decrees;
e) we express the most intense displeasure and sorrow of the Mother Church to those Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, fortunately few in number, who assisted in the “ordinations” of those thus elected; and
f) we make it known that in the event that this canonical anomaly should continue, the Ecumenical Patriarchate will be forced to proceed with the abrogation of the Patriarchal and Synodical Act of 1928.
Thereupon in proof and attestation of the foregoing this, our present Patriarchal and Synodical Act was done, drawn up in this Sacred Codex of our Holy Great Church of Christ.
In the year 2004, the 30th in the month of April
XII in the epinemesis
+ Bartholomeos of Constantinople
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+ Avgoustinos of Germany
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+ Nectarios of Leros and Kalymnos
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Orthodox Church Leaders Agree To Restore Communion
23 May The OCC has received information that the Patriarchate has agreed to
restore communion following a three-week dispute with the head of the Greek
church, Greece's religion minister has said.
The decision involving Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, based in Turkey, and Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens could help heal a rift that has divided two of the faith's most influential leaders. "I think the foundations have been laid to solve this problem ... There is a verbal agreement that will be kept," said Marietta Giannakou, minister for education and religion. She did not elaborate.
The Ecumanical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of about 300 million Orthodox Christians, suspended spiritual and administrative relations with Christodoulos on April 30 after an argument over control over a number of dioceses in northern Greece.
The punitive action came after Christodoulos appointed three bishops in the disputed diocese - including Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city - without full consultation.
Under the agreement, brokered by Giannakou, the Greek church will recognize Bartholomew's right to have a say over the disputed dioceses and he, in turn, will allow the appointment of the three bishops. The deal will be sealed in June, when the two primates hold a joint liturgy in Istanbul.
Although Bartholomew's church in Istanbul directly controls several Greek Orthodox churches, it has no authority over the Greek church, which gained its independence from the ecumenical patriarchate in 1850.
The Greek church has since 1928 had administrative, but not titular, control over several dioceses in northern Greece - including Thessaloniki.
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