History of the Florinite and Akakian Consecrations
Archimadrite Akakios, while in the Matthewites sent a letter sent to Bishop Matthew (sometime in 1945), signed by the then archimandrite Akakios, archimandrite Artemios and Father Evgenios Tombros pleading with Bishop Matthew to consecrate bishops and form a synod.
Not only Acacius Papas the elder, but also Acacius Papas the younger were Matthewites . Akakios Papas was an Archimandrite of the Matthewite Synod when he made this petition to Bishop Matthew to ordain bishops. Bishop Matthew was alone in 1945. It was in 1945 that they began searching for bishops outside Greece but could not find any that would help in consecrations. Bishop Matthew was all alone. Despite this Akakios Papas begged for Bishop Matthew to consecrate Bishops. And for him to be one of those bishops. Bishop Matthew refused to do so until he searched longer. Only in 1948, when he realized that he was about to die, Bishop Matthew consecrated a bishop alone. This was an act of economy. Akakios Papas, on the other hand, had already been deposed by Bishop Matthew, and Akakios Papas had been received into the Florinite jurisdiction by the end of 1945.Akakios Papas himself, while a Matthewite, begged Bishop Matthew to consecrate bishops alone. Why was this not a problem for Akakios? Yet after he was deposed in 1945, he went to Chrysostom of Florina, and he begged Chrysostom of Florina to consecrate him. Again, Akakios was rejected by Chrysostom, and Chrysostom died without consecrating successors, even though he could have if he wanted to. When Akakios went to America to receive a false, uneffective "consecration" he did so because he wanted himself, though deposed, to receive the dignity of "bishop" not because he was concerned for the Holy Struggle.
Akakios left Matthew after 1948, perhaps because he was not the one chosen to be consecrated. He left using the argument that the single handed consecration in 1948 by Bishop Matthew was not acceptable to him, meanwhile 3 year earlier was asking Bishop Matthew to go ahead with consecrations. Bishop Matthew was as alone in 1945 as he was in 1948, why was OK to consecrate alone in 1945 but was not OK in 1948? Here is the relevent information from my article. In the following passage, you will see that not only Acacius Papas the elder, but also Acacius Papas the younger, were Matthewites. The article I am referring to is from the 1981 volume of "Kyrix" and the original document is kept that the headquarters of the Matthewite Synod. Now this is the relevent text from my article:
" On October 10/23, 1937, a council took place in Athens at which the two truly-believing hierarchs, and the senior clergy with them, officially declared that the"Flornites", by their blasphemous statements against the Holy Spirit, have fallen from the true Confession of the Orthodox Faith. It was again confirmed at the council that the mysteries of the New Calendarists, as well as the chrism of the Ecumenical Patriarchate that was "blessed" after 1924, are devoid of illuminating and sanctifying grace. Thecouncil's decisions were signed by:
X Metropolitan Germanus of the Cyclades
X Archimandrite Hieronymus, confessor
X Archimandrite Gideon, Prohegoumen
X Archimandrite Acacius (Papas) <<<
X Hieromonk Christopher (Chronopoulos)
X Archimandrite Neophytus, Kathegoumen
There are several problems with the Florinite
consecrations. First, the fact that a Greek hierarchy already existed.
Second, the very basis of them -- the supposed need for Florinite bishops
-- is very questionable. Third, the new bishops were very dubious
candidates for consecration. Fourth, the manner in which the consecrations
were carried out was a travesty. A closer look at these problems follows.
First consider the question of the Matthewite hierarchy. Archbishop Matthaios made use of a single-handed consecration in 1948 to perpetuate the Greek episcopate. This can only be justified by the fact that he was the last free bishop of the Church of Greece, and no other bishop was able to participate. Thus, the Matthewites presuppose that neither the New Calendarist NOR THE FLORINITE bishops were, as of 1948, the canonical bishops of Greece. If this is not true, the Matthewite consecrations must be considered uncanonical, and we must look elsewhere to see if we can find any Greek hierarchy. But if it's true, then the economia exercised by Blessed Archbishop Matthaios was justified, and the Matthewite hierarchy is the canonical episcopate of Greece.
a) Was the New Calendarist hierarchy the canonical
hierarchy of Greece? No. In 1924, they had fallen under multiple
anathemas, and in 1935 the True Orthodox Church of Greece had officially
declared that these anathemas were in force and effective in the case of
the Greek New Calendarist schism.
Now, in late 1949 -- after the Matthewite consecrations-- Metropolitan Chrysostomos did issue a pastoral letter saying that the New Calendarists were schismatics. This encouraged Metropolitan Germanos of the Kyklades, who objected to both the Matthewite consecrations and to the false Florinite ecclesiology, and he joined the Florinites when he was set free in 1950. A few months later, the Florinites issued an encyclical reaffirming the Encyclical of 1935 and retracting all their statements to the contrary. Was this a sincere return to the Orthodox teaching? Who knows? The Cyprianites maintain that it was not, and that it was issued in an attempt to unify the "Old Calendar Movement." It is interesting that it was issued TWELVE DAYS after the blessed repose of Archbishop Matthaios, and personally I'm inclined to accept the Cyprianite view on it -- it was intended to draw the Matthewites into the Florinite parataxis, but did not represent any true change in convictions. I think several things support this conclusion:
i) Despite the fact that there were four Florinite bishops at liberty for a period of thirteen months, they did not consecrate any new bishops
ii) In 1952, after Metropolitan Germanos had passed
away and Metropolitan Chrysostomos had returned from a 17-month period in
exile, the surviving Florinite bishops still did not proceed to consecrate
any new bishops.
iv) In 1952, all three of the Florinite bishops
resigned from the episcopate. (Metropolitan Chrysostomos had always styled
himself only "the former Metropolitan of Florina" anyway.) They
stated that they would await "a final resolution of the calendar
question by a Pan-Orthodox Synod," thus effectively returning to
Metropolitan Chrysostomos' longstanding errors. Due to protests from their
followers, Metropolitan Chrysostomos did agree to return to the office of
bishop for his parataxis, but the other two did not, and remained as
laymen in the group. This is clear proof that they did not consider the
Florinite parataxis the Church of Greece; for two of the only three
Orthodox bishops in the country to have abandoned their office would have
ii) The teaching of Metropolitan Chrysostomos from 1937 was true and Orthodox; it is possible to "wall oneself off" from canonical Orthodox bishops who have fallen into error but are still Orthodox bishops. This is an unheard-of innovation, and Bishop Gregory (Grabbe) and others have ably refuted it, so I won't address it here. The other Florinite synods rightly condemn this teaching, now called the "Cyprianite" teaching, as heretical; oblivious to the fact that if it is a heresy, the Florinites fell into heresy in 1937.
iii) Metropolitan Chrysostomos was in error from 1937 to 1950, but it was not a serious error, and therefore the Matthewites were wrong to sever communion with him. But why, if it was not a serious error, do they claim to accept the Encyclical of 1935, rather than just maintaining silence on the matter? And why do they condemn as heretics the Cyprianites, who have remained "faithful" to Metropolitan Chrysostomos' errors?
iv) The New Calendar is not in itself a matter of
faith, and the New Calendarists only fell into heresy in 1965, when
Patriarch Athenagoras lifted the anathemas against Rome. This view is
openly taught in the USA by at least some priests of both HOCNA and the
Kallinikite synod. But if this is true, the New Calendarist schism must be
considered the canonical Church of Greece from 1924 to 1965, and both the
Matthewites and the Florinites are merely schismatic bodies.
At least two of them were defrocked Matthewite priests.
One was a priest of the Moscow Patriarchate AT THE TIME OF HIS
CONSECRATION. One was a nephew of their leader. One later disgraced
himself with his outrageous and irresponsible acts, bringing confusion and
divisions upon the Florinites that persist to this day.
a) The consecrations were done in secret.
e) The persistent allegations that Bishop Theophil was
paid for his participation have never been adequately investigated.
g) In one case, the ROCOR bishops secretly consecrated
a bishop within the very diocese of their own Metropolitan, who, along
with his synod, opposed the consecration.
In fact, of all the Greek Old Calendarists, only the Cyprianites and the Matthewites are able to present any reasonable explanation for their own existence. The two positions are, to say the least, mutuallyexclusive, and we maintain that the Cyprianite position is in fact heretical. But it provides the only basis for the "restoration" of the Florinite hierarchy.
Stavros Markou quite logically refuses to refer to the restored" Florinite hierarchy as Florinites at all, and calls them Akakians instead. This stresses the facts that the original Florinite hierarchy ceased to exist BY ITS OWN DESIGN, that the present Florinite hierarchy is an entirely different one, and that the present Florinite bishops have no continuity with the historic episcopate of the Church of Greece and no apostolic succession from the Ecumenical Patriarch.
The Acacian consecrations, however, were performed in violation of several canons! And this was done without the use of economy because there was no persecution or lack of communication at the time of the Acacian consecrations. Never has such linage as that of the Acacians ever been accepted as valid in the history of the Orthodox Church! Such bishops were always immediately deposed.
In one of Father Philotheos Tampouras's books, there is proof of how much money Akakios took with him to America. The Florinite priest, Fr Gregory Papavlachos, reveals many freaky things that went on at that time. Fr Gregory Papavlachos (who accompanied Akakios to the US) said that before leaving, Akakios took 200,000 drachmas (which at that time is A LOT of money). Furthermore, this money was taken from the Philopotochos of the Florinite Church (without the knowledge of the Philoptochos). Fr Gregory Papavlachos then goes on to say that after the Russian Synod rejected Akakios, he went to Archbishop Seraphim of Chicago and offerred him all his money and everything he had ("kai ta panta" are the words Fr Gregory Papavlachos uses in Greek). Archbishop Seraphim agreed, but needed another bishop to collaborate. Bishop Theophilus Ioanescu agreed to collaborate, butonly on two conditions:
1) Akakios must give an oath on the Holy Bible that his soul will be taken by the Devil and he will have the curse (katara) of the Holy Trinity if he told anyone about who ordained him.
2) No ordination certificate will be given to Akakios.
Akakios then replied that "for the sake of our Holy Struggle"
[oh, give us a break!] "we will accept these conditions."
Akakios Papas then said that he would give the money to Archbishop
Seraphim straight after the ordination. Fr Gregory Papavlachos then goes
on to say that Fr Petros Astifidis (later Bishop Petros of Astoria) took a
photo of the moment that Akakios gave his oath on the HolyBible.
Letter of the late Abp. Seraphim of Chicago to Abp.
Because recently, discussions are again arising
concerning the ordination of the late Akakios Papas and as there is
mention of my name, I would like to make the following points.
As far as my participation is concerned: I explained to the then candidate Archimandrite Akakios that owing to the prohibition of his being ordained by my Synod, (that) bishop Theophilus would assist so that there be a second bishop present for the ordination. *_I explained to all who were interested, that bishop Theophilus followed the New Calendar_*, even though there existed a few communities adhering to the Old Calendar under his jurisdiction. The cathedral church in Detroit celebrates with the New Calendar. I did not hide this fact from bishop Akakios. His reply was that there was an extremely urgent need for a bishop for Greece and that he had to return as bishop, thus consenting to bishop Theophilus participation in the ordination he would overlook the fact that he celebrated with the New Calendar.
If bishop Theophilus now denies his participation in the ordination, he himself bears the responsibility. I cannot place his signature in the Ordination Certificate. Bishop Akakios accepted the ordination knowing well back then that bishop Theophilus was not going to sign any certificate whatsoever. The responsibility therefore for the present Confusion rests with the late bishop Akakios and those with him. Now, with the written denial of bishop Theophilus that he did not take part in the ordination, the situation becomes complicated and a canonical issue concerning the ordination is created. I'm truly sorry for this, but who would have foreseen or imagined the present development of the whole matter? Dear brother, is it possible that God in His Righteousness has allowed this temptation because your jurisdiction has repeatedly and excessively used the incident of the ordination of a bishop by a single bishop as argumentation against the jurisdiction of Archbishop Matthew? If humility and compassion had been shown towards those that were ordained by a single bishop and if the decision of our Synod concerning them had received acceptance, then probably this temptation would not have come upon you.
Our Metropolitan Philaret from the outset and even prior to last years appearance before our Synod of the bishops from the jurisdiction of Matthew wrote repeatedly towards your Reverence, saying that we are convinced that, the so-much desired union between the two jurisdictions would be achieved if you could confront the above mentioned bishops with brotherly humility and if you addressed them as bishops.
The motivations of our Synod, dear brother, for the ties with our Greek brethren, were always sincere and (aimed) towards the strengthening of Orthodoxy during this turbulent age. That is why we are always hopeful that a way would be found so that the two jurisdictions of the Genuine Orthodox Christians in Greece could unite. Towards this blessed aim we do not spare toils or time, always encouraging and advising the two jurisdictions to unite.
In your correspondence with our Holy Synod, we observe that you repeatedly throw the responsibility of no union on the other jurisdictions. However, allow me to make a few observations.Re-examining the documents from the Synod files concerning the matters in Greece, we have the encyclical of your Reverence that was issued in Athens on the twenty seventh of August 1971 O.C. Protocol No. 532, which amongst other things mentions the following: we declare with responsibility and categorically towards everyone, that this issue (i.e. the union with the Matthewites) is considered by many as closed for many and different reasons.
Note that this Encyclical was written while the bishops Kallistos and Epiphanios of the Matthewite jurisdiction were still to be found in the United States of America, giving a report on their situation before the Synod. The same sorrowful expression: that a union with the Matthewites is considered a closed case, is to be found printed in your official journal, even after the return of the above mentioned bishops to Greece, and even after the publication of our Synods decision concerning them.
Our Fr. Basil Sakkas from Geneva had commented on the issue and justly questions: from whom and when was the issue closed? Doesn't this indicate a manifest unwillingness and prejudice on your part not even to merely accept the notion of the possibility to come to discussions with the Matthewites? And again, is it not a sign of unwillingness to unite with the other jurisdiction on your behalf your ordination of the bishop of Thessaloniki, where there already presides a bishop of the Matthewite jurisdiction for more than twenty years, in fact now, during a period of hopes for union. Does not this deed complicate the situation even more and does it not reveal the unwillingness to unite on your part?
But even more, it saddens us that you discard the verdict and resolution of our Synod concerning the Matthewite Bishops, by writing in your official mouthpiece: that they can rightfully be compared with those of the Meletian Schism of Alexandria. When our decisions are to your liking, then you take great joy and accept them; when they are disagreeable, then you discard them. But such behaviour does not suit serious and maturely minded men, how much less for Bishops.
You call those of the Matthewite jurisdiction: schismatics. But examining the event which lead to the separation, we note that initially the Metropolitan of Florina Chrysostom and those with him, declared the innovating church of the New Calendarists as schismatic; as follows the canons concerning schismatics were placed in effect. After a while he changed views and declared that the danger of the Calendar constitutes an irregularity of sorts and not the cause of schism.
Following this, bishop Matthew and those with him departed. In time, bishop Matthew ordained alone bishops for bishoprics of Greece, always considering the official church as schismatic. A few months after the repose of bishop Matthew, Bishop Chrysostom issued another official declaration where he considers the innovating church of the New Calendarists of Greece as schismatic and as a consequence her mysteries being invalid.Thus, he who studies the aforementioned facts with objectivity concludes that: at least the Matthewite jurisdiction is ultimately justified since she never changed the view that she had initially formulated. On the contrary, the jurisdiction of the bishop Chrysostom is the one that changed her initial stance and after a thirty-year period returned to that position which the Matthewite jurisdiction had preserved from the outset. How then can the Matthewites be declared schismatics? But again, irrespective of what has been said and what has occurred during the past, are not both of you (now) in agreement with regards to the official Church of Greece? With the lapse of twenty years and more since the time when bishop Matthew ordained bishops for the Greek bishoprics, have you not recently stopped ordaining titular bishops and rather ordained bishops for the Greek bishoprics? Which points divide you today?
Your jurisdiction has not shown seriousness or stability in her expositions and resolutions. Even more so as if the divisions, accusations and confusions that were provoked by your ordinations in Greece last year weren't enough, we observe that you have also transferred the same situation to this hemisphere through the ordination of bishop Akakios the younger in Montreal. Concerning this anticanonical deed, both the Archbishop of Montreal Vitaly and our Synod have written to you, but unfortunately in vain. You realize, dear brother, that a single anticanonical deed against one of our bishops is considered as such against all of our bishops, because it is a sin against the Church and it cannot be considered a simple local issue. The present situation of events saddens all of us.
Initially when I took part in the ordination of the
late bishop Akakios, I did it in good faith, sincerely thinking that I was
helping my Greek brethren. The same can be said about the motivations of
our blessed Archbishop Leonty. The confusion, the divisions, the actions,
accusations that have since arisen, I had never even suspected back then.
Now I have come to appreciate and comprehend the fact that your bishop
I do not write these things to shame you, dear brother, according to the word of the Apostle Paul towards the Corinthians, but I admonish you and offer the opportunity to reconsider certain opinions and that you correct those which need correction. With candor I write to you in such fashion for I happen to be more responsible than anyone else for your line of ordinations and thus admonish you not only as a brother, but also as a father. I take joy in the fact that even though many years have passed and I have advanced in age, I am still alive and able to write to you the above.
Your brother in Christ,
Letter of Archpriest George Grabbe to Bishop Akakios