The Schism of Metropolitan Nicholas
The beginnings of this schism have their origins in the “retirement” of Archbishop Andreas. This retirement was said to be based on the failing health of Archbishop Andreas, Firstly, was health really an issue? At the “enthronement” of the new “Archbishop,” the old Archbishop Andrew could walk up and down the Royal Doors without any assistance necessary. Whereas the new “Archbishop” Nicholas needed to hold onto two priests on either side just to manage to climb up one step. If there really was a HEALTH issue, then why did the healthier Archbishop retire, to put a frail, old, unhealthy bishop in his place? But canonically, not even health is an excuse for retirement. The only excuse is personal sins or heresy, for which a bishop can chose to retire as an act of repentance. But if a bishop “retires” he is to be demoted to the rank of a monk. In some cases, it is accepted for him to hold the dignity of a bishop, but he is not allocated any diocese, and is not allowed to function as a ruling bishop. This is what the canons specify, and is actually what happened in every historical case I have come across.
But when Archbishop Andrew “retired” he was allocated the diocese of Patras to be its “president” (i.e., ruling bishop). Additionally, when the dioceses of Larissa and Citrus became vacant due to the repose of bishops Panaretos and Gorgonios, “Archbishop” Nicholas assigned these vacant dioceses to the administration of the “retired” Archbishop Andrew!
So, the bottom line is, if Archbishop Andrew was unable to be Archbishop of Athens and was in much need to retire, then HOW ON EARTH was he capable of being the ruling bishop of Patras (in southern Greece) and Larissa (in Central Greece), as well as Citrus (in Macedonia – Northern Greece), and all at the same time? This retirement was only presented to the “endemousa synodos” (which consisted of Archbishop Andrew, Ruling Bishops Nicholas and Galaction, and suffragan bishop Andrew).
The danger of the “endemousa” Synod is pointed out by Orthodox theologians and canonists throughout the world. For instance, notice the following snippet from OrthodoxWiki:
The other members of the Synod of the Church of Greece (Ruling Bishops Pachomios, Kyrikos, Panaretos, Gorgonios, Tarasios and Suffragan Bishop Chrysostom) were not present at the council.
The endemousa Synod then informed the other bishops of the decision by fax! The astonishing thing is that the Diocese of Larissa received the fax a few hours after midnight! It was as if it was planned for the fax to be sent at a time that no one would be awake to call back and respond to this monstrosity.
Anyway, Ruling Bishops Kyrikos, Panaretos and Tarasios did not recognize the
retirement, and sent letters of protest to the Synod. Ruling Bishop Gorgonios did not accept the retirement, but refrained from sending a letter of protest.
Despite this, the other bishops stilled continued with the “election” of Archbishop Nicholas.
The reason why this election was invalid is because:
a) three bishops (Kyrikos, Panaretos, Tarasios) protested against the retirement and election
b) one of the voting bishops was Archbishop Andrew, who, if “retired,” had no right to vote
c) two of the bishops (Andrew and Chrysostom) were only suffragans, so could not canonically vote
d) the bishop elected (Nicholas) was accused of ecclesiological heresy and denying our apostolic succession by at least three other bishops of the Synod, so he should not have been elected until these accusations were disproved. Pireaus Bishop Nicholas was taken
to court by NC bishop Kallinikos for usurpation of authority. Bishop Nicholas presented the court with a document with his signature, saying that his Apostolic Succession was from ROCOR from the 1971 events. Several years prior to this Metropolitan Kallistos of Corinth was defrocked and excommunicated for implying similar things. Either the Matthewite Synod defrocked a “innocent” Met. Kallistos and the Matthewites have been lying to everyone about their ecclesiology for over 35 years, OR Bishop Nicholas is guilty of the same ecclesiastical crime as Met. Kallistos and should receive the same
Punishment, defrockment and excommunication, and the Matthewite Confession of Faith stays as it has always been
NOTE: I would also like to add that Met. Kyrikos, when a layman, refused to be ordained a priest until the Cheirothesia matter got cleared up, and was promised by Archbishop Andreas that the 1971 ROCOR events did not effect the Apostolic Succession of the Matthewites or the 1948 consecrations of Bishop Matthew, and that the whole Synod would maintain this original Confession of Faith that the Matthewites have always had.
e) one of the bishops (Gorgonios) did not recognize the retirement, and stormed out of the office
f) the only bishops that had a “real” valid vote were Pachomios and Nicholas himself!
In the election of an Archbishop, even if a small child yells out “Anaxios,” the entire service must come to an end, and the election and enthronement is invalid…
But here we do not have a child saying “Anaxios,” but rather at least 4 bishops of the Synod, at least 10 priests, and hundreds of laymen!!!
The position of our Church is and always has been that heirotonies of 1948 were perfectly valid, and if some people have put it under question or even betrayed it, this is a real problem of their confession of faith.
Metropolitan Kyrikos is also a confessor, and his actions are not mistaken at all. If they were, he would apologize. For instance, in 1998 (or 1999?), he published a book together with Metropolitan Nicholas, about some sort of theological issue. But there was a mistake in one of the paragraphs, which was unpatristic. Almost immediately after this was spotted out, Metropolitan Kyrikos sent a public apology, retracted what was said, and confirmed the true teaching.
However, when Nicholas was accusing Kyrikos of a so-called “eternal church heresy,”( a phrase that Metropolitan Nicholas came up with) Metropolitan Kyrikos could not apologize, because what he was preaching was the TRUTH and in total agreement with the Holy Fathers. Had he stepped down and retracted everything, he would be going against the principals of Orthodoxy. This is especially the case, since Nicholas and the Nicholaitans only came up with this excuse to have Metropolitan Kyrikos removed from all of the influential positions he held in the Holy Synod:
a) Synodal Secretary
b) Editor of “Herald of the Genuine Orthodox”
c) Editor of “Orthodox Breath”
d) Metropolitan of the Metropolis in which the two great Monasteries are
e) Acting Temporary Metropolitan of the Catacomb Church of Russia
f) The ONLY bishop in the Synod with a theological degree
In this case, who is making a mistake? Who needs to apologize? It definitely is not Metropolitan Kyrikos. He is only defending the faith and our Apostolic Succession. He has done nothing wrong The most important fact is the heretical report of Metr. Nikolaos which caused an excommunication of Mr. Goutzidis and false dogmatical accusations against Metr. Kyrikos.
The Synod of “Archbishop” Nicholas does espouse an ecclesiological heresy. In their efforts to condemn Bishop Kyrikos of heresy, the Nicholaitans have fallen under a heresy themselves. This point has been clearly explained, with 8 quotes from Holy Fathers to back it. These quotes were even translated into English and sent to Fr. Anthony B. Gavalas. This letter was sent months ago, and have yet to receive a reply.
As for Nicholas calling Kyrikos a heretic, notice that in all of Nicholas’s letters, he does not quote even one holy father to back his claims. Instead he quotes the living, new calendar bishop Hierotheos Vlachos. Why? Because Bishop Nicholas cannot find one holy father to back up his heresy!
Patristic Quotes Supporting Metropolitan Kyrikos
English Translations and Commentary by Stavros Markou
1. From the Gospel According to St. John the Theologian:
“Keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are… That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me… And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare [it]: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:11,21-23,26)
[In the above it is quite clear that Christ is teaching that the bond of love between His Father and Himself is the same bond of love which he expects between His disciples. Thus even the Gospel declares that the Church’s bond of unity and love is an icon of the bond and unity of the Holy Trinity. Christ uses these very words “that they may be one, even as we are one.” What clearer definition can there be other than this one declared by the Lord Himself? But Archbishop Nicholas has officially declared this a “heresy.” Apparently it is “heretical” to identify a similarity between the bond of love in the Holy Trinity, with the bond of love within the Church. Is Christ a heretic? – S.M.]
2. From the First Epistle of St. John the Theologian:
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” (1 John 4:7).
[The above is a clear example of how members of the Church loving one another is an example of God’s love, “for love is of God.” This love allows us to be born of God and even know God, meaning that we will know the uncreated love and grace that is shared between the Three Persons of the Triune God. By saying “for love is of God,” the Apostle is also declaring that this love between us members of the Church is the SAME LOVE of God, it is the uncreated energy and power of God, which unites the Holy Trinity into what can be lawfully called a Church, just as it unites us into one Church. Archbishop Nicholas denies this teaching of the Holy Fathers, the Apostles, and Christ himself! – S.M.]
3. From the Epistles of St. Paul the Apostle of the Nations:
In his epistles, the Apostle Paul refers a “Mystery” existing before the creation of the world. For instance:
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a MYSTERY, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained BEFORE THE WORLD unto our glory.” (1 Cor 2:7,8)
“Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the MYSTERY, which was kept secret SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN.” (Rom 16:25)
The Holy Apostle Paul then elaborates on this same “Mystery” that was from the BEGINNING, by stating that it is has now become MANIFEST as the spiritual connection between Christians, and it is the presence of Christ within each soul. Thus the Apostle Paul writes:
“Even the MYSTERY which hath been hid FROM AGES AND FROM GENERATIONS, but now is made MANIFEST to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this MYSTERY among the Gentiles; which is CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory.” (Col 1:26,27)
This “Mystery” which existed “before the world began,” and was hidden “from ages and from generations” and is also now made “manifest,” and which exists as “Christ in us,” is exactly what the Holy Fathers have always used to refer to the CHURCH. In other words, this MYSTERY is the CHURCH! The Apostle Paul even refers to this Mystery as the Church in the following passage:
“This is a great MYSTERY: but I speak concerning Christ and the CHURCH.” (Eph 5:32)
[In the above passages, it is clear that the Church is a Mystery that existed before the creation of the world. This mystery was hidden from the world, just as Christ was hidden. This mystery was also “made manifest to the saints” in the same way Christ became manifest through the Incarnation, and took on the flesh, and from invisible became visible. To deny the fact that the Church is a mystery existing prior to the foundation of the world, and to deny that this same Church became manifest through the incarnation of Christ, is a denial of the Orthodox ecclesiology and soteriology! – S.M.]
4. From the Second Epistle of St. Clement of Rome:
In his Epistle to the Corinthians, St. Clement of Rome, writes: “Wherefore, brethren, if we do the will of God our Father, we shall be of the first Church, which is spiritual, which was founded before the sun and the moon; but if we do not the will of the Lord, we shall be of the scripture that saith, My house was made a den of robbers. So therefore let us choose rather to be of the Church of life, that we may be saved.” (2 Clement 14:1)
[In the above quote, St. Clement, Bishop of Rome, in his letter to the Corinthians, clearly defines the Church as existing “before the sun and the moon.” This is biblical terminology for “before the creation of the world.” In this quote, St. Clement of Rome mentions a “First Church.” This First Church is called “spiritual” and it existed not only before Pentecost, but even before Adam, and before the world was even created. What “first Church” could exist BEFORE creation? Is this “first Church” not the Holy Trinity and His Grace, which alone can be distinguished from creation, as the Creator? – S.M.]
And again, St. Clement writes: “And I do not suppose ye are ignorant that the living Church is the body of Christ: for the scripture saith, God made man, male and female. The male is Christ and the female is the Church. And the Books and the Apostles plainly declare that the Church existeth not now for the first time, but hath been from the beginning: for she was spiritual, as our Jesus also was spiritual, but was manifested in the last days that He might save us.” (2 Clement 14:2).
[In the above quote, St. Clement of Rome clearly states that the Church “existed not now for the first time, but hath been from the beginning.” The Biblical terminology “from the beginning” means BEFORE the creation of the world. This pre-existence of the Church is likened to the pre-existence of Jesus prior to his incarnation, as the Eternal Word of God. Thus Clement writes “for she [the Church] was spiritual, as our Jesus also was spiritual.” TO deny the SPIRITUAL, ETERNAL, BEGINNINGLESS nature of the Church (the body), is to deny the SPIRITUAL, ETERNAL, BEGINNINGLESS nature of Christ (the head)! Notice that in this passage, Clement also uses “was” to refer to the spiritual nature of the Church and of Christ. This means that neither the Church nor Christ are in spirit alone anymore. After the Incarnation, Christ is no longer only spiritual, but now He is physical too, in having taken upon himself the human flesh. The Church, likewise, by the incarnation of Christ, is no longer spiritual, but actually physical also: the body of Christ. This body of Christ is transmitted to us by the Immaculate Mysteries, and we therefore become part of this body, part of the Church. To deny any of these points, would amount to a denial of the fundamental Orthodox understanding of ecclesiology and soteriology! – S.M.]
5. From the Writings of St. Clement of Alexandria::
The ecclesiastical writer, Clement the Alexandrian, also says: “Let us hasten to salvation upon the regeneration, the many gathered together in one love, according to the union of the single essence.” (Patrologia Graeca, vol 8, pg. 200).
[In the above passage, the holy father calls all faithful to unite into one love, according to the union of our common essence. This is what the Church is about. The union of the faithful into one love, the love of God. Just as the Three Persons are united into one God in essence (divinity) and by love (grace), so are we united according to our common essence (man) and are asked to form a union also in love (God’s grace within us). – S.M.]
6. From the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great and St. John Chrysostom:
“Let us love one another, that with one heart we may confess: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Trinity one in essence and undivided.”
[In the above, the divinely-inspired writers of the Divine Eucharist clearly remark that we, members of the Church, must love one another and form one heart, and that only in this sense can we comprehend and confess the unity, coessentiality and indivisibility of the Holy Trinity. It is a clear example of how the unity and bond of the members of the Church are an image or icon of the unity and bond of the Holy Trinity. Thus God the Holy Trinity is the prototype of the Church, the first eternal, uncreated and beginningless Church Triumphant, which we as members of the earthly Church Militant are an icon and image of. Archbishop Nicholas has declared this faith of St. Basil the Great and St. John Chrysostom to be a “heresy.” But who is truly the heretic? Who other than Archbishop Nicholas himself, who has trodden on the Holy Fathers! – S.M.]
7. From the Writings of St. Epiphanius of Salamis:
I went to the State Library of New South Wales (Australia) during my lunch break, and looked through the Panarion of St. Epiphanius of Salamis, to find a quote about “eternal church.” This is what I found:
“But after the eighty [sects] there is the one foundation of truth which is as well the doctrine and saving teaching and Holy Bride of Christ, the Church, WHICH IS FROM ETERNITY, but through Christ’s incarnation has, in the sequence of time, appeared in the midst of the aforesaid sects.” (Epiphanius of Salamis, Panarion, Preface I, Haer. 1.156, Chapter 1, paragraph 3.)
The above can be found in the following book: The Panarion of St. Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis, Selected Passages, Translated and Edited by Philip R. Amidon, S.J., New York – Oxford, OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 1990.
[In the above, St. Epiphanius refers to the Church as being “from eternity.” The Church is not the very essence of God, but it is the uncreated grace and bond of love between the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity, and only in this sense can She be understood to be “from eternity.” In these last days, “through Christ’s incarnation” the Church “appeared in the midst.” Thus it is clearly patristic to refer to the Church both as an icon of the uniting bond love and grace of God the Holy Trinity, as well as referring to the Church as having appeared on earth through Christ’s incarnation. Stating that the incarnation is the only means in which the Church can be described, as the new calendarist theologian Hierotheos Vlachos prates, and as your Archbishop Nicholas declared in his official synodal decision, is a blasphemy against the Church, and would make the above quotes from the Holy Fathers very difficult to explain. Actually, Archbishop Nicholas’s document accuses the above Holy Fathers of heresy. God forbid that we fall into such prelest as that of Archbishop Nicholas! – S.M.]
8. From the Writings of St. Maximus the Confessor:
Saint Maximus the Confessor says: “An Icon of the Triadic God is the Holy Church, as she operates the very union among the faithful to God, albeit to those who happen to be of different speech and from different places and customs, according to which [union], by the faith, are made one.” (Patrologia Graeca, vol. 91 “Mystagogy,” ch. i, p. 668 B)
[Note: In the above, St. Maximus calls the Church an “icon” of the Holy Trinity, insofar as the union of faithful is concerned. But if the Church can be called the “icon” of the Holy Trinity, it therefore means the Holy Trinity can be called the “prototype” of the Church. For that is the very meaning of “icon,” that it is based on a “prototype.” Therefore it is not unpatristic to call the Holy Trinity the “prototype” or figuratively the “First Church.” By Archbishop Nicholas and his Synod officially declaring that it is “heretical” to call the Church an icon of the Holy Trinity, Archbishop Nicholas and those who support him have officially condemned St. Maximus the Confessor, and have accused him of heresy. In effect, Archbishop Nicholas has condemned no one but himself and his followers, and if there are any heretics, it is not St. Maximus the Confessor, it is Archbishop Nicholas. – S.M.]
And again: “By this very means also the holy Church of God is portrayed, as [it is] in God as the archetype, [also] in the very [members] among us as an operating icon… all [members] growing with one another and increasing, according to the one simple and undivided grace and power of the faith…” (Patrologia Graeca, vol 91 “Mystagogy,” ch ii, p. 667 A) “Yet we also acknowledge the unity as well as the division between her [the church] and him [God].” (Patrologia Graeca, vol 91 “Mystagogy,” ch ii, p. 667 C)
[Note: In the above, St. Maximus clearly describes God (the Holy Trinity) as an archetype (prototype) of the Church, and the Church as an icon (image) of this archetype. At the same time, St. Maximus notes that this teaching does not hinder our belief in the unity of God and the Church, nor the division or difference that exists between the two. In other words, we are not calling the Holy Trinity “the Church,” nor are we calling the Church the “Holy Trinity.” Yet we recognize the “unity in diversity” of both. – S.M.]
9. From the Writings of St. Photius the Great:
“The unity of the Trinity, it is lawful to say, forming a Church,…” The context of the paragraph is in regards to God’s united counsel “let us make man in our image and after our likeness.” So when St. Photius the Great refers to “the unity of the Trinity… forming a Church” he is referring to the united counsel of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Greek word used is “ecclesiasasa” which derives from the Greek word “ecclesia” which can be translated as Church, Congregation, Gathering, etc. Thus it is definitely “lawful to say” according to St. Photius the Great, that the united counsel of the Holy Trinity “forms a Church.” By Archbishop Nicholas saying that it is “unlawful” and even “heretical” to say such a thing, he is actually condemning St. Photius the Great and accusing him of heresy! – S.M.]
In any case, I was searching the net to find more info on a quote that Metropolitan Kyrikos cites, from St. Clement of Alexandria (I was looking for the entirety of the quote, so I can read it in context). However, I accidentally stumbled upon the quote of another holy father with the same name:
10. St. Clement of Rome. In his Second Epistle to the Corinthians (which at one stage in Church history was regarded as Scripture!), writes:
“And I do not suppose ye are ignorant that the living Church is the body of Christ: for the scripture saith, God made man, male and female. The male is Christ and the female is the Church. And the Books and the Apostles plainly declare that the Church existeth not now for the first time, but hath been from the beginning: for she was spiritual, as our Jesus also was spiritual, but was manifested in the last days that He might save us.” (2 Clement 14:2).
[In the above quote, St. Clement of Rome clearly states that the Church “existed not now for the first time, but hath been from the beginning.” This pre-existence of the Church is likened to the pre-existence of Jesus prior to his incarnation, as the Eternal Word of God – S.M.]
Again, St. Clement of Rome writes:
“Wherefore, brethren, if we do the will of God our Father, we shall be of the first Church, which is spiritual, which was created before the sun and the moon; but if we do not the will of the Lord, we shall be of the scripture that saith, My house was made a den of robbers. So therefore let us choose rather to be of the Church of life, that we may be saved.” (2 Clement 14:1)
[In the above quote, St. Clement, Bishop of Rome, in his letter to the Corinthians, clearly defines the Church as existing “before the sun and the moon.” This is biblical terminology for “before the creation of the physical world.” In this quote, St. Clement of Rome mentions a “First Church.” This First Church is called “spiritual” and it existed not only before Pentecost, but even before Adam. This Church consisted of the Holy Trinity and the angels. – S.M.]
So in summary the reasons Metropolitan Kyrikos severed communion with Metropolitan Nicholas are:
1. Metropolitans betrayal of his Apostolic Succession.
2.Metroplitan Nicholas refusing to clear up his betrayal of Apostolic Succession and causing confusion and scandal within the Synod.
3.The uncanonical retirement of Archbishop Andreas.
4.The uncanonical election of Metropolitan Nicholas.
5.In Metropolitan Nicholas’s quest to attack Metropolitan Kyrikos, Metropolitan Nicholas has preached heresy, and condemned Holy Fathers and The Divine Liturgy itself.