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Who are the Old Calendarists?

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#41 Father Anthony

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 02:08 AM

According to a copy of the official calendar of the Church of Poland in my possession, it is not on the new calendar but the old calendar. As to the Church of Czech and Slovak lands, you may want to check upon that also.

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#42 Paul Cowan

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 03:38 AM

Technically, you are correct, Kosta. However, quite a few of these schismatic "True Orthodox" groups often do not recognise other Orthodox baptisms, as they regard themselves as the "only" grace-filled church, therefore only "their" baptisms have grace. Utter hubris.


Dear Olga,

Allow me to ask a purely Protestant filled question...

If the True Orthodox church is the only grace filled church and many groups claim to be this group, how do we differ from any Baptist sect? I mean if the Orthodox chuch does not recognize other groups as the True church because they split off of Her, who is to "really" say who is the True holders of Grace if we all say the other guy split off from us? Someone is not telling the truth. Or someone is very delusional. Or someone is right. Who is the "someone"? Is it based on sheer numbers? If that is the case, I am participating in a heresy being New Calendar. Is it based on some formula? Then perhaps I am not a heretic by association?

I really don't care about church political heirarchy. I spent my whole life going from one wrong faith system to another. I have found the True faith. Let the ecclesiastical politicians work it out.

Paul

#43 Olga

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 07:32 AM

Dear Paul

My use of the term "True Orthodox" does not refer to the canonical Orthodox churches. It refers to those schismatic churches which use this very term (another is "Genuine Orthodox") to assert the notion of their sole custodianship of grace. By separating themselves from their mother church, and by refusing to submit to the obedience of canonically-consecrated bishops, they are therefore "out of the loop", as it were. A current example of such schismatic activity is the appearance of breakaway groups which refuse to recognise the validity of the recent reconciliation between ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate. These folks may be sincere, but misguided at best. Deliberate separation such as this is indeed little different from the "Baptist sects" you refer to. "I don't agree with the decision of my church, so I'll set up one of my own."

Who is the "someone"? Is it based on sheer numbers? If that is the case, I am participating in a heresy being New Calendar. Is it based on some formula? Then perhaps I am not a heretic by association?


An inviolable principle of the Orthodox Church is the responsibility of the episcopate, the shepherds and overseers of the Church, to "rightly divide the word of Your truth". If a priest proclaims heresy, or is disobedient to his bishop, then his bishop is obliged to correct him. If a bishop does the same, his fellow bishops likewise should move to correct him. It is a conciliar approach. If the errant cleric refuses to change his ways, then there may be cause for defrocking or other serious action.

This might all sound legalistic, but it is not. This conciliar approach is what Christ appointed to His apostles. Conciliar as in "a decision made by a group of people of one mind", rather than by one man by executive fiat. There are any number of scriptural references which attest to this. Numbers have nothing to do with it either. Two historical examples come to mind: the question of the Judaisers in Acts, and the errant teachings on the Holy Trinity of Arius of Alexandria. Both the Judaisers and Arius "had the numbers", but St Paul and the Fathers of the Council of Nicea, notably St Nicholas of Myra, prevailed.

On heresy and the calendar: Heresy is the alteration of God's law. Adopting the Gregorian calendar is not an act of heresy. If it were, then no canonical communion between the NC and OC churches would be possible. An irregularity, an anomaly, yes. Heresy, no, despite what some may try to say.

Edited by Olga, 26 March 2008 - 08:07 AM.


#44 Olga

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 10:03 AM

I also reproduce an earlier post of mine (from November, 2006) on this thread:

My understanding is that any church which calls itself Orthodox must be under the jurisdiction of a canonical patriarchate, or, in unusual cases such as the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (which is on the verge of full communion with the Moscow Patriarchate), be under the jurisdiction of a Synod of Bishops, where the canonicity of the consecration of such bishops is beyond question.

Most, if not all, of these schismatic Orthodox (in Greece and in other countries), including the Old Calendarists, have set up their own hierarchies of bishops and, in a few cases, patriarchs, who are not in communion with any of the canonical patriarchates or synods. I find it difficult to believe it is sufficient for a breakaway church to conduct its rites and services in a manner identical to the church from which it cut its ties. The fact remains that such a church is disobedient to any canonical hierarchy, and, to put it briefly, this has enormous practical, doctrinal and sacramental implications.

A good analogy from the West would be the various Roman Catholic groups which have never accepted the decisions of the Second Vatican Council. These churches have their own bishops and pope, and promote themselves as the "true Catholic church", they have branded all the post-Vatican II popes as antichrists, and the established church of Rome as heretical. Sound familiar? :(



#45 Christophoros

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 11:59 AM

According to a copy of the official calendar of the Church of Poland in my possession, it is not on the new calendar but the old calendar. As to the Church of Czech and Slovak lands, you may want to check upon that also.

In IC XC,
Father Anthony+


Dear Fr. Anthony,

Thank you for the correction on the Church of Poland. I did a quick Google search on the Czech and Slovak Church, but wasn't able to find anything on the calendar question, at least in English! I'll have to keep my eyes open.

In Christ,
Chris

#46 Dimitris

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 08:07 PM

Hallo!

According to the German website from the Ostkirchliches Institut Universität Regensburg (Eastern Churches institute of the university Regensburg)/http://www.oki-regen...de/ostkirc1.htm the Polish Orthodox Church follows the new calendar, whereas the use of the calendar varies depending on the region within the Orthodox Church of Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Kind regards,
Dimitris

#47 Father Anthony

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 11:50 PM

Hallo!

According to the German website from the Ostkirchliches Institut Universität Regensburg (Eastern Churches institute of the university Regensburg)/http://www.oki-regen...de/ostkirc1.htm the Polish Orthodox Church follows the new calendar, whereas the use of the calendar varies depending on the region within the Orthodox Church of Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Kind regards,
Dimitris

This link is from the Bialystok Diocese of the Polish Orthodox Church. They definitely claim to be Old Calendar. http://www.orthodox....en/kalendar.htm

In IC XC,
Father Anthony+

#48 Kosta

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 12:36 AM

well , I'm not talking about orthodox who r in communion with constantinople , I'm talking about those who broke communion in 1924 in greece , I heard that there are 15 groups atleast , in greece only . are all of them equal in our eyes ? are all of them canonical ? how do we treat with them ?
thanks


According to Greek authorities approximately 10% of the Orthodox population are old calendarists (not in communion with the CANONICAL CHURCHES). Of those approximately 75 percent belong to the Synod under Chrysostomos II (Florinites). Another 20 percent belong either to the Cyprianites (Synod in resistance) or the Matthewites. Thus close to 95 percent of the old calendarists belong to these 3 groups.

The largest under Chrysostomos tend to consider the canonical churches graceless , but this position has varied thru her history and allows her members to hold the contrary opinion- that the canonical churches do indeed have grace.
The Cyprianites, the second largest group ,who are in communion with the old calendarists from Cyprus and Romania and i believe Bulgaria, and were one time in communion with ROCOR before they re-united with the MP, hold a moderate view and do believe the canonical churches have grace. The Matthewites are extremists and shouldnt be taken seriously.

Whatever other groups that may exist in Greece are either tiny compromising 2 or 3 parishes or defunct groups with possibly a bishop without a flock.

Canon 15 of the first-second council does allow canonical seperation from ones bishop, the calendar controversy and ecumenism can indeed fall under this canon. At the same time, aside from the canons, one needs to examine the complex situation which lead to the creation of these old calendar churches in 1935. And of course this examination must begin with a look at Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis and his 'Orthodox Congress" of 1923 and the grassroots old calendar movement to retain the traditional calendar from 1923-1935.

Edited by Kosta, 27 March 2008 - 12:55 AM.


#49 Olga

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 03:44 AM

The Matthewites are extremists and shouldnt be taken seriously.


Their views on the proper iconographic depiction of the Holy Trinity, the Resurrection, Pentecost and other festal icons leaves much to be desired.

#50 Mina Mounir

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 07:48 PM

Dear Kosta, thanks for your reply . it is really helpful.
well, if there is a variety in the view of these churches towards us (as u said some claims we are graceless and other not) . what about our view on these churches? do we have a view point for each group ?

thanks

Dear Olga, you say :

Their views on the proper iconographic depiction of the Holy Trinity, the Resurrection, Pentecost and other festal icons leaves much to be desired.

how?
thanks too

#51 Kosta

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 08:49 PM

Dear Kosta, thanks for your reply . it is really helpful.
well, if there is a variety in the view of these churches towards us (as u said some claims we are graceless and other not) . what about our view on these churches? do we have a view point for each group ?

thanks

Dear Olga, you say :

how?
thanks too


Officially our view is that they are schismatic. Some clergy hold a more rigid view towards them, sometimes this view is justified in light that many of them refer to us as heretics -other greek clergy have no problem with them.

#52 Mina Mounir

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 03:50 PM

Dear Kosta and friends,
well , according to the data u gave me , I was talking to a Monk in the church called "tue orthodox church" which is the main old calendarist church ( the one of chrysostom II ... which is the majority )
I was asking him some questions , and he said the following :
---------
Dear Minas,

...

The New Calendar church considers us to graceless schismatics who are outside the Church, which is very hypocritical, because they consider the Catholic, Protestants, and Monophysites to be part of the Church.

We do not follow the route of the Jerusalem Patriarchate or Mount Athos because the New CAlendarists are already heretics, not heretics in the future. In other words, it is not that they will become heretics when they conclude their union with the Vatican. Rather, they already are heretics because they have a false view of the Church; namely, that the Church is something larger than Orthodoxy, and that it can be divided up into many warring groups. This view has been officially approved on a number of occasions and is avidly preached by the ecumenist bishops. So to follow the example of Jerusalem or Mt. Athos in order to save the ecumenist churches "from the inside" would be like you staying inside the Coptic Monophysite Church in order to try to influence it to come back to Orthodoxy: you cannot do that, because in the process, you will be more likely to lose your own soul than to save others.

Note that one of the monasteries on Mt. Athos, Esphigmenou, is with us.

May God keep you during this Fast.
---------

how do we see this? he says that our church considers them as schismatic graceless ...

#53 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 04:09 PM

how do we see this? he says that our church considers them as schismatic graceless ...


HE says. But what does OUR Church say? I suspect it depends on who you ask, but the general impression I get is best answered by His Grace's own words. It is HE who is doing the cutting off, not us. We are not separating ourselves from him, he is separating himself from us. It is hard to have a relationship with someone who refuses to have anything to do with you. And based on the evidence, the fruits of schism are all too apparent, these Old Calendarist groups simply get smaller and smaller as they declare each other heretical and separate themselves again and again into smaller and even less relevent groups....

#54 Misha

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 08:30 PM

Dear Mina i can assure you that this monk's view is a rather extremist one even among the Chrysostomites.
Here in Greece there are bishops and priests of Chrysostom's synod who accept new calendarist to their sacraments .
Their main concern is ecumenism and their fears are justified.If this issue could be resolved then they would have nothing to protest about.

#55 Olga

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 09:05 PM

Their main concern is ecumenism and their fears are justified.If this issue could be resolved then they would have nothing to protest about.


Not quite, Misha. Even if the "ecumenism problem" is resolved, that would not be enough for the schismatic Old Calendarists. Over the years they have become so entrenched in their polemical stances which are contrary to the spirit and mind of Orthodoxy, that for them to abandon these stances and "return to the fold" is unlikely. These groups have major differences among themselves, and, as Herman pointed out, continue to fragment further and further in acrimony. They cannot even agree amongst themselves, so, sadly, their return to the canonical Church won't be happening any time soon.

Mina, on the matter of the OC and iconography, the Matthewites regard the so-called "NT Trinity" (God the Father as an old man, Christ sitting next to him, and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove hovering above them), and the Resurrection "icon" showing Christ emerging from the tomb holding a banner as canonical, and they criticise the canonical churches for condemning these images as uncanonical.

#56 Misha

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 10:28 PM

Not quite, Misha. Even if the "ecumenism problem" is resolved, that would not be enough for the schismatic Old Calendarists. Over the years they have become so entrenched in their polemical stances which are contrary to the spirit and mind of Orthodoxy, that for them to abandon these stances and "return to the fold" is unlikely. These groups have major differences among themselves, and, as Herman pointed out, continue to fragment further and further in acrimony. They cannot even agree amongst themselves, so, sadly, their return to the canonical Church won't be happening any time soon.


Dear Olga,i talk often with old calendarists.
A young man told me once:"If Patriarch Bartholomew condemns Ecumenism in a synod and stops the co-prayer with the heretics then i ll go to Constantinople to kneel in front of him and kiss his shoes."

of course there are extremists among them but there are also wise faithful men and women ,who love our Lord and His Church.

#57 Mina Mounir

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 11:34 PM

Misha :

Their main concern is ecumenism and their fears are justified

yeah this is clear , he told me so. but their fears are really justified . I think sometimes I find myself can't accept many ecumenist activities... I respect theological dialogues. but it is not convenient for me watching the co-praying meetings , the statements said by some bishops about being a part of a bigger church. I think even Roman Catholic ecclesiology doesn't recognize this concept.
ecumenism is not easy to be accepted. but on the other hand, schism is not an easy decision nor a solution , they could offer help inside the canonical church more than opposing and challenging and even considering it "graceless". the problem of ecumenism is controllable. that's what I tried to tell him.

#58 Father David Moser

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Posted 29 March 2008 - 12:28 AM

A young man told me once:"If Patriarch Bartholomew condemns Ecumenism in a synod and stops the co-prayer with the heretics then i ll go to Constantinople to kneel in front of him and kiss his shoes."


From our recent experience with the reconciliation of the two parts of the Russian Church, I can only say "I'll believe when and if I see it".

After the fall of the Soviet Union, there was a lot of talk in ROCOR about how we had to reunite with Moscow immediately. Our hierarchs responded with a list of conditions that would satisfy them that the Church in Russia had indeed thrown off the yoke of its oppressors and was again free. One by one those conditions were met and every time it would appear that a milestone had been passed, there were a multitude of squeaky wheels all saying "yes, it may look like they did this but they really didn't." Among the major conditions were the glorification of the New Martyrs, an recognition of and repentance for the oppressive and false policies of the Soviet state and the harm caused to people (basically an apology), a condemnation of "Sergianism" and withdrawal from the WCC.

The New Martyrs were glorified by the Patriarchal Church and yet there were those who refused (and refuse!) to accept it because of discrepancies in the lists of names of the New Martrys (the most notable was that of Metropolitan Joseph). This was brought up in our talks and it was discovered that there was and is an ongoing commission to verify the names and deaths of the new martyrs and that Metr. Joseph is one of the primary ones for whom they are gathering material. But that isn't good enough!

There were a number of repudiations and apologies from the Patriarch personally on down (and in some cases text was produced to verify the statements) where the representatives of the Church in Russia admitted that things were done that should not have been and took responsibility for and apologized for the injuries and deaths that ensued. They asked forgiveness. But there were (and are) people who, despite even the printed word, will claim that they "just said" those things and didn't really mean them or that we in the west didn't really understand that in their heart of hearts they (the MP) were just out to deceive us.

"Sergianism" was a problem because it was never precisely defined. It is hard to renounced and condemn something when you don't know what it is - and when the person who is waiting for you to do so doesn't either. Eventually "Sergianism" was taken to mean the subjection of the Church to the state, especially when the state is hostile to the Church. This is clearly and in no uncertain terms addressed in the Social Concept of 2000 - but whenever it was pointed out, those who objected didn't really care to read it and remained firm in their belief that "Sergiansim" was alive and well in the MP.

Withdrawal from the WCC. Obviously that hasn't happened, however, the MP's participation has changed radically. There are complex factors which would make the withdrawal of the MP from the WCC more of a problem for Orthodoxy than a remedy. By our interaction with the MP we learned of the less than obvious reasons why they had been involved with the WCC in the first place and the benefits vs the costs that suggest its continuation on some level. We chose to not dismiss but to set aside this condition because now we are directly involved in the internal processes of the MP and can influence the involvement (or lack thereof) of the greater Russian Church in Ecumenical settings and yet can keep ourselves free from direct participation. (BTW, there has already been talk of holding a worldwide symposium on Ecumenism in the Russian Church). Our naysayers simply wag their fingers and say "I told you so".

So no matter what people say now - there will always be some reason why the EP is "at fault" and no matter what he says he will never be able to adequately "condemn ecumenism" nor will he ever be able to stop "prayer with heretics" (anymore than you or I can stop "praying with heretics" on the plane in rough weather) so as I said, I'll believe it when I see it.

Fr David Moser

#59 Olga

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Posted 29 March 2008 - 01:10 AM

Thank you, Fr David, thank you so much for this post of yours. You have accurately described (far better than I could) the sort of blinkered intransigence which characterises so many of these schismatic groups, be they Old Calendarist Greeks, "Genuine" Russian Orthodox, or those who refuse to recognise the recent reconciliation of ROCOR and the MP. It is a type of siege mentality: "The world and the other churches are heretics, therefore we must break away from them and stand fast to our beliefs". So sad. So very sad. And so contrary to the spirit and mind of Orthodoxy, which they so fervently claim to defend. St Mark of Ephesus (whom many of them invoke) would be appalled.

Re the Russian reconciliation: It is worth remembering that seventy years of Communism, as brutal, immoral and ruthless as it was, was hardly likely to destroy a thousand years of Russian Orthodoxy. Truly the gates of hell could not prevail against it.

#60 Kosta

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Posted 29 March 2008 - 01:46 AM

The ROCOR offshoots whio claim to be the 'True Orthodoxy' and hold similar ecclesiologies as the greek old calendarists are actually a totally different animal. ROCOR's seperation had to with communism not the calendar. Old Calendarists was originally a greek lay movement from 1923-1935 to resist the calendar change based on the uncanonical adoption of it, and the 3 pan-Orthodox Synods which anathemized it. In 1935 two state bishops decided to return their diocese back to the old calendar and hence the old calendarist church was born, and thats when each side began anathemizing each other.

The various ROCOR offshoots are basically a hodgepodge of parishes made up mostly of extremist converts who for the most part are not Russians but may harbor Russian distrust, some of these converts are still living in the past influenced by the cold war, vietnam and decades of anti-russian propaganda. Granted one offshoot tends to be slighlty larger and are in communion with the Synod of Resistance (that bishop ironically is not russian neither but ukranian) but the rest will simply be forgotten someday.

The greek old calendarists and those in communion with them are not schisming further and further as some may think, as i said the overwhelming majority are concentrated between three groups and most of their turmoil was in the 70's under an incompetent bishop they had called Auxentios. They have a valid reason for protest which is simply undeniable.

Not all the slergy old calendarists under Chrysostomos are extremists, the founder of St. Markella's in Astoria, bishop Petros did indeed believe the new calendarists had grace and never signed any declaration (although he was pressured to) which condemned us as graceless heretics. In fact amongst the greeks of Astoria who knew him, including new calendarists believe he is the closest thing of to an Orthodox saint that the Greek church in America (whether canonical or not) has ever produced. I also personally know as a fact that atleast one high ranking priest under this group does not believe new calendarists are graceless heretics, although he will not admit it openly because the extremist element within his church (which gained prominence after Bp Petros death) .

I dont believe the Matthewites are the ones that accept the NT Trinity icon, although they did have a schism where one or two of their bishops seperated in protest for not accepting it. It is true though that they accept that Ressurection icon that Olga mentioned.

It is those under Chrysostomos that accept the NT trinity icon. Which is fine my me because when they begin to act "holier than thou", i bring up the fact that they too have heresy by accepting an uncanonical modernist icon such as the NT Trinity icon. In fact Alexandros Kalomiros who was a very influential old calendarists aurthor (his book River of Fire is very popular) whose traditional Orthodox writings are held in high esteem even by new calendarists -decided to leave the Florinites for this very reason.




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