Autocephalic churches seek sanctuary in 'Old Calendar' church
The Federation of the Greek Communities of Australia is leading an ecclesiastical coup which, if successful, will facilitate the establishment in Australia of the Church of the Old Calendar of Greece (Παλαιοημερολογίτiκη).
The president of the Federation, Theo Maras, who spearheaded the negotiations of the Federation with the hierarchy of Greece’s Old Calendar Church told Neos Kosmos that “an interim agreement has been reached with the said church, which will be formalised upon ratification of its provisions by the communities members of the Federation”.
Treated as “ecclesiastical outlaws” of Australia since the ecclesiastical schism of the ‘60s the Federation of Greek Communities have tried unsuccessfully, in the past, to realign themselves with the canonical Church represented by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.
The Autocephalic Church, the Federation established after the schism, failed to gain recognition by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and the Greek State and bears the stigma of the “illegitimate ecclesiastical authority which usurps the Greek Orthodox congregation”.
Mr Maras told Neos Kosmos the establishment in Australia of the Old Calendar Church of Greece will provide the ecclesiastical legitimacy the Federation has been seeking for decades. “The Old Calendar Church of Greece is a legitimate ecclesiastical authority willing and ready to give its blessing to the communities members of our federation.
“The interim agreement we reached with the hierarchy of this church, after exhaustive negotiations, is in the hands of the leaders of the communities for ratification. When ratified by the communities the agreement will be formalised and we envisage the arrival in Australia of a Metropolitan during the latter part of 2010” says the president of the Federation.
Mr Maras explains that the agreement provides for the establishment of a Metropolis of the Old Calendar Church in Adelaide that will oversee the transition of the communities from the Autocephalic Church to the New Calendar Church.
Mr Maras is aware of the fundamentalist inclinations of the Old Calendar Church and its leadership, but assures the communities “the agreement to be signed insures the operation most churches according to the New Calendar”.
Asked about the terms of the agreement Mr Maras explained “the Federation has not committed any church buildings or other communities properties”.
“Our commitment to the Old Calendar Church is the establishment and maintenance of the Metropolis in Adelaide, which is similar to the undertaking given by our predecessors to the Autocephalic Church of Australia. Our members need not concern themselves unnecessarily about our material commitments” says Mr Maras.
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