An ecclesiastical coup threatens the unity of the Federation of Greek Communities of Australia and the existence of its Autocephalic Church in Adelaide.

According to reliable sources the coup was hatched by a number of renegade communities with the specific aim to impede attempts by interested members of the Federation to engage in dialogue with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.

The same sources confirmed to Neos Kosmos that the leadership of the Federation were oblivious to the schism until it was announced by the Secretary of the self-proclaimed Holly Orthodox Metropolis of Australia and Oceania father George Athanasiadis.

In a media release Rev. Athanasiadis verified the ecclesiastical schism and informed the community that the newly established Metropolis, currently operating from Clayton, Victoria, will be led by Archbishop Seraphim, head of an old calendar splinter group based on the Island of Salamina.

Rev. Athanasiadis also advised the community that Archbishop Seraphim was approached by bishop Christodoulos, former head of the Autocephalic Church of America and Australia, and members of the clergy devoted to Christodoulos.

Until recently bishop Christodoulos was the head of the Autocephalic Church of America and Australia and a staunch supporter of the ecclesiastical status quo within the Federation. His key role in ensuring the services of Archbishop Seraphim validates rumours circulating in Adelaide of a fall out with the leadership of the Federation.

Documents procured by Neos Kosmos reveal that Seraphim was defrocked by the Church of Greece in 1984 after he was found guilty of voluntary unfrocking while a minister of religion at the Metropolis of Kythera. Determination 6/19B1/27/07/84 of the Holy Synod of the Church Of Greece states that Seraphim Mixas was found guilty of voluntary unfrocking and as such he was defrocked and was returned to lay status.

Community leaders told Neos Kosmos the schism is a blow to the unity of the Federation and a blemish to its reputation.

“The schism threatens to split the Federation asunder and cause further damage to its reputation already tarnished from previous ecclesiastical experiment. The leadership of Federation must act decisively against the rebels and rid itself of elements which place their personal interest against the interest of the community” they said.

Neos Kosmos understands that the matter will be dealt with by the Federation at a special meeting to be held in Adelaide, Sunday 12 February.