Following a statement on Friday from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has defrocked Eleftherios Tatsis, ‘Papa Lefteris’, as he is commonly known, has sent an extended letter to Neos Kosmos in which he says that the Patriarchate’s action to defrock him honours him but “is not valid” and explains the reasons.

In the letter ‘papa Lefteris’ states:

“With great joy, but at the same time with regret, I have read the expected decision of the Ecumenical Patriarch of my deposition, for the reason that I have broken my communication with him as well as with the Archbishop of AUSTRALIA MAKARIOS!!!

With pleasure, because God has deemed me worth at the age of 80 and after 56 years of dedication to the Church of Christ to honourably speak of Him and imitate our holy Fathers, who ALL HONESTLY cut off communion with the unauthorised heretics, also because we are commanded by our Lord to rejoice and be glad and feel joy and that we are blessed when they dream of us and persecute us and speak every evil against us, lying in our behalf. (Mt 5:11). However, it is a pity for the fall of the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Archbishop of Australia, who not only have not stood their ground as Bishops, but condemn to excommunication those who do not follow them and those who HONOUR ORTHODOXY as the only living faith!!! An excommunication that does NOT EXIST, but rather IS A PRIZE FOR US WHO WERE DEVOTED!!!! The cleansing according to the Holy Fathers is NOT VALID if it is by heretics and if it is unjust. The reasons why I have broken communion with the above bishops are well known, but I repeat them once again:

Both the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Archbishop of Australia co-authored the heretical pseudo-synod of Columbarium, which recognised heresies as churches having salvific sacraments. They recognised mixed marriages and abolished fasting.”

In addition to these comments, ‘Papa Lefteris’ accused Patriarch Bartholomew “who dared to say that all religions are paths to salvation”, of heresy suggesting that it is the Ecumenical Patriarch and Australian Archbishop who should be defrocked, signing his letter as “successor of the Holy Fathers”.

The announcement of the GOAA published on Friday 31 March, stated that: “The Holy Archdiocese of Australia informs the holy clergy and the Orthodox people of the fifth continent that, by decision of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the penalty of removal from the rank of priesthood was imposed on the former cleric Mr Eleftherios Tatsis for a series of ecclesiastical and canonical offences to which he fell. Therefore, the appointed cleric, by decision of the Orthodox Church, returned to the rank of the laity and has lost the privilege of wearing the priestly garb, as well as the right to perform the Holy Mysteries and the Divine Liturgy.”

“The aforementioned development occurred as a result of the long-standing irregular behavior of Mr Eleftherios Tatsis, who, with successive delinquent actions and aggressive public positions, attacked the Orthodox Church, His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Archbishop, the Bishops and the brothers of the clergy, even going so far as to create a ‘church’ of his own, officially and voluntarily cutting himself off from the canonical and sole Orthodox Church.”

The GOAA also highlighted that Archbishop Makarios had pursued ‘Papa Lefteris’ “repentance and his return to the Body of the Church,” to no avail, adding that those who take part in Mysteries and other acts performed by Mr Tatsis “cut themselves off from the canonical body of the Church, that is, they excommunicate themselves and therefore cannot be accepted either for the Mystery of Holy Communion, nor for the other Mysteries, nor certainly for the other Masses, such as the funeral, from the regular parishes and churched of the Archdiocese.”

Read ‘Papa Lefteris’ letter to Neos Kosmos in full, as it was sent here