Answering a Sincere New Calendarist Inquirer
Part of my ongoing Correspondence series, featuring replies to people who contacted me and asked questions.
Dear in Christ A.,
Since the last time we talked I have looked into some other “true” churches and have been absolutely appalled at much of their beliefs. However, this is still not the case for your church. Who from what I see is teaching the same Orthodoxy of the Holy Fathers.
I’d be curious to know which other “true” Churches you have investigated and which teachings of theirs you find appalling. It seems to me that many in this day and age imitate the Greek Old Calendar Church. In other cases, there were former members of our Church that left us and went down an unsober path.
I still have a few more questions to ask, if you don’t mind, brother?
I was baptized and chrismated in the Greek Orthodox Church under the EP. I have been and continue to attend an OCA church where I will be tonsured a reader soon. If I were to visit one of your churches would I be considered a heretic? Or would be I be considered Orthodox but lost in a sea of modernist heretics? What is the view from your church’s perspective?
We do not make it our general business to prejudge people. If you were to visit our Church, you would be treated as an Orthodox Christian. If, after the fact, you espoused modernistic or ecumenistic viewpoints, we would have to reassess our opinion, but from our previous discussions, I highly doubt that is the case Now, we have a different view when it comes to certain hierarchs and priests in your Church that officially teach Ecumenism and branch theorism; this scandalizes us and we must state that those bishops who are praying vested with Roman Catholics such as Patriarch Teoctist in 1999 are acting in a heretical way.
That raises the problem of how we could presume someone like you to be personally Orthodox when you may in fact be under an Ecumenist bishop. Based on our conversations, I believe that you personally have an Orthodox confession of faith. If you realize that your bishop is heretical, and yet you continue to commune with him, you will, however, take his heresy onto yourself. For this reason we do not espouse resistance from within the New Calendarist Ecumenist Church, as we previously discussed when talking about Fr. Justin Popovich. Canon 15 of the 1st-2nd Council states that we are to separate from heretical bishops. Of course, some are of the opinion that Ecumenism is a mistake, but not a heresy, and therefore believe it is wrong to separate. We wish such individuals well and pray that their approach will bear fruit, for ultimately the goal of both approaches is to confront false teaching and restore communion between us. We don’t believe that that approach will ultimately bear fruit, nor is it the method found in the Fathers. We believe that our approach is the correct one, so we would ask you to prayerfully consider breaking communion with your present bishop and come under a right-believing bishop.
I have heard words like Matthewites? These words have nothing to do with your church, the Genuine Church of Greece, right?
Have you studied revolutionary theory? I hesitate to compare the Holy Church of Christ to a movement, but as you may be aware, in a revolution inevitably the idealogues become dissatisfied with the new order once they have “won” and are often marginalized by the centrists. In a similar fashion, after the three Metropolitans of the State Church of Greece returned to the Old Calendar in 1935, and consecrated four bishops to assist them, one of these bishops, Matthew, became angry that the Synod began to take a softer approach to governing after many years of polemical rhetoric (I am not suggesting the rhetoric was wrong, but merely that it was considered overly polemical to some). One of the Metropolitans, Chrysostomos of Florina, concluded that the best solution would be to encourage the State Church to return to the Old Calendar and renounce Ecumenism, instead of battling it in the open so to speak. Bishop Matthew believed this conciliatory approach of our Synod was a caving in to the New Calendarists and split, forming his own Church and consecrating his own bishops. We cannot accept such a questionable practice. Since then, the Matthewites have become increasingly isolated to the point that they believe they are the last remaining Orthodox on Earth. We heartily disagree.
On a personal note. I find it interesting how a convert like yourself ended up in this jurisdiction. If you don’t mind telling me how it unfolded for you, I would love to hear it?
I had always been aware of Old Calendarists since I discovered Orthodoxy, via reading the website OrthodoxInfo.com, which used to have many Old Calendarist articles on it. I went to St Vladimir’s Seminary as a Catholic to learn about Orthodoxy more, and in the course of studying there and taking some classes that were supportive of Ecumenism, I came to the conclusion that Ecumenism hinders evangelism of non-Orthodox. I also believe that the practice of receiving converts by chrismation alone cheats them out of a great grace. There are of course other issues, but these were two big issues. I began to research Old Calendarists more and decided to do my thesis on the first Old Calendarist bishop in America, Metropolitan Petros of Astoria. I began to go to St Markella’s Cathedral in New York, which was 20 minutes from where I lived at St Vladimir’s. After graduating and moving back to North Carolina, my wife decided to finally join me in Orthodoxy, and so we were baptized in St Markella’s.
I hope this answers your questions and I hope I have not offended you. Please let me know if you have any more questions. I am always glad to answer them. Also, please tell me a bit about your journey to Orthodoxy.
 Please see the article Why The True Orthodox Are Truly Orthodox for a thorough analysis of this point.