“A Painful Remembrance”
1924‐2004: The Eightieth Anniversary of the Calendar Reform
1924-2004, восьмидесятилетний срок спустя введения
Œcumenical Patriarch Meletios (Metaxakis) (1871-1935)*
Вселенский Патриарх Мелетий (Метаксакис)
а) масон, б) модернист, в) экуменист
Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis
as a Great Precursor of the Ecumenists.
Патриарх Мелетий Метаксакис как великий предшественник экуменистов
As is well known, at the fourth session (May 21) of the self-proclaimed “Pan-Orthodox Congress” (so proclaimed at the third session, May 18), which met in 1923 (May 10-June 8) in Constatinople, Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis introduced to the Congress
a “wise hierarch of the Anglican Church, His Grace, Charles Gore, the former Bishop of Oxford”; subsequently, at the ﬁfth session (May
23), “His Grace, Bishop Gore, the former Bishop of Oxford, approached, accompanied by his companion, the Rev. Mr. Buxton, and occupied a seat tothe right of the Patriarch.” Next, there was a very illuminating discussion between the Patriarch and Bishop Gore regarding the calendar question, the joint celebration of feasts, the movement for union, and the conditions for union, etc.¹⁸
Now, the Anglican Bishop Gore was certainly not in Constantinople by chance. The fact that he delivered two documents to Meletios Metaxakis is proof of some “groundwork,” since “the one bears the signatures of ﬁve thousand Anglican priests, who state that they ﬁnd no diﬃculty in full union,” while “the second document is a proposal concerning the terms of union; it represents the ideas of the entire Anglican Church, because there is a spirit of good will throughout.”¹⁹
These events took place on Wednesday (May 23). But something occurred the previous Saturday (May 19) which in no way falls short of the carryings-on of the ecumenists today. Let us allow the journal of the Œcumenical Patriarchate to speak for itself:
Issue No. 19 (26 May 1923) of Éκκλησιαστική Αλήθεια (Constantinople), in which the article, ““Αγγλικανός Ιεράρχης εν Κωνστανινουπόλει”” [“Anglican Hierarch in Constantinople”], was published (pp. 166-167).
Anglican Hierarch in Constantinople
Last Saturday, His Grace, Charles Gore, the former Bishop of Oxford and President of the Permanent Committee for Inter-Church Relations of the Archdiocese of Canterbury, arrived in Constantinople.
His Grace is making a tour of the diﬀerent centers of the Church in the East, in order to study the ecclesiastical issues that concern them. He ﬁrst visited Prague, then Bucharest, and, after that, Belgrade and Soﬁa, and is leaving for Athens today. On the same day that he arrived, he went to the Patriarchate shortly before Vespers, accompanied by the Anglican priest in Constantinople, the Rev. Mr. Borrow, and the Rev. Mr. Buxton, his companion throughout the trip and the secretary of the committee over which he presides.
His All-Holiness received the distinguished hierarch, who visited him in his oﬃce wearing his Episcopal robes. Shortly thereafter, as the bells rang for Vespers, His Grace went on ahead and occupied a seat in the Church with his retinue, opposite the Patriarch’s throne. After a short while, the Patriarch entered in the customary manner, and Vespers for the Feast of the Holy Fathers of the Synod in Nicæa was celebrated, with His All-Holiness and the Synodal Hierarchs presiding together. After the dismissal, His All-Holiness addressed the Anglican hierarch from his throne, expressing his joy over the latter’s presence and praying for the success of his continuing journey. His Grace, the former Bishop of Oxford, said in reply that he felt particular emotion over being at the center of Orthodoxy, and he concluded by praying for the union of the Churches. After taking from the hands of the Great Archdeacon the blessing Cross that was oﬀered to him, he blessed the congregation with it, as the choirs chanted “Εις πολλά έτοι Δέσποτα ” [“Many years, Master”].
After Vespers, His All-Holiness introduced the members of the Holy Synod to the honored visitor in the Patriarchal reception hall. On the following day, His All-Holiness paid a return visit to His Grace in the Hotel Tokatlian, where he was staying, and discussed various ecclesiastical matters with him for some time. When he learned about the Pan-Orthodox Congress, His Grace expressed a desire to go to one of its sessions and address the representatives of the Orthodox Churches. He did, indeed, attend the Wednesday session, and remained at the meeting for about half an hour; after the exchange of addresses, which were delivered in a spirit of complete cordiality and ﬁrm hopes for the sure progress of the Godpleasing work of union between the Churches, Orthodox and Anglican, through the prevalence on both sides of a yearning for union, there was a dialogue about the goal and proceedings of the Congress. His Grace was escorted with honor as he departed from the Patriarchate.²⁰
* * *
In view of the evidence set forth above, and in a compelling way at that, we think that the Confessor-Hierarch Chrysostomos (Kavourides), former Metropolitan of Florina, was absolutely right to characterize the inspirers and pioneers of innovation of the New Calendar as he did in the prologue of the aforementioned article.²¹
* Source *: Ορθόδοξος Ένστασις καί Μαρτυρία, Vol. II, Nos. 18-21 (January-December 990), pp. 148-160
1. , Ορθόδοξος Ένστασις καί Μαρτυρία Vol. II, No. 17 (October-December 1989), pp. 67-78.
2. This article was a section of a marvellous work by the Confessor-Hierarch entitled, Τό Εκκλησηαστικόν Ημερολόγιον ως κριτήριον της Ορθοδοξίας [The Church Calendar as a Criterion of Orthodoxy], consisting of eighty-seven densely-typed pages and completed on July 1/14, 1935, at the Holy Monastery of St. Dionysios, in Olympos, to which he had been exiled.
3. There were references to the Congress in footnotes 5 (p. 68), 6 (pp. 69-70, in detail),
7 (p. 70), 8 (p. 70), 14 (p. 73), 15 (p. 73), and 17 (p. 74) of the article in question (also see footnotes 1 and 2 in the present article).
4. Meletios Metaxakis (1871-1935). From the village of Parsas, Lasitheon, Crete, he was meddlesome, a troublemaker, a great innovator, and beyond doubt a Freemason. He served as Metropolitan of Kition, in Cyprus (1910-1918), Metropolitan of Athens (1918-1920), Patriarch of Constantinople (1921-1923), and Patriarch of Alexandria (1926-1935). In 1908, together with the then Archimandrite Chrysostomos (Papadopoulos), he was expelled from the Holy Land by Patriarch Damianos of Jerusalem for activity against [the Brotherhood of ] the Holy Sepul- chre. Metropolitan Methodios (Kontostanos) of Kerkyra (1942-1967) wrote about him: “But Meletios Metaxakis, this outcast from the Holy Land, from Kition, from Athens, from Constantinople, and subsequently from Alexandria, an unstable, restless, power-hungry spirit, an evil
demon, did not balk at attempting to impose himself on the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, even all
the way from Alexandria” (see Dionysios M. Batistatos [ed.], Πρακτικά καί Αποφάσεις του εν Κονσταντινουπόλει Πανορθοδόξος Συνεδρίον 10.5-8.6.1923 [Proceedings and Decisions of the Pan-Orthodox Congress in Constantinople, 10 May-8 June 1923] [Athens: 1982], pp. iv and v. See also Monk Paul of Cyprus, Nεοημερολογιτισμός-Οικουμενισμός [New Calendarism and Ecumenism] [Athens: 1982], pp. 48-59).
5. See Alexander J. Zervoudakis, `Διάσημοι Τεκτ.: Μελ'ετιος Μεταξάκης ¸ [“Famous Freemasons: Meletios Metaxakis”], Tεκτονικόν Δέλτιον: Οργανόν της Μεγάλης Στόας της Ελλάδος [The Masonic Bulletin: Journal of the Grand Lodge of Greece], Vol. XVII, No. 71 (January-February 1967), p. 25.
7. “Permission for his initiation was requested (No. 130, 12 March 1910), Marios Polatos says in Διακόσια Χρόνια Ελληνικού Τεκτονισμού[Two Hundred Years of Greek Freema sonry] (Athens: 1962), p. 373, which is a mistake, according to what the author has since ascertained,” ibid., p. 49, n. 83.
8. “In this regard, the esteemed Brother Evangelos Asteris, a 33rd degree Mason, the Worshipful Master of the ‘Zeno’ and ‘Hermes’ Lodges in the jurisdiction of Egypt, related to me that Archimandrite Brother Nicanor Kanellopoulos, Worshipful Master of the ‘Beïcha’ Lodge, told him that Patriarch Meletios of Alexandria was present with him at two or three functions of the ‘Alexander the Great’ Lodge, No. 35, in Alexandria, in 1930 or 1931. The same information was given to the Worshipful Master of the ‘Society of Friends’ Lodge, the esteemed Brother Panagiotis G. Kretikos, uncle of the ever-memorable Brother Emmanuel P. Ladikos, a 33rd degree Mason in Egypt, who, oﬀ the record, recounted to Brother Kretikos that ‘they had notiﬁed Patriarch Meletios, when he was preparing to leave Athens for Alexandria, that all of the Freemasons in Egypt would organize a general Masonic reception for him. Meletios then sent them a telegram, asking them to refrain from this undertaking, in order to avoid creating problems from the side of those opposed to Freemasonry,’” ibid., p. 50, n. 84.
9. Ibid., pp. 49-50 (emphasis ours).
10. Metropolitan renæus of Cassandreia,Υπόμνημα εις την Ιαράν Σύνοδον της Ιεραρχίας της Ελλάδος, συγκλειθείσαν 14.6.1929 [Memorandum to the Holy Synod of the Hierarchy of Greece, convened on 14 June 1929] (Athens: 1929) (40 pages).
11. Freemasonry constitutes a “secret society.” Secret societies are “associations and orders that keep their purposes and customs secret” (Μεγἀλη Ελληνική Εγκυκλοπαιδεία Vol. XVII, p. 903).
12. Regarding his election to successive Sees, see the summary in A.D. DelembasisΠάσχα Κυρίου (Athens: 1985): pp. 648-649 (as Metropolitan of Athens), and pp. 660-664 (as Patriarch of Constantinople).
13. See the “Resolutions of the Pan-Orthodox Congress” in Batistatou, Praktikå ka‹ ÉApofãseiw, pp. 211--222. Resolutions:1. concerning the correction of the Julian Calendar and the determination of the date of Pascha “on the basis of astronomical calculations,” 2. concerning conditions for participation [by the Orthodox Church] in consultation regarding the creation of a more correct calendar that would be acceptable to all Christians and concerning the reduction of the number of days in the week and a ﬁxed date for the celebration of Pascha.
3. concerning the marriage of Priests and Deacons after Ordination.
concerning the second marriage of widowed Priests and Deacons. 5. concerning various matters: the age at which clergy should be Ordained, the criteria for the competence of pastors to serve the Church, the cutting of the hair and the outer clothing of clergy, the keeping of monastic vows, impediments to marriage, the celebration on non-working days [weekends] of Saints’ Days that fall in the middle of the week, the Fasts, 6. concerning the celebration of the sixteen-hundredth anniversary of the First Œcumenical Synod at Nicæa and the convocation of a Pan-Orthodox Synod, and 7. concerning sympathy for Patriarch Tikhon of Russia, who was in prison. These innovations of Meletios Metaxakis were not received in silence. Even the Masons write of this:
“But he met with strong resistance when he wanted to implement certain American ways in Constantinople, as well as his innovative ideas regarding the calendar and the Paschalion, the mariage of clergy, and other ideas that he promoted at the Pan-Orthodox Congress, which created
problems and an outcry” (see Zervoudakis, “Μελἐτιος Μεταξάκης,” p. 43 [emphasis ours]).
• Archbishop Chrysostomos (Papadopoulos) of Athens also does not conceal the reaction that
resulted: “Unfortunately, the Eastern Patriarchs who refused to take part in the Congress rejected all of its resolutions in toto from the very outset. If the Congress had restricted itself only to the issue of the calendar, perhaps it would not have encountered the kind of reaction that it did” (see Archbishop Chrysostomos of Athens, Η Διόρθωσις του Ιουλιανού Ιμερολογίον
εν τη Εκκλησία της Ελλάδος [The Revision of the Julian Calendar in the Church of Greece] [Athens: 1933], pp. 31-32 [emphasis ours]). • Speciﬁcally, with regard to the “Congress’s” resolution on the calendar, “it was rejected by almost all of the Orthodox world” (see [Metropolitan] Germanos of Sardis and Pisideia, `Τό Ημερολογιακόν Ζήτημα¸ [“The Calendar Question”], Ορθοδοξία, No. 3 (30 June 1926), pp. 59-70; see also Delembasis, Pãsxa Kur¤ou, pp. 671-674). Very telling are the words of Patriarch Photios of Alexandria, who, writing to Archbishop Chrysostomos of Athens (Protocol No. 2664, 1/14 August 1923), speaks “about all of the other issues, both the decrees that are being hurled from Constantinople with a zeal not according to knowledge, to the detriment of the whole Church, and the machinations and threats that are being made, with the rapacious ferocity of our eternal enemies, against the most holy Mother of the Churches...” (see Archimandrite Theokletos A. StrangasΕκκλησιαστική Ελλάδος Ιστορία [History of the Church of Greece] [Athens: 1970], Vol. II, pp.1161-1162 [emphasis ours]).
14. The Greek word that we have rendered as “outsider” is έπηλυς, -ῡδος (επί±ηλυθή -ἠλυθον<ήλθον). (The literal meaning of this word is “one who has come to a country from elsewhere,” an “alien,” or a “foreigner,” as opposed to a “native.” The point that Metropolitan Irenæus seems to be making is that Patriarch Meletios, as a modernist and ecumenist, was really a stranger to the traditions and mores of the Orthodox Church—Trans.)15. See Athanasios Comnenos Ypsilantis, Tå metå tØn AÜ lvsin [The Aftermath of the Fall of Constantinople] (Constantinople: 1870), pp. 111, 113, and 114; Patriarch Dositheos of Jerusalem, Τὀμος Αγάπης κατά Λατίνων[Tomos Agapes Against the Latins] (Iași: 1689)], pp. 538-540; idem, Περί τών Ιεροσολύμοις Πατριαρχευσάντων-Δωδεκαβίβλος [Twelve Books Concerning the Patriarchs of Jerusalem], Book X, Chapter 8, §6 (Bucharest: 1715), p. 1167 ([Thessaloniki: B. Regopoulos, 1983], p. 57); Meletios of Athens, Εκκλησιαστική Ηστορία[Church History] (Vienna: 1784), Vol. III, pp. 402, 408; Philaret (Bapheides), Metropolitan of Didymoteichos, Εκκλησιαστική Ηστορία [Church History] (Constantinople: 1912), Vol. III, Part11, pp. 124-125; Constantine N. Sathas Βιογραφικόν σχεδίασμα περί του Πατριάρχου Ιεριμίου Β BÄ [A Biographical Sketch of Patriarch Jeremiah II] (Athens: 1870), pp. 91-92; Archi- mandrite Gerasimos Karavangelis, Επιστιμονική διατριβή περί της αορτής του Πάσχα[A Scientiﬁc Treatise Concerning the Feast of Pascha] (Constantinople: 1894), pp. 121-122; Nicholas Voulgaris, Η μεταρρύθμισις του Ιουλιανού Ημερολογίου[“The Reform of the Julian Calendar”], a three-part article in the Trieste newspaper, N°a ÑHm°ra, Vol. XXII, Nos. 1120-
1122 1896); John N. Karmiris, , Ιερεμίας Β Πατριάρχης Κωνσταντινουπόλεως [“Jer emiah II, Patriarch of Constantinople”], in the Θρησκευτική καί Ηθική Εγκυκλοπαιδεία Vol. VI (Athens: 1965], col. 781.
16. “The previous unity and coöperation were sundered and shattered as a result of evil, or rather, sinful, actions...; the change [of the calendar] was not accomplished after study and preparation, but primarily under the inﬂuence of outside factors.... Between those who follow the Old Calendar and those who follow the New, there is a permanent diﬀerence of thirteen days with regard to the celebration of all of the so-called ﬁxed Feasts, without exception. This is an unprecedented situation in the annals of the Church, because in spite of the diversity of calendars in the early centuries and the unsettled state of the festal calendar, there was never any diﬀerence in time between celebrations of one and the same event (e.g., the repose of a Saint), as happens today. The discord becomes more pronounced on the great Feasts of the Nativity, Theophany, and the Dormition of the Theotokos. Some are fasting, while others are celebrating. This discord leads to the question: Who is celebrating—we or the Church? The answer ‘we’ destroys the sanctity of the Feasts, making them an individual aﬀair for each person. The answer
‘the Church’ postulates one celebration, for the Church is one.... The sole exception is the Orthodox Archdiocese of Finland, which, with the consent of the Œcumenical Patriarchate, always celebrates Pascha with the Catholics and Lutherans in Finland, according to the Gregorian Calendar.” (See The Church of Greece,Τὀ Ημερολογιακό Ζήτημα Εισήγησις της Εκκλησίας της Ελλάδος πρός την Πανορθόδοξον Μεγάλην Σύνοδον] [Athens: 1971], pp. 5, 8, 10-11.)
17. “In October of 1924, the New (or Gregorian) Calendar was uncanonically introduced into the Romanian Church by her ‘Primate,’ Metropolitan Miron Cristea (1886-1939), a former Uniate hierarch in Transylvania, very well-educated and energetic, in the mold of Meletios (Metaxakis), and was received by all with virtually no reaction. Only the Skete of Pocrov, under the leadership of its Abbot, Hieromonk (later Metropolitan) Glicherie, refused to recognize the calendar change. The Romanian Patriarchate, both in 1926 and in 1929, celebrated Pascha with the Latins, constituting an infringement of the Orthodox tradition of centuries. The common celebration of Pascha with the Latins was sinful, because this was intentional on the part of Patriarch Miron Cristea; he fully implemented the New (or Gregorian) Calendar even when it came to the reckoning of Pascha, ignoring the other local Orthodox Churches, which—even after the calendar change—‘(with the exception of Finland) celebrate Pascha according to the decree of the Synod in Nicæa, calculating its date on the basis of the Julian Calendar and accepting March 21, for the sake of convention, as the vernal equinox.’ Moreover, the action of Patriarch Miron was wholly ill-advised, because he failed to take into account the bitter experience of the Romanian people, who, on the one hand, had been so beleaguered by Uniate propaganda, and, on the other hand, had a former Uniate for their Patriarch. From a pastoral point of view, this was a totally reckless act! Indeed, on the second occasion that this was done, Patriarch Miron Cristea, having the undivided support of the Uniate (Greek-Catholic) Prime Minister, Julius Maniu, and several others among the clergy, compelled all of the Romanian Metropolises to proceed with the common celebration of Pascha with the Papists, a fact which evoked great commotion in the ranks of the Romanian Church. Metropolitan Gurias of Bessarabia (a region of Romania between the Rivers Prut and Dniester, north of the Black Sea, 44,420 sq. km. in area, now annexed to the Soviet Union [at the time of writing, in 1981—Trans.]) openly criticized Miron and, ignoring the Patriarchal decree, ordered his churches to celebrate with the other autocephalous Orthodox Churches. Patriarch Miron’s action also scandalized these other Orthodox Churches, many of which reacted in protest. As well, the White Russian clergy of Bucharest (also known as the Russian Church Abroad, under the Karlovtsy Synod) took a particularly strong position during those trying days, ignoring the Patriarchal order and celebrating Pascha according to the traditional canonical decrees. Even in the Parliament there were stormy discussions regarding this issue, and both the Patriarch and the Prime Minister were harshly censured by Representatives Trifu (Nationalist Party) and N. Lupu (Agrarian Party). The uncanonical and un-Orthodox elebration of Pascha with the Latins deeply scandalized the pious Romanians, many of whom returned to the Old Calendar. Among them were three Hieromonks, as well as two Romanian Hieromonks who had returned to Romania from the Holy Mountain. Hieromonk Glicherie, who had taken a leading position in the Old Calendar movement from the beginning, began to build churches in the vicinity of the Neamţ Monastery. The ﬁrst was established in the village of Vânători. By 1936 he had built about forty large churches, the majority of them in Moldavia” (Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Fili, Η μαρτυρική Εκκλησία τών Γ.Ο.Χ. Ρουμανίας [The Martyric Old Calendar Orthodox Church of Romania] [Fili, Attica: 1981], pp. 11-13). [The foregoing translation, by Archimandrite (now Archbishop) Chrysostomos, to which we have made some slight modiﬁcations, originally appeared in The Orthodox Word, Vol. XVIII, No. 1  [January-February 1982], pp. 6-7—Trans.]
18. See Batistatou, Πρακτικἀ καί Αποφάσεις, pp. 66, 84-88 (emphasis ours).
20. See the periodical Εκκλησιαστική Αλήθεια, published in Constantinople, No. 19 (26 May 1923), pp.166-167 (emphasis ours). It should, of course, be noted that the ecumenist activities of Meletios Metaxakis had begun much earlier. Concerning these activities, see
Delembasis, Pãsxa Kur¤ou, pp. 625, 661. “At that time, he (Meletios Metaxakis) was in America, where he engaged in schismatic activities and communed uncanonically with heretical Protestants there. On 17 December 1921, ‘vested, he took part in a service in an Anglican church, knelt in prayer with the Anglicans before the holy table, which he venerated, gave a sermon, and blessed those present in the church’ of the heretics” (Strangas, Éκκλησίας Ελλάδος Ιστορία, Vol. II, p. 1118).
21. The judgments of other writers regarding Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis are also of interest, since they reveal what kind of man he was: • The aforementioned Freemason, Alexander J. Zervoudakis, wrote this about the “pernicious Patriarch”: “The struggle that he had in overcoming the reactions that he constantly encountered in his endeavor to impose radical, but ben-eﬁcial, changes suddenly brought about an unexpected collapse,” that is, his death on July 27-28, 1935 (“Μελέτιος Μεταξάκης” p. 48 [emphasis ours]). • Metropolitan Nicholas of Nubia, Meletios Metaxakis’ successor in Alexandria, said about him: “Optimism frequently impelled him to undertake bold and hazardous schemes, from which he had to be forcibly restrained by the Holy Synod” (ibid. [emphasis ours]). • The Athenian periodical Ζωή wrote, among other things,
on the occasion of the death of Meletios Metaxakis: “He made himself a singular ﬁgure in the
Church, in which his political persona was absorbed in and subjugated to his ecclesiastical one. Frustrated by conservatism, he manifested liberal tendencies, which oftentimes proved uncontrollable, although—to use his own phrase—‘many hitches forced him to moderate’ these tendencies. Nevertheless, he had no trouble in adapting, or at least attempting to adapt, the Church and ecclesiastical aﬀairs to expediency, regarding even the institutions of the Church as easily adaptable to expediency and the demands of the age. ...He turned his passion, whenever he had no other arena for his laborious eﬀorts, to the institutions of the Church, seeking to provide an outlet for his restless initiatives through changes in the external life of the Church, before beginning the necessary work for its internal renewal” (Zωή No. 1195 [10 August 1935] [emphasis ours]).