Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia
The Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia is a schismatic group, begun as a result of a 1960s break in relations between the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand and the Federation of Greek Orthodox Communities in Australia. At present, the communities affiliated with the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia Inc. comprise the bulk of these parishes.
The Federation dates its history to 1897, with the founding of the first Greek Orthodox churches in Australia (in Sydney and in Melbourne). These parishes formed a part of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Australia and New Zealand and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand, respectively.
In 1958, the established communities founded the Federation of Greek Orthodox Communities of Australia Inc. ["the Federation"]. The Federation Foundation Member Communities were the Greek Orthodox Community of Sydney and New South Wales Inc.; the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria; the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia Inc.; and the Greek Orthodox Community of Newcastle. Later, the Greek Orthodox Community of Clayton Ltd Vic., Greek Orthodox Community of Illawarra Wollongong NSW., Greek Orthodox Community of St Albans Vic., Greek Orthodox Community of Keilor Vic. and Greek Orthodox Community of Sunshine Vic. affiliated with the Federation.
In February 1959, Bishop Ezekiel was elected Metropolitan of Australia and New Zealand, and arrived on 2 April 1959. He set about restructuring the Metropolis (made an Archdiocese on 1 September 1959), and questioned & challenged established practices and rights given to existing Communities. Such practices that were challenged included priests giving accounts to the Community's Administrative or Executive Council, and Community Presidents from making a speech in church on Greek Independence Day.
The Federation represented the Communities' interests all the while serious divisions appeared within the Greek Orthodox Communities of Australia. The evolving social cohesion of the Communities' state based or regional membership were actively described as the 'Koinotiki' i.e. those who supported the democratic Community institution, as opposed to the Archdiocese and its clergy organising and running parishes.
The Greek Orthodox Community of SA, along with Communities in Newcastle, Melbourne and Sunshine (Vic.), found cause to leave the Archdiocese. GOCSA left the Archdiocese on 25 September 1960, reporting easy ratification at a general meeting and moral support from Federation members. In response, Archbishop Ezekiel excommunicated the councillors who took this decision and suspended Fr Stylianos Stenos (which meant that his sacraments, as well as being outside the Church, were not recognised by the Greek state).
On the initiative of the Federation, and having invited Archbishop Spyridon (Ermogenous) of "The Holy Greek Orthodox of the Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of America", the Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia was founded and registered on 4 June 1970 in South Australia. While the name was similar, the Constitution's Preamble stated that the two were entirely independent aside from having the same Archbishop.
This entity was designed to cater solely for sacraments and spiritual wellbeing, but was prevented from any other involvement by the Communities - and that each community had to be absolutely independent. It was also sure to safeguard independence, making sure that the Archbishop and two-thirds of the financial members of each Community had to agree before being responsible to, subject to or influenced by any other religious authority.
The Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia follows the Gregorian calendar (i.e. the 'new calendar'), and do not deem themselves to have any canonical, spiritual or doctrinal differences with any other Greek Orthodox parish (whether within the Archdiocese or otherwise).
- His Eminence Metropolitan Prokopios of Adelaide and exarch of South Australia, serves the Churches under the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia. 11 Aug 2013 to present.
- Archbishop Spyridon (Ermogenous), 1970-19??
- Bishop Pavlos (Laios) (former assistant bishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia), 19??-20??
- Metropolitan Iakovos (Giannakis) of Adelaide, 2010-201?
Participating Communities and Churches
As at 23 November 2013, these Communities adhere to the Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia:
Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia Inc.
- Greek Orthodox Cathedral Church of Archangels Michael and Gabriel
- Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Nikolas
- Greek Orthodox Church of Saints Constantine and Helen
- Greek Orthodox Church of the Dormition of Virgin Mary
- Greek Orthodox Church of Saints Cosmas and Damian [Chapel at Ridleyton Greek Home for the Aged]
- Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Virgin [Annual Feast Day]
Greek Orthodox Community of Newcastle Inc.
- Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Dimitrios
Greek Orthodox Community of St Albans Vic.
- Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Paraskevi
Greek Orthodox Community of Keilor Vic.
- No Church or cleric
Greek Orthodox Community of Sunshine Vic.
- No church or cleric