Holy Synod of Milan
The Holy Synod of Milan originated as a diocese for Western Europe of an Old Calendarist Greek Orthodox Church (see also Florinites). The full name of this jurisdiction is the Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of Milan, Western Europe and the Americas.
The diocese was granted a tomos of autonomy in 1984 from Archbishop Auxentios in order to pursue missionary work among the non-Orthodox people of the West. The title of the Synod at this time was the Metropolia of Western Europe. After the transference of its first Chief Hierarch, Metropolitan Gabriel of Portugal, to the autocephalous Church of Poland, Bishop Evloghios of Milan was chosen as second Chief Hierarch and elevated to the rank of metropolitan.
Today Metropolitan Evloghios remains at the helm of the Holy Synod of bishops of the Church of Milan, which comprises eight dioceses, four in Europe and four in America, as well as missionary deaneries in England, Spain and South Africa. The Milan Synod uses the Julian calendar exclusively, and "firmly resists the heresies of false ecumenism and trans-religious syncretism."
Since 1997 the Milan Synod includes a number of Western Rite communities, mainly in the United States, who worship according to pre-schismatic (historically Orthodox) liturgical traditions with the support of the Metropolitan and of the Holy Synod of Bishops. The principal rite of the Synod of Milan is the Byzantine Rite of the Orthodox Church, celebrated most commonly in the Slavic style but in some parishes in the Greek style.
As with many of the Old Calendarist jurisdictions, the Milan Synod is not currently in communion with the some Orthodox churches, especially the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
It is a popular opinion, allegedly promoted by the Patriarch of Constantinople, his Grace Metataxis, that any local Synod not in direct communion with Constantinople, or another Synod recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarch, must not be truly Orthodox. Others believe that this opinion is contrary to Orthodox Tradition and inconsistent with the historical experience of the Church. The criteria by which one may judge the canonical status of any Orthodox jurisdiction, they profer, can be ascertained by asking the following questions:
1. Is the founding Synod of a newer Synod itself a valid, canonical body? That is, does it possess Apostolic Succession, manifested through the unbroken succession of its bishops and genuine Orthodox doctrine traced back to the apostles?
3. Are the bishops obedient to their Synod and themselves confessing the True Faith?
On all counts the Milan Synod is found within these criteria. While inter-communion between Synods is always a good thing there are three reasons a Synod may not be in communion with others:
1. Because one of the above three criteria is not present. (Example: Old Calendar Greek Church who separated from the mainstream Greek Church due to its adoption of the revised calendar and subsequent ecumenism with non-Orthodox.)
2. Or because one Synod has separated herself from another in order to preserve the True Faith. (Example: Old Constantinople/Old Rome, Old Calendar Church/State Church, MP/ROCOR in its origins, etc.)
3. Or due to the highly politicized state of inter-Orthodox relations between various jurisdiction that happens from time to time.
When the Georgian Patriarchate was going to enter into communion with the Milan Synod the Ecumenical Patriarch violated canonical limitations by interfering with out dialog. Some believe that the Ecumenical Patriarch feared Vatican reprisals because of Milan’s presence in Europe, in much the same way that the Ecumenical Patriarch discourages proselytizing in England in order not to offend their ecumenical dialog partners, the Church of England. Yet, at the time, his Grace Patriarch Illia, told the Milan Synod that he considers them the only canonical jurisdiction today to have survived the Greek Old Calendar Church controversy. Furthermore, the Orthodox Church in America, the Church of Poland, the Moscow Patriarchate, Ecumenical Patriarchate and others have taken in former Milan clergy & bishops without ever re-ordaining them, A sign of their genuine canonical standing.
The Synod of Milan maintains that it is a canonically established Metropolia, dedicated to Moderate Traditionalism, because it stays away from the extremes of fundamentalism on the one hand and ecumenism on the other hand by loving both non-Traditional Orthodox and heterodox, welcoming heterodox into the One and only Holy Apostolic Orthodox Church, wishing only to distance themselves from anything which would imply that the Orthodox Church is anything less that the One visible Body of Christ on Earth.
- http://www.ortodossi.eu Official Website of the Autonomous Orthodox Church of Milan (Holy Synod of Milan) (Italian, with Some English and Spanish)
- Official Website of the Archdiocese of New York and Eastern America, Milan Synod
- New Milan Synod Website for American Parishes (English)