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.
- 1 History
- 2 Hierarchs
- 3 Participating Communities and Churches
- 4 Apostolic Succession
- 5 External links
- 6 References
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
Metropolitan Prokopios Biogaphy
His Eminence Metropolitan Prokopios of Adelaide and Exarch of South Australia is the canonical and legitimate Metropolitan for the Greek Orthodox Community Churche's in South Australia. His Eminence was born in Volos, in 2002 ordained Deacon by his Holiness Patriarch of Jerusalem Irineos and in 2010 ordained Priest and Archimandrite by his Grace Metropolitan Ayksentios of Aigina Island (Greece). In 2013 the Holy and sacred Synod of the Canonical Former Exarchate of the Alexandria Patriarchate (under Metropolitan of New England Dionysios Makrogamvrakis patriarchate Exarchos in America) elected him Metropolitan of Adelaide. His ordination took place on 11 August 2013 at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Archangels Michael and Gabriel.
President of the Synod of the former Exarchate of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in America.
His Beatitude was born on August 15, 1919 in the city of Heraklion, on the island of Crete, in Greece. He is known by the surname Makrogambrakis, studied at the seminary in Pytagoraia Government Institute in Heraklion, Crete, from 1934 to 1937. He was tonsured a monk at the monastery of Iviron monastery on Mount Athos in 1937. In 1940 the monk Dionysios was ordained to the Diaconate, and in March 1943 he was ordained a priest by Metropolitan Militoupoleos Lerotheos, Greece, at the request of the Holy Monastery Iviron monastery. His Eminence studied Patrologia and theology for over 14 years.
During the pilgrimage to the Church of the Holy Monastery of Iviron monastery, he was appointed by the Patriarch as Superior of the monastery of St. Peter and of the Holy Mother of God Shrine in Nazareth, Israel. Before 1945, Hieromonk Dionysios was appointed member of the ecclesiastical court under Metropolitan Isidoros. Later during the same year, he was appointed as Superior of the monastery of wedding at Cana in Galilee and continued serving God there until 1960. In 1960, the Patriarch Benedictos designated again as Superior of the monastery of Charalambos in Jerusalem and also appointed him to serve as a priest at the Cathedral of St. Constantine and Helena in Jerusalem.
A year later in 1961, he was appointed Superior of Holy Cross Theological School in Jerusalem. At the same time Hieromonk Dionysios studied Greek, Hebrew, Russian and English at the Hebrew University. He continued serving Holy Cross until July 1963 when, with the permission of Patriarch Benedictos, he returned to the Holy Monastery of Iviron monastery on Mount Athos to seek permission of the fraternity to travel to United States of America.
After receiving the blessing of the Iviron monastery, Hieromonk Dionysios fraternity he went to America, arriving in mid-1963. For the remainder of 1963 and 1964, he served as a priest in the community of Saint Markela Orthodox Church in Astoria, New York, under the Greek Bishop Petros (Astifitheso).
In the fall of 1964, after coming under the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, he was appointed by Archbishop Photios, the previous Metropolitan is pathos in Cyprus as the Organizations Are Archimandrita George of the Greek Orthodox Church in Lowell, Massachusetts. In 1966, Archimandrita Dionysios was transferred to the Orthodox Church of the resurrection in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. While serving the body of Christ in the Church of the resurrection.
Five years later, in 1971, the Archimandrit Dionysios was canonically elected Bishop for the Greek Orthodox Parishes in America. On March 7, 1971, he was consecrated to the episcopate of the Orthodox Church by Bishop Andreas and Anthony. The Church of the resurrection was elevated to Cathedral . Continued serving there until 1980. After serving God in Pawtucket, Rhode Island for nearly fourteen years at the Orthodox Cathedral of the resurrection, Bishop Dionysios raised Saint George in Memphis, Tennessee, to the status of Cathedral and moved there.
On January 11, 1983, Bishop Dionysios was requested to serve as Exarch for the exarchate of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in America known there as the Diocese of New England in Rhode Island in Pawtucket, and the Patriarch Nicholaos confirmed the canonical consecration of Bishop Dionysios. On May 26, 1986, his Holiness Patriarch Nicholas gave "Autocephaly" (which means "independence") to Bishop Dionysios Exarchate in America. Since then, Archbishop Dionysios served the Church mainly of Mississauga, Ontario in Canada.
As a faithful Shepherd, Archbishop Dionysios guided the flock entrusted to him by Christ our Saviour of the narrow path of salvation. His Eminence was a true pillar of Orthodoxy and defended the faithful little flock and vigorously any Wolf that were around the sheep. Away off the modernists, and the pseudo-orthodox defenders of heresy.
-  Dr. M P Tsounis "The Story of a Community" A short pictorial history of the Greek Orthodox Community of SA Inc. 
- Wikipedia article from 2 Dec 2013, 2:04)