Genuine Greek Orthodox Church of America
The Genuine Greek Orthodox Church of America is the largest and oldest Old Calendarist church in North America.
The American Metropolis of the Genuine Greek Orthodox Church of America is an autonomous diocese of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece (GOC). It is also known as the Hellenic Orthodox Traditionalist Church of America, or simply as the Greek Old Calendarist Church.
Prior to the establishment of this diocese, there were still several independent Greek parishes in North America that had not been regularized by Archbishop Athenagoras, who had been going from parish to parish for several years, bringing independents into the fold of the Greek Archdiocese. These independent parishes sometimes looked to Greece for priests, and sometimes turned to vagante bishops such as Christopher Contogeorge. The situation in general in the 1930's and 40's was one of ecclesiastical confusion, and Old Calendarism per se could be seen in some cases as a side effect of the parish remaining independent rather than as a purely idealogical position.
In 1951, Archimandrite Petros (Astyfides) arrived in New York at the invitation of Arsenios Saltas, whom he understood to be the Greek Old Calendarist bishop of America. Soon learning that this was not the case, Archimandrite Petros resolved to return to Greece. However, a number of Greek Old Calendarist families in Queens persuaded him to begin services for them, and by 1954 Saint Markella's Cathedral was established.
Archimandrite Petros began to gather various independent parishes until a diocese was formed. During this time, he was under the Metropolia and then the ROCOR. Two ROCOR bishops--Seraphim and Leonty--consecrated him to the episcopacy in November 1962. This consecration was not technically canonical, as it was done in secret; however, by 1969 the ROCOR had recognized the necessity of this and other Old Calendarist consecrations, and recognized the Greek Old Calendarist bishops. At this time, Metropolitan Petros joined with the Synod in Greece officially.
Dispute over Grace
In 1974, the Synod of the Greek Old Calendarist Church reiterated its belief that the New Calendar Church was schismatic and devoid of grace. Metropolitan Petros was opposed to this decision and asked the ROCOR bishops what to do, since they had consecrated him, and his consecration certificate stated that he would defer to the Synod if any question arose. While this may seem a simplistic reasoning, the Metropolitan was concerned about keeping his pledge.
By not signing the declaration, Metropolitan Petros was forced out of the Synod of the GOC, and as a result the Metropolis of North and South America passed first to Metropolitan Anthony and then Archimandrite Paisios (Loulourgas). The latter was eventually consecrated a bishop in 1979 and took his Cathedral seat at Saint Irene Chrysovalantou Monastery in Queens. From this point on he was the ruling bishop of the Metropolis of America until his deposition in 1995.
Reunion in 1985
In 1985, Metropolitan Petros began talks with the Synod culminating in his return to the Synod. He was given a title of Metropolitan of Astoria, an irregular act given the existing jurisdiction of Metropolitan Paisios as Metropolitan of North and South America. Nevertheless, this was an attempt to find peace in the church, which lasted until Metropolitan Paisios went into schism in 1995 to join the Lamian Synod, and then from it the Athanasian Synod, and finally joined the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1998. From 1995, the Metropolis of America was joined to the Metropolis of Astoria until the election and consecration of Metropolitan Pavlos (Stratigeas) in 1998 to preside over one unified Metropolis of America.
Ascension of Metropolitan Pavlos
In 1997, Metropolitan Petros reposed, and in 1998 his grandnephew, Archimandrite Pavlos (Stratigeas) was elected as the Metropolitan of North and South America. He was installed in March 1998. In 2000, Archimandrite Christodoulos was consecrated titular Bishop of Theopoulis to assist Metropolitan Pavlos.
In February 2006, Metropolitan Pavlos suffered a stroke and was temporarily incapacitated. Archbishop Chrysostom II of Athens was appointed provisional administrator of the Holy Metropolis of America. After substantially recovering, Metropolitan Pavlos was restored as full ruling hierarch of the Holy Metropolis in 2007.
Progress toward Old Calendar Unity
In 2011, Metropolitan Moses of Portland and Bishop Sergios of Loch Lomond from the Holy Orthodox Church in North America were received into the Genuine Greek Orthodox Church of America, along with several HOCNA parishes and clergy from both the United States and Canada. In 2012, Bishop Demetrios of Carlisle from the Holy Orthodox Church in North America, along with many parishes and clergy, and along with over half the monastics from Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline, MA, were received by the Genuine Greek Orthodox Church of America, with Bishop Demetrios being given the title Bishop of Boston.
Diocesan and Parish Organization
In 2002, the Holy Synod of Greece granted the Metropolis of America the status of a semi-autonomous eparchy, which included the establishment of an Eparchial Synod along with a local Ecclesiastical Tribunal. The Eparchy of America is comprised of two Metropoleis (America and Toronto) and two Dioceses (Boston and Portland), whose ruling hierarchs are suffragans of the Metropolitan of America based in New York City. Currently there are 30 parishes and 4 monastic communities in the U.S, and 6 parish and 2 monasteries in Canada.
- Metropolitan Pavlos of America
- Metropolitan Moses of Portland
- Bishop Sergius of Loch Lomond
- Bishop Christodoulos of Theoupolis
- Bishop Demetrios of Boston