Friday, March 31, 2023

This is what defrocking looks like

Just so we're clear, according to the precedent set by the Ecumenical Patriarchate last week in Lithuania, Tatsis could appeal to the ecumenical throne and be reinstated and allowed to set up his own church without anyone ever having to talk to Archbishop Makarios. Does that make any sense to you? Of course not. And that's why the Lithuanian decision is going to prove a catalyst for even more egregious decisions very soon. 

(GOA-Australia) - The Holy Archdiocese of Australia informs the reverend clergy and the Orthodox people of the fifth continent that, by decision of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the former clergyman Eleftherios Tatsis was imposed with the penalty of the removal from the rank of the priesthood for a series of ecclesiastical and canonical offenses that he committed. Therefore, the defrocked cleric by decision of the Orthodox Church has returned to the rank of the laity and has lost the privilege of wearing priestly vestments as well as the right to perform the Holy Sacraments and other divine services.

The aforementioned unfortunate development occurred as a result of the long-standing anti-canonical behaviour of Mr Eleftherios Tatsis who, with successive improper actions and his hostile public positions, contested against the Orthodox Church, the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Archbishop, the Bishops and his fellow brother clergy, even going so far as to create his own “church”, officially and wilfully cutting himself off from the canonical and only Orthodox Church. Although His Eminence Archbishop Makarios sought with sincerity, paternal concern and steadfastness to bring about the pacification of his soul, repentance and return to the Body of the Church, unfortunately, all our Shepherd’s efforts clashed with the now deposed clergyman’s selfishness and persistent desire for autonomy.

Consequently, our Holy Archdiocese is obliged to remind its pious and Christ-loving flock that all the Holy Sacraments and divine services (Divine Liturgies, Holy Services, Weddings, Baptisms, Funerals etc) that the henceforth deposed cleric Mr Tatsis may possibly anti-canonically perform are invalid and non-existent, and are considered as never having been performed by the canonical Orthodox Church throughout the world. That is, nothing more of what Mr Tatsis may perform, will be recognised by the Orthodox Patriarchates, the Archdioceses, the Metropolises, the monasteries of Mount Athos and all other monasteries of the Orthodox Church.

Also, according to the holy canons, those who participate in the Sacraments and divine services that are performed anti-canonically by defrocked clergy, such as Mr Tatsis, cut themselves off from the canonical body of the Church, that is, they excommunicate themselves and, therefore, cannot be accepted by any of the canonical parishes and churches of the Archdiocese for the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, nor for other Sacraments and, obviously, neither for other services such as a funeral.

In the situation of Mr Tatsis going off course, great responsibility is also borne by Mrs Glykeria Andriotis, who thought she could be involved in the holy and sacred things of the priesthood and the Orthodox faith. Although the lady was summoned by the spiritual courts of the Church to explain the reasons for her anti-canonical behaviour, she dishonoured it and did not make an appearance. For her canonical and ecclesiastical misdemeanours, by decision of the secondary ecclesiastical court of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, she was imposed with the penalty of being banned from receiving Holy Communion. The possibility of referring her to the Australian judicial system is also being considered because, despite the regulations of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia that all members of Parish Councils participate in the life of the Church voluntarily and on a not-for-profit basis, she received a regular salary from the Church of Panagia Kamariani.

Finally, it is worth recalling some indicative quotes from the teachings of two contemporary saints of our Church – St Porphyrios of Kavsokalivia and St Paisios the Athonite: 

  • “Fanaticism has nothing to do with Christ” (St Porphyrios of Kavsokalivia, in the book, “Christ is fullness of life”, p. 103 – Greek version).
  • “To preserve our unity, we should obey the Church and Its Bishops. By obeying the Church, we obey Christ Himself” (St Porphyrios of Kavsokalivia, in the book, “Christ is fullness of life”, p. 29 – Greek version).
  • “Whatever the Church says, is what we all have to follow” (St Paisios the Athonite, in the book, “An outpouring of myrrh”, p. 41 – Greek version).

His Eminence, our Archbishop and all the clergy of our local Church hope and pray for the repentance and return of both Mr Eleftherios Tatsis and his co-worker, Mrs Glykeria Andriotis.


  1. The Lithuanian priests were defrocked for strictly political reasons. Tarsus seems to have been infamously obstreperous. There is not much basis for comparison. The Ecumenical Patriarch is within his rights to reinstate clergy unjustly defrocked; let Tatsis appeal to him if he likes.

    1. If you think the EP is making a decision based on "political" vs "whatever we decide is a valid" distinction, I'd have to disagree. I think it was expedient, so HAH did it. Find me a canonical differentiator between "politics" and any other reason for laicizing someone and how that affects the procedural process.

    2. And what is the other side of the story? There ae always more than one side, and many times the "Bully Pulpit side" does not portray all of the facts evenly. I have seen this happen too many times, with the cleric being acepted and honored by another "canonical" church. As an example just look at the GOA and its Palestenian and Slavic Vicarites. I want to know more - where is Bishop Gregory Adair and AREO when you need them

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  3. I'm with Lance H., not sure what lesson our host is drawing here. For example:

    "... according to the precedent set by the Ecumenical Patriarchate last week in Lithuania..."

    Well no, the precedent is much older than "last week" - it goes back all the way to the "Holy Canons" themselves in which the EP is *explicitly* appointed the court of last appeal in such matters, analogous to the Supreme Court of the US.

    "...If you think the EP is making a decision based on "political" vs "whatever we decide is a valid" distinction..."

    Well yes, but this is the case with all 'courts of last appeal' by definition, since all such organization (whether secular or ecclesiastical) are made up of men and not angels. Just as the US Supreme court is its own judge (theoretical and practical) in that it applies what it determines as "Constitutional" to itself, for better or worse, the EP (well, and his synod...depending...) is his own limit when it comes to these sorts of appeals. If you agree with his interpretive and methodological application of the "Holy Canons", then you believe such decisions are "valid" and "Holy". If you don't, then you believe he is wrong (or foolish, or "political", or fill_in_the_blank).

    According to the letter of the canonical law, he does have this privilege and duty. I personally don't think this is good because I don't think the letter of the canonical law is appropriate for the Church in this age - it was written for a Roman Empire, and not a collection of ethno/national "churches" which we have today. Unless and until these collections of churches decide to revise (or just ignore) this anachronistic structure, the letter of the law stands. That said, no matter what, it will always be "political" in a human sense...