On the Solution to Old Calendarist Divisions

Hieromonk Seraphim Rose 1934-1982

This whole quarrel among the Greek Old Calendarists is very unfortunate. Besides involving personalities, which only clouds things, the real issues involved are very subtle and delicate ones that require much tact and patience and love, not theological and canonical tirades. (Letter March 2/15, 1974)

The two sides quote canons back and forth, when what is needed is love and understanding – and that statement, I realize, could have come straight from the lips of some ecumenist, which only shows how difficult the true path of Orthodoxy has become in our days. (Letter April 24/May 7, 1974)

Comments

  1. It should be noted that blessed Seraphim is not referring to the Old Calendarists in relation to the World Orthodox, but in relation to one another, specifically, the Matthewites vs. the Florinites. He is saying that their disagreements with one another need to be approached carefully, because there is such a subtle difference between the two positions. And there really is.

    Both Matthewites and Florinites agree that the New Calendarists are schismatics, and as such cannot have grace in their mysteries.

    However, the Matthewites insist that such an understanding of the new Calendarists is a dogmatic necessity. You HAVE to believe the New Calendarists are graceless to be truly Orthodox.

    Yet, the Florinites, while emphasizing correctly that heretics and schismatics are graceless, and BELIEVING the New Calendarists to be schismatics, nevertheless are not comfortable asserting with the certainty of dogma that the New Calendarists HAVE to be graceless. They emphasize following the Old Calendar, not because the New Calendarists are graceless, but so as not to participate in the evil fruits brought about by the Old Calendar, namely, schism, division, and ecclesiological heresy.

    It is a very subtle difference, given they agree on the same conclusion, but disagree with how others are to be viewed who disagree with THEIR belief.

  2. Daniel,

    Thanks for your response. Fr. Seraphim died in communion with World Orthodoxy as ROCOR was in communion with certain local World Orthodox churches. If you read his letters (excerpted on many posts on this website) you can see this quite easily. Also, ROCOR never condemned the New Calendar as graceless and although ROCOR recognized the uncanonical consecrations of the Matthewites (by one bishop) and Florinites (by a Romanian New Calendarist that ordained Akakios the Elder without permission of his metropolitan)1969, they broke communion with them by 1976 because of all the in-fighting, schisms and even going so far as rebaptizing ROCOR clergy. They did go into communion with SiR in the 90s.

    Since the Florinites (which is actually a misnomer since Bp. Chrysostom of Florina wisely refused to ordain more bishops after the Matthew of Vresthena debacle) have repeatedly anathematized the New Calendar as schismatic and graceless then waffling around about if World Orthodoxy has grace is futile and even silly. Say what you will, SiR’s moderation spared them from falling into Greek GOC contradiction. Additionally, the Florinites have fallen under their own anathema since a New Calendarist assisted in restoring hierarchs to them. Out of the three ROCOR bishops that ordained Florinite hierarchs one deeply regretted it because of all the schisms in a letter to Archbishop Auxentios, the second was a New Calendarist and the third believed that RCC sacraments were grace-bearing and beneficial to pious Catholics. All of them were in communion with World Orthodoxy and therefore none of three could qualify as “Old Calendarist” bishops.

    Have a blessed Holy Week,
    Maximus

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