On Old and New Calendarist Divisions in the Church

Elder Joseph the Hesychast 1897-1959

While I was praying, I saw a brilliant, beautiful church. It had a small exit on the side, and everyone was coming out of the church. In the courtyard, they were arguing. One person shouted, ‘I am right!’ Another person shouted, ‘I am more right!’ And a third person, ‘I am the true church!’ This reveals that although they were arguing, they all belonged to a single church. They have dogmas in common, and they have grace, but they were arguing because they don’t have an open mind and haven’t achieved sainthood. So how could I say now that the official Church of Greece is heretical and lack’s God grace. Should I call it heretical only because of the Calendar? And should I say that their bishops are damned? I am with the Old Calendar, but I think differently from the Old Calendarists.

…Do you see, my child, that you are not sinning by commemorating the Patriarch, no matter what he said or did, since he has not been deposed? (My Elder Joseph the Hesychast by Elder Ephraim pp. 502, 506. The Calendar Issue)


  1. It is worth noting that the last paragraph is specifically the very problem Traditionalist Orthodox have with these Athonites who left the zealot movement: they left it on the basis of “visions” and faulty logic. Neither of which are good enough reasons.

    1. Monk Joseph did not listen to Elder Arsenios when he warned him that even great saints had been temporarily deluded. Monk Joseph basically told Elder Araenios, “My way or the highway Father Arsenios.”

    2. The last paragraph is simply a lie. It is not necessary for an hierarch to be deposed to cease his commemoration. Look at the heretical patriarch John Beccus. The Athonite fathers of Vatopedi and Xanophantou gave their LIVES to NOT commemorate him before he was ever synodically tried or condemned. With all of the Ecumenical patriarchs excesses and heretical statements (affirming heretics and schismatics to be part of the church) I am afraid it IS a matter of sin to commemorate him, because his actions clearly reveal him as heretical because a tree is known by its fruits. This was the case with Athenagoras, it was the case with Demetrius and is the case with Bartholomew.

  2. Filaretos,

    Thanks for your comments, sorry so long in replying.

    Elder Joseph said that it wasn’t a sin to commemorate the Patriarch of his day; whereas you state that a bishop does not have to be deposed to cease his commemoration. That’s actually two different issues.

    Elder Joseph is using the same “faulty” logic as Met. Anthony Khrapovitsky:

    “It is in vain that you torment your conscience with doubts about continuing to be in communion with the Constantinopolitan Patriarchate. Present this matter to the judgment of the hierarchs, and until it has taken place remain in communion…” (V. Moss, Orthodoxy at the Crossroads , St. Petersburg 2001,“The ROCA and the Greek Old Calendarists”)

    Met. Anthony also addresses the pertinent canons: “You know the 13th, 14th and 15th canons of the First-and-Second Council, which speaks about separating oneself from a Bishop or Patriarch after his conciliar condemnation. And there is the canon (the 15th), which says that the clergyman is worthy, not of condemnation, but of praise, who breaks links with him [the heretic] for the sake of the heresy condemned by the holy council or the fathers…, and besides ‘when he (that is, the first hierarch) preaches heresy publicly and teaches it openly in the Church’. But this, glory to God, neither P[atriarch] Basil [III of Constantinople] nor [Archbishop] Chrysostom [of Athens] have done yet. On the contrary, they insist on keeping the former Paschalion, for only it, and not the Julian Calendar itself was covered by the curse of the councils. True, P[atriarch] Jeremiah in the 15th [correct: 16th] century and his successor in the 18th anathematized the calendar itself, but this curse: 1) touches only his contemporaries and 2) does not extend to those frightened to break communion with him, to which are subjected only those who transgress the canonical Paschalion.”

    Met. Anthony also states: “in certain circumstances, the breaking of communion with the guilty is mandatory only for bishops.”

    Therefore, Elder Joseph and Met. Anthony (and I) view this issue differently then you do.

    in ICXC,

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