Diocese of Etna and Portland, Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece, Ἐκκλησία Γνησίων Ὀρθοδόξων Χριστιανῶν Ἑλλαδος (Ekklesia G.O.Ch. Hellados)

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News archives: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

• August 29, 2019:

Fraternal Visit to Romania

In August, Hegumen Father Akakios, Abbot of the Saint Gregory Palamas Monastery, was the guest of His Grace, Bishop Flavian of Ilfov, and the Monastery of the Dormition of the Mother of God, in Bucharest. Father Akakios traveled to Romania to participate in the Divine Services for the Patronal Feast of the Monastery, August 14–15, 2019 (Old Style), and to visit a few of the monastic communities under the spiritual guidance of His Grace. Bishop Flavian and His Grace, Bishop Evloghie of Sibiu presided at the Vigil Service, assisted by twenty-six Priests and eight Deacons, while a large crowd of the faithful attended. At the invitation of Bishop Flavian, Father Akakios delivered a sermon recounting the life of the Most Holy Theotokos.

The Monastery of the Dormition of the Mother of God

The Hierarchical Liturgies on the Sunday preceding the Feast of the Dormition, August 12 (Old Style), and on the Feast itself were enhanced by the Ordination of two exemplary Hierodeacons, Father Sava and Father Justin, to the Presbytery. Hieromonk Father Sava, an accomplished iconographer, has labored tirelessly for decades to paint the interiors of numerous monastic Churches.

While in Romania, Father Akakios accompanied Bishop Evloghie and Archimandrite Father Zosima of the Skete of Saint John the Forerunner to the renowned Convent of the Annunciation, in Valea Roșie, Călărași, under the spiritual direction of Abbess Mother Teodosia. The ninety-six nuns of the convent support themselves by sewing vestments and painting icons, in addition to keeping extensive vegetable gardens, running a flour mill and a press for sunflower oil, and operating a small dairy. On the day following the Feast of the Dormition, August 16 (Old Style), three of the Fathers of the Dormition Monastery took Father Akakios for visits to the Skete of Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco, in Cernica, Ilfov, the Skete of the Nativity of the Mother of God, in Medgidia, Constanţa, and the Skete of the Life-Giving Spring, in Agigea, Constanţa. Father Akakios was warmly received by the superiors of the sketes, by the monastics, and by the many pious faithful, all of whom remember him from his previous trips to Romania.

The Church of the Convent of the Annunciation

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• July 14, 2019:

Archpastoral Visits to Tucson, Arizona,
and La Mesa, California

His Emi­nence, Bish­op Aux­en­tios of Et­na and Port­land, vis­it­ed Saints Peter and Paul Ortho­dox Church, in Tuc­son, Ari­zona, for its Pa­tronal Feast on Thurs­day and Fri­day, June 28–29, 2019 (Old Style), ac­com­pa­nied by Hierodea­con Father Photii of the Saint Gre­go­ry Pala­mas Monastery. Hieromonk Father Parthe­nius of the Saint Gre­go­ry of Si­nai Monastery, who cur­rent­ly serves the parish in an oc­ca­sion­al ca­pac­i­ty un­til a full­time Pri­est can be as­signed to it, was al­so present. As­sist­ed by Fathers Parthe­nius and Photii, His Emi­nence cel­e­brat­ed a Vig­il and the Divine Li­tur­gy for the Feast of the Holy Apos­tles Peter and Paul. Dur­ing his vis­it, Bish­op Aux­en­tios made one of the mem­bers of the small com­mu­ni­ty, Steven Dud­ley, a cat­e­chu­men. Fol­low­ing the Divine Li­tur­gy, the cler­gy were the guests of hon­or at a fes­tive meal served by the faith­ful in the parish hall.

Bish­op Aux­en­tios and Father Photii then trav­elled to the Saint Seraphim of Sarov and Saint John of Kron­stadt Ortho­dox Church, in La Me­sa, Cal­i­for­nia, where, on Satur­day and Sun­day, June 30–Ju­ly 1, 2019 (Old Style), they served a Vig­il and a Hier­ar­chi­cal Divine Li­tur­gy for the Feast of Saints Cos­mas and Dami­an of Rome. They were joined by Pro­to­pres­byter Father James Thorn­ton, who, de­spite his re­tire­ment, con­tin­ues to serve the parish oc­ca­sion­al­ly. After the Divine Li­tur­gy, the parish gra­cious­ly host­ed His Emi­nence and his cler­gy to an Agape meal in the parish hall.

Bish­op Aux­en­tios sur­round­ed by the faith­ful of the Saint Seraphim of Sarov
and Saint John of Kron­stadt Ortho­dox Church af­ter
the cel­e­bra­tion of the Divine Li­tur­gy

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• June 29, 2019:

Annual Eparchial Synod, Clergy Synaxis,
and Patronal Feast of the Saint John of
San Francisco Orthodox Monastery

On Wed­nes­day, June 13, 2019 (Old Style), His Emi­nence, Bish­op Aux­en­tios of Et­na and Port­land at­tend­ed the an­nu­al meet­ing of the Hier­ar­chs of the Eparchial Syn­od un­der the Pres­i­den­cy of Metropoli­tan Demetrius of Amer­i­ca, at the Metropo­lis Cen­ter of the Church of the Gen­uine Ortho­dox Chris­tians of Amer­i­ca, in Cobleskill, New York. The fol­low­ing two days, His Emi­nence, ac­com­pa­nied by Archi­man­drite Father Gre­go­ry and Archi­man­drite Father Pat­a­pios, both of the Saint Gre­go­ry Pala­mas Monastery, par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Eparchial Cler­gy Sy­nax­is, al­so held an­nu­al­ly at the Metropo­lis Cen­ter. In his ca­pac­i­ty as Dean of the Saint Pho­tios Ortho­dox The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary, Father Pat­a­pios de­liv­ered an ad­dress on the Sem­i­nary to the as­sem­bled Hier­ar­chs and cler­gy­men. In this talk, which re­ceived a grat­i­fy­ing­ly pos­i­tive re­sponse from the au­di­ence, Father Pat­a­pios re­count­ed some of the mile­stones in the his­to­ry of the school, all of which at­test­ed to the Prov­i­dence of God in up­hold­ing and en­sur­ing its steady progress to­wards the much-de­sired goal of ac­cred­i­ta­tion. He al­so urged the parish cler­gy in par­tic­u­lar to re­dou­ble their ef­forts to iden­ti­fy and en­cour­age suit­able can­di­dates for the Sem­i­nary.

After the con­clu­sion of the Cler­gy Sy­nax­is, His Emi­nence and the two Archi­man­drites took part in the cel­e­bra­tion of the Feast Day of the Saint John of San Fran­cis­co Ortho­dox Monastery, in Cobleskill, New York. On Fri­day and Satur­day, June 15–16 (Old Style), Metropoli­tan Demetrius was the prin­ci­pal cel­e­brant at the Vig­il and the Divine Li­tur­gy. Con­cel­e­brat­ing with His Emi­nence were Their Emi­nences, Metropoli­tan Mos­es of Toron­to, Metropoli­tan Pho­tios of Deme­trias (rep­re­sent­ing the Holy Syn­od of the Church of the Gen­uine Ortho­dox Chris­tians of Greece, un­der the Pres­i­den­cy of His Beat­i­tude, Arch­bish­op Kallinikos of Athens and All Greece), and Bish­op Aux­en­tios of Et­na and Port­land; and Their Graces, Bish­op Christodou­los of Theoupo­lis and Bish­op Max­imus of Pe­lag­o­nia. Twen­ty-one Pri­ests and eight Dea­cons served to­geth­er with the Hier­ar­chs. A large throng of the faith­ful from the Cathe­dral of Saint Markel­la, in As­to­ria, New York, and from oth­er parish­es on the East Coast were present for the long and beau­ti­ful ser­vices, which were great­ly en­hanced by the mag­nif­i­cent and com­punc­tious chant­ing of the monas­tic choir.

It should be not­ed that the Saint John of San Fran­cis­co Ortho­dox Monastery cel­e­brates its Feast Day on the Satur­day near­est to June 19 (Old Style), in ac­cord with the pol­i­cy es­tab­lished by the Rus­sian Ortho­dox Church Abroad in 1994 at the time of its Glori­fi­ca­tion of Saint John, who re­posed on Satur­day, June 19, 1966 (Old Style). This prac­tice has the prac­ti­cal ad­van­tage of fa­cil­i­tat­ing the at­ten­dance and par­tic­i­pa­tion of as many cler­gy and laity as pos­si­ble on the Pa­tronal Feast of the Monastery, en­abling the cler­gy in par­tic­u­lar to re­turn to their re­spec­tive parish­es or com­mu­ni­ties in time to cel­e­brate the Divine Ser­vices on the fol­low­ing Sun­day.

While in the State of New York, Bish­op Aux­en­tios took the op­por­tu­ni­ty to vis­it two oth­er parish­es of the Eparchy. Holy As­cen­sion of Christ Ortho­dox Church, in Rochester, first came un­der the Omophori­on of the ev­er-mem­o­rable Metropoli­tan Chrysos­to­mos of Et­na in 2007 at the time the Rus­sian Ortho­dox Church Out­side of Rus­sia joined the Moscow Pa­tri­ar­chate, a move the parish­ioners could not in good con­science coun­te­nance. Bish­op Aux­en­tios sub­se­quent­ly in­her­it­ed Epis­co­pal over­sight of this parish, whose mem­bers deeply re­spect him as they did his pre­de­ces­sor. The parish has since been trans­ferred to the Arch­pas­toral care of Metropoli­tan Demetrius of Amer­i­ca, with­in whose Dioce­san ter­ri­to­ry it falls. Saint Max­imus the Con­fes­sor Ortho­dox Church, in Owego, was found­ed by Lazarus and Rachel Gehring. Its ec­cle­si­as­ti­cal build­ing is a mag­nif­i­cent stone ed­i­fice “based up­on the 9th and 10th cen­tu­ry Ortho­dox church­es of As­turias in north­west­ern Spain and is in ev­ery de­tail faith­ful to the orig­i­nals,” as re­port­ed by the parish web­site. The iconog­ra­phy, out­stand­ing­ly ex­e­cut­ed, is the work of His Grace, Bish­op Max­imus of Pe­lag­o­nia, and Pro­to­pres­byter Father Thomas Mar­ret­ta, who is His Grace’s bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther and the parish’s spir­i­tu­al Father. Bish­op Aux­en­tios was deeply moved by the warm wel­come he re­ceived from the pi­ous mem­bers of each of these parish­es.

Metropolitan Demetrius censing during the Festal Services

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• June 21, 2019:

Archpastoral Visits to Portland, Oregon,
and Bluffton, Alberta

His Emi­nence, Bish­op Aux­en­tios of Et­na and Port­land, vis­it­ed his Dioce­san Cathe­dral, the Holy Na­tiv­i­ty of the Theotokos Cathe­dral, in Port­land, Ore­gon, on Satur­day and Sun­day, May 26–27, 2019 (Old Style), ac­com­pa­nied by Abbess Mother El­iz­a­beth and Sche­ma­nun Mother Kypri­ane of the Con­vent of Saint El­iz­a­beth the Grand Duchess. As­sist­ed by the Cathe­dral cler­gy, Pres­byter Father Pho­tios Coop­er and Dea­con Father James Kal­basky, His Emi­nence cel­e­brat­ed a Vig­il and the Divine Li­tur­gy for the 318 Holy Fathers of the First Œc­u­meni­cal Syn­od. After the Divine Li­tur­gy, the faith­ful ex­tend­ed their gra­cious hos­pi­tal­i­ty to His Emi­nence and the Mothers at an Agape meal served in the parish hall.

Bish­op Aux­en­tios next trav­elled to the Pro­tec­tion of the Holy Vir­gin Mary Con­vent, in Bluffton, Al­ber­ta, ac­com­pa­nied by Mother Kypri­ane, for a vis­it from June 4 to June 8, 2019 (Old Style). His Emi­nence and Mother Kypri­ane were warm­ly re­ceived by Abbess Mother Amvrosia and her Sis­ter­hood, as well as by Pro­to­sinđel Father Dion­isi­je, the Ephe­me­rios (Serv­ing Pri­est) of the Con­vent. One of the old­est monas­tic com­mu­ni­ties es­tab­lished by the Rus­sian Ortho­dox Church Abroad, the Con­vent went un­der the Omophori­on of the then Arch­bish­op Chrysos­to­mos of Et­na in 2007 to avoid union with the Moscow Pa­tri­ar­chate; it sub­se­quent­ly went un­der the Omophori­on of Bish­op Aux­en­tios up­on the re­tire­ment of Metropoli­tan Chrysos­to­mos in 2015. Dur­ing his stay in Bluffton, Bish­op Aux­en­tios coun­seled the mem­bers of the com­mu­ni­ty there on var­i­ous prac­ti­cal and spir­i­tu­al mat­ters, en­cour­ag­ing and strength­en­ing them in their monas­tic du­ties.

Bishop Auxentios delivering a homily to the monastic community of the Protection
of the Holy Virgin Mary Convent in the community’s Church during a
Divine Liturgy which His Eminence celebrated as a Priest

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• March 27, 2019:

Fortieth-Day Memorial for
Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Etna

His Emi­nence, Bish­op Aux­en­tios of Et­na and Port­land cel­e­brat­ed the For­ti­eth-Day Me­mo­ri­al for the late Metropoli­tan Chrysos­to­mos of Et­na at his grave­side, on the grounds of the Saint Gre­go­ry Pala­mas Monastery, on Wed­nes­day, March 14, 2019 (Old Style), fol­low­ing the cel­e­bra­tion of the Li­tur­gy of the Pre­sanc­ti­fied Gifts. Con­cel­e­brat­ing with Bish­op Aux­en­tios were His Emi­nence, Bish­op Ser­gios of Port­land, Emer­i­tus, and His Grace, Bish­op Am­brose of Methone, both of whom trav­eled to Et­na specif­i­cal­ly to be in at­ten­dance at the Me­mo­ri­al Ser­vice. In ad­di­tion to the res­i­dent cler­gy of the Saint Gre­go­ry Pala­mas Monastery, cler­gy from the Church of Saints Cypri­an and Justi­na, in Et­na, Cal­i­for­nia; from the Saint Gre­go­ry of Si­nai Monastery, in Kelseyville, Cal­i­for­nia, where Bish­op Ser­gios re­sides; and from the Holy Na­tiv­i­ty of the Theotokos Cathe­dral, in Port­land, Ore­gon, the Dioce­san Cathe­dral of Bish­op Aux­en­tios, al­so served. Many of Metropoli­tan Chrysos­to­mos’s spir­i­tu­al chil­dren came from afar to at­tend his For­ti­eth-Day Me­mo­ri­al as a con­so­la­tion for not hav­ing been able to at­tend his fu­ner­al and buri­al the fourth day af­ter his de­cease, which Ser­vices had been lim­it­ed to those liv­ing in Et­na and its en­vi­rons.

Fol­low­ing the litur­gi­cal com­mem­o­ra­tion, a spe­cial memo­ri­al ban­quet, host­ed by the Sis­ter­hood of the Con­vent of Saint El­iz­a­beth the Grand Duchess, in Et­na, Cal­i­for­nia, was held in the din­ing hall of the Saint Pho­tios Ortho­dox The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary, al­so in Et­na. At­tend­ed by scores of peo­ple, in­clud­ing res­i­dents of the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ty of Scott Val­ley, the meal was an op­por­tu­ni­ty to es­teem the vi­brant and inim­itable per­son­al­i­ty of Metropoli­tan Chrysos­to­mos and his life­time of nu­mer­ous and re­mark­able achieve­ments. Flautist An­gela Korege­los hon­ored the mem­o­ry of Metropoli­tan Chrysos­to­mos by per­form­ing two pieces com­posed by Jo­hann Se­bas­tian Bach, the sec­ond move­ment (Lar­go e dolce) of his Flute Sona­ta in B Mi­nor and the sec­ond move­ment (Lar­go) of his Con­cer­to in G Mi­nor, while Archi­man­drite Father Gre­go­ry of the Saint Gre­go­ry Pala­mas Monastery paid trib­ute to His Emi­nence by de­liv­er­ing a mov­ing eu­lo­gy. Archi­man­drite Father Pa­trick, Ab­bot of the Saint Gre­go­ry of Si­nai Monastery, then pre­sent­ed the Brother­hood of Saint Gre­go­ry Pala­mas Monastery and the Sis­ter­hood of the Con­vent of Saint El­iz­a­beth the Grand Duchess of Rus­sia with framed re­pro­duc­tions of a char­coal por­trait of their dear­ly beloved spir­i­tu­al Father. Fi­nal­ly, His Grace, Bish­op Am­brose re­count­ed some ed­i­fy­ing sto­ries about Metropoli­tan Chrysos­to­mos, which in­au­gu­rat­ed a lengthy ex­change of rec­ol­lec­tions by oth­ers present. For all in at­ten­dance, these fond rem­i­nis­cences great­ly al­le­vi­at­ed the grief oc­ca­sioned by the loss of His Emi­nence, im­bu­ing the gath­er­ing with a para­dox­i­cal at­mo­sphere of χαρμολύπη, which may be trans­lat­ed as “glad­den­ing sor­row,” “joy­ful mourn­ing,” or “bright sad­ness.”

The clergy and faithful gathered at the graveside of Metropolitan Chrysostomos
for his Fortieth-Day Memorial; the Hierarchs are at center: from left
to right, Bishop Ambrose, Bishop Auxentios, and Bishop Sergios

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• February 19, 2019:

Re­pose of Metropoli­tan Chrysos­to­mos of Et­na

Metropoli­tan Chrysos­to­mos of Et­na died on Fe­bru­ary 3, 2019 (Old Style), from com­pli­ca­tions of a long bout with heart dis­ease. He was co-founder of the Saint Gre­go­ry Pala­mas Greek Ortho­dox Monastery in Et­na, which he served as Ab­bot for more than a decade, and a Se­nior Re­search Schol­ar at the Cen­ter for Tra­di­tion­al­ist Ortho­dox Stud­ies, which is at­tached to the monastery. He was al­so a Pro­fes­sor at the Saint Pho­tios Ortho­dox The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary in Et­na, which he al­so co-found­ed.

Pri­vate fu­ner­al ser­vices and buri­al were at the Saint Gre­go­ry Pala­mas Monastery.

The Metropoli­tan’s grand­moth­er was a mi­nor aris­to­crat of Span­ish and English ex­trac­tion, and through­out his life, out of re­spect and ad­mi­ra­tion for her, he used her Span­ish names, as well as his Greek fam­i­ly name. Most of his Greek fam­i­ly fled to Italy and Spain in the fif­teenth cen­tu­ry, when Greece and the Byzan­tine Em­pire were cap­tured by the Turks. In ex­ile, they dis­tin­guished them­selves in aca­dem­ic life and in busi­ness life.

Con­tin­u­ing in his fam­i­ly’s aca­dem­ic tra­di­tion, His Emi­nence re­ceived his un­der­grad­u­ate ed­u­ca­tion in his­to­ry at the Univer­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, where he be­gan his stud­ies in pre-med­i­cal zo­ol­o­gy. He then com­plet­ed a sec­ond B.A. de­gree in psy­chol­o­gy at the Cal­i­for­nia State Univer­si­ty and the Li­cen­ti­ate in The­ol­o­gy at the Cen­ter for Tra­di­tion­al­ist Ortho­dox Stud­ies, short­ly be­fore he be­came its Aca­dem­ic Direc­tor. He al­so earned an M.A. de­gree in Byzan­tine his­to­ry from the Univer­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia. He com­plet­ed an M.A. and doc­tor­ate in psy­chol­o­gy at Prince­ton Univer­si­ty, where he taught for three years as a Pre­cep­tor (as­sis­tant in­struc­tor) in the psy­chol­o­gy de­part­ment. He went on from Prince­ton to ac­cept a pro­fes­sor­ship at the Univer­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, River­side.

After be­com­ing a monk, Metropoli­tan Chrysos­to­mos taught as a pro­fes­sor for a short time at Ash­land Univer­si­ty, in Ash­land, Ohio, and at the Ash­land The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary. Later, he ac­cept­ed a one-term ap­point­ment as vis­it­ing pro­fes­sor of Pa­tris­tics and the psy­chol­o­gy of re­li­gion at the The­o­log­i­cal In­sti­tute of Upp­sala Univer­si­ty in Swe­den.

Among his aca­dem­ic hon­ors were a Chair­man’s Fel­low­ship from the Na­tion­al En­dow­ment for the Hu­man­i­ties, and, in 1982, an ap­point­ment as Visit­ing Schol­ar at the Har­vard Divin­i­ty School. Dur­ing the aca­dem­ic year 2000–2001, he was a Ful­bright Schol­ar in Ro­ma­nia. He lec­tured, as a Visit­ing Pro­fes­sor un­der the aus­pices of his Ful­bright ap­point­ment, in his­tor­i­cal the­ol­o­gy at the Univer­si­ty of Bucharest, in Byzan­tine his­to­ry and busi­ness ethics at the Alexan­dru A. Cuza Univer­si­ty in Iași, and in the the­ol­o­gy of Ortho­dox ec­cle­si­as­ti­cal art and ar­chi­tec­ture at the Ion Min­cu Univer­si­ty in Bucharest. From 2002 to 2003, he was ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor of the U.S. Ful­bright Com­mis­sion in Ro­ma­nia. In the win­ter of 2006, af­ter two suc­ces­sive ap­point­ments as a Visit­ing Schol­ar at the Jack­son School of In­ter­na­tion­al Stud­ies at the Univer­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton, Seat­tle, and the Grad­u­ate The­o­log­i­cal Union, Berke­ley, he held a pres­ti­gious ap­point­ment as the David B. Lar­son Fel­low in Health and Spir­i­tu­al­i­ty at the John W. Kluge Cen­ter of the U.S. Li­brary of Congress. He was at var­i­ous times dur­ing his ca­reer a mem­ber of the Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion of Univer­si­ty Pro­fes­sors and the Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion.

His Emi­nence was the au­thor of some three dozen books and Pa­tris­tic trans­la­tions, and more than six­ty of his schol­ar­ly ar­ti­cles ap­peared in var­i­ous the­o­log­i­cal, his­tor­i­cal, and psy­chol­o­gy jour­nals. He al­so wrote scores of book re­views for a num­ber of schol­ar­ly jour­nals and pe­ri­od­i­cals.

A wid­ow­er of many years, Metropoli­tan Chrysos­to­mos is sur­vived by cousins in Greece, Spain, Italy, and Ger­many and by five nephews in Cana­da.

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