Ecclesiastical Delegation from Greece Meets Patriarch and Hierarchs of the Church of Georgia

Source: Orthodox Ethos

August 5, 2016

Seated: (L-R): Archpriest Theodore Zisis, His Beatitude, the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Ilia II, Professor of Dogmatic Theology, Demetrios Tselengidis, Hieromonk Miqaeli Bregvadze, Monk Seraphim (Zisis); Standing: (L-R): Hierodeacon Peter, Archpriest Symeon, Protopresbyter Peter Heers, Protopresbyter Matthew Vulcanescu, Metropolitan of Zugdidi and Tsaishi, Gerasimos (Sharashenidze), Metropolitan of Alaverdi, David (Makharadze), Archbishop of Stepantsminda and Khevi, Iegudiel (Tabatadze), Metropolitan of Akhaltsikhe and Tao-Klarjeti, Theodore (Chuadze), Protopresbyter Anastasios Gotsopoulos, Archpriest Bessarion.
Seated: (L-R): Archpriest Theodore Zisis, His Beatitude, the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Ilia II, Professor of Dogmatic Theology, Demetrios Tselengidis, Hieromonk Miqaeli Bregvadze, Monk Seraphim (Zisis); Standing: (L-R): Hierodeacon Peter, Archpriest Symeon, Protopresbyter Peter Heers, Protopresbyter Matthew Vulcanescu, Metropolitan of Zugdidi and Tsaishi, Gerasimos (Sharashenidze), Metropolitan of Alaverdi, David (Makharadze), Archbishop of Stepantsminda and Khevi, Iegudiel (Tabatadze), Metropolitan of Akhaltsikhe and Tao-Klarjeti, Theodore (Chuadze), Protopresbyter Anastasios Gotsopoulos, Archpriest Bessarion.

FROM July 25th through July 28th an ecclesiastical
delegation of clergy from the Church of Greece were
visitors to and the guests of the Patriarchate of the
Georgia and His Beatitude the Catholicos-Patriarch of All
Georgia, Ilia II. The delegation consisted of Archpriest
and Professor Emeritus of Patrology of the Theological
School of the University of Thessaloniki, Fr. Theodore
Zisis, Professor of Dogmatic Theology in the Department of
Theology of the Theological School of the University of
Thessaloniki, Demetrios Tselengidis, Protopresbyter and
Rector of the Parish of St. Nicholas of the Diocese of
Patra, Fr. Anastasios Gotsopoulos, Protopresbyter and
Rector of the Parish of the Prophet Elias, Petrokerasa, in
the Diocese of Ierissou and Agion Oros, Fr. Peter Heers,
and Protopresbyter and Rector of the Parish of All-Holy
Directress, Bokos Hill, in the Diocese of Peiraeus, Fr.
Matthew Vulcanescu.

In a series of meetings with hierarchs of the Apostolic
Orthodox Church of Georgia responsible for inter-Orthodox
affairs, as well as with the Catholicos-Patriarch of All
Georgia, His Beatitude Ilia II, who graciously received
and honored his guests at his summer residence, the
delegation was warmly received in a spirit of brotherly
love and sincere cooperation and shown exceptional
hospitality over their 5 day stay. The purpose of the
delegation’s visit was twofold: on the one hand to
express – on behalf of all faithful Orthodox Christians in
Greece – their heartfelt gratitude to the Patriarch,
Hierarchy and Faithful of the Venerable and Martyric
Church of Georgia for their confession of the Orthodox
Faith over and against the rise – in council – of
syncretistic ecumenism, and, on other hand, to consult and
discuss in person with His Beatitude and Hierarchs the
proper response to the unorthodox “Council of
Crete.”

In particular, the Georgian Church’s faithfulness to
Orthodox ecclesiology, as evidenced in the now twenty-year
old decision to depart and remain apart from the
syncretistic-ecumenist, Protestant-dominated body, the
so-called “World Council of Churches,” was
praised and held up as a model for all Orthodox Churches.
This faithfulness was, moreover, most evident in the
stance the Church has maintained via-a-vis the texts and
organization of the mis-labeled “Great and Holy
Council,” an episcopal conference of a small portion
of bishops representing less than half of the Orthodox
faithful, which was held this past June in Crete.

The discussions centered on the problems created by the
innovative and unorthodox “Council in Crete” and
the necessary response to it based upon the dogmas and
canons of the Church and Orthodox ecclesiology. The need
for a clear rejection of both the methodology and
organization of the Council, as well as the innovative and
unorthodox texts adopted at the Council, and for a new,
Orthodox Council to be called in response, was stressed by
the Greek delegation. The Patriarch welcomed his guests
and praised their love and devotion to the Church and
Faith, assuring them that “there are not many
churches, but only one Church, the Orthodox Church,”
and that he and the Holy Synod will “work for the
unity of all of the Orthodox,” which can only be
assured on the basis of the faith once delivered. The
representatives of the Church of Georgia to the
pan-Orthodox conferences, Metropolitans Gerasimos of
Zugdidi and Theodoros of Akhaltsikhe, also, for their
part, stressed their Church’s commitment to their
pre-conciliar rejection of the unorthodox texts “The
Sacrament of Marriage and Its Impediments” and
“Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of
the Christian World.” Furthermore, the Patriarch and
Metroplitans also stated that the documents of the Council
will be translated into Georgian and examined and an
official response will be issued after the general meeting
of the Hierarchy in October.

In general, both the guests and the hosts found common
ground and oneness of mind on all matters of faith with
respect to the Dogma of the Church and Her boundaries and
the need to continue unwavering in the Orthodox Confession
of Faith in the face of the spread of syncretistic
ecumenism. They pledged to continue cooperation in this
regard in the immediate future.

In addition to the above mentioned meetings and
discussions, the gracious hospitality for which the
Georgian people are so well-known was extended to the
visiting clergy with a full program of visits to historic
pilgrimage sites of venerable Church of Georgia.

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