English Edition

Fr. Theodore Zisis suspended from priestly duties, excommunicated

Moscow, March 16, 2017

Photo: The Union of Orthodox Journalists Photo: The Union of Orthodox Journalists

On the Sunday of Orthodoxy, Greek cleric Archpriest Theodore Zisis announced that he was ceasing commemoration of his ruling bishop, Metropolitan Anthimos of Thessaloniki, believing that his support of last year’s Pan-Orthodox Council on Crete, which acknowledged the term “church” for other Christian confessions, constitutes a fall into the heresy of ecumenism, which denies that the Orthodox Church is the one, true Church. The next day the metropolitan suspended Fr. Theodore from his priestly duties, reports AgionOros.ru.

Fr. Theodore explained his decision by appealing to Canon 15 of the First-Second Council held in Constantinople in 861, presided over by St. Photios the Great. This canon states that if a bishop clearly preaches a heresy previously condemned by either a council or the holy fathers, then priests are allowed to cease commemorating him in the Liturgy, and are to face no canonical penalties.

The crux of the issue at hand is whether the Crete Council fell into the heresy of ecumenism in its documents, which Fr. Theodore and other prominent clergymen, including Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) believe it did, and whether such a heresy has been previously condemned. The same Canon 15 considers it schism if a priest ceases to commemorate a bishop if the heresy in question has not been previously condemned.

Some argue, therefore, that Canon 15 in fact condemns Fr. Theodore, while others note that the holy fathers’ continual fights against heresy have always been precisely for the sake of preserving the one, true Orthodox Church, and point to such documents as the Sixth Ecumenical Council’s Definition of Faith:

These things, therefore, with all diligence and care having been formulated by us, we define that it be permitted to no one to bring forward, or to write, or to compose, or to think, or to teach a different faith. Whosoever shall presume to compose a different faith, or to propose, or teach, or hand to those wishing to be converted to the knowledge of the truth, from the Gentiles or Jews, or from any heresy, any different Creed; or to introduce a new voice or invention of speech to subvert these things which now have been determined by us, all these, if they be Bishops or clerics let them be deposed, the Bishops from the Episcopate, the clerics from the clergy; but if they be monks or laymen: let them be anathematized.

Metropolitan Anthimos had previously instructed Fr. Theodore to cease speaking out against the Crete Council, considering his words as fomenting schism. Following his announcement of ceasing commemoration, the bishop suspended Fr. Theodore from serving or speaking publicly in any of the churches of his metropolis. He has also summoned Fr. Theodore to spiritual court, excommunicated him from the holy chalice, and stripped him of his honorary title as “Archpriest.”

For his part, Fr. Theodore has described these penalties as “unjust, hasty, and anti-canonical,” noting that such sanctions have been placed on him before the proceedings of the ecclesiastical court, and arguing that Canon 15 of the First-Second Council states that priests taking action such as him “shall be deemed worthy to enjoy the honor which befits them among Orthodox Christians.”

Fr. Theodore urged Metropolitan Anthimos to reverse his decision and to allow him the opportunity to serve in his parish of St. Anthony the Great, without commemoration, according to his conscience.

16 / 03 / 2017

See also:
2017-04-10
00:11
Caj Eric Ilotuuli:
Father Zisis ! You are a great inspiration in the way you serve Christ and the Orthodox faith . Pray for me that I , a layman , can be worthy to suffer for Christ .
Caj Eric Konstantin Ilotuuli , Stockholm , Sweden
2017-03-30
11:06
Isidora:
The preachers of NEW DOCTRINES are the heretics, not the defenders of Orthodoxy. Our times and the struggle against Ecumenism is no different than the struggle against other heresies the Orthodox Church has defeated. It is typical that the deluded promoters of heresy use excommunication as their last resort. But it is an honor to be excommunicated by them. Remember that the idolatrous pope excommunicated all of the Orthodox... it is an honor to be recognized as their enemy.

GOD BLESS Father Zisis!! Remember him in prayers.
2017-03-18
07:42
michael jovanovich:
Orthodox are obligated NOT to follow heretical Bishops! Decades ago Orthodox writers warned that the day would come when those who defend the truth would face excommunication. So be it. The faithful HAVE NO CHOICE! God sees all and will judge all of us, clergy and laity, alike. If anything, heretical clergy will be judged more harshly. For many, many years now Orthodoxy has been infiltrated and incremental changes, bad ones, have been unfolding. Anyone who can't see and FEEL this is either in denial or has been sleeping for years. Clearly, the Patriarch of Constantinople is a heretic and many have ceased to follow him and rightly so! There will be many bad days ahead but "those who endureth to the end will be saved."
2017-03-17
17:29
Gavin James Campbell:
When you are a priest, you are subject to the limitations that go with the calling. You commemorate your bishop. And if you will not, then you cannot be a priest.
2017-03-17
00:52
Luke:
The priest cannot be the judge of the bishop. He is now a schismatic. Schism is worse than heresy. It is a sad tragegy.
2017-03-16
21:44
Anthony:
Remember folks. St Nektarios of Pentapolis was also defrocked on spurious grounds. He died without ever having his name cleared by the Patriachate of Alexandria, and it took Papa Petros of Alexandria in the 1980's to clear his name and seek pardon from the saint AFTER he Pater Nektarios had already been canonised by the then Patriarch of Constantinople Athenagoras I think in the 1960's.

The point is Pater Theodoros is 100% correct in his defence of Orthodoxy, and his name will be exonerated one way or another. This dastardly deed by the wolf Anthimos is groundless. I simply hope that he realises he and his Phanar are the one's who better repent of their heresy. We should all pray with our hearts for Pater Theodoros. He needs our prayers at this time very much.
2017-03-16
20:34
CHRISTODOULOS TSIODOULOS:
FATHER ZISIS IS 100% CORRECT AND HE IS 100% ORTHODOX....IT IS PATRIARCH BARTHELAMEOY WHO IS CREATING PROBLEMS...

IN CHRIST..
...
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