On September 19 / October 2, 2016, the Holy Synod of the Holy Orthodox Church in North America issued its historic Synodal Affirmation of Autocephaly. This document was the fruit of years of reflection about the nature, mission, and mandate of our Church. Anyone wishing to understand the reasoning that went into the affirmation of our autocephaly, and to study the canonical, historical, and ecclesiological principles that provided the basis for this affirmation, should read two talks given by Hierodeacon Samuel of Holy Transfiguration Monastery. The first, “The Catholicity of the Local Church,” was delivered at the 2015 Clergy Synaxis. The second, “Why Autocephaly?” was given at the 2016 Synaxis. The two talks are related, as the ecclesiological principles put forward in the first develop naturally into those expressed in the second.
According to the holy canons, in every land in which the Faith of Christ has been planted a Local Orthodox Church should blossom, one that would belong fully to the people of that land. A Local Church, moreover, can come into existence only when it has its own local Bishop; for, to paraphrase the words of Saint Ignatius the God-bearer, where the Bishop is, there is the Church. This is the proper and canonical form of ecclesial administration.
For almost twenty years now, our Church in North America has maintained pastoral oversight of communities of Orthodox Christians dwelling in several countries of East Africa – Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania – that had asked to be received under the care of our Holy Synod. Our hierarchs have done their utmost to shepherd the African flock, experiencing both blessings and temptations along the way. From the very beginning, our Synod has hoped to find a candidate worthy of the episcopacy, so that a local Bishop would be consecrated for the East African flock.
It seems that God has heard our prayers. After much prayer, thought, and detailed examination, the Holy Synod has reached the unanimous decision that Priestmonk Paul (Gathuru), who has faithfully served as Head of our Church's Mission in Kenya for thirteen years, should be consecrated as Bishop of Nairobi, and that he assume the pastoral care of the Church in East Africa. We believe that this should open a new chapter in the history of Orthodoxy in Africa, with a local Bishop shepherding a local flock, and that proper ecclesiastical order will be established in that part of the world.
The Consecration of Bishop-Elect Paul of Nairobi will take place on the last day of our Annual Clergy Synaxis, Sunday, October 2, 2016 (NS), at Saint Mark of Ephesus Orthodox Cathedral of Boston.
We rejoice together with our brothers and sisters in Africa, and pray that our Saviour strengthen the Bishop-Elect Paul, that he may continue to serve the Holy Church selflessly, faithfully and diligently. Amen.
Your fervent supplicant unto God,
+ Gregory, Metropolitan of Boston
President of the Holy Synod
On the Sunday after the Nativity of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ, at the Cathedral of Saint Mark of Ephesus in Boston, Father John Copeland was ordained to the Priesthood by Metropolitan Gregory.
Father John is heading the Mission of Saint Athanasius the Great in Glenpool, Oklahoma.
May our Saviour bless him with many years of faithful service to His Church. Amen.Axios! Axios! Axios!
The Synodal Tome of the Holy Council of Constantinople of 1351
“Every Power or Energy [of God] is God Himself.” These are the words of St. Gregory Palamas.  This “Power or Energy,” which is God Himself, as the Saint teaches us, is “boundless” and “before creation.” It is uncreated.
In his book, The Guide,  St. Anastasius of Sinai has the following paragraph:
Question: Does the appellation “God” refer to [God’s] Essence, or His Person, or His Energy, or is it a symbol, or a metaphor?
Answer: It is clear [the designation] “God” refers to [God’s] Energy. It does not represent the very Essence of God; for it is impossible to know this, but it represents and reveals His Energy that is able to be contemplated [by us].
This teaching of St. Anastasius of Sinai was confirmed and adopted by the Holy Council of Constantinople of 1351 in its Synodal Tome. The same Synodal Tome affirmed that the Grace or Energy of God “is called ‘Godhead’ by the Saints.”  St. Gregory Palamas endorsed this Synodal Tome of the Holy Council of Constantinople of 1351; this Council, in turn, endorsed St. Gregory’s Confession of the Orthodox Faith. These are clear-cut Orthodox Christian synodal resolutions, not the confused and contradictory decisions of later, Lutheran-style “synods” in Russia or elsewhere. 
In addition, St. Clement of Rome (c. ✠ 100) tells us that “the Name of God is the origin of all creation” (First Letter to the Corinthians 59:2–3).
St. Cyril of Alexandria (✠ 444) teaches that Christ’s disciples “ought to be kept in the Name of the Father, that is to say, in the Glory and Power of His Godhead” (On the Gospel According to St. John, bk. 11, ch. 9).
St. John Chrysostom (✠ 407), in his explanation of Acts 3:16 (“And His Name, through faith in His Name, made this man strong”), like the Apostles and all our Saints, also recognizes that the Name of God is one and the same as the healing Grace and Energy of God when he writes that “[the Son of God’s] Name raised up the lame man, who was like one dead” (Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles 9).
St. John of Kronstadt (✠ 1908) affirms this teaching of the Saints when he tells us that “His Name is [God] Himself” and “The Name of God is God Himself” (My life in Christ, trans. by E. Goulaeff, London, 1897).
Consequently, any later “council” or “synod” — whether it be Russian, or Greek Old Calendarist, or New Calendarist, or whatever — that contradicts these resolutions of the Holy Council of Constantinople of 1351, the Synodicon of Orthodoxy, and the teachings of the Saints is not an Orthodox council or synod, but a false synod, a pseudo-council, not accepted by the Orthodox Church, and those who concur with such false “synods” are themselves guilty of the heresy of Name-fighting — fighting against the Name of God.
Holy Orthodox Metropolis of Boston
1) See the Chapters Against Barlaam and Acindynus, in the Synodicon of Orthodoxy (in The True Vine, issue nos. 27 and 28, pp. 63–68 and 74–77).
2) See PG 89:53.
3) See Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition, vol. 1, ed. by Jaroslav J. Pelikan and Valerie V. Hotchkiss, New Haven, CT, Yale University Press, 2003.
4) The Russian Synod of 1913, in blatant defiance of the teaching of St. Anastasius and the Hesychast Council of 1351, claimed that the Energies of God are not and cannot be called “God”
“Behold now, what is so good or so joyous as for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Psalm 132:1).
The 2015 Clergy Synaxis of the Holy Orthodox Church in North America was hosted by the St. Lucia’s Sisterhood at the St. Mark of Ephesus Orthodox Cathedral and St. Anna’s Orthodox Church, both in Rosindale, MA, from October 2 to October 5, 2015. Friday, October 2, began with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy by His Grace, Bishop Andrew of Markham, assisted by Deacon John Copeland, at St. Mark’s Cathedral. Following brunch at St. Mark’s Hall, diocesan reports were given at St. Anna’s Church by His Eminence, Metropolitan Gregory of Boston; His Eminence, Metropolitan Makarios of Toronto; and His Grace, Bishop Andrew of Markham. Later in the afternoon, Bishop Andrew delivered a talk entitled, “The Role of the Typicon in the Life of the Orthodox Church,” which was followed by a lively discussion concerning liturgical matters. The day concluded with Vespers at St. Mark’s Cathedral and dinner at St. Mark’s Hall.
On Saturday, October 3, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Fr. Dimitry Kukonov, assisted by Deacon James Dimock. Following brunch, the first talk of the day, given by Hierodeacon Samuel, was entitled “The Catholicity of the Local Church,” which was again followed by a lively discussion. The second talk of the day, offered by Protopresbyter Rodion Laskowski, consisted of his reminiscences of the many men of sanctity he has encountered over his long years of pastoral service, with special attention being paid to Archbishop Andrew of Novo Diveyevo and Igumen Athanassy (Shelepov), who reposed at Holy Transfiguration Monastery in 1976. Archimandrite Panteleimon likewise joined in, sharing his moving remembrances of Archbishop Andrew and Fr. Athanassy and others. The same day Metropolitan Gregory officially announced to the assembled clergy that Protopresbyter Ihnat Ponomarchuk had been elected Metropolitan of Seattle and that Hieromonk Chrysostomos (Larrea) had likewise been elected Auxiliary Bishop of the Metropolis of Boston. The day concluded with dinner and Vespers.
A hierarchal Divine Liturgy was celebrated at St. Mark’s on Sunday, October 5, by Metropolitan Gregory and Bishop Andrew, assisted by all the assembled clergy. At the greeting of the bishops prior to Liturgy, Metropolitan Gregory was officially installed as the Ruling Metropolitan of the Metropolis of Boston. Following the service, a festive trapeza was held at St. Mark’s Hall for all the assembled hierarchs, clergy, and faithful.
Those attending the 2015 Clergy Synaxis were edified by the spirit of fellowship and ecclesial unity experienced by all.
One of the greatest blessings for an Orthodox Christian is to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. There are still spaces available for the Fall 2015 pilgrimage to the Holy Land, being led by Holy Transfiguration Monastery and Holy Nativity Convent.
We will guide our group of pilgrims on an edifying journey into the sites and shrines most precious to Christian hearts including Jerusalem’s Old City, the Holy Sepulcher and surrounding holy sites, the ancient church in Bethlehem built over the cave where our Saviour was born, 2 days visiting the ancient shrines in Galilee, where our Saviour lived and taught, ancient monasteries and sites in Jericho, Jacob’s Well, Nazareth, the Mount of Olives, immersion in the Jordan River, and a boat-ride on the Sea of Galilee. There is also a probable visit to the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul during the layover between flights on the return trip. This is a beautiful pilgrimage, which every Christian should make at least once in his lifetime - the spiritual blessings from the Holy Land pilgrimage revisit the Christian heart at church feasts thereafter, and truly bring new life to one’s faith.
This Fall’s pilgrimage departs from Boston Sunday, October 18th and returns to Boston on Saturday, October 31st , 2015. The total cost is $3,000, which includes the round-trip airfare from Boston to Tel Aviv on Turkish Airlines (rated the best European airline), hotel, daily tours and most meals. An optional day excursion to the Dead Sea including lunch and a swim is also available for an additional fee. A private room may also be arranged for an additional fee.
The official website of the Synod of the True Orthodox Church of Greece published a Report (in Greek) of the recent brotherly visit of His Beatitude Archbishop Makarios of Athens and other hierarchs from Greece to the Holy Orthodox Church in North America.
Once again this year, the Holy Orthodox Metropolis of Boston will be selling five types of 2015 Orthodox Church Calendars:
(#1) 2015 Full-Size Wall Calendar. 11 by 8.5 inches. The 2015 Scripture Reading Booklet is automatically included. $12.00.
(#2) 2015 Reduced-Size Wall Calendar. Booklet size, 8.5 by 5.5 inches, with small print. $7.00.
(#3) 2015 Appointment Calendar. Booklet size, 8.5 by 5.5 inches, with small print. Major feast days only are listed. Blank squares for most days. $7.00.
(#4) 2015 Pocket Calendar. $5.00.
(#5) 2015 Scripture Readings Booklet. Available separately for those who have not purchased a Full-Size Wall Calendar, which already includes this booklet. $2.00.
If you are affiliated with a parish or mission of the Holy Orthodox Church in North America (HOCNA), you should submit your order directly to your parish’s rector, your head of mission, or the layperson who has been delegated to handle calendar orders. Please note that parish rectors who attended the recent Clergy Synaxis have already submitted a calendar order for their parishes. These orders will be given priority, so we ask that you order directly from your parish, if possible. You can print and fill out the Parish Order Form for 2015 Orthodox Church Calendars, which is attached, and submit it to your parish rector, head of mission, or designated layperson, by Sunday, November 1, 2014 (n.s.).
If you are a parish rector who could not attend the Synaxis, or a head of a monastic community, or a head of a mission, we ask that you email the attached Email Order Form for 2015 Orthodox Church Calendars, which is attached, to firstname.lastname@example.org, by Monday, November 1, 2014, according to the civil calendar.
If you are a family or individual who is unable to order calendars from a parish or mission, you can fill out the attached Email Order Form for 2015 Orthodox Church Calendars, which is attached, and email it to email@example.com, by Monday, November 10, 2014 (n.s.).
The Holy Orthodox Church in North America convened its annual Clergy Synaxis on Friday, October 3, and Saturday, October 4, 2014, at St. Anna’s Hall in Roslindale, MA, followed by a Hierarchal Divine Liturgy on Sunday, October 5, at St. Mark’s Orthodox Cathedral, also in Roslindale. Present were Their Eminences, Metropolitan Ephraim of Boston and Metropolitan Makarios of Toronto, and Their Graces, Bishop Gregory of Brookline and Bishop Andrew of Markham, along with a little under twenty clergy.
Friday began with the Divine Liturgy served by the clergy of St. Anna’s, Archpriest Dimitry Kukunov and Deacon Savas Papadopoulos. Four sessions followed: diocesan reports, a forum on recent events, clergy agenda issues, and a lecture by Hierodeacon Samuel of Holy Transfiguration Monastery entitled “Human Language and Divine Revelation: On the Theological Nominalism of Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) and Fr. John Romanides.” The day concluded with Vespers, celebrated by Hieromonk Chrysostomos and the newly-ordained Deacon Stephen Johnson of the St. Cosmas of Aitolia Orthodox Church in Lanham, MD, and dinner.
Saturday again began with the Divine Liturgy, this time celebrated by Archpriest Ihnat Ponomarchuk and Deacon James Dimock of the St. Nectarios American Orthodox Cathedral in Seattle, WA. Two talks were then delivered: Thomas S. Deretich of Boston spoke on “The Kallinikos-Cyprian-Agafangel Unity Agreement of Old Calendar Synods in March 2014: An Act of Betrayal Against the Legacy of Saint Philaret the New Confessor and Against the True Orthodox Christian of Greece”; and Protopresbyter Andrew Boroda of the Prophet Elias Orthodox Church in St. Paul, MN, spoke on various matters of practical pastoral concern.
On Sunday a Hierarchal Divine Liturgy was celebrated at St. Mark’s Cathedral by Bishops Gregory and Andrew, with Metropolitan Ephraim in attendance, who also delivered the homily (Metropolitan Makarios had to return to Toronto). All remaining clergy concelebrated at the Liturgy, after which a festive meal was held in St. Mark’s Hall.
The 2014 Clergy Synaxis of the Holy Orthodox Church in North America was a time of fraternal association, lively discussion, edifying talks, and, most importantly of all, of joint prayer and Eucharistic fellowship.
Photos of the concelebration and the reception: 1 ~ 2
On August 25/September 7, 2014, at the parish of St. Cosmas of Aitolia in Lanham, Maryland, Fr. Stephen Johnson, the son of our ever-memorable Fr. Seraphim Johnson, was ordained to the deaconate by Bishop Gregory of Brookline.
May our Savior strengthen Fr. Stephen in his ministry to the Church!
In a few days, the Holy Orthodox Metropolis of Boston will begin extensive repairs to our Saint Mark of Ephesus Orthodox Cathedral of Boston. This will include repairs to the roof and air conditioning, as well as making our Cathedral handicapped-accessible, among many other improvements. These renovations will require us to have Divine Services at Saint Anna’s from Saturday, June 28 until Sunday, July 27, 2014, according to the civil calendar. It is our plan to resume regular Sunday Divine Liturgies at Saint Mark’s on Sunday, August 3. We also plan something new for our Cathedral: Once these initial renovations are completed, we intend to have a meal (trapeza) every Sunday morning after the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral basement.
It is our plan to have regular Sunday Liturgies and trapezas at the Cathedral, whereas Saturday Vespers and Feast Day Services will usually be at Saint Anna’s. The clergy who serve our Saint Mark’s Cathedral and Saint Anna’s are Metropolitan Ephraim of Boston, Bishop Gregory of Brookline, Archimandrite Isaac, Archpriest Dimitry Kukunov, Priest-Monk Basil, Presbyter John Yiannacos, Deacon John Mihopoulos, and Deacon Savas Papadopoulos.
In August, both the Holy Orthodox Metropolis of Boston and the Holy Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto will be hosting four hierarchs visiting from Greece: Archbishop Makarios of Athens and All Greece, Metropolitan Euthymios of Thessalonica, Bishop Makarios of Peristera, and Bishop Iakovos of Christoupolis. Archbishop Makarios of Athens is confirmed to serve at the Holy Transfiguration Monastery for the Feast of the Transfiguration on Tuesday, August 19. In early August, we intend to distribute a more detailed schedule of hierarchical services and visits for that month.
In January 2014, the Suffolk County Superior Court ordered the clergy who had initiated a lawsuit and who had been occupying the Metropolis’s Cathedral to return the keys for the Cathedral to the Metropolis within 30 days. Despite this clear Court decision in favor of the Metropolis, these clergy decided to file an appeal and their attorneys claimed that they did not have to obey the Court’s order during the appeal process. At the end of a short trial that the Court scheduled and held today, the Court rejected this claim and issued a decision holding these clergy in contempt of court for disobeying a clear court order. The Judge ordered that the keys for the Cathedral must be transferred to the Metropolis this week and that no items on the property may be removed or damaged.
As we have stated in all our previous announcements, the Metropolis wants to reassure everyone that when the hierarchs and priests of the Metropolis are able to serve the Divine Liturgy in their Cathedral, all Orthodox Christian faithful will once again be welcome to attend all liturgical services and functions at the Saint Mark of Ephesus Orthodox Cathedral in Boston.
The Metropolis would like to thank all those hierarchs, clergy, monastics, and lay Christians from throughout North America and from abroad, who have encouraged us, prayed for us, and supported us in various ways during these difficult months. We will inform everyone promptly when the keys to our Cathedral are returned to our hierarchs this week, in accordance with the Court’s order.
March 12/25, 2014, Saint Gregory the Dialogist and Saint Symeon the New Theologian
In January 2014, the Suffolk County Superior Court ruled decisively in favor of the Holy Orthodox Metropolis of Boston in the lawsuit that was filed against us in October 2012. At that time, a small number of individuals decided to use a secular Court in order to seize control of both the Saint Mark of Ephesus Orthodox Cathedral and Saint Anna’s Orthodox Church, and to remove them from the Metropolis. All of the Church documents and legal documents—backed by the relevant United States and Massachusetts Court precedents—were always clear that the Saint Mark of Ephesus Orthodox Cathedral was the Cathedral Church of the Holy Orthodox Metropolis of Boston under His Eminence, Metropolitan Ephraim of Boston. In its January 2014 decision, the Court ordered that the keys to the Metropolis’s Cathedral must be returned to the Metropolis within 30 days. The clergymen who currently control the Metropolis’s Cathedral have appealed this Court decision and their lawyers are claiming that they are not required to comply with the Court’s order while their appeal is active. A short Court hearing occurred on Monday, March 24, 2014, and another hearing is scheduled for Monday, April 14, 2014. The Metropolis hopes and expects that this hearing will produce a second order from the Court to these clergymen that they must return the keys for the Metropolis’s Cathedral to the Metropolitan of Boston, even as the Court allows the appeal to move forward. The Metropolis believes that the Court’s decision of January 2014 was correct and that the appeal has no legal merit whatsoever and has virtually no chance of success.
The Metropolis would like to thank all those hierarchs, clergy, monastics, and lay Christians from throughout North America and from several nations, who have encouraged us, prayed for us, and supported us in various ways during these difficult months. We will inform everyone promptly if and when the keys to our Cathedral are transferred back to our hierarchs, in accordance with the Court’s order. As we have stated in previous announcements, the Metropolis wants to reassure everyone that when the hierarchs and priests of the Metropolis are able to serve the Divine Liturgy in their Cathedral, all Orthodox Christian faithful will once again be welcome to attend all liturgical services and functions at the Saint Mark of Ephesus Orthodox Cathedral in Boston.