A Short Biography of Dr. Alexandre Kalomiros
As published by George Gabriel
Alexandre Kalomiros was born in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1931. He graduated from the American College in Thessaloniki and received his medical training in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1961 he married Margaret Birou and they had three children–John, Gregory, and Eudoxia. He practiced medicine in Greece until the end of his life….
In Geneva, he came to know Western Christianity up close and especially the ecumenical movement because the World Council of Churches is centered there. He started a correspondence with Photios Kontoglou, the famous Byzantine iconographer and writer. A deep friendship developed between them that continued until Kontoglou’s repose in 1965. Alexandre was always drawn to the faith, even as a young child. And in his student years in Geneva, he started studying the writings of the fathers. It was far more than a mere academic study, and it was lifelong. First of all, he revered the Fathers. He never misrepresented their writings and he always approached them with humility. This allowed him to enter into the patristic mind. Converse]y, it also brought into clear contrast the spiritual and theological destruction that was caused by centuries of western, and mostly Latin, influence in the Orthodox East.
Alexandre is probably best known for his first work, Against False Union. First published in 1964, this book may well be the most important and vital Orthodox work of this century. Alexandre wrote for the benefit of everyone–laymen, scholars, clergy. Against false Union opened up true Orthodox patristic theology and ecclesiology for everyone to understand. And it revealed how ecumenism and the westernized mentality of contemporary “world-wide Orthodoxy” are an estrangement from the mind of the Church. In 1968, the first English edition appeared and began to speak to a universal audience of non-Greek speaking Orthodox and even non-Orthodox. Now in its third English edition and in various other languages, Against False Union continues to guide untold numbers of non-Orthodox as well as the faithful to the hidden truth of Orthodoxy.
The urgency of Against False Union became frighteningly clear less than two years after the book was out. In December, 1965, Athenagoras I, patriarch of Constantinople, imagining he could override Christ’s Church, “lifted” the 900-year old anathemas against the Papacy. In declaring to the Pope, “We are one in faith,” he embraced all papist heresies from before and after 1054. A11 over the world, Orthodox began to flee from Athenagoras and other ecumenist wolves in sheep’s clothing. Many found a haven in the Russian Church Abroad, especially in North America. In Greece, the Kalomiros family and others left the new-calendar State Church and turned to the old-calendar Church, joining the jurisdiction under Archbishop Auxentios.
“Rationalism” is at the root of every heresy, and Alexandre wrote an essay about it by that name. Around 1970 it was serialized in “Orthodoxos Typos,” Greece’s broad-based ecclesiastical newspaper. These articles helped form the foundation for “The Six Dawns,” the lecture series on creation which Alexandre delivered in the U.S. over a decade later. People constantly sought out the Doctor for discussions on the teachings of the Fathers. From 1970 on, the Kalomiros home became the regular gathering place for theological study and discussions which were led by the Doctor. They studied the Scriptures and patristic works, such as theEverqetinos (anecdotal sayings of the ascetical Fathers), The Ladder of Divine Ascent, the Philokalia, and especially the writings of St. Symeon the New Theologian.
Alexandre gave us another monumental work, The Touchstone (Syngrima, Gr.), in 1976, a study of the background, theological and ecclesiological implications and consequences of the calendar change. It exposed the depth of the spiritual downfall of’ the Patriarchate of Constantinople and of those who followed it into the heresy of ecumenism. Unfortunately, this book has never been published in English.
Invited by his bishop in Thessaloniki, in 1974 and 1975, Alexandre gave public talks on Orthodox iconography vs. the alien elements and depictions that have crept into our iconography over the centuries which are doctrinally incorrect. He included among these, of course, the depiction of the Holy Trinity with God the Father as an old man. The lectures were very well received by the people, clergy, and hierarchs who filled the hall to capacity.
But on the Sunday of Pentecost, 1976, Alexandre and his family unexpectedly found themselves before a so-called “icon” of the Holy Trinity, which had been placed in the church for veneration. This had never happened before in their eleven years in the parish. They neither venerated it nor entered into disputations about it. But Alexandre’s lectures had earned him enemies, who accused him of iconoclasm and antitrinitarianism, and launched a raging old-calendarist battle for the “icon” across the country.
The Doctor and several parishioners who believed as he did presented documentation of the Church’s prohibition against the “icon” to Archbishop Auxentios and his synod. Throwing aside the Church’s teachings, the bishops supported the image’s fanatical proponents by distributing 1iterature in defense of the image. Eventually Auxentios even issued encyclicals that declared the heretical image Orthodox. And, under the threat of excommunication of laymen and defrockment of clergy, he required the veneration of the image as a confession of faith. The synod’s official periodical, “The Voice of Orthodoxy,” (Sept. 1979, pp. 13,16), published the encyclicals and announced that a priest who refused to comply had indeed been defrocked! “So much for the Orthodoxy of the ‘Genuine’ Orthodox,” wrote the press.
What do the Fathers tell us to do under such circumstances? They tell us that a bad shepherd is worse than no shepherd at all:
“It is better to be led by no shepherd than to be led by a bad one; he who is led by no one has many times been in danger and has many times been saved, but he who is led by a bad shepherd is always in danger and led to perdition…If it regards the faith, quit him and depart–not only if he is a man, but even if he is an angel from heaven!” (St. John Chrysostom)
“It is better to leave those who do not believe correctly than to follow them and be of one mind with them wrongly, and to be joined to them but . separated from God.” (St. Meletius)
“The shepherd is a heretic? Then he is a wolf. Depart from him in leaps and bounds and pray not to be tricked into going near him, no matter how peaceful he may appear.” (St. Photius)
So the Kalomiros family and other parishioners, including the members of the Doctor’s study groups, departed from the synod of Auxentios and formed the parish of St. John the Theologian in 1976. From that moment on, Alexandre’s life was closely bound up with the life of the parish. He was its teacher. And they struggled unceasingly against the unremitting stream of cacodoxies and slander that assaulted them and especially the Doctor. They had no priest and no bishop but they gathered regularly for reader’s services and for study. Soon Holy Transfiguration Monastery of Boston, being then in complete agreement with the faith of the young parish and its ecclesiastical stand, offered spiritual support and sent a priest from its convent in Oinousses, Greece to serve there and in its sister parish in Athens four times a year. The parish became part of the Russian Church Abroad.
Being quite fluent in English, Alexandre was the main speaker at the 1980 and 1981 Orthodox conferences sponsored by Holy Transfiguration Monastery and a group of parishes of the Russian Church Abroad. In Seattle in 1980 he delivered a series of talks under the title of “The River of Fire,” on the true Orthodox teachings in contrast to the western teachings held unknowingly by roost Orthodox regarding sin, divine justice, grace, redemption, the mysteries, heaven and hell. “The River of Fire” was translated into several languages over the years. In 1981 in Carlyle, PA, he again delivered an astounding series of talks: the patristic view of the creation of man and the universe, under the title of “The Six Dawns,” and, by request, an extemporaneous talk on the Seven Signs of the Second Coming. The sweet-smelling fragrance of patristic theology in Alexandre’s talks exposed the stench of western doctrines and their pagan premise that have been corrupting the faith of Orthodox Christians for several centuries.
St. John the Theologian parish elected one of its members, a licensed theologian, as its presbyter. Fr. Lazarus Hajiyiannakis was ordained in New York in May, 1986 by Metropolitan Vitaly of the Russian Church Abroad. When Holy Transfiguration Monastery and a group of parishes suddenly left the Russian Church Abroad in December, 1986, the parish of St. John the Theologian disagreed with this action and remained in the Russian Church Abroad.
However, within weeks, for reasons that were never explained, the Russian Synod of Bishops suddenly and without prior indication dismissed the parish and advised it to join the Greek old-calendar jurisdiction of the synod of Archbishop Chrysostom. (The Greek synod had recently deposed Auxentios and elected Chrysostom as the new presiding hierarch, but its mindset and practices of ten years earlier were and continue to be the same.)
Having direct experience and knowledge of the self-styled “orthodoxies,” the legalistic mentality, scandalous recriminations, mutual defrockments, and the frequent schisms that abound among the combatant old-calendar hierarchies of Greece, the parish stayed away from all of them. It chose “the better portion” and followed the Church’s sacred and ancient practice–if’ a true Orthodox bishop is not accessible or clearly discernible, a parish or a local Church ought to commemorate “every episcopacy of the Orthodox” or simply “our Archbishop,” but no name. Christ is their bishop according to His promise that where two or three are gathered in His name and worship in Spirit and truth, He will be in the midst of them. Several communities in Greece and the U.S. today do the same thing. After the calendar change in 1924, the Greek Old Calendar Church existed for twelve years without any bishops. (When it gained bishops, it lost its unity.) And St. Athanasius the Great says, “As we walk the pure and lifebearing path, if our eye scandalizes us, that is, the mental one and not the sensory one, let us pluck it out. For example, if the bishop or priest, who are the eyes of the Church, comport themselves badly and scandalize the people, they must be removed. It is better to gather without them in a house for prayer than to be cast with them as with Annas and Caiaphas into the fire of Gehena.” (MPG 35,22) In 379, St. Gregory the Theologian arrived in Arian-held Constantinople as the new archbishop and found the tiny Orthodox flock “bishopless” because the city had belonged to the Arian heresy for forty years.
From 1975 to 1988, the Doctor published a series of pamphlets under the title of “The Roots” (Rizes, Gr.), and each issue was a small essay on a specific theological topic. (Many have been published in The Ark in translation.) Alexandre also assisted in the publication of the parish’s newsletter, “Epignosis,” which is widely read and wel1 regarded in Greece.
In the last year of his life, he prepared The Six Dawns for publication, and left us a riveting, as yet unpublished work on the frightful cacodoxy of clericalism, The Keys of the Kingdom. “Clericalism,” he said, “is a denial of the Church.” The Keys of the Kingdom and The River of Fire share the same premise. Clericalism, on the other hand, shares the roots, premise, and ideals of the pagan philosophy of rationalism and Scholasticism.
Alexandre’s love for Christ’s Truth often put him in conflict with those who preach and witness selectively to only parts of Christ’s Truth for expediency, or their own self-interests, or a false peace, or on pastoral pretexts. He was one of the very few today “who have not bent a knee to Baal.” (Rom.ll:4) He fought to preserve the integrity of the Truth, so it would not be dismembered, because Christ is the Truth, the whole Truth. God preserved and sustained Alexandre in the Remnant of Grace–the true Body of Christ in these end times–because he loved and served Christ with all his mind and all his heart and all his abilities. For “even at this present time there is a remnant…of grace.” (Rom.ll:5)
He reposed on the same date as St. Silas, one of’ the Seventy apostles–a layman, whom the Scripture describes as one of the “leaders among the brethren.” Silas was sent with St. Paul and Barnabas to correct the errors and harm done by certain preachers in Syria. There he “exhorted the brethren… and bolstered them… teaching and preaching the word of the Lord” (Acts 15:23-35). Truly Alexandre was a modern-day Silas. (Silas was ordained many years later, near the end of his life, and became the bishop of Corinth.)
Alexandre often spoke about the end times with the anticipation and spirit of a true Christian who has no permanent city here and does not fear the coming of Christ. Many times, at the end of his letters he joyfully wrote, “Maran-atha,” that is, “the Lord will come,” the Aramaic sa1utation and common hope and expression of the early Christians. He tried to prepare his brethren for the last days so they won’t be deceived by the Antichrist who draws nearer. He loved the quietude and peace in God like a true anchorite and often wrote about it with great desire. And he never ceased being a devated and loving husband and father, and a caring healer to his patients.
Weary from thirty years of constant struggles, Alexandre was called by his beloved Lord to the true Sabbath, which is peace and rest in His Hand. He gave up his last breath among his family and brethren, exhorting them in Christ’s truth. His memory is surely eternal.
“Sleep in the earth until I awaken you. Rest in My Hand until the ages have passed without your having perceived their passing, and until I create the earth and the heavens anew and you incorruptible and eternal.” (Quoted from “The Roots,” Vol.14, Summer, 1985)