When The Going Gets Tough...
It is by now obvious that Orthodoxy in the New World is at a crossroads. The options are but two: the Orthodox faithful of the New World have to chose between being an obedient appendix of the Old World or assume the condition of equals between equals and demand canonical independence.
At this point a few basics should be repeated.
The New World, that is the United States and Canada, is a continent, the most developed part of the World and the leader of the World. This reality can not to be argued, it is a fact.
The American and Canadian nations are centuries old and their contribution to the modern culture and civilization is overwhelming. In all areas of development the New World is at the top - most of the time head and shoulders above the rest of the world. Under these circumstances it is absolutely stunning why this is not recognized by the Orthodox bodies of the Old World. The explanation and cause of this, the burden of this aberratio, lays squarely with the Old World.
The Orthodox bodies of the Old World act, in regard to New World Orthodoxy, in a selfish and misguided way. Out of inertia, fear of change, and for petty materialistic interests as well, those bodies continue to consider the American Orthodox a "diaspora" and thus, part of the ethnic realities of the Old World. It is an obstinate denial of reality. It is also an offensive refusal to acknowledge the very existence of the American and Canadian nations.
Up to a point the bodies of the Old World act in ignorance - but beyond that point they act in bad faith that cannot be forgiven. The fact that in the Old World the Orthodox canonical bodies view all nations are entitled to autocephaly, but not those in the New World represents an aberration - and a gross offense.
That unholy mixture, of ignorance and bad faith, is surrounded in all kinds of dubious canonical interpretations, sheer sophistry and uncalled-for-presumptuousness. Let us make no mistake. The canonical bodies of the Old World, or, anyhow, too many of them, ganged up not just against the OCA; they ganged up against the very idea of American autocephaly. Such machinations should not pass!
Paradoxically, however, the responsibility to change and reject that approach, the responsibility to assert the American Orthodox are not with the bodies of the Old World, lies with the American Orthodox faithful. The humbleness of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah is very commendable. This is a quality that has became "rara avis "among Orthodox hierarchs. But +Jonah is wrong when he tolerates being pushed around as Metropolitan of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of America.
The Metropolitan should hold the line. He should fight back. He should reject any suggestion that the OCA's autocephaly is anything but full autocephaly. It should be remembered that when faced with the arrogance of heretics Saint Nicholas, the very symbol of gentleness, was not shy to literally hit back, and hit back hard. That act was not just an occurrence, it set an example to follow.
For the Orthodox faithful of the New World now is the time to prove the unyielding mettle of America. No matter how many would gang up against it, America does not cave.
The OCA's autocephaly - the autocephaly of all Orthodox in America - is a cause worthy to fight for. It is a cause that will prevail.
"Valerian D. Trifa.Romanian-American Heritage Center."