Monday, July 7. 2008
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"Beneficial for... the presence of Orthodoxy in the Americas," says the Church of Romania's press release about this merger between the ROEA and the ROAA. Beneficial how? It's simply another reversion to phyletism, rather than territoriality, as the principle of church organization. If the Church of Romania were truly interested in the canonical integrity of the Church in the America's, it could have released its ROAA parishes to the ROEA, a diocese of the OCA. This just seems like more phyletistic expansionism on the part of an Old World church, of the sort already being flexed by Constantinople, Moscow and others in turf wars over the New World, to get a piece of the American pie. If we ever get to put Christ and canons first, Orthodox Christianity just might have a brilliant future in America; but so long as we're mired in ethnocentrism, overseas control and Old World politics, we're not likely to see much in the way of God's blessings.
#1 Gregory Orloff on 2008-07-07 06:54
You are absolutely correct in your analysis! The Orthodox Churches in North America were closer to unity in 1970 than they are today - think about that! Frs. Schmemann & Meyendorff really had people listening & thinking about a unified church in America. Today, 38 years later, everyone wants to march backwards! Yes, there is more immigration since the fall of Communism, but to revert to the state of the Orthodox in this country as it was in 1930 helps who? How does this help the Orthodox collectively in North America? It's only more division, separation and of course ETHNOCENTRISM! I'm sure those foreign bishops are happy filling their coffers with more American money!
#1.1 Anonymous on 2008-07-07 10:17
Precisely, Anonymous. Immigration is no excuse for divisions based on phyletism; it certainly wasn't when Saint Tikhon the New Confessor was archbishop of a single multi-ethnic North American archdiocese at the start of the 20th century, and it's not now. A single Orthodox Church in North America, organized on canonical territorial principles, would be in a much stronger position to minister to diverse flock, native-born and immigrant, than a rag-tag patchwork of small multiple jurisdictions. Heavens knows the Protestants manage to do it: even in my small Southern town there's Hispanic, Chinese and Korean "evangelical" churches. If we put Christ ahead of ethnic identity, we'd be able to do no less.
#1.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-07-07 16:37
I'm getting tired of the "p" word being thrown around so carelessly at Orthodox Christian jurisdictions that are getting their act together in the face of, or in the case of the ROEA, in spite of, the troubles of the OCA.
"The term phyletism from phili (Hellenic: φυλή): race or tribe was coined at the Holy and Great pan-Orthodox Synod that met in Constantinople in 1872. The meeting was prompted by the creation of a separate bishopric by the Bulgarian community of Constantinople for parishes only open to Bulgarians. It was the first time in Church history that a separate diocese was established based on ethnic identity rather than principles of Orthodoxy and territory. Phyletism, however, should not be confused with patriotism (which was known at that time as φιλοπατρία) as the latter simply means devotion and loyalty to one's nation and/or culture and is not at odds with Orthodoxy."
Will the American Romanian Orthodox Churches be open only to Romanians? Of course not. Are the MP or ROCOR open only to Russians? Are the Antiochians, Arab only? Please. Enough with the red herrings, the sour grapes and the non-sequiturs.
The OCA's problems are its own.
#1.2 Anonymous on 2008-07-07 14:46
The "p" word isn't being thrown around carelessly here. The Church of Romania is seeking to organize Romanians in America, Japan and elsewhere under itself, existing church structures be damned. The criterion for such expansionism outside its canonical territory? "They're Romanians." That's phyletism: organization of the Church along ethnic, rather than, territorial lines. In the case of Japan, why not just say to the existing Orthodox Church, "Let us help you by sending Romanian presbyters and deacons to serve under your bishop to minister to Romanian expatriates in your country"? Why seek to set up a separate church structure alongside the Church that already exists there?
#1.2.1 Anonymous on 2008-07-07 20:15
looks like a duck, walks like a duck, sounds like a duck
#1.2.2 Anonymous on 2008-07-08 09:21
No such vote was taken at the Vatra by the ROEA, this is false!
(Editor's note: I have only reported what the Patriarchate is claiming. There was indeed a vote a vote taken at the Vatra last weekend: and indeed, according to witnesses, a statement endorsing "the work", that is the unity proposal, was passed. It was stated very clearly on many occasions over the weekend that it was not a final vote on unity, but a vote to continue the processes of the dialogue toward an eventual final vote - if that's where the processes lead. There is not reason to believe that is not where it is leading, however. To offer an analogy - it is like a procedural vote before a major vote in congress. If the early vote passes, the latter will as well.
A letter was also read from the other Romanian Archdiocese in which they notified the Archdiocese that they also endorsed the proposal to continue with the discussions as well.)
#2 Constantin Ardeleanu on 2008-07-07 07:08
With respect to your editors note, there was only the resolution of thanking the members of the JDC for there work and allowing them to continue, that is not an endorsement of the existing proposal. Maybe you need to check your facts from more than just one witness.
(Editor's note: In all fairness, OCANews.org did not report that there was an endorsement of the existing proposal. What was reported was a" vote to continue the processes of the dialogue toward an eventual final vote - if that's where the processes lead."
Perhaps you did not like my closing analogy likening it to a procedural vote in congress? But once again I would argue that it was very much like that - it let everybody see the lay of the land before any decisions are taken. In this case the votes may have shown that the path to "unification" as presently set forth may not be as quick or easy as some thought...
Finally, one can criticize the Patriarchate, in their enthusiasm for the deal, for "jumping the gun". To their credit, they have since backed off their claims and corrected their story. But the real criticism must be directed to Chicago and Grass Lake for failing to publish anything regarding the meetings, even now, four days after the deliberations. Someone was calling Bucharest shortly after the votes were taken: it is a shame no one could inform those in America as well. )
#2.1 Constantin Ardeleanu on 2008-07-07 20:31
Simply put, the Romanian Diocese under the OCA is turning their own clock back 50-100 years. Instead of moving forward in a united American Orthodoxy, it looks like they prefer domination by foreign bishops who will take their money and smile. FOOLS!
#3 Anonymous on 2008-07-07 07:58
I'm sorry, but I grew up being tought that fools are people who make far-fetched claims about people and situations without fact. I respect your right to your opinion on what is good for Orthodoxy, but to refer to good, honest, hard-working people as fools just because they do not agree with you is foolishness in itself. We need to focus on facts - not suspicions, paranoia, prejudice or name-calling.
#3.1 Anonymous on 2008-07-07 09:46
My grandparents and parents are people who helped build the Romanian Episcopate, both on the parish and diocesan level. They were no fools - they saw the future of the Church in this country for themselves and their children as American. That included being free from interference and control by the Patriarchate. They saw what the Patriarchate in collusion (willingly or otherwise) with the Communists perpetuated in trying to take control of the Episcopate, including the removal of Bp Policarp, legal fights for the Vatra, and the attacks on Abp Valerian, who must be spinning in his grave. Their hard work, time, talent, money, blood, sweat and tears are being betrayed by such a backward move.
The people who are perpetuating this "reunion" ARE fools, even if they are good hard-working people. Those who bad-mouth the OCA (beginning with the Commission members), sometimes for good reason, are terribly misguided in their thinking. Ever heard of phyletism? It's not a virtue! The Patriarch of Romania, who is now selling himself as having universal jurisdiction over all Romanians everywhere on the planet (sound like a Pope to anyone else?), is surely not trying to reunite the Romanians in this country so he can set them free to form a really really autocephalous church!
That the huge influx of immigrants in the past 20 years need to be ministered to is a given. But while the adults are holding on to being Romanian, their kids are learning English watching MTV, downloading iTunes to their iPods, playing video games, shopping at American Eagle, etc. To all those who have come to America, bine ati venit! Please make yourselves at home here, in the Church in America...like Romanians have done for the past 100 years. And stop trying to muscle those who have been here and built the Episcopate and its parishes into turning back the clock and so many other things.
And for all those who think that because the OCA is such a mess, leaving is a good idea, please think again. Now is an opportune time to actually participate as full and complete members of the OCA. Help lead instead of running away to some false old home week!
#3.1.1 Stefanie Yova Yazge on 2008-07-07 14:11
I fully understand all that you say and agree with it, so why is it that Fr. L who knows so much of what you stated, seem to be for this? I also don't understand why no one has asked the +ArchB N to explain how this would move us closer to a unified North American Orthodox Church.
My only previous comment was that nothing was made final at the Vatra concerning this matter, only to continue talks, which must happen with respect to all jurisdictions if there is to ever be a unified church in North America.
#220.127.116.11 Constantin Ardeleanu on 2008-07-07 20:24
You are absolutely correct! If only everyone could have known the Orthodox unity and cooperation we grew up with in Akron - 14 Orthodox jurisdictions cooperating together. And yet, Fr. Larry Lazar who also comes out of this is for unity with the Patriarch - has he fallen and bumped his head? Has he given in to some secret deal? What happened to the zealous Romanian Americans like Mr. Groza and your father who believed in Orthodox unity in America - are they all gone?
It's pretty clear the Greeks and Russians are setting into motion to keep the Orthodox in America divided and the Romanians are falling along. There is no DIASPORA in America; Americans don't belong to Greece, Russia, Romania or any other country. Yes, those wishing to go back under the thumb of foreign bishops are fools. Amazing that the Russian bishops in Alaska in 1794 saw the need for a multi-ethnic AMERICAN CHURCH and here in 2008, 214 years later, we still have people wanting a non-American church. How blind can people be?
#18.104.22.168 Anonymous on 2008-07-08 06:55
Where in the proposal does it say the Romanian Orthodox in America will be "under the thumb" of a foreign Bishop. Once again some people either don't understand the facts, or just want to believe something else to further their own argument.
I would also like to call on all people to stop using terms like "fools" to describe others, regardless of their opinion. We are supposed to be Christians, and this name calling should be well below us.
#22.214.171.124.1 Steve Grabowski on 2008-07-08 09:12
Couldn't you have just stated a case without 1) referring to people who disagree with you as fools, and 2) insulting a well-respected clergyman?
Also, since you brought up Akron where you and Stephanie grew up closely together as kids, there was a nice young man from Akron who was one of those who spoke at the ROEA congress in support of the resolution that was passed. He very sincerely stated how he came from a Russian Orthodox parish and his wife eventually converted because of what they found in the Akron Roumanian parish, and they are glad to have a family life surrounding that parish. He went on to say that after reading and understanding the proposal he is in support of unity because he sees how it can greatly benefit the Church in America. So I ask, is he a fool?
#126.96.36.199.2 Anonymous on 2008-07-08 11:12
Anonymous #188.8.131.52 wrote:
"What happened to the zealous Romanian Americans like Mr. Groza and your father who believed in Orthodox unity in America - are they all gone?"
Unfortunately, my father (Protodeacon Paul) died in 1997. I am quite sure that my dad - and a great number of his deceased AROY friends, as well as clergy - are not happy with what is going on because it betrays years of work for the Church in America.
As for Fr Lazar, you'll have to ask him...
#184.108.40.206.3 Stefanie Yova Yazge on 2008-07-08 11:34
Khouria Yazge is very correct in stating that from the 1940s until the fall of communism, the Roumanian Orthodox in America for years feared, struggled with, and fought against the advances of communist interference in the life of the Orthodox Church both here and in Roumania. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that Bishop Policarp, Archbishop Valerian and Archbishop Nathaniel did everything they felt best to protect the sanctity of our churches here, and as a member of a ROEA parish I am thankful for that. The work of the one, whole Roumanian diocese of Bishop Policarp was severly impeded by having to deal with division and politics. But times are different now. The great majority of the people are different now. The Church in Roumania has its own challenges and mindset, unique from our churches here, but they are not evil. They are not users. They are not just out for money and power. Must we continue to hold the sins of the father against the son too? How many generations must this continue until we learn forgiveness?
I personally have prayed that God will forgive everyone on either side who have done wrong in the past, and I pray that we can move forward based on today's reality. True, even today, no Church administration is perfect. There may be some bad apples in the bunch, but that is true in Roumania, Russia, Greece, the OCA, Antiochian Archdiocese, etc. We have the responsibility to see that our churches uphold the highest possible standards, but we cannot simply go around condemning entire Churches. For example, should the entire Greek Archdiocese be condemned because of the isolated instances of sexual abuse reported? Of course not! You strive to fix the problems and you continue to build-up the Church.
I find it unusual that we don't hear such criticisms against the Syrian/Antiochian jurisdictions who united years ago under the Patriarchate of Antioch. As truly admirable as the Antiochian Archdiocese is in their missionary efforts in America, they still do not have autocephaly. And for some reason a unity for the Roumanians, with more freedoms than the Antiochian Archdiocese currently has, is foolishness?
Also as a member of a ROEA parish, I am deeply offended that someone would refer to us as "fools" because we wish to see our family united in a way which we feel is good. Can't we be above this name-calling? Many of us have family who belong to parishes of both archdioceses. How can we be expected to harbor such feelings of contempt and superiority against our own brothers and sisters. How Christian is that? And I am ashamed that people are making it a "you people from Roumania" issue. The fact is that there are many American-born people who support this unity too. So let's put this prejudice aside and debate the proposal on its merits, not based on the assumptions of the ethnicity of the people who support it.
I respect Khouria's continued love for the ROEA, even after being away as I understand it for some 20 years, and hope that she will consider all sides not just the negativity she may be hearing from a few individuals. I rest with the knowledge that nobody is "spinning in their graves" because whatever the Holy Spirit guides our Church leaders to do will ultimately be for the good of the Church.
#220.127.116.11 Anonymous on 2008-07-08 08:35
Dear "Anonymous" and others who may have been offended by the language of "fools,"
A fool can be one who is being deceived. I simply want to point out the deception, not cast aspersions. And it appears this proposal attempts to deceive people in using the arguments of "Orthodox unity in America" in promoting the Reunification. That was the context of the word in my comments. Please read what I wrote. And if anyone can explain how this proposal helps the cause of unity (an autocephalous Church in America comprised of a "large" percentage of Orthodox Christians on this continent), please do so.
I don't even infer evil as a reason to reject reunion. What happened in the past - the sins of the ancestors - caused the majority of parishes here to become deeply rooted here. For more than 60 years, they have grown as part of an American Orthodoxy. "Anonymous'" own words are reason enough to point out why going back to the "Mother Church" is not a good thing: "The Church in Roumania has its own challenges and mindset, unique from our churches here, ..." That's right. The Church in Romania is there. We are here. And we do have very different mindsets, challenges, etc. So what is the point of maximal autonomy for a new Romanian Metropolitinate here which recognizes all that, when the Episcopate is already part of an autocephalous Church in America?
#18.104.22.168.1 Stefanie on 2008-07-08 19:26
I firmly believe that the essence of the proposal for unity between ROEA and ROAA is not simply "going back to the Mother Church". If you read it objectively, you can see that it will create a unique situation here in America vis-a-vis the Mother Churches. Where, specifically, is the deception? I don't subscribe to the old cold war paranoia, so it'll take some modern day logic to convince me.
Today's reality (and correct me if I am wrong) is that
1) no Orthodox jurisdiction in North America recognizes and respects the autocephaly of the OCA,
2) all of the non-OCA jurisdictions must have at least some of their decisions approved/rejected by their respective Mother Churches, and
3) the non-OCA jurisdictions have all said in one way or another that unity in North America will not be through the OCA.
So where does that leave us for a future of Orthodox unity? Whether we agree with it or not, we Orthodox in America are stuck with the sad reality of an ecclesiastical stalemate of sorts. We can criticize the clergy, we can criticize the laity, but the fact of the situtation remains constant. The OCA has a wonderful vision and they are true trailblazers in this regard, but the unfortunate realities dictate that something new must be tried to bring about an eventual unity of all Orthodox in America or we could potentially stay like this forever.
I'm not a Church scholar, but I am familiar with the claims of people about the Church Canons in regard to Church territories and autocephalous Churches and they seem to be very relevant to the American situation. I'm sure someone will respond to this quoting Canon 28 or whatever it is. But weren't the Canons put together in Councils? If a great World Orthodox Council were held to decide this issue, I have a feeling that the outcome for the Church of America would not be for everyone to join the OCA. Of all the world's Orthodox Churches, my understanding is that only a few have "said" they accept the autocephaly of the OCA. All the others would, as they have been saying, reject it. I suspect this is why the OCA doesn't really force the issue internationally. They have the most honorable of intentions and do many good things, but unfortunately it is not working out the way in which it was envisioned 30+ years ago.
The only ties that the proposal has to Roumania is that the chrism would come from Roumania and the Metropolitan would commemorate the name of the Patriarch in the Liturgy. This is all that the new Metropolitanate is obligated to. Everything else Roumania would be obligated to do is just "recognize". It would be the only jurisdiction in America, fully recognized by all of the world's Orthodox Churches, who could truly call itself self-ruling. (Even the Antiochian Archdiocese has to get bishops approved abroad.) All decisions would be made here by the Metropolitan Congress and Metropolitan Synod of Bishops. There would be no questions of legitimacy, no challenges to credibility. Then, other jurisdictions would have a precedent to follow. What would be easier for Archbishop Demetrios to say to Istanbul or Metropolitan Philip to say to Damascus, "recognize the OCA" or "give us the same freedom the Roumanians have"? Then, God-willing, eventually everyone would be in a position to be able to join together with the OCA as a truly autocephalous American Orthodox Church with the blessing of the Mother Churches.
And as for being "rooted" here, I don't believe that only OCA parishes are rooted here. Antiochian parishes are rooted here, Greek parishes are rooted here, Roumanian parishes are rooted here, and others. Because Metropolitan Philip reports back to Damascus, does that mean a parish in the hills of Pennsylvania is not "rooted" here? Are those faithful going back to somewhere? Of course not.
#22.214.171.124.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-07-09 08:36
Amen. I also ask that the name calling stop. It doesn't matter what somebody means when they say "they are fools", it isn't a kind thing to say. Even if you only meant "they are being deceived/misled". If that is what you mean, then say it.
I also concur with the comment that "nobody is spinning in their graves." If you have an agrument specifically tied to this unity proposal lets hear it. Stop using the argument that the founders and former leaders of the ROEA would be outraged at what is happening today. Nobody can be certain of that, they aren't here to see for themselves what is happening and to state how they fell.
My father was a priest in the ROEA and worked closely with the heirarchs. I couldn't say for certain what he would think of all this. He may be skeptical of what the Romanian Patriarchate is promising. But I also think he would be a logical and open-minded person willing to listen to the discussions. Which is what we should all be doing.
#126.96.36.199.2 Steve Grabowski on 2008-07-09 08:58
They are doing what is good for their spiritual lives.
This is not so much an action of the Romanians against becoming an American whole, its a failure of the American Church to provide a basis and environment in which they can effectively function. Rather than making a case for American Orthodoxy we were too busy plundering. Rather than come above it and make a case for American Orthodoxy, we're spending millions to make it look like it was all a misunderstanding sweeping what happened under the rug along with the commandments which hold no weight for us. Rather than making a case for American Orthodoxy we reward priests who put us in a position to go bankrupt under the weight of lawsuits. Its a joke and its amazing more people haven't recognized it.
At this point in time, no one can fault anyone who leaves the OCA. Its less of a Church and more of a fraudalent company. I believe it was in Seattle back in their dark days when there was a billboard that said "Will the last person leaving Seattle turn out the lights." The same now holds true for the OCA.
We wish them Godspeed. Don't look back at the mess you're leaving.
#3.2 Anonymous on 2008-07-07 13:21
Your analysis is completely flawed. The OCA has issues which have been dealt with and more that are currently being dealt with. A new Metropolitan is on the horizon ans the OCA will continue as "THE" only indigenous, Orthodox Church in North America. Gee, the last time I looked at the Orthodox Canons, this makes them the "ONLY" legitimate Orthodox Church in this territory. Everyone else is going against the canons of the Orthodox Church; the Greeks, the Antiochians, the Patriarchal Romanians, those under the MP, etc.
Amazing how people love to live in darkness and make their own rules. IT IS CONTRARY TO ORTHODOX CANON LAW FOR FOREIGN BISHOPS TO RULE OVER TERRITORY NOT IN THEIR OWN LOCAL REGION.
#3.2.1 Anonymous on 2008-07-08 13:13
Just a little friendly Gospel reminder to Anonymous "Fools" and the sad OCA lot that might be in agreement with him/her:
"[W]hosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." Matthew 5:22
#3.3 Anonymous on 2008-07-07 14:51
Yet another milestone for +Herman's legacy. This guy just doesn't have a clue.
As for the Romanians, all I can say is "la multzi ani!" May God bless you all as you achieve what so eludes the rest of us.
Can't blame the Romanians for taking this action. They realized the complete ethical, moral, and Orthodox Christian failure of the OCA and did the only reasonable thing they could to rescue their parishes. It is indeed a huge step backwards for unity and the future of Orthodoxy in America, but a much better alternative than continuing on with the farce that +Herman and the Synod has perpetuated for at least a decade now in the OCA. Until real men, just men, loving men, ethical men, courageous men, and real shepherds reach the Synod and all leadership positions of the OCA and reflect Christ and Truth in word and deed, the Romanian church must choose the lesser of two evils.
Although, I wonder why +Nathaniel has not taken a more resolute and forceful stand regarding the moral and spiritual crisis in the OCA. A man of character and integrity would have stood up and said "No MORE!" and demanded that +Nikolai and +Herman resign or face deposition a long time ago. His silence and failure to act is rather deafening and damning.
Because the Romanians never bought into the OCA concept, it is not a surprise that they are going back to their "Mother". A real united church means equal taxation and equal representation - this was never the case.
#5.1 MP on 2008-07-07 15:59
The OCA's undeniably going through a crisis now, but is the grass really any greener in Romania, Russia or any of the Old World Churches? Along with strengths and good points, they have their share of scandals and failures too (bishops who collaborated with the Securitate or the KGB, bishops involved in oil, tobacco and alcohol trading, bishops who sponsor book burnings of Schmemann and Meyendorff, the recently "retired" bishop of Ekaterinberg, bishops preaching nationalist anti-Semitism, etc.) Even "Holy Russia" on the eve of the revolution was not perfect: the episcopate was rife with Rapustin appointees. Anybody looking for churchwide perfection this side of the grave is going to be sorely disappointed (no "modern" phenomenon, either: just give 1 and 2 Corinthians a really good read.) So why look elsewhere? Why not work and struggle to make things better at home, where God has planted us?
#5.2 Anonymous on 2008-07-07 16:32
How correct as must affirm and rebuild our OCA so replete with the sacrifrices of so many for so long, The so called "Self Ruled" Antiochean arch'd is bound to Damascus. At least despite "all" we and we alone can correct and rebuild our Church in a free America.
#5.2.1 anonymous on 2008-07-07 22:18
Fe: "is the grass really any greener in Romania, Russia or any of the Old World Churches."
As one who has left the OCA over a year ago for the "Old World" Churches (Greek and Russian), I can happily say, "Yes, the grass IS greener."
#5.2.2 Anonymous on 2008-07-09 15:30
As evening comes to a close, as the sun goes down and I begin my prayers, I will pray for all during this darkness in our church, but most importantly I will pray for the salvation of our souls.
If this is truely indeed true for our Romanian brothers and sisters, than it deeply saddens me that my very own brothers and sisters have failed you. Again I say, I will pray for the very salvation of our souls. In Christ, Marjorie
#6 Anonymous on 2008-07-07 21:23
Unity of the Orthodox Church is unity of Faith, which, unfortunately, does not seem to be the great concern of many Orthodox jurisdictions, nor Orthodox Chirstians today. Unity of the Orthodox Church is NOT unity of administration. The OCA has not been a very successful "experiment" in that respect. Do not look to those who want no part of the OCA as those being at fault...If you are really so very interested in unity of administration, the Patriarchate of Constantinople would like to talk to you about a solution....
Please post everything I am sending to your attention INCLUDING this text of the ROEA NEWS RELEASE posted below as it was taken from the ROEA site, and the AGENDA of the Romanian Orthodox Church Holy Synod.
This ROEA NEWS RELEASE has a special message which should be discerned by whomever would like to know 'WHERE THE ROMANIANS ARE STANDING AT THE PRESENT TIME. IT IS OFFICIAL. >>>
76th Annual Episcopate Congress Held
Grass Lake MI [ROEA Chancery] – The Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, under the omophorion of His Eminence Archbishop NATHANIEL POPP, held its 76th Annual Congress (diocesan assembly) on July 4-5, 2008. The meeting was attended by over 110 clergy and lay delegates from parishes throughout the United States and Canada.
In addition to the normal year-to-year business of the Congress, the topic of utmost significance was the presentation, explanation and discussion of the 20-point "Proposal to Establish a Romanian Orthodox Metropolitanate of America" [posted on the www.roea.org website]. The debate resulted in the adoption of the following resolution:
Be it resolved that the Episcopate Council recommends that the Congress acknowledge the combined "Proposal to Establish a Romanian Orthodox Metropolitanate of North America" as an acceptable basis to continue the work of the JDC towards a final proposal to be presented to the Romanian Orthodox Church.
Be it also resolved that the Episcopate Council recommends to the Episcopate Congress, in keeping with due diligence, that the Joint Dialogue Commission’s efforts to establish the Metropolitanate can continue, that the Archbishop as President of the Congress establish special committees, namely, a "Constitution and By-Laws Committee", "Jurisprudence",
"Finance Committee" and any other committees that may be necessary to create a unified Romanian Orthodox Metropolitanate of North America.
And be it further resolved that said committees be established as soon as possible, and that their work be reported to the Episcopate Council, so that a Special Episcopate Congress may be convened.
This action of the Congress enables the continuation of discussions between the two Romanian eparchies in North America. The "Proposal" to unite these eparchies remains, therefore, a work in progress. There has not been, as incorrectly reported by the Romanian Patriarchate’s press office, any final action about unification. There has been no change in the ROEA’s relationship with the Orthodox Church in America. As understood by the Congress, the ten-member Joint Dialogue Commission of the Episcopate and Archdiocese will discuss the "Proposal" in light of the input of our respective Councils and Congresses in order to prepare a finalized text for presentation to the Church of Romania at some future date. We still look forward to the possibility of an eventual union, which would be to the benefit of Orthodox Romanians in North America and to Orthodoxy on this continent. """"
Any comment is very welcomed.
This "ROEA NEWS RELEASE" has a special message which should be discerned by whomever would like to know "WHERE THE ROMANIANS ARE STANDING AT THE PRESENT TIME".
The Romanians "UNITY EUPHORIA and uncalculated speeches" over this past weekend (especially from "some" of the ROEA clergy and the ROEA counter part and its patriarchal representative) brought the angriness of the ROEA to reply to the Romanian Patriarchate accordingly.
The withdrawal of the Romanian patriarchate of its NEWS RELEASE is a crystal indication that the language of the Romanian patriarchate news Release disturbed "some" the ROEA leadership ... Nathaniel is still in CHARGE at the ROEA's Vatra, not Irineu or the Romanian Patriarchate.
The Romanian Patriarchal Diocese (ROAA) did not post anything on its website. Archbishop Nicolae left for Romanian to attend the Romanian Orthodox Church Synod (July 8 - 9 2008) WHERE will be very important issue on the agenda ...
See IT Below ...
The Agenda of the Holy Synod scheduled for July 8 – 9, 2008
On July 8 -9, 2008, at the patriarchal residence in Bucharest, under the presidency of His Beatitute Patriarch Daniel, will take place the Romanian Orthodox Church Holy Synod session. Among the subjects from the agenda we will mention the following:
- Proposals of the Metropolitan Synod of the Metropolitan See of Muntenia and Dobrudgea to canonize Holy Hierarch Iakintos of Vicina, first Metropolitan of the Muntenia (Romanian Land), of St Pious Dionysius Exiguous, the father of the Christian era and ecclesiastical Church laws, and of St. voivode Neagoe Basarab, the Prince (Ruler) of Muntenia (Romanian Land) man of isychast culture and prince of peace;
- Election of the Archbishop of Craiova and Metropolitan of Oltenia;
- Election of an auxiliary Bishop for the Tomis Archdiocese and Sibiu Archdiocese;
- Adoption (following the proposal of the Lesser Synod) of concrete measures regarding the help(financial) for poor parishes;
- Proposals of the Lesser Synod regarding the case of His Eminence Nicolae Corneanu, Banat Metropolitan and His Grace Sofronie, Bishop of Oradea.
- Proposal of the resolution regarding the unification of the two Romanian Dioceses from the North American continent in Romanian Metropolitanate under the canonical jurisdiction (protection) of the Romanian Patriarchate;
- Aspects regarding the jubilee celebration of the year 2008 of the Holy Scripture and Holy Liturgy.
THE PRESS BUREAU OF THE ROMANIAN PATRIARCHATE"
Metropolitan Nicolae of Banat and Bishop Sofronie of Oradea are in a very hot seat ... they could be deposed by the Romanian Orthodox Church Holy Synod, ...
- because the 1st one has parteken communion from the Greek Catholic (Byzantine, Uniate) Bishop in Timisoara close to the end of May, 2008,
- and because the 2nd one for concelebrating the Blessing of the Holy Water at the Feats of Theophanie 2008 together with the Greek Catholic (Byzantine, Uniate) Bishop in Oradea.
There are and will be more "UPs and DOWNs" until the unification process will reach the final stage. It is not hard to jump over the horse, but the uncalculated landing can be sometimes fatal.
Let's see the Romanian Patriarchate reaction (NEWS RELEASE sic)following the July 8 - 9, 2008 Romanian Orthodox Church Holy Synod session regarding ROEa and ROAA proposals for unity.
Let us pray for the UNITY of all ORTHODOX faithful.
Sincerely in Christ,
John Carpatian, 7 / 8 / 08
#8 John Carpatian on 2008-07-08 07:44
Nearly all Orthodox in America, including bishops, inherit the opportunity to continue to be Orthodox and inherit their ancestry from one distant country.
The more seriously one takes the Orthodox encouragement to live and practice brotherhood among all, starting with whomsoever is our neighbor, the obviousness of a single synod in a land increases.
One would suppose an Orthodox Bishop would act as if they were aware of this. Obviously, few do. In all 'Jurisdictions' we see bishops in full flight to foreign powers for local job protection-- willing to pay thirty pieces of our silver in exchange.
Why? Fewer and fewer priests, their families, and the families in the parishes agree to be led by those who, while ordained young and never married, more and more obviously to everyone did not sacrifice marriage. Some appear to dislike the entire female of the species, while others exhibit aspects that recall the bumper sticker 'back off, I own a handgun and have PMS'.
These present are well down the road of being recorded by history as being willing to sacrifice the institution and its future instead of recognizing the world has changed, the species of widower clergy, once plentiful is now nearly extinct.
They would rather sell the local church in small peices to foreign powers to get money to hire lawyers to protect their jobs before allowing those under whom the faith could grow -- senior married clergy whose wives have stopped dying before their retirement age -- to resume their participation in leadership.
#9 Harry Coin on 2008-07-08 08:07
If ANY of you think that people in this country are not proud of their ethnic identity and that they are ready to forget it and form this "great American Orthodox Church"...then YOU are the real silly ones! The idea of a united American Orthodox Church was the dream of Frs. Schmemann & Meyendorff and, although a good one was NOT accepted then by most Orthodox...and is even less so now. The OCA has ALWAYS been filled with pride and arrogance (at least among the 'upper clergy')---and that same pride has come before the fall! The OCA is proof positive that this country is not yet spiritually mature enough for its own unified Church. Have the Irish in America given up their pride and identity as Irishmen??? NO! The St. Patrick's Day parade is bigger now than ever. There are still ethnic Irish and Italian and French Canadian Roman Catholic parishes in this country---in 2008! Why are many of our more recent emigres going to want to forget their ethnic identity and chose to be "American" (whatever THAT is anyway) over what they were born?! Let's face it guys, the great "melting pot" hasn't worked and (at this time 2008) a united American Orthodox Church isn't going to be either! If you believe otherwise...then YOU are the silly ones!
In His great mercy,
#10 Fr Pius on 2008-07-08 08:56
Dear Fr. Pius,
I think your comments need to be considered and have great merit. For somehow the ethnic challenge in America does not seem to be going away.
Yet, do we really have an autocephalous church in America that can claim that it is fulfilling the function of one head in America?
In this whole debate about jurisdictionalism, I did enjoy Igumen Jonah's recent comments about this all at:
It seems our entire Orthodox witness is weakened from Patriarch Bartholemew on down who, as Fr. Jonah pointed out, could be calling for continual ecumenical councils, which is not happening in our Orthodox world today.
I am not sure the picture in America will change much until most of the bishops from most of the jurisdictions are American born or American educated who may better understand and appreciate the American culture rather than a culture from overseas. I think this is happening slowly and I think the Orthodox Church has made great strides in growing in America.
Unfortunately, as Igumen Jonah pointed out, we have an ecumenical patriarch living in a country whose majority is not Christian.
The American situation appears to be a complex problem and solutions do not seem to be simple, easy, or quick.
Personally, I feel that too many bishops world wide want power and control rather than servant leadership.
I have pondered more than once that our liturgical services, which seem to be the glue that binds us Orthodox around the world, were mainly formed by the dedicated, prayerful, and mediative monastics. We Orthodox are so indebted to those, probably few in number, who could meditate so beautifully on Christ's actions and place them down for us in the works of the liturgy, Triodion, Pentecostarion, and so on.
And so Christ's words are fulfilled right within our Orthodox Church: the first shall be last and the last shall be first.
For I go to church to be in the wonderful meditation, presence, and prayer of our age old but ever relevant liturgics. Such richness these few monks have brought us in the cycle of Christmas, Lent and then into to Pentecost and so on. I don't think I have ever much been so spiritually inspired or so moved as by an encyclical from a bishop.
This does not negate the duties of a bishop, as Fr. Jonah pointed out. But in terms of keeping the church together, I think a big part of that have been those pius monks who put our liturgics together.
#10.1 Patty Schellbach on 2008-07-08 18:35
Sorry, in re-examining Fr. Jonah's letter, he recommended the consistent meetings of Ecumenical synods, not ecumenical councils. (But these should probably happen now and then as well).
#10.1.1 Patty Schellbach on 2008-07-09 09:16
In response to Fr Pius, I would like to reiterate what I have said before on this list, the autocephaly of the Metropolia was premature, presumptuous and therefore bound to come to grief, as we are now witnessing. However correct the Russian interpretation of the canons relating to geographical terrtories might have been, and however correct their interpretation of the history of Orthodoxy in America, to ignore the 'realpolitik' of the presence of large and vital Greek and Antiochian jurisdictions, not to mention the other ethnic jurisdictions and the ROCOR with their vital monastic roots, was a sign either of intense idealism or arrogance, or perhaps both on the part of different personalities.
The static social situation of the Cold War era during which American autocephaly was conceived created the conditions for the plausibility of this premature idea. That window has been shut for over a decade now. With the rise of ethnic consciousness (post-modern 'tribalism') and increased immigration associated with the Soviet collapse, America is heading back to the late 19th C. in terms of ethnic Orthodoxy.
Would it be for the best for the OCA to recognise the reality of the situation, and the fact that the OCA is becoming a byword for ecclesiastical disaster - even the MP is now practically ignoring OCA autocephaly - and divest itself of all ethnic parishes to the ethnic bishops, while those who wish to pursue American Orthodoxy could realign with the Antiochians or form a much smaller, humbler 'OCNA' with Seraphim as first hierarch under the ecclesial supervision, perhaps, of the EP, the MP (an 'American' Metropolia with semi-independence a la ROCOR) or some other well-disposed patriarchate?
#10.2 Anthony on 2008-07-08 20:38
Your analogy is false. The Roman Catholics indeed still have predominantly ethnic (Irish, Polish, Italian, etc.) parishes, though dwindling in number, but they are within dioceses that don’t territorially overlap and use English, with no more than one ruling bishop in one place. Why can’t there be one united Orthodox Church in America filled with parishes that are predominantly Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, Greek, American? Ethnic pride does not preclude administrative (canonical) unity so long as it does not upstage the faith itself. Silly? Then call me silly or do you mean – canonical?
#10.3 Terry C. Peet on 2008-07-08 21:33
Comment 1. One is given to wonder a) whether 200+ years might not be an adequate time period to become spiritually mature, and b) how one such as yourself actually discerns that the church in America is not spiritually mature.
Comment 2. You might be aware of the fact (or you might not) that the Church in Greece is autocephalous. At some point in the past, the Church in Greece just up and said goodbye to the EP. It took some time (just as it will here in America) for the EP to recognize their autocephaly, but eventually he did.
Comment 3. My grandparents were Russian and Swedish. Am I proud of my ethnic heritage? Dear Fr. Pius, what I am proud of is the fact that they had the gumption to get on the boat with hardly a kopek/kroner in their pockets and come to America to make a new life. And what I am really proud of is to be "American" Orthodox.
#10.4 Michael Strelka on 2008-07-09 08:11
Fr. Pius, so we are "not mature enough"...Thank you so much for confirming my growing belief that many of the 'powers that be' in the Orthodox Church simply believe that Americans are barbarians not worthy of the great gift of the Church. You want our money, you want our poltical freedom yet at base, you despise us. Such an attitude is that of a thief and a robber. Like the Pharisees you hold the keys to the kingdom and you neither use them yourself nor allow others who would use them to enter in. Unfortunately, such is the condition of much of the hierarchy claiming authority in the United States regardless of jursidiction. It is disgusting. The Church cannot be planted in soil that is not plowed and prepared by love. The old saying from my youth, "Love it or leave it" (It refers to America in case you are ignorant of a significant event in recent Amerian history) seems to be bearing fruit. You don't love America so you are leaving as long as we pay you enough 'protection money'
If you love Romania so much, you ought to be serving there. Oh, by the way, my barbarian Godfather has, by the grace of God, and the love of his own broken heart served as a missonary in Romania tending to the broken souls of the thousands upon thousands of alchoholics there for the last ten years. I am sure he would welcome your help there, but perhaps you would despise him as well since he is obviously not from a mature Church. Oh and by the way my home parish also sent a family of missionaries to Romania to tend, as best they could, to the Romanian orphans and children abandoned on the street. The head of the family is now in training for the priesthood in this country, but I suppose he will be unworthy because he comes from an 'immature' Church. I am sure he and his family would have welcomed your great maturity when they were establishing their venture, fighting the regulations of the Romanian government along the way.
It is not the 'immature' Americans that are the problem it is the greedy and parochial thieves that masquerade as pastors that are the problem. Do me a favor, stop even pretending that you actually care one iota what happens to the Church here in this barbarian land. In case you haven't gotten through your enlightened skull, you have greatly offended me and indeed all Orthodox in this land. If you have any respect for your priesthood at all, you will not present yourself in the altar again until you have repented and asked forgiveness. I won't hold my breath. I am sure you are far to exalted a person to be concerned at offense given to such a low, immature barbarian as myself.
#11 Michael Bauman on 2008-07-08 22:09
I am sorry that Fr. Pius has offended you. He didn't offend me. I am offended by our lousy OCA leadership the past several decades. I think there was pride and ego within our retired and current OCA leadership. He kind of hits it on the head, don't you think?
Yes, the OCA should be doing some wonderful things by now. But the devil never sleeps and I guess in the case of the administration of the OCA, he must have been on uppers!
#11.1 Patty Schellbach on 2008-07-09 09:07
Thank you for this reserved and 'mature' reply. Ha!
#11.2 GS on 2008-07-09 10:21
I don't mean to offend...and I certainly haven't spoken about the American Orthodox as being "barbarian" in any way. If I have offended you, I am truly sorry. But, as a testament to what I do think, I offer simply your tone in speaking to a brother. Two Orthodox Christians (it would seem) should speak to one another in a different manner: always with Christian charity? We may be judgmental or opinionated about the Church as a whole, but never to one another as fellow pilgrims on our way to Eternity. What I was simply trying to say above is that when I compare the mother churches to what I see here in America, I still find the spiritual maturity lacking on some levels. Take bishops for example (they're always an easy target): In Belarus, the bishops are approachable...and never 'high and mighty'...where here, I often get the feeling that some/most of our bishops are 'play-acting' and not as authentic. Perhaps you have not had the opportunity of seeing first hand the Church at work in Russia or Belarus or Ukraine? Let me tell you that they are not lofty prelates, but rather true pastors...with whom one can talk freely and honestly. Their spiritual maturity one can sense immediately in a way that many of ours in America can only try to imitate. The faithful here may indeed be more spiritually mature or AS spiritually mature as our brothers and sisters in the mother Churches, but I guess I'm wondering about the leadership?
Again, I'm sorry if I have offended you.
In His great mercy,
#11.3 Fr Pius on 2008-07-09 11:26
I am not a reserved person when it comes to matters about which I care deeply. If it takes a fake, diplomatic attitude in order to be a 'mature' Christian, I'll never be one. The attitude expressed by Fr. Pius is dismissive of Orthodox in this land who don't have a mother country. It is dissmissive of this land. I have seen that attitude growing in many ways in the last ten years. I have endured it in silence. No longer.
However, I am struck by the strange idea that running home to mommy is somehow more mature than making the transition to adulthood by fighting through the challenges of standing on one's own so to speak. If we are immature it is, IMO, due to toxic parenting continuing to enable and encourage dependancy if not outright sabatoging any act toward maturity like the Patriarch of Constantinople has often done. The corruption that is so obvious right now is a symptom of that toxic parenting, not a reason to continue dependency.
Historically autocephally has never be given, it has always been taken, proclaimed by the Bishops of the newly autocephalous church and then, finally, reluctantly recognized later by the mother church. It often came about because of exactly the type of issues we face in North America--no understanding or care for the 'foreign' land. (Unfortunately, some American born think of this country as a foreign land because they feel they have to to be really Orthodox--that's sick).
We are either Orthodox or we are not. If we are, we should be able to have our own bishops, even if we blow it. If we are not, then evangelize, don't ghettoize.
I believe my anger in this case to be justified. We are not required to be milque-toast in order to be Christian. I have no patience for all the poltics. If anyone feels I have transgressed too far, feel free to take it up with my bishop. I have the great good fortune to be under His Grace +Basil. One of the most approachable, humble men I've ever met.
Three choices I see: 1) grow-up, love this land and her peoples and have the courage to get out of ethnic enclaves (White, American urban, ethnic enclaves too); 2) run home to momma to live in her basement; 3) quit, i.e. apostasize.
Refusing to cut the umblical has hamstrung the Church in this land for decades. Our strength is in the Church, i.e, Jesus Christ, the fullness of the faith. Rationalizing one's own desire to remain in the womb by saying others are 'immature' is just plain wrong. It does not matter what it is like in the mother country. Since we are all sinners, and me obviously, most of all how does any comparison help?
If we can't meet the challenges of the faith in an adult fashion by now, we never will. If we would really stand on our own two feet, we'd be surprised at how well we'd do.
As it stands now there is no Orthodox Church in America. There won't be until we cut the direct ties with all of the mother churches. If the mother bishops were real parents, they'd direct their children to get together over here and elect someone to be the Metropolitan for North America and establish a North American Synod (Canada and US separately if possible), and they would help and assist us in anyway possible in making the transition (such as refusing recognition or chrism to anyone outside the American synod). It would be messy, quarrelsome and full of upheaveal, resistance, anger but also grace and blessing. We've been paddling in the shallows with our water wings on and a cord tied around our waist for long enough.
If we want to be Orthodox in reality, we'll have to fight for it and that means being perceived as impolite, and all the rest of the names I've been called already for just daring to not be servile.
"Nice" doesn't cut it. "Nice" has the same root as ignorant.
Just for the record, I am not offended by Fr. Pius, just his attitude in this instance as he is by mine. I am sure he is doing what he feels is best for the Church, unfortunately, he is dead wrong. May God have mercy on us both.
#11.3.1 Michael Bauman on 2008-07-09 17:05
FOOLS! FOOLS! AND MORE FOOLS!
To actually think that anything good can come from foreign bishops abroad. To think that placing ones church and self under the rule of foreign bishops is a good thing. To think that all the Orthodox in America should remain divided according to ethnic lines. To think that foreigners should control American churches enhances Orthodoxy in North America. To think that the Greeks, Russians, Antiochians, etc. are REALLY free of foreign intervention in their churches.
FOOLS! FOOLS! AND MORE FOOLS!
#12 Anonymous on 2008-07-09 06:32
"To actually think that anything good can come from foreign bishops abroad."
Wasn't it "foreign bishops abroad" who sent St. Herman to Alaska? And from that good deed sprang up the Russian Mission, the Russian Diocese, the Russian Metropolia and eventually the OCA (the tomos given by "foreign bishops abroad")??? Parishes, missions, seminaries, publications, faithful...all these very good things a result of something coming from "foreign bishops abroad". Hmmmmm......
#12.1 Anonymous on 2008-07-09 08:45
You're the fool!
Listen, what WORSE can happen going under a foreign bishop? Where have you been the past three years. If the Romanians can be any worse under a foreign bishop than the lying, cheating, stealing, blaspheming bishops they are under here, we’d like to hear how that is possible and what could be worse?! Our Metropolitan proclaimed he’s confident of his judgment before God for crying out loud! THAT is the antithesis of what an Orthodox Christian let alone the first hierarch should be! There is something WORSE than THAT?! Our Metropolitan used hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a high priced legal firewall around himself. For WHAT?! There is something WORSE than THAT?! There are, at this point in time, NO arguments on any religious or ethical sense for why we should be a place where good hearted, believing Orthodox Christians should drop their anchor.
The OCA failed in providing an environment where we could talk about Orthodoxy and LIVE IT and make it grow. We have a Synod of bishops who reward offenses AGAINST the Church and punish those that try to correct it. And going under a foreign bishop is WORSE than THAT?! American Orthodoxy, in the current experiment that it exists in, the OCA, has been a miserable failure and NOT until we clean up that filth that constitutes our Synod can we even THINK about retaining the members we have, let alone think about growth.
We can discuss this move by the Romanians all we want and on all levels we want, but the truth lies in a little guy with a white hat somewhere between Syosset and South Canaan. NOTHING else can be done, NOTHING else can be discussed, NOTHING else will happen until we rid ourselves of this guy and PROVE to the Orthodox world that we’re more than just high minded opinions of ourselves. To this point to preserve any credibility right believing Orthodox have to leave and distance themselves from us.
#12.2 Anonymous on 2008-07-09 11:00
Dear Brother 'Anonymous'
It seems that the 'foreign bishops' can't be any worse than the 'native bishops' from America that have fleeced the faithful and the Church in this country now for two archpastoral regimes? Who cares WHERE the bishops for America come from...as long as they are holy men and truly good pastors, who love their people and who preach the Word in season and out...exort, correct, rebuke and spread the faith? The Orthodox Church is a universal Church...and we are now (in case people don't know it) a global society, which is quickly moving beyond national boundries. This 'American thing' is something I'm not sold on---never have been. Oh, it's a nice idea...but the proof of the pie has to be in the pudding, as always...and I haven't 'tasted' it yet.
The fact that we Orthodox are more and more all in communion as an American Church is proof that we are moving on the grassroots level toward a REAL and AUTHENTIC united Church in America. Unity IS taking place in America...just perhaps not as we pictured it some 30 or 40 years ago. PLUS---who is to say that the Romanians won't help to bring about a united American Orthodox Church that works better than the OCA model? Be a person of FAITH. Work and pray for this!
In His great love,
#12.3 Fr Piua on 2008-07-09 11:03
esteemed father, your postings are among the best and sensitive and show true understanding of the churches nature. there are no boundaries in the church, there are no foreign or domestic bishops or priests,there simply are bishops and priests,some good, some bad. the church is one and the same everywhere.all people essentially are the same.we eat, we drink,then we.....you know what i mean,we work, we sleep,we love, we hate, we are good and bad.we do have cultural differences,but they really don't divide us in the church, but rather enrich us. one thing worries me greatly. this situation could provoke a schism. GOD FORBID!
#12.3.1 Anonymous on 2008-07-10 00:16
I don't think a lot of people here get it. When an indigenous, canonical, autocephalous church is established in a territory, via Orthodox canon law, ALL other Orthodox Churches MUST come under it's authority. The idea of the Romanians leaving the OCA is totally non-canonical. The idea of ANY church proclaiming itself "autonomous" is a non-canonical act. The idea of ANY foreign bishops laying any claim to any Orthodox Churches in America is non-canonical.
So, since bishops don't wish to follow the canons of the Orthodox Church regarding ecclesiastical organization, then those churches not under the omophor of the OCA are established non-canonically. What does this mean? The canons don't matter and SCOBA cannot claim what bishops are or are not canonical.
#13 Anonymous on 2008-07-09 13:52
Exactly. Either "Orthodox" are going to have to start living their faith as a sorely needed light in this needy world, instead of just growing long beards and swinging censors correctly, or they are going to lose it all. One gift America gives the world is an impatience with hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is not Orthodox, folks. Let us throw off hyprocrisy in all it forms. When our "leaders" pick and choose the rules they will follow, then what does it matter what the Romanians do? It is all a load of twaddle in such a circumstance. Nobody cares, nor does it matter. It is behavior devoid of any import.
#13.1 Anon. on 2008-07-09 20:33
Dear Brother 'Anonymous,'
Perhaps this is exactly THE point---the Church, in the person of the Ecumenical Patriarch (and almost all the other patriarchs also) never accepted the granting of the autocephalous status of the Church in America. The Church in this country was indeed founded by the Church of Russia, however, by 1970 that same Church in America (the 'Metropolia') was not the ONLY eparchy here...nor was it even the largest eparchy here. We can argue about who has the canonical right to settle this situation for hours and hours (I myself have read no less than SIX canonical papers written by six patriarchates on a possible solution; only ONE of these patriarchates accepted the Tomos from Russia, by the way) but this is probably precisely THE problem: the greater Church never accepted the granting of the independence of the American Church by Moscow. So, as far as the Ecumenical Patriarch is concerned (and he IS suppose to settle these kinds of matters...is he not?) the Romanians have EVERY canonical right to go wherever they wish and do whatever they want.
It's a mess...may God help us!
In His peace,
#13.2 Fr. Pius on 2008-07-10 06:19
Oh, but Fr. you are wrong! Canonically, the ROC had every right to grant her daughter church in North America autocephaly. This is where the EP wishes to say, "Only the EP has the right." We've been through this a million times with the top Orthodox canonists and the EP is just wrong. + Bartholomew is NOT a pope. The ROC is an autocephalous church which had established a missionary church in N. America. The ROC granted this church autocephally from herself. Now, the EP knows very well that by accepting the OCA's autocephaly "FORMALLY," under Orthodox canon law all the Greeks in N. America would have to come under the OCA. Yet, de facto, the OCA is in communion with ALL the canonical Orthodox Churches around the world and therefore "IS" recognized. What the EP would like is for all the churches in N. America to be under him. And now, the MP would like all the churches in N. America to be under him.
So, the OCA is obeying Orthodox canon law, but the EP, the MP, the Antiochians, the Romanians and others are not. No conflict, no misinterpretation, just that the entire Orthodox world DOES NOT revolve around Istanbul; nor Moscow.
Let's not forget that after the Council of Florence, Constantinople and ALL of it's bishops save +Mark of Ephesus fell into heresy. The Russians/Ukrainians rejected the council and union with Rome and REMAINED ORTHODOX (The Third Rome). At this point, the Russian Church declared itself autocephalous and broke from Constantinople which fell into heresy. Although it took Constantinople 15+ years to finally come back to Orthodoxy, the EP did not formally recognize the Russian Church as autocephalous for over 200 years and only after much cash was exchanged.
The OCA will not wait for 200 years nor give much cash to Istanbul. Recognize exactly what is happening in the U.S., ISTANBUL AND THE OTHER FOREIGN PATRIARCHS ARE KEEPING THE ORTHODOX IN N. AMERICA DIVIDED AND IN DISARRAY. + Bartholomew is the enemy; + Alexi is the enemy; the Romanian Pat. is the enemy; the Antiochian patriarch is the enemy; etc. The OCA "IS" the only hope for Orthodoxy in N. America and it really is about time ALL the Orthodox join the OCA. With the new Metropolitan of the OCA, the future of a united Orthodox Church in America is just around the corner!
#13.2.1 Anonymous on 2008-07-10 11:48
I'm sorry, but I think we've lost sight of who and what we are when we start referring to our bishops as "the enemy".
But aside from that, I follow your logic about the Church of Russia declaring their autocephaly and the EP eventually recognizing it after 200 years. However, I am not able to understand the connection to North America. The OCA represents approximately 10-20% of Orthodox Christians here (one of at least different 8 jurisdictions). Why would any world Orthodox Church recognize an autocephaly that only represents 10-20% of a nation's Church? (The Church of Russia was united, representing ALL of Russia.)
I would think that the only strong argument we could have is if we could convince ALL of the Orthodox jurisdictions in North America to join the OCA, but that isn't looking likely anytime soon. Until then, the OCA only represents a fraction of the Orthodox Church here and won't be seen as THE Orthodox Church of America. Is there any other way we can get around this problem?
#188.8.131.52 Anonymous on 2008-07-10 20:04
Again, you don't understand! The OCA was never created to be a church of one particular ethic group or organization. What the OCA "IS," is a COUNCIL of all the Orthodox in America. Each ethnic bishop sits on the council with their bishops and rules their own. This council in turn makes decisions for the entire church. The Metropolitan is elected from all the people and bishops and he could be of any ethnic background or none. Of course the OCA began with the majority of bishops as slavs from the Metropolia, but only because the Greeks and Antiochians didn't join. The Bulgarians did, the Romanians did, the Albanians did, but the others reneged. The OCA is the vehicle for all ethnic bishops in America to rule their own flocks without foreign intervention.
#184.108.40.206.1 Anonymous on 2008-07-12 09:41
You said, "...the Church, in the person of the Ecumenical Patriarch (and almost all the other patriarchs also) never accepted the granting of the autocephalous status of the Church in America."
This is sheer baloney! The fact that the OCA is in Holy Communion with all the canonical Orthodox Churches around the world, de facto is recognition of their church as is. The OCA isn't part of the ROC or any other and it is a canonical church. And "NO" the EP has no say so in any dispute in America. The canon written giving him authority over church disputes was limited to it's own time and place throughout the Mediterranean, not the world.
Since there will be no more Ecumenical Councils and Istanbul does not have the status of Constantinople as the "2nd Rome," a new format is necessary. Possibly in Geneva, a permanent working council of all the Orthodox Churches throughout the world should be established - like the UN. A council for hearing all concerns and establishing policy. And I'm sure the Greeks would argue over that too - that they should run everything!
#13.2.2 Anonymous on 2008-07-10 14:37
Isaiah 53:6 "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."
#13.2.3 Michael Bauman on 2008-07-10 21:38
Why are we getting mad at the Romanian Orthodox parishes here in the US? Our anger should be united against the OCA Synod of Bishops for failing their parishes--clergy and laity. With the fall of communism the Romanian parishes and the ROCOR and Patriarchial parishes are uniting under their "Mother Church". Perhaps this is a reasonable thing to happen, since the rise of Communism separated them in the first place. Regarding the OCA central administration and Synod of Bishops the "house must be put in order" in order for it to bear better fruit. For the first time since the 1930's our Orthodox parishes are united at the Cup. We should be rejoicing in this. My teenage daughters will be camping with Orthodox teens from all jurisdictions. This was unheard of when I was a teenager. When I was a teen, Greek parishes in their by-laws would only admit Greek enthic Orthodox as members of their parishes. The OCA has serious problems, but I hope and pray and believe that the problems will be corrected. However, they will only be corrected if the hierarchs recognize the "sins" and correct them. It seems that our hierarchs are not yet ready to do this. It would be a great mistake for Archbishop JOB to retire. The OCA Synod of Bishops need him present for the ENTIRE length of the meetings they have. Yes, it is uncanonical to have more than one bishop in a territory. This is not a reality and does not appear to be a reality in the near future. Immigration, the immigrant is different today than it was in my grandparents' generation (1900's). They speak English and very often are well educated. The major problem in my city is that our immigrant Orthodox came from Communist lands and rarely went to Church in their homeland. And if they did go to church it was in a language which they did not understand and doctrine and catechism wasn't taught (because it was against the civil law). Our parishes are made up of people from all kinds of backgrounds. It is time for the hierachs to really go to the parishes and talk to the people. Not town hall meetings, that only few people can attend. The closest one for my family is 6 hours at least, by train. The bishops need to get to know their people and that can't be done by visiting for a weekend (in a formal setting).
#14 cshinn on 2008-07-10 13:17
Apparently, there is some history that the Fr. here and others don't know, so here it is.
When SCOBA was established in 1961, one of it's primary goals was to eventually establish a united Orthodox Church in North America. At one of the early meetings, as recorded, the canonical bishops decided that a united Orthodox Church was absolutely needed and they would strive toward that goal. In fact, in the minutes, they state the name of this united Orthodox Church should be, "The Orthodox Church in America (OCA)." All the canonical bishops, the Greeks, the Antiochians, the Metropolia, etc. had all decided to work toward and support this endeavor. In 1970 when Fr. Schmemann was able to obtain "autocephaly" from Moscow, this created a canonical, independent Orthodox Church. This was the avenue SCOBA was looking for to establish it's united, Orthodox Church. Soon after autocephally, + Iakavos reneged to join the new OCA . Met. Philip also reneged. The Albanians and Romanians joined.
So, you see, the Byzantine politics which took place as early as 1961 regarding a united Orthodox Church was just that. Finally in 1994 when all the canonical bishops joined at Ligonier to "kick-start" real unity talks for a united Orthodox Church, the Ukrainian bishop squeeled to + Bartholomew. He immediately retired + Iakavos and emasculated the entire GOA with all the bishops reporting to him. And the Antiochians sat back and watched.
The autocephaly of the OCA was originally endorsed by all the canonical Orthodox bishops in N. America, via SCOBA originally. And THEY are the ones who squashed unity!
#15 Anonymous on 2008-07-10 16:38
You are correct, to the shame of us all. However, as with Ligonier, I doubt that +Iakavos and Met. Philip acted on their own devices.
#15.1 Michael Bauman on 2008-07-10 21:41
The meeting of SCOBA in Ligonier was engineered by Met. Philip. He had always said his dream was to see a united Orthodox Church in America before his death. The OCA drew up the documents proposed and + Iakavos was very supportive. If you read the documents which came out of Ligonier, you will see that there was NOTHING about leaving mother churches, only increased cooperation. + Bartholomew is directly responsible for destroying the work of SCOBA working toward a united Orthodox Church in America. Please note, SCOBA headquarters today is at the GOA headquarters in NYC and the Greeks insist on controlling all aspects of SCOBA. + Bartholomew wants unity ONLY UNDER HIMSELF. It is a joke. All the more reason why the OCA must recover with a new Metropolitan and strive as the one and only REAL American Church with foreign domination.
#15.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-07-11 09:13
This is the kind of theology the foreign Romanian bishops bring. And what if they weren't caught? Just what kind of Orthodox theological training do they have?
Romanian Orthodox Church "forgives" bishop for sharing Communion with Catholics
Bucharest, Jul. 11, 2008 (CNA/CWNews.com) - The Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church has decided to “forgive” two Orthodox bishops for their participation in religious rites with Eastern Catholics. However, it warned that no Orthodox cleric may celebrate sacraments or blessings with ministers of other religions, on pain of excommunication.
Nicolae Corneanu, the Orthodox Metropolitan Bishop of Banat, had provoked controversy after receiving Holy Communion during a Greek Catholic Mass in Timisoara on May 25. The synod’s "forgiveness" has settled the controversy, according to the SIR News Agency.
“The Holy Eucharist is not a means and a stage toward the unity of the Christian Church, but the deepest manifestation of the unity of the Church, its highlight,” stated Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church in a speech to the synod.
Patriarch Daniel reportedly intended to reassert the fundamental principle of Orthodox ecclesiology and ecumenism. He said that such gestures of “so-called inter-communion” in fact “reduce the dogmatic differences between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church and undermine the unity of faith as the foundation of the reconstruction of the communion between the two churches.”
The Patriarch reiterated that it is forbidden for Orthodox believers to receive the Eucharist in a different church. He also said the decision does not intend to treat other Christians “with arrogance or contempt” or to interrupt theological dialogue. “Through a sincere, deep theological dialogue, the dogmas that separate the Catholic Church from the Orthodox Church can be redefined,” he concluded.
The Romanian synod also “forgave” Bishop Sofronie of Oradea, another Orthodox prelate, who had celebrated the blessing of holy water with the Greek Catholic Bishop of Oradea, Virgil Bercea, on “Twelfth Night,” the evening of Epiphany.
“The Holy Synod disapproved of the non-canonical gestures made by the two leaders and accepted their change of mind and repentance as a first sign of their correction,” read a press release from the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchate.
#16 Anonymous on 2008-07-12 10:29
Being an American of Romanian descent and having read all the comments, I wish to put in my two cents as well. Let me say that I know the Archbishop to be a sincere supporter of having an Orthodox Church in America.
Currently Archbishop Nathaniel of the ROEA is under the jurisdiction of the OCA, with no voice in SCOBA - consequently no voice to speak out - muted you might say.
Hypothetically speaking, if he were to be elected a Metropolitan, in the process of joining with Bucharest, he would then become a member of SCOBA and no longer be mute. He would then have an opportunity to speak, guide and possibly influence the other bishops, and God willing steer them in the right direction - toward an Orthodox Church in America. If you can't enter by the front door then you may want to try the backdoor.
This is the only positive aspect, that I see, for returning to Bucharest and merely speculation on my part. Another thought - possibly the OCA might consider appointing Archbishop Nathaniel as the new Metropolitan of the OCA - replacing Herman which would eliminate the need to join Bucharest!
#17 Mary Lapadat on 2008-07-12 19:00
Having a say-so at SCOBA meetings means nothing. SCOBA meeting are coffee klatches where the hierarches sip tea & coffee and exchange ideas. They can't make uniform policy. They did decide to develop the OCEC (Orthodox Christian Education Commission) for distributing educational materials, but where has that gone to? + Nathaniel has a say-so in the council of bishops of the OCA where it matters. And, if there were several Romanian bishops, they'd all have a say-so.
#17.1 Anonymous on 2008-07-13 17:43
I'm sorry, I must be missing something. How is a "say-so" in just one jurisdiction better than a "say-so" among all jurisdictions? Shouldn't everyone's goal be to work with everyone else?
As for the OCEC, they have been working. Perhaps your jurisdiction just doesn't work with them.
#17.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-07-13 23:07
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