Friday, March 27. 2009
Your comments welcome. It seems the question of relations with foreign Patriarchates is on everybody's mind these days.
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After seeing the profoundly "non-canonical" (whatever that means) reversal of the Antiochian autonomy in spite of clearly established constitution, how can any Romanian Orthodox in America doubt that Bucharest will attempt the same once it has a pro-Patriarchal Metropoltian in power? They have never changed their tune, not once in 60 years. We are better off in the OCA.
#1 Concerned member of the Episcopate on 2009-03-27 08:45
Keep in mind one big difference -- the agreement the AOCA had with Antioch clearly stated that the AOCA is still subject to decisions of the Antioch Holy Synod. (There never really was autonomy there.) The proposed agreement between ROEA and Romanian Patriarchate clearly states that the Romanian Holy Synod gives up all rights to governance and properties in North America. So you can't exactly compare apples to apples here.
#1.1 Anonymous on 2009-03-27 09:04
Yes you can compare apples to apples here. The Romanian Synod DOES NOT give up all rights, read the documents more carefully. What just happeded to the AOCA could, and most likely will happen here as well.
#1.1.1 Constantin Aurel Ardeleanu on 2009-03-27 14:14
I believe the two are quite different, so I’ll point out where I see these differences. While the Antiochian agreement keeps authority under Antioch, the proposed Romanian agreement goes out of its way to define how Romania will release control. I have quoted below a few lines from each that I would think are the main “governing” points and show how different the two proposals are, but I would encourage people to read each one in its entirety. Perhaps there are other issues too?
The Antiochian agreement, as posted in an earlier thread on this site, said:
“The Archdiocese is governed by the Holy Scripture, the Sacred Tradition, the Holy Canons, the Constitution of the Church of Antioch and this Synodical resolution and by its Constitution and Bylaws.”
“The Metropolitan Primate shall be nominated pursuant to the Constitution of the Church of Antioch and to the Constitution and Bylaws of the Archdiocese. Three names of nominees for the Metropolitan Primate shall be submitted to the Holy Synod of Antioch for election by it, of one of the three names. The Metropolitan shall be a member of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate as well as of the Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese.”
“The decisions of the Holy Synod of Antioch shall be binding on the Archdiocese on matters of doctrine, liturgy, sacraments, relations with autocephalous Orthodox Churches and ecumenical policy with regard to other Christian and non–Christian bodies.”
“The Patriarchate of Antioch and the Archdiocese shall each amend its constitution in accordance with above. The Archdiocese shall submit its amended constitution to the Holy Synod of Antioch for approval.”
Now contrast that with points in the proposed Romanian agreement, as published on ROEA website:
“The Romanian Orthodox Church, as the Mother Church, irrevocably entrusts all care of the Romanian Orthodox Faithful in the Americas to the Romanian Orthodox Metropolitanate of the Americas. The Romanian Orthodox Church shall not modify or abolish this trust, not shall it encourage, promote or establish any other jurisdiction within the territory of the Metropolitanate.”
“The Metropolitan Synod shall be the highest spiritual and judicial authority in all matters concerning the Metropolitanate, its institutions, clergy, and faithful, exercising its powers in accordance with the Constitution and By-Laws of the Metropolitanate. The Romanian Orthodox Church shall assert no privileges of supervision or adjudication in any matters concerning the Metropolitanate, its institutions, clergy, and faithful.”
“The election, ordination and enthronement of hierarchs rest entirely within the competence of the Metropolitanate.”
“The Metropolitan Congress is subject only to the canonical authority of the Metropolitan Synod of Bishops. The Metropolitanate, and its Congress are required to comply with the civil laws of the state or province and country in which it is incorporated and operates. The decisions of the Metropolitan Congress are not subject to approval or ratification by the Romanian Orthodox Church or the government of Romania.”
“The Romanian Orthodox Church shall not, directly or indirectly assert any claim to any right, title or interest in any of the properties of the Metropolitanate, its parishes and affiliated institutions.”
#188.8.131.52 Anonymous on 2009-03-27 16:56
Why does everything boil down to control? That's about all that's being discussed here. No one talks about the pastoral implications of the options on the table. No one talks about what's good for the American children and grandchildren in these Romanian parishes. Just control.
Maybe what people should be talking about is why there are any "Romanian" parishes in North America at all. Are there "American" parishes in Romania, or Greece, or anywhere else?
#184.108.40.206 John on 2009-03-30 08:23
The reality of a hierarchal Church is that the Synod in Romania can yank the American chain any time it wants, regardless of what is on paper. The Antiochian deal supposedly allowed the North American Archdiocese the same self-rule the Romanians here think they would get. Forget it! And once Bucharest puts THEIR choice of Metropolitan on the throne here, you will find that out. Worse yet, what has the church in Romania done in its constitution to the role of the laity??? Do you honestly think they won't do the same on this side of the ocean, one way or another?
By the way, doesn't it bother anyone that the Patriarch is already making this a deal de facto in their press releases???
#1.1.2 A Child of Romania, but an American Orthodox on 2009-03-27 19:26
Listen to the "Child of Romania"; the wording you quote is what is wanted, but the Romanian Partriarcate has not yet agreed to such wording. Check out the site http://www.roeanews.info/ and read about the issues and question concerning just those issues that the Romanian Partriarcate has yet to answer.
#220.127.116.11 Constantin A Ardeleanu on 2009-03-29 13:53
Thank you, but I do not trust roeanews.info. Whereas Mark keeps journalistic integrity on ocanews.org, the other site does not. The information reported there can be categorized as subjective at best. They present opinion, wrong information and mis-translations into English as fact, and do so without reservation. Even much of the info that they submit to Mark for this site is questionable, but one cannot blame Mark since he is just reporting what he is given. Unfortunately, we do not yet have an Orthodox "snopes" site, and too many well-meaning people are being misled by misinformation.
As for the quotes, they are not just what I wanted -- they are actual text from the documents. If there is anything in the documents that contradict what I quoted, feel free to point it out. But I am confident that these showed that AOCA is still subject to Antioch according to their agreement, while the Romanian-American Metropolitanate would clearly not be subject to Romania as spelled out in their proposal. And if Romania does not accept whatever proposal is negotiated here if/when it is presented, then I would assume there would be no deal. But since when do we automatically assume all patriarchates are evil despots?
Please forgive me for being blunt, but that is my opinion.
(editor's note: In answer to your last question, I think many would suggest that the actions of the EP in overthrowing the Constitution of the Greek Archdiocese and the more recent decision of the Synod of Antioch in overthrowing Self-Rule have led them to question the benevolence of foreign Patriarchates. Sorry to be blunt, but that is my opinion.... but thanks for the journalistic integrity plug.)
#18.104.22.168.1 Anonymous on 2009-03-31 08:57
When someone talks about "integrity" it should have the minimal decency to sign his/her name.In fact "anonymous" attacks ad hominem should be not dignified with an answer.
The problem of the "Vatra" Episcopate and of all American Orthodox jurisdictions is that they reached a point of definition,when quantity chanhes into a new quality.The subordination toward "mother churches",that proved time and again to be step mothers is not acceptable anymore.Orhodox America should and will be independent!
The "mother churches" want control and access to America.(In the case of the Romanians should be added that the majority of the present hierarchy is part of the kleptocratic system that is the mark of the historical present of that country.)The proof of that situation,the not so holy aims of the "mother churches" is given by the fact that their main "argument" is a tribal,chovinsitic ,"ethnocentrism" that is in fact gross racism.The People of God is above racism!
The ocanews is a great site.May God bless you!
#22.214.171.124.1.1 Alexandru Nemoianu on 2009-04-03 13:36
I wonder how many of the people who signed this letter are actually paid, active members of ROEA parishes at this present time.
(editor's note: While that may be an interesting question, I can tell you I recognize many names on the list and some do not attend ROEA parishes. One is married to Antiochian priest and attends his parish, as is proper. I recognize another who works for the another Archdiocese, so I imagine he attends there, as is proper. The signers make no pretensions of being current members of the ROEA; they simply state they were past Presidents, etc. of ROEA organizations, and are concerned. They did not tell anybody how to vote, only that one should have all the facts before one votes. Your attempt to cast aspersions on them based on where they now worship by vocation, marriage or choice, is ill-considered.)
#2 Anonymous on 2009-03-27 10:56
Look, going back to the Mother Churches is "ALWAYS" the wrong thing to do. You can't go home. I realize this has been presented as a "unity" move for the Romanians, but if the Romanians in the US want unity, it should be under a free, independent bishop leading the church in the US.
#3 Anonymous on 2009-03-27 13:12
MetPhilip has just silenced the Wichita Presbyters meeting with his so PRO DAMASCUS allegiance. Don't you think that could happen to the Romanians? Stay with OCA where we KNOW our position.
#3.1 Anonymous on 2009-03-27 21:53
I don't understand why there are Orthodox people in America who actually would prefer to be ruled by foreigners. It's really strange, especially considering that this nation was founded on the principle of self-rule and freedom from the capriciousness of tyrants. And further, most of the Orthodox who came here were fleeing various kinds of oppression in their homeland (the Slavs, the Arabs, the Cypriot and Anatolian Greeks, the Romanians, etc.). I just don't get it. But I don't have to, thankfully, because God eally does have all of this in control, and it seems that events are moving in a positive direction, in spite of initial appearances. Think about it: the heads of all three branches of the Russian Church have been replaced and the other parts of the American Church are now all of a sudden wrestling with these issues. Things look good, so long as we pray, trust God, and speak openly, honestly, and lovingly.
#4 Mark Atkins on 2009-03-27 18:30
Why is this even being discussed? If Abp. Nathaniel is as interested in Orthodox unity in America as he has always said that he is, then the best (and only non-phyletistic) option is to dissolve the Romanian Episcopate and integrate the parishes into the existing geographical OCA dioceses. The same should be done with the Albanian Archdiocese, as well.
#5 Anonymous on 2009-03-29 00:13
I must confess to not understand what motivates some in our ROEA to desire unity with the Bucharest Patriarchate, a fairly new institution in the Orthodox world. I can of course understand the desire for all Romanians in the Americas to live within one house (so to speak), but why should a Romanian Orthodox metropolitanate be under Bucharest? How could a Holy Synod on another continent better care for our Romanian-American and Romanian-Canadian faithful here? If the desire for unity is so great and the ultimate commitment truly is to unity in the Americas (as all seem to be saying), then why can this metropolitanate not be under the protection of the OCA or, if it is not legitimate enough, the representation of the Moscow Patriarchate, the administration of North America's spiritual mother Church in the Old World?
All of this has been most shocking in how Vladica Nathaniel has acted. He used to mean so much to me because of how very strongly he spoke in defense of canonical ecclesiastical unity in our lands. I live close to one of the Episcopate's monasteries and have heard him speak (and spoken with him) several times. And now what is he doing? He seeks a false unity, a unity not within the Americas, but beyond them.
May God help us all...
#6 A Concerned Friend of the Episcopate on 2009-03-30 12:38
Are you so kind to post this material for those interested to know much more and to be interested in knowing the truth regarding the Romanian Dioceses unification issue?
QUESTION # 1: WHY the thirty-one lay leaders of the OCA's Romanian Episcopate, including many former presidents and board members of the women's auxiliary ARFORA, the youth movement AROY, the Orthodox Brotherhood and the Episcopate Council, have expressed their frustration in an open letter to the Episcopate's Bishops, clergy and laity regarding the current lack of information regarding the proposed "unification" of the OCA's Romanian Episcopate and the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas under the Romanian Patriarchate in Bucharest?
QUESTION # 2: WHY the thirty-one lay leaders of the OCA's Romanian Episcopate, including many former presidents and board members of the women's auxiliary ARFORA, the youth movement AROY, the Orthodox Brotherhood and the Episcopate Council, WHO have expressed their frustration in an open letter to the Episcopate's Bishops, clergy and laity regarding the current lack of information regarding the proposed "unification" of the OCA's Romanian Episcopate and the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas under the Romanian Patriarchate in Bucharest, DO NOT ASK both the ROEA and the ROAA to make public all the letters exchanged wit the Romanian Patriarchate regarding the “unification” of both Romanian dioceses in the Americas, to be able to see the content of those letters?
QUESTION # 3: IN CASE the thirty-one lay leaders of the OCA's Romanian Episcopate, including many former presidents and board members of the women's auxiliary ARFORA, the youth movement AROY, the Orthodox Brotherhood and the Episcopate Council, WHO have expressed their frustration in an open letter to the Episcopate's Bishops, clergy and laity regarding the current lack of information regarding the proposed "unification" of the OCA's Romanian Episcopate and the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas under the Romanian Patriarchate in Bucharest DO NOT GET ANY POSITIVE RESPONSE from either ROEA and / or ROAA, can anyone else make available any correspondence regarding the communication / exchange of letter between the ROEA, ROAA and the ROMANIAN PATRIARCHATE?
QUESTION # 4: WHY the thirty-one lay leaders of the OCA's Romanian Episcopate, including many former presidents and board members of the women's auxiliary ARFORA, the youth movement AROY, the Orthodox Brotherhood and the Episcopate Council, WHO have expressed their frustration in an open letter to the Episcopate's Bishops, clergy and laity regarding the current lack of information regarding the proposed "unification" of the OCA's Romanian Episcopate and the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas under the Romanian Patriarchate in Bucharest, DO NOT ASK the ROAA to make the case and respond to the 40 questions or less in a timeframe of 30 days?
QUESTION # 5: DO the thirty-one lay leaders of the OCA's Romanian Episcopate, including many former presidents and board members of the women's auxiliary ARFORA, the youth movement AROY, the Orthodox Brotherhood and the Episcopate Council, WHO have expressed their frustration in an open letter to the Episcopate's Bishops, clergy and laity regarding the current lack of information regarding the proposed "unification" of the OCA's Romanian Episcopate and the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas under the Romanian Patriarchate in Bucharest, SUSPECT Archbishop Nathaniel of any wrongdoing regarding any backdoor deal with the Romanian Patriarchate regarding the “unification”?
QUESTION # 6: Is the ROEA willing to make public at least two (2) letters sent to the Romanian Patriarchate regarding the “unification” of the ROEA and ROAA, SENT to the Romanian Patriarchate, in October 1999 addressed to former Patriarch Teoctist and / or 2007 addressed to Patriarch Teoctist and Daniel, to be able to eliminate any “SIGN OF DOUBT” of the thirty-one lay leaders of the OCA's Romanian Episcopate, including many former presidents and board members of the women's auxiliary ARFORA, the youth movement AROY, the Orthodox Brotherhood and the Episcopate Council, WHO have expressed their frustration in an open letter to the Episcopate's Bishops, clergy and laity regarding the current lack of information regarding the proposed "unification" of the OCA's Romanian Episcopate and the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas under the Romanian Patriarchate in Bucharest, and to get back the lost trust of the ROEA members who suspiciously get nervous by the “refusal to declassify” sensitive information to the public?
Question # 7: Is Mr Alex C. Popescu from Montreal, CANADA, willing to know much more truth regarding the content of his 40 points vis a vis the ROEA, ROAA, Archbishop Nathaniel, Archbishop Nicolae, and some other Romanian Hierarchs?
Willing to eliminate any doubt regarding the “UNIFICATION” and eliminating any artificial and non – Orthodox terminology such as “MAXIMAL AUTONOMY” … you should read and understand the process of unification between ROCOR and RUSSIAN PATRIARCHATE, based on real canonical provisions regarding the merger of both entities and inclusion of the ROCOR hierarchs as part of the Mother Church Synod. This is the real canonical unification without anything “MAXIMAL” or “minimal”. Stop playing games using bogus terminology, and let show the respect to the Canonical and ecclesiological terminology and rule of laws.
Greeks, Antiochians, Serbs, ROCOR Russian, Russian Patriarchal hierarchs are part of canonical principals. WHY Romanian DO NOT WANT TO BE? Church Canons cannot be re - written to please less believers or to be un – canonical. God have mercy … There are signs that whomever is not willing to be in line canonically will be publically confronted. Everything is possible with God.
Unfortunately, there is a gross lack of understanding of the canonical provisions regarding this process due to the poor canonical preparation of the members of the JDC from both sides. Where it should this from? HOW many priests or hierarchs from ROEA and ROAA have studied Canons and Church Laws?
The answer is NONE. And how many are from the “late vocation” category? At least two, as part of the JDC of the ROEA. It is not only bad, but even sad in watching the LAITY addressing questions to clergy, and seeing the clergy as being incapable to answer for months or years.
Our sincere heartfelt thank you goes to Mark Stokoe for his task assumed for the benefit of all orthodox faithful within the Americas.
A disappointed Romanian. 2009 - 03 - 30
#7 Anonymous on 2009-03-30 18:26
As a sign of openness and transparency, I am sending to your attention this material to be posted on our beloved site: ocanews.org. It should be known by some other non – Romanian readers …
The following material is from roeanews.info. It should be better for the readers of this site to know something about the “Romanian cuisine.”
Mr Popescu from Canada came up with this stuff well regarded by the ROEA Council members. In case the ROAA would like to touch this “HOT STUFF”, it will be good. Both the ROEA and ROAA should acknowledge that transparency must prevail and backdoor deal is not accepted.
Mr Popescu’s material reveals a very refined Kosher observations both Romanian dioceses should debate and answer fairly. No debate and answers to this stuff everything should be tabled “SINE DIE.”
Our Romanian Orthodox Episcopate (ROEA) Congress is fast approaching. The “Unity” of our American “ROEA” with the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of the America’s (ROAA) already under the Church of Romania (BOR), into a Metropolitanate all under Romania, was falsely announced last July by Bucharest. It will be tabled again. Unity is now lost somewhere in the “Due Diligence” process.
Consider the following 40 points:
1) Misinformation cannot be a basis for Dialogue. After 20 years of talks with us, the ROAA still claims they are the rightful descendants of the 1929 group who started our ROEA. The fact that in 1950 their Missionary Archdiocese was founded by the Romanian Patriarchate and Government in order grab hold of our ROEA, is never mentioned, nor are the 1950’s Court cases we won.
2) The ROAA still refer to our “heretical and non-canonical” situation under the “Russians” but never admit any wrongdoing in their and BOR having collaborated with the Communist tyrants that brought Romania to its knees for 40 years. Why? Many of those who sold out are today’s leaders.
3) When attempting to highlight the great sacrifices made by the ROEA Bishop Morusca and Archbishop Valerian, BOR and the ROAA come back and include the “sacrifices” their Bishop Moldovan and Archbishop Victorin suffered at the hands of the Communists. Those responsible for persecuting our leaders are now compared to the ones that were persecuted? This is an attempt at rewriting history.
4) The Feb. 2008 meeting in Bucharest between ROEA and BOR representatives was supposed to be only about correcting the historical record and not about any change in jurisdictional status. That goal was not fulfilled. Instead, an ROAA delegation joined the discussions, resulting in an “Agreed Statement” and then a 20 point “Proposal to Establish a Romanian Orthodox Metropolitanate of NA” was issued.
5) Our Dialogue Committee (JDC) did not verify the canonical possibilities of what was being negotiated and they did not consult the BOR Constitution. In all that time, BOR/ ROAA did not mention that their newly passed BOR Constitution was in direct conflict with the “maximal autonomy” being proposed. Since these two are incompatible we must question the preparedness of our JDC. Also, we must assume that ROAA/ BOR representatives willfully negotiated with us something they knew could not happen. To this day, no one has offered to make any change to the BOR constitution that would accommodate the Proposal’s 20 points. Trust?
6) Our forefathers fought to build and protect a free church in a free society. BOR and the ROAA are aggressive, clearly displaying that they are ready grab what we have, in order to influence and control us, so that we become truly subservient to this foreign church and government. Must we give up our freedom in the name of Unity with those from foreign lands who continue to be duplicitous?
7) BOR and its underling ROAA repeatedly disrespect our ROEA in news releases by saying that the Unity is already done. The earlier releases were excused by our Hierarchs and JDC as being mistakes. Having this published six months later, on Jan. 8, 2009 in the Ziarul Lumina, BOR’s official newspaper, is truly appalling.
As soon as something does not go Bucharest’s way they immediately revert to threats and blackmail as was the case with the new Exarchate to be headed up by now deceased Fr. C. Fetea. This new entity under BOR was a threat to both the ROEA and the ROAA to hurry onto the unity train … or else!
9) Unity under BOR is a step backwards for us who have been evolving here in NA for 100 years. Our aim is a truly multi-jurisdictional Autocephalous American Orthodox Church. Most of that time has been with the OCA and only a couple of decades earlier with BOR. We are from here, not elsewhere, and our church and church leadership should be from here, not elsewhere, and this especially for the sake of our children.
10) The cultural divide between us is so great that if unity were ever achieved, it would probably disintegrate very quickly, with us and our children the first to be shown the door.
11) Having our NA Church under the control of foreigners is not only a step backwards, but can also be perceived as potential threat to our loyalty as US or Canadian nationals. If our Churches and communities fall into foreign hands and are used by those leaders as political platform to promote foreign objectives, we betray our loyalty to the US and Canada. The church should not be organized in such a way as to permit this aberration, particularly when we have options such as the OCA.
12) Separation of Church and State is sacred in our Western culture. Having the clergy in Romania paid by the Romanian Government means that they must follow government directives. We do not want our Church here to be directed by bureaucrats, external affairs representatives or worse from Romania.
13) The Patriarch’s March 11, 2008 letter to His underling ROAA’s Archbishop Nicolae is eloquent in its lack of respect for Nicolae’s “autonomy”. Duplicity in full action. One side says one thing and the other understands something else. This foreign Hierarch has no problem ignoring NA “autonomy”.
14) Some clergy from within our Episcopate, supporters of unity, openly insult those who do not want to sell out to Bucharest. They try to push unity down our throats. Why? To whom are they loyal? Are they trustworthy?
15) This unity process from BOR and the ROAA is simply another attempt to take over our ROEA and its parishes and missions. Unity is the way this time. Yes, 1989 became 1990, but people do not change that quickly. Communist Romania is now a cleptocracy, and more time is required for state structures, including the Church, to be purged of the infestation caused by being collaborators with the tyrants who subjugated Romania for 40 years. Today, we in NA are very different from those in Romania, and we continue to grow apart.
16) We truly distrust that communist and post-communist culture; in fact we fear that culture, and this is normal, not because we haven’t gotten over the cold war but because they haven’t. Their modus operandi is a “culture of fear” like in other Eastern bloc countries. Their institutions are corrupt, their Hierarchs run the church like autocrats, threatening those opposing them fearlessly and without shame.
17) “A culture of intimidation is alien to Christ… This demon needs to be exorcised” says Metropolitan Jonah who tells us that “Hierarchy is only about responsibility. It’s not all this imperial nonsense.” He also says “We don’t need foreign despots. We are the only non-state Orthodox Church…We are the only Orthodox Church that does not exist under the thumb of a State…” This is our belief as well.
18) The fact that the ROAA/ BOR has not responded to our due diligence questions indicates bad faith. Responding to the first set of questions should be a condition of having even a “social” gathering with their Council.
19) The Romanian State and its dependent BOR views those of Romanian heritage in the rest of the world as their Diaspora. They do not view us as independent individuals, citizens of other countries, who freely choose to build and pray in our own churches, free of State intervention. Rather, they see us as an extension of the Romania and a BOR Diaspora, a ready-made political platform for their benefit.
20) The American Government has given its opinion regarding religious freedom in Romania and they state clearly that many existing BOR Hierarchs were involved in many abuses and wrongful actions. We cannot subordinate ourselves to a Church which has this dismal report card from the American Government. The BOR’s haughty and misguided reply is proof of this.
21) In the resolutions of 1951, upheld by U.S. Federal Courts, there were 3 reasons for schism; a) the Church being under the control of government, b) BOR meddling in Church affairs in the US, and c) BOR propagated ideas in the US which are contrary to free life ideals held by US citizens. These apply to this day and are the basis of our Episcopate. We cannot have Unity with the ROAA under BOR, when they continue to contravene the principles that are the legal basis of our Episcopate.
22) Fully 8 out of BOR’s Holy Synod of Bishops have been accused of collaborating with the Securitate.
23) No official screening process as to clergy exists in Romania, and so those who collaborated with the Secret Police are not removed from the clergy, in keeping with Church canons. The collaboration reaches into the Holy Synod. It probably exists in their churches outside Romania as well.
24) BOR’s attempt to take over the ROEA is nothing new. What is different now is the word Unity. But old-world national foreign affairs goals, working through the Church, is nothing new, and whenever these churches move beyond their borders we should understand that this is political neo-colonialism cloaked in religious robes, ethnic phyletism of the lowest order.
25) Our Episcopate has priests who left Romania before Communism took root in the late 1940’s and we have priests who were born in NA. One would suspect that these priests would be against such a unity out of principle. If they support unity it is probably because it is indeed a “nice thing” to be united, in principle at least. These are good people, but they cannot fathom how deceitful the leaders on the other side can be, and so, some fall for the deceit (maximal autonomy, independence, etc.). These people should educate themselves by listening to those who came after 1989, and this only after gaining their trust. Maybe then they would better understand who they are dealing with, and what is at stake.
26) We also have priests who came here after 1989. Most left Romania precisely to escape that type of autocratic church leadership. They are politically astute and they may first tell you what is politically expedient, but as you gain their trust, you quickly find out how much they abhor the corruption and autocratic control so prevalent in today’s Romanian Church and State.
27) Then, we have that category of individuals who left Romania from 1949 to 1989 as theology students or clergy. Some of these risked all to escape Communist Romania, but unhappily others promised certain things or agreed to certain activities in order to be permitted to leave the country, while others again were sent out on specific missions. We need to know who is in our midst, who we confess to, and what drives certain individuals to do what they do, including pushing for unity.
28) It is important to get the Securitate files on our ROEA clergy. This is possible under Romanian law.
29) Before even contemplating any Unity with the ROAA we should also see the Securitate files on all ROAA clergy. Due diligence should start here.
30) We are told to forgive because that is divine, as compared to erring, which is human. How can we forgive those who admit to no wrongdoing? This is not Christian when we know the opposite.
31) What would our past leaders respond to the Unity question? Probably “No” to Unity under BOR.
32) How can any Orthodox Christian be for a Unity in North America based on “being of the same blood” or “being of the same ethnic group”? Since when did phyletism become condoned in the Orthodox Church? This unity is flawed in that it is founded on a clear non-Orthodox basis.
33) In the 20 point Proposal to establish a Metropolia under BOR, fully seven of those points repudiate the very founding principles of the ROEA. Paragraphs I, IV, VI, X, XIV, XVII, and XX all violate the founding principles. Further, in our American Orthodox church, there will be no requirement for an American Bishop. All could come from Romania; all could take orders from Romania. Unity?
34) Immediately after the election of Patriarch Daniel, the Holy Synod of Romania, at the request of Daniel, voted to remove the laity from participation in the election process of Hierarchs. The tradition of our church has always been 2/3 laity and 1/3 clergy. This exclusion makes the laity simply outsiders to the process, a group expected to “pay and obey”, and be “submissive” to their rulers, because it is “God’s will” - an “obedience without conscience”, completely un-Orthodox.
35) “Maximally autonomous” is a term newly coined for this occasion and it means something less than “independent”. In Orthodox nomenclature the word “independence” translates into the word “autocephaly”. The Orthodox Church has many autocephalous churches, each one truly self-ruling. Orthodoxy also has autonomous churches; but, each one is referred to as being a part of, or under its respective autocephalous church. There is no such concept as an autonomous church being “with” an autocephalous church; an autonomous church can only be “under” the authority of an autocephalous church. More misinformation.
36) Gramata and Holy Chrism from Romania, but no funding? The first two are guarantors of our subservience to BOR, while the third can seem to be stopped officially, but in practice, it cannot be stopped, and thus our “maximally autonomous” Metropolia will follow orders and exist at the whim of the Patriarchate and as well, be at the mercy of those who control those secret bank accounts, and disburse funds to obedient operators.
37) Our abandoning the OCA would strike a blow at the raison d’être of this Church made up of Russian, Romanian, Bulgarian and Albanian ethnic groups, as well as many American converts. Any NA group that has or will rejoin its Mother Church reinforces their notion of Diaspora. They will not let these daughter churches become sister churches because it is not politically expedient for them and their governments to do so. Unity with them means a one-way street into the past.
38) The chief lawyer for the Episcopate on the due diligence aspects has stated that the final agreement can never be the final agreement since future Episcopate councils can change it at will, with the consent of BOR. Anything in the agreement can be changed at anytime. At least with the OCA, our agreement has remained unchallenged, and the OCA has been true to their word for almost 50 years. A lot more trust must be developed before the same can be said of BOR.
39) We saw heavy-handed coercion at some ROEA 2009 parish General Assemblies. It was almost impossible to broach the unity subject there, but when it came down to choosing the “right” Episcopate Congress delegates, the few pro-unity proponents kicked into gear and pushed the choice of “their” delegates. Since no discussion on Unity took place, very few knew what this was about, except for the ones who were so instructed. Stacking the Congress delegate vote in favour of Unity is the result, at least in some parishes.
40) Let’s summarize our options:
a) If we do unite under BOR we gain nothing but the very strong likelihood that they will interfere in our day to day North American church affairs.
b) Even if the ROEA and ROAA unite under the OCA, all we gain is the assurance that this very same issue will be brought up again in the future, given that one of our ROEA bishops is a Romanian national and that both ROAA bishops are Romanian nationals that have been placed in position by BOR. Only 1 out of 4 of our Diocesan Bishops would be American and this, even in the context of being a unified Diocese in the OCA.
c) If we do not unite and our ROEA continues to stay under the OCA, we lose nothing and gain the assurance that our children may still be Orthodox in the future.
So, why not just stay the way we are and open our ROEA doors to ROAA parishes and missions that truly want to make their future in the OCA. The ROAA can keep their Hierarchs, their debts, their former Securitate links, their post-communist baggage, not to mention their autocratic puppeteer overlords from the Bucharest Patriarchate who themselves are nothing more than mere employees of a foreign State.
Important for the Episcopate and Episcopate Council members are the words of our chief lawyer for the Episcopate on Due Diligence, who warns that the Episcopate and each individual Council member can be sued if Due Diligence is not satisfactorily completed. As well, it can be deduced that even our JDC members can be sued if they have not truthfully and completely detailed their unity discussions with the other side to the Episcopate Council, or if they have provided incorrect and/ or incomplete information to the Council and/ or Congress.
This process must be taken seriously since the consequences of making a mistake are high. Given the obvious ROAA/ BOR disdain for us by not even responding to our initial Due Diligence questions, should the process not stop here? Given that many parishes will want to remain with the OCA, even if ROEA/ ROAA Unity is achieved under BOR, and that court cases against the Episcopate might follow, is such a divisive move worth it?
Remember that in some cases people are not allowed to speak; people are not allowed to hear dissenting views; people are not allowed to vote on these issues. Rather, Congress-delegate choices in some Parish assemblies are already being manipulated, so it should be of no surprise to anyone when all this is challenged.
This unity seems more like a divisive albatross than anything else.
May God lead us down the right path to salvation.
Alex. C. Popescu
Feb. 26, 2009.
At the present time the ROEA Archbishop is attending the OCA 2009 Spring session of the Holy Synod. Everyone in the Synod is expecting from him a report to be presented regarding the current situation of the JDC. It would be very interested to see if anything different will be presented by the ROEA Archbishop that he presented at the AAC 15 November 13, 2008. Th Synod Agenda is very genuine at this time dealing not only with +Nicolae case, but some other issue regarding some OCA hierarchs.
A non – partisan Romanian, April 1, 2009
#8 Anonymous on 2009-04-01 18:04
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