Wednesday, June 1. 2011
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RE: the Episcopal Assembly: the fact remains, according to Orthodox Canon Law, that foreign bishops (patriarchs) have NO authority beyond their own territory. These foreign bishops have NO authority in N. America, S. America, Australia, Canada, etc. Yet, they continue to insist that their dioceses outside their territories belongs to them. THIS IS NON-CANONICAL! AND, these foreign bishops wish to make laws, rules and ecclesiastical dictates on churches outside their territory. The Episcopal Assemblies ARE NOT going to solve this. Pat. Bartholomew designed these assemblies to put ALL the Orthodox world-wide under his control. This is territorial autocephaly? What this is, is a "power grab" and both Met. Philip & + Demetrios are in on it. The Russians are skeptical as they should be. The Ukrainians are cozying up to + Bart. It's a mess!
The answer: FOLLOW ORTHODOX CANON LAW. Established churches in "territories" should be automatically recognized as autocephalous. The bishops in these territories are required to form their own synod and elect their own leader. THERE IS NO CANONICAL NEED FOR ANY FOREIGN BISHOP TO INTERFERE WITH "LOCAL" CHURCHES!
#1 Anonymous on 2011-06-01 10:14
You are conflating a number of issues here.
The canons require one bishop per territory. Whether that bishop is a part of a local church based in Moscow or Istanbul or Jerusalem or New York is beside the point. Whether that bishop was born in that territory and thus "foreign" is beside the point.
Church boundaries have not and do not normally coincide with national and subnational boundaries. Each nation-state, continent or region need not of necessity have its own autocephalous church. One can argue that should be the case, but it is a case not required by the canons or tradition.
The only jurisdictions in America that have no permanent canonical standing are those with no claims on sole jurisdiction. At best, the Romanian, Serbs, Bulgarians, Arabs and Georgians can claim they are meeting the pastoral needs of their people while the canonical situation is normalized and unified. At worst, they are attempting what Romania is trying in Palestine (and for which Jerusalem rightly struck Pat. Daniel from the diptychs).
Those churches with claims for sole jurisdiction, e.g., EP, OCA, Moscow, claim North America as a local part of their local churches. That is, they claim their bishops and jurisdiction are in no way "foreign" here.
Any other understanding of "foreign" and "local" betrays an ethnophyletism and Wilsonian nationalism that is as 'phyletist' as anything in the Old World Patriarchates.
A better argument would be that any territory requiring 40-60 bishops to shepherd resident, non-migrant Orthodox Christians is a territory in need of a local, ruling Synod to conform with the canons and to cooperate in ministry. If the US or North America had but 2 or 3 bishops, it would be clear the Orthodox population could not sustain a local Synod and local church structures.
That is not the same as saying such a local Synod need be autocephalous, autonomous or stavropegial; exarchates, metropolises or dioceses.
#1.1 Ps-Iosifson on 2011-06-01 12:36
Your argument is correct! However, the Canons are CLEAR, bishops (patriarchs) cannot claim churches and property outside their "fixed" territories. Yes, missionary activities have given rise to the anomalies within Orthodoxy around the world, but do we continue to ignore Orthodox Canon Law with regard to ecclesiology? What should have been done long ago is letting local churches, once established, rule themselves. Foreign bishops have refused to let go and thus the current problems. The Episcopal Assembly in the U. S. and others around the world, should just announce, we all now declare ourselves autocephalous and we will form our own synod and elect our own leader.
#1.1.1 Anonymous on 2011-06-01 13:46
What constitutes "established" is the question.
#184.108.40.206 Ps-Iosifson on 2011-06-02 08:03
Given that the construction of the Romanian Jericho establishment began more than 10 years ago, and the altar was blessed in the presence of the Romanian president, it looks a bit strange that the Jerusalem Patriarchate discovered only last month the blatant uncanonicity of the situation.
For most of the Romanian religious commentators this appears rather to be the falloff from the Romanians siding with the Russians against Constantinople in Chambesy.
(Editor's note: Thanks for the perspective!)
#2 Anonimus per Scorilo on 2011-06-01 12:31
It's probably worth noting that more than 10 years ago the Patriarch of Jerusalem was Irenaios (2001–2005) who was ousted from office for shady land deals (secretly selling of Church property to Israeli developers). It would not be surprising that the new Patriarch, Theophilos III (2005–Present), took a strong stance against many of the actions and decisions allowed under the previous administration. It is quite possible, whatever the commentators say, that conversations were being had behind the scenes for sometime. That Romania did not 'play ball' at Chambesy and may be experiencing canonical retaliation is part of the checks and balances between the great powers in the Church. Russia and Romania may be the biggest autocephalous churches, but they don't (yet) control the Holy Land. ROCOR had to be very careful in its dealings with Jerusalem so as not to lose control over its properties in the Holy Land - and that was good for both Russia, ROCOR and Jerusalem.
#2.1 Ps-Iosifson on 2011-06-01 14:37
...It would not be surprising that the new Patriarch, Theophilos III (2005–Present), took a strong stance against many of the actions and decisions allowed under the previous administration...
Excuse me but, um, it's 2011 right now. Theophilos III certainly can't be taking strong stances against the actions of his predecessor six years after taking office.
Inaction in 2007, 2008, 2009, etc, kinda implied acceptance of a Status Quo.
This facility was in operation for years. Jerusalem taking the bizarre action of excommunicating an entire country now is certainly political. And for them to do this from within an existing dialogue was terrible form.
And it's a scandal before the eyes of the world.
We're booked to visit the Holy Land via the Bucharest Patriarchate this summer. I keep wondering why my life intersects so often with controversies in World Orthodoxy!
Has anyone else noticed that it seems like ever few years the Church of Jerusalem finds itself in the throws of a major canonical "rift"? In recent history I can remember similar "breaking of communion" with Russia and also Constantinople when they have a problem with something -- and then comes a few meetings and suddenly everything is all fine again.
I certainly am not familiar with the day-to-day operations of the Church of Jerusalem, but my casual observances of them over the years give me the impression of "drama first, then dialogue." (Yawn.)
#220.127.116.11 Anonymous on 2011-06-02 06:34
I am so happy to hear that the OCA and ROCOR Bishops concelebrated. Since the day I became Orthodox I've had friends in both the OCA and the ROCOR and I've attended both churches, depending on my location. As a convert I found their disagreements legalistic, Pharisaical, and irrevelant to my experience of Orthodoxy in America (although I know it was of deep concern to them). It's good to know they can stand at the altar of Christ together. Thank God for this!
#3 Sean O'Clare on 2011-06-01 13:34
The Assembly is the successor body to SCOBA, but it is not "formerly SCOBA" in any sense whatsoever. It was not created by SCOBA, nor even by the same people who made up SCOBA. It doesn't include the same people as SCOBA. It doesn't have the same job as SCOBA.
Get a clue. 'Tain't SCOBA.
(Editor's note: Keep whistling that tune and maybe people will pick up the melody, friend.
But since it includes everybody who was in SCOBA, and all of SCOBA's former functions, I 'll stick with "formerly SCOBA" as a convenient shorthand for those who may be wondering what the new legal entity is. Feel free to disagree. )
#4 A Reader on 2011-06-01 14:00
I look forward to the interview process of the candidate, Metropolitan Jonah, for the position, of Dean, at the OCA cathedral in Washington. Just out of curiosity, did anyone actually nominate him to the position? I sure hope the search committee goes easy on the candidate. After all, he hasn't really ever held a position as dean.
#5 Anon. on 2011-06-01 14:57
Also, to follow up on a story that appeared some time ago on OCANews,
Dean Michael Pasonick entered a guilty plea to bribery charges on May 25, 2011.
Melanie Jula Sakoda
Going by the "logic" of the powers that be in the Church of Romania, I guess it'll be perfectly permissible now for the American Carpatho-Russian Diocese of the USA to set up facilities and ministries for the Carpatho-Rusyn minority in Romania, or the Church of Ukraine to do so for the Ukrainian minority in Romania, or the Church of Serbia to do so for the Serbian minority in Romania, or the Church of Bulgaria to do so for the Bulgarian minority in Romania, all without reference to (and even in open defiance to) the local bishops of the Romanian Church. After all, it's simply a pastoral matter, not a canonical one, right? (As though "canonical" and "pastoral" can always be so tidily compartmentalized...)
If only we put as much time, energy and passion into Christ Jesus and his gospel as we do into property, power and România Mare...
#7 Gregory on 2011-06-01 16:58
Actually, the analogy would be if the Autonomous Orthodox Church of the Czech and Slovak lands were to attempt to establish a presence in Maramaros in Romania to minister to the 'rusyn' community thre, since no one in ACROD speaks Romanian and few if any even speak Slovak, Rusyn or Ukrainian anymore! lol....
#7.1 Bez mena on 2011-06-02 06:44
The Serbians in Romania have a Serbian Orthodox Bishop (Bishop Lukijan, member of the Serbian Synod), who ministers to the Serbian minority (see for example http://www.spc.rs/eng/sunday_orthodoxy_timi%C5%9Foara). So do the Romanians living in Serbia.
The Ukrainians have an autonomous exarchate under the Romanian patriarchate. Both the Bulgarians and the Greeks have parishes in Bucharest, ministered by a Bulgarian or a Greek priest, commemorating the Romanian Patriarch. There is also a Romanian Parish in Constantinople, and in a few other places in Greece, commemorating the Ecumenical Patriarch and ministering to the Romanian expats. Same in Bulgaria.
All these things have nothing to do with Greater Romania, or Greater Serbia, or Greater Ukraine. It is just people who want to worship in their own language.
#7.2 Anonimus per Scorilo on 2011-06-02 11:54
There's a big difference, Anonimus per Scorilo, between wanting to worship in one's own language and setting up, on the canonical territory of another autocephalous or autonomous church, communities and ministries that answer to foreign bishops of the same ethnicity, rather than to the local bishops of the local church already in existence.
The Constantinople of John Chrysostom's time had Gothic-speaking and Latin-speaking parishes within it, alongside Greek-speaking ones, yet they answered not to Gothic or Latin bishops far off, but to the local bishop of Constantinople, no matter what language he spoke.
That is the canonical norm of the Church. Phyletism, the heretical identification and organization of the Church along ethnic lines, is not.
It's high time the autocephalous and autonomous churches realized their flocks are far less homogenous, in terms of language, ethnic identity and culture, than they imagine or would care to admit, and then minister to them accordingly. What harm would there be in one local church offering to help another local church, with a supply of money and manpower, to minister to a particular demographic on the other church's territory -- but leaving it under the oversight of the local bishops, rather than having them under the omophorion of foreign ones? Then both ethnic needs are served and canonical order is preserved.
Alas and alack, that would require cooperation borne of love, rather than self-love -- something that seems to be a low priority in the Orthodox Christian world today.
#7.2.1 Gregory on 2011-06-02 15:07
Unfortunately, if I'm not mistaken the Church of Serbia is already guilty of what Romania's been doing - it has parishes in southwestern Romania just as Romania has in eastern and northern Serbia. That exception aside, I do wonder what the Bucharest Patriarchate would say if the Moscow Patriarchate's autonomous Moldovan Orthodox Church started setting up dioceses in western Moldova (northeastern Romania). I'm sure it'd be quite the thing .
Recent developments in occupied Abkhazia call into question the canonicity of the primary sponsors of the Chambesy agreement and the Episcopal Assemblies that were established by authority of that agreement.
For the past 20 years, since the genocide and ethnic cleansing that destroyed the Georgian Orthodox community in Abkhazia, a campaign which killed 47,000 Orthodox Christians and drove another 246,000 Orthodox Christians from their ancestral homes, the Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate has maintained a non-canonical Abkhaz Eparchy on the territory and in the very churches stolen from the legitimate Orthodox diocese of Pitsunda, Tskhum and Abkhazia. Despite the clear violation of the most ancient and authoritative Apostolic Canons, the MP has continued its schismatic activity.
As the following two articles show, the schismatic diocese has now further divided into two entities, one remaining loyal to Moscow, the other seeking autocephaly via the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In either case, involvement of outside jurisdictions on the territory of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate is a clear violation of the Scared Canons. Those who carry out these activities are deserving of removal from the clergy or excommunication.
This issue raises cogent questions for the Orthodox Christians in the US.
1. If the primary sponsors and guarantors of the Chambesy Agreement are themselves schismatic, wanton violators of the Sacred Canons, what realistic chance is there for the Episcopal Assembly to result in a traditional, canonical outcome in America?
2. If the 2,000 attendees of a clergy laity conference, constituted primarily of Muslim Abkhaz officials, having no bishop whatsoever, can unilaterally declare autocephaly and be seriously considered for that status by the EP, then why has it taken over 50 year to take the first baby steps to uniting our church in America?
3. If our Orthodox Patriarchs are going to violate the Sacred Canons and the most basic of Christian moral principles with impunity; if Orthodox bishops can commit the abominable blasphemy of “blessing” acts of war against innocent civilians (see it for yourself at the below listed You Tube videos), then what are we? Certainly not followers of Jesus Christ!
The 2008 documentary “Orthodox Occupation” has been re-released and posted on You Tube at the following url:
Portions of this documentary plus additional footage are now available with English voice over at the following urls:
4. If this behavior goes unchallenged, then how can we honestly confess our belief in “One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church”?
The following articles give details of the most recent events in occupied Abkhazia
“It’s the Weak Link that Breaks. Abkhazia, the Next Weak Link in the Russian Church’s Diplomacy” by Alexander Soldatov; Portal-Credo.Ru web-site article
Original article (in Russian):
The Moscow Patriarchate has perhaps the world’s most powerful ecclesiastical-political structure. The quasi-state Russian Church does not suffer from lack of funding. Well, perhaps, there is a lack of personnel; there are not enough creative people in the numerous structures of the Patriarchate, who are enthused by the high ideal of service to the Church for the sake of God’s truth on earth. Also this is a pragmatic time, and the political-economic situation of the ROC-MP does not evoke a romantic mood. If you do not accept as a “National Idea” the nostalgic celebration of May 9th (Victory over Fascism Day- translator); you’ll have to admit the “Monetocratia” the power of money and the faith in its huge, wonderworking might has become the genuine national idea in most of the post-Soviet space.
Since the Russian Orthodox Church acquired “an effective manager” as its head, it has articulated just such a mindset and set of values in its church policy. Patriarch Kirill realized that the time had passed when unpaid church workers would labor ‘for the glory of God’ and that in order to implement its ‘missionary imperative’, the church would require a solid financial policy and sound economic base. Hence the transfer of vast properties to the Church’s estate, the public financing of religious education in the schools and chaplaincies for the military; the creation of state sponsored ‘endowment funds” for the most significant monasteries and parishes. In addressing issues of foreign policy, the Patriarch also routinely relies on the Russian government.
It is no secret to Russians that the wars in Chechnya and the Caucasus region were only concluded by the permanent infusion into the “secessionist regions” of multi-billion ruble subsidies from Moscow. Nor is it a secret that huge sums of money were invested in the restoration of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, whose independence the Russian Federation recognized after the end of its victorious war against a fearsome opponent – Georgia. The Russian government even expended its financial resources in order to acquire recognition of the “newly independent states” by the governments of Nauru and Nicaragua. The authorities of the microscopic island of Nauru did not even hide the kind of sums they were paid for their recognition of the independence of the two Georgian regions.
For its part, the Moscow Patriarchate also invested its substance in the creation of an independent Abkhaz diocese. Despite the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church recognizes the jurisdiction of the Georgian Church over Abkhazia, Sukhumi and Novy Afon (New Athos), the ROC is constantly sending priests of the neighboring Maikop diocese into Abkahzia to serve there. Moreover, the Russian Church has dispatched to Abkhazia its chief public relations asset, Archdeacon Andrei Kuraev, who in recent months has carried out successful interventions in the various “hot spots” of the post-Soviet Oikumene. His trip to Moldova of last autumn was memorable for his accomplishment of extinguishing the “fire of a new schism” in the face of the conservative Society of the Blessed Matrona of Moscow. That crew consisted of three priests of the Udmurt diocese, who had ceased the commemoration of Patriarch Kirill; a fact of which, alas, Moscow had not been forewarned. And so we have an example of Fr. Andrei’s successful efforts to prevent schisms on the territories of one of Russia’s central regions.
Officially in Abkhazia since last fall, Fr Andrei has been lecturing at the university, rides around on aMoped, and lives with a pious family, who had moved to the ‘land of the soul’ from stifling Moscow. Unofficially, Fr Andrei is steering the process of forming an autocephalous Abkhaz Church, whose autocephaly will be just as real as the Abkhaz’s government’s supposed sovereignty.
If we accept Fr Andrei as the “overseer” over the Abkhaz Church, the main lever of control over the Abkhaz Church is the priest Vissarion (Besarion in both Georgian and Apsynni languages - translator) Apliaa, who has served in Pitsunda since the Soviet era, when he went by the surname, “Plia” which sounds better in the Russian language. Having tested the waters in several jurisdictions during the Georgian- Abkhaz war, Fr Vissarion came to the conclusion that only the Moscow Patriarchate could successfully support and defend the Abkhaz Church. Fr. Vissarion often travels to Moscow, where he serves with the local clergy including the Patriarch, despite the questionable canonical status of the Abkhaz clergy. Fr Vissaraion elevates the name of the Patriarch of Moscow during the services, although he never was granted a canonical release by the Georgian Patriarchate. This course of action, however, is consistent with the stated policy of the Abkhaz authorities, who carry out Moscow’s orders and are more loyal to the Kremlin than any other region subject to the Russian Federation.
Such a “narrow and puppet-like” position as shown by Fr Vissarion – a representative of the old Soviet generation of the clergy - has not found favor with the younger generation of Abkhaz clergy, formed under conditions of independence, who seek to incorporate the Abkhaz church into the system of “World Orthodoxy” rather than relegate it to the status of a provincial diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church –Moscow Patriarchate. This younger generation rejects the destruction of the special delights of catholicity (sobornost’), the strict centralized “vertical” merger with the plutocratic powers, the commercialization, and the other systemic flaws inherent in the Russian State Church. In general, they are guided by the desire to introduce their Abkhaz Church on the world wide stage, rather than “beg on the doorstep of the Russian Embassy”.
Who could have predicted that the Clergy-Laity meeting at Novy Afon on May 15th would be the premier national event in Abkhazia? It was attended by about 2,000 people, a huge number for such a small country. Here it was: real conciliarity (sobornost’), the kind that Russians can only dream about! The meeting welcomed numerous political leaders, including Abkhaz government officials. The chairman of the meeting, Hieromonk Dorofei (Dbar), who completed his MDiv and theological studies in Greece, was named candidate for bishop. The organizers of this event let it be known that they have the definite support of the authorities, so that they will soon be registering the new name for their creation – The Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia. As the name of this structure implies, as well as the personal contacts its founders have with Patriarch Bartholomew, indicates the priority they give to Constantinople, not Moscow, in negotiating their autocephaly. Especially, since the Ecumenical Patriarch is of the opinion that only he has the right to grant autocephaly, a right recognized since antiquity. This is why “World Orthodoxy” does not recognize the autocephaly granted by Moscow to the Orthodox Church in America. Yet even with such “daring” as to proclaim the establishment of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia, these clergy stressed that they remained within the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate.
At one time, the Orthodox in Abkhazia had a choice, similar to the one faced by their brothers in South Ossetia. Have found themselves caught between “two beacons of official Orthodoxy” – Moscow and Tbilisi – and unable to be located in either jurisdiction, they opted for one of the unofficial “True Orthodox” jurisdictions albeit one with the softest stance vis-a vis “official Orthodoxy”, that is the “Synod in Resistance” of Metropolitan Kipirian (Kutsumba). Currently the True Orthodox Church in South Ossetia is headed by Fr Georgiy ((Pukhate) who would like to enter into the Moscow Patriarchate, only Moscow cannot come up with a plan to accomplish the deed.
The Moscow Patriarchate and its de-facto representative in Abkhazia, Fr Vissarion, responded most irritably to the news of the meeting at Novy Afon. Since the monks Andrei (Amparo) and Dorofei (Dbar) are listed as minor (parish) clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Maikop Diocese, they could be subject to canonical sanctions. It is true that Fr Andrei was transferred to the Church of Greece, where he served in parishes; but Moscow will not acknowledge that this temporary transfer was a canonical release.
The newly proclaimed Metropolis will prove to be a “great trial” for the Abkhaz authorities. On the one hand, this organization is deeply nationalistic in nature, and the principle “Independent State – Independent Church ” which was key to the future of Ukrainian Orthodoxy, is dear to the heart of any sovereign power, even a puppet regime. On the other hand the bulk of the Abkhaz clergy, gathered around Vissarion, will never recognize the autocephalous Metropolis without direct and specific instructions to do so from Moscow. Given the fact that the pro-Moscow faction has been present in Abkhazia for twenty years, and the fact that the Abkhaz authorities are so dependent on Moscow; it is unlikely that the authorities could take an independent stance on the church issue. It is therefore unlikely that the “Holy Metropolis” was authorized by the authorities.
The situation may be resolved as it was in Estonia- a division of the parishes between Constantinople and Moscow. If this model works in so many countries around the world; well then, why not in Abkhazia?
In any case even with the story still unfolding, we are dealing with another loss of Moscow’s position in the post Soviet region, and with the expansion of Constantinople, which represents the West in the Orthodox world – that is the U.S and the “aggressive NATO bloc”
Excerpt from the Article: “Abkhazia Again Struggles for Independence; but this Time from Russia?” by Vladimir Vorsobin Moskovskaya Komsomolskaya Pravda, 5/17/2011
Original article (in Russia):
Further on the way to the border, in the Sochi airport, I meet the well known Russian missionary, Archdeacon Andrei Kuraev. He frowns, furtively and diplomatically. If he speaks, “it is not for publication”. For the past several months, Deacon Andrei has been running shuttling back and forth between Moscow and Sukhumi; trying to maintain peace in the confidential religious sector of Russian-Abkhaz relations. Alas, there is a trench warfare going on. The conflict flared up in the New Athos monastery when the Russian Orthodox Church installed a retired priest, Igumen Efrem, as the new abbot of that monastery. Oddly, the head of the Abkhaz Church, Vissarion Apliaa, calls Fr Efrem by the respectable Abkhaz surname “Lakerbaia”, while their opponents call Fr Efrem by his Russian surname, Vinogradov.
To the amazement of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Abkhazians actually cared. The nationalist scruples of the local Sukhumi Orthodox newspaper “Necessary” described it thus:
“If Fr. Efrem had come alone and had Abkhaz roots; well then let him come; but no - he came with three (read Russian) hieromonks, five or six monks, and a novice… This requires a negotiation.”
“The monastic brethren do not like the fact the Bessarion, behind their backs, took This Fr. Efrem to Moscow and presented him to Patriarch Kirill, and then in their words, Fr Efrem began to give orders what should be and what must not be in the monastery. There was to be nothing of the Byzantine or Greek style; emphasis must be on the Slavonic. It did not please the brothers nor the lay people, who came to worship in Novy Afon, that Fr. Efrem would conduct the services in Slavonic rather than in the Abkhazian (Apsynni) language.
The uproar led the former rector of the monastery, Fr. Andrei (Anpar), with the help of public meetings, to obtain the recommendation of the Public Chamber of Abkhazian ‘to suspend the appointment’. Moreover, Fr Andrei clearly formulated the main and clearly understood idea of an established nation, which has finally become independent.
‘We believe that the future of the Abkhaz church must be built not only on our relationship with the Russian church; but also with the other Orthodox churches: with the Greeks, with the Serbs. The foreign policy of the Abkhaz church should be multipolar.’ As a result, the (Abkhaz) Orthodox community erupted in conflict. The next Sunday, the Abkhaz church split – those under the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church headed by Fr. Vissarion, and the independents headed by Fr. Andrei.
Since I promised the Orthodox diplomat (Archdeacon Adrei Kuroev) that I would not cite him in my article, I will only say that the deacon expressed his astonishment at these events in the most colorful and emotional Russian language.
The Relevant Apostolic Canons
Canon X. (XI.)
If any one shall pray, even in a private house, with an excommunicated person, let him also be excommunicated.
Canon XI. (XII.)
If any clergyman shall join in prayer with a deposed clergyman, as if he were a clergyman, let him also be deposed.
Canon XII. And XIII (XIII.)
If any one of the clergy or laity who is excommunicated, or not to be received, shall go away, and be received in another city without commendatory letters, let both the receiver and the received be excommunicated. But if he be excommunicated already, let the time of his excommunication be lengthened.
A bishop is not to be allowed to leave his own parish, and pass over into another, although he may be pressed by many to do so, unless there be some proper cause constraining him. as if he can confer some greater benefit upon the persons of that place in the word of godliness. And this must be done not of his own accord, but by the judgment of many bishops, and at their earnest exhortation.
If any presbyter, or deacon, or any other of the list of the clergy, shall leave his own parish, and go into another, and having entirely forsaken his own, shall make his abode in the other parish without the permission of his own bishop, we ordain that he shall no longer perform divine service; more especially if his own bishop having exhorted him to return he has refused to do so, and persists in his disorderly conduct. But let him communicate there as a layman.
If, however, the bishop, with whom any such persons are staying, shall disregard the command that they are to cease from performing divine offices, and shall receive them as clergymen, let him be excommunicated, as a teacher of disorder.
Canon XXX. (XXXI.)
If any bishop obtain possession of a church by the aid of the temporal powers, let him be deposed and excommunicated, and all who communicate with him.
Canon XXXI. (XXXII.)
If any presbyter, despising his own bishop, shall collect a separate congregation, and erect another altar, not having any grounds for condemning the bishop with regard to religion or justice, let him be deposed for his ambition; for he is a tyrant; in like manner also the rest of the clergy, and as many as join him; and let laymen be excommunicated. Let this, however, be done after a first, second, and third admonition from the bishop.
Canon XXXII. (XXXIII.)
If any presbyter or deacon has been excommunicated by a bishop, he may not be received into communion again by any other than by him who excommunicated him, unless it happen that the bishop who excommunicated him be dead.
Canon XXXIII. (XXXIV.)
No foreign bishop, presbyter, or deacon, may be received without commendatory letters; and when they are produced let the persons be examined; and if they be preachers of godliness, let them be received. Otherwise, although you supply them with what they need, you must not receive them into communion, for many things are done surreptitiously.
Canon XXXV. (XXXVI.)
Let not a bishop dare to ordain beyond his own limits, in cities and places not subject to him. But if he be convicted of doing so, without the consent of those persons who have authority over such cities and places, let him be deposed, and those also whom he has ordained.
#8 Francis Frost on 2011-06-01 18:17
It is amazing the Bishop Mark story made it without a single mention of +Nikon's town hall with the St. Seraphim's parish, without mention of Fr. Moretti's departure, and without a single mention of any complaints about Bishop Mark. It was apparently entirely his own decision and idea, just like Fr. Garklav's resignation I suppose. None of that is apparently newsworthy at all.
(Editor's note: No, they have all been extensively reported by others. If Bishop Nikon would like to add his thoughts, I would be happy to print them. )
#9 Amazing on 2011-06-01 19:51
Can anyone link me to where these stories have been covered? I'm interested to read about them, but Google is not very helpful. Thanks.
#9.1 Zach Borichevsky on 2011-06-02 09:33
Could I please also have links to these stories? I haven't seen them anywhere. Also, could someone please tell me the fate of the nuns in Washington DC?
#9.2 Fiona on 2011-06-02 14:35
THE NUNS HAVE GONE TO ROCOR
There goes obedience right out the window.
#9.2.1 nun such on 2011-06-02 19:37
Who do you accuse of disobedience and on what grounds?
#18.104.22.168 Anonymous on 2011-06-03 16:01
I for one don't know what you are talking about, so I agree with you. I would like to know what happened. I think it is fair to know what the people in Dallas have thought about Bishop Mark before his name is introduced to be the next diocesan bishop.
#9.3 Anonymous on 2011-06-03 06:05
"Dean Michael Pasonick"
but had intended to write
Deacon Michael Pasonick
I apologize for the typo.
Melanie Jula Sakoda
Does anyone know if any other Churches (ie, Russia, Greece, etc) already have institutions operating in the Holy Land similar to the disputed Romanian institution? I would be curious to find out if that is the case.
#11 Anonymous on 2011-06-02 06:26
Yes. The Russian church has a monastery in Jerusalem, and has for some time.
#11.1 Michael Strelka on 2011-06-02 08:09
Of course, the Russians have 14 such establishments, all functioning happily, commemorating the Jerusalem Patriarch and ministering to the Russian Pilgrims. The Romanians also have an establishment in Jerusalem, which has been functioning for more than 30 years.
The Romanian establishment in Jericho (which has always been commemorating the Jerusalem patriarch) started after the verbal agreement between + Diodoros and + Teoctist, but after +Diodoros died the new regime decided to play hardball and not recognize it officially, to keep a handle on the Romanians. The whole thing is a bit like what happens when Jordan or Israel do not recognize the Jerusalem patriarch election for a few years, to keep pressure on; only that the Jerusalem Patriarchate is using such tactics against other Orthodox...
#11.2 Anonimus per Scorilo on 2011-06-02 10:53
Sadly, the difference between "blessed" and "allowed" in that territory is the presence of an accompanying fee. The Jerusalem Patriarchate is the Orthodox equivalent of Lichtenstein or perhaps the modern House of Romanov, still having a legal existence, but that's about it. Why would anyone care about the territorial integrity of a "Church" with no laity?
(Editor's note: A dangerous question, friend, for one could ask the same of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey, who has even less members than Jerusalem...)
#11.3 Anonymous on 2011-06-02 12:08
I think a great many Palestinian and Jordanian Arabs in the Holy Land and abroad together with a number of Russian Jews in Israel would be surprised to find out that they don't count as lay Orthodox Christians and members of the Church of Jerusalem. There is much more to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem than the Greeks who have controlled it for the past few centuries.
I wonder if the "Russian Jews" or the Palestinian Arabs have as much regard for the JP as you do. It's just a sinecure, part of the reality of the "Mature Patriarchates."
Canon Law in that part of the world is roughly similar to the strike zone in Baseball, basically whatever the players say it is, besides they're the only ones affected by it. No one else takes it seriously.
#22.214.171.124 Anonymous on 2011-06-02 20:58
Fascinating stuff by both "anonymous" and Mark. Let me see . . .
1) A hypothetical "Patriarchate" could have hundreds of clergy but only one "layman", and according to the "Traditional" definition of "Church" could still count as a legal "Patriarchy"!???
2) If we applied the standards that applied on the verge of the Edict of Milan in 311 to today - precisely 1700 years later to the year, what would we be able to make of three of the historic "Pentarchy" Patriarchates: Constantinople, Alexandria and Jerusalem. Would their numbers in 2011 be a sufficient "critical-mass" to constitute an Archdiocese, let alone a multiple-Archdiocese "Patriarchate"?
3) If we take Mark's "dangerous question" to its logical conclusion, on pure numbers alone - as per pre-311, would we be forced to choose between legality and legitimacy with respect to these three "Pentarchy" Patriarchates qua "Patriarchy"?
In short, what is the minimum size of a "Diocese" (how many priests per Bishop), and how many Dioceses and Archdioceses are necessary in order to constitute a "Patriarchy"?
In the light of Francis Frost's lengthy but invaluable post above, is this issue forcing a re-think on "Patriarchate", or is this merely the old ethno-phyletism all over again, when it is politically expedient to do so?
Given Moscow's "3rd-Rome" ecclesiology for some time now, have both Moscow and Bucharest come to some joint modus viviendi to transcend Chambesy (possibly for all time) and to get Moscow's "3rd-Rome" assertions now enshrined de-jure?
#11.3.2 John Battye on 2011-06-03 05:43
As far as I know none have schismatic parishes or institutions in the Holy Land. The Russians do maintain a rather significant representation (commemorating both the Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Patriarch of Moscow) in the area that includes several monasteries and schools, but they were all established with the blessing and under the ultimate jurisdiction of the Church of Jerusalem.
The only other Orthodox Churches that I know of that maintain parishes or dioceses under their direct jurisdiction in the Holy Land (the Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches) have been out of communion with the pro-Chalcedon Orthodox Churches for centuries.
Hey! How about all the metochion/podvorie/representation churches all over the place - having places in other bishop's territory apparently is old hat. Even OCA has one in Moscow, Russia, and not too long ago Patr. Kirill opened one near Istanbul!! Isn't that what St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral in New York is?
(Editor's note: No, you are incorrect. It is not what St. Nicholas is, or any other representation church. These functions as "embassy" churches where the Primate of the Church is located; thus the Russian one is in NY, where our primate has been located historically, as well as the UN. The Romanian center is in Jericho, which is the center of neither Israel nor Palestine, and the Primate lives in Jerusalem. It is seen by Jerusalem as a creeping "phyletism", and "missionary" work by Romania. They can figure it out.)
#11.4.1 William Kosar on 2011-06-03 12:50
I find it ironic that Jerusalem is claiming to be the victim here, while...a decade or so ago it interfered in the internal matters of the
Antiochian Archdiocese and took the schismatics from Ben Lomond under its wings. I guess its only un-canonical if it somehow rubs the Patriarchate of Jerusalem the wrong way.
#12 Amanda in the South Bay on 2011-06-02 08:21
With respect to the antics of the practically non-existent Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the imperialistic (at least in North America) Romanian Church, the words of Rhett Butler seem pertinent:
"Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!"
Just another, as if we need one, Hierarchical screw-up that embarrasses everyone concerned.
#13 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2011-06-02 15:55
"On May 27th, following the meeting of the Episcopal Assembly in Chicago, Metropolitan Jonah informed the Parish President that he had decided he wanted to be the new Dean of his cathedral. As he had previously blessed the above search process, it is now unclear what will happen. "
You're kidding, right?
(Editor's note: No. It is sometimes the case a bishop with a small diocese will also be the Dean of his Cathedral if he plans to function as a parish priest as well in addition to his diocesan duties. However, I am not familiar with a Primate being the Dean of anything, as it is unlikely he will function as a parish priest. I could be wrong - readers?)
This was put into the report for comic relief. The Metropolitan of the whole contininet, he who is also bishop of the diocese, now wishes to be appointed Dean of the Cathedral? Does he have a wry sense of humor, and he is just pulling their legs, so to speak? Surely, you jest, Mr. Stokoe!
#14 cate on 2011-06-02 17:59
I look forward to seeing how +Jonah manages the OCA cathedral in Washington as dean. I believe it is just a matter of time before he hits the road again. There is a bit of unfortunate similarity between +Jonah and Sarah Palin. Palin is attractive, charismatic, and has the ability to draw a crowd. But at the end of the day she is unfocused, unqualified, amazingly ignorant, and if it weren't for some amazing coincidences she would never be travelling around the country making the money she is right now.
I'm not trying to be political but just point out that +Jonah is still a loose canon. Personally, I would be delighted to see +Jonah stay home and finish the capital campaign and construction projects that were started by the former dean at the cathedral. Let's see +Jonah actually finish a few projects before allowing him to go being a globetrotter.
#15 Anonymous on 2011-06-03 06:13
It's just such as comments as these that reduce reasonable dialogue and idea-sharing and working-through of issues to low, mean and judgmental mud-slinging.
I consider this view-point to be beyond the poster's knowledge. The only thing we now know of her/him is his/her views of certain persons and their politics, both ecclesiastical and secular.
I await the blessed day when I won't be subjected to such arrogant and mean critiques, both in the church world as well as in that of government.
#15.1 Rdr. John on 2011-06-03 13:25
Wow, Metropolitan of the OCA and Dean of his own Cathedral at the same time. No Mark, I honestly don't see him serving as parish priest as well. Most Bishops aren't in their Cathedrals very often to begin with because of travel. Can't see that being any better for the Metropolitan.
Strange development for sure.
#16 Anon111 on 2011-06-03 06:20
Well, following Chicago, it sounds as if the Synod has told Met. Jonah to stay put and do very little. Thus, it might make sense for him to be the Dean of the Cathedral of a small diocese. If he's got another priest supporting him, there should be little problem in him doing the little travel he will be required to do with his now clipped wings.
In short, Met. Jonah becoming Dean of his Cathedral is the logical outgrowth of decisions in Chicago. What else is he supposed to do now that most of his centralized responsibilities as Metropolitan have been decentralized?
Of course, as Rector of the Cathedral, he could be there as often as he wants, and there's no need for a Dean as much as another attached priest.
#16.1 Ps-Iosifson on 2011-06-03 07:56
Like the previous poster said, let's see if +Jonah can actually follow through with what was started by Fr. Constantine. I remember seeing the brochures at the consecration of +Jonah. I have also heard that the whole capital campaign was put on hold and that there have been some enormous financial challenges at the cathedral. There are essentially three congregations, the Russians, the Americans and the Georgians. Let's see +Jonah bring them all together and complete the expansion/renovation. I'm personally not so optimistic that +Jonah is capable of leading (just my personal opinion). He looks the part, serves well, but that is not the whole package. To be a parish priest (or in his case a metropolitan who wishes to be a dean) you have to pour your heart and soul into it. You have to be up late speaking with people, out visiting shut-ins, going to weddings, baptisms, anniversaries, etc. You have to counsel people, provide instruction in the faith and counseling. Come on, does anyone truly believe that a metropolitan can do all of these things and still take care of a diocese? Even if the Holy Synod has clipped his wings, they didn't cut them off entirely. There are still visitations, retreats, seminars, the headquarters in Syosset to visit on occasion, ecumenical affairs, inter-Orthodox affairs, etc. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, if you looked around the table of the hierarchs in Chicago at the recent meeting how many of those first hierarchs are deans of their own cathedrals? At last count the number was zero....
#16.1.1 Anon. on 2011-06-03 16:21
If the Metropolitan functions as a parish priest in his cathedral like he functions in his own diocese (ie., rarely, if ever, visiting his own parishes, except for a few favorites), forgetaboutit. I bet he doesn't know the names of half of his own diocesan priests, let alone the names of their wives. He doesn't seem to care much for how own flock under his nose.
#126.96.36.199 Anonymous on 2011-06-04 13:00
The whole diocese consists of 8 parishes and 3 missions, all within driving distance of DC.
I'm notoriously bad with names, but could probably manage to master matching the relevant faces to identities in a week or two.
#188.8.131.52.1 Rebecca Matovic on 2011-06-04 18:58
Basically, + Jonah is toast; he just hasn't realized it. What he should do is voluntarily resign as Met. and ask to become a diocese bishop - DOS. In Seattle, they will have to deal with his situation and if he were smart, he'd remove himself now - for whatever reason he wishes to use. He can no longer lead because his judgment is seriously questioned. If he won't step down, Seattle will be a complete embarrassment.
#17 Any Mouse on 2011-06-03 19:23
The news that Jonah may be a dean is great news. It means less travel and more focus. That's good for anyone. Bishops need to stay in their own diocese. They do not need to go all over the world or even to the next diocese for very much. It makes them more like people in their church who also stick to their jobs. In fact if bishops were monks they'd have taken a vow of stability and not move around. It could get contagious. More bishops should get it.
#18 Bob Koch on 2011-06-04 12:25
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