Wednesday, February 7. 2007
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Your information about who suggested using a fax at the assembly is incorrect. It was Bishop Seraphim who informed the assembly, and more specifically Fr. Steven Soot, that if anyone would like to nominate someone not present, he/she could do so by contacting that person by phone in the parish office and asking them to fax back his/her acceptance. Bishop Seraphim was quite clear about his desire not to restrict nominations, and he would not hold the vote until everyone was satisfied.
Thank you for the clarification.
#1 Fr. Christopher Swanson on 2007-02-07 15:55
I am not surprised at the popularity of His Grace Bishop BENJAMIN. Should the Holy Synod elect him to be bishop of the diocese of the West, then may God grant him many years!!
#2 Rdr. Alexander Langley on 2007-02-08 20:10
After a long discussion with a friend who attended Metropolitan Herman's Q&A at St. Mark, Bethesda, Md., I am sorry to say that my concern, shared by many others, that it would be a waste of everyone's time has apparently proved true.
While the Metropolitan evaded or just refused to answer many questions, making him appear defensive and disconnected from the firestorm enveloping the OCA, this was not the worst of it. Reportedly, MH also denied that any of the missing millions was ever used for personal use or fraudulently misappropriated! If this is indeed the case, then why hasn't Fr. Kondradick been recalled from exile in Florida (sure beats Siberia or most of the U.S. this time of year!) ?
Many of the members of St. Mark Parish, one of the nation's premier OCA parishes, with communicants from many different Orthodox backgrounds and a large number of converts, were not amused by the Metropolitan's less than sterling performance. The meeting was also poorly attended due in part, no doubt, to confusion over whether or not he would even show up. To his credit, he did show, but left immediately after, not bothering to stay for Vespers there or mingle with the laity.
All in all, yet another black mark on his leadership skills.
#3 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-02-09 14:20
Isn't that fact disturbing. As I understand, it was to be a pastoral visit. However MH came, responded coldly to the questions, dodged many of the answers and then left.
My question is 'Who is the Metropolitan?'. Or the question should rather be 'Why is he the Metropolitan?' or perhaps even 'Why is he still the Metropolitan?'
Imagine asking your father to come to your house for dinner, to talk to him, to share a meal and just spend time together. He might have an accident and come late but he comes, yet acts like he doesn't want to be there and doesn't care about you, dodges your questions, perhaps even lies then quickly leaves.
I always had this image of the bishop, especially of the metropolitan, as a spiritual father, perhaps I was wrong, I can see that now. It is more of a power position ... a way to get money and respect.
Yes, the scandal and the stolen money is very disturbing, yet, what disturbs me the most is the attitude. I think I would be able to completely forgive Syosset for the money taken, Lord knows, it is probably very temping, I might have behaved not better myself under the circumstances. But what is not acceptable is the attitude. The pride, the lies the cold shoulder that we all get. We are not treated as a flock but rather as the enemy, the potential plaintiff in a potential lawsuit.
If OCA is supposed to be one big family of believers, we are a very dysfunctional and abusive family, who, up until recently were in complete denial of our situation.
#3.1 Alex K. on 2007-02-10 03:03
Mr. Alex K.'s posting of 2/10 is an example of the type of unhelpful, flame-fanning remarks we're now being reated to when there is nothing of substance to be discussed at the present time.
Mr. K. drops charges of "maybe even lies" and +HERMAN's motivation in the ministry of the Metropolitanate being money and power -- all without accountability. These are libelous charges, and God knows I haven't taken any sides here.
To Mr. K. -- you can't just willy-nilly drop charges like these, or even the mere suggestions, with impunity. The jury is out; the investigation is under way, and you may not like the time being taken, but you'll just have to deal with it. In the mean time, cool your heels a bit!
And that bit about might having done the same thing (nothing has yet been charged or proven!) in a like situation -- What is that supposed to mean? You haven't, you aren't, and any speculation like that means nothing. And if you indeed would and you know it, then how does that manage to give you any moral authority to speak in such a manner?
This is beyond the pale.
Irrate in Oregon,
#3.1.1 Anonymous on 2007-02-12 00:03
Could it be that Fr Kondratick did not misappropriate any funds? Could it be that the “exhaustive” investigation done by the firewall building team of PR found “lots” of interesting things but nothing that could point to criminal misappropriation of funds? Could it be that there is no criminality in being a Christian and helping others in need, or at worse, putting people in situations whereby they could grow in their experience of Church life both domestically and internationally so as to help secure its future?
Could it be that even the fangless “Special Commission” may have as its most “serious” statement that “we can’t believe that the OCA was run the way it was under Theodosius.” ”We would have done it differently!” Thanks Fr. Hubiak and the 70 and son-in-law Nescott. Duh, Wheeler and Stokoe would have done it differently too.
Good, we have our new OCA structure and order, and everyone, for example, is “asleep at the switch” as Moscow and ROCOR paint the OCA into a tight corner and while Met. Herman and his new staff stare blankly into the abyss too concerned about a Town Hall meeting in Bethesda when they should have the best and brightest in the OCA trying to secure our future.
Exile in Florida? What exactly do you mean? Somehow being in Florida is a punishment for not working in Syosset? Are you kidding? Who would want to work there now? After all the flashing banners on the oca website, how tacky is that, only 3 people have applied for the position of “chancellor” and I put that in quotes because it’s no more being a chancellor now than it is being a figurehead position to fulfill legal requirements. The candidates who have applied are fine men but none of them are in the same category or caliber of Fr. Kondratick. We had the best, but we let passions and weakness in the highest place, lead us to where we are now. adrift while a major sea change is taking place in world Orthodoxy.
I don’t know what diocese you belong to but in the Diocese of the South, there is no “firestorm enveloping the OCA.” It may be from your vantage point but the only thing that is enveloping the South is growth on all fronts.
No disrespect intended but you might wish to step outside the “firestorm church” you are living in and discover that there is life and growth in the OCA where laity and clergy are oing the work of the Lord. We are free to have an opinion on all of this, but we are also free to keep focused on what is really important.
A "Silenced" One in the South
#3.2 Anonymous on 2007-02-10 12:28
Once again .... If there was no criminality involved and that the "misappropiation" of funds were done for the "good" of the Church, then why the secrecy, smoke screens, and evasion? It seems to me (and the 70) that if these unaccounted for funds were used for altruistic purposes then the matter would have been closed a long time ago.
#3.2.1 Anonymous II on 2007-02-11 21:35
Didn't the ROCOR-MP rapprochement largely take place under Fr. Kondratick?
Why identify yourself as "a 'silenced' one in the South" if things are so swell in that diocese? Take off your mask.
Nina Tkachuk Dimas
#3.2.2 Anonymous on 2007-02-12 07:50
To Tthe Silenced One in the South":
How dare you?
You don't have the guts to sign your name to a comment that resurrects the same tired refrain that nothing was amiss in the OCA, even after the joint meeting of the Metropolitan Council and the Holy Synod in December issued a joint statement acknowledging that they were "stunned" at the revelations of malfeasance presented to them at the meeting?
And then you dismiss my involvement in this --- my asking for the past 15 months that a proper investigation be done and the truth be revealed --- as being merely motivated by my marriage to the daughter of a respected archpriest of the OCA?
For the record, the name Nescott served the Metropolia and the OCA well for decades before my marriage in 1979. My paternal grandfather was dedicated to his parish in Donora, PA. My father, Lew Nescott, served as pro bono legal counsel for the Metropolia for many years in the 1950s and 1960s, and was elected to serve on the Metropolitan Council back in the days when only two or three laymen sat on that body.
While you lack the simple courage to sign your name, I was standing up before FROC conventions as a college student, always defending the Church and taking unpopular positions that sought to draw that organization closer to the OCA. I was elected by my Miami parish as a delegate to the 1977 AAC, long before my marriage.
The point here, nameless one, is that my roots are solidly in the Church. The interest of a Nescott trying to seek the truth here has little to do with my marriage into another family. My father and my family taught me the difference between right and wrong, and standing up and speaking out for what you believe.
That, apparently, is a lesson you have never learned.
Gregg Nescott, Pittsburgh
#3.2.3 Gregg Nescott on 2007-02-13 11:23
"Could it be that Fr. Kondratick did not appropriate funds?" you ask. Of course that is a possibility. Let us withhold judgment and let Fr. Kondratick speak up and tell everyone where the money went. He had control of Church money that did not belong to him. As the person in control of the money, as far as we know he is the only person who knows where that money went. If someone else knows, only Fr. Kontratick can tell us who that person is.
Fr. Kondratick should be encouraged to speak. If he refuses to speak, the Church can use the legal process to require him to replace the missing funds, to explain how they were used for Church puposes, or to explain who took control of the missing cash if he did not.
Until he speaks up, either voluntarily or under legal compulsion, I don't think anyone if going to find out what really happened.
I agree with you that the situation in the OCA is not nearly as dire as some seem to believe. There is good an bad, and just as each of us must continue to "feed the good" and "starve the bad" in our own hearts, so it is true of the OCA. It is important to not become obsessed with the scandal, and it is essential to press onward to continue the good work of the Lord. At the same time, it is important to try to recover the mssing cash, to determine the truth of what happened, and to make sure it does not happen again.
#3.2.4 Robert Vasilios Wachter on 2007-02-14 03:21
Oh, "Silenced" One in the South, were you one of the "best and brightest" from the Kondratick administration? Do tell us - especially as you are so proud of those days. You truly feel all was right with that world - the OCA as run by Fr. Kondratick? Millions of dollars missing - no problem! Clergy bullied and berated by the chancellor (if they were on his bad side) - no problem! Trips and other perks doled out by the chancellor - no problem! Decisions by a party of one in a conciliar church - no problem! This is not my understanding of our Holy Mother Church.
I pray for those who once held leadership positions in our church. I pray that they will come forward and speak the truth.
Shame on you, “Silenced” One, for your attack on Gregg Nescott. Thank you, Gregg, for your continuing service to our church.
May the Lord have mercy on us and save us!
Dear in Christ,
For a long time as a communicant within the Church of our Beloved lord Jesus Christ, I have had the opportunity to attent many Holy Liturgies presided by some of the OCA hierarchs.
I do not want to dissapoint anyone reading this posting, but we have to admit that not every OCA hierarch is speaking in Church like a follower of Jesus Christ the Supreme Hierarch and the head of the Church, and / or like some of the Holy Father of our Orthodox Christian Church.
You may ask WHY so?
Here is the answer coming right to you: because of their poor theological preparation / schooling / studies etc. It is a BAD surprise going on the oca.org and not being able to find the available biography of some of the current / former OCA Holy Synod members, like Archbishop Kyrill, Dmetri, Nathaniel, Job, Seraphim, Peter, Tikhon, etc. This is a shame for the readers, not only for the Church leaders.
Everyone has to have a biography posted on the oca.org site, available for evreyone. O good friend of mine, bishop within a non-OCA diocese, (having a PHD in theological studies, received not from any Orthodox America Seminary, but from Theological Universities within Europe), told me that the current OCA Holy Synod members are at the lowest level of theological studies. I think he is not wrong at all.
I just went back in reading the biographical information of the current OCA Metropolitan and I have a second thought about the way he studied more than 30 years ago. How much dogmatics, moral, liturgic, canon and law he might know? I look at the way he conducting the OCA business that he does not know too much. Than, how can he be a Primate, giving himself as a poor example versus his theological preparation.
BELOW, you can see the biography of the elected candidate for the West Diocese.
Read the biography from below and conclude on your one ...
Bishop of Berkeley
(Born in 1954)
Bishop Benjamin was born Vincent Peterson in Pasadena, CA on June 1, 1954 and was baptized and chrismated at Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral, Los Angeles, CA on April 27, 1972. In 1982 he was awarded a Master of Divinity degree and Certificate in Liturgical Music from Saint Vladimir Seminary.
A prolific musician, he served as choirmaster at parishes in Detroit, MI and Los Angeles and as chairman of the Orthodox Church in America's Department of Liturgical Music. He was ordained to the Holy Diaconate on November 15, 1987 by Bishop Tikhon at his home parish, which he served for 10 years as deacon and youth and education director. The following year he was tonsured a riasophore monk by Bishop Tikhon and further tonsured to the lesser schema by Archbishop [now Metropolitan] Herman at Saint Tikhon Monastery, South Canaan, PA. In 1991 he was elevated to the rank of archdeacon.
On July 19, 1997, he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by Bishop Tikhon. In 1999, Igumen Benjamin was was transferred to the Diocese of Alaska, where he served as dean of Saint Innocent Cathedral and later as administrative dean of Saint Herman Seminary, Kodiak, AK. He was elevated to the rank of archimandrite in 2002. In January 2004 he was reassigned to Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral, Los Angeles, and appointed Chancellor of the Diocese of the West.
Archimandrite Benjamin was elected to the episcopacy by members of the Holy Synod of Bishops at their Spring Session in March 2004.
His Beatitude, Metropolitan HERMAN presided at the consecration of Archimandrite Benjamin [Peterson] to the episcopacy at historic Holy Trinity Cathedral on Saturday, May 1, 2004.
How can he be a good bishop and not having good theological studies? Why the OCA Seminary teachers do not get together in examining any potentiol candidate for the position of bishop, and than to say YES or NO, for any good and / or bad cabdidate.
Think about something else: the bishops are part of the Holy Synod and it is a canonical requirement, that the candicate for episcopacy should know very well the Holy Scripture and the Canons of the Church, much better than Liturgical Music, like Bishop Benjamin. We are not proud at all by the OCA criteria of electing diocesan bishops ... from one candicate only. Where are the canonical privisions which require more than one candidate, up to three. The Greeks, the Antiochians are doing that. Why not the OCA? Is it another face of the Brum Doctrine? ...
A dissapointed Orthodox Christian,
John Deutch, 2 / 20 / 2007
#4 John Deucth on 2007-02-10 01:58
Evidently, an M.Div is not theological education to Mr. Deutch. +BENJAMIN was unanimously submitted to the Holy Synod by the Council because he is loved as a pastor and administrator and supporter of clergy by the members of this diocese.
Mr. Deutch may cast whasoever aspersions he will. They are of little consequance, and I am only wasting my time here due to my admiration for the ministry of +BENJAMIN.
Rdr. John (Tracey)
#4.1 Anonymous on 2007-02-12 00:18
John, you are RIGHT ON. Some, fill that the Choir, makes the Church. I hope we wake up soon.
Fill the Church with Spirituality, not only Lord have Mercy, ninety nine times every Sunday!
I'm a seventy five year old cradle Orthodox, and going to other Churchs, non Orthodox, and listening to some sermons, and know that what you heard was from a well educated Godly man.
Lets combine the Seminarys and teach Theology.
John: First of all, the bishops are not 'part of the Holy Synod,' they ARE the Holy Synod. Secondly, I hardly think that an M.Div. degree from SVS is an inadequate theological institution.
Bishop BENJAMIN has a positive reputation. He is not perfect, any more than the rest of us, but he has the grace to recognise that. He is known to be an excellent chef, which is not a qualification for the episcopacy, but it is a sign of the variety of interests and skills that make him the person he is. He also has a great sense of humour, again, not a canonical requirement for bishops, but I believe it should be a human requirement.
I too was concerned by the fact that there was only one candidate, but Bishop SERAPHIM did allow for other nominations and provided a procedure for making such nominations. I do not think that Vladyka BENJAMIN will be the perfect ruling bishop, but if we wait for the perfect bishop, we'll be waiting until the Second Coming.
If you are going to vent your frustration, you might consider the matters first and think through your comments. Constructive criticism is necessary, knee-jerk reactions only add to the tensions.
#4.3 Sine Nomine on 2007-02-17 12:15
The OCA and its original concept is a FAILURE! (esp. to those oF Russian decent). The Greeks, Ukrainians, Serbians, Coptics, Antiochians, etc were very smart-they wanted no part of this OCA and those people still have their traditions and language. The Russian people have lost any sense of identity Because of this crazy plan --the OCA. It is a failure and a business gone bad and about to go under. It is time to break away and go back under the Patriarch of Moscow and the Metropolia--The way it used to be---when church was full on the 7th of Jan-When services were half in English and half in Slavonic--everybody was happy. I have been bitter about this OCA for 25 years -it has taken so much away from my family and brought my original parish down to 20/25 families-the change of calendars and the all english services was to make the parish grow - it died> Thanks Oca> It is time to separate-go under Moscow and get our identity back. I know I am not the only one who feels like this--I have a lot to say and am not afraid anymore
#5 The Way It Used To BE on 2007-02-10 17:43
>It is time to separate-go under Moscow and get our identity
>back. I know I am not the only one who feels like this--I
>have a lot to say and am not afraid anymore
I disagree... Moscow should not be considered. IF - and I say if at this point - the OCA should cease to exist as an autocephalous Church, then its members should look at the history of the great theologians of the OCA and the origins of the positive theological thinking (liturgical, pastoral, etc) in the OCA: Fr. Florovsky, Fr. Schmemann, Fr. Meyendorff... all these came from St. Sergius in Parish, from the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe.
If the OCA should cease to exist, I think serious consideration should be given to asking Abp. Gabriel to help over here. After all, consider how the Archbishop and the EP are solidly supporting the work and position of Bishop Basil in England.
With love of Christ and the Church,
many of us have read of the closing of parishes in the Roman Catholic church........most often due the change of local demographics, that is.........people improve their lives and tend to move as they see fit, creating new parishes elsewhere, the total number of which sometimes exceed all expectations most of us realize that no one can stop the march if time, we grow older every day but retain the memories of our youth.......we should use these memories to our benefit, and to benefit those now around us retrogressing the language and calendar may fare well enough in Old Russia.........but the 21st century will need us more than we can possibly imagine use those youthful memories to promote the church we now have as it develops into the future
#5.2 luke on 2007-02-11 22:19
I politely beg to differ. Many second generation Russian-Americans don't know 10 words of russian. A significant number of OCA churchgoers are converts with non-eastern european ethnicity. Consequently, the vast majority of OCA churchgoers now know much more english than Church-Slavonic.
Its the "spirit of the times" which is taking its toll on Orthodox (and other traditional Christian) churches in America AND in europe. Going back under the Patriarch of Moscow will not bring back the masses from out of the woods. Also, the Church is not a "business" ... It is the Body of Christ. We're "identified" as Children of God without regards to ethnicity, customs, national traditions, and the like.
#5.3 The Way it IS on 2007-02-11 22:27
Dear Soul in Christ,
Your frustration and pain are evident; and I pray that during this upcoming season of the Great Fast you will take this opportunity to use it all to enter with Christ into the experience of that crucifixion which alone leads to resurrection. It's never easy, but it's always worth it.
At the same time, I have to point out the plain reality that (asuming you are "cradle Orthodox") you and your ancestors are and were Orthodox Christians precisely because the successful missionaries to the Slavs refused to cling to "the way it used to be." The first missionaries to the Slavs failed miserably because they insisted on clinging to services in Greek. Once Sts. Cyrill and Methodius and their followers started using the language of the people (what for convenience we call "Slavonic"), Slavic hearts were set on fire with the Faith; and Holy Orthodoxy took such deep root that not even some 70 years of vicious Bol'shevik persecution could uproot it from the people of Rus'.
And THAT, dear heart, is the way it used to be. THAT is at least part of why, despite deliberate efforts in the late 19th Century by the U.S. Government to eradicate Orthodoxy from Alaska, the children of Sts. Herman, Peter, and Juvenaly remain steadfast. Indeed, THAT is part of why the Gospel spread so quickly in the begining: because the Holy Apostles quickly started using Greek, the lingua franca of the Empire, rather than stubbornly sticking only to Hebrew and Aramaic. The Holy Orthodox Faith is not now, nor was it ever meant to be, the exclusive possession of one people or nation; and the task of the Church is now what it ALWAYS has been: to become indigenous to each nation of the world, which inevitably means adopting the language of that nation. Holy Orthodoxy is by its very nature a "missionary Church" simply because that's what, in Matthew 28:19-20, the Lord of the Church told Her to be.
So I urge you to resist this deluding temptation to think that it's the use of English that has decimated your parish. Look, rather, to self-sabotaging decisions over the past 50 years or so; look to attitudes towards the Faith itself; look to the values the children were taught, not in church, but at home; look at whether or not there was effective teaching of the Faith in church school and careful living of the Faith in the home. Just how carefully and how JOYFULLY, for example, was Great Lent observed in the home? Or were the fasting, the repentance, the forgiveness, the almsgiving, the spiritual focus, reduced to quibbles about what food was "lenten" and what wasn't?
As for the calendar issue, firstly, Christmas is NEVER on January 7th; it is ALWAYS on December 25th. It's just that Dec. 25th on the Julian Calendar falls 13 days later than it does on the Gregorian calendar. It's like having a watch that's 13 minutes slow: you get to noon alright, but 13 minutes later than everybody else. (And in your great- grandparents time, the gap was only 12 days; it grew to 13 days in the year 1900 or thereabouts. It will grow to 14 days sometime in the next century or two.)
Further, the issue has less to do with calendars than it does with whether or not we CHOOSE to buy into the secular world's distortion of Christmas AND of the lenten period before it. Ever notice how many "Christmas parties" fall during the Nativity Fast, such that by the time Christmas actually arrives, everybody is partied out? If a person or a family actually keep the lenten season with careful devotion, the celebration of the Lord's Nativity acciording to the flesh will be truly joyful, no matter what calendar one follows. (And FYI, in my OCA parish and most of our parishes in this part of the world, we're on the old calendar. But that fact alone does NOT make it "standing room only," either on Christmas or Pascha or your average Sunday. So you're falling for another delusion of the devil.)
And by the way, take a good look at what actually happens in Russia on secular New Year's Eve. It's still the Nativity Fast, but people are eating and drinking and celebrating like crazy. Look also at how often "for the sake of the children" (now, grandchildren) some who insist on the old calendar nonetheless shatter the Fast and celebrate on new-calendar Christmas...and that includes people in ROCOR, the Moscow Patriarchate, and the Serbian jurisdictions. Christmas, Pascha, all the feasts and fasts of the Church, are what we ourselves CHOOSE to make them.
I apologise and your forgiveness if anything in this reality check was unduly harsh. I confess that I have yet to strike that perfect balance which, in Eph.4:15, the apostle calls "speaking the truth in love."
#5.4 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2007-02-12 05:44
It was perfect, don't change a thing. If you keep this up, you'll be facing the cross of being made a bishop by acclamation!
#5.4.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-02-12 16:31
I'm not sure to whom you're addressing your remarks, since I never suggested that anything has ever been perfect in the life of the Church except Her Head. As for being made a bishop, God forbid that I should ever have to expiate my sins by bearing so grievous a cross...'cause then I'd have to deal with priests like me.
#184.108.40.206 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2007-02-13 12:40
The Orthodox Church is not based off of culture, but Christ! Any individual who leaves the Orthodox Church for some personal conviction about CULTURE, LANGUAGE or CALENDAR has COMPLETELY missed the purpose of Christ's church. This is where a severe lack of education among ALL Orthodox cultures is leading to misconceptions about how Christ's church "should be" run.
Oh and by the way...I am Russian, and I LOVE my services in ENGLISH...and I could careless about a calendar...the point is to celebrate the FEAST day and NOT the day itself.
If you want to go back under Moscow, might I suggest ROCOR...the rest of us are here to stay to fight for our Orthodox Church in America!
#5.5 Anonymous on 2007-02-12 06:21
You include the Antiochians in your list. Bet there are more Slavonic-language parishes in the OCA than there are Arabic-language parishes in the Antiochian Archdiocese. Just a hunch.
#5.6 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2007-02-12 16:02
I am of Russian heritage. I love Russian and I love hearing the service in Russian/Slovonik. However, my church is now half converts. What do we do with them? I have to honor them for converting. I love the converts. They know more then I do about my religion. But, I would love to get back to half Russian and half English. I would love to get back to January 7. I think it is time to go back under Moscow or the Synod of Bishops. But I am heartbroken for the converts. Where do they go now? They converted in good faith and now they would be set adrift. Please answer me.
#6 anonymous on 2007-02-11 22:49
All I can say to you is that I was brought up in good faith and now I AM adrift. I have chosen to walk away from my family parish ( a building my grandfather started) several years ago-before this scandal-I guess I saw it coming. Orthodoxy and my family parish are in my soul but the heart is broken and I blame it on the OCA--change after change after change for years and I see nothing better. I attend several other churchs, until i settle on one I am adrift so these converts would have to figure it out on their own should we go back to Moscow. Also a convert needs to do it MY way- I should not have to accomodate a convert. Accomodating converts has caused me to walk away.
#6.1 The Way It used To Be on 2007-02-12 14:05
People, get a GRIP!!
You are too easily pursuaded by the devil and he is laughing at you! It is God's Church & God's Gospel. What has REALLY changed to accomodate converts??? The language? The calander? BIG DEAL! These are not theological basis's for the Orthodox Church (except of course the date for Pascha). The Orthodox Church is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow because the church belongs to Christ!
Why do you go to church? For the Language, the culture, the calander, the singing, the sermons, the people or do you go for the right reason, to worship and glorify God Almighty.
You might want to read the parable in the Gospel about the seeds. Which catagory to do you fall into?
#6.1.1 Anonymous on 2007-02-13 06:25
Frankly, and sadly, you have made an idol out of the non-essential. To top it off, you then add lack of charity (towards the converts) to the mix. How can this be Orthodoxy?
#6.1.2 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2007-02-13 06:38
Personally, I think if the OCA falls apart the answer would be to seek union with one of the other jurisdictions in North America, like the Antiochians. It wouldn't be the most graceful way towards a unified Orthodox presence in North America, but it would at least teach us humility if we haven't learned that already, and I think it would be better than perpetuating the jurisdictionalism that would happen by instead joining Moscow or Constantinople as a "new", "resurrected" OCA.
#6.1.3 Stephen on 2007-02-13 16:23
I am sorry, "The Way It used To Be," that you feel that you have been set adrift; however, I think you have set yourself adrift, not us converts. I converted from Anglicanism because I was seeking the truth of Christ. I converted into an ethnic Russian parish, and I hold in highest respect those who were forced to leave their homelands in the face of the godless communists. I heard their stories and realised how blessed I was to live in a place and time where such realities were far away. I feel a debt of gratitude to the priest who chrismated me and to that parish family. Out of great respect, and a love for languages, I learned enough Slavonic to be able be comfortable during Liturgy in Slavonic.
But my experience starts with the heartfelt desire to follow Christ, and not the winds of false and competing doctrines found in Anglican Comprehensiveness. I didn't become Orthodox in order to enjoy pirozhki, blini, pierog, etc., as good as they are. A Russian parish was the context that God chose for me. I accepted that. But that cannot be the experience of all converts. My wife would perish in a Slavonic parish. She doesn't have the language skills or the interest - and there is no reason she should. All she needs to do is be obedient to Christ - something that becomes a difficult struggle when the human institutions of the Church become so distracted by human sin, from the scandal caused this web-site to come into existence, to the mere pettiness of squabbles over languages and customs.
Converts are here to stay. We know what the alternative is: spiritual death. As St Grigori Petroff wrote, "outside there is darkness, horror and the howling wind." I came because everything I ever was as an Anglican, could only stay alive in the real Church - the Orthodox Church. If you choose to let yourself go adrift - to be lost in that storm, it is a sad thing, but it is your choice, and no one else's. I thank God it was not the choice made by the Enlighteners of the Slavs, SS Cyril and Methodius, or of St Innocent, Enlightener of the Aleuts. If they had complained about the 'way it used to be' neither one of us would have the Priceless Pearl today.
#6.1.4 Sine Nomine on 2007-02-17 12:38
some oca people might not be aware that rocor also has lots of american converts and parishes and even monasteries that serve exclusively in english.an american convert in rocor translated the menaion into english.in fact,many converts who seek a more traditional and genuine orthodoxy,not influenced by modernism,are in rocor.the mp too,has converts and uses english in many parishes.you'll find lots of converts in other jurisdictions and they are very happy where they are.by the way,i am not in rocor,i am in the oca,but i go everywhere and like and love ALL orthodox jurisdictions for their unique flavor and contributions they made for the good of orthodoxy here in america.i see only ONE orthodox church in america because we have unity in the CHALICE,that what matters the most.soon the oca and rocor will be able to concelebrate,then that unity will be even more complete.have a blessed lent, all ye orthodox out there in cyber space.
#6.2 Anonymous on 2007-02-13 10:01
"Accomodating converts has caused me to walk away." Can you hear yourself, The Way It Used To Be? I'm a convert. I came to Orthodoxy for Christ, not for the borsch. If using the local language is enough to cause you to walk away, one has to wonder about your attachment to Christ. Our parish is over 90% converts. Very few of us would be here if we had to learn Slavonic first, and why, after all, should we? We're Americans, and English is our language, and we thank God that this treasure of Orthodoxy is available to us. May God grant you repentance and a better mind, The Way It Used To Be.
#7 Anonymous on 2007-02-16 18:21
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