Tuesday, September 23. 2008
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I'm sure it is difficult for the Romanians to have their parishes divided between those under the OCA and those under the Patriarch. And most people can understand the nationalism tug to have everyone united under their Patriarch. However, according to Orthodox canon law, local churches are to be led by local bishops. Foreign bishops do not have any business in North America. Since a indigenous, canonical, autocephalous church, the OCA, exists in North America, it is under this omophor ALL the Orthodox in North America should be under. If the Romanians wish to combine their US churches, canonically, it should be under the OCA.
#1 Anonymous on 2008-09-23 14:44
I write as an individual priest, albeit one who considers himself reasonably well-informed on his topic.
As a reader of www.ocanews.org since its inception, I believe it to have been the single greatest impetus for resolution of the scandal to which it is addressed, outside of the few heros who have struggled so mightily. I am reminded of Patriarch Teoctist's remark about the martyrs of the 1989 Romanian uprising -- "We have not been as courageous as these children." (my loose translation).
I have read and reread the purposes of this website and find myself endorsing and re-endorsing them.
But . . .
I'm afraid that in posting comments, reflections or documents concerning the ongoing dialogue between the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America (OCA) and the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of America (Romanian Patriarchate), you've ventured beyond your stated purposes. I can conceive of no connection between the Romanian dialogue and any of the three purposes listed on the ocanews.org homepage, all of which directly refer to the OCA misconduct scandal.
In fact, discussion of the Romanian dialogue on this website only clouds the issues -- both for you and for us.
Let me explain:
1. The dialogue between the two Romanian eparchies (a good Orthodox Christian word, not Patriarchal jargon as some would have us believe) began at then Bishop Nathaniel's initiative in 1992, well before even Deacon Wheeler mentioned misconduct in Syosset. It has continued for sixteen years, entirely without reference to the troubles of the National Church.
2. The ROEA and ROAA have assiduously resisted making any connection between the dialogue and the OCA scandal, refusing at every turn to comment on it or to do anything to exacerbate the OCA's problems. True, Archbishop Nathaniel fulfilled certain obligations as a member of the Holy Synod -- this is not to be misread as confusing the two issues.
3. In all discussions between the ROEA, the ROAA and the Patriarchate of Romania, it was clear that the OCA scandal is not at stake. It also was made abundantly clear that the ROEA has no interest in judging, repudiating or otherwise characterizing the OCA, its history, autocephaly, or personalities.
4. Simple courtesy and fairness would expect that those outside the ROEA would similarly refrain from judging or characterizing a dialogue to which they are not party. Certainly in our age, no one is obliged to be courteous or fair, and every person in North America has the right to speak on anything -- I simply suggest that ocanews.org is not the appropriate forum in this case.
5. To be sure, there are individuals who see the OCA scandal as a reason to leave. That is their opinion. It is not germane to the ROEA-ROAA dialogue, nor is the dialogue germane to the scandal.
6. I believe, as do my brethren in the dialogue, that the OCA -- guided by the Holy Spirit -- will solve the present crisis and thrive again. I have expressed this belief publicly, many times. That is our opinion. It is not germane to the ROEA-ROAA dialogue, nor is the dialogue germane to the scandal's resolution.
Obviously a full explanation of the dialogue itself would take many more pages but, as I have said, I believe discussion of the whole subject to be outside the scope of www.ocanews.org. I know that any member of the ROEA side of the Joint Dialogue would be happy to answer any questions at any time.
Some questions remain for this website:
1. Are you prepared to publish every single document, comment and reflection that comes your way regarding the Romanian dialogue? You'll be receiving submissions in at least two languages and from at least three countries. In the interest of being unbiased, are you willing to find yourself suddenly an American platform for the Patriarchate of Romania and her apologists? I don't question your openness to this, but I fear the result would be to significantly dilute this website's effectiveness as a voice concerning the original controversy in Syosset.
2. Are you prepared to revise the purposes of ocanews.org? What will be the scope of coverage of scandals, controversies and just plain whining, once you've departed from the Syosset scandal?
3. What do you wish for ocanew.org and its standing in the Orthodox Christian community? At least some of your credibility in the OCA question comes from your personal experience in Syosset. You have no such experience in the Romanian question -- in fact I have noted some important inaccuracies in your coverage before today. Venturing into this uncharted water brings the risk of reducing ocanews.org's credibility to that of one more scandal sheet looking for a story.
4. What does your readership expect from ocanews.org? Perhaps the answer to this question will reveal the answers to my first three questions. Perhaps, as the Syosset scandal subsides and is resolved, this website will need a new raison d'etre. Perhaps ocanews.org will disappear and stokoeorthodoxnews.com will arise in its place. I don't presume to know God's will -- I can only speak of the present instance.
These are troubled times for all of us. We need, more than ever, to deepen our repentance, prayerfulness and forgiveness. We need, each of us, to focus ever more clearly on the particular task that God has given us in our little corners of the world. We need to trust that, as each of us strives to discern God's will in our own contexts, His Holy Spirit will take care of the big picture and that some day, in His time, the prayer of His Son will be answered: "That all may be one."
Archpriest Ian Pac-Urar
The Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America
The Orthodox Church in America
(Editor's note: Fr. Ian is a member of the JDC, and so more than a "little informed" on the topic. Thank you Fr. Ian for those well spoken and thoughtful comments. Let me try to answer your major concern, which I understand to be "Is this anybody's business apart from the ROEA and ROAA, let alone OCANews.org?"
The short answer is "Yes".
The longer answer goes like this: I will not accept your reductions of this issue, just as I would not accept Syosset's reductions at the beginning of the OCA scandal.
To wit, it is every Orthodox Christian in America's "business" in general because the church structure being presented affects every Orthodox Christian in America, and the goal of a united Orthodoxy in America. It is not just your business or your business alone, because what you are doing affects us all, for decades, if not centuries, to come.
It is every member of the OCA's business because it affects the future of the OCA specficially, as it relates to our self-understanding as the autocephalous Church in America, and as a vehicle of unity for all Orthodox. (Perhaps we are failing in that - but that is another question. )
Most importantly, it concerns OCANews.org, since no one else is "bothering" to cover this story for the OCA as a whole, or as the OBUSA laments, even for the ROEA, let alone the ROAA. (Pardon me if I seek to fill in the gaps even the small extent I have, since y'all seem to be trying to fly under the radar in this effort - which raises its own questions....)
Finally, and most importantly, I would argue that this is our business - that is, everybody in the OCA's at least - because last time I looked Archbishop Nathaniel was still a member of the Synod of Bishops of the OCA, was still planning on being in Pittsburgh, and more than likely, should someone fail to get 2/3 of the votes on the first ballot, will be one of the five Bishops who will actually elect our new Metropolitan. It is a reasonable question, therefore, to ask, and to consider, and discuss, if in planning the future of the OCA, the ROEA and its hierarch will be along for the ride - or not.
But feel free to disagree.
Finally, if you feel I have reported "substantial inaccuracies" as you alledge, please be so good as to point them out to me. Since everything I have reported regarding the "unity" question comes from documents, which documents do you think were false or inaccurate? But I suspect your real problem, as the tenor of your questions reveals, is that you just don't want anybody talking about this at all. Good luck on that one. This is America.
A more fruitful policy, I would suggest, would be just to put all the cards out on the table, let people discuss it openly and thoroughly and honestly, and then let those responsible come to a decision freely. In short, be transparent and accountable. And what do you know, I guess that is the purpose of this website, after all...)
#2 Fr. Ian on 2008-09-23 14:45
Before you ascribe motives to my words and perform diagnoses of my "problem," I suggest you speak with some folks who actually know me. Any of my parishioners will do, or even some of those most opposed to the whole dialogue/unity prospect -- you know some of their names.
We'll never have unity of any sort if we descend to the ad hominem level.
Little of what I say ever has more than face value and, while I accept that the Romanian question is of concern to the OCA and to Orthodoxy in general, I challenge you to correlate this topic in any direct, specific way to even one of the stated purposes of this website.
(Editor's note: Father, there was no ad hominem criticism in my reply, in any way shape or form. I fear you have me confused with the ad hominem attack on Fr. Vincent by Fr. Cornel, which follows.
But I do thank you for admitting the issue is of concern to the OCA and Orthodoxy in America in general.
As for how this issue relates to the concerns of this website, I thought I had made that clear with my two final words: accountability and transparency. That you failed to grasp that reminds me of response a friend once shared with me when a another friend told her she was going to Paris sans money. " Don't you think you should take some money?" my friend asked. "Why?" the traveller asked. " Well," my friend replied, " if I have to explain that to you, it probably won't do any good." So, too, here.
But feel free to disagree. )
#3 Anonymous on 2008-09-23 15:28
Dear Fr. Ian,
I personally have not been following the Romanian situation very closely but I would be concerned if +Nathaniel and the ROEA delegates were to participate in the AAC come November. It appears His Grace has distanced himself from the OCA with all of its problems given his prior knowledge of the irregularities (as the SIC report indicates) and subsequent non-action and his absence from the recent Synod-MC gathering. If the Romanian diocese is seeking to break away from the OCA why should it have any say in determining the OCA's future? I wish your bishop would state his intentions clearly prior to the AAC.
#4 Karina Ross on 2008-09-23 15:51
Greetings in the Lord!
It is simply assumed that every ROEA parish will join in this union? Was there are is there any provision for a ROEA parish, mission, monastery, to stay in the OCA if they choose to?
What if ROEA parishes want to stay in the OCA? Can they? Is there a provision to do so?
#5 Anonymous on 2008-09-23 16:27
The obvious reason for this "news", despite a beautifully crafted response, is that ocanews has become the unofficial "blog" to the world about Orthodox-related issues. In effect, it is the perfect definition of a blog (go check it out on Wiki). Any issue that is "orthodox" now has another internet forum.
Content is added or removed at-will by a single user who has ultimate control of what is published and an agenda that can be validated by the promotion of transparency and accountability "the purpose of this website after all..."
I'm we can all see the predicament - any questioning of purpose is an obvious attack on accountability and transparency as defined by, you guessed it, the blogger.
#6 Methodios on 2008-09-23 16:38
I am sure these discussions have been delicate and difficult these past 15-16 years between the ROEA and the ROAA, but looking at the response from hierarchs in Romania and some of the remarks reported by some of the leaders in Romania, I have to wonder if these men are stupid or ignorant, or, worse yet, evil.
Are they really so misinformed about life in America that they would "announce" something that was sure to insite the sensibilities of those Americans of Romanian descent to react in exactly the opposite way?
I simply cannot imagine them being evil, so my only choice is to believe they are ignorant, but that doesn't engender much confidence.
As an outside observer in this, I increasingly wonder if any foreign hierarchs have the slightest clue how to communicate other than by "divine fiat" to Americans.
How often does this method have to fail to achieve their stated goals before they figure out it may be time to change the method? I mean really...
#7 Barnabas Powell on 2008-09-23 20:08
Fr Ian appears to want to keep this whole discussion "in the family" of Romanians...buying into the line "let's go back to the Mother Church." The underlying attitude of those supporting the re-union is "Romanian first, then Orthodox." It is lamentable that all Romanians on this continent are not under one autocephalous national Church. He apparently does not understand that an Episcopate in the US and Canada for 100 years, more than 60 of which has been spent NOT under a foreign Patriarch, is established, is autocephalous and is now the Church which those who come to this land from the "old country" should join. The Patriarchate certainly does not understand the concept.
All the claims about not making the OCA scandal an issue rings as disingenuous. How big hearted of them to say that, while out of the other side of their mouths they (numerous priests) constantly point to how "NOBODY" recognizes the OCAs autocephaly! So, their logic continues, that's a big reason to go from autocephalous to "maximal autonomy." How is that logical? Yes, indeed, they don't want anyone "outside the familia" to know what is being said!
I hope OCA News keeps providing information on this topic, because the JDC has taken on a life of its own that supersedes restoring good relations, and is now advocating a take over by the Patriarchate... no matter how they couch "more autonomous than the Antiochians."
To love one's heritage and roots is a wonderful thing. However, to put it ahead of Christ, the Church and its mission on this continent, ahead of the canons that call for good order, and then justify it with the reasons given is tragic.
There are clergy in the Episcopate who do not support this reunion, and in their numbers are some younger generation, Romanian-born priests. I hope they will continue working to help others who have immigrated to see that their future is here. The future of their church is here, in the autocephalous Orthodox Church in America.
#8 Anonymous on 2008-09-24 05:38
In reply to Fr. Dimitri Vincent articles in the Romanian Brotherhood lettert, please see the following reply:
THERE ARE MORE THINGS IN A HOUSEHOLD THAN YOU THINK.
WHAT IS JUST STARTED TO BE KNOWN IS THE TITP OF THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG. THE TRUTH IS COMING OUT HARD BUT IT WILL BE IN THE OPEN SOONER OR LATER
Dear Fr. Vincent:
To respond to your request for "feedback" on your recent editorial efforts, I would like to say that your publication is ugly. It's ugly not only in its presentation (interminably long and crowded to confusion), but is also ugly and deceiving in its content. It is a treatise entitled "On Unity" which promotes disunity.
Fr. Vincent, where have you been?
For many years you had little to do with our Episcopate. Suddenly you appeared from out of the blue professing to understand our Episcopate, its faithful, and its needs. Do you now attempt to shape its future?
Since you left our Episcopate many things have changed: the cold war is over (did you notice that?) and Romania, a member of NATO and of the European Union, is a partner with the USA in the war against terrorism. Foremost, the structure of our Episcopate has changed. Parishes which once were big and vibrant parishes are now smaller, struggling to make ends meet. Some of them were revitalized by the new immigration. Missions or small parishes at the time when you knew first hand our Episcopate are now large parishes (some are the largest in the Episcopate), and they are formed by newcomers from Romania.
This summer I had a chance to serve again in my first parish, Holy Cross in Alexandria, VA. What a joy it was for me. This is a parish which I thought, when I left to go to St. Paul over 23 years ago, had no future. Now it is full of young people and children. The average age of its membership is under 40 years old.
The faithful there have not been touched by the cold war mentality. This mentality is alive, however, in some of the members of the not-so-brotherly Brotherhood.
Oh brother, where art thou?
The unity we are talking about is not with the Patriarchate of Romania, but with our brothers and sisters from North America. Only a mean step-brother does not want to be united with his brothers. It is the eternal story of Joseph and his brothers, isn't it?
This unity will bring many benefits: spiritual strength, greater missionary potential, and especially order among the divided and independent parishes on this continent. It is a beginning for the greater unity of Orthodox Christians in North America. If two small dioceses formed by brothers and sisters cannot be united, it makes no sense to dream about a greater unity among all the Orthodox in North America.
The offer made to us by the Patriarch is the best possible. It surpasses the autonomy accorded to the Antiochian diocese. If we do not take this great offer made to us by the Patriarch, we should have not only our faith but also our heads examined.
However, it's more about canonicity.
The OCA is only a semi-canonical mitropolia, since it is recognized as autocephalous by its giver alone, the Patriarchate of Moscow. We, in turn, are connected with the OCA by a legal contract with no canonical value. Take a hard and honest look at what we are and where we have been: we are a sort of independent archdiocese and act as such, which is semi-heretical, if not heretical. While there were some reasons for this division, they were only political, not ecclesiastical.
Since the political reasons for this division (schism) do not exist anymore, it is time for us to correct our canonicity within the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Ecclesiologically, the other diocese was right all along. Perhaps they were politically incorrect, but they were ecclesiologically accurate.
Crazy as a loon!
While some leaders in our Episcopate may enjoy this kind of "freedom" as you call it in your publication which we have in the OCA, it contravenes our faith and administratively it is very precarious. It starts at the diocesan level, but trickles down to the parish level and into the lives of the faithful.
To recommend remaining in this semi-canonical defunct church organization and I mean in the OCA is in fact irresponsible. Furthermore, anyone who would believe that the other diocese would join us with the OCA must be, as my mother-in-law likes to say, crazy as a loon.
This member of the silent majority could not silently sit by without taking a stand. While there are several more ideas I'd like to "feedback" to you, that will have to be all for now.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Cornel Todeasa
you would be very right if the so called oca's autocephaly was canonically recognized by the ancient patriarchates,but it is NOT and even the moscow patriarchate which granted that autocephaly at a time of communist control, now seems to marginalize the oca. no, the oca is just one other jurisdiction of the many here in america.THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH IS IN THE CHALICE. as long we all serve and commune together we truly are one.
#10 Anonymous on 2008-09-24 08:39
"The OCA is only a semi-canonical mitropolia, since it is recognized as autocephalous by its giver alone, the Patriarchate of Moscow."
The above statement by you just isn't true. The OCA is in communion with ALL the canonical Orthodox Churches around the world and thus, de facto, is recognized by all. If someone doesn't want to "formally" recognize China, that's their right, but this does not mean China does not exist. The only reason "some" may not "formally" recognize the autocephaly of the OCA is because once done, any church under foreign bishops (canonically) MUST come under the OCA. Constantinople refused to recognize the autocephaly of Moscow for over 200 years and then did so after much $$$ was exchanged. Politics is not the reality.
#11 Anonymous on 2008-09-25 05:25
"you would be very right if the so called oca's autocephaly was canonically recognized by the ancient patriarchates,but it is NOT and even the moscow patriarchate which granted that autocephaly at a time of communist control, now seems to marginalize the oca."
This also is not a true statement. The OCA is in communion with ALL the canonical Orthodox and therefore recognized. It isn't the "Metropolia" long past. Nor has the MP marginalized the OCA. ROCOR wishes that were the case, but ROCOR is now under the thumb of Moscow and foreign bishops have no business in the American Church. They are here for the money. ROCOR is no more than some throw back to 1915 Russia waiting for the next Czar and not living in the reality of Orthodoxy in North America. Canonically, the OCA is the ONLY autocephalous Orthodox Church in North America and will remain as such. You however, can be under the thumb of whatever foreign bishop you please.
#12 Anonymous on 2008-09-25 06:38
When will we learn to exercise ecclesial discipline?
from the San Francisco Chronicle:
Struggling with severe mental illness, the man turned in desperation to his church, the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco.
But soon after the man implored the Rev. Michael Rymer to be his "spiritual father" and guide him through his troubles, the priest allegedly seduced him without revealing that he had been exposed to HIV, court records show.
"I was going to Father Michael when I was in my worst state," the man later testified. "When I would go to him to help me, he would help me, and afterward he would take advantage of me. That was his method of continual operation over and over again."
Over a 14-year-period, several church officials learned that the priest was HIV-positive, and they suspected he was having sex with his parishioner, according to court records. But they did not report Rymer's misconduct.
The priest's alleged sexual abuse of his vulnerable parishioner seemed destined to remain a secret masked by a church hierarchy steeped in tradition rich with incense and icons.
But the man's psychiatrists urged him to complain. He filed a lawsuit accusing the priest of sexual battery and the church of negligence.
Rymer and the church have denied wrongdoing. But after San Francisco Superior Court Judge Patrick Mahoney ruled that the church might face potentially high punitive damages, the defendants settled the case at a closed court hearing on Thursday from which members of the media and the public were excluded.
The man's lawyers declined to comment but said in court papers that despite blatant evidence of clerical misconduct, "the Church deliberately turned a blind eye."
In the past decade, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has paid more than $10 million to settle sex abuse cases, according to the church. The archdiocese faces pending lawsuits alleging sex abuse by priests in Texas, Florida, Illinois and Arizona.
Meanwhile, more than two dozen Greek Orthodox priests around the country have been criminally convicted, sanctioned by the church or sued for sexually abusing parishioners.
Clergy abuse has afflicted many religious denominations, most prominently the Roman Catholic Church, which according to published accounts has paid more than $1 billion to victims. But while the Catholic Church has been forced to deal with clergy sexual misconduct, "the Orthodox churches still view themselves as above the law."
As described in the documents, the case highlights a pattern found in clergy abuse cases: Religious officials disregarded mounting evidence of misconduct until the victim finally took legal measures forcing them to act.
The man who complained about Rymer was raised in a devout Greek Orthodox family and served as an altar boy at St. Nicholas Church in San Jose. In 1982, he landed an administrative job at IBM and married. But that November, he was in a bad car accident. During rehabilitation, he became addicted to painkillers and began drinking heavily. In October 1987, he was admitted to a drug detoxification program at Stanford University Hospital, and while there he had a psychotic breakdown. The chronic condition rendered him borderline mentally retarded, according to his lawsuit, without the ability to weigh risks.
But through it all, he remained devout. Released from the hospital, he sought solace from his church "to improve my conscious contact with God," as he testified.
Rymer had his own troubles. He was a self-described homosexual sex addict. And by 1987, he had learned that a former homosexual partner was HIV-positive.
Rymer later testified he understood that the man was "mentally ill, that he had had a psychotic break, that he was oftentimes very emotionally unstable."
A few days later, Rymer invited the man to supper at the home he shared with his mother in San Jose. After she had retired for the night, Rymer and the man had sex on the living room couch, the priest testified.
Almost immediately, the priest felt he was falling in love. "It was very joyful on one hand and somewhat frightening on the other hand," he testified.
He said he struggled with the conflict between being "a practicing homosexual and being part of a church that basically was condemning of what I was engaging in."
For his part, the man believed Rymer was trying to convince him he was gay. "He tried to convince me that homosexuality was acceptable," the man testified. "He told me that a couple of the disciples of Christ were also homosexual."
As their sexual involvement continued, the man and his wife divorced. Meanwhile, he served as an acolyte, helping Rymer celebrate Mass. But then the man told Rymer he wanted to end their sexual relationship.
The priest tried to dissuade him. On a retreat at a monastery at Point Reyes, Rymer testified, he screamed at the man and threw furniture "because of his rejection of me."
Later, while the man was driving them home across the Golden Gate Bridge, the priest had what he later called a panic attack and "wanted to throw myself off the bridge."
Within days, Rymer checked into Stanford Medical Center's psychiatric unit and while there was diagnosed as HIV-positive.
Only then did Rymer tell the man that he had been at risk of exposure to HIV. The man seemed unconcerned and the priest saw the man's continuing sexual participation with him as what he later described in testimony as a "godsend."
The man continued to have problems with substance abuse and "hypersexual" behavior, according to court records.
In 1993, he moved to Vermont for residential psychiatric treatment, but his relationship with the priest would continue. When he returned to California seven years later, they resumed having sex. The man never contracted HIV.
During their on-again, off-again relationship, church officials repeatedly encountered evidence of Rymer's misconduct. The priest testified that he had told a host of them that he was homosexual or that he had HIV and then developed AIDS.
In 1989, for example, Rymer said he confided to another priest about his sexual relationship with the man. "He warned me to be careful," Rymer testified. "Just to be cautious in having a relationship with someone."
Around 1999, the Rev. Michael Pappas learned Rymer had AIDS and was living with the man in Stockton. Even Metropolitan Gerasimos, who has since become the church's top West Coast official, testified that in the late 1990s he had heard indirectly that Rymer had HIV and concluded that Rymer had been infected through homosexual activity.
But Gerasimos did not share his suspicions with other church officials, testifying that Rymer "was not a subject of my immediate interest."
Then, in December 2003, the man made a formal complaint to the church claiming that the priest had raped him.
Church officials suspended Rymer, according to court records, but neither revoked his title of priest nor ordered him to cease contact with the man.
Some time later, Rymer invited the man to his house for dinner, had sex with him and persuaded him to retract his complaint, according to the man's testimony.
But in April 2005, the man reinstated his complaint. Finally, at a hearing of the church's committee on clergy discipline, Rymer admitted having sex with the man.
According to a confidential church report, "Fr. Michael stated that he had 'crossed a line' and 'made a mistake,' calling his actions 'stupid.' "
The man then sued. Both the church and Rymer admitted the priest had sex with the man, but contended they had no legal liability because it was consensual.
But Judge Mahoney found there was sufficient evidence for the case to go to trial. The judge also ruled the man could sue for punitive damages based on evidence that church officials "had knowledge of critical facts and did not act upon those facts."
The church then agreed to a confidential settlement. Now 50 years old, the man remains under psychiatric care. He has held a series of menial jobs for short periods and sometimes has been homeless, sleeping on the street.
Meanwhile, Rymer lives at a church monastery near Redding. According to church officials, he was defrocked in 2006.
But Rymer, who is now a monk, testified last year that he still bears the honorific title of "a virtuous father."
In reply to #6 Fr. Hodges: with everything that the sic report says, there is there so little that has been revealed as to "explanation of each of the the expenditures." The majority of OCA Synod of Bishops still haven't made a statement of wrong doing with regard to the outcome of the SIC report. The Romanian question, the ROCOR and Patriarchiates' parishes and the OCA autocephaly, it seems that there should be a better solution than to have all of these as separate jurisdictions. It appears that all of the jurisdictions in the United States should be united administratively. However, each needs to "clean up" its own act and have a clear understanding of the churches mission and goals statement--similiar to mission and goals statesments of schools and colleges. You have to have goals and a mission statement before you know where you are going administratively. The United States is not lacking in the number of bishops--whether under the authority of a foreign patriarchate or under the Metropolitan of an autocephlous church (OCA). A lot of wasteful resources of duplicating administrative work. Yet not one jurisdiction has a magazine for American teens. The IOCC is a step in the right direction. There are more monasteries--women and men than there were 30 years ago. That is a healthy sign of Orthodoxy in the United States.
#14 anonymous on 2008-09-26 06:48
Don't get me wrong, I know that the autocephaley offered by the OCA is precarious. I also realize that a North American(NA) Orthodox Church will be a different organization than OCA, the dream of OCA uniting NA died years ago.
However, I cannot zee how going back under the European Hierarchs will bring us closer to unity. Any move to NA unity means issues to be resolved in Britian, France, Australia, ...
We have Patriarchs that have never met in a council in there lives, how can we expect them to work together in NA?
It helps the Romanian church, funding appeals that would bring in 1000$ in Romania might bring in 10 times that in NA. Not to mention it serves as a place to offer Romanian clergy well paying jobs. It also helps to say that your church serves (x) thousand members abroad, with churches around the world. If maximal autonomy is on the table, what is wrong with under another jurisdiction.
The OCA has failed, instead of working with established SCOBA programs we had to create our own. We fell into the same squabbling over parishes that the former cultural jurisdictions did. etc We have to realize that a NA church may mean us losing ours, but if we can realize such a goal lets do it.
#15 Reader Michael on 2008-09-29 18:15
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