Monday, December 22. 2008
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The Synaxis of the Autocephalous Churches held in Oct. 2008 conveniently seemed to snub the OCA. Although the OCA was encountering it's own preparation for it's All-American Council in Nov. 2008, this meeting held by the Phanar was a snub. There can be no REAL gathering of all the Orthodox for a council while the Phanar continues to make it's own rules ignoring Orthodox Canon Law. The Orthodox DO NOT have an Eastern Pope. The Bishop of Istanbul is no longer "ecumenical," that is, Patriarch of the (known) World (Byzantine Empire). He is NOT the "Spiritual Leader of All the Orthodox." What he "is," is the Chairman when all the Patriarchs & Bishops meet - he runs the bishops meetings and settles disputes between bishops - that's it!
To have a "REAL" Orthodox Council of all the Orthodox around the world, the Phanar must act like the "first among equals" not an "Eastern Pope."
#1 Anonymous on 2008-12-23 07:13
I suppose that it is inevitable that, just as we grow in our understanding of ourselves and others, the 'Ecumenical Patiarichate' also understands herself and her role differently at different periods during the on-going life of the Church. We, here in the USA in 2008 probably most certainly do not feel the threatening darkness that is never far from the patriarch and his Holy Synod in Istambul...and he and his synodia probably cannot understand why we don't understand his/their position and the desprite need they have to assert their position and authority and that of their small suffering community, in the middle of such an oppressive government which must bless and approve of every tiny action and pronouncement they utter. Instead, we are concerned---nay, often obsessed with Constantinople's approval about our position and our 'rank' within the Church. Perhaps it is OUR problem more than theirs??? Why are we concerned? Why do we care? When we DO care and become obsessed...don't we just give them the power to approve or disapprove that they are looking for and apparently need (at this period in their own history)??? I think our new Metropolitan has stated correctly what our position should be...and we should stand up and grow up. We are an adult Church, fully grown and matured (otherwise we wouldn't have received our independence in the first place!) and start acting and speaking like it! We should be paving the way and not looking to follow after someone else. If we SHOW THE WAY, then others WILL follow---when we do NOT they go it alone and work by themselves...and then should we wonder why there is no unity and no catholicity to the Church in this land?!?!
In His great mercy,
Fr. Pius, priestmonk
#2 Fr. Pius on 2008-12-23 13:43
It is interesting to read of our soon to be Metropolitan's ambitious travel itinerary, and his meeting with a task force to discuss Orthodox studies at SMU, but it is disappointing not to read how he expects to heal the OCA. We need to know his plan for restoring confidence in the OCA. Many of us have been deeply wounded by the deceptions of our Metropolitans and their cohorts. If this is to be a new beginning, old ways and excessive spending must be abandoned. Trust must be re-established.
Please, inform us of what is planned to rebuild trust and confidence. Is there a plan? Is there intention to move in this direction? Or is it "business as usual?"
#3 *anon* on 2008-12-23 19:50
Certainly, I agree with you about the Phanar's occasional delusions of both papality and adequacy. And please note that the EP's authority is more limited than you describe; he settles disputes between bishops only in very few circumstances. The sad reality is that only by a pathetic twisting of Canon 28 of the 4th Ecumenical Council does the EP claim jurisdiction outside of Asia Minor.
But to be perfectly accurate, there is no Canon which requires Constantinople or any other national Church to recognise Moscow's grant of autocephaly to the North American Metropolia in 1970. Further, NOT all of the other national Churches do, in fact, recognise our autocephaly (because if they did, they---including the Ecumenical, Antiochian, Bulgarian, Serbian, and Romanian patriarchates---would no longer have their own episcopates and administrations on our canonical territory). They consider us canonical but somehow still a subset of the Moscow Patriarchate. In my opinion, they are wrong in that interpretation of the Sactred Canons which allows them (in their own minds, of course) to refuse to recognise and respect our autochephaly. But at this point, there's squat that we can do about it. Take a lesson from the Bulgarian Church: their declared the restoration of their patriarchate in 1875 or thereabouts, but Constantinople did not recognise and respect that until 1945. It's dumb, but that's how it is in reality; and there's little point in giving one's self a stroke over it. So chill, and have a blessed and joyous Christmas.
#4 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2008-12-24 04:59
see His Beatitudes comments on this subject:
#5 Michael Strelka on 2008-12-24 12:56
The OCA was not invited to the Synaxis because the Ecumenical Patriarchate does not recognize the autocephaly of the OCA. On the other hand, the EP did invite their autonomous church in Estonia. This almost forced the delegates from Moscow to walk out. A last minute compromise was reached. Under the agreement, only those organizations that are universally recognized will be invited for future synaxes. Others may participate as part of the delegation of their Mother Church. This means that the Japanese, the Ukrainians, the ROCOR may participate as part of the Russian delegation; the Finns and the EAOC -- of the Constantinopolitan.
Unfortunately for the OCA, though, it is out of luck. As the EP does not recognize it as autocephalous and Moscow does not recognize it as part of the Russian church, the OCA won't be invited to future meetings,
In any case, there can be no Great and Holy Council until Moscow and Constantinople resolve the Estonian issue.
#6 Anonymous on 2008-12-25 02:35
Astonishing to read about the dire need for a Panagia for the Metropolitan. Aren't there a fair number of them in circulation that needn't be worn anymore, by a pair of overdressed retirees? Of all the nerve. I hope the Met can put a stop to such embarrassing fundbegging. Try and act like a monk; see if a piece of jewelry can be found for a little less than 13K? I don't know any laymen wearing such hardware. I think an example needs to be made. Try and be poor for a little less and act like the lean mean church machine the Church ought to be. Stop trying to keep up with the Pope. Not only is the plea for cash to be ignored, but an apology should be issued to all who received it. There's still a great deal of work to be done by this website. Reality is still a very rare commodity at the top.
Clearly it has to be provided from the laity of the OCA.
#7 anonymous on 2008-12-26 23:11
While I agree with the statements in post #1, a little understanding is in order. The Turks are successfully strangling the life out of the Patriarchate of Constantinople claiming that he is only the Bishop of the Phanar and no more. They refuse to allow the Patriarchate to re-open the seminary of Haliki or to ordain any Turkish citizen as a bishop (a pre-requisite to be Patriarch of Constantinople). Our government is complicit, not wanting to offend the Turks.
The Patriarchate is in dire circumstance. Pat. Bartholomew is following the precedent of previous Patriarchs when the Patriarchate is in trouble: 1) play footsy with Rome and 2) 'pull rank' with the Orthodox. Why the Patriarchs have always chosen such a self-defeating course of action when they ought to reverse it is beyond me, but they have.
It is unlikely that the Patriarchate of Constantiople will survive our life times in Istanbul. The same type of thing could well happen to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Antioch and Alexandria are in better shape for now.
If we really want to help and support the historic Patriarchates from which we come, we need to be united here and speak with one voice for all of them. As Met. Jonah pointed out, the OCA is the only jurisdiction not under the thumb of a foreign (non-American) state. Constantinople, Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch are still under the Islamic Yoke while Russia has yet to break free of its ties with the former(?) communinst rulers.
My suggestion, don't complain, understand and pray for them.
#8 Michael Bauman on 2009-01-02 17:00
Looking Back on Orthodoxy "One Man's Opinion."
George M.'s comment from the Orthodox Christian Laity, the selection of a male who supported sexually abusing priests will bring unity to the church. I am reminded of my visit to Cleveland in 2003. The meeting of the OCL was to be dedicated to support for building up of non profit organizations. I want there to get information and help with the projects and programs I was working on. I came home to the news that year the OCA accepted a monastery in Miami where a women who was the treasurer was murdered. (See MURDER at HOLY CROSS by Peter Davidson.). No actions by the OCA have done to remedy this acceptance they have dislodged the man they said was responsible for it. It there are these changes made, dangers continue to be very present for women who take responsibility.
In regards to the history I found with the OCL in 2003, there was no pre planning for the people coming to the hotel in Cleveland to state their case for their non profit needs. Money was collected from us, people paid for trips and the promise was we would be listened to and considered to be helped with our non profit endeavors.Only due to a cancelation in one of the bishop's scheduled to speak was there at the last minute some time given to the organizations that were represented for them to speak. Though there was a strict warning, "no more than 5 minutes, could a woman speak for her group". I was not given any time to speak. I could not say what I needed to say about Romanian orphans nor could I discuss any of the charitable works of our monastery and group. So this is not a history I see in any fair way for leadership to find either unity or truth.
I did learn from one of the speakers the year I asked for help from the Serbian Orthodox Church all men who asked for scholarships were given full scholarships and everything paid to SVS. In those several years preceding my request to the Serbian Orthodox Church I helped them establish 2 missions, one in greater Orlando and I also traveled to the Atlanta area. After traveling to Georgia in my own car and driving the priest and helping them to establish a mission and giving more than 20 hours a week volunteer service and also creating a special video for them that immediately brought in $20,000, because I was a woman I was rejected from the full scholarship payment which would have been available to me as the other male seminarians gained to St. Vladimir's Seminary. That year all men going to SVS from the Serbian's would get a free ride and open the doors, I was shut out.
I had completed 400 hours of volunteer service for Clinical Pastoral Education CPE. I spent many hours in hospital visitation when no priests wee even looking into the hospitals from the two churches I had worked. During part of the time I was doing the volunteer chaplain work, no priest was assigned in the 2 of the Orthodox Churches Romanian or Serbian church or to the hospital in any regular manner. The next step in being paid as a chaplain was to be accepted at seminary and acquire a Master Degree in Divinity. I was accepted to St. Vladimir's Seminary but I had no money to attend. I had near to a full tuition scholarship but no means to travel or get there from Florida and no way to make the transition of my needs so that I continue my education in a manner that would bring me into a recognized way to get paid for my work. These reminders of who get help and help to those who have shown a proven track record of volunteer work and need professional upgrades continues to show the various Orthodox groups have little equality or real mission work when it comes to support for women in leadership. Later in 2007 I would be accepted to a local seminary to do which could also qualify me for the credits needed in the Clinical Pastoral Care and had the blessing of a bishop for the chaplaincy through monastic service, but no money again for this education.
As small of thing as getting piped in music to church sanctuary turned off takes "the priest." This past weekend I went to confession to a visit monk at the largest Orthodox Church in my area. During the one hour wait it became more and more difficult to compile my thoughts as the piped in music of males chanting from some electronic media being imposed on my mind set was distracting. I asked if the music could be turned off. The answer I got from the caretaker, "only the priest can control this." The monk confessor was apologetic this was going on in the sanctuary and it was not his choice to pipe in the imposing sounds. In the same sense as utility bills and other charitable needs need a hearing, the 'only the priest' or 'only the bishop' can do this answer comes and reminds us over and over again of the Orthodox Churches in America are lost in any efforts to unity or lay initiate as long as the administration of the same is as a men's club.
Not only must the OCL be free of this men's club mentality but all the churches need a revival in love and faith that is not through the abuse of power and aimed at seeing the leadership of women being relegated to bar maids. No new leader can accomplished these goals unless the whole system of how leaders are chosen changes and women have a voice which is heard and have decision making powers can a representative laity be heard from.
There does seem to be a certain type of unity in the Orthodox Churches, that of male domination. The denial of the sexual abuse which occurs and continues and the misuse of power to keep this cycle in place by seeing women do not have a voice.
Christmas Monastery continues as a voice that cries out for those who have been abused and for change. It was with faith in God I made this confessional and also found a friend in the monk who heard the confession. Push and shove as much as you want but God will bring change, and just as the women at the cross were heard, their voice will continue to be the ones that will bring unity and leadership changes against the prevalence of a culture aimed to shut them up through the misuse and abuse of power.
There is no patience to see your children hurt, to see more and more examples of abuse shoved under the carpet and no end in sight to the culture which treats women their hurts and needs as if they didnít exist. The call and need to be Orthodox in unity and truth means there are monies used to support more than token initiatives but the labor for the Lord by those who are called whether be male or female there need to be more bridges than dumpsters for those who work in the service of Christ's mercy. It will be a year of great need in the world and the response must change.
What is pending? Have all of the funds been distributed that the OCA collected for various causes? Are there still lawsuits pending? Have Metropolitans Theodosius and Herman received all of the discipline that they are going to receive? Are the various auditings completed? Just what is still pending?
#10 Protodeacon Brad Matthews on 2009-01-08 08:11
Well, the new Met will be making trips around the world!
Isn't this where we started with Herman's excesses?
The more things change, the more they stay the same. There does not seem to be any possibility of change.
See you back here in 10 years when we unravel the scandal of the Jonah administration!
#11 Anonymous on 2009-01-08 08:47
From oca.org today
SYOSSET, NY [OCA Communications] -- The Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America has announced plans to publish early in 2009 a book commemorating the election of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah.
JUST WHAT WE NEED, EARLY HERO WORSHIP AND MORE MONEY DOWN THE THRONE, FLUSSSSSH.
Same old same old!
#12 no name on 2009-01-08 09:51
#7 and #8, you are too harsh! + Jonah is a good man. As the new leader of the OCA, he must introduce himself to the other leaders of Orthodoxy around the world. Visiting + Bartholomew is quite important. I'm sure he will ask him directly, "Under what canonical authority can you continue to ignore the autocephaly of the OCA?" Repeating Canon 28 of Chalcedon just won't work anymore.
Regarding a book about + Jonah's enthronement, this is just normal with any installation of a priest or bishop. It has historical value in the OCA archives for further generations.
#13 Anonymous on 2009-01-09 06:06
Fr. Pius or any OCA member,
Please explain to us, the Orthodox Christians outside of the jurisdiction of the 20,000 member OCA why the OCA seems to believe that we are watching and waiting for the OCA and its hierarchs to lead us (in other words, we become your followers) when none of us who are outside of your jurisdiction have ever shown the slightest interest in making this delusion into a reality?
(Editor's note: The OCA has 25,000 paying members over the age of 18, which does not include six dioceses ( Alaskan, Romanian, Bulgarian, Albanian, Canadian, and Mexican), who for various reasons, do not individually contribute to the OCA. Therefore, the actual "membership" is significantly higher by all reckonings. The number of 125,000-150,000 is more accurate. As for why all Orthodox Christians in the US, Canada and Mexico should belong to one jurisdiction ( or 3, as it were) - perhaps you missed that part of Jesus's high priestly prayer where he prayed that we might all be one, even as he and the Father are one. Unity is not an option - it is a requirement. The OCA just happens, by historical circumstance, to be the first and autocephalous Orthodox Church on this continent. Thus it may best serve as that nexus of unity, despite its manifold failings, and however we envision it to unfold.
Feel free to disagree though. The OCA is not going anywhere, nor does it have to perpetuate foreign languages, cultures, or be tossed to and fro by the winds of foreign politics - or politicos.
Time, as they say, is on the OCA's side as at least one major part of the emerging indigenous Orthodox Church in the Americas.
#14 Anonymous on 2009-01-10 00:12
Introducing himself to the Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, Constantiople, Jerusalem, and Moscow is appropriate, as is visiting Archbishop Leo of Finland and the other foreign Orthodox hierarchs that sent representatives or formal greetings. It is also appropriate for Metropolitan Jonah to at least visit the sees of each diocese in the OCA. But all of this should take place after the immediate business of (a) dealing with the vacancies in the Diocese of Alaska and the Diocese of Western Pennsylvania, and (b) installing an auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Washington and New York. He needs to first take care of the flock directly entrusted to his care (internal relations) before attending to any external relations.
#15 Mark C. Phinney on 2009-01-10 10:07
Since the OCA is "in communion" with all the canonical Orthodox Churches around the world, de facto, the OCA is recognized. For over 100 years, Constantinople didn't "formally" recognize the autocephaly of the ROC and only dis when much cash was exchanged. This is why the Phanar CANNOT be thought of as the interpretor and keeper of Orthodox Canon Law. Their interpretations are biased if not corrupt. All the more reason all the churches of America should unite under the OCA - a legitimate and only autocephalous Orthodox Church in North America. All the reason all the Orthodox of Europe should organize under their own autocephalous church and rule themselves, etc. The canons are clear, LOCAL BISHOPS RULE OVER LOCAL CHURCHES and not under the authority of ANY foreign bishops. We are not Roman Catholics!
#16 Anonymous on 2009-01-10 11:32
Mark P., I have to agree with Anonymous #9. Some of your local concerns have been addressed, such as 2 of the three episcopal vacancies (WPA & DC/NY vicar--you should be well aware of the latter!).
As far as his scheduled visits, I, for the same reason as #9, would like him to visit the Phanar, and would LOVE to be a fly on that wall. Seems to me he is practically required to visit Russia for the installation of whoever the new Patriarch might be; and I think he'd better get over to Romania soon to help sort out the relations among the OCA, its Romanian Episcopate, and the CHurch of Romania. These, I think, are more important than just paying courtesy visits to the other ancient patriarchates as "the new kid on the block."
#17 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2009-01-10 18:30
Re: "The OCA is not going anywhere, nor does it have to perpetuate foreign languages, cultures, or be tossed to and fro by the winds of foreign politics - or politicos."
As OCANEWS bears witness, the OCA does have time to be tossed to and from by the winds of domestic politics or politicos!
See what happens when the new Metropolitan tries to reintroduce the Church Calendar, known in OCA circles as the "Old Calendar"!
(Editor's note: And the purpose of that excersize would be what? Try again.)
#18 Anonymous on 2009-01-11 18:58
How have my concerns regarding the vacant sees within the OCA been addressed? Two of the three dioceses have selected candidates for approval by the Synod; as I understand the process, neither of the candidates can do anything substantial before he's consecrated, and the scheduling of the consecrations won't take place until after the Synod meets in its Spring 2009 session -- 2-4 months from now.
Does anyone seriously think that Metropolitan Jonah is going to change the mind of the Ecumenical Patriarch concerning the autocephaly of the OCA with one visit? (See comment 1.2.1 above.) It seems to me that Metropolitan Jonah's ties to the Moscow Patriarch taint anything he may say at this point in the eyes of the Phanar, or am I exaggerating the bad blood between Moscow and Constantinople?
Please explain to me the urgency for the Metropolitan's intervention in the "Romanian situation"? If the ROEA clergy and laity freely determine that they can best meet their obligations under the Great Commission of Our Lord by becoming part of ROMA, why would the OCA place any obstacles in their way? Perhaps the way to a unified Orthodox presence in North America is not the direct path? Did not the Jews have to spend 40 years in the wilderness before they were allowed to enter the Promised Land? (And, yes, I know that those 40 years were a punishment, or more properly, a discipline for the disobedience of the Chosen People.)
The only truly required travel for Metropolitan Jonah is that required for the proper pastoral care of the souls entrusted to his care, While diplomatic calls on the various patriarchs, metropolitans, and archbishops outside of North America may make his pastoral care easier in the long run, they are not required. Again, what travel is required of His Beatitude is that to (a) the various parishes, missions, mission stations, and monastic communities within the Diocese of Washington and New York, (b) the various communities within the other dioceses of the OCA, (c) the other communities under the omophor of the Metropolitan -- the handful of Orthodox parishes in southeatern Australia -- and (d) the meetings of the hierarchs of Orthodox jurisdictions with a presence in North America.
#19 Mark C. Phinney on 2009-01-12 01:56
If may be nice for Jonah to introduce himself to his fellow bishops, and after only 3 months as a bishop that would probably be a very LARGE group of bishops, but the question is, does the OCA have the cash laying around to fund a global jet-setting expedition?
Most of us would love to visit here and there around the world but we have to operate with the cash we have available. Why is this so hard to understand? Did everyone trip over themselves to resume sending money to Syosset? Are all the bills paid, the Honesdale loan paid off. etc. etc? Then and only then should our boy be making plans to go visit a bunch of people who really only care in a cursory way that he exists at all.
#20 Anonymous on 2009-01-12 05:57
Dear Fr. Dennis and Mark,
So already we're telling the new Metropolitan indirectly (i.e. via the accountability site) what "he needs" to do! More and more I find when people speak of what others need to do, one thing is certain. The need is ours and not the others.
Perhaps we should try giving Metropolitan Jonah a little more of our confidence, and keep our needs in line. Perhaps we should trust him when he says the buck stops here, meaning with the dignity of his office and the person he strives to be.
We cannot all be Metropolitan but we can be clear about our desires and commitment.
#21 John Lickwar on 2009-01-12 07:56
Dear Fr. John: The time for politeness is in the past. The bishops neither care nor do they listen. And this will come as a surprise to you too, there a good number of priests that are the problem as well.
You will probably dismiss this as the rants of just another anticlerical lay ...... You see, I know what some priests say, and how they think. That is OK, there are plenty of anticlerical laity. The problem is that the bad priests, and the entire Synod of Bishops of the OCA is slowly turning good lay supporters into an anti clerical mob.
The election is over, the party is over, the gifts were all handed out and the people have been taxed. Don't you think that it is time that THIS metropolitan produced a policy statement, a STATE OF THE OCA ADDRESS? Not something written by one of his flunkies, something void of all the pious clap trap, and just a flat out plainly worded statement. Let him say; the church is a mess, people were taken advantage of, and THIS, is how I will fix it.
I don't want his blessing, I don't want his prayers or his sermons and piety. What I want is to know what he is going to do. The nuts and bolts of it. A time table and how he sees the remainder of his ministry. That way we can decide up front if we are wasting our time and money on this failing institution. If I hear another pious phrase, see another character imitating someone out of 19th century literature, my money, my family and our estate planning is outa here.
The time to GIVE SOMEONE A CHANCE IS OVER. Stop the travel, stop the spending. FIX THE CHURCH HERE AT HOME. Deal with the filth, the problems and disfunction, and I'm not talking about past administrations. They know what problems are at the bottom of this mess, you see they just haven't told the people paying the bills what has happened. But some of us, and some of you priests know. That is just one of the things that makes the actions of the bishops and some priests so disgusting.
#22 no name on 2009-01-12 08:51
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