Archdeacon David Oancea said: "Unlike the Church of Romania, our Church depends on the laity and the clergy together [for financial support and administration]. I would hope that as this process continues, the laity would take their rightful place, step up to the plate, take responsibility, show up at meetings, be present at the Congress and really take the time, like you did today, to learn what this is all about and respect both sides of the issue."
This identifies a key difference between the Orthodox churches of the Old World and the New: financial support. In a country where the Church is supported by the government or where the Church has use of churches and building that have been built up and preserved over centuries, there is little need for lay financial support comparable to that required in a growing Church in a traditionally non-Orthodox country. This gives Orthodox Christians in North America far more 'input' than is otherwise canonically 'required' - though such working together is something always put forward as right and good, fitting for spiritual fathers (bishops) and their spiritual children.
The danger should also be noted, however. It is possible for rich Orthodox Christians to wield too much power and to misuse the Church for their own purposes, e.g., cultural and linguistic preservation, political influence, etc. It is also possible for a foreign government to agree to fund their peoples' Orthodox Churches abroad and thus misuse their influence toward phyletistic and purely secular ends, e.g., the Church jurisdiction becomes a tool of the country's government.
While financial support is a lever by which laity and lower clergy have wielded influence - to good ends in the recent OCA scandal to less worthy ends in other phyletistic jurisdictions - there is danger in reducing influence in the Church to money and power. There is another way. It must always be remembered that the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ - the Church is His, and not ours, not our bishops', not the laity's, not our financial backers.
Unity of the Romanians under the old country? Why? How could this possibly be good for Orthodoxy in America? Possibly it is good as an ethnocentric idea, but hardly forward looking - certainly backward! The Romanians who joined the OCA had the proper theological vision of Orthodoxy in America. Old country bishops and patriarchs offer nothing. Certainly none of us should forget where we or our forefathers came from, but we are in America. There IS an American Orthodox Church and it is still evolving. Are we Americans of many nationality backgrounds who worship the same faith HERE, or are we foreign nationalists worshiping in America?
It is so interesting how an organization of the Episcopate occupies itself with the discussion of this issue instead focusing on its mission and calling! It seems to me that the Hierarch of the diocese was no aware of this agenda point and the organization goes against its Hierarch with meetings and agendas that stir more disunity in the diocese. Instead of asking and encouraging the people of the diocese to prayer and illumination from the Holy Spirit to discern the way to go, the best way which the Brotherhood choose was to go a create websites and send out letters to stir trouble. The best way would have been to address their concerns to the Hierarch of the diocese directly to clarify those concerns. The Epicopate Congress voted (in great majority) to move on the proposal and from this point on we shall all ask God to illumine us and guide us not cause more unproductive and unnecessary means to counteract the work of the diocesan hierarch and the JDC. It is a shame that the Brotherhood had found itself in this position instead of focusing on their own projects and works for the Church! May God help us and guide us in this decission and lead us to unity in his Holy Church!