Wednesday, April 8. 2009
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Axios, Axios, Axios
the reader seraphim
#1 Robert Hegwood on 2009-04-08 08:27
Glory to God for such a prophet in our Land!
#2 Fr. Michael Molloy on 2009-04-08 08:35
What a clear, mature, and most of all Christian expression of the Church in America.
Many Years to Met. Jonah, a real shepherd.
Priest Christopher Wojcik
#3 Priest Christopher Wojcik on 2009-04-08 08:36
One of the worst sermons i've ever read. what a lack of clarity, and common sense. A diplomatic message send privately would have been the mature thing to do, but i guess that is too much to expect at this time. I am very disappointed and feel sad.
Come on there Big J, you're better than that!
#4 no name on 2009-04-08 08:41
"A diplomatic message sent privately"? A public response from +Jonah was appropriate, particularly in light of the recent speech a representative of the EP gave at Holy Cross, in which +Jonah (and +Philip) were mentioned by name.
I always find it rather amusing that the EP gripes so bitterly about being the only body that has the right to decide the fate of the OCA. As I read on the OCA website (a speech Met. Theodosius gave some years ago), if it's correct, Fr. Schmemann & Co. went to the EP in the 1960s, seeking normalization of the Metropolia's status. The EP said, "You're Russians. You need to go to your Mother Church." The EP said no, the Russians said yes, and the EP has been griping ever since.
#5 Michele Hagerman on 2009-04-08 10:18
Perhaps someone can explain to me how the role of the laity in the decision making process (mentioned in Jonah's Dallas speech) squares with his "re-visioning" of the OCA from back in February.
Back in February, Jonah saw the Metropolitan Council becoming a bunch of fund raisers and All-American Councils becoming a thing of the past. One on;y has to examin the role of the laity in the DOS (virtually non-existant) to see where Jonah is headed.
#6 David Wargo on 2009-04-08 10:19
Yes, it's very mature to call Metropolitan Jonah, "Big J". Very mature.
This is one of the best speeches I've ever heard.
#7 Matushka on 2009-04-08 10:29
Bravo, Metropolitan Jonah, bravo! It is time and past time for Orthodox unity in the American countries. Lead on!
Fr. Peter Bodnar
#8 Fr. Peter Bodnar on 2009-04-08 10:36
Many years and many thanks to Metropolitan Jonah! In response to no name #4 It is time to take our heads out of the sand. United Orthodox Christians in the United States will happen -- grassroots level, dioceasan level and upwards. His Eminences words were very clear and very straightforward. What didn't you understand? We should rejoice for we are together in Christ. The EP is trying to grab hold of power which he is losing in his native land of Turkey under the Islamic government.
#9 cshinn on 2009-04-08 10:48
Would that all the Orthodox bishops in America come together and allow an Orthodox Church in America to really blossom!!
But the bishops in the Greek and Antiochian Archdiocese, just name two, still call the Old World their home.
#10 Patty Schellbach on 2009-04-08 10:48
EXCELLENT - EXCELLENT - EXCELLENT!
Truly inspiring and saying exactly what EVERY bishop in North America should be saying. No where in Orthodox Canon Law is there a canon which says that foreign bishops control local churches and territories. In fact, the canons are explicit in REJECTING foreign bishop authority. There is no reason for any churches in North America to be under the authority of old country patriarchs - this is non-canonical. Even Chalcedon 28 only gives ancient Constantinople the authority to "appoint" bishops for territories surrounding the Black Sea region - that's all!
We don't have Orthodox unity in America because the hierarchs keep us disunited. It's time to tell the old country patriarchs to obey canon law and get out of North America!
#11 Anonymous on 2009-04-08 10:54
Dear No Name,
The speech was in reaction to a most inappropriate Archimandrite hatchet man from Istanbul. His Beatitude's response to a packed Pan Orthodox crowd at St Seraphim's was very positive.
You may wish to read the precipitating Greek speech and then put things in the proper context.
#12 Anonymous on 2009-04-08 11:05
Incredible! Four posts (reactions) to the message of +Metropolitan Jonah, and the one pessimistic and disrespectful ("Big J"??) message comes from another "courageous" person of "no name" and, thus, of no account!!
#13 David Barrett on 2009-04-08 11:08
THank God for his courage!!
#14 Antionymous on 2009-04-08 11:10
While I agree with just about everything Metropolitan Jonah expressed, I do have a few issues.
1 - The tone of his speech (and that's really what it was) was perhaps less than gracious in spots. Whatever perceived slights we may feel have been leveled at us from Ecumenical Patriach Bartholomew or his emissaries of late, we should take great care to not respond in kind.
2 - I find it unfortunate that he took the occasion of a Lenten Vespers homily to deliver these remarks. I appreciate that with the upcoming meeting of the Synod in June His Beatitude perhaps didn't want to delay any longer than necessary, but could he not have waited until after Pascha?
That said, again I will state that I agree with the premise of what Met. Jonah said.
#15 Chris Holmes on 2009-04-08 11:13
Dear No Name,
Had I written a comment like that I would not have used my name either.
I add my Amen to Fr Chris Wojcik's comments above!
#16 Fr Andrew Jaye on 2009-04-08 11:24
I'm not sure what private expressions of muted disapproval would accomplish. It would seem mismatched against the tactics and rhetoric employed by the overseas Patriarchs, but let us focus on the big picture here.
Protestantism is splintering (as it must), leaving most nominally Christian Americans without even a vestigial witness of the True Faith. Meanwhile, the Church established by the Apostles bickers over jurisdiction. The Orthodox voice is simply not heard in American discourse, bogged down as it is in archaic internicene fights.
I would submit that the historical Patriarchates would be best served by a united autonomous and ultimately autocephalous American Church that can do something to stem America's slide into post-Christian existence. Who will give a fig for the Patriarchates then, as they continue towards demographic freefall in their homelands?
#17 Douglas on 2009-04-08 11:25
Okay, no name, (and you do have a name; you're just scared to use it) enlighten us. What is your common sense solution to the proposed power grab by the EP? "Lack of clarity?" Are you kidding me? What about, We are the Orthodox Church in America, kindly leave us alone, is unclear? That's really all His Beatitude is saying, and I am thrilled that he did.
#18 Scott Walker on 2009-04-08 11:56
"A diplomatic message send[sic] privately" - how Byzantine.
Metr. Jonah only said what has needed to be said for a long time now. Abp. Iakovos before him tried to say it, but his own godson, Patr. Bartholomew, forced him to retire because of it. Many of us have heard Metr. Philip say it, but God only knows what's really going on between Englewood and Damascus right now. Maybe Metr. Jonah has what it takes to turn the OCA and others into the Orthodox Church of America.
#19 Peter C. on 2009-04-08 12:02
Inspiring, bold, and true. Many years to His Beatitude Jonah. Do we finally have a true Orthodox leader that has the vision, fortitude, and backing of the faithful?
#20 Kevin on 2009-04-08 12:38
Chris, in response to your second point, I would guess (and I emphasize that I'm guessing) that one of the reasons is that it wasn't just a Lenten Vespers, but a Pan-Orthodox Vespers. There were clergy and faithful from most of the 14+ Orthodox churches in the Dallas area in attendance. His Beatitude's message was not just for the members of the OCA, but those present in the GOA, AOAA, ROCOR, etc.
#21 Sbdn. Anthony Stokes on 2009-04-08 13:03
I think it is important for all of us to remember that, while what Metropolitan Jonah has said is fundamentally true and right, it was not framed or referenced properly upon delivery. Thus it seemed overly reactionary, rather than expedient or requisite. The feelings that the above Chris Holmes mentioned are shared by a great many people who I have talked to who also heard +Jonahís sermon and where puzzled.
Bear in mind that ambition without focus; vision without pragmatism will only lead to folly and futility. +Jonah speaks well, but his platitudes leave the bigger question unanswered: how? What foundations have been put in place to bring about, not just the change mentioned here, but the change he has been talking about since his elevation in November? What actions have been taken to further the agendas set by his homilies and addresses? The Metropolitanís mind is clearly thinking on a national level, but the national church has been weakened, and it cannot, at this time, support the bold initiatives that His Beatitude has set forth.
This is not to say that +Jonah is incorrect, but we must appreciate that change is always slow and deliberate. And until the sure foundations are put in place, until the proper people are placed in authority, until the bold aspirations can be equaled by a sensible understanding and pragmatism, these hopes and dreams will not come to pass. And +Jonah must learn quickly to think before he speaks, and speak in the right venue and forum. Again, as Chris Holmes mentioned, a Lenten Vespers was not necessarily the right place or time.
Axios! for our most beloved Metropolitan, but with the understanding that even a great leader needs time to grow into his role. +Jonah, I think, is still growing.
#22 A Humble and Obedient Servant on 2009-04-08 13:07
I find it amusing that the EP has so much to say when his own flock in Istanbul is probably less than 2,000 individuals.
It's time for the Old-World Patriarchates to accept the fact that they are no longer viable entities who can dictate to the rest of the Orthodox world.
#23 Michael Geeza on 2009-04-08 13:18
That there is not one (save Moscow) Patriarch to agree with Met. Jonah's address is testimony that it is right and proper - o?!
#24 Anonymous on 2009-04-08 13:39
Is there a report on how well the attendees recieved his sermon? Then again the typical attendee of Pan Orthodox services, in my experiance and opinion, tends to be someone who would be very open to the idea of an independant Orthodox Church of America (besides the OCA). Not necessarily a reflection of the population at large (sorry to be cynical).
It may be too soon but the various diocessan websites and the main OCA website have yet to post his speech. Was it just a verbal parry and counter attack or is this a general "call to arms"? It would seem to me that this must be a "call to arms" based upon the "no holds barred" language.
Will our hierarchs (in the OCA) stand with Metropolitan Jonah or will they hang him out to dry? It seems to me it's time to become a "squeeky wheel". Do you know your Bishop's mailing address?
(Editor's note: The Diocese of the South was the first to post the address; but it is not customary for any of them to post speeches of the Metropolitan. That the OCA has not posted my be explained by the overwhelming amount of material they have posted already in the past two days...)
#25 D. Homiak on 2009-04-08 13:43
Your argument amuses me, since I believe Jesus Himself had only about 70.
#26 Ever and anon. on 2009-04-08 13:46
Normally, I would be inclined to agree with you that rhetoric from a leader without a plan of action is futile. Perhaps there is a plan? Maybe a critical mass of Antiochian and Greek Orthodox Christians are ready to join forces with the OCA and establish, unilaterally if need be, an independent and united Orthodox Church in North America? I certainly hope so. The time to act is now for many reasons, not the least of which is the Phanar's preemptive strike on an independent Orthodox Church here, in order to hold on to some semblance of relevance in the modern world.
So other than the gratuitous reference to American aggression in Bosnia (how about a condemnation of ethnic cleaning and genocide?!), I applaud the Metropolitan's call to arms. Let's hope there are many prepared to follow.
#27 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2009-04-08 13:54
Many years to metropolitan Jonah for having the courage to speak plainly and tell the ethnocrats it is high time to leave us alone. NOw all we have to do is get the same message delivered here in Australia!!!!!!
#28 Fr Patrick on 2009-04-08 14:00
No, change is not always slow and deliberate. Sometimes it's fast. How many pragmatic plans were in place when the Berlin wall fell? Maybe +Jonah's speech frustrates moves by the "other side." Maybe such a speech encourages the Romanians from going through with their reunion with the Old World, or perhaps it emboldens the Antiochians to stop the entrenchment there. Sometimes, the time is ripe to say the whole unvarnished truth, even if it's offensive to some. By Pascha, both romanians and antiochians might already be more Old Worldish than now.
No, frankly, now is a great time to speak up about this stuff.
What better time to talk about this than at a pan-orthodox vesper service?
#29 Steve Knowlton on 2009-04-08 14:12
I am profoundly saddened by Met Jonah's words. I fear that they will seriously hamper the unity efforts in this country.
A few thoughts. First of all, this is obviously in large part a response to the unfortunate Holy Cross lecture last month by the Chief Secretary of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. However, it is just as obvious that the Holy Cross lecture itself was in response to an earlier statement by Met Jonah (in his lecture/essay "Episcopacy, Primacy, and the Mother Churches"). In it, he said the following:
"[T]he presence of any other jurisdiction [besides the OCA] on American territory becomes uncanonical, and membership in the Synod of the Orthodox Church in America becomes the criterion of canonicity for all bishops in America."
In other words, he explicitly accused non-OCA jurisdictions of being uncanonical. That the EP's Chief Secretary would respond as he did may be regrettable, but it can hardly be considered surprising.
Furthermore, almost every historical statement made by Met Jonah in his sermon is in error. He cites very inaccurate statistics on early American Orthodox churches (800 in the Russian Mission and "a few dozen" that weren't a part of it). In reality, the ratio is not 800-to-36 but rather 208-to-93 (in 1916, according to the US Census Bureau, and that is even including the Serbs, who were basically gone by 1913). Well over half of the Orthodox population in America in 1916 was NOT a part of the Russian Mission. In 1906, the percentage was even higher.
He makes other errors. He says that the Greek Archdiocese was founded in 1924, but it was actually 1921. He says that there was a parish in San Francisco in 1857, but it was actually 1868. He implies that St. Tikhon was around at that early date, but actually, St. Tikhon didn't come to America until 1898.
The bigger problem is this demonstrably false claim that everyone was united under the Russian Mission until 1921. There was never administrative unity in America -- never. It is a myth. And I say that as somebody who deeply desires administrative unity. Believing falsehoods will not make it happen, and speeches like Met Jonah's will only alienate the other Orthodox jurisdictions and make unity less possible.
(editor's note: I would not use the word
" falsehoods" to describe the citations that Metropolitan Jonah detailed; just as I would not use the word " facts" to describe them. Many are reasonably open to interpretation. For example, you state that the parish in SF, of which I was once a member, was established in 1868, not 1857. The difference in only meaningful because a Greek parish in New Orleans claims to be the first parish in the continental US in 1864. So what is the truth? The actual "parish" as we would describe a "parish" today as a community with a priest holding liturgies was in New Orleans - and the SF parish began to do so in 1868. However, for 11 years before they had a building and regular services, since 1857, the "Orthodox Society" in San Francisco met and conducted worship. So does that count - or is one only a parish when one has a building, resident priest, and a regular cycle? I have been involved in two missions without either, and can tell you we certainly felt we were a parish, even without the preceeding. That, you see, is a matter not of fact, but of interpretation. Moreover, I don't think +jonah was saying St. Tikhon was around that date, but was using both the SF parish and " the time of St. Tikhon" some forty years later as two examples of the Russian mission being active before the Revolution. So while I agree with you that the "golden myth" of a pre-Revolutionary period of Orthodox unity in America is oft overstated, as are the numbers, nevetheless by your own figures, there existed many more churches united before 1917 than after....
In the end, it is important, as you say, that those who assert historical facts be as accurate as they can be at all times, lest some be led astray; and that there be those willing to do the research to assemble ever more complete data, so as to keep us all honest. Good job!)
#30 Ferris Haddad on 2009-04-08 14:13
By saying "falsehoods," I certainly didn't mean to imply that Met Jonah was being intentionally dishonest or anything of the sort. However, he is clearly trying to downplay the extent to which many American Orthodox people and parishes were not a part of the Russian Mission.
It's just a fact that the Greeks (with a few exceptions, but only a few) were not involved in the Mission at all. The year 1921 was not a watershed in the history of American Orthodox unity, since it's not like the Greeks "left" the Russian Mission and "joined" the EP.
Also, the Serbs -- with Russian backing! -- were trying to leave the Russian Mission beginning in the 1890s, and all their parishes voted to join the Serbian Church in 1913. And as I've said before on this site, St. Raphael spoke of the Syrian Mission as "one of the dioceses pertaining to the See of Antioch... notwithstanding its nominal allegience to the Russian Holy Synod." He was "under" two churches -- Antioch and Russia -- even though such a concept seems impossible to us today. As soon as he died in 1915, the question immediately arose among the Syrians, "Who are we under?" Because it just was not clear.
My point is that Met Jonah needs to stop appealing to this myth of unity, because it's just not accurate. That's not to say that the OCA is illegitimate (not at all) or that the EP is right in appealing to Canon 28 (definitely not at all). It's just to say that this false myth is, one, false, and two, divisive.
(Editor's note: Thanks for the clarification.)
#31 Ferris Haddad on 2009-04-08 14:49
Maybe a little harsh at some points, though I hope that his vision comes true. Lets be blunt, a completely united Russian NA diocese was never a real reality, not to say that we were not closer to unity then 50 yrs later.
I submit that we suggest a 3rd option to the EP. He creates a Greek Patriarch and moves here. I would be more than willing to submit to a patriarch if they actually lived on the same side of the ocean as us.
The EP has his hands full dealing with large issues in Orthodoxy, we need some one that can devote his time to growing Christ's church,
A united church will be able to send 10 times the missionaries it does right now, close down redundant programs, have a relevant charity in the IOCC that would be comparable to other world charities.
I think a united NA autocephalus church will actually be more of a help to the original churches than the ethnic jurisdictions are giving now. Not to metnion allowing us to fufill our true purpose as a church, the bringing of the local people to Christ.
#32 Reader Michael on 2009-04-08 15:07
Ferris Haddas wrote:
"this is obviously in large part a response to the unfortunate Holy Cross lecture last month by the Chief Secretary of the Ecumenical Patriarchate."
Wonder what happened to "Do Not Resent, Do Not React,
Keep Inner Stillness?"
Melanie Jula Sakoda
A visionary leader, as Metropolitan Jonah continues to show himself to be, is able to articulate his vision and align others with it. That requires clarity, focus and passion (forgive me for imputing passion to a monastic), which are clear in this talk.
That's what visionary leaders do. And thereby empower those who follow them to contribute to the working out of that vision.
Our Metropolitan suggests that Orthodox bishops meet together, that Orthodox Metropolitans meet together. That we start acting like the Church together. Like the Church we are.
So can the clergy. So can the laity. In many places, this already happens. To the greater glory of God.
Not easy, perhaps, but finally the words have been spoken loudly, clearly and publicly. Tone, diplomacy and whispered messages are one thing, honesty and calls to action another.
Much has been said about the opportunity which our autocephaly brought, and how it was squandered. Now we have a leader who wants to seize that opportunity.
Count me in.
(Editor's note: Dr. Solodow is a member of the Metropolitan Council of the OCA, and one of the leaders in its Strategic Planning Committee. )
#34 Dr. Dmitri Solodow on 2009-04-08 15:24
Vladyko Dimitri, His Grace Basil and Metropolitan Isaiah have done a great deal to further Orthodox unity in a very real sense, at least what lies in their power so to do. They have for the past two years now come together as brother bishops to concelebrate the Triumph of Orthodoxy. If that is not an expression of unity, what is?
#35 Anonymous on 2009-04-08 15:32
Such a sweeping statement and so wrong! First of all, regarding the underlying issue, many local churches have voiced opposition to the overreach of the Patriarch of Constantinople. Second, in the various forums where this is being discussed, there appears to be a clear division between those folks who are currently under the jurisdiction of Constantinople and those who are not. Finally, if you are going to count heads, the Russian Church by itself contains the vast majority of Orthodox believers.
#36 Carl on 2009-04-08 16:06
Dear Ferris Haddad,
I would also be horrified with the one sentence that you cited. However, that sentence must be put into context and cannot be separated from what came before it and what fallowed.
In a nut shell, what came before a carefully constructed argument and reached its logical conclusion in the statement:
"In 1970, the Russian Orthodox Church granted autocephaly to its American mission, forming the Orthodox Church in America. While this action remains controversial to this day, it recognized the existence of a local Church in America, with the fullness of sacramental integrity and institutional self-sufficiency. In other words, the gift of autocephaly established a hierarchy with the authority to incarnate the vision and mission of the Orthodox Church in North America by its own work, and to take responsibility for the life and growth of the Church in North America while remaining accountable to the other national Churches throughout the world. Finally, there was an effort to establish church life according to canonical norms.
The dilemma, however, is that with autocephaly, the presence of any
other jurisdiction on American territory becomes uncanonical, and membership in the Synod of the Orthodox Church in America becomes the criterion of canonicity for all bishops in America. This, of course, has not been pushed by the OCA. What is at stake, however, is the canonical order of the Church, its vision and mission."
Thus what he said is undoubtedly true: we do have a dilemma on this continent and it is to square the existence of a local church with other presences. Metropolitan Jonah's statement would be untrue ONLY IF the Moscow Patriarchate had not given autocephaly to its daughter church. Now, you can argue that the MP should not have done so; there is no way that you can argue that Metropolitan Jonah's statement is not true. You could say that he should have been more diplomatic, but the main problem is not his address but those who pluck that one sentence out of many.
#37 Anonymous on 2009-04-08 16:30
But Jesus Himself did not require the approval of a quasi-secular government (Turkey) before entering His ministry; neither was He required to be the citizen of a particular country (again, Turkey). Though He started with a few, He "knew" that with NO coercion He would reach the many. +Jonah is like a wisp of fresh air in a room whose windows have not been opened for a quarter century - we can only hope that the curtains will finally be drawn.
#38 Michael Gregory (never anonymous) on 2009-04-08 16:41
Miscellaneous observations. . . I understand why some posters might question the "venue" of a Lenten Vespers for Met. Jonah's speech. If someone comes from outside the Dallas area, however, he or she may not know the established practice among the Metroplex Orthodox churches to hold "round robin" Sunday evening Lenten Vespers. One week the service will be at the Greek parish, another week at the Romanian parish, another at a different Greek parish, another week at the Antiochian parish, and so forth. This context renders the metropolitan's talk more understandable.
I cannot agree that the OCA is the "original jurisdiction" for North America. The Moscow Patriarchate is that. The subsequent Metropolia spun-off the OCA. Patriarchal parishes continued to exist in North America, and they meet the historian's test for "priority by age."
Unity of the assorted jurisdictions would be wonderful ! Some Orthodox people, however, may not be interested in "unity at any cost", especially when the typically "American way" is to shoot deliberately for the "lowest common denominator" -- a choice fraught with danger for Orthodox theology and practice. It is factual that our Orthodox faith in North America ranges from conservative and historical Orthodox beliefs and practice all the way to something nearly unrecognizable as Orthodox. It shall be very, very difficult to achieve unity, demonstrating Christian love toward all such disparate elements, and avoiding a domineering arrogance. Better to remain as we are, than to do that !
#39 Antonia Colias on 2009-04-08 16:51
St Raphael of B'klyn who was the 1st Bishop to be Consecrated in America was done so by the Russian Church in 1905! Until his death in 1915 he and two other Russian Prelates were the only ones in the USA. He visited by request Greek and Serbian Churches besides his own Syrian and devoted to the Russian Church of that time. He was a real symbol of unity serving well in arabic, slavonic and greek and english, too. He ALWAYS preached for a united Church in our land and we have gone backwards ever since the sad events of the Russian revolution.
#40 Anonymous Priest on 2009-04-08 18:10
Bravo, Metropolitan Jonah! Bravo (er...that's basically American for "Axios")
But let's really consider the one fact I believe everyone has been missing here for 90 years. The issue at heart is really not one of 'canonical' unity, who wears the most panagias, or who has the most exalted title...it's about money! Who do you think pays the bills in Antioch and Constantinople? Why to the Reverend Patriarchs take back hundreds of thousands of dollars from their American wards whenever they visit? Folks, it's about modern-day simony on a massive scale. The overseas churches that do not have indigenous churches in lands under some degree of religious freedom cannot freely proselytize, cannot grow, and must suffer at the hands of their oppressors. How many Ecumenical Patriarchs does it take to be hung at the gates of the Phanar to get the point across, even historically? Money. The root and cause of great evil.
On one hand you have the churches under Islamic control making the greatest fuss about their American sources of income (er faithful, I meant to say) and the Russians have succeeded in taking over their Diaspora last July. And what happened? Since the surrender of the Synodal church to Moscow, the avowed task of the Russian Church Outside Russia is to preserve the Russian identity, language, and longing for the Motherland (read Metropolitan Hilarion's remarks in various Russian publications.) Is that what we want in America? That;s what the Russians got...in spades!
So, you have, on one side the oppressed churches looking for funding and the large ethnic churches uniting over ethnic identity.
I say Godspeed the American Church. Planted by the hand of saints, watered in blood and prospered by the hand of the Holy Spirit! The overseas churches have problems of their own...some a thousand years old...we have enough problems of our own without importing new ones to stir up the imaginations and passions. (the I'm of Moscow. I'm of Constantinople. I'm of Antioch. I'm an American rant...to paraphrase St. Paul). Whether we like it or not, we are in this land by the grace of the Holy Spirit and will be held accountable at the Dread Coming as to what we did with it. Not what the overseas churches did in lands of which we know not, but here...your neighbor, my neighbor, my city, your city. Even the most fundamental right must be preserved...to avoid the religio-museuminization of a foreign liturgical language! One of the first tasks of every Orthodox missionary from Sts. Methodius and Cyril, to St. Innocent, to the mostly anonymous scholars who after nearly 200 years finally insured that the American-speaking church had substantially all of the service books in our language! And that only in the last decade or so! Am I the only one who remembers the red stained hands from Hapgood and Nassar? Of the terrible translations of the Common Menaion? Of having only the parts of the Liturgy for Sundays? Do we really want to go back and deny all that the American Church has achieved?
Some say the American Church is not mature enough to be on its own. Rubbish and nonsense! Was St. Vladimir or St. Constantine mature enough when they converted their lands? Are we really so historically incredulous that we gloss over all of the problems the "mature" churches have and had? As the old saying goes, "When God opens a church, the devil builds a chapel next door." No, if we are truly sincere in placing our fate and future in the hand's of God, we have nothing to worry about. Remember: God took the sins of Syosset and offered us a new chance to get it right. + Jonah won't get it perfectly right, but I'll bet he'll try!
To all of the overtures of Antioch and Constantinople and Moscow, I say "No." Rightly or wrongly we are here. We are here now. We have been given a vineyard to til, plant, and grow. God help us if we fail! Read the NT. All of the parables about the stewards not taking their responsibilities seriously and the punishment meted out by the Master. Folks, tough times are here and will get worse. This country may never be the leader it once was. Our economy may never fully rebound. So what? The message of every Apocryphal book is "Preserve to the end. Be faithful to the end." How shall we or anyone else hear without a Preacher? An Orthodox stand in this country reaching out to Americans as Americans...albeit as Americans who have been transformed into citizens of another, more important jurisdiction, that of Heaven.
So, lets shut our Rudders. Get on our knees and stay there until God deigns to sort all of this out in spite of us. Let's stop arguing about language and origins and learn what it means to love. Let's stop the nostalgia and look to the New Jerusalem. Let's stop sending millions overseas and evangelize THIS country! Let's save our nation and create a new Orthodox homeland!
Informed and mature love, not a nostalgic longing for the past, but a love that could set this land on fire if we only have the Faith and Vision.
God grant us all a Holy and Bright Pascha!
#41 George Osborne on 2009-04-08 18:13
The historical dates Russian missionary work in Alaska precede those of the lower 48 - but this depends on one's interpretation. Does Alaska count even if it was not an official state until 1959?
Since the territory of Alaska was run by Protestants who saw the Orthodox as "heathen", I would venture to say that any numbers of Orthodox people/churches that we have during the time of the territorial rule can be skewed by the forced proselytism and conversion that the Protestants are known to have practiced.
We also tend to forget the presence of Ft. Ross, about an hour or so north of San Francisco. Some dates that need to be considered here:
1784 - Russians establish a presence in the Aleutian Islands
1812 - Russians establish a colony at FT Ross in California to provide food for the Alaska colonies
1836 - St. Innocent visits Ft. Ross
1841 - Chapel at Ft. Ross appears in watercolor of the Fort done by a Russian artist
1867 - US Purchase of Alaskan territory - which included established Orthodox parishes.
(editor's note: Great stuff, but your California dates for Ft. Ross suffer the same problem as Alaska - California wasn't a part of the US until 1848, and not a state until 1850! So this does not resolve the issue at all...)
#42 Wendy C. on 2009-04-08 18:19
We need to build concrete bridges in forming our American Orthodox unity.
How do we do this?
Each jurisdiction should be inviting each other to their annual conferences, lectures, graduations, pilgrimages, and so on. Even if it is just observer status we need to make such broad, lasting, and consistent overtures.
The OCA may even plan some sort of annual event that specifically DOES invite all the major jurisdictions to participate. I love the fellowship that occurs within our Orthodox jurisdictional churces. But it just seems to stop at a shallow level and then nothing happens to really get us working and growing and thinking and praying together.
Lectures, conferences, pilgrimages, other events bringing laity and clergy together it seems, can really form the glue to lessen our differences and to get us talking.
There seems to be a lot of rhetoric out there that has to be changed into concrete action.
When someone of note comes to town, the Orthodox churches should come together so that the speaker is housed in the biggest Orthodox church in the area who can accomodate a big crowd.
The OCA may just start a bridge building ministry such as this, and make someone in charge of this department!
Send some noted speakers out to other jurisdictions and work with the major jurisdictions to mix it up. Send Antiochian speakers to the OCA and Greek speakers to the Antiochians. The topics can be simple and yet educational. The lecture can be on saints' lives, always very interesting, or basic theology, and not throwing stones at the huge jurisdictional problem we have, but educating each and every one of us on what is Orthodox peity, sanctity, theology, church worship, and so on.
Are we, just as the OCA, taking advantage of the wonderful bridge building we can do?
Let us build our bridges out of very concrete, charitable actions such as discussed above.
Then unity may fall into place more naturally, in a more kind, conciliar, and charitable way, without the pomp and circumstance of having to throw down rhetorical gauntlets, without dramatic offense, or arrogance or pride, without trying to huff and puff our way through the hierarchical powers that be.
#43 Patty Schellbach on 2009-04-08 18:32
When our leaders speak the words that need to be spoken, there is little reason for fools like me to speak.
#44 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-04-08 19:03
I think what Ferris Haddad was getting at was there may be more behind His Beatitude's position on "uncanonical" Churches. There seems to be "falsehoods" that also form part of how Metropolitan JONAH reasons his way to that statement. In other words, Mr. Haddad is placing that text in the context of this sermon as well. This seems to me to be a legitimate move because the argument from pre-Russian Revolution unity is often part of the argument for legitimate autocephaly, at least it is "on the ground" around coffee hour tables or amongst seminarians.
From that perspective, Mr. Haddad's concerns are legitimate.
Further, the historical realities concerning English language and fidelity to the Russian Orthodox presence in North America do not support +JONAH.
However, I would not be surprised if most OCA and AOCANA people do not know this. Many of us, even as we converted into the Church, were told this if we converted into a parish of either jurisdiction.
This seems to be Mr. Haddad's main concern, but I guess I ought to just let him speak for himself.
I think that what is most disconcerting in this current debate (first postured by the EP with that speech at Holy Cross Greek Seminary) and the initial response by Metropolitan Jonah is that the life of the Church here in North America is being decided like a Potsdam Summit at the end of WWII, by foreign potentates who see North America as the last great "frontier" upon which they can wield their despotic rule.
Such a view just don't play here in Peoria!
If we are weak, fragmented, and appear to be too immature by the EP, well who would like to step up to the plate from those foreign potentates and take some responsibility for the ghettoizing American Orthodoxy? And, at the same time, are not we also to blame to be so quick to identify ourselves as Russian, Greek, Antiochian, Serbian, etc, etc, etc, flavors of Orthodoxy here in America so as to protect our turf?
We need to confront these questions. We need to become uncomfortable with the status quo we call "normal" Orthodoxy here in North America because of the peculiarities of our Church history here. Metropolitan Jonah's offering was no more the last word on this subject than was "the demons of feeble impertinence" offering of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Archimandrite Dr. Elpidophoros Lambriniadis.
The topic must be pursued and Met. Jonah, rightly said that Orthodox in North America must be at the table in deciding our own future.
We can nitpick about historical interpretations, but if we look around at the reality of Orthodoxy in this land, we are here, not going anywhere, and we will continue to sink deep indigenous roots as we share the Gospel with people that Old World Orthodox won't ever quite understand.
Thanks Archimandrite Dr. Elpidophoros Lambriniadis for finally saying what many already sensed in how little the EP and the Pat. of Antioch, etc. think of Orthodox in America. And thanks Metropolitan Jonah for speaking up for those who were born here and plan on being American or Canadian or Mexican Orthodox.
#46 Anonymous on 2009-04-08 21:26
Given that the MP has more parishes in the "diaspora" than the ROCOR, I wouldn't characterize the Russains as "taking over their Diaspora." Nor did the Synodal church "surrender" to Moscow. The ROCOR always considered itself a part of the Russian Church, temporarily separated from Moscow for political reasons. And with three convert bishops (and a fourth one on the way), I doubt ROCOR's avowed task is just to preserve Russian identity. Hence Bishop George's speech, "ROCOR as a missionary church in America."
#47 Russian Observer on 2009-04-09 01:53
You "wonder what happened to 'Do not resent, Do not react, Keep inner stillness,'" do you?
How 'bout checking out 2 Tim.4:2, wherein the Apostle lays upon the young Bishop Timothy and upon all Bishops this charge: "Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching."
We have a Metropolitan with vision and courage, who does what the Scripture tells him to do; and you respond with smart-aleck pseudo-spiritual sarcasm. Sheesh!
#48 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2009-04-09 04:13
Yes, agreed. Yet still, it's not the size of the flock that matters, but the greatness of the heart of the Shepherd! OCA also is a small flock and Metr. Jonah just may be the great shepherd needed and provided. We shall see.
#49 Ever and anon. on 2009-04-09 05:35
It seems to me that it can quite easily be argued that the statement is untrue! +JONAH's comment was based on the unshared assumption that the Russian church had exclusive rights over the whole of the North American continent by virtue of a mission to Russian Alaska. If one does not share that assumption (and most Orthodox in America do not), then it hardly follows that the OCA has exclusive canonical standing.
Indeed, even the MP itself seems to pay only lip service to the OCA's supposed exclusive canonicity by maintaining well over 100 parishes in its territory.
#50 A Reader on 2009-04-09 06:27
"It is factual that our Orthodox faith in North America ranges from conservative and historical Orthodox beliefs and practice all the way to something nearly unrecognizable as Orthodox. "
It's very easy to make sweeping generalizations. I have been to churches in different jurisdictions in a great part of the USA and Canada. So give us a real example of "something nearly unrecognizable as Orthodox."
#51 Michael Strelka on 2009-04-09 07:12
Well I suppose that is a valid answer from a fellow monastic. But, frankly, to them married folk out there, definitions are less complicated. Is it that a Bishop is free to pop off and blow his stack, exhibiting less self control thn the laity whenever he wants to under the cover of scripture?
Too many people in our Church spout scripture whenever they need justification. How many of these people actually engage with scripture on a regular basis?
In the final week of Great Lent might it not have been a better example-showing more prudence to shelve the smart ass remarks and save the attack against the Patriarchates 'till after the feast?
I think that Sakoda has asked a fair question. I'd like to see His Beatitude answer it. How about it Your Beatitude? Can you engage us, the low and unworthy the forgotten? Or perhaps the mitre has gone to the head? Pages and pages of strategic vision is not what I want. I want to know you care, and that you are hearing us.
You can e-mail the Pope, and get an answer, I know several people who have sent letter after letter, email upon email and nothing ever comes back. ARE YOU OUT THERE!!!??
I fear what we have here is nothing more than a monastic breeding machine, not the solution to problems or a remedy for dead pastoral care.
#52 no name on 2009-04-09 07:13
What do sermons on internal/external church governance issues have to do with preaching the gospel, what do they have to do with the evangelization mandate given to bishops that St. Paul is speaking about in 2Tim 4:2?
#53 Ever and anon. on 2009-04-09 07:38
In point of fact, Metropolitan Jonah acknowledges the actual situation on the ground by calling it a dilemma: the existence of an autocephalous church side by side with the extensions of overseas churches. The main issue is not whether the Moscow patriarchate should have given autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in America, or how many local churches formally accept it. The main issue is what to do about this sick situation.
Metropolitan Jonah makes a good logical, doctrinal, canonical and historical case for the validity of OCA's autocephaly. Those in opposition to his argument can point out errors of fact here and there but have not been able to successfully rebut his entire argument. The only argument I know of that can withstand an internal logic scrutiny is that of the Patriarch of Constantinople. However, the premise of his argument is a novel interpretation of canon 28; that is, an argument with one premise that is false.
If you read his speech in Dallas, you would also see that he does not imperiously order folks to join the native autocephalous church (the OCA). He is proposing that the laos in North America get together and come up with a unity organization that may or may not be the OCA, but one that will not be an extension of a foreign church.
So, here we have the tale of two church leaders. One hangs his mitre on authority over the barbarians and the other is grappling with how to actually be the church in North America.
#54 Carl on 2009-04-09 07:48
Ahhh, true enough about the statehood issue - but are we not talking about jurisdiction of North America - not just the US? Most jurisdictions include parishes in Canada and Mexico as under of their omophor - and include "North America" in their official titles.
(editor's note: True enough, all the major jurisdictions include Canada and Mexico. But since the first parishes in these countries all came into existence after ones in the USA, so in an argument of who got here on the continent first, both Canada and Mexico are not relevant.)
#55 Wendy C. on 2009-04-09 07:57
Reply to #19. I remember too, and when are we, as Orthodox Christians, going to stop nickpicking about who was here first, and Met. Jonah's "facts, and dates not being exact". The main message is that Orthodoxy has been in America very early for more than 200 years. We are Americans living in the United States, Canda, Mexico, etc. Cradle Orthodox vs. adult convert--it is time to stop the fighting with each other and work towards being a united Orthodox Church in these lands. There is neither Greek, nor Jew in the bible. Well, there can not be Greek-American, Russian-American, etc. We are Americans that does not mean to forget our ancestors, but we are Orthodox Christians first. Listen to the intent and real message of Metropolitan Jonah. That is for the EP to leave the Americans in the Orthodox Churches in America alone, and perhaps more specifically leave the OCA alone we were granted Autocephaly from Moscow and we are the daughter in the United States. Do you want to be controlled by foregin bishops in foreign lands under other governments or do you want to be free to administer your own churches, ordain your own priests and elevate your own bishops. That is the answer that you have to answer.
#56 cshinn on 2009-04-09 08:15
The following excerpt was posted to another board earlier today. It was written in 1977 by St. Justin Popovich, in his letter to the Serbian Bishop Jovan about the convening of a great and holy council. It helps to show that there is precedence even in the writings of the saints for +JONAH's position.
From St. Justin - "The fate of the Church neither is nor can be any longer in the hands of the Byzantine emperor or any other sovereign. It is not the control of a patriarch or any of the mighty of this world, not even in that of the Pentarchy or of the autocephalies (understood in the narrow sense). By the power of God the Church has grown up into a multitude of local Churches with millions of faithful, many of whom in our days have sealed their apostolic succession and faithfulness to the Lamb with their blood. And new local Churches appear to be rising on the horizon, such as the Japanese, the African and the American, and their freedom in the Lord must not be removed by any super-Church of the papal type (cf. Canon 8, Third Ecumenical Council), for this would signify an attack on the very essence of the Church. Without their concurrence the solution of any ecclesiastical question of ecumenical significance is inconceivable, not to mention the solutions to questions that immediately concern them, i.e. the problem of the diaspora. The age-old struggle of Orthodoxy against Roman absolutism was a struggle for just such freedom of the local Church as catholic and conciliar, complete and whole in itself. Are we today to travel the road of the first and fallen Rome, or of some second or third similar to it? Are we to believe that Constantinople, which in the persons of its holy and great hierarchs, its clergy and its people, so boldly opposed for centuries past the Roman protectionism and absolutism, is today preparing to ignore the conciliar traditions of Orthodoxy and to exchange them for the neo-papal surrogate of a second, third or other sort of Rome?"
-taken from http://www.geocities.com/trvalentine/orthodox/popovich_council.html
#57 Sbdn. Anthony Stokes on 2009-04-09 08:34
I think the question of who "got here first" is the wrong one. It's not a question of planting one's flag and getting the right to colonize, or something. The fact is that Alaska was a part of the Russian Empire until 1867, and there was essentially no Russian ecclesiastical presence in North America outside of Alaska before then.
When the sale of Alaska took place, many raised the question of whether the Russian Church now had to pull out of Alaska. St. Innocent (by then back in Russia itself) responded that, rather than leave Alaska, the Russian Church should instead spread into the U.S. itself. He advocated that clergy be trained to speak English and that they reach out to Americans in an effort to evangelize them. However, it is very important to realize that this DID NOT HAPPEN.
In 1888, the Russian Church did appoint Bishop Vladimir -- a hierarch who knew English -- to America, but his three-year episcopate was a total disaster, filled with awful scandals. The most positive event during Vladimir's tenure was the conversion of St. Alexis Toth, but then, that was at St. Alexis' instigation, not Vladimir's. And the missionary work in the Russian Mission was focused almost totally on converting Uniates to Orthodoxy, not English-speaking Americans.
The Uniates who did convert -- and who made up the bulk of the Russian Mission -- were centered in Pennsylvania. Many parts of the country had no Russian church presence at all. In the South, for instance, almost all of the Orthodox churches were Greek. The Greeks actually established the first (formal) Orthodox church in the United States itself, in New Orleans in 1865 (they had had a lay presence for decades prior to that). The Russians had a parish in New York from 1870-1883, but they closed it in 1883, and the next two parishes to be established in New York were Greek (one under Athens, one under the EP). The first Orthodox church in Chicago was Greek. The EP sent a black missionary to convert African-Americans in 1907 -- something the Russian Mission never did.
The point of all this being, things back then were way, way more complex than we like to make them out as being. Who got here first? Depends on what you mean. But I would argue that nobody has "rights" to America -- not Moscow, not the OCA, and not the EP.
(Editor's note: America for the Americans, right? It a place to start, and far better than being carved up by foreign powers like Poland in the 18th century, or China in the 19th century, or well, poor Poland in the 20th century....)
#58 Ferris Haddad on 2009-04-09 11:43
The premiss of pre-Revolutionary jurisdictional unity is false.
That is all Haddad and the Reader are pointing out. That does not negate the OCA's autocephaly, but it does mean those within the OCA and AOCANA who speak use this as part of their argument should stop doing so. That's all. I do not read anything here that questions the OCA's autocephaly, just a misreading of history. Some things are open to interpretation, as Mark pointed out (like "when" does a parish begin) but other things are simply the way they were. I don't think nit-picking a sermon to death is the way to go. Misspeaking 1924 rather than 1921 is simply a slip, but when one argues that there was formal jurisdictional unity under the Russians before that time, or even before 1917, one should perform a closer reading of the history. I think that is all Mr. Haddad and the Reader are asking of us. They are not questioning the 1970 Tomos.
You must not live in North America. The jurisdictional confusion is crippling to missionary efforts and spreading the gospel. Nothing is coordinated and everybody reinvents the wheel. In some cases there is direct competition and rivalry. That is why a local church is necessary and why it cannot be an extension of a foreign patriarchy. You cannot separate administrative issues and politics because they are fundamental to how you carry out your missionary efforts.
#60 D. Homiak on 2009-04-09 12:03
And all this time I thought it was the Holy Spirit that is fundamental to carrying out missionary endeavours...
#61 Ever and anon. on 2009-04-09 12:34
The www.oca.org website just posted a link to an Ancient Faith Radio podcast conversation with Metropolitan Jonah, in which he clarifies and expounds upon the thoughts put forth in Dallas. It is quite good and the link can be found at:
In response to #220.127.116.11:
Thank you for your post. It's good to know I wasn't the only one to see a disconnect between the talk and the walk.
Melanie Jula Sakoda
As a point of fact: Fr. Justin Popovic has never been canonized by the Serbian church.
#64 A Reader on 2009-04-09 17:09
As a point of fact, he is being canonized by the Serbian Synod next month, and has been venerated as a saint by many, including myself, for years.
Fr. Justin Frederick
St. Maximus Orthodox Church, Denton, TX
#65 Fr. Justin Frederick on 2009-04-09 18:40
You mean like the NTOM events here in the North Texas area and the pan-Orthodox services and retreats during lent? Like the concelebration of the Divine liturgy by the three Bishops from the three Jurisdictions? Sometimes I feel we are not as devided as some may think.
#66 Anonymous on 2009-04-09 20:05
I am not an OCA Orthodox. I am in Canada, and am Ukrainian. The message by the Metropolitan was very disturbing. I found that the feeling I got, apart from what he was saying, was almost frivilous. And as to what he had to say, I don't think anything will hurt Orthodox unity more than this presentation. For most Orthodox in the world, what they mean when they say Orthodox is, the Holy Greek Orthodox, Byzantine rite, Catholic church. Something very specific. All of our saints are venerated because they had a living connection to the holy fathers of this faith. As a Ukrainian, the saint that is dearest to me is St. Demetrios, as that was the parish I was born into. Even as a child I was very aware of the connection with the Apostles who were with Christ, the fathers that came after the Apostles, and the Greek Fathers, and finally, the Ukrainian saints.
What the bishop was talking about, is a break from this process. Yes, we venerate the Patriarch of Constantinople, as there would be no Ukrainian Orthodox without there first being a Constntinople. And there would be no Constantinople without Jerusalem. America is way down the line. For there to be Orthodox unity, there first needs to be an honouring of those who came before us.
..... I can't believe that a bishop would talk like this.
#67 David Basaraba on 2009-04-09 21:00
Seperating fact and myth is so terribly important. I think part of the last 3 years for us in the OCA is dying to at least one version of the OCA "myth".
I know that history, in the simple or quick telling, is often compressed, and can become lacking in nuance. It can become mythical. Then there remains the truth behind the mythical or simplistic version, and here Ferris Haddad and Fr. Oliver Herbel (or the earlier "debunking" by "Theophilus Eardwine" on Orthodoxy Today) can't see the forest for the trees.
The simplistic or mythical telling: Before 1917 all Orthodox in N. America were jurisdictionally united and all was well. The revolution and the turmoil that came from that is responsible for the mess.
OK, thats simplistic and approaching "myth". It is hard to see such a shangri-la so totally disintigrating in a period of 13 years or less, (take 1930 as a closing date, by then the jurisdictional situation is set up).
Certainly the pre-revolutionary Archdiocese contained within itself many of the seeds of the situation that would be harvested in the 20's. And many of those seeds were being sown (indeed it's true, even before 1917) outside the Archdiocese as well.
Never the less, no diocese existed in N. America besides the Missionary Archdiocese of the Orthodox Church in Russia. Yes, parishes existed that refused to be part of the Archdiocese, and parishes and individuals who felt uncomfortable in the Archdiocese even though they were in it certainly also existed. ANd yet others, who were happy in the Archdiocese before 1917 would also later leave.
If setting up shop for services counts, Fort Ross and San Francisco ante date the New Orleans parish, and by the way What diocese was the New Orleans church a part of?? The line from the Diocese of Irkutsk to the vicariate, then diocese of Alaska & Kamchatka, and from thence to the diocese in San Francisco to the Archdiocese prior to 1917 is very clear.
And another thing that is not "myth", this diocese in addition to being a diocese here, was formally established as territorial and not ethnic (unlike for example, the GOA which reserved full membership to ethnic Greeks for decades). It is also true and not myth that the Archdiocese before 1917 at least had an understanding and vision that it had to try to transcend purely ethnic concerns and be the local church. Whether it was always and everywhere able to live up to that high calling is another question.
It is also true that that vision did not die in 1917, but was at least a part of the decisions made at the Sobors 1924 in Detroit, (which turned what was left of the Archdiocese into the Metropolia) and 1946 in Cleveland, (which I believe Bp. Ieronym of ROCOR wants us to "repent" of).
And then there are those who would pass the palm of the Archdiocese pre-1917 to the Moscow Patriarchial parishes (which today are not a diocese and therefore can not continue canonically from an earlier diocese), or to pass it, as the Greek Old Calender Archbishop in Etna used to, to ROCOR, (before he decided to start poaching their parishes) because it is "really Russian" and not "full of ex-Uniats". (of course, that argument never made him actually submit to ROCOR!)
On the contrary, the claim, *when properly made*, for the pre-1917 Archdiocese is not a claim of Russian hegemony, or any other similar hegemony. (That is it is one ought not claim "Russians were here first therefore Russians ought to be in charge.)
The proper claim is that we ought to look to canonically and territorially established diocese or dioceses to be the basis of the canonically unified and territorial Church in North America. (Surely Haddad, "Eardwine", and Fr. Oliver will not tell me that this assertion is also "myth"),
The claim continues: that the Archdiocese pre-1917, was such a diocese, and that no others existed at that time. (Haddad, Fr. Oliver, and "eardwine" have presented no facts to challenge these assertions).
Priest Yousuf Rassam
St. Innocent of Irkutsk Orthodox Church
#68 Anonymous on 2009-04-09 23:39
Do not be foolish and believe that nothing was done without any plan. +Jonah the OCA Metropolitan spoke with the blessing of the Moscow Patriarch, attacking the Constantinople very stylish. It was an anwise move. This OCA Metropolitan betryed himself and averything he has spoken or written so far. He is not the man of his speeches and writings. Sorry but this is the truth.
WHY on the site of the Moscow Patriarchal parishes is published this news:"Regarding the Elevation of the Name of the Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes During the Divine Services - Russian Patriarchal Parishes in the USA Newsletter
March 31, 2009" as it was republished by the OCL. manager Deacon david oancea from the ROEA, the right hand of Archbishop Nathaniel.
WHY +Jonah should be commemorated during the great entrance by the priests of the Russian patriarchal parishes? Is he the real exarch of the MP? WHY the OCA did not say anything about this issue?
Do not be worry about the Constantinople's reply. It will come very soon. I am worry about the kind of feeling the GOA clergy, people and hierarchs will have for everyone within the OCA.
It is a BIG SHAME for all the OCA - laity and clergy - who express their approval to the +Jonah's speech. +Jonah, make sure your trips to Constantinople, Bucharest etc will be cancelled. The doors of those "foreign despots" as primates, patriarchs, whatever they are, will be shut down to you. You cannot enter there. You should apologize for your disgrace, mistake and devilish courage. You brought lot a criticism to everyone within the OCA, including some of the OCA Synod members as well.
None of the OCa previouys metropolitans would do what you have done. This damage can be fixed at whose cost? You are immature. You should ask for forgiveness. Is it the Great Lent this time of the year? What kind of example are you giving to your flock?
I hope Mark Stokoe will give some advice to the OCA Metropolitan, on how to change his conduct versus a genuine Christian apology of +Jonah to everyone including all 'FOREIGN DESPOTS" and members of their churches, greatly offended by his sermon as of April 5, 2009. The whole world of orthodoxy is boiling at this time. +Jonah, are going in June to Cyprus? Better stay home.
Also +Jonah should explain the commemoration of the Moscow Patriarchal priests of his name during the Liturgy.
Be blessed before, during and after the Great Feats of Christ's Resurrection.
An Ukrainian interested in the good will of the OCA.
IVAN, 04, 10, 2009
(Dear Ivan: The matter is really quite simple regarding the commemoration of +Jonah by the MP. It is standard practice for representational churches under the omphor of an extra-territorial Patriarchate ( such as the Russian parish in Athens, or the Antiochian parish in Moscow) to commemorate the name of their Patriarch, and then the head of the local autocephalous church in whose jurisidiction they live, then their immediate Bishop. In the case of St. Nicholas parish in NYC, the representational church of the MP inthe US and for the UN, it was a demonstration of good order that the deacon commemorated first Patriarch Kirill, then Jonah, then Mercurios. First the Patriarch, then the head of the local church ( Jonah) and then their bishop... In short, it was nothing more, or less, than an affirmation of the autocephalous status of the OCA by the Russian Church. Hope this helps.)
#69 Anonymous on 2009-04-10 00:56
Yes, yes and yes!
We just need more of these events happening on a continual, consistent, formally organized basis, from all the major jurisdictions! Again and again, and amen and amen.
No "business" or "by-laws" have to be part of these meetings. That is for individual jusrisdictional meetings.
Each jurisdiction can plan these events with maximum participation from all Orhtodox churches.
We meet in fellowship, bring our talents. We organize educate, worship, celebrate, have lectures, and conferences, and bookstore and other venues.
This is doable by all the Orthodox jurisdictions in America.
#70 Patty Schellbach on 2009-04-10 07:49
Christ is in our midst!
I appreciate the retort and I believe it deserves a decent response, so that you may see better the forest and trees of which we speak. I had wanted to shoot something off to you today, but I don't want to send something short and simplistic that won't help much. Since the website will soon shut down for Holy Week, I cannot guarantee getting anything on here before Pascha. If I do not, I apologize. Your rebuttal and concerns deserve better than a hastily sent snippet in place of a slightly more extended discussion. In the meantime, you could look at my reply to Carl to see what I believe Mr. Haddad and the reader were saying. I was supporting that interpretation of their argument.
More to come later . . .
Bravo Father Yusuf,
You have captured the real meaning of the history of Orthodoxy in North America. Your explanation reminds me of the best historians like the Durants and Paul Johnson. You are sure you are in the right profession? -;)
BTW, I had the privilege of attending services at St. Innocent 25 years ago; it was a wonderful present from the Lord. I had read that the parish had undergone some rough times in the interim and I hope and pray that you have turned the corner and prospering again.
#72 Carl on 2009-04-10 11:26
"+Jonah, are going in June to Cyprus? Better stay home."
That's the whole point. For quite some time (maybe always?) the Patriarch of Constantinople who arranges these meetings refuses to allow the American hierarchs, and especially the OCA, to participate. I think this had a lot to do with Met. Jonah's vehemence--they are once again meeting to discuss and decide the fate of the OCA without allowing the OCA any say in the matter. Whether one accepts that the OCA is autocephalous and not still properly under Russia, it is unchristian to decide the fate of a synod of bishops and tens or hundreds of thousands of Christians without giving the bishops an opportunity to be heard. This is precisely the situation that gives rise to anger and charges of papism and despotism.
(editor's note: It is not the EP or Russians who will decide the fate of the Church in America. It is Americans. They will come to their decisions, even as we will come to ours. One hopes they will be the same. One fears they may not. But the point of America, and of the culture that they claim they are trying to witness to, is that freedom exists here. No emperor or state or cultural inertia can enforce their wishes, as they have, or still do, in their lands. Ecclesial life in North America is voluntary. Always has been, mroe or less, and will be for the foreseeable future. For many of them it means Orthodoxy is not possible here, for they cannot concieve of such a thing. And yet, here we are. So our Orthodoxy must be diminished as "immature" or "juvenile" or "undeveloped", meaning what, from our perspective theirs is "overipe"? Such expressions are meaningless and pointless on both sides. So we continue to talk at cross-purposes. But I can guarantee you this: in 75 years there will Orthodox of all stripes in North America no matter what is decided in Cyprus and by whom. Will there be any Orthodox in Istanbul in 74 years? Not unless Turkey joins the EU. Wanna bet on that one?)
#73 Justin on 2009-04-10 11:59
Anonymous, I. for one, do not particularly care if the EP shuts his doors to Met. Jonah. Approval from a Patriarch over a local church of maybe 2000 souls does not matter to me. The EP is not my bishop, nor my archbishop. The EP has no spiritual authority over me at all; my spiritual Father Matthew does, my diocesan bishop, Benjamin, does, as does my archbishop, Met. Jonah. Also, there is no such city as Constantinople. The Turks conquered it in 1453, and renamed it "Istanbul." There is no such city as Alexandria, and there is no such city as Antioch. Why are we wasting so much time and energy paying attention to alternate-history fantasies? Really, if we want a Pope, the bishop of Rome is already there. Finally, I have had the pleasure of meeting Met. Jonah. He is a kind and humble man, and the light of Christ shines in him. I will take my personal experience over your opinion any day. A blessed Holy Week and Pascha to you and your family.
#74 Scott Walker on 2009-04-10 12:55
Um, you might remember that the Church and Her marks are an article of faith in the Creed. And they were in the creed long before Nicea. (cf, Apostolic Trad. from Rome, c215 AD, "Then he shall ask, "Do you believe in the Holy Spirit and the Holy Church and the resurrection of the flesh?" )
Now try to imagine the embarressment one has to teach catechism on the subject given how we actually live in the "diaspora". Then ask your question again.
Priest Yousuf Rassam
St. Innocent Orthodox Church,
#75 Anonymous on 2009-04-10 15:06
I have read +Jonah's speech in TX, I have read all your comments here, I heard +Jonah in Pittsburgh, and I have so many thoughts on this subject.
First, I am an American convert. I was received into a Greek Church and now am a member of an OCA church. If I may be blunt with all you cradle, ethnic Orthodox, frankly, I don't care where you came from and I don't care what language you speak. I had to spend 30 years of my life trying to find the True faith, going from church to church, crying out in frustration to God because I knew there was more to Christianity than American Prototestantism and Western Catholicism.
And why did I have to do this? Because you all have been so busy protecting your own territory, your own traditions, your own ethnic heritage like a four-year old holding onto his toys against his younger brother.
I don't care who was here first ~ I just thank God SOMEONE cared enough to come. Too bad so many of those who followed didn't seem to care about sharing this Pearl of Great Price that was entrusted to them.
I weep, and my heart breaks, because I KNOW there are others out in the great land of America that are seeking after the fulness of God just as I was, and still it seems that all any Orthodox Christians can do is argue over who has primacy and to whom are we going to give our money.
Let me tell you, the person who is starving for Christ does not care about these issues either!
Secondly, we act as though uniting as one Orthodox Church is an impossibility. May I remind you that this is what we Americans do? It's not as though we haven't done something like this before in our history! I think it is called the Constitution of the United States of America! There were THIRTEEN STATES that had to come together in agreement to become the United States of America. E PLURIBUS UNUM!!! Out of many, one. We already have a model to follow! It was not easy then to create a country, and it won't be easy to become The one and only Orthodox Church of/in America, but it certainly is something we can do. Ironcially, many of the issues then are the same ones we grapple with now. In fact, the USA does not have an offical language, and neither should the Orthodox church!
In this season of Lent and entering into Holy Week, may we all be thankful to God for the gift of His Son for our salvation and to rejoice together in the UNITY of the ONE Body of Christ.
Let us also pray that we become true children of God, reaching out to those who are seeking after Christ and the True faith so that next Pascha those who are naked will be clothed (baptism), those who are hungry will be fed (Eucharist) and those who are thirsty will have the living water and thirst no more.
#76 Alison Cloonan on 2009-04-10 22:17
Are you Ukrainian or are you Canadian? I'm an American, but if I move to Kiev, should I insist on going to an American parish? If there isn't an American parish, should I start one? Of course not, that would be silly. If I move to the Ukraine, I should expect to learn Ukrainian and to attend a Ukrainian church. So why do you believe that, living in Canada, you should be able to insist on going to a Ukrainian parish?
Yes, you should value your heritage and your customs and share them with those around you, but to insist that you have to worship in a different parish under a different bishop simply because of your ethnic background is a heresy, the heresy of phyletism condemned by a pan-Orthodox synod in Constantinople in 1872. Don't confuse Orthodoxy with your ethnicity; both are devalued when you do so.
#77 Nemo on 2009-04-11 09:25
I pray that the EP would just cease and desist in trying to win the OCA for Benedict XVI.
#78 Vladimir Bogoljubov on 2009-04-19 20:18
I guess I did not explain. I actually attend an English parish as there is not a Ukrainian one near by. I made the reference to being Ukrainian to make the point of how others may have reacted to the presentation given by Met. Jonah. Sorry for the misunderstanding>
#79 David Basaraba on 2009-04-23 19:47
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