Tuesday, June 2. 2009
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Let the tap dancing begin...
#1 R. Daystrom on 2009-06-02 14:53
The Romanian "Unity" debacle
Why does the Romanian Episcopate's "Unity Team" keep driving this toward a train wreck, refusing any kind of "due diligence?" If this report is true, they are now working outside even the By-laws of the Episcopate!
And why won't the Romanian Patriarch and his synod recognize that they do not own the Episcopate, and stop announcing a done deal?
Faithful of the Episcopate, speak up to Abp Nathaniel and demand this nonsense by the JDC stop! If you don't, they will keep trying to run the train right over you. You deserve better. The people who founded and built the Episcopate deserve better. May they ask God to protect the Episcopate.
#2 Child of Romania, but American Orthodox on 2009-06-02 14:57
People's words are not thankful enough to you for the outstanding job you are doing for the benefit of the Orthodoxy World Wide. This terminology abbreviated as O.W.W. is not similar to the “maximal autonomy” (M.A.) projected by the J.D.C. of both ROEA and ROAA.
For almost two decades both Romanian dioceses’ leadership did not follow the Gospel or the Canons regarding their ardent issue “TO BE ONE”.
The game’s players sometimes got bored by their agenda and lack of cooperation.
Time when +Archbishop Victorin was accused as non – cooperative is over.
Time of +Valerian speaking of about the re-unification of both Romanian dioceses is over too.
Time of less honesty and less confidence of “some Romanians working on the issue of unity” is the present time.
For a better understanding of the issue and those who are playing games, please let the readers of your site go to something very interested just recently posted on www.rocpnews.blogspot.com, and read the posted material: # 43, both Romanian and English translation (use ADOBE READER) ...
PRINT OUT THE DOCUMENT ...
MAIL IT TO EVERYONE INTERESTED TO KNOW THE TRUTH ...).
The roeanews.info administrator can post the document on his site too.
There is no copy right within this domain, ... ONLY ... "the CLERGY and PENITENT PRIVILEDGE" ... un-touch-able issue by the Orthodox Church hierarchy and civil courts judges. We are very serious about the previous statement. The truth can be proven.
Don't talk bad about this document and its signer, better post a comment ... and appreciate our business.
The document speaks by itself about the issue, intension and dream come true of the signer of that document, ... see originally Romanian version.
The compensation for this “olive branch” would have been considered the title of “ROMANIAN METROPOLITAN” for the American Metropolia, for the signer of the ROEA document, presented in Romanian version.
The writer / master of the document passed away on January 12, 2000, as mentioned on SOLIA, February issue, 2000.
The signer of the document is “still” in charge of the ROEA, watching the roll coaster of the Romanians.
Can anyone contest the authenticity of this document? I hope not.
Can anyone be bothered by the intent of the signer of that document? Maybe, just the signer.
Is anyone worry about the responsibility of the signer versus his intentions? Maybe, the signer.
Can anyone have any doubt about the way the ROEA people are upset of their Archbishop? None.
Can God make any miracle to have the Orthodox American faithful live peacefully? Of course, YES.
Can any ROEA or ROAA V Rev Fr Deans ... add comments regarding this ROEA letter, and sign his name?
Let's see how this document can make a difference.
What would have been the price tag for this unification related to the signer of the document? Based on speculations ... Just a simple Metropolitan Mitre / Title, and a warm seat in the Romanian Orthodox Church Synod, in Bucharest Romania, similar to +Philip of the Antiochian Diocese, all ROCOR hierarchs, and + Demetrious of the GOA.
Is it good enough ... ???
Non loyalty and less loyalty to the ROEA is meaningless to the ROEA leadership (Archbishop).
As for the ROEA priests … non loyalty or less loyalty to the ROEA Archbishop is a catastrophe, and could cost … a lot. Read something regarding this issue on the web site address mentioned above where the original ROEA document can be found.
See bellow the English version / translation of the document posted in Romanian on the site mentioned herewith.
To His Beatitude TEOCTIST
Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church
Aleea Dealul Mitropoliei Nr. 2
70526 Bucuresti 4
October 27, 1999
St. Dimitrie Basarabov
There will soon be ten years since the Romanian Orthodox Church was freed from the constraints, dictates and terror of the communist regime because of which the Romanian communities in North America were divided in two. Ten more years will be soon added since the two Romanian Orthodox Eparchies on this land continue to exist separated. Our relations with the Archdiocese under the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church in Romania have not advanced with the passing of time. For the protestants, neo-protestants and the sectarians who make up the majority of “Christian” faithful in this country there is a true “orthodox” spectacle to follow the separate trajectories of the two eparchies of the same ethnicity, language and faith.
There is neither the time nor the case to point the finger at each other and show our faults, for what living man does not err? But it is not right before God to continue to keep separated two churches of the same ethnicity and faith when there is no more reason for them to be separated. That is why we invited directly His Eminence Archbishop Victorin to a meeting with the purpose of rebuilding a common foundation of the two dioceses so that what was once one, to be one again. With the hope that His Eminence will harbor the same spiritual aspirations and with the hope that His Eminence will ask for Your Beatitude’s wise advice, in order to know what we wrote to Him we send you a copy of our letter.
The servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ embraces you with all the love.
NATHANIEL, Archbishop of Detroit and of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate in North America.
#3 Anonymous on 2009-06-02 15:04
I wonder if the calls for accountability within the OCA and the fact that they seem to be getting their act together is getting under the skin of +Phillip. I hear the drum beats and they are getting louder. To learn that one of the trusted members of the Antiochian board of trustees would question +Phillip speaks volumes. It is finally at a point of absurdity that the Antiochian Archdiocese has kept and continues to keep the real books and records closed. You don't have to be a financial expert to see that the annual report of the archdiocese doesn't really tell you much. Without a balance sheet, statement of cash flows and clear delineation of funds, restricted vs. non-restricted, the annual report is pretty worthless.
God bless +Phillip for all that he has done to help Orthodoxy in America but perhaps the time has come to seek out a new leader.
Just one Antiochian's opinion
#4 Anonymous Antiochian on 2009-06-02 16:37
As a not for profit corporation does the Antiochian Church not have to open its books for any asking member of the public?
(Editor's note: Religious organizations are exempt from these provisions under the First Amendment. Many, however, choose to do it voluntarily to show there is nothing to hide. The OCA is beginning to do so.)
#5 Jacob Lee on 2009-06-02 19:16
Met. Philip has never allowed his Trustees or Clergy accessability to the true and complete financial "standing" of his Archdiocese. "His Archdiocese...", yes we do have a King who decrees whatever he wishes! No one, no no one, we are informed, has ever asked at the controlled "meetings" as to total assets. Asked privately of those charged with finances, the answer is ALWAYS, "It is not for public consumption!". That ALL may someday be revealede will come only after Met. P's days are over.
#6 Anonymous on 2009-06-03 07:51
I checked out TheAntiochian.Com website where they are spinning like tops trying to make everything look good for a metropolitan who has lost the hearts of his flock, excepting some fanatics who speak more like Taliban than Christians in calling for banishment and excommunication of any who voice disagreement with MP. They declined to publish my comment suggesting open records, both of the Board of Trustees proceedings and of the finances of the archdiocese. I must conclude it is not a news site at all but simply propaganda designed to perpetuate what is increasingly looking like corruption.
What an embarrassment and a shame that the faithful chancellors who acted with the courage of their conscience for the good of the Archdiocese should be shamed by MP in the Board of Trustees meeting. May their sacrificial example and MP's unprincipled behavior clarify our hearts as we pray for the best resolution.
At this point, any resolution that is not adding insult to injury to the Orthodox flock must at minimum include the honorable retirement of MP. It is also time to realize that since MP has discredited his own leadership, his angry little puppet, Antoun, cannot hope to lead in his place. Nor can Demetri, a scandal to the faithful, remain in apostolic authority over the flock. The clear words of the New Testament regarding episcopal oversight forbid it.
If the truth could have been hushed up, as it has been in the past, perhaps MP could have weathered his recent attempted reversal of everything he has worked for out of his jealousy and wounded pride. That time has passed. The Board of Trustees saw MP through new eyes and the Patriarch can no longer pretend ignorance and mock surprise at MP's duplicity ... if he wishes to remain Patriarch over a unified North American archdiocese ... regardless of whether he ceases to enable MP's dysfunctional leadership. I do not say that the Patriarch is dishonest nor that he as accepted monetary gifts quid pro quo but that the old country, backroom leadership of the past is no longer tolerable. It is a time for patience on all our parts ... wait and see what action comes from these meetings.
#7 monologistos on 2009-06-03 15:39
Regarding the Romanian Unity Proposal.
I am a former Protestant who converted to Orthodoxy at an OCA parish. As such, I am very interested in the eventual realizaton of an American Orthodox Church fully accepted by all of Orthodoxy.
I am also now married to a Romanian. I have worked very hard to acquire a functional use of Romanian so I can genuinely interact with a mother-in-law who still lives in Bucharest. Since my wife and I are both teachers, we have summers free and spend two months in Romania every year.
We attend a Patriarchal (Moscow) parish where I am now the Vice-President. Our parish is a conglomeration of Russians, Romanians, Egyptians, Bulgarians, and others.
Our priest makes everyone feel welcome by saying at least the "Lord have mercy" (hospodi pomilui; doamne miluieste; ya rabb raHam) in the language of everyone represented. And I can tell you that the various ethnicities there deeply appreciate the fact that the liturgy includes their particular language, if even in a few words.
As am American convert, I obviously want an American Church. But we also need to admit that many (if not a majority) of the Orthodox on this continent are still first generation immigrants. And many of them may still feel most comfortable in a parish with their country's name on the sign. Their children won't feel the same way. But they still do.
We don't have jurisdictional unity now, as we should. And that may mean that in the path of eventual unity there will be seeming setbacks. But such changes may also include hidden opportunities.
The Romanians can and should do whatever makes sense for them in terms of maximizing the Gospel mission to the sizable Romanian immigrant community here. Maybe that is the creation of a jurisdiction with maximal autonomy under the authority of Bucharest. That is for them to decide.
Romania is the second most populous Orthodox nation. As such, immigrants from Romania deserve the maximal representation and advocacy when a single American Church is finally realized. And I suspect that may best be served by a unified body.
But perhaps the creation of a unified Romanian Church in America need not be a stab in the back of unity. What if the Romanian Episcopate made as a condition for this unity that the Romanian Church finally recognize the autocephaly of the OCA? In that case, the newly created Romanian-American Church would do what I hear every Sunday, prayers for our Patriarch and the Metropolitan on whose canonical territory we reside:
"For his Holiness +Daniel, Patriarch of Romania. For his Beatitude +Jonah, Metropolitan of all North America and Canada."
#8 Keith (Andrew) Massey on 2009-06-03 18:31
WARNING: High Level of Cynicism Ahead
"As regards the finances of the OCA, it seems the new day that dawned with Fr. Tassos in the Central Administration now stands poised to spread transparency and accountability throughout all the stravropegial institutions of the OCA. That will indeed be a wonderful, welcome change." [emphasis added]
Perhaps what I see is the darkness before the dawn; I see very little transparency or accountability.
1. No interim 2009 financial reports have yet been posted on the OCA website.
2. It took four months to post an incomplete 2008 financial report on the OCA website.
3. There have been no status reports on the search for a new OCA Treasurer posted on the OCA website or included in any materials posted on the OCA website.
4. The only information concerning the the OCA's current financial information comes through the English translation of an interview of Metropolitan Jonah by the Russian media.
The reported 20% shortfall equates to a per capita assessment of $84. The per capita assessment approved at 15AAC was $104 with the adopted budget based on a $90 per capita assessment.
Indeed, the darkness before the dawn seems quite deep.
#9 Mark C. Phinney on 2009-06-04 03:45
Regarding the Romanians; there is no hope returning under the thumb of "old country," foreign bishops. + Valerian knew this only too well. The hope for ALL Americans is here in America under our own bishops. This is EXACTLY what Orthodox Canon Law states. Local bishops rule over local churches. There is no foreign bishop intervention - in fact, foreign bishop meddling is condemned.
The Greeks are learning this; the Antiochians are learning this; etc. Unity with the Patriarchal Romanian parishes? Of course, but under the autocephaly enjoyed by the Romanians under the OCA!
#10 Anonymous on 2009-06-04 06:05
Unfortunately, recognizing the autocephaly of the OCA would run directly counter to Bucharest's chief aim, which is getting back Bessarabia. It makes more sense (from a strictly worldly standpoint) for Bucharest to assume sovereignty over the Romanians here and then deliver them to Constantinople in exchange for the EP's support for returning Bessarabia to Bucharest. This is allegedly the deal already done behind the scenes that only needs now to be declared publicly at the upcoming council: The undisputedly autocephalous churches get their breakaway regions returned to them; the EP gets the Diaspora. The OCA, if it doesn't go along, gets left out in the cold.
(Editor's note: Oh, its a great plan (from a worldy perspective if one lives in Byzantium) but it ignores the wee small fact that the Besserabian Church is currently under Moscow, and not the EP's to give away. For this "grand plan" to work it would have to compensate Moscow - and I doubt the EP's giving up claims to Estonia and Ukraine would do much, since last time I looked, they were not the EP's to give away either, since I imagine the Estonian and Ukrainian governments would be in opposition to any plan give more Russian influence in their countries. Not to mention the wee little fact that the Faithful in those countries might not agree being traded as if this were some Post World War II Yalta agreement. Here's an idea - how about basing good order in the Church not on dead empires and forgotten kingdoms, not on the borders of dead ideological totalitarian regimes, not on old Bishop's fears for shrinking futures and lost influence, but on the local faithful's hopes for ministry and witness in the future? There's a thought.)
#11 Caveat Lector on 2009-06-04 12:07
Dear Mr Stokoe:
Your analysis is accurate; but slightly incomplete. The EP has a stick as well as carrots to offer Moscow.
For a dozen years, the MP has funded and staffed, an uncanonical "Autonomous Abkhazian Orthodox Eparchy" within the universally recognized territory of the Sokhumi Diocese of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate. This uncanonical Abkhaz church is in reality a Russian church serving the Russian military occupation and the Russian civilian settlers within occupied Abkhazia.
The so-called Abkhazians (their actual name is Apsni) are North Caucasian Muslims, related to the Chechens, and imported to the region in the 17th century by the Turks.
This illegal Russain Patiarchal Diocese of Abkhazia exists on the universally recognized teritory of the Sokhumi dioocese, in the very churches and monasteries stolen from the local church, whose Bishop, Meupe Daniel, lives in exile with his flock.
It is precisley such an ecclasiastical invasion that is condemned by the first of the Apostolic Canons. Should Meupe Daniel or Patriarch Ilya press charges, the up-coimg Patriarchal meeting might easily become an ecclesiastical court to depose Patriarch Kyrill and his entire synod. There is precedent for this, as the Ecumenical Patriarch presided over the trial that resulted in the deposition and banishment of Patriarch Nikon.
We can only hope that he leadership of the OCA will realize that Moscow has neither the credibility nor the moral integrity to support the OCA.
Mosocw has its own agenda, which has nothing to do with unity among the Orthodox of America. Moscow is only interested in serving its own interests and those of its financial backer, spymaster Putin.
#12 Francis Frost on 2009-06-04 15:50
As long as we're speculating intrigues, I think a better path for Bucharest is to recognize the OCA, which means throwing the weight of the second most populous Orthodox country (Romania) behind the first (Russia). Since we've admitted that Bessarabia isn't Constantinople's to give, a deal with the ones who actually hold it would seem wiser. And a Russian-Romanian bloc basically controls the upcoming Council. Romania, in this deal, would be in a position to ask for Bessarabia in exchange for support of Russian annexation of the Baltic States (Good God, this sounds like a game of Risk, doesn't it?)
At any rate, I think the notion of all the established autocephalous Churches accepting Constantinople's control of the rest of the universe in exchange for a few outlying provinces each is a non-starter.
Bucharest isn't going to throw away her diaspora in exchange for Bessarabia. Ethnically and linguistically, she knows she has that region in the long run anyway.
And if any of us think that this level of bargaining won't be a part of the council, they're wrong. And that doesn't mean the council won't be the occasion of the Holy Spirit surging. This is just how these things happen.
In my morning commute, I drive by a Macedonian Church (let's open up another can of worms). I make the sign of the cross and am so happy every morning that I have that little place to focus on my Savior. Yes, all this stuff is messy, but despite this jurisdictional morass, we do have One Lord, One Faith, and One Baptism, One God and Father of all.
(editor's note: I think you may have hit on a million dollar idea there, Keith. Orthodox Risk. The battle for world domination, ecclesiastical style. Six players ( EP, Moscow, Romania, Antioch, Greece and Serbia battle for barbarian lands!) Players control monks, bishops ( representing 5 monks) and Patriarchs ( representing 20 monks) with which they attempt to capture territories from other players. The goal of the game is "world domination," to control all the territories—or "conquer the world"—through the elimination of the other players.... Sad that our reality is so easily parodied, is it not? )
#13 Keith (Andrew) Massey on 2009-06-04 18:27
The alleged deal is not a deal done with just Constantinople; it is a deal done among the autocephalous churches to regain their breakaway regions. The only way they can possibly regain control of those regions is for all of the autocephalous churches, Constantinople included, to go along. If the much smaller churches in the breakaway regions and the Diaspora resist, they will be on their own, out in the cold. None of the autocephalous churches will have anything to do with them. No concelebration, no cooperation, no respect or even acknowledgement for anything they do.
We must realize that the various ethnic jurisdictions in the Diaspora mean far less to their mother churches than the breakaway regions, though altogether the churches of the Diaspora mean a lot to Constantinople. The recent moves by mother churches to strengthen ties with their Diaspora are intended both to bolster the leverage of the mother churches at the upcoming council and to legitimize the eventual transfer of their Diaspora to the EP.
By the way, I don’t support the deal; I’m just reporting what people much closer to the situation are saying. I’m also not predicting the outcome. If this is the deal, it remains to be seen whether it will hold, how much resistance the affected churches will put up, and how much pressure they can stand. If this is the deal, the pressure on them will be tremendous. Their only choice will be to submit or to go to the mattresses.
One final warning: The autocephalous churches are downplaying the upcoming council as a “preconciliar consultation.” Do not be deceived: It is an ecumenical council and will be heralded as such soon after it’s over.
#14 Caveat Lector on 2009-06-05 07:21
Mr Frost: Your post is anti-Moscow propaganda and a complete lie.
The Church of Russia does NOT operate an "illegal diocese" in Abhkazia. On the contrary, Moscow has repeatedly denied requests by Orthodox Christians in Abkhazia to be taken under its authority on the grounds that Abkhazia is recognized as canonical territory of the Georgian Church.
The same is true for South Ossetia. The fact is, because of Moscow's position, neither the South Ossetian nor the Abkhazian flock has real canonical care. In South Ossetia, the so-called Holy Synod in Resistance ordained a former ROCOR monk as "Bishop of Alania". [This, by the way, was one of the reasons for the cooling of relations between ROCOR and the HSR prior to ROCOR's reconcilliation with the Moscow Patriarchate]. The South Ossetians, including the unrecognized republic's President, Eduard Kokoita, are under the Holy Synod in Resistance. While there was talk of the HSR's Alanian diocese coming under the care of Moscow, Moscow denied this request. On the other hand, the Alanian diocese has refused to negotiate with Tbilisi; Patriarch-Catholicos Ilia's Georgian nationalist sympathies are well known.
In Abkhazia, the Abkhazian diocese remains de jure under Tbilisi while de facto autocephalous (or, rather, acephalous -- it has no bishop).
Perhaps the best proof that Moscow is NOT meddling in Abkhazian affairs is the fact that there is no bishop in Abkhazia. The Georgian bishop remains in exile; Moscow has not appointed a bishop. The diocese is run by an archpriest.
Moscow has attempted to negotiate with Tbilisi on this issue on several occasions, coming purely from a practical perspective. Someone does need to provide pastoral care for Orthodox Christians in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The Georgian Church, right now, simply is unable to do that. The Russian Church has offered to provide temporary pastoral care, while recognizing that the territories remain in the jurisdiction of Tbilisi. The Georgian Church has not allowed this and, sadly, the faithful in the two regions remain without canonical care.
Instead of assigning to the Russian Church motives that it does not have, let's pray that this issue can be resolved to the benefit of our Orthodox brothers in the region.
#15 Russian Observer on 2009-06-06 12:51
Many of us have been focused on the need for +Philip to retire. He has to be forced to. Granted, the "forcing" will occur behind closed doors so that he will continue to save face in public, but a forced retirement must come. The Joseph Allen affair simply indicated the deeper problem behind everything--he thought all of this revolved around himself for himself. The excessive praise and submission of some converts has not helped, either.
#16 Phileas on 2009-06-10 16:21
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