Friday, April 23. 2010
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#1 Anonymous on 2010-04-23 11:23
Thank you for opening this article up to comments. Do the Orthodox want to be viable local Churches in the West, gathered in communion around our local Bishops? Or are we to continue with competing ethnic-based dioceses, spread impossibly thin and answering to foreign hierarchs? There are American expatriate communities in traditionally Orthodox lands--shall the US dioceses expand to them? No other nominally Christian church in the world carries such absurd baggage.
(Editor's note: It is not an absurd program at all. It is carefully thought out. Who benefits from such a program? The whole point is that ethnic based, foreign-answering dioceses are not competitive. Such dioceses can exist in splendid, unaccountable isolation free from any challenges; their people in unencumbered tribal existences. Hence the poignancy of your last sentence. Nominal does indeed describe the situation accurately. )
#2 Doug on 2010-04-23 11:29
"The Alexandrian Patriarch unites many nations and countries under his patriarchal omophorion. The Russian Church also preserves the unity in spirit of our nationals, now living in various countries, but (still) belonging to the one space of Holy Russia."
What utter nonsense!
This is yet another instance of the multiplied layers of so-called 'Holy' Tradition being perverted in the extreme.
He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?"
(Editor's note: Good point, but why is no one from the OCA asking the most obvious question:
If the Russian Church has the "responsibility" to unite all those who belong to the "one space" of Holy Russia, does not the OCA, as the autocephalous Church in America, have the "responsibility" to unite all those who belong to the "one space" of Holy America? Or are we not the Church? Or is America not as holy as Russia? Or Greece for that matter? Or Antioch, or Alexandria? True, we have a shorter, much shorter history in the faith, but then we have had fewer heretics, schismatics, etc. as well. Is not the same Holy Spirit working here in America as worked, and is working, in Russia or Greece? )
#3 Brian Van Sickle on 2010-04-24 06:35
The Orthodox theologians of Europe are correct! The entire idea of ultra-nationalism within the Church is a HERESY. The Church, from it's very beginning, was never organized by nationalism or heritage. Even the Emperors & Patriarchs of Byzantium were of MANY different nationalities. The administration of "Local Churches" was by "Local Bishops" without "reporting" to foreign bishops. Only when ALL the bishops came together in SOBORNOST, they would speak in one voice and discuss churchly issues. To try and STEAL people, churches & property under the pretext of a DIASPORA or heritage is HERESY!
#4 Anonymous on 2010-04-24 07:18
I personally hope no one in the OCA asks this question - at least not with the intentions and 'spirit' of the Russian Patriarchate.
The last I heard, it is the CHURCH that is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, not Russia, Greece..., or America. The "one space" in which the Church dwells is her escatological home in Christ. By conciliar agreement the governance of the geographical space she occupies is (supposedly) defined in geographical terms, but this geography is merely the place of her sojourning:
"Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, to the church of God WHICH IS AT CORINTH, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, WITH ALL WHO IN EVERY PLACE call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
Those who would substitute nations, lands, cultures -however sanctified they may have become through the Gospel - for the Church of the Living God pervert the very Foundation of her unity, holiness, and catholicity. I beg the forgiveness of the His All-Holiness if I have misunderstood his statement, but it certainly seems indicative of precisely this perversion.
It never ceases to amaze me how some in (I have almost come to loathe the word) 'Orthodoxy' can employ layers upon layers of tradition in the justification of phyletism - or any other sort of anti-Christian behavior - while managing to ignore THE Orthodox Christian Tradition of life in the Holy Spirit.
#5 Brian Van Sickle on 2010-04-24 08:50
Brian grading Brian:
Ecclesiology: B -
Correct Ecclesiastical Titles: F
(Must have been a Freudian slip)
#6 Brian Van Sickle on 2010-04-24 13:39
There can be no American Orthodox Church in the present condition of administration and leadership which ignores the plundering by sexual abuse of its members. While there may be some small pockets of "righteous people", they are not extending themselves to do anything for the victims of rape, and sexual molestation by clergy and others.
Those in Communist dominated lands in their historical period for continuing the faith knew in many cases home churches and no churches were safer in some circumstances than to comprise what is holy.
The Ethnic hierarchs that have come to America have not helped the situation of abuse and rape. I don't see an ethnic rule as an answer either. When clergy were abusing or thought to have abused in other countries, some have been sent here and continue the abuse without anyone caring about the damages they do. There are those sent out from America who were abusing here in the U.S. Abusing clergy are still transferred to other states or given positions of leadership, where they can better hold out against any accountability for their crimes.
America continues to be in some cases a dumping ground for clergy from somewhere else foreign and domestic. The OCA Bishop Peter did not protect his flock or any other flock in America when he was paid to come here to the states when the OCA got short of Bishops.
I see no hope in any gathering of the so called Episcopal whatevers because they are at the heart of the problem of Clergy Sexual Abuse. I only expect this gathering will
look for new ways to CYA the damages they do through the network of Sexual Abuse which they ongoingly support.
Matushka Dr. Ellen Gvodsev who gave the last 20 years of her her life specifically to the cause of trying to educate about Clergy Sexual Abuse in the Orthodox Church, made multiple attempts to deal with the SCOBA group as well and felt all her efforts came to nothing but deaf ears and more abuse. These are her words to me in the last year of her life.
The same thing has/is going on in Europe with all of the various "out of country" hierarchs trying to grab their piece of European real estate. There needs to be an Orthodox church of France, Germany, etc and not local churches under the control of Constantinople, Moscow, etc. In fact, until the situation warrants it, there should be an Orthodox Church of Europe similar to what the Patriarch of Russia, Alexis II, suggested some time ago http://www.orthodoxengland.org.uk/urupdate.htm
Another link to such a suggestion is:
We here in America need to have such an event here, a breaking away from the 'brothers' overseas and form our own church, and a holy one at that not continuing the secularism so evident in modern parishes where Protestanism has mad its inroads.
#8 Yanni on 2010-04-25 20:52
People here don't seem to get it! After 1917 (Russian Revolution), the Old Country Patriarches increased set up their own churches with their own priests and bishops in the U.S. The creation of the OCA in 1970, an indigenous, CANONICAL, AUTOCEPHALOUS Orthodox Church in North America was to remedy the chaos. SCOBA discussed in it's early creation of this solution. However, when the OCA came into being, the Antiochians & Greeks reneged on joining it. The OCA was created as a council of all the ethnic bishops to run their own dioceses and elect their own Metropolitan independent of ANY foreign bishops. The Greeks opposed the OCA from the beginning, although it is canonical and "legitimate." Now, 40 years after OCA autocephaly, the Bishop of Istanbul wants to establish an OCA like organization in North America, BUT ONLY UNDER HIMSELF as head. The main oppostion to unity in North America has ALWAYS been the Greeks. They ONLY want unity under Istanbul. The Episcopal Assemblies are nothing more than foreign bishops trying to gain control over territory, churches & people which they have NO canonical rights to.
#9 Anonymous on 2010-04-26 05:17
"The main oppostion to unity in North America has ALWAYS been the Greeks"
Isn't it odd that the Greeks in Greece AREN'T under the EP?
#10 Michael Strelka on 2010-04-26 19:32
"Isn't it odd that the Greeks in Greece AREN'T under the EP?"
Actually many ARE. This is a long and complex story and we do need go into every detail before we carry out our judgment. American Orthodoxy is only 200 years long...
"The main opposition to unity in North America has ALWAYS been the Greeks"
This is simplification. Besides, one must not confuse issues. Unity and independence are not the same. There may be unity without complete independence (as in Finland). At least in Europe where unity is much needed, but autocephaly is obviously premature, Constantinople has an important role to play.
Why an American unity under a loose supervision of Constantinople should be so unacceptable or a scandal?
(Editor's note: Finnish ecclesiastical independence has one major guarantor: the Finnish government. We have no such guarantor in the United States where the internal goverance of a religious body is a matter the US courts will not touch, for almost any reason. The recent move by the EP in unilaterally changing the constitution of the Greek Archdiocese, and the failure of lawsuits to stop that, is evidence
aplenty. Why would the OCA, or the Antiochians, or the Serbs, etc. want to unite with such a body that won't even listen to its own ethnos? What consideration do you think they would offer the barbaros? Thanks, but de facto freedom is better than de jure capitivity. It's an American thing. )
#11 Daniel S. on 2010-04-27 14:07
"De facto freedom is better than de jure captivity."
Sure. But it doesn't solve the unity problem. Does it?
I dont't know about the Greek Archdiocese, but I suspect the problem is in New York, not in Constantinople.
Don't they care about their Autonomy? Don't they want unity?
(editor's note: To answer your questions: "No" and "Only on their terms". We have had SCOBA for 25 years with minor advances: now we shall have the Episcopal Assembly and we expect more? I have neither the apocalyptic fears of the current process many express - nor the eschatological hopes that many seem to think will emerge from an as-yet-to-be-determined- "unity" that some seem think will usher in a new age for Orthodoxy in America. In my town the Greeks and the OCA parish just did their first joint activity for their youth. "How long have you guys been here?", asked one of the Greeks of our priest. "25 years", was the smiling answer. And this in a town of less than 200,000. It's progress sure - but a united church? What does it mean in this context? Not much.
"Unity" is mostly meaningful to those dreaming dreams more important to the 1950's ("America's Fourth Faith!) than to most in the 21st century. It is a way to pump up numbers for those seeking political, cultural and social significance, and has little real implications in parish life, or for those for whom a presence in Washington DC is not important. I realize such sentiments are not politically correct, but I think the South American bishop's statement about " Orthodox Churches" is more descriptive of reality than the dream of "an Orthodox Church" on this continent, whether subservient, autonomous or autocephalous. )
#12 Daniel S. on 2010-04-28 11:01
I agree with you. We are not going to solve anything with conventional thinking and ecclesiological correctness.
#13 Daniel S. on 2010-04-29 04:29
I'm rather surprised that no one has noticed the rather key distinction between the Moscow Patriarchate opening Russian Orthodox churches in Africa (where there are already a handful in existence) and the Ecumenical Patriarchate doing the same thing in Finland, Estonia, and the Russian and Ukrainian Diasporas.
In the former instance, the Moscow Patriarchate has recognized our Alexandrian Orthodox Church's jurisdiction over all of Africa (an extension of canonical territory only recently undertaken) and is not establishing parish churches or dioceses, only representation churches to the Alexandria Patriarchate.
In the latter case, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has unilaterally established autonomous local Orthodox Churches and/or dioceses on the territory of one of her sister Orthodox Churches without any reference and often in direct opposition to those communities' lawful hierarchs.
There is a world of difference between the actions of the Constantinopolitan and Russian Orthodox Churches. One witnesses to the conciliarity and unity of Orthodoxy whilst the other advocates a Roman view of authority within the Catholic Church and of ecclesiastical organization.
And I agree with Brian. If the Old World Churches, our mothers in the Faith, cannot be bothered to submit to the canons, then why should our American Orthodox Church be bothered to do so? There are large American and Canadian diasporas throughout the world not being adequately ministered to by the Old World Churches. It is time someone reached out to them!
#14 Jon Marc on 2010-05-06 11:01
There are some, though I wouldn't say many, that are under the Spiritual authority of the EP ( most notably Thessaloniki and Mt Athos). We are talking about a few hundred thousand out of more than ten million people more than half of who live in Athens. They are administered, however, by the Church of Greece. This is not an ideal situation and has led to many arguments between these two local churches.
#15 GH on 2010-05-08 11:01
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