So, "What is the message?" The message is that all the canonical Orthodox of N. Am. will give this "assembly" a chance to work; yet, complete submission to + Bart will not happen! In fact, unless this "assembly" becomes a COMPLETE AUTOCEPHALOUS church without the intervention of ANY foreign bishop(s), it will fail! The OCA will not give up it's CANONICAL autocephalous status and place itself under Istanbul nor Moscow. After all, it took Constantinople more than 100 years to formally recognize the Russian church as autocephalous and after the exchange of much money. The OCA will not wait 100+ years nor pay $$$ to Istanbul!
Mark, I think your analysis was spot-on. Good job! The one question that remains in my mind, however, is "What will Moscow do?" It's wonderful to have established a new framework and Bishop Basil, whom I have known for decades, is a clear thinking and well-organized leader, but, how will Moscow respond to all of this. Traditionally, no leader ever gives up power willingly, and since the move to grant autocephaly came from Moscow, will they be willing to give up leadership, authority and jurisdiction to a Greek patriarch that they tend to have a certain level of disdain for? We would do well to progress with this new direction, but wait for the next shot to be fired across the bow of the emerging churches of the Americas.
Thank you Mark, you have done exceptionally well, given the news black-out.
There are so many problems with this Ep. Assembly that it isn't funny:
1) + Dimetrios would not seat + Jonah at the table equal to himself & + Philip. + Jonah should have walked out with all the OCA bishops. In his humility, he stayed. This will not hold water with the OCA. Either the OCA is respected as the successor of the original Russian mission to America; the only indigenous, canonical, autocephalous Orthodox Church in N. Am. or the OCA should pull out of this sham completely.
2) Orthodox Canon Law is VERY clear: "Foreign bishops cannot interfere with the affairs of 'LOCAL CHURCHES.'" With this in mind, neither + Bart nor ANY foreign bishop or their representative has authority in N. Am. All of these bishops under foreign bishops have no real authority - Orthodox Canon Law!
3) With ALL the Ep. Assemblies all over the world, whatever they may decide, + Bart has veto power. This is nothing more than the creation and acceptance of an Eastern Pope. This is NOT ORTHODOX ECCLESIOLOGY and against Orthodox Canon Law.
4) The term "First Among Equals" only meant that the Pat. of Constantinople chaired the meetings when he gathered with all the other patriarchs. He had no extra authority. And, he helped to settle disputes among the patriarchs - THAT'S IT!
5) There is NO "Ecumenical Patriarch" in the Orthodox Church. We have no one patriarch with authority over the entire world - this is Roman Catholic ecclesiology. When there was a Byzantine Empire and the Pat. of Constantinople was the Emperor's Patriarch, then this terminology could have been used, but today, this is a bogus title and theologically incorrect.
6) Canon 28 of Chalcedon does NOT give the Pat. of Constantinople (Istanbul) authority over the entire world. This canon was written only to give the Pat. of Constantinople added authority over certain "barbarian" areas around the Black Sea area - THAT'S ALL! For + Bart to try and use this canon to give himself authority over the entire world is laughable at best!