Friday, September 3. 2010
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cry me a river with this reflection.....in case you missed it, we ARE diaspora and will remain attached to the mother church....all you converts can "convert" back if you dont like it.
#1 Anonymous on 2010-09-03 08:51
ABSOLUTELY CORRECT! The autocephaly of the OCA is a sacred gift by prompted by Frs. Schmemann & Meyendorff. It is totally canonical and even outlined in the early minutes of SCOBA (1961-62) as the way to solve the unity problem in North America. Unfortunately, both the Greeks & Antiochians reneged and would not join the OCA. Fast-forward to where we are today. Non-canonical Episcopal Assemblies controlled by old-world bishops trying to regain power & authority throughout the world. The OCA must stand-up for who we are and if our leaders refuse, they can retire and be replaced by bishops who are worthy to say, "We belong to the only indigenous, canonical autocephalous Orthodox Church in North America." There is nothing in Moscow; there is nothing in Istanbul or any where else. We are Orthodox people of North America and we run our own churches with our own bishops. Our Church is HERE! Our Synod is HERE! There is no "DIASPORA" and we don't believe in Roman Catholic eccessiology of putting ourselves under one bishop in Istanbul nor Moscow. We are free in Christ!
#2 Anonymous on 2010-09-03 09:01
It's hard for +Jonah to not let himself be pushed around when Moscow who gave the OCA their "Autochephaly", at the moment is not in any way defending it!
(Editor's note: Since the Russian Church recently instructed its parishes in North America to commemorate +JOnah as the head of the local autocephalous church, as is done everywhere else where Russian churches exist on the terrority of other churches, one wonders how they are not defending it? Or again, by inviting and receiving the Metropolitan as a head of church during his visit last year. The Tomos envisioned voluntary adherance to the OCA by other groups - so by not forcing others into the OCA the Russians are "defending" the Tomos. Or perhaps you mean Chambesy? Coming to an agreement about how autocephaly will be done in the future is not an attack on how its was done in the past; nor does Chambesy mention that. Of that the Russians have said nothing. So when you make such unsubstantiated claims, it would be helpful if you would give reasons beyond personal prejudices....)
#3 Todd Petratis on 2010-09-03 09:21
AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! We must vigorously pray for +Met Jonah, our dear Father.
#4 Rebecca on 2010-09-03 09:48
I very much like both the facts and the spirit of this article. I would like to point out, however, a variance in focus. The churces of the "Old World" tend to see their role as maintainers of emigrants to the New World. There is no vision, at all, of any sort, or attempt, to evangelize the New World. This focus goes back well over 100 years, to a time when the churches in New Orelans or San Francisco, for example, were established, not to evangelize, but rather to serve the needs of pre-existing national or ethnic communities (Greek and Russian, respectively). As long as they see themselves in this role, then they will seek to maintain their position as guide, leader and protector of established nationat and ethnic communities.
IF the churches in the Old Countries saw their roles as evangelists, then the entire focus would change. Then, as happened in the Ukraine and Russia over a thousand years ago, then the churches would be given, would demand, and would receive total autocephaly.
I also agree that it is up to the faithful in the New World churches and communities to seek, demand and receive autocephaly. However, virtually no one, for all of the talk, bluster, seminars and conferences truly believes in evangelization. We have accepted the role of maintaining national and ethnic communities because it is easier and finances are more secure. We need to change our focus, and yes, I know, there are some missions and churches where evangelism is a focus (but not always where one thinks) but for the vast majority of Orthodox churches, we still see that converts must come to Orthodoxy, Orthodoxy does not go to them.
In the past five or ten decades there has really only been one massive effort to evangelize, to convert a large number of Americans to Orthodoxy. Of course I speak of the Evangelical Orthodox Mission/Church of the Antiochains. What I'd like to know is, who was the one key person who spear-headed this effort? I know Met. Philip received those several thousand converts, but who really did the work? I sure have never heard mention of anyone in this role. I've been to a couple conferences/seminars on evangelisation, and I've heard the members of the AEOM speak (if they are still referred to by this title), but this is asking how to evangelize from the people who were the evangelized, not the evangelizer. So, who was the evangelizer? Who is that person or persons? Where is that person? How come that person never shares with us how they did it? Maybe that person or persons should be sharing?
We need to change our focus from maintenace (this is the way the Old World churches see us - therefore they have become the maintainers) to evangelism. Then we will seek, demand and receive true autocephaly.
#5 Sean O'Clare on 2010-09-03 09:56
"we ARE diaspora..." give me a break. I am the third generation of my family in this country. I have never been within a thousand miles of my grandfathers home. I AM Orthodox. I AM also an American. We may be a "child" to our parents, we may even act childlike. We made mistakes, we will continue to make mistakes, and we will watch our parents make the same mistakes. But we will learn and I think we do pretty well with that. I love my parents and honor them and am grateful for the fine upbringing they gave me, but I'm quite willing to stand on my own now. We make that decision, nobody else can now make it for us.
#6 Anon on 2010-09-03 13:23
The old world patriarchs may pronounce on American Orthodox issues of headship when they can go to the local hardware store and buy parts to fix a leaky faucet. WITHOUT premission of the local government. They are irrelevant there and here.
#7 Bob Koch on 2010-09-03 13:23
Very, vert true! And #1 can return to his "Mother" Church. Always amazed as an 18yr convert to Orthodoxy, how we have to turn to foreign great "spiritual" leaders in far off places to determine how we shall be governed.
Where is that emailer who desires a Boston Tea Party? Taxation without REAL representation. Foreign boen "local" lkeaders who will always desire Old World concurrence to their plans (when conveni9ent and beneficial!)
Yes, I concur, God bless Met. Jonah and his like. Few of our leaders have courage of any sort. "Don't Rock the Ship", should be placed on their memorial stones under the words Memory Eternal!
#8 Anonymous Antiochian Priest on 2010-09-03 13:28
The AEOM came to Orthodoxy by itself! Read Gillquist's book on this. When they wanted to come to Orthodoxy, they originally approached the OCA via + Tikhon (retired) and he was very dubious of their sincerity. Therefore, the OCA was luke-warm about accepting them. They turned to + Philip who saw this as a great opportunity and accepted them en masse. Behind closed doors in the OCA, they said, "When they get tired of + Philip as a tyrant, they'll come to the OCA." A missed opportunity by the OCA via a Bishop of the West who feared for the control of his own diocese!
(Editor's note: As a member of the '79 SVS Octet I had the opportunity of singing vespers for hundreds of EOC folk in Santa Barbara - the first time most had ever seen/heard an Orthodox service, led by the Chancellor of the Diocese of the West, Fr. Wojcik. This was well before Tikhon, in the era of Basil Rodzianko. That the EOC did not join the OCA was that they never asked.)
#9 Anonymous on 2010-09-03 13:41
They evangelized themselves and fell into Metropolitan Philip's hands quite by chance. On the other hand, I have seen evangelization efforts made at the local level both in OCA and AOCA, mainly by growing a local church and establishing missions rather than making the existing church bigger.
#10 Carl Kraeff on 2010-09-03 13:56
Alexandru Nemoianu is a true visionary! Do not give up the fight within the Romanians and we 2nd, 3rd & 4th generation Orthodox within the OCA wil not give up our autocephaly. Any convert bishop(s) who think they can dissolve our autocephaly and put us back under Moscow are sadly mistaken. We've changed Metropolitans twice and maybe the third time will be a charm. People need to wake-up regarding the serious threat of foreign bishops trying to dominate the Orthodox in N. America. Canonically, foreign bishops have NO authority outside their dioceses - even Big + Bart!
#11 Anonymous on 2010-09-03 14:00
Anyone who wants to put themselves under "FOREIGN BISHOPS" please go join the Greeks, Antiochians or others. Orthodox Canon Law is clear: "Bishops do not have authority outside their own diocese." This includes + Bart! The OCA won't give up it's autocephaly. The people (laos) of the OCA refuse to accept any such notion. The Episcopal Assemblies can say whatever they want; the Great Council of 2013 can say whatever it wants; the OCA remains a canonical, autocephalous church in North America.
Foreign yo-ho's trying to do a land grab - ain't gonna happen!
#12 Anonymous on 2010-09-03 14:57
Mr. O'Clare asks who the "evanglizer" was. Several replies have been offered by others. Since I was on the fringes of the AEOM events I can offer a slightly different but eyewitness answer, starting with a definition of terms.
I believe there was no evangelizer in the sense of someone who came around and got the ball rolling by bringing up the Orthodox Church to "our" leadership as a new idea. From my limited viewpoint "we" were the ones who, after some study and disussion, initiated the contacts with Orthodoxy, not vice versa.
That said it was my strong impression that Fr. Alexander Schmemann was the one man who did the most to help us move forward toward conversion, and Met. Philip the one who actually took decisive action.
#13 Fr. George Washburn on 2010-09-03 17:38
It's easy to comment on something so consistent: hogwash in all three points. Just nonsense. If the ancient 'Mother" churches (I'd love to see that concept in the Fathers of the Church, the liturgies or the scriptures) produce the current hierarchs after "entire lives and generations" of serving the Church, then they are the best case going to cut not just administrative ties, but ties of any kind. They're a disaster and want to export the disaster here. They are also hopelessly corrupt as can be seen from the materials posted on this website over several years now. I don't find "Mother" church in the Creed, I was not received into the "Mother" church of anything. I don't have to recite a prayer of devotion to one to receive communion. It's a corrupt idea from desperate people who can't deal with information getting out laity who can read.
#14 Bob Koch on 2010-09-03 17:48
"It takes time, knowledge, and understanding. WE ARE NOT READY!" Gee, I remember white people saying the same thing when I was a child about blacks in America demanding their equal rights after 400 years!! As #10 Anonymous said, "Orthodox Canon Law is clear: 'Bishops do not have authority outside their own diocese.'" Wake up and smell the coffee!!!
#15 David Barrett on 2010-09-03 18:11
A great Reflection: Clear, succinct, and to the point!!! And, more importantly, all very true!!
#16 David Barrett on 2010-09-03 18:12
I think those who would argue that we are not "ready" have an obligation to state exactly what is not ready. Without such guideposts, how would we know?
I suspect the reason there are no requirements listed when such statements are made is that: 1) there are other autocephalous churches that can't meet the requirements; 2) it involves some sort of murky spiritual intuition, along the lines of the "I know it when I see it" - that also conveniently allows the church to never be independent.
#17 Anonymous on 2010-09-03 18:16
I also am a realist. The grass is not greener on the old world side of the fence. I love the Russian Church dearly but despite its age and resilience, it has its own weaknesses and particular challenges to face. The same is true for all the old world churches. Each one could receive a letter addressed to them from St. John in his Book of Revelation. The OCA has made mistakes and misplaced priorities but what church old or new hasn’t? At least I see an effort at real repentance (however imperfectly for some).
Having been exposed to church politics for most my life I’ve come to believe our autocephaly is something that must be defended at all cost. It is a gift to those Orthodox Christians (maybe a generation or two away) who will ask “Why aren’t we united?” and then actually do something about it. But for the time being, if we won’t defend it, who will? And if we don’t think it is something worth defending then we don’t deserve it! +Jonah needs to understand what he has been entrusted with and act accordingly even if it requires courage despite his youth and standing. The answer to our problem will not come from abroad but from within and only at the right time when we really desire it.
To be honest I’m not alarmed about our haphazard situation here in America. The Gospel is being preached, lives are being saved, the Eucharist is offered and the holy mysteries of the church are celebrated in freedom. So we can say no to power grabs and ill-intentioned meddling in the name of church unity for the time being. If old world bishops want to fix something they should begin in their own backyards where there is much in need of attention. Yes, our witness in America is weakened for now but unless our unity is real, our witness won’t be strong anyway!
I am often amazed at the things that have taken place in my 43 years. We are living in a fantastic time. But we must also realize that it is an exceptional time. Historically, changes don’t normally happen so quickly! Maybe we should concentrate more on the quality of our church lives then the order of the diptychs. If the OCA fails to preach the Gospel, no Tomos of Autocephaly will spare the pruners shears!
#18 Andrew A. Lukashonak on 2010-09-03 18:31
You post is truly small-minded. Aside from insulting converts, what about those of us born into families that came from places which have been Orthodox maybe 1900 years? What about those of us who were baptized as infants, and raised in the Church as Americans (2nd or 3rd generation), especially those of us for whom the OCA is our church? It's impossible for us to think of ourselves as in a "diaspora."
#19 Anonymously sad about it all on 2010-09-03 19:09
We are always going to be second class Orthodox to those who think that Orthodoxy is a family tradition rather than a faith in Jesus Christ. Every single Christian is a convert but that isn't how all the Orthodox see it, especially in the old world where American imperialism is still despised. America and North America in whole is the New York Yankees, we are hated because we have money, success, etc, etc. We are hated because we keep winning. I have done a lot of work to become Orthodox and still I run into people who don't see me as truly Orthodox.
What the old world churches don't understand is that God the Son will not be hampered by the gates of Hell, Bishop, or nominal lay people. the church will continue inspite of the erring Bishop, Priest, and lay people. I have faith in my Lord, I have very little faith in people, regardless of their titles. It is similar to how in the military I would respect the rank of NCO's and Officers but necessarily the person. That is the same case her.
#20 David L on 2010-09-03 20:03
The reality is that foreign bishops cannot help Orthodoxy in America. Cultural differences would obscure everything.
For the AOCA, the story is simple and the people can be split into groups:
One group wants old world revival and a likely boot of a bishop. A few diehard fans of MP who like the culture of a 'strong Arab' (comical to me as this may mean domineering and abusive to others).
Another group is silent and complacent. Probably the majority, who like 'their' church brethren enough to overlook the b.s.
A few will leave in disgust.
MP can do that math just as well as me.
The people in the OCA can be put into one group. No way is a foreign bishop calling the shots and no way is a nickel headed over their (at least not knowingly).
MJ can do that math just as well as me.
Neither is stupid.
#21 Daniel E. Fall on 2010-09-03 20:43
According to one OCA bishop, as part of their "shopping" for acceptance into Orthodoxy, Fr. Gilquist et al presented a list of 12 demands as the price of their entrance into Orthodoxy (i.e. their "bishops" would remain bishops). Only one jurisdiction agreed to speak with them because of this lack of humility.
We see the major problem of autocephaly to be the qualifications of our candidates for Bishops: we have few monasteries with true spiritual elders. Only a life of Prayer and living in the presence of God equips one to hear the Holy Spirit in guiding priests and parishes. If Greece could open its monastic doors and plant monasteries here, we could have more spiritual under-shepherds dedicated to serving the Chief Shepherd Christ and His flock. (Fr.Ephraim's disdain for marriage reveals that he does not understand monasticism - cf Elder Aimilianos' writings.)
I wish I had saved a document that probably can't be recovered. It was a report by Fr. Schmemann to the synod of the OCA concerning the EOC, who he had met with a number (I don't know how many) of times. The report was very encouraging and full of hope that they would be joined to the Church. He didn't as I recall insist the synod of bishops do something about them right away, but certainly was speaking of them in quite positive terms. Alas, I loaned it to a priest who has since passed away.
The encounter with the EP Demetrios is recorded in the Gilquist book. If they had been nice respectable protestant evangelical clergymen come to see the mysterious east they would have been received with joy. As it is, they came wishing to join the one true Church and scared the Phanar to death.
#23 Bob Koch on 2010-09-03 21:07
And any good Mother would know that the ultimate goal of raising progeny is to give them the gift of independence. It is unhealthy to keep our kids under our wings until they are past the age where they should be allowed to fly on their own.
#24 5kidsmom on 2010-09-03 21:22
You know what? Go for it. Go have your little Tea Party and overthrow the tyrannical rule of "foreign despots." Go ahead and form your rebel Orthodox conventicle and demand whatever you feel are your inalienable rights to your heart's content. You think everyone in North America is going to join your cause? No, we're not. You think all the Autocephalous Churches will come around after a century or two? No, they won't. You'll just slowly descend into vagantism and end up going the way of Aftimios Ofiesh.
So, go ahead.
#25 ejv on 2010-09-03 21:31
I was a member of an ex-EOC parish for 5 years, and from what I heard the EOC tried to join both Constantinople and the OCA before approaching the Antiochians.
All their 20 or so leaders went to Constantinople, only to be refused an audience with the patriarch. They also had discussions with the OCA, which were futile because the OCA synod insisted that their priests and deacons go to seminary for a while before being re-ordained priests and deacons. Given that most of them had secular jobs + families to support, this would have meant laicizing 80-90% of the EOC clergy, which was unacceptable.
The Antiochians were more flexible, and ordained all the EOC clergy who wanted to be ordained (some did not). They also accepted that the transition from EOC customs/rubrics/music to traditional Orthodox customs/rubrics/music be slow (over 10-15 years), so as not to drive away some of the faithful. In hind-sight both decisions have proven to be rather intelligent.
#26 Fr. Iosif on 2010-09-04 00:13
It's fascinating to notice how polarized the responses to this particular reflection are. What this suggests to me is that once again we see that heel-digging passions-- on both "sides" of these responses-- are really the only thing triggered by "Give 'em hell!" rhetoric. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once famously said, “That old adage about 'an eye for an eye' leaves everybody blind.”
Speaking of King... with all the analogies to eighteenth century American history one reads on this site these days, I am beginning to remember the tremendous irony of more recent American history: 1964-1965 America, to be exact. One of the fruits of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s work-- a King whose sword was humility and whose strength was the Gospel concept of redemptive suffering-- was the U.S. Government passing the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The Act was the most sweeping set of laws mandating civil rights ever seen in American history. But, paradoxically, it was after such a great step was taken that the WATTS riot broke out the following year.
Some American historians have tried to explain this by saying that the Civil Rights Act was too little/too late, and that African Americans were fed up beyond the pale of any granting of Civil liberties to retain King's posture of love of enemy. I, however, find this interpretation hard to swallow. It makes little sense to say that an unprecedented success should lead to an even larger protest.
I rather think that the irony of WATTS following--rather than triggering-- the Civil Rights Act had something to do with the fact that King's message of humankind working together in love was replaced by the Marxist-driven anger of a new, Black Nationalist Civil Rights leadership; the leadership of Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, and others of that ilk in 1965.
If we are going to be truly American as well as truly Orthodox, perhaps we should learn from the mistakes of our own recent past, too, rather than only focus exclusively on examples from the colonial and early republic era. In this case, we can ask ourselves, is the post-Civil Rights Act “Black Power” movement-- whose symbol was a fist-- to be echoed in our own critical moment with an “OCA power” movement, and, alternately, its inevitable "We worship the Old World and its ways of power" movement that forms against it? And all of this right after the unprecedented successes of our multicultural Episcopal Assembly of North America? When the reflection from Grass Lake states, “+Jonah is wrong when he tolerates being pushed around as Metropolitan of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of America. The Metropolitan should hold the line. He should fight back,” it sounds a bit too much like Bobby Seale calling for an upraised fist. Upraised fists provoke the kind of opposing fists one finds in this comments section.
Metropolitan Jonah knows that if God wills the OCA to be the end form of the American church, nothing will stop it from achieving universal autocephaly, but that the only road to that place is the way of humility and the Cross, not the way of the upraised fist. He also knows that if such is not God's will, then it will be because the way of the Cross was found to be elsewhere. One of the reasons he knows all of this is because he is blessed with being a true monastic, and true monastics know that the only road to Christ is the road of humility and, if need be, redemptive suffering.
The words and deeds of a person we American Orthodox might rightly call a "Passion Bearer" martyr, Martin Luther King, Jr. himself, remind us that redemptive suffering can not only redeem oneself but also one's opponents. If we really are American Orthodox Christians-- all of us both in the OCA and out-- we might be better served by keeping our “a dream” of a unified American Orthodox future centered on the truth that love, humility, and sacrifice conquers all. Things which oppose those virtues only conquer us.
It thus seems to me that Metropolitan Jonah, elected in a true conciliar fashion-- understands very well what Martin Luther King, Jr. meant when he said an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. In this light, I think he's leading his sheep in a very American way, indeed.
(Editor's note: Actually, Gandhi is the source of your quote, not MLK.)
#27 anon on 2010-09-04 01:54
If + Bart were REALLY serious about unity & autocephaly in North America, he'd just tell the GOA and everyone else to join the OCA and have a new election of a leader of the OCA. What's so difficult about that? Why won't this happen? Because the Episcopal Assemblies are ultimately about + Bart putting all the Orthodox in N. Am. under HIMSELF. These assemblies and the projected Universal Council of 2013 is a sham to coronate + Bart as an Eastern Pope. WAKE UP AMERICA! You are being scammed. And Moscow can't wait to consolidate ROCOR & the OCA under itself. Fat chance!
#28 Anonymous on 2010-09-04 07:24
> Therefore, the OCA was luke-warm about accepting them.
>> That the EOC did not join the OCA was that they never asked.
It seems the editor is correct. From http://www.stathanasius.org/site/content/38
"By 1977 our bishops began to interact with various Orthodox clergy. OCA (Orthodox Church in America) priest Fr. Ted Wojcik visited us that year, and in 1978 Bishops Jack Sparks and Peter Gillquist traveled to New York to meet with the faculty at St. Vladimir Seminary. The Gillquists moved to Santa Barbara in the summer of 1979 and Bishop (now Archbishop) DMITRI visited and taught here that December. Frs. Alexander Schmemann and John Meyendorff also came and taught at St. Athanasius Academy during this era. Fr. Schmemann insisted we meet people of the other Orthodox jurisdictions.
"In 1980 a delegation from our Santa Barbara parish was invited to the OCA convention in Detroit. Deliberations between the OCA and the EOC leaders took place in the East-West room of the Cadillac Hotel. How appropriate!
"The Greek Orthodox Seminary in Boston, Holy Cross, scheduled two dialogs between Bishop MAXIMOS and the faculty and our leaders in 1982 and 1983. Bishop Peter also met with Bishop (now Metropolitan) CHRISTOPHER of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and attempted on numerous occasions to visit Metropolitan PHILIP. Somehow their schedules would never mesh.
"Numerous times between 1980 and 85, the EOC Council of Bishops met in Santa Barbara. Almost always the agenda revolved around whether or not we should enter the Orthodox Church, and if so how and through which jurisdiction.
"At the January 1985 Council, the decision was made to approach Constantinople."
#29 "One of those converts that #1 wishes would revert (definitely NOT diaspora) on 2010-09-04 07:54
It should be noted that members of the former EOC did not “evangelize themselves.” They were believers in Christ (albeit with little understanding of His fullness) prior to any search for the fullness of His Church. As Evangelicals, they were steeped in the Scriptures, and they gradually came to realize that the Scriptures themselves testified of a Church that transcended anything they had experienced. What ultimately led them to Orthodoxy was a sometimes arrogant and misguided - although genuine - desire to BE that Church and experience its fullness.
This desire led them to study Church history and the writings of the Fathers beyond the scope of the Protestant Reformation to which they had previously been limited by their Evangelical prejudices. So in reality it was the Saints who evangelized them in the Orthodox Faith – or rather it is more accurate to say that that these Saints showed them where to look for the Church in a way similar to how the angel directed Cornelius to Peter. Although they did receive some guidance along the way from men like Fr. Alexander Schmemann and some education in modern written form from others like Christos Yannaras and John Zizioulas, they would not have sought this guidance were it not for St. Ignatius, St. Polycarp, St. Irenaeus, St. Athenasius, St. Clement, etc. It was these Saints who testified to the Faith and living reality of the Orthodox Church. It was these Saints who through their union with Christ in the Holy Spirit revealed the error of their previous ways and directed them to seek union with Christ in His Church.
Some criticize the wisdom of receiving them into the Church as an entire group. Interestingly (in my mind) is that those most prone to this criticism come from an Orthodox Christian heritage that began with the mass conversion of a people slightly over a thousand years ago. I will only say that in my opinion it was unwise to ordain their clergy immediately and leave them to shepherd their people as was done. For although their clergy were well-educated and well-read, I believe they would now be the first to admit that the Tradition and genuine ethos of the Orthodox Faith cannot be learned through study alone. It is something that can only be passed from one person to another by living example - from experienced teacher to disciple. To ordain men as shepherds who themselves (although they may not have realized it at the time) needed to be shepherded in the mysteries of the Faith is a mistake that should not be repeated should a similar mass conversion occur in the future.
#30 Brian Van Sickle on 2010-09-04 08:04
Every autocephalous Orthodox Church, every Patriarchate, was once a 16 year old kid wanting the keys. They seemed to have turned out, for the most part, alright and there's no reason why an autocephalous American Orthodox Church would not do the same. Bumps and mishaps on the way? Absolutely, but that's how children grow up and wise parent's understand this.
Fr John Chagnon
St. Paul, MN
#31 Fr John Chagnon on 2010-09-04 09:13
To make a long story quite short, the EOC went to the Greeks and were turned away. Then, we went to the Russians and were turned away. Then, we knocked on the Antiochian's door and were welcomed in.
Our EOC leaders 'found' Orthodoxy by reading and studying. That's one of the reasons we referred to Orthodoxy as 'the best kept secret in America'. We were not evangelized. When the EOC leaders saw that their study was leading them to the Ancient Church, they looked up some of the men who wrote some of the books they'd been reading. Fr. Schmemann was one of those men, and there were others. Talks ensued. More studying. More talks and visits to Orthodox churches and from Orthodox teachers. This process actively and deliberately took place over a period of about nine years and all across the United States and parts of Canada.
#32 Darlene Sue Johnson on 2010-09-04 10:55
I think this is a very simplistic approach, from what I have heard and seen, and yes, I have read, a couple editions of Fr. Peter's book (interesting how the journey changed and the history of their coming into Orthodoxy was edited and modified - after the fact). I think it is a bit naive to suggest that it "just happened" and "they evangelized themselves". First, they did approach the OCA and Fr. Schmemann suggested the OCA was not ready for them (at the time (he also provided a good deal of wisdom and guidance to them), the OCA, as today, was on sensitive ground and they didn't need to make the ground any shakier).
Secondly, they also approached the Patriarch of Constantinople, who refused to even meet with them. Thirdly, they were invited by an Antiochian priest (whose name escapes me - but who had a long established relationship with this group) to meet with Met. Philip and also the Antiochian Patriarch in Los Angeles. Over the next year they were mentored by an Antiochian priest, whose assignment it was to evanglize them and bring them in. Only at his recommendation was the EOC accepted into the Antiochian Archdiocese. From what I have heard, and granted this is a bit second or third hand (or farther) this priest met with them virtually weekly and he smoothed the path, arranged meetings and it was at his word the EOC was brought in. To suggest "they brought themselves in - they evanglized themselves" leaves a significant gap in the actual history.
#33 Sean O'Clare on 2010-09-04 12:18
Happy ... even a mother sparrow encourages its chicks to leave the nest. No bird will ever soar while sitting forever in its mother's nest
#34 Sean O'Clare on 2010-09-04 12:20
This reflection should be taken to heart by every lay member of whatever Orthodox jurisdiction in North America. For make no mistake, Orthodoxy in North America, and elsewhere, is at a crossroads, and it is long past time for the American Orthodox laity to stand up and demand the end of foreign control and leadership of its Church.
But unfortunately, we are often are own worst enemies, as some of the comments on this and other threads continually demonstrate. Cow-towing to foreign potentates seems to be in the DNA of some members of the laity, who apparently have never assimilated to or accepted the culture in which they live. Instead their emphasis is on preserving ethnic enclaves and "special relationships" with what can only be described as a dubious set of characters across the ethnic and national boundaries of the Orthodox world.
But the time for fun and games is over, and the time for serious action is now. If Metropolitan Jonah can not vigorously and articulately defend an independent North American Church he should resign forthwith. The OCA's independence should be seen as an entitlement to be shared with all North American Orthodox Christians, not merely as a gift to one jurisdiction to be horded, exploited and controlled.
Finally, it really is time for North American Orthodox Christians to take control of their own destiny, whatever the cost to international relations and foreign sensibilities. We are no better, but certainly no worse, than our brothers abroad, and we are fully able to run our own affairs free from the machinations of often corrupt, and at best self-interested, authorities outside North America. For those who think otherwise--well, no one is stopping you from leaving!
#35 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2010-09-04 13:40
Mr Editor, you wrote.... "Since the Russian Church recently instructed its parishes in North America to commemorate +Jonah as the head of the local autocephalous church, as is done everywhere else where Russian churches exist on the terrority of other churches..." Does that mean that the ROCOR parishes in America were given instructions to commemorate +Jonah? Does that also mean that +Hilarion is accountable to +Jonah?
(Editor's note: No, the order was made to the Patriarchial parishes, not ROCOR parishes. No, +Hilarion is not accountable to +Jonah. )
#36 Pennsylvania Coalcracker on 2010-09-04 17:17
But eventually the children grow up and leave their parents' home and start their own. That doesn't mean that you abandon your mother, now does it? We can still help and support the mother churches without giving up our own American Church.
#37 Janice Chadwick on 2010-09-04 17:51
To our dear converts whom we love deeply - are you tired of MP's anarchy yet? What a shame for all of you that your money was what cinched the deal for your conversion? Now would be a good time to dry up those wells, and let's see if you are on MP's good list still. I hope you don't leave us, cause we have all grown and benefitted from your loving, caring and simple faith.
I was wondering, now that the synod is finished attacking us once again, and the overseas travellers have returned, if any of our DIOCESAN BISHOPS have communicated anything, either in writing or verbally, to their clergy, laity and parishes about their thoughts on the mess from Damascus and where we go from here. What do we do? How do we handle this? And even more importantly, how do we, in good conscience and faith, approach the chalice with a clear mind and with a faithful focus, when our thoughts wander off to the damage that has been done over and over again to God's Holy Church?
Does anyone have any ideas or information out there to share with us? Please speak up, as we want and need to hear your voices. Many voices can make a world of difference and begin to heal us once again. Don't be shy.
"That the EOC did not join the OCA was that they never asked".
Perhaps I'm wrong, but I heard once that they desired some of their member-priests, who were married, to become bishops.
Apologies to anyone affected if this is not true.
#39 GB on 2010-09-05 15:47
What actual happended An Antiochian PRiest (who is no longer a Priest since he got divorced and remarried) was friends with manny of them from his involvement with Campus Crusaders arranded for a meeting with them with MEtropolitan PHILIP and PAtriarch Ignatius when he was in Los Angeles in Circa 1985 - at that meeting Patriarch Ignatius ask MEtropolitan PHILIP to assist them int ehri journey to Orthodoxy.
They chosed to join the antiochian archdiocese and accepted nt just the church Teaching but the antiochian archdiocese and its loyalities to a APtriarch and Holy Synod in Damacus, in fact many of them made trips to visit Lebanon and Syria to understand its importance (as well trips to greece and Russia).
They do not try to change the antiochian Archdiocese but accept us for who we are!!!
#40 Anonymous on 2010-09-05 16:55
The Antiochian archdiocese do have represenation on the Holy Synod of Antioch through our Metropolitan, infact three other metropolitans also served as priest in their Archdiocese as one point in their minitstries: Met of Auz, MEt. of Beriut, MEt. of So. LEbanon
We have represernation, so your arguements for a Boston tea party in not correct.
#41 Anonymous on 2010-09-06 08:03
I wish there was a way for all Antiochian parishes who wanted to leave, could leave and go to the OCA. If you know of any more groups petitioning to become members of the archdiocese please warn them NOT to join. Send them to the OCA.
Tell thee Antiochian Archdiocese is ruled by thugs who only want money and power. Those who are from the middle east do not understand rule of law and will never understand it. Our patriarchate in Damascus is a compromised patriarchate. They will change their minds on any issue if the price is right. They have lost all credibility in the eyes of world Orthodoxy.
I know the OCA isn't perfect but the synod is here in a America with rule of law and with a laity and group of clergy who were able to overcome a scandal because it was all contained here, in this land.
There was no foreign patriarchate to bribe in order to sway the outcome. And with email, blogs, and new sites like this one, it is very hard for a synod based in this country to pull a fast one.
#42 Iskandra on 2010-09-06 08:16
Just before the last All-American-Council. Bishop Benjamin said he would not allow his diocese to fall under the authority of foreign bishops. I don't know what he would do if the rest of the OCA Synod said they were going with a foreign church, but his statements so far seem to indicate he will resist anything other than an autocephalous American Church.
#43 Can't say who I am this time. on 2010-09-06 13:12
When the going gets tough ...and it will.../ If Alexandru Nemoianu is a true visionary, what will he see on October 3,2010, after the Episcopte Congress meets in Cleveland , Ohio. Be sure to tell us what you see.
#44 Fr. Andrew Gall on 2010-09-06 21:30
Great article. Metropolitan Jonah you should be reading this article and following its vision. The laity of the OCA will not accept anthing other than remaining an autocephalous Orthodox Church in America.
#45 anonymous on 2010-09-07 05:46
"Foreign yo-ho's trying to do a land grab - ain't gonna happen!"
It is my understanding that no foreign yo-ho is trying to do this but that +Jonah is thinking about giving up OCA autocephaly to Moscow or the EP and this is evidenced by the most recent recent of Hilarion (despite his affirmation).
Has this been heard by anyone else? I dearly hope not and that the news I have heard is grossly inaccurate.
#46 Athanasia on 2010-09-07 05:59
Don't be the Southern end of Barlaam's sidekick! Foreign bishops are trying to control N. Am. increasingly now because their own dioceses are dying! Istanbul's Orthodox, maybe 1,000; Jerusalem's Orthodox, 2-3,000; Alexandria, are there any?; Damascus (Syria), dwindling; etc.
The OCA's people will not and should not give up it's autocephaly. Bishops with this notion will be replaced; step-down, retire or be removed.
#47 Anonymous on 2010-09-07 07:20
#48 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2010-09-07 07:32
If the American Romanians are so narrow-minded as to believe old country, foreign bishops will REALLY have their best interests in mind, WAKE UP! They want the American $$$ - that's what this is about! Going back to old country bishops sets American Orthodoxy back to the 1940's & 50's. FOOLS!
#49 Anonymous on 2010-09-07 07:54
Fr. Gall: The Romanians under the OCA are an American institution. The OCA is an American institution and WILL remain as such. The possible take-over of these institutions by FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS and/or churches, should be of strong interest to people in our American State Dept. Are these really CHURCH PEOPLE behind these take-overs or are they agents of FOREIGN GOVTS?
#50 Anonymous on 2010-09-07 09:15
The Old World has no comprehension of the new.
They are enmeshed in an arabis culture that is shame and honor bribes and favors ethos.
They have no comprehension of basic biblical principles.
Did I say Principles? Yes. They have no PRINCIPLES.
They Old World and Old Guard (Balamand Glee Club) want to keep things running on a CASH BASIS. NO AUDITS, NO BALANCE SHEET, ETC.
Yes our church is young in comparison, but we have the freedom to address the corruption.
Sadly, MP continues to control situations by monetary threats which would hurt other jurisdictions.
The members of the Order of St Ignatius need to say enough!!!!
They make of 1/3 of the budget (or least that is what we are told)
If they all stopped giving and insisted on the resignation of MP we could be liberated.
He only rules by consent of the people.
If they Board of Trustees would demand transparency and an external audit or they would resign, we could move forward.
The Members of the Board need to realize they have enabled this monster because they keep feeeding him.
#51 anonymous on 2010-09-07 09:36
First thoings first I agree witht he overal Thesis of the doccument.
I agree in Noirth America we are living in conflict as ORthodox.
We must ask ourselves our we Orthodox first or americans? Base on many comments I ahev see on this website I woudl say most of us view oruselves as American's first, rather than ORthodox.
I agree wioith the exception of the OCA all of our Churches are govened by Holy Synod's and Patriachs. Maybe one day we will ahve an American APtriarch - that is not today or tomorrow but int he futur. Till that occurs we must all make a choice are we obedient to The Church including the ruling of the Holy Synod and Patriarchs or ratehr hold our American ideals as more sacred.
The Church for the msot part in Not a Democracry, IF we accept this notion many American converts finds this a s a betrayal as our american ideals, in echange for a foreign Bishop; It hink that is a true statement, but the reality is the church is governed by the Hierarchy (like it or not); if we want to truly be ORthodox we musta ccept this notion of the Churh is a Theocracy, and with its goverenment being across the sea.
Everythime I go to Church when a Bishop is presnet ths notion is quite clear: 1) Bishop where a Crown, 2) Bishop where imperial robes (Mantia) and c) we sing the hymn to the Bishop "Many year to you o Master" - the last word in greek is Despota or rather Despot. This reinforces the point that our Church in not a de3mocrac like most for the Protestant Churches.
If we want to eb ORthodox we must accept this anddecide to be ORthodox or not.
#52 Anonymous on 2010-09-07 10:15
Their was no deal with the OCA because the OCA said no to their demand for married bishops to stay bishops (among other reasons). I was in St Vladimir's chapel during a visit by Gilquist when he made a point of saying he was the first married bishop to be in the chapel. So +Philip took them in, ordained them untrained en masse, and the Archdiocese will pay for that for years to come.
#53 Another anon on 2010-09-07 11:13
I'm not sure I quite understand exactly what you mean in your comments.
What about the Syrian Church and Antiochian Church uniting together 50 years ago? Apparently it's not just the OCA.
My word "humble" is also out of context in your comments, almost sarcastic with the quotes. You know I meant first to step down in a sense and join another in unity by giving up their Archdiocese which they rule.
Does this make sense. Please understand my tone of the word humble in regards to this. It is fully appropriate for this type of move. However, we could say the antonym as well, "Gloriously unite by stating a new Archdiocese and dissolving their own archdiocese"
(Editor's note: Two archdioceses under the same Patriarchate coming together administratively is a wonderful thing - but it is hardly "uniting", or a union that would be the same as the OCA and the Greek Archdiocese uniting, or the OCA and the AOCNA, or the Greeks and AOCNA, or well, anything. The OCA has already said it will be the first to join a new, united, autocephalous Church in America - dissolving itself at 12:01 when the new church is born at the stroke of midnight. But to dissolve itself before that is foolish and unwise - for without the OCA's "wasp", you can bet that horse will never swim that river. And let me ask you this way: since the Patriarchates are all so much more mature and wise, supposedly, in the eyes of some, than we in the USA, would it make more sense for them to be humble , in your context, and release their jurisdictions to the OCA, and thus prove their point? Ah, yes, that is not going to happen is it?
Humility is only required of us, never of them; which in my book makes any talk "humility" in this context inauthentic. )
#54 Happy on 2010-09-07 12:42
You have it wrong! The Church is not a Democracy in the sense that we don't vote upon what we believe i.e., Jesus Christ is perfect Man & Perfect God. Bishops are ELECTED by the laos (people) to fulfill the certain function of leading the Church WITH the people. When the bishop is acting against the will of the people, he can be returned to the laos. The bishop & people must act in "SYNERGY." A bishop is NOT elected to be a "DESPOT" or a "TYRANT." He is to be like Christ and lead through example. Bishops crowns are a corruption; Imperial robes are a corruption; Eis polla ieti DESPOTA is a corruption. It should be, "Eis polla ieti EPISCOPOS." Sorry, bishops cannot act against the will of the people - they are to be deposed like Isadore after the Council of Florence returning to Kiev/Rus.
#55 Anonymous on 2010-09-07 13:08
For some reason it makes sense that the Bulgarians should have a BULGARIAN church, fully Bulgarian, fully Orthodox. Same with Russians, Georgians, Cypriots, Arabs, Poles, Czechs, Romanians, etc.
We Americans want the same.
Why, suddenly does the a rather straightforward principle stop at the shores of the Atlantic?
#56 Steve Knowlton on 2010-09-07 13:10
That person simply doesn't get it.
The Orthodox Church is the Body of Christ, the totality of the faithful. It is the totality of the faithful," the people of God", the guarantor of Faith, united in Sacraments and by the bond of love. A bond that stay contrary and is antithetic to any form of "theocracy". In fact the dictionaries defined "theocracy" as being:" a form of government in which authority is exercised by clergy". Such "theocracies" are Iran and the state of Vatican and, in the past,Tibet.The Body of Christ is anything but " a form of government" and in the Orthodox Church the authority was never exercised by the clergy but by the entire people of God. For this reason the Bishops were and should be ONLY local.
#57 Alexandru Nemoianu on 2010-09-07 15:33
...by which, of course, you mean: IN Bulgaria, IN Russia, IN Georgia (Tblisi, not Atlanta), IN Cyprus, etc., right?
#58 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2010-09-07 16:05
Some of the "mother" churches are sick, senile, compromised and heading toward death. We could help them out with a unified voice in North America if they would let go and let us become an autocephalous church.
One blow to the Assad regime and it will be gone, and with it would go the patriarchate of Damascus with all of those Christians. Just look at what happened to the Iraqi Christians after the war. Their numbers have been decimated. The patriarchate of Damascus need North America to be one church of 2 million, not a remanent church of 50,000. Washington will hear our voice if we are unified.
Wake up to reality, would you please.
#59 Iskandra on 2010-09-07 20:49
There, not their!
I really hate that error, and I went and did it! My apple geese.
#60 Daniel E. Fall on 2010-09-07 20:52
I have no unsubstantiated pre justices. It is an observance that Russia has very little interest in the OCA and is not defending the autochephaly issue.
For example when the canonical bishops in Ukraine were supporting autochephaly for their own church in Ukraine and were reaching out to everyone, Russia got their president involved, they got Ukraine's new president involved & Patriarch Kyril only in the last year visited Ukraine 3 times.
I do not see them having such interest with a church they had already given autochephaly to many years ago - a church which is well rooted in Orthodoxy lacks care of her Mother Church. These are my personal feelings.
(Editor's note: Sadly, Todd, you have it backwards. The Russian Church does not support the autocephaly of the Ukrainian church - nor even its autonomy in any real sense. Hence the Patriarch's visits, coupled with his re-establishment of a summer residence in Odessa. On the other hand, their lack of involvement in American affairs indicates they have not changed concerning their fundamental support of the OCA's autocephaly. )
#61 Todd Petratis on 2010-09-08 05:17
Alexandru: It is good to see you here! I am so glad there are still people like you among the Romanians. I remember well the visionaries; + Valerian, Fr. Hategan, Fr. Lazor (the older) and many others at the Vatra who truly believed in an American Church. WHAT HAPPENED??? Where did all ethnocentricity come from wanting to return to old country patriarchs who only want $$$? I thank God there are people like you within the Romanians. Please don't let your Conference on Oct 3rd set your church back to 1940. We in the OCA will probably go through another purge to rid ourselves of those who are fighting against our American Church!
#62 Anonymous on 2010-09-08 06:10
We say we believe in purification, illumination and theosis for each and every Christian and for all, and in communion in the life of the Holy Trinity. Under such circumstgances, what is the difference between theocracy and democracy? Is the Trinity a theocracy? Is is a democracy? Perhaps, our human language is corrupted because our thinking and our hearts are and there is a resulting corruption in our discussion and the government of the Church. If we believe that he who would be greatest among you must be the least and the servant of all, what is the true meaning and expression of "hierarchy"? There is a ranking within the priesthood, no doubt, but in Christ it is the lower who is higher, the humble who is to be exalted, the meek who inherits, the one who empties himself who is filled with the Spirit of God. May we and our pastors approach this in the right way, with the mind of Christ. Another way is another gospel and a counterfeit. Purge out the old leaven and be a new lump.
#63 lexcaritas on 2010-09-08 06:22
Why are we Orthodox in the first place? Some lucky folks were born into it, but those of us who converted, why did we do it?
Wasn't it to get closer to the Lord? Didn't we see something in the mystery of the Church that we knew we didn't have and we wanted it?
So why, now, do you want to cut off the very connection to those holy things that you wanted so badly? What is wrong with a connection to the ancient Church that goes across the ocean? Why are you upset with this??
Are we first of all Americans, or are we first of all citizens of that heavenly Jerusalem? This is the choice we all have to make for ourselves. If we are Americans then we will scream long and loud about freedom, independence, and -sorry!- autocephaly. If we are first of all Christians, then we will want nothing more than as tight a connection to the Church as we can get. Evangelism? Don't make me laugh. Who will be drawn to the Orthodox Tea Party? But if the light of Christ dwells in us, then those who the Holy Spirit calls will find their home with us.
As I heard it, humility is the chief virtue. If we have to humble ourselves and be connected(ruled) by a foreign patriarch, then so be it. My home is not this world and I want to please God as best I can. Now it is your turn to decide for yourself.
(Editor's note: The issue, friend, is not about a Tea Party, or connections with Churches across the Seas. No problem there. The issue is who is better able to make decisions about how the Church here should be organized and run, so as to best be able to preach the Gospel here, not there. Should preaching the Gospel in America be determined locally in America, or is it better done from Istanbul, Damascus or Moscow? I think the answer is self-evident.)
#64 Anonymous on 2010-09-08 07:02
Dear Father Dennis--I may have embarrassed myself by making that characterization. "By chance" I meant to characterize my understanding of what had happened, as related to me by secondary sources. Here is the story as I heard it: The EOCA delegation had just landed at Kennedy International Airport at NYC, arriving from Istanbul where they had been turned down by the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Quite despondent, they were wondering about what they should do next when an Antiochian priest whom they knew approached them and, after learning what had happened, suggested they talk to Metropolitan Phillip. One can call this chance encounter providential, fateful or "by chance" I suppose. I am sorry if I offended anyone by choosing the last description.
BTW, it seems that some folks have taken umbrage at my use of self evangelization to describe the journey of the EOCA to the Orthodox Church. I had attempted to address a poster who asked the question "who evangelized" the EOCA? I took him to mean who was the person responsible for bringing the EOCA into the fold. My answer should technically been "No single Orthodox leader would get credit for evangelizing the EOCA or for bringing them into the canonical Orthodox Church. On the other hand, there were many Orthodox priests and prelates who helped the EOCA join the fold, with the primary credit going to Metropolitan Philip."
#65 Carl Kraeff on 2010-09-08 07:33
Remember- you brough up money & who wants it, so think about sticky fingers and payoffs.
Am. Orothodoxy before April 10, 1970, was doing just fine and it still is. Ask those who are under the thumb of foreign bishops with Am. Metropolitans.
#66 Fr. Andrew Gall on 2010-09-08 10:34
Remember - you brought up the word institution. Who do you think should be in an institution for past deeds done in the name of the Holy Church ? Maybe Am. needs an overseer that is not blind. You do know about the MP & the KGB agents & puppets here & now ? OH, MY ! ...
#67 Fr. Andrew Gall on 2010-09-08 10:49
We will never see an audit in the AOCANA as it would be grounds for the removal of the Holy Synod itself.
The Old World wants to keep things covered up so that they can continue the flow of money.
Why would MP defend a priest who forges checks?
Why is he so defensive regarding audits?
We have lost somne of the very best Board of Trustees members over the last year.
Ironically, the felons stayed.
One who terrorizes his own Bishop and the clergy and the other who accompanied the Metropolitan on his most recent visit to the Holy Synod meeting.
Who better to take with you than one experienced in money laundering.
Antiochians wake up!
#68 anonymous on 2010-09-08 21:00
If the ROCOR parishes are in the jurisdiction of the Russian Church, or ARE the presence of the Russian Church on American soil, or in the opinion of many in the canonical territory of the Orthodox Church in America, shouldn't also be told by Moscow to commemorate +Jonah as well? Any thoughts?
(Editor's note: Since there are patriarchal parishes in both the USA and Canada, it is hard to argue that ROCOR is the "presence" of the the Russian Church in either place. They are ROCOR, no more, no less. Besides, since they are technically still discussing whether they are in communion with the OCA (many defrocked OCA priests ended up there over the decades and their status must be discussed), to suggest they commemorate the Patriarch, Jonah and Hilarion is a bit of a stretch.)
#69 Anonymous on 2010-09-09 03:39
The Orthodox Churches everywhere have ALWAYS been guided by "local bishops" within their own "local church." This entire push for "UNITY" by the Episcopal Assemblies and the coming General Council of 2013, is a charade. Under the guise of UNITY, the old country bishops wish to control all the churches around the world. THIS IS NOT ORTHODOX! Orthodox Canon Law does not allow foreign bishops to interfere in territories not under their own dioceses. Furthermore, there are no canons stating who can and who can't grant autocephaly. Most churches just announced that they were autocephalous! The Ep. Assemblies are a RUSE. Where is the great, new horrible heresy that a General Council of all the Orthodox is necessary? The issues threatening Russia or Greece are not the same threatening N. Am. Everyone knows Islam is the GREAT HERESY since it's inception. I'm sorry, we don't need a coronation of + Bart as our Eastern Pope. Local churches are under the authority of local bishops. Local Councils are called to iron out local church issues. Universal Councils were called by the Emperor to address major theological threats to Orthodox theology. Is a Universal Council needed to announce union with Rome? Has Rome corrected it's false teachings? Will + Bart give up his title as "first among equals" to Moscow?
#70 Anonymous on 2010-09-09 07:10
Mr. O'Clare seems to think that someone has peddled a naive and simplistic view of what happened with the AEOM conversion. He doesn't say which reply he has so labeled.
My own answer took its cue from his original question, which perhaps was structured in such a way as to invite naive and simplistic answers. He stated that he knew Met. Philip received us, but he wanted to know who the one person was who did the real 'work' of 'evangelizing' us.
I stand by the answer that our fundamental, initial impetus to try to move towards Orthodoxy came more from study of the Fathers by AEOM leadership than from any proselytizing efforts by any one person.
To the extent that one can answer Mr. O'Clare's precise question in terms of the work of one person, I also stand by the opinion that once we were already looking at Orthodoxy with interest, the contribution of Fr Alexander Schmemann was the most important one. His stature, churchmanship, candor, wisdom, patience, scholarship, availability and personable good will in my opinion was the key contribution in making it possible for our leadership to envision reception into the Church and anticipate and cope with the 'long and winding road' of so doing.
If Mr. O'Clare was asking a different question than I understood, one could indeed point to the personal efforts of one of Fr. Alexander's students, our old friend Fr. John Bartke, who toward the end of that road was a tireless and constantly encouraging influence locally.
#71 Fr. George Washburn on 2010-09-09 08:34
In response to #26.
The issue for me is the following: The OCA, formerly the Metropolia, formerly a mission of the Russian Orthodox Church; has been acting independently since the Russian Revolution which forced us to hold Synods which are now the All-American Council. We have elected bishops, metropolitans (who were elevated to the rank of bishop on US soil), had orphanages (early years of the 20th Century), seminaries, and monasteries. The Orthodox Church in America has only officially had its Tomos granted in 1970, but has been an independent Orthodox Church in the United States. It is sheer lunacy that we would turn back the clock and say to Moscow this Tomos was a mistake. The old world bishops need the US territory, and the EP wants to survive the Turkish government and needs to establish his "primacy" in territories outside Turkey to keep the "claws" of the Turkish government out of the Greek Church in Turkey, as well as the patriarch of Antioch and Jerusalem.
Moscow and the other sees around the world namely, Antioch, Jerusalem, etc have enough troubles of their own in running their dioceses and dealing with "Muslim" attacks, and other political problems. The Orthodox here in America are not rejecting the spirituality, church fathers nor the history of the Orthodox Church of historically Orthodox territories. St. Vladmir's Theological Seminary Press has a great deal of influence around the world, through the English translations and origianl publications. If the USA has its own Patriarchial See, then Western Europe too would need its own Patriarch, too. I do not believe the Patriarchs that are sitting in those Sees would like to deal with an independent Orthodox Church of Great Britain, independent Orthodox Church of France, independent Orthodox Church of Holland, etc.
A Patriarch of North and South America would be a good step. How do we go about all of this without losing our autocephaly (OCA), is the huge Elephant in the room. In the meantime, the best solution is to be the best OCA we can be and be a beacon of light.
#72 anonymous on 2010-09-09 09:00
Comment to the editor's note: The preaching of the Gospel in America should be determined by the people who can best determine it. I would rather have a clairvoyant Father in Istanbul, Damascus or Moscow (or Mt Athos?) determine how it is done than some hack in the USA just because he was born in the USA. Let the man who is approved by God lead, I don't really care at all where he lives. The struggle should be to find such people and learn from them.
As to how the church is organized and run, I know that a lot of people are very concerned about all that, and I am glad they are because I would not like to do it! All I can say is, it seems to me if you can get people into leadership who are truly following God in the spirit and tradition of the holy Fathers, the rest will not be too hard. St Nectarios was a college president at one point. That is an administrative nightmare and he handled it just fine. All the while he was pointing everyone towards the Lord, which after all is the whole reason why we are in the Church at all. Editor, I understand what you are saying, I'm just saying let's not put the cart before the horse. It is more important to follow the Lord and be under people who are following the Lord than where these people live, what culture they are from, etc. etc.
(Editor's note: All places are equidistant from God. They are not equidistant from each other. It would be something to have a church run by clairvoyants from Moscow, Istanbul or Tirana, for that matter; but the sad fact the church has never been run by clairvoyants from anywhere, anytime. It is run by sinful men, for we all fall short of the glory of God. That being said, it seems more prudent to have a man familiar with the culture and its aspirations preaching the Gospel here, than one ignorant of its culture and aspirations leading it. Are people in Moscow, Istanbul and Damascus ignorant of our culture? Pretty much, in my experience. They have their own. European, Tribal, Arab, take your pick. Feel free to think that their cultures are better, worthy, whatever - than ours. Many do. But we are not called to protect, defend, ensure the survival, propogate or fall down before their cultures- but witness the Gospel in our own. To do less is to abandon the task given to us - which makes us cowards unworthy of the high calling bestowed upon us. )
#73 Anonymous on 2010-09-09 09:02
With all due respect, you are contradicting yourself. You ask, "Are we first of all Americans, or are we first of all citizens of that heavenly Jerusalem?" and you also say, "My home is not this world and I want to please God as best I can." But, then, you say, "If we have to humble ourselves and be connected(ruled) by a foreign patriarch, then so be it." Why is it you look upon the Church administration and hierarchy in the United States as being of "this (fallen) world," but don't apply the same to the Church administration and hierarchy of foreign countries? If you are going to present an argument, then, please, be consistent all along the way. Thank you.
#74 David Barrett on 2010-09-09 11:22
Your right, the answer is self-evident. Just look at the great job we have done governing ourselves. Just look at the plethora of 'American' born saints, 'American' spiritual fathers, and 'American' monasteries. Just look at how far we have come... Self-evident is correct. All this outcry for self-governance is totally inline with the typical individualistic mindset of the west and is another clear example that Orthodox phronema has yet to take root. Don't be surprised if the OCA comes under the EP soon.
(Editor's note: It is self-evident, as long as one looks at the facts. The fact is that compared to 40 years ago, the OCA has more, and better parishes ( in terms of real committment, priestly education, eucharistic life, finances, music, translated texts, practically any standard by which you want to judge. Charitable outreach as well. ) ; more monasteries with more monks and nuns than 40 years ago; more dioceses; and two large and growing seminaries - and a third regional one. We are mature enough to go through a scandal, and correct it ourselves, thank you very much. We are not perfect - and could do much more, and do it better. But the facts are that we may be smaller in total numbers - but most everybody in the OCA knows why they are here as Christians first; and not for some ethnic or political or social or familial statement. And yes, we do have saints - but different ones than they have in Europe. Alaskan Matushka Olga Michael comes to mind as one on the verge of being recognized by the whole church for her sanctity, and that for being a wife, mother, midwife and help to the poor. Oh, and the miracles. True, you won't find an advocate for the sexually abused in most tradtional Orthodox countries - but thank God she was doing it in Alaska 35 years ago even before it became a cause celebre.
So, yes, we have an individualistic mindset in the West - and thank God people like Matushka Olga could think for themselves, and do something about the problems. You think groupthink is better? Last time I looked God was going to ask me at the Last Judgement what I did - not what "Holy Russia" did. Last time I looked Hellenism, for all its wonder and beauty, couldn't save me; my faith in Jesus Christ can. I hope St. Herman has an onion to lower down to me so I can hold on and make it to heaven - but it is this individual who has to repent and grab hold. So yes, I have no problem with "individualism".
As for the OCA joining the EP - LOL. I can tell you this, the Russians would take umbrage at the thought, making it unpalatable for the EP, even if they wanted, which they don't. Nor is the OCA re-joining the Russians. Not if the Synod, MC and AAC have any say. And friend, we do. )
#75 Fr. Deacon Daniel on 2010-09-09 12:02
The Russian Patriarchate would never rescinds the tomos of autocephaly. For a few reasons.
In the first place such a tomos can not be rescinded."Tomos" means to cut and what is cut can not be put together again.
A tomos of autocephaly means total independence and total independence can not be less than "total independence".(I really can not understand why is so hard to accept that words have meaning.) In addition.
The Russian Patriarchate is fully aware that an Orthodox autocephalous body is unavoidable for America and the Patriarchate was wise to accept this fact ahead of time. In a more anecdotic manner that can be put in this way. The Russian Patriarchate was the one who ,in 1970,redicovered the very simple truth," if you can not beat them, join them".
#76 Alexandru Nemoianu on 2010-09-09 13:48
The most astonishing feature of this recent decision promulgated by the Holy Synod of Antioch is its COMPLETE disregard for the Holy Tradition of our Church.
The ancient canons have been SCORNED, and there are abundant canons specifically affirming the independent authority of a bishop within his own geographic region (i.e. bishopric, church, diocese) with respect to ordinations & all aspects of the holy mysteries, discipline, finances etc., as well as his legitimate relationship with the provincial metropolitan.
Canon 9 of the Council OF Antioch & Apostolic canon 34 are the classic & most explicit examples. They also prohibit the metropolitan from interfering in the affairs of other bishop's dioceses while simultaneously affirming that matters pertaining to the whole province (or archdiocese using our current terminology) can only be addressed & dealt with on a conciliar basis under the leadership of the metropolitan who has only one vote in the council yet also holds “veto power”.
Not only the canons, but the writings of the fathers and the liturgical texts related to episcopal ordination and enthronement are TRAMPLED under foot in favor of the innovative & secular practices which have crept into the Patriarchate over the course of the last century.
St. Ignatius OF Antioch, writing in the beginning of the 2nd century, described the mystery of the Church in all its fullness (i.e., catholicity) as a local phenomenon whereby the people surrounding their bishop participate in the Eucharist & the holy mysteries. He wrote in his letter to the Smyrnaeans, “Let no one do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a valid Eucharist, which is administered either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude of the people also be; even as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.”
St. Cyprian of Carthage wrote in the 3rd century, “The Church is the people united to the bishop, the flock clinging to its shepherd. The bishop is in the Church & the Church is in the bishop.” He also stated, “If any are not with the bishop they are not in the Church.”
Dositheus, Patriarch of Jerusalem at the turn of the 17th / 18th centuries, echoed this fundamental & patristic understanding of the Orthodox ecclesiology describing the Church in its fullness as the local bishop together with to his flock participating in the holy mysteries when he wrote in his Confessions, “The dignity of the bishop is so necessary in the Church, that without him, neither the Church nor the the Christian could either exist or be spoken of. For he, as a successor of the Apostles, having received in continued succession by the imposition of hands and the invocation of the All-Holy Spirit the grace that is given him of the Lord of binding and loosing, is a living image of God upon the earth, and by a most ample participation of the operation of the Holy Spirit, who is the chief functionary, is a fountain of all the mysteries [i.e., sacraments] of the Catholic Church, through which we obtain salvation.”
Thus, subjugating a bishop to the "authority" of another bishop (albeit a metropolitan or even a patriarch) WITHIN the bounds of his own clearly defined ecclesiastical territory (i.e., diocese) is nothing less than a willful rejection of the one of the most fundamental principles of Orthodox ecclesiology.
To be sure, this is EXACTLY the same heretical ecclesiology that we have accused the Roman Catholics of for roughly a millennium. What suddenly makes this valid Orthodox ecclesiology? On what basis do we reject the Roman Catholic papacy? If we accept this decision coming from the Holy Synod of Antioch & at the same time maintain our opposition to papal supremacy than we condemn ourselves as hypocrites.
In the scriptures St. Paul makes the distinction between Holy Tradition, which originates from the divine source, commanding the faithful to hand it down unadulterated from the first generation to posterity as something which is truly sacred. He then compares this Holy Tradition to the traditions of men, or mere human customs, which are capricious and possess no authority. I think this distinction is important to bear in mind when is comes to considering the case of the Holy Synods recent statement.
St. Vincent of Lerins, writing in his 5th century work the Commonitory, said, "I have often then inquired earnestly and attentively of very many men eminent for sanctity and learning, how and by what sure and so to speak universal rule I may be able to distinguish the truth of Catholic faith from the falsehood of heretical pravity; and I have always, and in almost every instance, received an answer to this effect: That whether I or any one else should wish to detect the frauds and avoid the snares of heretics as they rise, and to continue sound and complete in the Catholic faith, we must, the Lord helping, fortify our own belief in two ways; first, by the authority of the Divine Law (i.e. scripture), and then, by the Tradition of the Catholic Church."
St. Vincent then goes on to enumerate a long list of the names of heresiarchs who rejected the Holy Tradition in order to twist the scriptures in support of their erroneous positions. He stated that a proper interpenetration of the scriptures should not be left to the individual but "should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation."
He continued, "Moreover, in the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and in the strictest sense 'Catholic', which, as the name itself and the reason of the thing declare, comprehends all universally. This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. We shall follow universality if we confess that one faith to be true, which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity, if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is manifest were notoriously held by our holy ancestors and fathers; consent, in like manner, if in antiquity itself we adhere to the consistent definitions and determinations of all, or at the least of almost all priests and doctors."
Does Metropolitan Basil of Akkar's research paper, which accurately describes the innovative & literally deviant practices of the Patriarchate of Antioch in the last century, legitimize OR condemn the wholesale rejection of our Church's Holy Tradition concerning the episcopate & ecclesiology?
It is important to recall that neither the office that a person holds nor the number of voices crying out in approval prevents a heresy from being a heresy. Many of the most notorious heresiarch in the history of Christianity were (at one point) Orthodox bishops of one rank or anther & this did not prevent them from falling into deception & dragging many others along with them. At times the majority of the episcopate had been deceived into embracing heresy. One only has to recall the heresies that raged during 4th & 5th centuries or more recently the council for Florence.
The word heresy literally means *"to choose"*. A heretic, then, is one who chooses what he or she will believe or practice in opposition to what has been established by Christ & the Holy Spirit & handed down within life of the Church. It does not mean that one is a malicious or vindictive person or any other such thing.
When we stop adhering to "the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3) and start choosing our own beliefs & practices at the expense of the divinely established & preserved (i.e., Orthodox) beliefs & practices then it begs the following question: At what point are we no longer able to call ourselves Orthodox Christians and, indeed, find ourselves numbered among those properly called heretics?
I think the answer to this question is clear to anyone who has eyes to see & ears to hear.
May Christ have mercy on all of our souls in these dark days!
#77 Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim on 2010-09-09 14:14
MP has vehemently maintained the synodal resolution of 2003 granting self-rule is irrevocable.
In that decree, Bp Antoun, Bp Joseph and Bp Basil were elevated from Auxiliaries to Diocesan Bishops.
THEREFORE IF OUR BISHOPS ARE NO LONGER DIOCESAN BISHOPS BUT AUXILIARIES THE 2003 RESOLUTION IS REVOKED, OR BETTER PUT, SURRENDERED.
MP WILL CERTAINLY GIVE HIS OWN SPIN.
HIS ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN HIS WORDS.
HIS ACTIONS BETRAY HIS TRUE MOTIVES.
Why has he fought to demote bishops canonically elected, consecrated and enthroned, because they were bringing too much too LIGHT.
Where is the EXTERNAL AUDIT?
WHY does he keep company with FELONS?
STOP THE CASH FLOW.
SEND THE RED RIBBONS BACK AND REFUSE TO SUUPORT THE ARCHDIOCESE UNTIL HE RESIGNS AND OUR BISHOPS ARE RESTORED.
OUR BISHOPS HAVE SUFFERED ENOUGH AND THEY WANT TO OCCUPPY THEIR TIME WITH TEACHING AND PREACHING, NOT WITH BYZANTINE POLITICS.
#78 anonymous on 2010-09-09 16:46
Editor: Around April 2009, Metropolitan JONAH presented a decision of the OCA Synod to Metropolitan HILARION recognizing the former OCA clergy who left for ROCOR and lifting their suspensions.
(Editor's note: Yes, and so one is left wondering, what is the issue?)
#79 Yanni on 2010-09-09 17:33
It is impossible to not comment.
One of the reasons for the Schism between the East and West was language requirements imposed by the West.
How simple an error for a foreign despot to make.
Why bother having them if the church will fully collapse as Catholicism did?
It ought to be a wise lesson to the EP, MP, MJ, and the like. All they need is a moments reflection on schism to understand why foreign bishops are a big risk.
The Synod of Damascus might get a schooling, too, if enough people leave after the dust settles from their latest decision.
#80 Daniel E. Fall on 2010-09-09 21:18
Sorry, I don't have it backwards. Please research your "facts". Prior to Patriarch Bartholomew's visit to Ukraine apprx 2 years ago - the canonical bishops under Moscow were very interested in having their own autocephalous church. Moscow became so concerned, that they immediately began paying very close attention to Ukraine. MP involved their government, President Medvediv even contacted government officials in Ukraine. They all totally supported MP and made the UOC-MP bishops back off their idea of autochephaly in Ukraine.
Who inched towards negociations with ROCOR? At that time, President Putin when he was in the USA held meetings at a very high level to insure the process of ROCOR being accepted went smoothly.
With many faithful in the OCA being very concerned about the current developments within the church (including the press) - Moscow has not taken ANY vocal stance in support of OCA'a autocephaly.
I'm sorry, but your argument of MP now commemorating +Jonah during liturgy is not enough. They should have been commemorating him in their dyptics all along. Support from MP should be done in a much more public tone as Moscow has done in other cases.
#81 Todd Petratis on 2010-09-10 04:17
There are so many ideas and arguments on so many subjects and tangents flying around in all directions that one is tempted to stop participating at all. But then an idea is floated which tempts one to participate rudely, such as the seemingly serious suggestion of a unified patriarchate of N. and S. America.
#82 Fr. George Washburn on 2010-09-10 17:34
This is a non-related, but relevant topic. Today is Sept. 11, 2010, the 9th anniversary of the Al-Qaeda attacks on our country. Yesterday on the Archdiocese website was posted a beautiful prayer from His Grace, Bishop BASIL, a prayer that is approved to be said in his Diocese today, and hopefully tomorrow on this remembrance weekend. Thank you, Sayidna BASIL, for helping us all to remember this horrific day when Middle Eastern people attacked our country and murdered innocent people, and left many families scarred for life.
I hope this prayer will be used this weekend in all of our parishes across the country and around the world. It reminds us that tragedy can happen at any time, that people can go off the deep end and attack others and mistreat them, and leave destruction in their path.
Does this sound familiar? It sure does to me, and as you reflect today, you will see the similar situation we are faced with and have been facing for so long. And what part of the world does this come from? The same one that threatens our Orthodox faith here in America. There truly is no difference.
Many years, Master, to His Grace, Bishop BASIL. AXIOS. You have a good heart and truly love God.
They're snoring too loudly to hear you and be bothered.
#84 A Midwest Observer on 2010-09-13 15:00
Editor noted: "...what is the issue?"
A regular session of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was held on May 5-7, 2009.
At this session:
"It was also decided to form a commission to study the relationship with the Orthodox Church in America and to hold joint meetings to discuss the sources of the division between the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the American Metropoliate. Included in this commission are Bishop George, President; Archimandrite Luke (Murianka); Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff, Secretary; Protopriest David Moser and Priest Peter Jackson. The commission is to study and present findings on the reasons for the division and to evaluate the mutual accusations, and propose methods of healing the separation. "
The issues then are:
1) Talks are about to begin or have just started between ROCOR and the OCA on the reasons for their division. In other words "methods of healing" have still not been proposed, i.e. the division still exists.
2) After the Metropoliate obtained autocephaly, the Synod of Bishops published its decision of refusing to recognize this "autocephaly," on the grounds that it was uncanonical and aimed against the interests of the Church. This position remains unchanged.
3) By referring to the OCA as the "Metropoliate," the ROCOR shows that it still regards the OCA as a body in schism with it since the break in 1946.
Still it was a nice, though moot gesture on the part of Metropolitan Jonah to tell the ROCOR that it recognizes the priesthood of those priests who left the OCA for ROCOR. At least there are no hard feelings on this account.
#85 Yianni on 2010-09-13 18:40
I don't know what to tell you, Mark, but I went to the Moscow cathedral in New York City a few weeks ago (OC Dormition), and they did not commemorate Met. Jonah. They only commemorated the Patriarch and Archbishop Justinian. Is the order to commemorate Met. Jonah a very recent one?
#86 pobrecita on 2010-09-13 20:11
The insanity of a Patriarch for a continent is truly just too much. We should continue with historical patriarchates that are rife with corruption and have histories of schism in places where there is little opportunity for growth.
The absurdity of such suggestions!
#87 Daniel E. Fall on 2010-09-13 20:18
I don't think Mr. Fall and I are really discussing the same thing.
I was responding to the suggestion of an anonymous contributor that having "a" patriarch of N. and S. America would be a good step. I understood the article "a" to mean one for the entire land mass between the Straits of Magellan and the Artic Sea, a patent absurdity that seemed to merit one, but only one, "Bah." Dan seems to have understood it to mean two or more patriarchs, and to merit no "Bah." Hah!
But he goes a little farther when he refers to ancient patriarchates with a history of "schism" being inappropriate for North America. With so many recent and/or partial converts with sabers to rattle and slogans to shout justifying what I have long (since the Ben Lomond split of 1998) termed the "puritan separationist" mentality, if you get the hasty, breakaway formation of some autocephalous new, American, Old-Country-free jurisdiction whose leaders are ready to rock and roll on separationist principles, we'd be liable to see Orthodox multiplication by division that would make the round robin of HOCNA and the True, Truer and Truest Greek synods in recent decades look positively static. Wah!
#88 Fr. George Washburn on 2010-09-14 15:06
As one of the EOC/AEOM and one who was chrismated by Met. Phillip himself, I can say from my perspective that the AEOM motives were complex. We had a leadership core comprised of strong personalities that had an agenda which included their retirement plans and the realization that they would have none if they stayed independent. The collective group was just not big enough to sustain a core of retired leaders. Disappointingly, these egos were perhaps a bit too strong, because they took criticism poorly, and in the end, did little to nurture a next generation of AEOM leaders that could carry the American-vision mantle.
Instead, a shrewd absorption by Met. Phillip occurred and as the AEOM founders aged, the AEOM zeal faded proportionally.
Would that the 80's zeal of the EOC were reawakened. The intent back then was to find and articulate what AMERICAN Orthodoxy meant. Surely shrewd absorption was not it.
As to the EOC's attitude to the OCA, it was lukewarm at best. Fr. Schmemman encouraged them greatly, but alas, scoundrels like Tikhon and Theodosius threw cold water on any possibilities. In the end, Mp. Phillip was the only pragmatic deal maker. This deal-making found a kindred spirit in the personalities of the EOC leaders. However, in the end, that deal-making pragmatism also consumed the spirit of the AEOM as well when the aging AEOM leaders stopped resisting and their underlings did not have the gumption and nurtured leadership skills to resist.
It was an opportunity spoiled by our human weaknesses; too many unchecked egos (incl. AEOM) wielding their clerical powers to intimidate, cajole, and ultimately supress free-thinking... the Wind of the Spirit? God help us find a way.
#89 Anon. on 2010-09-16 17:37
What a bizarre and cynical point of view about the EOC and the AEOM!
It is possible that a few of the core leaders of the EOC had strong egos. Three of such men did not become Orthodox. They stayed behind in their made-up denomination. The rest of the EOC leaders submitted to the entire process of becoming Orthodox, taking assignments as pastors of congregations, or working at assigned tasks, such as Orthodox correspondence course developers for prison ministry and editors of Conciliar Press.
It is true that a couple of those men deviated from the Orthodox path when they helped divide the congregation at Ss Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Ben Lomond, California. One of those two, especially liked to ‘wield his clerical powers to intimidate, cajole, and ultimately suppress free-thinking’. But I have watched the lives of the other former EOC leaders, as they have been transformed not only by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but by Mother Church and the prayers of the saints. They did not ‘sell-out’ or ‘sell us down the river’. They have lived an example of simplicity, obedience, faith, and love before us all. They are not ‘fat cats’ sucking the life out of parishes while living in some exalted retirement they negotiated for themselves with the “shrewd” Metropolitan PHILIP. Some of them live comfortably, while others live the lives of missionaries, dependent on the generosity and mercy of kind people.
All our EOC leaders were fallen humans, saved by the Grace of God. Most have grown in the wisdom and knowledge of that salvation. The least they deserve is our prayers.
Darlene Sue Johnson
#90 Darlene Sue Johnson on 2010-09-20 14:15
Prayers they have, and have had. We need to look to solutions; a first step is being honest about the facts, even if they are not pleasant or flattering. We get nowhere by believing fantasies, lies, misrepresentations or spin. The fact is, there was a lot of horse-trading going on no matter how one slices the pie. What the EOC found in Met. Philip was a deal maker. That deal has come apart unfortunately. Promises were made and promises were broken all around. Some of those promises were made to the EOC faithful by both Met. Philip and the EOC leaders. Much of that vision has been spoiled. Many seminal promises have been broken. Let's face that fact, call a spade a spade, and move on.
#91 Anon. on 2010-09-20 17:50
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