Friday, December 3. 2010
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The announcement of this event on the website of the Romanian Metropolia in Western Europe makes specific mention of the presence of Bishops from ROEA. See: http://www.mitropolia.eu/ro/stiri/211/22-26-noiembrie-2010-%E2%80%93-intalnire-pe-tema-constiinta-canonica-si-ecleziologie-ortodoxa-%28roma-italia%29.htm
#1 Archimandrite Kyril Jenner on 2010-12-03 11:17
Personally, I think we can put away the "vestment and dagger" stuff on this one.
This is at least the third meeting that the American hierarchs have participated in, one of which (a couple years ago I believe) was hosted right here in Michigan, at the ROEA cathedral complex. They have all been conducted with the full knowledge of the Holy Synod of the OCA.
Speaking only as a member of the ROEA diocese, and without any special knowledge of the agenda, my understanding is that these meetings have served to allow the Romanian hierarchs from W Europe and America to get to know each other, develop a working relationship with each other - outside the purview of the ongoing discussions with the ROAA and the ROEA. As you can imagine, the hierarchs wrestle with many of the same issues, ministering as they do to 1st 2nd and 3rd generation Romanian immigrants in the Western nations.
Setting aside questions about a potential merger - on which it would be inappropriate for me to comment - I find nothing untoward about my bishop's participation in these meetings.
To be honest, I think this illustrates the strength of the OCA - our bishops represent the majority of Orthodox from at least four different ethnic groups in America (Russians, Romanians, Bulgarians and Albanians). Whatever the future may hold, I find nothing inappropriate about those OCA bishops maintaining special relationships with their respective "Old Country" churches. In fact, I think the maintenance of those relationships helps to refute the charge that "Orthodox unity in America" equals "homogenization of Orthodoxy" in America, which I do not ever think was the intention of any serious minded unity supporter.
The OCA's job is, and has always been to minister to BOTH converts, as well as immigrants and 2nd and 3rd generation cradles Orthodox. To do anything less is to abandon our mission on this continent.
(Editor's note: No cloak and dagger intended. In fact, given its proximity to the story above it, was it not a good example of "building new relationships with other Orthodox"? It just seems strange that neither the OCA nor ROEA would mention it....)
#2 Dean Calvert on 2010-12-03 11:56
I do not think there was anything special about this meeting, the Romanian hierarchs in the West meet every few years, this is the third or the fourth such meeting.From the looks of it, and from the presence of Fr. Patriciu Vlaicu (whose talk at the Romanian Metropolitan Assembly this summer had the same title as the title of the meeting) in one of the photos, they probably focused on pastoral issues, how to apply the canons, iconomia, akrivia, what to do about the 98% of the Romanians in the West who leave the church after the first generation, etc.
#3 Anonymous on 2010-12-03 12:20
Just to help clarify, while none of the bishops in the photo are identified by name in the article linked (on the official news service of the Romanian Patriarchate), it does clearly state in that article that Hierarchs of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America participated.
As for the ROEA reporting it, their website is still advertising information for the "upcoming" ROEA Congress on September 30-October 2. Need I say more? (And for that matter, we're all still waiting for the general review of the last OCA Synod meeting on the OCA website.) Seems to me like they're all just slow in general.
(Editor's note: LOL! The dinosaurs were slow too, and that turned out OK? Right?
And one wonders why people are becoming secular.... If the Church doesn't take its own life and news seriously, why should anybody else?)
#4 Anonymous on 2010-12-03 13:25
Wow. And I though Faux News had finesse. What a fine example of insinuation coupled with backpedalling and denial. A few excepts will suffice:
" . . .raising eyebrows throughout Romanian America."
Really? Whose eyebrows would those be?
". . .make no mention,"
Well, had you bothered to read or have translated the report you cite, you would have found that, in fact, the hierarchs of the ROEA are specifically mentioned as having been "also in attendance."
" . . . although neither are identified . . . "
Despite its ungrammatical syntax, your statement is empirically true. On the other hand, no one is identified in any of the photos, as far as I can see. I'm not sure why you've chosen to point out our two hierarchs, if not to encourage eyebrow-raising that might otherwise be slow in coming.
"clearly appear to include . . ." and "clearly show" . . .
Now, it's a lucky thing those photos are so clear, since both hierarchs clearly let it be known in advance that they would be attending this meeting, and they clearly stood in the front row when the photos were taken. Their behavior is clearly above board -- or did you think the "red hats" were a disguise?
Clearly, your data are almost entirely factual. So is your impressively artful juxtaposition of those facts clearly designed to give the impression that astute third party observers have made some sort of discovery that was meant to be kept secret. The clarity of that design is evident from the reactions you've received so far.
Many among our brethren have deeply held convictions and credible reasons for opposing the dialogue with Bucharest. Among those reasons is a perceived Balkan proclivity to insinuation and backhandedness. Frankly, your approach is counterproductive to their cause.
On the other hand, I find it remarkable to read that you see this meeting as "a good example of 'building relationships'." Would that you had said so in your lead.
Fr. Ian Pac-Urar
(Editor's note: And yet, look, later that same day the OCA announced the news. Things just keep getting more and more remarkable, don't they?)
#5 Anonymous on 2010-12-03 13:59
Please let me second Dean Calvert’s observations. The meetings of the Romanian Hierarchs outside of the Romanian borders was instituted by Metropolitan Joseph of Parish. Archbishop Nathaniel was an ordaining Hierarch at his ordination. Metropolitan Joseph also served as Locum Tenens for the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas in the period leading up to the election of Archbishop Nicolae. He has also healed the deep divisions in Paris. His intention was and is to strengthen the bonds of those Romanian Orthodox Hierarchs in the “so-called” diaspora, as well as to provide the opportunity to share experiences and methodologies. As has been already noted, these have now been held for many years, on a rotating basis. There are no nefarious motives. The Patriarchate has no hand in this. It is meant to be a means to heal the bitter memories and wounds of the post World War II period, and to move forward to minister to the growing Romanian Orthodox diaspora. As far as I can understand, this is a supremely Christian principle.
Fr. Nicholas Apostola
(Editor's note: Well said, Father. I attributed no "nefarious" purpose to the meeting, other than to note, as did others, why no mention of such a salutory meeting was made. And now it has. And so we move forward...)
#6 Fr. Nicholas Apostola on 2010-12-03 17:02
Agreed. That is one of the reasons I choose to stay "Anon." in my responses. I have taken such abuse in the past by speaking up for doing the right thing, like Mark is now, but pre-Internet. Life is much more peaceful in not setting myself up to be shot at by all these yahoos that seem to be lurking in every nook and cranny of Orthodoxy. I do have cautious optimism in the resolve of the current leadership of the OCA to do the right things. Frankly, I had given up on the OCA, but these improvements "keep hope alive." The Holy Spirit indeed "move where He wills."
The light of public scrutiny is an amazing tool of the Spirit.
#7 Anon. on 2010-12-03 21:18
I remember when this meeting took place in Michigan! It was really neat - I'm not sure I've seen so many hierarchs at the Rives Junction Monastery off of their feast day .
Yes, the visit in Rome of the ROEA Hierarchs was a suprise,and not necessary good one, for quite a few Romanian-American Orthodox.
Here is not about insinuations and innuendos(and it is quite curious why such "qualities" are attributed to Romanian-Americans and not to Romanians Hierarchs of the Romanian Patriarchate) it is not even about nefarious plans(among them the actions of the JDC),it is only about a consistent policy of total screcy.And by the way.
Healing of past misdeeds can be accomplished only by naming those misdeeds. That is for the Missionary Archdiocese of America to acknowledge that was a tool of the communist Romania and is a tool of the Romanian State.
#9 Alexandru Nemoianu on 2010-12-05 07:10
"To solve the bitter memories and wounds of the post WW II.."Wow,that is commendable aim or, as some would say, it is cool!
However lofty empty declarations amount to nothing but an exercise in futility.
Words have meaning and declarations of faith have to be associated with facts and works." So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead."(St.James,2,14.)In order to be more clear.
On a physical level in order to heal one has to know what to heal. In order to heal the physician has to know the specific sickness. On a spiritual level in order to pray for forgiveness a spiritual father has to hear a confession and the confession of the sin. I very much doubt that a spiritual father will read the prayers of forgiveness for "bitter memories and wounds of the past". Without confession and repentance forgiveness is not possible. That is basic! In order to be even more clear.
In the case of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of America, as long as it refuses to display a shred of contrition for its sins, as long as it refuses to acknowledge that it was a tool of communist Romania and the Romanian state, there should be no "dialogue" or forgiveness.
May St Nicholas, whom we celebrate tomorrow, pray that those who carry his name will grew in theological understanding and humbleness..
#10 Alexandru Nemoianu on 2010-12-05 14:25
There have been statements communicated in the past in which the Romanian Patriarchate and the Romanian Archdiocese have acknowledged past transgressions. What does Mr Nemoianu ask for now, a laundry list of every last thing down to every "evil eye" and "baba" curse? It's getting old.
I, as a ROEA parish member, am more concerned with the here and now. I want to be a part of a Church that is concerned with being the best Church it can be now and in the future. Let's have reasonable and respectful discussions about that. I understand that there are psychological effects of living under an oppressive regime such as communism, but there comes a time when people must finally move on and think of the modern day reality. Mr Nemoianu is not a member of any ROEA parish, to know what the reality is in a ROEA parish, so I find it odd in itself that he is full of so much expertise on a Church that he has never really been a part of.
Is better communication necessary? Yes of course, let's focus on improving that. But should we use poor communication on the part of our own archbishop as a way to take even more cheap shots at Romania? It's just petty politics and it's sickening.
(Editor's note: Do you really think that asking for an assessment of 50 years of Communist domination of the Church is a "cheap shot"? Or that 50 years of collaboration can be overcome, administrative, physcological, or spiritually, by a one page letter that says "va rog sa ma ierti"?
Gee, wish my father confessor was so generous! Moreover, Mr. Nemoianu's point, it seems to this reader, is not just about the past, but also current collaboration with the Romanian State and its policy objectives. Does one just ignore that? (And please, don't tell me that doesn't exist - just look at the Patriarch of Russia's comments about the USA regarding Cuba last week ( "During the meeting, Patriarch Kirill strongly rejected the almost 50 year-old economic, trade and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba and said this unilateral measure should be immediately eliminated as it deliberately brings hunger, diseases and desperation to people. According to Prensa Latina news agency, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church praised the efforts being made by the (Cuban) government ... to focus its attention and give top priority to human beings and the family, in particular.") The head of the Russian Church, or the Romanian Church is free to criticize the USA. However, I think it prudent of Orthodox Americans wishing to place themselves under their obedience to consider the political and social costs of such, as well as the spiritual ones. I think that is the question Mr. Nemoianu was raising, which is not just "petty politics". )
#11 Anonymous on 2010-12-06 09:36
Can you please share with us from where you received your degree in Orthodox Theology? If you are going to criticize a priest's theological education, I assume you have one of your own?
#12 Anonymous on 2010-12-06 09:45
I was born an Orthodox in communist Romania. I had the privilege of having as spiritual confessors remarkable personalities like Fathers Galeriu, Ilarion (Ioan) Argatu (who blessed my marriage) and Sofian (Boghiu).I had the privilege to call friend Nicolae Steinhardt and to met personally Father Dumitru Staniloae.I studied history and I studied the history of the Christianity. I published articles regarding early Christian relics on the territory of Romania and I published numerous articles about Orthodoxy and its traditions.( In Romania and ,after my relocation, in the New World.)In the meantime ,I understood with immense sadness that in its significant majority the church authorities of Romania were but an extension of the nefarious communist regime. Under such circumstances, my relocation in the New World was a quest for personal liberty and for Faith.
I consolidated my Orthodox Faith and I found my Romanian-American identity in the New World. In America ,I discovered the full beauty of Orthodoxy and the full significance of the Liturgical life.
I had the privilege of being closed to Archbishop VALERIAN, who will remain for me a model of an authentic religious leader and an outstanding example of moral determination, and to Archbishop NATHANIEL, who will remain for me a model of gentleness and spiritual wisdom. In as much as I could I helped the "Vatra" episcopate and in witness are my many contributions to its official publication,"Solia" and its almanac(where I published each year since 1988). I also had the privilege of having as spiritual confessors two holy men: the Archimandrites Felix (Dubneac) and Roman (Braga).
I escaped "the Pharaoh" (the Romanian communism) and I found Faith, cultural identity and, up to a point, peace. For me Autocephalous Orthodoxy in America is not a choice ,it is the strong belife that is the only way Orthodoxy can be promoted in the New World in all its splendor.
For me to move backword, toward a subordination to the Romanian Patriarchate, a structure that is part of the culture of kleptocracy (government by those who seek chiefly status and personal gain at the expense of the governed) and endemic corruption that are the mark of today's Romania, would amount to a personal defeat bordering on apostasy.
Here I stand and so help me God!
"Valerian D.Trifa.Romanian-American Heritage Center".
#13 Alexandru Nemoianu on 2010-12-06 16:38
I told myself I would refrain from posting again during the Fast, but . . .
Just for the record, these meetings were instituted, not by Metropolitan Joseph, but by Archbishop Nathaniel himself. I remember him telling me, "Ï'm thinking of inviting all the bishops to meet." it was his own idea and it happened at his initiative.
It was a bold step at the time -- the first (some would say the only) real effort by any hierarch to extend a brotherly hand devoid of any agenda. The first meeting was hosted in Michigan. To my knowledge, World War II was never mentioned. The idea was just to have the hierarchs come together, get acquainted and share fraternal fellowship. I'm sure Metropolitan Joseph would corroborate this historical fact.
For his part, Metropolitan Joseph is highly respected and well loved by the vast body of his flock in Western Europe. He and Archbishop Nathaniel worked together over a period of several years to bring about the healing in Paris to which Fr. Apostola refers. That healing culminated in the reception by Metropolitan Joseph of one or more parishes that had been under Archbishop Nathaniel's care since the 1990s. That healing had much less to do with World War II than with the principle of territoriality -- that French Romanians should be cared for by a French Romanian bishop, not an American one. This principle is familiar to us all, is it not?
Without minimizing the work of others and without overstating, I think that we should recognize Archbishop Nathaniel's quiet but pivotal leadership in trying to bring some calm to a corner of the topsy-turvy world of Orthodox ecclesial relationships.
In any event, it's only natural that from time to time His Eminence has continued to participate in a practice that he instituted. If you believe he's been doing this in secret, I'd have to ask, "Where have you been all these years?"
Fr. Ian Pac-Urar
#14 Fr. Ian Pac-Urar on 2010-12-06 17:11
I am a member of the ROEA and a supporter of the Holy Dormition Monastery. I always have the blessing of my spiritual father, Archimandrite Roman(Braga).
I have intimate knowledge not only in regard to the Romanian-American Orthodox Episcopate("Vatra") but about the entire Romanian-American community. For almost thirty years that is my job, to study this community. In addition, as Historian of the "Valerian.D Trifa.Romanian-American heritage Center", I have access to all documentation regarding the historical evolution of this community.
I am a historian since 1970.For ten years I was a researcher and an archeologist at the Romanian National Museum. I studied early church history, I excavated(as an archeologist) early churches on Romanian territory(at Gura Sada,Hateg,Densus,Voievozi(Bihor) and different sites in Mramures).( I was a disciple of the famous historian and archeologist Radu Popa.) Those researches, about early Christian life on the Romanian territory, were published in scholastic publications. As a matter of fact I am qualified to asses and express opinions about Roman Emperors and I will not be shy to express historical opinions about bishops, like Andrei,Victorin and "eiusdem farinae" and the contraption they patronized.
I challenge any member of JDC or any of the clergy of both "Vatra" Episcopate and the "missionary"diocese to compare their list of publications with mine.(By the way mine is available on internet, just enter Alexandru Nemoianu,on yahoo or Google).I am sad I have to post this but, insults without merit, have to be answered.
#15 alexandru Nemoianu on 2010-12-06 17:48
I served when the hierarchs concelebrated Divine Liturgy at St. George Romanian Orthodox Cathedral, in Southfield, Michigan; it was great, a spiritually fulfilling experience!
#16 Subdeacon Robert Aaron on 2010-12-06 19:28
My faulty memory has been corrected. There was a meeting in Paris in 2004, the year BEFORE the Michigan gathering, at Metropolitan Joseph's invitation. I do not remember the details of that first meeting. I apologize to their Eminences, to Fr. Nick and to all of you -- and henceforth I shall keep the Fast.
Fr. Ian Pac-Urar
#17 Fr. ian Pac-Urar on 2010-12-07 02:44
Sorry Fr PacUrar, but you need a fact check on this one. The first meeting was held in Paris in Bright Week of 2004. According to the Solia reporting of it at the time, it was held at the invitation of then-Archbishop Iosif, based on a previous idea of Archbishop Nathaniel. So it was actually a good example of hierarchal cooperation: Arch. Nathaniel had an idea, and Arch. Iosif followed through to actually make it happen.
As was widely reported the following year, the meeting in Michigan was the second one of its kind.
#18 Anonymous on 2010-12-07 07:46
Since Mr Nemoianu brought up his association with Fr. Staniloae, maybe he would remember Fr Staniloae's views on the post-communist Romanian Orthodox Church. In an interview with Sorin Dumitrescu in March-April 1992, he insisted that the Church must avoid the spectacle of public condemnation of those who sinned and capitulated to the communist authorities. He insisted that the Church has the proper ways to deal with this through the Sacrament of Confession. Even when pressed by the interviewer whether a more public and specific forgiveness was needed, he did not seem to understand why anything more than the Sacraments was necessary. In regard to the Church's culpability, he said: "What can we do? There is a long road from teaching to practice. Nobody is perfect in this world. Nor are the churchmen. We plead for the good, we seek to win the others to our cause, but few of us are perfect supporters of the Christian teachings in their own lives." He then reminded us of the teaching "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." In my opinion, too many of us have forgotten that one, just like "hate the sin, but love the sinner."
However, it should be noted that the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church, on January 10, 1990 (just a few weeks after the 1989 revolution in Romania), did take a quick and positive step by issuing a statement apologizing for those "who did not always have the courage of the martyrs," and expressed its regret that it had been "necessary to pay the tribute of obligatory and artificial praises addressed to the dictator" to ensure certain liberties. They also at that time rescinded all ecclesiastical sanctions on those clergy who were sanctioned for political reasons. Since then, a number of individual bishops and priests have publicly asked forgiveness in one way or another (and unfortunately some did not), and the Church has done a lot to improve not just the amount of work that they do but also the quality and integrity of it (of course, if you dig enough you'll find some misdeeds too, but we certainly don't condemn the entire OCA because of the misdeeds of a few in Syosset). So if anyone has been told that in the past 20 years all that came out from the Romanian Church was a one page letter simply saying "please forgive us", you have been told wrong.
Those of us living in America can only begin to imagine what it must have been like to live under such a system. We cannot fault those who chose to leave and escape to the west to live in freedom. However, it is equally as important not to judge those who stayed in Romania and suffered under the dictatorship, especially those who had to struggle with how to hold together a Church that could have easily gone the way of the Church of Albania (total destruction by the atheists). God knows what individuals do, what they need to do, and He alone will judge them for it. Call me naïve, but I thought that's what I learned in Church School years ago.
So again I would suggest, let's stop beating the dead horse of the past. I'm not saying to bury our heads in the sand, but if there is a problem in the present then cite concrete specific examples without using insinuation, assumptions, or insulting and hateful language ("nefarious"…"contraption"…don't tell us that's not insulting). For example, I may not agree with Mark when he recently tried to infer a point about Romania by criticizing something Moscow did – we Eastern Europeans aren't all the same, you know – but I respect that he is trying to make a point by using actual events and not just throwing out grand statements and insulting labels. No matter how much you may not like someone or something, at least show basic respect when referring to a Church institution or clergy. A true intellectual would begin by doing at least that much.
(Editor's note: Thanks - but in defending me, you managed to avoid answering my question. I'll repeat it specifically: By "returning" to the Romanian CHurch, how does one avoid being used by the Romanian state as a vehicle for its foreign policy, internal political policies? One can't - anymore than the Russian Church can avoid being the tool of the Kremlin. As you so carefully point out, the Church in those countries lives as hostage to the secular powers, and have throughout their entire history. So, why should Americans, who are now free, make themselves vulnerable to such pressures forever into the future? For what? Ethnic identity? How does this evangelize America, where they are, rather than Romania, where they are not? THere are lots of other questions, but I'd appreciate it if you could start with that one. Thanks.)
#19 Anonymous on 2010-12-07 10:10
What Fr. Staniloae said in regard to the Romanian Orthodox Church and how should it cop with its errors of behavior under communism was about what happened in Romania. I didn't passed judgment about what lay people or Hierarchs did under direct persecution. However the "missionary' Archdiocese of America(yes, a communist contraption) is a different story.
Its Hierarchs were not under direct persecution, they enjoyed the comfort and security of a free conuntry.When they declared, here in America, that in Romania was no persecution, when they said that no church was destroied,when they accused the "Vatra" Hierarchs of being "fascists", they were promoting the communist propaganda, the interests of the communist system, they were willing collaborators of that system. Those were not declarations wringed under duresses,those were flat and voluntary lies. Those sins should be attoned,those sins should be acknowledged, for those sins forgiveness should be asked.
But when all we heard form the "missionary", yes contraption, is nothing but self rightesneous , a feeling of outrage is natural. Brave "anonymous" ,that is sickening!
More than that. The "missionary", yes contraption, has the audacity to ask the JDC to include in the common declaration a petition of "forgiveness" for the sufferings Bishops Andrei and Victorin were subject under communism.(To its shame the JDC accepted that outrage.)What were those sufferings? The two were issued speeding tickets or were fined for jay walking when paying homage to their handlers in Bucharest? Please!
Under such circumstances how can anyone trust that the Romanian Hierarchs are or will be but obedient executors of the Romanian state?
For all these reasons(in addition to the fundamental Orthodox tenet that dioceses should be local) the Romanian-American Orthodox should and will remain part of the OCA.
Again, in my opinion there is only one way,OCA all the way.
#20 alexandru nemoianu on 2010-12-07 15:30
How can one give a serious answer to a hypothetical question? You asked a general question about the Church's "current collaboration with the Romanian State and its policy objectives." What specific policy objectives, in regard to anything which would affect us as an American Church, are you talking about? I've seen people throw around that idea, and yet no one has given specific, real situations. (And I'm sorry, but I still don't see how you can reasonably attribute an action of Moscow to Romania in a completely unrelated situation. Is the Romanian Church involved in the Cuban situation? Did they actually make a similar statement? If so then tell us how. If not, then I think it is irrelevant.)
As for your newest "specific" question, this is not merely a "returning" to Romania. If that were the case it could have been done and over with years ago...no complex negotiations, no agreements, no conditions. But the fact is that there is a proposed agreement that overwhelmingly and exhaustively outlines the administrative division between the Church of Romania and the Metropolitanate here. What's left to understand? People just refuse to understand. They just keep throwing out the same general, non-specific questions and accusations to perpetuate and spread fear.
We have lost and are losing thousands of Romanian Orthodox faithful in this country -- immigrants who come and find a weak, divided Romanian Orthodox presence in America, who are easily persuaded by Protestants to leave the "hypocricy" behind. This is what is happening. I see it here in my hometown. People can wish all they want about an Orthodox America, but it will never happen if we do not even try, nor are capable, to keep our own Orthodox faithful. Doesn't it make sense to allow the Romanian Church here to put its house in order? (God bless the OCA and all the good work they do, but being part of an un-recognized autocephaly just doesn't seem to be a realistic option.)
Maybe I seem like a broken record, but I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being specific when making these accusations and to avoid assumptions. (Hey Mark, it could be worse, I could be another ALL CAPS GUY.)
And speaking of waiting for answers.... I'm still waiting to get an answer to my 2 simple questions of Mr Nemoianu: 1) is he a ROEA parish member, and 2) from where did he receive his Theological Degree? (But I have a feeling any response would just come with an insult anyway, so maybe it's better he doesn't answer.)
(Editor's note: This is perhaps not the best forum for an ongoing discussion of this size - but, one can easily give an answer to a "hypothetical" in this case, since the situation concerns any state church, such as the Romanian. How is it an advantage to evangelizing believers in America to be part of a state church of another country, especially one whose foreign policy, domestic, or economic interests may conflict with our own? In the past 50 years we have witnessed, in America, the Russian Church spouting the most horrible nonsense, because it was forced to by the Soviets; now what is it's excuse? The simple facts is that every state Church is beholden to its state; and will be leveraged by that state to supports it foreign and domestic goals. Why should we, in America, play such games - especially when too often, they are against our own self interest? There is about as much chance of an future Romanian bishop, even a "maximally autonomous" one in this country criticizing Bucharest as there is a Serbian bishop supporting an independent Kosovo. That's my point, friend. Having achieved freedom, who would return to state servitude?)
#21 Anonymous on 2010-12-07 15:45
Yes, Anonymous, you are right -- I'm thinking you got the same email I did last night
I had conflated in my memory this series of meetings with Archbishop Nathaniel's original, much earlier hosting of both then-archbishops Serafim of Germany and Iosif (Joseph) of Paris, inviting them to come visit the American and Canadian communities. I have fond memories of a very pleasant two or three days with Iosif, as the two of us traveled to the various parishes of Eastern Canada and the Great Lakes States. I hope he has forgotten my driving
As you say, these two men have shown us all the possibilities and results of hierarchal cooperation across boundaries of all sorts.
(By the way, are you Anonymous 1? 2? 3? or some new, unknown Anonymous?)
A blessed and peaceful Fast to all!
#22 Fr. Ian Pac-Urar on 2010-12-07 16:09
Dear Fr PacUrar, Sorry, I wasn't on your email list. When I saw that statement I knew that's not what I had read in Solia. That story at the time caught my attention because I was impressed and encouraged by the increased cooperation. Echoing your sentiments, from what I've seen of Metropolitan Iosif I believe he is a very good man and bishop -- not just the run of the mill "nefarious agent of a kleptocratic contraption" as some would have us to believe.
#23 Anonymous on 2010-12-09 08:10
I provided two very long answers regarding my membership to the" Vatra "Episcopate and regarding my historical and theological credentials, on this blog. I also ,always, signed my name and full identity. (Information regarding my scholastic credentials and my activity , as historian, writer and publicist , is very much available both on yahoo and Google, just take a few minutes and check.)I do not have the habit of hiding under the cowardice trappings of "anonymity".
In regard to specifics.
It is a fact that in Orthodoxy the dioceses are local. How would the Romanian Patriarchate react if the OCA would initiate "parishes" in Romania?
The Romanian Patriarchate was a tool under communism. Repeatedly the Patriarchate joins the Romanian State in "condemning"the USA.That was a practice observed sixty years. During WW II the Romanian Church supported all the actions of the Romanian State. Including the organization of "dioceses" on territories occupied "manu militari"(and Visarion Puiu and,to some extent Policarp Morusca , were willing collaborators.)Consequently, and considering the habit of the Romanian state to switch allegiances, what guarantee exist that an anti American policy would be not on its agenda in the future? Those should be enough reasons to avoid subordination to a foreign entity with a very dubious past.
The long and very secretive discussions and debates of the JDC ,the fact that proposals of "unity" are bitterly opposed by many Romanian-Americans is fact that such a unity is a bad idea.
The Romanian-Americans and the Romanian-Canadians are part of those two big nations and they belong to the local Orthodox jurisdiction, that is OCA.
The OCA' autocephaly is recognized,"de jure" by the overwhelming majority of the Orthodox faithful and "de facto" by all Orthodox faithful .
#24 alexandru Nemoianu on 2010-12-09 08:20
With over sixty years of communist and neo-communist state control, the Romanian Patriarchate and its American counterpart , the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of America (ROAA) would best serve the vital interests of both the Romanian Church and State to desist from all manner of attempts to control the Romanian Episcopate of America(ROEA)
The Romanian patriarch's professed offer of "maximal autonomy" is in effect nothing less than the subjugation of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America to the political whims of the Romanian State.
I do not see any beneficial or practical reality in the so-called union/"unire" of the two dioceses
To paraprase Cato, "Unire delenda est" / "Union must be destroyed"
(Mr.) Carmen D. Valentino
Descent of the Holy Spirit Romanian Orthodox Church (OCA),Elkins PArk/Philadelphia (1913)
Museum Curator/Fin.-Sec.Romanian-American Cultural & Beneficial Society,"Banatiana" (1906)
Pennsylvania Romanian-American Ethnic Heritage Commissioner,1990-94
#25 (Mr.) Carmen D. Valentino on 2010-12-09 08:39
Agreed, it is a big topic that a few paragraphs cannot adequately cover. But I think we're stuck at a stalemate in regard to our opinions. Your statements center on the "what ifs", taking as gospel truth (no pun intended) that having any kind of ties will spell certain doom and gloom and that the North American Church will certainly become an arm of a foreign government. I, on the other hand, am not such a pessimist.
I'm not an expert on the situation, but wasn't one of Syosset's biggest problems in the past 20-or-so years their dealings with Russia -- frequent trips, large amounts of cash for who-knows-what, meetings with Russian government officials and other questionable political dealings? And they are supposed to be the "American" Church, free from the agendas of foreign governments. I find it odd to make the jump to assume that a purely spiritual tie with a "foreign" Mother Church will mean absolute political servitude, when a Church supposedly without any ties to Russia absolutely did get involved in those types of things but is declared to be immune to it.
I don't think that the Ukrainians here in North America are beholden to the political desires of the Turkish government. After all, they are under the "foreign" Ecumenical Patriarch, so shouldn't they be in servitude to the policies and agenda of Turkey? How about the Carpatho-Russians, are they forced to lobby for Turkish causes in Washington DC? Let's take it another step further. Do the Serbs get involved in supporting the rights of Serbs in Kosovo because the Serbian government is forcing them to, or do they do it freely because they want to, because they believe it's the right thing to do? And in the end, the Romanians are not the Ukrainians, they are not the Carpatho-Russians, they are not the Serbs, they are not the Greeks, they are not the Russians/OCA….Romanians must do what is best for the Romanian Orthodox Church in North America. It is a family that must be reunited.
From what I have seen, there are many converts in parishes of both the Romanian Episcopate (www.roea.org) and Romanian Archdiocese (www.romarch.org). Just look at the names of some of the clergy on their websites. And it's not just people who married into it, but also people who visited a Romanian Orthodox Church and decided it was for them so they stayed -- Catholics, Protestants, African Americans, Asian Americans, and others. Why must we pass judgment on any Church for not being American enough or not ethnic enough? If they are being "the Church" then God bless their work!
Why would a Romanian Orthodox bishop in North America, even a "maximally autonomous" one, be expected to criticize Bucharest? He should be minding his own business here, just as we should expect the bishops in Bucharest to mind their own business there. That, in my opinion, is the whole point of that proposed agreement.
(As mentioned, this is a lot for such a limited forum, but I appreciate your fairness in posting these observations even if you don't agree. There are other websites out there who only post a very one-sided view and those types of schemes don't help anybody to learn anything.)
(Editor's note: Thanks, and the discussion is helpful, I hope. However, we must continue to disagree. As for the desire of state Churches to function as apostles of the state, not just of the Gospel, I suggest you check out Metropolitan Hilarion's conversations as reported by the US Ambassador, revealed by Wikileaks. We just don't need foreign agendas, friend.)
#26 Anonymous on 2010-12-09 13:41
I gave you the answer to your very personal questions. I will answer your question regarding "specifics" of the present collaboration of the "missionary" Archdiocese, yes a communist contraption, with the Romanian State.
In Fall 2009 there were elections in Romania. Under directions received from the Romanian ministry of foreign affairs, the Romanian Patriarchate instructed and requested that the "missionary" archdiocese's(yes, a communist contraption,) churches be used as polling station. The same ecclesiastic authorities make similar request to "Vatra"' parishes. They were accomodated.Not only this , but prior to the elections the same parishes were used for electoral debates open to all the parties involved. At least one of those political parties is an extreme right one and its leaders and those associated with them are not allowed to enter the USA.(A few years before the leader of that party was a heart beat from becoming Romania' President!).If that is not collaboration with the Romanian state, even when contrary to the interests of the USA, and promotion of the interests of the Romanian state, then what is?
Each year the USA' State Department issues a report regarding freedom of religion in the world.
In each of these reports, since 1995, the Romanian Patriarchate was castigated for its total subordination toward the Romanian State( fact confirmed by the circumstance that clergy of the Patriarchate are basically paid by the state, with tax payers money.).The only answer given by the Patriarchate was that this represents "interference in Romania's internal affairs"( a mantra used ingloriously by Ceausescu a couple of decades ago.)
Those are specifics and they are enough for a normal person in calling off the idea of subordination toward such entities(i.e. the Romanian state and its Patriarchate).
#27 alexandru Nemoianu on 2010-12-10 14:30
Mr. Valentino, can you not believe that the Holy Spirit is guiding this dialog and that he is directing us toward unity of the Romanian Orthodox in the US? Consider this, a unified Romanian Metropolitanate with its head, the Metropolitan, duly elected by a combined Congress, could sit at the table with the other hierarchs. These bishops meeting under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit could plan and with God's grace, deciding to come together and make administrative unity real in the US by electing a patriarch as our head. This is my fervent prayer.
(Editor's Note: Except that both already "sit at the table"! By just talking about an "american Church" +Iakovos was retired more than a decade ago - so imagine what would happen if anybody tried to "elect" anything. ( BTW, no one elects anything at the EA; SCOBA elected its chairman, at least de jure; the EP appoints the chairman now.) Things are far more controlled now than then, so pinch yourself, Deacon. I think you are dreaming, not praying.)
#28 Subdeacon Robert Aaron on 2010-12-10 21:31
I don't get all this fear-mongering about the USA's interests being possibly undermined by a Romanian "mitropolie" dependent on the RoOC. That's just non-sense, as if the USA isn't the planetary policeman now. How much of this Americanist propaganda, my Romanian friends, is uncannily similar to that formerly used by "our great friend from the East".
(Editor's note: I don't think the fear is that the USA's interests will be undermined by the RoOC.
I don't think you saw any cables of conversations between Patriarch Daniel and the American Ambassador, did you? No,
I think it is the fear that the American Church's interests will be undermined by the RoOC. And there appear to be lots of conversations between the RoOC and representatives of the American Church, no?
#29 CNI on 2010-12-11 19:43
Your words ring true, so to you I say, Amen
#30 Subdeacon Robert Aaron on 2010-12-12 18:54
The fact that a Romanian church offers its hall or classroom facilities to be used for voting should not lead them to condemnation. Many centers in the North American Romanian community -- Orthodox churches, Protestant churches, and others -- have allowed this over the past years because they are typically "the" gathering place for the Romanian community in that area. I would assume that Romanians living here are grateful to have the opportunity to vote. Now, if a church were to officially endorse a party or a candidate, THAT would be over the line. Do we condemn those churches who allow their facilities to be used for local voting? I wouldn't think so, so let's not have a double standard.
And really, when you read these State Department reports, you must keep in mind they are written from a secular political entity whose main interest is building their OWN political influence in other countries, and they especially do not want a strong Orthodox Christian influence in any country. You should know very well the kind of immoral and lewd political agenda that the "Western" countries have been pushing in Romania since 1989 -- legalization of gay marriage, prostitution and abortion to name just a few. Thank God for the influence of the Orthodox Church there (and in other countries) to help combat those evil intents. Do we not wish for the Orthodox Church in our country to have such an influence in Washington? If not, then why do our bishops meet with political officials, and are part of various political "lobbying" organizations?
We pray that God will guide our Church leaders to do good things, and certainly we should be critical of any irresponsible actions. But so far I do not think that such broad accusations and insinuations are helpful.
(Editor's note: "Broad accusations and insinusations are not helpful"- like accusing Western governments of promoting prostitution in Romania? C'mon...)
#31 Anonymous on 2010-12-13 09:13
Mark, it's a fact. As part of their acceptance into the EU, Romania was pressured by the western nations in the EU to institute such "reforms", which they strongly fought against.
(Editor's note: Oh, get real. The EU does not require "prostitution" as a "reform". Sorry, but such overstatement makes criticism of EU non-discrimination rules (what you call "promoting homosexulaity") and allowing reproductive choice (what you call "promoting abortions") less likely to be taken seriously. I am not defending the EU, they can defend themselves; but try to keep the discussion on an adult level. Thanks.)
#32 Anonymous on 2010-12-13 10:05
Now that is ridiculous!
The western countries promote in Romania :prostitution,homosexuality,abortion.Just for the record.
In Romania abortion was and is the main way to control pregnancy.
The homophobic comment I will not dignify with an answer. But prostitution?
Is this brave anonymous aware that more than half of the prostitutes in Germany and Italy are from Romania? That almost 70% of them are from Romania and Moldova? Is this because of the "western secularist" approach? Please.
The point is that between the mentality of the Romanian authories,secular and ecclesistic,and those of the "western nations" is a chasm.
The churches in the New World should not be places of propaganda for the Romanian state(like for elections,a.s.o).
More reason to have an total canonical independence in the New World.
#33 alexandru nemoianu on 2010-12-13 11:00
While I'm sure your comments are sincere and heartfelt, it is also obvious you have had few dealings with the Old World patriarchates, and none at all with the Greeks. In fact, your comments seem to want to ignore completely the "elephant in the corner" ie. the actions of the GOA over the past 20 years.
As someone who grew up in the GOA, served on my local parish council for many years, and having served on the OCL board during the time of the charter embroglio - I can tell you that there was never any doubt in my mind that Istanbul was running things at GOARCH in NY. And, to be honest, as the largest financial supporter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, there was equally little doubt that it was the Greek Government making many of the calls on all of the above. If you doubt this, just ask any Greek priest over the age of 60.
Locally elected bishops, sitting in synod...that's the prescription of the Church Fathers, as well as the 2000 year old formula for success of the Orthodox.
It was OK for Cyprus in the 4th century, OK for Russia in the 15th century, and OK for Georgia in the 20th century.
Why is this not appropriate for America?
#34 Dean Calvert on 2010-12-13 17:31
This is not fear mongering ,but the application of American practicality /common sense ;namely, "An ounce of prevention,is better than a pound of cure" As earlier stated, sixty years of subjugation of the Romanian Patriarchcate and its counterpart the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of America to the Romanian state , both entities with their attendent mischief making here in the United States, are not values to be cherished by true blue Americans. By the way, I am not a Romanian, but a proud third generation Romanian-American I suggest you take a course in American civics as well as Romanian-American history.
(Mr.) Carmen D. Valentino
Descent of the Holy Spirit Romanian-Orthodox Church (OCA),ElkinsPark/Philadelphia (1913)
Fin.Sec./Museum Curator , Romanian-American Cultural and Beneficial Society, Banatiana-V.Alecsandri, (1906)
Fulbright scholar and researcher, Vienna (1968-9), Bucharest (1971-2)
State of Pennsylvania Ethnic Heritage Commissioner (1990-94)
#35 (Mr.) Carmen D. Valentino on 2010-12-14 06:53
Mr. Nemoianou and Mark,
I realize that this thread is getting a bit off topic, but please allow me to just give you some brief supporting information for my statements. (Before that, however, please let me correct Mark's misquote of me. I stated that the western countries have "pressured" Romania, not "required" -- yet.)
As for the following subjects:
The EU through its various commissions has repeatedly referred to abortion as an "international human right" and has pressured member nations to comply with these "rights." (Here is an English-language article about the general situation, in particular referring to the Catholic countries: http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/596 ) The high abortion rate in Romania is an embarrassment that the country has been trying to change. Gaining "freedom" overnight had disastrous effects in many regards. They need our prayers and support to do the right thing.
Just a few examples: In 2006, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning member states such as Poland, Latvia, Estonia, and others, as "homophobic" because they did not allow "gay rights" such as same-sex marriage. Later, in early 2009, the EU passed a resolution (authored by an Italian communist party MP) calling on member states to guarantee access to "sexual and reproductive health and rights," terms universally accepted as including abortion and sterilization as well as the recognition of same-sex unions. This came as a follow-up to a previous declaration saying that same-sex "marriage" and civil union laws should be standardized across the EU. And as recently as a few weeks ago it was reported that the EU Parliament voted in favor of a report that is intended to compel all 27 member states to both mutually recognize and legally uphold the "effects of civil status documents" of another EU-state, i.e., include recognition of all forms of "marriage" and "civil unions". Thankfully, earlier this year in June, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that member states prohibiting same-sex marriage are not violating the human rights of their citizens. However, that has not stopped the EU Parliament's efforts to get universal recognition across all borders.
In the year 2000, the European Court officially recognized prostitution as an economic activity (at the request of the Dutch government), allowing women from the EU and former Soviet bloc countries to obtain permits as self-employed sex workers. This has only added to the problems of human trafficking. Is it any wonder why so many girls from Romania are prostitutes in Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and other countries? We can thank the EU for granting them the work permits. And even as recently as the past few years, EU officials have been involved in promoting legislation to legalize prostitution in Romania. Certainly the girls have some guilt in this, but the legalization of it makes an immoral problem so much worse and creates many more victims of this so-called "economic activity."
These are factual events, not simply "childish" opinion. There is much more, but that is really for another time and another topic. I am not saying Romania is perfect, but I am saying let's be fair in our assessment of what is really going on.
#36 Anonymous on 2010-12-14 11:01
Mark you may want to re-read the EAs About page on its website. The last paragraph says:
"Unlike SCOBA however, the Assembly is a transitional body. If it achieves its goal, it will make itself obsolete by developing a proposal for the canonical organization of the Church in North and Central America. This proposal will in turn be presented to the forthcoming Great and Holy Council, which will consist of all canonical Orthodox bishops throughout the world. Should this proposal be accepted, it is hoped that the Assembly of Bishops will then come to an end, ultimately to be succeeded by a governing Synod of a united Church in North and Central America."
Can a Patriarch be far behind when this occurs?
("Should this proposal be accepted..." Friend, there will be lifetimes in that "should". With great sadness you remind me of Jewish friends who place a cup for Elijah each Passover. How can I make them hear he has come - and gone - and will not be coming back? America has it's autocephaly - and if we let it pass away, it too will be gone, never to return again. But like my Jewish friends, you prefer the past, and dreams, to incarnate reality.)
#37 Subdeacon Robert Aaron on 2010-12-19 19:33
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