Friday, September 30. 2011
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The reason this is so ridiculous is that a General Council of All the Orthodox is predicated by rules. WHY? Of course all parties will argue about the rules; the seating; who is recognized 1st, 2nd, etc. Here's how it should work: all participants submit topics to be addressed. All compiled in a book and labeled from most important to least. Have the meeting, probably in Cyprus and let everyone sit wherever without a dyptichs listing and bishops trying to pull rank. Everyone must agree on the Chair and who will record the meeting. Then, plan on a two to three week meeting to hash out and agree or disagree on all topics. Representatives must have the authority to make decisions for who they represent. DONE!
#1 Anonymous on 2011-10-01 07:31
If I'm not mistaken Cyprus hadn't been fifth in the diptychs for centuries by 1593 - at that time the Churches of Georgia, Serbia, and Imereti-Abkhazia would all have been ahead of it in the diptychs due to the titles of their first hierarchs.
I think yopur statement is somewhat naive?
And why Cyprus of all places? I think several of the comments on this site have a negative undertone of anti Hierarchial in nature; let the leaders of the Church make the decission with the Holy Spirit guiding them without being critizes every step the way on the internet.
(Editor's note: Because the Cypriot is one of the few Orthodox Churches where clergy and laity actually get to help nominate their diocesan bishops. (Not counting Crete, which just kidnaps their candidates until the Synod electes them - OK, just once, recently. But it does speak to lay involvment, no? LOL.) As for Bishops and the Holy Spirit, it is not anti-hierarchical to criticize a bad decision. Unless, of course, one believes every decision of the Bishop is guided by the Holy Spirit and so, above criticism. But even the Roman Catholic Church does not hold to that doctrine of infallibility....)
#3 Anonymous on 2011-10-01 19:50
Thanks for clarification
#4 Anonymous on 2011-10-03 20:07
"And why Cyprus of all places?"
Hey, it's warm; nice beaches; good Mediterranean food & great wine. Why not Cyprus?
#5 anonymous on 2011-10-04 07:55
what is this madness? why are we spending valuable resources and monies in the egos of men? what does all of this have to do with the mission of Christ? there are so many people who are in need of food and shelter and we travel on planes to discuss who is on first! are we mad to follow such egotistical children? no wonder we loose our youth - just think where we would be with out immigration!
Come on guys - yes guys - you deserve no repect if you squander your ministry on such egotistical games - who cares? really! why not do the ministry of Christ and not men. Sell your vestemts and miters and go among the poor and set set an example for us to follow and not mock.
you bring shame upon our church and our faith - it is time to grow up and realize that the byzantine empire is dead - it is time to realize that moscow is the third rome, is our largest church, is our richest church and without its protection the pentarchy will be gobbled up by their neighbors
you wrote the lyrics and now it is time for us to play the music - to the old folks home for all of you - you have embarrassed us one time too much!
we have found the enemy and it is not the postestants or catholics - it is ourselves - we are imploding
may God save us from ourselves - amen
#6 rjklancko on 2011-10-04 16:43
You see, all of this stems from the Bishop of Istanbul. He wants the entire world to obey the ancient dyptichs of the original churches in the Mediterranean. This was when the known Orthodox world was in the Mediterranean region and the Bishop of Constantinople was the Emperor's bishop and head of the capitol city. "HE" wants to be an "Eastern Pope" and control all the Orthodox and decide who has voice and who doesn't. This is why SCOBA was a good organization in the US and the new Episcopal Assembly is a big joke. SCOBA elected who led it and had a constitution. It is the Greeks who want to control the Orthodox Church around the world and in the US. FOREIGN BISHOPS HAVE NO AUTHORITY OUTSIDE THEIR OWN DIOCESE. Foreign bishops have no authority in the US, Australia, Europe, China, etc. The format of the Episcopal Assembly is non-canonical and at least in the US, the bishop of primacy is the leader of the OCA, not the Greeks nor the Antiochians 2nd nor the Russians 3rd - this is bogus! Furthermore, as long as the Bishop of Istanbul continues to assert FALSE, NON-CANONICAL authority over other Orthodox, there will continue to be issues. What's worse, other bishops are allowing this non-canonical arrangement to continue without protest. It seems the Russians again are the only ones who really pay attention to Orthodox Canon Law!
#7 Anonymous on 2011-10-05 07:28
Here's a look at Orthodoxy in the US in the very near future:
1) The default in Greece will not only result in more Greeks coming to the US, but this will impact the Bishop of Istanbul. The result will be an even more ethnic Greek church in the US.
2) The Fall of Assad in Syria will cause a massive immigration of Arabs to the US. The Antiochian Archdiocese will become increasingly more ethnic.
3) The OCA will increasingly be the only Church to offer a real American Orthodox Church - as soon as it gets back on track with bishops who believe in the OCA.
(Editor's note: Greeks and Arabs can be Americans too, friend, and they are already "real" American Orthodox Churches. They are simply not self-governing. That, of course, is the sole distinguishing and unique feature of the OCA. And its greatest asset as an organization. We create our own problems - and have the ability to solve them as well. That being said, I doubt Greece will empty, although Christians in Syria may indeed be at some risk, no matter how things turn out. Mr. Assad would not be the first dictator to embrace religion to stabilize his power base....)
#8 Anonymous on 2011-10-05 07:49
>it is time to realize that moscow is the third rome, is our largest
>church, is our richest church
And if some want to look at a possible future, one should look at the dreams and visions of the Russian Church as set forth here: "The First Session of the Second Council of the Bishops of ROME, (The Russian Orthodox Metropolia of Europe) on Tuesday 6 July 2021"
Yes, this is the personal blog of one ROCOR priest... but I would invite the readership here to look at the actions of the MP and Russian government throughout the world, and judge for yourselves whether or not the scenario presented by Fr. Andrew is indeed their vision, or just that of one man.
Then I would also invite the readership to think about how the MP must have brought whatever pressure it can bring to bear on the Ecumenical Patriarchate to get it to throw the Estonians under the Moscow bus. That Constantinople has refused to do so
speaks volumes for the EP, and is something a lot of people should think about. (How supportive - really - has the MP been of the Tomos of Autocephaly it gave to the OCA?)
In YHWH Made Flesh, Christ our God,
(Editor's note: Dream? Vision? Try nightmare for all involved, no less for Russians and the Russian Church! This type of schadenfreude for Catholics and Protestants is really beneath despicable. It reminds of the Russian Baptists who sneared at the Millenium celebrations hooting that the next Millenium celebrations would be hosted by them... As for Russian support for the Tomos of the OCA, its still there, they still support it, and nothing has changed. Nor will it. Sorry to burst your balloon. )
>Dream? Vision? Try nightmare for all involved, no less for
>Russians and the Russian Church!
I do agree with you that the scenario presented by Fr. Andrew is a nightmare (and just to make it clear, it is certainly not my vision!)... but ... given the MP's actions of late, do you and the readership here really consider it one they are turning towards, or one from which they are turning away?
>As for Russian support for the Tomos of the OCA, its still there,
>they still support it, and nothing has changed. Nor will it. Sorry
>to burst your balloon.
According to the Russian Church, then, who is the Orthodox bishop of New York? Of San Francisco? Of Chicago? Does the MP's establishment of an autonomous church, for one example, on what is supposed to be the OCA's canonical territory honor the Tomos, or not?
On the other hand, does Constantinople's steadfast protection of the Estonians show honor for those who have gone to the EP for protection, or not?
In YHWH Made Flesh, Christ our God,
(Editor's note: Does the establishement of the Autonomous Ukrainian Church on their canonical territory mean that the Russians don't honor their own Tomos of Autonomy? Or the establishment of Georgian, Russian, Bulgarian , Romanian, etc. bishoprics on the "territory" of the EP in America ( at least according to their theory" mean that none of the above recognize the EP? Hardly. The sad fact is that both the Russians and the EP recognize self interest as the abiding rule in their relations, rather than what it is in the interest of the children. That is perhaps the best analogy - divorcing parents each intent on their own rights, oblivious to the greater long term good of the child, which only they claim to be able to define. Alas there is no judge here to make them both miserable and look after the children. The EP's "steadfast" support of the Estonian Church was noticeably absent from 1939-1990 BTW. Like everyone else they acquiesed to the Soviets, so not such a very good example. But as I said, the only way forward is for these groups to stop acting like, well, Disciples ( arguing who is first in the Kingdom of God) and start acting more like Apostles for it.)
Who was it who said that the reason Rome and Constantinople couldn't get along was because they were too much alike?! I hate to burst their ecclesiastical bubble but the average person today could care less about who comes where on the dyptichs. So many more important things to be concerned about like, I don't know, preaching the Gospel? Good grief Charlie Brownsky!
#11 Andrew A. Lukashonak on 2011-10-05 16:36
Can I add one more voice of support to your diagnosis of "nightmare" to the Andrew Philips scenario. This scenario is little more that the fin-de-siecle ravings of the Romanov dynasty in its death-throes in the lead up to 1917.
Yet having said that, it just may well turn out that way if Putin has his way and semi-restores the old USSR, as some news agencies are reporting. Imagine this "USSR" - with the state religion the MP version of Orthodoxy, rather than communist dialectical materialism.
With that type of background support, I can well envision Fr. Andrew in this article is sending up a "test-balloon" to see the reaction, and then fine-tune it for Moscow's benefit. As we are all aware, in recent years, he has been advocating the "return" of the OCA to Moscow. He may well be writing a special addendum to this article specifically focusing on the OCA.
While I appreciate that this "third Rome" notion has much history to it, what frightens me is the idea of this "third Rome" acquiring both the mindset and the administrative apparatus of the "first Rome".
Couple this with a particularly virulent mythos and pseudo-history over Nicholas II, and the Ekaterinburg complex, and the stage is set for a worse tyranny than Pobedonetsov ever envisioned.
Should this happen, I fear for world Orthodoxy.
While I normally have grave reservations over schism, methinks I see a repeat version of the old ROCOR schism being revisited (perhaps even along the lines of an "Old Believers" one of the Nikon era), if only to give the authentic Orthodox the framework of religious liberty for the practice of Holy Orthodoxy in a Slavic environment. This may well be the special charism of the OCA for the future - only time will tell.
ps: If you wish to see my alternative version to the Philips one, you can E-mail me privately.
#12 John on 2011-10-06 06:23
I'm sure money has nothing to do with the current state of affairs!
If money or it's lack, involved, I would be very depressed over the state of 'world Orthodoxy' (or should it be 'worldly Orthodoxy?)
#13 Jim of Olym on 2011-10-06 18:47
>Does the establishement of the Autonomous Ukrainian
>Church on their canonical territory mean that the Russians
>don't honor their own Tomos of Autonomy?
If, having granted that Tomos, the MP then established their own distinctly Russian dioceses (and not under the Ukrainian hierarchy), then no, thwy wouldn't be honoring their own Tomos. Which is exactly the parallel to the situation in America since May 2007. (Actually, I think there's a good argument to be made that what the MP gave with one hand in 1970 it immediately took back with the other, since it kept the Patriarchal Parishes under its own separate jurisdiction... but at least with that it could maintain the fiction of acknowledging the Tomos of Autocephaly by having their administrator not be a ruling bishop, nor one having title to an American city. But now, as a prime example, the MP has its own Metropolitan of New York as a sitting member of its permanent Holy Synod.
BTW I am asking these hard questions because they are issues people in the OCA should be considering very carefully, particularly as you head into your Council next month.
>Or the establishment of Georgian, Russian, Bulgarian,
>Romanian, etc. bishoprics on the "territory" of the EP in
>America ( at least according to their theory" mean that
>none of the above recognize the EP?
There's a difference between recognizing the EP and recognizing that the Americas are the canonical territory of the EP per Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon... and your example does show that they do not admit the latter. Which proves my point, since the MP now has ruling bishops (with titles to American sees) on what it on paper at least supposedly recognizes to be the canonical territory of the OCA.
>The EP's "steadfast" support of the Estonian Church was
>noticeably absent from 1939-1990
So it was. But that is not the case now nor into the future. And you had better believe that the MP is setting its isghts on the future, not the past.
Another reason I'm posing these hard questions is that there is much that is positive about the OCA, particularly the renewal of liturgical life and practice spearheaded by Fr. Alexander Schmemann of blessed memory, as well as other figures. If you look elsewhere on Fr. Andrew's site you will see that their vision is dead-set for turning back the clock and eliminating this renewal... and you will see this borne out in practice in England (think Sourouzh diocese and the former Bishop Basil Osborne... and how the EP has protected those faithful) as well as in Nice,
It's ultimately going to come down to the choice between the EP and the MP in America, and one of the things the readership here should be asking is this: "Which of these two will continue to allow the Holy Spirit to revivify the liturgical life of the Church, in - for example - continuing to allow the beautiful theology expressed in the Holy Anaphora to be given to the people as opposed to taking it from them by devolving back to the so-called "secret prayers"? Which - for another example - will allow the iconic embodiment of the Body of Christ as the joint synergy of clergy and laity in the restoration of the open iconostas which differentiates but does not divide, or which would build them up as walls separating the Body?
Tough questions, but ones that everyone in the oCA and beyond should be thinking about.
In YHWH Made Flesh, Christ our God,
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Assad has embraced religion - the religions of Syria's minorities. Not far into the recent unpleasantness he promoted an Antiochian Orthodox general to head the Syrian Armed Forces.
The leaders of the Moscow Patriarchate are wolves in shepherd's robes!
The Moscow Patriarchate not only has violated the most ancient of the Scared Canons by constructing and concelebrating with its schismatic "Eparchy" in occupied Abkhazia; the MP but actively oppresses those who wish to worship in the authentic Orthodox Church. The "leader" of the Abhkhaz entity personally led the forces that expelled the last legitimate Orthodox clergy from the newly occupied territories just before Pascha of 2009. Since that time the Orthodox Christians of Gali and Kodori have had to run the guantlet of the border crossing with the risk of kidnapping, robbery, beatings or sniper attacks in order to worship study or seek medical attention in Zugdidi.
During the 2009 invasion, Russian bishops literally "blessed" the weapons used against civilian populations and used to destroy the ancient Ghvrtaeba Cathedral in Nikazi.
The enormity of these crimes cry out to Almighty God; but our Orthodox clergy continue to maintain a conspiracy of silence, while the Moscow Patriarchate gains ever more influence over the Orthodox in America.....
The church as an institution has not always lived up to the teaching of the Gospel. Sadly, violence is not just a relic of the past, nor is the church innocent of involvement in violent persecution.
The Soviet Era constitutions gave special privileges to the so-called “titular minorities” in order decrease national cohesion and weaken the conquered nations. In Abkhazia the Apsua (Abkhazian people) comprised only 17% of the population; but were guaranteed control of the local government. After Georgia declared independence, fearing loss of their status, the Apsua declared war on their ethnic Georgian neighbors, who comprised 47% of the population in Abkhazia. With the help of their allies in the “Union of the Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus”, a Muslim confederacy, the Apsua all but exterminated the Georgian community in Abkhazia. Nearly 47,000 Georgian Orthodox Christians were killed, and nearly 250,000 were driven into exile.
For more information of this conflict you may read: “The 1992-93 Georgian – Abkhazian War: A Forgotten Conflict” by Alexandros Petersen of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
or the report “The Dynamics and Challenges of Ethnic Cleansing: The Georgia-Abkhazia Case” by the United Nations High Commission on Refuges at:
The complicity of the Moscow Patriarchate in the persecution of the legitimate Orthodox Christians in occupied Abkhazia is a great sin against humanity, and against Christ. The Russian bishops’ blessing of the weapons used to destroy ancient Orthodox temples and used to murder innocent civilians is a blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
It is our obligatory duty to stand for and with the victims of armed aggression and to act on their behalf. If we do not speak out on behalf of the victims of this war, then we will hear the Lord’s rebuke: “As you did it not for these the least of my brethren, so you did it not for Me.” Matthew 25:45. If we fail to reprove those who have embarked on the road to eternal torment, then we will be likewise culpable of their condemnation. We do no kindness to the Russian bishops if we “hide their sin” out of a false humility or a desire to maintain a public facade of unity.
We are called to take a stand, to uphold the Savior’s commandments and the most ancient Apostolic Canons. If there are no rules that govern the church, then how can anyone hope to create a canonical unity for the Orthodox in America?
#16 Francis Frost on 2011-10-10 20:08
Patriarch Kirill lauds Putin for ‘enhancing Russia’s international authority’
October 12, 2011
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has lauded Vladimir Putin in a birthday greeting to the nation’s former president (2000-8), current prime minister (since 2008), and presidential candidate.
Praising Putin’s “integrity and intense love for the motherland,” Patriarch Kirill said that “God has bestowed on you the gift of doing numerous responsible jobs, including as Russia’s president and prime minister. I testify that largely thanks to your efforts was a tendency overcome that could have pushed our country toward a breakup.”
“As the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, I rejoice at the thought that in the current new relations between Church and state and with your direct participation, proper conditions have been created for further fruitful cooperation between Church, on the one hand, and the Russian government and many ministries and agencies, on the other.”
“Together we demonstrate the care for the moral health of the nation, for strengthening peace and public accord, and for enhancing Russia's international authority,” the patriarch added.
Patriarch Kirill’s remarks follow comments by a leading Russian Orthodox official, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, who last month signaled approval for President Dmitri Medvedev’s decision to nominate Putin to be his successor.
#17 anonymous on 2011-10-12 10:42
No matter what happens in Cyprus, I just hope the rest of us continue to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for widows and orphans, and the sick, encourage the despairing, etc. We don't need bishops' permission to take the initiative to be compassionate to "the least of these". The Lord's blessing conveyed by the bishop, yes, that would be nice.
Let's not get too distracted. Though, I'd be interested to find out who in Cyprus was first to wash the feet of the others. Eis polla to that man.
#18 Alex Langley on 2011-10-16 17:16
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