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Author Topic: A United American Orthodoxy: Practical Considerations  (Read 10760 times) Average Rating: 0
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GiC
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« Reply #45 on: February 05, 2007, 09:05:11 PM »

You probably do not know this but a few years ago at our  Antiochian conventions 99% of the delegates voted in favor of the self-rule status. They know self-rule is a step on the way to becoming a united Orthodox church. Many of the wealthy Arab-Americans are right with Met. Philip. No one is ready to leave a very well-run archdiocese and leave beautiful church properties behind to join a very weak and disorganized Jerusalem Patriarchal church. The Jerusalem Patriachate itself is poorly run. It's church here doesn't have a chance to succeed in America.

Of course, if they leave the Patriarchate of Antioch, Antioch will still have rights to the property...if the Archdioceses schisms to join the Metropolia, they leave their property behind. As far as the efficiency of the Jerusalem Patriarchate; Jerusalem's activity have been curtailed by Constantinople, a luxury the Antiochians will not enjoy should they chose to schism.
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« Reply #46 on: February 05, 2007, 09:06:56 PM »

Gic, are you sure you aren't a present day pharisee? Your seemingly endless stickling for legal interpretations sounds sadly all too familiar.

The canons against schism have well established purposes...Americans won't will not have been the first to try this schism thing.
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« Reply #47 on: February 05, 2007, 09:18:48 PM »

Yes, the Greeks do alot of good things, but they also aren't very welcoming to outsiders. Its hard to start unity in the Greek Church when If you're not Greek you're not welcome is the norm. And as far as being entirely derogatory to the Greeks, I guess the "minority" of Greeks showing a poor example has tainted my overall vision.
I have to disagree with the above statement.  I have never felt unwelcome in any Greek parish I have been to.  (At least no more unwelcome then in any other Orthodox churches.)  Just for the record, if you saw me, there would be no doubt that my ethnic origin is northern Slavic.  I stand out like a sore thumb in a Greek church!  It probably helps that I say "Kali Mera!" to the Yia Yias (why not, it is a Greek parish and it's not going to kill me to try to fit in!), light a few candles, and put money in the collection plate.  I've never not been invited to coffee hour afterwards!
On the other hand, I have seen visitors to my parish who come in, make big pretentious signs of the cross, bow and scrape all over the place, and kiss every icon they see.  Even I'm a little leery approaching them after liturgy.   Undecided
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« Reply #48 on: February 05, 2007, 09:26:46 PM »

The contempt for converts that seems apparent in so many of your posts is a slap in the face to those of us who came to Orthodoxy in search of truth.
Veniamin,
Not to defend Aserb (although I didn't think his post was derogatory towards converts), Truth comes with a price.  As we sing in the Tropar to St John the Baptist, "having endured great suffering for the truth..."
And we all know how the story ends, truth cost him his head.  Thank God we Orthodox found it - three times! Cheesy
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« Reply #49 on: February 05, 2007, 09:26:47 PM »

Yes, the Greeks do alot of good things, but they also aren't very welcoming to outsiders. Its hard to start unity in the Greek Church when If you're not Greek you're not welcome is the norm. And as far as being entirely derogatory to the Greeks, I guess the "minority" of Greeks showing a poor example has tainted my overall vision.

I had a really productive discussion the other day in my Parish Ministry class about "Greek" parishes, and we basically agreed (or they basically agreed with my point) that the crux of the issue is charity unrelated to language or culture.  There are Greek parishes that are very friendly and inviting (what I would call True Greeks) and there are Greek parishes that are not (total fakers).  Unfortunately, because it seems like there are more inhospitable than hospitable it seems like the latter wins out over the former.  This is unfortunate, considering the historical emphasis of the Greek people on hospitality (maybe it's why we're so good at restaurants).  Now, maybe the idea of preserving ethnic identity in this country helps to make groups less hospitable than normal - yet, if this is true then it is most certainly not a Greek problem per se, but instead should also be present to some degree with Ukranians, Russians, Arabs/Palestinians, Copts, etc. (Which it seems to be).

On a general note, I apologize if I have offended any members of the Greek Church. I'll just shut up and let GiC run the thread

Don't do that!  He may be right on the finer points of canon law, but you just can't let him win the war without a fight!!!!!!!
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« Reply #50 on: February 05, 2007, 09:28:57 PM »

Of course, if they leave the Patriarchate of Antioch, Antioch will still have rights to the property...if the Archdioceses schisms to join the Metropolia, they leave their property behind.

Not necessarily.  That one basically boils down to whomever has their name on the deed gets it.  If the corporate entity that owns the property leaves, the courts will refuse to entertain disputes regarding who is the "legitimate" St. So-and-So Church (or diocese, or whatever) that occupies it.  You might be able to pull that one elsewhere, but American courts refuse to deal with questions of ecclesiastical hierarchy and such.  

For an example, look at the property battles going on in the Episcopal Church.  The parishes that leave and owned the property in their own name keep it, while those that leave, but had property owned by the diocese (or held in trust for the diocese) lose it.  The courts don't care about schism and heresy and such, they're just going to look at who has the title.
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« Reply #51 on: February 05, 2007, 09:35:21 PM »

Not necessarily.  That one basically boils down to whomever has their name on the deed gets it.  If the corporate entity that owns the property leaves, the courts will refuse to entertain disputes regarding who is the "legitimate" St. So-and-So Church (or diocese, or whatever) that occupies it.  You might be able to pull that one elsewhere, but American courts refuse to deal with questions of ecclesiastical hierarchy and such.  

I keep hearing this argument time and time again, by various groups, yet every time they go to court the court rules based on first amendment issues and these groups tend to loose. Repeatedly in the case of the catholic and orthodox churches the courts have refused to give local churches legal ownership of property in event of a dispute with their superiors, regardless of who holds the deed. Ultimately corporate law is rarely applied in these cases and they are decided on first amendment grounds. The antiochians are free to try their schism, but I personally like the Church's odds.
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« Reply #52 on: February 05, 2007, 10:13:32 PM »

GIC,

We do not have a charter like the GOA that states all property of the Antiochian Archdiocese belongs to the Patriarchate.
The Archdiocese owns all the properties not the patriarchate. I think the Greek Archdiocese charter is set-up differently.

The Jerusalem Patriarchate does not have good leadership here or abroad. Without good leadership a new Archdiocese cannot be established. I have seen first hand how the patriarchate works....their parishes here will never make it. Most of the missions started here have never gotten off the ground because the people are poorly catechized due to the ineptitude of the leadership in Jerusalem. Their people do not understand that a church must be financially supported. Most of the missions were never able to buy land because the people are not willing to give money to purchase property. They will never be a threat even if the EP gives them the green light.
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« Reply #53 on: February 05, 2007, 10:24:09 PM »

GIC,

We do not have a charter like the GOA that states all property of the Antiochian Archdiocese belongs to the Patriarchate.
The Archdiocese owns all the properties not the patriarchate. I think the Greek Archdiocese charter is set-up differently.

Doesn't matter, the leadership of the Archdiocese is subject to the authority of the Synod of Antioch. The legitimate Bishops of the Antiochian Archdioceses Church are those who are deemed legitimate by Antioch. So if Anitoch excommunicates schismatic bishops and installs new Bishops, it's those new Bishops who are the proper authorities in the Archdioceses and they have control over the property. Regardless of the 'charter' the bottom line is that the Church is hierarchical in nature, and our courts will not interfere in the hierarchical operations of the Church, that is to say our courts will not undermine the ecclesiastical authority of the Synod of Antioch. You all can give it a try, but the history of court rulings involving hierarchical churches suggest that the Church, not the schismatics, will win.

Quote
The Jerusalem Patriarchate does not have good leadership here or abroad. Without good leadership a new Archdiocese cannot be established. I have seen first hand how the patriarchate works....their parishes here will never make it. Most of the missions started here have never gotten off the ground because the people are poorly catechized due to the ineptitude of the leadership in Jerusalem. Their people do not understand that a church must be financially supported. Most of the missions were never able to buy land because the people are not willing to give money to purchase property. They will never be a threat even if the EP gives them the green light.

If people's only choices were between the Jerusalem Patriarchate and some non-canonical american church, I am sure that a significant number of parishes will join with either Jerusalem or Constantinople. Jerusalem would gain these parishes for political reasons, not for reasons of leadership.
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« Reply #54 on: February 05, 2007, 10:27:55 PM »

Cleveland,

I have Greeks in my family so I am a little biased and I have always had Greek friends. But then again, Arabs share alot in common with Greeks so maybe it was easier for me to fit in with them culturally. I have actually found Russians to be a little stand-offish but I chalk that up to cultural differences in behavior.

I also have to admit that Greek priests usually run the best Bible studies I have ever attended. I am praying for unity with the Greeks because their many qualities as a people and as a church will be indispensible. I think each ethnic church has something to offer to bring about the fullness we will need as a  United Orthodox church.
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« Reply #55 on: February 05, 2007, 10:45:58 PM »

GIC,

Let me be more blunt. If they declared the bishops schismatics and installed their own puppets they would destroy the Archdiocese because the people would leave and then Antioch would have no future. Believe me when I say the Arab hierarchy in Syria are not fools. They have helped to nurture our archdiocese and they have a real love for the American people. They are excited by the conversions of Americans to Orthodoxy (info from my father confessor who had lunch with the patriarch). It is a completely different mind-set than what you are used to dealing with the Greek hierarchy abroad. Patriarch IGNATIUS is a very simple and loving man who has stated he knows the archdiocese will eventually become a part of a unified church. A unified Orthodox church would continue to support Antioch because of the love and unity we share with them. The only thing that would stop us from helping them would be if the Syrian government was toppled. Then we would open our hearts to our brothers and sisters in Syria and welcome them into our parishes.

I very much doubt many would join a backward Jerusalem Patriarchal church. Most Syrian and Lebanese Americans joined their brothers, the Palestinian Americans in an effort called the Jerusalem Task Force to help the suffering Palestinians who were losing their church properties to the Jews because of the incompetant and greedy Jerusalem synod. The Antiochians were the ones that started the task force. No, Arabs of every stripe and those who are not Arabs would see the future belongs to a strong Church made up of OCA and AOCA parishes.
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« Reply #56 on: February 05, 2007, 11:02:58 PM »

I very much doubt many would join a backward Jerusalem Patriarchal church. Most Syrian and Lebanese Americans joined their brothers, the Palestinian Americans in an effort called the Jerusalem Task Force to help the suffering Palestinians who were losing their church properties to the Jews because of the incompetant and greedy Jerusalem synod. The Antiochians were the ones that started the task force. No, Arabs of every stripe and those who are not Arabs would see the future belongs to a strong Church made up of OCA and AOCA parishes.

Oh I am more than aware of the political manoeuvring by certain arab factions that forced the unjust deposition of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, who had violated no canon in his dealings. I would hardly be proud of associations with such low and unethical people.

Of course, a few malcontent arabs of dubious morals and ethics meddling in the politics of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem is one thing, expecting the Synod of Antioch to stand in direct defiance to the Oecumenical Throne is entirely another. I see the chances of Antioch supporting such a schism to be slim to nil. Furthermore, you speak of Syrian/Lebanese/Palestinian brotherhood, yet by your actions you seek to undermine any connections to the old world, I doubt your efforts will be as well received as you seem to believe they will people will break off from you if you schism.

Finally, I think you underestimate greed, as soon as Antioch and their new legitimate bishops gained rights to the property, the faithful would return in droves...very few are willing to abandon their parish properties for some idealistic dream.
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« Reply #57 on: February 05, 2007, 11:31:10 PM »

GIC,

You and I perceive things from very different views. The majority of the Palestinians who have come to America are in the Antiochian Archdiocese for very good reason. They do not speak with love or affection for the hierarchs they left behind. Oh the personal stories I have heard directly from the Palestinian immigrants but they are too sickening to enumerate here.
The level of corruption that existed in Jerusalem is well-known through out the Orthodox world. Thank God the Antiochians were able to shake off the Greek hierarchy in the late nineteeth century otherwise Antioch would be dying right now too. But like I said before the numbers tell the story. Almost 1,000,000 Antiochians versus a dying patriarchate of Jerusalem.

I disagree with you about the greed in Antioch but then I have met many who are from that part of the world including hierarchs. There has never been a hint of corruption or greed coming from that see. Bishop JOSEPH came from that synod
and he is an example of the Antiochian spirit that I pray will continue to live on.
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« Reply #58 on: February 06, 2007, 02:53:55 AM »

You all do understand that if the Antiochian Archdiocese were to disolve and join with the Metropolia that they would be excommunicated by Antioch, and that Constantinople, Alexandria, and Jerusalem would soon follow? And with the reunion between ROCOR and Moscow, Moscow is now a wild card in this whole affair, they may judge that they can reassert their influence in the America through, or at least in cooperation with, ROCROR. Of course, several other Churches from Cyprus to Serbia to Greece would then follow the lead of the Ancient Patriarchates. And after all that, they still would only be the second largest Jurisdiction in North America, though they would enjoy the distinction of the largest non-canonical jurisdiction.

No one was talking about Antioch doing this without the approval of the mothership before you asserted that this is how it would work.  Your imperious attitude and your deliberate attempts to sew the seeds of dissension are tiresome.  It's very rude of you to constantly refer to the OCA as "the Metropolia."  We all know that you don't recognize the autocephaly of the OCA.  This is well and good, you're not the only one to think this way around here.  However, if your Imperial Majesty would see fit to allow us poor Slavic and Arabic-speaking barbarians, along with East Romans, the chance to try to conceive of a possible model for Church unity in the Americas, we would be forever and grovelingly grateful.  Kiss 
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« Reply #59 on: February 06, 2007, 03:11:42 AM »

Also, the unity question is raised, I believe, more by converts than cradles. I think that most cradle Orthodox do not give unity much thought.

Tragic, if true.

Quote
Furthermore, I do not think that our problems with unity are all that horrendous. Look at the Protestant (especially evangelical) jurisdictions that many converts hail from. Possibly, this is a reaction or desire of theirs given all the disunity they experienced prior to becoming Orthodox. 

Sorry, not to be rude, but in this you are very much mistaken.  People want unity because they know that having more than one bishop with jurisdicition over one area is - and there is no other word for it - an abomination in the face of the Orthodox understanding of the nature of the Church. 
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« Reply #60 on: February 06, 2007, 08:33:56 AM »

Pravosalvbob:

Thank you for your insight.

Ven or whatever your name is. I am not anti-convert. I am very pro convert and am for cathechizing converts properly and not seeking them out for their cash but for their heart. I ma the first to greet new faces in my church and welcome them.  SO back off Jackson.
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« Reply #61 on: February 06, 2007, 08:52:03 AM »

Ven or whatever your name is. I am not anti-convert. I am very pro convert and am for cathechizing converts properly and not seeking them out for their cash but for their heart. I ma the first to greet new faces in my church and welcome them.  SO back off Jackson.

So you put a nice face on and then rush here to bash converts.  How charming.  If you're going to be anti-convert, fine, that's your choice, but at least try to pull a GiC and be man enough to admit it.
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« Reply #62 on: February 06, 2007, 09:43:45 AM »

So you put a nice face on and then rush here to bash converts.  How charming.  If you're going to be anti-convert, fine, that's your choice, but at least try to pull a GiC and be man enough to admit it.

Veniamin,
I can't find anything which aserb has said on this thread which could possibly have warranted or precipitated such an uncharitable accusation.
Frankly, I'm surprised, because I know that you're normally a very fair guy.
I'm gonna put this one down to the Purple Demons since they were released when we opened the Triodion last Sunday.
I hope you choose to fix this by Forgiveness Sunday.
In the meantime, could we avoid ad hominems?
George

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« Reply #63 on: February 06, 2007, 09:55:22 AM »

However, if your Imperial Majesty would see fit to allow us poor Slavic and Arabic-speaking barbarians, along with East Romans, the chance to try to conceive of a possible model for Church unity in the Americas, we would be forever and grovelingly grateful.  Kiss 

The problem is the OCA conceived of a model of unity and it failed (nobody held them back btw, far from it), and by pushing that model they’ve actually damaged the prospects of unity.  That is the situation as it stands now.

Quote
People want unity because they know that having more than one bishop with jurisdicition over one area is - and there is no other word for it - an abomination in the face of the Orthodox understanding of the church

Is having overlapping bishops in the OCA for the ethnic dioceses an “abomination”, or is that okay?  Because in truth, there’s not much difference.
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« Reply #64 on: February 06, 2007, 11:06:32 AM »

The truth is that models of episcopal oversight have changed over time - once upon a time we had bishops who were assisted by chorepiscopus - the bishop was in the nearest city, the chorepiscopus would serve the rural areas (in fact, a model that America would be a perfect environment for - of course, the East Romans didn't need the office anymore, the West Romans replaced them with mere Archdeacons when they didn't need them anymore, the Syriacs still have them...) There also is the precedent of bishops who were not in a city, but over ethnic groups - the Patriarch of Jerusalem's Bishop of the Camps (to the ethnic Arab Bedouins) is an example.

We also have a precedent, though short-lived, for a native American episcopate. The Metropolia once had a Western rite Bishop of Washington D.C. - the same is now the Antiochian's Western Rite Vicariate. I, for one, don't find OCA's vision of American Orthodoxy convincingly American - they lost their vision on that issue some 75 years ago, and need regain it before they can truly claim to be the Orthodox Church for America. (Noting, their inclusivity is based upon whether one accepts the reforms of their jurisdictional theologians upon Orthodox liturgy and praxis, and that though the vernacular is allowed, all who join must conform to the church culture inherited from the Russian/Ukrainian Greek Catholics or be placed in an ethnic diocese - the latter having no long term future.) The point being, not OCA bashing (it isn't) but realistic assessment showing that we don't have the leadership in America yet that could or would hold everyone together *in charity*.

As for the Antiochians, I agree with Tamara. One thing I noticed during the time leading up to Self-Rule is that the laity (especially the Middle Eastern laity) where very suspicious of anything that might separate them from Antioch. Self-Rule was accepted by the laity because after multiple explanations, it was seen as not being schismatic - any method that would include schism from Antioch, it won't sell.

Myself - I have no interest in being absorbed into the GOA or OCA. Either option might as well 'pack up shop' - it isn't going to 'Make America Orthodox' or gain the acceptance of the Orthodox patriarchates. It will just lead to a final showdown between Moscow and Constantinople - which really does not need to happen. The answer is another way - one that isn't really being suggested, but it will take God to accomplish it.
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« Reply #65 on: February 06, 2007, 11:32:47 AM »

People want unity because they know that having more than one bishop with jurisdicition over one area is - and there is no other word for it - an abomination in the face of the Orthodox understanding of the nature of the Church. 

So, jurisdiction is so central to the nature of the Church that some alleged infraction of the proper jurisdictional model (which has changed many times in the history of the Church) is not only ill-advised, but an actual abomination?!?

(I hope I don't need to answer that question!)

I think Fr. John Behr addressed the fallacy -- both historical, theological and spiritual -- of this strange line of thinking in his excellent article in Again magazine (Summer 2006, Vol. 28, No. 2).

Quote
In light of this, it is worth asking whether the canonical principles articulated so clearly during the twentieth century (especially the identity of a local church as the whole given geographical area gathered around a single bishop) are in fact eternal principles always expressive of the being of the Church. Could they rather be reflective of the being of the Church as she existed in a country that identified itself as Orthodox? Or is there perhaps even a way of envisioning Orthodox Church life based on other models altogether?

It is striking, for instance, that Byzantine cities were not divided up into territorial parishes, each with its own church to which all were expected to go (as they were, for example, in England). It is estimated that up to half the churches in Constantinople were private churches, on private estates, monasteries, and so on.

Nevertheless, it might be pointed out, there was only one bishop of Constantinople. However, even this idea of “one city—one bishop” is not the only way the Church has existed over the centuries. Despite the rosy and romantic picture given by early Christian historians such as Eusebius, of the apostles appointing single bishops in each geographical area (thereby enshrining a vision of Church
history articulated in terms of the succession of bishops), historical reality is more complicated.

Already the Apostle Paul, writing to the Roman Christians, indicates the existence of over half-a-dozen different Christian groups or house-churches, each with its own leader (see Romans 16), and this before any apostle had visited Rome. Several decades later, St. Ignatius of Antioch also knew of no single “bishop” of Rome, although he was the earliest and most forceful advocate of monoepiscopacy (the claim that the Christian community in each place must gather around a single bishop). Likewise St. Justin in the mid-second century. And when St. Irenaeus described the succession of the presbyters or bishops (he uses the term interchangeably) of the Christian community in Rome, it was the succession of but one of the communities, albeit the one that gradually assumed leadership over the others.

All this is to say, there was no single bishop of Rome until the end of the second century, or perhaps even as late as the third decade of the third century. Instead, there were a number of churches, each led by its own bishop/ presbyter. Some of these churches seem to have gathered along ethnic lines (especially the Christians from Asia Minor who resided in Rome), others along perceived intellectual or spiritual affinity. In other words, it looked a lot like the way New York, or any other large metropolitan area, looks today!

Of course, Fr. John put the case mildly (based, it seems, on Peter Lampe's extensive analysis of early Roman Christianity). Regardless, the point is that the administration of the Church is a disciplinary matter, not a dogmatic one, and the exact form of the Church's governance has changed many times -- always as a reflection of the reality in which the Church found herself. When there were small, fractionated communities, there were small, "overlapping jurisdictions." When there was an Empire, there was an Imperial Church. When there were a bunch of nationalists doing the Nation State thing, there were national Churches. (Just to name a few.)

In North America, we currently have small, more-or-less ethnic communities that are only beginning to work together in substantial ways (especially in Canada, New York and New England). Administrative structures simply reflect pastoral realities. If we put more effort into actualizing the unity we already have, unified governance will follow naturally.
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« Reply #66 on: February 06, 2007, 12:14:50 PM »

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Myself - I have no interest in being absorbed into the GOA or OCA. Either option might as well 'pack up shop' - it isn't going to 'Make America Orthodox' or gain the acceptance of the Orthodox patriarchates. It will just lead to a final showdown between Moscow and Constantinople - which really does not need to happen.

It doesn’t, but may anyway.  Your point does bring up what I think is the other, and probably equally important issue here and that is that all of this is part of wider range of issues.  Churches under the Omophorion or tied closely to the MP, are going to have a lot of problems merging with those under the EP.  Metropolitan Herman for instance recently came out on the Sourozh issue, which both highlights the difficulty in America and the wider context of the issue.  Another example is the Ukrainians look at the OCA as a “Russian” church, and are looking to the EP for help in Ukraine (which I think is actually a much more pressing issue than North America).

What’s also important to keep in mind, which I think your post brings up, is that we are only talking about consolidation.  The MP and ROCOR, who do not participate in SCOBA, I can say with a very high level of certainty would not join a consolidated American Orthodox Church for a number of reasons.

Quote
The answer is another way - one that isn't really being suggested, but it will take God to accomplish

What is the other way of which you speak?

One more thought, I did mention that I do think the one kickstart the consolidation process could get is though the merging of the AOA and OCA.  To me it’s logical, yet it still hasn’t happened after all this time.  I will say, and maybe this would lead me to pull it out of the practical possibility realm, is what I have heard before is not encouraging.  In the one Antiochian parish I was around, the people were very dismissive of the OCA.  I got the feeling they weren’t the only ones.
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« Reply #67 on: February 06, 2007, 12:27:48 PM »

After reading all the post I think I should say a few things.

1. Unity in America will not happen until the GOA, OCA and AOCA are all on board. There are those in the OCA who think that the OCA can merge with just the AOCA but I can tell you that the AOCA will not enter into a merger without the GOA.

2. The reason we do not have unity today is because we are not ready for it. Will we be ready for it next year or 10 years or 100 years? Only God knows this but in the meantime we can pray for it. We can also work to get to know our brother so that we can be of one mind. This thread is a perfect example of we don't have unity, it is because we are not united in mind or ethos. We do have unity in the chalice and that is of course the strongest unity and we can only have administrative unity if we don't loose the unity of the chalice.

3. Our Mother Churches treat us like children because we act like children. We are good little children who always do what our parents ask us and we do so out of love for them. Out of love parents need to let their children grow up and we need to sit down and talk with them on an adult level. If a group of respected priest and hierarchs were to travel from the USA and visit Constantinople, Moscow and Damascus and speak about the real issues at hand this would be a great step forward.

4. We need to cultivate our friendships with the Churches of Alexandria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Greece. Each of these churches has lessons that we can learn and in the end we will need to help to bring about unity here in America.
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« Reply #68 on: February 06, 2007, 12:47:26 PM »

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Churches under the Omophorion or tied closely to the MP, are going to have a lot of problems merging with those under the EP.  

I'd have to agree - the closest thing to a 'welcoming' mission we have in our region is Ukrainian. The issues in their country I think are far more of a scandal than jurisdictional disunity in the West. I agree with the Ukrainians though - despite their claims, I can but see OCA as a 'Russian church'. The claims to being American I just can't buy - they have Slavic customs, Slavic liturgy, a Slavic calendar, etc. English use or accepting converts - no dice, *everyone* does that (and, there are parts of the OCA that don't.) I hadn't heard that Met. Herman had issued anything on the Sourozh affair - anyone have a link?  

Quote
 The MP and ROCOR, who do not participate in SCOBA, I can say with a very high level of certainty would not join a consolidated American Orthodox Church for a number of reasons.

Yes. The same goes for the Jerusalem exarchate.

Quote
What is the other way of which you speak?

The way of charity. The implementation of which has not been given to me - but it is obvious that the reason the problem exists is because of total lack of charity. All attempts thus far towards a unified American Church have either with blustery pride ie "We are the only church, join us or die!" or the wolfish "Come here... so I can eat you!" Any option is not an option that does not both protect the interests of the ethnically Eastern (preservation of their customs which are tied to their faith locally, outreach to new immigrants, recognition of local minority ethnic areas in America), nor those of the majority culture (use of English or other vernaculars, separating assimilation to American culture from also leaving Orthodoxy, not opposing missionary outreach by the Western rite which includes, not accepting a model of 'Americanism' which is hostile to Western civilizaion, married to a particular political sect, or regional in nature.)

Quote
  In the one Antiochian parish I was around, the people were very dismissive of the OCA.  I got the feeling they weren’t the only ones.

Which is my point about charity - the way of charity accommodates the weak rather than abuses or excludes them. The only issue for unity for us Orthodox *should* be dogmatic theology and moral praxis - ie, Orthodoxy. There is no leadership because leadership does not seek to be the head. Instead, we have mere seeking for gain - desire to have everyone else under their own jurisdictional structure, doing liturgy 'just our way', accepting only this local version of theologumena, their ethnicity on top, and closing off the future for everyone else.

So, again - Charity above all else. And that's what I pray for, that God raise up bishops who preside in charity that by the Holy Spirit can work it out without needlessly harming souls.
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« Reply #69 on: February 06, 2007, 12:48:36 PM »

aserb: George is right, that was waaaay out of line and uncalled for.  I let my temper get the better of me.  I apologize for my comments and hope you'll forgive me.  Being a convert myself, I tend to be really sensitive about that topic, even when there's no reason to be.  I'll try to not let myself type faster than I can think in the future.
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« Reply #70 on: February 06, 2007, 01:10:25 PM »

Arimathea wrote:
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1. Unity in America will not happen until the GOA, OCA and AOCA are all on board.

It will take more than that - unity in America will not happen until the JP, MP, ROCA, SOC, UOCUSA, BOC,
ROAAC, and *everyone* is onboard. I don't think an OCA/AOCA merger will happen either - the OCA still makes missions from those who have left the AOCA out of spite (the last two missions in Oklahoma), and their offer to AOCA is an 'ethnic Arab diocese' with no guarantees of a future for the AWRV or the DME parishes/missions. It has to be everyone included, or it isn't unity. (Which shows how much the AOCA is misunderstood - it is less of an ethnic jurisdiction than the OCA.)

I don't think the united ethos matters either - charity could include various 'ethos' (Antiochian or Alexandrian, Slavic or Greek, Western or Eastern etc.) The reason we aren't united is because we don't have charity. The one mind, that is for sure - we lack the one mind because most everyone seems to have in his own mind what he wills for the others. As long as the mind has the desire to rule or suppress the other, we'll have a disunity of mind.
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« Reply #71 on: February 06, 2007, 01:40:31 PM »

It will take more than that - unity in America will not happen until the JP, MP, ROCA, SOC, UOCUSA, BOC,
ROAAC, and *everyone* is onboard. 
I agree with this fully but to be honest I am not sure if some of the groups you mentioned will ever want to be united with an Orthodox Church of North America. Ultimately if you see a unification of the big 3 (GOA, AOCA and OCA) you will see the other members of SCOBA join the party.

Those who are not in SCOBA are another story and there is much flux and we don't have a clear picture of what that is going to look like yet with the merger between ROCOR and MP. Whatever happens unity will not happen overnight, it will take time and there will need to some small steps alongside the giant leaps. Some of these groups will come into the fold and some will not but time will heal.
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« Reply #72 on: February 06, 2007, 01:51:14 PM »

Our Mother Churches treat us like children because we act like children.

Unfortunately our mother churches have not been models of good behavior, and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

I hadn't heard that Met. Herman had issued anything on the Sourozh affair - anyone have a link?

http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=2441

Quote
Any option is not an option that does not both protect the interests of the ethnically Eastern (preservation of their customs which are tied to their faith locally, outreach to new immigrants, recognition of local minority ethnic areas in America), nor those of the majority culture (use of English or other vernaculars, separating assimilation to American culture from also leaving Orthodoxy, not opposing missionary outreach by the Western rite which includes, not accepting a model of 'Americanism' which is hostile to Western civilizaion, married to a particular political sect, or regional in nature.)

I agree with that.

Quote
Which is my point about charity - the way of charity accommodates the weak rather than abuses or excludes them.

This was before the financial stuff came out though, back when Bishop Nikolai was saying unity would happen by joining the OCA.


Quote
I don't think an OCA/AOCA merger will happen either - the OCA still makes missions from those who have left the AOCA out of spite

It’s a two way street.  The AOA mission nearest me started 10 miles from one OCA parish and 15 from another.  They also pulled in a number of people directly from one of the parishes.
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« Reply #73 on: February 06, 2007, 02:36:18 PM »

Arimathea wrote:
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Ultimately if you see a unification of the big 3 (GOA, AOCA and OCA) you will see the other members of SCOBA join the party.

Since the question was about the practical - I don't think a big three merger is practical. It would likely produce some parishes, clergy and laity leaving the big three. I don't think it follows that other members of SCOBA would join either - it would likely mean an end to SCOBA. It would likely also be the 'straw that broke the camels back' with the Moscow-Constantinople standoff. The point being, even if such a merger occurred, it would just be the same old story with one jurisdiction claiming to be the only canonical Church for America while sharing the same space with other canonical jurisdictions including some having remaining canonical claims to the territory of the Americas. Until all parties are ready, then we can't call a merger of any jurisdictions 'Orthodox Unity in America' - anymore than we can call the OCA Autocephaly, reunion of MP-ROCOR, the UOCA-UOCUSA or the two Antiochian jurisdictions.

 (I say that being aware that the Americas were first under the jurisdiction, pre-schism, of the Latin rite Archbishop St. Libentius I (Liawizo/Libizo) O.S.B. of Hamburg-Bremen +1013, January 4 and the crown of Olaf Tryggvason of Norway +1000, Sep 9, the Patriarch of Rome being Pope Sylvester II, +1003, May 12. Leif Ericcson's mission west to found the first Western settlements being undertaken with the express disire of King Olaf to expand the Church into the West lands amongst the Skraelings. The first recorded to find America according to the records being the Hebridean Christian Bjarni Herjulfson. I think there is just as much a valid claim there for the Americas not being 'virgin territory' for either Russian or Greek claims and so the same sensitivity as towards Western Christians in Europe need apply - ie, the Americas are 'Latin' territory as the pre-Russian mission Papal decrees for Spain and Portugal illustrate.)

Welkodox wrote:
Quote
This was before the financial stuff came out though, back when Bishop Nikolai was saying unity would happen by joining the OCA

Has this particular scandal changed the opinions of hierarchs, clergy and laity? I had not noticed locally. If so, then glory to God - even in sorrow some good may come.

Quote
It’s a two way street.  The AOA mission nearest me started 10 miles from one OCA parish and 15 from another.  They also pulled in a number of people directly from one of the parishes.

I agree - though I don't know if the situation you describe is like that which I experienced (which I note, was quite public - accusations being made against the existing GOA, AOA, and ROCA parishes to the media.)  None of the existing parishes begrudged them wanting to have OCA missions, just how it was portrayed to the media and us still in the existing parishes that the rest of us were so 'liberal', 'unwelcoming', 'not for Russians', 'not convert', 'schismatic', 'not for Americans', etc. However, that comes back to charity - I can't understand why some can throw such a fit about a new mission for folk that aren't under their jurisdiction to begin with. Yet, we have members who will throw fits about a new mission for converts, or of a different ethnicity, or Western rite - even in cities with hundreds of thousands, even millions of citizens. The assumption seems to be that all their folk are going to 'switch ethnicities or rites'. There also seems to be a lack of understanding that a city with a huge population cannot be served by a mere handful of parishes - and there are some folk (the weak again) who are less likely to come if they don't have a parish that includes them (ie, Russian, Serbian, Romanian, Greek, American, Ukrainian, Hispanic, etc.). Unless there is only 120 folk in town, and all of them of the same language and culture, then having only one parish makes no sense. Part of that charity thing I brought up includes the pastoral love to serve the weak rather than kill or drive them off.
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« Reply #74 on: February 06, 2007, 05:25:43 PM »

Veniamin:

No sweat - forgiven - we all get testy now and then and maybe I do need to lighten up a bit on converts.

Welkodox:

Check that mileage chart brother. An AOC mission near me is about 5 miles from both an established GOC and ACROD churches and 15 from an OCA church. P.S. the mission is also populated with former disgruntled OCA members. We're talkin' jurisdictional unity here when we cannot even maintain unity within a parish.

 Undecided
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« Reply #75 on: February 06, 2007, 06:11:58 PM »

Quote
Check that mileage chart brother. An AOC mission near me is about 5 miles from both an established GOC and ACROD churches and 15 from an OCA church. P.S. the mission is also populated with former disgruntled OCA members. We're talkin' jurisdictional unity here when we cannot

You’re correct.  I left out the parishes that are closer given that in the context of this conversation it is highly unlikely the AOA would consolidate with those jurisdictions.  Certainly the proximity here is an issue in my opinion if unity is a question, because people may not think you’re actually interested in unity if you plop a mission down within short driving distance of other parishes.

One OCA church is approximately 15 miles and the other is probably 10 to 12 in this specific instance, and it is interesting to me in light of Aristibule’s comments that the two sides (the AOA and OCA) are in places cherry picking each other’s members.  It kind of makes you wonder what else is going on between the two, though it certainly doesn’t make one wonder why they haven’t merged yet.

Regarding converts, I actually know aserb in person, and I can say he has actually improved.  He no longer refers to converts as “pseudo-Orthodox swine” and now says they can even be welcomed to the church provided that in his words they “bring large sacks of money with them”.  So he’s not so bad (and I am of course kidding...).
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« Reply #76 on: February 06, 2007, 08:50:33 PM »

The problem here is that everyone is viewing the issue of Orthodox unity in America as an issue to be decided between Americans. That's simply not the case, the agreement has to be between Constantinople, Antioch, Russia, and Serbia...as a bare minimum. Ultimately, it is a decision for the mother Churches, not for Americans. Any attempt at unity independent of the mother Churches cannot lead to unity and can only lead to Schism.
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« Reply #77 on: February 06, 2007, 09:16:04 PM »

the agreement has to be between Constantinople, Antioch, Russia, and Serbia...as a bare minimum.
Unfortunately for you guys, this has to include Jerusalem as well, since she has parishes in the US. Jerusalem tried to start parishes here in Australia and was quickly stopped thanks to the intervention of Constantinople. Two OCA parishes were started here 7 years ago (yes, "Orthodox Church in America in Australia"...go figure), and Constantinople had to intervene again. One is now under Antioch, and the other under ROCOR.
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« Reply #78 on: February 06, 2007, 09:20:43 PM »

Unfortunately for you guys, this has to include Jerusalem as well, since she has parishes in the US. Jerusalem tried to start parishes here in Australia and was quickly stopped thanks to the intervention of Constantinople. Two OCA parishes were started here 7 years ago (yes, "Orthodox Church in America in Australia"...go figure), and Constantinople had to intervene again. One is now under Antioch, and the other under ROCOR.

Similar thing hapened in here, Constantinople limited Jerusalem's expansion. I cite these above as a bare minimum, though there are other Churches who have interests, because if these Churches agree the pressure would be there for the remainder to fall into line. The agreement of these four is a political necessity, though to finalize the deal, whatever it may be, would required virutally unanimous support.
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« Reply #79 on: February 06, 2007, 09:37:56 PM »

Two OCA parishes were started here 7 years ago (yes, "Orthodox Church in America in Australia"...go figure)

You are the 51st state.  Wink
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« Reply #80 on: February 06, 2007, 10:12:17 PM »

You are the 51st state.  Wink
Actually, that would be the 52nd state.  The 51 is Canuckistan, which is also in the OCA.   Wink 
Sorry SouthSerb.
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« Reply #81 on: February 06, 2007, 10:19:11 PM »

Oh yeah, how could I forget the Great White North and Archbishop Bizarre.
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« Reply #82 on: February 07, 2007, 11:42:59 AM »

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The problem here is that everyone is viewing the issue of Orthodox unity in America as an issue to be decided between Americans.

Speak for yourself - I stated the same. It has to be a unity agreed to by all the Patriarchates who have vested interest - including Jerusalem, Romania, Constantinople, Antioch, Moscow, Bulgaria, Serbia, ROCA. I made no suggestion as to it being 'seized' a la the OCA or OCL model.
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« Reply #83 on: February 07, 2007, 12:50:55 PM »

Actually, that would be the 52nd state.  The 51 is Canuckistan, which is also in the OCA.   Wink 
Sorry SouthSerb.

Excuse me.  It is SOVIET CANUCKISTAN!   Get it right!  Grin
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« Reply #84 on: February 07, 2007, 01:08:57 PM »

I made no suggestion as to it being 'seized' a la the OCA or OCL model.

This is another point worth mentioning.  Involvement with groups like the OCL is extremely damaging to the prospects of unity, and I really wish the AOA would stop and consider what they're doing and how it looks.  The worrying sign is that it appears the OCL is exploiting the current situation in the OCA to get their hooks in them.
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« Reply #85 on: February 07, 2007, 01:20:30 PM »

You know...unity may happen on a region by region basis even if it is not an offical administrative unity. This gradual form of unity will then lead to full administrative unity when everyone sees the benefits of cooperating together. It also is a much easier way of unifying versus uniting the whole country all at once. IF we look at one of the most successful regions where the bishops tend to get along with one another and cooperate together we will see the beginnings of Orthodox unity. Met. ISAIAH (GOA), Bishop BASIL (AOCA), Bishop DIMITRI (OCA) in the Prarie lands all get along and encourage their clergy and laity to work together. They may also have more Americanized parishes (less immigrants) and there may be a sense of community living in that region that encourages cooperation too. Here is an example of the fruit of this cooperation http://www.orthodoxhouston.org/  (and if you check out this page of their website: http://www.orthodoxhouston.org/parishesbyjurisdiction.php  note that all the jurisdictions are on board). This shows that when the big three (GOA, AOCA, and OCA) work together all the others will join in. Why would they want to be left out?

On the west coast, with the election of Bishop BENJAMIN (OCA) we may start to see the same type of cooperation between the jurisdictions. We do have a higher immigrant population on the west coast but we will see. Bishop Joseph just invited the Serbian bishop to his home. Earlier in the month he invited the Greek bishop for lunch and he invited the Greek bishop to concelebrate with him at the cathedral in LA. This service will be historical because the AOCA and GOA hierarchs have never concelebrated on the west coast. The two hierarchs also agreed to have meeting with the Serbian bishop and the new OCA bishop once the OCA bishop is enthroned.


So I do not necessarily agree we need get every jurisdiction on board to have unity. If the largest jurisdictions were to unite there would be alot of pressure on the smaller ones to join.
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« Reply #86 on: February 07, 2007, 02:53:42 PM »

Arimathea wrote:
It will take more than that - unity in America will not happen until the JP, MP, ROCA, SOC, UOCUSA, BOC,
ROAAC, and *everyone* is onboard. I don't think an OCA/AOCA merger will happen either - the OCA still makes missions from those who have left the AOCA out of spite (the last two missions in Oklahoma), and their offer to AOCA is an 'ethnic Arab diocese' with no guarantees of a future for the AWRV or the DME parishes/missions. It has to be everyone included, or it isn't unity. (Which shows how much the AOCA is misunderstood - it is less of an ethnic jurisdiction than the OCA.)

I don't think the united ethos matters either - charity could include various 'ethos' (Antiochian or Alexandrian, Slavic or Greek, Western or Eastern etc.) The reason we aren't united is because we don't have charity. The one mind, that is for sure - we lack the one mind because most everyone seems to have in his own mind what he wills for the others. As long as the mind has the desire to rule or suppress the other, we'll have a disunity of mind.

Not to hijack the thread, but you certainly win the award for most Acronyms used in a post.

-Nick
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« Reply #87 on: February 07, 2007, 02:57:54 PM »

As long as it doesn't involve those evil, disgusting converts, you mean.

AAaaaand HOoooow!

Seriously though, the more I think upon it the more this "cradle vs. convert" business drives me up the wall.  Perhaps other distinctions are in order, hmm?  Like "zealous vs. lukewarm" or "native vs. foreign" or "idealist vs. pragmatist" or "unstable vs. experienced"?

Those distinctions are not only valid, but more so, because the whole "cradle/convert" thing smacks of surreality to begin with (it implies there is something extraordinary or weird about the Church Baptizing adults!)  I think if you take any issue, you'll find a lot of cross polination of personalities (fitting into various combinations of the above mentioned categories.)  That includes the jurisdictional issue.  I'm sure there are a whole mess of "I-only-converted-to-marry-the-hot-greek-babe" converts who couldn't give a rat's rear-end about the need for the current anti-canonical state to come to a close.  So if we're going to criticize (or even slander perhaps), let's at least get our distinctions straight and really say what we mean - and maybe in some cases, see the ugly truth of what just what "we're" saying when we traffic in imprecise and/or incomplete categorizations.  Like...

"Canonical order is only the desire of zealous-unseasoned-native-converts and zealous-seasoned-"foreign"-cradles, idealists one and all with a dash of healthy pragmatism (usually from the "ethnic"/"foreign" crowd.)  The lukewarm-pragmatists (whether convert or cradle, native or "foreign/ethnic"), OTOH. are to varying degrees quite satisfied with the present arrangement (that is, until they manage to get a deal that heavily/unfairly favours them!), usually in proportion to just how un-serious about the important things they really are.

Of course, even the best of us in this present situation still fall far short.  Where rotten "principles" don't get in the way, varying degrees of vanity and willfullness still creep in.
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« Reply #88 on: February 07, 2007, 04:54:49 PM »

Augustine:

Please do not jump down Veniamin's throat. He was reacting to a comment about converts. If you want to jump on anyone jump on me since I have been labeled a convert basher.
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« Reply #89 on: February 07, 2007, 05:40:50 PM »

Augustine:

Please do not jump down Veniamin's throat. He was reacting to a comment about converts. If you want to jump on anyone jump on me since I have been labeled a convert basher.

Either that, or he was just making a general commentary using Veniamin's post as a jumping point... I don't know.
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Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
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