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Poll
Question: Would You Like North America To Have It's Own Orthodox Church???
Yes - 58 (68.2%)
No - 19 (22.4%)
Other - 8 (9.4%)
Total Voters: 85

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Author Topic: Do You Want an American Orthodox Church  (Read 23363 times) Average Rating: 0
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Bono Vox
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« on: May 04, 2007, 07:09:28 PM »

The question assumes you all know about the chaotic jurisdictional nightmare in America. The quesiton is clear. For those of you who just like to be argumentative, I will clarify it even more (even though you already know what the question means). Would you like to see an end of the overlaping Orthodox Jurisdictions in North America, and to see a united- self ruling- autonomous Orthodox Church in North America?? That would mean that there would not be any more jurisdictions, but just one Orthodox church in North America.
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2007, 07:16:13 PM »

America already has an Orthodox Church. In fact it has several.
Why is it not an "American" Church unless it is autocephalous?.....Phyletism perhaps?
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2007, 07:18:41 PM »

As usual george, you are on the wrong side.   Kiss
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« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2007, 07:24:08 PM »

As usual george, you are on the wrong side.   Kiss
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« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2007, 07:30:08 PM »

Is this topic a hot potato?
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« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2007, 07:36:06 PM »

Im most inerested in the poll
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« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2007, 07:47:29 PM »

I am in favor of an autonomous, Orthodox Church with no overlapping jurisdictionalism, under the Patriarchate of Constantinople*.  In 200-300 years, maybe it can be autocephalous when an Orthodox American cultural synthesis has developed, there are 40 functioning monasteries, and most parishes have stable populations.

(*assuming of course that the incumbent fits my strict standards of Orthodox doctrinal purity Wink)
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« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2007, 07:59:47 PM »

Yes please.
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« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2007, 08:35:38 PM »

I am in favor of an autonomous, Orthodox Church with no overlapping jurisdictionalism, under the Patriarchate of Constantinople*.  In 200-300 years, maybe it can be autocephalous when an Orthodox American cultural synthesis has developed, there are 40 functioning monasteries, and most parishes have stable populations.

(*assuming of course that the incumbent fits my strict standards of Orthodox doctrinal purity Wink)

So you're waiting for another Meletios Metaksakis? So am I Wink
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« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2007, 08:46:15 PM »

I am in favor of an autonomous, Orthodox Church with no overlapping jurisdictionalism, under the Patriarchate of Constantinople*.  In 200-300 years, maybe it can be autocephalous when an Orthodox American cultural synthesis has developed, there are 40 functioning monasteries, and most parishes have stable populations.

(*assuming of course that the incumbent fits my strict standards of Orthodox doctrinal purity Wink)
So you're waiting for another Meletios Metaksakis? So am I Wink

Sorry for all the quoting confusion, but this is why I voted other.  I may have been unclear about the question though.  Am I supposed to vote based on "hypothetical" or real?  I would only say yes if the above were to happen.  That's why I voted other. 
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« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2007, 11:08:19 PM »

America already has an Orthodox Church. In fact it has several.
Why is it not an "American" Church unless it is autocephalous?.....Phyletism perhaps?
No, not phyletism...  actually the canonical model of episcopal jurisdiction within the Church, the beginnings of which were laid out in the First Council of Nicea.  This model, as I understand it, is that the mission dioceses in a particular region (understood today as the nation-state) would eventually mature to the level of self-sufficiency and rule themselves without submission to an outside ecclesiastical authority other than the universal Church.  Of course, the current situation in America is anything but self-sufficient, as evidenced by our overlapping jurisdictions, but unity in self-rule should be our goal.
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« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2007, 11:31:54 PM »

Yes, but not now. With ethnic chaplaincy there is no reason for an American Orthodox Church - and I'm not interested in a deracinated 'ideological America' that some jurisdictions try to sell as inseparable from their missionary approach.
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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2007, 12:10:28 AM »

I voted no.  I worry that a national American church would cause members to perceive a need for more powerful federal government since people have a tendency to confuse worldy government with their faith.  I favor state level autocephalous churches, and in some cases county or city churches depending on the local scene. 

On the other hand,if we ever have another civil war it could lead to things like the "Texan Orthodox Church Outside of Texas" (TOCOT) and the "Michigan Orthodox Peoples Pravoslavyic Evangelical Diocese (MOPPED)" and such.

Regardless, I think we need to work hard on making sure that there is only 1 orthodox bishop in a given city.  More than one orthodox bishop assigned to the same city is too much ecclesiastical homosexuality (in a typological sense) for me.

I also think that since America is an immigrant nation, the greater world scene of orthodoxy needs to solve its schisms before trying another nation church experiment here.  For example, both communions on each side of the Chalcedon should reconcile with each other since they both have large populations in America with real spiritual needs.  "American orthodoxy" is a microcosm of orthodox christian relationships and historical situations worldwide.  At least we have free speech.
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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2007, 12:32:15 AM »

Well, personally I'm not voitng because I'm not really sure what you're asking.  Is it an autonomous, autochepolous, or under another heiarch?  I could go for all of the above.  Old Calendar or New?  Hopefully Old.  Would it be able to find a workable way of working out all the cultural differences and not merely just create sub-jurisidctions a la OCA? I would hope so.,  etc. It feels as though you're asking a loaded question and it is much more complicated than simply yes or no.    I have yet to see any proposal that would tackle all of these aspects and for me, they are very important.  That said, if it could work, then sure.
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« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2007, 01:22:14 AM »

It will NEVER happen.
I have given up
It will only fragment more
American Orthodox are protestants with incense,
It's a bunch of Othodox denominations, just like Presbyterians, etc,

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Please refrain from sweeping ad hominems.
Most of the posters on this forum are American and Orthodox, and no one is in a position to judge their faith or spiritual disposition with statements such as "American Orthodox are protestants with incense".
If you wish to make a point about juristictionalism, then you can do so without insulting both Orthodox and Protestants in America.
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« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2007, 01:36:10 AM »

It will NEVER happen.
I have given up
It will only fragment more
American Orthodox are protestants with incense,
It's a bunch of Othodox denominations, just like Presbyterians, etc,

Ah, you are the King of Generalization! Have you read New Canon #2?
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« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2007, 01:42:19 AM »

It will NEVER happen.
I have given up
It will only fragment more
American Orthodox are protestants with incense,
It's a bunch of Othodox denominations, just like Presbyterians, etc,

Hardly!
For the most part we all believe in the same thing.  Shoot, must of use speak the same language.  You get a Greek and a Russian together and they may disagree with food during trapeza and occasional nuances, but hardly dogma.  Protestants on the other hand do disagree on dogma.  God help you if you get a Baptist and a Presbyerian in the same room, and an Episcopal to boot!  Our seperation is a historical occurance.

Secondly, you say it'll fragment more?  I'm a bit confused as I don't see that occurring.  For that matter, they are actually de-fragmenting if you consider the new state ROCOR is entering.  The only possible way I can see them fragmenting more is an irrational and sudden forced joining. 

I'm quite perplexed at your post as it seems emotive and not logical.
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« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2007, 02:09:06 AM »

ROCOR will drive a greater wedge between the OCA and themselves and any Russians who detest the KGB and its cooperating priests.

The EP and MP will never cooperate and will be in competition for eons. (Old Rome to New Rome - oops, already had that schism; New Rome to Holy Russia)
Old calendarists, new calendarists, nationalists, anti- Antiochians (especially on OC.net) and pro- Antiochians, pro Western rite, anti-western rite, traditionalist vs. non-trad.

Come on, do you ever see jurisdictional unity in the US? And if not, all those Free Methodists and traditonal Methodists, American Baptists, General Baptists and Southern Baptists, Evangelical Presbyterians, Associate-Reformed Presbyterians, Presbyterian Church of North America (Covenanters), Presbyterian Church in America, Lutheran Church, Evangelical Synod and Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, Christian Reformed Church, Reformed Church in America, et al have every right to view all the jurisdictions as so many denominations, just like themselves.
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« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2007, 02:11:44 AM »

ROCOR will drive a greater wedge between the OCA and themselves and any Russians who detest the KGB and its cooperating priests.

OOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
You are one of those...

Nevermind...
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« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2007, 02:13:56 AM »

God help you if you get a Baptist and a Presbyerian in the same room, and an Episcopal to boot!  Our seperation is a historical occurance.

Actually, if the Baptist, Presbyterian and Episcopal were all Calvinist/Reformed, they would have a whole lot more in common than you could ever imagine. Consider Roger Nicole (Reformed Baptist), J.I. Packer (Reformed Anglican) and R.C. Sproul (Reformed Presbyterian) - all speak at the same Reformed theology conferences and all make up a kind of de facto "college of cardinals" of American Reformed theology, all are colleagues and great friends; administration of the sacraments and church government, although important, is a secondary or tertiary issue, if you are in agreement on predestination and TULIP, for people of this persuasion.
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« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2007, 02:17:18 AM »

OOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
You are one of those...

Nevermind...

NO. I AM NOT ONE OF THOSE. I HAVE NO IDEA HOW I MIGHT HAVE REACTED OR DEALT WITH THAT SITUATION.
I am a pampered American. I would never judge those who endured that trial and tribulation. But I am in one of those jurisdictions and I have read enough posts on these boards

But thank you for your judgment and rebuke.

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« Reply #21 on: May 05, 2007, 02:28:18 AM »

Old calendarists, new calendarists, nationalists, anti- Antiochians (especially on OC.net) and pro- Antiochians, pro Western rite, anti-western rite, traditionalist vs. non-trad.
It's called "Unity in Diversity". It seems to be one of those parts of Orthodoxy which a lot of people give lip service to, but when confronted with it's incarnate reality, they cry "The sky is falling!". It seems to me that the only unity you seem to accept as genuine is administrative unity. If that's the best the Orthodox Church can do towards the eschatological end of the Unity of All Things in Christ, then she is just a big phoney. What you seem to want is the Orthodox Parish Churches in America to be identical to one another with no variation....like suburban branches of McDonalds.
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« Reply #22 on: May 05, 2007, 03:40:17 AM »

It's called "Unity in Diversity". It seems to be one of those parts of Orthodoxy which a lot of people give lip service to, but when confronted with it's incarnate reality, they cry "The sky is falling!". It seems to me that the only unity you seem to accept as genuine is administrative unity. If that's the best the Orthodox Church can do towards the eschatological end of the Unity of All Things in Christ, then she is just a big phoney. What you seem to want is the Orthodox Parish Churches in America to be identical to one another with no variation....like suburban branches of McDonalds.
Doesn't it appear that much of the problem is that now that we face a major crisis--in our case, the crisis of modernism and post-modernism--many Orthodox only exaggerate our deeply ingrained sense of the battle between Truth and heresy?  I often wonder how much of what some call heresy worthy of schism from "World Orthodoxy" really is.

"even if the Church made a mistake, exactness in the observance of times would not be as important as the offense caused by this division and this schism."  (St. John Chrysostom to those who accused the Church of changing the date of Pascha to appease Constantine)
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« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2007, 09:17:27 AM »

The question assumes you all know about the chaotic jurisdictional nightmare in America. The quesiton is clear. For those of you who just like to be argumentative, I will clarify it even more (even though you already know what the question means). Would you like to see an end of the overlaping Orthodox Jurisdictions in North America, and to see a united- self ruling- autonomous Orthodox Church in North America?? That would mean that there would not be any more jurisdictions, but just one Orthodox church in North America.

I voted "other."

Do I want to see the overlapping jurisdictions united into one?  Absolutely.

Does said hypothetical jurisdiction also have to be autonomous/autocephalous?  Not necessarily.

Once again, you (among others) are damaging the argument for unity by tying it claims for autonomy.  The one is not dependent on the other and to insist that they be a package is to hold unity hostage.  Unity first; autonomy when it's appropriate.
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« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2007, 09:23:48 AM »

ozgeorge, administrative unity and correcting the non-canonical situation (where in New York City, I think there is something like 17 Orthodox bishops) is somrthing to be desired.

Also, among some of those rifts I listed, there is almost near-schism and non-communion. You can't just blithely say it's unity in diversity.

finally, if we can claim unity indiversity, so can all the presbyterian "jurisdictions" and all the baptist "jurisdictions" etc. So Orthodox should just shut up about the 20,000 or so protestant denominations until they group them according to their likenesses, affording them the same "unity in diversity' we claim for ourselves; then you might only have say: presbyterians, methodists, lutherans, anglicans, baptists, congregationalists, charasmatics, pentecostals, brethren, mennonite/amish. A much more tidy number[less than 17] (there would be fringe groups, like the salvation army - is it a church or an organization; and by the way, I hope to NEVER see again on OC.net, under-educated individuals insult our protestant Christian fellows by lumping a non-Christian cult like mormonism as a protestant denomination, as happened in a post recently in another thread)
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« Reply #25 on: May 05, 2007, 09:30:25 AM »

Doesn't it appear that much of the problem is that now that we face a major crisis--in our case, the crisis of modernism and post-modernism--many Orthodox only exaggerate our deeply ingrained sense of the battle between Truth and heresy?  I often wonder how much of what some call heresy worthy of schism from "World Orthodoxy" really is.




Well said, Peter.   
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« Reply #26 on: May 05, 2007, 09:32:13 AM »

I find that in the words from a Rolling Stones song. "... you can't always get what you want, but if you try some times, you just might find, you get what you need . . ."

We have what we need for the time being.
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« Reply #27 on: May 05, 2007, 11:48:53 AM »

Also, among some of those rifts I listed, there is almost near-schism and non-communion. You can't just blithely say it's unity in diversity.

The fringe is rather well defined in Orthodoxy, it's those Churches not in Communion with Constantinople; if there exists non-communion between two Orthodox groups, chances are that one side can be dismissed as trivial.

Quote
finally, if we can claim unity indiversity, so can all the presbyterian "jurisdictions" and all the baptist "jurisdictions" etc. So Orthodox should just shut up about the 20,000 or so protestant denominations until they group them according to their likenesses, affording them the same "unity in diversity' we claim for ourselves; then you might only have say: presbyterians, methodists, lutherans, anglicans, baptists, congregationalists, charasmatics, pentecostals, brethren, mennonite/amish. A much more tidy number[less than 17] (there would be fringe groups, like the salvation army - is it a church or an organization; and by the way, I hope to NEVER see again on OC.net, under-educated individuals insult our protestant Christian fellows by lumping a non-Christian cult like mormonism as a protestant denomination, as happened in a post recently in another thread)

Mormons are essentially another protestant denomination; yeah, they're heretics and have some absurd ideas...but which protestant groups don't? Granted, I would be hesitant to compare the Anglicans and many Lutherans with the mormons...but I'd also be hesitant to compare them to the charismatics and pentecostals. The mormons are no more absurd in their praxis and theology than the charismatics or pentecostals or the various fundamentalist baptists. Heck, many of these denominations, in their theology, have more in common with radical islam than Christianity.
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« Reply #28 on: May 05, 2007, 12:24:31 PM »

One other thing I would say Brother Aiden is that you may be getting too worked up about it.  If you truly believe the Orthodox Church to be God's Church and the Church, then we can be confident that the Holy Spirit will work it out when the time is right.  Is it a mess? yes.  Is it hurting people? sure.  However, look at the Arian crisis during Nicea.  There were parallel jurisdictions going on in that time WITH different dogmas being taught (and this even goes beyond just Nicean Christians or Arians).  Orthodoxy was in the minority in many areas and there were still heavy persscutions going on.  Orthodoxy prevailed.  Likewise it will do so here.  That does not mean we can sit idely and wait for it to happen, but it does mean that if we believe the Creed we say every day that God shall work the mess out to His satisfaction when the time is right.  One day it will just  . . .. click.
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« Reply #29 on: May 05, 2007, 02:57:16 PM »

I don't think we know how a united church will come about in America. But I am very hopeful it is already happening as we speak. My personal opinion is it will happen on a region by region basis as we receive new, younger, bishops who desire to cooperate with one another across jurisdictional lines. Our west coast bishops are all relatively new and they actually seem to enjoy each other's company by the news accounts of their various concelebrations and their first historic meeting. We have no idea what is in store for us but our west coast bishops are trying to find ways to encourage us to work together as one Church instead of as tiny separate parts of one Church. Our witness will be much stronger and our outreach/ministries will be more effective when we work as one. Let's see what happens on the west coast over the next few years. If things go well, it may be the model of things to come. Don't lose heart!

ps. I don't see us losing our diversity as we work together but we may begin to share our rich heritage with one another. Living in such a secular society I value the customs of all of our traditions that help us to retain our faith and our youth.
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« Reply #30 on: May 05, 2007, 03:42:46 PM »

If I may be so bold as to weigh in here about the alleged 'disunity' among the Orthodox in ths country...

In the last month, I have traveled to a different town to meet with a SCOBA-sponsored organization known as the Orthodox Christian Fellowship. Students from the GOA, OCA, Serbian, and Antiochian 'jurisdictions' meet together, along with Orthodox students from the Old World. We meet at an OCA parish, where I have concelebrated the Liturgy there with the parish priest, and have clearance from the OCA bishop to celebrate any other Mystery that needs to occur for the salvation of the OCF members and the parishioners there who just happen to be attending.

Also, I needed to be away from my parish for a Liturgy. An Antiochian Deacon served at the Liturgy in my place, since with over a thousand people in my parish it is too much to expect the Cathedral Dean to distribute the Eucharist all by himself. In compensation, when the Antiochian parish priest is ready to take his summer vacation, it has been agreed that I will be his 'substitute', since I can liturgise in English, Greek, and Arabic (barely!). The Antiochian Deacon will return to my Cathedral on that day to assist the Dean as we trade clergy to help our parishes. Everything has been cleared with the Antiochian Hierarch as a matter of course---no 'special circumstances' were involved.

There is also an OCA and MP parish in town, and we have visited each other's parishioners in hospitals and celebrated at the same altar. Their youth groups are coordinating their activities with ours so that there can be big get-togethers from time to time.

My parish is formally assisting in funding the Antiochian parish, and is looking to add the OCA parish associated with the OCF to our funding plan for this year.

In fact, we have a Byzantine Rite family who is converting to Orthodoxy with one of the reasons being that their perception is that the Orthodox Churches in this country are more united that the Catholic churches, and gave some examples regarding adminstrative differences---I didn't really understand all they were saying, but it involved paperwork if they wanted to go to a different church or something like that.

In a nutshell, I'd like to make the following points:

1. Besides the Eucharistic union, the Orthodox Church in this country is much more 'administratively united' than people think. This is a process where suddenly people will wake up and realize "Wow! We've been doing all that stuff together for how long now?"

2. For whatever reason, this situation is what the Spirit knows we need for our salvation right now. In the fullness of time, and if it is needed, the administrative overlaps will be removed and those who do not know just how much cooperation actually exists will find that really there has been no difference made other than some hierarchs will have different cities attached to their name.
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« Reply #31 on: May 05, 2007, 04:02:20 PM »

If I may be so bold as to weigh in here about the alleged 'disunity' among the Orthodox in ths country...

In the last month, I have traveled to a different town to meet with a SCOBA-sponsored organization known as the Orthodox Christian Fellowship. Students from the GOA, OCA, Serbian, and Antiochian 'jurisdictions' meet together, along with Orthodox students from the Old World. We meet at an OCA parish, where I have concelebrated the Liturgy there with the parish priest, and have clearance from the OCA bishop to celebrate any other Mystery that needs to occur for the salvation of the OCF members and the parishioners there who just happen to be attending.

Also, I needed to be away from my parish for a Liturgy. An Antiochian Deacon served at the Liturgy in my place, since with over a thousand people in my parish it is too much to expect the Cathedral Dean to distribute the Eucharist all by himself. In compensation, when the Antiochian parish priest is ready to take his summer vacation, it has been agreed that I will be his 'substitute', since I can liturgise in English, Greek, and Arabic (barely!). The Antiochian Deacon will return to my Cathedral on that day to assist the Dean as we trade clergy to help our parishes. Everything has been cleared with the Antiochian Hierarch as a matter of course---no 'special circumstances' were involved.

There is also an OCA and MP parish in town, and we have visited each other's parishioners in hospitals and celebrated at the same altar. Their youth groups are coordinating their activities with ours so that there can be big get-togethers from time to time.

My parish is formally assisting in funding the Antiochian parish, and is looking to add the OCA parish associated with the OCF to our funding plan for this year.

In fact, we have a Byzantine Rite family who is converting to Orthodoxy with one of the reasons being that their perception is that the Orthodox Churches in this country are more united that the Catholic churches, and gave some examples regarding adminstrative differences---I didn't really understand all they were saying, but it involved paperwork if they wanted to go to a different church or something like that.

In a nutshell, I'd like to make the following points:

1. Besides the Eucharistic union, the Orthodox Church in this country is much more 'administratively united' than people think. This is a process where suddenly people will wake up and realize "Wow! We've been doing all that stuff together for how long now?"

2. For whatever reason, this situation is what the Spirit knows we need for our salvation right now. In the fullness of time, and if it is needed, the administrative overlaps will be removed and those who do not know just how much cooperation actually exists will find that really there has been no difference made other than some hierarchs will have different cities attached to their name.

Dear Fr. Chris,

It is good to hear that in your region of the country cooperation between the jurisdictions is at such a high level. We, on the west coast, are just beginning to experience this type of cooperation (at the hierarchial level). I honestly believe unity will be more practically met at the local level and will work its way up until as a church we will realize it is redundant and expensive to maintain 15 separate holy synods and national chanceries. At that point, the bishops will come together in order to facilitate our Christian work. I would compare it to closing a zipper. This could happen more quickly if some of the smaller jurisdictions see their numbers continue to drop dramatically over the next twenty years. Survival may motivate some of the smaller jurisdictions to join up more quickly than we can predict.
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« Reply #32 on: May 05, 2007, 05:06:06 PM »

thank you Fr. Chris for your encouraging report!
also to you Tamara!
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« Reply #33 on: May 05, 2007, 05:19:46 PM »



Mormons are essentially another protestant denomination; yeah, they're heretics and have some absurd ideas...but which protestant groups don't? Granted, I would be hesitant to compare the Anglicans and many Lutherans with the mormons...but I'd also be hesitant to compare them to the charismatics and pentecostals. The mormons are no more absurd in their praxis and theology than the charismatics or pentecostals or the various fundamentalist baptists. Heck, many of these denominations, in their theology, have more in common with radical islam than Christianity.

GiC, I know you like to be purposefully controversial, but this is plain silly; yes charismatics and pentacostals are very different from the liturgical protestants, as are some fundamentalists. But they are all trinitarian in their beliefs (although there are some "Jesus-only" pentacostals) - maybe a bit deficient in their trinitarian understanding, but trinitarian (at least the non-liberals are, and even many of them still affirm the trinity) nonetheless; they also believe in ith Bible as God's Word, baptism and communion, the virgin conception, the historical resurrection (except for some liberals), the ascension and eventual return of Christ. So they share alot with each other (and with us).

But mormons do NOT believe in the trinity; nor in the divinity of Christ; nor in the Bible - they elevate their book of mormon over it. Jehovah's Witnesses and Christian Scientists also fall into this category. These groups are not merely heretical or heterodox - thy are simply NOT Christian groups at all.

They really have nothing in common with Islam at all. Even the mormons and JW's and CS's!
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« Reply #34 on: May 05, 2007, 06:02:29 PM »

GiC, I know you like to be purposefully controversial, but this is plain silly; yes charismatics and pentacostals are very different from the liturgical protestants, as are some fundamentalists. But they are all trinitarian in their beliefs (although there are some "Jesus-only" pentacostals) - maybe a bit deficient in their trinitarian understanding, but trinitarian (at least the non-liberals are, and even many of them still affirm the trinity) nonetheless; they also believe in ith Bible as God's Word, baptism and communion, the virgin conception, the historical resurrection (except for some liberals), the ascension and eventual return of Christ. So they share alot with each other (and with us).

But mormons do NOT believe in the trinity; nor in the divinity of Christ; nor in the Bible - they elevate their book of mormon over it. Jehovah's Witnesses and Christian Scientists also fall into this category. These groups are not merely heretical or heterodox - thy are simply NOT Christian groups at all.

They really have nothing in common with Islam at all. Even the mormons and JW's and CS's!
BrotherAidan,

I agree with you that it's not wise to oversimplify the Protestant scene by so loosely calling the Mormons Protestants or even Christian.  Using Orthodoxy as the basis of what is Christian and what is not, I can at least agree that Protestantism hasn't deviated far enough from Traditional Christianity to be called non-Christian, while the Mormon and JW cults have.  However, I do see many of the American cults having arisen from much more extreme applications of the general Protestant hermeneutic and from many of the individualistic spiritual practices that traditional Protestantism has encouraged.  In this sense, I guess one could call Protestant such cults as the LDS church, the Watchtower Society, and the Christian Scientists.
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« Reply #35 on: May 05, 2007, 11:26:11 PM »

BrotherAidan,

I agree with you that it's not wise to oversimplify the Protestant scene by so loosely calling the Mormons Protestants or even Christian.  Using Orthodoxy as the basis of what is Christian and what is not, I can at least agree that Protestantism hasn't deviated far enough from Traditional Christianity to be called non-Christian, while the Mormon and JW cults have.  However, I do see many of the American cults having arisen from much more extreme applications of the general Protestant hermeneutic and from many of the individualistic spiritual practices that traditional Protestantism has encouraged.  In this sense, I guess one could call Protestant such cults as the LDS church, the Watchtower Society, and the Christian Scientists.

I can agree regarding a certain ethos and the spiritual individualism and personal interpretation practices of protestantism. And it certainly was a contributing factor. But the cultural individualism and general personal autonomy and antinomianism of American culture, which has a lot of Enlightenment rationalism infused in it also had alot to do with the rise of those cults. It's probably no accident they developed in America.

Also, don't forget that there were heretical, Christian deriviative cults in the early centuries of the Church that the Fathers did battle with in both the East and West, when there were no protestants.

I find it insulting and uncharitable and dismissive to lump Christian protestants with non-Christian cults (and BTW, I don't think you are doing that; you were simply looking at the methodology and commenting on how it could logically end up bearing its full fruit in these cults)
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« Reply #36 on: May 06, 2007, 12:03:45 AM »

One other thing I would say Brother Aiden is that you may be getting too worked up about it.  If you truly believe the Orthodox Church to be God's Church and the Church, then we can be confident that the Holy Spirit will work it out when the time is right.  Is it a mess? yes.  Is it hurting people? sure.  However, look at the Arian crisis during Nicea.  There were parallel jurisdictions going on in that time WITH different dogmas being taught (and this even goes beyond just Nicean Christians or Arians).  Orthodoxy was in the minority in many areas and there were still heavy persscutions going on.  Orthodoxy prevailed.  Likewise it will do so here.  That does not mean we can sit idely and wait for it to happen, but it does mean that if we believe the Creed we say every day that God shall work the mess out to His satisfaction when the time is right.  One day it will just  . . .. click.

Man...do I ever wish there were an "APPLAUSE" smiley on this forum...'cause that DESERVES one...

1. Besides the Eucharistic union, the Orthodox Church in this country is much more 'administratively united' than people think. This is a process where suddenly people will wake up and realize "Wow! We've been doing all that stuff together for how long now?"

2. For whatever reason, this situation is what the Spirit knows we need for our salvation right now. In the fullness of time, and if it is needed, the administrative overlaps will be removed and those who do not know just how much cooperation actually exists will find that really there has been no difference made other than some hierarchs will have different cities attached to their name.

Ditto this!  An excellent reality check for those of us (myself included) who get so antsy about this that we forget about what we already do have as the Body of Christ because we focus on what (we think) we'd like to have!

Careful what you wish for...
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« Reply #37 on: May 06, 2007, 04:21:47 AM »

Quote
But mormons do NOT believe in the trinity; nor in the divinity of Christ; nor in the Bible - they elevate their book of mormon over it. Jehovah's Witnesses and Christian Scientists also fall into this category. These groups are not merely heretical or heterodox - thy are simply NOT Christian groups at all.

It might be different where you are, but having grown up in the part of the world with the second highest LDS population my experiences differ.  In practice very few Mormons really get that into their sort of off the wall the doctines.  Judging from what I've seen, most are more drawn to the strong communal aspects of Mormonism and simply put up with the bad theology.  In many ways they resemble the old small town Scandanavian Lutheran communities I remember from my Mom's side of the family....

Also it is being a bit arbitrary to refuse to consider Mormons Christians.  They certainly consider themselves Christians - and from my own experiences growing up here, they are far more Christian culturally than most with more proper theology. 

Quote
That does not mean we can sit idely and wait for it to happen, but it does mean that if we believe the Creed we say every day that God shall work the mess out to His satisfaction when the time is right.  One day it will just  . . .. click.

That is fine and good but this line of thought usually leads to complacency under the pretext of "we are the true church, thus our status quo of mediocrity shouldn't be challanged since to challange it would be to challange the true church."  So while a healthy balence is needed - if one isn't angry and horrified at the pathetic state of Orthodoxy throughout the world today, they shouldn't be calling themselves Orthodox Christians.  We are clearly NOT living up to our vocation, and it is time we stop patting ourselves on the back about how we are the true church. 
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« Reply #38 on: May 06, 2007, 09:06:53 AM »

Quote
That is fine and good but this line of thought usually leads to complacency under the pretext of "we are the true church, thus our status quo of mediocrity shouldn't be challanged since to challange it would be to challange the true church."  So while a healthy balence is needed - if one isn't angry and horrified at the pathetic state of Orthodoxy throughout the world today, they shouldn't be calling themselves Orthodox Christians.  We are clearly NOT living up to our vocation, and it is time we stop patting ourselves on the back about how we are the true church.

Well, apparently you not only didn't read my first phrase in the line you quoted, but you also took it out of its context.

Quote
That does not mean we can sit idely and wait for it to happen, but it does mean that if we believe the Creed we say every day that God shall work the mess out to His satisfaction when the time is right.  One day it will just  . . .. click.

I am perfectly aware of where this can lead and I was hardly endorsing it.  Rather, we must work with this hope, but not neccesarily force things.  If we gave up in frustration an forced an American Church this would cause much more harm than waiting a generation and let it take place locally and organically.  No where am I endorsing us not to work.  Rather, it should be known in the knowledge that God will set things right.  Then again, perhaps, I am just a more optomistic person.  Although, Orthodoxy (and Christianity) has seen better days, I'd hardly call it in a "pathetic state." 
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« Reply #39 on: May 06, 2007, 04:09:42 PM »

I voted yes, so long as the EP is the Patriarch until things get more settled, like Anastasios said.

We have a nice intermingling of youths from the two southern Maine GOA churches. However, it's hard to have any unity meetings here, because from what I know, all we have are 4 GOA parishes.
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« Reply #40 on: May 06, 2007, 04:29:56 PM »

I voted yes, so long as the EP is the Patriarch until things get more settled, like Anastasios said.
As a member of the OCA, I certainly don't have a problem with the canonicity of allowing the EP to take ALL American Orthodox Christians under his wing.  I just hope that the EP would respect the diversity of cultural and liturgical traditions that currently exist in the various Orthodox jurisdictions in America and not require that we all, even us in the OCA and the ROCOR, convert to Greek practice--judging from my limited knowledge of the Orthodox scene in Western Europe, I don't think I have anything to fear in this regard, but that depends a lot on who occupies the Ecumenical throne.  I do not support the divisions we continue to see between the various Old-World Orthodox cultures here in America, but neither do I endorse the eradication of cultural distinctives for the sake of some artificial, abstract Orthodoxy that has no meaning to everyday life.
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« Reply #41 on: May 06, 2007, 11:27:05 PM »

As a member of the OCA, I certainly don't have a problem with the canonicity of allowing the EP to take ALL American Orthodox Christians under his wing.  I just hope that the EP would respect the diversity of cultural and liturgical traditions that currently exist in the various Orthodox jurisdictions in America and not require that we all, even us in the OCA and the ROCOR, convert to Greek practice--judging from my limited knowledge of the Orthodox scene in Western Europe, I don't think I have anything to fear in this regard, but that depends a lot on who occupies the Ecumenical throne.  I do not support the divisions we continue to see between the various Old-World Orthodox cultures here in America, but neither do I endorse the eradication of cultural distinctives for the sake of some artificial, abstract Orthodoxy that has no meaning to everyday life.

For comfort, referring to the words I changed colour to, in the USA the Ecumenical Patriarch has the GOA, the Ukrainian Orthodox and the ACROD.  Three different small traditions, plus local parish level differences already exist.  I wouldn't worry too much about your thoughts in your post Smiley
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« Reply #42 on: May 07, 2007, 12:16:02 PM »

For comfort, referring to the words I changed colour to, in the USA the Ecumenical Patriarch has the GOA, the Ukrainian Orthodox and the ACROD.  Three different small traditions, plus local parish level differences already exist.  I wouldn't worry too much about your thoughts in your post Smiley

The diversity goes even further. The Ecumenical Patriarchate also includes a whole system of Stavropegial monasteries and churches that are Greek AND on the Old Calendar. Plus, a very small Albanian Orthodox diocese.

That's five distinct liturgical, linguistic, ethnic -- and calendar-related -- traditions in the U.S., all unified under the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
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« Reply #43 on: May 07, 2007, 01:43:59 PM »

I wouldn't overstate it - the EP isn't all that friendly to diversity. They'd be no home for those of Russian tradition nor Western rite, to begin with. Canonically, I don't think an American Orthodox Church would or should have any business with the EP. Rather, the MP is where things must practically begin and end.
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« Reply #44 on: May 07, 2007, 01:58:42 PM »

Well, obviously I disagree with your assessment on literally every count. But that's an argument without a resolution...

That said, I imagine we can agree on one thing: there will not be an "American Orthodox Church" in the foreseeable future.
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« Reply #45 on: May 07, 2007, 02:00:52 PM »

Dear Fr. Chris,

It is good to hear that in your region of the country cooperation between the jurisdictions is at such a high level. We, on the west coast, are just beginning to experience this type of cooperation (at the hierarchial level). I honestly believe unity will be more practically met at the local level and will work its way up until as a church we will realize it is redundant and expensive to maintain 15 separate holy synods and national chanceries. At that point, the bishops will come together in order to facilitate our Christian work. I would compare it to closing a zipper. This could happen more quickly if some of the smaller jurisdictions see their numbers continue to drop dramatically over the next twenty years. Survival may motivate some of the smaller jurisdictions to join up more quickly than we can predict.

One of the things we do on the West Coast is the Washington State Clergy Association (http://www.orthodoxwashington.org/), where all the clergy of Washington, regardless of juridiction, meet monthly to discuss issues that face the Orthodox of our region.

I am unsure what they discuss or what actions they take at these meetings.  But every year we have Lenten WOCA prayers every Sunday night where we do Pan-Orthodox vespers.  And eat! Smiley
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« Reply #46 on: May 07, 2007, 02:02:50 PM »

I would also like to express my opinion that because of how Christianity came to America under the MP, we should be under the MP.
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« Reply #47 on: May 07, 2007, 02:35:04 PM »

I would also like to express my opinion that because of how Christianity came to America under the MP, we should be under the MP.

Sure. Just as long as everyone realizes that such is an argument from history, not the canonical tradition. However, Aristibule said: "Canonically, I don't think an American Orthodox Church would or should have any business with the EP."

On a slightly tangential note (and this is addressed to cyberspace in general): It occurs to me that the EP should follow the example of the various power-brokers of the OCA, who, after having abandoned their original position that unity could only come through the EP, developed a succinct and appealing case for their change of heart -- one that was based on an easy-to-understand and inspiring account of the past. That original marketing campaign continues to hold tremendous sway over most people's perceptions in the U.S. because it works much like Benedict Anderson's imagined community, i.e. it provides a powerful constructed identity supposedly founded in history.

I think the proponents of the EP have typically relied on the correctness of their argument instead of the appeal of their story. And we all know which is more successful.
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« Reply #48 on: May 07, 2007, 03:26:14 PM »

They'd be no home for those of Russian tradition nor Western rite, to begin with.

I'll grant you the WR Rite part, but there are Ukrainians and Rusyns under Constantinople in this country.  There's also the Exarchate in Western Europe which is Great Russian and under Constantinople.

Quote
I don't think an American Orthodox Church would or should have any business with the EP.

The majority of Orthodox Christians in this country do though.  I'm not saying that in and of itself makes that position right or wrong, but it certainly can't be ignored given this majority is under the Omophorion of the Ecumenical Patriarch.

Also, in regards to the history, I think that argument is rather weak.  The Greek Church in the continental United States actually predates the arrival of the Russian Missionary Bishops.  Alaska at the time was still a colonial possession of the Russian Empire.  That in and of itself however means little, and as pensateomnia pointed out, we should look to the canons instead.

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« Reply #49 on: May 07, 2007, 04:51:16 PM »

I wouldn't overstate it - the EP isn't all that friendly to diversity. They'd be no home for those of Russian tradition nor Western rite, to begin with. Canonically, I don't think an American Orthodox Church would or should have any business with the EP. Rather, the MP is where things must practically begin and end.

Ok, build further on your opinion. 
First off, what is an American Orthodox Church?  Think about it.  The term isn't the best.  If we had one hierarchy-structure in the USA, then it would simply be the Orthodox Church! 

And do you realize that in the ACROD there are parishes that were former Russian parishes (OCA) that switched because of the calender issue years ago?  They still use four-part choirs, etc.. and kept their parish customs.  The Ukrainian liturgies  don't differ much from the Russian usage (antiphons, litanies, curtains..), ok they can I guess.  But in my experience the Ukrainians use the Russian antiphons, keep the same number of litanies etc..
First you have to understand that the ACROD uses a different recension than the Ukrainians and the Greeks.  You have to experience it and know the differences in small traditions and liturgical usages. 

No place for Russians?  Well, one of the largest Russian jurisdictions doesn't even call itself Russian anymore.  There will always be a place for everyone.
This whole notion and fighting doesn't really lead to any results.  I would trust the hierarchies and the Holy Spirit to guide our church.  In the long run we should focus on our theosis, etc... and not politics that really are only going to be solved by the Bishops/Synods.
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« Reply #50 on: May 07, 2007, 04:55:49 PM »

The Greek Church in the continental United States actually predates the arrival of the Russian Missionary Bishops.  Alaska at the time was still a colonial possession of the Russian Empire.  That in and of itself however means little, and as pensateomnia pointed out, we should look to the canons instead.




What are the dates on the arrival of bishops?

With regards to the canons, I think it better to map out dioceses according to the canons, but as far as which patriarchate everything outside of the Old World should be in, I'm for Moscow in the Americas.  The Saints attest to the lasting impression the Russian Church has on this land.

Ok, build further on your opinion. 
First off, what is an American Orthodox Church?  Think about it.  The term isn't the best.  If we had one hierarchy-structure in the USA, then it would simply be the Orthodox Church! 

Well, one of the largest Russian jurisdictions doesn't even call itself Russian anymore.  There will always be a place for everyone.
This whole notion and fighting doesn't really lead to any results.  I would trust the hierarchies and the Holy Spirit to guide our church.  In the long run we should focus on our theosis, etc... and not politics that really are only going to be solved by the Bishops/Synods.

Amen.
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« Reply #51 on: May 07, 2007, 06:11:27 PM »

The answer is to relocate the EP from Constantinople to New York to become the preeminent orthodox patriarchate.  End the schisms between all the historical apostolic churches that still confess the original Nicene Creed, overturn the warmongering US government and install an emperor from the Ethiopian Solomonic royal line.  Hold an ecumenical council.  Appoint a new patriarch of Rome, but take away their autocephaly until the entire Roman Catholic church assimilates back to Orthodoxy.  Cease all diplomatic and trade relations with any nation that does not allow for real freedom of religion and speech.
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« Reply #52 on: May 07, 2007, 06:30:18 PM »

Been reading a lot of Juvenal lately?
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« Reply #53 on: May 07, 2007, 08:06:40 PM »

What are the dates on the arrival of bishops?

How long had Greek bishops been in the U.K. before the establishment of the Russian diocese of Sourozh?  I think it was a few centuries.  I don't think in either case it matters, as we're not talking about some race to plant a flag as the method of sorting out the structure of the church.

Quote
With regards to the canons, I think it better to map out dioceses according to the canons, but as far as which patriarchate everything outside of the Old World should be in, I'm for Moscow in the Americas.

That's fine, but I think most people would look at the overt Russian character of the MP abroad and the autocratic nature of the MP itself and not find that an attractive model.  That is what recently came to the fore in Great Britain.

Quote
The Saints attest to the lasting impression the Russian Church has on this land.

Again, the fact that some of the saints who come from North America were part of the Russian missionary church doesn't mean anything in the bigger picture.  Some weren't, and some who were part of the Russian missionary church, weren't themselves Russian; as was the case with St. Herman of Alaska.
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« Reply #54 on: May 07, 2007, 08:54:47 PM »

Again, the fact that some of the saints who come from North America were part of the Russian missionary church doesn't mean anything in the bigger picture.  Some weren't, and some who were part of the Russian missionary church, weren't themselves Russian; as was the case with St. Herman of Alaska.

What are you talking about?  St. Herman was originally from the Moscow area.
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« Reply #55 on: May 07, 2007, 09:28:52 PM »

What are you talking about?  St. Herman was originally from the Moscow area.

His family origins I believe are unknown, but he spelled his own name Ukrainian style (i.e. with a letter not found in the Russian alphabet).  That is probably an indication of his origins, and people did move around a great deal in the Russian Empire or where moved around within it.  Your namesake was born in Ukraine, though Russian.

A number of the missionary saints were in fact Ukrainian, though at the time Ukraine of course was part of the Russian Empire.  The Ukrainian language was of course suppressed, something that has left a bad taste in the mouth of many Ukrainians and would likely make them unwilling to accept a church headed by the MP.  Witness the situation in today's Ukraine.
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« Reply #56 on: May 07, 2007, 11:29:29 PM »

I would also like to express my opinion that because of how Christianity came to America under the MP, we should be under the MP.

Sure. Just as long as everyone realizes that such is an argument from history, not the canonical tradition. However, Aristibule said: "Canonically, I don't think an American Orthodox Church would or should have any business with the EP."

On a slightly tangential note (and this is addressed to cyberspace in general): It occurs to me that the EP should follow the example of the various power-brokers of the OCA, who, after having abandoned their original position that unity could only come through the EP, developed a succinct and appealing case for their change of heart -- one that was based on an easy-to-understand and inspiring account of the past. That original marketing campaign continues to hold tremendous sway over most people's perceptions in the U.S. because it works much like Benedict Anderson's imagined community, i.e. it provides a powerful constructed identity supposedly founded in history.

I think the proponents of the EP have typically relied on the correctness of their argument instead of the appeal of their story. And we all know which is more successful.
As I understand the history of Orthodoxy in America, Moscow had sole jurisdiction here even up to the 1920's before we started to see mass immigrations from Greece and the other Old-World Orthodox countries.  I believe even the Antiochians (e.g., Bishop St. Raphael of Brooklyn) recognized Moscow's jurisdiction here.  In light of this, one could accuse the EP of having violated those canons forbidding a bishop's interference in the internal affairs of another bishop's jurisdiction and those canons forbidding a bishop to establish his authority in another bishop's provincial territory.  Of course, I am also familiar with Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon that gives the EP jurisdiction over the "barbarian" lands and how the EP has recently interpreted this canon to be the foundation for her claims to jurisdictional authority in North America--I do not see this claim having no merit.

If one wants to argue the correctness of one's argument, I think Moscow has just as strong a canonical foundation in this debate as does Constantinople.  I think each side's points are legitimate and should not be ignored.  Ultimately, I think the only real solution is for the MP and the EP to discuss this in a conciliar manner and work out some kind of win-win cooperation, which brings us back to another obstacle... [sigh]
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« Reply #57 on: May 07, 2007, 11:41:44 PM »

pensateomnia wrote:
Quote
Sure. Just as long as everyone realizes that such is an argument from history, not the canonical tradition.

Actually, the argument for the EP is not canonical tradition either - we aren't barbarians, and we aren't in Thrace, Pontus or Asia.

welkodox:
Quote
I'll grant you the WR Rite part, but there are Ukrainians and Rusyns under Constantinople in this country.  There's also the Exarchate in Western Europe which is Great Russian and under Constantinople.

However, the Exarchate in Europe has a policy of Hellenizing/de-Russification. It has caused great controversy. Also, the ACROD and Ukrainians are not the same as the Russian tradition. In fact, I commune with the Ukrainians here sometimes - their liturgy is *not* Russian, but very different in many ways. The Greeks did that Hellenizing in Indonesia, Korea, the Phillipines - hence those local churches now being under the Russian Church, their laity and clergy being pushed out.

I don't necessarily agree with the bloated statistics either for jurisdictions in America - I do not believe there is any solid evidence for jurisdictions under the EP to have the majority in America.

As for Greeks in America - New Smyrna was not Orthodox, but Greek Catholic Uniate. The first Greek church was actually in the Confederate States of America in the 1860s - that doesn't make a canonical tradition. There were already Russian Orthodox bishops over US territory at the time.  And, the truth remains - America is the pre-Schism canonical territory of the Western Patriarchate of Rome, and since that see remains vacant for the Orthodox... the Americas are territory to be restored, not cannibalized.

username! wrote:
Quote
Ok, build further on your opinion.  
First off, what is an American Orthodox Church?

To begin with - it would have to be American, and not in the 'ideological political' sense of those who try to reduce America to 'a nation of immigrants' (which is hogwash, the immigrants came to a country already established by the pioneers, founders, settlers.) To put it simply, until you have an Anglo church, you won't have an American church (Anglo in America means all English speaking people of American culture - whether they are British, German, Irish, French, Italian, Polish, Czech, Scandinavian, Portuguese, Spanish, Native American or African, etc.) Rather, what we have is a Greek Church in America, Russian Church in America, Ukrainian Church in America, Arab Church in America - for the most part all very much outside of the culture, though their members may have citizenship, all very much minorities, all very much lacking in influence. There won't be an American Orthodox Church until Orthodox truly love America, and Americans (yes, Anglos) enough that Americans may readily become Orthodox. That means loving our children, loving our heritage, our culture, our history - and coming out of denial about the significance of the same. We Americans *are* of Western Orthodox Catholic origin, on a canonical territory of our own Patriarchate which sadly is separated from the Church by schism, heresy, and else. And the sad fact is - only the Russian and Antiochian churches have done anything to show they can treat American/Western society with respect. The EP, sadly, has yet to offer anything but hostility, rejection, and glorification of Hellenism - and that isn't pastoral.

So, that's why in my opinion - it ain't going to happen, and we aren't interested in making the EP the next infallible Pope; we already tried that a millenium ago, and see where it got us? It won't happen as a small hodge-podge of Eastern ethnic diocese, nor as a deracinated mission based on an ideological/political revisionist definition of 'American' (ie, the OCA way.) Bottom line - us Americans won't buy it, and no Americans, no American Church.
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« Reply #58 on: May 08, 2007, 12:11:44 AM »

We Americans *are* of Western Orthodox Catholic origin, on a canonical territory of our own Patriarchate which sadly is separated from the Church by schism, heresy, and else.

America wasn't even discovered at the time of the finalization of the boundaries of the Patriarchal Sees...the Synod of Chalcedon, thus Old Rome has no claim to the Americas; it is the Jurisdiction of New Rome which has Rights to all territory not given to other Patriarchates by said Synod. And regardless of where our ancestors are from, Ecclesiastical Authority is based on geography, not culture or society.

Quote
So, that's why in my opinion - it ain't going to happen, and we aren't interested in making the EP the next infallible Pope; we already tried that a millenium ago, and see where it got us? It won't happen as a small hodge-podge of Eastern ethnic diocese, nor as a deracinated mission based on an ideological/political revisionist definition of 'American' (ie, the OCA way.) Bottom line - us Americans won't buy it, and no Americans, no American Church.

Better there be no American Church than we be humiliated by being forced under American Bishops and an American Synod...I'd sooner leave the Church. If I wanted to be part of an 'American Church' I'd join the Episcopalians. So let us remain separate and divided, it's better than the alternative you present.
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« Reply #59 on: May 08, 2007, 12:28:17 AM »

Actually, the argument for the EP is not canonical tradition either...

As your very statement reveals, the argument for the EP is undoubtedly from the canonical tradition. It just so happens that you believe that it is not a correct interpretation of the relevant canons.

Speaking of said tradition: How can one believe that it is more canonically correct to re-establish the jurisdictional authority of the MP, an entity that has ceded its jurisdiction to another Synod by means of a canonical act?
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« Reply #60 on: May 08, 2007, 12:40:27 AM »

... thus Old Rome has no claim to the Americas; it is the Jurisdiction of New Rome which has Rights to all territory not given to other Patriarchates by said Synod.

Yes, as I said - it is geography. America is part of the Isles of the Sea in the West, and was first evangelized two generations before the Schism by clergy from the Patriarchate of the West. The territory was under the Latin Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen and the Norwegian King, until the first American bishopric was created some three generations before Alexandria excommunicated Rome. So - Old Rome has every claim to the Americas - it is a Western territory. Also, Second Rome does not have claim to 'all territory not given to other Patriarchates'. Supporters of a Papal EP may argue so, but it just isn't so.

Quote
Better there be no American Church than we be humiliated by being forced under American Bishops and an American Synod...I'd sooner leave the Church. If I wanted to be part of an 'American Church' I'd join the Episcopalians. So let us remain separate and divided, it's better than the alternative you present.

It wouldn't be humiliation - it would be charity. What's so humiliating about not ruling over everyone else?  As for the Episcopalians - I'd never join them myself, and they aren't Orthodoxy - American or otherwise (notice, TEC - not 'American Episcopal').

Pensateomnia wrote:
Quote
As your very statement reveals, the argument for the EP is undoubtedly from the canonical tradition. It just so happens that you believe that it is not a correct interpretation of the relevant canons.

No, it doesn't reveal it being from the canonical tradition. It reveals an unrelated canon being used in an uncanonical way to steal from other Patriarchates, and subject others to hostile and uncharitable 'rule'.

Quote
How can one believe that it is more canonically correct to re-establish the jurisdictional authority of the MP, an entity that has ceded its jurisdiction to another Synod by means of a canonical act?

No one does - no one is 're-establishing' any such thing. The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia is still the canonical part of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia, which Met. Platon uncanonically broke away from.
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« Reply #61 on: May 08, 2007, 12:44:56 AM »

Speaking of said tradition: How can one believe that it is more canonically correct to re-establish the jurisdictional authority of the MP, an entity that has ceded its jurisdiction to another Synod by means of a canonical act?
Something tells me that the "other Synod" of which you speak (the Russian Metropolia/OCA) will NOT submit once again to the MP.  I hope to not get egged by my fellow OCA posters for saying this, but then I've said this before: I have no qualms with the OCA using its independence from Moscow to seek to place itself under the jurisdiction of the EP, as long as the EP shows respect for our Russian and American heritage.  From what I've read on this thread, though, I don't trust that this is actually the EP's desire.  If the EP wants to insist on Hellenizing the OCA, then the OCA should maintain its functional, if not yet canonically recognized, independence.
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« Reply #62 on: May 08, 2007, 01:06:20 AM »

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia is still the canonical part of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia, which Met. Platon uncanonically broke away from.
Please be careful here.  One could make a successful argument from the canons that the ROCOR's assertion of its authority as the "canonical part of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia" is itself a misinterpretation of our Church's canonical tradition (not to mention a possible abuse of Patriarchal Ukase No. 362).

However, I want to encourage what I see as the continuing growth of warm relations between the ROCOR and the OCA.  We've fought enough through the last century, and I just don't want to continue the fighting now.  Patriarch St. Tikhon was just as much the Archbishop of America as he was the Patriarch of Moscow, so I'm certain he still had a great vision for his American flock even after his transfer to Moscow.  He was probably saddened very deeply, if that's even possible in heaven, to see the vicious quarreling that took place "in his name" between the two factions of his Russian Orthodox Church in North America.  What can we do now to reconcile our differences and seek the unity that our beloved Patriarch so desired?
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« Reply #63 on: May 08, 2007, 01:26:14 AM »

pensateomnia wrote:
Actually, the argument for the EP is not canonical tradition either - we aren't barbarians, and we aren't in Thrace, Pontus or Asia.

welkodox:
However, the Exarchate in Europe has a policy of Hellenizing/de-Russification. It has caused great controversy. Also, the ACROD and Ukrainians are not the same as the Russian tradition. In fact, I commune with the Ukrainians here sometimes - their liturgy is *not* Russian, but very different in many ways. The Greeks did that Hellenizing in Indonesia, Korea, the Phillipines - hence those local churches now being under the Russian Church, their laity and clergy being pushed out.

I don't necessarily agree with the bloated statistics either for jurisdictions in America - I do not believe there is any solid evidence for jurisdictions under the EP to have the majority in America.

As for Greeks in America - New Smyrna was not Orthodox, but Greek Catholic Uniate. The first Greek church was actually in the Confederate States of America in the 1860s - that doesn't make a canonical tradition. There were already Russian Orthodox bishops over US territory at the time.  And, the truth remains - America is the pre-Schism canonical territory of the Western Patriarchate of Rome, and since that see remains vacant for the Orthodox... the Americas are territory to be restored, not cannibalized.

username! wrote:
To begin with - it would have to be American, and not in the 'ideological political' sense of those who try to reduce America to 'a nation of immigrants' (which is hogwash, the immigrants came to a country already established by the pioneers, founders, settlers.) To put it simply, until you have an Anglo church, you won't have an American church (Anglo in America means all English speaking people of American culture - whether they are British, German, Irish, French, Italian, Polish, Czech, Scandinavian, Portuguese, Spanish, Native American or African, etc.) Rather, what we have is a Greek Church in America, Russian Church in America, Ukrainian Church in America, Arab Church in America - for the most part all very much outside of the culture, though their members may have citizenship, all very much minorities, all very much lacking in influence. There won't be an American Orthodox Church until Orthodox truly love America, and Americans (yes, Anglos) enough that Americans may readily become Orthodox. That means loving our children, loving our heritage, our culture, our history - and coming out of denial about the significance of the same. We Americans *are* of Western Orthodox Catholic origin, on a canonical territory of our own Patriarchate which sadly is separated from the Church by schism, heresy, and else. And the sad fact is - only the Russian and Antiochian churches have done anything to show they can treat American/Western society with respect. The EP, sadly, has yet to offer anything but hostility, rejection, and glorification of Hellenism - and that isn't pastoral.

So, that's why in my opinion - it ain't going to happen, and we aren't interested in making the EP the next infallible Pope; we already tried that a millenium ago, and see where it got us? It won't happen as a small hodge-podge of Eastern ethnic diocese, nor as a deracinated mission based on an ideological/political revisionist definition of 'American' (ie, the OCA way.) Bottom line - us Americans won't buy it, and no Americans, no American Church.





Trust me, some that know me know that I am very very very very very very very very familiar with the ACROD traditons.

Want to talk about bloated statistics, the OCA is 35,000 strong, a far cry from earlier statistics that said one million strong.  I will come out and say the ACROd's last census put us right around the 9900 faithful mark.

American culture is based on the individual, far removed from the Eastern Christian.  more later.   But, the MP has not business in running the Orthodox Church in America, nor does the Russian Metropolia/OCA.
Like I said in previous posts, this whole notion of one hierarchy is to be left to our bisops and not us laity.
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« Reply #64 on: May 08, 2007, 02:30:28 AM »

Trust me, some that know me know that I am very very very very very very very very familiar with the ACROD traditons.

Aye, and I don't - I can just tell they aren't the same. Of course, the issue of numbers is another thread - but its one we've got to 'face the music' on.

also, you write:
Quote
American culture is based on the individual, far removed from the Eastern Christian.  more later. 

Which, as an American - I can say that is a gross oversimplification. It might be removed from the Eastern Christian, but not from the Orthodox Christian - particularly as the basis of our culture is not the individual at all, though consideration is given to the individual - but not at the expense of the family (the real basis of American culture) or the community. To begin with, there is not a singular American culture, but many (four main cultures, and many subcultures.) Each are based on very different ideas, though all come from British culture (different parts of Britain.) Each American culture uses pretty much the same language, but means different things by them. There was an old thread where I meant to discuss just this - as I get tired of the constant parodies and mockeries of 'American culture' that foreigners, immigrants, or ethnic minorities bandy about which merely serve to show their ignorance of American culture (which explains their needless hostility.)

The truth is, when most Orthodox complain about 'American culture', they are actually complaining about an anti-culture that has been at odds with American culture for quite a long time. If one wants to discuss the American culture, heritage, tradition - I'm more than willing as I know it from two sides: the bearer of four centuries of life as Americans, and an educated awareness of who, what, and where we are. I can suggest both ways to experience real American culture, as well as ways to study it.

Peter:
Quote
Please be careful here.
 

I am aware of the difficulty of the situation, but it is also hard not to step on toes (and, I've noticed most participants here don't care if they do either - so, I figure, dance or get stepped on). The bishops will do their jobs in the meantime. As to lay relations between the two bodies - I don't think that is a matter for public forums in every respect, though some issues may be discussed.

I'm not sure whether to consider the OCA as part of the Russian church - most OCA folk I know refuse the term 'Russian' when outsiders describe them as such (though, call them something else and they say they are Russian! So, it seems difficult to pin down). Some seem to rather want to be 'American' (as username! means 'American'), or something else entirely. Those who want to be Russian, are still a different 'Russian' than ROCOR (that is, rejecting centuries of the Russian Orthodox experience as an invalid 'Western captivity', rejecting the Western rite part of the Russian tradition, relying heavily or soley on the Parisian school, etc.) So, you'll have to forgive us if we find the OCA a bit amorphous, strange, and difficult to approach - what the OCA is, seems to really depend on who is describing it. The only thing I think held in common is that OCA members are wildly enthusiastic for their jurisdiction (ie 'OCA all the way!')  But, from my little corner - how to reconcile? That might be better as a private discussion between OCA, MP and ROCOR members.
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« Reply #65 on: May 08, 2007, 10:58:59 AM »

Aristibule

Quote
However, the Exarchate in Europe has a policy of Hellenizing/de-Russification. It has caused great controversy.

I hadn't heard that, but I will take your word for it.  I believe the split in Sourozh was at least in large part over the issue of Russification however, so that would appear to go both ways.  The MP has a history of Russianizing, so I guess it's an issue for all sides in some respects.

Quote
Also, the ACROD and Ukrainians are not the same as the Russian tradition. In fact, I commune with the Ukrainians here sometimes - their liturgy is *not* Russian, but very different in many ways.

Here I can say the tradations maintained in the ACROD and the UOCUSA are not products of Hellenization, they are the legitimate traditions of those churches.  They have not been under pressure to Hellenize, and in fact these groups would have been pressured to Russianize if they had joined the Metropolia, which is in large part why they did not.  The Carpatho-Rusyns who joined the Metropolia did Russianize.

So there's nothing telling me that inherintly there's no reason why someone from the Great Russian tradition couldn't be under the Omophorion of the Ecumical Patriarch, any more than someone in the WR would have a problem being under a Russian bishop.

I also still disagree with the arguments that the "Russians were here first" as a way to sort this all out.  First, because the history is not so clear, but more importantly its because it makes our ecclesiology look like it's run like the opening of Oklahoma to white settlement.

Overall, I'm in favor of a North American Orthodox church, given that I'm not Slavic, Greek, etc.  I don't see any conflict with such a church being under the Ecumenical Patriarch though.  The Russians will never agree to it though, but by the same token they've never pulled out of North America which they told the OCA they would do.
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« Reply #66 on: May 08, 2007, 11:13:36 AM »

Supporters of a Papal EP may argue so, but it just isn't so.

Tired rhetoric.
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« Reply #67 on: May 08, 2007, 11:58:27 AM »

Tired rhetoric.

I'd hardly call it tired!! I had thought this thread reached its apex (and end) when one poster called for the overthrow of the American government and the establishment of an Ethiopian-Solomonic Emperor as the means of solving the (American) Church's problems! At that point, I thought Juvenal would be proud, but, given the importance of Anglo and Anglo-American culture, perhaps we should appeal to Alexander Pope and/or Mark Twain. Do such gentlemen qualify as legitimate representatives of an approved sub-set of American heritage? One must keep these things straight.

In all seriousness: The true means to unity comes from the progress made on the local level (cf. the initiatives and leadership exercised by Fr. Chris' parish) and the leadership of our hierarchs. Let's pray for and support both.
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« Reply #68 on: May 08, 2007, 12:38:51 PM »

  In all seriousness: The true means to unity comes from the progress made on the local level (cf. the initiatives and leadership exercised by Fr. Chris' parish) and the leadership of our hierarchs. Let's pray for and support both. 

Amen.
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« Reply #69 on: May 08, 2007, 10:44:07 PM »

Been reading a lot of Juvenal lately?

Well I have to ask, now that you've mentioned him twice, who is Juvenal? 

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« Reply #70 on: May 08, 2007, 11:34:59 PM »

I am not interested in being Russian or Greek. I am interested in being an Orthodox Christian. My parish is OCA and we consider ourselves American. That is why we are accessable to the American Community here in the midwest. I am glad we don't put a cultural hurdle in the way of all the local hillbillies coming to the Holy Orthodox Faith.
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« Reply #71 on: May 09, 2007, 03:03:46 AM »

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That is why we are accessable to the American Community here in the midwest. I am glad we don't put a cultural hurdle in the way of all the local hillbillies coming to the Holy Orthodox Faith.

I don't think anyone on this board would accuse me of promoting an ethno-centric view of Orthodoxy....but even this raises some problems.  The more "American" parishes tend to be heavy leaning towards former Evangelical type Protestants.  This happens to the point of some parishes/missions feeling like a baptist Church with incense.  This is a VERY hostile environment for many cradles, returning cradles and even converts from backgrounds other than Conservative Protestantism.  I've been to a couple of AOA missions in particular where this was the feeling.

That being said, I think the transition to using English as the primary liturgical language and the removal of nationalism (i.e the political idea that became popular in the 19th century) are imperative if the Orthodox Church wants to have any future with converts AND the children of immigrants.  The caveat though is that not all things ethnic are nationalistic. 

I don't think either OCA or the EP are currently working as models of a future united Church in North America.  The OCA basically has overlapping jurisdictions within itself, and in my experience the ethnic dioceses within the OCA are fairly insular.  If every OCA parish in town were under the same bishop that'd be great.  But as it stands now, their example of Orthodox jurisdictional unity is nothing short of a sham.  The same goes with the EP.  It'd be great if all of the different jurisdictions would be merged into one, yet each parish would still have enough autonomy to decide its language and customs.  If this were to happen it would also be a great way to allay the fears of Hellenization that some hold here about going under the Patriarchate.   My only objection is that the current Patriarch would use such a thing to further justify his ludicrous interpretation of "the barbarous lands" meaning essentially the entire world. 

As has been brought up by others, the OCF - despite its faults - is causing the younger generation of Orthodox to get used to interacting with each other.  Another observation from my own experience (and before people overreact, I'm not stating this is universal): the AOA and OCA priests that are full time priests AND hold secular jobs to support their families seem to be putting all their effort into making OCF work.  Priests of another jurisdiction (who are very well compensated and would never have to think of outside work) never seem to want to bother with OCF around here...

 
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« Reply #72 on: May 09, 2007, 07:40:22 AM »

Quote
As has been brought up by others, the OCF - despite its faults - is causing the younger generation of Orthodox to get used to interacting with each other.  Another observation from my own experience (and before people overreact, I'm not stating this is universal): the AOA and OCA priests that are full time priests AND hold secular jobs to support their families seem to be putting all their effort into making OCF work.  Priests of another jurisdiction (who are very well compensated and would never have to think of outside work) never seem to want to bother with OCF around here...

I think this does bring up a good point and another example how you are going to see it start with the laity.  As someone who has been heavily involved with OCF it has been very fascinating to see so many groups come together and work with each other.  Shoot if we had a Macedonian get along with Greeks and a Serb, then anything's possible in the future!

One disclamer I thought I'd say is that the OCF I'm involved in is supported by the GOA and they actually have been very good, both this priest, others in the jurisdiction, and Bishop Sabbas and Archbp. Demetrios.  Through it, I myself have come to have a lot of respect for the GOA and found that many of the stereotypes of them being the "liberal new-calendar" church are not simply wrong.  Sure there are elements, but shoot the priest who runs it is just as serious and faithful as any other 19th century . . .. er ROCOR priest I know.  So, I did want to come to their defence in that the GOA has also made movements torwards it, with all these men (and women being very well compensated).  So perhaps there is hope to be had.
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« Reply #73 on: May 09, 2007, 01:13:51 PM »

I also still disagree with the arguments that the "Russians were here first" as a way to sort this all out.  First, because the history is not so clear, but more importantly its because it makes our ecclesiology look like it's run like the opening of Oklahoma to white settlement.

We're not doing a land-grab discussion; history is clear: this land was evangelized by the Russian Church.


Quote
Overall, I'm in favor of a North American Orthodox church, given that I'm not Slavic, Greek, etc.  I don't see any conflict with such a church being under the Ecumenical Patriarch though.  The Russians will never agree to it though, but by the same token they've never pulled out of North America which they told the OCA they would do.

So you're a hellenophile and a Russophobe?  Is that what's really going here?  Your argument goes like this: I'm not Greek or Slavic, so the Greek Phanar will do (no reason given), Moscow will not because they're stiffs.  You're neither yet you prefer the Greek?  Why?
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« Reply #74 on: May 09, 2007, 01:46:08 PM »

We're not doing a land-grab discussion; history is clear: this land was evangelized by the Russian Church.

The history is not clear.  There was a Greek parish founded in the United States before any Russian presence in the U.S. (Alaska at the time was part of the Russian Empire).  There were individual Greeks in places going back to the 18th century.  The Greek church was never under the auspices of the Russian missionary bishops.  In other words the Orthodox presence in the United States is not the product of Russian evangelization, and to this day the majority of Orthodox Christians in this country (including Alaska) are in churches of non Russian lineage.

If the deciding factor is to say the Russians were here first (which they weren't anyway), then it is in effect a land grab.

Quote
So you're a hellenophile and a Russophobe?

I'm neither.

Quote
I'm not Greek or Slavic, so the Greek Phanar will do (no reason given), Moscow will not because they're stiffs.  You're neither yet you prefer the Greek?  Why?

I'm not Greek, Slavic, etc. so I have no preference for a bishop based on ethnic origins.  The EP to me provides the best option for unity in this country before achieving full governing status in my opinion, and also likely is the canonical solution.  I think there are numerous issues with the MP, and would not desire to be part of that church, but that's really a side issue.

All of the above is a moot point though.  Nobody will join up with the AOA or OCA, and those two won't join up with each other.  People in the MP won't go under the EP and vice versa.  A lot of people simply aren't interested in unity in any form, at least if it means doing or sacrificing anything.
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« Reply #75 on: May 09, 2007, 08:18:07 PM »

I believe the split in Sourozh was at least in large part over the issue of Russification however...

Rather, the reference was to the Paris Exarchate, and other areas where the EP has interloped - those who left Sourozh will find out about it in time as well. I'm not so sure about any history of 'Russianizing'. The Russian way has been rather to inculturate rather than 'make the world Russia'. (Noting, those who left Sourozh did so because they had a trajectory that was both unwelcoming to the Russian immigrants, and also un-English though claiming to be English. In time, I believe I'll be proved right in that assessment. Sourozh's tradition was Russian, so complaints of Russification were/are absurd - the real issue was liberalism vs. tradition.)

Quote
... and in fact these groups would have been pressured to Russianize if they had joined the Metropolia, which is in large part why they did not. 

Yes, but that was my point about the OCA/Metropolia - which is not the MP or ROCOR. The 'Russianizing' of the OCA was partly due to the 'Russian Greek Catholics' reacting against their former church culture as Eastern Catholics, it was not imposed from the MP or the Holy Synod. But, that same tendency is what I refer to by those who claim the OCA is 'American' - I'm American, and I don't recognize *anything* American about OCA. Its just a type of Russian (one that rejects part of the Russian tradition as 'Western'.)

Quote
...there's no reason why someone from the Great Russian tradition couldn't be under the Omophorion of the Ecumical Patriarch, any more than someone in the WR would have a problem being under a Russian bishop.

Yet, no one has successfully done it - the EP has Hellenized those 'Great Russians' (Paris), the Indonesians, Koreans, etc. And - again, the EP is not, or is likely to be friendly to us Western Rite Orthodox (they weren't to the French Orthodox.)

Quote
I also still disagree with the arguments that the "Russians were here first" as a way to sort this all out.  First, because the history is not so clear, but more importantly its because it makes our ecclesiology look like it's run like the opening of Oklahoma to white settlement.

Indeed - as the canonical path is to reestablish the Western Church jurisdiction. As I've noted, the 'Land Grab' version of jurisdiction is as absurd as the 'It's All Mine' pov of the modern EP. The Russian path, however, is the most pragmatic - as they've proved to be the most respectful, charitable and pragmatic in their evangelism and reception of us separated Westerners. IOW, they've been better stewards and tended to less of the faults of the Faithful Son in the parable of the Prodigal.

Quote
... but by the same token they've never pulled out of North America which they told the OCA they would do.

Yes, but that was under duress from the KGB, and the agreement also had nothing to do with the Russian Synod outside Russia. So, iffy-iffy - in any case, that agreement has no bearing on the rest of us, as it was only between the ROCUSA and OCA. I suppose, if the EP changed in many respects it *could* find the desired unity - but, I don't expect that to happen.

As for those who charge 'tired rhetoric' - BS. It has nothing to do with rhetoric, but lack of charity by those who simply want to rule over others as masters, and to cuddle up to the rich and powerful while ignoring their brethren in need.
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« Reply #76 on: May 09, 2007, 10:12:25 PM »

Well, just having these different Orthodox overlapping jurisdictions that put their ethnicity first sounds very unOrthodox to me. Orthodoxy has always been about adopting the culture of the country it happens to be in and respecting the customs of the land. Wherever Orthodoxy has gone, its missionaries took great care and time to learn the language and culture first before presenting the gospel message. It's pointless to call a church Serbian or Greek when you are not in Serbia or Greece respectively. This is a BIG turn-off to the majority that would even think about visiting an Orthodox Church here. Until we drop the ethnic names and become more open, ethnic type parishes will continually decline in numbers unfortunately. This just doesn't work for the majority of Americans.   
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« Reply #77 on: May 09, 2007, 10:32:51 PM »

Well, just having these different Orthodox overlapping jurisdictions that put their ethnicity first sounds very unOrthodox to me. Orthodoxy has always been about adopting the culture of the country it happens to be in and respecting the customs of the land. Wherever Orthodoxy has gone, its missionaries took great care and time to learn the language and culture first before presenting the gospel message. It's pointless to call a church Serbian or Greek when you are not in Serbia or Greece respectively. This is a BIG turn-off to the majority that would even think about visiting an Orthodox Church here. Until we drop the ethnic names and become more open, ethnic type parishes will continually decline in numbers unfortunately. This just doesn't work for the majority of Americans.   

"Serbian" and "Greek" are part of American Culture.  Do you think there is a monolithic American culture that excludes Serbian and Greek people?  America doesnt operate strictly by majority.  The concept of a national church doesnt quite fit here the more I think about it. 
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« Reply #78 on: May 09, 2007, 11:03:13 PM »

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"Serbian" and "Greek" are part of American Culture.  Do you think there is a monolithic American culture that excludes Serbian and Greek people?  America doesnt operate strictly by majority.  The concept of a national church doesnt quite fit here the more I think about it.

That's typically nice for first generation immigrants, but the REALITY of the situation when it comes to 2nd generation and so on is quite different. The children of these immigrant groups are mostly Americanized and even some of these people find it absurd that they have to sit through a Greek or Serbian Liturgy. I think it may even cause many to become bored with Orthodoxy since they may not fully understand the language the Liturgy is done in. I have personally seen this in a Greek parish when I dated a Greek Orthodox girl for a few years. Her and her friends seemed bored and not very interested in the GREEK service that was going on.
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« Reply #79 on: May 09, 2007, 11:53:42 PM »

Nacho,

You make a great point. I would point out, however, that America does in fact have it's own distinct and unique culture. Yes there are serbians and greeks who live in America, just like there are americans who live in serbia and greece. This does not negate the fact that America has it's own unique culture. I like how you pointed out "Orthodoxy has always been about adopting the culture of the country it happens to be in and respecting the customs of the land". This is what Orthodoxy needs to continue to do in north america. In Mexico, it needs to adopt to their culture and language, in quebec it needs to adopt their culture and language and in America it needs to adopt our culture and language, just like it does throughout the rest of the world.
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« Reply #80 on: May 10, 2007, 03:26:41 PM »

I really like the idea of a single American Orthodox Church (or maybe "North American" as American smacks of a bit of American phyletism or even ethnocentrism), with a few conditions.

As an Orthodox Christian of Serbian ethnicity, I would want to make sure some of our "special" religious practices were kept in place, without change (like Slava).

As for things like autonomy vs. autocephaly... frankly I don't care (provided the Church remains in good Canonical standing).  Whether the Church was under the jurisdiction of the EP or the Russian Patriarch... again, no big difference to me.

As a practical matter, the way I think you could make this work is just to change the name and ADD English Liturgy to ethnic Churches (the Bishop issue is for the clerical hierarchs to worry about, not me).

When I say "add" English, that does not mean subtract (insert ethnic Church name here), but have two, three, four Liturgies on Sunday.  I have a friend who attends an OCA Church in DC.  He says they have three separate Liturgies on Sundays.  English, Greek and Russian.  Fine by me.

My sister's parish (SOC) currently offers English Liturgy on the first of every month, followed by Serbian and Serbian Liturgy at all other times.  Seems to work nicely thus far.
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« Reply #81 on: May 10, 2007, 03:59:33 PM »

That is a good solution SouthSerb99.  Smaller churches can combine resources that way, serve both original communities better and give more charity to other people.
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« Reply #82 on: May 10, 2007, 04:13:40 PM »

Sounds good to me south serb.
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« Reply #83 on: May 10, 2007, 05:53:38 PM »

Nacho,

You make a great point. I would point out, however, that America does in fact have it's own distinct and unique culture.

I think you and Nacho need to get out of the midwest and move back to the west coast.  Completely false.  America is completely different than every other country in that we have such a large, constant flow of immigrants from many different cultures.  I asked it before and will ask it again.  Please define 'American Culture' (at least from your pov).  As a counter example, this other parish in town likes bluegrass (several of their young people play it).  I've heard one of their priests jokingly say, "Bluegrass music IS Orthodox music."  Not to me.  I never grew up with it and don't find a large affinity for it and I've lived my whole life on the California coast.
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« Reply #84 on: May 10, 2007, 06:58:48 PM »

I have a friend who attends an OCA Church in DC.  He says they have three separate Liturgies on Sundays.  English, Greek and Russian.  Fine by me.
I see.
So the solution to this "unity" you guys seek is Eucharistic Apartheid....even in the same parish, on the same Sunday......
The very sign of our unity, the Eucharist, is to be used as a means of dividing a community into seperate enclaves.
It just gets better.... Roll Eyes

Why not have a Russian Liturgy which everyone attends one Sunday, a Greek liturgy which everyone attends the following Sunday, an Arabic Liturgy which everyone attends the following Sunday and an English Liturgy whuich everyone attends the following Sunday?

There is a reason why we can Canonically only celebrate one Liturgy on one Altar per day.

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« Reply #85 on: May 10, 2007, 08:00:07 PM »

I see.
So the solution to this "unity" you guys seek is Eucharistic Apartheid....even in the same parish......
It just gets better.... Roll Eyes

As long as everyone is subject to Constantinople...what does it matter? Wink
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« Reply #86 on: May 10, 2007, 08:07:06 PM »

As long as everyone is subject to Constantinople...what does it matter? Wink
Constantinople has more sense than to take on such a "Church" where even the Sign of Unity is used to divide.
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« Reply #87 on: May 10, 2007, 08:11:39 PM »

Constantinople has more sense than to take on such a "Church" where even the Sign of Unity is used to divide.

Constantinople IS the Sign of Unity, she is all the Unity we have need of.
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« Reply #88 on: May 10, 2007, 08:14:51 PM »

Constantinople IS the Sign of Unity, she is all the Unity we have need of.
I'm afraid not GiC.
In the Church, the only unity is in Christ, her Head, and Constantinople knows this. That's why Constantinople would never accept a local Church which divides itself using the Eucharist (of all things!)
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« Reply #89 on: May 10, 2007, 08:29:13 PM »

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I think you and Nacho need to get out of the midwest and move back to the west coast.  Completely false.  America is completely different than every other country in that we have such a large, constant flow of immigrants from many different cultures.  I asked it before and will ask it again.  Please define 'American Culture' (at least from your pov).  As a counter example, this other parish in town likes bluegrass (several of their young people play it).  I've heard one of their priests jokingly say, "Bluegrass music IS Orthodox music."  Not to me.  I never grew up with it and don't find a large affinity for it and I've lived my whole life on the California coast.

America has it's own unique culture. The west coast (where I was born and raised) is more diverse than "the red states" so to speak. This is true of any place that has a high populus. I have been to Europe and have seen much diversity in the population over there. England for instance has a lot of indians and arabs. This does not mean that England does not have it's own national idenity or culture. Most Americans, as a society, do not define themselves as russian or greek. America is and historically been a western european anglo saxon culture. I have taken psychology classes in college on issues in diverse populations, and this is the fact about american culture. This does not exclude any culture or make our culture better, but our culture is unique. Mexico has it's own culture and Canada has it's own culture that is unique. Mexico is not serbian or greek or russian. There are probably many of those groups there, but the mexican culture is mexican. The liturgy should be in spanish and the church should adopt their culture, not make everyone slavic or greek. There are many different groups in all of these cultures just like there are throughout the world, but these cultures are still unique and intact.  By your reasoning, any country with a diverse population does not have a unique culture. I don't buy into that generalizing.
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« Reply #90 on: May 10, 2007, 09:04:22 PM »

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Constantinople has more sense than to take on such a "Church" where even the Sign of Unity is used to divide.

That explains setting up altar against altar in Estonia.  Thanks for clearing it up for me!
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« Reply #91 on: May 10, 2007, 10:05:56 PM »

So what is 'American Culture'?
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« Reply #92 on: May 10, 2007, 10:41:55 PM »

Anti authoritarian, individualist and gnostic.
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« Reply #93 on: May 10, 2007, 11:42:16 PM »

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So what is 'American Culture'?

I believe I answered that in my prior post. I am not a self hating american. I love my country and my culture even though it is not perfect. All cultures and societies have positives and negatives. I appreciate the beauty of all cultures. Like I said in my prior post, if america doesn't have a unique culture, then neither does Mexico, Canada, or England (Lets throw Ireland in there while we are at it). The kingdom of God transcends all cultures, unfortunatley there are many in the church who don't realize that. I am an Orthodox Christian first and an American second. I love my brothers and sisters in the church throughout the world, and I am all for removing the ethnic hurdles that keep my native kinsmen out of the true church. I don't think greeks and slavs should be forced to be americans, likewise I don't think americans should be forced to be greeks and slavs. One culture isn't better than the other. They are both beautiful and unique. Out here in the midwest, a greek speaking parish, or a russian speaking parish would not flourish or evangelize our city. It would minister to a select group of immigrants and to real serious/ studius americans, but for the average joe midwesterner/ southerner, it wouldn't do a thing but create a barrier

Elder Cleopa of Romania said that we should have the heart of a mother for those who are lost. This is the attitude we must have for the hetrodox and the nonreligious. This is how the church must be in North America. These are the churches that are flourishing, and will be the future of Orthodoxy in America. It shouldn't upset anyone. We must all lay aside our cultural biases and think of ourselves as Orthodox Christians first. 
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« Reply #94 on: May 11, 2007, 12:38:11 AM »

There is no uniform American culture.  It doesnt bother one bit that orthodox people who start Eucharistic communities choose whatever language they want.  If one wants to build churches that use English in services, I think its great, go for it.  I worship in English, who knows I _might just show up if its in the yellow pages and im traveling.  Calling for English only for all churches in North America is for crusading colonialists whose influence just doesnt matter any more.  No disrespect.  I think anyone is free to form their own community, or as many communities as they want.  But enough fascism, it has no place in the church or in america.
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« Reply #95 on: May 11, 2007, 01:16:27 AM »

I believe I answered that in my prior post.

No, I don't believe you did; I was reading through the post waiting to see what these great standards of American culture, which you desire to integrate into the Church, actually are. Alas, you don't seem to have ever really reached that point. Yes, you mentioned linguistics, but that's all you really mentioned and you mentioned it in addition to culture. I personally don't know that I would actually like to see those who refuses to go to the Orthodox Church for linguistic reasons in the Church, but that's just me. The fact of the matter is that a majority of Churches use English and they tend to move towards the use of English long before the demand to do so is truly there, so this issue is effectively moot. But linguistics aside, what are these elements of 'American Culture' that you would like to see integrated into the Church?

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I am not a self hating american.

That's nice...

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I love my country and my culture even though it is not perfect.

I have mixed feelings about my country; after all my forefathers both fought to establish it and fought to dissolve it. As for my culture, I'm quite fond of it, but I'd qualify it as a western American culture; those in other regions really have little in common.

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All cultures and societies have positives and negatives. I appreciate the beauty of all cultures.

I can appreciate some, but others are simply vile; and I'm not afraid to make this known.

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Like I said in my prior post, if america doesn't have a unique culture, then neither does Mexico, Canada, or England (Lets throw Ireland in there while we are at it).

But what is this culture? That was my question, it was not whether or not it existed.

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The kingdom of God transcends all cultures, unfortunatley there are many in the church who don't realize that. I am an Orthodox Christian first and an American second. I love my brothers and sisters in the church throughout the world, and I am all for removing the ethnic hurdles that keep my native kinsmen out of the true church. I don't think greeks and slavs should be forced to be americans, likewise I don't think americans should be forced to be greeks and slavs.

Well, a fortunate aspect of our current political system and constitutional protections is that, in this country at least, no one can be forced to conform to another culture; though if this refusal extends to the linguistic realm one may find themselves economically disadvantaged.

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One culture isn't better than the other.

Here I strongly disagree: western cultures in general, for example, are infinitely better than any Islamic culture.

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They are both beautiful and unique. Out here in the midwest, a greek speaking parish, or a russian speaking parish would not flourish or evangelize our city. It would minister to a select group of immigrants and to real serious/ studius americans, but for the average joe midwesterner/ southerner, it wouldn't do a thing but create a barrier

Having been compelled to spend several months in the midwest over the past year I don't know whether this is a good or a bad thing. Your 'average joe midwesterner' is a boring lot, I don't know that they ever overcame their agrarian mindset, even though they have moved into cities and work in industry. I had to spend a few weeks in Springfield, IL and during that time, since I'll rarely go more than a week or two without Sushi, I came to crave the same; unfortunately none could be found closer than Champaign; the longer I stayed in the midwest the more difficult it became for me to associate with them on a cultural level.

Now, in the South I was a bit more comfortable, though the culture was clearly different than mine. I was quite comfortable in Appalachia, probably because my Great-Grandparents were born there. Other places in the South are a bit different, but other than the more religious elements of that culture, which are quite disturbing to me, I am quite happy in that culture. Southerners, in general, seem to have a better understanding of history and slightly more individualistic tendencies (significantly more so in Appalachia) than thier midwestern counterparts.

I hated New England, the three years I spent there, and most the people I met outside the Greek Community (no offence intended to those from New England on this board, I'm speaking in very general terms of cultures and societies). I can safely say that I have nothing in common with them culturally. They had no respect for the individual, valued security over liberty, and were generally most inhospitable. They were not Americans in the sense that I had been taught the term.

Because of these experiences I no longer insist on being culturally American, but rather culturally a westerner; I don't believe there is an 'American Culture' which spreads from the Pacific to the Atlantic, rather there are several regional cultures, which are quite different even though they may share a similar language. I share a common culture and understanding with those born and raised west of the continental divide. We are a more individualistic and libertarian (and generally less religious) people than are found in other reigons; we are a people united not by having ancestors who established roots together, but rather by having ancestors who all broke these roots at one point in history to move west, to live free in relatively unpopulated areas.

Those east of the continental divide are different peoples and of different cultures, some of which I love and appreciate, others I abhor. Of course, even on this side of the continental divide there are a few sub-cultures that are a bit different, such as that surrounding San Francisco and a pacific costal culture found up and down the coast within about 30 miles of the ocean (beyond that you're generally in the mountains and will find a more generic western culture, or a major city depending on where you are located).

Yet, even though I can recognize the existance of various reigonal cultures throughout these united States. I fail to see what elemens need integrated into the Orthodox Church. I assume you are not insisting that a Confederate Flag be placed on the iconostasis or that a priest dress in traditional western wear. So how exactly do you propose we incorporate 'American Culture' into the Orthodox Church? It it something as trivial as what food is eaten after liturgy? Because that's about all I can think of at the time being. If you want to add a midwestern flare, feel free to bring mashed potatoes and overcooked vegetables to your next parish luncheon.
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« Reply #96 on: May 11, 2007, 01:37:45 AM »

This is scary...but I mostly agree with GiC's last post.

No Bagpiper, we may agree on many things, but you need to try a lot harder with this culture you have still yet to define.  GiC did a much better job without even deliberately trying.

In addition to being so diverse with so many immigrants and such a constant influx still, America is young.  THAT is part of the difference between America and England per se.  England has been around for many more centuries. 
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« Reply #97 on: May 11, 2007, 02:23:16 AM »

One word that would describe our American culture is diversity.  This country isn't called the great melting pot for no reason.
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« Reply #98 on: May 11, 2007, 08:27:26 AM »

Most likely Orthodoxy will follow a similar track to ethnic European (i.e. non Hispanic) Roman Catholicism in this country.  The initial varieties of religious expression, differing pieties, and lack willingness to integrate with one another gave way to an English speaking church largely settled on one common type of Catholicism (i.e. Irish).  The things that at one time would have made a parish or its people distinctively Polish or Slovak or Italian, etc.; such as language, devotions and so on are for the most part disappearing.  There are pockets here and there where you can find evidence of this legacy, but they will slowly fade away.  That is through the ageing or death of the immigrant generations, the dying out of the older Catholic areas, the growth of the South and West.

Most likely what will emerge in North America is an English speaking church centered around one or two types of basic liturgical norms.  Many of the devotions, pieties and small traditions brought by the immigrant generations will likely die out.

I also believe that as Protestants and Catholics begin to take notice of and form responses to Orthodox apologetics aimed at them, they will form effective replies to our criticisms which will likely stem the flow of converts or direct potential converts to them instead.  That will change things as well.
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« Reply #99 on: May 11, 2007, 09:09:05 AM »

I see.
So the solution to this "unity" you guys seek is Eucharistic Apartheid....even in the same parish, on the same Sunday......
The very sign of our unity, the Eucharist, is to be used as a means of dividing a community into seperate enclaves.
It just gets better.... Roll Eyes

George,

You're getting bent out of shape over nothing.  In reality, it is a practical solution (and temporary) to a real problem.  Many immigrants who came to America came from communist backgrounds (Serbs, Bulgars, Russian, Albanian etc...).  It has been a positive step getting these people to Church in the first place.  Next, you have a certain "comfort level" they fell with the Liturgy given in their native tongue.

Now, the Church I spoke of, isn't seeking to divide the congregation, but speaking to a few practical realities.  The first is that their congregation is too large to accomodate everyone for one Liturgy.  Second, is that they are *accomodating* people temporarily as a means of "bringing them home" (so to speak).

I mean, would I like to snap my fingers and have instant unity where everyone agrees with everything?  Yes.  But is that practical? No, not at all.  These things take time and patience.  If bringing unity comes to North America, it will come by God's will and by his calendar, not ours.

At my sister's parish, I believed they started to introduce English Liturgy as a means of "gettting people ready" for what must come.  However, would it be better to go English (cold Turkey) and probably scare off 70% of the congregation?  Who benefits from that?
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« Reply #100 on: May 11, 2007, 08:41:04 PM »

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No, I don't believe you did; I was reading through the post waiting to see what these great standards of American culture, which you desire to integrate into the Church, actually are. Alas, you don't seem to have ever really reached that point. Yes, you mentioned linguistics, but that's all you really mentioned and you mentioned it in addition to culture. I personally don't know that I would actually like to see those who refuses to go to the Orthodox Church for linguistic reasons in the Church, but that's just me. The fact of the matter is that a majority of Churches use English and they tend to move towards the use of English long before the demand to do so is truly there, so this issue is effectively moot. But linguistics aside, what are these elements of 'American Culture' that you would like to see integrated into the Church?


Re read my post again. I said america is a predominatly western european -anglo saxon culture. This is particularly true throughout the "red states". You can bash on it all you want, but it is the reality of the situation. As I said in my prior post, any highly populated place has a diverse populus. This is true of almost any place throughout the whole world. I explained in detail about this in my prior post. The U.S is an English speaking country, it is the official language. This should be the language of the mission parashes. Greek or Russian is irrelivant to the avergae Joe here in the U.S. If there are ethnic Orthodox who need to have a parish which supports their language needs, then so be it. I don't think anyone would have a problem with it. I think SouthSerb is right. There are obviously some regional differences in the U.S but there are many cultural common denominators. Let new england develop their style, let the midwest develop their style, and California their style. This is my point. Like nacho said, the church should adopt the culture it is in and sanctify it. Orthodoxy isn't about making people greek or russian. It is about uniting people to Jesus.

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I have mixed feelings about my country; after all my forefathers both fought to establish it and fought to dissolve it. As for my culture, I'm quite fond of it, but I'd qualify it as a western American culture; those in other regions really have little in common.

I guess for you the grass is greener on the other side. I am proud of my american heritage. As different as various regions can be, there are sitll common denominators. If a person from Springfield MO, Boston MA, Los Angeles CA, and Dallas TX were all living in a community in Greece, Russia, or just about anywhere else, you can be assured they would all know each other and affiliate with each other.

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I can appreciate some, but others are simply vile; and I'm not afraid to make this known.

As Elder Cleopa says, you need to have the loving heart of a mother towards everyone. You must look for the good in all people. We are all "vile" to one degree or another, you must have love.

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But what is this culture? That was my question, it was not whether or not it existed.

Do you not believe that there is an american culture?? How do you define culture?? As I said earlier, I explained it in my prior post, and will refer you to it. Do you deny culture exists?


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Well, a fortunate aspect of our current political system and constitutional protections is that, in this country at least, no one can be forced to conform to another culture; though if this refusal extends to the linguistic realm one may find themselves economically disadvantaged.

You gotta love America

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Having been compelled to spend several months in the midwest over the past year I don't know whether this is a good or a bad thing. Your 'average joe midwesterner' is a boring lot, I don't know that they ever overcame their agrarian mindset, even though they have moved into cities and work in industry. I had to spend a few weeks in Springfield, IL and during that time, since I'll rarely go more than a week or two without Sushi, I came to crave the same; unfortunately none could be found closer than Champaign; the longer I stayed in the midwest the more difficult it became for me to associate with them on a cultural level.

Now, in the South I was a bit more comfortable, though the culture was clearly different than mine. I was quite comfortable in Appalachia, probably because my Great-Grandparents were born there. Other places in the South are a bit different, but other than the more religious elements of that culture, which are quite disturbing to me, I am quite happy in that culture. Southerners, in general, seem to have a better understanding of history and slightly more individualistic tendencies (significantly more so in Appalachia) than thier midwestern counterparts.

I hated New England, the three years I spent there, and most the people I met outside the Greek Community (no offence intended to those from New England on this board, I'm speaking in very general terms of cultures and societies). I can safely say that I have nothing in common with them culturally. They had no respect for the individual, valued security over liberty, and were generally most inhospitable. They were not Americans in the sense that I had been taught the term.

Because of these experiences I no longer insist on being culturally American, but rather culturally a westerner; I don't believe there is an 'American Culture' which spreads from the Pacific to the Atlantic, rather there are several regional cultures, which are quite different even though they may share a similar language. I share a common culture and understanding with those born and raised west of the continental divide. We are a more individualistic and libertarian (and generally less religious) people than are found in other reigons; we are a people united not by having ancestors who established roots together, but rather by having ancestors who all broke these roots at one point in history to move west, to live free in relatively unpopulated areas.

Those east of the continental divide are different peoples and of different cultures, some of which I love and appreciate, others I abhor. Of course, even on this side of the continental divide there are a few sub-cultures that are a bit different, such as that surrounding San Francisco and a pacific costal culture found up and down the coast within about 30 miles of the ocean (beyond that you're generally in the mountains and will find a more generic western culture, or a major city depending on where you are located).

Yet, even though I can recognize the existance of various reigonal cultures throughout these united States. I fail to see what elemens need integrated into the Orthodox Church. I assume you are not insisting that a Confederate Flag be placed on the iconostasis or that a priest dress in traditional western wear. So how exactly do you propose we incorporate 'American Culture' into the Orthodox Church? It it something as trivial as what food is eaten after liturgy? Because that's about all I can think of at the time being. If you want to add a midwestern flare, feel free to bring mashed potatoes and overcooked vegetables to your next parish luncheon.

I am sorry for your negative experiences of being an American. I would still encourage you to look at all with love. I sense a slight hostility in your tone towards America. If this is an emotional issue for you, then I don't know if you can be reasoned with. You might have to work it out on your own.

As far as most integrating american culture into the church, I propose we do it the same way all the other cultures have done. There are slight variations on vestments, feasts, ect... The slavic countries do it one way, the latins (romanians) do it another, the greeks another,.... the "T"raditions cannot change but the "t"raditions can change. America can organically incorperate their own traditions over time on a whole range of things while being equally Orthodox.  I would expect that we would use an ecclectic approach. The average churches, unless there is a need, should be in english. This is not unreasonable. If there is a predominantly hispanic community in a border state, then let the liturgy be in spanish.

I am all for North America having it's own autonimous church. The Mexicans should have their culture and customs and the canadians theirs. This is reasonable.

As for the average joe american, who can blame him for not wanting to go to a church that is in another language. This is natural for all humans. Thank God there are great Orthodox parashes and Mission parishes which clear the ethnic hurdles for the average joe. This is the future of Orthodoxy in the U.S.




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I think anyone is free to form their own community, or as many communities as they want.  But enough fascism, it has no place in the church or in america.

Come on now Elos. Don't stoop to using exagerations or charges like "fascisim". This is riddiculous.


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In addition to being so diverse with so many immigrants and such a constant influx still, America is young.  THAT is part of the difference between America and England per se.  England has been around for many more centuries. 

I still don't see your line of reasoning. Because the U.S is not 1000 years old, it doesn't qualify to have its own culture??? Explain the logic. When is it long enough to have its own culture?? 1000 years 2000 years?? Current day America obviously has it's own culture. Any Psychologist, Sociologist or Historian will tell you that. I guess Mexico and Candada are too young to have their own culture as well?? There is obviously no such thing as Mexican culture right??
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« Reply #101 on: May 11, 2007, 10:34:29 PM »

Re read my post again. I said america is a predominatly western european -anglo saxon culture.

So this is the orign of the cultures present; this doesn't mean there is a uniform culture throughout these united States. French, Scottish, and Irish cultures are all Celtic...does this mean that they should all be identified as one culture? Or to directly extend the argument you seem to be making, England and Australia are also 'predominately western european -anglo saxon cultures', so should they be regarded as the same culture of these united States?

My question, however, was more along the lines of what 'American cultural' elements (other than Language) need to be integrated into the Church? And, thus far, I really have not received a direct answer. Please give me specifics and how, other than in matters of language, is the Church failing you on a cultural level.

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This is particularly true throughout the "red states". You can bash on it all you want, but it is the reality of the situation.

Well, first of all, the red states and blue states are roughly equal in population, with the blue states having slightly more people I believe; so to say that something that a 'red state' culture defines American culture is absurd. But I won't belabour this point too much because I believe the distinction beween a 'red state' culture and a 'blue state' culture is inherenty flawed. This should be clear to anyone who realizes that the 'red state' Indiana has far more in common with the 'blue states' Michigan, Illinois, Wisconson, etc. than it does with other 'red states' such as Lousiana, Idaho, or South Carolina. Or that the 'blue state' Oregon has far more in common with the 'red state' Idaho than it does with fellow 'blue states' New York and New Jersey.

The cultural divides in this country are reigonal, not political. A california liberal is not a 'liberal' for the same reason that a New York liberal is a 'liberal'; and a Montana conservative is a 'conservative' for very different reasons than a Georgia 'conservative'. And each of these people are culturally closer to those of the opposite political persuasion in their own reigon than they are to those of the same political party in other reigons. From a cultural perspective, 'red state' 'blue state' is a false dichotomy.

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As I said in my prior post, any highly populated place has a diverse populus. This is true of almost any place throughout the whole world. I explained in detail about this in my prior post.

And a diverse populace leads to different cultures; the fact that they are citizens of the same country does not mean they have the same culture...unless you want to start arguing that the cultures of Quebec and British Columbia are one and the same. Perhaps they should also have to speak the same language...being in the same country and all.

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The U.S is an English speaking country, it is the official language.

Well, technically we don't have an 'official language', but that is another discussion for another day.

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This should be the language of the mission parashes.

Ok, I can see your argument here, I disagree with it but at least it makes sense to me. What I still don't understand is how you want to change the Church, other than in matters of linguistics, to become more 'american.'

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I guess for you the grass is greener on the other side. I am proud of my american heritage.

As am I, and that is why I have a profound respect for the founding ideals of this country, and for my ancestors who fought for these ideals...both in the Revolution and in the War Between the States. And this pride in my heritage is exactly the reason why I have mixed feelings for this country. My forefathers helped establish it, believing in the ideal of self-determination, and they also resisted the same when the union threatened that same right. Or would you have me be ashamed of my heritage and dismiss the sacrifice of my ancestors who fought for the rights of their states and self-determination.

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As different as various regions can be, there are sitll common denominators. If a person from Springfield MO, Boston MA, Los Angeles CA, and Dallas TX were all living in a community in Greece, Russia, or just about anywhere else, you can be assured they would all know each other and affiliate with each other.

And Greeks and Russians do the same here in these united States...but here you are decrying them for this; arn't we being a tad bit hypocritical? But with that said, I would argue that this is only for linguistic reasons, if there were a large number of midwesterners, new englanders, and westerners in another country, they would tend to gather with their like kind. As is the case with the Greeks who came to this country, in areas with a large Greek population you see communities form around Greeks from similar areas, Cypriots in one place, those from the North in another, Athenians in yet a third.

Of course, if you remove the linguistic element, I dont know that what you say above is true. If I was in Australia, for example, I think I would be far more likely to affiliate with someone from the area before I affiliated with a 'typical' Bostonian.

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As Elder Cleopa says, you need to have the loving heart of a mother towards everyone. You must look for the good in all people. We are all "vile" to one degree or another, you must have love.

And in some cases we're all better off if we keep to ourselves.

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Do you not believe that there is an american culture?? How do you define culture?? As I said earlier, I explained it in my prior post, and will refer you to it. Do you deny culture exists?

I do not deny that reigonal cultures exist, wherever there are people there is culture, I merely deny that a common, unified, American culture exists. As to how I would define culture, I believe that is a book unto itself, but in brief it is a common understanding of the world and one's interaction with it. This would extend from certain significant philosophies, such as individualism vs. collectivism, to far more accidental elements such as food and clothing.

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I am sorry for your negative experiences of being an American. I would still encourage you to look at all with love. I sense a slight hostility in your tone towards America. If this is an emotional issue for you, then I don't know if you can be reasoned with. You might have to work it out on your own.

Oh, it's not really an emotional issue; sure there are emotions attached with experiences, as is always the case, but my like or dislike of any reigon or peoples throughout these united States is not so intense as to preclude rational discussion; it's not like talking to me about the Mohammedans, where I just want to see their destruction, no if's and's or but's about it.

But quite frankly, I dont think I expressed any negative experiences of being an American, my experiences with my culture are quite good and positive. It is only in interacting with foreign cultures, such as that of the New Englanders, where I have had negative experiences. Of course, the common consensus amongst many us from other reigons at the seminary was that New England wasn't really part of the United States. The main point is that there are different cultures in different reigons, and when I go elsewhere I am aware that they are different than me, their worldview is different than mine, they grew up in a different cultural context. Now if I go to Idaho (where I did my undergraduate) or Colorado (where my grandfather lives) I dont experience this difference, but that is because they are westerners, they are culturally the same people; this is simply not true of Southerners (whose culture I love dearly) or of New Englanders (of whose culture I am not so fond), they are different peoples, with different customs and different cultures.

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As far as most integrating american culture into the church, I propose we do it the same way all the other cultures have done. There are slight variations on vestments, feasts, ect... The slavic countries do it one way, the latins (romanians) do it another, the greeks another,.... the "T"raditions cannot change but the "t"raditions can change.

So how do you suggest we change our vestments to be more 'American'? What feasts should we add? (Thanksgiving, perhaps, but as it falls in the middle of the fast of the Nativity, I doubt most people would like the technicalities of adding it as a fast, it would mean that we would eat fish, not turkey...most people (both ethnic and American) are probably happier with the status quo, where we just kinda ignore the fast (assuming we're fasting in the first place, which isn't a big issue in the more ethnic communities) on that particular day.) Are you suggesting we remove feasts? Because I think that's a really bad idea...I love feasts, the more the merrier. Wink

Basically I'm asking for specifics. Other than the language issue, what's wrong? What needs to change? And why?

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America can organically incorperate their own traditions over time on a whole range of things while being equally Orthodox.  I would expect that we would use an ecclectic approach. The average churches, unless there is a need, should be in english. This is not unreasonable. If there is a predominantly hispanic community in a border state, then let the liturgy be in spanish.

What traditions do we need to incorporate into the Church? You can't expect everyone to change to fit your ideal if you can't even tell us what this ideal is.

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I am all for North America having it's own autonimous church. The Mexicans should have their culture and customs and the canadians theirs. This is reasonable.

Is this what you want? A church government based on American culture and ethnicity? That's called phyletism, geography is the only factor that should be taken into account in matters of Ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

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As for the average joe american, who can blame him for not wanting to go to a church that is in another language. This is natural for all humans. Thank God there are great Orthodox parashes and Mission parishes which clear the ethnic hurdles for the average joe. This is the future of Orthodoxy in the U.S.

It's not natural for me, and I know many other people who would side with me on this one...so apparently it's not natural for all humans. It's really just a matter of personal preference. I personally hate going to liturgies in English, it just doesn't sound right. But again, this is just personal preference.
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« Reply #102 on: May 12, 2007, 01:01:29 AM »

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My question, however, was more along the lines of what 'American cultural' elements (other than Language) need to be integrated into the Church? And, thus far, I really have not received a direct answer. Please give me specifics and how, other than in matters of language, is the Church failing you on a cultural level.

First of all, the language is the first of the problems. As I have said over and over and over again, it is ok for a parish with special needs to celebrate in a different language; however, this is not evangelical. The average american does not know greek, serbian, russian, romanian, ect... We are an english speaking nation. These languages are utterly forgein to the majority. They don't work for the average joe american. You may like them, and not like english liturgies, but your preference is an exception to the majority.



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So how do you suggest we change our vestments to be more 'American'? What feasts should we add? (Thanksgiving, perhaps, but as it falls in the middle of the fast of the Nativity, I doubt most people would like the technicalities of adding it as a fast, it would mean that we would eat fish, not turkey...most people (both ethnic and American) are probably happier with the status quo, where we just kinda ignore the fast (assuming we're fasting in the first place, which isn't a big issue in the more ethnic communities) on that particular day.) Are you suggesting we remove feasts? Because I think that's a really bad idea...I love feasts, the more the merrier.

Basically I'm asking for specifics. Other than the language issue, what's wrong? What needs to change? And why?


You wrongly implied that I said the church has "failed me". My critique of the ethnic churches is that they are not evangelical. They have not done a great job at spreading the Holy Orthodox faith to the americans. Many of these parashes are more interested in sticking to themselves. They put hurdles for american visitors to jump over. Thank God for the OCA and particularly the Antiochians for their understanding of the american culture and doint what it takes to spread Holy Orthodoxy to america.

This is what I said about the vestments

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As far as most integrating american culture into the church, I propose we do it the same way all the other cultures have done. There are slight variations on vestments, feasts, ect... The slavic countries do it one way, the latins (romanians) do it another, the greeks another,.... the "T"raditions cannot change but the "t"raditions can change. America can organically incorperate their own traditions over time on a whole range of things while being equally Orthodox.  I would expect that we would use an ecclectic approach. The average churches, unless there is a need, should be in english. This is not unreasonable. If there is a predominantly hispanic community in a border state, then let the liturgy be in spanish.

I don't know or care how the vestments might vary to an american style. I was using that as an example. Other things we can develop is our style of iconography, and hymnography. As far as the feasts go, I have seen different cultures celebrate different feasts differently. That is the point I was making.


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What traditions do we need to incorporate into the Church? You can't expect everyone to change to fit your ideal if you can't even tell us what this ideal is.


I already addressed that in my prior post. The traditions will organically come. I am not a hymnographer or an iconographer, ect... so I wouldn't know, but I will support these things as they come. The american visitors must know they are welcome and not walking into a culture club when they visit. The first time I ever visited an Orthodox church, it was at a greek orthodox church. I came in and no one spoke to me, some even looked at me wierd. I didn't understand what was going on, it all looked pretty, but wierd to me, and at first I wrote it off a irrelivant. This has happened countless times to others. The exclusive attitude has to stop.

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And a diverse populace leads to different cultures; the fact that they are citizens of the same country does not mean they have the same culture...unless you want to start arguing that the cultures of Quebec and British Columbia are one and the same. Perhaps they should also have to speak the same language...being in the same country and all.

Again, I think I made myself clear in a prior post. If french is the language of the land, let the liturgy be in french, if it is english let it be in english, and if it is spanish let it be in spanish.

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Ok, I can see your argument here, I disagree with it but at least it makes sense to me. What I still don't understand is how you want to change the Church, other than in matters of linguistics, to become more 'american.'

The language is the first and primary change that needs to take place. Second it needs to be more evangelical. and third, american needs to incorporate it's own 't'raditions over time like I said in my prior post (hymnography, iconography, vestments, ect..). The natives of the land need to feel like they don't need to become greek or russian to become orthodox.

The churches that stay in ethnic gettos will continue to become irrelivant to american society.

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And Greeks and Russians do the same here in these united States...but here you are decrying them for this; arn't we being a tad bit hypocritical? But with that said, I would argue that this is only for linguistic reasons, if there were a large number of midwesterners, new englanders, and westerners in another country, they would tend to gather with their like kind. As is the case with the Greeks who came to this country, in areas with a large Greek population you see communities form around Greeks from similar areas, Cypriots in one place, those from the North in another, Athenians in yet a third.


I said the americans would affiliate with one another. I wasn't using it in a religious context. I was pointing out that there were common denominators in our culture. That in fact we do have a culture (which is obvious to psychologists, sociologists and historians) If people are using church as more of a culture club and being irrelivant to society then I have a problem. I think the ethnic churches have to reach out to americans. It is the obligation of the church, I don't care what country you are in.

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it's not like talking to me about the Mohammedans, where I just want to see their destruction, no if's and's or but's about it.

You should pray that God helps you forgive them. They are in error and have persecuted the church. I would like to see them return to Christ.

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[ do not deny that reigonal cultures exist, wherever there are people there is culture, I merely deny that a common, unified, American culture exists. As to how I would define culture, I believe that is a book unto itself, but in brief it is a common understanding of the world and one's interaction with it. This would extend from certain significant philosophies, such as individualism vs. collectivism, to far more accidental elements such as food and clothing.
/quote]

There are different layers to culture, but I think we can speak in generalities. America is historically and presently a western european anglo-saxon culture. One day it may be a latino country, especially if americans do not want to procreate, but for the time being this is the reality of our culture.

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Is this what you want? A church government based on American culture and ethnicity? That's called phyletism, geography is the only factor that should be taken into account in matters of Ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

I think north america should have it's own church yes absolutley. I know ethnic hieromonks who believe the same way. Most of the clergy I have met believe the same way. I agree with them. I don't think the ecclisiology of the church should make up any particular race, i could care less. I am for one bishop over one city or dioceses. I don't like the overlapping that is going on. It's not right. I am against the status quo. It is like something you would find in protestantism.

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It's not natural for me, and I know many other people who would side with me on this one...so apparently it's not natural for all humans. It's really just a matter of personal preference. I personally hate going to liturgies in English, it just doesn't sound right. But again, this is just personal preference

I said it's natural for all humans to like churches that speak their same language. Of course there are small exceptions, which you of course knew what I meant, but you are in a very small small minority. You don't represent the majority of americans. If you like the forgien language services then thats fine, I could care less. Whatever floats your boat. The typical american joe wants to hear the services in his own language.
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« Reply #103 on: May 12, 2007, 01:21:24 AM »

The average american ...... the average joe american. ....typical american joe....
Christianity is not for "average people" who want to live "average lives". It is a call to a life which is often contrary to the "average" life of those in the world. I'm finding it a little disheartening that your grand vision for Orthodox Christianity in North America is that it should be mediocre. Wink
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« Reply #104 on: May 12, 2007, 01:29:12 AM »

Ah, so as I suspected this who culture tirade is nothing more than a thinly veiled rant against the use of non-english languages. By culture you really didn't mean culture at all, you meant language (throwing in some unknown potential future customs yet to be developed, nothing like being specific). So, since the guise of academic discussion has been thrown off and the old language rant has reemerged, without further ado:

You may not particularly care what I want or prefer liturgically, but that's ok because I dont particularly care what you or your mythical 'average joe' wants. If you 'average joe' wants english speaking 'American culture' Church, the Episcopal Church is right down the road and he is more than welcome to it (not that I really wish such a person upon the Episcopal members of this board, so you're free to point him in the direction of the nearest Free Church); infact, if he's going to whine and complain about the language at Orthodox Churches not being in English, I would much prefer he attend his local Episcopal or Protestant Church where I'm sure he'll find something else to complain about, perhaps he can even participate in a schism at that Church separating the Eighteenth Baptist Free Church of Christ from the Seventeenth Baptist Free Church of Christ. Thankfully, the majority of Orthodox have not rushed headlong down the path your propose and still maintain the cultural and linguistic Traditions of the Christian Church.

(Sorry Elisha, but it was inevitable that we would have to split and go our own ways at some point over the course of this discussion Wink)
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« Reply #105 on: May 12, 2007, 02:18:31 AM »

Ah, so as I suspected this who culture tirade is nothing more than a thinly veiled rant against the use of non-english languages. By culture you really didn't mean culture at all, you meant language (throwing in some unknown potential future customs yet to be developed, nothing like being specific). So, since the guise of academic discussion has been thrown off and the old language rant has reemerged, without further ado:
Is academic discussion going to save our souls?

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You may not particularly care what I want or prefer liturgically, but that's ok because I dont particularly care what you or your mythical 'average joe' wants.
In the end, it really doesn't matter what anyone wants.  The only thing that matters is that the Church obey its commission to make disciples of all nations, even if that means preaching and liturgizing in the language of the people.

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If you 'average joe' wants english speaking 'American culture' Church, the Episcopal Church is right down the road and he is more than welcome to it (not that I really wish such a person upon the Episcopal members of this board, so you're free to point him in the direction of the nearest Free Church); infact, if he's going to whine and complain about the language at Orthodox Churches not being in English, I would much prefer he attend his local Episcopal or Protestant Church where I'm sure he'll find something else to complain about, perhaps he can even participate in a schism at that Church separating the Eighteenth Baptist Free Church of Christ from the Seventeenth Baptist Free Church of Christ. Thankfully, the majority of Orthodox have not rushed headlong down the path your propose and still maintain the cultural and linguistic Traditions of the Christian Church.
What are the cultural and linguistic Traditions of the Christian Church, and what does this require of us?  Does this mean that we should reestablish the Byzantine Empire and liturgize only in Greek and according to the typikon in use in Hagia Sophia?  I'm sure you'd love this.  Wink  (Of course, I say all the above with a halfway tongue-in-cheek sarcasm.)
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« Reply #106 on: May 12, 2007, 02:54:55 AM »

1) Autonomy.
Autonomy is not the "norm" in the Orthodox Church. It is not a "natural evolutionary stage" of a local Church, and should not be viewed as such. Autonomy, most often, comes about as a failure in Church unity, as a breakdown in relationships in the Church. It is hardly an ideal for the Body of Christ. Local Church synods cannot (and should not) model themselves on the Boston Tea Party. If we really want a Church which transcends nationalism, we can't just keep doing the same thing which the Churches we see as inordinately "nationalist" are doing; otherwise, we are contradicting ourselves.

2)Absorption of Culture vs. Imposition of Culture.
There is a natural absorption of culture which occurs in the Church as a direct result of her mission in the world, and which the Church has has regularized through her blessings. In the Orthodox Church, when an object is blessed with prayer, the sign of the Cross and with holy water, we understand that it is a sanctification of the object for it's proper use. Our homes are blessed at Theophany so that they may become what a Home is supposed to be, a safe and nurturing environment, and not a place where people are abused and traumatized. We bless automobiles to be transport for the People of God, and not as getaway cars for robberies and ram raids. We bless our food with prayer and the sign of the Cross before we eat it, so that it's proper use for our nourishment can be fulfilled, and not so that it can be used for gluttony. The Church is here to sanctify our culture as well. On Palm Sunday in the Greek Orthodox Church here in Australia, the custom has developed of tying a Palm leaf Cross to branches of Australian Native Plants such as Wattle and Euchalyptus leaves and blessing and distributing them. In Greece, the same thing happens with Olive leaves. At Theophany, the Orthodox Church here blesses Australian waters to their proper use. The Church blesses buildings (such as shops, hospitals, nursing homes) here in Australia to their proper use. These are not "Orthodox Christian" shops, nursing homes, etc. These are Australian industries which the Church is being invited to bless. The Church is sanctifying the objects of Australian culture gradually.
Now contrast this with the demand that the Church immediatley accept, without reservation, every aspect of a particular culture. Rather than the Church sanctifying the culture, the culture imposes itself on the Church in a relationship equivalent to rape.
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« Reply #107 on: May 12, 2007, 03:37:14 AM »

1) Autonomy.
Autonomy is not the "norm" in the Orthodox Church. It is not a "natural evolutionary stage" of a local Church, and should not be viewed as such. Autonomy, most often, comes about as a failure in Church unity, as a breakdown in relationships in the Church. It is hardly an ideal for the Body of Christ. Local Church synods cannot (and should not) model themselves on the Boston Tea Party. If we really want a Church which transcends nationalism, we can't just keep doing the same thing which the Churches we see as inordinately "nationalist" are doing; otherwise, we are contradicting ourselves.
Can you defend this thesis?  On the basis of what evidence from Tradition do you argue that autonomy is NOT the norm?  What does the word 'autonomy' mean to you?
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« Reply #108 on: May 12, 2007, 04:01:50 AM »

Is academic discussion going to save our souls?

Quite possibly, 'academic discussion' or 'objective discussion' allows us to address an issue without emotional baggage; it is the only way to seek viable and realistic courses of action. It's not enough to be right, you must also be reasonable, eloquent, and convincing.

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In the end, it really doesn't matter what anyone wants.  The only thing that matters is that the Church obey its commission to make disciples of all nations, even if that means preaching and liturgizing in the language of the people.

The Gospel has been preached to the nations, it's predominately a gentile Church today if one hasn't noticed. But tired Clichés aside, what ultimately matters are the opinions of the Episcopacy and their interpretation of thier commission. And according to said Episcopacy, at least in several jurisdictions, our primary concern is the maintaining of and witnessing to ethnic communities, even if that means preaching and liturgizing in the language of said communitiy.

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What are the cultural and linguistic Traditions of the Christian Church, and what does this require of us?  Does this mean that we should reestablish the Byzantine Empire and liturgize only in Greek and according to the typikon in use in Hagia Sophia?  I'm sure you'd love this.  Wink  (Of course, I say all the above with a halfway tongue-in-cheek sarcasm.)

Oh, I dont believe it necessary to restablish the political traditions, though I must confess that the Church is quite handicapped, dare I say incomplete, without an Emperor; yet even taking that into consideration, we are probably better off without the reestablishment of a monarchy. But, of course, it does go without saying that we in the diaspora should liturgize only in Greek and only in accordance with the typikon of the Great Church of Christ. Wink
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« Reply #109 on: May 12, 2007, 05:38:00 AM »

The Gospel has been preached to the nations, it's predominately a gentile Church today if one hasn't noticed. But tired Clichés aside, what ultimately matters are the opinions of the Episcopacy and their interpretation of thier commission. And according to said Episcopacy, at least in several jurisdictions, our primary concern is the maintaining of and witnessing to ethnic communities, even if that means preaching and liturgizing in the language of said communitiy.
Considering the sizes of some of our ethnic communities, I actually have no problem with making sure we continue to meet their spiritual needs, just so long as we encourage them to open up to their Orthodox brothers and sisters in other ethnic communities (as opposed to maintaining the closed ethnic fortress mentality that's dominated most of the last century) and as long as the needs of our English speaking people are met.  We cannot afford to neglect the needs of one community as we reach out to another.

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Oh, I dont believe it necessary to restablish the political traditions, though I must confess that the Church is quite handicapped, dare I say incomplete, without an Emperor;
You might say that, but I don't, unless that Emperor is Jesus Christ Himself.  Wink

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yet even taking that into consideration, we are probably better off without the reestablishment of a monarchy. But, of course, it does go without saying that we in the diaspora should liturgize only in Greek and only in accordance with the typikon of the Great Church of Christ. Wink
How does one say 'Greek' in Slavonic?  Huh
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« Reply #110 on: May 12, 2007, 12:31:56 PM »

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The Gospel has been preached to the nations, it's predominately a gentile Church today if one hasn't noticed. But tired Clichés aside, what ultimately matters are the opinions of the Episcopacy and their interpretation of thier commission. And according to said Episcopacy, at least in several jurisdictions, our primary concern is the maintaining of and witnessing to ethnic communities, even if that means preaching and liturgizing in the language of said communitiy.

If the primary concern of the episcopacy in several jurisdictions is to maintain a witness to ethnic communities, I would have to say that they are not really doing a great job. Not only are they NOT attracting the majority of the English speaking native population they are surrounded by, they are losing their OWN ethnic members fast. I will even give you a few good examples of what I'm talking about. Here in Springfield Missouri, we have less that five Romanians in the only Orthodox Church in the area, but yet the Pentecostals seem to have attracted enough Romanians where they now have over 400 members in one of their local churches alone. When I lived in Sacramento, I saw the same thing happening, even with there being a Romanian Orthodox Church in the area. The Protestants for some reason had the better outreach in not only attracting different ethnic groups, but at the same time had a healthy growing population of native born Americans also. I have noticed this phenomenon in other ethnic jurisdictions also. I hate to say it, but I believe the charges that Protestants and Roman Catholics put forth against us have some merit. You can't remain an exclusive Orthodox ethnic club and expect to retain members. That's not what Christianity is about and it has obviously caused us problems in that we are even losing members in some parts of the Church. I believe there should be a healthy balance ultimately, and the ethnics down the road will have to face the reality that at some point they are going to have to become more 'open' and engage in some evangelism to keep the doors to the Church from closing.
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« Reply #111 on: May 12, 2007, 12:44:37 PM »


(Sorry Elisha, but it was inevitable that we would have to split and go our own ways at some point over the course of this discussion Wink)

Alas, I knew it would be inevitable.   Wink  I think you just haven't been to any GOOD english Liturgies before.  You to need to come back out west, you know, your home.  I know of at least a few parishes that have them.
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« Reply #112 on: May 12, 2007, 08:34:51 PM »

If the primary concern of the episcopacy in several jurisdictions is to maintain a witness to ethnic communities, I would have to say that they are not really doing a great job. Not only are they NOT attracting the majority of the English speaking native population they are surrounded by, they are losing their OWN ethnic members fast. I will even give you a few good examples of what I'm talking about. Here in Springfield Missouri, we have less that five Romanians in the only Orthodox Church in the area, but yet the Pentecostals seem to have attracted enough Romanians where they now have over 400 members in one of their local churches alone. When I lived in Sacramento, I saw the same thing happening, even with there being a Romanian Orthodox Church in the area. The Protestants for some reason had the better outreach in not only attracting different ethnic groups, but at the same time had a healthy growing population of native born Americans also. I have noticed this phenomenon in other ethnic jurisdictions also. I hate to say it, but I believe the charges that Protestants and Roman Catholics put forth against us have some merit. You can't remain an exclusive Orthodox ethnic club and expect to retain members. That's not what Christianity is about and it has obviously caused us problems in that we are even losing members in some parts of the Church. I believe there should be a healthy balance ultimately, and the ethnics down the road will have to face the reality that at some point they are going to have to become more 'open' and engage in some evangelism to keep the doors to the Church from closing.

Nacho,  I agree with you.
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« Reply #113 on: May 12, 2007, 09:57:33 PM »

I still think SouthSerb's idea of multiple altars in the same building to facilitate multiple languages is the most practical and innovative way to address these problems.  Members of the same family from different generations are both served that way, and you can be sure that there will be cross-communication, positive interaction and learning both ways.  English speakers can help the immigrants who are trying to integrate in their new home and immigrants can help converts understand orthodoxy in a living and personal way.  Both can help to educate each other and their children.  People who speak English will have the opportunity to learn other languages through liturgy and friendship, which is great.  Non-english speakers will have opportunity to learn and practice english in a relaxed atmosphere of love (hopefully).  Separate buildings, separate locations on the otherhand keeps the two groups of people separate, and often church life becomes a struggle to pay the bills and stay open.  Or worse, the younger generation loses interest and becomes protestant.  Combine resources and much of that pressure is relieved to some degree, and perhaps more money can be allocated for education and charity.

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« Reply #114 on: May 12, 2007, 11:52:56 PM »

I still think SouthSerb's idea of multiple altars in the same building to facilitate multiple languages is the most practical and innovative (See Peter's comment below) way to address these problems.  Members of the same family from different generations are both served that way, and you can be sure that there will be cross-communication, positive interaction and learning both ways.  English speakers can help the immigrants who are trying to integrate in their new home and immigrants can help converts understand orthodoxy in a living and personal way.  Both can help to educate each other and their children.  People who speak English will have the opportunity to learn other languages through liturgy and friendship, which is great.  Non-english speakers will have opportunity to learn and practice english in a relaxed atmosphere of love (hopefully).  Separate buildings, separate locations on the otherhand keeps the two groups of people separate, and often church life becomes a struggle to pay the bills and stay open.  Or worse, the younger generation loses interest and becomes protestant.  Combine resources and much of that pressure is relieved to some degree, and perhaps more money can be allocated for education and charity.

I have to agree with what Ozgeorge said in the following quote regarding multiple altars:
So the solution to this "unity" you guys seek is Eucharistic Apartheid....even in the same parish, on the same Sunday......
The very sign of our unity, the Eucharist, is to be used as a means of dividing a community into seperate enclaves.
It just gets better.... Roll Eyes

Why not have a Russian Liturgy which everyone attends one Sunday, a Greek liturgy which everyone attends the following Sunday, an Arabic Liturgy which everyone attends the following Sunday and an English Liturgy whuich everyone attends the following Sunday?

There is a reason why we can Canonically only celebrate one Liturgy on one Altar per day.

This is one canonical norm that we must all uphold: ONE Body of Christ manifested locally in the Eucharist, ONE Eucharistic altar.  I support much more a practice of which Bishop BENJAMIN (OCA-DOW) has spoken regarding a church in southern California that serves the Sunday Liturgy in Slavonic once a month (for the large Russian community there) while serving it in English all the other Sundays.  At least in this scenario the parish remains united around ONE common altar.


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... practical and innovative ...
In many respects these terms actually strike pious Orthodox ears as bad words, and for good reason, IMO.
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« Reply #115 on: May 13, 2007, 05:02:28 AM »

Well, just having these different Orthodox overlapping jurisdictions that put their ethnicity first sounds very unOrthodox to me. Orthodoxy has always been about adopting the culture of the country it happens to be in and respecting the customs of the land. Wherever Orthodoxy has gone, its missionaries took great care and time to learn the language and culture first before presenting the gospel message. It's pointless to call a church Serbian or Greek when you are not in Serbia or Greece respectively. This is a BIG turn-off to the majority that would even think about visiting an Orthodox Church here. Until we drop the ethnic names and become more open, ethnic type parishes will continually decline in numbers unfortunately. This just doesn't work for the majority of Americans.   

this is quite possibly the best analysis on this thread.
I remember reading Tony Horowitz (author of Conferates in the Attic) book about Captain Cook's journeys last summer. He re-traces Cooks voyages. Every Christian group comes off looking pretty bad in the eyes of the indigenous people today everywhere he travelled, EXCEPT in Alaska. The native people hold St. Herman and St. Innocent and the Russian monks in extraordinary high esteem, especially how they protected them and preserved their culture over against the Russian fur traders.

And this isn't an isolated example. Evangelicals spent most of the last half of the 20th century trying to develop a culturally sensitive and respectul missiology. All they needed to do was study Orthodox missions historically.

Except in North America.

That love and respect of culture seems to be peculiarly lacking in this one instance. It is the singular missiological mis-step in 2000 years of history (okay, I'm not a church historian and I am sure some on-line wizkid can debate that point) but I am generalizing.

A couple of reasons:
Except for the Russians in Alaska - no Orthodox came to America for missiological purposes.

old world Orthodox rightly sent priests to America to serve its imigrants, but no evangelistic strategy accompanied them

By default Orthodox churches became reservations of cultural preservation in the new world

The outcome of second and third generation ethinic Orthocox: Orthodox off-spring who assimilated became secular; Orthodox offspring who maintained religious devotion greatly personalized their faith; the third group assimilated in terms of lifestyle, values, etc. but kept a veneer of Orthodoxy for nationalistic/family/ethnic/sentimental purposes

Oh that we could view North America as a mission field and love its people, culture and institutions ( it is a rather grand place where you can practice your faith freely and assimilate to the degree you want to and advance economically)rather than be IN REACTION to (check your preferred bogey man)
protestant culture
catholic culture
secular culture
the enlightenment
western culture
the big bad American empire
materialism
liberalism
conservativism
materialism
capitalism


PS before responding to this post, all non- North Americans, please note your biases

PPS There is much in American history to cringe and be ashamed of - chief being ethnic claensing of native Americans and slavery and american apartheid toward blacks. Also some of its empire-esque  escapades - not that some Orhtodox have anything against empires, they just don't like America doing the empiring -  But America has been the beacon of freedom  to the world since the first settlers stepped on the shores of Virginia 400 years ago
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« Reply #116 on: May 13, 2007, 12:40:06 PM »

Oh that we could view North America as a mission field and love its people, culture and institutions ( it is a rather grand place where you can practice your faith freely and assimilate to the degree you want to and advance economically)rather than be IN REACTION to (check your preferred bogey man)
protestant culture
catholic culture
secular culture
the enlightenment
western culture
...

The Orthodox Church being introduced into this Country is inherently a reaction against the Protestant Culture and, unfortunately, far too often it is also a reaction against the enlightenment. Perhaps something that we should keep in mind is that America doesn't need Orthodoxy, it needs America far more than America needs it. America was founded upon a secular enlightened ideology, deism was truly our founding religion; yes, there was and is a strong protestant influence, mostly amongst the lower and middle classes, but religion really only grew in settled communities and it is the unsettled pioneer and frontiersman who is the heart and soul of America (at least this is true in the most of the West, perhaps less so in the more established communities of the East).

Thus in many ways, we are doing a disservice to America by attempting to spread the Orthodox faith, especially in the sad state we currently find it. Today the Orthodox Church is recovering from both the impact of Communism and the T**kish occupation, we have yet to produce the kinds of theologians necessary to modernize the Curch, we are still held back by folk superstitions, unenlightened reactions against social egalitarianism, and a cloistered anti-ecumenist mentality. Until we overcome these things we have little to offer to any people save the psychologically unstable fringe of the American (or other Western) Cultures (myself included).

So until we can make several fundamental changes to the Church, I do not believe it possible to be anything other than a reaction against Protestant, (modern) Catholic, and Western Culture and the Enlightenment. So while I actually agree with the above quoted paragraph, I submit that the only real solution is to reform our Church before we attempt to introduce it into foreign Cultures and Societies.

Quote
PS before responding to this post, all non- North Americans, please note your biases

Well, then, in all fairness I'm an American so I'm clearly biased; perhaps we can hear more objective analyses from those not so intimately involved in the current situation.

Quote
PPS There is much in American history to cringe and be ashamed of - chief being ethnic claensing of native Americans and slavery and american apartheid toward blacks. Also some of its empire-esque  escapades - not that some Orhtodox have anything against empires, they just don't like America doing the empiring -  But America has been the beacon of freedom  to the world since the first settlers stepped on the shores of Virginia 400 years ago

Well, I'm not ashamed of these things, they were necessary for the growth and prosperity of our republic. Now I am glad that they are gone and hope they never again return, but I am not ashamed, I am not sorry, and I will not apologize for myself or my ancestors: their actions are justified by the current position of this Republic amongst the community of Nations.
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« Reply #117 on: May 13, 2007, 03:19:36 PM »

Well, I'm not ashamed of these things, they were necessary for the growth and prosperity of our republic. Now I am glad that they are gone and hope they never again return, but I am not ashamed, I am not sorry, and I will not apologize for myself or my ancestors: their actions are justified by the current position of this Republic amongst the community of Nations.
If the cycle of social ills that is perpetuated by western colonial political philosophy, driven by the phoney concept of "individual happiness" leads to mutual annhilation, then it would be a great shame.  I cannot justify the actions of my ancestors, who believed lies, by celebrating that USA is the most fat and happy nation.  If the position of this nation declines, and another nation becomes preeminant, will their founding fathers become your polidols?
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« Reply #118 on: May 13, 2007, 04:27:23 PM »

If the cycle of social ills that is perpetuated by western colonial political philosophy, driven by the phoney concept of "individual happiness" leads to mutual annhilation, then it would be a great shame.  I cannot justify the actions of my ancestors, who believed lies, by celebrating that USA is the most fat and happy nation.  If the position of this nation declines, and another nation becomes preeminant, will their founding fathers become your polidols?

My ancestors are responsible for building and expanding this Nation until it reached its current place in the world. If we decline in the future, it is the fault of this and subsequent generations, not of the previous generations, their actions have clearly lead to success.
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« Reply #119 on: May 13, 2007, 09:17:08 PM »

The Orthodox Church being introduced into this Country is inherently a reaction against the Protestant Culture and, unfortunately, far too often it is also a reaction against the enlightenment. Perhaps something that we should keep in mind is that America doesn't need Orthodoxy, it needs America far more than America needs it. America was founded upon a secular enlightened ideology, deism was truly our founding religion; yes, there was and is a strong protestant influence, mostly amongst the lower and middle classes, but religion really only grew in settled communities and it is the unsettled pioneer and frontiersman who is the heart and soul of America (at least this is true in the most of the West, perhaps less so in the more established communities of the East).

Thus in many ways, we are doing a disservice to America by attempting to spread the Orthodox faith, especially in the sad state we currently find it. Today the Orthodox Church is recovering from both the impact of Communism and the T**kish occupation, we have yet to produce the kinds of theologians necessary to modernize the Curch, we are still held back by folk superstitions, unenlightened reactions against social egalitarianism, and a cloistered anti-ecumenist mentality. Until we overcome these things we have little to offer to any people save the psychologically unstable fringe of the American (or other Western) Cultures (myself included).

Is EVERYTHING we see in the Church today merely a product of our interaction with the surrounding culture?  What role does the ministry of the Holy Spirit play in your conception of the Church?  Is there such thing as timeless, eternal Truth, or is doctrine defined purely in accordance with the whims of the current age?
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« Reply #120 on: May 13, 2007, 11:22:55 PM »

So while I actually agree with the above quoted paragraph,

Well, then, in all fairness I'm an American so I'm clearly biased; perhaps we can hear more objective analyses from those not so intimately involved in the current situation.


That is quite possibly a first GiC, agreeing with me on anything! Tongue

And you are quite possibly right. It is probably moreso the Americans that do all the American culture bashing on these boards. Our Brit, Aussie and Canadian friends are probably more tolerant of us than we are of oursleves and they have to deal with many of the same issues in their own cultures. America is just more  commercial and over-the-top.
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« Reply #121 on: May 13, 2007, 11:37:57 PM »

Is EVERYTHING we see in the Church today merely a product of our interaction with the surrounding culture?  What role does the ministry of the Holy Spirit play in your conception of the Church?  Is there such thing as timeless, eternal Truth, or is doctrine defined purely in accordance with the whims of the current age?

I think the work of the Holy Spirit is evident in that Orthodox Christians are at least raising these types of questions. A generation or so ago that might not have been the case. The work of the Spirit is also seen in what Fr. Chris has related and also Tamara and the Orthodox students movement.

The Truth of course is timeless, but it's application may not be fixed in stone, especially from one culture to another. I think, because of Communism and Islamic conquest of the Christian east alot of these issues were either back burnered or taken off the stove. Orthodoxy may be a messy affair at times, but I think that people saying that it is and that we would like to see it get better is positive and a movement of the Holy Spirit.

And, for us converts, the irony is that we were attracted to Orthodoxy because it doesnt change on a whim. It might take a couple centuries. So, we will likely never see the changes we long for. Our great-great-grandchildren might. And, in a twisted sort of way, that may be a blessing and perfectly in keeping with why we were drawn to Orthodoxy.

I also realize that what I have just written pretty much contradicts alot of what I have already posted on this thread. But sometimes you step back, look at your primary arguments and not only see the other side, but sort of feel the other side a bit yourself. (BTW, this is exactly why I find the higher critical method laughable; a liberal Bible scholar would surely view this post as a later redaction, inserted into the text to deal with a local issue that arose generations later. One author could never have written all the posts attributed to BA).  Undecided
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« Reply #122 on: May 14, 2007, 12:53:07 AM »

I still haven't seen any convincing arguments put forth by the 'ethno centrists' on this thread.

Neither Greeks, Serbians, Romanians (or any particular one ethnic group) invented Orthodoxy. In fact, if you were to ask each of these groups separately about certain matters in regards to the Church, they would probably have some minor disagreements. Americans are LUCKY because we have Greeks, Serbians, Romanians and all the other ethnic groups represented here. This is great because it allows us to get a full view of the Orthodox faith; however when each of these groups remain exclusivist to the dominant culture (which is English speaking), they do a grave disservice not only to each other, but also to native born Americans and more especially to Holy Orthodoxy itself.

I would add that the majority of Americans are from western European background. Although most of them would find other cultures interesting, unless they have prior connections to a particular ethnic group (they themselves are married to or are dating a particular person from said ethnic group), they probably are not interested in becoming Greek, Romanian, or Serbian...... Native born converts to Orthodoxy owe a debt of gratitude to previous generations of Orthodox from various countries that have come here because without them its quite possible that we wouldn't have Orthodoxy at all here. If a group of American Orthodox went to Romania and demanded that the services should be in English in a particular parish, Romanians would think it would be very rude. I can understand immigrants wanting to stay in touch with their culture (language, customs, food etc.), that's all well and good, but it's a completely different matter when talking about Holy Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #123 on: May 14, 2007, 01:36:18 AM »

So what is 'American Culture'?

The 'what' is not something that can be quantified in a short list or sentence. American culture is really a few 'cultures' inside a larger Anglo civilization. Interesting that even the Nazis considered 'the West' as their enemy, embodied in the USA and UK (including the Commonwealth of Nations.) And really, that is what American culture is - Albion unchained. It is what gives Westerners so much in common with Australians and Kiwis, Canadians so much grief over their similarities/dissimilarities with Yankees, and the discomfort almost everyone seems to feel about us Southerners (we're almost *medieval*.)

I suppose the short answer is that for American culture, beginning from any other ethnicity, would be 'you can't get here from there'. Without Anglo ideas of Freedom (which literally means 'the rule of friendship'), Common Law (with Magna Carta), Lowland Scots ideas of the rights of nations and the nobility of man (Arbroath Declaration, and more), and much more Western and particularly British or English - one couldn't have America. We did get here from 'there' (in fact, America preserves much of 17th - 18th c. Britain, things the 'Homeland' and the rest of the Commonwealth grew out of - it is called 'colonial conservatism'.) America's foundations begin within the first generations of the Anglican schism and have *everything* to do with that history, as well as with what was happening in Germany, France, Italy, Scandinavia, Spain, Portugal and among the West Slavs - though to a lesser degree than the importance of events in Great Britain and Ireland.

America *is* a place, it is a people with a core population who descend in every sense from the founders. America has a language, values, laws, customs, local history - everything required of a particular culture. It is *NOT* simply a political idea or 'corporation' that one can ascribe to. To love America is not to be bound to a specific ideological creed, but is very much love of a particular bit of the planet, and of a people with common history and relation to one another.

We do have an American tradition, and there are still many of us who are neither deracinated nor forgetful of it that we have lost any identity or connection. In fact, it is something we simply are and cannot escape by changing names, diet, of affecting other languages or accents (religion, however, is not simply part of culture - which in any case, there is no 'American religion'. If there is any American position on religion, it is 'have religion' and 'seek Truth'). We have American English as our heart language (in fact, most often our *only* language for good or ill.) Some might find it expedient to ignore that baggage (taking the 'counter-culture' option like the Hippies, and 'dropping out') - most of us can't, we have to engage it. We swim in it - so to speak, so better to clean the water out than try to find a new pond.

(Again, I'll point to David Hackett Fischer's "Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America" - which is problematic in some parts, but on the whole is a sound thesis that is also *obvious* to the unlearned in America, as its what they were raised in and with. Its a beginning point though, though I'm glad to discuss both the living tradition of being an American as well as further academic or popular works for those who are interested, or do not have the experience of the American tradition.)
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« Reply #124 on: May 14, 2007, 01:49:34 AM »

Nacho,

Once again I whole heartedly agree with you. You sir are wise beyond your years! My wife is Romanian, and I appreciate the Romanian culture; however, with all of the Romanians in town, we can't get more than 4 or 5 to show up to church on pascha;however, the romanian penticostals can keep 400+ and growing in their church. I just don't get it.

I think that the OCA and even moreso the Antiochians are what Orthodoxy will primarily look like in the United States. I believe this is what the Holy Spirit is doing. We need more of that evangelistic spirit!

What I like about my parish is that about 65% of the parish are converts from Assemblys of God,and the other half are a mix of Indians, Russians, Ukranians, Greeks, ect. It is truly diverse, but has an evangelical spirit.
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« Reply #125 on: May 14, 2007, 07:44:55 AM »

I still haven't seen any convincing arguments put forth by the 'ethno centrists' on this thread.
And who might they be, Nacho?
Perhaps you haven't heard any arguments from them because they don't exist except in your head. Wink
Unless, of course, you have the guts to name the posters you are referring to instead of making cowardly sweeping statements.
Objecting to the establishment of yet another nationalist Church does not automatically render one an "ethno-centrist"- in fact, it's the opposite.
You are the one who wants to establish a nationalist Church based on the nation's dominant culture, yet you label anyone who questions this as an "ethno-centrist"! It's incredible that you don't see the irony!

And so far, for all the talk about "culture", it all comes back down to linguistics.....
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« Reply #126 on: May 14, 2007, 11:41:00 AM »

Quote
Perhaps you haven't heard any arguments from them because they don't exist except in your head.
Unless, of course, you have the guts to name the posters you are referring to instead of making cowardly sweeping statements.

Come on now george, I thought you were above making personal attacks calling people "cowardly". This isn't the language that is used in effective dialog. Remember we are all Christians here.

Quote
Objecting to the establishment of yet another nationalist Church does not automatically render one an "ethno-centrist"- in fact, it's the opposite.
You are the one who wants to establish a nationalist Church based on the nation's dominant culture, yet you label anyone who questions this as an "ethno-centrist"! It's incredible that you don't see the irony!


I think that Nacho has laid out an effective argument about the ethno-centrist churches. As Nacho, myself and others have stated, it is those who use the church as a culture club and do not reach out and evangelize the culture that have the problem.

Quote
And so far, for all the talk about "culture", it all comes back down to linguistics.....

Again, you need to re read the posts. Yes Language is the big one, but America does have it's own unique culture. I beleive Aristibule summarized it great in his last post.
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« Reply #127 on: May 14, 2007, 01:16:36 PM »

I should do more than summarize. One thing I note is that most of the caricatures we get of American culture are actually describing the counter-culture which has been at war with American culture for quite a long time. Arguments about 'secularism', 'deism', 'individualism', 'capitalism' - all break down when compared with real American culture (and sure, there are some Americans that think that is America, but then again - they're deracinated, and I mean that not as an insult, but in the clinical sense. They're cut off from the roots, which explains their identity crisis and need to join another people.)

Like it or not, America is:

1. A religious nation, in fact - the most religious in the world. Over 189 million Americans claim to be Christian, the next two largest Christian populations (Brazil and Mexico) don't even approach that. Secularism, Atheism, Deism - these are actually all quite outside the norm for America. American religion is also by its nature more than a market, but is most often militant (especially here in the Backcountry.) In the Northeast, it may be a 'private matter', but in the South and West it is a matter of public theological apologetic, argument, and yes - proselytization. If you don't invite folks to your Church, they're going to try to get you to join theirs. That is the kind of environment we are in fact dealing with. Noting, that the 'ecumenicism' is not all that American, though some Americans hold to the idea - by far, the American population is anti-ecumenical, and of the firm belief that everyone else should be as they are: Evangelical, Baptist, Pentecostal, Calvinist, Catholic, Mormon, etc. Whether or not we offer Orthodoxy, they're going to push whatever they've got 'by any means necessary'. NOTE - America is not *PAGAN* but *CHRISTIAN*, and an inheritor of Christendom. That means everything belonging to the Church (especially the pre-Schism West) is the birth-right of every American (and, I don't mean that exclusively for Americans, but for every other Western country as well.)

2. American 'individualism' is nothing more than a media mythology. In the Northern parts of the country, the community is still the basis of life - an individual doesn't stand a chance vs. the neighborhood, the town, the 'public body'. In the South and West, the family (by which we mean all relatives, not just parents and siblings) is the basis of our society. Individualism simply means nothing where decisions have to take the opinions, advice, and vetoes of parents or other members into account. 'Individualism' in America is simply a youthful desire, not a reality of life.

3. Materialism - again, along with 'Nihilism', another item that does not describe the American culture, but the counter-culture. Americans may more often be pragmatic, but they aren't as a body all that materialistic. They do hold spiritual values, but what those values are can seem pure chaos. Refer back to 1, Americans are as a whole religious and complain vociferously about 'materialism', 'secularism', etc. Those aren't outside voices, but American complaints against a foreign body; which, oddly enough - many Americans consider to be European in origin - blame the French ... or the Soviets. Wink

Of course, there is much more to say... my point again is that we Orthodox (especially in America) shoot ourselves in the back again  everytime we confuse the victim with his disease. Kill the cancer, not the cancer patient.
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« Reply #128 on: May 14, 2007, 02:24:02 PM »

I think that Nacho has laid out an effective argument about the ethno-centrist churches. As Nacho, myself and others have stated, it is those who use the church as a culture club and do not reach out and evangelize the culture that have the problem.

I think it's unwise to point fingers at unnamed masses of the faithful - shouldn't this be approached as a series of comments by those feeling excluded and a general pastoral strategy at every parish?
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« Reply #129 on: May 14, 2007, 05:14:51 PM »

Come on now george, I thought you were above making personal attacks calling people "cowardly".
Interesting that you quoted everything from my post except the one point for it's existence:
I still haven't seen any convincing arguments put forth by the 'ethno centrists' on this thread.
And who might they be, Nacho?
It's not that difficult. Clearly Nacho is saying that there are posters on this thread who are "ethno-centrists". I'd like him to name who they are. Or perhaps you can do it for him?

Cowards.....
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« Reply #130 on: May 14, 2007, 07:00:46 PM »

Here, here to Aristabule's last two posts. Or, perhaps more in keeping with the American South, Amen and Amen, brother!

(I spent seven of the happiest years of my life in Greenville, SC)

I think the "foreign bodies" analogy is perhaps a better description of the "isms" (materialism, secularism) than the term counter cultural. They are like bacterias and viruses.

Once again, thank you. I am simply NOT going to sneer at my culture and all of its wonderful history. It's a great place. Otherwise, why the heck did all those Orthodox immigrants come here in the first place? Also, it IS pretty religious and Christian, even yet today.
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« Reply #131 on: May 14, 2007, 09:51:29 PM »

The 'what' is not something that can be quantified in a short list or sentence. American culture is really a few 'cultures' inside a larger Anglo civilization. Interesting that even the Nazis considered 'the West' as their enemy, embodied in the USA and UK (including the Commonwealth of Nations.) And really, that is what American culture is - Albion unchained. It is what gives Westerners so much in common with Australians and Kiwis, Canadians so much grief over their similarities/dissimilarities with Yankees, and the discomfort almost everyone seems to feel about us Southerners (we're almost *medieval*.)

Yet, 'the west' is not one uniform Culture, it involves both Germanic and Celtic influences as well as various local differences. English culture is not Scottish Culture is not Australian Culture is not American Culture.

Quote
I suppose the short answer is that for American culture, beginning from any other ethnicity, would be 'you can't get here from there'. Without Anglo ideas of Freedom (which literally means 'the rule of friendship'), Common Law (with Magna Carta), Lowland Scots ideas of the rights of nations and the nobility of man (Arbroath Declaration, and more), and much more Western and particularly British or English - one couldn't have America.

And it should be noted that the Lowland Scots are neither Anglos nor Saxons, they represent a vital Celtic influence in the Americas.

Quote
We did get here from 'there' (in fact, America preserves much of 17th - 18th c. Britain, things the 'Homeland' and the rest of the Commonwealth grew out of - it is called 'colonial conservatism'.) America's foundations begin within the first generations of the Anglican schism and have *everything* to do with that history, as well as with what was happening in Germany, France, Italy, Scandinavia, Spain, Portugal and among the West Slavs - though to a lesser degree than the importance of events in Great Britain and Ireland.

While English culture was dominate and heavily influential along the seaboard, it was far less influential on the frontier. There the Ulster-Scots, being forced out of the populated areas by the English, became the dominate culture, and their cultural influence became the basis of frontier, and later western, culture. As time went on indigenous phenomena related to the westward expansion also began to shape frontier culture directly and the more established eastern cultures indirectly. Of course, in all of this the cultural divide between North and South, in large part a result of agrarian versus industrial culture, cannot be ignored.

Quote
America *is* a place, it is a people with a core population who descend in every sense from the founders. America has a language, values, laws, customs, local history - everything required of a particular culture. It is *NOT* simply a political idea or 'corporation' that one can ascribe to. To love America is not to be bound to a specific ideological creed, but is very much love of a particular bit of the planet, and of a people with common history and relation to one another.

I disagree, America is a diverse people and consists of diverse cultures, already at the time of our Declaration of Independence Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, etc. were culturally distinct. These several states were united only by a common ideology, a valuing of liberty above security and the right of self-determination. The immediate cause of the War Between the States was the fact that the South deemed these ideals to be no longer held in common. Of what use is this land without the ideals on which it was founded?

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We do have an American tradition, and there are still many of us who are neither deracinated nor forgetful of it that we have lost any identity or connection. In fact, it is something we simply are and cannot escape by changing names, diet, of affecting other languages or accents (religion, however, is not simply part of culture - which in any case, there is no 'American religion'. If there is any American position on religion, it is 'have religion' and 'seek Truth'). We have American English as our heart language (in fact, most often our *only* language for good or ill.) Some might find it expedient to ignore that baggage (taking the 'counter-culture' option like the Hippies, and 'dropping out') - most of us can't, we have to engage it. We swim in it - so to speak, so better to clean the water out than try to find a new pond.

We have traditions, we have cultures, we have identites...but we do not have a unified tradition, culture, identity, etc. There is no 'American Culture', though there are several American cultures. What I am insisting is that as a westerner, I am as culturally distinct from a New Englander as they are from an Englishman or an Australian. You seem to be attempting to diminish the significant of our regional cultures by attempting to force them into some monstrous generic mold labeled 'American Culture'.
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« Reply #132 on: May 14, 2007, 11:31:48 PM »

I should do more than summarize. One thing I note is that most of the caricatures we get of American culture are actually describing the counter-culture which has been at war with American culture for quite a long time. Arguments about 'secularism', 'deism', 'individualism', 'capitalism' - all break down when compared with real American culture (and sure, there are some Americans that think that is America, but then again - they're deracinated, and I mean that not as an insult, but in the clinical sense. They're cut off from the roots, which explains their identity crisis and need to join another people.)

Capitalism...Individualism...Deism...not central to 'American culture'? Perhaps in some regions...but by no means universally.

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Like it or not, America is:

Let's see.

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1. A religious nation, in fact - the most religious in the world. Over 189 million Americans claim to be Christian, the next two largest Christian populations (Brazil and Mexico) don't even approach that. Secularism, Atheism, Deism - these are actually all quite outside the norm for America.

A lot depends on both class and reigon. The Baylor study, 'American Peity in the 21st Century' found that only 16% of Americans making <35k/year believed in a distant (uncritical and uninvolved) diety, 37% of those making >100k/year had such a view of God. A similar divide is found amongst the educated and uneducated. Culture is largely a matter of class, this is no less true in America than it is in the Old World. Of course, region also has a significant impact; only 22% of Southerners believe in a distant God, whereas 30% of Westerners do, more than any other region. Even more telling is the difference in belief in an Authoritarian God, one both involved with and judgemental of human behaviour: in the South, 44% have this view of their God (the highest of any region), whereas in the West only 21% maintain this view (lowest of any region). It must also be kept in mind that this survey includes both the more pious hispanic and mormon populations, I am curious to know what the statistics would be for the West if these groups were excluded.

Time recently included data about Americans and religion in a demographics survey when the national population reached 300,000,000. Part of this is an interesting map about religious affiliation in America:

http://www.time.com/time/covers/20061030/denomination_nation/

Also click on the buttons for Mainline Protestant, Evangelical Protestant, and Roman Catholic which should reveal quite about about regional cultural influence of various religions. If you keep in mind that most the religious population of Utah and south eastern Idaho is LDS, and subtract much of the Roman Catholic population from the counties along the Southern border (which is mostly a result of the Hispanic community), you will find that indepentant of the Hispanic and Mormon communities (which are really subcultures of the west), we are not very religious out here in the West.

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American religion is also by its nature more than a market, but is most often militant (especially here in the Backcountry.) In the Northeast, it may be a 'private matter', but in the South and West it is a matter of public theological apologetic, argument, and yes - proselytization.

Perhaps in certain places of the South and Midwest, but certainly not in the West, most people here arn't religious, and most who are will generally leave you alone. Of course, for the vast majority of people this is true throughout the country, even of those who believe in an Authoritarian God (the most common in the South), according to the aforementioned poll, only 22% believe that 'To be a good person it is very important to convert others to your religious faith.' Amongst those who believe in a distant God (most common in the West), only 0.3% believe this. Normalized for the entire population, only 13% of Southerners hold this view, and 10% of Westerners, representing the two regional extremes (though one must remember that Mormons, a highly agressive evangelical sect, are rather influential in the Western statistic).

Also of note (related to the prevalence of Deism), only a 26% of Americans respnded that they believe that 'Jesus is the Son of God' (yet 27% are Biblical Literalists, go figure). These numbers very from the two extremes (the West is actually the least religious of all Regions, even when you include the Mormons and Hispanic community) of 23% and 22% in the West and 28% and 33% in the South, respectively.

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If you don't invite folks to your Church, they're going to try to get you to join theirs. That is the kind of environment we are in fact dealing with.

Maybe in the South and Midwest, but not in the West and Northeast.

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Noting, that the 'ecumenicism' is not all that American, though some Americans hold to the idea - by far, the American population is anti-ecumenical, and of the firm belief that everyone else should be as they are: Evangelical, Baptist, Pentecostal, Calvinist, Catholic, Mormon, etc. Whether or not we offer Orthodoxy, they're going to push whatever they've got 'by any means necessary'. NOTE - America is not *PAGAN* but *CHRISTIAN*, and an inheritor of Christendom. That means everything belonging to the Church (especially the pre-Schism West) is the birth-right of every American (and, I don't mean that exclusively for Americans, but for every other Western country as well.)

America is, generally, not ecumenical only because it's not religious. Most have no religion and don't care whether or not you do...America is secular.

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2. American 'individualism' is nothing more than a media mythology. In the Northern parts of the country, the community is still the basis of life - an individual doesn't stand a chance vs. the neighborhood, the town, the 'public body'. In the South and West, the family (by which we mean all relatives, not just parents and siblings) is the basis of our society. Individualism simply means nothing where decisions have to take the opinions, advice, and vetoes of parents or other members into account. 'Individualism' in America is simply a youthful desire, not a reality of life.

In the Northeast, South, and Midwest, this may be true...but that's part of the reason many in the West don't regard them as true Americans. Individualism is very much alive in the West, not only in the classical Western culture found in the mountains, but even in Western urban areas. They tend to be far less community oriented than most Eastern cities (San Francisco being a possible notable exception, but the city suffers from being too old and well established). The fact of the matter is that most people don't have well established roots in the West (and those who do are steeped in pioneer culture), and thus have relatively little tie to either community or family (it's not all that uncommon to move to another city so you dont have to deal with family more than a few times a year).

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3. Materialism - again, along with 'Nihilism', another item that does not describe the American culture, but the counter-culture. Americans may more often be pragmatic, but they aren't as a body all that materialistic. They do hold spiritual values, but what those values are can seem pure chaos. Refer back to 1, Americans are as a whole religious and complain vociferously about 'materialism', 'secularism', etc. Those aren't outside voices, but American complaints against a foreign body; which, oddly enough - many Americans consider to be European in origin - blame the French ... or the Soviets. Wink

Are you talking about the same American I am? World's largest consumer? World's largest consumer of oil and energy? World's number one producer of greenhouse gasses? (not that I think this is a problem, though that is a discussion for the political board, but it does demonstrate the consumer (read materialistic) nature of our society).

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Of course, there is much more to say... my point again is that we Orthodox (especially in America) shoot ourselves in the back again  everytime we confuse the victim with his disease. Kill the cancer, not the cancer patient.

I really don't know if you have a good grasp of what the demographics of America are...small Southern towns are the (extreme) exception, not the rule.
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« Reply #133 on: May 14, 2007, 11:43:32 PM »

Yet, 'the west' is not one uniform Culture

Exactly - which is why I used the term civilization - a 'super-culture'.

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And it should be noted that the Lowland Scots are neither Anglos nor Saxons, they represent a vital Celtic influence in the Americas.

BS - that's *my* folk you are talking about, and we are indeed Anglos (though not Saxons.) It was the Angles who lived in Bernicia, built up Edinburgh, gave rise to the Riding clans, the Northumbrian dialect that became the guid Scots tongue (our ain tongue), and is the basis of our Uplands Southern dialect. Whatever the diverse origins of our people back in Alba (Scandinavian, Angle, Pict, Briton, Flemish, Norman, Gael) - they gained a unified Anglo culture before they came over to America, the 'Scotus domesticus'. Wild Scots (Scotus silvanus) only really settled in Nova Scotia and Cape Fear to any great degree.

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While English culture was dominate and heavily influential along the seaboard, it was far less influential on the frontier.

Hardly - that's just the Rushdooney Revisionist school. It seeks to 'Calvinize' the South, and through subterfuge to make them into Crypto-Yankees - Puritans in Southern clothing. To begin with, most of 'Scotch-Irish' were in fact North British. The 'Celtic' vs. 'Saxon' divide is largely a product of 19th c. Irish immigrant clique maintenance. Like it or not, 'Celtic' really only applies to the Cape Fear / Peedee valley settlements (where my people are from), and the Welsh towns of Pennsylvania. Everyone else was *Anglo*-Celtic - they spoke, and do speak, English as their mother tongue (whether the Tidewater Southern English dialect, or the Scots derived Upland Southern English dialect.)

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These several states were united only by a common ideology, a valuing of liberty above security and the right of self-determination.

Actually, there was no common ideology. I'll point you to another of Fischer's works: "Liberty and Freedom, a Visual History of America's Founding Ideas." Regionally, we did (and still have) very different ideas and language with regard to what being 'free' means.

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You seem to be attempting to diminish the significant of our regional cultures by attempting to force them into some monstrous generic mold labeled 'American Culture'.

And, again - I say one thing, you accuse me of saying the opposite. What you are 'insisting' upon is saying the same thing I just said, but claiming it as your own idea. There is an American civilization which has American cultures (four main cultures, to be precise - that match pretty much with the four main American regions, dialects, etc.) No one proposed a 'monstrous generic mold', least of all myself.
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« Reply #134 on: May 15, 2007, 12:13:48 AM »

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It's not that difficult. Clearly Nacho is saying that there are posters on this thread who are "ethno-centrists". I'd like him to name who they are. Or perhaps you can do it for him?

Ozgeorge, clearly there are some here that seem rather 'ethno centric'. I find some of greekishchristians views quite absurd. All I have been saying is that there needs to be a certain balance in the Church on this issue. I'm not making any claims that we should do away with people's cultures. The problem is that people's 'cultures' are impeding on the services in Holy Orthodoxy, thus dividing people along ethnic lines and driving away potential converts; also the net effect of losing members in some parts of the church. Above I said we are LUCKY to have all these ethnic groups here in America because it gives us a better picture and view of the Orthodox faith. Where I disagree again is dividing the Church along ethnic lines with services done in a language that only the old timers & first generation type immigrants understand. Ask the younger Greek crowd why they don't attend Liturgy these days, most likely you'll get a response such as not understanding what's going on in the service and other confusion about why we even attend church, along with the beliefs of the faith. I think my views are a fair assessment and speak toward the REALITY of the current situation in some parts of the Church. 
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« Reply #135 on: May 15, 2007, 01:03:52 AM »

The problem is that people's 'cultures' are impeding on the services in Holy Orthodoxy, thus dividing people along ethnic lines and driving away potential converts; also the net effect of losing members in some parts of the church. Above I said we are LUCKY to have all these ethnic groups here in America because it gives us a better picture and view of the Orthodox faith. Where I disagree again is dividing the Church along ethnic lines with services done in a language that only the old timers & first generation type immigrants understand. Ask the younger Greek crowd why they don't attend Liturgy these days, most likely you'll get a response such as not understanding what's going on in the service and other confusion about why we even attend church, along with the beliefs of the faith. I think my views are a fair assessment and speak toward the REALITY of the current situation in some parts of the Church. 

I do not completely agree with this.  When I was a Roman Catholic, I would attend 2 latin-rite parishs.  One performed the Tridentine rite while the other performed the Novus Ordo Missae in Italian (with a few English services during the weekday).  I am second generation Italian/French and take an hour train ride then walk to this parish, instead of going to the English only one about a 7 minute walk from my house.  The congregation was not soley Italian immigrants.  You found a wide variety of people (Italians from recent migrants to 4 generations old, converts, Anglos, Germans, even an elderly Chinese couple).  Why did they come?  They each had their reasons.  Some were drawn because they felt a home with it being in English, some by the people, some by the culture, some because they were led to the Church by an Italian, etc.  This same parish, soon the Priest was moved to a new parish and a English-only speaking Priest was positioned there.  The parish was nearly empty during mass; it was as if the congregation lost its home.  It was extremely emotional for many.  Grandparents who had taken part in the baptism of their grandchildren in the same parish their own children were baptised in left, converts who had entered into that parish left, couples who were married in that parish left.  The last people to leave were not the converts, not the Anglos, the Scots, the Germans, but several Italian families who could not let the parish go.  Long storey short...  The parish has a new priest, is now majority Portuguese, and another local parish that was Italian is overcrowded by having to fit nearly two congregations. 

I am not saying a majority English Church will not be a welcoming place for North American inquirers and all, but you have to worry about not only ostracising the 'ethnic' members but her converts too.  I am, like I mentioned before, Italian/French and am converting at a Serbian Orthodox Church (who are some of the most ethno-centric people on the planet) but I feel welcome, whether I am at the parish I am going to or another, with a Serb or without.  You just have to avoid soccer discussions and talking about how Grappa is clearly superior in every aspect to Komovica.  Tongue  I, personally, wouldn't want it any other way.  I used to attend the English liturgy just to learn about the liturgy, but now, I would never dream of going to one that isn't in Slavonic.  I am a "ethno-centrist"?  Well, I don't think so, pretty hard since there is no Italian Orthodox Church (well, canonically at least  Wink ), but I am a "ethno-preservationist". 

A side note to all this, I do believe the issue is different in Canada compared to the US.  Canada is not so melting-pot compared to the US (a mosaic as they taught us in school  Tongue), so I really think it would be a MUCH harder sell North of the border.  People rarely view themselves as hyphenations up here, and I cannot see it starting anytime soon.  I cannot see a "united" Church in North America working without Ethnic diocese like the OCA has now.  Is this ideal?  Probably not, but hey, I voted no.  Anyways, just my 2 cents.  Thought it was about time I chimed in here.
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« Reply #136 on: May 15, 2007, 06:39:41 AM »

Ozgeorge, clearly there are some here that seem rather 'ethno centric'. I find some of greekishchristians views quite absurd.
Perhaps I'm in the early stages of senility, I don't know, but could you please point out which posts of GiC's or anyone else smacks of ethno-centrism? So far, the only posts I can find which sound ethnocentric are coming from those who want to establish an American Orthodox Church based on a white, west-european culture. And that seems to be Orthodox Bagpiper.
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« Reply #137 on: May 15, 2007, 10:57:42 AM »

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I cannot see a "united" Church in North America working without Ethnic diocese like the OCA has now.  Is this ideal?  Probably not, but hey, I voted no.  Anyways, just my 2 cents.  Thought it was about time I chimed in here.

The questions was not if you think there will be a united Orthodox church in North America, The question is Do you want a united Orthodox Church in North America.
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« Reply #138 on: May 15, 2007, 12:01:20 PM »

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Perhaps I'm in the early stages of senility, I don't know, but could you please point out which posts of GiC's or anyone else smacks of ethno-centrism? So far, the only posts I can find which sound ethnocentric are coming from those who want to establish an American Orthodox Church based on a white, west-european culture. And that seems to be Orthodox Bagpiper.

GIC seems to have an obsession with the Greek culture, yet denies that America has its own culture and that we shouldn't have a national Orthodox Church. I wouldn't say that we have a very traditional culture like say that of Germany or France with longstanding traditions, but we are unique with customs that make us different culturally from other countries. I guess if we are cultureless you should educate all those misinformed journalist and newspaper columnist who often write about and use such phrases as "American Culture" in thier columns. Despite the debate about culture, why would any of you stand in the way of the unification of an American Orthodox Church? I could only think of self hating Americans and others who despise us for some reason. Every other country deserves an Orthodox Church, accept for America!   
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« Reply #139 on: May 15, 2007, 12:37:02 PM »

GIC seems to have an obsession with the Greek culture...
Yup...definitely brings problems to his reasoning (although he denies it).

...yet denies that America has its own culture and that we shouldn't have a national Orthodox Church.
"has it's own culture" is kinda loaded, but yes, America in a sense does.  I don't necessarily agree about a 'National' Church, but certainly a regional Church (e.g. North America at least).

I wouldn't say that we have a very traditional culture like say that of Germany or France with longstanding traditions, but we are unique with customs that make us different culturally from other countries. I guess if we are cultureless you should educate all those misinformed journalist and newspaper columnist who often write about and use such phrases as "American Culture" in thier columns. 
Again, go back to his most recent posts about culture.  I can't say I disagree a whole lot about his most current posts.
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« Reply #140 on: May 15, 2007, 02:20:15 PM »

Despite the debate about culture, why would any of you stand in the way of the unification of an American Orthodox Church? I could only think of self hating Americans and others who despise us for some reason. Every other country deserves an Orthodox Church, accept for America!

I'm Canadian  Tongue.

I'm not saying (North) America does not deserve a Church, it is just I fear that with a (North) American Orthodox Church, the pre-existing cultures, traditions, languages within the Church would be pushed or fall by the wayside.  That is something I would never want to see happen.  Unless there will be overlapping ethnic diocese (which sort of defeats the purpose of all this I suppose) or hyphenated Churchs, I wouldn't want to see it come into existance.  I want to go to a Greek wedding and see wreaths, I want to go to a Slavic wedding and see crowns, I want to go to a Serbian parish and celebrate my future Slava, etc.  Personally, I think the American melting pot mentality is an issue even with this throught of a United Orthodox Church, if it could somehow be more mosaic-y, it would be a different story.  I still think ethno-preservationist is the best word for it.  No offense to Americans, though I know I will be flamed for this, but I fear what this 'American culture' could do to the existing cultural traditions.  You see the unfortunate influences everywhere (from personal experience), you have to go to very small towns in Europe to trying be in Europe and not America with a different language and a few other traditions.  A McDonalds in Rome is a disgusting eyesore.  Not to bash Americans, but I do believe your culture would absolutely dominate and bring ethnic parishs, etc to ruin in a united Church.  Even in Roman Catholicism, they are pushing for the return to Latin, not greater use of the vernacular.  I know that is a totally different can of worms, but it shows that not all people want a completely Americanised Church.  I don't.  I am converting into the Serbian Orthodox Church, I will be getting married in it, if we are blessed with children one day they will be baptised and raised in it, I'll celebrate our Slava with them, and if blessed with one, pass it down to my son, etc.  Am I ethnically Serbian?  Nope, right next store to the former Yugoslavia, but no Serb blood as far as I know.  But I would fight tooth and nail to make sure the traditions are kept.  They are now (or well be) my traditions too, even though I cannot trace back my blood to the 'motherland'. 

I am sure people will enjoy picking this all apart, but unless the cultures and traditions can be maintained and passed down, I would be against a united American Church.  Unfortunatly, I cannot see assimilation mean anything but destruction.  Even if the Church did decide to pick a choose traditions (ie: Slava), I do not believe it would have the same meaning.  The Church's traditions would be some Frankenstein.  Without these migrants to the New World and their traditions, Orthodoxy would be next to non-existant here.  They at least deserve the respect and gratitude of allowing their traditions, language and culture to go unharmed and maintained without having to succumb to American culture.  Now, before someone says I am anti-American (which I have been accused of before, but I am Canadian so that is no surprise Tongue), that is not the case.

A little side note and not to sound SOC vs Montenegro/FYROM, but I cannot see many Canadians being happy about an "American" Church.  When I was looking into conversion, many 'non-ethnics' (your Anglos, Germans, etc) were looking at ROCOR and the GOC (One was going the WRO route too) rather than the OCA because of the American tag and its American nature.  They found the Church had no tradition and were drawn much more to the ethnic Churches, their 'richer liturgy' and 'richer traditions'.

Anyways, that is my rambling on this for a bit.   Tongue  Take it or leave it, it is just my opinion and what I have witnessed.
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« Reply #141 on: May 15, 2007, 02:39:57 PM »

A little side note and not to sound SOC vs Montenegro/FYROM, but I cannot see many Canadians being happy about an "American" Church.  When I was looking into conversion, many 'non-ethnics' (your Anglos, Germans, etc) were looking at ROCOR and the GOC (One was going the WRO route too) rather than the OCA because of the American tag and its American nature.  They found the Church had no tradition and were drawn much more to the ethnic Churches, their 'richer liturgy' and 'richer traditions'.

Friul,

I'm Canadian too.  I see this issue you bring up in this quotation as a red herring at best.  People who actually bother to attend an OCA service will see how it follows Eastern Slavic liturgical form in many respects and adds a few things that they like from other traditions here and there.  I grant you that there are a few parishes that don't adhere strongly enough to Orthodox architectural tradition (when that is possible), but there are parishes like that in every jurisdiction.  The fact of the matter is that parishes of many jurisdictions in Canada (including the OCA) tend to be way too insular in their ethnicity and as a consequence attract little interest.  The explosive growth of the OCA in British Columbia (and I do mean explosive, even though Orthodoxy is still a very small presence there compared to other faiths) would never have been possible following the model you propose. 

Having said all this, I am delighted to see you posting here, and I think it's quite wonderful that someone of Italian background like yourself is embracing Orthodoxy.  Smiley

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« Reply #142 on: May 15, 2007, 02:52:08 PM »

GIC seems to have an obsession with the Greek culture, yet denies that America has its own culture and that we shouldn't have a national Orthodox Church. I wouldn't say that we have a very traditional culture like say that of Germany or France with longstanding traditions, but we are unique with customs that make us different culturally from other countries. I guess if we are cultureless you should educate all those misinformed journalist and newspaper columnist who often write about and use such phrases as "American Culture" in thier columns.
I see the irony continues to be lost on you. When I was a young student, I once hitchiked a lift with a fruck driver when my car broke down. A police car overtook us, and the truckdriver proceeded to say how   stupid and lazy the policeman was because he was not booking everyone in front of him for speeding, since it was obvious they were speeding because they were ahead of his truck and he was doing the speed limit. No matter how many times I tried to explain, he just couldn't get it. So in the end, I just gave up.

Despite the debate about culture, why would any of you stand in the way of the unification of an American Orthodox Church? I could only think of self hating Americans and others who despise us for some reason.
No one, not even GiC has said on this thread that they don't want a united Orthodox Church in the Americas. What they disagree with is how it should be acheived. Your model of an autocephalous Church on the same model as the OCA is not the only possibility. Yet because you think it is the only possibility, you think anyone who objects to it is objecting to a united Orthodox Church in America....you're stuck in non-lateral thinking, kind of like my truckdriver friend....

Every other country deserves an Orthodox Church, accept for America! 
Africa is composed of 47 Countries, yet it has only one Eastern Orthodox Church under one Patriarch, and has done so for nearly 2 millenia.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate can hardly be caused the Church of a particular country now, can it?
Is the Patriarch of Jerusalem the Patriarch of Israel, Palestine or both?
Which one country is the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East the Patriach of?
Check out my new signature Nacho: "Feelings aren't facts"......do you like it? Wink
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« Reply #143 on: May 15, 2007, 03:25:21 PM »

Friul,

I'm Canadian too.  I see this issue you bring up as a red herring at best.  People who actually bother to attend an OCA service will see how it follows Eastern Slavic liturgical form in many respects and adds a few things that they like from other traditions here and there.  I grant you that there are a few parishes that don't adhere strongly enough to Orthodox architectural tradition (when that is possible), but there are parishes like that in every jurisdiction.  The fact of the matter is that parishes of many jusrisdictions in Canada tend to be way too insular in their ethnicity and as a consequence attract little interest.  The explosive growth of the OCA in British Columbia (and I do mean explosive, even though Orthodoxy is still a very small presence there compared to other faiths) would never have been possible following the model you propose.
I am sure it depends on where in the country as well.  All I can comment on is how it is in Southern Ontario.  Maybe it is because of the huge amount of ethnic Churchs in the region (especially the Golden Horseshoe region), but the OCA is really minor here, attracts few and very few 'adhere strongly enough to Orthodox architectural tradition' as you said [though I would never hold that against a Church, it is still a house of God].  I went to one in Hamilton and one in Toronto (I was already converting in the Serbian Church, but wanted to see others).  The one in Hamilton was on the second storey in a cube brick building and the liturgy was in a VERY small room.  It was a very plain room, not ornate at all, with few icons.  Nothing I would hold against it of course.  But something about it felt very off.  The nature of the priest, the congregation, and even the liturgy reminded me of Protestant services.  Another person I was there with, who was looking into the GOC (he was about as Anglo as they come and came from a Presb background), and he could not believe the difference between the two Churches (GOC and OCA).  The Church in Toronto was slightly better.  The building was quite large, but nearly empty during the Liturgy (maybe a dozen or two, in a Church that could fit hundreds).  I decided to talk to the Priest afterwards (an amazing man, I must add), about the size of his congregation, etc.  He said that was about it, even during Pascha.  It, at a time, was much larger, but people left for the nearby large Greek Orthodox Church.  They, and they actually told him this, felt they were missing too much of 'Orthodoxy' in the OCA (many are now at St. George's Greek Orthodox Church).  I obviously cannot speak for the whole country, or even the whole GTA, but from what I have witnessed over here, the OCA is in a dire position population wise.  Again, maybe it is due to the nature of the GTA and Ontario, but the Serbian, Greek, and Russian Churchs were very welcoming and many do make themselves known.  There is a Romanian Orthodox Church group who (with their Priests and laity), sell icons, religious books and publishings, etc on Dundas Square in Toronto from time to time.  They are fundraising to build a monastery and to educate people about Orthodoxy during Ethnic festivals (which everyone attends, from Anglos to Africans) or Romanian things (which again, all sorts attend, even me, I like the food and music  Cheesy).  Will that work everywhere?  Probably not.  Toronto and the GTA is a unqiue case I suppose.

Having said all this, I am delighted to see you posting here, and I think it's quite wonderful that someone of Italian background like yourself is embracing Orthodoxy.  Smiley

Thank you very much.  My 3rd cousin has converted to the SOC while serving in KFOR and one of my uncles is part of the Chiesa Ortodossa in Italia as well.   Smiley
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« Reply #144 on: May 15, 2007, 03:53:36 PM »

Friul,

First and most importantly, Bob is from the disgustingly little boring village known as Ottawa.  Right now, he is so smitten with Senators flu, he might try walking on water. LOL  (I hope you're not a Sens fan too, otherwise I'll have to contact your Priest).

Bob,

<serious hat on>  I don't want to put words in Friul's mouth, but it seems as though he may fear "American style" phyletism (if you will).  In my original reply in this thread, I said something to the effect of not minding a "North American" Orthodox Church.  I don't mind bringing everyone together in one Church (in fact I am all for it), I would just hope that the prevailing reason for doing so, would be the "Orthodox" part and not the "American" part.

Like Friul, I also strongly support retaining certain traditions that follow a certain ethnicity (like Slava), so even it there was union, I would NEVER give up my Slava.

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« Reply #145 on: May 15, 2007, 04:21:06 PM »

Friul,

First and most importantly, Bob is from the disgustingly little boring village known as Ottawa.  Right now, he is so smitten with Senators flu, he might try walking on water. LOL  (I hope you're not a Sens fan too, otherwise I'll have to contact your Priest).

LoL, that explains a lot then.  Tongue  Poor guy, they will get his hopes up and yet again choke.   Wink

Nah, I am a Habs fan.  Born in Montreal.   Cheesy

Bob,

<serious hat on>  I don't want to put words in Friul's mouth, but it seems as though he may fear "American style" phyletism (if you will).  In my original reply in this thread, I said something to the effect of not minding a "North American" Orthodox Church.  I don't mind bringing everyone together in one Church (in fact I am all for it), I would just hope that the prevailing reason for doing so, would be the "Orthodox" part and not the "American" part.

Like Friul, I also strongly support retaining certain traditions that follow a certain ethnicity (like Slava), so even it there was union, I would NEVER give up my Slava.

You said it much better than my ramblings.   Tongue  A North American Orthodox Church or Orthodox Church of the Americas is one thing, but an American Orthodox Church is another.  I worry about the American part trying to trump the pre-existing Serbian, Greek, Russian, etc parts when/if the Church would unite in that way.  I also worry about just picking and choosing traditions for this 'American culture'.  As SS99 mentioned, the Slava.  I am would never be against the practice of taking a family patron saint (my family has one, and they are of Roman Catholic origins), but the Slava is a unique tradition.  I would hate to see it lose its meaning and importance to the Serbs in the New World (which it has been a key part for hundreds and hundreds of years) because the American Orthodox Church starts a general patron family saint tradition that does not share the same deep meaning.  And I would hate for the celebration of the Slava to vanish since American Priests find the practice foreign and either do not understand it or do not know how to properly celebrate/bless it with a family.  The problem I want to see avoided is the watering down or removal of traditional aspects from the 'old countries' for the sake of making a culturally American Church.
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« Reply #146 on: May 15, 2007, 04:57:26 PM »

I used to attend the English liturgy just to learn about the liturgy, but now, I would never dream of going to one that isn't in Slavonic.

But note, Friul, that you had to attend the English liturgy so that you would understand what's going on.  What happens to the Greek/Russian/Serbian/whatever youth that only have an option in a language they don't understand?  The fact that we're not making comprehensibility a priority in some of our parishes--that is, where such a need is evident and the parish is not serving a primarily immigrant community--is appalling...
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« Reply #147 on: May 15, 2007, 05:44:55 PM »

But note, Friul, that you had to attend the English liturgy so that you would understand what's going on.  What happens to the Greek/Russian/Serbian/whatever youth that only have an option in a language they don't understand?  The fact that we're not making comprehensibility a priority in some of our parishes--that is, where such a need is evident and the parish is not serving a primarily immigrant community--is appalling...

A sizeable amount of Orthodox Churches in my area have at least a monthly Liturgy in English, while the rest are in the Church's mother tongue.  I believe that is a great opportunity to attend the liturgy and eventually step up to the Liturgy in Slavonic/Greek/Romanian/etc.  But, can one learn the Liturgy without an English one?  Yes.  When I was a Roman Catholic, I had to learn the Tridentine mass and Church Latin on my own and with the assistance of my Priest, so it is not impossible.  Comprehensibility is, though I can only speak for the area I am from, a priority.  The thing is, the demand is simply not there.  The majority of English Liturgies I have gone to (over a few jurisdictions) were sparsely attended.  During certain months, many are cancelled due to lack of demand.  What I am worried about is losing the beauty of the Liturgy in these languages by simply trumping them all with an English one.  When I attended English ones, it was a means to an end, I never dreamed of only attending the English one over the Slavonic one always.  I find parishes around here are making quite an effort by offering a few English Liturgies, and would hope they avoid offering fewer and fewer in their mother tongue.
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« Reply #148 on: May 15, 2007, 10:39:50 PM »

Friul,

Habs fan...huh... (not sure if that is much better - lol).  In any event, I agree with what you wrote above, but above that, I think you're a class act.
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« Reply #149 on: May 15, 2007, 10:50:35 PM »

Ozgeorge, I guess we will have to agree to disagree. I know you might hate hearing that but I don't see much common ground here. I believe we should have an American Orthodox Church with services done primarily in English. Until that happens and with the way things are currently run in some jurisdictions, it will just repel the majority of people interested in converting. Unfortunately this makes Orthodoxy a footnote in the American religious scene, but a united American Orthodox Church would stand as a beacon of light. I'm sure you guys will once again flame me for this, but I have already proven my case. Many jurisdictions are losing their members, but yet you guys want to remain in some kind of fantasy world and pretend that everything is ok. I'm only advocating balance, it's not like I'm taking some kind of extreme position. People can still have their ethnic traditions and customs, and the social hour after Liturgy is perfect for such things.

I do agree allot with what Southserb has been saying in some of his post. He sees the need for balance also. I would even be for alternating between English & what other language people want to do the Liturgy in. This gives both ethnics and converts representation in the Church. Change doesn't have to come overnight, but there should be a slow progression towards working for a unified church that is relevant to the people/culture it is surrounded by. 
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« Reply #150 on: May 15, 2007, 11:17:29 PM »

Friul,

Habs fan...huh... (not sure if that is much better - lol).  In any event, I agree with what you wrote above, but above that, I think you're a class act.

LoL!  1966-67 vs 1992-93   Tongue

Thank you, by the way.   Smiley
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« Reply #151 on: May 16, 2007, 01:45:59 PM »

this brings to point a question that has been troubling us.   there is such an emphasis on "not proselytizing"  ( can't get one set spelling of that word) that I believe many in the ethnic based churches use this as a crutch to do nothing at all.  Orthodoxy was alive here in my very famous town for years, but i never knew it.  Now as we plan for Jerry's funeral/viewing I think back to all the holes in doctrine and know that they drove me to search for Orthodoxy-BUT where was it all that time?  I drove by the building that houses our parish, but where were it's people?  I believe without some sort of American church, like just about all other countries seem to have, we struggle to find our place amongst the ethnic traditions, and cultural heritage that comes stock with Orthodoxy here.  I LOVE the rich tradition and culture of the Greek folk we attend church with, it's just not my heritage. It would be far harder for me to come up with one as "mixed" as I am, so I don't have that option really available.  However, the more Orthodoxy is limited as being ethinic or ethnically based it's going to keep a LOT of people away.  I guarantee those that i grew up with here in this bastion of protestantism aren't going to see it as anything other than "those people"- because the culture will alienate them.  It did me at first, only briefly, but I was so fed up I didn't care for very long.  Is that what it's got to take?  Making people die of thirst, and then only offer them some foreign culture? That isnt what Orthodoxy is supposed to be about. 
Orthodoxy can't be seen as only whichever culture is attached by whomever is introducing it.  Orthodoxy has to be the true Faith in a way that the American masses can access it readily.  IF this means having an American Orthodox church, then yes-we need one.  Otherwise, the two homeschooling Orthodox moms here in Jerrytown are going to continue to be ostracized by clueless protestant "sisters"  Some even run up and annoint us with canola oil to "help" us.  (they think we need it)
How can we be out there in our community, with the "no proselytizing" clause and still be visible and available?  I love the services done in partial Greek, simply because English is such a lazy language-but then what do I know.  It is beautiful, but language is going to keep a lot of people away...

sorry to ramble, we are all kind of upside down with Jerry's sudden death yesterday.  Whether you agree with him or not, he played a big part in my life and my dh's life-we would not have found Orthodoxy without him and his "vision" so FWIW.
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« Reply #152 on: May 16, 2007, 02:37:59 PM »

calligraphqueen, what a great post! This is what a few others and I have been saying over and over in this thread, but no one seems to listen or care about the REALITY of the situation. They don't care enough that we are losing members, as long as they keep the exclusive ethnic club going that’s all that matters. Unfortunately, I see this as nothing to do with real genuine Christianity. I can guarantee you that the apostles would not run the modern church in such order. They would be out there evangelizing and telling people about the true faith; and the barriers between ethnic jurisdictions would be done away with. It sickens me that the Orthodox Church is so unevangelistic. I had to listen to some AG protestant guy glowingly talk about the thousands of missionaries and millions they have converted overseas the other day. He talked about some of the social institutions and schools they have also set up in some of the countries they are working in. I actually didn't tell him I was Orthodox because I felt so embarrassed that our efforts pale in comparison to one protestant sect.
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« Reply #153 on: May 16, 2007, 04:33:03 PM »

calligraphqueen, what a great post! This is what a few others and I have been saying over and over in this thread, but no one seems to listen or care about the REALITY of the situation.

I wouldn't quite say so...it is more HOW calligraphqueen said as opposed to you and Bagpiper.  You two seemed to almost say it from a...ummm...."Jerry" mindset (sorry to be blunt).  She had some seriously good tact.
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« Reply #154 on: May 16, 2007, 07:44:55 PM »

It sickens me that the Orthodox Church is so unevangelistic. I had to listen to some AG protestant guy glowingly talk about the thousands of missionaries and millions they have converted overseas the other day. He talked about some of the social institutions and schools they have also set up in some of the countries they are working in. I actually didn't tell him I was Orthodox because I felt so embarrassed that our efforts pale in comparison to one protestant sect.
Nacho, you do realise that if you set up the "Autocephalous Church of the USA" as is your grand vision that it's jurisdiction will end at the borders of the USA don't you? The Autocephalous Church of the USA will not be able to send missions to other countires.
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« Reply #155 on: May 16, 2007, 08:17:09 PM »

Nacho, you do realise that if you set up the "Autocephalous Church of the USA" as is your grand vision that it's jurisdiction will end at the borders of the USA don't you? The Autocephalous Church of the USA will not be able to send missions to other countires.

George,

We send missionaries to Africa to help out the Patriarchate of Alexandria. We have missionaries in Albania and Romania.
Missionaries are not empire builders. They go to help other patriarchates. Whether we are autocephalous or not, missionary work will remain the same. We will send them where they are needed.
I don't think we will have an autocephalous church of the USA. I think it will be regional like the patriarchate of Alexandria.
They have a whole continent. We may see something like the Patriarchate of North America one day.
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« Reply #156 on: May 16, 2007, 08:25:32 PM »

Tamara,
"Sending missionaries" is very different to "establishing missions". Nacho is talking about bringing Orthodoxy to where there was no Orthodoxy.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia is an Exarchate of the Oecumenical Patriarchate and therefore has been able to set up missions in Madagasca, Indonesia, Korea, New Guinea etc. So far, Korea and New Zealand have been able to become their own Archdioceses in the space of less than 20 years, and have even established their own monasteries, and Indonesia and Madagascar are well on the way.
If we were the "Church of Australia" we would not be able to establish these missions. And rightly so. If Nacho wants a Church of the USA for cultural reasons, then it would be a bit of a double standard for the Church of the USA to then establish missions in other countries and impose it's culture on them.....
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« Reply #157 on: May 16, 2007, 09:40:06 PM »

Tamara,
"Sending missionaries" is very different to "establishing missions". Nacho is talking about bringing Orthodoxy to where there was no Orthodoxy.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia is an Exarchate of the Oecumenical Patriarchate and therefore has been able to set up missions in Madagasca, Indonesia, Korea, New Guinea etc. So far, Korea and New Zealand have been able to become their own Archdioceses in the space of less than 20 years, and have even established their own monasteries, and Indonesia and Madagascar are well on the way.
If we were the "Church of Australia" we would not be able to establish these missions. And rightly so. If Nacho wants a Church of the USA for cultural reasons, then it would be a bit of a double standard for the Church of the USA to then establish missions in other countries and impose it's culture on them.....

Well, North America is large enough to keep a North American patriarchate busy building missions for a long time. I would imagine that once we have established extensive mission system in North America we would continue to move southward into central and south America. I think it is already happening now as the OCA and Antiochians move into Mexico and are starting to do missionary work there. I hear of more calls for Spanish translators for catechism and liturgical translations. The missions established south of the border will be Mexican in culture. I don't think anyone would dream of imposing English on the Mexicans.
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« Reply #158 on: May 16, 2007, 11:23:22 PM »

I guess I am stepping in a little to late for the debate but I think those of you who want an American Orthodox Church need to look at how the larger patriarchates are set up. Most of them cover territory that includes multiple countries. This would mean there are variations in local customs and language. I think the patriarchate of Alexandria is a good example of the future of an Orthodox patriarchate because it is alive and flourishing. At this point in time they only have 2 million Orthodox Christians on the continent and over 300 parish communities. The communities have varied languages and customs that are developing as the Greek monks and the missionaries throughout the world help to establish them.

If we had a North American patriarchate then we would have a patriarchate that would have multiple languages within it's borders (English, French, Spanish and possibly other languages depending on the immigrant communities that would be served).
I think someone mentioned that the U.S. has varied regional areas with different cultures which I believe is true. Canada has two very obvious regional areas. And though we may not recognize it, I would imagine Mexico also has regional differences even though most Mexicans speak Spanish. I know U.S. citizens tend to be myopic and project their culture and language onto everyone else as the standard but we really need to have a larger view of what it will mean to evangelize North America.
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« Reply #159 on: May 16, 2007, 11:48:51 PM »

Canada has two very obvious regional areas.

Canada has several regional areas, believe me.  lol.   Wink
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« Reply #160 on: May 17, 2007, 12:10:44 AM »

Friul,

First and most importantly, Bob is from the disgustingly little boring village known as Ottawa.  Right now, he is so smitten with Senators flu, he might try walking on water. LOL  (I hope you're not a Sens fan too, otherwise I'll have to contact your Priest).

How are your leafs doing in their playoff run this year, buddy?  Wink


Quote
Bob,

<serious hat on>  I don't want to put words in Friul's mouth, but it seems as though he may fear "American style" phyletism (if you will).  In my original reply in this thread, I said something to the effect of not minding a "North American" Orthodox Church.  I don't mind bringing everyone together in one Church (in fact I am all for it), I would just hope that the prevailing reason for doing so, would be the "Orthodox" part and not the "American" part.

Like Friul, I also strongly support retaining certain traditions that follow a certain ethnicity (like Slava), so even it there was union, I would NEVER give up my Slava.

I could mostly go for this, I think.
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« Reply #161 on: May 17, 2007, 12:24:18 AM »

LoL, that explains a lot then.  Tongue  Poor guy, they will get his hopes up and yet again choke.   Wink

Checked the sports pages lately, my friend?   Wink
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« Reply #162 on: May 17, 2007, 12:56:04 AM »

Canada has several regional areas, believe me.  lol.   Wink

LoL.  That is putting it mildly at times eh?   Tongue

Checked the sports pages lately, my friend?   Wink

LoL!  Oh we shall wait and see.   Wink
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« Reply #163 on: May 17, 2007, 02:06:21 AM »

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Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon (451)
Everywhere following the decrees of the Holy Fathers, and aware of the recently recognized Canon of the one hundred and fifty most God-beloved Bishops who convened during the reign of Theodosius the Great of pious memory, who became emperor in the imperial city of Constantinople otherwise known as New Rome; we too decree and vote the same things in regard to the privileges and priorities of the most holy Church of that same Constantinople and New Rome. And this is in keeping with the fact that the Fathers naturally enough granted the priorities to the throne of Old Rome on account of her being the imperial capital. And motivated by the same object and aim the one hundred and fifty most God-beloved Bishops have accorded the like priorities to the most holy throne of New Rome, with good reason deeming that the city which is the seat of an empire, and of a senate, and is equal to old imperial Rome in respect of other privileges and priorities, should be magnified also as she is in respect of ecclesiastical affairs, as coming next after her, or as being second to her. And it is arranged so that only the Metropolitans of the Pontic, Asian, and Thracian dioceses shall be ordained by the most holy throne of the most holy Church of Constantinople aforesaid, and likewise the Bishops of the aforesaid dioceses which are situated in barbarian lands; that is to say, that each Metropolitan of the aforesaid dioceses, together with the Bishops of the province, shall ordain the Bishops of the province, just as is prescribed by the divine Canons. But the Metropolitans of the aforesaid dioceses, as has been said, are to be ordained by the Archbishop of Constantinople, after the elections have first been conducted in accordance with custom, and have been reported to him.

This canon does not grant Constantinople jurisdiction over all territories outside of the canonical boundaries of established Patriarchates/Metropolitanates as the EP currently claims.  If anything, this canon actually limits Constantinople's direct jurisdiction to the specific regions of Pontus, Thrace, and Asia (modern-day Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey) and the immediately surrounding areas.  Constantinople's claims to jurisdiction over all Orthodox faithful in the Diaspora based on this canon is really a power grab by the EP dating back to about 1920 with Patriarch Meletios, as (Moscow) Patriarch Alexei's recent letter to (Constantinople) Patriarch Bartholomew states so adroitly.

http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles5/PatAlexisCanon28.php

What does this mean to this thread?  It means simply that the EP has no canonical foundation for setting himself up as primate of the Orthodox churches in North America, a land that prior to 1920 was united under the jurisdiction of Moscow--even an EP prior to Meletios recognized this by referring Greek Orthodox faithful in America to the care of the local Russian Synod when they asked for bishops from their homeland.  In establishing himself as a rival primate in a territory ruled by another Orthodox metropolitan, the EP violated many of those canons that forbid exactly this hierarchical conduct (e.g., Canon 2 of the First Council of Constantinople (381) and Canon 8 of the Council of Ephesus (431)).  To those who seek a proper solution to the jurisdictional problem in North America based on the canons and not on history, I offer this remedy mandated in the same Canon 8 from Ephesus: the Ecumenical Patriarchate should relinquish all American churches in his jurisdiction back to Moscow, whose authority he usurped.

Now I duck the eggs and rotten tomatoes as I step off my soapbox...
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« Reply #164 on: May 17, 2007, 02:48:11 AM »

The canon has been clearly understood to mean universal jurisdiction of the Oecumenical Throne outside the boundaries of the other four Patriarchates (and Cypress, of course) since at the very least the time of Balsamon. The Russians even accepted this view and didn't even question it until the 16th Cenutry, and even then they agreed to this as part of the synod that gave them autonomy. Moscow is a daughter Church to Constantinople and has the Canonical Right, in accordance with the rights granted to her by the Oecumenical Synods, to revoke or alter the conditions of Moscow's autonomy whenever she sees fit: including, but not limited to, adjusting the territory under Moscow's jurisdiction.

Of course, this isn't even an issue, because when Moscow was granted autonomy her jurisdiction was limited to the political boundaries of 16th century Russia. The incursion of the Church into Alaska was an uncanonical act. It was an intrusion into the land that rightfully belongs to the Oecumenical Throne.

In accordance with the interpretations of Balsamon, Zonaras, and Aristenos, and in accordance with the terms of Russian autonomy, Russia needs to withdraw her influence into her canonical borders, leaving all lands in the New World to the Oecumenical Throne. If she fails to do this, her autonomy should be withdrawn by the Great Church of Christ, and those Bishops who fail to submit to Constantinople should be declared Anathema to the Christian Church for the grave offence of Schism.

Of course, if anyone objects to this course of action, he has the right to appeal to Constantinople, which is the ultimate arbitrator of these disputes in accordance with the 9th and 17th Canons of Chalcedon. (It's somewhat like trying to sue the Supreme Court...yeah, you may theoretically get your day in Court (well, probably not, but for the sake of argument...); however, that court will be the Supreme Court and they get to decide the case.)
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« Reply #165 on: May 17, 2007, 03:24:00 AM »

The canon has been clearly understood to mean universal jurisdiction of the Oecumenical Throne outside the boundaries of the other four Patriarchates (and Cypress, of course) since at the very least the time of Balsamon. The Russians even accepted this view and didn't even question it until the 16th Cenutry, and even then they agreed to this as part of the synod that gave them autonomy. Moscow is a daughter Church to Constantinople and has the Canonical Right, in accordance with the rights granted to her by the Oecumenical Synods, to revoke or alter the conditions of Moscow's autonomy whenever she sees fit: including, but not limited to, adjusting the territory under Moscow's jurisdiction.

Of course, this isn't even an issue, because when Moscow was granted autonomy her jurisdiction was limited to the political boundaries of 16th century Russia. The incursion of the Church into Alaska was an uncanonical act. It was an intrusion into the land that rightfully belongs to the Oecumenical Throne.

In accordance with the interpretations of Balsamon, Zonaras, and Aristenos, and in accordance with the terms of Russian autonomy, Russia needs to withdraw her influence into her canonical borders, leaving all lands in the New World to the Oecumenical Throne. If she fails to do this, her autonomy should be withdrawn by the Great Church of Christ, and those Bishops who fail to submit to Constantinople should be declared Anathema to the Christian Church for the grave offence of Schism.

Of course, if anyone objects to this course of action, he has the right to appeal to Constantinople, which is the ultimate arbitrator of these disputes in accordance with the 9th and 17th Canons of Chalcedon. (It's somewhat like trying to sue the Supreme Court...yeah, you may theoretically get your day in Court (well, probably not, but for the sake of argument...); however, that court will be the Supreme Court and they get to decide the case.)
If you can provide evidence that Balsamon, Zonaras, and Aristenus support your pov, I would certainly like to see it, because these authorities you cite actually appear to disagree with you.  In addition, Russia was once within Constantinople's jurisdiction because she was at that time the territory of missionaries sent forth from Constantinople--even Russia recognizes the right of a missionary church to jurisdiction over her missionary bishops in a foreign land.


Quote
In accordance with the interpretations of Balsamon, Zonaras, and Aristenos, and in accordance with the terms of Russian autonomy, Russia needs to withdraw her influence into her canonical borders, leaving all lands in the New World to the Oecumenical Throne. If she fails to do this, her autonomy should be withdrawn by the Great Church of Christ, and those Bishops who fail to submit to Constantinople should be declared Anathema to the Christian Church for the grave offence of Schism.

Fortunately, you're not the Ecumenical Patriarch, nor do most people here really agree with your Constantinopapism.
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« Reply #166 on: May 17, 2007, 09:02:58 AM »

Where this debate has headed is precisely the problem.  Constantinople didn't send out any representatives to the US (Alaska) because it was too busy being under Turkish rule.  Russia bothers to do so, but America in particular has changed drastically since that time-as has the entire North American continent. Orthodoxy has done nothing here but set up little enclaves of immigrants that merely happen to be Orthodox after their heritage. What dirt a person is born on, or whichever dirt their line originated on is irrelevant-as it's not like any of us can choose that.
You guys get so busy splitting historical hairs about which EP should be responsible for allowing an American Orthodox (or North American Orthodox church) that you miss the point.  America has become it's own powerful nation a long time ago, something that was very different when Alaska was missioned.  It's also become a dark and lost country, despite it's Protestant start.  While everyone is arguing about the EP, what will become of the US without ORthodoxy or with little bitty teeny weeny elderly ORthodox churches full of elderly Russian women (or Greek, etc)  When time comes to an end, Orthodoxy in America will be responsible for little old ladies making perogies and Baklava, having hardly affected one of the most powerful little start up nations of all time. I had an Orthodox Jew ask me what in the world I meant by Orthodox Christianity-at walmart in the town that Jerry built. Nobody knows the truth, because it's hidden by her people who are arguing about who makes the prosphora that week.  Where is Orthodoxy, and how is arguing about the proper EP helping Americans find the true Faith? 
You can't just intellectualize everything by spouting historical fact, because it was never about proving who knows more of their church history. 
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« Reply #167 on: May 17, 2007, 11:35:02 AM »

Where this debate has headed is precisely the problem.  Constantinople didn't send out any representatives to the US (Alaska) because it was too busy being under Turkish rule.  Russia bothers to do so, but America in particular has changed drastically since that time-as has the entire North American continent. Orthodoxy has done nothing here but set up little enclaves of immigrants that merely happen to be Orthodox after their heritage. What dirt a person is born on, or whichever dirt their line originated on is irrelevant-as it's not like any of us can choose that.
You guys get so busy splitting historical hairs about which EP should be responsible for allowing an American Orthodox (or North American Orthodox church) that you miss the point.  America has become it's own powerful nation a long time ago, something that was very different when Alaska was missioned.  It's also become a dark and lost country, despite it's Protestant start.  While everyone is arguing about the EP, what will become of the US without ORthodoxy or with little bitty teeny weeny elderly ORthodox churches full of elderly Russian women (or Greek, etc)  When time comes to an end, Orthodoxy in America will be responsible for little old ladies making perogies and Baklava, having hardly affected one of the most powerful little start up nations of all time. I had an Orthodox Jew ask me what in the world I meant by Orthodox Christianity-at walmart in the town that Jerry built. Nobody knows the truth, because it's hidden by her people who are arguing about who makes the prosphora that week.  Where is Orthodoxy, and how is arguing about the proper EP helping Americans find the true Faith? 
You can't just intellectualize everything by spouting historical fact, because it was never about proving who knows more of their church history. 

I agree these arguments are silly. They will not change the course of how things will happen. You alluded to something we should never forget. While Christ said the gates of hell will not prevail against the church, this doesn't mean that every local church will survive. There are many ancient cities which no longer have an Orthodox Christian presence. We cannot sit back or take a passive attitude toward evangelizing our neighbors. Christ's last words to us on this feast day was an exhortation to baptize all nations in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We must obey our Lord.

We should all do what we can to hasten unity by working together at the local level and encouraging our bishops to meet regularly. But we need to have a larger vision of what unity will mean in North America.
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« Reply #168 on: May 17, 2007, 01:23:00 PM »

Quote
Where this debate has headed is precisely the problem.  Constantinople didn't send out any representatives to the US (Alaska) because it was too busy being under Turkish rule.  Russia bothers to do so, but America in particular has changed drastically since that time-as has the entire North American continent. Orthodoxy has done nothing here but set up little enclaves of immigrants that merely happen to be Orthodox after their heritage. What dirt a person is born on, or whichever dirt their line originated on is irrelevant-as it's not like any of us can choose that.
You guys get so busy splitting historical hairs about which EP should be responsible for allowing an American Orthodox (or North American Orthodox church) that you miss the point.  America has become it's own powerful nation a long time ago, something that was very different when Alaska was missioned.  It's also become a dark and lost country, despite it's Protestant start.  While everyone is arguing about the EP, what will become of the US without ORthodoxy or with little bitty teeny weeny elderly ORthodox churches full of elderly Russian women (or Greek, etc)  When time comes to an end, Orthodoxy in America will be responsible for little old ladies making perogies and Baklava, having hardly affected one of the most powerful little start up nations of all time. I had an Orthodox Jew ask me what in the world I meant by Orthodox Christianity-at walmart in the town that Jerry built. Nobody knows the truth, because it's hidden by her people who are arguing about who makes the prosphora that week.  Where is Orthodoxy, and how is arguing about the proper EP helping Americans find the true Faith?
You can't just intellectualize everything by spouting historical fact, because it was never about proving who knows more of their church history.

Calligraphqueen, I am of the same mindset. Why are many parts of the Orthodox Church declining in numbers here except for the Antiochian Orthodox Church? I totally agree with what you are saying. Orthodoxy has the potential to become a bunch of old timers making their favorite dish as a hobby for social hour while reminiscing how things were in the 'old country'. The healthiest growth has come from the convert parishes; these are the people who have opened the doors and been active in some basic form of evanglism. They don't put barriers in the way in making new members feel welcome.

Quote
I agree these arguments are silly. They will not change the course of how things will happen. You alluded to something we should never forget. While Christ said the gates of hell will not prevail against the church, this doesn't mean that every local church will survive. There are many ancient cities which no longer have an Orthodox Christian presence. We cannot sit back or take a passive attitude toward evangelizing our neighbors. Christ's last words to us on this feast day was an exhortation to baptize all nations in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We must obey our Lord.

We should all do what we can to hasten unity by working together at the local level and encouraging our bishops to meet regularly. But we need to have a larger vision of what unity will mean in North America.

Tamara, I have read some of your post in this thread and really like what you have to say. You pinpointed one of the main problems facing the Orthodox Church today. Being passive and exclusive has already cost us greatly in losing membership, how long can the ship keep on taking water? At some point the other jurisdictions may have to take a look at what the Antiochians are doing if they want to keep the doors to the Church open. There should be a balance of healthy steady growth while maintaing the traditions that mean so much to us.
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« Reply #169 on: May 17, 2007, 02:16:04 PM »

Tamara, I have read some of your post in this thread and really like what you have to say. You pinpointed one of the main problems facing the Orthodox Church today. Being passive and exclusive has already cost us greatly in losing membership, how long can the ship keep on taking water? At some point the other jurisdictions may have to take a look at what the Antiochians are doing if they want to keep the doors to the Church open. There should be a balance of healthy steady growth while maintaing the traditions that mean so much to us.

Nacho,

I can understand your frustration at how you see things being done but try to keep in mind that it has really only been a short twenty years since even the Antiochians opened the doors wide for anyone to join Orthodoxy. In an Orthodox time frame, things have changed dramatically in our archdiocese and yet we still have much work to do. Education in the faith is key for those who have been Orthodox forever and for those who are new to the church. Building bridges between the two groups is very important. Many of those seemingly stubborn, ethnocentric immigrants were raised with the notion that preservation and protection of the faith is their role. They were not raised to evangelize because to evangelize meant death in the countries they were born.  They unconsciously passed these beliefs on to the children and grandchildren. And while it is true that many of the second and especially the third generation have left the churches in large numbers, most of the immigrants really are at a loss to know how to bring them back to the church because where they come from there was no competition for the church.

While I agree we need to reach out and evangelize I just hope those new to the church  can look with gratitude to those who have brought Orthodoxy to America. Many of those old-timers and immigrants have much to share if one gives them the opportunity. If we can look at them as examples of living tradition then it may not only change our perspective of them but it also may change their perspective of themselves. In other words, they may begin to take on the role of mentors in the faith if we look to them with the eyes of a student. What a blessing for everyone if this would happen in reality. We have one Palestinian immigrant woman in our parish who has grown into that role because we have so many who are new to the church and have turned to her to ask her how things were done in the Holy Land. And while some may balk at this idea of trying to imitate what was done in another culture, I would only suggest that Russians learned many things from the Greeks when they were first evangelized and then transformed the traditions and customs to fit within their own culture. . Just alot of random thoughts...I hope some of it makes sense  Wink
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« Reply #170 on: May 17, 2007, 09:32:45 PM »

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Fortunately, you're not the Ecumenical Patriarch, nor do most people here really agree with your Constantinopapism.

Amen! By some of greek's reasoning, the EP may as well be the pope with universal papal jurisdiction. I guess the EP has the right to revoke anyones autonomy and has the right to rule over the entire church. By that reasoning, why not go back to the original "first among equils"? He seems to think he rules over the whole church.

Quote
We should all do what we can to hasten unity by working together at the local level and encouraging our bishops to meet regularly. But we need to have a larger vision of what unity will mean in North America.

Amen sister. You hit the nail on the head.



Quote
Calligraphqueen, I am of the same mindset. Why are many parts of the Orthodox Church declining in numbers here except for the Antiochian Orthodox Church? I totally agree with what you are saying. Orthodoxy has the potential to become a bunch of old timers making their favorite dish as a hobby for social hour while reminiscing how things were in the 'old country'. The healthiest growth has come from the convert parishes; these are the people who have opened the doors and been active in some basic form of evanglism. They don't put barriers in the way in making new members feel welcome.


Nacho and Calligraphqueen you are totally right. Being an Orthodox christian is more than being a cultural enthusiast. It is good to like different cultures, but we must be Christians first an foremost. I think things have been changing for the better in the Orthodox church in North America over the last 20 years. We are sort of in a transitional phase. I think things will continue to change for the better in the coming years. The ethnic gettos will eventually fade away, or become rare, and the churches that reach out and are welcoming to all will prosper. Such is the way of things. After all, the Church is guided in all things by the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #171 on: May 17, 2007, 10:00:12 PM »

I agree these arguments are silly. They will not change the course of how things will happen. You alluded to something we should never forget. While Christ said the gates of hell will not prevail against the church, this doesn't mean that every local church will survive. There are many ancient cities which no longer have an Orthodox Christian presence. We cannot sit back or take a passive attitude toward evangelizing our neighbors. Christ's last words to us on this feast day was an exhortation to baptize all nations in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We must obey our Lord.

We should all do what we can to hasten unity by working together at the local level and encouraging our bishops to meet regularly. But we need to have a larger vision of what unity will mean in North America.

Actually, I don't think I've missed what you see to be the point.  If you read my earlier posts on this thread, you should see that I've addressed the issue of Orthodoxy in America from the perspective of what you consider important, because your concerns are also my concerns.  I too believe that everything we do as the Church in America must first support our attempts to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and make disciples of the American people.  Therefore, I also struggle with the problems of ethnicity, culture, language, secularism, etc., that we face here, both inside and outside our churches.

However, whatever solution we determine is right for American Orthodoxy must also be faithful to the ancient canons of the Church, including those regarding hierarchical jurisdiction agreed upon in the Ecumenical Councils.  Our obedience to the Great Commission does not render this canonical side of our issues irrelevant.  In determining what is best for our Orthodox mission in America, we must also consider important the resolution of just who has canonical jurisdiction in North America.  The problems we face in accomplishing our mission in America do not negate the fact that Christ intended His Church to be a hierarchical organization that must govern itself as such, and that everything we in the Church do must be consistent with our Church's hierarchical order.  We Orthodox Christians are bound by dogma to recognize submission to our Church's canonical institution as obedience to Christ Himself.

Regarding the historical issues many here seem to consider irrelevant, we cannot properly determine the canonical solution to our mess without first knowing how we got into this mess to begin with.  This puts on us the mandate to investigate and understand the historical development of Orthodoxy in America.
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« Reply #172 on: May 17, 2007, 10:50:56 PM »

Someone noted folk in Canada going to other parishes because the OCA was "American" - I think I've pointed out before that such "Americanism" was not really American, but an ideological/political Americanism. OCA is still basically East Slavic in custom, liturgy, outlook, etc. Nevermind that having 'American' on something in Canada is a bit short-sighted?

As for the limitations of an American Orthodox Church - what's the worry about it not being able to send out 'missions'? The EP places missions on territory belonging to Antioch (which is Patriarch of All the East and Asia.) The EP is also on territories that Russia historically has served (and does serve: Korea, China, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, etc.) An American Church could, of course, always help with material and personnel support (nevermind the support of prayer.) Why should anyone expect an American church to 'send out missions'? Does the Church of Poland 'send out missions'? The Finns? Estonians? Czechs? Georgians?

I think some are misunderstanding as well - if we're talking an American church, we're talking the USA. Otherwise, American missions in other lands would just be more American colonialism. Mexico doesn't need to be under an American church - it needs its own Mexican church. In fact, the Mexican church was once the National Catholic Church in that country (the part under the OCA, forced to use the OCA's recension of Byzantine rite), it is only the Greek and Antiochian jurisdictions there that are ethnic and newer. An American Church shouldn't necessarily include Canada either - Canada is a different situation, and in fact more than two cultures. Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and the Great Plains all have varying cultures. A Canadian church at the least would have to have French, English, and Gaelic churches if it was truly evangelizing Canada.

There also seems to be a tendency to miss the forest for the trees. American super-culture (and the cultures that includes) are Anglo. There are other sub-cultures in America, but they are highly localized: ie, Cajun Louisiana, Hispanic Southwest or South Florida, Basque Idaho, German Pennsylvania, etc. We've already been dealing with this issue - the AWRV for instance, has both a Cuban and a Caribbean parish in Miami, FL. Evangelizing minorities however is not evangelizing a country - until you're getting the masses (which in America are White, monolingual Anglos, usually middle class, without interests in anything international, eclectic, foreign, of very respectable political affiliation, very pro-American, ... ie, not typical for most Orthodox converts - which tend to be academics, counter-culture (hippies, conspiracy theorists), or diletantes (ie, Orientalists, Hellenophiles, Russophiles, etc.) Which - nothing wrong with being those things: but - that isn't mainstream America, and you won't have evangelized America til you evangelize the mainstream. (And, a tangent: it would be a horrible failure to expect Americans to become counter-culture, academics, or diletantes to be Orthodox. That just isn't going to happen.)
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« Reply #173 on: May 18, 2007, 12:08:45 AM »

Actually, I don't think I've missed what you see to be the point.  If you read my earlier posts on this thread, you should see that I've addressed the issue of Orthodoxy in America from the perspective of what you consider important, because your concerns are also my concerns.  I too believe that everything we do as the Church in America must first support our attempts to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and make disciples of the American people.  Therefore, I also struggle with the problems of ethnicity, culture, language, secularism, etc., that we face here, both inside and outside our churches.

However, whatever solution we determine is right for American Orthodoxy must also be faithful to the ancient canons of the Church, including those regarding hierarchical jurisdiction agreed upon in the Ecumenical Councils.  Our obedience to the Great Commission does not render this canonical side of our issues irrelevant.  In determining what is best for our Orthodox mission in America, we must also consider important the resolution of just who has canonical jurisdiction in North America.  The problems we face in accomplishing our mission in America do not negate the fact that Christ intended His Church to be a hierarchical organization that must govern itself as such, and that everything we in the Church do must be consistent with our Church's hierarchical order.  We Orthodox Christians are bound by dogma to recognize submission to our Church's canonical institution as obedience to Christ Himself.

Regarding the historical issues many here seem to consider irrelevant, we cannot properly determine the canonical solution to our mess without first knowing how we got into this mess to begin with.  This puts on us the mandate to investigate and understand the historical development of Orthodoxy in America.

Peter,  I realize the Russians were the ones who originally tried to create one Orthodox church in the new world. But it didn't work out due to the fall of the czar and the rise of communism. We must be realistic. The majority of the Orthodox Christians who now live in the North American continent are under the EP. I doubt very much they would be willing to switch their allegiance to the MP due to historical rights of who was here first. It will not happen. We have no idea how it will all come together but it will. We are not in a position to decide how it should happen but we can work for unity at the local level. We do have that part of the equation under our control.
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« Reply #174 on: May 18, 2007, 01:34:44 AM »

Peter,  I realize the Russians were the ones who originally tried to create one Orthodox church in the new world. But it didn't work out due to the fall of the czar and the rise of communism. We must be realistic. The majority of the Orthodox Christians who now live in the North American continent are under the EP. I doubt very much they would be willing to switch their allegiance to the MP due to historical rights of who was here first. It will not happen. We have no idea how it will all come together but it will. We are not in a position to decide how it should happen but we can work for unity at the local level. We do have that part of the equation under our control.

Would you agree with me, though, that we must not set aside the canonical tradition of our Church, that whatever solution we decide to implement must be faithful to the canons?  For institutional unity (i.e., the abolition of parallel hierarchical jurisdictions) to become a reality, the violations of the canons that have perpetuated our current mess must be corrected, and those guilty of violating the canons must repent.  We can and should work for unity at the grassroots level as you suggest, but pan-Orthodox cooperation between laity, parishes, and even bishops, though very good, can be nothing more than a temporary step toward our ultimate goal of full organizational unification.  Our work toward the common goal of unity must ultimately have as its goal the return to the canonical norm of "one bishop for one city," a necessary manifestation of the spiritual and sacramental unity that already exists at the local level.
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« Reply #175 on: May 18, 2007, 03:19:19 AM »

Quote
Nacho and Calligraphqueen you are totally right. Being an Orthodox christian is more than being a cultural enthusiast. It is good to like different cultures, but we must be Christians first an foremost. I think things have been changing for the better in the Orthodox church in North America over the last 20 years. We are sort of in a transitional phase. I think things will continue to change for the better in the coming years. The ethnic gettos will eventually fade away, or become rare, and the churches that reach out and are welcoming to all will prosper. Such is the way of things. After all, the Church is guided in all things by the Holy Spirit.

I'm in full agreement with you OB. Things are changing for the better and eventually the Orthodox Chuch will find its footing here.

Quote
Amen! By some of greek's reasoning, the EP may as well be the pope with universal papal jurisdiction. I guess the EP has the right to revoke anyones autonomy and has the right to rule over the entire church. By that reasoning, why not go back to the original "first among equils"? He seems to think he rules over the whole church.

Yea, GIC would probably prefer if the EP ruled over the whole church. We could also have Greek liturgies done in every parish also.

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Nacho,

I can understand your frustration at how you see things being done but try to keep in mind that it has really only been a short twenty years since even the Antiochians opened the doors wide for anyone to join Orthodoxy. In an Orthodox time frame, things have changed dramatically in our archdiocese and yet we still have much work to do. Education in the faith is key for those who have been Orthodox forever and for those who are new to the church. Building bridges between the two groups is very important. Many of those seemingly stubborn, ethnocentric immigrants were raised with the notion that preservation and protection of the faith is their role. They were not raised to evangelize because to evangelize meant death in the countries they were born.  They unconsciously passed these beliefs on to the children and grandchildren. And while it is true that many of the second and especially the third generation have left the churches in large numbers, most of the immigrants really are at a loss to know how to bring them back to the church because where they come from there was no competition for the church.

While I agree we need to reach out and evangelize I just hope those new to the church  can look with gratitude to those who have brought Orthodoxy to America. Many of those old-timers and immigrants have much to share if one gives them the opportunity. If we can look at them as examples of living tradition then it may not only change our perspective of them but it also may change their perspective of themselves. In other words, they may begin to take on the role of mentors in the faith if we look to them with the eyes of a student. What a blessing for everyone if this would happen in reality. We have one Palestinian immigrant woman in our parish who has grown into that role because we have so many who are new to the church and have turned to her to ask her how things were done in the Holy Land. And while some may balk at this idea of trying to imitate what was done in another culture, I would only suggest that Russians learned many things from the Greeks when they were first evangelized and then transformed the traditions and customs to fit within their own culture. . Just alot of random thoughts...I hope some of it makes sense  Wink

Tamara, more words of wisdom! I really like what you have to say, really makes me think about certian angles I may not have seen before. I think the healthiest mix of people are both convert and ethnic Orthodox.



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« Reply #176 on: May 18, 2007, 06:54:17 AM »

I think the healthiest mix of people are both convert and ethnic Orthodox.
Hear, hear! Kind of like what we've got here on OCnet. Listening to one another and learning from one another rather than setting up "groups" and "counter-groups" within the Church, each trying to dominate the other.
Let the Church in the Americas develop under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and in His time. As Tamara points out, demographics change while Parish Churches remain in the same location. Those that change with the demographics will continue, and those which do not change will have served their purpose and will end.
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« Reply #177 on: May 18, 2007, 08:20:40 AM »


Let the Church in the Americas develop under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and in His time.


That, to me, is the key here. I'm not suggesting we be complacent, but at the same time we need to accept the fact that the Holy Spirit is behind the details of what's going on.

As an example, currently we use about 30% Greek in our Liturgy. The greatest opposition to deleting Greek altogether comes from the convert community, who are coming into the parish to such a degree that we almost ran out of chrism a few months ago. When asked, it is the converts who are the most conservative on this issue and adamant that, for them, the Greek culture and language that they have absorbed must be preserved (the majority of second or third generation Greeks can go either way on this issue).

Other parishes in this city are also gaining converts, because they feel more at home in the settings of the OCA, MP, or Antiochian parishes here.

This is actually a strength of the Orthodox here in this country: the Pearl of Great Price is in multiple settings in most larger communities in the US. If a person doesn't like the Pearl in the Greek setting, they can go to the Antiochians or OCA or SOC. It's all the same Pearl, but now through the multiple parishes here a potential convert can determine where they think they can work out their salvation to their own best advantage.

Now, the suggestions of folks who are OCA or Antiochian will work well for those folks who want to enter those jurisdictions. However, talking to the adults who want to enter the GOA here, they would not want to convert to Orthodoxy if we did not continue in our Greek culture, a portion of which is the Greek language. For them, it's a deal breaker: the converts want the Greek...go figure!

In the fullness of time and under the Spirit's direction, we may eventually all be under one hierarch. Until then we must continue or discussions with our brothers and sisters who are Orthodox and wait until that holy moment in time. However, we should not have much anguish or let this situation trouble us too greatly, as this is the situation the Spirit has placed us in.
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« Reply #178 on: May 18, 2007, 10:49:18 AM »

Would you agree with me, though, that we must not set aside the canonical tradition of our Church, that whatever solution we decide to implement must be faithful to the canons?  For institutional unity (i.e., the abolition of parallel hierarchical jurisdictions) to become a reality, the violations of the canons that have perpetuated our current mess must be corrected, and those guilty of violating the canons must repent.  We can and should work for unity at the grassroots level as you suggest, but pan-Orthodox cooperation between laity, parishes, and even bishops, though very good, can be nothing more than a temporary step toward our ultimate goal of full organizational unification.  Our work toward the common goal of unity must ultimately have as its goal the return to the canonical norm of "one bishop for one city," a necessary manifestation of the spiritual and sacramental unity that already exists at the local level.

I would agree with almost all you have said except forcing someone to repent. Repentence comes from within by the promptings of the Holy Spirit who uses the conscience to give one the spirit of sorrow over wrong-doing. But repentence is more than just a feeling of remorse. It means turning from what one did previously and walking toward our Lord. If we all unify as you have described we will walking in the same direction.
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« Reply #179 on: May 18, 2007, 10:55:02 AM »

I really like what you have to say, really makes me think about certian angles I may not have seen before. I think the healthiest mix of people are both convert and ethnic Orthodox.

Nacho, I spent the first half of my life with the ethnics and I now I am spending the next part of my life with the newly Orthodox. I love both communities and I can see clearly the benefits of all of us working together. We each have so much to offer the other. The enthusiasm of those who are new to the faith mixed with refinement of wisdom from those who have been Orthodox for years will produce more fruit....in other words, will bring more people to Orthodoxy and will keep them in the faith through the stablity of the parish.  Smiley
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« Reply #180 on: May 18, 2007, 10:57:25 AM »

Dear Fr. Chris,

We probably will always have diversity in our parishes. I can't imagine everything would be a cookie-cutter version of Orthodoxy. Our heritage is too rich to allow it. But I would love it if we all adopted the same wording for the Creed.  Wink

That, to me, is the key here. I'm not suggesting we be complacent, but at the same time we need to accept the fact that the Holy Spirit is behind the details of what's going on.

As an example, currently we use about 30% Greek in our Liturgy. The greatest opposition to deleting Greek altogether comes from the convert community, who are coming into the parish to such a degree that we almost ran out of chrism a few months ago. When asked, it is the converts who are the most conservative on this issue and adamant that, for them, the Greek culture and language that they have absorbed must be preserved (the majority of second or third generation Greeks can go either way on this issue).

Other parishes in this city are also gaining converts, because they feel more at home in the settings of the OCA, MP, or Antiochian parishes here.

This is actually a strength of the Orthodox here in this country: the Pearl of Great Price is in multiple settings in most larger communities in the US. If a person doesn't like the Pearl in the Greek setting, they can go to the Antiochians or OCA or SOC. It's all the same Pearl, but now through the multiple parishes here a potential convert can determine where they think they can work out their salvation to their own best advantage.

Now, the suggestions of folks who are OCA or Antiochian will work well for those folks who want to enter those jurisdictions. However, talking to the adults who want to enter the GOA here, they would not want to convert to Orthodoxy if we did not continue in our Greek culture, a portion of which is the Greek language. For them, it's a deal breaker: the converts want the Greek...go figure!

In the fullness of time and under the Spirit's direction, we may eventually all be under one hierarch. Until then we must continue or discussions with our brothers and sisters who are Orthodox and wait until that holy moment in time. However, we should not have much anguish or let this situation trouble us too greatly, as this is the situation the Spirit has placed us in.
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« Reply #181 on: May 19, 2007, 12:48:44 AM »

I've been reading and thinking a bit about what role ethnic culture should play in the American Orthodox Church.  I do agree that we should work and pray toward the breaking down of ethnic barriers that currently separate Orthodox parishes one from another, but this does not mean that we should consider ethnicity unimportant and strive to create some ethnically "American" church that is as shallow as our "American" culture.  Just how much of the Gospel is preserved and put into practice in the very deep cultures of the Old World peoples!  We're talking centuries of cultural enfleshment of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and through some very difficult times of persecution.  These ethnic cultures have become so tightly intertwined with their life in Christ that you cannot separate their Orthodoxy from their culture without destroying both.  If anything as we strive to build a Church that truly brings Christ to all in America, we must strive even harder to preserve the ethnic cultures of the various peoples who brought Orthodoxy to North America.
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« Reply #182 on: May 19, 2007, 09:02:41 AM »

If anything as we strive to build a Church that truly brings Christ to all in America, we must strive even harder to preserve the ethnic cultures of the various peoples who brought Orthodoxy to North America.

My earnest prayer is that the culture of our parishes are used to build bridges, and not walls. Many folks are looking for a community of relationships, because it is in a community that a person truly becomes a human.
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« Reply #183 on: May 19, 2007, 01:02:12 PM »

Now, the suggestions of folks who are OCA or Antiochian will work well for those folks who want to enter those jurisdictions. However, talking to the adults who want to enter the GOA here, they would not want to convert to Orthodoxy if we did not continue in our Greek culture, a portion of which is the Greek language. For them, it's a deal breaker: the converts want the Greek...go figure!

I can appreciate if people want to preserve this aspect. As long as it doesn't define what is Orthodoxy. I would preserving the Greek language  set on the same level as preserving Slavonic or other litte 't's. I can only not see why this could not happen under one canonical jurisdiction. At the moment I know that the Diocese of the West in the OCA for example has parishes that are following the old calendar -- although in general the OCA is using the new one. So these differences can co-exist peacefully under one hierarch.

In the fullness of time and under the Spirit's direction, we may eventually all be under one hierarch. Until then we must continue or discussions with our brothers and sisters who are Orthodox and wait until that holy moment in time. However, we should not have much anguish or let this situation trouble us too greatly, as this is the situation the Spirit has placed us in.

I am only troubled about the fact that cooperation between jursidicition is so difficult sometimes. And my hope would be that being under one hierarch would make this a little bit easier.
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« Reply #184 on: May 19, 2007, 01:08:36 PM »


I am only troubled about the fact that cooperation between jursidicition is so difficult sometimes. And my hope would be that being under one hierarch would make this a little bit easier.

Believe me...sometimes cooperation is difficult between hierarchs within the same jurisdiction. Having everyone under one hierarch is not the panacea to solve this problem.
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« Reply #185 on: May 19, 2007, 01:58:28 PM »

What a GREAT thread...

there is such an emphasis on "not proselytizing" that I believe many in the ethnic based churches use this as a crutch to do nothing at all...I guarantee those that i grew up with here in this bastion of protestantism aren't going to see it as anything other than "those people"- because the culture will alienate them.  It did me at first, only briefly, but I was so fed up I didn't care for very long.  Is that what it's got to take?  Making people die of thirst, and then only offer them some foreign culture? That isnt what Orthodoxy is supposed to be about.

Absolutely.  What a wonderfully heartfelt post.  I, as a convert, very much want to hear more Slavonic in our services in our OCA parish, since there are many Russian/Ukranian folks for whom English is a second language (specifically, I'd like to hear the parts that get repeated in English also done in Slavonic, as well as a separate epistle reading on Sundays, if possible).  Also, my wife and I eagerly contribute to the pysanky at Pascha as well as the the piroghi and sour cream/poppy seed cakes at Christmas, but...those things are primarily extra-liturgical.  Meaning, the Church COULD get along just fine without them...NOT saying we therefore MUST or even SHOULD get rid of them, but that, when more priority is placed on these linguistic or artistic aspects of a human culture than the God-breathed services of the Church Universal and our wholehearted participation in them, then we have a problem.

They don't care enough that we are losing members, as long as they keep the exclusive ethnic club going that’s all that matters.

I've met converts like this, as well.  As BrotherAiden has put it (to paraphrase), we cling tenaciously to our ethnic trappings, and the last one to leave the church can just blow out the candles and lock up, 'cause we'll be done.

I had to listen to some AG protestant guy glowingly talk about the thousands of missionaries and millions they have converted overseas the other day. He talked about some of the social institutions and schools they have also set up in some of the countries they are working in. I actually didn't tell him I was Orthodox because I felt so embarrassed that our efforts pale in comparison to one protestant sect.

Um...you DO realize, though, that, if folks were being converted at the rate these denominations were claiming that THE ENTIRE WORLD would have been converted and "Spirit filled" some three or four times over?  Having personally participated in foreign missions under charismatic organizations, I can tell you this--while they certainly do let folks know they're out there, that's about all the lasting impact they make.  A Bolivian pastor I worked with for two consecutive summers told me during the second summer that, out of all the THOUSANDS of "decision cards" that folks filled out, about half of those had the wrong address and/or phone number on them, and of the remaining half, about half of THOSE were doors slammed in their face, and of the remaining quarter, MAYBE ABOUT FIFTY PEOPLE/FAMILIES agreed to "repeat visits," and out of that, ONLY ABOUT TEN PEOPLE could be said to be faithful members of their group of churches.

MAYBE.

So when I hear about all the "souls being won in Africa or China" (my wife could tell you about how the latter's a crock of bull since she's been to China and has seen the apathy of "converts" there) I take it with a serious grain of salt.  Or a block thereof.  Whatever.

I think it is already happening now as the OCA and Antiochians move into Mexico and are starting to do missionary work there. I hear of more calls for Spanish translators for catechism and liturgical translations. The missions established south of the border will be Mexican in culture. I don't think anyone would dream of imposing English on the Mexicans.

Um, no we wouldn't.   Grin  Having done a little work with a Spanish-speaking mission here in Ft. Worth (which ended because the jurisdictions couldn't keep from disagreeing over who the mission was under--OCA Mexian hieromonk, Greek building, so of course this is an insurmountable problem that necessitates leaving potential converts without a parish  Angry), I can tell you that Mexican Orthodoxy is QUITE Mexican.

America has become...a dark and lost country, despite it's Protestant start.  While everyone is arguing about the EP, what will become of the US without ORthodoxy or with little bitty teeny weeny elderly ORthodox churches full of elderly Russian women (or Greek, etc)

I wonder just how bad it's going to have to get before folks just realize that we're already IN a mess canonically with this situation, so we may have to just have to cut our losses and the bishops improvise in order to fix this.  Whether MP or EP, something needs to be figured out for the good of the faithful...however, thank God that something like this (i.e., administrative unity) is not CRUCIAL as long as we maintain eucharistic unity and the bond of love with each other--which IS happening at the grass-roots level, I'm happy to say.

Why are many parts of the Orthodox Church declining in numbers here except for the Antiochian Orthodox Church?...At some point the other jurisdictions may have to take a look at what the Antiochians are doing if they want to keep the doors to the Church open.

Mmm...careful.  I know of several parishes who cling just as doggedly to Arabic as others to Greek, Russian, etc.  The AOAA has declining "hole-in-the-walls," too...

Believe me...sometimes cooperation is difficult between hierarchs within the same jurisdiction. Having everyone under one hierarch is not the panacea to solve this problem.

Amen...
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« Reply #186 on: May 19, 2007, 05:44:50 PM »

Believe me...sometimes cooperation is difficult between hierarchs within the same jurisdiction. Having everyone under one hierarch is not the panacea to solve this problem.

Very true! I guess my point was to eliminate some of the confusions....

I recently read an official church paper where one asked if I would be of greek orthodox faith. (and you can easily substitute greek for russian or anything else). How is one to answer that? If even authors of official church publications think that that there is a difference in faith between greek orthodox and everyone else orthodox.
Again that is not a bashing on my brethern of GOA - that paper could have come from any other jurisdiction with similar wording.
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