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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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« 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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« Reply #187 on: May 20, 2007, 06:12:11 PM »

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?

Well, I say I'm an Orthodox Christian currently in the Greek Archdiocese.

Some people may ask if there's a difference between Greek, Russian, etc, to which I comment that there really is no difference, it's just that when a particular parish was founded, the founders spoke Greek or Russian or Arabic, and from that time the ethnic adjective was affixed.

Then we go on to topics that are actually interesting, such as how we are different from Roman Catholics or Methopresbylutherocapalianism or "Bobby Joe's Apostolic House of God and Snakes" down the road.  Smiley
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« Reply #188 on: May 20, 2007, 11:52:46 PM »


Well, I say I'm an Orthodox Christian currently in the Greek Archdiocese.
Exactly that is in line what I would say too.
Quote
[...] Methopresbylutherocapalianism or "Bobby Joe's Apostolic House of God and Snakes" down the road.  Smiley
I have to make a mental note of these ones - I like it very much  Cheesy
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« Reply #189 on: May 21, 2007, 12:42:57 AM »

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?

I know that feeling, mention Orthodox Christian (mention just Orthodox and instantly they assume you are Jewish) around here and you must be Greek.   Tongue

"Oh, I am (converting) Orthodox Christian."
"Oh, so you are Greek?"
"No...  I'm French and Italian."
"So, you are Roman Catholic then?"
"I was.  Now, Orthodoxy."
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« Reply #190 on: May 21, 2007, 01:53:06 AM »

Quote
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.

Tamara, very well said!

Quote
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.

Hey son, glad we could finally agree on something!
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« Reply #191 on: May 23, 2007, 09:53:41 PM »

NO I do not! It would be icky! All OCA-ish and Antiochian-ish, mosernist, minimalist and ICKY ICKY ICKY!

MODERATION:
Such sweeping insults of entire Orthodox juristictions are not tolerated here.
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« Reply #192 on: May 23, 2007, 11:04:58 PM »

NO I do not! It would be icky! All OCA-ish and Antiochian-ish, mosernist, minimalist and ICKY ICKY ICKY!

I am a member of the Antiochian Archdiocese and I have friends in the ROCOR. None of them speak about us like this...they are very loving Christians. One hieromonk in the ROCOR has been praying for me for over twenty years. He offered to give my family a special blessing with the mantiya of St. John over our heads when we come to visit.  He is excited to spend more time with us now that communion has been restored. He even is coming to one of our parishes to give a retreat. He seems to have no fear or contempt for us.
There is no place in Orthodoxy for this type of contempt you have exhibited.
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« Reply #193 on: May 23, 2007, 11:15:26 PM »

 Dear A Sombra:

I'm a little surprised at your characterization of the OCA and the Antiochians.

I grew up in an OCA parish. We had a very complete liturgical cycle: Vespers, Othros, Liturgy every Sunday and Holy Day. We kept all the fasts strictly and celebrated all the Lenten and Holy Weeks services.

I'm a cantor in an Antichian mission in the Wichita diocese. The same applies here. The level of observance is very traditional.

I'm always surprised at how people throw out the terms " modernist" and "minimalist" without any justification. Is it because we speak English ? ...or because we participate in the Eucharist regularly ?  After all, it is those who do *not* commune that disobey the Lord's commands: "Take, eat."... "Drink of this, All of You"...

Tradition is obedience to the Gospel, not old world customs !

It is certainly not growing a long hair and beard ! People always forget, that the very same passage from the Apostle that commands women to cover their heads for prayer, states that " Does not nature itself teach you, that for a man to wear long hair is degrading to him ? " First Corintians 11:14.  How many so called traditionalist priests shake their fingers at women without scarves while shaking their own  " degrading"  pony tails !    Talk about ICK ! ! !

The Lord tells us to look beyond the externals and attend to the heart.  This is Tradition. The Lord also told us to " Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation." Doesn't the 'whole creation' include America ? Why should we preach the gospel to Serbia; but not to America ?  If we are not going to preach the gospel to America, then what are we doing here ? What is tradition, if not obedience to our Savior ? Remember the Lord's word: " If the salt loses its saltiness it is useless for anything but to be thrown out in the dust."

Think about it.

Best wishes,
Francis Frost

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« Reply #194 on: May 23, 2007, 11:42:25 PM »

NO I do not! It would be icky! All OCA-ish and Antiochian-ish, mosernist, minimalist and ICKY ICKY ICKY!

Is there a reason you throw out such gross, sweeping generalizations as this, especially considering the number of posters here from the OCA and Antiochian jurisdictions you insult so thoughtlessly?  The repeated word "ICKY" is actually quite childish.  If you want to be taken seriously on this forum you'll need to submit much more intelligent, mature posts than this.
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« Reply #195 on: May 24, 2007, 12:24:26 AM »

NO I do not! It would be icky! All OCA-ish and Antiochian-ish, mosernist, minimalist and ICKY ICKY ICKY!

Being a member of UOC-USA, I also have found such negative comments towards Sister Jurisdictions equally insulting to me.
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« Reply #196 on: May 24, 2007, 06:04:30 AM »


MODERATION 1:
I have issued a formal warning to the poster who made the insulting remark.
Thank you to everyone who responded in such a mature Christian manner to the insulting post.
I suggest everybody now just move on and ignore it and not get caught up in responding to the insult any more.
This thread deals with far too important an issue to allow it to get side-tracked.

George

MODERATION 2:
Another post was made here regarding A Sombra's opinion of the OCA & AOC.
I have split it off and started a new thread for those who may wish to discuss these issues.
The new thread is located at:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,11770.msg159368.html#msg159368

George

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« Reply #197 on: June 04, 2007, 10:47:22 PM »

Returning to the original question...

I wish there was a response to the poll that read "Yes, but..."

It seems to me that that many Orthodox churches around the world (and I refuse to publicly point fingers at any one here) have succumbed at various times to ethnocentrism, or as it's been called "phyletism." There seems to be a vicious logical circle that can develop which states something like, "Since we're an Orthodox Christian country, we're particularly 'God's Own Chosen Race'". In my more charitable moments, I think that some churches have sometimes developed this mentality as a self-defense mechanism because so many have suffered severe persecution from non-Christian occupiers (or even non-Orthodox).

Thus, although I think it would benefit the Orthodox cause greatly in North America if we all were combined into one single jurisdiction, there would be great pitfuls that we united, U.S. Orthodox would have to be on guard against. The worst would be that we would develop our own "Americanist" phyletist mindset. Already, we can see so many Protestant churches fall into this mentality that "The U.S. is God's great gift to Planet Earth, our country right or wrong," etc. You all know what I'm talking about here.

The second pitfall is that we've seen some churches with claims to universality become unduly influenced by American culture. Thus in the early 20th century, Pope Leo XIII denounced "Americanism" in the Roman Catholic Church. More recently, the U.S. Episcopal Church was the first in the Anglican Communion to ordain women and now gay people. Would a fully-independent Orthodox church become subsumed by the dominant culture? How could this be prevented from happening? It's a question worth asking before we clamor for independence.

Last, I think that having our respective juridictions linked to overseas churches forces we Americans to look outside our own borders at the broader world. Too often, I've heard some of my fellow converts to Orthodoxy gnash their teeth at hearing foreign tongues in church. These types of arguments they make sometimes seem eerily similar to those nativist ones I've heard others make in regard to making English the official (and priviledged) language of the land: "If they came to this country, then why can't they..."

So to sum this up,  I think we in the U.S., in the hope of one day being officially united on paper, should work for a "spiritual reunification" in the meantime. We should build a U.S. Orthodox university that would be the equal of Notre Dame or Baylor or Southern Methodist University. We should build an Orthodox monastery that would be the equal in prestige of a Mount Athos or a Valaam. Where there is a sufficient population and means of support, we should build hospitals.

The day that we Orthodox establish ourselves on the American cultural landscape to a degree that we cannot be ignored; and the day that we have enhanced the prestige of local churches to be the full equals in holiness and intellectual prestige of other nations; that day will be one where the universal consent of Orthodox hierarchs in other countries shall say to us, "We are merely granting what your hard work has already achieved."

We're not there yet. We may not be there in a generation. But through the power of the Holy Trinity, I pray that we will be there one day.
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« Reply #198 on: June 06, 2007, 02:34:36 AM »

Here are some reasons why I think an american orthodox church would work fantastically well.

First of all, the converts, particullarly evangelical converts, are simply happy to be part of the true church. They have come from a background where you love Jesus, and follow Jesus first. Even though it is protestant, it is still Orthodox (even a broken clock is right 2 times a day). These converts are thankful and most excited about being Orthodox.

The Protestants know what it is to follow Jesus with all of your heart and to make a decision for him. Many of them put much of the faithful to shame as far as holiness of life and a passion for studying the bible and activley seeking union with God. I am currently reminded of this daily by some of my co workers.

I don't think the bulk of the american orthodox church cares about being ethnic. They just want a united church. This is not too much to ask. It is reasonable. In fact, in my experience, the evangelical converts admire and look up to the Orthodox of other countries.

Another observation about american orthodox converts is that they get annoyed by the same stuff as the rest of the orthodox do by the american culture. They appreciate their heritage, but all of the jerry fallwell/ pat robertson stuff gets annoying.

These are just my thoughts, let me know what y'all think.
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« Reply #199 on: March 18, 2008, 03:52:47 PM »

Think of the Orthodox Churches in America as a hard drive that needs to be defragmented. Don't I pick the most amazing analogies? Yes, I'd vote yes because it would have us more united. As for the quote way back that the American Orthodox Churches are protestants with incense, I find that entertaining. I go to the 1 of 3 Orthodox churches in my city, and of those 3 I go to an OCA church. Now our OCA church is the only one without pews and an organ. Which is more protestant? Yes, that's a generalization, but does anyone know of a Greek Church in America without pews?
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« Reply #200 on: September 06, 2008, 01:37:59 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?
That's not an Orthodox Church.
And phyletism is why there are several.
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If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
FrChris
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Holy Father Patrick, thank you for your help!


« Reply #201 on: September 06, 2008, 01:45:31 PM »

Ialmisry, you have been disciplined regarding this issue, and now instead of reflecting on the issues involved you attempt to restart the argument.

This thread will also be temporarily locked for cooler heads to prevail.

+FrChris
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"As the sparrow flees from a hawk, so the man seeking humility flees from an argument". St John Climacus
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