After listening to a podcast on Ancient Faith Radio, I began wondering, why aren't more steps being taken into unity of the Orthodox in North America?
I looked over some information, and this is what I came up with...
The Orthodox Church in America: 450,000-1,000,000 members, 623 parishes
Antiochian Archdiocese of North America: 80,000 members, 200 parishes
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America: 1,500,000 members, 540 parishes
Ukrainian: 105 parishes
OCA: Metropolitan Herman (Washington D.C.)
GOofNA: Metropolitan Demetrios (NYC)
Antiochian: Metropolitan Philip (NYC)
Out of just these three jurisdictions, I came up with:
Orthodoxy in America:
How can we turn all the different EO jurisdictions in the United States into one jurisdiction? What might it be called? Where would it's Metropolitan be seated? as well as other things you can think of.
This also wouldn't solve all the problems, and it would probably solve some, while creating other problems. However IMO, it would be most beneficial for a united Orthodox Church in America. It would definitely be best for Orthodox Christians, as well as for Orthodoxy in America in general. There are so many other denominations and churches out there, that we are almost parallelling the thousands of Protestant denominations out there with our own division. This also creates a problem when you have many real EO Churches with different names, and you also have non-Eastern Orthodox churches such as Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Catholic, Orthodox Catholic, and even some smaller churches calling themselves Orthodox though they are in fact not "Orthodox" but might be unity churches w/ their own local bishops.
Wouldn't it also be better financially to have a unified church? Instead of sending money to Constantinople, Antioch and Ukraine to have all Eastern Orthodox Churches in the USA send it to the main center for the church in the USA?
They said that according to the Councils (Or something like that), it is heretical to divide your churches by race and ethnicity. It's definitely ok to have churches with different languages, but it's heretical to divide by race and ethnicity (as we see with division into American, Ukrainian, Greek and Antiochian churches according to them).
The other issue to, is with the lack of funds for American churches, we continue to have to have many churches that aren't able to completely beautify themselves or appear more traditional. Instead they have to cut costs for buildings. I know many Orthodox Churches in the USA today do look more traditional and have many icons and beautiful things in them. However we also have many churches that have to meet in strip malls, or churches built as metal buildings or with materials that aren't very traditional or even aesthetic. I think that is one of the very important things for the Orthodox Church... It has to definitely look different than the Catholic and Protestant Churches.
Also, how can Orthodoxy have a stronger presence in the United States when we are so divided and spread out? There are over 2.5 million Orthodox in the USA today. That means 1% of Christians in the USA are Orthodox. I know it doesn't seem like much, but while it isn't Christian, look at Mormonism, about the same amount of people, many people know about Mormons and their beliefs.
It would be most beneficial for us to unite... What would it take?
Personally, i'd think the Metropolitan of the one N.A. Orthodox Church ought to be in Chicago (for centrality b/t east cost and west coast, and USA/Canada), Washington D.C. or N.Y.C.
What are your thoughts?
Here is the podcast where I heard some of these things:http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/podup/illuminedheart/toward_an_american_orthodox_church_encore_presentation
(NOTE: When I use "we" I'm not putting myself in the category of Orthodox, since I've yet to become even Catechumen. I felt it was better to use "we" rather than always use "Orthodox" or "you" so I wouldn't sound accusing or chastising, which is not my intent at all)