This is terribly sad. First of all, it's terribly sad that Metropolitan METHODIOS felt he needed to tell his clergy not to celebrate with OCA clergy. But secondly, and even more sad, look at what it's doing to the laity-as evidenced by this site. I'm reading posts that smack of "OCA versus GOA." And frankly, it disgusts me. Knowing Cleveland personally, I can gladly vouch for the fact that he truly desires an EQUAL unity among jurisdictions, with the appropriate offices and responsibilities given to the appropriate people.
I agree that the OCA should have taken the opportunity to do something to promote unity in the church. I agree that +METHODIOS reacted harshly. I agree that the GOA should have taken the same opportunity when +ANTHONY passed away. I DO NOT agree with the assertions of GOA power conspiracies, and the assertion that the pride or ethnicity of the Greeks would stand in the way of unity.
So what if the GOA has a department devoted to the education of young Greek Americans in their culture? My question is, why don't the other jurisdictions? Personally, I believe all the "mother" cultures should be taught to the children! They taught tons of cultures in elementary, middle, and high school... why shouldn't the church make an effort to teach the children? The GOA churches still have huge numbers of immigrants, so it doesn't surprise me that those immigrants want their children to learn their culture. Wouldn't you want your children to have knowledge of where they came from, and an understanding of their parents' past? Especially for those like myself, whose families have never been able to afford to go to Greece and even meet our families, much less learn about our past! Furthermore, why couldn't a unified church have departments devoted to teaching the cultures of its members? Nobody said that there couldn't be departments devoted to the teaching of Russian, Albanian, Bulgarian, Romanian, etc. cultures. I would imagine (of course I don't know what happens internally) that the reason the other jurisdictions don't have that is because they are majority converts who are uninterested in ethnic ties. As far as the OCA is concerned, it is the church "in America," so it's obvious to me that they would not have a department that promotes education of one specific ethnicity (since they are striving to shed the ethnicities altogether). But that doesn't mean that everyone else has to feel the same way.
As for the "Greek-ifying" aspect, I think that is, frankly, ridiculous. The majority of GOA parishes now serve liturgy in either all English, or both Greek and English. I've been to some of the most "ethnic Greek" parishes in Chicago (which is known for being heavily Greek), and not only were services in majority English (and with a hierarch serving!), but +IAKOVOS gave his homily IN ENGLISH! I have met most of the GOA hierarchs personally, and my husband has personal relationships with almost all of them (as I'm sure Cleveland does too). And we've all heard them speak loudly and clearly in favor of unity, and encouraging that services and homilies be in English as well as Greek, because we are in America, and we now have a large convert population and second-third generation Greeks who don't speak Greek. I've heard +IAKOVOS of Chicago specifically say that, as we are in America and are ministering to the population of THIS country, we should make the effort to minister to EVERYONE by using both Greek and English (thereby accommodating both non-Greek speakers, and non-English speakers-of which there are still a surprising number).
I'm sorry if you guys have had a bad experience in a GOA church. I know it happens, and it is sad. For Greeks, the church is the center of the community, and as such is HUGELY important. They don't want to lose their connection with home. And they are very protective of that connection and that community. Unfortunately, some take that to the extreme, forgetting that there is no nationality in Christ's Holy Church. But I do NOT think it is fair to throw such accusations and assertions around without knowing what happens on the inside. We only see the end results of what are usually long processes of private talks and decision making that happen over months, even years (as Cleveland said). None of us can assume that we know what is best because we perceive one Hierarch or another (or one jurisdiction or another) as being a certain way without inside knowledge of what is really happening.
And, as Cleveland said, the generalizations certainly don't help the situation. There are MANY of us GOA people who love to go to churches in other jurisdictions, and who are committed to unity.
And, yes, it is unfortunate that this opportunity for a step toward reunification happened during a difficult time in the OCA church. But nobody ever said it was supposed to be easy. Not knowing what happened on the inside, I'm sure that +METHODIOS saw the opportunity and felt that (as it is SUCH a RARE opportunity) it is FAR more important than some financial woes. Since when does the Church of Christ subjugate itself to financial problems?
And as far as the autocephalous OCA church "asserting itself," give me a break. She could better have asserted Herself by LEADING instead of DIVIDING. The Antiochians did just that when they compromised with +MAXIMOS' request. There should be no question of "firsties" as far as where a diocesan See is located. Each jurisdiction should step up to suggest change, to lead change, and to offer to compromise for the sake of unity. "Firsties" doesn't belong in Christ's Church!