It's interesting to note how many people are all reading this thread at the same time. It's obviously an important topic about which we all care a great deal. I, too, have been reading, and reading, and reading it over the past couple days, but, as I was reading it on my phone and not the computer, I was unable to read/watch His Beatitude +JONAH's speech. I was expecting to be inspired and uplifted by wise words that would call all to unity under a compromise that would allow us all to continue to worship in the ways we are comfortable, while uniting our voice. I was sorely disappointed...
I'll start by saying that, while I agreed with the Chief Secretary's speech at HCHC for the most part, I was also sorely disappointed with his delivery. I felt there was a loving way to handle the situation and he did not choose it.
I feel the same way about His Beatitude's speech. In fact, to be honest, the phrase that came to mind was "fear mongering." And it made me angry.
BTW, I'm going to use the GOA as an example a lot, because it is the EP's jurisdiction in the US, and the most obvious example of how the EP does and would administrate a church in the US.
That is what the Metropolitan is looking at.
I'm not sure what you mean by this. Would you mind clarifying for me (sorry for my thick head!)?
There were, indeed, exaggerations and falsehoods that were utilized to make his point. The most blatant and obvious (not to mention UTTERLY ABSURD), as AMM pointed out earlier, being (from Serb1389's transcription):
but you have to give us the freedom to take care of our own church and our own country and our own culture, and not to be controlled by people who have never heard a word of English, much less would allow a word of English to be spoken in the Liturgy
Since His Beatitude has only been Metropolitan of the OCA for like five minutes, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt and saying maybe he has never been to services in the GOA. Otherwise, he would know that of course we do English in the services. At HCHC (and many on this forum have either attended the school or at least been to services there) alone, which one would hope to be an example, since it is the archdiocesan seminary, the services are done AT LEAST 50/50 Greek-English. Many, many parishes in the GOA have all but eliminated the Greek entirely. So... either he's utilizing a falsehood to incite fear and anger, or he's ignorant of GOA practices. I'm going to go with the latter, since I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt, as I too have been inspired by his election and hopeful, and don't want to think badly of him.
Speaking of the Chief Secretary:
I do not support the opinion that we can today oblige everyone to speak Greek, but I think that we have to offer that possibility to those who so desire, to learn Greek in well organized schools, by talented teachers. I think that we owe our children the possibility of choice. We owe to our culture the obliteration of contempt for a language that expressed the Gospel and became the vehicle for the most subtle meanings in the articulation of the dogma by the founders of our faith and Fathers of Christianity.
I do not support the opinion that the services here in America should be done exclusively in Greek. Simply I do not understand how it is possible that any priest of the Archdiocese might not be able to serve in both languages. It is not understandable how an institution of higher education cannot manage to teach its students a language, even in the time span of four years!
My brothers and sisters, I am not one of them who believe that there is a sacred language (lingua sacra) for the Church. I just wonder why in every Theological School in the world the students are expected to learn the Biblical languages, and it is only in our School of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America that such a requirement seems anachronistic, nationalistic or conservative.
Speaking now of your Theological School, do you think that the Church’s expectation that the graduates of this School know theology, canon law, Byzantine music, be able to celebrate the service of matins, vespers and the sacraments, be able to preach the Word of God and instruct our youth in the catechism is unreasonable or excessive?
I don't know what the last paragraph is supposed to have to do with the preceeding ones.
From what I understand (from friends who were there), the last paragraph was addressing the fact that there are students who complain that the work load is too much, or that they don't need to know certain things (like Byzantine music). That was more of a private, personal thing addressed to the students specifically, not addressed to the Orthodox world. Does that make sense?
Evidently, the Chief Secretary is addressing something. I don't believe he is making up straw men who believe everyone Orthodox (at least!) should speak Greek, that as the lingua sacra services should be done only in it. I've met such people in the GOA. I've also met people like yourself in the GOA. The question is, who has the upper hand?
This is a good and valid question. For the answer, though, I think it is important to look at what's happening in the GOA parishes currently on the part of the priests and hierarchs. I think it's important to look at the INCOMING generation of clergy and hierarchs. Based on the current hierarchs (the ones that are going to be around a while longer, such as +ALEXIOS, +NICHOLAS, +METHODIOS, +GERASIMOS) and younger/incoming clergy, as well as (probably most importantly) Archbishop +DEMETRIOS, I would say that the GOA is firmly moving toward more English and the models I've spoken of previously.
Beyond the U.S., I understand that Canada's GOA is more an embodiment of what you say are "fears." Can anyone in Canada comment?
I haven't the knowledge to comment on this...
The falsehoods/exaggerations are also made by implication. In other words, he implies things that are false or exaggerated. Here's an example:
A church that is dedicated to the conciliar process which does not ignore the voice of the laity, which does not ignore the voice of the priests.The implication here is that the Phanar and His All Holiness ignore the voices of the laity and priests. If this is the case, then things would be far different in the GOA. There would be no English, but the people request English, so there is English. There would be no Thanksgiving Turkey (and His Beatitude thinks that the EP doesn't understand America? Do the OCA recognize Thanksgiving? I actually am asking, not being sarcastic, cause I don't know the answer), but the request of the people was heard, and, out of love, the EP made a concession so that we might RECOGNIZE OUR HERITAGE AS AMERICANS AND CELEBRATE IT WITH THANKSGIVING TO GOD. Hmmmm.... I could write a list of such things that the EP has heard and allowed, but I think my point is made.
My experience with Thanksgiving is that the "dispensation" came about because of the Pan-Orthodox Thanksgiving services that was started in Arb. Iakovos' time. Speaking of whom, what was done to him by the EP gives many non-Greek pause to even consider the EP running things here.
I really think that what happened with Archbishop +IAKOVOS is another example of the laity not having the whole story. I know enough about it from inside sources to know that I DON'T know enough to form an opinion about the EP based on it. Hope that makes sense.
Btw, this wasn't an issue in the OCA until the 80's, and for many still isn't: they were/are on the Old Calendar.
I knew that much, but my question was less about fasting and more about whether the OCA recognize Thanksgiving and in what way. I mean, we don't do any special services for Thanksgiving (some people do a Doxology, but it's not an official part of the calendar... yet), but the dispensation itself is recognition of a holiday that is important to the people in the Church in America (in the way Greek Independence Day is as well). I think that this recognition is itself a rebuttal to the claim by +JONAH that the Phanar "doesn't understand our common diversity" and all the other things he threw out about the EP's "ignorance" of America.
So... How does the OCA handle Thanksgiving?
Because, we are orthodox not simply by birth, we are orthodox not simply by our ethnic heritage, we are orthodox because we have chosen to be orthodox. We are orthodox because we have committed our entire life to Jesus Christ and the Gospel. And that it’s that commitment to Jesus Christ and the Gospel, and our commitment to bring our brothers and sisters in our land to that same commitment to Jesus Christ and the Gospel. The implication here is that we Greek Orthodox (notice I say we Greek ORTHODOX, not we Greeks) are only Orthodox because of our birth or ethnic heritage. Tell that to my Chinese brother-in-law and all the other converts we have in the GREEK ORTHODOX church (in other words, the GOA is NOT made up of just Greeks, but converts as well, in case His Beatitude has not visited a GOA church yet). Furthermore, I AM of Greek heritage, but I am CERTAINLY not Orthodox just because my father is. For one thing, my mother was Catholic (oh, yeah, she's a convert too). [ light-hearted but to the point sarcasm] I'm so glad His Beatitude knows the souls of all the Greek Orthodox in America to be able to imply that we are all Orthodox just because our parents were. [/light-hearted but to the point sarcasm]
I am sure that his beatitude is well aware of converts in the GOA: Frankie Schaffer I am sure has made sure of that.
I think the Metropolitan was addressing these claims, an indirect attack on his person, perhaps, in addition to the direct one, by the Chief Secretary:
As you all know, one of the secrets for the success of the American miracle in its financial, political and technological aspects was precisely its desire to detach itself from the traditional models of the old world, its ability to break free from the established norms, its willingness to question whatever was considered as given or beyond any criticism. As it might have been expected, these tendencies soon found an expression within the life of the Church, sometimes in more extreme ways, other times in more temperate ways. Thus, soon Orthodox clergymen became indistinguishable from the clergy of other denominations, choirs in the western style were adopted, the liturgical tradition became more and more impoverished by being limited only to the bare essentials, etc.
Against that gradual secularization of Orthodoxy in America, a reaction soon made its appearance in the form of a number of rapidly spreading monasteries of an Athonite influence, characterized by ultraconservative tendencies, attached to the letter of the law, and reacting to any form of relationship with other Christian denominations. All of this is nothing but the manifestation of the intense thirst for a lost spirituality and a liturgical richness of which the Orthodox people of America have been for very long now deprived, forced, as they were, to embrace the Church only in the form of a sterile social activism.
Another great number of candidates to the priesthood come from converts, who possess little, if any, familiarity with the Orthodox experience and they are usually characterized by their overzealous behavior and mentality. It is of interest that the converts who become ordained into priesthood represent a disproportionally greater percentage than the converts among the faithful. The result of this disanalogous representation is that, more often than not, convert priest shepherd flocks who are bearers of some cultural tradition, but because their pastors either lack the necessary familiarity with that tradition or even consciously oppose it, they succeed in devaluing and gradually eradicating those cultural elements that have been the expression of the parishes that they serve.
It is particularly saddening that the crisis in priestly vocation has decreased dramatically the number but also the quality of celibate priests, who one day will be assigned with the responsibility of governing this Church. Lack of spirituality makes the monastic ideal incomprehensible and unattractive especially among the youth (with the exception, of course, of the aforementioned monastic communities with their own peculiarities).
Having attempted this general evaluation of the American Orthodoxy, allow me to consider briefly the Holy Archdiocese of America, this most important eparchy of the Ecumenical Throne.
I'm not sure where the attack on his person is in this quote. He was speaking mostly (not all, but mostly) of the GOA parishes with regard to the use of the clerical collar (something Archbishop +IAKOVOS forced on the clergy), the choirs, etc. The monasteries he speaks of are those of Fr. Ephraim, which have been as controversial as they have been fruitful. With regard to the convert priests, again, I think he was addressing this to the students of HCHC, some of whom (and I could name which ones, as I do know them personally) oppose not just all things Greek (like having to learn to speak Greek), but all things descending from the Greek tradition (like Byzantine music, liturgical Greek, etc). Again, I don't think that was aimed at American Orthodoxy outside of the GOA. We have to keep in mind who his audience was.
I've often found that clergy of such and such ethnicity are often the ones most insistent on obliterating it.
I'm not sure where you're going with this... would you mind elaborating please?
And another (one of my favorites):
Not to some kind of alien ideology, not to some nationalist or imperialist ideology from some forgotten empire. Not the imposition of foreign customs, and the submission to foreign despots – but to a united church in this country. Really? You must be kidding. He's talking about foreign customs wearing a RUSSIAN style of vestments! Did I miss something or didn't the OCA come from the Russian tradition? Certainly looks like it, from the tradition of music, liturgics, and vestments (among other things). Why does he fault the Greek Orthodox for following the Byzantine tradition of music, liturgics, and vestments? Isn't that a little backward? If he is not speaking of liturgical tradition, then what is he speaking of? Is he implying that the EP is going to force everyone to learn modern Greek, Greek dances, Greek cooking, celebrate Greek holidays, etc? Surely not. I think we can all see how absurd that would be. Unfortunately, yes, many of the GOA churches have Greek school and dance troupes. And I think most of us (including the clergy and hierarchs) will tell you it is unfortunate, not the place of the church, and that we are trying to weed that stuff out. To take that further and say that not only would the EP NOT weed those things out, but would force them on other churches, that is just baseless and, I'm sorry, but falsehood.
I don't think that Greek dance troups and schools are weeds. I would venture his beatitude doesn't either, but I can't speak for him.
I think he is speaking of this foreign ideology, expoused by the Chief Secretary:
The first and main challenge that American Orthodoxy faces is that it has been developed in a region which, from an administrative and technical point, is that of diaspora. By the term “diaspora” we indicate that region whose ecclesiastical jurisdiction is been unfortunately claimed by a variety of “Mother” Churches, which wish to maintain their pastoral care over their respective flocks, comprised by the people who, over the years, immigrated to the superpower called USA.
In this way, the Orthodox faithful in America became organized according to their national origin and not according to the canon law of the Orthodox Church—that is, they organized themselves not in accordance with the principles of Orthodox ecclesiology which dictates that neither national origin, nor the history of a group’s appearance in a particular region but rather the canonical taxis and the perennial praxis of the Church, as codified by the Ecumenical Councils, has the ultimate authority
In other words, the foreign ideology that this is, or has been, terra incognita and "diaspora."
Note, that the Chief Secretary names no positive development in Orthodoxy in America, none that he does not damn with faint praise.
Do you disagree with how the Chief Secretary describes the development of Orthodoxy in the US? Is it not true that the Orthodox in America organized themselves according to their national origin and not according to canon law? It may not NOW be a diaspora, but it most certainly WAS when it developed. I don't think the Chief Secretary made that distinction clearly, but I do think that this is what he was trying to say.
Anyway, I don't really think that's what His Beatitude was addressing. The Chief Secretary's quote doesn't fall under the "foreign customs" that His Beatitude spoke of, or "nationalist and imperialist ideology." I think it's nice of you to try and protect His Beatitude by asserting that the Chief Secretary's quote was what he was addressing, but I don't think it's correct. Even if it was, the words "submission to a foreign despot" are still nothing more than slander, fear mongering, and insulting.
Further, I too find it insulting to refer to him as a foreign despot.
That is a common view as to what the EP did to Arb. Iakovos after Ligonier, the "troika" (not my term) he sent, the dismemberment of the GOANSA, and the sending of Met. Spyridon. The OCA remembers that the EP ordered that communion be broken in 1970: only Arb. Iakovos stopped it.
Yes... he did order communion be broken... communion with a church whose "autocephalous" origins were (and still are) dubious, at best. That was his prerogative, whether we like it or not. We are a hierarchical church, or at least we were, last time I checked. The GOA is, after all, under HIS omophorion, thus it was his prerogative to make an unpopular decision. And when it turned out to be a bad one, he DID INDEED listen to the voice of the clergy and the laity (no matter what +JONAH asserts) and he made the needed change.
I don’t think they understand, that our church here has this rich diversity, but that we all share a common identity. Really? Nevermind that the GOA hierarchs rotate through the Patriarchal synod. Nevermind that many of those AT the Phanar are in one way or another connected to the United States (either themselves being from here, schooled here, having family here, having visited or lived here...). They just don't understand. Right.
The EP would have to demonstrate that Met. Spyridon's tenure here was the exception (after "he was born in America...") and not the rule of what the EP has in store. A rather hard sell, I dare say, made harder now by the Chief Secretary's sales pitch.
The exception to what? Do we expect our hierarchs to do whatever the laity's whims dictate? If that were the case, we would be commemorating Arius as a saint, not remembering him as a heretic! The majority of the laity (including Constantine the Great) at the time ascribed to Arius' beliefs. It was the hierarchs who made the unpopular decision that was contrary to the laity at the time. But history showed that the hierarchs were correct. I'm not saying that Met. Spyridon was an example of a hierarchal decision that will prove to be a good one (except in his removal), but what I am saying is that we expect our hierarchs to do the RIGHT thing, not the POPULAR thing. And often the right thing is unclear to us in the short term but quite clear in the long term. Make sense?
. We all submit, to a foreign patriarchate, where all decisions will be made there, where we will have no say in the decisions that will be made, we will have no decisions in our own destiny, and we surrender the freedom that we have embraces as American Orthodox Christians, to a Patriarchate still under Islamic domination. This one, I think, is the one that gets me the most upset, the one that is the MOST fear mongering. It is, in my opinion, the most irresponsible thing he said, as I feel sure he knows that it is not true (anyone who knows anything of the workings of the GOA knows it's not true, so surely he must). But, maybe I should again give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he has never been to a GOA church, knows no GOA hierarchs, knows nothing of how the GOA operates. Hard to believe, but I'm happy to give him the benefit of the doubt.
It is wrong to imply that the churches in the US, should they come under the omophorion of the EP, would be completely controlled in the way he says... that we would have no decisions, surrender our freedom, etc. That is just blatant falsehood. His All Holiness DOES NOT interfere in the workings of the GOA. He leaves them to the respective bishops. Why, then, would he turn around and do that to a united church in the US? It doesn't make any sense. It is baseless and false.
Given that the EP can, and did, revise the archdiocese by fiat (the law suits prove that), and that the Turk controls the process of election of the EP, it is not that far fetched.
My friend, I think that you have jumped from point A to point F, skipping B, C, D, and E. Just because he revised the archdiocese and the Turks have some say in his election does NOT mean that the EP controls everything that goes on in the GOA. He doesn't interfere with the operation of other bishops' metropolises. Please, if you're going to assert that he does, show me evidence. Because, besides myself, I know there are several others on this forum who are QUITE close to their GOA hierarchs, and I daresay we all would argue this point fervently. I don't want to sound like I'm boasting about being personally close to a bishop (so please don't take it that way), that's not it at all, which is why I'm hesitant to say anything on this point. But I can say with some certainty that the EP does NOT interfere with the workings of our metropolis. And I know there are others on the forum who are also close to their GOA Metropolitans and intimately familiar with the day to day workings of their metropolis' who would say the same thing.
Please forgive me if I've said too much on this point. I apologize if I have. I certainly don't mean it offensively.
Further, I have a question to ask... this conciliar church he is proposing... where all the bishops sit on a synod "or something like that..." Who sits at the head? Yes, we are a conciliar church, but we are a HIERARCHAL Church, meaning, there is a hierarchy, with A hierarch at the head. No, I'm not proposing a pope. But every Church, every autocephalous church, even, has a synod WITH A HIERARCH (usually known as a Patriarch, Metropolitan, or Archbishop... anyone recognize those terms? Anyone?) sitting at the head! He talks about this synod (as though it's a novel idea... anyone remember SCOBA?),
SCOBA, despite what the Chief Secretary says, has no canonical authority, as its constitution makes clear. SCOBA just spoke of the beginnnings of a Holy Synod of America (which would have canonical authority) at Ligonier, and what happened....?
I wasn't saying that SCOBA has canonical authority, and I don't think the Chief Secretary was either. I think he was saying that SCOBA is a good model (which is what I was saying).
but offers no solution as to who sits at the head. Isn't that really the crux of the problem? I don't think the EP has a problem with a synod, otherwise SCOBA wouldn't exist (or the GOA wouldn't participate, at least). The question is who sits at the head, where does that person come from, who do they answer to (if anyone). It was mentioned earlier in this thread (or in the Challenges of Orthodoxy thread, I can't remember which), that the model has been to grant autocephaly to the church, and this is the most likely thing that would happen, should the American church come under the EP. Everyone seems to love to ignore that.
There is no indication that autocephaly would come. In fact, the Chief Secretary's words and others would indicate otherwise.
Why do you say that? I feel sure autocephaly would not come immediately. And for heaven's sake, why should it, when we can't even agree who would sit at the head of a synod? I think that the Chief Secretary's model of a synod like SCOBA with the representative of the EP (that would be the Archbishop of the GOA, currently +DEMETRIOS) at it's head is perfectly reasonable. Not because I think everyone needs to be Greek or submit to the EP or anything like that. I think it's reasonable because, whether anyone wants to admit it or not, the GOA is the largest and most stable of the American jurisdictions. It is also the one that is universally and politically recognized in the US (it is always the GOA Archbishop who is invited to the White House and other public events as the face of Orthodoxy in the US). I know people don't like that, but that's the way it is right now.
Unlike the EP, the Metropolitan was not saying: it's my jurisdiction or the highway. I do believe, if SCOBA was converted into a REAL Holy Synod, Met. Jonah would have no problem yielding to another to be the primate of it, IF it were autocephalous. Btw, the Chief Secretary's words:
The Mother Church [which for the CS means ONLY Constantinople] knows, however, that such a submission is difficult to be accomplished under the present historical conditions. For this reason, and by employing the principle of economy, it was suggested and it has now become accepted in Pan-Orthodox level, that there will be local Pan-Orthodox Episcopal Assemblies in the diaspora (like SCOBA in the US). The principle of presidency is followed, namely the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate presides over these Episcopal Assemblies in order to preserve the necessary element of canonicity. is nonsense, as SCOBA's constitution shows.
I'm not sure I agree with you that +JONAH would yield to another hierarch (though it would be only proper, since he is the newly ordained and his jurisdiction the youngest and of dubious canonicity). I still don't understand what the problem is with a synod with the EP representative at the head, though. That's what we have now! SCOBA may not be canonically binding, but there's no reason that it can't be! The hierarchs of SCOBA have to agree on everything, +DEMETRIOS never "pulls rank" or anything. Why would that change? Really? I think this fear mongering is ridiculous!
By the way, the crack about the pope right at the beginning was just nasty and uncalled for. I was truly, sincerely, disappointed in that. It is Lent, after all. Is that really what we should be doing? Slandering and name-calling fellow Orthodox brethren (never mind that the one he is going after is a fellow hierarch, one who outranks him, no less)... nice.
I'm sorry, but given Ravenna, and this nonsense:
First of all, allow me to remind you that the term “diaspora” is a technical term denoting those regions that lie beyond the borders of the local autocephalous Churches. It does not mean that the Orthodox people who dwell in these regions live there temporally, as misleadingly it was argued by His Eminence Phillip in a recent article (“The Word”). According to the 28th Canon of the 4th Ecumenical Council one of the prerogatives of the Ecumenical Patriarch is precisely His jurisdiction exactly over these regions, which lie beyond the predescribed borders of the local Churches. The canon in question uses the technical term “barbaric” in order to denote these lands, since it was precisely referring to the unknown lands beyond the orbit of the Roman Empire.
Metropolitan Jonas, while he was still an abbot, in one of his speeches presented what he called “a monastic perspective” on the subject “Episcopacy, Primacy and the Mother Churches”. In the chapter on autocephaly and primacy he claims that “there is no effective overarching primacy in the Orthodox Church.” He seems to be in opposition to the institution of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, because he considers that such an institution “is based on primacy over an empire-wide synod” and that this “has long become unrealistic.” What surprised me the most in this “monastic perspective” of His Eminence Jonas was the claim that allegedly “now only the Greek ethnic Churches and few others recognize the Ecumenical Patriarchate to be what it claims to be.” It is indeed saddening the ignorance of this Hierarch not only on account of History and canonical order but even on account of the current state of affairs. How is it possible that he ignores that there is no Church that does not recognize the Ecumenical Patriarchate? Perhaps he is carried away by the fact that the ecclesial schema over which he presides and which has been claimed as “autocephalous” in rampant violation of every sense of canonicity, is not recognized but by few Churches and it is not included in the diptychs of the Church.
Let me add that the refusal to recognize primacy within the Orthodox Church, a primacy that necessarily cannot but be embodied by a primus (that is by a bishop who has the prerogative of being the first among his fellow bishops) constitutes nothing less than heresy. It cannot be accepted, as often it is said, that the unity among the Orthodox Churches is safeguarded by either a common norm of faith and worship or by the Ecumenical Council as an institution. Both of these factors are impersonal while in our Orthodox theology the principle of unity is always a person. Indeed, in the level of the Holy Trinity the principle of unity is not the divine essence but the Person of the Father (“Monarchy” of the Father), at the ecclesiological level of the local Church the principle of unity is not the presbyterium or the common worship of the Christians but the person of the Bishop, so to in the Pan-Orthodox level the principle of unity cannot be an idea nor an institution but it needs to be, if we are to be consistent with our theology, a person.
made it necessary. New Rome seems hell bent on repeating Old Rome's mistakes.
I'm sorry, but you're going to have to show me how the Chief Secretary's words (and the vague reference to Ravenna) made it okay to slander the EP with such nasty words, even if what you say were true. I happen to agree with the Chief Secretary on his ecclesiological summary of the EP's position. I don't see what was wrong with his disagreeing with +JONAH. It's okay for +JONAH to disagree, but not for the Chief Secretary? He may not be long on tact, but the Chief Secretary certainly did NOT descend into slanderous name calling! Besides, as far as I can see (please feel free to offer evidence to the contrary), his interpretation is correct! Do not all the other Orthodox primates in the entire world commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch first in the diptychs? Does the Ecumenical Patriarch not stand liturgically first before any other primate in the world, even when in that primate's own jurisdiction? If there is no bishop, then there is no church! If the assertion that +JONAH makes is that the EP stands first only symbolically, then I would appreciate seeing some support for this from the canons, the Church traditions, and the Fathers. If the primacy of a hierarch (any hierarch) is only symbolic and not reality, then that turns the entire ecclesiology of the Church and theology of the priesthood on its head! I hope I'm making sense here.
Really, I rejoiced along with everyone else when His Beatitude was elected. I still do. I think it's great, no, imperative, for the OCA to have a strong leader with a clear vision who can wade through the muck and bring the OCA back from the terrible things that have plagued it for so long. But I can love him and disagree with him, and I can love him and be disappointed by his words and certain aspects of his leadership. He is human. I love and respect him. I'm disappointed because I love and respect him and had hoped for something healing and loving, not petty and full of fear and falsehoods. I do say all these things with respect. If my tone appears disrespectful, I assure you it is NOT because that is how I intended it. I attempted for the opposite, and if I have offended, then at this most important time of Lent I do ask for your forgiveness.
Forgive me a sinner.
I really would have preferred to have been responding someone else. I hope I stayed somewhat in bounds.
Please don't worry about bounds with me, my friend. I'm just a lay person, like your good self. And it takes a lot to offend me. We can disagree and still love each other. I have no doubts as to your good intentions and that you speak the truth with love. No worries, brother. Please forgive me if I've offended, as it is not my intent.