Has anyone seen any of this in the secular media or is it just the ten or so of us who frequent Orthodox internet fora that are following this? It really would be a shame if this little spat is how people hear of Orthodoxy in the news.
Because we are both invisible and irrelevant to the secular media, and to most of Christendom for that matter, I don't think many others know about this little spat. I doubt most Orthodox lay people do.
But this is precisely the kind of thing that keeps us invisible and irrelevant in North America.
Where is the concern for evangelism and mission? This is all petty bickering.
One of the problems with Old World hierarchs is that they actually think this is a still a protestant Christian country and that their only concern should be tending to their little ethnic flocks over here. Don't steal sheep and don't proselytize. Dudes (not to be disrespectful, mind you) - those days are long gone and have been for at least 50 years, if not longer! Wake up!
This country is essentially secular. Governmentally it completely is. Culturally it is becoming ever moreso virtually by the month.
Even the evangelicals practice mostly a civil religion to prop up the throne, so to speak (the throne of a long-lost, nostalgic democratic republicanism - not parties - historical approaches to govt. with their loci in Washington/Adams/Hamilton on the one hand and Jefferson/Jackson on the other) In reality this is a country mostly governed by special interests and media polls.
Long ago most Americans vacated any sense of religious commitment that required sacrifice or giving up in any substansive way the living of the American dream of material prosperity, moral autonomy and consumeristic aquisition.
Some Roman Catholics, because they have a cogent and coherent moral theology and some radical reformed Christians, again because of a superior intellectual tradition, are fomenting some sort of faithful opposition to these trends. Also some in the Wesleyan holiness and anababptist traditions who live a counter-cultural lifestyle among the poor or in preserving local sustainability and the environment also bear witness against the cultural tsumami.
But,well, well, well - we Orthodox have the most counter-cultural tradition of all. But we'd rather wag on about who offended who, like a bunch of women. (as a comic aside, the thought just flashed through my mind of the wedding in Monty Python and the Holy Grail: "Lets quit bickerin' about 'oo killed 'oo. This is supposed to be a 'appy occasion.") So let's quit bickering about who affended who.
Quit making our hierarchs out to be women in distress - let them be men! We don't need to fued for their honor! St. Nicholas punched someone in the nose in doctrinal debate! Do you forget that? These aren't little girls -these are men! Let them be men!
The gates of hell do not have to work very hard when the Church is its own worst enemy. The gates of hell may not prevail but we might be our own undoing, handing the game to them because we slap at each other like girls while missing the weightier matters of the times.
Let's be honest:
This country really needs the gospel. It really needs to be evangelized.
Sadly, I think most hierarchs, in North America and outside of it, are clueless to this reality.
Unfortunately, I think our canonical tradition and the varying interpretations of it and our competing jurisdictions (Sadducees and Pharisees, anyone?) make us ripe for continuing irrelevance.
But God will not be hindered by us and the gates of hell will not prevail - he will make the rocks cry out if necessary!
Thank God we have monastics. Without their prayers. all would be lost.