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Author Topic: Hellenism, Constantinople, and the Example of Thermopylae  (Read 5960 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: April 30, 2009, 07:25:34 PM »

As a matter of curiousity, could you elaborate on what you mean when you say "take with a grain of salt alleged struggles against Hellenism"?

That is to say, do you mean something like this? "The Patriarchate of Constantinople has no problems with Hellenic ethnocentricity. It remains purely and perfectly focused on the Gospel."

Or something like this? "The Patriarchate of Constantinople has a serious and troubling Hellenizing tendency, against which it does not struggle and which it in fact embraces, consistently and unapologetically conflating Hellenism and Christianity?"

Because either way, I think I must beg to differ. Wink
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Τῷ μεγάλῳ χρίεται μύρῳ καὶ χειρονεῖται βασιλεὺς καὶ αὐτοκράτωρ τῶν Ῥωμαίων, πάντων δηλαδὴ τῶν χριστιανῶν...οὐδὲν οὖν ἔνι καλὸν, υἱέ μου, ἵνα λέγῃς, ὅτι ἐκκλησίαν ἔχομεν, οὐχὶ βασιλέα, οὐκ ἔνι δυνατὸν εἰς τοὺς χριστιανοὺς, ἔκκλησίαν ἔχειν καὶ βασιλέα οὐκ ἔχειν. – EP Anthony to Basil of Moscow c. 1395
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2009, 11:09:41 PM »

As a matter of curiousity, could you elaborate on what you mean when you say "take with a grain of salt alleged struggles against Hellenism"?

That is to say, do you mean something like this? "The Patriarchate of Constantinople has no problems with Hellenic ethnocentricity. It remains purely and perfectly focused on the Gospel."

Or something like this? "The Patriarchate of Constantinople has a serious and troubling Hellenizing tendency, against which it does not struggle and which it in fact embraces, consistently and unapologetically conflating Hellenism and Christianity?"

Because either way, I think I must beg to differ. Wink

Dear Father Anthony,

Christ is risen!

I had in mind something like this: Although the the Patriarchate is fully aware of the need to be less ethnic--particularly if it is to be taken seriously as the Ecumenical Patriarch and master of all barbarian lands and peoples, the folks in the Phanar are unable to rise above the stronger appeal of Hellenism and the Great Idea. As a result, they do often conflate Christianity with Hellenism and vice versa. There have, of course been exceptions, such as Patriarch Athenogoros, but they have been the exceptions that prove the rule."

I guess the proof of the pudding will be when we see quite a bit more of diversity, fewer Greek dances and dinners and Independence Day proclamations, etc.. I'll believe you when I see converts making up half of the clergy and parishioners in the GOA, and the hierarchy in Constantinople made up of at least 25% converts.

Respectfully,

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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2009, 11:15:32 PM »

I had in mind something like this: Although the the Patriarchate is fully aware of the need to be less ethnic--particularly if it is to be taken seriously as the Ecumenical Patriarch and master of all barbarian lands and peoples, the folks in the Phanar are unable to rise above the stronger appeal of Hellenism and the Great Idea. As a result, they do often conflate Christianity with Hellenism and vice versa. There have, of course been exceptions, such as Patriarch Athenogoros, but they have been the exceptions that prove the rule." 

Be careful adding the "Great Idea."  The Patriarchate has rarely, if ever, been a supporter of the Great Idea in the 19th, 20th, and 21st Centuries.  Quite the contrary - the Patriarchate has known that any support of said idea would mean a likely death to himself and many Greeks in Constantinople; rather than risk the fate of himself and his flock, he's instead not supported said idea.

I guess the proof of the pudding will be when we see quite a bit more of diversity, fewer Greek dances and dinners and Independence Day proclamations, etc.. 

Eh, those things are not mandates of the Patriarchate, but decisions made by local bishops, priests, and parish councils (you'd be surprised how much of a "bottom-up" push is made for those activities, versus our online stereotype that they're all "top-down" priorities...).  Oh, and OXI Day and Greek independence day are not officially recognized on the Church calendar of the Patriarchate; in each case, they note that "this is celebrated by the Church of Greece and many Greeks in the diaspora" (or something like that).

I'll believe you when I see converts making up half of the clergy and parishioners in the GOA,

That day is coming sooner than you think!  (In our lifetime)

and the hierarchy in Constantinople made up of at least 25% converts.

You know what, I think DavidBryan (maybe I'm wrong) said it best in another thread (which one eludes me right now): such a high percentage of "convert" priests and bishops isn't actually a good sign: it means that not enough "cradle" men are entering the ministry.  Ideal would probably be in the 10-15% range, not because we need less "converts," but rather because we need more "cradles."  (I hate that debate anyway.... "Became Orthodox as an Adult" is my usual terminology.)
« Last Edit: April 30, 2009, 11:17:27 PM by cleveland » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2009, 11:32:30 PM »

I had in mind something like this: Although the the Patriarchate is fully aware of the need to be less ethnic--particularly if it is to be taken seriously as the Ecumenical Patriarch and master of all barbarian lands and peoples, the folks in the Phanar are unable to rise above the stronger appeal of Hellenism and the Great Idea. As a result, they do often conflate Christianity with Hellenism and vice versa. There have, of course been exceptions, such as Patriarch Athenogoros, but they have been the exceptions that prove the rule." 

Be careful adding the "Great Idea."  The Patriarchate has rarely, if ever, been a supporter of the Great Idea in the 19th, 20th, and 21st Centuries.  Quite the contrary - the Patriarchate has known that any support of said idea would mean a likely death to himself and many Greeks in Constantinople; rather than risk the fate of himself and his flock, he's instead not supported said idea.

The Great Idea and Phanariotism are not as opposed as some would portray them (e.g. Paschalis Kitromilides).  Hence the ruthless Hellenization in the "New Lands" that happened before, during and after the rise of the CoG under the Phanar, the fight of the Phanar from local (i.e. non-Greek) control of Antioch and Jerusalem, etc.  Also, it would help if, for instance, the Chief Secretary would admit that the Phanar abolished (or claimed to) the non-Greek patriarchates rather than claiming that the Phanar did everything to aid them.

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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2009, 11:35:19 PM »

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Oh, and OXI Day and Greek independence day are not officially recognized on the Church calendar of the Patriarchate

Umm, cleveland, Greek independence day is on March 25, which coincides with the feast of the Annunciation. While there is no liturgical reference in this feast to the Greek rebellion against the Ottomans, the same cannot quite be said for OXI Day. The feast of the Protection of the Mother of God was transferred from October 1 to October 28 in the early 1950s, and a new vigil service was written to replace the earlier one which the rest of the Orthodox world still uses. The new service is, on the whole, theologically and doctrinally compatible with the "old", but there are some unfortunate nationalistic references in it to reflect Greek nationalism.  Roll Eyes Sad
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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2009, 11:42:39 PM »

Respectfully,

I'm afraid I'm not convinced people are being respectful when they use terms like "Phanar".
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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2009, 11:45:04 PM »

Quote
Oh, and OXI Day and Greek independence day are not officially recognized on the Church calendar of the Patriarchate

Umm, cleveland, Greek independence day is on March 25, which coincides with the feast of the Annunciation. While there is no liturgical reference in this feast to the Greek rebellion against the Ottomans, the same cannot quite be said for OXI Day. The feast of the Protection of the Mother of God was transferred from October 1 to October 28 in the early 1950s, and a new vigil service was written to replace the earlier one which the rest of the Orthodox world still uses. The new service is, on the whole, theologically and doctrinally compatible with the "old", but there are some unfortunate nationalistic references in it to reflect Greek nationalism.  Roll Eyes Sad

Read the quote you commented on and rolled your eyes at again. I've bolded the relevant words for you.
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« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2009, 12:16:41 AM »

Quote
Oh, and OXI Day and Greek independence day are not officially recognized on the Church calendar of the Patriarchate

Umm, cleveland, Greek independence day is on March 25, which coincides with the feast of the Annunciation. While there is no liturgical reference in this feast to the Greek rebellion against the Ottomans, the same cannot quite be said for OXI Day. The feast of the Protection of the Mother of God was transferred from October 1 to October 28 in the early 1950s, and a new vigil service was written to replace the earlier one which the rest of the Orthodox world still uses. The new service is, on the whole, theologically and doctrinally compatible with the "old", but there are some unfortunate nationalistic references in it to reflect Greek nationalism.  Roll Eyes Sad

Read the quote you commented on and rolled your eyes at again. I've bolded the relevant words for you.

Thank you.
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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2009, 12:35:07 AM »


Dear Father Anthony,

Christ is risen!

I had in mind something like this: Although the the Patriarchate is fully aware of the need to be less ethnic--particularly if it is to be taken seriously as the Ecumenical Patriarch and master of all barbarian lands and peoples, the folks in the Phanar are unable to rise above the stronger appeal of Hellenism and the Great Idea. As a result, they do often conflate Christianity with Hellenism and vice versa. There have, of course been exceptions, such as Patriarch Athenogoros, but they have been the exceptions that prove the rule."

I guess the proof of the pudding will be when we see quite a bit more of diversity, fewer Greek dances and dinners and Independence Day proclamations, etc.. I'll believe you when I see converts making up half of the clergy and parishioners in the GOA, and the hierarchy in Constantinople made up of at least 25% converts.

Respectfully,



Truly He is Risen!

I appreciate your response. I'm aware that this topic has been hashed out ad nauseum over several years, so I'm sure little of what I have to say will be new. But at the same time, a few points seem appropriate.

First, to say that the "folks in the Phanar are unable to rise above it" is a generalization, and I think an unjust one. My experience at all levels of the Church--at my home parish, at Holy Cross, at my current parish, among the clergy of the Metropolis I serve, and from the Metropolitan of that Metropolis--indicates the contrary. Every devoted member of the Church that I know, whether layman or clergy, is working to rise above it. Every priest is struggling to instill in his people a deeper understanding of the Faith than they are comfortable with, to have them set aside the idea that they are Orthodox simply by virtue of their Greek blood, and enter more and more deeply into the fullness of the Faith. There is a false understanding among a great many of the people that the Church exists to serve Hellenism. Every priest and bishop I know works very hard to invert that notion, to convey the essential reality that Hellenism, if it has value at all, must serve the Church. Perhaps, as a whole, the people of the Ecumenical Patriarchate have as yet been unable to rise above it. But that is not for lack of dedication and effort and proper understanding on the part of its clergy. While I cannot speak for His All-Holiness himself (as I have not spoken with him), those on this forum who have, from what I have read, would, I think, affirm that this applies to him as well.

Second, to address your proposed proofs of change: I fail to see what any of these have to do with "rising above" Hellenistic ethnocentrism, per se. What do greater diversity and fewer Greek dances and dinners and Independence Day proclamations have to do with this issue? What does the ratio of converts to cradles in the clergy and laity have to do with it?  Must we object to the fact that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is, by and large, a church of Greek people? Or ought we (more properly in my opinion) object to the conflation of Hellenism and Christianity, that is, to the subservience of Christianity to Hellenism?

In our churches we have Greek dinners and dances because that is how our people enjoy gathering together, not because the clergy schedule them to maintain a cultural connection with the old world. We celebrate Greek Independence Day because our people came from Greece, and it is a deeply meaningful day for them. If we as clergy demanded that they stop, insisted that they serve hamburgers and fries instead of souvlaki and dolmades, and celebrate only the Fourth of July, what would that prove about our Christianity? It seems to me that it would simply replace one ethnocentrism for another.

Whether we are Greeks or Americans, the problem we face is not a question of what culture we identify with and value. It is a question of where we place Christ and His Church in relation to our culture, to our values, to our very life. And if He is not first, then we have a problem.

Just some thoughts--hopefully helpful contributions to the discussion. More perhaps tomorrow.
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Τῷ μεγάλῳ χρίεται μύρῳ καὶ χειρονεῖται βασιλεὺς καὶ αὐτοκράτωρ τῶν Ῥωμαίων, πάντων δηλαδὴ τῶν χριστιανῶν...οὐδὲν οὖν ἔνι καλὸν, υἱέ μου, ἵνα λέγῃς, ὅτι ἐκκλησίαν ἔχομεν, οὐχὶ βασιλέα, οὐκ ἔνι δυνατὸν εἰς τοὺς χριστιανοὺς, ἔκκλησίαν ἔχειν καὶ βασιλέα οὐκ ἔχειν. – EP Anthony to Basil of Moscow c. 1395
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« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2009, 12:56:04 AM »

The Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in comparing the Phanar to Thermopylae in a full-page color ad on Page 31 of the April 2009 Orthodox Observer, do little to repudiate the idea of Greek Orthodoxy = Hellenism.  Here is the quote.

Quote
We will never abandon our Thermopylae.

Wait a minute ... The Spartans won at Thermopylae...
Now, the "enemy" is not ancient Persia but Turkey.
The "300" Spartans are the dwindling Greek population of Istanbul.

Apparently, the bells of St. George Cathedral in the Phanar are not allowed to ring to proclaim "Christos Anesti" to the world and the analogy to Hellenism is drawn with Thermopylae.

I suppose no such analogy exists for the Russian Orthodox Church?   Huh  When the Rus were received into Orthodoxy in 988, hopefully there was no mention of the 1,468 year old events at Thermopylae in the sermon/homily.   Shocked

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« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2009, 01:21:20 AM »

Quote
Oh, and OXI Day and Greek independence day are not officially recognized on the Church calendar of the Patriarchate

Umm, cleveland, Greek independence day is on March 25, which coincides with the feast of the Annunciation. While there is no liturgical reference in this feast to the Greek rebellion against the Ottomans, the same cannot quite be said for OXI Day. The feast of the Protection of the Mother of God was transferred from October 1 to October 28 in the early 1950s, and a new vigil service was written to replace the earlier one which the rest of the Orthodox world still uses. The new service is, on the whole, theologically and doctrinally compatible with the "old", but there are some unfortunate nationalistic references in it to reflect Greek nationalism.  Roll Eyes Sad

Perhaps, but that argument could be made as well concerning the circumstances of the original feast day on Oct 1.
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« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2009, 01:24:52 AM »

The Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in comparing the Phanar to Thermopylae in a full-page color ad on Page 31 of the April 2009 Orthodox Observer, do little to repudiate the idea of Greek Orthodoxy = Hellenism.  Here is the quote.

Quote
We will never abandon our Thermopylae.

Wait a minute ... The Spartans won at Thermopylae...
Now, the "enemy" is not ancient Persia but Turkey.
The "300" Spartans are the dwindling Greek population of Istanbul.

Apparently, the bells of St. George Cathedral in the Phanar are not allowed to ring to proclaim "Christos Anesti" to the world and the analogy to Hellenism is drawn with Thermopylae.

I suppose no such analogy exists for the Russian Orthodox Church?   Huh  When the Rus were received into Orthodoxy in 988, hopefully there was no mention of the 1,468 year old events at Thermopylae in the sermon/homily.   Shocked



The Spartans won? Your history and mine differ. They heroically LOST. I certainly hope the new Hot Gates don't result in the same 'win'.  Wink
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« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2009, 06:28:08 AM »

Quote
Oh, and OXI Day and Greek independence day are not officially recognized on the Church calendar of the Patriarchate

Umm, cleveland, Greek independence day is on March 25, which coincides with the feast of the Annunciation. While there is no liturgical reference in this feast to the Greek rebellion against the Ottomans, the same cannot quite be said for OXI Day. The feast of the Protection of the Mother of God was transferred from October 1 to October 28 in the early 1950s, and a new vigil service was written to replace the earlier one which the rest of the Orthodox world still uses. The new service is, on the whole, theologically and doctrinally compatible with the "old", but there are some unfortunate nationalistic references in it to reflect Greek nationalism.  Roll Eyes Sad

Perhaps, but that argument could be made as well concerning the circumstances of the original feast day on Oct 1.

No, it cannot. I have the vigil texts on file of both versions, and I can assure you that the older version does not contain any nationalistic sentiment.
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« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2009, 06:45:26 AM »

Quote
Oh, and OXI Day and Greek independence day are not officially recognized on the Church calendar of the Patriarchate

Umm, cleveland, Greek independence day is on March 25, which coincides with the feast of the Annunciation. While there is no liturgical reference in this feast to the Greek rebellion against the Ottomans, the same cannot quite be said for OXI Day. The feast of the Protection of the Mother of God was transferred from October 1 to October 28 in the early 1950s, and a new vigil service was written to replace the earlier one which the rest of the Orthodox world still uses. The new service is, on the whole, theologically and doctrinally compatible with the "old", but there are some unfortunate nationalistic references in it to reflect Greek nationalism.  Roll Eyes Sad

Read the quote you commented on and rolled your eyes at again. I've bolded the relevant words for you.

Thank you.
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« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2009, 07:04:41 AM »

One is the mother...the other forgets that.

One acknowledges its debt to the other Churches, the other forgets her debt to the other Churches.
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« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2009, 07:12:31 AM »

The Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in comparing the Phanar to Thermopylae in a full-page color ad on Page 31 of the April 2009 Orthodox Observer, do little to repudiate the idea of Greek Orthodoxy = Hellenism.  Here is the quote.

Quote
We will never abandon our Thermopylae.

Wait a minute ... The Spartans won at Thermopylae...
Now, the "enemy" is not ancient Persia but Turkey.
The "300" Spartans are the dwindling Greek population of Istanbul.

Apparently, the bells of St. George Cathedral in the Phanar are not allowed to ring to proclaim "Christos Anesti" to the world and the analogy to Hellenism is drawn with Thermopylae.

I suppose no such analogy exists for the Russian Orthodox Church?   Huh  When the Rus were received into Orthodoxy in 988, hopefully there was no mention of the 1,468 year old events at Thermopylae in the sermon/homily.   Shocked

The Spartans won? Your history and mine differ. They heroically LOST. I certainly hope the new Hot Gates don't result in the same 'win'.  Wink

I got a good chuckle out of that one.  If Thermopolae was a victory, then so was 1204, 1453, Europe in 1939, etc.
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« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2009, 08:10:56 AM »

Now all we need is for someone caption a photo of the EP yelling, "This...is...PHANAR!!!!"
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« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2009, 08:17:12 AM »

Now all we need is for someone caption a photo of the EP yelling, "This...is...PHANAR!!!!"

Just tell him to keep his shirt on.
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« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2009, 10:15:21 AM »

Now all we need is for someone caption a photo of the EP yelling, "This...is...PHANAR!!!!"

What ever happened to Prodromos?
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« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2009, 10:29:34 AM »

The Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in comparing the Phanar to Thermopylae in a full-page color ad on Page 31 of the April 2009 Orthodox Observer, do little to repudiate the idea of Greek Orthodoxy = Hellenism.  Here is the quote.

Quote
We will never abandon our Thermopylae.

Wait a minute ... The Spartans won at Thermopylae...
Now, the "enemy" is not ancient Persia but Turkey.
The "300" Spartans are the dwindling Greek population of Istanbul.

Apparently, the bells of St. George Cathedral in the Phanar are not allowed to ring to proclaim "Christos Anesti" to the world and the analogy to Hellenism is drawn with Thermopylae.

I suppose no such analogy exists for the Russian Orthodox Church?   Huh  When the Rus were received into Orthodoxy in 988, hopefully there was no mention of the 1,468 year old events at Thermopylae in the sermon/homily.   Shocked

The Spartans won? Your history and mine differ. They heroically LOST. I certainly hope the new Hot Gates don't result in the same 'win'.  Wink

Oops.   Embarrassed

I always believed that the Spartans won at Thermopylae given all the hype with movies like 300; Since I was wrong,  Cheesy, that means that the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate are promoting a defeatist attitude for the Spartans surely didn't worship Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ is not going to deliver the Phanar from Turkey.

As an aside, I used to work with a Persian who always reminded me about Alexander the Great.  I told him that was in the past, deal with it.   Grin
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« Reply #20 on: May 01, 2009, 10:47:47 AM »

^Reminds me of when I hear about the sack of Constantinople from people on other forums over and over and over again.
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« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2009, 10:50:28 AM »


Must we object to the fact that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is, by and large, a church of Greek people?
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Don't forget the UOCUSA, UOCC, ACROD, Albanian Diocese EP, and Byelorusyns--all within the Ecumenical Patriarchate and glad to be so!
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« Reply #22 on: May 01, 2009, 12:02:42 PM »


Must we object to the fact that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is, by and large, a church of Greek people?

Don't forget the UOCUSA, UOCC, ACROD, Albanian Diocese EP, and Byelorusyns--all within the Ecumenical Patriarchate and glad to be so!
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And all those in the Crimea, Estonia, and Byelorussia--all within the Russian Patriarcate and glad to be so!
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« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2009, 02:40:37 PM »

And all those in the Crimea, Estonia, and Byelorussia--all within the Russian Patriarcate and glad to be so!

That's the party line for certain.
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« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2009, 02:45:55 PM »


Must we object to the fact that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is, by and large, a church of Greek people?

Don't forget the UOCUSA, UOCC, ACROD, Albanian Diocese EP, and Byelorusyns--all within the Ecumenical Patriarchate and glad to be so!

Father Bless,

I don't see the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarachate standing up for the other "ethnicities" under the omophorion of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  I don't believe members of the other Churches are Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate; of course, I could be wrong....

BTW, I fixed the quote box....
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« Reply #25 on: May 01, 2009, 02:46:58 PM »

^Reminds me of when I hear about the sack of Constantinople from people on other forums over and over and over again.

Thermopylae was in the past; The Archons refuse to deal with it.
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« Reply #26 on: May 01, 2009, 02:57:34 PM »


Must we object to the fact that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is, by and large, a church of Greek people?

Don't forget the UOCUSA, UOCC, ACROD, Albanian Diocese EP, and Byelorusyns--all within the Ecumenical Patriarchate and glad to be so! 

Father Bless,

I don't see the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarachate standing up for the other "ethnicities" under the omophorion of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  I don't believe members of the other Churches are Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate; of course, I could be wrong....

BTW, I fixed the quote box....

Um, I know of members of at least ACROD who are Archons.  And the Archons don't fight for any of the ethnicities (Greek included); they only work for the freedom of the EP and for Christians in Turkey.
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« Reply #27 on: May 01, 2009, 03:01:30 PM »


Must we object to the fact that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is, by and large, a church of Greek people?

Don't forget the UOCUSA, UOCC, ACROD, Albanian Diocese EP, and Byelorusyns--all within the Ecumenical Patriarchate and glad to be so! 

Father Bless,

I don't see the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarachate standing up for the other "ethnicities" under the omophorion of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  I don't believe members of the other Churches are Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate; of course, I could be wrong....

BTW, I fixed the quote box....

Um, I know of members of at least ACROD who are Archons.  And the Archons don't fight for any of the ethnicities (Greek included); they only work for the freedom of the EP and for Christians in Turkey.

Quite so. They are "dealing with" the aftereffects of 1453. Some here can't deal with THAT.
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« Reply #28 on: May 01, 2009, 03:01:59 PM »

Um, I know of members of at least ACROD who are Archons.  And the Archons don't fight for any of the ethnicities (Greek included); they only work for the freedom of the EP and for Christians in Turkey.

If the Archons were "ethnic-neutral," they have no reason to invoke Thermopylae.
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« Reply #29 on: May 01, 2009, 03:06:35 PM »

Um, I know of members of at least ACROD who are Archons.  And the Archons don't fight for any of the ethnicities (Greek included); they only work for the freedom of the EP and for Christians in Turkey.

If the Archons were "ethnic-neutral," they have no reason to invoke Thermopylae.

Except that it's an easily identifiable historical event where one faction was greatly outnumbered and struggled against a seemingly insurmountable foe heroically.  Heck, maybe they wouldn't have brought it up if 300 hadn't come out so recently.  I've heard others, with no interest in Greece or Greek history, bring it up in appropriate places where the parallel is at least seemingly valid.
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« Reply #30 on: May 01, 2009, 03:12:10 PM »

A couple things:

1) If the ad was in the Orthodox Observer, then its content tells you a lot about the intended audience, and not so much at all about those who placed it. Since the Observer is directed to the Greek Orthodox community in the United States, the ad is trying to play off themes of Hellenic identity and popular culture to inspire greater support of the Patriarchate. It certainly doesn't mean the Archons necessarily conflate Hellenism and Orthodoxy (though they may well do so. Those I've met do not)

2) There are definitely Archons from the other Churches under the EP. I remember meeting one or two from the Carpatho-Russian jurisdiction in New York City. Perhaps Cleveland can remember their name(s).

3) I would contend that none of the points raised touch precisely on the question raised by the OP or specifically in my original answer to that question. All of them (the status of the UOCUSA, UOCC, ACROD, Albanian Diocese EP, and Byelorusyns, Crimea, Estonia, and Byelorussia) simply highlight the reality that both Russia and Constantinople have specific and longstanding ethnic/cultural histories and ties. It doesn't really speak to how each see views those histories and ties, which is where the distinction (if any exists) may be seen.

4) I am troubled particularly by the assertions that so long as the parishes, laity, and hierarchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate retain a Greek cultural character, they cannot live up to the fullness of their calling as "Ecumenical." (the preceding is my own summary of what I understanding many of the comments above to be saying--please correct me if I have misunderstood) I certainly cannot accept them at face value, and would ask that those who insist that this Greek-ness is itself an issue elaborate on their objections to it.

Many thanks for your participation in this discussion, all of you. I appreciate the chance to converse with so many different viewpoints.
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« Reply #31 on: May 01, 2009, 03:14:44 PM »

Except that it's an easily identifiable historical event where one faction was greatly outnumbered and struggled against a seemingly insurmountable foe heroically.  Heck, maybe they wouldn't have brought it up if 300 hadn't come out so recently.  I've heard others, with no interest in Greece or Greek history, bring it up in appropriate places where the parallel is at least seemingly valid.

I suppose I will be the one person who won't "get it."  After all, I thought the Greeks won at Thermopylae based on the trailers for 300.  I'll be the one to say that I don't see the connection between Jesus Christ and Thermopylae.   Huh  Undecided

Maybe the Archons needed to use the Battle of Plataea to symbolize victory.

Not to be accused of derailing the thread, the Patriarch of Moscow surely can't compare His situation to Thermopylae when His adherents are increasing in population in Turkey.
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« Reply #32 on: May 01, 2009, 03:16:21 PM »

2) There are definitely Archons from the other Churches under the EP. I remember meeting one or two from the Carpatho-Russian jurisdiction in New York City. Perhaps Cleveland can remember their name(s).

Oh, I remember meeting them; but getting me to remember a name seems to be more difficult than getting certain members of our graduating class to quit with their inane questions during class (especially Church History 1... Oh, the painful memories.).
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« Reply #33 on: May 01, 2009, 03:21:12 PM »

*chuckles* I'd forgotten about that.
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« Reply #34 on: May 01, 2009, 03:24:27 PM »

A couple things:

1) If the ad was in the Orthodox Observer, then its content tells you a lot about the intended audience, and not so much at all about those who placed it. Since the Observer is directed to the Greek Orthodox community in the United States, the ad is trying to play off themes of Hellenic identity and popular culture to inspire greater support of the Patriarchate. It certainly doesn't mean the Archons necessarily conflate Hellenism and Orthodoxy (though they may well do so. Those I've met do not)

Have you seen the listing of Archons in the GOA Yearbook?  Greek sounding names outnumber non-Greek sounding names by about 25 to 1.

2) There are definitely Archons from the other Churches under the EP. I remember meeting one or two from the Carpatho-Russian jurisdiction in New York City. Perhaps Cleveland can remember their name(s).

They do exist, albeit in small numbers.

3) I would contend that none of the points raised touch precisely on the question raised by the OP or specifically in my original answer to that question. All of them (the status of the UOCUSA, UOCC, ACROD, Albanian Diocese EP, and Byelorusyns, Crimea, Estonia, and Byelorussia) simply highlight the reality that both Russia and Constantinople have specific and longstanding ethnic/cultural histories and ties. It doesn't really speak to how each see views those histories and ties, which is where the distinction (if any exists) may be seen.

There ought not be any ethnic distinction.  Unfortunately, you and I and everyone else knows that geopolitics have created a separation....

4) I am troubled particularly by the assertions that so long as the parishes, laity, and hierarchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate retain a Greek cultural character, they cannot live up to the fullness of their calling as "Ecumenical." (the preceding is my own summary of what I understanding many of the comments above to be saying--please correct me if I have misunderstood) I certainly cannot accept them at face value, and would ask that those who insist that this Greek-ness is itself an issue elaborate on their objections to it.

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Quote
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

When I was baptized, I put on Christ.  I didn't put on Leonidas; I didn't put on Alexander the Great and I didn't put on Thermopylae.
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« Reply #35 on: May 01, 2009, 03:32:14 PM »



I suppose I will be the one person who won't "get it."  After all, I thought the Greeks won at Thermopylae based on the trailers for 300.  I'll be the one to say that I don't see the connection between Jesus Christ and Thermopylae.   Huh  Undecided


The connection is simple. It's a choice to choose death rather than relinquish what they believe. Martyrdom if you will. Being that the name Leonidas is still brought up today. He seems to have accomplished just that.
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« Reply #36 on: May 01, 2009, 03:36:12 PM »

Moscow is the capital of an Eurasian autoritarian empire with pretenses to dominate its "spheres of influence" and with a perennial goal to outsmart and defeat the "West."

Constantinople is the capital of the Roman empire and European civilization. Smiley
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« Reply #37 on: May 01, 2009, 03:38:25 PM »

The connection is simple. It's a choice to choose death rather than relinquish what they believe. Martyrdom if you will. Being that the name Leonidas is still brought up today. He seems to have accomplished just that.

Liberty or death, the battle cry of 1821 except I don't see "Liberty or Death" in the Bible nor do I see Holy Martyrs saying "Liberty or Death" as they are being martyred.

If "Liberty or Death" was so special, why isn't it a Church Hymn?   Huh

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« Reply #38 on: May 01, 2009, 03:38:47 PM »

When I was baptized, I put on Christ.  I didn't put on Leonidas; I didn't put on Alexander the Great and I didn't put on Thermopylae.

I think you're making too much out of an example brought up out of history.  He used Thermopylae because that's what he knows as a good example; maybe he'd use another doomed but brave and nearly successful stand if he had one in his cultural context.
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« Reply #39 on: May 01, 2009, 03:39:10 PM »

The connection is simple. It's a choice to choose death rather than relinquish what they believe. Martyrdom if you will. Being that the name Leonidas is still brought up today. He seems to have accomplished just that.

Liberty or death, the battle cry of 1821 except I don't see "Liberty or Death" in the Bible nor do I see Holy Martyrs saying "Liberty or Death" as they are being martyred.

If "Liberty or Death" was so special, why isn't it a Church Hymn?   Huh



It is. You just don't see it.
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« Reply #40 on: May 01, 2009, 03:40:28 PM »

The connection is simple. It's a choice to choose death rather than relinquish what they believe. Martyrdom if you will. Being that the name Leonidas is still brought up today. He seems to have accomplished just that.

Liberty or death, the battle cry of 1821 except I don't see "Liberty or Death" in the Bible nor do I see Holy Martyrs saying "Liberty or Death" as they are being martyred.

In the case of the Christians in Turkey, it is Spiritual Liberty or Death, which is contained in many of the hymns.  The parallel to the 300 was just that: an imperfect but close parallel - they having done what they did in the physical realm, while those who suffer injustice because they are Christian are making their stand in the spiritual realm.  Bringing up the example of Leonidas only adds a vivid visual to the example.
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« Reply #41 on: May 01, 2009, 03:48:50 PM »

When I was baptized, I put on Christ.  I didn't put on Leonidas; I didn't put on Alexander the Great and I didn't put on Thermopylae.

I think you're making too much out of an example brought up out of history.  He used Thermopylae because that's what he knows as a good example; maybe he'd use another doomed but brave and nearly successful stand if he had one in his cultural context.

I just don't understand how ancient Hellenism is applicable to the plight of Christians and the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey, nothing more.   Huh

Thermopylae was a defeat.  The Christians in Turkey are not defeated and certainly not one Ecumenical Patriarch.  His All Holiness met the US President at a hotel rather than the Phanar.  Why would Turkey allow any EU member of state to meet His All Holiness at the Phanar but forces the US President to meet His All Holiness at a hotel?  From the EU's point of view, His All Holiness is not defeated?  From the US' perspective, His All Holiness is defeated?
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« Reply #42 on: May 01, 2009, 04:07:02 PM »

Moscow is the capital of an Eurasian autoritarian empire with pretenses to dominate its "spheres of influence" and with a perennial goal to outsmart and defeat the "West."

Constantinople is the capital of the Roman empire and European civilization. Smiley
What's Istanbul the capital of?
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« Reply #43 on: May 01, 2009, 04:15:14 PM »

4) I am troubled particularly by the assertions that so long as the parishes, laity, and hierarchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate retain a Greek cultural character, they cannot live up to the fullness of their calling as "Ecumenical." (the preceding is my own summary of what I understanding many of the comments above to be saying--please correct me if I have misunderstood) I certainly cannot accept them at face value, and would ask that those who insist that this Greek-ness is itself an issue elaborate on their objections to it.

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Quote
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

When I was baptized, I put on Christ.  I didn't put on Leonidas; I didn't put on Alexander the Great and I didn't put on Thermopylae.

Of course you put on Christ, not Leonidas. That's not the issue. The ad is addressed to those who take pride in the fact that the "blood of Leonidas and Alexander" runs in their veins. It is an (imho tacky) attempt to inspire a specific group to action by appealing to their nostalgia and sense of melodrama. For the purposes of illuminating the motivations of the Archons themselves, it is meaningless.

As for the rest--are you really saying that it's a problem that the laity, clergy, and hierarchy of the Greek Orthodox churches are Greeks? Because if so, then it's an equal problem that the Russian Orthodox are Russians, the Romanian Orthodox are Romanian, and that we here in the United States are Americans.

Is there a pure and non-ethnic food that we should eat instead of souvlaki and dolmades? Should we translate the Liturgy into Esperanto and use that to escape the ethnic and cultural entanglements of all real cultures? To what lengths must we go to rid ourselves of all ethnicity? For that matter, should we all castrate ourselves to do away with all gender distinctions as well? I hope you're not truly endorsing such an extreme exegesis.

The problem illuminated by this verse is, again, the reality that far too many of our people, in ALL jurisdictions, subordinate Christ to their culture, their ethnicity, their gender, or some other element of their identity. Christ must come first, but when He does, then culture, ethnicity, and gender, indeed everything of which our identity is comprised, is united in the service of His love and His will.

A couple things:

1) If the ad was in the Orthodox Observer, then its content tells you a lot about the intended audience, and not so much at all about those who placed it. Since the Observer is directed to the Greek Orthodox community in the United States, the ad is trying to play off themes of Hellenic identity and popular culture to inspire greater support of the Patriarchate. It certainly doesn't mean the Archons necessarily conflate Hellenism and Orthodoxy (though they may well do so. Those I've met do not)

Have you seen the listing of Archons in the GOA Yearbook?  Greek sounding names outnumber non-Greek sounding names by about 25 to 1.

What else can I say but, "So what?"

Why is that at all relevant? Just because most of them are Greeks, the Archons subordinate Christianity to Hellenism? It simply doesn't follow.

I'm sure, however, that you are right, and many of the Archons do in fact fall into precisely that error, particularly since the Archons are not, specifically, an organ of the Church, but rather a support network of the Patriarchate, seeking to protect it as an institution, for a variety of reasons. I'm equally sure that many do not fall into this error--it is a fact of great significance that every one of them is, in fact, a member of the Church, and that an essential part of the criteria for a new Archon is active participation in his parish.

All that to say that the Archons, like any random group of Orthodox Christians, as a group and as individuals struggle with the Christian necessity of taking every thought and value captive to the Gospel of Christ. To condemn them all for simply being Greeks seems, however, far beyond the pale.

Perhaps I misunderstood your meaning?

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« Reply #44 on: May 01, 2009, 04:25:14 PM »

I just don't understand how ancient Hellenism is applicable to the plight of Christians and the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey, nothing more. 

It's not "Ancient Hellenism."  It's an example of a historical event with parallels to the present situation.

Ancient Greeks being attacked by Persians.  Orthodox Christians & EP being attacked by Turks. 

Greeks outnumbered greatly by Persians.  Orthodox Christians greatly outnumbered by Turks. 

Greeks know that fighting the battle against the Persians will likely mean their deaths.  Orthodox Christians know that continuing in their faith amidst Muslim Turks may mean their deaths. 

Greeks decide to fight to show their prowess, spirit, and superiority in the face of death.  Orthodox Christians keep faith to show the prowess, spirit, and superiority of Christ. 

Persians push Greeks into corner to kill them; Greeks fight on to death.  Turks push Orthodox into corner to kill them and their faith in Turkey; Orthodox persist, possibly to death.

Make more sense now?

Thermopylae was a defeat.  The Christians in Turkey are not defeated and certainly not one Ecumenical Patriarch. 

The parallel is not the defeat, but the possibility of extinction, and yet the persistence in the mission (in the Greeks' case, self-defense; in the Orthodox Christians' case, living the Faith) despite the threat of extinction.
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"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
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Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
Tags: Hellenism ethnicity Constantinople Thermopylae EP Bashing 
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