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.
Yawn, Galatians 3:26-29:
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?