Author Topic: A Strategy for US Orthodox Unification by George C Michalopulos  (Read 2308 times)

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Offline Eugenio

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A Strategy for US Orthodox Unification by George C Michalopulos
« on: December 28, 2009, 01:20:40 PM »
Interesting stuff. Read his proposal in its entirety:

"E Pluribus Unum: A Strategy for the Creation of an Administratively United Orthodox Church on the North American Continent"  by George C Michalopulos

Link:

https://www.trustedpartner.com/docs/library/000139/Unification%20and%20Administration.pdf

What do you all think?

Offline John of the North

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Re: A Strategy for US Orthodox Unification by George C Michalopulos
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2009, 01:58:09 PM »
Other than the EP bashing at the beginning....

1. Why does the North American Church HAVE to be autocephalous??
2. I like the Canadian model, but have no idea why the Alberta Diocese would have its episcopal seat in Calgary over Edmonton; Edmonton already has a complete diocesan administration structure in place. Why go to the expense of moving it??
3. He gave a deanery in Nunavut to the Quebec diocese, which also makes no sense. Nunavut and the Northwest Territories would be if anything an English mission field; the majority language in NWT is English, and the majority in Nunavut being Inuktitut.
3. The Canadian Church would commemorate the Queen of Canada, not the British monarch as the author suggests.
4. I have no idea why the Quebec bishop would be needed to "defend" the Quebecois as the author suggests.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2009, 02:10:57 PM by Ukiemeister »
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Offline witega

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Re: A Strategy for US Orthodox Unification by George C Michalopulos
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2009, 03:39:03 PM »
I found the section on 'extraordinary' deans (pg. 5, section 5 and then again 'Deaneries' on the paragraph crossing pgs. 6 and 7) rather odd.

"Their authority should include all priestly and episcopal charisms" (emphasis added)
How does one grant a man 'episcopal charisms' without actually ordaining him to the episcopacy?

And "His [i.e., the dean's] actions are to be directed by the Holy Synod acting through a Regional Episcopal Assembly". So who signs the antimeson this dean is serving on? Who do parishes in his deanery commemorate? If the answer is the primate or the Archbishop of the Regional Assembly, then why not just recognize such regions as part of the diocese of said bishop? And if the answer is none of the above, then how is this plan consonant with Orthodox ecclesiology? Every parish needs to be under a bishop. That's as much or more of a basic principle than the one diocese/one bishop principle this plan is supposed to be aimed at fixing.

The impetus for these innovative 'super-deans' seems to be driven by a desire to implement the principle that a diocese 'cannot overlap into another state'. But while that seems like a good rule of thumb, I don't see why it should be elevated to a founding principle. As the report notes, there are some states that just don't have enough parishes/believers to be a viable independent diocese--so what is actually wrong with attaching them to the nearest such diocese?
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: A Strategy for US Orthodox Unification by George C Michalopulos
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2009, 03:45:08 PM »
Other than the EP bashing at the beginning....

1. Why does the North American Church HAVE to be autocephalous??

For one, because it already is.

Quote
2. I like the Canadian model, but have no idea why the Alberta Diocese would have its episcopal seat in Calgary over Edmonton; Edmonton already has a complete diocesan administration structure in place. Why go to the expense of moving it??

Can't comment.

Quote
3. He gave a deanery in Nunavut to the Quebec diocese, which also makes no sense. Nunavut and the Northwest Territories would be if anything an English mission field; the majority language in NWT is English, and the majority in Nunavut being Inuktitut.

I'd be inclined to agree.

Quote
3. The Canadian Church would commemorate the Queen of Canada, not the British monarch as the author suggests.

Be thankful he didn't say the Canadian President.

Quote
4. I have no idea why the Quebec bishop would be needed to "defend" the Quebecois as the author suggests.

This was an idea I floated on th AOI website, but for the French (Quebec, New England, Louisiana and perhaps Haiti.  I don't know if the US, Canada and Mexico should be seperate at first).  I'll go into deatil later, but one thing is someone to assume responsibilty for liturgical texts, language issues and Gallican rite if that is revived.
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Offline augustin717

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Re: A Strategy for US Orthodox Unification by George C Michalopulos
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2009, 04:03:22 PM »
Now they plan on becoming a patriarchate ::) ???
Now I really, don't see why Mexico and Canada should become autocephalous, as well?
Why should they be subject to "a foreign despot" in Washington DC?
« Last Edit: December 28, 2009, 04:06:57 PM by augustin717 »

Offline Schultz

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Re: A Strategy for US Orthodox Unification by George C Michalopulos
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2009, 04:08:30 PM »
Now they plan on becoming a patriarchate ::) ???
Now I really, don't see why Mexico and Canada should become autocephalous, as well?
Why should they be subject to "a foreign despot" in Washington DC?

If by "they" you mean the singular author of this piece, then yes.

Interesting ideas, but that's about it. 
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Offline John of the North

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Re: A Strategy for US Orthodox Unification by George C Michalopulos
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2009, 04:52:37 PM »
This was an idea I floated on th AOI website, but for the French (Quebec, New England, Louisiana and perhaps Haiti.  I don't know if the US, Canada and Mexico should be seperate at first).  I'll go into deatil later, but one thing is someone to assume responsibilty for liturgical texts, language issues and Gallican rite if that is revived.

I see your point re: liturgical texts and language issues. I don't blame the author, who probably didn't know better, but it sounds like Quebec is getting special status on the basis of language. That doesn't make much sense to me, when you are just likely to hear French in New Brunswick, New England, areas of Nova Scotia.....French isn't unique to Quebec, it's just the majority. When Archbishop Seraphim was here for an Archpastoral visit last year, they used French in some of the petitions.
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Re: A Strategy for US Orthodox Unification by George C Michalopulos
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2009, 05:19:31 PM »
Other than the EP bashing at the beginning....

1. Why does the North American Church HAVE to be autocephalous??

For one, because it already is.

"It" already is? "It" denotes singular, so are you saying that the OCA is "the" Orthodox Church in America? So then, is the autonomy of the Antiochian Archdiocese in America a big phoney joke? And how can anyone take the autocephaly of the OCA seriously when the Patriarchate which issued it's tomos of autocephaly has its own Churches in the same territory as the OCA- to the ridiculous point of New York having a Moscow Patriarchate Cathedral and an OCA Cathedral.
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Offline aserb

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Re: A Strategy for US Orthodox Unification by George C Michalopulos
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2009, 05:30:12 PM »
OK - after all you oin heads get done arguing semantics and rubrics, I'll tell you in one word why none of this will work.  Money!  Too much is at stake and without naming names some jurisdictions have amassed lots of it and the power that flows from it and they are not going to give that up that easily.
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Offline John of the North

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Re: A Strategy for US Orthodox Unification by George C Michalopulos
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2009, 05:33:55 PM »
OK - after all you oin heads get done arguing semantics and rubrics, I'll tell you in one word why none of this will work.  Money!  Too much is at stake and without naming names some jurisdictions have amassed lots of it and the power that flows from it and they are not going to give that up that easily.

If it won't work, then why not argue semantics??
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Re: A Strategy for US Orthodox Unification by George C Michalopulos
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2009, 05:34:52 PM »
Other than the EP bashing at the beginning....

1. Why does the North American Church HAVE to be autocephalous??

For one, because it already is.

"It" already is? "It" denotes singular, so are you saying that the OCA is "the" Orthodox Church in America? So then, is the autonomy of the Antiochian Archdiocese in America a big phoney joke? And how can anyone take the autocephaly of the OCA seriously when the Patriarchate which issued it's tomos of autocephaly has its own Churches in the same territory as the OCA- to the ridiculous point of New York having a Moscow Patriarchate Cathedral and an OCA Cathedral.

Considering that the Patriarchate of Antioch and Metropolitan Philip still cannot agree as to what exactly happened in 2003 in regards to autonomy, some could see it that way.  (NOTE, I AM NOT ONE OF THEM).
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: A Strategy for US Orthodox Unification by George C Michalopulos
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2009, 05:40:48 PM »
Other than the EP bashing at the beginning....

1. Why does the North American Church HAVE to be autocephalous??

For one, because it already is.

"It" already is? "It" denotes singular, so are you saying that the OCA is "the" Orthodox Church in America? So then, is the autonomy of the Antiochian Archdiocese in America a big phoney joke? And how can anyone take the autocephaly of the OCA seriously when the Patriarchate which issued it's tomos of autocephaly has its own Churches in the same territory as the OCA- to the ridiculous point of New York having a Moscow Patriarchate Cathedral and an OCA Cathedral.

Yes, we've been through all that, and if this was such a deterent well then the Church of Greece doesn't exist, because the OCA and Moscow don't have the problems of Constantinople excommunicating Athens over the New Lands 5 years ago, nor does the EP have effective control over any but very few of its Churches.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: A Strategy for US Orthodox Unification by George C Michalopulos
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2009, 12:18:56 AM »
Other than the EP bashing at the beginning....

1. Why does the North American Church HAVE to be autocephalous??

For one, because it already is.

"It" already is? "It" denotes singular, so are you saying that the OCA is "the" Orthodox Church in America? So then, is the autonomy of the Antiochian Archdiocese in America a big phoney joke? And how can anyone take the autocephaly of the OCA seriously when the Patriarchate which issued it's tomos of autocephaly has its own Churches in the same territory as the OCA- to the ridiculous point of New York having a Moscow Patriarchate Cathedral and an OCA Cathedral.

Considering that the Patriarchate of Antioch and Metropolitan Philip still cannot agree as to what exactly happened in 2003 in regards to autonomy, some could see it that way.  (NOTE, I AM NOT ONE OF THEM).

Mute point, as the Phanar was upset (and I'm not so sure not still) over Antioch regaining her own Patriarch.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: A Strategy for US Orthodox Unification by George C Michalopulos
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2009, 12:20:28 AM »
Now they plan on becoming a patriarchate ::) ???
Now I really, don't see why Mexico and Canada should become autocephalous, as well?
Why should they be subject to "a foreign despot" in Washington DC?

For that reason, my suggestion to George was that the primate be in NYC until the three nations could manage their own Churches.
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Offline Basil 320

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Re: A Strategy for US Orthodox Unification by George C Michalopulos
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2009, 04:58:04 AM »
Michalopoulos' plan is premature.  Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of the faithful, and probably many of the parish priests, too, do not understand or appreciate the need for or the benefit of a unified ecclesial entity in North America, at this time; faithful in the OCA are probably an exception to this comment.  Therefore, the North & Central Regional Episcopal Assembly must initiate structures and common activities nationally, regionally, and locally.  These structures must be managed to ensure they are active and effective, and not just symbolic.  The activities should include joint services, administrative committees, educational platforms, youth activities, outreach and missionary endeavors.  They must be regularly sponsored and become routine. In areas where there are several parishes, each parish could be responsible to provide activities that perhaps they wouldn't otherwise conduct; a few examples: Bible study, at parish A; adult catechism at parish B; monthly Akathist Service at parish C; monthly Small Supplications to the Theotokos Services at parish D, and so on.  It will take years for these and many more types of joint activities to cultivate an interest in unified administrative church structures in this region.  During this transition, it will be most important not to interfere in cultural activities currently observed.
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: A Strategy for US Orthodox Unification by George C Michalopulos
« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2009, 05:07:52 AM »
Other than the EP bashing at the beginning....

1. Why does the North American Church HAVE to be autocephalous??

For one, because it already is.

"It" already is? "It" denotes singular, so are you saying that the OCA is "the" Orthodox Church in America? So then, is the autonomy of the Antiochian Archdiocese in America a big phoney joke? And how can anyone take the autocephaly of the OCA seriously when the Patriarchate which issued it's tomos of autocephaly has its own Churches in the same territory as the OCA- to the ridiculous point of New York having a Moscow Patriarchate Cathedral and an OCA Cathedral.

Yes, we've been through all that, and if this was such a deterent well then the Church of Greece doesn't exist, because the OCA and Moscow don't have the problems of Constantinople excommunicating Athens over the New Lands 5 years ago, nor does the EP have effective control over any but very few of its Churches.
I don't see any Churches of Constantinople in the territories of the Church of Greece, do you?
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: A Strategy for US Orthodox Unification by George C Michalopulos
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2009, 05:11:38 AM »
Other than the EP bashing at the beginning....

1. Why does the North American Church HAVE to be autocephalous??

For one, because it already is.

"It" already is? "It" denotes singular, so are you saying that the OCA is "the" Orthodox Church in America? So then, is the autonomy of the Antiochian Archdiocese in America a big phoney joke? And how can anyone take the autocephaly of the OCA seriously when the Patriarchate which issued it's tomos of autocephaly has its own Churches in the same territory as the OCA- to the ridiculous point of New York having a Moscow Patriarchate Cathedral and an OCA Cathedral.

Considering that the Patriarchate of Antioch and Metropolitan Philip still cannot agree as to what exactly happened in 2003 in regards to autonomy, some could see it that way.  (NOTE, I AM NOT ONE OF THEM).

Mute point, as the Phanar was upset (and I'm not so sure not still) over Antioch regaining her own Patriarch.
I think you mean "moot" point, which Shultz's point is not (the moot point is your EP bashing). If, as you claim, the Orthodox Church in the US is already autocephalous, why is the Archdiocese of Antioch an autonomous Church in the same territory as an autocephalous Church??
« Last Edit: December 29, 2009, 05:12:23 AM by ozgeorge »
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Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: A Strategy for US Orthodox Unification by George C Michalopulos
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2009, 03:10:37 PM »
I found the section on 'extraordinary' deans (pg. 5, section 5 and then again 'Deaneries' on the paragraph crossing pgs. 6 and 7) rather odd.

"Their authority should include all priestly and episcopal charisms" (emphasis added)
How does one grant a man 'episcopal charisms' without actually ordaining him to the episcopacy?

And "His [i.e., the dean's] actions are to be directed by the Holy Synod acting through a Regional Episcopal Assembly". So who signs the antimeson this dean is serving on? Who do parishes in his deanery commemorate? If the answer is the primate or the Archbishop of the Regional Assembly, then why not just recognize such regions as part of the diocese of said bishop? And if the answer is none of the above, then how is this plan consonant with Orthodox ecclesiology? Every parish needs to be under a bishop. That's as much or more of a basic principle than the one diocese/one bishop principle this plan is supposed to be aimed at fixing.

The impetus for these innovative 'super-deans' seems to be driven by a desire to implement the principle that a diocese 'cannot overlap into another state'. But while that seems like a good rule of thumb, I don't see why it should be elevated to a founding principle. As the report notes, there are some states that just don't have enough parishes/believers to be a viable independent diocese--so what is actually wrong with attaching them to the nearest such diocese?

I think that the author is attempting to address a number of potential problems.

1. If an area that is a potential diocese is under an existing diocesan bishop, it may be very difficult to separate it from the mother diocese even well after it is ready to be a separate diocese. 

2. If an area that is a potential diocese is under an existing diocesan bishop who is very ethnocentric (or mother church oriented), the missionary efforts in the potential diocese may be very skewed.

I don't know why it would not possible to treat these potential dioceses as mission lands that are under the purview of the relevant Regional Synod. The Holy Synod would still have the authority to adjust the regional areas and, upon the recommendation of the Regional Synods, decide when these potential dioceses become actual dioceses. It seems to me that the Regional Synods should be able to deputize a priest to head the effort and to grant him sufficient power and authority to get the job done. In our ecclesiology, with a bishop over presbyters of not just one congregation but many (in different cities no less), we already have deputy bishops in practice--they are our priests, no? We also have chancellors and deans who support bishops and they are also mainly priests. I really do not see any serious impediment to creating Super Deans, vicars of Regional Assemblies, who are further blessed by the Holy Synod.

On the whole, however, I do think that this is a good draft plan, a starting point. It may have to be revised to accommodate personalities or individual jurisdictional concerns, but it is pointing in the right direction and it fits with core ecclesiastical principles. Those who object to minor innovations should remember that the Church has innovated throughout its history in order to actualize her principles in various circumstances.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: A Strategy for US Orthodox Unification by George C Michalopulos
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2009, 04:52:37 PM »
Other than the EP bashing at the beginning....

1. Why does the North American Church HAVE to be autocephalous??

For one, because it already is.

"It" already is? "It" denotes singular, so are you saying that the OCA is "the" Orthodox Church in America? So then, is the autonomy of the Antiochian Archdiocese in America a big phoney joke? And how can anyone take the autocephaly of the OCA seriously when the Patriarchate which issued it's tomos of autocephaly has its own Churches in the same territory as the OCA- to the ridiculous point of New York having a Moscow Patriarchate Cathedral and an OCA Cathedral.

Considering that the Patriarchate of Antioch and Metropolitan Philip still cannot agree as to what exactly happened in 2003 in regards to autonomy, some could see it that way.  (NOTE, I AM NOT ONE OF THEM).

Mute point, as the Phanar was upset (and I'm not so sure not still) over Antioch regaining her own Patriarch.
I think you mean "moot" point,

Ah, Freudian slip on my wishful thinking.

Quote
which Shultz's point is not (the moot point is your EP bashing). If, as you claim, the Orthodox Church in the US is already autocephalous, why is the Archdiocese of Antioch an autonomous Church in the same territory as an autocephalous Church??

For the same sort of reason that the Bishop of a few parishes has first place in the Orthodox World, with all the regalia of a long dead empire: history.  Since that prelate, on the basis of phyletism, has claimed all Churches in North America, I am not sure why it should be any difference for you.
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Re: A Strategy for US Orthodox Unification by George C Michalopulos
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2009, 05:51:34 PM »
Other than the EP bashing at the beginning....

1. Why does the North American Church HAVE to be autocephalous??

For one, because it already is.

"It" already is? "It" denotes singular, so are you saying that the OCA is "the" Orthodox Church in America? So then, is the autonomy of the Antiochian Archdiocese in America a big phoney joke? And how can anyone take the autocephaly of the OCA seriously when the Patriarchate which issued it's tomos of autocephaly has its own Churches in the same territory as the OCA- to the ridiculous point of New York having a Moscow Patriarchate Cathedral and an OCA Cathedral.

Considering that the Patriarchate of Antioch and Metropolitan Philip still cannot agree as to what exactly happened in 2003 in regards to autonomy, some could see it that way.  (NOTE, I AM NOT ONE OF THEM).

Mute point, as the Phanar was upset (and I'm not so sure not still) over Antioch regaining her own Patriarch.
I think you mean "moot" point,

Ah, Freudian slip on my wishful thinking.
LOL! :D

Quote
which Shultz's point is not (the moot point is your EP bashing). If, as you claim, the Orthodox Church in the US is already autocephalous, why is the Archdiocese of Antioch an autonomous Church in the same territory as an autocephalous Church??

For the same sort of reason that the Bishop of a few parishes has first place in the Orthodox World, with all the regalia of a long dead empire: history.  Since that prelate, on the basis of phyletism, has claimed all Churches in North America, I am not sure why it should be any difference for you.
It makes no difference to me what happens in North America except when things happen which affect the entire Church throughout the world, and I think the idea that a jurisdiction in the confused situation in the various countries can call "dibs" on autocephaly is a dangerous precedent to set for the Church throughout the world and totally at odds with the concilliar nature of the Orthodox Church.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: A Strategy for US Orthodox Unification by George C Michalopulos
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2009, 05:58:10 PM »
Other than the EP bashing at the beginning....

1. Why does the North American Church HAVE to be autocephalous??

For one, because it already is.

"It" already is? "It" denotes singular, so are you saying that the OCA is "the" Orthodox Church in America? So then, is the autonomy of the Antiochian Archdiocese in America a big phoney joke? And how can anyone take the autocephaly of the OCA seriously when the Patriarchate which issued it's tomos of autocephaly has its own Churches in the same territory as the OCA- to the ridiculous point of New York having a Moscow Patriarchate Cathedral and an OCA Cathedral.

Considering that the Patriarchate of Antioch and Metropolitan Philip still cannot agree as to what exactly happened in 2003 in regards to autonomy, some could see it that way.  (NOTE, I AM NOT ONE OF THEM).

Mute point, as the Phanar was upset (and I'm not so sure not still) over Antioch regaining her own Patriarch.
I think you mean "moot" point,

Ah, Freudian slip on my wishful thinking.
LOL! :D

Quote
which Shultz's point is not (the moot point is your EP bashing). If, as you claim, the Orthodox Church in the US is already autocephalous, why is the Archdiocese of Antioch an autonomous Church in the same territory as an autocephalous Church??

For the same sort of reason that the Bishop of a few parishes has first place in the Orthodox World, with all the regalia of a long dead empire: history.  Since that prelate, on the basis of phyletism, has claimed all Churches in North America, I am not sure why it should be any difference for you.
It makes no difference to me what happens in North America except when things happen which affect the entire Church throughout the world, and I think the idea that a jurisdiction in the confused situation in the various countries can call "dibs" on autocephaly is a dangerous precedent to set for the Church throughout the world and totally at odds with the concilliar nature of the Orthodox Church.
Confused situation?  You mean the "New Lands?"

The grant of autocephaly to the OCA by Russia is quite clear.  The denial is what is muddled.
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If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth