OrthodoxChristianity.net
December 22, 2014, 02:35:48 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Recent Immigration  (Read 601 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
peteprint
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 706



« on: June 07, 2011, 02:48:07 PM »

I have an observation to make that others may have some opinions about. 

Orthodoxy has been in the U.S. for quite awhile, and while the ethnic jurisdictions never coalesced into a single,  American Church, over the course of time, a significant percentage of members assimilated into the larger culture.  Increasingly, English is employed in services, and many in the parishes do not really speak the languages of the countries their fore-bearers came from.

Since the fall of the Iron-Curtain however, the number of immigrants from Eastern Europe has grown, and these people gravitate to the ethnic jurisdictions that they can relate to, quite understandably.  I think the danger is that much of the previous assimilation may be undone, and this can lead to a strengthening of the ethnic enclave mentality.

In my city, there are a number of fairly recent (last 5-10 year period) immigrants from Bulgaria that want to have their own church.  They do attend some of the local existing parishes, such as my Serbian one, but they are determined to have their own Bulgarian parish at some point.  There is also an immigrant Romanian community here that meets at the MP parish who are working towards building their own church as well.

I completely understand their desire for a parish that employs their language, and a priest they can relate to, but at a time when many are trying to bring the various jurisdictions closer, the last thing we need are more ethnic parishes.  There are several ROCOR, Serbian, Antiochian, and Greek parishes in my city, and even one Ukrainian and one MP, but rather than join any of these, they want their own Bulgarian and Romanian parishes.  I think this is a problem and undesirable from the standpoint of Orthodox unity.

If I were to ever emigrate to Greece or Russia, for example, I would have to join that particular church, despite my lack of identification with the culture.  Here in America it's a free for all jurisdictionally.

 

 
Logged
podkarpatska
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: ACROD
Posts: 8,966


Pokrov


WWW
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2011, 02:55:09 PM »

I have an observation to make that others may have some opinions about.  

Orthodoxy has been in the U.S. for quite awhile, and while the ethnic jurisdictions never coalesced into a single,  American Church, over the course of time, a significant percentage of members assimilated into the larger culture.  Increasingly, English is employed in services, and many in the parishes do not really speak the languages of the countries their fore-bearers came from.

Since the fall of the Iron-Curtain however, the number of immigrants from Eastern Europe has grown, and these people gravitate to the ethnic jurisdictions that they can relate to, quite understandably.  I think the danger is that much of the previous assimilation may be undone, and this can lead to a strengthening of the ethnic enclave mentality.

In my city, there are a number of fairly recent (last 5-10 year period) immigrants from Bulgaria that want to have their own church.  They do attend some of the local existing parishes, such as my Serbian one, but they are determined to have their own Bulgarian parish at some point.  There is also an immigrant Romanian community here that meets at the MP parish who are working towards building their own church as well.

I completely understand their desire for a parish that employs their language, and a priest they can relate to, but at a time when many are trying to bring the various jurisdictions closer, the last thing we need are more ethnic parishes.  There are several ROCOR, Serbian, Antiochian, and Greek parishes in my city, and even one Ukrainian and one MP, but rather than join any of these, they want their own Bulgarian and Romanian parishes.  I think this is a problem and undesirable from the standpoint of Orthodox unity.

If I were to ever emigrate to Greece or Russia, for example, I would have to join that particular church, despite my lack of identification with the culture.  Here in America it's a free for all jurisdictionally.

 

 

But that is the distinction between the United States and the old world, and hence the basis of what seems to many to be an insoluble problem. We are a melting pot and to take the position that those who have come here in recent times should somehow be expected to 'become American' immediately is the SAME mindset which the Roman Catholics used when the first Greek Catholics came to these shores from Europe and the Mideast. I sympathize with you and I understand your concerns, but in Europe things did not always go smoothly among Serbians, Bulgarians and Romanians, to put it mildly. You have to give the newbies space or else they will find a welcome home elsewhere, such as in the grasp of evangelicals who offer them services in their own languages. Don't forget, most of these people are less than a generation beyond the sixty years of communist suppression of faith in their homelands, they don't want to be suppressed here in their new home.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2011, 02:56:02 PM by podkarpatska » Logged
peteprint
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 706



« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2011, 03:03:46 PM »

Yes, I do understand what you are saying.  There are Bulgarian and Romanian parishes in the U.S. already, but not in my city for instance.  It is perfectly understandable, I just feel it is undesirable.  I am of English, Welsh, and Scottish ancestry, so for me, converting to Orthodoxy required adapting to the Serbian culture that I am exposed to at my parish.  I would think that it would be easier for a Bulgarian or Romanian cradle immigrant to adjust to joining one of the existing local Orthodox parishes than it was for me.  We do have a wonderful member of our parish who happens to be Bulgarian, and he seems to have no problem at all with being in a Serbian parish.  We also have a Romanian member as well.  Both are fairly recent immigrants and don't seem to mind being members of a Serbian parish.
Logged
podkarpatska
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: ACROD
Posts: 8,966


Pokrov


WWW
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2011, 03:18:09 PM »

The problem is that to you that the differences between the Serb's and the new immigrants small 't' traditions from the old world seem miniscule and in the big picture of things that is true. I see that now as a second generation American born into the faith. But to my grandparents, and my parents as well, all of blessed memory, these small 't' issues were literally mountains as they were part and parcel of their linkage to their old lives and the ways of the past. Many a small parish schism-ed time and time again across the country over the little 't'. Even Greek communities split between Greeks from one part of Greece versus another or Greeks from the Dardanelles following 1922. In my hometown, to this day the two relatively small Greek communities won't merge, even though both are GOA.  I am not defending their choices, but merely putting a human spin on them.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2011, 03:20:38 PM by podkarpatska » Logged
peteprint
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 706



« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2011, 03:25:17 PM »

Again, I certainly understand.  Memory Eternal to your parents and Grand-parents.  People such as myself are indebted to the immigrants that brought Holy Orthodoxy to these shores, but until people learn to get over the little "t" being a great cultural mountain, we will never have unity in this country.  There is the need for education, as well as leadership, on the part of our new Episcopal Assembly.
Logged
JamesRottnek
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Anglican
Jurisdiction: Episcopal Diocese of Arizona
Posts: 5,123


I am Bibleman; putting 'the' back in the Ukraine


« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2011, 04:03:02 PM »

I see this differently.

Firstly, be HAPPY!  If they are able to build another Orthodox Church in your city, that means that there is another Orthodox Church in your city!  That means that people may drive by it and be mildly curious, and stop by some time.  It means an opportunity for newspapers and/or local tv to do a story on Orthodoxy.  It means another priest in your city, which can help bring more people into the Church. 

I think something you ought to do, as a parish, is to make sure that when/if they do have their own parish, you don't lose touch with them.  See if your priest and thiers are willing to concelebrate once a month or so (perhaps on the fifth Sunday of the month, which happens four times a year), so that your two Churches can stay in communication and so that you can bolster your witness of Orthodoxy in the community.  There is nothing wrong with them wanting services in a language they understand very well, or wanting a priest who can hear their confessions and understand what they have done, or counsel them when they are having trouble in their marriage, or when a relative dies.  That is really what them having their own priest (and with their own priest, if they don't have their own parish, yours will essentially be split in two without having two buildings) means; it means better pastoral care of them.
Logged

I know a secret about a former Supreme Court Justice.  Can you guess what it is?

The greatest tragedy in the world is when a cigarette ends.

American Spirits - the eco-friendly cigarette.

Preston Robert Kinney (September 8th, 1997-August 14, 2011
Shanghaiski
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 7,975


Holy Trinity Church of Gergeti, Georgia


« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2011, 04:15:28 PM »

but until people learn to get over the little "t" being a great cultural mountain, we will never have unity in this country.  There is the need for education, as well as leadership, on the part of our new Episcopal Assembly.

I guess I view unity differently. To me, as a historian, Orthodoxy has always been diverse--many languages, many local customs, but one faith and one holy tradition. (I prefer to say "local customs" rather than "little t traditions." I guess I'm a linguistic prude that way.)

IMO, true unity cannot be imposed from above, it must come about organically from the ground up. And it starts with people of different backgrounds building relationships. Without relationships, any other unity is rather meaningless, ISTM. It is hard as a convert to "break in" to ethnic parishes sometimes because one is, literally, not part of the family--in that lots of ethnic churches are groups of interrelated families. Besides this, one has, seemingly, less in common. But, I think, we miss what's starring us in the face--we have Orthodoxy in common, and that is, really, all we need. If there's a way to make relationships with others at the parish, and then for various parishes in an area to have fellowship, then there is  hope for unity as a jurisdiction, I think. But, one has to realize that not everyone is in the Church for the same reasons. The key would be, I think, to find people who are in the Church for the same reasons you are, and start there. Then, as spiritual growth continues, you can move to those who are there for a different reason and befriend them.

Maybe it sounds like a campy vision, but I see in a lot of parishes that not everyone is integrated, not everyone appears to feel at home, and this is something which needs to be addressed locally, and then the local unity will reflect with the bishops. As one hieromonk told me about Orthodox American unity, "If the people lead, the bishops will follow."
Logged

Quote from: GabrieltheCelt
If you spend long enough on this forum, you'll come away with all sorts of weird, untrue ideas of Orthodox Christianity.
Quote from: orthonorm
I would suggest most persons in general avoid any question beginning with why.
peteprint
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 706



« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2011, 04:53:00 PM »

Dear James,
Certainly I am happy whenever a new Orthodox parish starts up locally, that is a plus.  We do have pan-Orthodox vespers each year, that move from week-to-week among several of the local churches. 

Dear   Shanghaiski,
I am a historian as well, though not as well versed in Church history as I would like to be.  I may have to disagree with you a little.  I don’t think that to the average Orthodox lay-person in Greece, Russia, Syria, etc. from the 5th century to let’s say, the 19th century, that Orthodoxy was seen as diverse, or multi-linguistic.  I don’t think they experienced it that way at the local level.  A Russian peasant magically transported from his 17th century village to modern America would be bewildered by the situation here with regards to jurisdictions and languages.

With the exception of the enforced use of the Latin liturgy, Roman Catholicism could be seen as equally diverse as Orthodoxy from a historical perspective.  Catholicism as experienced in Italy would have been different in some ways compared to Catholicism in Poland or Mexico.  I think that historically, unity was imposed from the top down, though I am not saying that is desirable.  In an age of Kings and Emperors, the church that the people had (in Russia for instance) was not up to them. 

As to your statement: “ I see in a lot of parishes that not everyone is integrated, not everyone appears to feel at home, and this is something which needs to be addressed locally, and then the local unity will reflect with the bishops. As one hieromonk told me about Orthodox American unity, "If the people lead, the bishops will follow." I agree completely.
Logged
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.063 seconds with 36 queries.