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Author Topic: Ethnicity in The OO Churches in the US  (Read 3106 times) Average Rating: 0
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peteprint
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« on: January 28, 2012, 04:21:00 PM »

A subject often discussed by EO's is the one of ethnic jurisdictions in the United States.  Some are concerned with possible phyletism, and others by the uncanonical aspect of overlapping dioceses and bishops.  What is the situation with the OO jurisdictions, which also are drawn along ethnic lines and where in a single city there may exist Coptic, Syriac, Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Armenian parishes?  I know that it is a hot-button topic with many EO's but I don't recall ever hearing it mentioned by OO's.

What is the position of the OO Patriarchs on the jurisdictional overlap that exists here?  Many EO's mention the Russian Revolution as having contributed to the situation among EO's in the US, but that wouldn't seem to have any relevance to the OO situation.  I assume that if (hypothetically) a number of Egyptians were to settle in an American town where the only OO parish was Armenian they would most likely attend, but I would also assume that they would quickly establish a Coptic parish as soon as they were financially in a position to do so.

Also, has any OO Patriarchate ever claimed (as the EP has) the right to jurisdiction over all OO's in the "diaspora"?
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HabteSelassie
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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2012, 04:42:56 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

That is a ridiculously good question, one which I think is just barely beginning to be asked in the OO in the United States.  Perhaps the Copts are the longest established, but relatively speaking Oriental Orthodoxy is new to the US, traditional immigration has been from Catholic and Eastern Orthodox countries.  That being said, it seems a lot of Oriental parishes have to focus on getting their own flock together, dealing with the needs of their own community, in other words, getting our own houses in order first before we reach out to far to proselytize.  Oriental Orthodox in the US is a bit of a crossover between a refugee relief center and an immigration integration center.  Considering the regions and recent histories of the places where most Oriental Orthodox come from, it is understandable. 

Another issue is integrating hyphenated American youth, who were born here as native citizens but whose parents are foreign, into the Church culture which is becoming increasingly foreign to them as American youth.  In my own work with our high-school aged Sunday School program, I always try to integrate and encourage the youth to embrace the duality of their identity, it is a gift, most Americans are boring and have a single boring culture, and a ghostly memory of a long lost past..

Catholic parishes here in the LA area have a similar mission the burgeoning Latino populations immigrating from a dozen countries.  Perhaps we in the Oriental world here in the US could take some notes from the more vetted Catholics?

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2012, 05:06:18 PM »

Thank you Habte.  I agree that the situation for OO's is more comparable to the EO's in the late 19th and early 20th century; most are recent immigrants.  It does surprise me though that none of the OO Patriarchs is claiming jurisdictional rights to North America, since I am well aware of the situation in the past between the MP and the EP.

I am a convert of Scottish, Welsh, and English ancestry, and, I might add, don't really give Britain a second thought.  None of those cultural influences were passed down in my family, so I don't identify with any country in Europe.  I'm not sure that American culture is all that boring: it seems that the rest of the world has gone out of its way to copy much of it.  Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2012, 05:32:17 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

 It does surprise me though that none of the OO Patriarchs is claiming jurisdictional rights to North America,

That is not exactly true, we have Metropolitan Bishops over North America, regional bishops over sections of the US, bishops of European cities, but these focus on their own flocks from their own jurisdictions, where as your question seems to be more about inter-jurisdictional relationships and also the issues of which jurisdiction might lean towards primacy of proselytizing Americans or Europeans.  Proselytizing is a of a lower priority then reaching out to the sheep already of the flock but who didn't know where the local shepherd's fold was.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: January 28, 2012, 05:33:33 PM by HabteSelassie » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2012, 05:40:26 PM »

The issue and notion of "phyletism" doesn't apply to OO's.  It's a 19th century EO innovation.  Your postulation about "jurisdictional rights" over North America is also a rather EO phenomenon.  The OO are a collection of national churches who have, since their infancy, catered to dispersed communities throughout the globe.  We don't give it a second thought that there's another OO church in town.  We tend to build for our own when the need arises.

The Armenian Church is for Armenians.  We have a specific ministry and tradition, we cater to a diverse group within the "big tent" of Armenian identity, but that's part of the challenge.  You have non-Armenians who marry into the church.  Russian-speaking Armenians from former Soviet countries.  Turkish-born Armenians.  Armenians from the Arab world.  Armenians from the Republic of Armenia.  Armenians from Europe.  American-born Armenians.  The list goes on and on and on.  Just finding a common language is a problem.  We have a hard enough time striking a balance there without having to worry about the EO fixation on "pan-ethnic" parishes and "phyletism" and all of that.

Yes, we have issues of youth retention, just like any other religious institution these days.  Yet we also have summer camps full of kids, seminary summer programs bursting at the seams, Armenian schools throughout the country, dance troupes, Armenian scouting and other youth groups along those lines, political youth groups, the Armenian Church Youth Organization, kids who will drive across the country to go to an Armenian dance on the weekends...  So I think we're doing OK.
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« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2012, 06:14:15 PM »

While framing the discussion in terms of 'phyletism' is a recent development, the ideal of geographical/ecclesiastical integrity that underlies peteprint's question and EO conceptions of how things 'should work' (though obviously not how they always do work) is quite ancient--it's clearly expressed in the canons of the first 3 Ecumenical councils--specifically, if there is an Orthodox bishop in Alexandria, then the bishop of Carthage or of Constantinople has no business sending priests or bishops to do anything in Alexandria without that bishop's permission. And if all the Orthodox bishops in Egypt form a coherent, independent synod around the Patriarch of Alexandria, then other Patriarchates likewise have no business sending bishops or priests to do anything anywhere in Egypt without the permission of that synod.

OO history is different from EO, and I can see how the question hasn't really come up for you, or not come up in the same way, over the last millennia or so--and the situation in North America is so new there's no reason it would have caused OO's to reassess their current approach (A hundred years from now, when there's an Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, and Syrian Church all in the same city with 95% of each congregation speaking only English and a good majority being in mixed marriages, children of mixed marriages, converts etc, then the interrelationship might start driving more questions).

BUT, while I realize the Armenian Church was always something of a separate national Church, up until Chalcedon, the Copts (Alexandria) and Syrians (Antioch) were a part of the 'ecumene' and shared that same ideal. So I'm curious to what extent the OO's may have or have not actually abandoned that ideal? Specifically, let's say the international situation configures itself in such a way that there is a massive Armenian immigration to Egypt (or vice-versa, massive Ethiopian immigration to Yerevan). Would the OO's consider that those immigrants would be under the authority of the existing hierarchy? Would it be considered appropriate or inappropriate for the synod of the Ethiopian church to appoint an 'Ethiopian bishop of Yerevan' who would be a member of the Ethiopian, not the Armenian synod, and who would set up churches and parishes throughout Armenia without any consultation (or only polite notification) with the local Armenian bishop?
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« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2012, 06:40:01 PM »

Thank you all for your input.  That is an excellent question witega. 
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« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2012, 07:03:17 PM »

BUT, while I realize the Armenian Church was always something of a separate national Church, up until Chalcedon, the Copts (Alexandria) and Syrians (Antioch) were a part of the 'ecumene' and shared that same ideal. So I'm curious to what extent the OO's may have or have not actually abandoned that ideal? Specifically, let's say the international situation configures itself in such a way that there is a massive Armenian immigration to Egypt (or vice-versa, massive Ethiopian immigration to Yerevan). Would the OO's consider that those immigrants would be under the authority of the existing hierarchy? Would it be considered appropriate or inappropriate for the synod of the Ethiopian church to appoint an 'Ethiopian bishop of Yerevan' who would be a member of the Ethiopian, not the Armenian synod, and who would set up churches and parishes throughout Armenia without any consultation (or only polite notification) with the local Armenian bishop?

There are Armenian communities in Egypt, Syria, India, and Ethiopia, with Armenian bishops and churches established in those places.  It's never been a problem.

I don't know if there are Coptic, Ethiopian or other OO communities inside Armenia, or if they have established churches there.  I rather doubt it, since Armenia does not get a lot of immigrants coming to it.  If, however, there were Copts, etc, in Armenia, I don't think the Catholicos would have a problem with them having their own bishop. 

The OO's are just not that territorial.  I guess we've been more concerned with survival over the past century, and the territorial concerns are just not important enough.
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« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2012, 08:48:37 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

At this point in the game in regards to North America, the Ethiopian Church fully recognizes the mutuality of the Alexandrian Church, and Ethiopians are allowed to commune regularly in Coptic parishes if there are no Ethiopian parishes, or even if they just seem to prefer them.  I do not know if the Egyptians are the same about Ethiopian Church, but we feel they are our sister, and we do not feel the need to step on their toes, neither are they stepping on our own.  In Ethiopia the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate from Alexandria is allowed to establish parishes for those Eastern Orthodox Christians residing in Ethiopia, and a few Ethiopians have converted and the Ethiopian Church seems to be cool with it.  This is actually quite revolutionary considering the the anti-Chalcedonian history in Ethiopia and the conflicts that have arisen and been revived in the past few hundred years.  The Ethiopian Church feels comfortable enough within her own jurisdiction to be hospitable to other jurisdictions to a degree.  Even the Catholics are allowed their space..

Of course there has been a lot of conflict with the Lutherans and Pentecostals within Ethiopia, as they regularly recruit and try to proselytize within the Orthodox communities and even at our parishes.  We do not necessarily bother them, but the surely have become a bother to us. 

In North America, we Ethiopian Orthodox recognize that we are blatantly out of our historical jurisdiction, and so we treat Ethiopian Churches in the US and Canada (which  are under local and metropolitan Bishops) as the Greek Churches are treated in Ethiopia proper, as a foreign jurisdiction there to care for her own.  We are not trying to invade America with our Oriental Orthodoxy, we are just trying to tend to our Ethiopian flock, and any folks who marry or convert in, are free to join us, but we are not actively trying to step others toes.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

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« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2012, 09:05:07 PM »

I assume that if (hypothetically) a number of Egyptians were to settle in an American town where the only OO parish was Armenian they would most likely attend, but I would also assume that they would quickly establish a Coptic parish as soon as they were financially in a position to do so.

Hmmm. Oriental Orthodoxy lacks the amount of liturgical and practical homogeneity the EO have (for better or for worse), so it isn't that simple. Quite a few of the Eritrean, Indian and Ethiopian OO go to my Byzantine parish rather than the Ethiopian parish in town.
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« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2012, 09:18:16 PM »

Another issue is intermarriage.  There's not a lot of intermarrying going on between OO Churches.  The biggest extent of intermarrying is probably between Syrians and Copts, but other than that, we as OOs haven't really mingled with each other in a true sense of the word.  Because we're that separate, while united in unity, the question of phyletism hasn't really been brought up, or hasn't been given much thought of as a problem.  I think as time goes on, and our youth might do more mingling, and become more Americanized generation after generation, the question then might be brought up.  We don't even have a united evangelical focus as we like to have.  All of these things are just starting now at this point.  There's an Orthodox Christian Mission Conference (nothing to do with OCMC of the EOs) being put together by our youth here in NJ/NY area to unite all OOs in a mission to try to evangelize in areas here in the US to spread the OO faith.  This is all happening all too recently.  Once, we are organized as a OO unity with common interests, goals, and mingling, the question of jurisdiction might be brought up, probably in the next couple of decades, as the bishops might see a need to have a more organized and unified leadership for these particular areas of interest.

It is though quite a unique situation in the US.  And I'd venture to say this isn't the first time in Church history this issue of "phyletism" was dealt with.  The New Testament Church had to deal with the divide between Jewish and Gentile Christians, which can be a form of phyletism at its time.  As our churches start to explore and understand one another, there might some cultural aspects of one church that may scandalize members of another church (as I've seen happen personally) that could lead then to the questions of phyletism that so plagued the EO church at her time.  But until then, we like each other, we commune with each other, we embrace each other, but we haven't mingled together, and so this question never really shows up.
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« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2012, 09:21:11 PM »

This is all very interesting.  It seems that the OO are much more casual about organizational matters than the EO (this is not meant as a critical remark).

If a group of validly consecrated EO Bishops were (again, hypothetically) to form a jurisdiction (which many of the Genuine/OC groups have in the past) and declared it the American Orthodox Church, basing its existence on the issue of overlapping dioceses, the other EO jurisdictions would have nothing to do with them and declare them uncanonical.

On the other hand, if a group of validly consecrated OO Bishops were to form an American OO jurisdiction it almost seems that the other OO bodies would say "fine, do what you want" and continue going about their business.  Perhaps I am reading more into this than there is.  It just seems that we EO are very concerned about jurisdictional authority and organization (whose turf belongs to whom) than the OO's, who seem to have a more live and let live approach.

Salpy's statement: "There are Armenian communities in Egypt, Syria, India, and Ethiopia, with Armenian bishops and churches established in those places.  It's never been a problem," amazed me, since it would be a huge problem if that occurred in an EO setting.  
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« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2012, 09:29:58 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

This is all very interesting.  It seems that the OO are much more casual about organizational matters than the EO (this is not meant as a critical remark).

If a group of validly consecrated EO Bishops were (again, hypothetically) to form a jurisdiction (which many of the Genuine/OC groups have in the past) and declared it the American Orthodox Church, basing its existence on the issue of overlapping dioceses, the other EO jurisdictions would have nothing to do with them and declare them uncanonical.

On the other hand, if a group of validly consecrated OO Bishops were to form an American OO jurisdiction it almost seems that the other OO bodies would say "fine, do what you want" and continue going about their business.  Perhaps I am reading more into this than there is.  It just seems that we EO are very concerned about jurisdictional authority and organization (whose turf belongs to whom) than the OO's, who seem to have a more live and let live approach.

Salpy's statement: "There are Armenian communities in Egypt, Syria, India, and Ethiopia, with Armenian bishops and churches established in those places.  It's never been a problem," amazed me, since it would be a huge problem if that occurred in an EO setting.  

But does the EO have that same authority outside of Europe? I know the Roman Catholics express the Universal Church as being their one jurisdiction worldwide, does the EO have the same stance? See that is what is different in the Oriental, we are regional jurisdictions.  Alexandrian Church has localized jurisdictional authority over Egypt and surrounding areas, the Syrian Church has jurisdictional authority in Damascus and surrounding areas, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has jurisdictional authority in Ethiopia and surrounding areas..  When we establish our authority outside of our geography, we are addressing the needs of expatriates, refugees, and exiles who originated in our regional jurisdiction, we have no pretensions of Universality, geographically speaking.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2012, 09:30:15 PM »

Btw...it's called "Orthodox Mission Conference"...so there you go...nothing to worry about there  Wink
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« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2012, 09:38:21 PM »

Thank you Mina.  Smiley

Dear Habte,

If there were Romanians living in Russia there is no way they would be allowed to have Romanian parishes with a Romanian Bishop, as Salpy says happens with Armenians in Egypt and Ethiopia.  The whole phyletism thing started in the 1800's when Bulgarians in Greece wanted to have Bulgarian parishes and the Greek Church declared such actions heresy:

"The term phyletism was coined at the Holy and Great pan-Orthodox Synod that met in Istanbul (then Constantinople) in 1872. The meeting was prompted by the creation of a separate bishopric by the Bulgarian community of Istanbul for parishes only open to Bulgarians. It was the first time in Church history that a separate diocese was established based on ethnic identity rather than principles of Orthodoxy and territory"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phyletism

In countries that have a national Church (which I assume Ethiopia does), the idea of a foreign Church establishing parishes there would cause an uproar in the EO world. 
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« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2012, 09:41:10 PM »

The issue and notion of "phyletism" doesn't apply to OO's.  It's a 19th century EO innovation.  Your postulation about "jurisdictional rights" over North America is also a rather EO phenomenon.  The OO are a collection of national churches who have, since their infancy, catered to dispersed communities throughout the globe.  We don't give it a second thought that there's another OO church in town.  We tend to build for our own when the need arises.

The Armenian Church is for Armenians.  We have a specific ministry and tradition, we cater to a diverse group within the "big tent" of Armenian identity, but that's part of the challenge.  You have non-Armenians who marry into the church.  Russian-speaking Armenians from former Soviet countries.  Turkish-born Armenians.  Armenians from the Arab world.  Armenians from the Republic of Armenia.  Armenians from Europe.  American-born Armenians.  The list goes on and on and on.  Just finding a common language is a problem.  We have a hard enough time striking a balance there without having to worry about the EO fixation on "pan-ethnic" parishes and "phyletism" and all of that.

Yes, we have issues of youth retention, just like any other religious institution these days.  Yet we also have summer camps full of kids, seminary summer programs bursting at the seams, Armenian schools throughout the country, dance troupes, Armenian scouting and other youth groups along those lines, political youth groups, the Armenian Church Youth Organization, kids who will drive across the country to go to an Armenian dance on the weekends...  So I think we're doing OK.

Well said!
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« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2012, 09:44:18 PM »

P.S.  I think this territorialism is a contributing factor to the lack of administrative unity in America.  None of the various jurisdictions wants to give up what they see as their turf.  It's a case of the EO Church's here not following what the Churches back home practice, namely territorial exclusivity.  It's tolerated here because no one wants to be swallowed up by a larger jurisdiction, and because the Mother Churches don't want to lose the money and influence.  At least that is my humble opinion.
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« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2012, 10:01:23 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

This is all very interesting.  It seems that the OO are much more casual about organizational matters than the EO (this is not meant as a critical remark).

If a group of validly consecrated EO Bishops were (again, hypothetically) to form a jurisdiction (which many of the Genuine/OC groups have in the past) and declared it the American Orthodox Church, basing its existence on the issue of overlapping dioceses, the other EO jurisdictions would have nothing to do with them and declare them uncanonical.

On the other hand, if a group of validly consecrated OO Bishops were to form an American OO jurisdiction it almost seems that the other OO bodies would say "fine, do what you want" and continue going about their business.  Perhaps I am reading more into this than there is.  It just seems that we EO are very concerned about jurisdictional authority and organization (whose turf belongs to whom) than the OO's, who seem to have a more live and let live approach.

Salpy's statement: "There are Armenian communities in Egypt, Syria, India, and Ethiopia, with Armenian bishops and churches established in those places.  It's never been a problem," amazed me, since it would be a huge problem if that occurred in an EO setting.  

But does the EO have that same authority outside of Europe? I know the Roman Catholics express the Universal Church as being their one jurisdiction worldwide, does the EO have the same stance? See that is what is different in the Oriental, we are regional jurisdictions.  Alexandrian Church has localized jurisdictional authority over Egypt and surrounding areas, the Syrian Church has jurisdictional authority in Damascus and surrounding areas, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has jurisdictional authority in Ethiopia and surrounding areas..  When we establish our authority outside of our geography, we are addressing the needs of expatriates, refugees, and exiles who originated in our regional jurisdiction, we have no pretensions of Universality, geographically speaking.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

I may have slightly misunderstood you, and if so forgive me, but the EO are not the same as the RC in regards to jurisdiction.  However, the way that the Church is meant to be (and in countries where Orthodoxy isn't a new thing, is) is - as I understand it - that in any given territory, for example LA County, there would be one bishop.  No other bishop could include LA County in his diocese.  So, it is actually the opposite of the Roman Catholics (where the Pope has jurisdiction everywhere).  The only time other bishops can make decisions for anyone in a given diocese, that is not theirs, is if the synod that that diocese belongs to has given such permission to another bishop (such as a Patriarch), but in such case they would be acting on behalf of the synod and not themselves. 

Anyways, ideally then, if Malta were to invade Crete and force countless residents to pick up and move to Romania, the Ecumenical Patriarch would have no authority to send priests there and have a diocese established.  In fact, Romania establishing parishes in the territory of the Jerusalem Patriarchate has caused (last I heard, I've not seen an update on this for some time) the Patriarch of Jerusalem to prohibit the Patriarchate's priests from con-celebrating with the Romanian Patriarchate's priests. 

The thing is, Habte, the EO see it as refugees or emigres from one Orthodox area to another as needing to be served by the bishop of wherever they went to.  In the case of America, when there was a mass amount of immigration from a number of countries with large Orthodox populations, they brought priests along with them or requested them from the old country because otherwise they would be without priests.  Then came bishops to oversee the priests.  Now, this doesn't preclude things like how the Church of Russia has - with the consent of the Patriarch of Alexandria - sent priests to places in Africa with large Russian communities (or the same in the Holy Land, with the approval of the Patriarch of Jerusalem), but those priests are always (if i'm not mistaken) under the authority of the bishop of that area.
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« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2012, 10:46:18 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

.  

The thing is, Habte, the EO see it as refugees or emigres from one Orthodox area to another as needing to be served by the bishop of wherever they went to.  In the case of America, when there was a mass amount of immigration from a number of countries with large Orthodox populations, they brought priests along with them or requested them from the old country because otherwise they would be without priests.  Then came bishops to oversee the priests.  Now, this doesn't preclude things like how the Church of Russia has - with the consent of the Patriarch of Alexandria - sent priests to places in Africa with large Russian communities (or the same in the Holy Land, with the approval of the Patriarch of Jerusalem), but those priests are always (if i'm not mistaken) under the authority of the bishop of that area.


So how does the EO deal with then mutual Russian and Greek parishes in the Los Angeles area? Under which Bishop's authority are these? In the Oriental, the Ethiopian parishes are under the local Ethiopian Bishop (in my parish's case, the Bishopric of the Southwest located in Las Vegas) and the Copts are under their own Alexandrian Bishops, as are the Syrians etc etc..

Let us also remember the unspoken word here is $$$  Lips Sealed

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2012, 10:52:23 PM »

Dear Habte,

The answer is they don't.  Everyone accepts that having more than one Bishop in an area like Los Angeles is wrong (from the EO perspective), but they don't address it.  When the EO Churches at Constantinople agreed with the Greeks to shut down the Bulgarian parishes it was with the understanding that the Greeks (and others) would not open up parishes on their territory.  What is considered the rule in the Old Country is not practiced here in America.  Hence the problem.
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« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2012, 11:03:28 PM »

If a Greek were to move to Romania, that person would have to attend the Romanian Church, just as if a Russian were to move to Greece, he would de facto be in the Greek Church.  If a Bulgarian were to move to Egypt, he would then be in the Church of Alexandria.  I am currently a member of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America, but, if for any reason, I had to move to Russia, I would have to attend the Russian Orthodox Church.  Each Church controls its own territory.  It doesn't work that way though in the so-called diaspora.  Outside of Eastern Europe and the Middle East, each jurisdiction treats it as open territory, even though they have agreed not to do that at home.
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« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2012, 11:17:00 PM »

The problem with EO's in my opinion also is that at a certain point, it was considered a "heresy."  I wouldn't jump the gun to call it a heresy, but I would say an "ecclesiological problem," especially if this is leads to a form of some sort of racism or cultural divide over issues that have nothing to do with dogma, and a "potential problem" if the racism doesn't exist yet.  St. Paul chastised St. Peter over his refusal to sit with Gentiles in the presence of Jews, and that's a problem.  But mere ecclesiological divides in the same territory without the baggage of racism or cultural criticisms should not be considered "heresy" (St. Paul after all was dubbed the Apostle to the Gentiles, so it shouldn't be "heresy"), and OOs are very welcoming to new dioceses overlapping with their own dioceses especially on this regard.

If anything, the need to regulate turf should also be frowned upon.  The Apostles never fought for turf with one another, and they frequently overlapped with their converts.  Rome wasn't exclusively for St. Peter for instance, as St. Paul was there, even waaay before St. Peter establishing the Gentile Christian community there.  But St. Paul also dealt with Jewish Christians too, as is the case with having St. Timothy circumcised just to approach a Jewish community to evangelize to them, despite being commissioned specifically for Gentiles.

But that does not mean we OOs are immune to turf fights as one would like to see.  Case in point, the Indian Orthodox divide can arguably be made on the idea that the Syrian Church might want to keep turf there rather than just easily resolve the conflict and let there be an autocephalous united church.  The idea of hurtful turf wars I personally see is just as equally a problem as creating a racist/xenophobic phyletist group.  It's amazing that the EO Church likes to debate on issues regarding phyletism, and not allow a more independent and new Church develop with new patriarchal system, to allow her to grow.  It's mind-boggling to me, and one needs to also commune a pan-Orthodox condemnation "turfism" just as much as phyletism is condemned.  And I don't say this as a criticism to EOs alone.  I pray that OO problems of turfism can be resolved as well, as in cases of Jerusalem and India.

Yes, it's great to want jurisdictional unity, but not on the expense of humility, which I find many bishops seem to lack.
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« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2012, 11:39:11 PM »

"It's amazing that the EO Church likes to debate on issues regarding phyletism, and not allow a more independent and new Church develop with new patriarchal system, to allow her to grow.  It's mind-boggling to me..."

It boggles my mind as well Mina.  Part of the problem, besides the Mother Churches not wanting to lose their territory, is that many, at the local level, see the parish as a cultural center.  Support for an American Church is seen as undesirable by many who view the parish as "home away from home".

While other immigrant groups have managed to separate the two by establishing groups such as The Sons of Italy, Order of Hibernians  and other cultural organizations to maintain their sense of ethnic pride, all too often, in the Orthodox Church, the parish is the cultural center.  They don't want to give that up.

My priest has mentioned to me how difficult it is to get members of the parish to help feed the homeless, or attend Bible studies, but there is no problem getting them to show up for cultural events like folk dancing.  I mentioned this one another thread, but we normally have 125-150 people at liturgy on Sunday.  Father mentions the Bible study during the announcements and it is mentioned in the bulletin.  3 people show up; me, another convert, and one of the elderly ladies.  And that is every week.  On the other hand, if there is a cultural event, you can count on at least 50.  Sad.

I have a Bulgarian friend who attends our Serbian parish occasionally.  She and her Bulgarian friends are determined to create a Bulgarian parish at some point in the future, even though there are about a dozen Orthodox parishes in the county.  They have to have "their" parish.  It's sad as well.  I think there is a word for that: Balkanization.  
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« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2012, 11:42:39 PM »

"It's amazing that the EO Church likes to debate on issues regarding phyletism, and not allow a more independent and new Church develop with new patriarchal system, to allow her to grow.  It's mind-boggling to me..."

It boggles my mind as well Mina.  Part of the problem, besides the Mother Churches not wanting to lose their territory, is that many, at the local level, see the parish as a cultural center.  Support for an American Church is seen as undesirable by many who view the parish as "home away from home".

While other immigrant groups have managed to separate the two by establishing groups such as The Sons of Italy, Order of Hibernians  and other cultural organizations to maintain their sense of ethnic pride, all too often, in the Orthodox Church, the parish is the cultural center.  They don't want to give that up.

My priest has mentioned to me how difficult it is to get members of the parish to help feed the homeless, or attend Bible studies, but there is no problem getting them to show up for cultural events like folk dancing.  I mentioned this one another thread, but we normally have 125-150 people at liturgy on Sunday.  Father mentions the Bible study during the announcements and it is mentioned in the bulletin.  3 people show up; me, another convert, and one of the elderly ladies.  And that is every week.  On the other hand, if there is a cultural event, you can count on at least 50.  Sad.

I have a Bulgarian friend who attends our Serbian parish occasionally.  She and her Bulgarian friends are determined to create a Bulgarian parish at some point in the future, even though there are about a dozen Orthodox parishes in the county.  They have to have "their" parish.  It's sad as well.  I think there is a word for that: Balkanization.   

As a side note, it is stuff like this that makes me quite irate to hear Orthodox Christians (OO or EO) try to condemn and refute that "I hate religion, but love Christ" poet, when it is the problem of "culture center Orthodoxy" plank that we should remove from our own eyes before removing the plank from that poet's eye.
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« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2012, 11:45:02 PM »

I understand your position. 
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« Reply #25 on: January 29, 2012, 12:06:00 AM »

When we think of how Ethiopia was served by the Coptic Church, it was not by establishing the Coptic Church in Ethiopia, but by establishing the Ethiopian Church. Such a thing as the Coptic Church in Ethiopia would have been a contradiction in terms, since the Coptic Church is the Church in Egypt...

The Armenians had parishes serving their people in other territories, such as Rome, from the very early centuries. But I don't think it was as an independent Church with its own hierarchy. It was parishes to serve that need, with the cooperation of the Armenians sending priests to serve and the local bishop's approval.

Fast forward to today, and things in North America look quite different than (my limited understanding of) the past.

The Church Coptic Church was the first large presence here. But they did not set up an American Orthodox Church, or a Canadian Orthodoxy Church as they previously set up the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. They set up the Coptic Orthodox Church in Canada, which is a contradiction in terms. This has been a result of, and has resulted in, much confusion. I read a book by one Coptic priest that thanked God that in the past decades the Coptic Church has gone from being a national Church to a Catholic Church!

This is of course because of the unique situation of large immigration meaning that the Churches here are full of Egyptians, and few Americans/Canadians. Much different than a few Copts being sent to serve the Ethiopians. However, this is problematic, because it is inward looking, and does not meet the idea of engaging the surrounding community and preaching the Gospel. It is even more problematic since the children of Egyptians here eventually become Canadians, and not Egyptians! They marry Canadians, and since there is no Canadian Orthodox Church, many of them end up leaving the Coptic Orthodox Church, which is too foreign for their spouses.

Now, there are many other Oriental Orthodox Churches here as well. Instead of integrating into the existing hierarchy of the Canadian Orthodox Church, which was never established, they set up their own shops, independently of the existing Coptic Orthodox presence. Different Oriental Churches in the same towns that don't even realize they're in communion with each other for the most part. Yes, an Ethiopian bishop is received in a Coptic Church as their own bishop. But the Churches are governed as independent, separate Churches. Instead of one local synod, made up of bishops from all the different ethnic groups, working together to serve the needs of Canadian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Armenian, etc., parishes, we have separate groups, duplicating resources, and acting as if we were separate Churches or denominations, each ruled by the synod of their home country. I don't think there is any precedent for this in Church history.

I think there are agreements or understandings that the Coptic Church should consult her sister Churches when establishing diocese in North America. But so far they have just been established without cooperation or resistance.
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« Reply #26 on: January 29, 2012, 12:19:06 AM »

Jonathan,

You just described the situation of the EO in North America to a tee.  The excuse we EO's have always used for the confusion here is that the Russians were here first, and had the right to oversee the development of the Church in North America, but the revolution messed things up.  As I had mentioned before, that is not the case with the OO Churches.

Imagine if, instead of the Copts establishing the Ethiopian Church, there were over a dozen OO jurisdictions in Ethiopia? (I know that there are not a dozen independent OO Churches) What a mess that would be.  I realize that Ethiopia did not have large-scale migration from Armenia, Syria, Egypt, etc., but to the average Ethiopian citizen, how would it look?  In Addis Ababa several Armenian, Syriac, Malankara, Coptic, and Eritrean parishes, and no national Church?  Each Ethiopian would just pick the one they felt comfortable attending.

It would look like North America.  

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« Reply #27 on: January 29, 2012, 12:25:21 AM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

.  

The thing is, Habte, the EO see it as refugees or emigres from one Orthodox area to another as needing to be served by the bishop of wherever they went to.  In the case of America, when there was a mass amount of immigration from a number of countries with large Orthodox populations, they brought priests along with them or requested them from the old country because otherwise they would be without priests.  Then came bishops to oversee the priests.  Now, this doesn't preclude things like how the Church of Russia has - with the consent of the Patriarch of Alexandria - sent priests to places in Africa with large Russian communities (or the same in the Holy Land, with the approval of the Patriarch of Jerusalem), but those priests are always (if i'm not mistaken) under the authority of the bishop of that area.


So how does the EO deal with then mutual Russian and Greek parishes in the Los Angeles area? Under which Bishop's authority are these? In the Oriental, the Ethiopian parishes are under the local Ethiopian Bishop (in my parish's case, the Bishopric of the Southwest located in Las Vegas) and the Copts are under their own Alexandrian Bishops, as are the Syrians etc etc..

Let us also remember the unspoken word here is $$$  Lips Sealed

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Well, I suppose I really shouldn't have picked LA County as an example, because I wasn't referring to present practice, but rather in an ideal world (I just picked the first location that popped into my mind).  In a perfect world, there would be Bishop (or Metropolitan, Archbishop, Patriarch, whatever) Jacob of Los Angeles and all of the Greeks, Russians, Serbs, etc. in LA County would be under his omophorion.  But, in today's world, there are many, many bishops who claim jurisdiction in LA.
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« Reply #28 on: January 29, 2012, 12:27:26 AM »

I don't think it's exactly the same... because rather than having any squabbling over who should be in charge, we haven't even come to realize that there should be the Orthodox Church in North America, rather than the Orthodox Church in Egypt in North America beside the Orthodox Church in Ethiopia in North America... I really think we just followed the model the EO had set without discernment, without questioning whether it was right. Rather than fighting for which jurisdiction will become the dominant one, we just ignore each other and do our own thing, thinking that that is how it should be. I think that this, and ordaining bishops without sees (physical cities, rather than vague things like Education, as if bishops were ministers in a government cabinet) are two areas where errors (not heresies, errors in organization that do not properly reflect and shine forth the spiritual reality of the Church) were made in the middle of last century in the Coptic Church.
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« Reply #29 on: January 29, 2012, 08:50:33 AM »

The problem with EO's in my opinion also is that at a certain point, it was considered a "heresy."  I wouldn't jump the gun to call it a heresy, but I would say an "ecclesiological problem," especially if this is leads to a form of some sort of racism or cultural divide over issues that have nothing to do with dogma, and a "potential problem" if the racism doesn't exist yet.  St. Paul chastised St. Peter over his refusal to sit with Gentiles in the presence of Jews, and that's a problem.  But mere ecclesiological divides in the same territory without the baggage of racism or cultural criticisms should not be considered "heresy" (St. Paul after all was dubbed the Apostle to the Gentiles, so it shouldn't be "heresy"), and OOs are very welcoming to new dioceses overlapping with their own dioceses especially on this regard.

II canon of Constantinople I.
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« Reply #30 on: January 29, 2012, 02:03:02 PM »

I do think the Armenian and Syriac parishes in Egypt are a problem, because some Copts join them in order to get divorced. That's just absurd. And if Armenians Syriacs recognize Pope Shenouda as the legitimate Patriarch of Alexandria, why dont they just become Armanian and Syriac rite parishes under his jurisdiction?
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« Reply #31 on: January 29, 2012, 02:13:19 PM »

Because that's not how it works? "Syriac Rite parishes"? The COC is not the RCC.

Why exactly should they have to do that, anyway? I believe that Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas is the legitimate Patriarch of Antioch. Do I then need to become Syriac Orthodox if I'm going to live in Damascus? Huh
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« Reply #32 on: January 29, 2012, 02:43:09 PM »

Because that's not how it works? "Syriac Rite parishes"? The COC is not the RCC.

Why exactly should they have to do that, anyway? I believe that Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas is the legitimate Patriarch of Antioch. Do I then need to become Syriac Orthodox if I'm going to live in Damascus? Huh

On the first point, it really would not at all be similar to the situation in the Roman Catholic Church because there would - presumably anyways - not be new dioceses and a new hierarchical structure created for the purpose of overseeing different rites.  In fact, as it stands now, the situation in the OO world would seem to be pretty close to the RCC situation, in that you in fact do have church hierarchies structured around ethnicity and liturgical practice, and they are permitted to found parishes in an area that is traditionally under the jurisdiction of another bishop (say, the Armenians founding parishes and even perhaps a diocese, in Cairo). 

On the second, as Michal pointed out, the second canon of Constantinople I does certainly seem to suggest that you should become Syrian Orthodox if you move to Damascus (though nothing would prevent the Patriarch of Antioch from permitting Coptic-rite parishes to exist under his patrimony).
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« Reply #33 on: January 29, 2012, 03:12:00 PM »

The problem with EO's in my opinion also is that at a certain point, it was considered a "heresy."  I wouldn't jump the gun to call it a heresy, but I would say an "ecclesiological problem," especially if this is leads to a form of some sort of racism or cultural divide over issues that have nothing to do with dogma, and a "potential problem" if the racism doesn't exist yet.  St. Paul chastised St. Peter over his refusal to sit with Gentiles in the presence of Jews, and that's a problem.  But mere ecclesiological divides in the same territory without the baggage of racism or cultural criticisms should not be considered "heresy" (St. Paul after all was dubbed the Apostle to the Gentiles, so it shouldn't be "heresy"), and OOs are very welcoming to new dioceses overlapping with their own dioceses especially on this regard.

I'd agree that the 19th century ruling on 'phyletism is heresy' was problematic in large part because it's confused the discussion ever since. Constantinople's actual objection to the Bulgarian's establishing parishes in Constantinople was that it violated the very ancient principle (it can be seen in St. Ignatius' letters and is embodied in the canons of the Ecumenical council), that all the Christians in a given area (city for Ignatius, diocese in later terminology) formed one church with the local bishop as the supreme ecclesiastical authority--and that no one, either internally or coming in from outside, should be doing anything within that local church without the bishop.

The Bulgarians tried to justify their violation of this principle on the basis that they were just 'taking care of their own', and it was this justification which led Constantinople to its condemnation of 'phyletism'--a condemnation which in it's broad outline I don't think anyone actually objects to (i.e., if a Copt showed up at an Armenian parish and was told 'no, you can't receive the sacraments here because you are not Armenian' or, vice-versa, if the Copt refused to go to Ethiopian parish simply because he didn't want to receive the sacraments from a 'black person', I presume everyone would consider that wrong). But it was overkill in that they could have just focused on the violation of (EO) canonical norms. Labeling it heresy has muddled the conversation ever since.
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« Reply #34 on: January 29, 2012, 03:21:53 PM »

The problem with EO's in my opinion also is that at a certain point, it was considered a "heresy."  I wouldn't jump the gun to call it a heresy, but I would say an "ecclesiological problem," especially if this is leads to a form of some sort of racism or cultural divide over issues that have nothing to do with dogma, and a "potential problem" if the racism doesn't exist yet.  St. Paul chastised St. Peter over his refusal to sit with Gentiles in the presence of Jews, and that's a problem.  But mere ecclesiological divides in the same territory without the baggage of racism or cultural criticisms should not be considered "heresy" (St. Paul after all was dubbed the Apostle to the Gentiles, so it shouldn't be "heresy"), and OOs are very welcoming to new dioceses overlapping with their own dioceses especially on this regard.

II canon of Constantinople I.

Yes, we all know about the canon Michal.  But the third century did not have anything called the United States of America, where it accepts immigrants into their lands.  Today, the Orthodox Church in the US is primarily an immigrant Church, not the evangelical missionary it was in the third century.  Read Jonathan's post earlier.  There was no such think as the Jewish Orthodox Church of Egypt for instance.  St. Mark established the Church of Egypt.  Today, the immigrants came establishing Greek Churches, Russian Churches, Coptic Churches of America, which is a very new situation and requires a new 21st Century canon to deal with it.  The old canon in Constantinople is obsolete and only deals with already established churches.

Today, we need a canon that can also condemn the idea of turfism, and reestablish a sense of making a new mission-centered Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #35 on: January 29, 2012, 03:25:53 PM »

The problem with EO's in my opinion also is that at a certain point, it was considered a "heresy."  I wouldn't jump the gun to call it a heresy, but I would say an "ecclesiological problem," especially if this is leads to a form of some sort of racism or cultural divide over issues that have nothing to do with dogma, and a "potential problem" if the racism doesn't exist yet.  St. Paul chastised St. Peter over his refusal to sit with Gentiles in the presence of Jews, and that's a problem.  But mere ecclesiological divides in the same territory without the baggage of racism or cultural criticisms should not be considered "heresy" (St. Paul after all was dubbed the Apostle to the Gentiles, so it shouldn't be "heresy"), and OOs are very welcoming to new dioceses overlapping with their own dioceses especially on this regard.

I'd agree that the 19th century ruling on 'phyletism is heresy' was problematic in large part because it's confused the discussion ever since. Constantinople's actual objection to the Bulgarian's establishing parishes in Constantinople was that it violated the very ancient principle (it can be seen in St. Ignatius' letters and is embodied in the canons of the Ecumenical council), that all the Christians in a given area (city for Ignatius, diocese in later terminology) formed one church with the local bishop as the supreme ecclesiastical authority--and that no one, either internally or coming in from outside, should be doing anything within that local church without the bishop.

The Bulgarians tried to justify their violation of this principle on the basis that they were just 'taking care of their own', and it was this justification which led Constantinople to its condemnation of 'phyletism'--a condemnation which in it's broad outline I don't think anyone actually objects to (i.e., if a Copt showed up at an Armenian parish and was told 'no, you can't receive the sacraments here because you are not Armenian' or, vice-versa, if the Copt refused to go to Ethiopian parish simply because he didn't want to receive the sacraments from a 'black person', I presume everyone would consider that wrong). But it was overkill in that they could have just focused on the violation of (EO) canonical norms. Labeling it heresy has muddled the conversation ever since.


I think the reason it was declared heresy, though, is that the Bulgarians actions were - if I'm not mistaken - based in the idea that the Church of Bulgaria was really the Bulgarian Church.  That may not seem like a difference, but I think that the first form shows a belief that the hierarchy in Bulgaria is the Church, within Bulgaria.  The second form shows a belief that the hierarchy in Bulgaria is the Church of Bulgarians, and naturally this would lead to a belief that the Church of Greece is really for Greeks and that of Russia is really for Russians, which lead the Bulgarians to establish parishes within the boundaries of another synod.  The action itself was a violation of canonical norms, and the Church could have dealt just with the action.  However, the reason for the action was heretical, and so the Church chose to deal with that, in the hopes of preventing the actions from recurring elsewhere.
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« Reply #36 on: January 29, 2012, 03:27:33 PM »

Because that's not how it works? "Syriac Rite parishes"? The COC is not the RCC.

Why exactly should they have to do that, anyway? I believe that Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas is the legitimate Patriarch of Antioch. Do I then need to become Syriac Orthodox if I'm going to live in Damascus? Huh

In my humble opinion, yes.  Why not learn about the Syriac Orthodox church and her traditions?  Bask in the ambiance of her glory and liturgies, rather than seek your own desires.  Assimilate with the country your are moving in, but maintain your Orthodoxy.  We need to be reminded, it's more important to be Orthodox than to be Coptic or Syriac.  If you have this in mind, then you should also go with the desire and the need not to create a separate church of the same faith, but join the Church that you are already part of and learn from her.  There's no need to have another church.
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If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
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« Reply #37 on: January 29, 2012, 03:29:09 PM »

Yes, we all know about the canon Michal.  But the third century did not have anything called the United States of America, where it accepts immigrants into their lands.  

But they have Rome, Alexandria or Antioch which gathered hundreds of thousands of people from different areas. The common Pascha date was set because Christians of different ethnicities celebrated it on different dates at the same place.
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« Reply #38 on: January 29, 2012, 03:31:21 PM »

Because that's not how it works? "Syriac Rite parishes"? The COC is not the RCC.

Why exactly should they have to do that, anyway? I believe that Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas is the legitimate Patriarch of Antioch. Do I then need to become Syriac Orthodox if I'm going to live in Damascus? Huh

In my humble opinion, yes.  Why not learn about the Syriac Orthodox church and her traditions?  Bask in the ambiance of her glory and liturgies, rather than seek your own desires.  Assimilate with the country your are moving in, but maintain your Orthodoxy.  We need to be reminded, it's more important to be Orthodox than to be Coptic or Syriac.  If you have this in mind, then you should also go with the desire and the need not to create a separate church of the same faith, but join the Church that you are already part of and learn from her.  There's no need to have another church.

Well said Mina.  I wish others felt that way here in the States.
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« Reply #39 on: January 29, 2012, 03:31:51 PM »

I do think the Armenian and Syriac parishes in Egypt are a problem, because some Copts join them in order to get divorced. That's just absurd. And if Armenians Syriacs recognize Pope Shenouda as the legitimate Patriarch of Alexandria, why dont they just become Armanian and Syriac rite parishes under his jurisdiction?

I think that is a problem that needs to be addressed.  People have unfortunately taken advantage of STATE law that the Syriac and Armenian Orthodox churches are registered under Egyptian law as different religions, and therefore if divorce is allowed there, indeed many Copts (who are absolutely not religious) have joined these other churches just to get divorces.  I agree with you completely this needs to be addressed, as people are side-stepping the laws of their own Church to fulfill their own carnal desires.  I can go even further to say that this can be grounds for excommunication for anyone who does this, and for any clergy who encourages it.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2012, 03:33:28 PM by minasoliman » Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for \\\"unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.\\\" (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
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« Reply #40 on: January 29, 2012, 03:38:19 PM »

Because that's not how it works? "Syriac Rite parishes"? The COC is not the RCC.

Why exactly should they have to do that, anyway? I believe that Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas is the legitimate Patriarch of Antioch. Do I then need to become Syriac Orthodox if I'm going to live in Damascus? Huh

Yes, normally, historically, when one was travelling to another region, they would commune with the Orthodox Church there, not set up their home country's Orthodox Church, as if it were a different Church, in the destination country. If a substantial group of people go to another country, then they might set up their own rite their for that community, as the Armenians did in Rome in the early centuries... But they would be under the local bishop's authority, not the authority of their bishop back home. One bishop cannot function in another bishop's diocese except by invitation.
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« Reply #41 on: January 29, 2012, 03:40:17 PM »

For converts such as myself, there can be the similar situation to "jump jurisdictions" here in the States if the one you are in has rules that one might find uncomfortable.  I can see a situation where an EO in say the Greek Archdiocese might switch to the Antiochian if it were easier to get an ecclesiastical divorce.  I don't know if that is actually the case with those Churches, just making the point that with all these jurisdictions the temptation exists to "shop around" for the one that the individual feels best meets his "needs".

I have a friend who has considered going to ROCOR because he likes the stricter communion requirements and he actually wants epitimias applied when he goes to confession.  He doesn't think the Serbian Church is "strict" enough.
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« Reply #42 on: January 29, 2012, 03:40:49 PM »

Yes, we all know about the canon Michal.  But the third century did not have anything called the United States of America, where it accepts immigrants into their lands.  

But they have Rome, Alexandria or Antioch which gathered hundreds of thousands of people from different areas. The common Pascha date was set because Christians of different ethnicities celebrated it on different dates at the same place.

You can't compare Rome, Alexandria, or Antioch to Washington DC, New York, or Los Angeles.  The United States of America is not the Roman Empire.  Notice how these canons came about forcefully under the new Christian Roman Empire.  We do not have that situation now.  We're not under one world empire to be able to make that sort of organization.  Therefore, you have to look at how the canons were presented in the cultural and political context of that time.  There has to be a pastoral approach to the people that work here in the US, because they won't be able to get the same privileges as they do let's say in Russia or Ukraine or Georgia.
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Vain existence can never exist, for \\\"unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.\\\" (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
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« Reply #43 on: January 29, 2012, 03:41:53 PM »

You can't compare Rome, Alexandria, or Antioch to Washington DC, New York, or Los Angeles.  The United States of America is not the Roman Empire.  Notice how these canons came about forcefully under the new Christian Roman Empire.  We do not have that situation now.  We're not under one world empire to be able to make that sort of organization.  Therefore, you have to look at how the canons were presented in the cultural and political context of that time.  There has to be a pastoral approach to the people that work here in the US, because they won't be able to get the same privileges as they do let's say in Russia or Ukraine or Georgia.

What is the difference?
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minasoliman
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« Reply #44 on: January 29, 2012, 03:54:33 PM »

You can't compare Rome, Alexandria, or Antioch to Washington DC, New York, or Los Angeles.  The United States of America is not the Roman Empire.  Notice how these canons came about forcefully under the new Christian Roman Empire.  We do not have that situation now.  We're not under one world empire to be able to make that sort of organization.  Therefore, you have to look at how the canons were presented in the cultural and political context of that time.  There has to be a pastoral approach to the people that work here in the US, because they won't be able to get the same privileges as they do let's say in Russia or Ukraine or Georgia.

What is the difference?

Well, the Roman Empire for one thing encompassed Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch, and was governed in harmony with Orthodox Church canons and traditions.

The United States, Canada, Europe, are all different nations with different laws, different cultures, governed differently, and may lead others to not be able to follow the Orthodox Church's canons and feast days.
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Vain existence can never exist, for \\\"unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.\\\" (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
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