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.
But wouldn't it make more sense to have an American Orthodox Church, and a Canadian Orthodox Church, each serving the various ethnicities with their needs in terms of language and rites, but uniformly, as one synod, deciding how to apply canons to issues like divorce, dates of feasts, etc., rather than having separate churches each coming to sometimes conflicting decisions, often decided by synods overseas in a different culture?
It is without a doubt my biggest desire that there be an American Orthodox Church, a Canadian Orthodox Church, etc. I wish I can live long enough to see that day and call myself an American Orthodox Christian. But that day is hard to come by specifically because of the present situation. So at least we have to deal with the present situation until we can clean house. One way of doing this is to perhaps pass a canon that will disallow a new bishop being appointed to a certain diocese once that bishop dies while the other bishop of a sister church is still alive. But of course, when will a canon like that be passed if bishops are always about keeping their turf?
I guess I just find it frustrating because it seems like we should be able to accomplish this so much easier than the EO since we have been here far last time, have fewer parishes, are less established, and have fewer jurisdictions. I know it will never happen, but it just seem so easy.
There are only 5 Coptic bishops in North America (one of whom is ethnically Eritrian and serves their flock). not two many years ago it was only 2 or three. How many bishops do the other OO groups have?
It seems to me (as an outsider since I'm a convert and have no ethnic stake in this, but probably a wrong impression since I don't have good knowledge of the other OO groups), that the OO Church in North America should be a daughter Church of the Coptic Church, just like the Ethiopian and Eritrean Churches were until recently. Not to exclude the other groups, but since the Coptic Church was, to my knowledge, the first OO group to become widely established here. Rather than the bishops here being part of the Coptic Synod, they should simply be reassigned to be a North American Synod, and the bishops of the other OO groups should be folded into that synod. The diocean boarders would have to be redrawn to properly divide up the continent between the existing bishops. The Church is not mature enough to be independent, but the Metropolitan bishop should be appointed by the Coptic Church, like the Ethiopian Aboune was until recently. The rite of the land should be Coptic, just like the rite in Ethiopia was Coptic for centuries until it was adapted to the Ethiopian culture and became its own rite. The language should be English, the language of the land. At the same time, parishes serving Arabic, Armenian, Ethopian, even Spanish needs could be established (and maintained since they exist now), using the rite familiar to the people at the congregation. Such parishes would be under the jurisdiction of the local bishop, regardless of their ethnicity, but that bishop would of course request support for that parish from a fellow bishop of that ethnicity.
It's not such a huge change. Most of the parishes remain unchanged, who they report to just changes. A few bishops get moved around, but we're talking about a handful of bishops that need to work things out, not huge councils. The new English/Canadian/American parishes that are emerging could be properly guided at the episcopal level into a harmonious emerging tradition, rather than each doing their own thing. We could start acting like one Church, and have the resources to accomplish things, rather than having a Coptic school that gets closed down without enough people, ignoring the rest of the Church.
This is almost what is happening in England. Abba Seraphim, the Metropolitan of the British Church, is the senior bishop of the Coptic bishops there, and has the authority to establish a British synod. The only problems are that the Copts still generally ignore them and hold conventions in H.E.'s diocese without even sending an invitation; that the British Church is considered a diocese that overlaps the Coptic diocese, and that there is no integration with other OO groups. A far cry from proper, but a lot closer than the situation we have in NA.
I know we're just going to continue as we are, because most Copts really believe that the Coptic Orthodox Church is their Church, and don't realize that it isn't even a Church, that the Orthodox Church is the Church, and that the Patriarch of Alexandria has no canonical place outside of Africa. I know we'll continue to ignore each other, act like we're separate denominations, contradict each other, duplicate resources, and probably all establish a variety of English mission experiments, many of which will drift outside of Orthodoxy (as already seems to be happening, with many Protestant-content youth publications arising from them).
But it just seems to frustratingly easy to accomplish if we would just realize who we are, that we hold something called the Orthodox faith, not this Coptic faith I keep hearing about.