I agree than if/when all the Orthodox Christians in America are united, then they must form a new American Orthodox Church; let each parish determine the language(s) and customs per the needs of the congregants. As I stated in my original post, at my pan-ethnic church, languages other than English have been added or deleted to/from the services depending upon the needs of the parishioners. Where I live, there is a large hispanic population, and if we are ever successful in attracting some into our church, then we'll be adding SpanishI personally dont think we will ever have a church structure like the other jurisdictions. There is simply too much money, too much property, and too much investment to simply walk away from. Nobody, not the EP, MP, Antioch, or anyone else will do that.
I'm beginning the think that American Orthodoxy will look more like a corporate body of sorts.
See, I don't really understand this sort of attitude.
If people took a little time to read more into the Assembly, to listen to the interviews with each bishop:
As well as if more read about the decree from Chambesy, they would understand that this has been mandated. Membership in the Assembly is not optional, it is required. Also, it has been required by our mother churches that we come up with a plan for jurisdictional unity by the time of the Pan-Orthodox Council. It isn't that we "should" have a plan, or that they just would like us to have a plan, it is that we absolutely have to have a plan. This is the same for every other part of the world in the same situation (like South & Central America, Western Europe, Asia, Australia and parts of Africa).
This isn't like Ligonier or SCOBA, where they want to do this voluntarily and nothing has to get done. This is not an option for our Bishops, it is something that has to be done, or I'm sure we could expect a form of discipline like excommunication for not doing it.
I interpreted Primuspilus' remark differently. I thought "looking like a corporate body" meant that we could be a collection of divisions, like General Motors used to be. Let the folks select the flavor they want; don't force it down their throats.
Give you an example: Austin, Texas. There was but one Orthodox Church when I arrived there in 1977; Saint Elias of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese (AOCA), a pan-Orthodox parish that had been founded in the 1930s by Lebanese and Syrian immigrants. Out of this church came five churches: one Greek, two AOCA, one Serbian, and one Romanian (mission still meeting at St Elias). There are also additional Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches in the metro area. As far as I can tell, all the clergy and congregants are happy that there are more churches rather than less. For one thing, it gives folks a choice and for another the increased number itself is an outreach tool. The Austin experience is similar to the well known business phenomenon: when two same businesses are located near each other, instead of splitting the customers, they each get more than they had originally.
I think that this approach can work for the foreseeable future and, as long as there is no push to force everybody to standardize 100%, I think you will have a natural growth of a distinct indigenous American church, which will be yet another flavor among many. I find that prospect thrilling: who likes to go to an ice cream shop that has only chocolate, vanilla and strawberry only?
I see I misread what he was saying now that I go back and read it.
However I think I still disagree with what he was saying. Phyletism is a heresy and whatever our final structure is, there cannot be a difference between our churches. Parishes could and should be able to keep certain aspects of their liturgical traditions. However the parishes located in the same region should be under the same Bishop. A parish, if it were Antiochian before, would simply become Orthodox and while it may be a little more Byzantine in liturgical "flavor" and use some Arabic, there should be nothing separating it from the others.
Take Kansas City for example. We have two Greek parishes, St. Dionysios and Annuncation. We also have three Serbian parishes: St. George, St. Mary of Egypt & St. Michaels. Two OCA parishes: St. James (currently with St. Michaels) and Holy Trinity. One ROCOR: Holy Protection. One Antiochian: St. Basil.
All of these parishes meet together for the Sunday of Orthodoxy, and the events or mission-work from each parish is promoted in the other parishes (both in announcements and bulletins). While relations haven't always been perfect, I think they've been pretty good the last few years. OCA priests help at St. Mary's and St. Michael's Serbian Churches. An OCA priest was also temporarily given to Annunciation Greek Church after it's last parish reposed and they waited for a new Priest from Denver.
Once jurisdictional unity is reached, each one of these parishes should have their designations dropped. So instead of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church and St. George Serbian Orthodox Church. They would simply be St. Dionysios Orthodox Church, Annunciation Orthodox Church, St. George Orthodox Church. They could retain the liturgical traditions unique to each one's background (like Byzantine or Russian/Slavic) and can use the languages respective to their own tradition. But other than that, I don't think we should give any parish any room to separate themselves from the others.
In the past, America had parishes that were multi-ethnic, Greek and Russian, Russian and Lebanese, or such... Eventually these split into their own unique parishes. This was simply wrong to do, because as Orthodox, our church is not based on ethnic identity and in fact, such is the heresy of phyletism. But God always uses the sins of men to bring about the salvation of others. In this case, while it was sinful for us to split along ethnic lines, it (as you say) gives us more parishes.
In the future, parishes should not be created based on ethnic identity, but simply to spread the gospel. They should be created as missionary work or be placed were Orthodox Christians have no parish.
Orthodoxy isn't the rest of Christianity, we aren't cafeteria Christianity. Our unique situation currently of being able to "pick and choose" is not the Orthodox way. Laity belong to the diocese, and are free to attend any parish. But traditionally, you attend the parish which is closest to you, not the parish that has your unique ethnic identity. It is also wrong to leave a parish simply because you are upset at people within that parish, upset at the Priest, or simply don't like how they do things. That is not Orthodoxy.
We should not have separate Bishops or Diocese for each unique ethnicity. If you read about Constantinople 1872, it was precisely this that was condemned as phyletism.