Author Topic: Phyletism and how to proactively deal with it.  (Read 609 times)

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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Phyletism and how to proactively deal with it.
« on: September 05, 2012, 01:18:33 PM »
Phyletism, or placing one's ethnic identity above the Orthodox Faith, was concemned as a heresy in the 1860's.  But even so, it seems as though it's still a problem.  For example, is identifying with Russian, Romanian, Greek, etc,... a form of phyletism, or simply jurisdictional?  If not, can it?  How can we approach the issue? 
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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Phyletism and how to proactively deal with it.
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2012, 01:29:24 PM »

This situation is unique to the U.S. because the country is comprised of people from all areas of the world, bringing with them their customs and languages.

Therefore, to my understanding the Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian, etc...churches are not dealing with phyletism as much as catering to the needs of their faithful.

IF said church barred entry to someone not of their "national" heritage then this would be a different story altogether.
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Offline 88Devin12

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Re: Phyletism and how to proactively deal with it.
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2012, 01:32:44 PM »
Phyletism, or placing one's ethnic identity above the Orthodox Faith, was concemned as a heresy in the 1860's.  But even so, it seems as though it's still a problem.  For example, is identifying with Russian, Romanian, Greek, etc,... a form of phyletism, or simply jurisdictional?  If not, can it?  How can we approach the issue? 

I don't think anything is wrong with identifying with one's own ethnicity. Phyletism enters into play when you let your ethnicity stand in the way of your religious faith or your communion with other Orthodox Christians (and other humans in general).

If one wants a service in their native language, or wants a festival, or wants to preserve their culture, I don't think that is phyletism.
However, if someone wants their own specific parish completely separated from the others because of ethnicity; then that is a problem. If they don't want to welcome outsiders, or even interact with outsiders due to their ethnicity, then that is phyletism.

Offline Gorazd

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Re: Phyletism and how to proactively deal with it.
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2012, 02:07:04 PM »

This situation is unique to the U.S. because the country is comprised of people from all areas of the world, bringing with them their customs and languages.
Oh, there are many countries, where the Orthodox Church is in a similar situation.

Offline Orest

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Re: Phyletism and how to proactively deal with it.
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2012, 02:30:15 PM »
Phyletism, or placing one's ethnic identity above the Orthodox Faith, was concemned as a heresy in the 1860's.  But even so, it seems as though it's still a problem.  For example, is identifying with Russian, Romanian, Greek, etc,... a form of phyletism, or simply jurisdictional?  If not, can it?  How can we approach the issue? 
Let's go back to the 1860's please.  Was the issue really about the EP loosing control in the Ottoman Empire which was shrinking?  The Greeks left and formed their own independent country after being oppressed both religiously and culturally for centuries.  What about the rest of the peoples in the Balkans that wanted out of the Ottoman Empire.  See what happenes to the power of the EP?

Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: Phyletism and how to proactively deal with it.
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2012, 03:41:43 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Culture should be embraced, ethnicity should be celebrated, but chauvinism is wrong in any instance.  There are also shades of grey.  For example, the Ethiopian Church gets accused of phyletism but many times it is precisely the opposite, the emphasis on cultural and linguistic aspects of the Ethiopian jurisdiction were not intended to elevate one ethnic group in Ethiopia above another, rather like Latin in Europe was to serve as common denominator and bridge.  

Amharic and Ge'ez as languages and other cultural aspects of the Ethiopian Church are organized and centralized to encourage a more Universal approach to the Church, which can embrace more peoples under single banner.  Amharic or Ge'ez is not the language of all Ethiopians, but they are the languages of the Ethiopian Church.  The cultural aspects of the Church (which are not exclusive Amharic, rather a syncretic blend of Tigreyan, Amhara, Agew, and Shewan-Oromo cultural) are intended to offer a universal platform and commonality to the Chuch, rather then to encourage an increasingly splintering of ethnic Christianity.  Today the Ethiopian government has been experimenting with the concept of Ethnic federalism, which has proved largely a disaster.  Thankfully in practice the Ethiopian Church has essentially been the opposite. Yes, many folks have accused the Church of chauvinism or even Phyletism, but these are just hating.  The Church has done her best to alleviate these matters in a way which is mutually beneficial to ALL parties involved.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 03:42:43 PM by HabteSelassie »
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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Phyletism and how to proactively deal with it.
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2012, 05:05:38 PM »

This situation is unique to the U.S. because the country is comprised of people from all areas of the world, bringing with them their customs and languages.
Oh, there are many countries, where the Orthodox Church is in a similar situation.

Ukraine comes to mind - in the Uzhorod district for example, you can run into parishes that follow the Rusyn practice ,the Ukrainian practice and even the Russian practice (primarily regarding chant and certain folk customs...of each group) - within one jurisdiction even! I suspect that you might run into a Romanian parish in that region as well. I would not call this 'phyletism' but rather a prudent ministering to the needs of the particular congregation - not unlike the situation here in the USA.

« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 05:07:37 PM by podkarpatska »

Offline mike

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Re: Phyletism and how to proactively deal with it.
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2012, 05:11:11 PM »
Ukraine comes to mind - in the Uzhorod district for example, you can run into parishes that follow the Rusyn practice ,the Ukrainian practice and even the Russian practice (primarily regarding chant and certain folk customs...of each group) - within one jurisdiction even! I suspect that you might run into a Romanian parish in that region as well. I would not call this 'phyletism' but rather a prudent ministering to the needs of the particular congregation - not unlike the situation here in the USA.

In Wrocław there are two parishes:

- one is Old Callendar and the services are in Ukrainian
- second one is New Calendar and the services are in Polish

And they occupy the same building.
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