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Author Topic: America's Jurisdictional Problem  (Read 300 times) Average Rating: 0
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JamesR
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« on: September 14, 2014, 04:54:26 PM »

I've probably asked this before but I don't remember how it ended. Regardless, here it is again.

On the subject of America's jurisdictional issue, why don't all of the jurisdictions just merge together into one huge jurisdiction? And instead of a Patriarch, it could have a Holy Synod composed of high-ranking Metropolitans from each of the former jurisdictions. And in the case of two or more Bishops' territories overlapping, we could merge them into local Synods.

Wouldn't this be the obvious solution to the problem?
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« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2014, 07:35:44 PM »

Not sure what His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch would think of that. Undecided  I have been with the Greek Orthodox Church under His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch, and I have never asked my priest or any in my parish would they would think of a unified jurisdiction. police  Perhaps I should ask them.
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« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2014, 07:49:31 PM »

There is no problem.
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2014, 08:10:28 PM »

Besides the reasons that could be given if you're cynical (church politics, want of power, etc.), there are many practical issues relating to pay and benefits, laws/rules about parish governance and ownership and such, questions about resources/finances/personnel as it relates to a dozen different ministries/programs for a half dozen or more jurisdictions, resolving or agreeing when it comes to existing money/debt issues/responsibilities, agreeing on a budget for the future, fixing a vision/plan for how they want things to go, taking care of concerns other Orthodox around the world have about trying to finalize such a move, deciding what the best way to divide things are (do you create dioceses according to population, geographical size, particular attributes of a majority in the proposed diocese, etc.; among other factors, such as whether the the diocese would be able to support itself properly), merging/communicating legal and other necessities, deciding on unified regulations related to conduct, figuring out what to do about ethnicity and language, and so on. You can't just throw everything in a pot and hope it works out.

Having said that, the jurisdictional problem is probably one of the biggest non-issues in Orthodoxy today.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 08:12:30 PM by Justin Kissel » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2014, 08:19:59 PM »

Having the Orthodox keep the fasts is a bigger one.  Wink
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« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2014, 08:34:24 PM »

Besides the reasons that could be given if you're cynical (church politics, want of power, etc.), there are many practical issues relating to pay and benefits, laws/rules about parish governance and ownership and such, questions about resources/finances/personnel as it relates to a dozen different ministries/programs for a half dozen or more jurisdictions, resolving or agreeing when it comes to existing money/debt issues/responsibilities, agreeing on a budget for the future, fixing a vision/plan for how they want things to go, taking care of concerns other Orthodox around the world have about trying to finalize such a move, deciding what the best way to divide things are (do you create dioceses according to population, geographical size, particular attributes of a majority in the proposed diocese, etc.; among other factors, such as whether the the diocese would be able to support itself properly), merging/communicating legal and other necessities, deciding on unified regulations related to conduct, figuring out what to do about ethnicity and language, and so on. You can't just throw everything in a pot and hope it works out.

Having said that, the jurisdictional problem is probably one of the biggest non-issues in Orthodoxy today.

I agree. The biggest practical problem in my view is not in areas where long established parishes overlap, but in areas where missions are planted. The existing hierarchy of all jurisdictions have to stop competing by allocating scare resources in competing missions in the same communities.
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« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2014, 08:40:41 PM »

^And also with EO bishops of different jurisdictions in the same city.  Frankly, I really think all the jurisdiction talk and unity talk is a solution in search of a problem.  I know I'm in the minority, but I really don't care.
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« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2014, 09:12:41 PM »

I know I'm not EO, so my opinion matters nil, but whenever I read these threads about how overlapping jurisdictions are inherently this gigantic problem for you guys, I can't help but think that while it might not be an ideal situation, canonically speaking, if people in one part of the city go to the Greek church and others to the Serbian church elsewhere (or whatever), then shouldn't it be a blessing that they're actually going to church? So long as the same faith is preached and the same cup shared by any who attend (so as to prevent developing into a situation of phyletism, where non-______s are not welcome), I would think the issue is rather overblown.

The point about setting up missions in places that already have established churches is a good one, though.
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« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2014, 09:23:17 PM »

^And also with EO bishops of different jurisdictions in the same city.  Frankly, I really think all the jurisdiction talk and unity talk is a solution in search of a problem.  I know I'm in the minority, but I really don't care.
I agree with you.

Here in Southern California, we have quite a few Pan-Orthodox parishes. Some are Antiochian, others are Greek, while a few are OCA. Their parishioners come in all flavors including Serbs, Romanians, and even Old Believers. Go figure. And the parish survives. During an OCA Pan-Orthodox Divine Liturgy, I saw a full Greek or Antiochian procession around the nave of the Church at the Cherubic Hymn rather than the abbreviated Russian one only at the Solea. The Epistle was read in two languages, one following the other. The Nicene Creed was likewise read/sung in at least two languages, as was the Lord's Prayer. Different hymns in the Divine Liturgy were sung in different languages.

Usually they had a rotational basis: 1st Sunday would be largely in Greek with some English (like most Greek parishes). 2nd Sunday would be sung largely in English with some Slavonic (like most OCA parishes). 3rd Sunday would be sung largely in Arabic with some English and Greek (like many Antiochian parishes). 4th Sunday would be sung largely in English with some Serbian/Slavonic chants. And the 5th Sunday would be up for grabs.
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« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2014, 10:12:03 PM »

Can somebody remove the green color from my post?  I forgot that it is an official color.
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« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2014, 10:13:44 PM »

I know I'm not EO, so my opinion matters nil, but whenever I read these threads about how overlapping jurisdictions are inherently this gigantic problem for you guys, I can't help but think that while it might not be an ideal situation, canonically speaking, if people in one part of the city go to the Greek church and others to the Serbian church elsewhere (or whatever), then shouldn't it be a blessing that they're actually going to church? So long as the same faith is preached and the same cup shared by any who attend (so as to prevent developing into a situation of phyletism, where non-______s are not welcome), I would think the issue is rather overblown.

The point about setting up missions in places that already have established churches is a good one, though.

I agree.  The jurisdictional "crisis", as some label it, may not be in accord with the canons, especially with the overlapping domains of bishops and that can pose other issues. Be that as it may, why shouldn't Serbs attend a Serbian church if they want to?  Same with Greeks or Russians or what have you?  I know several Greeks that come to the Antiochian Church. I know several Russians who go to the Greek Church. I know a couple of Romanians, some of whom go to the Greek Church and others go to the Serb Church.  Why everything has to be pan-Orthodox is beyond me and inclusive of every possible variable tradition out there is beyond me.  If you want Greek, go to a Greek Church. DOn't like it; go somewhere else.  You're lucky that here in America, you have that possibility.  I don't know of any Orthodox in Russia who has the option of going to a Greek church.
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« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2014, 11:34:48 PM »

I think it would butt heads with control, money, and culture.   A well tithing church would be tough for a bishop to just give up - along with poor tithing churches as part of the embodiment.

If this EVER changes, it would probably have to be from the ground up.  It's the only way I can imagine it.  Let the parishes and priests start congregating around certain bishops  Try to leave it where only a small group of bishops exist (with actual churches).   Leave churches if needs be (yeah right!).   

Either way it's a cold move really.   I just don't imagine it happening.

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« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2014, 09:47:53 AM »

And I'll say it...the elephant in the room is obvious....if the parishes with which I am familiar are any indicator, I can not envision how a geographical bishop and chancery will be grudgingly accepted (forget about enthusiastically) if imposed from the top down. Those who prefer basil and feta are not likely to embrace the scent of borscht and cabbage and so on... Nor do I have any degree of confidence that ALL bishops would follow any agreed upon Synodal protocol regarding respect for historic culturally or regionally based variations in rubric, language or (t)raditions. Most likely would, but experience teaches the informed cleric and lay person that prior clerical behavior is not always a predictor of what occurs upon one's wearing a crown and omophor.  The first widely reported instance of such episcopal behavior will shake any reorganized American Synod to its foundations.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2014, 09:49:54 AM by podkarpatska » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2014, 09:58:39 AM »

I know I'm not EO, so my opinion matters nil, but whenever I read these threads about how overlapping jurisdictions are inherently this gigantic problem for you guys, I can't help but think that while it might not be an ideal situation, canonically speaking, if people in one part of the city go to the Greek church and others to the Serbian church elsewhere (or whatever), then shouldn't it be a blessing that they're actually going to church? So long as the same faith is preached and the same cup shared by any who attend (so as to prevent developing into a situation of phyletism, where non-______s are not welcome), I would think the issue is rather overblown.

The point about setting up missions in places that already have established churches is a good one, though.
Well, obviously, the most important thing is that people are going to church, but with a unified jurisdiction, you would have greater capacity for coordination and more effective management of resources. I don't think it is something that is vital for the future of the Church in America, but the smaller the Church is, the easier it is to unify. The larger it gets, the more moving parts there are to pull together.
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« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2014, 10:28:40 AM »

I've probably asked this before but I don't remember how it ended. Regardless, here it is again.

On the subject of America's jurisdictional issue, why don't all of the jurisdictions just merge together into one huge jurisdiction? And instead of a Patriarch, it could have a Holy Synod composed of high-ranking Metropolitans from each of the former jurisdictions. And in the case of two or more Bishops' territories overlapping, we could merge them into local Synods.

Wouldn't this be the obvious solution to the problem?

James,

I believe that the concept of the Episcopal Assembly is to give a step towards that.

In the Church changes occur very slowly. Even "yesterday" these bishops would barely acknowledge each other.

There are the pragmatical challenges mentioned above, the "cynical" reasons as well, they are all true to some degree or another.

I believe that if everything goes well with the Episcopal Assemblies, in some decades they may turn into actual synods and, again, I suspect that is the very idea of the thing.

-----

I would just add as an obstacle along with the pragmatic and cynical reasons, what seems to me the fact that Orthodox leaders tend to be suspicious or even averse to the concept of learning and applying best management practices.

The concept that we might have to *learn* how to be leaders and to manage the institutional aspects of the Church seems to be equated to "not trust the Holy Spirit" or to "sell out" to the spirit of secularism. We count basically on born-talents and on what some call "heroic leadership". The former is ok but not enough and the problems with the latter are plenty as the literature on the subject shows. Check this and this and this and this to understand it better.

There are studies on public management, private management, NGO management, but you don't see Ecclesiastical Management. It would learn from all those fields and adapt to the reality and needs of the Church.

In my personal opinion several of our problems, even some that look from the outside to be spiritual are actually a skills and knowledge problem. From financial to people mismanagement, from bad allocation of resources to excessive dependency of state,  they all have this very prosaic source: we are very poor administrators and resistant to learn the skills that are necessary to manage such a large institution.

That is what amazes me the most: that people discuss changing pastoral practices, calendars etc etc when just a mustard seed of humility to get management education and practice could help far more to actually make what we have work far more effectively.

Maybe part of the problem is the moose on the table we don't talk about: spiritual and institutional leadership are not the same thing. Only rarely a person has each, even more rarely both. And the role of the bishop although obviously spiritual, in practice it is primarily institutional. In our current historical situation, it's priests and monks who take a closer relationship with the faithful and could have less to none institutional leadership skills (for parish priests and monks respectively).

Frankly, in our contemporary context, the very first thing I expect from a bishop is not that he is a spiritual father, but that he is an enabler of institutional solidity and fruitfulness. In that role, the traditional role of overseer of orthodox doctrine is implied.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2014, 10:36:09 AM by Fabio Leite » Logged

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