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Author Topic: What Americans Don’t Understand About Orthodox Primacy  (Read 2068 times) Average Rating: 5
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FatherGiryus
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« on: February 02, 2014, 11:27:14 PM »


Well, most of us in the Ortho-sphere have noticed a lot of arguing about primacy in the Orthodox Church.  I think there is a profound misunderstanding, at least here in the English-speaking hemisphere, about what ‘primacy’ means in an Orthodox context versus what it means in our modern Anglophonic expectation of the concept.

For example, when we hear about ‘primacy,’ we Americans (perhaps others, but I am addressing an American audience) tend to think of ‘leadership’ in the terms of get out in front and direct things.  In the Orthodox world, primacy usually means something more like ‘final say’ or ‘end of the line.’  It is not so much of a trail-blazing position, but more like an anchor.

Here’s an example: numerous writers have discussed how Constantinople is variously involved or tasked with granting autocephaly.  Now, let’s look at the dates of those churches formed after the period of the Ecumenical Councils-

The Church of Russia is declared autocephalous in 1448, recognized by Constantinople in 1589.
The Church of Serbia is declared autocephalous in 1832, recognized by Constantinople in 1879.
The Church of Greece is declared autocephalous in 1833, recognized by Constantinople in 1850.
The Church of Romania is declared autocephalous in 1865, recognized by Constantinople in 1885.
The Church of Bulgaria is declared autocephalous in 1872, recognized by Constantinople in 1945.
The Church of Georgia is declared autocephalous (lost in 1811 due to Russian Imperial edict) in 1917, recognized by Constantinople in 1989.
The Church of Albania is declared autocephalous in 1922, recognized by Constantinople in 1937.
The Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia is declared autocephalous in 1951, recognized by Constantinople in 1998.
The Orthodox Church in America is declared autocephalous in 1971, and is still waiting.

Historically speaking, the OCA is right on schedule.  They probably should be a little concerned in about 100 years, given the wait other churches have had.
Constantinople, in none of these cases, was ‘out in front’ of the autocephaly movement.  We really do not see a pattern of Constantinopolitan bishops sitting down with a group of non-Greek bishops and saying, “Boys, you need to move out of the basement apartment and start living your own lives.”

I suppose we could chalk this up to Eastern culture.  Most Easterners require their children to live at home well into adulthood.  These days, more and more Americans are doing this, but not willingly… independence is expensive.  However, we Americans are far more open to the idea of independence than Easterners are (think about our history and all that it involved).  In fact, they distrust it.

So, it is not a surprise that we see so much ‘clinginess’ among the Eastern churches.  They don’t want to let go even when they really don’t have all that much in common anymore with the communities they are holding onto.  For them, it is unimaginable that anyone would want anything more than a room in one’s own parents’ home.

So, when it comes to Constantinople and the issue of autocephaly, their practical exercise of ‘primacy’ is largely about being the last holdout.  When Constantinople finally caves, everyone will know that there simply is no denying the reality of a local church’s autocephaly.

The same can be said of Constantinople hearing appeals.  They are the ‘last stop’ for those having problems with the Synod of another local church.  Primacy does not mean that Constantinople would, or ever has, ratified what local churches are deciding when there is no larger conflict.  They only hear cases that are brought to them when a local agreement seems impossible.

Even then, Constantinople’s primacy still requires cooperation from the other local churches.  When Constantinople broke communion with the Church of Greece in 2004 over the election of bishops in territories claimed by the former, the incident hardly had any effect on the world-wide Orthodox scene.

That’s because Constantinople can’t afford to alienate the entire community by demanding the world recognize all of its decisions when others simply don’t care.  It has no army or drones or weapons of mass destruction.  If it wants anything to happen, or its decisions to be recognized, it has to build consensus and get voluntary compliance.

However, given the fact that consensus-building and last-stop primacy are at opposite poles of the leadership-behavioral spectrum, we can see that Constantinople can accrue all kinds of wild titles and claims of supremacy without actually doing much of anything or having many responsibilities aside from when they are invited.
Even in territories that the Patriarchate of Constantinople claims direct authority over, we can see a rather lackadaisical attitude towards ‘leadership’ in the sense of the bishops coming out and guiding the people in a new direction.  In America, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is largely broken down into a number of long-extant, self-defining ethnic jurisdictions with only minimal interest in the outside world.  Missionary work?  Social programs?  Well, if you are talking about food festivals, the GOA indeed rules.

The GOA and its Patriarchal Mother don’t have a plan for the larger community.  Of course, this can be said of all the jurisdictions in the Americas, which are largely confined to ‘our people’ with the occasional acquisition of an ‘outsider’ to convince the kids that inevitable intermarriage does not meet total exclusion.  “We have converts… even convert bishops!” is hardly a plan.

We are abysmally parochial.  It is just a fact of life: other people are weird.  If we are all about trying to preserve our own weirdness, then other peoples’ weirdnesses will not be tolerated.

So, the local churches presently calling Constantinople the ‘Mother Church’ find that they have a nice, warm cocoon to keep their particular practices without any danger from the outside world and other influences.  That is, unwanted influences.  There are plenty of influences which are un- or sub-conscious.  After all, the average GOA parish is run nothing like its counterpart in the hills of Sparta or the coast of Chios.

That’s not to say that Orthodox laypeople are not doing absolutely wonderful things… they certainly are.  There are a whole host of local and national ministries that are serving not only the American community, but the entire world.  I want to emphasize that these ministries are largely the work of the people, even when they get their token bishop to show up for board meetings and add his name to the effort like a sponsor sticker on the side of a racecar.

With us clergy, no matter the size of the headgear, we usually only make a splash when it comes to self-promotion.  Mea culpa.

So, Constantinopolitan primacy is certainly not, if present patterns hold, about trying to manage local affairs and effecting big changes on the local level, because this type of ‘leadership’ is utterly foreign to Constantinople’s thinking.  They just don’t lead in that way.  They don’t even want to.

Another example of this ‘primacy’ can be seen in the recent start and apparent disintegration of the ‘Chambesy Assemblies’ (which looks much more impressive when you write Chambesy as ‘Chambésy’… and sounds even more inspiring when try say it with a French accent that sounds more like Gérard Depardieu than Inspector Clouseau) that have fallen apart with Antiochian withdrawal over Constantinople’s inability to settle a dispute between Antioch and Jerusalem.  The face-to-face negotiations between the two churches were hosted by… the Greek Foreign Ministry.  This should tell us a lot about how confident Constantinople is in its abilities to either lead or broker deals.

Constantinople called for the assemblies, got everyone into meeting rooms, formed a bunch of committees, and still can’t articulate a clear goal beyond something ‘better’ (insert you choice of wild hand gestures here).  Perhaps that is wise if you want to get everyone together at once, but now the problem is that everyone has brought their own meaning to the purpose.

To Bishop Basil (Essey) of Wichita, the purpose is the creation of an autocephalous American church.  Metropolitan Savvas (Zembillas) then says the exact opposite… autocephaly is off the table.  ROCOR agrees that it has giving nothing up, not to be outdone by the Bulgarians who have said much the same.  Confusion ensues. Ambiguity can sometimes be the best marketing strategy one can have to get a sale, but it stinks when it comes to ‘buyer’s remorse.’
Everyone agrees to be agreeable, while agreeing to nothing else.

So, what does this mean?  It means that whatever claims Constantinople makes, there is not much it can do without the cooperation of all.  It also means that if a local community wants something, then it should not wait around for ‘guiding leadership’ from Constantinople because it does not act in that manner. 

I could summarize the whole methodology in this way: a back-seat driver.  Sometimes it is helpful to get advice from the back seat, but that does not mean the person in the back seat is actually driving.  The person in the front seat is.  We can opt to listen or to ignore, but no matter what, it is the driver that must face the consequences.

In this analogy, the local community is the driver.  We can choose to listen to or ignore advice, but there is no stick to beat us with, nor is there really much of a carrot.  What we should do is watch the other cars on the road, because that is where the accidents happen.  The carrot-and-stick is really overall success or failure rather than primatial proclamation or censure.

We must hold all the other churches in equal esteem, because they are collectively the Church.  The whole enumeration of primacy only makes sense if there are other numbers, which is why there must be a first… and a second… and a third.  But, whatever cries there may be about the Patriarchate of Constantinople emanating honor like radiation from a lump of uranium, that only works if someone cares about whatever it is that is being radiated.

In 2004, the Greeks ignored Constantinople, and somehow didn’t die of radiation poisoning.  They lost none of their ‘honor.’

Primacy has no ontological reality, because local churches have existed without recognition for years and years, yet no one would question the validity of the Sacraments performed during those times without recognition.  When Greece and Constantinople broke ties, nobody demanded that all the babies be rebaptized from that period.  It is a nice rhetorical flourish, but the reality is all around us right now.

Antioch and Jerusalem right now need, at the very least, a willing and interested mediator.  If we magnify the meaning of primacy to imply that Constantinople has the power and ability to call churches to obedience, or impose a ‘binding arbitration’ scheme, then the withdrawal of Antioch from the Chambesy process cries out for Constantinople to call Antioch to obedience, just as Constantinople could also instruct Jerusalem to remove its bishop from Qatar.  Instead, we see Constantinople doing neither, and so Antioch walks from the meetings, and Constantinople can only seem to wring its hands.  Yet, Constantinople has not relinquished any of its claims to primacy.

Constantinople is not acting either because it does not care about the conflict or really has no power to do anything even with ‘primacy.’  Orthodox primacy does not give Constantinople any type of real leverage in the matter.  An excommunication of either side may very well be ignored, as in 2004.  Nobody wants to excommunicate Jerusalem and complicate matters of pilgrimage and access to holy sites.  Nobody wants to excommunicate Antioch while it struggles against open persecution.

This conflict, I believe, could not have come at a better time to teach us what primacy is in an Orthodox context.  In practical terms, it only works when all the rest of the churches say that it does, and to the extent they will grant it.  This is the ‘conciliar’ nature of Christian leadership.

No one would envy Constantinople’s position if it really tried to arbitrate this conflict.  It has all the makings of a really big conflict between two churches that have not been on the best of terms for a while.  Staying out may be the wisest move even if Constantinople wanted to help the situation.  I’m not saying that it doesn’t.  I am saying that it really does not have the ‘right stuff’ to make it happen, even with primacy.

We have nothing to fear from Constantinople and all the hubbub about ‘primacy.’  I do not believe that we ought to be shouting epithets at one another or plotting a schism, because the problem of primacy is far less important than other, bigger issues: evangelizing new peoples, healing the sick, saving the lost… the things our Lord called us to do.

What we should be concerned about is our own inertia in these matters.  But, that is a topic for another time when I feeling like dealing with more hate mail than what I will get for posting this.
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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2014, 11:55:53 PM »

In America, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is largely broken down into a number of long-extant, self-defining ethnic jurisdictions with only minimal interest in the outside world.  Missionary work?  Social programs?  Well, if you are talking about food festivals, the GOA indeed rules.

Father, the only thing I have to say is that, according to a somewhat recent special about American Orthodox statistics on AFR, the GOA actually is, IIRC, at the top for most parish-based programs and ministries, and not just their Greek festivals, I believe. However, they are at the same time among the most self-perceived as ethnic with the lowest make-up of converts and evangelism-oriented work, again according to that same special, compared to the OCA/AOCANA.

But I don't mean to distract from the rest of your post, which was interesting.
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2014, 12:10:08 AM »

I probably should have been more clear: I'm talking about service ministries that are not necessarily 'self-service.'  That's why I mentioned 'social ministries,' such as soup kitchens or counseling service.  The point I am tryuing to make is that a parish that is utterly self-serving is utterly self-serving.

When your only 'outreach' to the community is trying to sell them spinach pies or pierogies or maamoul, there's a problem.  That's not sharing the Gospel, that's sharing the bills.


In America, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is largely broken down into a number of long-extant, self-defining ethnic jurisdictions with only minimal interest in the outside world.  Missionary work?  Social programs?  Well, if you are talking about food festivals, the GOA indeed rules.

Father, the only thing I have to say is that, according to a somewhat recent special about American Orthodox statistics on AFR, the GOA actually is, IIRC, at the top for most parish-based programs and ministries, and not just their Greek festivals, I believe. However, they are at the same time among the most self-perceived as ethnic with the lowest make-up of converts and evangelism-oriented work, again according to that same special, compared to the OCA/AOCANA.

But I don't mean to distract from the rest of your post, which was interesting.

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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2014, 12:25:29 AM »

Very informative, thank you Father.
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2014, 12:29:35 AM »

Yes, thank you Father.
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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2014, 11:18:18 AM »

This is Greece



the blue part belongs to Church of Greece

I live in the purple part

I prefer the blue part but ok... I can live with the purple

 Undecided

The difference between blue part and purple part is that the blue part was under Ottoman Empire almost 90 years less. From the other hand in my purple city we are free 102 years from Ottoman Empire and we are still purple.

(sorry for my bad english)
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« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2014, 11:28:35 AM »

A lot of meat on that plate Father, thank you.

Just some garnish:

In this video, on the Triumph of Orthoodxy, Catholicos Ilya II of All Georgia relates how Constantinople's recognition was explicitly a recognition of, not a grant of, Georgia's autocephaly given in the fourth century, not its restoration in 1917.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4d8CyHw8Fbs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THQYmpWNIwM

Now that a new bishop has been enthroned in Prague, the Phanar's threats of revoking autocephaly (which in the case of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, it has practically been doing since it "granted it," decades after CzS received it from it Moscow its mother/step-mother Church (I don't know what was Serbia, the modern Mother Church, said at the time in 1951) will be shown hollow.  What then?
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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2014, 11:32:48 AM »


Most Easterners require their children to live at home well into adulthood.  These days, more and more Americans are doing this, but not willingly… independence is expensive.


Btw, it's the same "in the east", not easy to afford your own apartment in Ukraine, Greece, Egypt...
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« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2014, 11:34:32 AM »

This is Greece



the blue part belongs to Church of Greece

I live in the purple part

I prefer the blue part but ok... I can live with the purple

 Undecided

The difference between blue part and purple part is that the blue part was under Ottoman Empire almost 90 years less. From the other hand in my purple city we are free 102 years from Ottoman Empire and we are still purple.

(sorry for my bad english)

And Η Κρήτη (which you show as Heraklion) is ....where?
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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2014, 11:37:01 AM »


Well, most of us in the Ortho-sphere have noticed a lot of arguing about primacy in the Orthodox Church.  I think there is a profound misunderstanding, at least here in the English-speaking hemisphere, about what ‘primacy’ means in an Orthodox context versus what it means in our modern Anglophonic expectation of the concept.

For example, when we hear about ‘primacy,’ we Americans (perhaps others, but I am addressing an American audience) tend to think of ‘leadership’ in the terms of get out in front and direct things.  In the Orthodox world, primacy usually means something more like ‘final say’ or ‘end of the line.’  It is not so much of a trail-blazing position, but more like an anchor.

Here’s an example: numerous writers have discussed how Constantinople is variously involved or tasked with granting autocephaly.  Now, let’s look at the dates of those churches formed after the period of the Ecumenical Councils-

The Church of Russia is declared autocephalous in 1448, recognized by Constantinople in 1589.
The Church of Serbia is declared autocephalous in 1832, recognized by Constantinople in 1879.
The Church of Greece is declared autocephalous in 1833, recognized by Constantinople in 1850.
The Church of Romania is declared autocephalous in 1865, recognized by Constantinople in 1885.
The Church of Bulgaria is declared autocephalous in 1872, recognized by Constantinople in 1945.
The Church of Georgia is declared autocephalous (lost in 1811 due to Russian Imperial edict) in 1917, recognized by Constantinople in 1989.
The Church of Albania is declared autocephalous in 1922, recognized by Constantinople in 1937.
The Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia is declared autocephalous in 1951, recognized by Constantinople in 1998.
The Orthodox Church in America is declared autocephalous in 1971, and is still waiting.

Historically speaking, the OCA is right on schedule.  They probably should be a little concerned in about 100 years, given the wait other churches have had.
Constantinople, in none of these cases, was ‘out in front’ of the autocephaly movement.  We really do not see a pattern of Constantinopolitan bishops sitting down with a group of non-Greek bishops and saying, “Boys, you need to move out of the basement apartment and start living your own lives.”

I suppose we could chalk this up to Eastern culture.  Most Easterners require their children to live at home well into adulthood.  These days, more and more Americans are doing this, but not willingly… independence is expensive.  However, we Americans are far more open to the idea of independence than Easterners are (think about our history and all that it involved).  In fact, they distrust it.

So, it is not a surprise that we see so much ‘clinginess’ among the Eastern churches.  They don’t want to let go even when they really don’t have all that much in common anymore with the communities they are holding onto.  For them, it is unimaginable that anyone would want anything more than a room in one’s own parents’ home.

So, when it comes to Constantinople and the issue of autocephaly, their practical exercise of ‘primacy’ is largely about being the last holdout.  When Constantinople finally caves, everyone will know that there simply is no denying the reality of a local church’s autocephaly.

The same can be said of Constantinople hearing appeals.  They are the ‘last stop’ for those having problems with the Synod of another local church.  Primacy does not mean that Constantinople would, or ever has, ratified what local churches are deciding when there is no larger conflict.  They only hear cases that are brought to them when a local agreement seems impossible.

Even then, Constantinople’s primacy still requires cooperation from the other local churches.  When Constantinople broke communion with the Church of Greece in 2004 over the election of bishops in territories claimed by the former, the incident hardly had any effect on the world-wide Orthodox scene.

That’s because Constantinople can’t afford to alienate the entire community by demanding the world recognize all of its decisions when others simply don’t care.  It has no army or drones or weapons of mass destruction.  If it wants anything to happen, or its decisions to be recognized, it has to build consensus and get voluntary compliance.

However, given the fact that consensus-building and last-stop primacy are at opposite poles of the leadership-behavioral spectrum, we can see that Constantinople can accrue all kinds of wild titles and claims of supremacy without actually doing much of anything or having many responsibilities aside from when they are invited.
Even in territories that the Patriarchate of Constantinople claims direct authority over, we can see a rather lackadaisical attitude towards ‘leadership’ in the sense of the bishops coming out and guiding the people in a new direction.  In America, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is largely broken down into a number of long-extant, self-defining ethnic jurisdictions with only minimal interest in the outside world.  Missionary work?  Social programs?  Well, if you are talking about food festivals, the GOA indeed rules.

The GOA and its Patriarchal Mother don’t have a plan for the larger community.  Of course, this can be said of all the jurisdictions in the Americas, which are largely confined to ‘our people’ with the occasional acquisition of an ‘outsider’ to convince the kids that inevitable intermarriage does not meet total exclusion.  “We have converts… even convert bishops!” is hardly a plan.

We are abysmally parochial.  It is just a fact of life: other people are weird.  If we are all about trying to preserve our own weirdness, then other peoples’ weirdnesses will not be tolerated.

So, the local churches presently calling Constantinople the ‘Mother Church’ find that they have a nice, warm cocoon to keep their particular practices without any danger from the outside world and other influences.  That is, unwanted influences.  There are plenty of influences which are un- or sub-conscious.  After all, the average GOA parish is run nothing like its counterpart in the hills of Sparta or the coast of Chios.

That’s not to say that Orthodox laypeople are not doing absolutely wonderful things… they certainly are.  There are a whole host of local and national ministries that are serving not only the American community, but the entire world.  I want to emphasize that these ministries are largely the work of the people, even when they get their token bishop to show up for board meetings and add his name to the effort like a sponsor sticker on the side of a racecar.

With us clergy, no matter the size of the headgear, we usually only make a splash when it comes to self-promotion.  Mea culpa.

So, Constantinopolitan primacy is certainly not, if present patterns hold, about trying to manage local affairs and effecting big changes on the local level, because this type of ‘leadership’ is utterly foreign to Constantinople’s thinking.  They just don’t lead in that way.  They don’t even want to.

Another example of this ‘primacy’ can be seen in the recent start and apparent disintegration of the ‘Chambesy Assemblies’ (which looks much more impressive when you write Chambesy as ‘Chambésy’… and sounds even more inspiring when try say it with a French accent that sounds more like Gérard Depardieu than Inspector Clouseau) that have fallen apart with Antiochian withdrawal over Constantinople’s inability to settle a dispute between Antioch and Jerusalem.  The face-to-face negotiations between the two churches were hosted by… the Greek Foreign Ministry.  This should tell us a lot about how confident Constantinople is in its abilities to either lead or broker deals.

Constantinople called for the assemblies, got everyone into meeting rooms, formed a bunch of committees, and still can’t articulate a clear goal beyond something ‘better’ (insert you choice of wild hand gestures here).  Perhaps that is wise if you want to get everyone together at once, but now the problem is that everyone has brought their own meaning to the purpose.

To Bishop Basil (Essey) of Wichita, the purpose is the creation of an autocephalous American church.  Metropolitan Savvas (Zembillas) then says the exact opposite… autocephaly is off the table.  ROCOR agrees that it has giving nothing up, not to be outdone by the Bulgarians who have said much the same.  Confusion ensues. Ambiguity can sometimes be the best marketing strategy one can have to get a sale, but it stinks when it comes to ‘buyer’s remorse.’
Everyone agrees to be agreeable, while agreeing to nothing else.

So, what does this mean?  It means that whatever claims Constantinople makes, there is not much it can do without the cooperation of all.  It also means that if a local community wants something, then it should not wait around for ‘guiding leadership’ from Constantinople because it does not act in that manner.  

I could summarize the whole methodology in this way: a back-seat driver.  Sometimes it is helpful to get advice from the back seat, but that does not mean the person in the back seat is actually driving.  The person in the front seat is.  We can opt to listen or to ignore, but no matter what, it is the driver that must face the consequences.

In this analogy, the local community is the driver.  We can choose to listen to or ignore advice, but there is no stick to beat us with, nor is there really much of a carrot.  What we should do is watch the other cars on the road, because that is where the accidents happen.  The carrot-and-stick is really overall success or failure rather than primatial proclamation or censure.

We must hold all the other churches in equal esteem, because they are collectively the Church.  The whole enumeration of primacy only makes sense if there are other numbers, which is why there must be a first… and a second… and a third.  But, whatever cries there may be about the Patriarchate of Constantinople emanating honor like radiation from a lump of uranium, that only works if someone cares about whatever it is that is being radiated.

In 2004, the Greeks ignored Constantinople, and somehow didn’t die of radiation poisoning.  They lost none of their ‘honor.’

Primacy has no ontological reality, because local churches have existed without recognition for years and years, yet no one would question the validity of the Sacraments performed during those times without recognition.  When Greece and Constantinople broke ties, nobody demanded that all the babies be rebaptized from that period.  It is a nice rhetorical flourish, but the reality is all around us right now.

Antioch and Jerusalem right now need, at the very least, a willing and interested mediator.  If we magnify the meaning of primacy to imply that Constantinople has the power and ability to call churches to obedience, or impose a ‘binding arbitration’ scheme, then the withdrawal of Antioch from the Chambesy process cries out for Constantinople to call Antioch to obedience, just as Constantinople could also instruct Jerusalem to remove its bishop from Qatar.  Instead, we see Constantinople doing neither, and so Antioch walks from the meetings, and Constantinople can only seem to wring its hands.  Yet, Constantinople has not relinquished any of its claims to primacy.

Constantinople is not acting either because it does not care about the conflict or really has no power to do anything even with ‘primacy.’  Orthodox primacy does not give Constantinople any type of real leverage in the matter.  An excommunication of either side may very well be ignored, as in 2004.  Nobody wants to excommunicate Jerusalem and complicate matters of pilgrimage and access to holy sites.  Nobody wants to excommunicate Antioch while it struggles against open persecution.

This conflict, I believe, could not have come at a better time to teach us what primacy is in an Orthodox context.  In practical terms, it only works when all the rest of the churches say that it does, and to the extent they will grant it.  This is the ‘conciliar’ nature of Christian leadership.

No one would envy Constantinople’s position if it really tried to arbitrate this conflict.  It has all the makings of a really big conflict between two churches that have not been on the best of terms for a while.  Staying out may be the wisest move even if Constantinople wanted to help the situation.  I’m not saying that it doesn’t.  I am saying that it really does not have the ‘right stuff’ to make it happen, even with primacy.

We have nothing to fear from Constantinople and all the hubbub about ‘primacy.’  I do not believe that we ought to be shouting epithets at one another or plotting a schism, because the problem of primacy is far less important than other, bigger issues: evangelizing new peoples, healing the sick, saving the lost… the things our Lord called us to do.

What we should be concerned about is our own inertia in these matters.  But, that is a topic for another time when I feeling like dealing with more hate mail than what I will get for posting this.


Wow. Would you post the same without the benefit of anonymity?

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook this morning, I am more and more convinced that he is correct:

" Dumping all my Orthodox discussion groups on Facebook. This is really not the place to hold these discussions as informed opinions hold the same weight as those of the uninformed. Sometimes truth equals what the person likes or what they think they heard someone say once or a vague feeling that the issue doesn't really matter at all. It's simply too depressing. "

I would expect generalizations and stereotypes from a layman. To see them in print by a member of the clergy is really depressing.

I could post my recollections of interactions with Antiochian congregations which were ethnically insular, wrapped up in the 'old world' , full of whatever (including really wonderful people and priests) - but to what end? Why would I do that?

THERE IS NOT A SCINTILLA OF HOPE FOR ANY REAL UNITY IN ORTHODOXY IN NORTH AMERICA OR ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD FOR THAT MATTER.

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« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2014, 11:42:22 AM »


Primacy has no ontological reality, because local churches have existed without recognition for years and years, yet no one would question the validity of the Sacraments performed during those times without recognition. 

I don't agree. The mysteries during that time were recognised by ikonomia, not by akrivia. As for the OCA, it's a special case: its autocephaly is controversial, but it is in full communion with the canonical jurisdictions. A more classical example for unilateral autocephaly in our time would be (The Former Yugoslav Republic of) Macedonia. Doesn't the canonical Church re-chrismate them?

PS: As for the OCA being on the right track, I have my doubts. Places like Bulgaria had the overwhelming majority of believers with them. The OCA has quite a minority of the Orthodox in the US, and even its "mother church" has two parallel jurisdictions in the same place, the patriarchal parishes and ROCOR. Not to mention their internal problems. All of their former primates are still alive!
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« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2014, 11:43:19 AM »

Moscow portrays its local Primate in such a grand and glorious setting all of the time, the only man on earth with a similar operation is the Pope of Rome, making the visual content of Moscow's postings at odds with her written word.
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« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2014, 11:57:23 AM »


Primacy has no ontological reality, because local churches have existed without recognition for years and years, yet no one would question the validity of the Sacraments performed during those times without recognition. 

I don't agree. The mysteries during that time were recognised by ikonomia, not by akrivia. As for the OCA, it's a special case: its autocephaly is controversial, but it is in full communion with the canonical jurisdictions. A more classical example for unilateral autocephaly in our time would be (The Former Yugoslav Republic of) Macedonia. Doesn't the canonical Church re-chrismate them?

PS: As for the OCA being on the right track, I have my doubts. Places like Bulgaria had the overwhelming majority of believers with them. The OCA has quite a minority of the Orthodox in the US, and even its "mother church" has two parallel jurisdictions in the same place, the patriarchal parishes and ROCOR. Not to mention their internal problems. All of their former primates are still alive!
As I pointed out on that last point before, such was a common occurrence at the Phanar until recently.

The majority of those reconcilling themselves to the fact that they are North Americans, living in North America, are in the OCA.  Greece is too busy murdering its children to supply immigrants to keep the "diaspora" here going.

And the other Mother Churches are no strangers to "internal problems."
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« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2014, 12:00:02 PM »

I would expect generalizations and stereotypes from a layman. To see them in print by a member of the clergy is really depressing.

I could post my recollections of interactions with Antiochian congregations which were ethnically insular, wrapped up in the 'old world' , full of whatever (including really wonderful people and priests) - but to what end? Why would I do that?

Quote
The fourth question was qualitative question: Do you believe in the statement: “Do you believe our parish has a strong ethnic identity we are trying to preserve?” A five-point scale, from strongly agree to strongly disagree.

[...]

The lowest proportion is among Antiochian Archdiocese. Only 17% consider themselves as being still ethnic. Orthodox Church in America, 25[%]. Carpatho-Russian Archdiocese, 31%, so you see Carpatho-Russians are on the top in terms of English-language use in the church. They’re still fairly at the top of being non-ethnic, but not as high as Antiochian [and] Orthodox Church in America. GOA, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, 62% of parishes still consider themselves being ethnically based, despite the fact that most of them indeed use mostly English language.
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« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2014, 12:01:18 PM »

This is Greece



the blue part belongs to Church of Greece

I live in the purple part

I prefer the blue part but ok... I can live with the purple

 Undecided

The difference between blue part and purple part is that the blue part was under Ottoman Empire almost 90 years less. From the other hand in my purple city we are free 102 years from Ottoman Empire and we are still purple.

(sorry for my bad english)

And Η Κρήτη (which you show as Heraklion) is ....where?
Where it is: Crete is an autonomous Church, under Constantinople.

Is GOA techically autonomous?
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« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2014, 12:03:15 PM »


Most Easterners require their children to live at home well into adulthood.  These days, more and more Americans are doing this, but not willingly… independence is expensive.


Btw, it's the same "in the east", not easy to afford your own apartment in Ukraine, Greece, Egypt...
Yeah, but it's not the cultural shift there that it is becoming here.
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« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2014, 12:04:11 PM »

Nothing anonymous here.  Everyone knows who I am with a little effort.

I am not excusing Antiochian parishes from this insular problem.  Please reread what I wrote... this is a problem in all of our parishes.

Generalizations and stereotypes... come on!  I'm pointing out what I think is the obvious conditions all around us.  Just tell me: where do you think I am wrong?  Let's talk!

Again, I am not advocating Orthodox unity, because I don't think enough people are interested in giving up what they have right now.  I don't know where you got that idea from what I wrote.

People on the Non-Constantinopolitan side are really worried that Patriarch Bartholomew is scheming to take over every American parish and make them all Greek.  What I am telling them is he could hardly care less.  You know that as a fact in your own parishes in the Johnstown Diocese, right?


Wow. Would you post the same without the benefit of anonymity?

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook this morning, I am more and more convinced that he is correct:

" Dumping all my Orthodox discussion groups on Facebook. This is really not the place to hold these discussions as informed opinions hold the same weight as those of the uninformed. Sometimes truth equals what the person likes or what they think they heard someone say once or a vague feeling that the issue doesn't really matter at all. It's simply too depressing. "

I would expect generalizations and stereotypes from a layman. To see them in print by a member of the clergy is really depressing.

I could post my recollections of interactions with Antiochian congregations which were ethnically insular, wrapped up in the 'old world' , full of whatever (including really wonderful people and priests) - but to what end? Why would I do that?

THERE IS NOT A SCINTILLA OF HOPE FOR ANY REAL UNITY IN ORTHODOXY IN NORTH AMERICA OR ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD FOR THAT MATTER.


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« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2014, 12:09:01 PM »

Can you show me where this was declared by the Patriarchate of Constantinople?  I don't recall seeing that interpretation in anything I read, and I would be very interested in learning more about this.  Thank you!

The mysteries during that time were recognised by ikonomia, not by akrivia.
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« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2014, 12:12:58 PM »

Can you show me where this was declared by the Patriarchate of Constantinople?  I don't recall seeing that interpretation in anything I read, and I would be very interested in learning more about this.  Thank you!

The mysteries during that time were recognised by ikonomia, not by akrivia.
For one thing, the Bulgarians had valid chrism, as Russia supplied it all during the time of Bulgaria sojourn in the canonical wilderness.  Russian clergy would also on occasion concelebrate, something the Phanar looked the other way on for the most part.
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« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2014, 12:16:39 PM »

As someone pointed out: ekonomia and akrivia all lead to the same place.

Can you show me where this was declared by the Patriarchate of Constantinople?  I don't recall seeing that interpretation in anything I read, and I would be very interested in learning more about this.  Thank you!

The mysteries during that time were recognised by ikonomia, not by akrivia.
For one thing, the Bulgarians had valid chrism, as Russia supplied it all during the time of Bulgaria sojourn in the canonical wilderness.  Russian clergy would also on occasion concelebrate, something the Phanar looked the other way on for the most part.
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« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2014, 12:26:22 PM »

Apologies to Fr. G. for being a bit hasty and selective in my reading. I guess I come from ACROD/OCA(former Metropolia OCA, that is)  land where the founders of each came from Austria-Hungary for the most part and had no clear national identity at the time of immigration - hence three generations in, we are seemingly less attached to our (t)raditions from a sense of 'national identity' than are some in other jurisdictions.

But, I agree, we are not nearly ready for any unity. When it leaked that our eighty parishes would be split among three different Bishops - there was a collective - no, that is not gonna happen anytime soon. I suspect that reaction was the same across the continent and across ethnic lines.

Maybe, taking the Russian chauvinism out of their logic, the ROCOR Synod was not really off the mark at all?
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« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2014, 12:57:20 PM »

It is OK, my friend.  I knew that this post was likely to hit people at agut level, though I am certainly not trying to denigrate anyone in particular.  We all share the same problems, and no one gets a pass.  At the same time, there are obvious nuances that an article of this nature can't pick up on.

The Identity Without Nationalism of the Carpatho-Russians is not all that dissimilar to the sense of demi-nationalism among the Arab Christians: they like their country, but can't utterly confuse the identity with it because they are minorities.

As for chauvinism, we are all guilty to some extent.  My point here is that there really is no 'dark plot' to subsume all Orthodoxy to Constantinople.  It just can't happen, nor do I see any interest.  I think all of us have an interest in collecting more shiny things and fancy titles, because that is just who we are as human beings.  When you further complicate that with a very different understanding of 'independence' and 'autocephaly' and 'primacy,' we attach very different emotions to these words.  It isn't the theology that is complicating the process, but rather the emotions connected to the words.

If we want to stop bludgeoning each other, we have to get the emotions out of the way.  That's what I hope we can do.  Then we can have a reasonable discussion of history, canons, ecclesiology, etc.


Apologies to Fr. G. for being a bit hasty and selective in my reading. I guess I come from ACROD/OCA(former Metropolia OCA, that is)  land where the founders of each came from Austria-Hungary for the most part and had no clear national identity at the time of immigration - hence three generations in, we are seemingly less attached to our (t)raditions from a sense of 'national identity' than are some in other jurisdictions.

But, I agree, we are not nearly ready for any unity. When it leaked that our eighty parishes would be split among three different Bishops - there was a collective - no, that is not gonna happen anytime soon. I suspect that reaction was the same across the continent and across ethnic lines.

Maybe, taking the Russian chauvinism out of their logic, the ROCOR Synod was not really off the mark at all?

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« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2014, 01:07:46 PM »

It is OK, my friend.  I knew that this post was likely to hit people at agut level, though I am certainly not trying to denigrate anyone in particular.  We all share the same problems, and no one gets a pass.  At the same time, there are obvious nuances that an article of this nature can't pick up on.

The Identity Without Nationalism of the Carpatho-Russians is not all that dissimilar to the sense of demi-nationalism among the Arab Christians: they like their country, but can't utterly confuse the identity with it because they are minorities.

As for chauvinism, we are all guilty to some extent.  My point here is that there really is no 'dark plot' to subsume all Orthodoxy to Constantinople.  It just can't happen, nor do I see any interest.  I think all of us have an interest in collecting more shiny things and fancy titles, because that is just who we are as human beings.  When you further complicate that with a very different understanding of 'independence' and 'autocephaly' and 'primacy,' we attach very different emotions to these words.  It isn't the theology that is complicating the process, but rather the emotions connected to the words.

If we want to stop bludgeoning each other, we have to get the emotions out of the way.  That's what I hope we can do.  Then we can have a reasonable discussion of history, canons, ecclesiology, etc.


Apologies to Fr. G. for being a bit hasty and selective in my reading. I guess I come from ACROD/OCA(former Metropolia OCA, that is)  land where the founders of each came from Austria-Hungary for the most part and had no clear national identity at the time of immigration - hence three generations in, we are seemingly less attached to our (t)raditions from a sense of 'national identity' than are some in other jurisdictions.

But, I agree, we are not nearly ready for any unity. When it leaked that our eighty parishes would be split among three different Bishops - there was a collective - no, that is not gonna happen anytime soon. I suspect that reaction was the same across the continent and across ethnic lines.

Maybe, taking the Russian chauvinism out of their logic, the ROCOR Synod was not really off the mark at all?


And I might add that the percentage of Liturgical attendance among the OCA and ACROD being higher statistically from others is probably a residual hold over from generations being taught by the Basilian and Jesuit fathers that missing mass was a mortal sin.  Wink My dad used to laugh and say one of the 'benefits' of the unia may have been better behavior in church as people came on time and stayed put for the liturgy.  Cheesy He would laugh as to not take that too seriously, but it points out the dangers of stereotyping and having opinions based on opinion, rather than observation and history.
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« Reply #23 on: February 03, 2014, 01:10:59 PM »

For one thing, the Bulgarians had valid chrism, as Russia supplied it all during the time of Bulgaria sojourn in the canonical wilderness. 
I have not heard that before. Do you have a source?


Russian clergy would also on occasion concelebrate, something the Phanar looked the other way on for the most part.
I am not sure about that. So why did the Russians build their own church in Sofia back then? From what I heard in Bulgaria, that was, because they were not in communion with the Bulgarian Church.
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« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2014, 04:25:47 PM »

This is Greece



the blue part belongs to Church of Greece

I live in the purple part

I prefer the blue part but ok... I can live with the purple

 Undecided

The difference between blue part and purple part is that the blue part was under Ottoman Empire almost 90 years less. From the other hand in my purple city we are free 102 years from Ottoman Empire and we are still purple.

(sorry for my bad english)

And Η Κρήτη (which you show as Heraklion) is ....where?
Where it is: Crete is an autonomous Church, under Constantinople.

Is GOA techically autonomous?

Your first reply MAY have answered my question. The second irrelevant except for EP bashers ( and cheap shooters at that).
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« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2014, 05:14:09 PM »

A lot of meat on that plate Father, thank you.

Just some garnish:

In this video, on the Triumph of Orthoodxy, Catholicos Ilya II of All Georgia relates how Constantinople's recognition was explicitly a recognition of, not a grant of, Georgia's autocephaly given in the fourth century, not its restoration in 1917.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4d8CyHw8Fbs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THQYmpWNIwM

Now that a new bishop has been enthroned in Prague, the Phanar's threats of revoking autocephaly (which in the case of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, it has practically been doing since it "granted it," decades after CzS received it from it Moscow its mother/step-mother Church (I don't know what was Serbia, the modern Mother Church, said at the time in 1951) will be shown hollow.  What then?

Isn't it odd that Constantinople has a tendency to recognize Autocephalous Churches that are directly connected to Russia in some fashion? At least, that's what I get at first glance via my own ignorance.
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« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2014, 05:18:02 PM »

This is Greece



the blue part belongs to Church of Greece

I live in the purple part

I prefer the blue part but ok... I can live with the purple

 Undecided

The difference between blue part and purple part is that the blue part was under Ottoman Empire almost 90 years less. From the other hand in my purple city we are free 102 years from Ottoman Empire and we are still purple.

(sorry for my bad english)

And Η Κρήτη (which you show as Heraklion) is ....where?

Crete?
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« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2014, 05:37:03 PM »

Church of Crete is semi-autonomous under  the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The Patriarchate nominates the island's presiding bishop from a list of three Cretan bishops prepared by the Greek Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs, but the Church's affairs, including the nomnation of the other bishops, are otherwise handled by the "Holy Provincial Synod of Crete". (wikipedia)


the "Greek Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs" is the funny part  Grin
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« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2014, 06:33:39 PM »


Well, most of us in the Ortho-sphere have noticed a lot of arguing about primacy in the Orthodox Church.  I think there is a profound misunderstanding, at least here in the English-speaking hemisphere, about what ‘primacy’ means in an Orthodox context versus what it means in our modern Anglophonic expectation of the concept.

For example, when we hear about ‘primacy,’ we Americans (perhaps others, but I am addressing an American audience) tend to think of ‘leadership’ in the terms of get out in front and direct things.  In the Orthodox world, primacy usually means something more like ‘final say’ or ‘end of the line.’  It is not so much of a trail-blazing position, but more like an anchor.

Here’s an example: numerous writers have discussed how Constantinople is variously involved or tasked with granting autocephaly.  Now, let’s look at the dates of those churches formed after the period of the Ecumenical Councils-

The Church of Russia is declared autocephalous in 1448, recognized by Constantinople in 1589.
The Church of Serbia is declared autocephalous in 1832, recognized by Constantinople in 1879.
The Church of Greece is declared autocephalous in 1833, recognized by Constantinople in 1850.
The Church of Romania is declared autocephalous in 1865, recognized by Constantinople in 1885.
The Church of Bulgaria is declared autocephalous in 1872, recognized by Constantinople in 1945.
The Church of Georgia is declared autocephalous (lost in 1811 due to Russian Imperial edict) in 1917, recognized by Constantinople in 1989.
The Church of Albania is declared autocephalous in 1922, recognized by Constantinople in 1937.
The Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia is declared autocephalous in 1951, recognized by Constantinople in 1998.
The Orthodox Church in America is declared autocephalous in 1971, and is still waiting.

Historically speaking, the OCA is right on schedule.  They probably should be a little concerned in about 100 years, given the wait other churches have had.
Constantinople, in none of these cases, was ‘out in front’ of the autocephaly movement.  We really do not see a pattern of Constantinopolitan bishops sitting down with a group of non-Greek bishops and saying, “Boys, you need to move out of the basement apartment and start living your own lives.”

I suppose we could chalk this up to Eastern culture.  Most Easterners require their children to live at home well into adulthood.  These days, more and more Americans are doing this, but not willingly… independence is expensive.  However, we Americans are far more open to the idea of independence than Easterners are (think about our history and all that it involved).  In fact, they distrust it.

So, it is not a surprise that we see so much ‘clinginess’ among the Eastern churches.  They don’t want to let go even when they really don’t have all that much in common anymore with the communities they are holding onto.  For them, it is unimaginable that anyone would want anything more than a room in one’s own parents’ home.

So, when it comes to Constantinople and the issue of autocephaly, their practical exercise of ‘primacy’ is largely about being the last holdout.  When Constantinople finally caves, everyone will know that there simply is no denying the reality of a local church’s autocephaly.

The same can be said of Constantinople hearing appeals.  They are the ‘last stop’ for those having problems with the Synod of another local church.  Primacy does not mean that Constantinople would, or ever has, ratified what local churches are deciding when there is no larger conflict.  They only hear cases that are brought to them when a local agreement seems impossible.

Even then, Constantinople’s primacy still requires cooperation from the other local churches.  When Constantinople broke communion with the Church of Greece in 2004 over the election of bishops in territories claimed by the former, the incident hardly had any effect on the world-wide Orthodox scene.

That’s because Constantinople can’t afford to alienate the entire community by demanding the world recognize all of its decisions when others simply don’t care.  It has no army or drones or weapons of mass destruction.  If it wants anything to happen, or its decisions to be recognized, it has to build consensus and get voluntary compliance.

However, given the fact that consensus-building and last-stop primacy are at opposite poles of the leadership-behavioral spectrum, we can see that Constantinople can accrue all kinds of wild titles and claims of supremacy without actually doing much of anything or having many responsibilities aside from when they are invited.
Even in territories that the Patriarchate of Constantinople claims direct authority over, we can see a rather lackadaisical attitude towards ‘leadership’ in the sense of the bishops coming out and guiding the people in a new direction.  In America, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is largely broken down into a number of long-extant, self-defining ethnic jurisdictions with only minimal interest in the outside world.  Missionary work?  Social programs?  Well, if you are talking about food festivals, the GOA indeed rules.

The GOA and its Patriarchal Mother don’t have a plan for the larger community.  Of course, this can be said of all the jurisdictions in the Americas, which are largely confined to ‘our people’ with the occasional acquisition of an ‘outsider’ to convince the kids that inevitable intermarriage does not meet total exclusion.  “We have converts… even convert bishops!” is hardly a plan.

We are abysmally parochial.  It is just a fact of life: other people are weird.  If we are all about trying to preserve our own weirdness, then other peoples’ weirdnesses will not be tolerated.

So, the local churches presently calling Constantinople the ‘Mother Church’ find that they have a nice, warm cocoon to keep their particular practices without any danger from the outside world and other influences.  That is, unwanted influences.  There are plenty of influences which are un- or sub-conscious.  After all, the average GOA parish is run nothing like its counterpart in the hills of Sparta or the coast of Chios.

That’s not to say that Orthodox laypeople are not doing absolutely wonderful things… they certainly are.  There are a whole host of local and national ministries that are serving not only the American community, but the entire world.  I want to emphasize that these ministries are largely the work of the people, even when they get their token bishop to show up for board meetings and add his name to the effort like a sponsor sticker on the side of a racecar.

With us clergy, no matter the size of the headgear, we usually only make a splash when it comes to self-promotion.  Mea culpa.

So, Constantinopolitan primacy is certainly not, if present patterns hold, about trying to manage local affairs and effecting big changes on the local level, because this type of ‘leadership’ is utterly foreign to Constantinople’s thinking.  They just don’t lead in that way.  They don’t even want to.

Another example of this ‘primacy’ can be seen in the recent start and apparent disintegration of the ‘Chambesy Assemblies’ (which looks much more impressive when you write Chambesy as ‘Chambésy’… and sounds even more inspiring when try say it with a French accent that sounds more like Gérard Depardieu than Inspector Clouseau) that have fallen apart with Antiochian withdrawal over Constantinople’s inability to settle a dispute between Antioch and Jerusalem.  The face-to-face negotiations between the two churches were hosted by… the Greek Foreign Ministry.  This should tell us a lot about how confident Constantinople is in its abilities to either lead or broker deals.

Constantinople called for the assemblies, got everyone into meeting rooms, formed a bunch of committees, and still can’t articulate a clear goal beyond something ‘better’ (insert you choice of wild hand gestures here).  Perhaps that is wise if you want to get everyone together at once, but now the problem is that everyone has brought their own meaning to the purpose.

To Bishop Basil (Essey) of Wichita, the purpose is the creation of an autocephalous American church.  Metropolitan Savvas (Zembillas) then says the exact opposite… autocephaly is off the table.  ROCOR agrees that it has giving nothing up, not to be outdone by the Bulgarians who have said much the same.  Confusion ensues. Ambiguity can sometimes be the best marketing strategy one can have to get a sale, but it stinks when it comes to ‘buyer’s remorse.’
Everyone agrees to be agreeable, while agreeing to nothing else.

So, what does this mean?  It means that whatever claims Constantinople makes, there is not much it can do without the cooperation of all.  It also means that if a local community wants something, then it should not wait around for ‘guiding leadership’ from Constantinople because it does not act in that manner. 

I could summarize the whole methodology in this way: a back-seat driver.  Sometimes it is helpful to get advice from the back seat, but that does not mean the person in the back seat is actually driving.  The person in the front seat is.  We can opt to listen or to ignore, but no matter what, it is the driver that must face the consequences.

In this analogy, the local community is the driver.  We can choose to listen to or ignore advice, but there is no stick to beat us with, nor is there really much of a carrot.  What we should do is watch the other cars on the road, because that is where the accidents happen.  The carrot-and-stick is really overall success or failure rather than primatial proclamation or censure.

We must hold all the other churches in equal esteem, because they are collectively the Church.  The whole enumeration of primacy only makes sense if there are other numbers, which is why there must be a first… and a second… and a third.  But, whatever cries there may be about the Patriarchate of Constantinople emanating honor like radiation from a lump of uranium, that only works if someone cares about whatever it is that is being radiated.

In 2004, the Greeks ignored Constantinople, and somehow didn’t die of radiation poisoning.  They lost none of their ‘honor.’

Primacy has no ontological reality, because local churches have existed without recognition for years and years, yet no one would question the validity of the Sacraments performed during those times without recognition.  When Greece and Constantinople broke ties, nobody demanded that all the babies be rebaptized from that period.  It is a nice rhetorical flourish, but the reality is all around us right now.

Antioch and Jerusalem right now need, at the very least, a willing and interested mediator.  If we magnify the meaning of primacy to imply that Constantinople has the power and ability to call churches to obedience, or impose a ‘binding arbitration’ scheme, then the withdrawal of Antioch from the Chambesy process cries out for Constantinople to call Antioch to obedience, just as Constantinople could also instruct Jerusalem to remove its bishop from Qatar.  Instead, we see Constantinople doing neither, and so Antioch walks from the meetings, and Constantinople can only seem to wring its hands.  Yet, Constantinople has not relinquished any of its claims to primacy.

Constantinople is not acting either because it does not care about the conflict or really has no power to do anything even with ‘primacy.’  Orthodox primacy does not give Constantinople any type of real leverage in the matter.  An excommunication of either side may very well be ignored, as in 2004.  Nobody wants to excommunicate Jerusalem and complicate matters of pilgrimage and access to holy sites.  Nobody wants to excommunicate Antioch while it struggles against open persecution.

This conflict, I believe, could not have come at a better time to teach us what primacy is in an Orthodox context.  In practical terms, it only works when all the rest of the churches say that it does, and to the extent they will grant it.  This is the ‘conciliar’ nature of Christian leadership.

No one would envy Constantinople’s position if it really tried to arbitrate this conflict.  It has all the makings of a really big conflict between two churches that have not been on the best of terms for a while.  Staying out may be the wisest move even if Constantinople wanted to help the situation.  I’m not saying that it doesn’t.  I am saying that it really does not have the ‘right stuff’ to make it happen, even with primacy.

We have nothing to fear from Constantinople and all the hubbub about ‘primacy.’  I do not believe that we ought to be shouting epithets at one another or plotting a schism, because the problem of primacy is far less important than other, bigger issues: evangelizing new peoples, healing the sick, saving the lost… the things our Lord called us to do.

What we should be concerned about is our own inertia in these matters.  But, that is a topic for another time when I feeling like dealing with more hate mail than what I will get for posting this.



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Great googly moogly!


« Reply #29 on: February 03, 2014, 06:45:00 PM »

One thing that struck me about what you said about easterners living at home longer, It came to me that this is similar to where you will be in Heaven, in your Fathers house.

So the American view(I am from the US too) is maybe less about God than about getting more of the worldly things.

Just a thought.
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« Reply #30 on: February 03, 2014, 07:46:01 PM »

This is Greece



the blue part belongs to Church of Greece

I live in the purple part

I prefer the blue part but ok... I can live with the purple

 Undecided

The difference between blue part and purple part is that the blue part was under Ottoman Empire almost 90 years less. From the other hand in my purple city we are free 102 years from Ottoman Empire and we are still purple.

(sorry for my bad english)

And Η Κρήτη (which you show as Heraklion) is ....where?
Where it is: Crete is an autonomous Church, under Constantinople.

Is GOA techically autonomous?

Your first reply MAY have answered my question. The second irrelevant except for EP bashers ( and cheap shooters at that).
why is it irrelevant?
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« Reply #31 on: February 03, 2014, 07:47:30 PM »

Church of Crete is semi-autonomous under  the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The Patriarchate nominates the island's presiding bishop from a list of three Cretan bishops prepared by the Greek Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs, but the Church's affairs, including the nomnation of the other bishops, are otherwise handled by the "Holy Provincial Synod of Crete". (wikipedia)


the "Greek Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs" is the funny part  Grin
Part of that is that priests etc. are paid on the same scale as teachers, etc.
And the school system has religious ed., which of course teaches Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #32 on: February 03, 2014, 07:48:16 PM »

One thing that struck me about what you said about easterners living at home longer, It came to me that this is similar to where you will be in Heaven, in your Fathers house.

So the American view(I am from the US too) is maybe less about God than about getting more of the worldly things.

Just a thought.
Genesis says "a man leaves his mother and father...."
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« Reply #33 on: February 03, 2014, 08:21:08 PM »

What a challenging conversation. I do not know if ethnicity is more of a strength or obstable to unity in the Orthodox Churches in the "disaspora".
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Great googly moogly!


« Reply #34 on: February 03, 2014, 09:05:11 PM »

One thing that struck me about what you said about easterners living at home longer, It came to me that this is similar to where you will be in Heaven, in your Fathers house.

So the American view(I am from the US too) is maybe less about God than about getting more of the worldly things.

Just a thought.
Genesis says "a man leaves his mother and father...."
24For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

When he gets married, yes.
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« Reply #35 on: February 03, 2014, 09:42:26 PM »

For one thing, the Bulgarians had valid chrism, as Russia supplied it all during the time of Bulgaria sojourn in the canonical wilderness. 
I have not heard that before. Do you have a source?
Plenty, for instance, Fortescue:
Quote
The most absurd part of the situation is that the great Russian Church, which from the beginning has been the warm friend and protector of the Exarchists,[i.e. the Patriarchate of Bulgaria] is in communion with both sides. The Phanar dares not excommunicate all Russia, of course, but in the long list of its grievances against that country, one of the chief is the Russian patronage of the Bulgarian schism. It is true that the Synod of 1872 declared schismatic and excommunicated every one who should aid, abet, or acknowledge the Exarchate, but, except a few very ardent Greeks, no one has dared apply that law to the obvious case of Russia. Meanwhile, the Exarchists get their Holy Chrism from Petersburg, and the Russians hold open communion with the excommunicate. Occasionally a very public case raises a storm of angry protest from the Greek papers, but no one takes any notice of it. (For instance, the Ελληνισμος (an Athenian paper) of November 15, 1902, published a furious protest against an atrocity that had lately been perpetrated at Sipka, in Eastern Roumelia. The atrocity was that three Russians—Alexander Zelobovski, the head chaplain of the Russian forces, John Philosophov, and Alexis Mestcherski, both Protopopes at Petersburg—had publicly concelebrated with Methodius, the Exarchist Metropolitan of Stara-Zagora, in open defiance of Photios, Patriarchist Metropolitan of Philippopolis, in whose diocese Sipka lies. The Russian Holy Synod had sent them officially to do so.).
http://books.google.com/books?id=UPr1ZCxPW6QC&pg=PA322&dq=%22Holy+Chrism+from+Petersburg%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=3EHwUt6zN-mkyQGB5IDoBw&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22Holy%20Chrism%20from%20Petersburg%22&f=false
Russian clergy would also on occasion concelebrate, something the Phanar looked the other way on for the most part.
I am not sure about that. So why did the Russians build their own church in Sofia back then? From what I heard in Bulgaria, that was, because they were not in communion with the Bulgarian Church.
If they were not in communion with the Bulgarian Church, what difference would it make?  Sofia in that case would be in the Patriarchate of New Rome, not Third Rome.
Building a metochian would confirm that they were in communion with and recognized the Bulgarian Church.  But what Church in particular are you speaking of?
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« Reply #36 on: February 03, 2014, 10:49:26 PM »


Well, most of us in the Ortho-sphere have noticed a lot of arguing about primacy in the Orthodox Church.  I think there is a profound misunderstanding, at least here in the English-speaking hemisphere, about what ‘primacy’ means in an Orthodox context versus what it means in our modern Anglophonic expectation of the concept.

For example, when we hear about ‘primacy,’ we Americans (perhaps others, but I am addressing an American audience) tend to think of ‘leadership’ in the terms of get out in front and direct things.  In the Orthodox world, primacy usually means something more like ‘final say’ or ‘end of the line.’  It is not so much of a trail-blazing position, but more like an anchor.

Here’s an example: numerous writers have discussed how Constantinople is variously involved or tasked with granting autocephaly.  Now, let’s look at the dates of those churches formed after the period of the Ecumenical Councils-

The Church of Russia is declared autocephalous in 1448, recognized by Constantinople in 1589.
The Church of Serbia is declared autocephalous in 1832, recognized by Constantinople in 1879.
The Church of Greece is declared autocephalous in 1833, recognized by Constantinople in 1850.
The Church of Romania is declared autocephalous in 1865, recognized by Constantinople in 1885.
The Church of Bulgaria is declared autocephalous in 1872, recognized by Constantinople in 1945.
The Church of Georgia is declared autocephalous (lost in 1811 due to Russian Imperial edict) in 1917, recognized by Constantinople in 1989.
The Church of Albania is declared autocephalous in 1922, recognized by Constantinople in 1937.
The Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia is declared autocephalous in 1951, recognized by Constantinople in 1998.
The Orthodox Church in America is declared autocephalous in 1971, and is still waiting.

Historically speaking, the OCA is right on schedule.  They probably should be a little concerned in about 100 years, given the wait other churches have had.
Constantinople, in none of these cases, was ‘out in front’ of the autocephaly movement.  We really do not see a pattern of Constantinopolitan bishops sitting down with a group of non-Greek bishops and saying, “Boys, you need to move out of the basement apartment and start living your own lives.”

I suppose we could chalk this up to Eastern culture.  Most Easterners require their children to live at home well into adulthood.  These days, more and more Americans are doing this, but not willingly… independence is expensive.  However, we Americans are far more open to the idea of independence than Easterners are (think about our history and all that it involved).  In fact, they distrust it.

So, it is not a surprise that we see so much ‘clinginess’ among the Eastern churches.  They don’t want to let go even when they really don’t have all that much in common anymore with the communities they are holding onto.  For them, it is unimaginable that anyone would want anything more than a room in one’s own parents’ home.

So, when it comes to Constantinople and the issue of autocephaly, their practical exercise of ‘primacy’ is largely about being the last holdout.  When Constantinople finally caves, everyone will know that there simply is no denying the reality of a local church’s autocephaly.

The same can be said of Constantinople hearing appeals.  They are the ‘last stop’ for those having problems with the Synod of another local church.  Primacy does not mean that Constantinople would, or ever has, ratified what local churches are deciding when there is no larger conflict.  They only hear cases that are brought to them when a local agreement seems impossible.

Even then, Constantinople’s primacy still requires cooperation from the other local churches.  When Constantinople broke communion with the Church of Greece in 2004 over the election of bishops in territories claimed by the former, the incident hardly had any effect on the world-wide Orthodox scene.

That’s because Constantinople can’t afford to alienate the entire community by demanding the world recognize all of its decisions when others simply don’t care.  It has no army or drones or weapons of mass destruction.  If it wants anything to happen, or its decisions to be recognized, it has to build consensus and get voluntary compliance.

However, given the fact that consensus-building and last-stop primacy are at opposite poles of the leadership-behavioral spectrum, we can see that Constantinople can accrue all kinds of wild titles and claims of supremacy without actually doing much of anything or having many responsibilities aside from when they are invited.
Even in territories that the Patriarchate of Constantinople claims direct authority over, we can see a rather lackadaisical attitude towards ‘leadership’ in the sense of the bishops coming out and guiding the people in a new direction.  In America, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is largely broken down into a number of long-extant, self-defining ethnic jurisdictions with only minimal interest in the outside world.  Missionary work?  Social programs?  Well, if you are talking about food festivals, the GOA indeed rules.

The GOA and its Patriarchal Mother don’t have a plan for the larger community.  Of course, this can be said of all the jurisdictions in the Americas, which are largely confined to ‘our people’ with the occasional acquisition of an ‘outsider’ to convince the kids that inevitable intermarriage does not meet total exclusion.  “We have converts… even convert bishops!” is hardly a plan.

We are abysmally parochial.  It is just a fact of life: other people are weird.  If we are all about trying to preserve our own weirdness, then other peoples’ weirdnesses will not be tolerated.

So, the local churches presently calling Constantinople the ‘Mother Church’ find that they have a nice, warm cocoon to keep their particular practices without any danger from the outside world and other influences.  That is, unwanted influences.  There are plenty of influences which are un- or sub-conscious.  After all, the average GOA parish is run nothing like its counterpart in the hills of Sparta or the coast of Chios.

That’s not to say that Orthodox laypeople are not doing absolutely wonderful things… they certainly are.  There are a whole host of local and national ministries that are serving not only the American community, but the entire world.  I want to emphasize that these ministries are largely the work of the people, even when they get their token bishop to show up for board meetings and add his name to the effort like a sponsor sticker on the side of a racecar.

With us clergy, no matter the size of the headgear, we usually only make a splash when it comes to self-promotion.  Mea culpa.

So, Constantinopolitan primacy is certainly not, if present patterns hold, about trying to manage local affairs and effecting big changes on the local level, because this type of ‘leadership’ is utterly foreign to Constantinople’s thinking.  They just don’t lead in that way.  They don’t even want to.

Another example of this ‘primacy’ can be seen in the recent start and apparent disintegration of the ‘Chambesy Assemblies’ (which looks much more impressive when you write Chambesy as ‘Chambésy’… and sounds even more inspiring when try say it with a French accent that sounds more like Gérard Depardieu than Inspector Clouseau) that have fallen apart with Antiochian withdrawal over Constantinople’s inability to settle a dispute between Antioch and Jerusalem.  The face-to-face negotiations between the two churches were hosted by… the Greek Foreign Ministry.  This should tell us a lot about how confident Constantinople is in its abilities to either lead or broker deals.

Constantinople called for the assemblies, got everyone into meeting rooms, formed a bunch of committees, and still can’t articulate a clear goal beyond something ‘better’ (insert you choice of wild hand gestures here).  Perhaps that is wise if you want to get everyone together at once, but now the problem is that everyone has brought their own meaning to the purpose.

To Bishop Basil (Essey) of Wichita, the purpose is the creation of an autocephalous American church.  Metropolitan Savvas (Zembillas) then says the exact opposite… autocephaly is off the table.  ROCOR agrees that it has giving nothing up, not to be outdone by the Bulgarians who have said much the same.  Confusion ensues. Ambiguity can sometimes be the best marketing strategy one can have to get a sale, but it stinks when it comes to ‘buyer’s remorse.’
Everyone agrees to be agreeable, while agreeing to nothing else.

So, what does this mean?  It means that whatever claims Constantinople makes, there is not much it can do without the cooperation of all.  It also means that if a local community wants something, then it should not wait around for ‘guiding leadership’ from Constantinople because it does not act in that manner. 

I could summarize the whole methodology in this way: a back-seat driver.  Sometimes it is helpful to get advice from the back seat, but that does not mean the person in the back seat is actually driving.  The person in the front seat is.  We can opt to listen or to ignore, but no matter what, it is the driver that must face the consequences.

In this analogy, the local community is the driver.  We can choose to listen to or ignore advice, but there is no stick to beat us with, nor is there really much of a carrot.  What we should do is watch the other cars on the road, because that is where the accidents happen.  The carrot-and-stick is really overall success or failure rather than primatial proclamation or censure.

We must hold all the other churches in equal esteem, because they are collectively the Church.  The whole enumeration of primacy only makes sense if there are other numbers, which is why there must be a first… and a second… and a third.  But, whatever cries there may be about the Patriarchate of Constantinople emanating honor like radiation from a lump of uranium, that only works if someone cares about whatever it is that is being radiated.

In 2004, the Greeks ignored Constantinople, and somehow didn’t die of radiation poisoning.  They lost none of their ‘honor.’

Primacy has no ontological reality, because local churches have existed without recognition for years and years, yet no one would question the validity of the Sacraments performed during those times without recognition.  When Greece and Constantinople broke ties, nobody demanded that all the babies be rebaptized from that period.  It is a nice rhetorical flourish, but the reality is all around us right now.

Antioch and Jerusalem right now need, at the very least, a willing and interested mediator.  If we magnify the meaning of primacy to imply that Constantinople has the power and ability to call churches to obedience, or impose a ‘binding arbitration’ scheme, then the withdrawal of Antioch from the Chambesy process cries out for Constantinople to call Antioch to obedience, just as Constantinople could also instruct Jerusalem to remove its bishop from Qatar.  Instead, we see Constantinople doing neither, and so Antioch walks from the meetings, and Constantinople can only seem to wring its hands.  Yet, Constantinople has not relinquished any of its claims to primacy.

Constantinople is not acting either because it does not care about the conflict or really has no power to do anything even with ‘primacy.’  Orthodox primacy does not give Constantinople any type of real leverage in the matter.  An excommunication of either side may very well be ignored, as in 2004.  Nobody wants to excommunicate Jerusalem and complicate matters of pilgrimage and access to holy sites.  Nobody wants to excommunicate Antioch while it struggles against open persecution.

This conflict, I believe, could not have come at a better time to teach us what primacy is in an Orthodox context.  In practical terms, it only works when all the rest of the churches say that it does, and to the extent they will grant it.  This is the ‘conciliar’ nature of Christian leadership.

No one would envy Constantinople’s position if it really tried to arbitrate this conflict.  It has all the makings of a really big conflict between two churches that have not been on the best of terms for a while.  Staying out may be the wisest move even if Constantinople wanted to help the situation.  I’m not saying that it doesn’t.  I am saying that it really does not have the ‘right stuff’ to make it happen, even with primacy.

We have nothing to fear from Constantinople and all the hubbub about ‘primacy.’  I do not believe that we ought to be shouting epithets at one another or plotting a schism, because the problem of primacy is far less important than other, bigger issues: evangelizing new peoples, healing the sick, saving the lost… the things our Lord called us to do.

What we should be concerned about is our own inertia in these matters.  But, that is a topic for another time when I feeling like dealing with more hate mail than what I will get for posting this.





"Methinks you think your special just by virtue of being a priest. "

thats what i got from reading this out of the blue post also.

and another dig on the Greek race, once again on this great ocnet site Roll Eyes

im reffering to this nice choice of wording:

 "In America, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is largely broken down into a number of long-extant, self-defining ethnic jurisdictions with only minimal interest in the outside world.  Missionary work?  Social programs?  Well, if you are talking about food festivals, the GOA indeed rules."

according to you, not only are greeks introverted and keep to themselves but we evidently only think about selling you our gyros to make money. the food festival couldent be for the filoptohos, or the soup kitchen we support....you realy said we dont have missionary work?  Social programs? outreach programs. what planet are yo living on?Huh
 
father you are so off on this its not even funny.

how dare you singal out an entire race and generalise their caracter and motivations, and trivialise what they do for the comunity.

you should be ashamed of yourself. YOUr a priest?!?!?

I better stop.
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« Reply #37 on: February 03, 2014, 11:03:20 PM »

"Methinks you think your special just by virtue of being a priest. "

thats what i got from reading this out of the blue post also.

and another dig on the Greek race, once again on this great ocnet site Roll Eyes

im reffering to this nice choice of wording:

 "In America, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is largely broken down into a number of long-extant, self-defining ethnic jurisdictions with only minimal interest in the outside world.  Missionary work?  Social programs?  Well, if you are talking about food festivals, the GOA indeed rules."

according to you, not only are greeks introverted and keep to themselves but we evidently only think about selling you our gyros to make money. the food festival couldent be for the filoptohos, or the soup kitchen we support....you realy said we dont have missionary work?  Social programs? outreach programs. what planet are yo living on?Huh
 
father you are so off on this its not even funny.

how dare you singal out an entire race and generalise their caracter and motivations, and trivialise what they do for the comunity.

you should be ashamed of yourself. YOUr a priest?!?!?

I better stop.

Every time Greeks are brought up you immediately start throwing around accusations of racism etc.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2014, 11:04:08 PM by Nephi » Logged
Nikolaostheservant
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« Reply #38 on: February 03, 2014, 11:05:22 PM »

"Methinks you think your special just by virtue of being a priest. "

thats what i got from reading this out of the blue post also.

and another dig on the Greek race, once again on this great ocnet site Roll Eyes

im reffering to this nice choice of wording:

 "In America, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is largely broken down into a number of long-extant, self-defining ethnic jurisdictions with only minimal interest in the outside world.  Missionary work?  Social programs?  Well, if you are talking about food festivals, the GOA indeed rules."

according to you, not only are greeks introverted and keep to themselves but we evidently only think about selling you our gyros to make money. the food festival couldent be for the filoptohos, or the soup kitchen we support....you realy said we dont have missionary work?  Social programs? outreach programs. what planet are yo living on?Huh
 
father you are so off on this its not even funny.

how dare you singal out an entire race and generalise their caracter and motivations, and trivialise what they do for the comunity.

you should be ashamed of yourself. YOUr a priest?!?!?

I better stop.

Every time Greeks are brought up you immediately start throwing around accusations of racism etc.

then justify you accusation~

i will mine. he labled all greeks as just looking out for themselves and not caring about nyone else
« Last Edit: February 03, 2014, 11:06:45 PM by Nikolaostheservant » Logged
SolEX01
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WWW
« Reply #39 on: February 03, 2014, 11:09:31 PM »

"Methinks you think your special just by virtue of being a priest. "

thats what i got from reading this out of the blue post also.

and another dig on the Greek race, once again on this great ocnet site Roll Eyes

im reffering to this nice choice of wording:

 "In America, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is largely broken down into a number of long-extant, self-defining ethnic jurisdictions with only minimal interest in the outside world.  Missionary work?  Social programs?  Well, if you are talking about food festivals, the GOA indeed rules."

according to you, not only are greeks introverted and keep to themselves but we evidently only think about selling you our gyros to make money. the food festival couldent be for the filoptohos, or the soup kitchen we support....you realy said we dont have missionary work?  Social programs? outreach programs. what planet are yo living on?Huh
 
father you are so off on this its not even funny.

how dare you singal out an entire race and generalise their caracter and motivations, and trivialise what they do for the comunity.

you should be ashamed of yourself. YOUr a priest?!?!?

I better stop.

Every time Greeks are brought up you immediately start throwing around accusations of racism etc.

then justify you accusation~

i will mine. he labled all greeks as just looking out for themselves and not caring about nyone else

FatherGiryus didn't say that.
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WPM
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« Reply #40 on: February 03, 2014, 11:10:45 PM »


The Church of Russia is declared autocephalous in 1448, recognized by Constantinople in 1589.
The Church of Serbia is declared autocephalous in 1832, recognized by Constantinople in 1879.
The Church of Greece is declared autocephalous in 1833, recognized by Constantinople in 1850.
The Church of Romania is declared autocephalous in 1865, recognized by Constantinople in 1885.
The Church of Bulgaria is declared autocephalous in 1872, recognized by Constantinople in 1945.
The Church of Georgia is declared autocephalous (lost in 1811 due to Russian Imperial edict) in 1917, recognized by Constantinople in 1989.
The Church of Albania is declared autocephalous in 1922, recognized by Constantinople in 1937.
The Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia is declared autocephalous in 1951, recognized by Constantinople in 1998.
The Orthodox Church in America is declared autocephalous in 1971, and is still waiting.


Hello Father Giryus,
Can we write a letter to the EP Barthomelew asking for recognition as the Orthodox Church America? Much obliged, Thanks.
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JoeS2
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St. Mark Defender of the true Faith (old CAF guy)


« Reply #41 on: February 03, 2014, 11:12:45 PM »


Primacy has no ontological reality, because local churches have existed without recognition for years and years, yet no one would question the validity of the Sacraments performed during those times without recognition. 

I don't agree. The mysteries during that time were recognised by ikonomia, not by akrivia. As for the OCA, it's a special case: its autocephaly is controversial, but it is in full communion with the canonical jurisdictions. A more classical example for unilateral autocephaly in our time would be (The Former Yugoslav Republic of) Macedonia. Doesn't the canonical Church re-chrismate them?

PS: As for the OCA being on the right track, I have my doubts. Places like Bulgaria had the overwhelming majority of believers with them. The OCA has quite a minority of the Orthodox in the US, and even its "mother church" has two parallel jurisdictions in the same place, the patriarchal parishes and ROCOR. Not to mention their internal problems. All of their former primates are still alive!

Was there ever a point in history where the EP was happy about churches declaring Autocephaly?
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Nikolaostheservant
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« Reply #42 on: February 03, 2014, 11:14:43 PM »

"Methinks you think your special just by virtue of being a priest. "

thats what i got from reading this out of the blue post also.

and another dig on the Greek race, once again on this great ocnet site Roll Eyes

im reffering to this nice choice of wording:

 "In America, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is largely broken down into a number of long-extant, self-defining ethnic jurisdictions with only minimal interest in the outside world.  Missionary work?  Social programs?  Well, if you are talking about food festivals, the GOA indeed rules."

according to you, not only are greeks introverted and keep to themselves but we evidently only think about selling you our gyros to make money. the food festival couldent be for the filoptohos, or the soup kitchen we support....you realy said we dont have missionary work?  Social programs? outreach programs. what planet are yo living on?Huh
 
father you are so off on this its not even funny.

how dare you singal out an entire race and generalise their caracter and motivations, and trivialise what they do for the comunity.

you should be ashamed of yourself. YOUr a priest?!?!?

I better stop.

Every time Greeks are brought up you immediately start throwing around accusations of racism etc.

then justify you accusation~

i will mine. he labled all greeks as just looking out for themselves and not caring about nyone else

FatherGiryus didn't say that.

yes he did. do you know what the word "implied? means?
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Nephi
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« Reply #43 on: February 03, 2014, 11:17:53 PM »

then justify you accusation~

i will mine. he labled all greeks as just looking out for themselves and not caring about nyone else

He didn't say anything of the sort.
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Nikolaostheservant
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« Reply #44 on: February 03, 2014, 11:24:15 PM »

then justify you accusation~

i will mine. he labled all greeks as just looking out for themselves and not caring about nyone else

He didn't say anything of the sort.

im still waiting for you to defend what yo are saying?

below is exactly what he said, what do you make of this?

 "In America, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is largely broken down into a number of long-extant, self-defining ethnic jurisdictions with only minimal interest in the outside world.  Missionary work?  Social programs?  Well, if you are talking about food festivals, the GOA indeed rules."
« Last Edit: February 03, 2014, 11:25:52 PM by Nikolaostheservant » Logged
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