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Author Topic: How the Church SHOULD be geographically organized  (Read 3880 times) Average Rating: 0
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Elisha
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« on: August 30, 2005, 11:46:15 AM »

Let's discuss. 

Seriously. 

GiC has espoused that all of the "Barbarian Lands" belong under the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  Well, what does that mean?  What was the Patristic consensus on this?  The Canons developed for a reason, but what is this reasoning?  We have many Canons that we say don't apply today

Nationalism/Phyletism has always been considered to be one of the worst sins.  While the Church is not dependent on National Boundaries in organization, it de facto IS in many cases (Finland, Czech Lands more or less, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, etc.).  So, how should it be organized?  Why wouldn't it make sense for the Church to be organized along national boundaries - not that those boundaries need to change though?  As much as GiC wants to advocate, I don't think anyone can make any type of case of why it is pastorally "good" to have your Primate reside halfway around the globe in another country.
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« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2005, 12:46:22 PM »

On the other hand - if you look at the other churches that became autocephalus (i.e Serbia, Russia, Georgia, etc.) they had whole nations convert, many saints from that nation at the time etc.  I don't quite see this happening in America.  Also I would wager that Constantinople is much "closer" to America today than it was to most of its territory during the peak of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  I guess the question I would respond to you with is, why does America need to be self governing at this point? 
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« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2005, 12:51:57 PM »

Let's assume for the moment that America shouldn't be self-governing.  Why Constantinople rather than Moscow?  It was the Church of Russia that began the task of evangelizing North America and provided the first episcopal structure, not the Great Church of Constantinople.  Why should the Patriarchate of Constantinople essentially usurp the Patriarchate of Moscow's efforts to convert America?  If North America should be governed by one of the other established churches, why should it be handed around among them based on who has the superior claim, rather than kept by the one, whether rightfully or wrongfully, who began nurturing it in the faith? 
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« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2005, 12:52:52 PM »

Ever since the revolution (US, that is) Anglicans have been organized nationally. It is taken seriously to the point where the churches in the Falklands/Malvinas were handed back and forth between the Church of England and the Churches of the Southern Cone (i.e., Chile, Argentina, etc.). There are areas where the borders are bigger than countries-- Southern Cone, as I've indicated, and Europe (which is more or less a missionary diocese of ECUSA) and for some reason, India has two churches (which do not however overlap).

There are three differences, however, which make this easier for the Anglicans. The first is that we're pretty rigorous about ecclesiastical order, and we have a controlling authority to keep everyone in line to that degree (namely, Lambeth). Another is that we don't have much of the overlapping immigrant issue that is the bane of North America; almost all areas are either specifically British or American immigrants (and few of the latter), or missions. The third is that for the most part, Anglican praxis in any one area is flexible enough to accomodate the differences between the various regions (and chruchmanships, for that matter). Nothing within Anglicanism is as different as Greek vs. Russian liturgical praxis.
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« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2005, 12:58:01 PM »

The two obvious fears I see are (a) that the Greek homeland and the EP wouldn't be able to sponge off a fully autonomous USA, and (b) that a fully autonomous American church would become theologically adventurous or even less teeth-grittingly traditionalist. I think the latter is somewhat unwarranted, at least, especially with how American Orthodoxy is being used as a refuge by traditionalist mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics. But I think the Spyridon debacle shows that long distance administration of the US churches isn't really working.
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Elisha
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« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2005, 02:26:38 PM »

On the other hand - if you look at the other churches that became autocephalus (i.e Serbia, Russia, Georgia, etc.) they had whole nations convert, many saints from that nation at the time etc.ÂÂ  I don't quite see this happening in America.
Are there not close to a dozen Saints of America now?  It's a start at least.  Finland (which is under the EP) is Autonomous - rather close to Autocephalous practically speaking...and the Orthodox are only around 5% of the population.  The Czech church might be more than 5%, but are Autocephalous.  There is no Monarch anymore to declare a national religion.

Also I would wager that Constantinople is much "closer" to America today than it was to most of its territory during the peak of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.ÂÂ  I guess the question I would respond to you with is, why does America need to be self governing at this point?ÂÂ  
They may be much "closer" (at least in the ability to communicate), but doesn't mean they're not still out of touch with the people in a cultural and pastoral since.  I've heard so much blab about how +Met. Phillip "knows" the American people.  I think that is a load of bull.  No one "knows" the American people.  He may be the most politically adept of the hierarchs, and he may know them say 30% (to quantify things) compared to "20%" or less than other hierarchs, but still has a long way to go.

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theologically adventurous
Nice, tactful way to put it.  Grin

So guys, what did the fathers say in determining these Canons?  If we look to Tradition on Eucharistic Eccleisiology, I fail to see how a distant Primate satisfies this at all - he's not local!
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« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2005, 03:13:58 PM »

Nationalism/Phyletism has always been considered to be one of the worst sins.  While the Church is not dependent on National Boundaries in organization, it de facto IS in many cases (Finland, Czech Lands more or less, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, etc.).

Phyletism is putting the concerns of the national government over the concerns of the Church when the two are in conflict. It really has nothing to do with organizing local manifestations of Orthodoxy. Laying churches out along national lines is a good idea because it eases administration: the Church can follow all the laws about registration and taxes of a single nation without having to think "well, this diocese here has to declare its finances under those laws, and this diocese here under that country's laws". It also means that the local church only has to issue its publications in a single language, etc. It's efficiency, not phyletism.
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« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2005, 03:54:22 PM »

Laying churches out along national lines is a good idea because it eases administration: the Church can follow all the laws about registration and taxes of a single nation without having to think "well, this diocese here has to declare its finances under those laws, and this diocese here under that country's laws". It also means that the local church only has to issue its publications in a single language, etc. It's efficiency, not phyletism.

This true, but when "national boundaries" become the single greatest reason for the creation of a "national church", it lends itself to phyletism.  I think the Macedonian Orthodox Church is a good example.  They have used "national boundaries" as a justification for *automatic* Autocephaly.

This probably ties into your initial point of putting the national interest of the government over the Church.  Although, if you talk to a most Macedonian Priests, they would tell you that the Church and government are united in interest.
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« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2005, 04:15:50 PM »

If we were to be organized under a Patriarchate (Moscow, Constantinople), why would it be a non-Apostolic Patriarchate?  This is something I've been confounded on, is how the Patriarch of Antioch is rightfully called His Holiness, but the Patriarch of Moscow is also called His Holiness.  This doesn't make sense.  One is the direct Apostolic succession, the other is the result of missionary work.  For the sake of theological balancedness, I think we need an Apostolic Patriarch, seated in an Apostolic See.  This is why I like the Pope, and how he closely identifies himself with Peter.  We should use the same strategy to have a greater semblance of the Pentarchy of the first millennium.  This would help us organize better and more quickly respond to the issues of social concern and evangelism.
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« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2005, 04:25:04 PM »

So guys, what did the fathers say in determining these Canons?ÂÂ  If we look to Tradition on Eucharistic Eccleisiology, I fail to see how a distant Primate satisfies this at all - he's not local!

Not that I want to dig through canons, but from what I recollect whenever I've come up against this issue, the model of church growth from the early days is that missionaries go forth into an area, and when it develops enough (or the local rulers "convert" their subjects) it gets its own bishops and becomes "separate". Some of the degrees of "separation" seem arbitrary (a) because what seemed a reasonable organizational unit got bigger as time went on and (b) because the jump from the "church" being a city (see The Revelation) to the "church" being a national/regional/imperial body was irregular, and (c) because the disintegration of the imperium meant that what was "reasonable" changed erratically and locally.

What this meant for the history of the West is that, with one temporary exception, all of the West was a single church. The early Anglo-Irish church was the exception, and it conceded its independence when the question was forced. History passed differently in the East and multiple patriarchates were always in the cards.

This model fails in the USA because there are no meaningful American missionaries. The Russian church? Their mission to Aleuts and the like is a sidelight to the main issue. Orthodox priests came over as chaplains to their respective communities, and in doing so forced the issue of how to fit together a millenium of differentiation.

The EP figures into this as a figurehead for the canonical theory, and because he serves as a counterweight for the more numerous Greeks to offset the equally technically-valid-but-actually-irrelevant prior presence of the Russians. The obvious, "let's deal with this as loving people rather than as status-grasping clerics" solution is to forget all these claims, give every American Orthodox body autonomy, and let SCOBA work out the solution. I think that solution will have to look like OCA in the short run in that it is going to have to accept the reality of overlapping, ethnically-based episcopates as a starting point. It's just unreasonable to expect one bishop to do a Russian liturgy one day, a Greek liturgy the next, and an Antiochene liturgy the day after that-- and let's not even talk about the Western Rite. Rationalizing this will take a long time, and it may prove prudent to forget the whole thing and let the overlap exist indefinitely. I would point out that ethnic congregations within the RC Church are unsurprising, and the bishops simply do the "same thing" from one parish to the next and live with the differences. (And if you really want "ethnic differences": the Episcopal bishop of Maryland has to deal with visiting The Gathering one week and Mount Calvary, Baltimore the next. Greek to Russian and back is a cinch in comparison. (As it happens, the diocesan bishop is visiting one and the suffragan bishop is visiting the other.)

Macedonia vs. the USA? Don't you think the difference in scale might enter into this?

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« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2005, 06:29:35 PM »

Keble,
Yup, I hear you on your thoughts on the OCA "model" in the short run.  Western Rite?  No worries, they really are just a footnote at this point and beneath worry.
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« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2005, 06:29:48 PM »

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Are there not close to a dozen Saints of America now?  It's a start at least.

Actually there really isn't one.  The closest thing we have to an American Saint are the Aluetion saints - but honestly considering they weren't part of the US during there lifetime, do you really think they considered themselves Americans?  St. Herman most likely considered himself a missionary to Russia's far out territories.  Of the recent saints such as St. John Maximovitch that spent time in America - they spent time here as exiles.... but how many of them actually had a command of the English language (for that matter Elder Ephraim doesn't even speak much English).  The closest we have to an AMERICAN saint is Fr. Seraphim Rose - but could you imagine all the "elite" Orthodox "theologians" of America who have been condemning the ROCOR for years venerating him? ÂÂ

As for the churches in Poland, the Czech lands etc. they are all relatively recent creations and the product of the turmoil within Moscow and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the early 20th century.  The more traditional way though can be seen in the anciently sell governing churches, Georgia, Serbia, Kiev/Moscow etc.

All that being said, I don't really favor one model of union over another.  In time parishes of all jurisdictions will start becoming more Americanized and less ethnic.  It may take awhile but from that point unity will start to naturally happen.  I don't think it is uber important to force it for now. ÂÂ

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« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2005, 06:39:06 PM »

In time parishes of all jurisdictions will start becoming more Americanized and less ethnic.  It may take awhile but from that point unity will start to naturally happen.  I don't think it is uber important to force it for now. ÂÂ

Unfortunately though, even since the Ligonier conference, many feel that we've taken a giant step BACKWARDS with respect to unity in America.

While you may think it is not uber important at the moment, in the meantime, we have extremely inefficient economies of scale and wasted duplicitous efforts wrt mission work (OCMC and IOCC are a start, but we can do much better), Orthodox conventions/gatherings and administration.  And this is just besides the point that our most important task is to preach the Gospel to American - we just can't do it that well while disunited.
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« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2005, 09:21:03 PM »

While disunity may have some negitive side effects, they seem to me to be far less than the negitive side effects of an autocephalous American Orthodox Church; as we Americans have demonstrated time and time again (ECUS vs. CoE, UCC vs. Reformed Churches in Europe, American Catholics vs. The Vatican, PCUSA vs. the Scottish Presbyterian church, et cetera) we are simply incapable of Governing ourselves on religious affairs (I would extend this to secular affairs as well, but that's an issue for another thread; God Save the Queen Wink ). To believe that an American Orthodox Church would be significantly different is foolish, we have this radical democratic anti-hierarchal mindset that seeks to undermine the most fundamental elements of Orthodox Ecclesiology, which is the basis of our Faith. The problem is that our Foreign Patriarchs have failed to use a heavy enough hand to stop the Americanization of the Church, Archbishop Spyridon was too little too late; we have quite a task ahead of us of deamericanizing the Church, and Autocephaly is a step in the Wrong Direction. So while unity may be ideal, disunity is preferable to autocephaly.

As far as why Constantinople should be the Patriarch under which the Church is united, if it is to be united, on top of having the best Canonical Posistion (her jurisdiction is Unrestricted, Moscow's is restricted by the Political Boundaries of Russia), she also has the best pastoral posistion, most the Faithful in North America fall under her Omophorion. Furthermore, as Oecumenical Patriarch she is in a unique posistion to effectively oversee fledgling Orthodox Communities in non-Orthodox lands. As far as claiming that His All-Holiness doesn't understand Americans and our Culture, I do not believe this is true; I believe he, like me, understands us, and is worried by it; he understands that a firm, yet loving, hand is required to keep us in line. Missionary activity is fruitless if we must Change to Church in order that it may be effected.
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« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2005, 09:24:54 PM »

Given that His All-Holiness is currently sitting under the bootheel of Turkish oppression, I don't see how that puts him in the best pastoral position.  Given that His Holiness Alexy II has more resources at his disposal, more freedom to act as necessary, and a friendly government in his country, it would seem that he has the best pastoral position, not His All-Holiness.
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« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2005, 09:46:37 PM »

The only reason for which I wish to see all of US going under EP is due to my thingking that if he does not get it, he will fall into state of no-body caring about him. This way, the see would be "visible" in the US.
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« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2005, 09:48:42 PM »

Before this degenerates into a Moscow vs. Constantinople debate -

Greek parishes (independent of the Russian Hierarchy) were established in Lousiana and Florida before the Russian presence in the Americas.  Now I don't know the dates off the top of my head, but I do know that Florida didn't come into the union until Andrew Jackson took it more or less by force.  But I think Lousiana was a territory of the United States Government from the start (or fairly close to the start).  So would that make the Greeks the first ones here? (I don't know, but it could be very interesting to crunch the numbers) ÂÂ

BUT the EP would never invoke the canon of the first ones to a land get jurisdiction over the land , because they want to invoke the idea of basicly the entire diaspora (i.e. Barbarian Lands) belonging to the Patriarchate - which would aggrandize its power.  Also I think it is partly OCA propganda/mythology that the Americas (and by this what does that mean? - Alaska which was Russian territory NOT American FWIW, North America, or the United States) were solidly under Russian jurisdiction is more shaky than most OCA propgandists are willing to admit.  I wouldn't be surprised if the OCA autocephaly is eventually treated like ROCOR's automony - something done by Moscow because it was unable to care for its flock in the diaspora (oh how ironic would that be for the OCA propogandists!).  I think it will take a few generations until people are far enough removed from these politics to bridge over them.

Frankly I don't really care who has jurisdiction over America - as long as there is a traditional Orthodox presence with legitimate bishops.   ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚Â

ADDED ON EDIT:
Also the political stability of Russia over Turkey really makes no difference.  Russia is hardly a stable country and could easily fall back into communist chaos. 
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« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2005, 10:47:27 PM »

While disunity may have some negitive side effects, they seem to me to be far less than the negitive side effects of an autocephalous American Orthodox Church; as we Americans have demonstrated time and time again (ECUS vs. CoE, UCC vs. Reformed Churches in Europe, American Catholics vs. The Vatican, PCUSA vs. the Scottish Presbyterian church, et cetera) we are simply incapable of Governing ourselves on religious affairs[.]

The only problem with this is that you have queered the argument by lumping together lots of very different cases, including some that are the very pattern of remote administration that you advocate.

Now, you may have a point with ECUSA, though a lot of the Bad Theology there can be traced back to those German reformed theologians which you commend. And the UCC? It's the poster child for Bad Ecumenical Unions. PCUSA? In case you haven't been paying attention (and you have an excuse, because the newspapers don't cover this very well) they've turned back from the problem issues over and over.

And then there's the Vatican. Like it or not, it is the model of what you propose-- and see how well it works? One can also find Orthodox examples in the USA beyond the Spyridon affair where it didn't work well or even at all. Size and distance matter.

Also, when it comes to it, OCA is hardly the model of deviation predicted by your theory. Indeed, I am sure there are those who would argue that the foreign-bound Greeks are at the liberal end of what (from the perspective of a D.P.) is merely shades of the same hue-- hardly a spectrum.
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« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2005, 11:00:31 PM »

Furthermore, as Oecumenical Patriarch she is in a unique posistion to effectively oversee fledgling Orthodox Communities in non-Orthodox lands.

Many say that Orthodox communities in America are no longer "fledgling", that's precisely why they oppose being under the Ecumenical Patriarch.
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« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2005, 11:09:36 PM »

Many say that Orthodox communities in America are no longer "fledgling", that's precisely why they oppose being under the Ecumenical Patriarch.

And some say that the Bishop of Rome is Vicarius Christi, but that doesn't make it so. When over 3/4ths the Population of the Americas is Orthodox, and the Church has been established for, at the very least, half a millenium or so; I may start to listen to these arguments, until then I believe I can justly dismiss them as though they are toddlers crying that they are all grown up and should be able to do stay up late, or do something else that is not good for them at that age. It's up to the Parent, not the Child, to determine the maturity of the Child, and the responsibilities and privileges that should be granted (or taken away).
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« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2005, 12:37:05 AM »

And some say that the Bishop of Rome is Vicarius Christi, but that doesn't make it so. When over 3/4ths the Population of the Americas is Orthodox, and the Church has been established for, at the very least, half a millenium or so; I may start to listen to these arguments, until then I believe I can justly dismiss them as though they are toddlers crying that they are all grown up and should be able to do stay up late, or do something else that is not good for them at that age. It's up to the Parent, not the Child, to determine the maturity of the Child, and the responsibilities and privileges that should be granted (or taken away).

Except that you won't live that long, and there are, oh, three? Seven? Many parents, plus one adolescent living on his own? This is a bunch of hooey!

If you want this model, you have to get to this model, because it isn't the way the world is now.
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« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2005, 03:11:57 AM »

And some say that the Bishop of Rome is Vicarius Christi, but that doesn't make it so. When over 3/4ths the Population of the Americas is Orthodox, and the Church has been established for, at the very least, half a millenium or so; I may start to listen to these arguments, until then I believe I can justly dismiss them as though they are toddlers crying that they are all grown up and should be able to do stay up late, or do something else that is not good for them at that age. It's up to the Parent, not the Child, to determine the maturity of the Child, and the responsibilities and privileges that should be granted (or taken away).

Yes, it is up to the parent.  But many times later in life, the child has to make decisions for the parent, albeit in a respectful and caring manner since the parent is advanced in years and unable to care for himself/herself.

I was not aware that an Ecumenical Council or the Canons required a land to be Orthodox for >=500 years in order for Autocephaly to be granted.  I was not aware that there was a >=75% of the populous that are Orthodox requirement for Autocephaly.  The Pony Express has been defunct for around 150 years or so now.  We have such things as telephones, the internet, turbine aircraft and other modes of mass transportation.  I was not aware that a young seminarian was wiser in the ways of pastoral guidance than the vast number of clergy and Hierarchs in the land where he lives.  I was not aware that a young American convert serminarian, who does not know his Primate, could simply assume that said Primate who has never lived in this country and resides halfway across the globe could pastorally do the best job practically speaking.

Spare us the circular arguments about the EP being the most competent by being....de facto the EP!  I fail to see what the other Protestant groups in the USA have anything to do with an American Orthodox Church.  This is nothing more than a hasty generalization and slippery slope fallacy.  You mentioned in another thread about pagan influences being required for "Correct Theology".  Now you say that the "Americanizations" need to be removed from the Church.  So which is it?  I thought the local culture is supposed to be baptized.  You can't seem to make up your mind.

You profess to be a a student of Church Canon Law.  So give some valid arguments based on the Consensus Patrum, historical Canons, Councils and the reasoning behind these structures.  What does having a Primate located halfway across the globe have to do with the concept of the Church based on Eucharistic Ecclesiology, a local Church, as espoused by the Early Fathers?  It was my original request for discussion afterall.  Thank you.
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« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2005, 10:09:36 AM »

I'm actually doubting, now that I think about it, that there are any such canons (at least not ancient ones). I'm guessing that the closest we'll get is canons about bishops poaching territory from each other, which are hardly going to be adequate to the current situation: after all, it seems a safe bet that they will presume membership of those bishops in a common synod, which is precisely where the current situation falls apart.
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« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2005, 10:23:21 PM »

Except that you won't live that long, and there are, oh, three? Seven? Many parents, plus one adolescent living on his own? This is a bunch of hooey!

If you want this model, you have to get to this model, because it isn't the way the world is now.

It is a model that exists, but it exists within each Orthodox Jurisdiction...Ideally it would encompass all Jurisidctions eventually, but as I said initially, the current situation is preferable to unity with autocephaly.

Yes, it is up to the parent. But many times later in life, the child has to make decisions for the parent, albeit in a respectful and caring manner since the parent is advanced in years and unable to care for himself/herself.

I was not aware that an Ecumenical Council or the Canons required a land to be Orthodox for >=500 years in order for Autocephaly to be granted. I was not aware that there was a >=75% of the populous that are Orthodox requirement for Autocephaly.

I was giving standards that, from an objective look at Church History, are reasonable way to determine if a Church in a given reigon as 'mature.'

Quote
The Pony Express has been defunct for around 150 years or so now. We have such things as telephones, the internet, turbine aircraft and other modes of mass transportation.

Precisely why there is little difference in the abilities to pastor a flock of a Primate halfway around the world and one that lives next door.

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I was not aware that a young seminarian was wiser in the ways of pastoral guidance than the vast number of clergy and Hierarchs in the land where he lives.

If I was simply professing my own opinions, unsubstantiated by any authority in the world, you may have a poing; however, I speak not from my own Wisdom, but by the Wisdom of the Great Church of Christ; using what little knowledge I have to advance, in whatever humble way I am able to, the posistion of the Imperial See. A See whose Patriarch and Synod is, I am quite certain, infinitely wiser than the vast majority of Clergy and Hierarchs in this land.

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I was not aware that a young American convert serminarian, who does not know his Primate, could simply assume that said Primate who has never lived in this country and resides halfway across the globe could pastorally do the best job practically speaking.

But the actions and encyclicals of the Oecumenical Throne have demonstrated this competance, the sending of Archbishop Spyridon, for example, clearly demonstrates that Patriarchate knew of the problems in the GOA, hence sending a primate to correct the problems. Now I confess that the Oecumenical Throne errored in not sending someone who, though a good man and wise Bishop, was not sufficently versed in politics to effect the desired Changes, but interaction of personalities are hard to predict, they did what they could to ensure success, for example Archbishop Spyridon is an American, which they thought would help him; and when things got bad, they pulled him out. The events surrounding the end of the Archbishopric of Iakovos to the Enthronement of Demetrios quite clearly demonstrates that the Oecumenical Patriarchate is fully aware of the Issues in the United States and has, to a greater extent than any other Primate in the US or abroad, began to take the necessary steps of protecting the Church from negative influences.

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Spare us the circular arguments about the EP being the most competent by being....de facto the EP! I fail to see what the other Protestant groups in the USA have anything to do with an American Orthodox Church. This is nothing more than a hasty generalization and slippery slope fallacy.

That Americans tend to be more Theologically Liberal and Adventurous, regardless of religion of denomination, should not be groundbreaking news, and hardly needs a formal defence beyond the examples I gave above in relation to the Protestants and Latins, concerning the Latins in particular, the Americans are far more liberal than most the World, yet are still Directly under Rome, imagine the difficulities that would result if they were independent.

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You mentioned in another thread about pagan influences being required for "Correct Theology". Now you say that the "Americanizations" need to be removed from the Church. So which is it? I thought the local culture is supposed to be baptized. You can't seem to make up your mind.

The former is an objective historical observation, Greek thought played just as significant a role in the Development of Christian Theology as Jewish thought did. The latter, however, is an attempt to alter the long established Christian Tradition; as the Tradition has long been formed and promulgated, it can hardly be argued that American Culture should, or even can, play a role comprable to that of Greek Culture in the formative years of our Religion.

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You profess to be a a student of Church Canon Law. So give some valid arguments based on the Consensus Patrum, historical Canons, Councils and the reasoning behind these structures. What does having a Primate located halfway across the globe have to do with the concept of the Church based on Eucharistic Ecclesiology, a local Church, as espoused by the Early Fathers? It was my original request for discussion afterall. Thank

I've given these arguments in other threads, they relate to Constantinople as New Rome, Constantinople technically having Jurisdiction over Russia, this fact being acknowledged by the Russians themselves for centuries, and the Patriarchate of Moscow, when most generously established by the Good Graces of the Oecumenical Throne, being limited in its scope to, well, Russia. If you want me to spell all these arguments out, I'm sure I can search for them, and cut and paste.

Concerning Eucharistic Ecclesiology, it really only deals with the Relationship of the immediate Hierarch to their Flock. I'm not suggesting we dont have Bishops in America, infact it's a necessary thing to have Bishops in America, but they dont have to be Autocephalous to carry out their Pastoral Ministry with their Local Flock. Technically speaking, the Primate only has authority over his see, whether that See is in Washington or Constantinople makes little difference for the Eucharistic Theology in, say, San Francisco, it is the Bishop of that City, not the Primate, that maintains the Eucharistic Communion amongst the faithful of that City. A relevant point is that the Ecclesiology of the Early Church was not formed around Countries, but rather around Cities. As for the Synods of Bishops, in the Church during the Oecumenical Synods there were only Six Autocephalous Sees, and when the Church was organized, everyone fell within one of those Six Sees, all of which were Culturally Greek, no matter how distant, either Culturally or in terms of Distance, from those Sees.
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« Reply #24 on: August 31, 2005, 10:26:25 PM »

I'm actually doubting, now that I think about it, that there are any such canons (at least not ancient ones). I'm guessing that the closest we'll get is canons about bishops poaching territory from each other, which are hardly going to be adequate to the current situation: after all, it seems a safe bet that they will presume membership of those bishops in a common synod, which is precisely where the current situation falls apart.

You are correct, the only relevant canons and decrees are the ones that deal with the Authority of the Sees in question and prohibition against overlapping jurisdictions; and while no one will find a easy black and white answer, the elevation of the Authority of Constantinople is quite evident in our Oecumenical Synods as well as our Imperial and Endimousa Synods.
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« Reply #25 on: August 31, 2005, 10:35:55 PM »

You are correct, the only relevant canons and decrees are the ones that deal with the Authority of the Sees in question and prohibition against overlapping jurisdictions; and while no one will find a easy black and white answer, the elevation of the Authority of Constantinople is quite evident in our Oecumenical Synods as well as our Imperial and Endimousa Synods.

Now you are just talking around in a circle. Assertion of Constantinopolitan primacy isn't solving the issue now. In fact, the EP isn't a bishop here, and therefore doesn't have a dog in the hunt-- and therefore no seat in a synod to decide what is, after all, a local issue. See, I can talk legalities all over the place too. You're saying that this canons both do and do not exist.

This talk shall come to naught.
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« Reply #26 on: September 01, 2005, 06:17:55 AM »

It is a model that exists, but it exists within each Orthodox Jurisdiction...Ideally it would encompass all Jurisidctions eventually, but as I said initially, the current situation is preferable to unity with autocephaly.

You would rather see the current situtation, one in violation of the canons, continue rather than let America slip away from the EP's grasp and actually be one?  Unbelievable.  Here I was thinking the Church was more than a single patriarch (although you'll probably point out that the EP is the Church Roll Eyes)
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« Reply #27 on: September 01, 2005, 02:55:30 PM »

It is a model that exists, but it exists within each Orthodox Jurisdiction...Ideally it would encompass all Jurisidctions eventually, but as I said initially, the current situation is preferable to unity with autocephaly.
Your preference of the chaos of the current situation reminds me of the parable of the slave who hid and buried his talent as opposed to doing something with it like the other two.

I was giving standards that, from an objective look at Church History, are reasonable way to determine if a Church in a given reigon as 'mature.'
....and it completely ignores the second millenium and lands that are settled, "known" and in fact DO have Autonomous and even Autocephalous Churches that did not follow these standards.  Anachronisms need not apply.

Precisely why there is little difference in the abilities to pastor a flock of a Primate halfway around the world and one that lives next door.
Now this is where you are sadly mistaken.  Tell this to all of the corporations (remember where that word itself came from) lost business relationships with important clients when they thought that they could just have teleconferences/e-mail/etc. and not actually VISIT their clients. 

If I was simply professing my own opinions, unsubstantiated by any authority in the world, you may have a poing; however, I speak not from my own Wisdom, but by the Wisdom of the Great Church of Christ; using what little knowledge I have to advance, in whatever humble way I am able to, the posistion of the Imperial See. A See whose Patriarch and Synod is, I am quite certain, infinitely wiser than the vast majority of Clergy and Hierarchs in this land.
Wiser is debateable, but wiser does not mean someone has the same knowledge information about specific subjects and circumstances.  My preist may be wiser than your priest, but does not have the specific knowledge about the makeup of your parish and therefore wouldn't be able to pastor your parish as well.

But the actions and encyclicals of the Oecumenical Throne have demonstrated this competance, the sending of Archbishop Spyridon, for example, clearly demonstrates that Patriarchate knew of the problems in the GOA, hence sending a primate to correct the problems. Now I confess that the Oecumenical Throne errored in not sending someone who, though a good man and wise Bishop, was not sufficently versed in politics to effect the desired Changes, but interaction of personalities are hard to predict, they did what they could to ensure success, for example Archbishop Spyridon is an American, which they thought would help him; and when things got bad, they pulled him out. The events surrounding the end of the Archbishopric of Iakovos to the Enthronement of Demetrios quite clearly demonstrates that the Oecumenical Patriarchate is fully aware of the Issues in the United States and has, to a greater extent than any other Primate in the US or abroad, began to take the necessary steps of protecting the Church from negative influences.



That Americans tend to be more Theologically Liberal and Adventurous, regardless of religion of denomination, should not be groundbreaking news, and hardly needs a formal defence beyond the examples I gave above in relation to the Protestants and Latins, concerning the Latins in particular, the Americans are far more liberal than most the World, yet are still Directly under Rome, imagine the difficulities that would result if they were independent.

The former is an objective historical observation, Greek thought played just as significant a role in the Development of Christian Theology as Jewish thought did. The latter, however, is an attempt to alter the long established Christian Tradition; as the Tradition has long been formed and promulgated, it can hardly be argued that American Culture should, or even can, play a role comprable to that of Greek Culture in the formative years of our Religion.

I've given these arguments in other threads, they relate to Constantinople as New Rome, Constantinople technically having Jurisdiction over Russia, this fact being acknowledged by the Russians themselves for centuries, and the Patriarchate of Moscow, when most generously established by the Good Graces of the Oecumenical Throne, being limited in its scope to, well, Russia. If you want me to spell all these arguments out, I'm sure I can search for them, and cut and paste.
Of course American Culture can't play a role comparable to that of Greek Culture in the formative years, but you're missing the point - we're not in the formative years.  To discount the work of the Sts. Cyril & Methodius to the Slavs, St. Nicholas of Japan to the Japanese, St. Herman of Alaska to the Aleuts and their respective baptizing of cultures and not see how it can happen in 21st century America shows a complete lack of how the Gospel is spread in the Orthodox Church.  To paint all Americans with a broad brush about being "Liberal" is a fallacious generalization.  It shows a complete lack of willingness to carry forth the Great Commission that we are commanded by Christ to undertake.

Concerning Eucharistic Ecclesiology, it really only deals with the Relationship of the immediate Hierarch to their Flock. I'm not suggesting we dont have Bishops in America, infact it's a necessary thing to have Bishops in America, but they dont have to be Autocephalous to carry out their Pastoral Ministry with their Local Flock. Technically speaking, the Primate only has authority over his see, whether that See is in Washington or Constantinople makes little difference for the Eucharistic Theology in, say, San Francisco, it is the Bishop of that City, not the Primate, that maintains the Eucharistic Communion amongst the faithful of that City. A relevant point is that the Ecclesiology of the Early Church was not formed around Countries, but rather around Cities. As for the Synods of Bishops, in the Church during the Oecumenical Synods there were only Six Autocephalous Sees, and when the Church was organized, everyone fell within one of those Six Sees, all of which were Culturally Greek, no matter how distant, either Culturally or in terms of Distance, from those Sees.
This is about the only thing you've said that has any practical relevance.  But we're talking the 21st century now and only a fraction of the failthful in most of the old Patriarchates are culturally Greek...but even this has nothing to do with baptizing a different culture into Christianity.
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« Reply #28 on: September 01, 2005, 11:40:15 PM »

Your preference of the chaos of the current situation reminds me of the parable of the slave who hid and buried his talent as opposed to doing something with it like the other two.

Actually, as I have said many times, I would love to see the Church united, but the current situation is preferable to a synod of rash americans without having to answer to a better established patriarchate. Consider the Antiochians for example, the radicalism of Metropolitan Philip and the establishment of such things as a Western Rite alone should be enough to discourage us from even entertaining the notion of an autocephalous American church, if we can have such problems under the guidance of foreign Patriarchs, the results of autocephaly would be, no doubt, disastrous.

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....and it completely ignores the second millenium and lands that are settled, "known" and in fact DO have Autonomous and even Autocephalous Churches that did not follow these standards.ÂÂ  Anachronisms need not apply.

With the exception of a few autocephalies established in the 20th century, which were established far too quickly and under unfortunate situations, though understandable because of the political climate, the standards that I have established are quite reasonable and describe relatively standard criteria for considering a Church mature, which is generally required for autocephaly under normal political circumstances.

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Now this is where you are sadly mistaken.ÂÂ  Tell this to all of the corporations (remember where that word itself came from) lost business relationships with important clients when they thought that they could just have teleconferences/e-mail/etc. and not actually VISIT their clients.ÂÂ  

And we have priests and bishops in the given lands to tend to the pastoral needs of the Community; yes it's important to keep personal contacts, but that doesn't mean that the CEO has to go to every meeting with every client.

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Wiser is debateable, but wiser does not mean someone has the same knowledge information about specific subjects and circumstances.  My preist may be wiser than your priest, but does not have the specific knowledge about the makeup of your parish and therefore wouldn't be able to pastor your parish as well.

What's there to know about americans? we're irrational, materialistic, radical democrats, theological radicals (one way or the other), and require a heavy hand to keep us in line. As long as you keep that in mind, you're good to go. But beyond that, it seems to me that the Oecumenical Patriarchate understands the american mindset, and also understands the danger it poses to the Church; some of the american clergy may understand the former, but few understand the latter, for while they may know Americans, their knowledge of Orthodoxy seems to be, well, lacking.

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Of course American Culture can't play a role comparable to that of Greek Culture in the formative years, but you're missing the point - we're not in the formative years.ÂÂ  To discount the work of the Sts. Cyril & Methodius to the Slavs, St. Nicholas of Japan to the Japanese, St. Herman of Alaska to the Aleuts and their respective baptizing of cultures and not see how it can happen in 21st century America shows a complete lack of how the Gospel is spread in the Orthodox Church.

And please remind me, how long after Sts. Kyrillos and Methodios evangelized the slavic lands was the first Autocephalous Slavic Church established? American culture can play a role, but not the dominate role, it must take a back seat to the Hellenic Culture that is an inherent part of what Orthodoxy is, just as was the case with the missions to the Slavic Lands.

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To paint all Americans with a broad brush about being "Liberal" is a fallacious generalization.ÂÂ  It shows a complete lack of willingness to carry forth the Great Commission that we are commanded by Christ to undertake.

No, it is simply an objective observation about religion in America, it tends to be at one extreme or the other, and mainline religions tend to be extremly liberal relative to other expressions of the same religion elsewhere in the world; but it is this extremism in American Religion, be it conservative or liberal, that is dangerous. This is not an opposistion to spreading the Faith, but rather an opposistion to risking the souls of the faithful by being negligent in our responsibility to protect them from this extremism that is characteristic of American religion. The assertion that the Orthodox Church in this country should be administratively organized around the Great Church of Christ is hardly an assertion that the Faith should not be spread.

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This is about the only thing you've said that has any practical relevance.ÂÂ  But we're talking the 21st century now and only a fraction of the failthful in most of the old Patriarchates are culturally Greek...but even this has nothing to do with baptizing a different culture into Christianity.

It is simply an historical example that it was never considered important that people of a given Culture be united together under a Primate, to the Contrary the Church has always taught that she transcends the bounds of nation, ethnicity, and culture, encompassing all of them simultaneously.
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« Reply #29 on: September 02, 2005, 12:32:03 AM »

This is getting endless.  You want a single ruler?  Then take the Pope!

We need the original PENTARCHY, not a single Vicar of Christ figure.  The EP is NOT canonically prime, he is only ACCIDENTALLY prime because of the man's sinfulness (i.e. the Great Schism).

Keep the spirit of the Seven Councils.  We should unite under Council, not Vicar.
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« Reply #30 on: September 02, 2005, 12:34:29 AM »

Pentrarchy only works if the five Patriarchates still exist.  Rome has ceased to exist as a Patriarchate because of its schism and heresy.  Thus there are the four ancient Patriarchates and the other self governing Orthodox Churches. 
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« Reply #31 on: September 02, 2005, 06:30:29 AM »

Actually, as I have said many times, I would love to see the Church united, but the current situation is preferable to a synod of rash americans without having to answer to a better established patriarchate. Consider the Antiochians for example, the radicalism of Metropolitan Philip and the establishment of such things as a Western Rite alone should be enough to discourage us from even entertaining the notion of an autocephalous American church, if we can have such problems under the guidance of foreign Patriarchs, the results of autocephaly would be, no doubt, disastrous.

Well, it's funny that you say that, because the big stinking heap o' manure in this is that when it comes to the Phanar, it is now utterly dependent on outside support and is said to be largely dependent on support from those immature Americans. And this is not just my idle claim: it was widely said in the aftermath of the Ligonier fiasco. It would appear that the EP may well oppose a resolution to the American issue out of fear that it will force the Phanar's viability crisis that much sooner. And it is most obvious that worldwide orthodoxy cannot deal with the latter crisis.

Contrast this with the current Anglican mess, which, if some decades in coming, is essentially three years old. And yet there are international structures for dealing with it, and they are being put into action, and Rowan Cantuar is leading the whole thing towards a resolution which, if more orthodox, is also in denial of his own personal views on the issue. And while I'm probably being optimistic, it's not unreasonable to expect the end of the crisis in a few years-- maybe even next year.

And the whole crisis has transpired since the Ligonier conference; even the Lambeth conference at which it became apparent that the crisis could even happen is more recent.

So don't waste more bits about who is "better established". We should rather be talking about who is better prepared to deal with the impending reality of the Phanar being reduced to a not-very-viable mission.
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« Reply #32 on: September 02, 2005, 08:38:16 AM »

We should unite under Council, not Vicar.

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« Reply #33 on: September 02, 2005, 10:34:30 AM »

This is getting endless.ÂÂ  You want a single ruler?ÂÂ  Then take the Pope!

We need the original PENTARCHY, not a single Vicar of Christ figure.ÂÂ  The EP is NOT canonically prime, he is only ACCIDENTALLY prime because of the man's sinfulness (i.e. the Great Schism).

Keep the spirit of the Seven Councils.ÂÂ  We should unite under Council, not Vicar.

Quick lesson in Orthodox Ecclesiology, a primate does not rule by his own accord, but he is the president of the ruling synod; with a primate comes a council. Furthermore, from an administrative perspectve, the Oecumenical Patriarchate is canonically the first amongst the Patriarchates, for according to Canon 28 of Chalcedon, every right or privilege enjoyed by old Rome is also Constantinople's by right, but it doesn't work the other way around. And the Authority of the Great Church over the Barbarian Lands (it is Not a right Granted to Old Rome, but to New Rome alone) invests her with the Right to govern all Lands and Churches beyond the borders of the other five Autocephalous Churches as defined in the Oecumenical Synod. And one last thing, the Oecumenical Patriarch is not a vicar, a vicar rules in the place of another, the Patriarch of Constantinople rules with authority that is his by right.

Well, it's funny that you say that, because the big stinking heap o' manure in this is that when it comes to the Phanar, it is now utterly dependent on outside support and is said to be largely dependent on support from those immature Americans. And this is not just my idle claim: it was widely said in the aftermath of the Ligonier fiasco. It would appear that the EP may well oppose a resolution to the American issue out of fear that it will force the Phanar's viability crisis that much sooner. And it is most obvious that worldwide orthodoxy cannot deal with the latter crisis.

The Oecumenical Patriarchate is dependent on wealthy individuals, from Greece, Australia, the UK, the US, etc. to help support her, the amount of money that is sent by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is laughable and shameful, amounting to less than 5% of the GOA's budget. And the claims about the financial concerns of the Patriarch influencing their conduct towards the attempted schism of Ligonier, which by the Grace and Mercy of God and vigilance of the Oecumenical Throne (the one that doesn't know what's going on in America) Failed, are nothing but slanderous propaganda put forth by Power Hungry American Nationalists within the Church; it is quite clear to those who are willing to objectively consider the matter that Constantinople only has the Church's best interests in mind.

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So don't waste more bits about who is "better established". We should rather be talking about who is better prepared to deal with the impending reality of the Phanar being reduced to a not-very-viable mission.

The Oecumenical Patriarchate will perservere with or without the United States, which is a rather insignificant corner of Orthodoxy, even if, Heaven Forbid, she has to leave the Imperial City and temporarially operate from Mt. Athos for political reasons beyond her control. Constantinople is still the Oecumenical Patriarch and it is still the Imperial See and no financial problem will change that. Furthermore, as I have said many times, but you seem unwilling to accept because if fails to fit into your agenda, the concern of Constantinople is not the small trickle of money that comes from the GOA, which is a mockery of the Great Church, but rather a concern for the well being of the Church in this heathen land.
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« Reply #34 on: September 02, 2005, 11:47:00 AM »

The Oecumenical Patriarchate is dependent on wealthy individuals, from Greece, Australia, the UK, the US, etc. to help support her, the amount of money that is sent by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is laughable and shameful, amounting to less than 5% of the GOA's budget.

Well, yeah, and you know how much ECUSA pays to support Cantuar? Nothing! Looking throught the budget, only a few million, at most, are spent on intercommunion administration. "Wealthy people?" Ha! Canterbury is a normal, self-supporting diocese.

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And the claims about the financial concerns of the Patriarch influencing their conduct towards the attempted schism of Ligonier, which by the Grace and Mercy of God and vigilance of the Oecumenical Throne (the one that doesn't know what's going on in America) Failed, are nothing but slanderous propaganda put forth by Power Hungry American Nationalists within the Church; it is quite clear to those who are willing to objectively consider the matter that Constantinople only has the Church's best interests in mind.

That's what you say, and your slander balances their slander, and then where are we? You say a lot of things here, and they are nothing more than empty promises-- political spin signifying that you don't have a leg to stand on. And "American  Nationalists"? That's the kind of idiocy that a phyletic Greek partisan would say!

Whatever you want to say about the Ligonier meeting: they tried to do something about the problem. The EP? What has he done?

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The Oecumenical Patriarchate will perservere with or without the United States, which is a rather insignificant corner of Orthodoxy, even if, Heaven Forbid, she has to leave the Imperial City and temporarially operate from Mt. Athos for political reasons beyond her control.

And if the rest of the Orthodox churches refuse to recognize the relocated see? After all, the Eastern churches already contain an embarrassing wealth of fake thrones for empty dioceses. They don't "have" to, in the sense that there is no force other than their own willingness to do so that figures in this. In fact, it might even be said that the other churches were being exceptionally generous to the EP in not acting out what Ligonier proposed. The most he could have done-- maybe-- is make the Greeks the odd church out. He is not bishop over Alexy, nor over Herman, nor over whoever is the Antiochian primate, nor for that matter anyone but the Greeks.

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« Reply #35 on: September 02, 2005, 01:12:39 PM »

I was going to reply to GiC's recent two posts, but Keble's responses have been adequate.

GiC,
So far, about all you have said are a bunch of unsupported accusations against American Orthodox.  Maybe I'm falsely assuming that since you're a specialist on the Canons that you also would know the Patristic reasoning behind them - which is what I'm looking for. 
Why don't you post some of the quotes from the Fathers, Ecumenical Council transcripts or whatever on the reasoning behind some of these decisions regarding jurisdictions?  Otherwise, you arguments are hardly even that and just weak.
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« Reply #36 on: September 02, 2005, 01:48:53 PM »

In my opinion Orthodoxy in the near future in America will be flourishing and will be the premiere Church while declining and dying out in it's mother countries. It would be best if we could unite under one American Patriarch that will actually have a real vision for what's best for the Orthodox in this country.
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« Reply #37 on: September 02, 2005, 04:47:31 PM »

Well, yeah, and you know how much ECUSA pays to support Cantuar? Nothing! Looking throught the budget, only a few million, at most, are spent on intercommunion administration. "Wealthy people?" Ha! Canterbury is a normal, self-supporting diocese.

Well the GOA sends a mere $500k a year to Constantinople; hardly enough to mention.

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That's what you say, and your slander balances their slander, and then where are we? You say a lot of things here, and they are nothing more than empty promises-- political spin signifying that you don't have a leg to stand on.

My words place advocates of schism in a far better light than they deserve.

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And "American  Nationalists"? That's the kind of idiocy that a phyletic Greek partisan would say!

Yet, of course, I'm not Greek, but an American who realizes the stupidity and radicalism of some of his fellow countrymen; so perhaps there's some truth to what those so-called 'phyletic Greek partisans' say (of course, I'm actually quite anti-phyletism, for I oppose this concept of a National Church and believe that a Greek Patriarch can quite effectively oversee Americans or any other Nationality).

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Whatever you want to say about the Ligonier meeting: they tried to do something about the problem. The EP? What has he done?

They tried to solve nothing, they tried to divide the Orthodox Church through schism; the Oecumenical Throne, on the other hand, has gone out of its way to maintain communion, even in the light of such foolishness as the Russian Metropolia claiming to be Autocephalous. Constantinople seeks to maintain the best interest of the Church in the most pastoral manner, and unfortunately must dedicate a disproportionate amount of her time to defend the Church from radical American nationalists.

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And if the rest of the Orthodox churches refuse to recognize the relocated see? After all, the Eastern churches already contain an embarrassing wealth of fake thrones for empty dioceses. They don't "have" to, in the sense that there is no force other than their own willingness to do so that figures in this.

If they refuse to recognize a relocated see, they are in violation of the Holy Canons and should rightfully be struck from the Orthodox Communion. For we have faced this issue in the past, during the reigin of Emperor Justinian II around 690 the Christian Population of Cyprus was relocated to Asia Minor following an islamic invasion of the island, at this time the Patriarch of Constantinople tried to claim Jurisdiction over the Archbishop of Cyprus as the Archbishop was located in the newly constructed New Justinianopolis, which was in Asia Minor and traditionally within the Jurisdiction of the Oecumenical Throne; at this time the Holy Sixth Oecumenical Synod in Trullo happened to be meeting, and this issue was addressed. The ruling of the Holy Synod was that if a Bishopric was driven from their lands, they could set up in Exile, and maintain all the Rights and Privliges that they would enjoy in their See, even including the right to Ordain Priests and Maintain Synods (this is the one exception to the Rule that a Bishop cannot Ordain a Priest outside his borders without the consent of the Bishop of that reigon). One of the relevant canons promulgated by that synod, which is relevant relevant to this issue, is canon 37 of the Holy Synod in Trullo:

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Since at various times there have been inroads of barbarians, and many cities have as a result become subject to the iniquitous, so that the President of such a city has been unable after ordination to take possession of his own throne and to be installed therein in sacerdotal state, and thus to act and employ himself in accordance with the prevailing custom of bestowing ordinations and to do everything that pertains to a Bishop, we, being determined to safeguard the rights of the priesthood to honor and respect, and being nowise disposed to consent to any curtailment of ecclesiastical rights or to allow the heathen influence to be exercised over those so ordained, and on account of the cause recited above since they are unable to gain possession of their own thrones, we have seen fit to concur in decreeing that no prejudice shall result therefrom to prevent them from bestowing ordinations canonically upon various Clergymen, and from employing the authority of the presidency in accordance with the same definition; and that any and all administration advanced by them shall be sure and duly established. For the definition of economy shall not be restricted or limited by the circumstances of necessity or be circumscribed as touching its rigor.

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In fact, it might even be said that the other churches were being exceptionally generous to the EP in not acting out what Ligonier proposed. The most he could have done-- maybe-- is make the Greeks the odd church out. He is not bishop over Alexy, nor over Herman, nor over whoever is the Antiochian primate, nor for that matter anyone but the Greeks.

Most the other Autocephalous Churches were no more enthusiastic about the situation than the Oecumenical Throne. But with that said, even if all of those not under the Oecumenical Throne would have united, I believe they still would have constituted a minority of Orthodox Christians in North America, hardly undermining the presence of the Oecumenical Throne.

So far, about all you have said are a bunch of unsupported accusations against American Orthodox. Maybe I'm falsely assuming that since you're a specialist on the Canons that you also would know the Patristic reasoning behind them - which is what I'm looking for.
Why don't you post some of the quotes from the Fathers, Ecumenical Council transcripts or whatever on the reasoning behind some of these decisions regarding jurisdictions? Otherwise, you arguments are hardly even that and just weak.

I fear I'm not entirely certain what you're looking for; the elevation of Constantinople was clearly on account of the fact that she was the Imperial See, canon 28 of Chalcedon explicitly states that. The dynamic of Church politics following the Council of Chalcedon was between Old and New Rome, the former arguing its rights as the first imperial see (and eventually adding in other arguments such as being the death place of St. Peter), and the latter arguing its rights as New Rome, and as the only Christian Imperial See. In expansion to new land the Reality of the Situation was that ecclesiastical authority over that area was dependent on who had the most political influence; thus as Christianity expanded to the North, in the west it fell under Rome and in the East under Constantinople; sometimes ecclesiastical jurisdiction would switch with a change of political influence (possibly conquest or possibly just a realigning of political alliances), consider, for example, the dynamics of the mission to bulgaria. Of course, the struggle was always between Old and New Rome, following Chalcedon Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Cyprus, the other 'autocephalous churches' tended to follow Constantinople (except for some political issues between Cyprus and Antioch and Cyprus and Constantinople a couple times). With the excommunication of the Bishop of Rome by the Orthodox, it was pretty much just assumed that Constantinople had Jurisdiction over all new lands, part of this was due to the fact that the Other Patriarchates were under Islamic Rule and part due to the honour that Constantinople had gained as the Imperial City. This was assumed not only by the existing Patriarchates, but also by the Christians in the barbarian lands, who did not even consider 'autocephaly' for centuries. Prior to the establishment of a Diaspora Constantinople has always been the only eastern Patriarchate responsible for the evangelizing of new lands, and by the 28th Canon of Chalcedon had always been viewed as the Rightful Patriarch over All Lands that didn't fall within the Jurisdiction of the other 5 Autocephalous Churches that were mentioned by the said synod.
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« Reply #38 on: September 22, 2005, 08:42:36 PM »

This issue of unity is such a contentious issue that I think I'll go the Cathedral on Sunday at High Mass and take Communion and become united to Rome.  Then the rest of you Orthodox can figure it out while for the rest of the Christian world it will be solved under Rome.
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« Reply #39 on: September 22, 2005, 09:05:04 PM »

Of course then you'll have unity, but what at what cost? 

As it says below my avatar - "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life."  True unity lies in our common Christian life, the Truth of apostlic teaching and life in the mysteries of the Church - no where did Christ say to sacrifice these for a false worldly unity.   
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« Reply #40 on: September 23, 2005, 12:54:19 PM »

How is the Roman Church a mark of 'false worldly unity?'

Your fear of the Roman Catholic Church is unwarranted.  I go to a Catholic school and identify myself as a Catholic, even though I am Orthodox.  I simply cannot accept the Orthodox notion that Rome is in err.  We both are.  Why else would there be over half a dozen jurisdictions in the U.S.?
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« Reply #41 on: September 23, 2005, 01:36:34 PM »

Your fear of the Roman Catholic Church is unwarranted.  I go to a Catholic school and identify myself as a Catholic, even though I am Orthodox.  I simply cannot accept the Orthodox notion that Rome is in err.  We both are.  Why else would there be over half a dozen jurisdictions in the U.S.?

Reason will show that, for God to keep His promises, one of the two churches must not be in error. To say that both the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church are in error is to say that the true Church has not existed since 1054 and will not exist again until we human beings do something to recreate it. Obviously God would not abandon His people.

As for jurisdictions, the vast majority of them are in communion with each other. That's not error, since the sacraments continue to be administered validly, it's just unideal geographic organization that will work itself out in time.

I go to a Catholic university as well, and nothing I am seeing here attracts me (back) to Roman Catholicism. One half of Roman Catholicism is falling into serious error in rejecting a great many Christian doctrines and espousing the heresy of universalism, the other half is looking more and more towards the strictness which the Orthodox have always maintained. The Roman Catholic Church flails about like a drowning man while the Orthodox Church has always stood on the firm safety of the riverbank.
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« Reply #42 on: September 23, 2005, 05:36:01 PM »

<It would be best if we could unite under one American Patriarch that will actually have a real vision for what's best for the Orthodox in this country.>  And what nationality would he be?  Ojibway or Laconda?  If you look at what's happening in the US. you will realize that the word American does not mean what it meant when Elvis was supreme.  I can only see more diversity not uniformity in Orthodoxy here.
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« Reply #43 on: September 26, 2005, 02:51:02 PM »

Reason will show that, for God to keep His promises, one of the two churches must not be in error. To say that both the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church are in error is to say that the true Church has not existed since 1054 and will not exist again until we human beings do something to recreate it. Obviously God would not abandon His people.

Why must one be in err?  Can not both be in err?  We identify with ethnic groups at the loss of visible unity (except at the Chalice, of course).  They have lost sight of Christian tradition (at least in America) and treat it as a novelty.  I see problems in both.  But I am not willing to say that we ARE the Church, but rather that we are BOTH.  To put it simply: I want more liturgical freedom, and unity between the East and West.  I understand that unity at the Chalice is very complicated, but can there not be more liturgical freedom?  My parish is OCA, and my priest would say theoretically yes, in application, no.  Because we are OCA.  This is foolish.  Catholicism allows for more musical and liturgical freedom, does it not?

I digress.  My writing has become an incohesive rant, but if you can salvage anything from it, feel free to respond.
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« Reply #44 on: September 26, 2005, 04:50:11 PM »

If neither are in error, than the one head has two bodies (or are then two Christs, so that each head has only one body?).  If both are in error, than Christ has lied to us and the gates of Hell did prevail against His Church.  Since our faith flatly rejects either of those as a possibility, it means that one must be in error.
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