Author Topic: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question  (Read 18385 times)

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Offline AncientFaith

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To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« on: March 10, 2006, 01:11:12 PM »
So my family is in the process of converting, as is another couple we know, but we're not fully decided on jurisdiction.  There isn't an Orthodox parish that is precisely convenient to our house.  I'm leaning toward the GOA parish, as it is closest.  Downside is that part of the liturgy is still in Greek.  OTOH, the closest OCA is 30 minutes away in good weather, and the liturgy begins at 9 am, which would require having the troops up and moving fairly early.

At any rate, my friend is concerned about GOA, and how "liberal" it may or may not be - especially with regard to ecumenism.  My intention is decidedly not to start a jurisdiction bashing contest, but would be interested in the perspectives of folks from different jurisdictions as to the state of their own jurisdictions.  Thanks!
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2006, 01:34:13 PM »
Get baptized where it will be convenient to you (if that's the GOA parish, so be it) and if there are problems, there is little problem in going to the other parish.  I'm generally against parish-shopping, but if there is something truly wrong with the close one, then you need to go where you're family will be able to grow in Christ.

I'd say to give the local church a shot (the GOA parish) and see how it goes.  If only part of the Liturgy is in Greek, you should be fine - the books are normally pretty good to follow along in.
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Met. Meletios of Nikopolis & Preveza, from his ordination.

Offline GiC

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2006, 01:57:39 PM »
At any rate, my friend is concerned about GOA, and how "liberal" it may or may not be - especially with regard to ecumenism.  My intention is decidedly not to start a jurisdiction bashing contest, but would be interested in the perspectives of folks from different jurisdictions as to the state of their own jurisdictions.  Thanks!

My preference towards the Greek Church is fairly well known on this board, but I have no intention of starting these polemics right now (though if someone else does...). But I thought I would mention that realistically speaking the OCA in regard to Ecumenism and such is really just about as liberal as the GOA. I would view this as a good thing and a positive element of both jurisdictions, but then again I'm one of those modernist liberal ecumenists ;)
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Offline Elisha

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2006, 02:29:45 PM »
Get baptized where it will be convenient to you (if that's the GOA parish, so be it) and if there are problems, there is little problem in going to the other parish.  I'm generally against parish-shopping, but if there is something truly wrong with the close one, then you need to go where you're family will be able to grow in Christ.

I'd say to give the local church a shot (the GOA parish) and see how it goes.  If only part of the Liturgy is in Greek, you should be fine - the books are normally pretty good to follow along in.

AngloC,
As he said above....Is it mostly in Greek?  Around half?  How is the parish otherwise?  Again, the GOA is Orthodox as any other (Canonical) jurisidiction in America.  We are mostly Orthodox on this message board and thus will b*tch & moan about current issues as any other members of any organization, whether or not we complain about some piece of music the chanter/choir sang last week or something potentially scandalous or dogmatic.  We do it because we care (or are maybe just feeling whiny).  You consider the "half Greek" a learning experience.  If the GOA parish is otherwise fine, then maybe it can be "home" and the OCA parish your "2nd home/vaction" parish.  There is a family that lives a little close to my parish, but calls the GOA parish home.  They usually visit about once a month or so, many times during Lent though for a Presanctified Liturgy or like last night for the (Thursday portion) of the Great Canon.

Offline arimethea

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2006, 03:30:58 PM »
At any rate, my friend is concerned about GOA, and how "liberal" it may or may not be - especially with regard to ecumenism.

To be honest I don't see how the GOA and the OCA differ on ecumenism. Both belong to the same groups and if anything the OCA is more active then the GOA since they send people from their archdiocese to the WCC. In regards to receiving converts I find the GOA policy to be much more conservative then the OCA process with such things as the converting couple must have their marriage blessed.

I am not sure what your firend's concerns are exactly so I can't address them but from someone who doesn't belong to either of these groups and at the same time very familiar with both the only difference between them is one is ethnically Greek and proud of it and the other is ethnically Russian and tries to deny it.
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Offline Meekle

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2006, 03:46:46 PM »
and the other is ethnically Russian and tries to deny it.

I don't know any OCA people that deny that OCA is of Russian descent.

Offline Ntinos

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2006, 03:49:55 PM »
Does it really matter "choosing a jurisdiction"? Does my being a part (well born in) the Church of Greece exclude my visiting a Romanian Church if I ever need to stay in Romania for a few months?  :)

Offline AncientFaith

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2006, 03:50:50 PM »
Its been a year since I went to the Diving Liturgy at this parish, but it was much less than 50% Greek, maybe 20% at best.

The people there are extremely nice - thriving Sunday School program for the children.  I remember several years ago attending Vespers for the Sunday of Orthodoxy there and watching several members of the youth group do a presentation after service about the Nicene Creed.  Each student had chosen a portion of the creed, discussed the theology behind it, and the historical reasons for it.  Very impressive.  At the same time, folks in my ECUSA parish were constantly insisting that you couldn't expect that much out of teenagers.
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Offline GiC

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2006, 03:51:43 PM »
I don't know any OCA people that deny that OCA is of Russian descent.

I think the point is that it still is very Russian, in almost every way save language, all the Orthodox Churches are ethnic in practice and custom, it's something that should be embraced not hidden (as thought that were possible) and denied.
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Offline AncientFaith

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2006, 03:53:15 PM »
Does it really matter "choosing a jurisdiction"? Does my being a part (well born in) the Church of Greece exclude my visiting a Romanian Church if I ever need to stay in Romania for a few months?  :)

If it was just me alone, I wouldn't much worry.  However, my children are already upset with me that we are leaving our ECUSA parish (as Catholic as it tries to be), so I would want to settle in at whatever Church we choose at home.

My 11 yr old asked me when we first told him of all this, "How do I know you won't decide that the Orthodox Church doesn't teach the truth and we leave there?"  He does ask good questions :)
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Offline GiC

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2006, 03:54:28 PM »
Its been a year since I went to the Diving Liturgy at this parish, but it was much less than 50% Greek, maybe 20% at best.

80% English? yuck, that would drive me crazy...but to each their own ;)

Quote
My 11 yr old asked me when we first told him of all this, "How do I know you won't decide that the Orthodox Church doesn't teach the truth and we leave there?"  He does ask good questions :)

Oh, you might want to leave, heck you probably will, but I doubt you'll be able to...perhaps I should give you the advice that one of my professors gave me, get away while you still can ;D
« Last Edit: March 10, 2006, 03:56:30 PM by greekischristian »
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Offline Thomas

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2006, 04:45:09 PM »
My family  originally came out of Mormon Church went to ECUSA where we were told we were the English Orthodox Church and found out that our children were being taught by Bishops who were anything but orthodox in belief---in fact our ECUSA priest said we should look into either the Roman Catholic or Orthodox Church if we wanted historic orthodox Christianity---we looked into both and became Orthodox.

We entered the Orthodox Church through the Greek Orthodox Parish (GOA), the closest orthodox parish to our house.  When we later moved to another part of the state we went to a Russian Orthodox Church, and later after another move started going to an Antiochian Orthodox Church.  All of these churches were canonical and as I am neither of Greek, Russian, or Arab descent I see myself an an American Orthodox Christian and 18 years after our  conversion to the Orthodox Church I go to the parish closest to my home that meets the needs of my family, even if it means as it does today traveling 50 miles to go to church.  The jurisdiction should not matter to an American Orthodox Christian as much as the fact that the jurisdiction is canonically correct and in communion with the Orthodox Church at large.

Good luck with your study of the Orthodox.  From experience, I know that once the kids get in with the kids at church they too will enjoy the experience and be more open to change. Many Orthodox churches have vital youth activity groups that help reinforce orthodox beliefbeliefseachings.  I know that many bishops when they make their annual visits to parishes and missions often ask the priest very early in the meeting "and how is your Sunday School? How is your youth group?" for they see the future of the life of the church lies in the up coming generation.

In Christ,
Thomas
« Last Edit: March 10, 2006, 04:45:45 PM by Thomas »
Your brother in Christ ,
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Offline AncientFaith

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2006, 04:53:56 PM »
I hope it is the case, and frankly expect that it will be, that the kids fit in right away.  Actually, a friend of my daughter's is Greek, at least on her mom's side.  I know her mom went to this parish, but we're not sure if they still do.  We're hoping to coax them back if we go, just so my daughter starts out with a friend.

Being in the ECUSA (I grew up in it), has certainly been interesting.  The priest at the GOA parish and I were meeting and he asked how I came to know about the Orthodox, and my response was that we had been rebellious at our parish for a long time, and inserted a great deal of Orthodox theology and praxis into the Catechumenate program.  Unfortunately, its hard to teach obedience to one's bishops when one's bishop may not even believe in the resurrection.  That, plus the fact that our annual Lenten programs were becoming increasingly fundamentalist/evangelical, it became too much.
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2006, 05:20:04 PM »
If it was just me alone, I wouldn't much worry.  However, my children are already upset with me that we are leaving our ECUSA parish (as Catholic as it tries to be), so I would want to settle in at whatever Church we choose at home.

My 11 yr old asked me when we first told him of all this, "How do I know you won't decide that the Orthodox Church doesn't teach the truth and we leave there?"  He does ask good questions :)

I can understand your concern here - at their age, the kids want (whether they know it or not) stability and whatnot.  It doesn't sound like you'll have as much of a problem at the GOA parish, so I'd go ahead and try it out.

Regardless of what you chose, I hope God continues to bless you and your family!
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
Met. Meletios of Nikopolis & Preveza, from his ordination.

Offline Ntinos

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2006, 05:22:52 PM »
Pardon my stupid question, what is ECUSA?

Offline Ntinos

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2006, 05:24:42 PM »
Oh, Episcopal Church  :P

Offline Elisha

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2006, 09:45:50 PM »
Its been a year since I went to the Diving Liturgy at this parish, but it was much less than 50% Greek, maybe 20% at best.

The people there are extremely nice - thriving Sunday School program for the children.  I remember several years ago attending Vespers for the Sunday of Orthodoxy there and watching several members of the youth group do a presentation after service about the Nicene Creed.  Each student had chosen a portion of the creed, discussed the theology behind it, and the historical reasons for it.  Very impressive.  At the same time, folks in my ECUSA parish were constantly insisting that you couldn't expect that much out of teenagers.

Sounds like a wonderful parish!  Go for it!

Now as to the Ethnicity...

Yes, the OCA is a daughter Church of the Russian Church and there is a big Russian cultural aspect and influence...BUT.....and a big BUT...

1) The OCA, while there may be close ties to Moscow, is not dependent on Moscow, while the GOA is dependent on Constantinople.  The OCA is meant to be an American Church while the GOA still doesn't really have that intention.

2) % Russians of Faithful for OCA vs % Greeks of Faithful for GOA is probably a lot lower - the OCA really is more "American" or diverse in general.

3) Slavic Chants, especially the more modern sort which really aren't "chant", sound a lot more "western" and thus familiar to the average American.  Byz chant sounds too "eastern" and "weird" to many people.  This is actually a draw to some though since they like "weird".

4) Greek Americans seem to proselytize their culture on people more than Slavs, which can be a turn off.


Offline Elisha

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2006, 09:48:18 PM »
We entered the Orthodox Church through the Greek Orthodox Parish (GOA), the closest orthodox parish to our house.  When we later moved to another part of the state we went to a Russian Orthodox Church, and later after another move started going to an Antiochian Orthodox Church.  All of these churches were canonical and as I am neither of Greek, Russian, or Arab descent I see myself an an American Orthodox Christian and 18 years after our  conversion to the Orthodox Church I go to the parish closest to my home that meets the needs of my family, even if it means as it does today traveling 50 miles to go to church.  The jurisdiction should not matter to an American Orthodox Christian as much as the fact that the jurisdiction is canonically correct and in communion with the Orthodox Church at large.


Thank you.  Well said.

Offline Bizzlebin

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2006, 03:00:30 AM »
I think the point is that it still is very Russian, in almost every way save language, all the Orthodox Churches are ethnic in practice and custom, it's something that should be embraced not hidden (as thought that were possible) and denied.

Who is hiding it? I am OCA, and I know of no such denials.

And Elisha, thanks for your comments, I agree. There are a lot more converts in the OCA, which means more attendance (and actually translates to being more American). And not once has anyone tried to do the least in the way of making me "Slavic" :)

Also, since a GOA, OCA, and Antiochian parish are all equally close to me, I was able to go and see for myself. As I was new to Orthodoxy then, I hadn't heard much in the way of the differences between the churches, so I wasn't predisposed toward any one. In the end, I went with the OCA. (Perhaps I just meet the wrong people, but from what I've seen here on OC.net, I think it was the best choice. Though, outside of OC.net, it seems that each group as a bit more "in line" with each other, besides a few oddities, such as Da Vinci paintings being used as icons :-X)
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Offline Ntinos

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2006, 03:56:43 AM »
Quote

1) The OCA, while there may be close ties to Moscow, is not dependent on Moscow, while the GOA is dependent on Constantinople.  The OCA is meant to be an American Church while the GOA still doesn't really have that intention.

OCA is not canonical for the EP. It shouldn't even be there, those lands are the EP's authority first, then the MP's or anybody else's.

Offline Bizzlebin

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2006, 04:09:42 AM »
OCA is not canonical for the EP. It shouldn't even be there, those lands are the EP's authority first, then the MP's or anybody else's.

Actually, the original Russian Church inside of America was well within the bounds of canonicity. Later, when the Russians spread to most of the US, the EP even let Greeks stay under the care of the MP. So, this is hardly an issue of canonicity, but the changing whims of the EP. And don't get me started on the canonicity of what the EP is doing :P
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Offline Ntinos

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2006, 04:16:24 AM »
Would you have someone join a Church that is considered uncanonical by the Ecumenical Patriarch, without him knowing what the situation is, only for him to find out later that there really is an issue here and get dissapointed (or perhaps start looking for another Church yet another time)?
For one, I think he needs to know this before he chooses.

Quote
And don't get me started on the canonicity of what the EP is doing  :P

No, I do not intend to start an issue on the canonicity of what any Patriarch is doing. I'm not even a priest to judge the highest ranking bishops on their jobs.  :)

Offline Bizzlebin

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2006, 04:43:35 AM »
Would you have someone join a Church that is considered uncanonical by the Ecumenical Patriarch, without him knowing what the situation is, only for him to find out later that there really is an issue here and get dissapointed (or perhaps start looking for another Church yet another time)?
For one, I think he needs to know this before he chooses.

Of course. But it is also necessary for him to know what the Patriarch himself has done, and said, in order to weigh the issue and see if the Patriarch's words are meaningful, considering the OCA is recognized elsewhere. Ultimately, the Patriarch's words cannot change the fact that the OCA is a meber of the Orthodox Church, and holds to the same faith as everyone else.
Fashions and opinions among men may change, but the Orthodox tradition remains ever the same, no matter how few may follow it.

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Offline Ntinos

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2006, 05:50:20 AM »
Quote
But it is also necessary for him to know what the Patriarch himself has done, and said, in order to weigh the issue and see if the Patriarch's words are meaningful

Of course the Patriarch's words are meaningful regardless. Also, there is much sense behind him not wanting other churches to grant autocephaly on their own accord.
Image the United States with let's say, like 8 different autocephalous Orthodox Churches? Antioch has also taken the step, what would happen if every single Patriarchate did the same?
The Church in the States needs to be one ultimately.

Offline Bizzlebin

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #24 on: March 11, 2006, 06:00:54 AM »
Of course the Patriarch's words are meaningful regardless. Also, there is much sense behind him not wanting other churches to grant autocephaly on their own accord.
Image the United States with let's say, like 8 different autocephalous Orthodox Churches? Antioch has also taken the step, what would happen if every single Patriarchate did the same?
The Church in the States needs to be one ultimately.

They were all one under the MP. Anyways, not every single jurisdiction is going to be autocephalous. If the Antiochians are doing this, it is only to unite with the OCA and further unity. The OCA already has several ethnic dioceses under it's care. Isn't that the kind of unity you keep trying to get, yet from the very church the EP won't recognize? Suspicious, at best.
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #25 on: March 11, 2006, 09:07:10 AM »
Image the United States with let's say, like 8 different autocephalous Orthodox Churches? Antioch has also taken the step, what would happen if every single Patriarchate did the same?
The Church in the States needs to be one ultimately.

Well, the Antiochians have not been granted Autocephaly but rather Autonomy.  If there were 8 autocephalous churches in this country, Orthodoxy would be more dysfunctional than it is right now - because there would be disagreements on how to unite, when there would be ample opportunity to do so.

Yes, the Church needs to be one, but it doesn't necessarily need to happen through autocephaly.
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Met. Meletios of Nikopolis & Preveza, from his ordination.

Offline Ntinos

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #26 on: March 11, 2006, 09:53:47 AM »
What is the following of each jurisdiction in the States (and America in general)? Would it be enough for an independent Church like Bulgaria's or Greece's?

Offline GiC

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #27 on: March 11, 2006, 11:42:10 AM »
I really dont feel like getting into this debate again, so I'll just lay out the situation how it is from as objective a view as possible:

From the perspective of a majority of the Orthodox Churches the Russian Metropolia (this may be somewhat biased termenology, but I refuse to call the Metropolia the 'OCA') is technically in schism because they fail to commemorate their primate, the Patriarch of Moscow. However, since Moscow and the Metropolia are in communion the Metropolia is generally also accepted in communion, though there are many who argue (especially in Constantinople) that because of the failure of Metropolia bishops to commemorate the Patriarch of Moscow as their primate Concelebration between Metropolia priests and priests of the Oecumenical Throne should be prohibited. When Metropolia bishops go to many of the Patriarchates (esp. the Greek ones), they are received, but received as bishops of the Patriarchate of Moscow, and not as bishops of an autonomous Church. However, though these issues exist at the level of the episcopacy, in practice intercommunion is common amongst the laity and most these issues will never actually come up in your interaction with other Orthodox Christians.
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #28 on: March 11, 2006, 12:48:09 PM »
The OCA already has several ethnic dioceses under it's care. Isn't that the kind of unity you keep trying to get, yet from the very church the EP won't recognize? Suspicious, at best.

THis isn't unity - this is overlapping diocese within the same jurisdiction, which is worse than what we have now, for they have no excuse - it should be easy for them to correct this error.  I don't think we can look to the OCA as a model of unity as long as they have the ethnic diocese!
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
Met. Meletios of Nikopolis & Preveza, from his ordination.

Offline Elisha

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #29 on: March 11, 2006, 01:39:37 PM »
I really dont feel like getting into this debate again, so I'll just lay out the situation how it is from as objective a view as possible:

From the perspective of a majority of the Orthodox Churches the Russian Metropolia (this may be somewhat biased termenology, but I refuse to call the Metropolia the 'OCA') is technically in schism because they fail to commemorate their primate, the Patriarch of Moscow. However, since Moscow and the Metropolia are in communion the Metropolia is generally also accepted in communion, though there are many who argue (especially in Constantinople) that because of the failure of Metropolia bishops to commemorate the Patriarch of Moscow as their primate Concelebration between Metropolia priests and priests of the Oecumenical Throne should be prohibited.

So, you are unwilling to call a Church by their own stated name?  That sounds rather rude.  

This really is a bunch of nonesense.  However dubious you may want to term the Autocephaly of the OCA, it still is what it is - a self heading Church.  Sure, +Alexy II is commemorated...during a consecration or whatever as all the other Orthodox Primates would be.  He is not the Primate of the OCA and thus no reason to commemorate him.

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #30 on: March 11, 2006, 02:05:45 PM »
So, you are unwilling to call a Church by their own stated name?  That sounds rather rude. ÂÂ

This really is a bunch of nonesense.  However dubious you may want to term the Autocephaly of the OCA, it still is what it is - a self heading Church.  Sure, +Alexy II is commemorated...during a consecration or whatever as all the other Orthodox Primates would be.  He is not the Primate of the OCA and thus no reason to commemorate him.

I don't believe I even addressed the validity of the Metropolia's Autonomy (which I reject), I simply discussed how various Orthodox Churches related to the Metropolia.
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #31 on: March 12, 2006, 05:22:28 AM »
THis isn't unity - this is overlapping diocese within the same jurisdiction, which is worse than what we have now, for they have no excuse - it should be easy for them to correct this error.  I don't think we can look to the OCA as a model of unity as long as they have the ethnic diocese!

It's a step toward adminstrative unity. Everyone being under the same bishop is necessary part, is it not?
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #32 on: March 12, 2006, 08:22:02 AM »
It's a step toward adminstrative unity. Everyone being under the same bishop is necessary part, is it not?

Well, but not everybody's under the same bishop - yes, there is a president to the Synod, but he has no more right to interfere with the operation of, say, Detroit and the Romanian Diocese than the EP or MP does.  As president of the Synod, he can call synodal meetings, and the synod can decide - and it is there that a "good step" has been taken.  But you still have within the OCA overlapping diocese, which is completely unacceptable.  In Cleveland alone, you have a number of OCA parishes, most under Chicago, some under Detroit, one (I think) in the Albanian diocese.  How does that solve anything?
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #33 on: March 12, 2006, 12:08:47 PM »
Actually most the Albanians are under your Patriarch, Cleveland - in a parrallel jurisdiction system of ethnic groups much like the OCA.  So while Greeks, Rusyns, some Ukies and Albanians are all under the EP - they are no closer to one bishop per city than the OCA.  

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #34 on: March 12, 2006, 03:07:49 PM »
We do only have one Bishop per city, infact if you look at the Sees of the Non-Greek (and Greek auxiliary) bishops in the United States, you will see that they are Bishops of Turkish and Greek Cities, and not Bishops of American Cities, only the Metropolitans and Archbishop in the Greek Metropolises and Archdiocese are Bishops of American Cities. Thus, all the land in this country is technically under the Metropolitans; however, following ancient custom many of these parishes were established, with the blessings of the Metropolitans, as Stavropegial institutions directly under the Jurisdiction of the Patriarchate, that His All-Holiness assigns various Bishops of Turkish and Greek cities to oversee. Thus, while these bishops have authority over the Stavropegial institutions, with the blessings of the Patriarchal Synod, the Patriarch, and the Local metropolitans; the institutions (parish buildings, monasteries, seminaries, etc....though if you were to divide up land into parishes, it would all fall within the jurisdiction of the Greek Parishes under the Greek Metropolitan) fall within the lands of other Bishops. Thus, we see that the situation actually is consistant and canonical within the Jurisdiction of the Oecumenical Throne, and while there may be more Stavropegial institutions than have traditionally been found in a given land, the difference is in quantitative and not qualitative.
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #35 on: March 12, 2006, 03:25:37 PM »
Good to see you follow the spirit of the law.  

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #36 on: March 12, 2006, 04:10:13 PM »
Actually most the Albanians are under your Patriarch, Cleveland - in a parrallel jurisdiction system of ethnic groups much like the OCA.  So while Greeks, Rusyns, some Ukies and Albanians are all under the EP - they are no closer to one bishop per city than the OCA.  

And I'm not debating that point... but when many people talk about Orthodox unification of jurisdiction in this country, they point to the OCA - and the OCA just isn't a great model the way they're set up at the moment.

edited for typo
« Last Edit: March 12, 2006, 04:10:32 PM by cleveland »
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #37 on: March 12, 2006, 04:13:27 PM »
Oh I agree with that about the OCA, but others (namely GiC) have stated that unity under the EP is a possible model for unity in America.  That isn't working out so well either.  

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #38 on: March 12, 2006, 04:21:04 PM »
It is a possible model, but only under the system that was being promoted for a short time 30+ years ago, where there was an offer to merge the different archdiocese into one, and have it under the EP.

If we approached the EP and asked to have one jurisdiction under the Patriarchate, I'm sure he would agree, and work towards that.  But instead we barely know what we want, and much less how to accomplish it.
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #39 on: March 13, 2006, 12:36:08 AM »
As president of the Synod, he can call synodal meetings, and the synod can decide - and it is there that a "good step" has been taken.

Exactly what I was tryng to say.

If we approached the EP and asked to have one jurisdiction under the Patriarchate, I'm sure he would agree, and work towards that.  But instead we barely know what we want, and much less how to accomplish it.

We may not know exactly what we want, but we know what we don't want. I am quite sure the EP would love that scenario, but American Orthodox as a whole do not agree with it.
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #40 on: March 13, 2006, 12:40:41 AM »
And kids don't agree with eating vegetables, and sometimes don't agree with going to Church, getting shots, etc.
If we all agree that unity is the #1 priority for Orthodox in this country, and if we study and find that the best way of going about unity without leaving ourselves in schism with much of the Orthodox world is to all be united under the EP (which isn't too far of a stretch), then why not?  No one has the "right" to autocephaly, and in this country I think that the drive for such is a matter of pride and rebellion, not in a spirit of Orthodox brotherhood (regardless of what we think the attitudes about us are "across the pond").
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #41 on: March 13, 2006, 12:59:27 AM »
And kids don't agree with eating vegetables, and sometimes don't agree with going to Church, getting shots, etc.
If we all agree that unity is the #1 priority for Orthodox in this country, and if we study and find that the best way of going about unity without leaving ourselves in schism with much of the Orthodox world is to all be united under the EP (which isn't too far of a stretch), then why not?  No one has the "right" to autocephaly, and in this country I think that the drive for such is a matter of pride and rebellion, not in a spirit of Orthodox brotherhood (regardless of what we think the attitudes about us are "across the pond").

If we study and find that going under the EP is best, sure. But don't forget the EP originally supported a different plan. Also, many of the groups are trying to move towards unity, as seen by current steps, whether they be small or not, so I don't tink its an issue of the majority not trying to get it. Rather, only relatively few groups are stopping unity with an "our way or the highway" attitude.
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #42 on: March 13, 2006, 03:12:59 AM »
I don't believe I even addressed the validity of the Metropolia's Autonomy (which I reject), I simply discussed how various Orthodox Churches related to the Metropolia.

Yes you did, you said most Churches consider the OCA schismatic - that is questioning the validity of their Autocephaly....and you have in the past as well.

Fine, you have the perogative to refuse to be respectful and be rude.

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #43 on: March 13, 2006, 03:16:45 AM »
And kids don't agree with eating vegetables, and sometimes don't agree with going to Church, getting shots, etc.

Yes, and sometimes 'dad' has gone senile or is completely out of touch with his kids and is imcompetent with respect to raising them (his kids).

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #44 on: March 13, 2006, 03:30:14 AM »
Yes, and sometimes 'dad' has gone senile or is completely out of touch with his kids and is imcompetent with respect to raising them (his kids).

Yea, we can take this out further if you want - if dad's gone senile, it's not up to the 5-year old when he is free, but the other dads in the family get together and decide on his behlaf, for his best interests, what to do; there are ways of dealing with it.
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #45 on: March 13, 2006, 03:52:16 AM »
Yes you did, you said most Churches consider the OCA schismatic - that is questioning the validity of their Autocephaly....and you have in the past as well.

Fine, you have the perogative to refuse to be respectful and be rude.

So am I wrong? How many of the various autonomous Orthodox Churches include the Metropolia in their dyptics?
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #46 on: March 22, 2006, 02:58:20 PM »
Hey what about the serbs!   ;D

If any of you want a fun filled time with lots of drinking and carrying on after church, go SOC!  (what a slogan... ;)  )

I don't think this option really speaks to the originator of this topic, but hey!  Can't blame me for trying... ;D
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #47 on: March 22, 2006, 04:22:03 PM »
Personally, I'd recommend the Greek Orthodox Church over the OCA. Then again, that just may be my Greek bias speaking to you.
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #48 on: March 22, 2006, 06:24:56 PM »
In reference to Bishops in the United States not being bishops over specific Cities, I think the Antiochian Bishops now are Bishops over specific cities, I no longer see the title of the  Syrian Bishoprics attached to their names but rather to their American Diocese city (example from the official website of the archdiocese: His Grace, BASIL, Bishop of the City of Wichita and the Diocese of Mid-America).

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #49 on: March 22, 2006, 07:19:33 PM »
Hey what about the serbs! ÂÂ  ;D

If any of you want a fun filled time with lots of drinking and carrying on after church, go SOC!  (what a slogan... ;)  )

I don't think this option really speaks to the originator of this topic, but hey!  Can't blame me for trying... ;D

If there are some refreshments after the concert I'm in on Sunday at a SOC, then I plan to ask, "Where's the Slivo?"

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #50 on: March 23, 2006, 05:36:15 PM »
There's almost always refreshments.  Home-made cookies from the balkans!  

And in response to your question about the slivo they will conveniently direct you to the bar.  Every serbian church has a bar!  Some bars in serbian churches in Chicago are bigger than the city bars!   ;D

Usually the drinks are free or dirt-cheap.  But they still make prophets.  i know one church where the guy pays out of his own pocket to import the slivo just so that everyone can drink.  FREE OF CHARGE!!!  

as a side note, i've heard that there is 1 SOC church that exists without a bar...somewhere in Nebraska or something.  I personally think its a lie, or that the people just havn't gotten around to build one yet.... :D
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #51 on: March 23, 2006, 06:16:24 PM »
Usually the drinks are free or dirt-cheap.  But they still make prophets.

Freudian slip or an acute observation?  :D  ;D

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #52 on: March 23, 2006, 06:25:56 PM »
There's almost always refreshments.  Home-made cookies from the balkans! ÂÂ

And in response to your question about the slivo they will conveniently direct you to the bar. ÂÂ Every serbian church has a bar! ÂÂ Some bars in serbian churches in Chicago are bigger than the city bars! ÂÂ  ;D

Usually the drinks are free or dirt-cheap.  But they still make prophets.  i know one church where the guy pays out of his own pocket to import the slivo just so that everyone can drink.  FREE OF CHARGE!!! ÂÂ

as a side note, i've heard that there is 1 SOC church that exists without a bar...somewhere in Nebraska or something.  I personally think its a lie, or that the people just havn't gotten around to build one yet.... :D

I DID notice the bar beforehand last time...and the Serbian beer the priest was stocking it with as well, but neither Serb beer nor Slivo were on our table of refreshments...why I'm thinking about making a flippant remark.  This concert will be at 4:30 pm on Sunday at Holy Assumption in Sacramento.

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #53 on: March 23, 2006, 07:11:17 PM »
I know that church!  Make sure to tell Fr. Dane that he needs to bust out the slivo. i'm sure he'll get a kick out of that... ;)  

You know, usually we don't put the stuff out on EVERY table.  You have to walk your butt up to the bar and SHOW the whole church that you're an alcoholic.   ;D

Its just like church...God reaches his hand out and you have to grab it.  We leave the liquor out and you need to get up and grab it!  
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #54 on: March 23, 2006, 07:40:48 PM »
I know that church!  Make sure to tell Fr. Dane that he needs to bust out the slivo. i'm sure he'll get a kick out of that... ;) ÂÂ

You know, usually we don't put the stuff out on EVERY table. ÂÂ You have to walk your butt up to the bar and SHOW the whole church that you're an alcoholic. ÂÂ  ;D

Its just like church...God reaches his hand out and you have to grab it.  We leave the liquor out and you need to get up and grab it! ÂÂ

If things happen like last time, there was food on ONE table in the middle of the hall, there were not that many people at the concert and I think a little wine, but that's it - bar was closed and mainly older people.  Since the director of the choir is Russian and heavily Russians in the choir, alcohol they brought with them was mainly just a box of (shudder...)....Franzia.  Ick.

We'll see.

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #55 on: March 23, 2006, 08:55:51 PM »
that doesn't sound like the serbian events i've been too.  You should go on a Sunday I've been a couple of times and they always had the bar open.  

I'll pass on commenting on Russian drinking habits... ;)

Quote
Freudian slip or an acute observation?    

Just tellin it like it is my friend  ;)
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #56 on: March 23, 2006, 09:15:09 PM »
that doesn't sound like the serbian events i've been too.  You should go on a Sunday I've been a couple of times and they always had the bar open. ÂÂ

I'll pass on commenting on Russian drinking habits... ;)

Just tellin it like it is my friend  ;)

Maybe it was quiet since it was Sunday afternoon and the more social types had places to be.  Forget - Russians get props for Vodka, but definitely not for Beer or Wine.

We are taking a small rental bus for this thing and it is about 2 hours away.  I'm not driving 2 hours for a regular Sunday liturgy.  Some other time though.

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #57 on: March 24, 2006, 01:18:07 AM »
if it isn't let me know.  i'll put in some phone calls and bust some people's b**ls!!  

Hope you have fun.  SOC ALL THE WAY!!!!
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Offline Matthew777

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #58 on: March 24, 2006, 03:40:21 AM »
I haven't personally been to an OCA church though I have been to the liturgy at the Greek Church several times. From what I've read, I'm not impressed with the OCA. But I have a friend who belongs to that jurisdiction and he's a pretty cool guy.

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #59 on: March 24, 2006, 03:43:52 AM »
if it isn't let me know.  i'll put in some phone calls and bust some people's b**ls!!  

Hope you have fun.  SOC ALL THE WAY!!!!

I JUST FOUND OUT AT CHOIR PRACTICE THAT WE'RE NOT GOING THERE BUT TO HOLY ASCENSION (ROCOR) DOWNTOWN SAC INSTEAD!!!!!!   Grrrrrrrrrrrr......

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #60 on: March 24, 2006, 03:46:06 AM »
I haven't personally been to an OCA church though I have been to the liturgy at the Greek Church several times. From what I've read, I'm not impressed with the OCA. But I have a friend who belongs to that jurisdiction and he's a pretty cool guy.

Peace.

Don't believe everything you read.  M777, there is a huge variance in praxis in individual parishes in almost EVERY jurisdiction.  You don't have the right to have any sort of credible opinion until you have personally visited at least a few DIFFERENT parishes of the SAME jurisdiction.

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #61 on: March 29, 2006, 06:04:12 PM »
Don't believe everything you read.  M777, there is a huge variance in praxis in individual parishes in almost EVERY jurisdiction.  You don't have the right to have any sort of credible opinion until you have personally visited at least a few DIFFERENT parishes of the SAME jurisdiction.

My knowledge of the OCA is mostly limited to its disputes with ROCOR and from what I've seen, if I had to take sides, it would be ROCOR's. That does not mean that my opinion on this matter is intelligent or informed.

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #62 on: March 29, 2006, 06:13:06 PM »
My knowledge of the OCA is mostly limited to its disputes with ROCOR and from what I've seen, if I had to take sides, it would be ROCOR's. That does not mean that my opinion on this matter is intelligent or informed.

Peace.

It would be better to try to not to have an opinion at all if you are not trying to be reasonably informed about the OCA.  

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #63 on: March 29, 2006, 08:26:39 PM »
My knowledge of the OCA is mostly limited to its disputes with ROCOR and from what I've seen, if I had to take sides, it would be ROCOR's. That does not mean that my opinion on this matter is intelligent or informed.

Peace.

M777,

Can you give us a good, clear reason why you don't like the OCA?  The majority of your posts on this issue look in their brevity like poorly conceived pot shots.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2006, 08:27:05 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #64 on: March 29, 2006, 08:46:26 PM »
Maybe I'm a bit behind the flow of the thread, but maybe not.  I'm mystified by some of the inter-jurisdictional vitriol I've seen on this thread.  Can somebody explain to me why it's so important to be in the "right jurisdiction" (EP, MP, ROCOR, OCA, Antiochian, etc.)?  Could it be that the whole idea of jurisdiction itself is an external concept that grew more out of the world's influence on the Church (not that this is all bad) than from within the very Mystery of the Church?  A good link to follow on this matter:

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/schmem_canon.aspx

(Don't let the link's wording fool you.  The article is really about Orthodox inter-jurisdictional relations in the USA.)
« Last Edit: March 29, 2006, 09:11:07 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #65 on: March 29, 2006, 09:49:16 PM »
M777,

Can you give us a good, clear reason why you don't like the OCA? ÂÂ

I perceive contempt in the OCA toward ROCOR and perhaps even toward Fr. Seraphim Rose. Please forgive me if it doesn't exist.
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #66 on: March 29, 2006, 09:55:31 PM »
Maybe I'm a bit behind the flow of the thread, but maybe not.  I'm mystified by some of the inter-jurisdictional vitriol I've seen on this thread.  Can somebody explain to me why it's so important to be in the "right jurisdiction" (EP, MP, ROCOR, OCA, Antiochian, etc.)?  Could it be that the whole idea of jurisdiction itself is an external concept that grew more out of the world's influence on the Church (not that this is all bad) than from within the very Mystery of the Church?  A good link to follow on this matter:

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/schmem_canon.aspx

(Don't let the link's wording fool you.  The article is really about Orthodox inter-jurisdictional relations in the USA.)


You know even if you are right about the jurisdictions, which I personally don't think that you are, then what are we going to do about it?  The history of Orthodoxy is such that jurisdictions were formed.  This is a historical factor just as much as martyrdom, apologetics, etc.  

We have established jurisdictons as part of our tradition.  It may not be a perfect system but lets look at WHY its not.  The jurisdictonal system only doesn't work because patriarchs, archbishops, etc. don't want to relinquish power.  They don't want to see Orthodoxy progress in another place without THEM being in charge.  On the other hand, some Patriarchs have more "right" than others to be concerned with that.  But who makes that decision?  Usually the patriarchs with the most prestige, power, money, etc.  

Like I said, its not a perfect system, but the church is the working of the HS on earth, and I don't think that the HS would have left us hanging for so long if it didn't have a plan...could be wrong though, can't speak for the HS.   ;)

Plus I don't know why you question one jurisdiction over the other, we all know the Serbian Patriarchate is the most holy...jeez  ;D
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #67 on: March 29, 2006, 10:10:53 PM »
I perceive contempt in the OCA toward ROCOR and perhaps even toward Fr. Seraphim Rose. Please forgive me if it doesn't exist.

It really boils down to the person more than the jurisdiction. For example, my OCA parish holds Fr. Seraphim Rose and his writings in very high regard. Also, ROCOR and OCA laity can often commune in a parish of the other jurisdiction.
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #68 on: March 29, 2006, 10:39:52 PM »
It really boils down to the person more than the jurisdiction. For example, my OCA parish holds Fr. Seraphim Rose and his writings in very high regard. Also, ROCOR and OCA laity can often commune in a parish of the other jurisdiction.

Thank you for sharing that. I guess another thing that I don't like about the OCA is its name. Is it attempting to distance itself from the Russian Church by calling itself the "Orthodox Church in America"? Obviously, there are several Orthodox jurisdictions in this country besides the OCA.
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #69 on: March 29, 2006, 10:57:51 PM »
Thank you for sharing that. I guess another thing that I don't like about the OCA is its name. Is it attempting to distance itself from the Russian Church by calling itself the "Orthodox Church in America"? Obviously, there are several Orthodox jurisdictions in this country besides the OCA.

That's why it should be refered to as the Russian Orthodox Metropolia or simply the Metropolia.
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #70 on: March 30, 2006, 02:03:28 AM »
Thank you for sharing that. I guess another thing that I don't like about the OCA is its name. Is it attempting to distance itself from the Russian Church by calling itself the "Orthodox Church in America"? Obviously, there are several Orthodox jurisdictions in this country besides the OCA.

Yes and no - and for good reason.  From the point of view of both parties, the OCA is Autocephalous and it was given by the Russian Church.  The OCA has its own Primate and elects its own as well.

In addition, OCA/ROCOR relations must be bad...because the son of one of the priests at the Geary St. Cathedral (where St. John Maximovitch is entombed) joined our OCA Russian Men's choir (of the Anza St. parish down the stree - an Old Calendar and Slavonic parish - not many of these in the OCA with the exception of Alaska).  Said priest also saw our concert before his son joined...and there was at least one other ROCOR priest in attendance as well.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2006, 02:06:17 AM by Elisha »

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #71 on: March 30, 2006, 02:30:08 PM »
You know even if you are right about the jurisdictions, which I personally don't think that you are, then what are we going to do about it?  The history of Orthodoxy is such that jurisdictions were formed.  This is a historical factor just as much as martyrdom, apologetics, etc.  

We have established jurisdictons as part of our tradition.  It may not be a perfect system but lets look at WHY its not.  The jurisdictonal system only doesn't work because patriarchs, archbishops, etc. don't want to relinquish power.  They don't want to see Orthodoxy progress in another place without THEM being in charge.  On the other hand, some Patriarchs have more "right" than others to be concerned with that.  But who makes that decision?  Usually the patriarchs with the most prestige, power, money, etc.  

Like I said, its not a perfect system, but the church is the working of the HS on earth, and I don't think that the HS would have left us hanging for so long if it didn't have a plan...could be wrong though, can't speak for the HS.   ;)

Plus I don't know why you question one jurisdiction over the other, we all know the Serbian Patriarchate is the most holy...jeez  ;D

Did you follow my link?

I guess what I'm having trouble understanding is this:  We all preach and practice the same Orthodox faith.  We are all in sacramental communion with each other such that any Greek Orthodox Christian in America (under the EP) can receive Communion in virtually any OCA or ROCOR church, even though we don't agree on jurisdictional matters.  We're all committed to the same Great Commission of making disciples of all the nations.

So why is it so important that the "right patriarch" be in charge?  Should not our jurisdictional reality be subordinate to the Church's Sacred Mystery?  I don't deny at all the importance of jurisdiction.  Even if it is a product of the world's influence on the Church, the Church has incorporated the territorial model of organization and jurisdiction--something the Church adopted from Roman civil law--into our Holy Tradition.  I'm just concerned that we may be overemphasizing jurisdiction at the expense of sacramental unity and the real mission of the Orthodox Church, the making of disciples.

Respectfully,

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #72 on: March 30, 2006, 04:20:26 PM »
I am so sorry, I can't believe that I didn't even see that link.  I'll make sure to try to read through it.  

One thing that I do want to add is that it IS important which Patriarch we are under.  If I'm patriarch of my own religion, and i'm a saint, then i'm no good to you.  I can only be somone you "leave alone" as Christ said about those who are not against us.  

Also we have to keep in mind that any bishop is a representative of Christ, so if we decide to follow a bishop who is completely away from the path and not part of the church, then we are siding with a heretic/schizmatic/whatever you want to call him.  

The problem with this is, no ecumenical council to tell us whether or not we're following the right church/belief/bishop, etc.  

In some ways I view this in a business sence, you want the right guy to be in charge, in order for the business to prosper.  If there were no Bill Gates, where would Microsoft be?

Any of this making sense?  maybe i'm not being specific enough...
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #73 on: March 30, 2006, 04:44:03 PM »

Thank you for sharing that. I guess another thing that I don't like about the OCA is its name. Is it attempting to distance itself from the Russian Church by calling itself the "Orthodox Church in America"? Obviously, there are several Orthodox jurisdictions in this country besides the OCA.


Yes and no - and for good reason.  From the point of view of both parties, the OCA is Autocephalous and it was given by the Russian Church.  The OCA has its own Primate and elects its own as well.


Many in the OCA and in the MP will point out that the issue of the OCA's autocephaly is purely an internal matter for the MP to decide.  The arguments the OCA and MP make to bolster this position are these:

  • The first Orthodox presence in North America was missionaries of the Russian Orthodox Church (i.e., Bishop Innocent of Alaska, the monk Herman, the Hieromartyr Juvenaly)
  • Even into the 20th Century, the Orthodox Church in North America was united under the authority of Moscow.  Even the Greeks and Antiochians in the American Church looked to Moscow as Mother until about 1920.
  • Most of the other Orthodox jurisdictions that formed in North America since 1920 were composed almost entirely of immigrants who wanted to bring their own clergy with them from their homelands and wanted to remain in  the jurisdiction of the churches of their homelands.  Of course, it also appears as if the "Old World" Orthodox jurisdictions were loth to relinquish charge of their flocks in America and allow them to unite with other American Orthodox into the established local jurisdiction.  To my knowledge, this is how the EP relates to the GOA today, refusing on more than one occasion to grant the GOA any semblence of independence from the EP.

Personally, I don't have a well-developed opinion on the matter.  My concern is more that our administrative unity represent the sacramental unity that we still possess.  It doesn't particularly matter to me how this comes about, as long as we follow canonical means.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2006, 04:44:59 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #74 on: March 30, 2006, 04:55:36 PM »

Personally, I don't have a well-developed opinion on the matter.  My concern is more that our administrative unity represent the sacramental unity that we still possess.  It doesn't particularly matter to me how this comes about, as long as we follow canonical means.

I think that it IS important how it happens.  There are RIGHT and WRONG ways of doing things.  And if we are going to follow the cannons on this, how about the one granting Constantinople jurisdiction over all barbarian (is it land or people?  I always forget that distinction)??

Cannons are up to interpretation.  I think we should follow a model that makes the most sense, with the fewest people getting hurt and the most integration possible.  
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #75 on: March 30, 2006, 04:58:56 PM »
I am so sorry, I can't believe that I didn't even see that link.  I'll make sure to try to read through it.  

One thing that I do want to add is that it IS important which Patriarch we are under.  If I'm patriarch of my own religion, and i'm a saint, then i'm no good to you.  I can only be somone you "leave alone" as Christ said about those who are not against us.  

Also we have to keep in mind that any bishop is a representative of Christ, so if we decide to follow a bishop who is completely away from the path and not part of the church, then we are siding with a heretic/schizmatic/whatever you want to call him.  

The problem with this is, no ecumenical council to tell us whether or not we're following the right church/belief/bishop, etc.  

In some ways I view this in a business sence, you want the right guy to be in charge, in order for the business to prosper.  If there were no Bill Gates, where would Microsoft be?

Any of this making sense?  maybe i'm not being specific enough...

I agree for the most part with what you present in the above post.  I just don't think that this answers the specific questions I have in mind.  I'm thinking more in terms of canonically valid bishops, metropolitans, and patriarchs who have not departed from the Faith (but may have their own competitive power issues)--whom do we follow then?
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #76 on: March 30, 2006, 05:08:03 PM »
I think that it IS important how it happens.  There are RIGHT and WRONG ways of doing things.  And if we are going to follow the cannons on this, how about the one granting Constantinople jurisdiction over all barbarian (is it land or people?  I always forget that distinction)??

Cannons are up to interpretation.  I think we should follow a model that makes the most sense, with the fewest people getting hurt and the most integration possible.  

Yes, I do agree that Constantinople should have a say in the matter of such issues as American autocephaly, but maybe not in the way I think you envision this.  I think Moscow does have the authority to grant the Metropolia autocephaly, because the issue is fundamentally internal to the MP's jurisdiction over its own churches.  However, I also recognize that the issue of granting the OCA autocephalous status equal to that of the more ancient autocephalous churches is an issue that affects the entire Orthodox Church and should therefore be decided also by the EP in union with all the other autocephalous Orthodox churches--this has not happened yet.  Maybe Moscow should be allowed to make the initial decision while the EP and the other autocephalous churches grant the final ratification of the decision.
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Offline serb1389

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #77 on: March 30, 2006, 05:23:00 PM »
Yes, I do agree that Constantinople should have a say in the matter of such issues as American autocephaly, but maybe not in the way I think you envision this.  I think Moscow does have the authority to grant the Metropolia autocephaly, because the issue is fundamentally internal to the MP's jurisdiction over its own churches.  However, I also recognize that the issue of granting the OCA autocephalous status equal to that of the more ancient autocephalous churches is an issue that affects the entire Orthodox Church and should therefore be decided also by the EP in union with all the other autocephalous Orthodox churches--this has not happened yet.  Maybe Moscow should be allowed to make the initial decision while the EP and the other autocephalous churches grant the final ratification of the decision.

I agree with this.  I think that would be awesome if all of them could get together and ratify a decision from the MP.  If the MP makes that decision....and if they get together...and if...and if...and if...I could keep going.   ;)

Unfortunately, this brings us to the first topic:  Bishops  ;D

Quote
I'm thinking more in terms of canonically valid bishops, metropolitans, and patriarchs who have not departed from the Faith (but may have their own competitive power issues)--whom do we follow then?

I am too my friend.  You find me a perfect bishop and i'll find you the perfect answer.   :)

Seriously though, my answer is, whoever sounds the best and has the best plan at the time, and isn't a major (put in word of your choice).  

Even bishops who have a really clear plan that might actually work, usually have an agenda up their sleaves.  Which is unfortunate.  I personally wouldn't mind the agenda as long as America gets taken care of.  But that's just me.  

I also would LOVE to see the other jurisdictions get together and just talk, discuss, come to a conclusion, and GO WITH IT!!!  But i'm not sure if we can have such a decision, much less all the processes before it.  

Does this answer more your question?  If you want a semi-rediculous but semi-truthful answer, I would say go with Patriarch Pavle (SOC) and do what HE wants.  
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #78 on: March 30, 2006, 05:40:38 PM »
Does this answer more your question?

Yes, you've done much more good than just answer my question.  Thank you.

Quote
If you want a semi-rediculous but semi-truthful answer, I would say go with Patriarch Pavle (SOC) and do what HE wants.  


Of course you'd say this, with a screen name such as you have chosen.  ;D
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #79 on: March 30, 2006, 06:40:45 PM »
Interesting tidbit from Church history:

Several centuries ago the Russian Church declared its independence of Constantinople, but Constantinople didn't recognize Russia's independence and autocephaly until over 100 years later.  I understand that at a recent major ROC celebration (like maybe the celebration of the ROC's millennium anniversary in 1988) Constantinople dated the beginning of the ROC's autocephaly as the year the ROC declared its independence of Constantinople (and not the year Constantinople finally recognized Russia's autocephaly).
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #80 on: March 31, 2006, 10:03:10 AM »
Wow that is REALLY interesting.  I wonder if they celebrate both?  

Celebrating the declaration makes more sense though.  Greek Independence day is the celebration of a declaration.  

In the Serbian church, however, we celebrate the day that St. Sava was given the blessing to begin his own church, from Constantinople...so slightly different...
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #81 on: March 31, 2006, 02:35:57 PM »
I think that it IS important how it happens.  There are RIGHT and WRONG ways of doing things.  And if we are going to follow the cannons on this, how about the one granting Constantinople jurisdiction over all barbarian (is it land or people?  I always forget that distinction)??

Cannons are up to interpretation.  I think we should follow a model that makes the most sense, with the fewest people getting hurt and the most integration possible. ÂÂ

Well, this is an issue of contention.  While GiC and those of his ilk disagree or interpret this rather narrow-minded, how can or ought "barbarian" lands/people be defined?  What about the missionizing the ROC did for Alaska/lower 48 because the EP was not able and/or willing?  Since it was done, should it all be for naught ecclesially speaking since it was not their (the MP's) jurisdiction?  These are questions that need to be resolved by the hierarchs.

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #82 on: March 31, 2006, 03:55:49 PM »
Since it was done, should it all be for naught ecclesially speaking since it was not their (the MP's) jurisdiction?


Do you mean the EP's jurisdiction, since the Russian missionaries were under the MP's jurisdiction.  (I assume that EP means Ecumenical Patriarchate and MP means Moscow Patriarchate.  Technically, because Moscow had no patriarchate during the time of the first ROC missionaries to America, the Moscow Patriarchate during this era should be known as the Moscow Metropolitanate.  Again, I'm just being a picker of technical nits.)
« Last Edit: March 31, 2006, 03:57:01 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #83 on: April 01, 2006, 01:55:48 PM »
Well, this is an issue of contention.  While GiC and those of his ilk disagree or interpret this rather narrow-minded, how can or ought "barbarian" lands/people be defined?  What about the missionizing the ROC did for Alaska/lower 48 because the EP was not able and/or willing?  Since it was done, should it all be for naught ecclesially speaking since it was not their (the MP's) jurisdiction?  These are questions that need to be resolved by the hierarchs.

Not to burst your bubble my friend but I personally agree with the EP on this, and with GiC on the matter of "barbarian" lands.  I think that it's pretty clear that the barbarian lands were all the lands that were unexplored by Orthodox people/churches at the time of the council.  Even if certain lands were evangalized by other churches.

Ultimatly though, I think the answer is for the bishops to find a solution on this.  The EP decided, for whatever reason, not to evangalize these lands.  MM (Moscow Metropolitanate  ;)) decided TO evangalize.  So what now?  Both did something "not normal" and we're stuck with the situation.  So why not find a solution?  Because no one wants to let go...
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #84 on: April 05, 2006, 08:14:31 PM »
Do you mean the EP's jurisdiction, since the Russian missionaries were under the MP's jurisdiction.  (I assume that EP means Ecumenical Patriarchate and MP means Moscow Patriarchate.  Technically, because Moscow had no patriarchate during the time of the first ROC missionaries to America, the Moscow Patriarchate during this era should be known as the Moscow Metropolitanate.  Again, I'm just being a picker of technical nits.)

No, he meant "technically not under MP's jurisdiction" since a narrow reading of canonical tradition or whatnot would lead to the conlcusion that the strict borders of the MP's jurisdiction would be the borders of Russia at the time Autocephaly was granted.  BY this reading, Alaska, despite being missionized by MP clergy, would technically be "under" the EP even from the beginning... THis, of course, is from a narrow reading of the canons, which some promote.
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #85 on: April 05, 2006, 11:38:40 PM »
No, he meant "technically not under MP's jurisdiction" since a narrow reading of canonical tradition or whatnot would lead to the conlcusion that the strict borders of the MP's jurisdiction would be the borders of Russia at the time Autocephaly was granted.  BY this reading, Alaska, despite being missionized by MP clergy, would technically be "under" the EP even from the beginning... THis, of course, is from a narrow reading of the canons, which some promote.

Ahhh, jurisdictionalism over our missionary duties.  Gotta love this mentality.  ::) (Sarcasm intended)
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #86 on: April 05, 2006, 11:48:56 PM »
Who ever said to stop sending missionaries?  Nobody (okay, I haven't read all of my famous schoolmate's posts.... and I won't, either).
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
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Offline Thomas

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #87 on: April 06, 2006, 12:00:27 AM »
The basic question should be, if a nation is colonizing a "barbaric land" or in our case the ":New World"  that was unknown when the canons where written. ÂÂ I think the prevailing response would be that the colonizing country or ruling country, if Orthodox would take that country/colony under their jurisdictional responsibility, whether they were at Patriarchal or Metropolitanate level. I believe that that would be upheld by most International Courts and probably even the EP, then in captivity, and unable to even minister to the Greeks who had settled in the outlying lands. If it were not for the Russians, there probably would not have been a successful Orthodox Mission in the US---It seems that only when Communism raised its head did the multijurisdictional issues arise in the US and as a response to the pleas of sheperdless flocks now appealing to their homeland for support.

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« Last Edit: April 06, 2006, 02:12:19 AM by Thomas »
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Offline calligraphqueen

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #88 on: April 11, 2006, 04:10:44 PM »
The fact that you have more than one option is a good sign.  here where I am , there is a very famous (or infamous) televangelist- so it makes finding an Orthodox parish rather difficult at all.
We have 1 (one) parish and it's GOA.  When we began the process we were warned that the Greek is a bit exclusive and not very open to those outside the ethnic aspect. Had nothing to do with the ecumenism or anything, it was more cultural.  That was not the case for us, and we bearing 6 children at the time.  We have really livened the place up.
I don't find that they are more liberal in the sense of the faith itself, though I could certainly drive for a few hours (with seven kids in tow) and find a more rigid parish if I wanted.  In the end, your faith matters.  not your jurisdiction.  Be thankful you can worship at all.  Once our already retired and only here on the weekend priest "really" retires, we are in a heap of trouble.
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #89 on: April 11, 2006, 04:17:39 PM »
Yeah, in my city we have a GOA parish that is about as missionary-minded and ethnically un-Greek as one can get.  They have a priest who really understands the Evangelical mindset and has sought to embrace their missionary zeal while at the same time becoming increasingly Orthodox in his preaching and teaching.  I wish every Orthodox church was like this parish regardless of what jurisdiction it may be in.
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Offline amnesiac99

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #90 on: April 11, 2006, 04:55:15 PM »
So my family is in the process of converting, as is another couple we know, but we're not fully decided on jurisdiction.  There isn't an Orthodox parish that is precisely convenient to our house.  I'm leaning toward the GOA parish, as it is closest.  Downside is that part of the liturgy is still in Greek.  OTOH, the closest OCA is 30 minutes away in good weather, and the liturgy begins at 9 am, which would require having the troops up and moving fairly early.

At any rate, my friend is concerned about GOA, and how "liberal" it may or may not be - especially with regard to ecumenism.  My intention is decidedly not to start a jurisdiction bashing contest, but would be interested in the perspectives of folks from different jurisdictions as to the state of their own jurisdictions.  Thanks!

I realize I'm coming to this thread rather late, but having spent most of my early time in the Church at a GOA parish I have an definite opinion on this. With regard to ecumenism, GiC is absolutely correct -- the OCA is basically on the same page with GOA in terms of ecumenical activity. My problem with GOA is not its "liberalsim" with respect to ecumenism, but its liberalism with respect to Orthodoxy. The priest who catechized and baptized me (though a lovely and God-fearing man) left me unprepared to live a thoroughly Orthodox life. I was taught that fasting was a nominal and, more or less, optional part of the faith, and that confession was something I only needed perhaps once a year, if that. I initially chalked this up to a priest who was either disillusioned with the faith or simply derelict in his pastoral duties, but the more people I spoke to about GOA, the more similar stories I heard. Most of the liturgy was performed in Greek, which is contrary to the Orthodox custom of celebrating divine services in the vernacular, and the annual Greek Festival seemed to gain more attention than any substantive Orthodox services.

I don't mean to cast aspersions on everyone (whether clergy or laity) in the Greek Archdiocese, but it seems common knowledge among many that the GOA tends too often to emphasize Hellenism and ethnic pride over the Orthodox Catholic faith. I currently attend a vibrant Antiochian parish, and my fiancee is coming into the Church via the OCA, which is where we will be together and raise our family. I cannot tell anyone what to do in such a situation (no one online really can), but my experiences took me away from GOA and I would not return unless I had no other option.
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Offline GiC

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #91 on: April 11, 2006, 05:48:06 PM »
My problem with GOA is not its "liberalsim" with respect to ecumenism, but its liberalism with respect to Orthodoxy. The priest who catechized and baptized me (though a lovely and God-fearing man) left me unprepared to live a thoroughly Orthodox life. I was taught that fasting was a nominal and, more or less, optional part of the faith, and that confession was something I only needed perhaps once a year, if that. I initially chalked this up to a priest who was either disillusioned with the faith or simply derelict in his pastoral duties, but the more people I spoke to about GOA, the more similar stories I heard...

So basically your objection to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is the fact that they're realistic and meet our people where they are, rather than being full of pharisaic pietists (though there are, unfortunately, a few of those in the Archdiocese) trying to turn the Church into a cult?
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Offline Elisha

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #92 on: April 11, 2006, 06:27:34 PM »
So basically your objection to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is the fact that they're realistic and meet our people where they are, rather than being full of pharisaic pietists (though there are, unfortunately, a few of those in the Archdiocese) trying to turn the Church into a cult?

Yeah, nice hyperbole.   ::) No, that they are essentially undisciplined liturgically and pietistically and out of touch with the local community that they OUGHT to be MINISTERING to as opposed to the the current "faithful" that they are PANDERING to. THAT is how I interpret amnesiac's statement.

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #93 on: April 11, 2006, 06:42:55 PM »
So basically your objection to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is the fact that they're realistic and meet our people where they are, rather than being full of pharisaic pietists (though there are, unfortunately, a few of those in the Archdiocese) trying to turn the Church into a cult?

A priest should not meet people where they are but should lead people toward where they need to be.
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #94 on: April 11, 2006, 08:28:03 PM »
A priest should not meet people where they are but should lead people toward where they need to be.

In order to lead them to where they need to be he must go to where the people are. There is no one size fits all approach to anything and different approaches are needed for different people.  
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #95 on: April 19, 2006, 02:41:21 PM »
A priest should not meet people where they are but should lead people toward where they need to be.

Don't expect reasonability from GiC. He regards any sign of traditional Orthodox piety as "cultish" and those who practice such piety as fanatics and Pharisees. I suspect that given his way, Orthodox worship would not be discernible from low-church Protestantism.
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #96 on: April 19, 2006, 05:21:18 PM »
Peter

Quote
A priest should not meet people where they are but should lead people toward where they need to be.

Isn't it sort of both?

Quote
As then the same medicine and the same food are not in every case administered to men's bodies, but a difference is made according to their degree of health or infirmity; so also are souls treated with varying instruction and guidance. To this treatment witness is borne by those who have had experience of it. Some are led by doctrine, others trained by example; some need the spur, others the curb; some are sluggish and hard to rouse to the good, and must be stirred up by being smitten with the word; others are immoderately fervent in spirit, with impulses difficult to restrain, like thoroughbred colts, who run wide of the turning post, and to improve them the word must have a restraining and checking influence.

Some are benefited by praise, others by blame, both being applied in season; while if out of season, or unreasonable, they are injurious; some are set right by encouragement, others by rebuke; some, when taken to task in public, others, when privately corrected. For some are wont to despise private admonitions, but are recalled to their senses by the condemnation of a number of people, while others, who would grow reckless under reproof openly given, accept rebuke because it is in secret, and yield obedience in return for sympathy.

Upon some it is needful to keep a close watch, even in the minutest details, because if they think they are unperceived (as they would contrive to be), they are puffed up with the idea of their own wisdom: Of others it is better to take no notice, but seeing not to see, and hearing not to hear them, according to the proverb, that we may not drive them to despair, under the depressing influence of repeated reproofs, and at last to utter recklessness, when they have lost the sense of self-respect, the source of persuasiveness. In some cases we must even be angry, without feeling angry, or treat them with a disdain we do not feel, or manifest despair, though we do not really despair of them, according to the needs of their nature. Others again we must treat with condescension and lowliness, aiding them readily to conceive a hope of better things. Some it is often more advantageous to conquer-by others to be overcome, and to praise or deprecate, in one case wealth and power, in another poverty and failure. - St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 2, 30-32

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #97 on: April 19, 2006, 05:44:09 PM »


So basically your objection to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is the fact that they're realistic and meet our people where they are, rather than being full of pharisaic pietists (though there are, unfortunately, a few of those in the Archdiocese) trying to turn the Church into a cult?

A priest should not meet people where they are but should lead people toward where they need to be.

Peter

Isn't it sort of both?

Within the context of my original post, I said what I meant to say.  I wanted to address GiC's statement with a contrasting pov that I believe is more Orthodox.

In answer to your question, I always have recognized that the priest needs to meet each person where he/she is AND lead the person to where he/she needs to be.  You are right.
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Offline pensateomnia

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #98 on: April 20, 2006, 09:53:13 AM »
Greeting all,

As others have pointed out, no jurisdiction is monolithic. A Greek parish in any given city may be more or less "American" or "Orthodox" or "ethnic" than a neighboring "Serbian" or "Antiochian" or "OCA" parish. Every parish -- of all jurisdictions -- has its own history, its own ethos, its own mix of communicants and, above all, its own type of priest. Thus, especially when a parish is a decent drive outside of any major metropolitan area (and thus relatively isolated from external influence or oversight), there is plenty of room for diversity, particularly in regards to things like catechetical practices, frequency of services, style of iconography/architecture, quality of chanting, homiletic excellence (or lack thereof), spiritual awareness, outreach and ministry, etc.

While there are certain jurisdictional trends, I think we should be quite hesitant to universalize our experience of one or two -- or 20 -- parishes of a certain jurisdiction and, instead, look at the individual parish.

Furthermore, a certain jurisdictional trend may or may not be a good thing. It all depends on how it is instantiated in a particular parish.

For example, I know certain Greek parishes that are fairly ethnic, but whose ethnic identity is generally a very positive thing, in so far as it is subordinated to the people's (and the priest's!) Christian identity and mission. In these cases, ethnic ties serve to root the faith in deep experience, familial history and day-to-day life.

I also know of other Orthodox parishes, of various jurisdictions, whose high number of converts have caused schism, strife and liturgical/spiritual innovation. (In one OCA parish where many, including the priest, come from a Lutheran background, there have been some rather strange Lutheran influences...and other innovations, whose origins I do not know, such as processing with the offering box during the Great Entrance).

Thus, while the convert-friendliness or convert-ratio of a given jurisdiction or parish could be an important indicator of that jurisdiction's or parish's commitment to missions and evangelism, it could also have unfortunate consequences in a particular parish setting.

Neither "ethnicity" nor "convertiness" is bad, but both are subject to abuse. Ethnicity can support the faith...or it can replace, hinder and obscure the faith. A parish made up of neophytes could be one strongly committed to a zealous life in Christ, or it could be susceptible to passing fancy, intellectualized spirituality and book-based Orthodoxy.

It all depends on the particular parish and, above all, the leadership of the local clergy.

(As for the other canonical questions regarding unity and autocephaly in America: Is there a unique thread for it?)

Kalo Pascha, everyone!

Best wishes,
Seraphim
But for I am a man not textueel I wol noght telle of textes neuer a deel. (Chaucer, The Manciple's Tale, 1.131)

Offline FrChris

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #99 on: April 20, 2006, 10:00:29 AM »
Pensateomnia,

Excellent post! I also hope to see more such well thought postings from you in the future!

All too often people look at the GOA as some sort of Vast Machine cranking out Hellenized individuals, instead of the diverse group of people that it actually is.
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Offline Elisha

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #100 on: April 20, 2006, 11:13:55 AM »
(In one OCA parish where many, including the priest, come from a Lutheran background, there have been some rather strange Lutheran influences...and other innovations, whose origins I do not know, such as processing with the offering box during the Great Entrance).

Woa.  That is weird...and stupid.

Great post, btw.

Offline Elisha

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #101 on: April 20, 2006, 11:15:29 AM »
All too often people look at the GOA as some sort of Vast Machine cranking out Hellenized individuals, instead of the diverse group of people that it actually is.

While it is better (and I WANT to feel this way) to concentrate on the latter, there are a lot of vibes still given off of the former.

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #102 on: April 20, 2006, 01:24:28 PM »
While it is better (and I WANT to feel this way) to concentrate on the latter, there are a lot of vibes still given off of the former.

Please define "a lot"....

Of the 12 HCHCers who post here, two are cradles, and only one is Greek.

While chanting in my local parish for this Holy Week, we have been instructed by the priest to use Greek only very, very sparingly. This is because of the diverse group of people within my very typical, middle sized GOA hometown parish.

Perhaps you may have come across the individual parishes that may be very close to their ethnic roots. However, any large ship takes a while to make a course correction. So, while you may find some parishes that still use about half Greek nowadays, think of what the percentage of Greek use was 10-15 years ago.

What's intriguing to me is that many more people are able to either not be bothered by those claiming the GOA is trying to 'Hellenize' them, or else do not see the culture of the GOA as being very different from what they experience outside of church.

So, really, I want to know your definitions of what "a lot of vibes" are. Please indicate to me who you measured them, and how you are aware of these 'vibes' while the majority of posters here going to the GOA seminary are not bothered by these invisible "vibes" that only you perceive...

"As the sparrow flees from a hawk, so the man seeking humility flees from an argument". St John Climacus

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #103 on: April 20, 2006, 01:49:43 PM »
Of the 12 HCHCers who post here, two are cradles, and only one is Greek.

Bravo Chris and Seraphim.  As the 1 "cradle" Greek, I have little perspective on your struggles, but I do know that you both are fine ambassadors of Orthodoxy (and true Christian Hellenism) to the world.
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #104 on: April 20, 2006, 11:03:29 PM »
While chanting in my local parish for this Holy Week, we have been instructed by the priest to use Greek only very, very sparingly. This is because of the diverse group of people within my very typical, middle sized GOA hometown parish.

Yeah right, greek very sparingly @ a greek parish?? and Chant as in choir-less chant?

During Holy Week, the only english we get is every other gospel/reading, some litanies, and  the homily. The only chant in english we hear is on Thursday "Today He who Hung....", and then on Saturday for "Come Receive" and Christ is Risen.


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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #105 on: April 21, 2006, 02:41:45 AM »
Yeah right, greek very sparingly @ a greek parish?? and Chant as in choir-less chant?

During Holy Week, the only english we get is every other gospel/reading, some litanies, and  the homily. The only chant in english we hear is on Thursday "Today He who Hung....", and then on Saturday for "Come Receive" and Christ is Risen.



Chris,
As my first counter example, I present you Timos's post....

Hmmm, how about....the GOA parish in Vallejo is mostly Greeks and does at least 50% Greek.  The GOA parish in Novato about the same, ditto Annunciation on Valencia St. in San Francisco, St. Demetrios in Concord as well, I've been told Holy Trinity in SF is uses a lot of Greek too, St. Barbara's in Santa Barbara as well....now St. George's in Redding, CA didn't really use any and was very mixed, but they imploded 2 years ago and were reincarnated as an OCA mission.....not that I don't like these parishes, but that's them facts.

So....how do you think I get these vibes?  Many posts from other regulars on this forum seem to corroborate my impressions too.

Yes, maybe you and your fellow HCHC seminarians are different...great!  I wish more were!

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #106 on: April 21, 2006, 07:46:01 AM »
Yeah right, greek very sparingly @ a greek parish?? and Chant as in choir-less chant?

During Holy Week, the only english we get is every other gospel/reading, some litanies, and  the homily. The only chant in english we hear is on Thursday "Today He who Hung....", and then on Saturday for "Come Receive" and Christ is Risen.  

I'm sorry your experience is different, but don't question the validity of Chris' statement... just as I won't question the validity of your experience, either.

It should be noted that your Archdiocese (Canada, eh?) is more conservative - a bit like where the US GOA was about 10-15 years ago.  I've had this conversation with Fr. Stavros Chadzis, who is in a Canadian parish now, but also attended HC.  (Great guy, BTW)
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
Met. Meletios of Nikopolis & Preveza, from his ordination.

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #107 on: April 21, 2006, 09:44:58 AM »
Chris,
As my first counter example, I present you Timos's post....

Hmmm, how about....the GOA parish in Vallejo is mostly Greeks and does at least 50% Greek.  The GOA parish in Novato about the same, ditto Annunciation on Valencia St. in San Francisco, St. Demetrios in Concord as well, I've been told Holy Trinity in SF is uses a lot of Greek too, St. Barbara's in Santa Barbara as well....now St. George's in Redding, CA didn't really use any and was very mixed, but they imploded 2 years ago and were reincarnated as an OCA mission.....not that I don't like these parishes, but that's them facts.

So....how do you think I get these vibes?  Many posts from other regulars on this forum seem to corroborate my impressions too.

Yes, maybe you and your fellow HCHC seminarians are different...great!  I wish more were!

Timos and Elisha,

Well, at my home parish last night in the 12 Gospels service, Greek was only used at one occaison, and that was followed immediately by English...the person messed up at the chanter's stand and read it in Greek, and then corrected his mistake.

Btw--there was no choir. Only three chanters.

The two neighboring GOA parishes are in the same boat, except they used more Greek...up to 10% of all that was spoken in one case!

What I find interesting, Elisha and Timos, is that your own posts support my contention more than your own. The GOA is a large group of people, with many parishes that have different needs. The priest should be able to exercise a pastoral decision to use whatever language suits the parish at that time.

You may dispute the decision made by the priest, but as soon as you are able to know all the factors involved in that preist's decision, let me know. Your powers of clairvoyance are quite remarkable indeed.

"As the sparrow flees from a hawk, so the man seeking humility flees from an argument". St John Climacus

Offline pensateomnia

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #108 on: April 21, 2006, 11:02:06 AM »
Woah. Stavros was ordained? Axios!

Some thoughts:

Liturgical language is part of, but not coterminous with, the larger questions of ethnicity, identity and ecclesial mission. And like so many pastoral issues, these questions (especially the particular question of liturgical language) are at least as much about perception as they are about the “facts.” Converts, especially after having bad experiences with particular people or parishes whom they perceive to be ethnocentric, also perceive “a lot” of Greek to be bad thing; and yet, after experiencing the same service or parish, other people, including ethnic parishioners who may have grown up in that community, may perceive things very differently.

We have to have some Christian sensitivity for both perspectives. And while I have encountered the occasional hard-line Greek who simply can’t understand why Americans call for English in the Greek Orthodox Church — such people are few and far between — I also have a hard time finding a charitable convert who has taken the time to understand ethnic people’s perspectives.

It’s very easy for us as individuals to reify or universalize our own experience and understanding of what the “facts” of the matter are — not to mention our own expectations of what the Church should be. You see, we, as converts, have a substantial personal investment in the Church as Apostolic and Catholic. We may have sacrificed family, friend and money in order to pursue what we felt was God’s will; and we cannot understand why anyone would try to run a Church — especially its worship services! — on principles other than those derived from Scripture and Tradition.

That’s our story. But what about those people who have been in the Church for years? They too have a substantial personal investment in the Church as part of their broader religious, social and cultural story. The Church, perhaps even the particular parish in question, is where they grew up, where they went to Church every Sunday, where they went to Greek School and GOYA and played basketball as a kid. Even in cases where such a person may also understand the ecclesial nature of their parish, they may not want to jettison the ethnic and linguistic trappings that remind them of the other aspects of their Church-related experience. They may not be hostile to change, but change is difficult and painful nonetheless. It requires a sacrifice. Do we honor that sacrifice? Do we even recognize it as real and meaningful?

Thus, we see that the “language” issue is more complex than definitions and doctrine. Beneath the typical lines of argument, resides a deeper emotional struggle. The convert, or the person who married into the Church, may feel isolated by what he perceives as an un-Christian — or at least unwelcoming — culture of ethnically-based cliques; while the ethnic parishioner may fear that change will alter the character of a place he finds familiar and comforting.

Is it wrong to feel nostalgia for the familiar — to feel confused by change, or even threatened? No. These are natural human feelings.

Consider this true story: A 25-year-old Greek guy came to the US from Greece with no money, worked 12-hour shifts for 38 years, helped build his parish with his own hands, has been getting up early on Sunday mornings to come chant Orthros for 30 years, and now people are telling him that he’s ethnocentric or not really Orthodox or should stop chanting because he doesn’t chant enough in English.

Naturally, he’s feeling a bit confused and threatened.

Is the Christian response to people who have these feelings to condemn them? To declare that they don’t “understand” what Orthodoxy is really about? To ignore their pastoral and spiritual needs?

More real-life case studies: Many old Greeks, who don’t even really speak English, have told me (in Greek) that they’ll come to whatever service the Church offers in whatever language. Still others, including another extremely old Greek chanter I know, have been inspired to try to chant in English. He’s doing quite well. Until very recently, chanting in a proper Byzantine style in English was actually quite difficult, given the lack of proper musical settings, translations and publications. Now that such is beginning to change, so too are people whom others labeled “ethnocentric” or “out of touch” or not really Orthodox.

Of course, most cases are not so black and white. Consider, for example, these things in light of theories of ritual language, e.g. Catherine Bell, Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997). According to this line of thinking, some parts of liturgical services are intended to educate (e.g. the sermon), but other portions, especially prayers, are more concerned with “expressional forms.” This is most certainly the case in many Greek parishes, so clearly evident when hymns like “O Champion General” are chanted in Greek — one of the few instances when almost everyone will join in. Even though some parishioners may not understand the words, the very act of signing a familiar hymn as a group supports a certain kind of communal identity and provides a sense of historical continuity. Again, the emotional significance of the language, which provides a connection to an imagined past, is paramount.

Don’t understand what I mean? One particular priest in the Greek Archdiocese insists on 100 percent English. A good seminarian friend of mine, who was recently acting as the visiting chanter at this parish, chanted the whole service in English, as the priest adamantly demanded, but, after the dismissal, repeated the well-known apolytikion in Greek. Several older parishioners came up to him in tears and told him how touched they were to hear a hymn they recognized from their childhood after so many years.

I deal with this problem regularly, since I help a certain priest in the area when he goes to local nursing homes. Whenever we celebrate a Divine Liturgy in a nursing home, I have to decide which language to use and in what proportion. On the one hand, there are usually a number of Catholics who decide to attend the Liturgy, as well as some younger family members of the elderly Greek Orthodox people. Thus, for them, I try to use as much English as possible. But the only time *anyone* ever sings along is when I chant in Greek. Thus, I’ll usually chant all of the well-known parts of the Liturgy in Greek, since all of the elderly Greeks respond immediately and joyously. While they would be happy if I did *everything* in English — they are just thrilled to be able to attend a Liturgy — the Greek is familiar to them. It speaks to their heart in a special way. It reminds them of fonder memories from younger days, and it allows them to participate in the Liturgy itself.

Are these people not really Orthodox because they can’t let go of their ethnic heritage for the sake of the universality and accessibility of the Church?

Anyway, without knowing the particular makeup of any given parish — nor the attitudes and actions of the people therein — I would be very hesitant to conclude that a parish that uses 50 percent Greek in its services was somehow falling short of the mark. In fact, 50 percent Greek/English sounds rather progressive to me, given all of the things mentioned above. Some parishes can and should use more English, but, in general, I would consider 50 percent to be a hopeful sign of the parish’s openness to change, flexibility and compromise.

In the end, these attitudes are what matter most. Only as we respond to all people — American or Greek — with love and understanding (not to mention catechetical and mystagogical initiation) will the inner man, with all his sinful preoccupations, be transformed in the eschatological experience of Liturgy. Externals, such as language, will follow thereafter.
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Offline Elisha

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #109 on: April 21, 2006, 11:45:36 AM »
What I find interesting, Elisha and Timos, is that your own posts support my contention more than your own. The GOA is a large group of people, with many parishes that have different needs. The priest should be able to exercise a pastoral decision to use whatever language suits the parish at that time.


And why do you say this?  All my examples point to a large portion or even majority of Greek used.  That gives off "Greek Vibes" from my impression.

Offline GiC

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #110 on: April 21, 2006, 12:27:02 PM »
Prior to Vatican II all Catholic Churches used around 100% Latin...does that mean that they were all culturally very Italic?
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #111 on: April 21, 2006, 01:14:05 PM »
And why do you say this?  All my examples point to a large portion or even majority of Greek used.  That gives off "Greek Vibes" from my impression.

Elisha,

The original point that I made, which apparently you did not pick up or otherwise ignored, is that the GOA is changing. Then, I also pointed out that these converts apparently do not 'pick up' on these vibes that you and perhaos a few others perceive.

To cite this, I recited stats indicating the large number of converts at the seminary as well as the proportion of Greek used in my home parish last night along with the predominance of English in neighboring parishes.

Not one to let facts sway your opinion, you gave out anecdotes indicating that parishes with Greeks in the majority used Greek in their liturgy. This is an amazing revelation! I suppose next thing you'll tell me is that the GOA should have Spanish-speaking priests to evangelize Hispanics (which the GOA does, btw).

Then, a poster from Canada indicates that they use a lot of Greek in a Greek-majority parish that is not in the GOA. This you somehow believe supports your opinion, even though he is not in the GOA to begin with.

However, it is noted that the Greek chuch in Canada is like the GOA was 10-15 years ago. So, Timos' post is most useful in showing how much the GOA has changed, not how it currently is.

Regarding the 'vibes'---again, if the 'vibes' you report are so everpresent, then please explain the large number of converts in the GOA on this board. If these 'vibes' are there, why do we not seem to be bothered by them?

Could it be that, if in fact these 'vibes' exist, that they do not seem to be the obstacle your blanket statement presents them to be?
« Last Edit: April 21, 2006, 01:18:49 PM by chris »
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Offline Elisha

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #112 on: April 21, 2006, 02:34:45 PM »
chris,
Sure it is changing and it is great!  But the representation of several GOA converts on a message board doesn't necessarily prove anything except self-selection regarding internet message board usage.



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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #113 on: April 21, 2006, 02:36:19 PM »
chris,
Sure it is changing and it is great!  But the representation of several GOA converts on a message board doesn't necessarily prove anything except self-selection regarding internet message board usage.




Indeed! That is why I gave examples of what was going on in my parish, the parishes around me, as well as a reference to the GOA using Spanish speaking priests in Hispanic missions.
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Offline Elisha

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #114 on: April 21, 2006, 02:37:18 PM »
Prior to Vatican II all Catholic Churches used around 100% Latin...does that mean that they were all culturally very Italic?

That's make about as valid a comparison as Pieroshki vs Spanikopita or Beer vs Wine - it doesn't work.

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #115 on: April 21, 2006, 02:40:17 PM »
That's make about as valid a comparison as Pieroshki vs Spanikopita or Beer vs Wine - it doesn't work.

I know for this GOA guy...I choose pieroshki/pierogis and beer over spanokopita (shudder...) and wine any day! :D
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Offline Elisha

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #116 on: April 21, 2006, 04:12:07 PM »
I know for this GOA guy...I choose pieroshki/pierogis and beer over spanokopita (shudder...) and wine any day! :D

Me too...although the beverages were necessarily meant to be paired... ;)...just got home from a haircut, picking up rich tasting goodies for Pascha basket and then get to go back to church (after Royal Hours this morning) for Vespers when the Burialplaschataphios is brought out (how's that for a hybrid word).

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #117 on: April 21, 2006, 05:31:10 PM »
Me too...although the beverages were necessarily meant to be paired... ;)...just got home from a haircut, picking up rich tasting goodies for Pascha basket and then get to go back to church (after Royal Hours this morning) for Vespers when the Burialplaschataphios is brought out (how's that for a hybrid word).

mmmm...rich tasting goodies...mmmm

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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #118 on: April 24, 2006, 02:51:57 AM »
A good article to read regarding the relationship between Orthodoxy and ethnicity:

http://www.jacwell.org/Fall_Winter99/Fr_Schmemann_The_canonical_problem.htm#NationalPluralismandCanonicalUnity
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Offline Eugenio

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #119 on: May 10, 2006, 05:05:37 PM »
To return to the original question, AF wrote: "At any rate, my friend is concerned about GOA, and how "liberal" it may or may not be - especially with regard to ecumenism."

Ecumenism...how might you define that? Like, for example, welcoming non-Greeks to their church? :)

The Greek Orthodox Church that I attend in the upper Midwest might engage in some activities that some might define as "ecumenist." For instance, our church gives church tours to confirmation classes from other churches. We have an agreement with a Methodist church a block away that they will let us use their parking lot during our Greek Food Fair. And when an arsonist damaged that church, our priest encouraged us to attend a benefit concert whose funds will go to repair that church.

If by ecumenist you mean whether we intercommune with those of other faiths...no, we do not. But when I was considering whether to convert, I noticed that my Orthodox friends would sometimes take an extra piece of blessed bread (which is NOT considered part of the communion), and would offer it to me. That simple act convinced me that the GOA was where I belonged...even if I still find it hard to say "ek to pnevmati sou" (and with your spirit).

Offline serb1389

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #120 on: May 10, 2006, 08:33:13 PM »
Not to be a nitpick but I'm going to be.  It's "kai to pnevmati sou" not "ek"  sorry.. ;D

I don't think the examples you mentioned are the type of ecumenism that the GOA or EP are being accused of.  Its much more technical and breaching on what some would consider heresy or trespasing of faith.  Some bishops have served or partook in services with other faiths, which is (i'm pretty sure) expressly forbidden. 

The examples you gave are much more along the lines with, hey lets all help each other out since we believe (generally) in the same God.  Just some thoughts...
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Offline Bishop Paul Andrew

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #121 on: June 18, 2006, 02:09:35 AM »
Here is a good Question. Now where I live inÂÂ California, I live in the Subs of Los Angeles called the San Fernando Valley.ÂÂ  there are two GOA and one OCA. I would think that since the OCA is growing that they would have more Churches where I live. I have heard a lot of comments from Saint Innocent's Orthodox Church which is OCA were I go some times. some of the people live in the same area as I do and have to travel to Saint Innocents which is about 20 mins from where we live. They would like to see an another Orthodox Church in our area besides the GOA Churches.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2006, 02:28:25 AM by Father Paul Andrew »

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #122 on: June 18, 2006, 08:31:34 AM »
I would think that all three parishes are growing. Given your follow-up, I'm not sure exactly what your question is; why not visit all three and decide for yourself?
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Offline pensateomnia

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #123 on: June 18, 2006, 01:52:18 PM »
I would think that since the OCA is growing that they would have more Churches where I live.

According to what report is the OCA growing (especially in relation to other jurisdictions)? I'm actually quite curious, since all sources have been reporting OCA membership at surprisingly low levels for some time now. When I was a member of the OCA, I certainly wouldn't have assumed such was the case simply based on my personal experience -- everyone seems to unduly universalize their personal experience! -- but that's what the actual numbers indicate.

Regardless, rate of growth itself is hardly a legitimate means of determining prevalence or size. Many "fastest growing" groups are actually groups that are very tiny in a particular region, since everyone likes to jump on new band wagons. (That applies to all things, not just religions).
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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #124 on: June 18, 2006, 10:21:17 PM »
My belief is that the GOA will eventually lean towards a English liturgy. Fact being that no more Greeks really come to America. They now have it to good in the EU. Most Greeks in America now are 2nd and 3rd generation. Some don't even speak Greek. Eventually this will shift the liturgy over to English. Personally for me there would be much loss without Greek hyms. As they send chills down my spine and tears from my eye's. I always wonder if the Ottomen empire never came about how much of the world would know Greek. In any event. Time will surely change the language used in the GOA church.
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Offline Elisha

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #125 on: June 18, 2006, 10:48:49 PM »
According to what report is the OCA growing (especially in relation to other jurisdictions)? I'm actually quite curious, since all sources have been reporting OCA membership at surprisingly low levels for some time now. When I was a member of the OCA, I certainly wouldn't have assumed such was the case simply based on my personal experience -- everyone seems to unduly universalize their personal experience! -- but that's what the actual numbers indicate.

Regardless, rate of growth itself is hardly a legitimate means of determining prevalence or size. Many "fastest growing" groups are actually groups that are very tiny in a particular region, since everyone likes to jump on new band wagons. (That applies to all things, not just religions).

I think someone here posted in the past that OCA parishes in the West and Midwest are growing, but in the east coast they are shrinking...and at a faster rate than the others are growing.

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #126 on: June 19, 2006, 10:30:19 AM »
I think someone here posted in the past that OCA parishes in the West and Midwest are growing, but in the east coast they are shrinking...and at a faster rate than the others are growing.

Perhaps like the ACROD - rust belt parishes are dwindling, those in sun belt are growing.
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Offline pensateomnia

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #127 on: June 19, 2006, 11:13:45 AM »
I think someone here posted in the past that OCA parishes in the West and Midwest are growing, but in the east coast they are shrinking...and at a faster rate than the others are growing.

Interesting, especially since the rust belt is THE traditional stronghold of the OCA. Perhaps this is simply the result of demographics: Carpatho-Russian communities are dwindling/dying out/going to other churches, and, thus, the OCA's overall numbers are dropping.

I'm rather curious about what is causing the trend. Are these traditional communities failing because of population migration, or because they haven't been bringing in converts for years? Or both?

If it's because of population migration, then perhaps the growth in the sun belt and West is not so much the result of mass conversion as it is the result of a population shift. It's certainly possible, considering the fact that the overall numbers are dropping despite growth in one area. (10 OCA communicants leave the rust belt for the West; 5 never attend an OCA parish again, perhaps because there isn't one nearby, perhaps because of conviction, perhaps because they only cared about their home/ethnic parish; 5 find a new Western OCA parish; 2 previously non-Orthodox Christians enter the OCA in the West. The end result is a drop in 3 communicants overall, despite the fact that the West has "grown" by 7 members).
« Last Edit: June 19, 2006, 11:39:55 AM by pensateomnia »
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Offline Psalti Boy

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #128 on: June 19, 2006, 05:37:28 PM »
I'm generally against parish-shopping, but if there is something truly wrong with the close one, then you need to go where you're family will be able to grow in Christ.

I'd say to give the local church a shot (the GOA parish) and see how it goes.  If only part of the Liturgy is in Greek, you should be fine - the books are normally pretty good to follow along in.

My wife and I tried that (going to the closer, Antiochian church) about 7  years after moving here.  After getting tired of all the squabbling and priest shopping by those with ITBS, I'm The Boss Syndrome, (and there were many) we left.  The only closer churches are about 100+ miles roundtrip. Greek, OCA and a monestary, So we try to get to one of them on the major feasts and home church the rest of the year.  That's why I was looking for reader services online.  I'd like to take a trip to HC bookstore soon to get what we need.

Offline Elisha

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #129 on: June 19, 2006, 07:40:01 PM »
Interesting, especially since the rust belt is THE traditional stronghold of the OCA. Perhaps this is simply the result of demographics: Carpatho-Russian communities are dwindling/dying out/going to other churches, and, thus, the OCA's overall numbers are dropping.

I'm rather curious about what is causing the trend. Are these traditional communities failing because of population migration, or because they haven't been bringing in converts for years? Or both?

If it's because of population migration, then perhaps the growth in the sun belt and West is not so much the result of mass conversion as it is the result of a population shift. It's certainly possible, considering the fact that the overall numbers are dropping despite growth in one area. (10 OCA communicants leave the rust belt for the West; 5 never attend an OCA parish again, perhaps because there isn't one nearby, perhaps because of conviction, perhaps because they only cared about their home/ethnic parish; 5 find a new Western OCA parish; 2 previously non-Orthodox Christians enter the OCA in the West. The end result is a drop in 3 communicants overall, despite the fact that the West has "grown" by 7 members).

Warning:  this is pure speculation.

I think what may be happening is a) failure to keep the younger generation attending church and b) inability to attract enough converts.  From my impression of "the rust belt", people tend to be more clanish and less open to those outside of their ethnic group.  I'm guessing that those in "the rust belt" want to hang on to being "Russian"/"Greek"/etc. and unwilling to see things from a broader perspective.  Of course, I could be completely wrong. :)

Offline Psalti Boy

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #130 on: June 19, 2006, 08:02:36 PM »
people tend to be more clanish and less open to those outside of their ethnic group.ÂÂ  

I have that to be true in both some Greek and Antiochian parishes I have been to, not just as a visitor, but as a prospective parishioner.  And not only being outside of the ethnic group, but in some Greek parishes (I am Greek) I don't feel welcome (no one approaches to introduce themselves or to welcome you) and my wife not being Greek, and blonde, has never been approached by any ladies.

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #131 on: June 20, 2006, 08:33:44 AM »
I have that to be true in both some Greek and Antiochian parishes I have been to, not just as a visitor, but as a prospective parishioner.  And not only being outside of the ethnic group, but in some Greek parishes (I am Greek) I don't feel welcome (no one approaches to introduce themselves or to welcome you) and my wife not being Greek, and blonde, has never been approached by any ladies.

And I've seen this clannish attitude in some Carpatho-Russian 'rust-belt' parishes as well. However, I am not sure there are hard and fast rules here. We have been to parishes from all three noted above and had totally opposite experiences within jurisdictions also. Not only the laity affect this, but clergy as well. Being 'Hellenic-American' with a blonde 'American' convert wife, I understand the comment above from experience in a couple Greek parishes - and then in others quite the opposite.
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Offline pensateomnia

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #132 on: June 20, 2006, 09:39:39 AM »
I'm guessing that those in "the rust belt" want to hang on to being "Russian"/"Greek"/etc. and unwilling to see things from a broader perspective.  Of course, I could be completely wrong. :)

I would imagine you most certainly are, at least if you mean that such an "unwillingness" explains what has become a full-fledged demographic shift in the Church's numbers. It's far too subjective, not to mention the fact that it ignores the obvious (which is what I was hinting at in my previous post):

The "rust belt" states have been shrinking in comparative population quite dramatically for some time now. In fact, according to the 2000 U.S. Census, the areas of traditional OCA strength (especially Pennsylvania) are at the very bottom of the heap (Pennsylvania was 48th in population growth, followed only by West Virginia, North Dakota and D.C. -- the former two of which had almost zero growth and the latter of which had 6 percent FEWER residents!!!). Basically, people are either dying and not being replaced, or they are moving away. Kids go to college and never return. Seniors leave for Florida. Middle-aged businessmen decide to jump ship and go where things are hot.

And where are all these people going (including no small number of Orthodox Christians)? To the very states where the Church is "growing." Florida and Texas both grew about 23 percent in the 90s alone! Oregon grew 20 percent. California grew 13.8 percent, etc. Some of that growth is obviously through immigration, but not all of it.

Anyway, that seems to account for a good deal of what's going on. Anecdotally, I know of several parishes in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania (some Russian, some OCA, some Carpatho-Russian, some Romanian), which have withered away to nothing in the last 50 years because the entire original immigrant population has literally disappeared. The first generation of kids moved away immediately to bigger and better places and, eventually, the local plant closed down, so the immigrants either retired to Florida or moved to wherever their kids are (NOT the rust belt, in general). Sure, those rust belt parishes should have been attracting converts but (a) hardly anyone was doing that in the 60s and 70s and (b) even 20 or 30 people ain't enough for a parish to survive. At any rate, once the downward spiral of population migration starts, it's tough to reverse the momentum of the parish.

Certainly ethnicity plays a role in particular places, but, in general, I haven't seen many parishes that suffer over-much because of that reason exclusively (even if they are very "ethnic"), as long as the population itself sticks around. In my hometown, for example, my parish is quite "ethnic," and it was even more so when it started out in the 50s and 60s, but because most of the original families (now quite extended families) stayed in town, the parish is doing well. Some of the original kids married all kinds of Americans, many of whom converted; others married within the Greek community. Yiayia and Papou are still around -- even great-grandma comes to Church! And, of course, a good number of people converted out of conviction (my family included). My wife, for example, is a born-and-bread sausage-loving southern German (blonde hair, et al.), and yet she always wants to go back to our home parish so she can visit with all the old (and largely illiterate) Greek yiayiades, who coo over her like nothing you've ever seen! In my experience, the largest barrier in these kinds of parishes is not actually ethnic or even language-based, but more generational. Some young women, unlike my wife, don't "get along" with the established women in the parish because they don't share any of the same values (cooking TONS of food, raising their families in the Church, etc.). My wife, however, is a baker's daughter and took to making koliva, Greek sweets, food, etc. immediately in the Church kitchen. And the women just LOVE a "young, beautiful girl who like to cook." Is good girl, as they say. (But that's another story!)
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Offline Psalti Boy

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #133 on: June 20, 2006, 05:37:02 PM »
Personally for me there would be much loss without Greek hyms. As they send chills down my spine and tears from my eye's. . . . Time will surely change the language used in the GOA church.

Although I was never fluent in church Greek, but since a child, hearing the hymns chanted in Greek always gave me goose bumps, and still do.  It's just not the same in English and hearing them in Arabic triggers other emotions.  Every Holy Week, as far back as I can remember, I start crying during the hymns.  Sad tears, joyful tears.  I truly believe that the Orthodox churches, all jurisdictions, have to go to English in this country if they want to attract and keep the youth and young adults in the church.  The ancient church has to somehow, and I hate using this word, 'compete' with other modern English speaking denominations (another word I don't particularly care for).  Because operate as we did back in the day, the young converts, and even the cradle Orthodox who have not been raised in the church, just don't have the patience to learn the history behind it.  They seem to want everything, including knowledge, given to them pre-packaged with little or no effort on their part.

Offline admiralnick

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #134 on: June 26, 2006, 09:13:33 AM »
[quote author=Αριστοκλής link=topic=8406.msg124900#msg124900 date=1150727419]
Perhaps like the ACROD - rust belt parishes are dwindling, those in sun belt are growing.
[/quote]

I disagree with this. 90% of the ACROD parishes are located in areas from Ohio eastward. The heaviest concentrations are New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. The Deaneries of Chicago and Florida are dwindling in membership almost if not worse than the churches in the other deaneries, but the seat of ACROD is located in Johnstown, PA. However, with Met. Nicholas in charge, who knows where this might go. I can certainly see people fleeing ACROD as many already have. The big problem with ACROD is that the birth rate and retention rate are growing at a much slower rate than the death rate, as ACROD is made up of alot of Elderly members. The children, however, are not really staying in the church as ACROD has developed a very liberal view of orthodoxy (in my opinion of course).

-Nick
« Last Edit: June 26, 2006, 09:15:36 AM by admiralnick »
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #135 on: June 26, 2006, 09:17:21 AM »
RE: ACROD - A lot of those Pennsylvania parishes are in the "rust belt" - dying steel and coal towns.  It's the same problem that the OCA is having in the same areas: the OCA has 100+ parishes in PA, but now most of them have fewer than 100 families each.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2006, 09:17:51 AM by cleveland »
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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #136 on: June 26, 2006, 09:43:07 AM »
I disagree with this. 90% of the ACROD parishes are located in areas from Ohio eastward. The heaviest concentrations are New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. The Deaneries of Chicago and Florida are dwindling in membership almost if not worse than the churches in the other deaneries, but the seat of ACROD is located in Johnstown, PA. However, with Met. Nicholas in charge, who knows where this might go. I can certainly see people fleeing ACROD as many already have. The big problem with ACROD is that the birth rate and retention rate are growing at a much slower rate than the death rate, as ACROD is made up of alot of Elderly members. The children, however, are not really staying in the church as ACROD has developed a very liberal view of orthodoxy (in my opinion of course).

-Nick

Then we shall just have to disagree, my friend. I may be GOA but I'm an active member of my wife's ACROD parish and enjoy cordial and close relations with our Metropolian Nicholas, of whom I've never heard disparaging remarks except from those outside ACROD. And I've seen actual parish figures for the entire diocese and stand by my observation.
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Offline admiralnick

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #137 on: June 26, 2006, 09:46:29 AM »
[quote author=Αριστοκλής link=topic=8406.msg125724#msg125724 date=1151329387]
Then we shall just have to disagree, my friend. I may be GOA but I'm an active member of my wife's ACROD parish and enjoy cordial and close relations with our Metropolian Nicholas, of whom I've never heard disparaging remarks except from those outside ACROD. And I've seen actual parish figures for the entire diocese and stand by my observation.
[/quote]


Disagree it is, Man law has been created. I was in ACROD for 21 years until I left recently. I'm sure that we have differing views and I hope that you and many others will continue to look favorably on His Eminence, I am sad to say that I am not one of those people. But, that is a private matter and nothing that needs to be discussed here. As for statistics, I shall take your word for it and I am sure that all will be reolved when the diocesan census comes out at the Sobor. Until then, disagreement agreed!  :)

-Nick
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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #138 on: June 26, 2006, 09:52:01 AM »
Goody! You will notice that I did not state a net gain or even par for the new, south parishes' growth, but the difference in parish member change are starkly evident.
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Offline Thomas

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #139 on: June 26, 2006, 05:29:02 PM »
I know this may sound dumb but was does ACROD stand for?

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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #140 on: June 26, 2006, 05:38:58 PM »
I know this may sound dumb but was does ACROD stand for?

Thomas
"American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese". It is under the juristiction of the Oecumenical Patriarchate. See http://www.acrod.org/
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Offline Timos

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #141 on: June 26, 2006, 11:47:27 PM »
Wow, some of your guys on here know Fr. Stavros Chatzis? He's an amazing priest, very young and full of energy. I almost wish I was part of his parish, but alas his is 40 minutes away by car, although I might help with some youth activities over there- btw, he now has a beautiful baby girl named Anna. Plus I've got our own cool priest Fr. Peter Mentis, he's a Holy Crosser too.

As for being welcomed in church, in Canada its weird. In some parishes, where there are more northern greeks like Makedonians, Epirots, Evros, if you are greek but have lighter features/are nothern greek yourself, you're more welcome. In some parishes it's the opposite, if you're an Cretan/Dodecanese island person or from Imvros,Tenedos, Constantinople, you're treated better than northern people. That also partially depends on the priest, whoi gives the altar boy from his region the better roles etc. Peloponesians tend to be treated equally in most places. Thus, even when we play soccer in our church's gravel and cement lot behind the church, we divide the teams "island people" versus "northern people".

Then theres the "if you're greek and orthodox you're welcome because all Hellenic lands are equal."

Theres also the "if you're orthodox, you're welcome whether your chinese or a canadian blonde bt that tends to be more of the 30 year old people. Us teenagers are more hardcore than our parents sometimes. Heck, once we got a 50 year old chinese lady to dance tsifteteli ("belly dance") at our festival, at which of course the yiayaides (grannies) were staring and pointing, cheering and laughing.

Offline sdcheung

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #142 on: June 27, 2006, 12:07:46 AM »
Heck, once we got a 50 year old chinese lady to dance tsifteteli ("belly dance") at our festival, at which of course the yiayaides (grannies) were staring and pointing, cheering and laughing.

Your mission if you choose to accept it is to get a Young kineza to dance the tsifteteli. Now that would be something.

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Offline Fr. George

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #143 on: June 27, 2006, 01:41:40 AM »
Wow, some of your guys on here know Fr. Stavros Chatzis? He's an amazing priest, very young and full of energy. I almost wish I was part of his parish, but alas his is 40 minutes away by car, although I might help with some youth activities over there- btw, he now has a beautiful baby girl named Anna.

Yes, I do know Fr. Stavros (of course I haven't seen him since his ordination) - and thanks for the update on his little bundle of joy.
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
Met. Meletios of Nikopolis & Preveza, from his ordination.

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #144 on: June 27, 2006, 09:35:48 AM »
Timos,
Unless you have no automobile a 40 minutes drive doesn't seen THAT bad even for an periodic visit; we drive 50 minutes, one way, each week.
"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides

Offline Timos

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #145 on: June 27, 2006, 03:28:01 PM »
Wait, Cleveland you were @ Fr. Stavro's ordination? So was I. Where were you standing during liturgy and during the meal afterwards? In church I was standing at the front row with a friend from California- later the Archbishop pointed him out and mentioned in front of everybody that he's from California and that he was "Elino-Persis" at which point of course came whispering, gasps, and hisses. We were sitting at the seminarians table. I know another Holy Crosser -Josh, who was there too.

Aristokles, you're right, 40 minutes is not bad at all. It's just that gas (up here) is sooo expensive. It's like a buck a litre (or higher), I'm going to university this fall however I might have to go down there once a week if I'm gonna be teaching the dance group--but thats another story which doesn't even have an ending...

Offline Fr. George

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #146 on: June 27, 2006, 03:37:58 PM »
I wasn't AT the ordination, I was just saying that I haven't seen him since he was ordained.  Sorry dude.
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
Met. Meletios of Nikopolis & Preveza, from his ordination.

Offline Timos

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #147 on: June 28, 2006, 01:01:36 AM »
lol, opps- misunderstood- my bad hehe :)

Offline americanorthodox

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #148 on: July 01, 2006, 02:31:52 PM »
So my family is in the process of converting, as is another couple we know, but we're not fully decided on jurisdiction.  There isn't an Orthodox parish that is precisely convenient to our house.  I'm leaning toward the GOA parish, as it is closest.  Downside is that part of the liturgy is still in Greek.  OTOH, the closest OCA is 30 minutes away in good weather, and the liturgy begins at 9 am, which would require having the troops up and moving fairly early.

At any rate, my friend is concerned about GOA, and how "liberal" it may or may not be - especially with regard to ecumenism.  My intention is decidedly not to start a jurisdiction bashing contest, but would be interested in the perspectives of folks from different jurisdictions as to the state of their own jurisdictions.  Thanks!

I don't see how it makes much difference, really. My personal experiences with Greek parishes have been distinctly negative (and yes, I realize that these are not generalizations), and I was chrismated in 1984 in an Antiochian parish. That was over twenty years ago, and almost 700 miles from here. I go to an OCA parish now. Just as American, just as welcoming, and 100% English.


Offline americanorthodox

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #149 on: July 01, 2006, 03:07:49 PM »
Timos and Elisha,

Well, at my home parish last night in the 12 Gospels service, Greek was only used at one occaison, and that was followed immediately by English...the person messed up at the chanter's stand and read it in Greek, and then corrected his mistake.

Btw--there was no choir. Only three chanters.

The two neighboring GOA parishes are in the same boat, except they used more Greek...up to 10% of all that was spoken in one case!

What I find interesting, Elisha and Timos, is that your own posts support my contention more than your own. The GOA is a large group of people, with many parishes that have different needs. The priest should be able to exercise a pastoral decision to use whatever language suits the parish at that time.

You may dispute the decision made by the priest, but as soon as you are able to know all the factors involved in that preist's decision, let me know. Your powers of clairvoyance are quite remarkable indeed.



In the Antiochian parish in which I was chrismated, services are 100% English. In the OCA parish I now attend, the only non-English in the services in in the Kyrie, which alternates among Greek, English, Arabic, and Old Church Slavonic.

Offline americanorthodox

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Re: To GOA or not to GOA, that is the question
« Reply #150 on: July 01, 2006, 03:19:08 PM »
I disagree with this. 90% of the ACROD parishes are located in areas from Ohio eastward. The heaviest concentrations are New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. The Deaneries of Chicago and Florida are dwindling in membership almost if not worse than the churches in the other deaneries, but the seat of ACROD is located in Johnstown, PA. However, with Met. Nicholas in charge, who knows where this might go. I can certainly see people fleeing ACROD as many already have. The big problem with ACROD is that the birth rate and retention rate are growing at a much slower rate than the death rate, as ACROD is made up of alot of Elderly members. The children, however, are not really staying in the church as ACROD has developed a very liberal view of orthodoxy (in my opinion of course).

-Nick

I have to agree. I live in Pennsylvania. Orthodox -- and Byzantine Catholics -- are common as dirt.