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Author Topic: OCL, OCA, the Greeks and the Atniochians  (Read 1957 times) Average Rating: 0
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cizinec
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« on: June 16, 2006, 08:06:54 AM »

So, I was listening to this web radio station that I found when I was looking up something on goarch.org called ancient faith radio (ancientfaithradio.com).  This radio station is affiliated with All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago.  On it was an interview with a guy from the OCL  (http://www.ancientfaithradio.com/archives.html     *  Orthodox Unity-Jan 06 Update - OCL President Lee Kopulos on the progress toward Orthodox unity in North America). 

It seemed to me that the interviewer was well acqainted with the past of the organization and that this "ancient faith radio" was going to do (or was doing) what it could to back their initiatives.  Now, I know there isn't much love loss between the Greek Archdiocese and the OCL, so what's up with the Antiochians? 
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2006, 08:40:47 AM »

The OCL loves the rhetoric that comes from Metr. PHILIP about Orthodox unity and whatnot; they also like the Autonomy granted to the AOA recently. 

As for love loss, I will say this (one of the few things I will say to defend the OCL guys): a squeaky wheel is often a good thing, for at least it is still part of the cart.  A principle taught very early in retail is that a complaining customer is a good thing, but only customers who care enough about you to continue coming despite your flaws complain.  An imperfect parallel can then be drawn to the OCL: the OCL members of the GOA should be warmly loved by their church, for if they didn't truly care about the church they would have jumped ship over their litany of complaints.  Instead they stick around, hoping for their dream of the "betterment" of the GOA to come to pass.

That said, they also tend to support some shoddy decision-making that is done by various parishes in the GOA (read: Marlboro, various NY parishes, etc.).  They are not selective in their bandwagons, which have left them on the far-left of Orthodox theology and idealogy.  I could go on, but the rest of my comments I have stated multiple times before.
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2006, 09:47:23 AM »

In the possible words of my good friend sdcheung, "OCL...BAH!"

And now that OCL has completely compromised or at least further displayed its agenda via article selection on their OrthodoxNews Service, where can we get good news source? I miss the 3 Saints news service badly now.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2006, 09:50:22 AM by ΑριστÎÂà » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2006, 09:59:38 AM »

Could someone please explain who the OCL are and what it stands for? I'm afraid I've never come across this particular acronym before. Thanks.

James
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2006, 11:02:57 AM »

Could someone please explain who the OCL are and what it stands for? I'm afraid I've never come across this particular acronym before. Thanks.

James

I think it means Orthodox Christian Laity
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2006, 11:14:42 AM »

That said, they also tend to support some shoddy decision-making that is done by various parishes in the GOA (read: Marlboro, various NY parishes, etc.).ÂÂ  They are not selective in their bandwagons, which have left them on the far-left of Orthodox theology and idealogy.ÂÂ  I could go on, but the rest of my comments I have stated multiple times before.

Could you elaborate (or at least thinly veil) what these shoddy decisions were?  Thanks.
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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2006, 11:21:38 AM »

Could someone please explain who the OCL are and what it stands for? I'm afraid I've never come across this particular acronym before. Thanks.

It does indeed stand for Orthodox Christian Laity, which is a controversial group here in the U.S., made up of lay people (including a lot of lawyers) and some clergy that cut its teeth during the years following the Ligoneer Meeting in 1994. OCL came on the scene in force after the retirement of Archbishop Iakovos and the installment of Archbishop Spyridon, the latter of whom they opposed in a variety of ways because of what they considered to be his overly "Greek" mentality. They, along with another lay group called "Voithia," were especially upset by the EP's change of the GOA charter under Spyridon's rule, as well as Spyridon's decision to dismiss several well-known faculty members at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (whom His Eminence believed were too liberal). Thus, OCL et al. set out on an Internet news campaign, participated in a number of leaks to the press, generated coverage in Orthodox and secular papers, and, of course, sued the Archdiocese, taking the case all the way to the Supreme Court of the State of New York (and possibly elsewhere -- I'm not sure), whereat the case was summarily dismissed.

Archbishop Spyridon was, in many ways, forced out of America because of their tactics. Since that time, OCL has continued to do similar things, e.g. sue the Church, publish negative articles about Hierarchs, especially those of the EP, and demand that the American churches be turned into an autocephalous Patriarchate with a charter approved by the OCL.
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« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2006, 11:56:10 AM »

Could you elaborate (or at least thinly veil) what these shoddy decisions were?  Thanks.

I believe cleveland is referring to some recent cases in which the OCL has sided with (or actively supported) certain parish councils/people who have defied various requests from the hierarchy, including defying the decision of an ecclesiastical court and the written decisions of the Archdiocesan chancellor, as approved by the Synod.

However, I am not entirely aware of all of the details, since they are rather laborious and shameful.

Those not in the U.S. may want to check out what the OCL has to say for itself (most of which has to do with their quest for Orthodox unity in the US): http://www.ocl.org/
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« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2006, 06:44:47 AM »

The quest for unity in America is a noble one; but I find that often the tactics and rhetoric are dishonorable and unsavory, which really leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  The ends don't justify... (oh, you get the point).
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« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2006, 09:52:29 AM »

I guess I'm a little concerned about the apparent (and this may only be apparent) participation of Antiochian clergy in an organization that has taken and is taking legal positions on other jurisdictions. 

Further,  there is only sparse discussion of Slavic Orthodoxy on their site, primarily focusing on the opinion that these jurisdictions are backwards, old calendar and too small to worry about.

Are the Antiochians really starting to back this group, or is this group using a few supporters and quotes to make it appear they are getting support from them?

I wish I could determine whether or not my impression of this organization is correct from the OCL's writings, but most of the articles on their site require membership in their organization.
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« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2006, 04:35:55 PM »

As I recall from the days of lurking on their now defunct forum there were one or two Antiochian laymen on the forum (who basically would tell the disgruntled Greeks to join their jurisdiction. No clergy participation that I could tell. A few of the Greek-American activists had already done so (in Detroit, I think.) A revitalized, sort-of-separate forum exists now. Same exact group of malcontents. And, no, I will not provide the URL to it.
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Demetri
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« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2006, 06:11:51 PM »

Demetri,

That was my understanding of things as well.  However, it was the discovery of this online audio program (which I noticed on the OCL's link list - first because it begins with an "a"), the support of the OCL by this program and the operation of the program with the rather prominent assistance of a priest. 

Okay, it's a couple of times removed, but I'm in tax and when you see something that appears to be that close but just far enough out to barely get by, it means somebody hired a consultant. 

I was kind of hoping that somebody from Chicago would pipe up and say, "hey, i know these guys.  they're okay."
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« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2006, 11:03:58 PM »

Umm, I'm from Chicago and I'll pipe up.... As far as OCL is concerned, I've only run across their path a couple times and I wasn't impressed with either encounter. As far as All Saints Church is concerned, the current priest there is Fr. Patrick Reardon who as many of you probably know is a convert (who came along with Peter Gilquist and company from the Evangelical Church) to Orthodoxy. Fr. Reardon has written a number of books and is a very well respected scholar on orthodoxy and scripture. He was on the staff of translators for the Orthodox Study Bible and is on the current staff which is hoping to come out with an Orthdox Study Bible that contains the Old Testament. As far as the parish is concerned, the parish has about 85% converts (the parish converted as a whole back when Gilquist and Co. came to Orthodoxy). Many of the members there are in the 30-50 age group and many hold post secondary degrees in various fields. The church sponsors the country of Albania and has 2 families and a 3rd on the way to do missionary work. I've gone to church there and Fr. Reardon is a personal friend, so I might be kind of biased, but they are indeed good people. I would support the radio station, but as for OCL, I'd stay away from them, at least for now.

-Nick
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« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2006, 11:14:54 PM »

Umm, I'm from Chicago and I'll pipe up.... As far as OCL is concerned, I've only run across their path a couple times and I wasn't impressed with either encounter. As far as All Saints Church is concerned, the current priest there is Fr. Patrick Reardon who as many of you probably know is a convert (who came along with Peter Gilquist and company from the Evangelical Church) to Orthodoxy. Fr. Reardon has written a number of books and is a very well respected scholar on orthodoxy and scripture. He was on the staff of translators for the Orthodox Study Bible and is on the current staff which is hoping to come out with an Orthdox Study Bible that contains the Old Testament. As far as the parish is concerned, the parish has about 85% converts (the parish converted as a whole back when Gilquist and Co. came to Orthodoxy). Many of the members there are in the 30-50 age group and many hold post secondary degrees in various fields. The church sponsors the country of Albania and has 2 families and a 3rd on the way to do missionary work. I've gone to church there and Fr. Reardon is a personal friend, so I might be kind of biased, but they are indeed good people. I would support the radio station, but as for OCL, I'd stay away from them, at least for now.

-Nick

Disclaimer:  what I'm about to say is hearsay, so take it FWIW.

I overheard at a parish BBQ last Friday a parishoner was mentioning to another.  This "another" was Vincent Rossi (yes, he attends my parish...and he is well known in certain circles).  Well, they were discussing Fr. Patrick's latest e-mail, as the first person gets a daily e-mail from him (Patricks musings or whatever it's called.).  He said that he responded that Fr. P's musing that day just sounded like a bunch of Anglican ramblings, and not really Orthodox (Fr. P comes from an Anglican or Episcopal background).  I asked this parishoner about the books Fr. P has published "Christ in the Psalms", etc. and he said that it also sounds rather Episcopal-like (if you like that sort of thing).  The daily musing they were discussing evidently quoted ONLY western sources (albeit considered Orthodox I think), but of course the problem was that it wasn't balanced and could lead the reader into unOrthodox post-schism thought.  Yes, I'm being deliberately vague.
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« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2006, 12:20:58 AM »

I'm not from Chicago, but I know a few of them (Cleveland has them as well)... And they are good people, although I think making poor decisions at times, ones that impact the Body in a negative way.  What drives me nuts is that some of these folks are among the kindest souls I've met.
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« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2006, 11:16:59 AM »

Disclaimer:ÂÂ  what I'm about to say is hearsay, so take it FWIW.

I overheard at a parish BBQ last Friday a parishoner was mentioning to another.ÂÂ  This "another" was Vincent Rossi (yes, he attends my parish...and he is well known in certain circles).ÂÂ  Well, they were discussing Fr. Patrick's latest e-mail, as the first person gets a daily e-mail from him (Patricks musings or whatever it's called.).ÂÂ  He said that he responded that Fr. P's musing that day just sounded like a bunch of Anglican ramblings, and not really Orthodox (Fr. P comes from an Anglican or Episcopal background).ÂÂ  I asked this parishoner about the books Fr. P has published "Christ in the Psalms", etc. and he said that it also sounds rather Episcopal-like (if you like that sort of thing).ÂÂ  The daily musing they were discussing evidently quoted ONLY western sources (albeit considered Orthodox I think), but of course the problem was that it wasn't balanced and could lead the reader into unOrthodox post-schism thought.ÂÂ  Yes, I'm being deliberately vague.

That is possible, I can't dispute what you say since I don't pay that much attention to the Articles Fr. Pat writes on a weekly or daily basis... As far as balance, IMO you can't really discuss theology or liturgics and be balanced, you have to end up leaning toward something. It would also be of note that Fr. Pat probably doesn't want everything he says to be taken as word or law, but rather throw ideas out on a broad spectrum and get people to think and question and learn more by taking the initiative than by handing it to them on a plate. That's the nearest I can come to explaining what you've mentioned. Again, I can't dispute or confirm what you say, but I will have an opinion about it  Grin

-Nick
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« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2006, 11:54:51 AM »

Disclaimer:ÂÂ  what I'm about to say is hearsay, so take it FWIW.

None of which is really applicable to the OP or cizinec's question, about which let me give the following direct answer:

OCL's executive leadership is largely composed of Greek lay people, most of whom have no theological training. There are, however, several OCA laypeople on the executive board and at least a few Antiochians in high positions.

After that, the single most influential and outspoken advocate for and participant in OCL activities is His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel of the Romanian episcopate of the Orthodox Church in America. He sits on OCL's advisory board and has participated in OCL activities. In fact, he recently spent considerable diocesan funds to purchase and create a special center in Detroit called the St. Andrew's House (http://www.orthodoxdetroit.com/), which is staffed and frequented by prominent members of OCL (including leadership) in the Detroit area. For whatever reason, outside of Chicago and especially in Detroit, most of these members seem to come from the OCA (and then from the Antiochians). Not only was this my impression every time I have visited the center, but the board of St. Andrew's only has one Greek layman on it.

Other than Archbishop Nathaniel, the only other active Orthodox clergy who have had and continue to maintain an official leadership connection with OCL are Fr. Thomas Hopko, Fr. Peter Gillquist and Fr. Gordon Walker.

So, I would say that the OCA actually has more involvement in OCL's leadership, but that certain portions of the Antiochians are well represented.
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« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2006, 12:39:10 PM »

gotcha.  From what I can figure out then, for example, it sounds like Fr. Pat might be more on the liberal and theses two Antiochian (also former Episcopalian preists) I know down in SoCal would be more on the conservative side to make a broad generalization.
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« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2006, 12:44:49 PM »

Thanks for the balanced perspective, pentsateomnia.  Part of my point though is that even though representation by certain groups might numerically higher, some are more outspoken then others (e.g. Frs. Peter G. - travels to give speeches, writes books, Patrick R. - Ancient Faith Radio, writes books too, etc.).  ABp. Nathaniel sounds like a good guy, but I really don't know that much about him except that he is strong for unity.
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