July 24, 2014

All The Churches Are In Communion, Says OCA’s Metropolitan Jonah

This interview was given before the start of the Episcopal Assembly but was only recently made available.

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HT: Orthodox News

The National Herald

Metropolitan Jonah

BOSTON – There’s no religious or political war or even battling bishops, but an assembly of church leaders in New York for the Autocephalous Church in America (OCA) has highlighted a little-talked about division between those who want a greater role for Pan-Orthodoxy and those who want the church under one umbrella.

OCA head Metropolitan Jonah, said he welcomed his role at the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of the United States, Canada and Central America in New York, noting: “What I want to do is to approach this with all humility.”

As The National Herald has reported, the initial directive of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to Archbishop Demetrios was not to invite Metropolitan Jonah, because the Ecumenical Patriarchate does not recognize the autocephaly of the OCA, which was granted  unilaterally in 1970 by the Patriarchate of Moscow, overstepping the historic and ecclesiastical privileges of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to its then-called Russian Metropolia.

Archbishop Demetrios disobeyed Patriarch Bartholomew and invited Metropolitan Jonah, to the disappointment of Bartholomew. Archbishop Demetrios discussed the issue during his last visit to Constantinople at the end of April and a compromise was accepted to allow Metropolitan Jonah to participate, but only as a bishop.

Archbishop Demetrios, as well as other Metropolitans of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, many times disregard Bartholomew’s directives and orders, leading to the dissolution of communities and undercutting the Patriarch’s authority. Metropolitan Jonah, in an interview with The National Herald, emphasized that the autocephaly of the OCA is recognized by all local Orthodox Churches, contrary to the statements of Fr. Mark Arey Director of the Interchurch Relations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, and Metropolitan Philip Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of America, who both said that OCA’S autocephaly is not recognized by anyone other than Moscow.

According to Metropolitan Jonah, the Orthodox Church in America is comprised of 700 parishes in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, nine ruling bishops and archbishops, 1,000 priests, three theological schools and one theological academy in Canada. He had a lot to say in his interview about the church:

TNH: What are your thoughts about the upcoming Assembly of Bishops in New York?

JONAH: I think it is something that gives me great hope – that is the real essence of this. There are trials and temptations because [whatever we do to] embark upon a good and holy thing, the devil is going to play with us. But I know I have great hope and I know many thousands of Orthodox throughout the country have great hope in this meeting and many prayers.

TNH: Is it possible to be more specific as to what are you hoping for?

JONAH: The most important thing is simply to get together, to come to know one another, to be able to dispense of all of the kinds of scars and insecurities that come from not knowing one another and lack of communication and to overcome any kind of barriers that exist between us.”

TNH: I understand that you have been meeting in assemblies with SCOBA. So what is going to be the similarity or the difference between the SCOBA’S Conferences and this Assembly?

JONAH: Certainly SCOBA has done a lot of good work during the past 60 years and it needs to be recognized. On the other hand, SCOBA was not an assembly and it did not have the blessing to be such from the mother churches.

TNH: It is not a matter of interpersonal relations here; we are talking here about ecclesial relations. How do you feel about the initial directive of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to Archbishop Demetrios not to invite you?

JONAH: Well, I understand the question of our autocephaly and I understand from both sides the questions and the issues and I think certainly that is the main issue. I have affirmed to Archbishop Demetrios that I do not want that to be any kind of an obstacle to our participation in the Assembly and we wish to work with the Ecumenical Patriarch to resolve any issue.

TNH: Do you have any solution to propose about the OCA autocephaly?

JONAH: I think that is something that has to come out of discussion.

TNH: What, in terms of substance, do you anticipate will come out of this assembly, above and beyond getting together, embracing and kissing each other?

JONAH: I think the selection of the committees, what the agenda really is.

TNH: Are you going to discuss the so-called problem of the Orthodox Diaspora?

JONAH: I do not believe so. I think something like that will be reserved for much later discussion.

TNH: Do you think that you will be laying the foundations at the assembly for the creation of an American Orthodox Autocephalous Church, all jurisdiction united?

JONAH: Of course that is always part of the hope, but I think it is too early to discuss anything like that. What we need first to do is to discover the reality of our brotherhood and our unity.

TNH: Speaking about the autocephaly of the OCA, how do you feel? Alienated? Cut off from the rest of the Church, because Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese told The National Herald in his interview the that you are not in communion with any other autocephalous church, except for Moscow.

JONAH: I am afraid he is mistaken. We are in full communion with all of the local autocephalous churches, including the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

TNH: Can you liturgize with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew?

JONAH: Our bishops do.

TNH: What about you?

JONAH: Right now, because of the question of the autocephaly, I do not believe that it is possible right now. We hope it will become possible in the future.

TNH: Do you see any hypocrisy here? Your bishops can co-celebrate the liturgy with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew but not you, who are their archbishop?

JONAH: I’d rather not comment on that.

TNH: Can you co-celebrate the liturgy with the Archbishop of Greece or Cyprus?

JONAH: If they were to invite me to come, yes I would and, if they were here, I would certainly invite them.

TNH: What is your relationship with the rest of bishops and metropolitans in the various Orthodox jurisdictions here in the U.S.?

JONAH: It is a very strong positive relationship with full co-celebration and full communion.

TNH: What possible solution would you propose for the issue of the Orthodox Diaspora?

JONAH: That is a very complicated question and I think there are many different possibilities.  I think what we need to do is to use our creativity and look at the canonical traditions of the church to see how the people can best be served and how we can respect the beautiful diversity and yet also achieve a unity and I think this is not going to be quickly achieved, it is going to be a long process.

TNH: If Ecumenical Patriarch decides to move tomorrow from Constantinople to the U.S., would you submit under him to create a united Orthodox presence here in the United States?

JONAH:We would welcome him.

TNH: But would you submit to his ‘omophorion’?

JONAH: If he were to come to North America and establish a patriarchate here, probably, because we are not of ill will of any kind.

TNH: Do you have any comment on the issue of pederasty in the Church?

JONAH: It is a great sin. It is something that must be dealt with not only as a sin but also according to the civil law. It is not something that can be tolerated at all.

TNH: What about the issue of homosexuality? Would you tolerate priests and bishops to be ordained?

JONAH: No, I have no tolerance for any kind of sexual misconduct especially for those who are into monasticism and have taken vows of chastity or in marriage to a single spouse.

Comments

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    Eliot Ryan says:

    I do not think America is ready for a united Orthodox Church but it is certainly moving toward it. We have to face the facts. Foreign born/educated priests are the norm in ethnic dioceses. The ratio between foreign educated priests and native-born can be as high as 9 for every one native-born priest. The Apostles in their missionary journeys converted pagans. The mission of the “ethnic” priest here in US is to rechristianze “Christians”. Many of the Orthodox emigrants have mistaken the heavenly Kingdom for the materialistic world and sunk into a consumer frenzy.

    The mission of a foreign educated priest is limited because of the difficulties surrounding language and the lack of understanding of U.S. Culture. Until the administrative unity of the Church is achieved, let us work on our own salvation and keep in touch … in front of the icons.

    • Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
      George Michalopulos says:

      Eliot, if this is so, and your analysis is trenchant, then Orthodoxy is not ready for America. In reality, I see no reason why christianization of Americans can’t proceed apace. The reality is far more complicated than an either christianize the paganized ethnics/or christianize the paganized Americans. Many ethnic Orthodox have returned to the Faith because of the missionary efforts to the non-Orthodox, either through convert missionaries or through a prick in their own consciences (a “eureka!” moment so to speak.

      If I may, that’s one reason why what Frank Schaeffer is doing is so dangerous. By allying Orthodoxy with the secular Left (and there’s no other way than to put that), he’s damaging the spiritual witness of Orthodoxy. By labeling Evangelicals as “American Taliban” he’s driving an unnecessary wedge between many converts and cradles right through established parishes.

      Anyway, I don’t want to spend time on Frank at present but instead wanted to address your larger point. There is no necessary dichotomy between evangelism per se and caring pastorally for established Orthodox Christians who’ve been secularized.

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    james says:

    ARCHBISHOP NICOLAE..When I was called to serve as Archbishop for our Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese,had little experience of life in North America. I was raised and educated in Romania. I did graduate studies in Western Europe. While deeply grounded in our Orthodox faith in my Mother land, my experience of our Church outside of Romania was largely in France and Germany. As I assumed my duties here, I began to experience the richness and diversity of Church life in North America. To be sure, it is not the same as in a traditionally Orthodox setting, but it is genuine, alive, and full of the Holy Spirit. Many of you have either been raised or spent many years here. I have a different perspective coming here as I did. I was and am amazed by the depth of what I have found. There are difficulties – no one can deny this. Yet, there is also an energy and vitality to our North American Orthodox Christian experience that is to be treasured. As just one example, look at the way in which faithful lay persons have taken up Christ’s work here. The faithful of our parishes and dioceses have embraced the spirit of volunteerism that is the hallmark of our Canadian and American nations.

  3. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    George Michalopulos says:

    This was a fantastic interview. I’m curious however, Kalmoukos ends both this interview and last week’s with +Philip on a rather gross note (concerning homosexuality and pederasty). Is he trying to telegraph something? And if so, to whom? Anybody else pick up on that?

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      Rev Fr Vasile Susan says:

      Dear brother in Christ the Lord,

      Mr Michalopoulos (sorry but this is the correct spelling of your Greek name … am I correct).

      In order for you to properly find the correct answers to your questions I would like to respectfully direct you to this site http://www.pokrov.org, going on step by step as follow:

      Step 1 … print on your computer http://www.pokrov.org … click ENTER

      Step 2 … print on the upper left side rectangular square … vasile susan … click GO

      Step 3 … click on this posting … 4/25/2010 Father Vasile Susan Sends Open Letter to Pokrov.org …

      read as much as you can … or read everything … keep in mind to read at least the OPEN – LETTER, as well as EXHIBITS …S, B, H.
      Step 4 … go and read more postings on http://www.pokrov.org regarding Rev Fr Vasile Susan …

      As for your convenience I am posting the title of the OPEN – LETTER posted on http://www.pokrov.org as shown:

      O P E N L E T T E R

      c o n c e r n i n g

      the OCA Hierarchy INFIDELITY / FAILURE to observe Biblical, Canonical, OCA Statute, ROEA Constitution and By – Laws provisions & procedures & Policies, Standards, Procedures of the OCA on Sexual Misconduct 2003, and the Order of Electing and Consecrating of a Bishop provisions, and a canonically grounded call for resignation of the OCA hierarchs and R.O.E.A. Archbishop complicit in cover up of the OCA – ROEA homosexuals = sodomites = clergymen

      REV. FR. VASILE SUSAN IS BREAKING THE SILENCE AFTER MORE

      THAN 6 YEARS OF O. C. A. INACTION AND LAWLESNESS

      ……………

      Notes / Explanations / Clarifications / Personal Inputs / Comments, etc:

      1 – This was a fantastic interview … done by Mr T. Kalmoukos … because TNH received information regarding the issue at stake: COVER UPS OF THE O.C.A. HOMOSEXUALS = SODOMITES CLERGYMEN, FOR SO LONG … via Internet … and Mr Kalmoukos went on http://www.pokrov.org, and following the reading of that site March, April 2010, postings, he openly and transparently did the interview.

      As for +Phillip, the AAOAA Primate, he suspended one of his Bishops, according to the http://www.pokrov.org, and AAOAA records … issue without comments from me …

      As for +Jonah, the OCA Primate, he is still compromising himself NOT WILLING to act as the OCA Primate, and show respect to the many issues he is facing at the present time, but not limited to the COVER UPS of the OCA homosexual = sodomites clergymen.

      Both issues: HOMOSEXUALITY = SODOMY of the OCA clergymen, and the COVER UPS of the OCA OCA homosexuals = sodomites clergymen by the OCA Bishops, are UN – CANONICAL …

      I am glad and very thankful to Mr Kalmoukos for being able to question both +Phillip and +Jonah, about this issue.

      ………………

      2 – I’m curious however, Kalmoukos ends both this interview and last week’s with +Philip on a rather gross note (concerning homosexuality and pederasty) … The TNH interviewer had prior knowledge about this issue. He surprised so many people, including you all, not me. I am so glad the primates, responded as they wish, and they did well.

      The AAOAA Primate +Phillip, is “IN LINE” regarding this issue, he is doing what he is saying.

      The OCA Primate +Jonah, is “OFF LINE” regarding this issue, he is not doing what is saying.

      ……………….

      3 – Is he trying to telegraph something? … the answer is yes … Mt T Kalmoukos is telegraphing to the world (step by step) … more than so called “DUPLICITY, DOUBLE STANDARD, BREACH OF CANONICAL PROVISIONS” of the OCA Primate, +Jonah.

      Is there “ANY CANONICAL PROVISIONS” or “ANY ORTHODOX CHURCH CHARTER PROVISIONS” … WHICH can make “THE NEW CONVERTS TO ORTHODOXY ELECTED BISHOPS EXEMPT” from observing or being in line of / with the Canonical provisions regarding the HOMOSEXUALS = SODOMITES, within the Orthodox Church in general or the O.C.A. specially? There is nothing like that, EVEN for the American Orthodoxy. Everything not in line with the canonical provision regarding this issue, is “NOTHING ELSE BUT ANOMALY, … including the O.C.A’s cover ups Un – Canonical practice, as well.

      ………………..

      4 – And if so, to whom? … the telegrapher = Mr T Kalmoukos … is telegraphing to the OCA Primate +Jonah … to be more serious in regards to this issue, and to be IN LINE, and NOT OFF LINE. Also the OCA Primate +Jonah should know that, there are “NO ANY CANONICAL PROVISIONS” or “ANY ORTHODOX CHURCH CHARTER PROVISIONS” … WHICH can make “THE NEW CONVERTS TO ORTHODOXY ELECTED BISHOPS EXEMPT” from observing or being in line of / with the Canonical provisions regarding the HOMOSEXUALS = SODOMITES within the Orthodox Church in general or the O.C.A. specially.

      Mr T Kalmoukos, is the watch dog on this issue, at least for the OCA Primate +Jonah, … this is my impression at the present time. The name of that person Mr T Kalmoukos is thinking about, and is under the microscope lens, is the ROEA Archbishop, along with the OCA Synod, including +Jonah, as the OCA Primate, complicit in COVER UPS of the OCA homosexual = sodomites clergymen.

      ………………..

      5 – Anybody else pick up on that? … The above explanations, etc are … “FREE OF CHANGE at this time. However, I would like to get from you Mr G. Michalopoulos, the E-mail addresses of the OCL members, to be able to TELEGRAPH them more info regarding ONE of the OCL advisor members. My E-mail address is: vasilesusan@hotmail.com.

      I hope “ALL THE ABOVE” satisfy you and many more.

      Please reply to my E-mail address.

      Sincerely,

      In Christ the Lord,

      Rev Fr Vasile Susan

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