October 21, 2014

Appeal from the Patriarch of Romania and a response

Seal of he Patriarchate of Romania

The Patriarchate of Romania


The Romanian Patriarch issued an appeal on February 11, 2010 “…to all Romanian Orthodox clerics and faithful abroad, who are, without blessing, in other sister Orthodox Churches or in non-canonical church structures, to restore their direct communion with their Mother Church, under the canonical jurisdiction of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church.”

Taking what appears to be a page from the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s book, the Romanian Patriarchate asserts the universality of the Church (the “Catholic — or katholikos in the Nicene Creed’s “…only Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church) is derived not from the trans-cultural, trans-tribal, and trans-national character of the Gospel, but from ethnic identity and affiliation albeit without the accouterments such as the universality of Hellenism to buttress the argument.

Not everyone agrees. I’ve posted the response to the appeal first, and the original appeal second. Postings on this page are truncated (signers names have been removed for space) but you can read the response to the appeal and original appeal on separate pages.

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Appeal for Unity and Dignity of the Orthodox Church

Translated from the original French

We, the descendants of various migrations of the 20th century or people of Western origin, have inherited from our forefathers an Orthodoxy that is “the Church of Christ on Earth”, a reality that is greater than any form of social, cultural or national rootedness. The Orthodox Church, in all situations in which she exists, is called to be incarnated in local cultures, because, as “the new life in Christ”, the Church is universal. But this universality is never abstract: it is tangible in each place, in each Eucharistic community where the faithful, gathered in a diversified unity, share the same Orthodox faith received from the Apostles and transmitted by the Fathers.

In Western Europe, Orthodox Christians of different origins have lived together for four generations, and we have understood that it is our responsibility to witness together to Orthodoxy, in a fraternal dialogue with other Christians, in a world that hungers for God. For fifty years, the Orthodox Fellowship in Western Europe, among other aims, has sought to enable a gathering of all the Orthodox in a Eucharistic unity and a canonical structure that is in conformity with our ecclesiology. This ecclesiology is territorial, in which there is no form of “nationalism” or competition among dioceses, but which does not renounce the place of cultures, languages or peoples. In his sense, the establishment of the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of France in 1997 was a significant step forward.

In this context, we have learned with great sadness of the “Appeal to Unity and Romanian Dignity” of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church on the 11 February 2010. In this message – which contains no reference to God, to Christ or to the Holy Spirit – the Holy Synod of the Romanian Church, claiming that it is following the Russian and Serbian examples, appeals to all the Romanian Orthodox clergy and faithful abroad, who may find themselves “without blessing” in other sister Orthodox churches, to restore their “direct communion” with the Patriarchate of Romania. We understand the pastoral concern of the Patriarchate of Bucharest for the Romanian faithful who find themselves isolated in foreign lands. Nevertheless, is it not shocking to present this concern as a prerogative of the faithful of Romanian nationality, wherever they live, in a way that is contrary to Orthodox ecclesiology? In this way, the reference made to the Council of Nicea is not valid, as the Council Fathers reject the idea of dioceses that are defined on ethnic criteria, and refer, as do the Apostles, only to the territorial criterion.

Coming at a time when, in the context of the preconciliar process, all the Orthodox churches are committed to a promising joint reflection on the future of the communities of the so-called “disapora” (despite this being a concept which is largely obsolete), we are troubled by this appeal which implies that all Romanian Orthodox should, when abroad, naturally prefer “direct” communion with the Orthodox Church of Romania. However, there is only One Church, the Church of Christ, and we all commune directly with His body and His blood. Do not the sister churches of the Church of Romania, in which some Romanian faithful in the West may find themselves as a result of their life circumstances and the unpredictability of relations among churches, share the same fullness of the Orthodox faith? Are they not exactly the same Church of Christ? On which criteria should the multi-ethnic Orthodox communities in the West be dismembered, sending foreigners back to his or her mother church? These initiatives destabilize our communities that seek to witness to the resurrection of Christ in a world that is fragmented and indifferent; they are a source of suffering, of tensions and of national rivalry among the faithful.

We fear that this approach will not only affect the dignity of those churches that choose this direction, but will also affect the unity and Catholicity of the Church. We recall the prophetic concern of the Fathers of the Council of Constantinople of 1872: “We reject and condemn ethnophyletism as against the teaching of the Gospel and of the Holy Canons of our Fathers, that is, discrimination based on ethnic criteria, as well as the quarrels and differences of national character in the Church of Christ.”

The Church of Christ cannot be instrumentalized in the service of the unity and dignity of a nation. As the Ark of salvation that gives access to the Kingdom of God, the Church does not belong to any particular nation. Striving, despite our unworthiness, to witness to the reality of this Salvation, we call for the unity of all Orthodox Christians in the West and elsewhere, and to the defence of the dignity of the Orthodox Church, which starts with the respect of Apostolic ecclesiology: since Pentecost, “there is neither Greek nor Jew… Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:11).

Christ is Risen!

Paris, on Sunday the 11th of April 2010, Sunday of Thomas

Read the response to the appeal including signers.

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Appeal to Unity and Romanian Dignity

At the beginning of the year 2010, proclaimed by the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church as Anniversary Year of the Orthodox Creed and of Romanian Autocephaly, in the context of the 125th anniversary of the moment when the Romanian Orthodox Church became autocephalous and of the 85th anniversary of the elevation to the rank of Patriarchate, the hierarchs of the Holy Synod are reaching out and addressing a Heartfelt appeal to all Romanian Orthodox clerics and faithful abroad, who are, without blessing, in other sister Orthodox Churches or in non-canonical church structures, to restore their direct communion with their Mother Church, under the canonical jurisdiction of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church.

The realization of this desideratum is the fulfillment of the provisions of the Bylaw for the Organization and Functioning of the Romanian Orthodox Church, which mentions that the Romanian Orthodox Church is the Church of the Romanian people and encompasses all Orthodox Christians in Romania and the Romanian Orthodox Christians abroad (article 5), and the canonical and pastoral organization of the Romanian Orthodox faithful outside Romania is ensured by the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church (article 8). This principle is in full accordance with the decision of the Panorthodox Preconciliar Conference of Chambésy-Switzerland (June 6-13, 2009), which specifies that each autocephalous Church has the right to shepherd its own diaspora.

The above-mentioned principles are expressing the duty of the Romanian Orthodox Church and are based upon the 16th Canon of the 1st Ecumenical Council (325), which contains the principle that no diocese is allowed to receive under its jurisdiction Orthodox clerics and faithful, without the blessing of the Church (diocese) to which they belong.

To this end, we are mentioning that the process of returning of the clergy and faithful of different nationalities to their Mother Churches (such as in the Moscow Patriarchate and the Serbian Patriarchate) has already started for a long time and has shown that, through shared responsibility and ethnic Orthodox solidarity, the conjunctural historical feuds, based on past political motives, can be overcome.

Now, when 20 years have passed since the fall of the Communist regime in Eastern Europe, when Romania is a member of the European Union and of NATO and in the context of an unprecedented activity of the Romanian Orthodox Church abroad, through the reorganization and foundation of numerous dioceses across the world, we think that there are no more real reasons to reject the call of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church to unity and Romanian Orthodox communion.

We are confident that this attitude of Romanian Orthodox resurrection and reconciliation will consolidate and intensify the pastoral-missionary, social-philanthropic and cultural-educational ministry of the Romanian Orthodox Church everywhere, strengthening at the same time the Romanian Orthodox dignity, through the liberation of some Romanian Orthodox from considering themselves ‘searchers of canonical shadows’ among strangers.

We are regretting that, for several reasons, some of our Romanian Orthodox brothers have sought other Orthodox jurisdictions, during Communism, but what was understandable in the past has become unreasonable and regrettable in present times, amounting to estrangement of Romanians from one another, up to their church division.

Being confident that our appeal to unity and Romanian Orthodox dignity will be received with joy and responsibility, as a desire for communion and brotherly cooperation, we are sharing with everyone our utmost respect and fatherly blessing.

Bucharest, February 11, 2010

Read the original appeal including signers.

Comments

  1. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Wesley J. Smith says:

    I find this apparent trend to promote even greater ethnic identification within Orthodoxy shocking. Perhaps it is a response to the loosening of the importance of such matters, particularly here in the USA, where people of various ethnic backgrounds and “Amurican” converts mix easily and without any ethnic tensions. Do we really want to go back to a time when a church visitor was asked why he or she was in church since they weren’t Greek (or Russian, etc.)? Do we really want segregation of brothers and sisters in Christ based on nationality? I think not.

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      Fr. John says:

      ‘Go back to a time’? It still persists in many, maybe most places where ‘Amurricans'(what I call Anglos) do not numerically predominate. And in some places, like Canada, the reaction against ethnophyletism is so strong that you won’t even hear “Christos Anesti” in an English (-only) language parish.

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        Geo Michalopulos says:

        Fr John, I defer to your experience. I’m rather taking the long view and trying to be very charitable. But I believe you’re right about Canada. Also things tend to be even more extreme in Australia.

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    Greg says:

    Do not the sister churches of the Church of Romania, in which some Romanian faithful in the West may find themselves as a result of their life circumstances and the unpredictability of relations among churches, share the same fullness of the Orthodox faith?

    The above sentence is from The Response to the Appeal. What does “the unpredictability of relations among churches” mean?

    Thank you.

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      Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

      In the context of the paragraph it appears to mean that when ethnicity is elevated above the universality of the Gospel, then nationalistic concerns trump all other considerations. My sense is that the authors, writing in Europe and thinking as Europeans, may have in mind conflicts between nation-states (what happens if Germany and France go to war and both nations have citizens who are Orthodox?). In America an example would be where the GOA mutes a necessary moral witness because it may risk offending politicians who might otherwise aid the interests of the Greek State.

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        Greg says:

        Fr.,

        RE My sense is that the authors… may have in mind conflicts between nation-states

        However, the Response mentions churches, not nation states: the “unpredictability of relations among churches.”

        Could he mean, perhaps the problem that might come from, for example, a Greek or Ukrainian Orthodox person coming from Europe to the U.S. The Greek joins the OCA and subsequently realizes that the Church of Greece does not formally recognize the OCA. Thus, that person, who as a member of the GOA would have been in full communion with the Church of Greece is, as a member of the OCA, now not in full communion with the Church of Greece. The Ukrainian, in the Ukraine, was a member of the Church of Ukraine (MP). When he comes to the U.S. he joins the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church only to discover that he is now no longer in communion with his church in the Ukraine. Both of these people have, unwittingly, cut themselves off from the churches of their birth.

        Your thoughts?

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          Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

          Too arcane for the average parishioner I’d say (and for me too!). I think it has to do more with nationalistic feeling.

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            Greg says:

            to all Romanian Orthodox clerics and faithful abroad, who are, without blessing, in other sister Orthodox Churches or in non-canonical church structures

            Fr,

            I agree that my observation might be too arcane for the average parishioner, but the above line in the opening paragraph of the Appeal leads me to think that my original citation from the Response is indeed referring to churches rather than nations, and I might be on the right track. (But then, who am I? I’m just an interested observer of the Orthodox Church, trying to understand her, and thankful to have found a site like AOI. Oh, well… thanks for your insights.)

            I don’t suppose there is any way to contact any of the actual signers of the Response? (I’d need to do that in English, of course.)

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          Peter O'F. says:

          Greg,

          Christ is Risen!

          Does the Church of Greece really not have Communion with the OCA? I’d never heard this before. I’d heard that they don’t recognize the OCA as autocephalous, but like some others, considers it still part of its Mother Church the Moscow Patriarchate (which ‘set it free’ in 1970), and in Communion thru the MP, so to speak. Is this incorrect?

          Thanks,
          Leo Peter

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    orrologion says:

    I wonder if this move is actually part and parcel with the strategy of Episcopal Assemblies. If all the bishops of a region are going to join together, and if those Assemblies are seen to be precursors to ruling, regional Synods, then it would make sense to bolster your population of bishops, clergy and faithful under your local church’s banner. This is essentially an acceptance of St. Tikhon’s vision of a united local church with overlapping, ethnically defined dioceses.

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      George Michalopulos says:

      Orrologion, this is the “official” take on the Episcopal Assemblies but in reality the phyletistic impulse is too great. I believe it’s just another method of replacing SCOBA (which everybody agrees is a joke) with “SCOBA” pulling the wool over the faithful’s eyes.

      In any event, the “appeal” by the patriarch of Romania is one of the most ham-fisted and obvious attempts at ethnic consolodation that I’ve ever seen. Even the ethnic jurisdictions in North America would be too embarassed to come up with language like this, even in the heyday of xenophobia.

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    Michael Bauman says:

    I suspect it is a reference to the communist domination of the Romanian Patriarchate in the past as well as the other Slavic jurisdictions.

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    Andrew says:

    Lets not forget Big Brother in Romania wanted people to spy on Romanian theological students and clergy in the USA and inform Bucharest. Nothing like some good old totalitarianism with a three bar cross.

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    Fr. David Hudson says:

    BRAVO to the authors and signers of the St. Thomas Sunday document in response to the Romanian appeal. Although, on AOI, I cannot open the link to see names of the signators, I have seen it on another site, and am both heartened and disappointed to see that among them are two Romanian laypeople (university professors), and no Romanian clergy.

    This is an exemplary document–well stated and in a true Orthodox spirit.

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      Priest-monk Gregory-Francis DesMarais says:

      Fr. David; You know very well that the Romanians who signed that document have NOTHING to lose, and can freely express their sincerest and well thought out ideas. They are people who have integrated well into their adopted countries and cultures, like many Romanian people in the USA & Canada. The absence of signatures by many Romanian clergy and faithful living in Western Europe, as well as those still in the “mother country” is probably due to the fear of intimidation, either direct or clandestine, or perhaps due to a lack of “nerve” – something we previously expressed in another forum.

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        Fr. David Hudson says:

        Yes, I totally understand… and sympathize with those who might wish to sign and can’t.

        On the other hand, the nationalism in Romanian Orthodoxy is so all-pervasive as to be unrecognized by most, being wrapped in the most sacred of terminology and tones…. The indivisibility of the nation (people) with the Orthodox Church may be expressed best by the fact that the ribbon in every Romanian Gospel book is the “tricolor”.

        And no doubt in other national Orthodox churches as well.

        In fact, the marriage of Orthodoxy and Nation are so complete and so completely hallowed as to be unrecognized as phyletism within the national space. Only when it gets out into the rest of the world does it appear so.

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          Eliot Ryan says:

          The indivisibility of the nation (people) with the Orthodox Church may be expressed best by the fact that the ribbon in every Romanian Gospel book is the “tricolor”.

          The Romanian Orthodox Church is a Church of apostolic origins, born out of the mission of St Andrew the Apostle, who preached the Word of the Gospel also in the old Roman province of Scythia Minor, the territory between the Danube and the western part of the Black Sea, present Dobrogea (south east of Romania). … Romania has a population of 21,794,793 inhabitants, of which 86,7% declared themselves as Christian Orthodox.

          Given this background, it is not surprising that nation and Orthodoxy are virtually indivisible concepts. I don’t see anything wrong with it. Also, the Scripture tells that God does judge the nations.

          When Romanians, Serbians, Russians, etc, get out into the rest of the world, the connection between Orthodoxy and nationalism does appear as phyletism. When making judgments on this phenomenon one has to take into account that every emigration generally goes through three general phases. Fr. Andrew Philips writes:

          The first generation, that of the grandparents, remains faithful to the old country, though is often coloured by nationalist cultural nostalgia. The second generation, born outside the homeland, suffering from an inferiority complex in the new country because of its origins, fights against its own roots. It denies that it is anything but indigenous to the country of emigration and ends up, for example in the USA, being more American than the Americans. It is only the third generation (sometimes aided by the elderly but conscious representatives of the first or grandparents’ generation) that begins to get the balance right.

          What worries me is that, in Romania, nationalism as a sentiment already took precedence over Orthodoxy. In an article titled Robber’s Synod in Bucharest
          the author concludes:

          Today, the protection of the true Orthodox faith in Romania, its confession in accordance with the letter and the spirit of the dogmas and holy canons, can only be done with the support of the other Local Sister-Churches with who we are in communion.

          In the same article is given a quote from the book “Laymen in the Church” by a Romanian theologian, Liviu Stan:

          The laity, with or without the blessing of the hierarchy, must fulfil their duty, they have a right to a correct announcement of the Word and the Church Teachings, and if someone tries to contravene this right of the laity, then, the voice of God may be found in that of the laity.

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            Fr. David Hudson says:

            Eliot,

            For those of us who are Americans in our thinking and sensibilities, whether converts or cradle Orthodox, I think it is difficult for us to truly understand what we are judging when we talk about Orthodox nationalism and phyletism. As one who was converted and ordained in Romania, I have lived in this atmosphere and I believe I understand it better than many.

            The Romanian Orthodox Church does not understand itself to be phyletistic. For them — I think it safe to say ALL of them — it is a self-evident truth that the Orthodox Church is the Mother of the Romanian Nation. This, essentially ideological, belief plays out in the context in which the Romanian Church itself has only been autocephalous for 125 years, having had its own Patriarch for only 80, and has experienced its existence as being constantly threatened, from both the west and the east.

            We must understand that, to Romanians, the act of leaving the Romanian Church and going under another one, with a different ethnic identity, is tantamount to betrayal of family, people, and in fact, one’s own true identity. Multi-culturalism is not on their cognitive map.

            The reason I like the above response, from the French Orthodox, is that it is respectful and appealing, yet undeniably authoritative; and it comes from people who mostly understand that they are, indeed, a multi-cultural Orthodox diaspora, a new reality which is still strongly related to the old. And not too far away either culturally or geographically.

            An inside source tells me that the Romanian Metropolitan of Paris quickly took the Patriarchate’s “Appeal” off his web site, in the embarrassment over the level of reaction it stirred up in France. For that matter, many Patriarchal Romanians in America are not happy about it, I believe, and these people will be heard in Bucharest.

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        Geo Michalopulos says:

        Fr Gregory, what you say is most probably true, but that is merely an excuse and can in no way justify the subsumation of the Gospel to the state. I realize that I’m in no position to lay blame as I am not a priest and thus captive to an unsympathetic hierarchy. But the fact that such an unsympathetic hierarchy exists in the first place is precisely the point.

        geo

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    Fixed the link. Sorry about that readers. I did not realize it was broken until later.

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    Eliot Ryan says:

    Multi-culturalism is not on their cognitive map.

    Fr. David, this is the only one statement I disagree with…

    It does appear to me that you do have a very good understanding of the Orthodox nationalism and phyletism issue. Even if you state that “it is difficult for us to truly understand what we are judging” you do make several statements which I perceive as being totally correct.

    I would like to add a couple of things:
    1. Even though the Romanian Church itself has only been autocephalous for 125 years the Romanian people had over the course of history many devout Orthodox Christian great statesmen. They were great defenders of the True Faith. They built many churches and monasteries in thanks to God. They had saintly people as spiritual fathers. Often their mothers became nuns after they raised their children. For example St. Daniel the Hermit advised St. Stephen the Great.

    2. The evil one, in his latest struggle to destroy the Orthodox Church, has spread Orthodoxy to the four corners of the world. This is why we have what we call today the Orthodox diaspora. I do not believe that “multi-culturalism is not on their cognitive map”. They, too, are entitled to their own “thinking and sensibilities”. They are certainly sensitive to dramatic changes in worship/praxis and unclear boundaries between True Faith and heresy. Unfortunately, after the fall of Communism some Romanians have chosen to exchange their faith for material benefits and they became baptists, Adventists, etc.

    3. The canonical status of the Episcopate led by Archbishop Nathaniel was acknowledged by the late Romanian Patriarch Teoctist. (See podcast on ancient faith radio site: Archbishop Nathaniel Updates on Romanian Orthodox Episcopate in America ). I really do not know what +Daniel meant by “non-canonical church structures”.

    There is evidence that the true Orthodox faith in Romania needs to be protected. We Orthodox have to put our Orthodox Faith first and then our nationality/passports. We should have friendly relations with heterodox, but we must not compromise the God given Truth.

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      Fr. David Hudson says:

      Eliot,

      Perhaps I need to define what I mean by multi-culturalism. When I was in Romania (and for that matter, among Romanians in America), I learned that there is Romanian Orthodoxy, Russian Orthodoxy, Serbian Orthodoxy, Greek Orthodoxy, etc. However, there is not Hungarian Orthodoxy, German Orthodoxy, or Israeli Orthodoxy (of the Christian type). When I converted to Orthodoxy in Romania, I accepted it in terms of Romanian language and culture. When a Hungarian friend of mine (a Romanian citizen) converted to Orthodoxy and became a monk, he took a Romanian name and identity.

      Father Staniloae, a strong proponent of Romanian Orthodox nationalism, maintained that there is no such thing as an abstract person, a person without cultural identity. All human beings come in concrete incarnations. They are Romanians or Italians or Mexicans, with an identity that is both given to them without their choice, and more or less embraced (or rejected, as the case may be) in their free will. In the eyes of the Romanian Patriarchate, it is not normal, or a sign of moral, spiritual, or psychological integrity, for a Romanian to cast off his or her identity as Romanian Orthodox. I think we American Orthodox need to understand this when we read statements like this “Appeal for Romanian Unity”.

      As Dean says in his posting below, we who have been formed in the American culture have a different experience and perspective. To us, ethnicity is secondary or tertiary. And yet we, consciously or unconsciously, often wish to impose our multi-cultural, pluralist, democratic, capitalist “diversity” on the rest of the world (as, for example, in Iraq and Afghanistan). That has often been called cultural imperialism, and perhaps we American Orthodox also have a tendency to judge the Old World by American standards. In fact, we are the new kids on the block, and the little guys in world Orthodoxy.

      As for what the Patriarchate meant by “non-canonical church structures”, I doubt if it would be referring to the OCA Romanian Episcopate, although many people would agree that, unfortunately, the Patriarchate has shown a tendency to be quite careless in its language and pronouncements in recent years, when speaking about the diaspora. I believe there has been some history in the diaspora of some autonomous and non-canonical groups and individuals calling themselves Orthodox (including Romanian), and assume that is what is meant here.

      By the way, if it is not too cheeky of me to say it, I have a hunch that the name on your passport would not be Eliot Ryan.

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        Eliot Ryan says:

        I am impressed by depth of your understanding.
        Father, that was a good hunch! Eliot is the name of an activist I have met 7-8 years ago. He was pro-abortion (his speech sounded very much like what Bartholomew and his predecessor, Athenagoras, have stated: if a man and a woman truly love one another …), pro-communism and against nuclear energy. People were paying very close attention to what he was saying. I guess I am using this name to undo what he is doing …. Back then I didn’t have an Orthodox Christian perspective of anything. I am a convert from Ignorance.

        Now, let me tell you this …the day before yesterday a thought came to my mind: ‘someone is going to ask me if this is my real name’. And here you are…

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    Dean Calvert says:

    Christ is Risen!!!

    Without commenting on the status of the Romanian issues, I think the following true story could be helpful.

    We had a Romanian man who worked in the production area of one of our companies. He was very active at the local Romanian church. Having visited our small, mission parish of St. Raphael, which is comprised of about 50% cradle Orthodox and 50% converts, he was just genuinely confused by what he witnessed there.

    So one Monday morning, he comes up to my partner, a Greek American, and sincerely asks, “Steve, you are Greek, and Orthodox…I am Romanian, and Orthodox…, but this Joe (a black man at St. Raphael’s), what is he?”

    There is ethnophyletism and then there is just plain confusion, based upon your experience. I think we, in America, have to be careful not to confuse the two.

    If your entire experience consists of a world of homogenous, “XXX-Orthodoxy”, i.e. a situation where virtually 100% of the population is Orthodox (something we in America cannot relate to), then your point of view is going to be different than the situation (here in America) where we comprise 1% of the population.

    Put differently, although this never dawned on me when I visited Greece for some reason – when I was in Russia it just amazed me that I was in a country where virtually everyone had an icon in their office. For some reason, that just struck me as bizarre beyond imagination.

    I came away thinking, “I wonder what it’s like to live in an environment where EVERYONE is Orthodox?” That thought was just incomprehensible.

    I’m not saying these comments from the Old Countries are justified, or right, and am certainly no fan of ethnophyletism…but I think we in America, just as those 2nd and 3rd generation Orthodox living in Western Europe, are going to naturally have a different paradigm than those living in the Mother Countries.

    Finally, it’s always struck me as ironic that our point of view, living in these more diverse societies, may actually be much CLOSER to that of the “Church of the First 15 Centuries” than those in the Old Countries. Think about it – the environment of the church, for 1500 years, was one where no one ethnic culture was predominant….there was a citizenship (ie Roman) which was of paramount importance – but one’s ethnic identity, be it Syrian, Greek, Italian, Egyptian, Lebanese, Armenian etc – that was clearly of secondary (probably more accurately tertiary) importance.

    That fact tells me that we, in the lands of the “diaspora” may actually have something to teach those in the Old World. Perhaps Orthodoxy in those new lands is a harbinger of a return to a more dynamic, activist Orthodox Christianity – something the Old World has forgotten for 10 centuries.

    Just a few rambling thoughts provoked by your comments.

    Best Regards,
    Dean

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      George Michalopulos says:

      Dean, I couldn’t agree with you more. Sometimes a man just has to take a man’s word, fully realizing that there’s always an agenda and/or other subtext hidden underneath. We must be sympathetic to a people’s culture and their own particular “back story.” Having said that, we’ve got to get back to Christ’s ipssima verbi when we preach the Gospel. All else is secondary. Certainly love demands that we respect each other’s experiences and concerns, but not at the expense of the Gospel. As Schmemann said long ago, “Jesus didn’t die on the cross for bishops to wear nice robes.” [paraphrase] Therefore to place anything but love on such a lofty pedestal risks turning us into idolaters. Eventually people turn against false idols. That’s why SCOBA degenerated into a joke. If the upcoming bishops of North America are not serious and continue to disguise their ethnic agendas via an emphasis on “pastoral concerns” then the EA will take the place of SCOBA in the false idol category.

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    Peter O'F. says:

    I’m impressed with how temperate, and “Orthodox”-sounding, the Response feels to me, who have done more than my share of shooting my mouth off regarding Orthodox Unity elsewhere. I’m not sure I can convey in words what I mean, so maybe my statement is superfluous, but for whatever it may be worth….

    –Leo Peter

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    Marcel Cozma says:

    Christos a Anviat

    Iubite parinte David

    Poate va mai amintiti de mine sau nu cind slujati la Cathedrala Constantin si Elena dar eu si fiul meu Christian nu v-am uitat si am stiut ca mai devreme sau mai tirziu veti apare pe net sau pe undeva pentru ca dragostea Domnului Christos nu ne lasa indiferenti la ce sa intimpla in jurul nostru.Eu sint muncitor deci nu am studii superioare dar am vazut ca se comenteaza acel apel la unitate si demnitate.Am sa adaug si eu ce stiu sau deduc din ceia ce se intimpla.Preafericitul Daniel are o misiune destul de grea in opinia mea si de aici cred eu rezulta aceste probleme ca sa le zic asa.
    1) poate va mai amintiti ca la alegerea lui sau opus foarte multi consideridul mai putin vrednic de scaunul patriarhal,foarte apropiat cercurilor protestant-catholice west europene poate chiar masonice.Membri laici si nu numai ai sfantului sinod au facut atunci cerc in jurul lui.
    2) divergentele aparute cu ocazia pasapoartelor biometrice cu cei mai mari duhovnici ai romaniei in care romanii au toata increderea care se opun total acestora.De fapt Parintele Patriarh i-a c-am criticat mai voalat cei drept.
    3)apoi ar fi apropierea Preafericitului de ecumenisti si de tot ceace sint ei.
    4)atacurile celor din romania si din afara care sint inpotriva notiuni de stat national unitar si ca ortodoxia sa fie religia de stat, sau cea mai importanta.
    5)perceptia multora ca sint inca ierahi in BOR care au colaborat cu autoritatile represive comniste.
    Acestea ar fi pe scurt cred eu unele probleme.Deci rog pe multi care se simt afensati de aparent nationalismul ortodox roman sa ne ierte pe noi caci pot sa afirm ca in general romani sint oameni primitori si nu uram pe nimeni indiferent cine ar fi.Este una sa fii ortodox in romania si alta fii ortodox in america.
    Va rog sa ma iertati pe mine pacatosul. marcel

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