September 1, 2014

In Due Course

The “Companion to the Greek Orthodox Church,” edited by Fotios K. Litsas, was published by Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in 1984 as a guidebook to various topics in Church life. The book included the article “Orthodoxy in the United States” by Rev. Thomas FitzGerald, now dean of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, and an expert on American Orthodoxy. Fr. FitzGerald closed his 1984 article with a bold prediction:

Orthodoxy in the United States may no longer be viewed simply as a diaspora composed primarily of immigrants intent upon returning to their homeland. Rather, Orthodoxy in the United States can only be viewed properly as an emerging local Church comprised primarily of American citizens of a wide variety of racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.

In due course, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the various Orthodox jurisdictions in the United States will be united into an autocephalous Church which will be officially recognized as such by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the other autocephalous Orthodox Churches.

In the same article, Fr. FitzGerald notes:

Viewed from the perspective of Orthodox ecclesiology, the proliferation of parallel and often competing jurisdictions on the same geographical territory is a serious anomaly. The establishment of “ethnic” and even “political” dioceses rather than territorial dioceses may have served the short-term needs of the immigrants. However, the ecclesiastical requirements for canonical order, integrity, and the unity of the episcopacy in a given region were sacrificed. This led to an undue emphasis upon a policy of “congregationalism” which is alien to Orthodoxy, and to an attitude of phyletism, both of which have greatly diminished the mission and salutary message of the Orthodox Church in the United States until very recently.

Comments

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    George Michalopulos says:

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Bravo to Fr Thomas for being as prescient as he was.

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    Robert F says:

    This further demonstrates the absurdity to continue to use “diaspora” in 2009. It is not only wholly inaccurate but also denigrates the reality “on the ground” with new generations, diminished ethnic identification, and the many converts. The continued use demonstrates an assumed ownership and a perogative. These apparent assumptions engender a perception of insensitivity. And this, so it would appear, is counter productive. Counter to building respect and finding strength in our bond.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Well said, Robert.

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    Dean Calvert says:

    Fr. Tom touches on an important point – the rise of congregationalism in the Orthodox Church.

    The refusal of the Orthodox to setup functioning dioceses, led by locally elected bishops, has resulted in the rise of a congregationalist mentality in many of the jurisdictions. Witness the current dustup in the AOCA, where the prime protagonists, certain powerful priests in the Midwest, simply do not like the idea of having a local bishop…they are used to being lone rangers. Unfortunately, the parishes only recently began to see the difference.

    This is reminiscent of the GOA, in the years following the establishment of dioceses, and then metropolises…where the same was true. Priests (and parishes!) had grown accustomed to a system where the only effective oversight was a bishop far away, rarely seen and less often heard from, except for the periodic requests for money. If we needed a decision, we ignored the local bishop and flew to New York for an answer.

    Think about it…for all the grief OCL has taken on many forums…this is a far more radical Protestant innovation than anything they have ever promoted. Yet, it is almost never addressed as such. I think Fr. Tom is exactly correct…“This led to an undue emphasis upon a policy of “congregationalism” which is alien to Orthodoxy, and to an attitude of phyletism, both of which have greatly diminished the mission and salutary message of the Orthodox Church in the United States until very recently.”

    Just one more reason that we need to return to the practices of the “Church of the First 15 Centuries.”

    Locally elected bishops, sitting in synod…

    That’s the only way out of this mess. It also happens to be the time tested and proven Orthodox tradition.

    Best Regards,
    Dean Calvert

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Amen, Dean. It never ceases to amaze me that all the anti-OCA people out there who are also “traditionalists,” don’t see the uber-congregationalism of the other jurisdictions. This is still apparent in the GOA even with the souped-up dioceses known as “metropolises.” As I remarked in an earlier essay, based on the financing scheme, these bishops are archbishops in name only. 100% of the parish’s budget goes directly to NYC and then it is doled out to the “metropolises.” This is exactly bass-ackward. If we commemorate an archbishop, he should be the real head of the metropolis. Unless he gets money directly from the parishes, he’s just titular.

    The only thing i could say about the elevation of the bishops in the GOA to metropolitan rank, it would make it far more difficult for NYC to demote them to auxiliary status. Then again, with flunkies like Rev Lightbearer, it seems as if the Phanar wakes up in a new world everyday and makes things up as they go along.

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    Tom Kanelos says:

    George,

    Just for the record, where do the OCA parishes send their money? To Syosset or to the diocesan hierarch. Seems to me they send their assesment to Syosset. Does this mean that the OCA bishops are just titular?

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    John Couretas says:

    From “American Orthodoxy and Parish Congregationalism” by Nicholas Ferencz. Read it on Google Books.

    blurb: “Orthodox ecclesiology consistently requires all authority in the church must be expressed in and flow from the bishop. This unity of authority, based upon the laying on of hands, is the lived expression of the oneness and catholicity of the church. American Orthodoxy, however, does not have such an authority structure, especially on the parish level. In the parish, the normal structure of authority is congregationalist; that is, authority is split between a spiritual authority coming from those who are ordained (the clergy) and a material authority wielded by the unordained (the laity). This study explores the divergence of practice from doctrine in the American church in three steps.”

    [p. 3] Most American Orthodox parishes function within what I will call “modified congregationalism.” In this version, the ordained hierarchy of the church is acknowledged by the laity as having some authority; in most cases, this authority extends to the hierarch’s exclusive right to appoint pastors in parishes. Even the least knowledgeable layperson knows that they have to have priests and bishops to “do” certain things on a spiritual plane. Therefore, the claim in this version is that the authority of the laity is intended to be only over the material goods and welfare of the church: that is, ownership and management of property, real and fiscal; The cleric, then, is supposed to retain authority over the spiritual realm: liturgical services, sermons, education in the faith; and other such services. Each body of authority is separate from the other and most structures have safeguards to keep them separate. In this way, separate but equal spheres of parish authority are supposed to guarantee that leadership is “shared” between clergy and laity, for the good of the church as a whole.

    Ferencz argues that “most of the core American Orthodox parishes were founded with little or no effective input from Orthodox hierarchy. By the time the hierarchy became involved, parish structures were already fixed in a congregationalist mode. At that point, even if the hierarchy wanted to change this mode, it was pastorally very difficult if not impossible. I am arguing here that the foundations of American Orthodoxy were laid in a congregationalist manner precisely because they were formed by groups of Orthodox laity without the leadership of or even input from the Orthodox hierarchy.”

    Beginning on p. 133, he describes the “watershed” year of 1908 — the beginning of multiple jurisdictions in the “diaspora.”

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Tom,

    as near as I understand it, all parishes in the OCA send their entire assessments to the dioceses. So no, Tom, the bishops weren’t titular, but real. They got 100% of the money from their parishes.

    So how did Syosset survive? In the past, each parishioner sent $110 to Syosset, the dreaded “head tax.” In his inaugural speech, Metropolitan +Jonah said we need to abolish this (many huzzahs btw). In a three-year plan that is being implemented, the head-tax will be phased out and after three years, the dioceses will send 10% to Syosset.

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    Tamara Northway says:

    I believe the Antiochian parishes sends all their money to the Archdiocese.
    This centralized form of financial governance is part of the reason our archdiocese is melting down at this time. Our bishops had only limited authority even while they were diocesan bishops.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Tamara, the good thing about the diocese being a real diocese means that it’s easier to effect change in the Local Church. If the bishop of diocese X refuses to send money to Capital City, then it hurts. If Bishop of diocese Y joins forces to do the same, then the hurt increases. This is what happened in the OCA. It caused a crisis of confidence in +Herman which led to his downfall.

    The nature of the episcopate rules against the possibility of titular bishops (bishops in name only, and of extinct dioceses). This doesn’t mean that diocesan boundaries can’t be fluid, the canons state that they should follow the “municipal” model (that means “political”). That’s why the ROC was right to grant the Metropolia autocephaly, it was the canonical norm. (Unless of course czarist Russia conquered or somehow annexed America to its empire.)

    This of course brings us to the ridiculousness of the canon 28 enthusiasts who feel that only the EP can grant autocephaly or “organize” all churches out of already established boundaries. (Quick question: who granted the EP autocephaly?) North America was already an archdiocese of the ROC.

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    Tom Kanelos says:

    George,

    Please explain. If the parishes send 100% of their assesment to the individual diocese what is the $110 head tax? Did that go the diocese or to Syosset? Is that in addition to the assesment?

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    George Michalopulos says:

    it went to Syosset. It was over and above what was tithed to the diocese. And from individuals. A very bad thing in my estimation. For one thing, it encouraged deceit. Let me explain, priests and congregation were complicit in depressing attendance numbers/stewards. Why? Because the head tax was levied per head (natch) but the parish was responsible for paying the per capita. It didn’t start out that way, each parishioner was responsible, but it quickly devolved into the parish paying it. In other words if there are fifty adult stewards, that’s 50 x $110/steward = 5,500 per parish per year. That’s a fair chunk of change. It was very often the 2nd or 3rd biggest expenditure in the yearly budget. Bottom line: priests never fessed up to the correct numbers because the less paid, the better. Like I said, a very bad way to finance the national ministries of the Church.

    However, that’s a moot point now as it’s being phased out. (It was already phased out in the diocese of the South over the past 3 years.) Nobody misses it.

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    Tamara Northway says:

    George,

    This local model of financing the diocese is new to me but from what you have described is really logical. It keeps the money where it is needed, at the local level for ministry and evangelical work and gives diocesan bishops the control they need so they are not beholden to a central archdiocese. It would also end the very bad idea of titular bishops.

    I see where this model wouldn’t allow any one bishop to have too much financial control over a synod, unless of course there was one diocese which was much wealthier than another. But within a region like North America, these differences would be slight and as you say, diocesan borders are fluid and can be changed so no one diocese could gain too much control over the whole.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Tamara, a way to solve the problem of one very large and wealthy diocese lording it over smaller ones would be to create as many dioceses as possible. Also don’t forget, that every ordinary bishop has exactly one vote in the Holy Synod. That means that the vote of the Bishop of Bugtussle can cancel out the vote of the Bishop of Chicago. A very humbling prospect for the Bishop of Chicago.

    Anyway, that’s the way things were done in the first 500 years of Christianity. Every diocese was autonomous and every eparchial region (a groupd of politcally-related dioceses) was autocephalous. None of this “super-bishop” nonsense coming out of the Phanar.

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    Tom Kanelos says:

    If this is the case,

    1. How is the national church to be funded in the OCA in the future?

    2. What “effective” difference is their in the way, say, Abp Job administers the Diocese of the Midwest and the way Met. Iakovos administers the Metropolis of Chicago? Specifically, what authority does Apb Job have with his parishes that Met. Iakovos does not have?

    3. How does the fact that in the GOA the parishes send their assesment to the Archdiocese which in return sends roughly 25% back to fund the metropolis, while in the OCA one assesment goes to the Diocese and one to the national Church make one a real diocese and one an auxiliary?

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    George Michalopulos says:

    1. I believe 10% from every diocese, plus tithes from the parishes within the diocese of Washington, DC. Like I said, it’s gradually being phased in.

    2. Finances. One gets 100%, the other waits for a kickback from NYC. If Job wants, he can withhold 100% of the diocesan tithe to Syosset. That can hurt. That’s what started the ball rolling against Herman. If Iakovos wanted to pull a similar stunt, he couldn’t. The most he could hope was that the parishes in his diocese would accede to his request to not send it in. Some would listen, some wouldn’t. Plus, if they parishes wanted to get rid of their bishop, they could band together and withhold their assessment to NYC until their demands are met. Under the present system, the GOA metropolitans serve at the pleasure of NYC/EP, financial and otherwise. This happened recently to the AOCA; although it blew up in Philip’s face, the reality at present remains what Damascus ruled in February. It may continue to do so but we can be sure that if it were the correct way, none of this would have happened in the first place.

    3. Night and day. See #2 above.

    I’m against the present GOA/AOCA funding scheme in principle for many reasons, primarily canonical. Like I said, the diocese is ideal autonomous. The bishop is its president and the presbytery sit around him in council together with qualified laymen. That’s why we should have at least 150 bishops in this country, one for every city over 100,000 population. A bishop cannot really be an archpastor unless he knows his priests intimately and laymen almost as well.

    Preeminent examples of this scenario are Bishop Basil Essey of Wichita and Archbishop Dmitri Royster of Dallas. These men travel like made all over their dioceses and counsel their priests, whom they view as spiritual sons.

    But there are other mundane reasons as well. I’ve met some GOA bishops and they’re genuinely pious men who are dismayed by the moral collapse they see. One reason the GOA has the rap that they’re not as concerned about spiritual issues such as the sanctity of life is because the bishops are hostages to the money that is kicked back in the present revenue sharing scheme. The ultimate controllers of that money are the bi-coastal secularists who fund the GOA through Leadership 100, the Archons, etc. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve done good in the past (like scholarships for seminarians), but they’ve put the screws to priests via pliant bishops. An example: Fr John Peck.

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    Tom kanelos says:

    George

    I think your argument does not really hold water, plus you did not really answer my questions.

    First, wshat is to prevent OCA parishes from banding together to with hold money from the diocese or from Syosset if, for example, they wanted to “get rid of their bishop” as you stated in your post could happen in the GOA? How is this different from what you say could happen in the GOA?

    In fact, ask your OCL buddies in the GOA. One of their biggest gripes is that the restructuring of the GOA in 1996 has led to a much weaker archdiocese and stronger and more independent metropolises. The metropolises have become much more autonomous. In fact, Met. Iakovos administers with all of the same authority as Abp. Job. The authority comes from the canons and the fact that they are ruling diocesan metropolitans NOT auxiliaries. The fact is that the funding method has NOTHING to do with the authority of the local bishop. What authority within his diocese does Abp. Job have that Met. Iakovos does not have within his metropolis?

    “The bishop is its president and the presbytery sit around him in council together with qualified laymen.”

    This is exactly the case in the GOA. How is this different than the OCA? Just saying it is different does not make it so. You actually have to come up with some proof or at least specific examples.

    While I am not a big fan of the current funding program of the GOA, it is for competely different reasons. The method of funding has no impact (practical or actual) on the authority exerecised by each metropolitan in the GOA.

    Respectfully, I think it would be helpful to you if you would learn a little bit about the administrative structure of the GOA before you start making statements which are contradicted by the facts.

    In fact, one of the biggest complaints interestingly enough from many at the archdiocese and from many OCLers as well from the GOA is that the mets have become too independent as a result of the restructuring which took place in 1996.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Tom, the metropolitans have become stronger because of this new system. However, until their parishes actually give them the money first, they’ll always be hostages to NYC.

    I know what I’m talking about here. When I was at CL 2002 in LA, the delegates from Chicago came up w/ a financial scheme that was essentially what I’m talking about. (I was a delegate and my bailiwick was Finance and Budget, nothing major, just a small cog in the wheel.) According to their plan, the diocese of Chicago would would get 100% of the funds from their parishes, then they’d send 25% to NYC.

    As I understood it then, in the present revenue sharing scheme, the dioceses get 75% anyway so you’d think it was a wash. I liked it (even though I’m not from Chicago). The Chicago people liked it. To be fair, the smaller dioceses didn’t like it. The NYC people didn’t like it either so they put the kybosh on it so fast heads spun.

    You would think that it’d make no difference who gets the money first just as long as the rite ratios were honored. Well, obviously we were wrong. For some reason, it does matter. A whole lot. I’ll leave it up to smarter people than me to figger it out.

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    Tom Kanelos says:

    Interesting you should bring that proposal up, George.

    First of all, your facts are slightly wrong. The current way (which was also in place at that time) was to have the parishes send their assesment to the archdiocese and the archdiocese sends back 25% (in salaries and in operating funds). The proposal was to set up Chicago as a 2 year test case because we were, at the time, the only metropolis to consistantly meet 100% of our assesement. We would then have the parishes send their assesment to the metropolis and then have the metropolis send 75% to the Archdiocese and retain 25% at the metropolis. I agreed with it then and I still agree with the idea. The parishes are closer to the Metropolis and therefore it would seem to be easier to collect when the parishes feel a closer bond. Therefore I felt that the metropolises which were not fulfilling their obligation would perhaps be able to collect their full assesment.

    It had nothing to do with the independence of the metropolis nor did it have anything to do with the authority of the metropolitan within his own metropolis. Those issues were settled in 1979 when the diocesan districts became true diocese and were further cemented when the diocese became full metropolises, in 1996.

    To state that the local bishop is really an auxiliary bishop becasue it’s funding comes from the national church is just plain bunk. Look at the Church of Greece. The funding there comes from the government. Does that mean that the metropolitan bishops are just auxiliary?

    George, it’s ok to admit when you have mis-spoken. Even I have had to admit a mistake now and again.

    BTW, I too know what I am talkning about because I have been a delegate to every CL Congress since Boston in 1998.
    In fact, I was the one who presented the propsal to which you refer (in Los Angeles). It first passed at my parish General Assembly, then at our Metropolis General assembly in Milwaukee and was presented for approval in LA. Followed all the rules to a “T”. Unfortunately, it was indeed defeated, as we sort of expected it to be, largely because it was new and different. Additionally, some influential people in NY teamed up with some of your fellow OCLers (they were still the proverbial “strange bedfellows” since having teamed up to chase Abp. Spyriodn away) to kill the idea. The influential NYers did not want to lose control and the OCLers were concerned about the strengthening metropolises. Perhaps, were it to be proposed again the results would be different??? Hmmmm……

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    Tamara Northway says:

    George,

    I don’t know the financial intricacies of the GOA but I do know that the financial system of the AOCA did leave our diocesan bishops in a situation where they did not have full authority to meet the needs of their flock within their diocese.
    An example I can think of is the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West was not allowed to purchase land in California to build a camp/retreat center/monastery because all the money collected from the various dioceses and St. Ignatius were being poured into Antiochian Village in PA.

    Not having a camp/retreat center as been a major complaint from many members because it inhibits our ability to serve our children and adults with camping programs, seminars, and retreats on the west coast. We are at the mercy of using expensive Catholic Retreat centers and using a camp which is in an undesirable location with few natural amenities in Frazier Park. Are only other alternative is to purchase expensive airfare to Pennsylvania.

    If money was collected for the diocese, our bishop would have had the funding he needed to purchase the property in foothills of the Sierra Nevadas.

    So I would have to agree with you that our bishop could not be considered a true diocesan bishop since he does not have authority to use the money his diocese collects since it is all sent to the archdiocesan HQ. Only the metropolitan has the authority to disperse the money. And as you said earlier, this type of authority matches the innovative super-bishop governance structure which tends to inhibit evangelical and ministry work at the local level.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Tom, I’m more than happy to admit I’m wrong when I’m wrong (and I’m real sketchy on these details) so chances are I’m incorrect as to the points you mentioned, but I know I’m pretty right as to the big picture.

    You make my point when you compare the GOA picture w/ what happens in Greece. Please, that’s a state-run church and the system in all state-run churches is abominable.

    What’s so difficult about an autonomous diocese being 100% supported by its parishes? And the parishes being 100% supported by their parishioners? And these autonomous dioceses being gathered together in a regional Local Church which is autocephalous? This was the way things were in the first centuries of Christianity. It was only later that the sees of Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch were given sovereignty over neighboring autocephalous churches. (Probably a mistake in retrospect.)

    Tamara solidifies my point. I’m sure all Orthodoxy in California regardless of jurisdiction are kicking themselves in the head right now because they lost the chance to purchase the real estate when they had the chance. If anything, I’m sure that land has only appreciated in value since then. The bishop there was an ordinary bishop in name only. In reality, he was an auxiliary because even if he raised the money, he had to go hat in hand to Englewood to ask permission to purchase it.

    Excellent example: in the OCA, Archbishop Dmitri decided he wanted to establish a seminary in the South. He’s in the process of doing so. As far as Syosset is concerned, he told them he was doing it (as he should, cf Apostolic Canon 34), he didn’t ask them. That’s a real bishop for you in a real diocese.

    Ultimately, that’s what it means to be an autocephalous church: all of the dioceses are autonomous. Some are big, some are small, some are rich, and some are poor. But their bishops are the real –not titular–heads of such dioceses.

    I hate to be pedantic, but study Church history. Ss Cyprian, Ambrose, Irenaeus, et al could dress down brother bishops whom they thought were out of line because there wasn’t this silly pyramid structure that the EP wants to impose on America (but not Albania).

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    Tom Kanelos says:

    George,

    It is intellectualy dishonest to change the argument when someone proves you wrong.

    The topic is whether the method of funding determines the authority of the bishop and the answer is clearly no.

    In the GOA the metropolises are funded by the parishes via their assesement.

    Met Iakovos is not restricted as far as establishing institutions in his metropolis as long as he can fund them. This is exactly what he did with our retreat center. The parishes send their assesments to the national church and the metropolises are funded by the assesment. Simple. Met. Iakovos, as a true ruling hiererach decided to purchase a retreat center so he did. He didn’t ask permission, he just informed them (sounds a little like Abp. Dimitri in Dallas). He din’t use money from thre assessment, he raised other money. Same situation in all the Metropolises. So I guess by your definition, they are all autonomous diocese’.

    As far as the AOCA is concerned, was it that the Antiochian bishop in California could not raise the money to purchase the property, or was it that he was somehow “not allowed” to purchase a propety? The answer makes a great deal of difference.

    Please don’t ry to change the subject of my examples either. The Church of Greece was not held up as an example because it is a state church (I agree that paymrent by the state is not a good thing) but rather to point out to you that in spite of the funding method the Mets of the Church of Greece are true bishops, not auxiliaries.

    Now I cannot speak to the Antiochian situation (which is quite papal to me) but in the GOA the metropolitan bishops are true ruling bishops, not auxiliaries. Neither the EP nor the Abp. can or does interfere in the administration of the metropolises. I know that is difficult for you to acept, but you really would not know because of your lack of involvement in the GOA.

    This argument has nothing to do with your perceived “pyramid scheme” of the EP. It is about a commment you made which is incorrect. When you and others make comments about things of which you have little or no knowledge, it has the potential to leave the wrong message in peoples heads. So I just wanted to clear up the picture.

    Now, regarding Church history, I study it quite a bit thank you very much. It is just that I am not presumptuous enough to claim to know what one saint or another thinks of the EP and what is going on in the US. I suspect if we all spent a tenth of the time they did trying to be holy instead of trying to paint the EP and the GOA in a bad light to accomplish an agenda, we would be a lot better off and the Church in the US would be as well.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Tom, let me ask you a question: do you get a paycheck from your employer or from a trust fund? As long as a person/bishop/whatever gets their funding from a trust fund/holding institution/etc. they are hostages to that institution.

    So, I wasn’t being intellectually dishonest. Plus, I stand by the Church of Greece as well. Why don’t you answer my question: which would be better? parishes banding together in a diocese and fully supporting said diocese or parishes sending money to capital city and hoping that the right amount gets kicked back to the diocese?

    I know this matters because the Chicago boys wouldn’t have pressed the issue and received the obloquy they did at that session. It took courage for them to bring it up. BTW, what does NYC have to fear provided they get the right assessment?

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    Tom Kanelos says:

    George, your analogies are quite far out. If I get my paycheck (and I am in the home building industry so right now I get a paycheck from NOBODY) from an endowment I am beholden to them. Am I not beholden to my employer if I get a paycheck from them? In any case, the hierarch is not an employee. The analogy needs a lot of work.

    If the hierarch is not free to act/rule/administer etc in his diocese then he is like an auxiliary (apparently the AOCA bishops were always auxiliaries) regardless of from where some or all of the money comes.

    If the hierarch is free to rule his diocese (consecrate churches, ordain clergy, transfer, assign, hold spiritual court, purchase and sell property, construct buildings, form institutions, etc etc etc) as we are in the GOA and apparently the OCA, he is not an auxiliary and the source of some or all of their funding is not significant. If a hierarch is not free to do such things then clearly he is an auxiliary to whomever does make those decisions again, regardless of from where the money comes.

    It is really not that complex of a concept, unless one does not wish to understand.

    As far as answering your question, AGAIN, clearly, (as I was the one who made the original proposal at my parish and guided it all the way to LA in 2002) I would prefer to see the money come to the metropolis and a portion go to the national church. The reason, effectiveness. Period. The way the GOA does it now or the way I would have liked it done has no bearing whatsoever on the authority of the local metropolitan. Just ask any priest who has a problem with his metropolitan and tries to appeal to NY, or a parish who is delinquent in its assessment and tries to get relief by calling some of their influential friends in NY, or any one of a number of scenarios.

    As far as the obloquy received by those of us who pushed the issue in LA, lets just say it like it is instead of using (as my college roommate from Godfrey IL used to call them) one of your $1.50 words. We got our –ses handed to us on a plate. Too bad we did not have a little support from some of your OCL cronies back then. They didn’t seem to willing to buck the system at that point. Oh wait, that’s right, they do not want to see strong metropolises.

    But you will find many from this metropolis who do not mind fighting the odds for what we think is right. And yet we still love and support our parish, metropolis, archdiocese and EP. Even when we disagree with some of their statements or actions. However, we prefer to build up rather than tear down. It seems that too many on this site would rather tear down. That’s why I argue here so much.

    You’ll have to ask NY what they feared about this test program. I frankly, still do not see what harm could come of it.

    In closing, my accusation of intellectual dishonesty comes from the fact that you change the subject when I definitively disprove your assertion that unless the hierarchs money comes directly from the parishes he is titular. It is impossible to find common ground when you keep changing the argument.

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    Tom Kanelos says:

    George, one more point on the obloquy thing. Based upon some of the discussions we have had here, do you honestly believe I am bothered by what others think of my words or motives or actions? God knows my intentions. That’s all that matters to me.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Tom, the only institution that’s been tearing down anything is the Phanar which has torn down the American church. Ligonier, 1994. I stand by what the OCL has done, build a united American church. No tearing down here at all.

    Tom, I’m gonna be honest with you: I want an American Orthodox Church. You don’t.

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    Tamara Northway says:

    Tom wrote: If I get my paycheck (and I am in the home building industry so right now I get a paycheck from NOBODY) from an endowment I am beholden to them.

    Tom,

    I know we have had our differences in the past but I sincerely hope your business will do well this year. It is tough time for many Americans.

    May God Bless you and yours.

    Tamara

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Tom,

    I posted my last piece before I read your last one. I too agree with Tamara. I hope your business picks up.

    geo

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    Tom Kanelos says:

    George and Tamara, thanks for the kind words. It’s the nature of the beast, but it does not help to have a socialist in the White House. Optimistsm is not something we see much of these days in my sector of the economy.

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    Tom Kanelos says:

    Regarding Post 26.

    George, I did not realize that to all your other many gifts you have added clairvoyance and the ability to read others intentions. BTW…can you read what I am thinking now about your comments? ;)

    Have a good day.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Tom, I can also leap tall buildings in a single bound.

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