October 2, 2014

Obamakis and Bidenopoulos

Political candidates follow a time-honored campaign strategy of reaching out to ethnic groups and religious communities, and Orthodox Christians have been courted this way for years. It works both ways, of course. Now, little more than a week after the election, we’re getting a good look at how politicians and political operatives of Greek descent — many of them prominent in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese — have been working for years to promote President-elect Barack Obama and running mate Sen. Joseph Biden. The Greeks for Obama group, for example, developed this catchy slogan: “If you are Greek and love Obama, clap your hands.”

Opa! Obama!

Opa! Obama!

On Nov. 5, the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes told supporters that it had raised $500,000 for Obama’s campaign just weeks before the election. (full message appended at bottom of post). Andy Manatos, a public relations executive who also chaired last summer’s GOA Clergy-Laity Congress, led the effort for this group. “Moving the huge American bureaucracy to treat Greece, Cyprus and the Ecumenical Patriarchate fairly is never easy in light of competing American interests,” Manatos said. “However, having Obamakis and Bidenopoulos in the White House opens the door to some good possibilities.”

The blowback came pretty fast. Earlier this week, Greek News reported that the “Obamakis and Bidenopoulos” statement received an angry reaction from “almost every one of the community leaders that participate in the Coordinated Effort.” But, of course, that was more a question of how the press release was handled rather than the facts surrounding the “Coordinated Effort.”

Yes, those “competing American interests” that Manatos referred to after the election. Those would be the interests that are of great importance to the United States, and not necessarily to the nation of Greece. But if you read the statements of Obama’s ethnic Greek supporters, you get a sense that any American interests have been pushed completely out of sight. The focus is for the most part is on three issues: Cyprus, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the Macedonia/FYROM naming issue.

Now, there are good reasons for Orthodox Christians — indeed all Christians — to have their voices heard on Cyprus, particularly about the ongoing the destruction and desecration of religious communities and sites in the Turkish-occupied zone, and on the longstanding persecution of the Ecumencial Patriarchate which threatens its very survival (see my article, A Patriarch in Dire Straits). The FYROM thing strikes me as simply farcical. Will the Mexican government one day demand that we come up with a new name for New Mexico?

On the other side of the presidential campaign, the Greek News reported that, “with Barack Obama monopolizing the Greek American media,” a statement was issued by Peter J. Pappas Sr., Chairman of the New York State Hellenic American Republican Association just before the election. Pappas pointed out that “John McCain has not issued any ‘Greek-American issues’ statement because he stands on broad foreign policy and national security standards and principles that apply across the globe.” He went on:

Democratic Presidents have often issued highly favorable campaign promises to the Greek American community, only to revert to establishment thinking in times of testing. Jimmy Carter promised to reverse the invasion of Cyprus, and instead lifted the arms embargo on Turkey without any reciprocity or concessions. Bill Clinton accepted the Turkish position of “grey zones” in the Aegean Sea after the Imia crisis and led the NATO bombing campaign of Serbia that delivered independence to Kosovo. Obama himself has already reversed his position on Jerusalem as an Israeli or Palestinian capital, on lifting or maintaining the embargo on Cuba, on the success of the surge in Iraq, and – most famously – on unconditional meetings with America’s enemies.

It will be interesting to see if President-elect Obama follows the pattern. There are skeptics about Greece controlling American foreign policy. “Starting tomorrow, the full force of the Turkish government will come down like a ton of bricks on Washington,” Ken Hachikian, chairman of the ANCA, said in a written statement to the U.S. Armenian Community shortly after the election. The ANCA endorsed Obama, who has pledged support for the Armenian Genocide Resolution “in no uncertain terms.”

Isn’t it curious that, among ethnic Greeks that support Obama, there has been precious little discussion of Obama’s views on important moral issues — particularly the sanctity of life and the family? Are any of Obama’s supporters, who now have their man headed for the White House, aware of his unstinting support for abortion? He describes himself as “a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women’s rights under Roe v. Wade a priority as President.” What about Obama opposing Proposition 8 in California, a successful measure backing traditional marriage that was supported by Orthodox bishops? That’s a good place to start. Just don’t expect members of Obama’s Greek American National Leadership Committee to get the discussion going.

Writing in Hurriyet, the Turkish paper, Ariana Ferentinou claimed that “the vast majority of Greek Americans” voted for Barack Obama. She explained how Alexi Giannoulias, treasurer of the state of Illinois, was influential in energizing supporters in the Greek-American community.

Speaking to 40 guests at a $28,500 per head fundraising dinner for Obama, at a restaurant and bar in downtown Chicago organized by Yannoulias [Giannoulias], Obama spoke about Alexi’s immigrant father, “He was extraordinarily successful and built his success from nothing… He was tough, he was shrewd, but he was also a gentleman. I immediately loved him and loved the family… It reminded me not only of what is best about the Greek community, but also about the American nation,” the President-elect said.

The Greek American supporters of Obama see the election of Obama as an opportunity for a new generation of educated Greek and Greek Cypriot Americans to give renewed impetus to the Greek lobby, and push forward Greek and Greek Cypriot issues, the majority of which involve relations with Turkey. Beside Yannoulias [Giannoulias], other new names are emerging. Ed Zemenides, another young Greek American from Chicago, made his mark during Obama’s emergence as a political force. A 35-year-old Greek Cypriot lawyer whose father fought against the Turks in 1974, he has been helping Yannoulias [Giannoulias] with every step and is a powerful young player in the new Chicago group clustered around Obama.

Giannoulias has closely identified his career with Obama. “Barack is not only a close, personal friend, but he is also my mentor,” he said earlier this year.

So much for the Greek lobby in America. In Greece, Obama’s victory was welcome news, too. The newspaper Kathimerini detected a “wind of optimism” following the American election.

This message has been heard loud and clear here in Greece as well, by the Greeks who are stumbling along without a compass, without goals, without cohesion and unity, apathetic and without drive, stripped of motivation by disappointment and cynicism. Obama’s message concerns us, not only because it will help us find a way out of the crisis, but because it allows us to look at ourselves without entertaining any illusions. Scientists, businessmen, intellectuals, laborers, the political leadership and ordinary citizens should pay heed to the message: We must chose whether we will be a society of We rather than I, of responsibility and progress, of positive thinking and innovation, rather than a society of quitters, a stagnant society.

Sounds like they could use a bit of “hope and change” in the Old Country, too.

TEXT:

THE NATIONAL COORDINATED EFFORT OF HELLENES (CEH)
1100 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037
(202) 393-7790 [fax] (202) 628-0225
E-mail: CoordinatedEffort@Manatos.com

Obamakis and Bidenopoulos

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 5, 2008 — “The new President and Vice
President of the United States know so much about Greece, Cyprus and
the Ecumenical Patriarchate that their names might as well be Barack
Obamakis and Joe Bidenopoulos,” said Andy Manatos, President of the
Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH). CEH Vice Chairman and PSEKA
President Philip Christopher said, “We awarded Senator Barack Obama a
year and a half ago for his assistance to Hellenes. He was the
recipient of the James Williams Award, named after the
African-American who left America to lose his life fighting with the
Greeks for their independence.”

CEH Chairman and UHAC National Chairman Andrew A. Athens said, “We
have been working closely, behind-the-scenes, with Illinois State
Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias to develop significant support for Senator
Obama over a year ago and raise another half-of-a-million dollars for
his campaign just a few weeks ago.” CEH board member and Cyprus
Federation Supreme President Panikos Papanicolaou said, “Our 2300 Club
was a major element in Senator Biden’s presidential bid, and we have
always been very close to him.” Manatos added, “CEH was also crucial
to securing half of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives
as advocates for Cyprus and in then-President Bill Clinton’s major
role in Cyprus’ early accession to the EU. We also helped cut
America’s aid to Turkey from one billion dollars a year down to zero
and secured the vast majority of the U.S. Senate and the House Foreign
Affairs Committee to press for religious freedom for the Ecumenical
Patriarchate.”

CEH leaders noted that “President-Elect Barack Obama’s personal
relationship with Alexi Giannoulias is crucial to Obama’s policy
toward Hellenic and Orthodox issues, as was the relationship between
former President Bill Clinton and David Leopoulos. Without that
relationship would Cyprus have acceded to the EU early? Would Albania
have released the Omonia Five from jail? Would FYROM have taken the
threats against Greece out of its constitution? Would the Turks have
withdrawn from Imia? And, would a sitting President of the U.S. have
ever visited the Ecumenical Patriarchate? Giannoulias’ mother Anna,
now of Chicago, was born in Sfakia, Crete and grew up in Chania.”

As Chairman of the European Affairs Subcommittee of the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Obama led the effort to press
FYROM to find a name agreeable to Greece, urged proper American
treatment of Cyprus and fought for religious freedom for the
Ecumenical Patriarchate.

“Senator Biden’s advocacy for Hellenic and Orthodox issues is
legendary. After former Senator Paul Sarbanes and current Senators
Bob Menendez and Hellene Olympia Snowe, no one in the Senate surpasses
Joe Biden, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in
terms of advocacy for our issues,” said Manatos.

Manatos added, “Moving the huge American bureaucracy to treat
Greece, Cyprus and the Ecumenical Patriarchate fairly is never easy in
light of competing American interests. However, having Obamakis and
Bidenopoulos in the White House opens the door to some good
possibilities.”
————–
Andrew A. Athens, Chairman, National Coordinated Effort of
Hellenes (CEH); National Chairman, United Hellenic American Congress
(UHAC), Honorary President, World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE)

Philip Christopher, Vice Chair, National Coordinated Effort of
Hellenes (CEH); President, International Coordinating
Committee–Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA); President, Pancyprian
Association of America

Andrew E. Manatos, President, National Coordinated Effort of
Hellenes (CEH); Executive Board Member, UHAC and PSEKA

Panikos Papanicolaou, Supreme President, Cyprus Federation of America

Nikos Mouyiaris, Executive Vice President, Pancyprian Association of America

George Tsunis, Chairman/CEO Chartwell Hotels

Tasos Zambas, Alternate President, PSEKA

Endy Zemenides, President, Hellenic American Leadership Council

Dr. Nicolaos Alexopoulos, President, American Hellenic Council of California

Zenon Christodoulou, President. Greek-American Chamber of Commerce

George Dovellos, Board of Directors, United Hellenic American
Congress (UHAC)

Comments

  1. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Andrew says:

    Another fine example of

    omogenia before Orthodox Christianity

  2. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    George says:

    Recently, Bishop Savas of Troas, Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, wrote an encomium regarding the recent election, entitled, “This is the Day that the Lord has made.” The effusion of praise for the new President-elect is palpable, and as an American citizen, His Grace is certainly entitled to his opinion.

    Echoing John Couretas’ response, my guy (and gal) came in second. Nevertheless, as an American, I am proud of Sen Obama’s historic accomplishment. Never in the history of the world has a white-majority nation ever elected a black man as president. On these merits alone, the President-elect and the nation deserve congratulations. Indeed, the world is in awe of what transpired last November 4th. President-elect Obama deserves our support and prayer.

    That said, there are many reasons why I am saddened that the first black man to be elected president is a man of clear Marxist leanings. Indeed one who has associated himself with questionable men such as Frank Marshall, Bill Ayers, Saul Alinsky, and Jeremiah Wright, among others. My concern for the unborn and the creeping totalitarian educational agenda detracts significantly from my pleasure as well. There are many other reasons why as a citizen in a constitutional republic –one dedicated to minority rights—we should fear.

    However it is as an Orthodox Christian that I am most disappointed. And it is Bishop Savas’ fawning tributes that saddens me the most. By all accounts, Bishop Savas is an avuncular fellow and a capable administrator. Quite possibly he holds the hardest job in any jurisdiction, that of chancellor. People who have met him have told me that he is an ordinary guy who doesn’t take himself too seriously. (You’ve got to like somebody whose blog is titled “Sava on a Rolla.”) If I ever had the pleasure to meet him, I’m sure I’d like him.

    Let us however get to the crux of the matter. There are essentially two particulars wherein I must respectfully disagree with Bishop Savas. The first is his contention that Christian conservatives, Republicans, and traditionalists are somehow “social Darwinists.” Just because somebody works hard for a living, secures a stable home for his family, and tries to navigate this vale of sorrow as best he can, does not make him greedy or a devotee of the Ayn Rand Objectivist school. As has recently been proven by many sociologists, conservatives give overwhelmingly more to charity than liberals. There are many reasons for this but I’ll only give one for now: serious Christians tend to be conservative theologically and this seeps into the political sphere as well. In other words, they practice what they preach, when they go to church and hear the pastor preach about sacrificial giving, they go home and give sacrificially.

    Yes, there are poltroons in the conservative movement and Republican Party as well. And yes, many of them take advantage of our hopes and fears. But most conservatives who are pro-life feel that in this fallen world, we have to fight with the army we’ve got. I could go on, but Mr Couretas has successfully exposed the egregious fallacy of the supposed callousness and heartlessness of President Bush and his policies in his response to Bishop Savas. Let me just for the record say, there is no way that the incumbent president, nor the Republican Congress could ever be accused of stinginess when it came to the public purse. Under the present administration, we saw the single largest expansion of social spending since the Great Society of LBJ.

    Second, I cannot for the life of me understand how anybody who is theologically trained at an accredited seminary can forget the differences between State and Church. I will not repeat His Grace’s assertions because to do so would invite further embarrassment and some would accuse me of “piling on.” Let us be blunt: a New Day will not dawn ushering away the present Bushian darkness, flowers will not bloom in what was the desert of intolerant Amerika, and the lion shall lay down with the lamb. Utopians may believe such nonsense but clergymen who are trained in patristic fashion know that this fallen world is unredeemable by its own agencies. Orthodox Christians who are fortunate enough to worship in churches where the Antiphons are still chanted hear at every liturgy the following refrain: “Put not your trust in princes or the sons of men, in whom there is no salvation.”

    At the risk of belaboring the point, it disturbs me to hear any clergyman giving a full-throttled huzzah to an ever-growing government. One does not need to be a flinty Goldwaterite to fear the encroachment of the Leviathan state. And why has the state grown? One reason that the honest Christian must give is because the Church has ceded so much of its duties to the State. We are very close to the point where sacerdotium and imperium no longer matters. When this happens, what will be the purpose of bishops and priests? The ceremonial? If the Church continues ceding its work to Caesar, then what will Christ return to find? A bunch of fabulously vested hierophants doing complicated rituals? At that point, we will be like the Pharisees in Matthew 26, whom our Lord castigated as “whited sepulchers.”

    It used to be a given among rational people that Church and State were two different entities, both endowed by God with specific and not-overlapping attributes. As Paul said, “the king does not hold the sword in vain.” Caesar’s purpose was to execute justice and restrain evil; the Church’s function was to promote mercy. The Church did these things with its hospitals, orphanages, soup kitchens, and schools. Even when the Church was persecuted and worshipped in the catacombs, Christians were known for their manifold acts of mercy. These wonderful institutions are in fact the true leitourgia, the “work of the people,” or as Thomas Hopko said “the liturgy after the liturgy.” By this I suppose he means that if we do not do the work of the Church Recently, Bishop Savas of Troas, Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, wrote an encomium regarding the recent election, entitled, “This is the Day that the Lord has made.” The effusion of praise for the new President-elect is palpable, and as an American citizen, His Grace is certainly entitled to his opinion.

    Echoing John Couretas’ response, my guy (and gal) came in second. Nevertheless, as an American, I am proud of Sen Obama’s historic accomplishment. Never in the history of the world has a white-majority nation ever elected a black man as president. On these merits alone, the President-elect and the nation deserve congratulations. Indeed, the world is in awe of what transpired last November 4th. President-elect Obama deserves our support and prayer.

    That said, there are many reasons why I am saddened that the first black man to be elected president is a man of clear Marxist leanings. Indeed one who has associated himself with questionable men such as Frank Marshall, Bill Ayers, Saul Alinsky, and Jeremiah Wright, among others. My concern for the unborn and the creeping totalitarian educational agenda detracts significantly from my pleasure as well. There are many other reasons why as a citizen in a constitutional republic –one dedicated to minority rights—we should fear.

    However it is as an Orthodox Christian that I am most disappointed. And it is Bishop Savas’ fawning tributes that saddens me the most. By all accounts, Bishop Savas is an avuncular fellow and a capable administrator. Quite possibly he holds the hardest job in any jurisdiction, that of chancellor. People who have met him have told me that he is an ordinary guy who doesn’t take himself too seriously. (You’ve got to like somebody whose blog is titled “Sava on a Rolla.”) If I ever had the pleasure to meet him, I’m sure I’d like him.

    Let us however get to the crux of the matter. There are essentially two particulars wherein I must respectfully disagree with Bishop Savas. The first is his contention that Christian conservatives, Republicans, and traditionalists are somehow “social Darwinists.” Just because somebody works hard for a living, secures a stable home for his family, and tries to navigate this vale of sorrow as best he can, does not make him greedy or a devotee of the Ayn Rand Objectivist school. As has recently been proven by many sociologists, conservatives give overwhelmingly more to charity than liberals. There are many reasons for this but I’ll only give one for now: serious Christians tend to be conservative theologically and this seeps into the political sphere as well. In other words, they practice what they preach, when they go to church and hear the pastor preach about sacrificial giving, they go home and give sacrificially.

    Yes, there are poltroons in the conservative movement and Republican Party as well. And yes, many of them take advantage of our hopes and fears. But most conservatives who are pro-life feel that in this fallen world, we have to fight with the army we’ve got. I could go on, but Mr Couretas has successfully exposed the egregious fallacy of the supposed callousness and heartlessness of President Bush and his policies in his response to Bishop Savas. Let me just for the record say, there is no way that the incumbent president, nor the Republican Congress could ever be accused of stinginess when it came to the public purse. Under the present administration, we saw the single largest expansion of social spending since the Great Society of LBJ.

    Second, I cannot for the life of me understand how anybody who is theologically trained at an accredited seminary can forget the differences between State and Church. I will not repeat His Grace’s assertions because to do so would invite further embarrassment and some would accuse me of “piling on.” Let us be blunt: a New Day will not dawn ushering away the present Bushian darkness, flowers will not bloom in what was the desert of intolerant Amerika, and the lion shall lay down with the lamb. Utopians may believe such nonsense but clergymen who are trained in patristic fashion know that this fallen world is unredeemable by its own agencies. Orthodox Christians who are fortunate enough to worship in churches where the Antiphons are still chanted hear at every liturgy the following refrain: “Put not your trust in princes or the sons of men, in whom there is no salvation.”

    At the risk of belaboring the point, it disturbs me to hear any clergyman giving a full-throttled huzzah to an ever-growing government. One does not need to be a flinty Goldwaterite to fear the encroachment of the Leviathan state. And why has the state grown? One reason that the honest Christian must give is because the Church has ceded so much of its duties to the State. We are very close to the point where sacerdotium and imperium no longer matters. When this happens, what will be the purpose of bishops and priests? The ceremonial? If the Church continues ceding its work to Caesar, then what will Christ return to find? A bunch of fabulously vested hierophants doing complicated rituals? At that point, we will be like the Pharisees in Matthew 26, whom our Lord castigated as “whited sepulchers.”

    It used to be a given among rational people that Church and State were two different entities, both endowed by God with specific and not-overlapping attributes. As Paul said, “the king does not hold the sword in vain.” Caesar’s purpose was to execute justice and restrain evil; the Church’s function was to promote mercy. The Church did these things with its hospitals, orphanages, soup kitchens, and schools. Even when the Church was persecuted and worshipped in the catacombs, Christians were known for their manifold acts of mercy. These wonderful institutions are in fact the true leitourgia, the “work of the people,” or as Thomas Hopko said “the liturgy after the liturgy.” By this I suppose he means that if we do not do the work of the Church outside its four walls, then the work of the Church inside its walls is meaningless.

    Let us congratulate our new president. Let us work with him where we can and lovingly criticize him where he is wrong. But let us not adulate him or expect him to set the world aright. He cannot do it and if he tries, he will fail and our country will suffer for it. As for we who call ourselves, Christians, let us reclaim that which is ours and only ours by right: to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit those who are in prison. That is not the work of Caesar, but of Christ. Let us never forget that.

  3. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Michael Bauman says:

    What prophetic witness? All one has to do is listen to +Jonah’s address and compare it to the adolescent PC ramblings of the GOA chancelor to see the prophetic witness is far from the GOA’s mind.

    Any Orthodox believer who puts any serious hope, let alone a messianic hope in any political leader of any party is deluded. The best we can hope for is that the politicians don’t mess it up too badly and leave us alone.

    When any politician or political party engage in corruption or have public policy proposals that are immoral, we have an obligation to speak out. When a political party and their representatives routinely make it their policy to overturn moral standards which the Church holds to, no thinking believer has any business supporting those politicians, no matter what else they promise to do.

    I understand the problem, the Republicans support policies that can certainly be problematic as well, but none that I know of that actively seek to deny and overturn the moral wisdom of the Church.

    We have a moral and spiritual obligation not to kowtow to politicians for political, social and monetary gain.

  4. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    George says:

    Amen, Michael you said it better than I did. I literally wept tears of joy at hearing Metropolitan Jonah’s remarks both on Tues before his election and subsequent. He did not pull punches. Presently Orthodoxy in America on the hierarchical level (in most jurisdictions) is moribund. If we do not want to see the Church in America wither, then it’s time for the jurisdictions to merge into the autocephalous Church and do it w/ love and repentance. Enough of the “omogeneia”! When the next catastrophe hits, the omogeneia will not be there for us just like they weren’t after 9-11.

  5. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Michael Bauman says:

    George, fortunately or unfortunately, Met. Jonah’s election will probably delay official unification because it makes much less likely the merger between the OCA and the Antiochians. Who would take 2nd place, Met. Jonah or Met. Phillip? Even if Met. Phillip were willing to, we would all have to be released by the Holy Synod of Antioch. Despite our limited self-rule, I find that highly unlikely.

    Pat. Bartholomew is even less likely to release the Greeks in the country, even recommending a little independence cost +Iakavos his position–an unnecssary and cruel ending to his leadership in the Church.

    The Slavic jurisdictions, in general, are more desirous of recreating strong ties with their ‘mother’ churches since the outward fall of communisim.

    All that being said, I tend to disagree with you a little as far as the bishops are concerned, probably because I have a very good one, +Basil.

    We generally get the type of leadership we want. When Jesus Christ becomes more important to us than the outward show or hypocritical triumphalism, the fake bishops won’t be able to stay around and the rest will be called to account. We cannot expect the bishops to do for us what we refuse to do for ourselves. When enough people want Jesus Christ, He will come to us through the bishops or they will have to get out of the way.

  6. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    George says:

    Michael,

    I tend to agree with you. Personally, I think that a merger can be worked out with all nine of the Antiochian bishops and the 12 OCA ones, dividing up their respective dioceses geographically. As for Metropolitan Philip, he showed us the way when the two Syrian jurisdictions were united. The elderly bishop (Anthony Bashir) took the title “metropolitan emeritus” as an honorary title and out of humility and love allowed the younger man (Philip Saliba) to be the real head guy.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that for the good of Orthodoxy in America, perhaps the older man could do what his predecessor did those forty years ago, in love and humility.

    As for the other jurisdictions, I’m afraid there’s little desire for unification. Even if Patriarch Bartholomew allowed the GOAA to be autonomous, their pride would prevent them from taking part in any unification.

    Basically, it’s just going to happen this way (if at all): the OCA and AOA will merge first, or the OCA and ROCOR will, and then the Serbs, the Bulgars, etc. Barring an outbreak of the Holy Spirit, it’s going to be piecemeal.

    geo

    p.s. I’ve met Bishop Basil many times and he was my choice to be elected metropolitan of All-America and Canada. I even suggested to my OCA priest that he should vote for him.

  7. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Michael Bauman says:

    George, there is also the example of Archbishop Michael Shaheen of blessed memory. When Met. Phillip was elected, there was a schism within the Antiochians. Against the adivce of all the advisors on both sides the two men met in a Chicago hotel, face to face with the mutual desire to heal the schism. Archbishop Michael agreed to take second place and Met. Phillip became Metropolitan for all Antiochians.

    It could be that simple. However, if Met. Phillip agreed to second, we’d still have to get agreement within the Antiochian Archdiocese AND get a release from the Holy Synod of Antioch. All of that can happen, but not anytime soon in my estimation. However, cooperation and communication will increase which is a positive.

  8. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    George says:

    Michael, you are correct. It was Arcbhishop Michael Shaheen (not Antony Bashir), so factually I was wrong.

    Of course a release from the Holy Synod of Antioch would be necessary, but in my estimation, if this was the will of the majority of the people in the OCA and AOAA and the bishops, then it shouldn’t be too hard.

    By my count, that’d be 21 bishops in North America and we could start having smaller, more geographically compact dioceses.

    The good thing about that is that each parish could have more episcopal visits and the clergy in a city could meet more often as brothers, and of course, the congregations could meet more often as well.

    Some would object and say that that already happens. But let’s be honest it’s ad hoc and nothing really comes of it.

  9. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Patrick Henry Reardon says:

    Some has suggest, “Met. Jonah’s election will probably delay official unification because it makes much less likely the merger between the OCA and the Antiochians.”

    The very opposite is true, I believe. We actually have two hierarchs who like and admire one another. This is a new and promising situation.

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

    I totally agree with Fr Patrick. I never could understand that line of argument that the OCA and the AOAA could not merge in the first place, regardless of who the primates were.

  11. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Michael Bauman says:

    As the one who made the comment, I hope I’m wrong and I will defintely bow to Fr. Patrick’s superior knowledge and understanding. I am probably looking at it too much from a worldly political point of view.

    I’m Antiochian and I have a lot of friends in the OCA. I’d love to see the merger. Certainly if the merger is in God’s time all that matters is that we listen and discern.

Care to comment?

*