October 21, 2014

Odds & Ends

– A new book claims that the “Greek mafia” controlled not only the drug trade in Tarpon Springs but the local Greek Orthodox Church, too. Some say the book is “a bunch of garbage.”

— Church of Greece bishops are anxious about the new Socialist government’s plan to tax church property. Don’t forget about property owned by the Roman Catholics and the Ecumenical Patriarch, the bishops helpfully remind. Separately, there’s a question about those 1.2 million Euros.

— Archons make their case for the Ecumenical Patriarchate before the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

— “Among the comments that received most attention was Metropolitan Geevarghese Coorilos’s suggestion to look at the reality of the church not only ‘from above’, but also ‘from below’, taking into account the daily experience of ‘being church’ in particular contexts, citing the example of his Dalit church in Kerala, India.” Is this what we mean by “practiced incoherence”?

— While Moscow says that entry of part of the Ukrainian Orthodox into the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate will cause divisions, Bishop Makarii (Meletych), Archbishop of Lviv of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, isn’t too concerned.

— Some anti-ecumenist clerics in the Church of Greece say Patriarch Bartholomew’s management style, based on the “smear, slander, intimidate and silence” approach, leaves something to be desired: “This is the well-known tactic of excommunication and an en masse condemnation that does not tolerate a contrary word, cannot even consider a second opinion and crushes anyone who dares to utter one. This is the familiar tactic, which relies on coercion, on marshalling forces, on having the absolute upper hand, on ecclesiastic servility.”

— The OCA’s Metropolitan Jonah is in Georgia (the country) until Sunday.

— Pope Benedict XVI communicated his hope to Abuna Paulos, the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church in Ethiopia, that the churches may “draw closer in the unity which is the Holy Spirit’s gift, and bear common witness to the hope brought by the Gospel. Let us continue to work for the integral development of all Africa’s peoples, strengthening the families which are the bulwark of African society, educating the young who are Africa’s future, and contributing to the building of societies marked by honesty, integrity and solidarity.”

Comments

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    Ryan Close says:

    I find it interesting that Met Jonah is in Georgia. Georgia is an Old Calendar Church as is Russia.

    I was originally being catechized by Fr Moses Berry in Ash Grove Missouri at Unexpected Joy Church (OCA). It is an old calendar parish. But when gas prices went up we asked a blessing to go to St Thomas (OCA) here in Springfield to finish our catechism. St Thomas is a new calendar parish, and as far as I understand it each parish chooses what calendar it uses. It has been difficult for our parishes to find opportunities to worship together with Unexpected Joy.

    I have also notice some people from Russia and Serbia struggle with the new calendar. In their opinion Americans don’t understand that this is not something they can change. Some do not fast with us at all, preferring to fast with their families back home. Others fast for both calendars. I pray that we would adopt he Old Calendar.

    I feel that the calendar issue is very divisive. It brings disunity. If the OCA restored the Old Calendar, we could heal many wounds and find ourselves in closer fellowship and practice with more of the worlds loving Orthodox people, especially our Mother Church, the Church of Russia, as well as the Churches of Serbia, Jerusalem, Sinai, and ROCOR.

    According to orthodoxwiki.org the following Churches use the different calendars:

    · The Julian Calendar churches are: Jerusalem, Russia, Serbia, Georgia, Poland, Sinai, Ukraine, and Japan.
    · The Revised Julian Calendar churches are: Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Albania, Czech Lands and Slovakia, and the OCA.
    · The Gregorian Calendar churches are: Finland and Estonia.

    At roughly 144 million, most Orthodox Christians follow the Julian Calendar. Yet in terms of numbers of local churches, most use one of the New Calendars (12 to 8). I am writing letters about this to my parish council, my bishop, and the metropolitan. I know that you are all very well educated men and women. I will not bore you with the well rehearsed facts of the case. Yet I will ask questions, if that is permissible:

    If parishes can vote as to what calendar they will use, won’t they choose what was most convenient for them?

    Isn’t the New Calendar inconsistent with itself and confusing since it uses the Julian calendar for the movable feasts and Gregorian calendar for the immovable ones?

    Is the new calendar even actually more convenient? If we started the Nativity Fast 13 day latter we would be able to participate in Thanksgiving without a “dispensation” like the Antiochian Archdiocese. Beside Nativity’s equivalence with Christmas, there wouldn’t be a single noticeable discrepancy between the Old and New calendars. America doesn’t celebrate the Dormition or the Transfiguration so why should we care if we are off by 13 days? No one will notice. They would only notice during Nativity / Christmas. And as Fr Moses tells me, celebrating Nativity 13 days after the hub-bub of Christmas helps his parishioners prepare better. It is also a witness.

    Please teach me more about this and other important issues.

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    Isa Almisry says:

    What should have/should happen is that the revised calendar of the Serbian astronomer Milankovic be adopted by all the Orthodox. That way we will all be in line with each other and with the calendar.

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    Ryan Close says:

    The Revised Julian Calendar is more accurate than the Gregorian. In ten thousand years there will be more variances between the two. I made a spread sheet to calculate when the variances would occur. The problem with how it is implemented is that the Revised Julian calendar is used only for fixed feasts and not for movable feasts. The harmony of how the two cycles move together is seriously disrupted. It would be necessary to move Pascha to dates corresponding to the RJ calendar as well so that the harmony is restored. The best thing that could happen is that all the new calendar churches restore the old church calendar to ease the tensions. Then allow the new calendar to be adopted ecumenically by all the world’s local churches together in council, not unilaterally by one or two local churches. This unilateral action is just what creates tension. It creates the problems I spoke of before.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Isa, this is the first I heard of Milankovic. Could you point me to any website in which I could find out more about him and his work?

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    And with that let me respectfully request that this discussion be closed. The calendar debates can go on endlessly. It won’t be resolved here so please debate it elsewhere.

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