August 30, 2014

Antiochian monasticism speaks to the current crisis…

From the Ochlophobist (one who has an aversion to crowds) website: The following is very important. It was written by Archim. Touma, who is said to be the most influential monastic under Antioch. He is Athonite in spirituality, he leads the most traditional monastery under the Holy Synod of Antioch, and he does not normally comment on ecclesio-political matters. Highlight: And what is to be said about the canonical disorders that we’re up to our ears in over there? The situation of all the Orthodox eparchies dependent on mother churches in North America is uncanonical. There is one Orthodox church in those lands whose situation is sound and canonical: the American Orthodox Church (OCA). This alone is independent and autocephalous and this is de-facto recognized by the other Orthodox eparchies. Its recognition, formal or implicit, by the eparchies depending on mother churches is clear and frank confirmation that the status of these eparchies is uncanonical and unsound. If … [Read more...]

The American Orthodox Church at a Crossroads

George Michalopulos, frequent contributor to the AOI blog and author of several articles on the AOI website, is this week's guest on The Illumined Heart, a program on Ancient Faith Radio. In June 2009 leaders of all autocephalous Orthodox Churches - excluding the OCA or any representatives from North America - meet in Cyprus or Geneva (undetermined at the date of this posting), at a meeting convened by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholemew I. This meeting is being called to discuss "the so-called Orthodox Diaspora, with a view to overcoming every possible influence that is foreign to Orthodox ecclesiology." The American Orthodox situation and its disunity is at the top of the agenda. In this edition of The Illumined Heart, host Kevin Allen and author George C. Michalopulos discuss this meeting, the history and state of Orthodoxy in North America and possible outcomes of this potentially pivotal convocation. Listen to Part 1 Listen to Part 2   … [Read more...]

Disarray, Disunity and the Metropolitans

AOI has published an article by George C Michalopulos titled "The Role of Metropolitan and Its Relationship within the Episcopate: A Reappraisal." This original work looks at the historical antecedents of the office of the Metropolitan from early Christianity to today. Along the way, we discover that although the office arose out of the episkopos (overseer) in the first centuries and lasted a millennium, the fall of Constantinople and the Ottoman oppression changed that early practice. The Patriarch and his bishops, while still holding some authority over the Orthodox Christians under the Ottomans, lost their episcopal sees and the office took on bureaucratic functions along with the petty intrigues, corruptions, and loss of prestige that followed the historic catastrophe. We've inherited that model today, Michalopulos argues, and it explains in some measure why the American Orthodox are afflicted with jurisdictional confusion. He also suggests how the episcopal hierarchy might … [Read more...]

Interview with Bp. Hilarion of Vienna and Austria

Reflections on the American Orthodox experience by foreign leaders are often interesting. Sometimes they are even insightful. That's what we see in the recent interview with Bp. Hilarion of Vienna and Austria conducted by Dr. Peter Bouteneff, Associate Professor of Dogmatic Theology at St. Vladimir's Seminary in New York. Discussion ranged from the American jurisdictional divisions, proper ecclesiology, the failure of ecumenical initiatives, to Bp. Hilarion's musical compositions (The Passion of St. Matthew). Some highlights: Your Grace, as an archpastor and scholar, with experience both within the Moscow Patriarchate and globally, you have reflected on a vast array of topics, many of which are now of key importance to us in the Orthodox Church in America as we prepare to meet in council and elect a new primate. While we in America reflect on the origins of our autocephaly, the recent scandal in our Church, and the challenges we face, how do you see a way forward for us? I … [Read more...]