August 29, 2014

Deconstructing the ‘Internal Contradiction’ in the GOA

greek-orthodox-goa-logo

Andrew Estocin asks: Father JJ, how do you see this internal contradiction playing out with regards to the riots and unrest in Greece? The GOA has never addressed the moral and social underpinnings of these problems. Is the GOA so captive to the fantasy narrative of the Greek Community in America that it is unable to engage on these issues? Athens burns but the party at the Ritz Carlton in Florida goes on. How do you celebrate Greek Independence day at the White House when your homeland is in the midst of a social and economic collapse? If 79th Street does not pay more attention it find that people will turn on the GOA leadership very quickly as being overpaid and out of touch while common people suffer. Honestly, though I wonder what the real reason is for the GOA not even acknowledging Greece’s problems. Its amazing the disconnect between the idea of being “Greek in America” vs. being “Greek in Greece” Fr. Hans Jacobse responds: Andrew, there is truth to the assertion … [Read more...]

Ligonier 1994: ‘A New Era Has Begun’

Watch and listen as American Orthodox metropolitans and bishops make a case for administrative unity -- 15 years ago. The Ligonier Meeting was a gathering of twenty-eight or twenty-nine Orthodox Christian hierarchs in North America, specifically those affiliated with SCOBA, held Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, 1994, at Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pa. In Part 3, Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Methodios says: "There's no question that we all want to be one administratively, and share not only a theological union that we have ... but we want to be united administratively. I like to think it can be done soon. I'm not saying in a month or two or three or a year. But I hope that it doesn't take 50 years to accomplish. It will certainly take some time." Antiochian Metropolitan Philip issues an appeal to the Mother Churches to include the American churches in "overseas" Pan-Orthodox synods. "We pray that the mother churches will realize soon that we are no longer little children and that the … [Read more...]

Our Freedom Never Fully Realized

Fr. Contos

In 1981, the Very Rev. Leonidas C. Contos delivered a lecture titled "2001: The Church in Crisis." Fr. Contos said the title was chosen because the American Orthodox Church had been in a crisis "for a very long time" and he wanted to fix a reference point for speculations on what the Church's situation might look like at some future date. That date has come and gone, but Fr. Contos' reflections are now, just as they were nearly three decades ago, worthy of our consideration. Few have written so honestly and so intelligently about the problems of American Orthodoxy. Fr. Contos questioned the use of the term "diaspora" and said this: For so long as we are conditioned, in our polity and in our cultural life, by the diaspora complex, however subconsciously, we will be inhibited in the fullest realization of our ‘church-hood.’ More importantly, so long as we are perceived from without as a diaspora—a branch, an offshoot, a transplant, an emigration—by the Mother Church (and, if the … [Read more...]

Fr. Jensen: Where is the leadership?

On his blog Koinonia, Fr. Gregory Jensen responds to the Holy Cross faculty letter which, he says, "reflects no serious criticism of the failures of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to provide effective leadership either in the United States much less world wide." Excerpt: In my view, I think that the leadership of the Ecumenical Throne and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has been mixed at best. The events leading up to the autocephaly of the OCA are illustrative of this. When the old Metropolia approached the Ecumenical Patriarchate ASKING for assistance in regularizing its relationship with the rest of the Orthodox Church, it was told that it had to address its concerns to the Moscow Patriarchate. It did and the result was the creation in 1970 of the OCA. Far from being a rejection of the Ecumenical Patriarchate the OCA was the fruit of the Ecumenical Throne's unwillingness to involve herself in the life of the Church in America. Another failure to take a leadership … [Read more...]

Fr. Hopko: A Spiritual Springtime for American Orthodoxy

Fr. Thomas Hopko, an advisor to AOI, delivered an address in late September for the 40th Anniversary of the Consecration of the Chapel at the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, a monastery for women in Ellwood City, Pa. Fr. Tom observes that while a "sprinkling" of Orthodox Christians in academic circles have been known to the wider American public, "hardly any other practicing Orthodox Christian has been publicly recognizable in American society in the past forty years." Among the clergy, the late Archbishop Iakovos is singled out for social witness in the civil rights movement. "Things are not much different today," Fr. Tom says. "But there are some notable exceptions." He opens with a sobering assessment and then explores the accomplishments of the Church in recent decades: A Spiritual Springtime for American Orthodoxy -- Reflections on the last 40 Years Membership in the Orthodox churches in North America in the past forty years has radically decreased. There … [Read more...]