July 23, 2014

The Bishops Are Coming To New York, As Complex Diaspora Question Looms

Fr. Mark Arey

Read closely. What are the greatest fears? The autocephaly of the OCA (wild card) and the Ligonier Council (precedent). The times are changing folks. The lumbering bureaucratic structures that have sublimated the nascent creativity and energy of American Orthodoxy under the weight Old World self-interest might be loosing their grip. There is more anxiety here than is being revealed. +++++++++++++++++++++ The National Herald, Friday, May 21, 2010 By Theodore Kalmoukos Nearly 60 hierarchs will descend on New York from May 26-28 for the first Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops from the United States, Canada and Central America, under the chairmanship of Archbishop Demetrios of America, and the stage has been set for some clashes about the direction the church should take, and the role of self-rule of some. The Assembly will convene at the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel, and its expense will be assumed by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, through the Leadership 100 grant to the … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sums up visit with Greek ‘diaspora’ in America

Turkey, Nov. 10, 2009 Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew referred to the great progress made by the Greek Diaspora in statements he made upon his return from a two-week visit to the United States. Addressing the faithful in the Church of the Taxiarchs in Bosporus, the Ecumenical Patriarch stated that the progress achieved by the Greek Community, its dedication to the Mother Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate were evident everywhere he went, adding that the Greek-Americans enjoy the respect of the US authorities. Bartholomew stated that he was received with great honors by the US leadership, the academic world and major institutions. The Ecumenical Patriarch emphasized the comments made by US Vice President Joe Biden who underlined that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has been brave despite the insecurity surrounding it and the adverse conditions under which it performs its ecumenical mission and service, thus winning great respect and appreciation. In a formal dinner … [Read more...]

Greek Socialists Seeking ‘Diaspora’ Talent

Sworn in

A roundup of news in the wake of the Socialists' return to power in Greece: Greek Orthodox Archbishop Demetrios congratulated George Papandreou on his election victory in Greece. The Archbishop wished him success in his “manifold work for the benefit of the homeland and the Greeks abroad.” "Diplomats," dismayed at rising xenophobia and nationalism, cheered Papandreou's victory: A self-described "diaspora Greek" who was born in the US, Papandreou is conspicuously cosmopolitan. As president of Socialist International, the world grouping of leftwing parties, he has campaigned for minority rights and the decriminalisation of drugs ... "Our biggest challenge is to regain the confidence of the Greek people who have lost their faith in politics and in what Greece can do," he told the Observer. "One of the reasons this government failed was because it had no credibility after the amazing corruption we have seen in the last year. I am a socialist, but I am very … [Read more...]

Locality, the Episcopate, and Canonicity: Reflections on the Recent Pre-Conciliar Meeting at Chambesy

eagle

Author: George Michalopulos ABSTRACT: In previous essays posted on this forum, the present author analyzed the formation of autocephalous churches, the role of the metropolitan and its role within the episcopate, the canonical claims of existing patriarchates regarding primacy within the so-called Diaspora, and the current jurisdictional crisis within North America. As to the idea of a “diaspora,” certain issues need to be more fully developed. Specifically, which autocephalous church has the authority to evangelize within such an area? How is autocephaly to be proclaimed? Are parallel dioceses and/or multiple episcopal seats in one city evidence of schism? And can fidelity to the Gospel trump the claims of an already existing diocese? Parts 1 through 5 are primarily historical whereas the last two sections contain analysis and commentary based on recent events. Read the article on the AOI main page. … [Read more...]

Unraveling Chambesy — Administrative Unity In Our Time

Presented by Ancient Faith Radio

Our canons call for there to be one bishop in one place but here in America as well as other countries of the so called “diaspora” immigration and pastoral concerns have served to violate those canons. To address this issue, the leaders and representatives of all of the autocephalous Mother Churches were convened by HIs All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew first in Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) and later in Chambesy, Geneva, Switzerland to commission certain Episcopal Assemblies who will in turn develop regional plans to correct this anomaly. To help you sort through this complicated process, Ancient Faith Radio has produced a 2-part documentary featuring Fr. Mark Arey, General Secretary of SCOBA (The Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America), Charles Ajalat, former chancellor of the Antiochian Archdiocese and long time champion of Administrative Unity, Metropolitan Jonah, primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and Nick Katich, an attorney who … [Read more...]

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...]

Official Statement on the ‘Diaspora’ from the Chambesy Conference

THE FOURTH PRE-CONCILIAR PAN-ORTHODOX CONFERENCE The Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Chambésy, 6-13 June 2009 THE ORTHODOX DIASPORA Decision The Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference was convened by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with the consensus of Their Beatitudes the Primates of the Most Holy Orthodox Churches expressed during their Sacred Synaxis at the Phanar in October 2008. The Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference met at the Orthodox Center of Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy, from 6 to 13 June 2009 under the chairmanship of His Eminence Metropolitan John of Pergamon, representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. This Conference, to which all of the most holy Orthodox Autocephalous Churches were invited and were represented, studied the issue of the canonical organization of the Orthodox Diaspora. Pursuant to article 16 of the Rules of Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conferences, this Conference discussed the … [Read more...]

Moscow Patriarchate reports on Chambesy meeting

The Moscow Patriarchate has released a statement, in English, on the work of the all-Orthodox pre-conciliar meeting in Chambesy, Switzerland, earlier this month. The patriarchate explains how "episcopal assemblies" are to be constituted. Text follows: The 4th Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference, which took place at the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s Orthodox Center in Chambesy near Geneva, completed its work on 12 June 2009. The delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church led by Archpriest Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, included Archbishop Mark of Berlin, Germany and Great Britain, Russian Church Outside Russia, Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, DECR vice-chairman, and Mr. A. Churyakov, an interpreter. The conference was chaired by Metropolitan John of Pergamon. Metropolitan Jeremiah of Switzerland, Patriarchate of Constantinople, acted as its secretary. It was attended by delegations of the Patriarchates of … [Read more...]

AsiaNews: ‘Historic’ decision in Chambésy

On the Roman Catholic site AsiaNews, Nat da Polis files a report on the Fourth Pre-Conciliar meeting of Orthodox hierarchs who assembled last week in Switzerland to discuss the problem of the "diaspora." Da Polis views the pending trip of Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul as a "significant step" in sorting out the disarray. Story follows. Historic Orthodox decision, migrant communities to have their own bishops’ conferences Istanbul (AsiaNews) – The first of two meetings scheduled for 2009 was held in Sabezy [Chambésy, Switzerland, ed.] to prepare the much awaited Pan-Orthodox Synod. In agreeing to set up Bishops’ Conferences for Orthodox Diaspora communities, the meeting reached a historic decision. According to existing rules, Orthodox believers living outside their country of origin fall under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. However, the large-scale migration that followed the collapse of the Iron Curtain generated … [Read more...]

Moscow: No Episcopal ‘Monopoly’

More on the episcopal assemblies announced at the pre-conciliar meeting last week in Switzerland: "Anti-monopoly" proposals of the Moscow Patriarchate are taken into account in Chambesy Moscow, June 15, Interfax - The Fourth Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference in Chambesy (Switzerland) has agreed in its final decision to the need of equal management of the Orthodox Diaspora which was highlighted by the representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate before the meeting. The Conference decided to create new bishop assemblies within the regions of Diaspora (Orthodox communities living outside of the area of local Orthodox churches) to include all canonical Orthodox bishops governing the communities of such regions. "The decisions by such bishop assemblies will be made in conformance with the consensus of the Churches represented therein. The powers of Episcopal assemblies neither allow the interference into the eparchial jurisdiction of each bishop, nor limit the rights of his … [Read more...]

Communiqué from Chambésy

Figuring out the "diaspora" in Switzerland

Orthodox Report, a UK site, has a translation of the official French-language communiqué issued by the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference that met June 6-12 in Chambesy, Switzerland, to discuss the problem of the Orthodox "diaspora." [Orthodox hierarchs pictured above at the meeting] The news release is available in Greek and Russian, for those who can read these languages. But Orthodox Report says it cannot find an English version. Nor can we. This is one of those High Bureaucratic messages, the sort of thing that diplomats issue, that requires the reader to parse the phrases carefully for hidden meanings. Or maybe it's written this way because nothing immediately actionable came out of the meeting. Who's to say? The official site for the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Center for Orthodoxy in Chambesy is all in French, which doesn't help us rustics in the "diaspora." Orthodoxie, a French site, has more, in French. The text talks about the creation of "new episcopal … [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...]