August 23, 2014

On the ‘gradual consolidation of the Orthodox diasporas’

Comments from Russian Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk on the pre-conciliar deliberations at Chambesy, Switzerland, which was to address, in part, "problems in the Orthodox diaspora." In this interview with the Russian news service Interfax, before leaving for the meeting, the archbishop talks about the "many faces" of the Orthodox 'diaspora' and the agenda setting process for a Great Council. The Chambesy meeting, scheduled for June 6-13, is the fourth Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference with the most recent one taking place in 1986, according to the news service. Interfax: The forthcoming Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference in Chambesy will deal with the Orthodox diaspora. What is today’s Orthodox diaspora in your view? Can we speak about even the smallest degree of its integrity or does it represent scattered local communities of the faithful of Local Churches whose ethnic and national ‘dividing walls’ reach as high as heaven? Archbishop Hilarion: The life and … [Read more...]

Archbishop Hilarion Predicts ‘New Local Churches’

From Interfax: Archbishop Hilarion contemplates the establishment of new local Orthodox Churches Moscow, June 1, - Head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk believes that the current Inter-Orthodox consultations may cause the establishment of new local Orthodox churches. "It is our opinion that the progressive consolidation of Orthodox communities will eventually result in the establishment of new local Orthodox Churches," Archbishop Hilarion said Interfax-Religion on Monday. According to him, the claims that Orthodox communities are "isolated from each other" evidence "the lack of knowledge about the real life of the community." "Orthodox believers usually seek communication with each other, and sometimes people make long trips, overcome language barriers and other obstacles to meet a particular Orthodox priest or attend a particular service," the Archbishop said. He highlighted that Orthodoxy had … [Read more...]

‘On a Summoning of the Great Council’

In response to the "First Pre-Conciliar Conference" held in Chambesy, Switzerland (near Geneva) in November 1976, Archimandrite Dr. Justin Popovic composed "On A Summoning of the Great Council of the Orthodox Church." In this, Fr. Popovic (1894-1979), spiritual father of the monastery of Celie Valjevo (Serbia), expressed his "grievous considerations for the future council." The Orthodox Christian Information Center has the complete text here. This letter is "dated" in that, written more than 30 years ago, it could not foresee the fall of communism and the revival of the Russian Church, nor anticipate the expansion of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to include members from outside of Turkey. And it is always risky to draw close analogies from one historical moment to the present. But some of the language in the letter reads as if it could have been written yesterday. Here are some selections in which Fr. Popvich gives some thoughts on the "diaspora" and the … [Read more...]

Greek Ambassador: ‘Hellenism and Orthodoxy’ Is A Foreign Policy Tool

Ambassador Mallias

Outgoing Greek Ambassador Alexandros Mallias is getting a big send off for all of his fine work in helping the American Omogeneia and Diaspora (still wandering in search of a home) advance the interests of the Greek state. Here's the key paragraph from a report in SAE News: [Mallias] forged and cultivated substantive relations with the organized Omogenia undertaking initiatives focusing on the coordination, unity and cooperation of its powers for the promotion of issues of Greek interest. He kept us updated on the course and progress of our national issues, actively participated in meetings of Greek-American organizations and contributed to every effort aimed at supporting and promoting Greek education and culture, mobilizing the youth on Greek issues and establishing relations between Greek and Greek-American businessmen. He and his associates were always accessible and eager to brief the Greek-American community and suggest more effective ways to promote Greek issues as US … [Read more...]

St. Vladimir’s Summer Conference: The Council and the Tomos

St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary has announced the topic for its summer institute and a very interesting lineup of speakers. The full announcement is available on the OCA site here. HT: orrologion CRESTWOOD, NY [SVS/May 13, 2009] -- Recent exchanges of views about Orthodoxy in America, the role of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and the forthcoming pan-Orthodox sessions that will deliberate on the "diaspora," emphasize how vital it is to reflect upon events that shaped the current landscape. As a foundational part of its mission, Saint Vladimir's Seminary is a venue where controversial topics can be discussed openly and freely. The seminary will host a summer conference titled, "The Council and the Tomos: Twentieth-century Landmarks towards a Twenty-first-century Church," June 18-20, 2009. Conference speakers will focus on two watersheds that have shaped the Orthodox Church in America (OCA): the All-Russian Council (Sobor) of 1917-1918, and the Tomos of … [Read more...]

New book. Orthodox Christianity at the Crossroad: A Great Council of the Church, When and Why?

Order at Amazon

By Archbisop Nathaniel of Detroit. HT: Orthodox News As plans are moving ahead for the convening of preparatory meetings for a Great and Holy Council to take place in Cyprus in June 2009, you need to prepare yourself for what is at stake through these meetings.  How can you prepare yourself?  Pray that the Holy Spirit guide the participants and read this timely volume: Orthodox Christianity at the Crossroad: A Great Council of the Church - When and Why One of the many tracts that the Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL) organization has distributed during its twenty years of service to Holy Orthodoxy in North America is An Orthodox Christian Church in the United States: Unified and Self-governed, copyrighted in 2000. It is given out at all meetings and sent to the mailing list of the organization. On the outside back cover is a statement entitled “Resolution for Autocephaly Adopted October 10, 1998,” in which an appeal is made to His All Holiness, … [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...]

Met. Gerasimos blasts Met. Jonah for “persecuting” the Church of Constantinople

Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco (GOA)

In what can only be described as a radical restructuring of an increasingly public discussion, Met. Gerasimos (GOA, San Francisco) blasts Met. Jonah (OCA) for his recent criticism of the address by Fr. Elpidophoros Lambriniadis at Holy Cross Seminary last month. In the address, Fr. Elpidophoros laid out the rationale for submission of all American Orthodox Christians to Constantinople in what can be generously described as exclusively ethnic terms. Met. Gerasimos addresses none of Met. Jonah's criticisms or Fr. Elpidophoros' rationale. Instead, Met. Gerasimos frames the discussion in terms of the "persecution" of the Constantinopolitan Church, which, he contends, "...has shown us that the Ecumenical Patriarchate must now concern itself not only with attacks by those outside the Church, but also from within the Church, as well." No mention is made of the historical and canonical claims made by Fr. Elpidophoros. Neither does Met. Gerasimos address the worldwide resistance to … [Read more...]

Bishop Hilarion: Ecumenical Patriarchate seeks to impose Roman Catholic model of primacy

From Interfax: Moscow Patriarchate disagrees with Constantinople desire to play special role in Orthodoxy MOSCOW (April 10) -- Bishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate's external church relations department, has criticized the Constantinople Patriarchate's intention to control all church communities within the Orthodox diaspora. "I see the situation in the inter-Orthodox relations surrounding the Constantinople Patriarchate's claim to have some special role in the Orthodox Church as one of the key challenges today," Bishop Hilarion said at a press conference at the Interfax main office in Moscow on Friday. "What is happening is in fact an attempt to impose a model existing in the Catholic Church on the Orthodox Church to have as centralized church power as possible, with one bishop leading it as the head of the Ecumenical Church," he said. "There has never been such a model in the Orthodox tradition," Bishop Hilarion said. He … [Read more...]

Archbishop Demetrios Compares Obama to Alexander the Great

Archbishop Demetrios, leader of the largest Orthodox Christian jurisdiction in the United States, compared President Obama to Alexander the Great at a Greek Independence Day celebration at the White House. Politico, noting that the president got "a little unexpected flattery" from the hierarch about his crisis management skills, said the archbishop told Obama: "Following the brilliant example of Alexander the Great...you will be able to cut the Gordian knot of these unresolved issues." The unexpected flattery was so over that top that it embarrassed the president and earned the archbishop a link on the Drudge Report. In the video, someone can be heard hailing the president as an "honorary Greek." Just a hunch, but I bet that little hosanna came from one of the Obamakis and Bidenopoulos set. Back story. In the last few days, the Greek Lobby has been in overdrive over a report in Hurriyet that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was to meet with Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarchate: American ‘Diaspora’ must submit to Mother Church

Arch. Elpidophoros Lamprianidis

The battle is joined. Highlight: With regards to the United States, the submission to the First Throne of the Church, that is, to the Ecumenical Patriarchate is not only fitting with the American society and mentality but also it opens up the horizons of possibilities for this much-promising region, which is capable of becoming an example of Pan-Orthodox unity and witness. The Mother Church of Constantinople safeguards for the Orthodox Church in America those provisions that are needed for further progress and maturity in Christ. Full text follows: Challenges of Orthodoxy in America And the Role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate By Very Reverend Archimandrite Dr. Elpidophoros Lambriniadis Chief Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod (Chapel of the Holy Cross, March 16, 2009) Reverend Protopresbyter Nicholas Triantafyllou, President, Reverend Protopresbyter Thomas Fitzgerald, Dean of the School of Theology, Reverend and Esteemed Members of the Faculty and … [Read more...]

Met. Jonah: Episcopacy, Primacy, and the Mother Churches

In June, Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America delivered a talk on "Episcopacy, Primacy, and the Mother Churches: A Monastic Perspective" at the Conference of the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius at St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary. The audio of the talk is available on Ancient Faith Radio along with the other presentations from the conference. The PDF version of Metropolitan Jonah's presentation is available on the OCA site, where the Church is also archiving his articles and speeches. On the subject of the Mother Churches and the “Diaspora,” Metropolitan Jonah has this to say: ... almost all national Churches have extended their jurisdictions beyond their geographic and political boundaries to the so-called diaspora. But Orthodox Christians who are faithful to the Gospel and the Fathers cannot admit of any such thing as a diaspora of Christians. Only ethnic groups can be dispersed among other ethnic groups. Yet the essential principle of geographic … [Read more...]