April 21, 2014

Leadership: Is the microphone on?

Orthodox Leader Blog

Fr. Basil Basil Biberdorf over at The Orthodox Leader laments the Orthodox silence on the recent health care legislation. Some of Fr. Basil's comments: The recent turmoil surrounding the recent passage of healthcare legislation by the United States Congress is providing ample opportunity to look at the absence of Orthodox leadership. Despite the scandalously equivocal language used by the Ecumenical Patriarch in discussing abortion (c.f., here, here, here, and here), the Church’s teaching cannot be misunderstood. Worse, at least one professor at Holy Cross Seminary is reportedly elated at the passing of this legislation. To those bishops (especially those whom I have overlooked) and my brethren who are speaking against the wanton destruction of these little ones, I thank you and pray that your efforts would yield much fruit by strengthening and encouraging the Orthodox faithful to stand firm against such wanton destruction of human beings. To the others, the bigger … [Read more...]

Fr. Peter-Michael Preble interviews Fr. Hans Jacobse about the Ecumenical Patriarchate

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Fr. Peter-Michael Preble, host of the Shepherd of Souls radio program on Ancient Faith radio, Pastor of St. Michael's Orthodox Christian Church, and occasional contributor to the AOI blog, recently interviewed Fr. Hans Jacobse on the subject of the Ecumenical Patriarch. Listen to the interview: Fr. Peter blogs at the Fr. Peter-Michael Preble blog. … [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...]

Canon 28 and Constantinople’s Jurisdictional Claims

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More plans for Pan-Orthodox Synod

Asianews has an update on the preparatory meetings for a pan-Orthodox synod, which seems to be gaining momentum. After various mishaps, in 1961 a pan-Orthodox conference was convened in Rhodes, with significant pressure from patriarch Athenagoras, for the purpose of preparing an Orthodox synod. This conference was also followed by numerous obstacles, because as theologian Giorgos Tetsetis observes, the local Churches did not have a clear idea of what they wanted from the Synod. "It is time," says Fr. Tetsetis, a theologian for the ecumenical patriarchate, "that our Church finally realize that it is doing poorly as a whole. The Church needs an open and sincere dialogue. Because it is only then, with its rich tradition as a compass, that it will be able to emerge from its blind alley and together face its existential problems, which are becoming increasingly severe and complicated. It is only then that the importance of the Ecumenical Patriarch's initiative can be … [Read more...]

Turkey and Religious Liberty

My interview with Turkish journalist Mustafa Akyol was published today in The Acton Institute's Religion & Liberty quarterly. Our talk focused on the prospects for greater economic and religious liberty in Turkey. Mustafa blogs at The White Path. Excerpt: Let's talk about religious freedom. There's a great tension between the modern secularist path of Turkey, going back to Ataturk, and the revival of Islam and its influence on politics. Will this be a winner take all battle, or is Turkey working out something a little more complex in the future? I say there will be room for all of these views, and Turkey will be more pluralistic than it used to be. Actually, right now, the battle is between the people who want to create room for pluralism and those who want to keep it homogeneously secular. Keep in mind that the founding idea of the Turkish Republic was very monolithic. It picked up the narrative of the French Enlightenment in that secularism would make the country safe from … [Read more...]

Orthodox Christian Patriarchs Celebrate Baptism of Russia

Orthodox Churches have long been involved in ecumenical projects, such as the World Council of Churches, and affirm the Lord's mandate "that they all may be one" (John 17:21). Yet, I can't help thinking at times that the Orthodox Churches might work a little harder at unity in their own house. For that reason, it was encouraging to follow the progress of Greek Orthodox Archbishop Demetrios' recent visit to the Moscow Patriarchate and see Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I side by side with Patriarch Alexy II for the celebration of the baptism of Russia. The Greeks and the Russians have had some contentious moments of late, such as the controversy over who shall have jurisdiction for Orthodox Christians in Estonia. Good background here in an AP story on the tensions between the Ukrainians and Russians: Ukrainian officials are determined to use the events to lobby for autonomy for the local church from Russia, while the dominant Moscow Patriarchate will fight to retain … [Read more...]