April 17, 2014

Greek clergy circulate document on ‘pan-heresy of ecumenism’

(Ecumenical News International) -- A group of Orthodox clergy in Greece, led by three senior archbishops, have published a manifesto pledging to resist all ecumenical ties with Roman Catholics and Protestants. "The only way our communion with heretics can be restored is if they renounce their fallacy and repent," the group said in a "Confession of Faith against Ecumenism" that they circulated recently. "The Orthodox church is not merely the true church; she is the only church. She alone has remained faithful to the Gospel, the synods and the fathers, and consequently she alone represents the true catholic church of Christ," says the document. The signatories say they wish to preserve "irremovably and without alteration" the Orthodox faith that the Early Church had "demarcated and entrenched," and to shun communication "with those who innovate on matters of the faith". The list of clerics backing the manifesto is said to include six metropolitans (Panteleimon of Antinoes, … [Read more...]

Quiet Flows the Mississippi into the Matrix of Mystery

So I'm reading an article in the Wall Street Journal this morning about the Religious Left mounting an "aggressive" ad campaign on environmental issues and come across these lines: The ads, funded by a left-leaning coalition, urge support for congressional legislation to curb greenhouse-gas emissions -- by framing the issue as an urgent matter of Biblical morality. "As our seas rise, crops wither and rivers run dry, God's creation cries out for relief," begins one ad, narrated by an evangelical megachurch pastor. Another opens with a reference to the Gospel of John, slams energy interests for fighting the bill, and concludes: "Please join the faithful in speaking out against the powerful." And I'm thinking, man, where have I heard talk like that? Was it ... no, can't be. Not the language used to describe the agenda of the upcoming symposium on the Mississippi River hosted by Patriarch Bartholomew, the Green Patriarch. That can't be. I checked and found this: Evening … [Read more...]

Archbishop Demetrios’ Encyclical on the Fourth of July

July 4, 2009 Independence Day To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, The Fourth of July is a day when we join with people across this nation and around the world in the celebration of an historic achievement that exalted the necessity of human freedom and initiated a political and social environment filled with opportunity and potential. The United States of America, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, was “conceived in liberty,” dedicated to the ideal of justice and equality for all, thus becoming a nation that broadened the scope and function of citizenship and of the meaning of belonging and … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch releases agenda for Mississippi Symposium

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese released the schedule for Ecumenical Patriarch Batholomew's visit to the United States in October. Separately, a detailed agenda for his upcoming environmental symposium has been posted online. The patriarch's "Symposium VIII -- Restoring Balance: The Great Mississippi River" offers a rare opportunity to present Orthodoxy's distinctive, sacramental understanding of the stewardship of Creation to America and the world. And this trip, which will involve about 200 participants in all, will no doubt generate a huge volume of media attention. We will be following the symposium closely here on the Observer. If the text accompanying the agenda is any indication, the work of the symposium will be heavily inflected by an environmentalist ethic that looks at humanity primarily as a source of pollution and largely ignores the benefits of balanced economic development that does not degrade or abuse Creation. There is the utopian dream of returning the Earth to … [Read more...]

The Perplexing Problem of Obtaining an Accurate Census of Orthodox Faithful Living in America

Hartford Institute for Religion Research HT: Orthodox Christian Laity A Quick Question How many Eastern Orthodox are there in the USA? The quick answer: Far less than usually reported. The longer answer: According to a recent study of Orthodoxy in the United States, the real membership (number of adult adherents and their children) in all Eastern Christian Churches in the USA can be estimated at about 1,200,000 persons. This figure is considerably less than the commonly accepted estimations, which range as high as over four million. The greatest disproportions between "claimed" and actual memberships were found in the two largest Orthodox jurisdictions: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (typically claimed 1,954,500* members versus 440,000 actual adherents) Orthodox Church in America (1,000,000* versus 115,000 actual adherents)* membership figures are from the Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches, National Council of Churches, 2000. The most likely reason for … [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...]

Pope and Patriarch meet in Jerusalem

Pope Benedict XVI paid a visit today to the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilus III. The pope, according to the Catholic News Agency, "spoke with the patriarch of his gratitude for efforts to achieve greater unity between their Churches and asked the Christians of Jerusalem to raise a generation dedicated to the faith." Pope Benedict began his speech to those assembled by calling to mind the past meetings between his two predecessors and the Orthodox patriarchs of their time. “These encounters, including my visit today,” he said, “are of great symbolic significance. They recall that the light of the East has illumined the entire world from the very moment when a 'rising sun' came to visit us and they remind us too that from here the Gospel was preached to all nations.” Here is the full text of the speech from Vatican Radio: Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, It is with profound gratitude and joy that I make this visit to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of … [Read more...]

Metropolitan Alexios Prays for Unity at Roman Catholic Service

Archbishop-emeritus John F. Donoghue, left, and Metropolitan Alexios, right, join Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory for a final blessing of the congregation. (Photo by Michael Alexander)

Alexios, Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Atlanta, joined Roman Catholic Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory on May 6 for an “Evening of Prayer and Unity” service at Atlanta's Cathedral of Christ the King in honor of the Jubilee Year of St. Paul. Archbishop Gregory graciously welcomed Orthodox Christians to the service. “Our Orthodox brothers and sisters represent a fraternity in the Lord that we cherish and long to strengthen in the Holy Spirit,” he said. According to The Georgia Bulletin, a diocesan newspaper, the "prayer service blended together Eastern and Western traditions with song, prayer and words of wisdom from shepherds of each of the churches." The paper said that members of the Choir of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation in Atlanta and the Chanters of the Cathedral of the Annunciation then sang “Phos Hilaron.” The Cathedral Choir of Christ the King also sang the hymn, this time in English, "again linking the two traditions together in Christ." Metropolitan … [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...]

Benedict XVI in the Holy Land

Pope Benedict's trip is off to a good start and the intense media coverage (1,300 journalists covering the trip by one estimate) is already bringing much needed attention to the plight of Christians in the Middle East. The Bishop of Rome has a deep appreciation for Eastern Christianity, as did his predecessor John Paul II. In his Vespers homily delivered in the Greek-Melkite Cathedral of St. George in Amman, Benedict said this: The ancient living treasure of the traditions of the Eastern Churches enriches the universal Church and could never be understood simply as objects to be passively preserved. All Christians are called to respond actively to the Lord's mandate -- as Saint George did in dramatic ways according to popular record -- to bring others to know and love him. In fact the vicissitudes of history have strengthened the members of particular Churches to embrace this task with vigor and to engage resolutely with the pastoral realities of today. Most of you trace ancient … [Read more...]

Archbishop Demetrios Visits ROCOR

Metropolitan Hilarion (left) and Archbishop Demetrios

Greek Orthodox Archbishop Demetrios pays a visit to ROCOR's Metropolitan Hilarion, the first visit of a Greek primate in four decades. The Metropolitan greeted the Archbishop as the "Chief Orthodox Archpastor of America and the Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate." [ROCOR release] Archbishop Demetrios, Head of the Greek Archdiocese in North America, Visits the Synod of Bishops On May 5, 2009, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Head of the Greek Archdiocese in North America, visited the residence of the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia at the Synodal building in New York. Venerating the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, Archbishop Demetrios proceeded to the altar of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign, where he venerated the altar table. His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, then greeted His Eminence and presented him with a gift of an icon of the Mother of God of Vladimir, … [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...]