April 24, 2014

Freedom and the Church’s American Exile

Both on the AOI blog and my own my post, “Pentecost, Lincoln and the American Experiment,” brought some very interesting and thought provoking comments. Your thoughts have helped me think a bit more deeply about the relationship between the Tradition of the Orthodox Church and the American Experiment. For this I thank you all. And even more importantly, your words were very much in mind as I read Michael Baxter recent review of American Babylon: Notes of A Christian in Exile, by the late Fr Richard John Neuhaus. As is no doubt clear from what I wrote, I do not see Orthodoxy and the American Experiment as necessarily in opposition to each other. Or maybe it might be more accurate to say, that the differences between Orthodoxy and America are certainly no wider or deeper than what one would expect between that between God and Caesar, between the City of God which is to come and the City of Man which is here and now. Be that as it may, however, my interest in political … [Read more...]

Some broad reflections on the SVS seminar

First of all, thank you to St. Vladimir Seminary, St. Andrew House, and Orthodox Christian Laity for sponsoring the webcast. Thank you to Ancient Faith Radio, and Executive Producer Dean Calvert and crew for making the webcast possible. I saw perhaps a quarter of it. The first seminars dealt with historical themes, important and interesting (had to concentrate though) but I won't comment on them here. I found the lecture on the "myth of autocephaly" very interesting, particular how the narrative of how autocephaly was obtained shapes contemporary self-understanding in the autocephalous Churches. This deals more with how historical narrative functions in a community, than the veracity of the actual narrative. (Of course, veracity is contentious term since history is, at bottom, narrative. Nevertheless, some history is "truer" than others, witness the attempts by the Marxists and other culture barbarians to rewrite it.) Back to the subject... Dr. Paul Meyendorff, professor of … [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...]

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...]

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...]

Greeks losing interest in Hellenism

The anarchists that sank Greece into a near state of chaos late last year are now taking aim at the Church: Greece is seeing an unprecedented spate of terrorist attacks against churches. Among the churches that were hit, in one case during religious service, were the Athens Metropolitan Church, the Piraeus Metropolitan Church, and the Church of St. Demetrios in Thessaloniki. Greek media have described these attacks, the likes of which Greece has not seen even when the country was under occupation, as a “declaration of war against the Church of Greece.” All of the bombs were defused in time and only one, at Agia Triada in Pireaus, caused minor damage. The organization “Conspiracy of the Nuclei of Fire – Commandos” along with “The Nihilist Faction” assumed responsibility for the attack and in a manifesto claimed “Religion is a mechanism of power that plays a particularly devious role in subjugating people.” Authorities in Greece are taking the attacks very seriously, especially in … [Read more...]

Met. Methodios implicity criticizes Met. Jonah’s rebuke of EP primacy claim (presumably)

It's hard to know for sure because it's an oblique reference, but a betting man might wager that Met. Methodios' criticism that other "Orthodox presences...do anything but foster love and cooperation in this land" referred to Met. Jonah's rebuke of the address given by the emissary of the Ecumenical Patriarch several weeks ago. Speaking at Holy Cross Seminary Met. Methodios said that, "One must always watch one's tongue and be careful of what he says...because of the internet, television, cameras, those comments are sent around the world and do a great deal of harm." These words, it seems, could just as easily be applied to the emissary. … [Read more...]

Fr. Alexander Schmemann on Primacy in the Orthodox Church

Many of the current jurisdictional controversies within the Orthodox Church involving the Ecumenical Patriarch, relations between Constantinople and Moscow, the status of the "autocephalies" -- even the future of the American Orthodox Church -- hinge on the question of primacy. While Orthodox Christians have rejected the Roman model of primacy as "supreme power" over the Bishop and local Church, the question of primacy within the Orthodox Church is a complete muddle. In "The Idea of Primacy in Orthodox Ecclesiology," an essay written in 1960 and now available on the AOI main site, Fr. Alexander Schmemann examines various aspects of the primacy question, an issue he describes as "on the agenda for our time." As he reminds us, the ecclesiological interpretation of primacy -- regional, autocephalous, and "universal" -- is "virtually absent" from from Orthodox theology. "We badly need a clarification of the nature and functions of all these primacies and, first of all, of the very concept … [Read more...]

Transcription of Met. Jonah’s Speech on Orthodoxy Unity in America

Metropolitan Jonah

Sermon delivered at St. Seraphim Orthodox Cathedral in Dallas, Texas on April 5, 2009. It is a great joy to see everybody here this evening from so many different communities, from different traditions. Orthodoxy is a celebration of diversity in unity, and unity in diversity. Our unity is in our one Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and our one Orthodox faith and our one commitment to living the truth, to living as Christians. Not to live according the spirit of the world, not to live according to our passions, not to live according to the desires that flit by through our minds and lead us into all sorts of trouble, but to live the truth, to live Orthodox. And, our diversity is something we celebrate, not a diversity of lifestyles, but a diversity that reflects the whole spectrum of our community, people of all races, people of all colors, people from a multitude of different ethnic backgrounds. … [Read more...]

Achieving Orthodox Unity

pentecost

Fr. Gleb McFatter, who pastors St. Demetrius Orthodox Church in Naples, Florida offered the following homily at the Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers. Highlight: Orthodox unity will only be achieved when the laity, parish priests and monastics lovingly unify themselves and exhibit that unity to the hierarchs. One thing those of us in the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) have learned from our recent "times of trouble" is that only when the discontent among the laity, parish priests and monastics rose to a fever pitch — only then were the hierachs moved to action. Imagine what could be accomplished if that same level of energy was focused on achieving unity among those at the parish and monastic level! … [Read more...]

Patr. Bartholomew to White House meeting?

The Greek newspaper Kathimerini is reporting that President Obama will meet Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew when he is in Istanbul on April 7 during a visit to Turkey. "However," the paper said, "the US president is also due to hold a one-on-one meeting with the patriarch in the White House on November 3." The plans were firmed up when Archbishop Demetrios met with the president on March 25 during a White House reception in honor of Greek Independence Day, Kathimerini said. During the public ceremony, the archbishop compared the president to Alexander the Great. While in Washington, he also attended a reception hosted by the Ambassador of Greece to the United States Alexandros Mallias at the Greek Embassy. Minister of Justice Nikolaos Dendias represented the Greek Government at the Independence Day events. Meanwhile, the tug-of-war between, on one side, the Turkish government and, on the other, the U.S. Greek lobby and the Greek government, continues over a proposed meeting … [Read more...]

OCL responds to EP talk at Holy Cross

George Michalopulos, Orthodox Christian Laity board member and frequent contributor to the AOI blog, penned the official OCL response to Arch. Elpidophoros Lambriniadis' recent talk at Holy Cross School of Theology. Original article is posted on the OCL website. An OCL Board Member Responds to the Message of Chief Secretary of The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate March 25, 2009 - the Feast of the Annunciation I. Introduction: An Archimandrite Speaks Recently, a certain archimandrite, the Very Rev Dr Elpidophoros Lambriniadis, spoke at Holy Cross School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. His position is one of auxiliary professor at this seminary but his formal title is “Chief Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod.” His remarks thus were more than the observations of a mere academic; indeed he stated from the outset that they were authorized by the Ecumenical Patriarch himself and “with the consent” of Archbishop Demetrios, … [Read more...]