July 29, 2014

Church Landscape Begins to Change in North America

Ed. We tend to avoid speculation at AOI blog but this tidbit caught our eye. HT: Orthodox England. As a result of a teleconference on 1 July, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America has divided its Washington and New York Diocese into two. This means that it has changed the title of its head, Metropolitan Jonah. He is now to be known as ‘Archbishop of Washington and Metropolitan of all America and Canada’. This change means that there is now no overlap between Metropolitan Jonah’s title and that of Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, Metropolitan of New York and Eastern America. This appears to be the beginning of further profound transformations in the Orthodox Church landscape of North America and indeed worldwide. We remind readers that the former head of the parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in North America, Archbishop Mercurius, was earlier this year removed to Moscow and has not been replaced. … [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...]

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...]

Orthodoxy in America — Past, Present and FUTURE

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AOCA Verdict: Invalid, Inapplicable, Inconsistent, Ill-Advised

HT: Orthodox Christians for Accountability (Initial summary written by Mark Stokoe of Orthodox Christians for Accountability and edited by AOI.) In a 15-page opinion offered to Metropolitan Philip, the Local Synod and the Board of Trustees of the Antiochian Archdiocese, dated May 13th, the Chancellors of the Archdiocese Robert Koory and Charles Ajalat shredded both the February 24th decision of the Synod of Antioch and the April 24th decision of the Local Synod as "invalid", "inapplicable" "inconsistent" and "ill-advised:" ...the February 24th decision is not a valid decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch. Moreover, even if were, it would have no effect on our Archdiocese since it wasn’t intend to apply to our Archdiocese and if it was intended, it would not apply because it is inconsistent with, negates, and would violate the irrevocable Resolution on Self-Rule, the Archdiocese Constitution and the Archdiocese Articles of … [Read more...]

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

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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...]

ROCOR-OCA: Time to heal?

A report from the regular session of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, held May 5-7 in New York, discloses a plan to form a joint commission with the Orthodox Church in America to discuss issues that have kept the Churches apart. HT: Joe. The report says: It was also decided to form a commission to study the relationship with the Orthodox Church in America and to hold joint meetings to discuss the sources of the division between the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the American Metropoliate. Included in this commission are Bishop George, President; Archimandrite Luke (Murianka); Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff, Secretary; Protopriest David Moser and Priest Peter Jackson. The commission is to study and present findings on the reasons for the division and to evaluate the mutual accusations, and propose methods of healing the separation. … [Read more...]

Holy Cross Faculty Weighs in on ‘Distinctive Prerogatives’ of Ecumenical Patriarch

The Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Mass., released a "Faculty Statement on the Ecumenical Patriarchate" on April 30 and posted it on the school's Web site on May 8. HT: Andrew. Text follows: The Leadership of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Significance of Canon 28 of Chalcedon The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is the preeminent Church in the communion of the fourteen Autocephalous Orthodox Churches. Reflecting the witness of St. Andrew, the First Called Apostle, the enduring mission of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is to proclaim the salutary Gospel of Jesus Christ in accordance with the Apostolic and Orthodox Faith. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has a particular responsibility to strengthen the unity of the Orthodox Churches and to coordinate their common witness. At the same time, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has a specific responsibility to care for the faithful in lands beyond the borders of the other Autocephalous … [Read more...]

Canon 28 and Constantinople’s Jurisdictional Claims

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Met. Jonah’s Second Russian Interview — “The Orthodox Church is most firmly opposed to the spirit of the world”

In an interview posted on the official website of the Russian Orthodox Church (Patriarchia.ru) Metropolitan Jonah discussed the status of the autocephaly of the OCA and Constantinople's denial of it, as well as offering some new ideas on the future of the OCA. The interview was conducted by journalist Yuri Pushcha. Highlight: Puscha: What outcomes do you expect from the forthcoming conference in Cyprus, during which, among other things, the unity of the American Church is to be discussed? Are you counting on the Orthodox Church in America getting a greater measure of understanding of her position by other Local Orthodox Churches? +Jonah: The Patriarchate of Constantinople, as well as some other Local Orthodox Churches do not recognize our autocephaly. And if they want to make any decisions affecting our life, this is only possible with our consent. Otherwise, it will be a great sin against us. HT: Orthodox Christians for Accountability The visit to the Russian Orthodox … [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...]

Church of Russia to host Metropolitan Jonah April 25-May 4

Does the concelebration indicate tacit affirmation that the standing of Met. Jonah is equal to Met. Kirill in the eyes of the Russian Orthodox Church? SYOSSET, NY [OCA Communications] -- At the invitation of His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah will be the guest of the Church of Russia from April 25 through May 4, 2009. The visit marks Metropolitan Jonah's first official visit to a sister Orthodox Church since his election as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America in November 2008. During his visit, Metropolitan Jonah will concelebrate the Divine Liturgy with Patriarch Kirill at Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral and at the 15th century Dormition Cathedral in the Kremlin. He also will visit the OCA's Representation Church of the Great Martyr Catherine in central Moscow and the Valaam Monastery in northern Russia, where he began his life and ministry as a monastic. Accompanying Metropolitan Jonah will be His … [Read more...]