August 1, 2014

Postcards from Greece: Phyletism

PostcardsFromGreece

On a new Postcards from Greece, Fr. Peter Alban Heers explains the heresy of Phyletism, which means placing one’s ethnic identity above the Orthodox faith. Fr. Peter shares with us his ten years of experience of living the Faith and serving the Church in Greece, and in particular the ancient Church of the Thessalonians. On visits to parishes and monasteries, and in interviews with clergy and laymen, Fr. Peter, as an American convert, introduces us to the ancient practice of the Church in Greece in terms and ways we can readily understand and apply to our contemporary way of life. Listen here: … [Read more...]

In Due Course

The "Companion to the Greek Orthodox Church," edited by Fotios K. Litsas, was published by Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in 1984 as a guidebook to various topics in Church life. The book included the article "Orthodoxy in the United States" by Rev. Thomas FitzGerald, now dean of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, and an expert on American Orthodoxy. Fr. FitzGerald closed his 1984 article with a bold prediction: Orthodoxy in the United States may no longer be viewed simply as a diaspora composed primarily of immigrants intent upon returning to their homeland. Rather, Orthodoxy in the United States can only be viewed properly as an emerging local Church comprised primarily of American citizens of a wide variety of racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. In due course, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the various Orthodox jurisdictions in the United States will be united into an autocephalous Church which will be officially recognized as such by the Ecumenical … [Read more...]

Servants of Each Other

orrologion says it's time to open the windows of our Orthodox house and let in some fresh air: I for one am glad that these sorts of conversations are being had. They reveal us. Our creation myths can be challenged. Our skewed views of ourselves can be corrected. Greeks can hear how they are perceived; Russians and Americans and Arabs likewise. We're all used to the smell of our own stink; we forgive our own pet sins, but not others'. We can see how our actions (and lack of actions) hurt others, and we can change (hopefully). We can compare and contrast our strengths and weaknesses, our love, our piety, our good works, patience, kindness. We can learn from each other and grow. We can live rather than simply preserve and grasp. We can see how Orthodoxy is not only what I grew up with, what 'my' spiritual father told, what Prof./Fr../Geronda/Vladyka said it was - we can see Orthodoxy is bigger than my family, my clan, my tribe, my culture, my opinions, my theological clique. Our … [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...]

The Orthodox Church of Tomorrow

A new American Orthodoxy, one more vitalized by the Gospel, is taking shape now. There will be fewer parishes, more and younger bishops, a clergy that is better educated and morally rigorous. And, finally, the ethnic "coffee club" model of Orthodox Christianity will fade away. This is the vision of Fr. John A. Peck in "The Orthodox Church of Tomorrow," just published on the AOI site. "As frightening and disconcerting as it may seem to our leaders, they will learn that emerging from a cocoon, even a Byzantine cocoon, is not a bad thing," Fr. John writes. "Orthodoxy is about to take flight on new beautiful wings. Here he is on the future of the hierarchy in America: If our current slate of bishops has been mostly a disappointment, reducing their number will only tighten this closed circle, making the hierarchy less and less accessible, and more and more immune to things like, oh, the needs and concerns of their flock. The process of selection for the episcopacy will contain a … [Read more...]