July 22, 2014

There is No Diaspora, Metropolitan Philip Says, Questions the Purpose of the Bishops Assembly

The warrior is back! Met. Philip cuts to the heart of some of the nonsense around the Episcopal Assembly. Some highlights:

  • There is no Diaspora here. We decided in 1994 with the late Archbishop Iakovos. We rejected the term Diaspora for North America.
  • I am going to propose the rejection of this term Diaspora
  • The non-recognition of the OCA by Constantinople and Antioch is hypocrisy.
  • (Pat. Bartholomew) cannot stand the words “Orthodox unity.”

And, the untouchable issue:

  • Question: How do feel about pederasty and homosexuality in the Church? Answer: It is the most disgusting, it is a horrible thing, and there is no reason in the Orthodox Church for it and I absolutely have zero tolerance for it.

This is good.

++++++++++++

The National Herald, Friday, May 21, 2010

By Theodore Kalmoukos

Metropolitan Philip

Metropolitan Philip

BOSTON – Metropolitan Philip, Primate of the Autonomous Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of America with 265 parishes, six Bishops and 350 priests, is the Vice-Chairman of the Standing Conference of Canonical Bishops of America, known as SCOBA, and also Vice-Chairman of the upcoming Panorthodox Bishops Assembly. In an exclusive interview with The National Herald, the prominent Prelate said that, “I really do not know what the purpose of this Assembly is all about.” He proposed an idea as a solution to the issue of what would happen to the Diaspora in the United States. He said, “At one time I proposed that the Ecumenical Patriarch leave Constantinople and come to Washington D.C. or to New York and keep his title as ecumenical Patriarch.”

In the interview, he touched on other critical areas for the church, including division and dissent.

TNH: What are you thoughts about the upcoming Assembly of Orthodox Bishops in New York?

Philip: I do not see much difference between the coming Assembly and SCOBA. SCOBA is not dissolved, it is 50 years old, it has a constitution, it has not been dissolved. We had Bishop’s Assemblies with SCOBA in 1994 at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, under Archbishop Iakovos, then we had another one in Washington D.C., and we hade another one in Chicago, so this Bishops Assemblies are not new to us at all, we had them before.

TNH: What is going to be the purpose of this Assembly?

Philip: I really do not know and what puzzles me is that we put Central America with North America. Our Bishop Andonios in Central America in Mexico went to Brazil and met with Tarasios and the other Bishops in South America, he refused to come and meet with us because he represents a different culture all together.

TNH: Are you going to this Assembly without knowing why you are there?

Philip: Exactly.

TNH: But you are the Vice-Chairman.

Philip: Yes I am. (laughter). There is no preparation. The Archbishop should have called the executive committee of SCOBA first and tell us what he wants to tell us. What is happening? How did these people in Geneva issue all these communiques and rules without our knowledge and input as if we do not exist in North America?

TNH: Representatives of all the Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches were present in Geneva.

Philip: They do not know anything about America, all those representatives, nothing.

TNH: I underhand the issue of Diaspora will be discussed.

Philip: There is no Diaspora here. We decided in 1994 with the late Archbishop Iakovos. We rejected the term Diaspora for North America; Diaspora is in Jerusalem today, we have two thousand Orthodox left in Jerusalem and we have in Constantinople two thousand left. In Iraq thousands of Christians have been slaughtered and many fled to Syria and other countries.

TNH: So the term Diaspora doesn’t exist for you?

PHILIP: No, we are in a country where we can express ourselves, we can read, we can teach, we can write books, we have institutions, we live in a free country.

TNH: What are going to propose in this Assembly?

Philip: I am going to propose the rejection of this term Diaspora

TNH: Are you going to propose the establishment of an indigenous autocephalous American Orthodox Church?

Philip: If the Archbishop puts it on the agenda we will be very happy to discuss it.

TNH: If he doesn’t would you raise the issue?

Philip: I do not think without any preparations we should jamb into that. I think we should have the executive committee discuss it first and reach some conclusions and then bring these conclusions to the General Assembly of Bishops.

TN: Do you think, Your Eminence, it is practically feasible for the creation of an American Autocephalous Orthodox Church with all the Orthodox Jurisdictions United?

Philip: No, but we could have a Synod of Bishops. We have a new situation here in North America and we need some creative thinking. We need some innovation to have a Synod of canonical Bishops.

TNH: Is that what SCOBA was?

Philip: SCOBA was not too much. I do not want to diminish SCOBA, we established the Orthodox Christian Commission, the IOCC, and the OCMC.

TNH: Why did you say it is not feasible the creation of an Autocephalous American Orthodox Church?

Philip: Who is going to recognize us? The so-called Mother Churches opposes that. Patriarch Bartholomew opposes that. He cannot stand the word Orthodox Unity, for example.

TNH: What about your Patriarch Ignatius?

Philip: Patriarch Ignatius dances to the music of Patriarch Bartholomew. In the future it is inevitable to happen because we will be dealing with second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth generations of Orthodox born in this country. I hope it will be brought up in this Assembly, but I do not control the agenda. I do not know what is going to come out of this. We have given some rules. I told them even at SCOBA at least consult with us. We are here in America and we have rules imposed on us from oversees. We have been in this country for two hundred years. The future of Orthodoxy is here in America. At one time I proposed that the Ecumenical Patriarch leave Constantinople and come to Washington D.C. or to New York and keep his title as Ecumenical Patriarch.

TN: Would you submit to him?

Philip: Of course I will submit to him, we are going to have a United Orthodox Church in America with a Patriarch here and especially with an Ecumenical Patriarch.

TNH: What is the story with OCA?

Philip: Since 1970 they have autocephaly and they are not recognized any anyone except Moscow. The OCA situation is unfortunate; they have been trying very hard to get recognition but Constantinople is against recognizing them and Antioch is likewise nobody recognizes them but they do exist de facto.

TNH: Is your Archdiocese in Eucharistic Communion with OCA?

Philip: Of course we are.

TNH: You mean that you co-celebrate the Liturgy

Philip: Absolutely.

TNH: Then how come the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Antioch do not recognize them? Is this some type of hypocrisy?

Philip: It is.

TNH: Do you miss Archbishop Iakovos?

PHILLILP: I miss him a lot, we worked together for so many years, he was a great leader.

TNH: How is your relationship with Archbishop Demetrios?

Philip: It is good.

TNH: When did you talk to him last time?

Philip: He called the headquarters, I was in the hospital for a small procedure, and when I go home the first phone call that I am going to make will be to Archbishop Demetrios, to see what he wants. Probably he wants to have a meeting to discuss SCOBA first before we go to this Assembly with all kinds of confusion.

TNH: What is the administrative status of your Archdiocese? Are you autonomous? Was your autonomy recalled?

Philip: We are a self rule Archdiocese.

TNH: You mean autonomous

Philip: Yes, but our Patriarch is allergic to the word autonomous. I asked him would you accept self-ruled?’

TNH: It is the same thing, is it not?

Philip: It is, but when I said self-ruled he said, no that is the word.

TNH: Where do you stand on the issue of married Bishops? Should we go back to the old tradition?

Philip: If this is the wish of the Church I am for it.

TNH: How do you feel about pederasty and homosexuality in the Church?

Philip: It is the most disgusting, it is a horrible thing, and there is no reason in the Orthodox Church for it and I absolutely have zero tolerance for it.

Comments

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    George Michalopulos says:

    No, this is GREAT!

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    Great indeed! Wow, what a breath of fresh air!

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    John Panos says:

    Possibly prophetic words.

    What a difference between this kind of straight talk, (admired by Americans incidentally) and the double speak and duplicitous garble coming from the GOA.

    Is there really any doubt which vision ignites hope, faith and boldness in American Orthodox Christians?

    I call this a shot across the bow of the Episcopal Assembly.

    Looks like Jonah is not just the wild card – Met. Jonah actually holds all the cards.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    John, once the full implications of the Arey interview sank in with me, I realized that with his prideful words he gave each of the primates a huge club to beat the GOA over the head with. In order to maintain their continued support so in order to maintain their continued membership, every primate (+Joseph of the Bulgarians included) has to be on board. If this EA withers like SCOBA, then the money men are going to tire paying for it. Therefore the individual primates can ask for more concessions.

    Before Arey’s interview, every primate held at least two wild cards on their own: (1) their independence and (2) their potential joining together with other non-GOA jurisdictions like AOCNA or OCA.

    Now they’ve each got at least three.

    +Jonah always had the big one (in addition to these three): the OCA’s autocephaly. That’s four for the OCA. But you’re right, +Philip has others as well, since the AOCNA is autonomous and growing.

    My hope here is that the OCA and AOCNA make an immediate and formal announcement of a merger and accomplish this by year’s end.

    Just thought of this: +Bartholomew is going to Moscow tomorrow. +Kirill’s hand just got immensely stronger. The EP will look remarkably weak.

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    Isa Almisry says:

    It would be interesting if Met. Philip proposed that the Ligonier statement be adopted as the EA’s own. A number of objecting bishops will have an interesting time explaining their signatures.

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    Dean Calvert says:

    Isa,

    I love it…wouldn’t that be poetic justice…some of the same bishops sitting in the Assembly had already recanted their signatures once…

    God really does have a sense of humor, doesn’t He?

    Best Regards,
    dean

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    After last year’s “unpleasantness” I’m leery of what Met Philip has in mind. I want administrative unity, to be sure. But I’m very cautious when it comes to our Metropolitan.

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      George Michalopulos says:

      Benedict, this is +Philip’s opportunity to redeem what happened last year (and it was bad). IMHO, +Philip put the brakes on the whole EA thing, in fact questioned its legitimacy (i.e. there were no “diaspora” bishops at Chambesy). What he really did was throw stink-bombs in the Phanar and prevented a hostile takeover of the North American church. For that alone, he should be thanked.

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      Isa Almisry says:

      Yes, given his words on the Patriarch, there is something there. But as nice as doing the right thing for the right reasons is, doing the right thing for the wrong reason can often work as well.

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    Scott Pennington says:

    I’m curious, what leads any of you to believe that what Met. Phillip said above brings anyone one inch closer to an autocephalous church? Re-read his comments assuming the following is true:

    - the Phanar is absolutely against an autocephalous church
    - Arch. Demetrios or some other more zealous representative of the Phanar will be told to propose uniting the various jurisdictions here in America under the Patriarchate of Constantinople
    - Other patriarchates, including Antioch, will not sign on for this because of the money issue, the ethnicity issue, etc.
    - Antioch is not going along with the Phanar and does not want a united autocephalous church here either

    Met. Phillip can speak rather frankly, what does he have to lose?

    That being said, he was a bit more frank in his assessment of his patriarch and synod than I would have imagined. Chalk him up as being in favor of the status quo.

    He said Constantinople and Antioch were hypocrites for not recognizing the OCA. However, he does not think an autocephalous American Church is feasible. And he would submit to the Patriarch of Constantinople if he moved his defacto see to New York or D.C. What in the world does all that mean?

    Anyway, I’m pretty sure it will all come to naught. When Met. Jonah gets tired of the Greeks referring to the “so-called OCA” and refers to the “so-called Ecumenical Patriarchate” it will all unravel quickly.

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      George Michalopulos says:

      Scott, I see your point, but let’s step back for a minute. Do we really want a united, autocephalous church? Yes. But we know that the EA is not the way to do it because it’s been coopted as a method to confound unity. Is SCOBA better? Of course not. But it’s canonical. It seems to me that if the old world is not serious about American independence, then we shouldn’t play along with them. I think that’s the crux of +Philip’s argument. And I agree.

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    Michael Bauman says:

    It would be nice if any of our ‘leaders’ being quoted said anything about praying together to receive the Holy Spirit and see what God has in mind wouldn’t it?

    Met. Philip knows how to stir the pot as a way of control that is all. Just because he says something that seems to be in line with what the outcome ‘should be’ doesnt mean he has any intention of doing anything other than protecting his own power. It is the wrong thing for the wrong reason.

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      Anna Hilling says:

      Praying for the Holy Spirit to reveal the will of God and to empower all concerned to open to His will and to do it with LOVE…
      What else could possibly matter or be effective?

      I am astonished that only one person has even suggested that Our God has a plan!

      Glorify Him!

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        Isa Almisry says:

        That’s a given for most of here. God helps those who help themselves.

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        Eliot Ryan says:

        We ought to be careful not to slip into pride and self-reliance. We can easily make an idol from our mind, an without noticing, we end up bowing down to it in many different ways every day.
        God resists (stands against) the proud, but gives grace (help, ability) to the humble.

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    Andrew says:

    Here is what I don’t quite get. The EP is in Moscow next week which is the same week as the EA. Now, I do have my suspicions that some Phanariot shenanigans are afoot. But consider this. When the EP goes on a high visibility trip. He usually takes a large entourage from America including Archbishop Demetrios. America does the heavy lifting for the Phanar after all. Reading past speeches and watching words my gut tells me the vast majority of EP documents and speeches are written in America or by Americans.

    But next week is the EA so a good number of those folks who would be in Moscow with the EP will be in New York at the EA. The EP it would appear is going to Moscow with a diminished staff. Who is the “best” of the entourage? Lambrinadis? Metropolitan Emmanuel? Zizoulas? If that is the case the EP is going to discussions with Moscow with a severly weakened position. He will have a staff with neither the political skill nor brainpower to counter anything Patriarch Kiril and his staff puts forward.

    Forgive my crude analogy but it seems in some ways that the EP is bringing a knife to a gun fight.

    And where is Met. Hilarion of Volokhmansk next week? New York or Moscow? I would hope the most skilled Metropolitan will be in New York at the EA.

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      George Michalopulos says:

      Andrew, a small correction if I may: while you are right that much of the intellectual heavy lifting in done for the EP here in America, I seriously doubt that it is Americans who are doing it. At best, it is resident aliens, naturalized Americans, or East Coast Greek-Americans who have little American identity who are the brain trust (so to speak). By way of anaology, think of the functionaries in the Obama Administration who embody the “post-American presidency.” People like that joker Michael Posner who apologized to the most murderous regime on earth for the recently passed Arizoa statute (which merely echoed national law).

      The whole “Green Patriarch” schtick is merely of a piece with this new globalism.

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    Isa Almisry says:

    I think that the Phanar had intended for the EA to have a domino effect: the one here is the last one to be held I believe. The idea would be that the bishops would be arranged in their ethnic enclaves with the EP’s colonial administrator in charge, one after another, until the North American one had the full force and the OCA was forced into submission to Moscow, so it could be dealt like an ethnarchy like the rest. I think the debacle in the Latin America over the Polish bishops deflected the joggernaut, and Met. Philip, if he says half of what he says here at the EA, will derail the rest.

    The problem is, this was the EP’s baby. His spokesmen talked it up. And now when it fails, now what? As much as Fr. Arey wants to portray it as a limited mission, there is really nothing that is going to stop it from becoming more, once the Phanar’s impotence is exposed. IIRC, Pat. Kyril invited the EP over at this time: was it to put him on the spot when the powder keg blew?

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Isa, Andrew, there is no doubt that the EP is going to be in a weakened position because of +Philip’s interview when he meets with the MP this week. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this.

    As much as I’ve criticized SCOBA over the years, I never questioned its canonicity. What +Philip did was not only derail the coup attempt by the Phanar by perpetrating what in military terms is a “spoiling action,” but served the North American bishops notice that he was preserving his options. Consider especially the indelicate (one could say grotesque) way that the interview ended, in which he mentioned “homosexuality and pederasty.” He was serving the GOA notice that he would not merge with them while some questions remain. The only way to read this was that it was a not-so-subtle shot across the bow of the present hierarchy of the GOA (+Demetrios excluded). (BTW, this principled anti-homosexual stance is de rigeur in ROCOR as well.)

    Let us develop this further. Last week I commented on the downward pressure on GOA clerical salaries that unification would cause. Now let’s look at it from the other side: why would any of the other jurisdictions want to assume the GOA’s multi-million dollar liabilities as manifested by the recent pedophilia scandals? Especially now that the OCA has solved all of the recent Kondratick unpleasantness (including the Koumentakos case, the removal of the two previous metropolitans, etc.) One could say that the OCA has a clean bill of health. As a member of the OCA, I for one would speak heavily against merger unless and until all the books of the GOA have been opened and subjected to an independent audit.

    Anyway, there’s more that can be said on this no doubt will be.

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      Michael Bauman says:

      George, I’m assuming you would have the same position with regard to a merger with the Antiochians?

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      Isa Almisry says:

      The bringing up of SCOBA is interesting, in that Met. Philip a while back had brought up the fact that the charimanship is supposed to rotate, something Met. Jonah has been giving voice to. I don’t think it is aimed at Arcb. Demetrios, rather at his liege in the Phanar, the same one who sent his mouthpiece here to state that the chairmanship of SCOBA was the canonical recognition of the Phanar’s canon 28 claims.

      Since officially now the EA isn’t supposed to replace SCOBA, maybe SCOBA is the vehicle to go with.

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        George Michalopulos says:

        That and the acquisition of testicular fortitude by the ethnic satraps who masquerade as bishops.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    No, from what I see, the AOCNA has pretty much a clean bill of health except for a retrograde ethnocentric faction of four parishes in the Toledo diocese (the IRS may take care of that problem). Michael, the operative word is “pretty much” a clean bill of health. The rot in the GOA goes far deeper, there is a significant homosexual subculture that is not in the process of being eradicated. This extends into the hierarchical level.

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      Michael Bauman says:

      George, I guess we’ll see when and if Met. Philip is translated into the next realm. There are certainly a number of Antiochians who are prone to disagree with you. However it looks as if the push for reform and accountability aroused by the demotion of the diocesan bishops has lost its energy. The status quo which has been expressed to me since I became Orthodox 23 years ago as, “wait until Met. Philip dies….” has re-established itself.

      Even if all of the money is in the right place, healing the emotional and spiritual wounds revealed by the personalitiy conflicts, ego machinations and pecking order divisions so much on display during Lent just a year ago will not be easy. The pot is still simmering though. Quite sad and such a horrible distraction.

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    Chris says:

    Interesting read. I’m not too sure how to take His Eminence’s stance on the EP+ moving to DC or New York as Patriarch. I assume he meant that His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah would assume that position?

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      George Michalopulos says:

      Chris, I believe that +Philip was restating a piece of advice made in good-faith years ago to the EP. I’m not sure it’s workable but at least it puts +Philip on the side of unity in the purest possible terms. But in reality, the American patriarch should be the Metropolitan of All-America and Canada (whomever holds that title).

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    P. H. Reardon says:

    God bless Metropolitan PHILIP! It is so good to see him again in strong form.

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      Michael Bauman says:

      Let me see, Met. Philip is a strong warrior when his personality and use of power are put toward something with which we agree, but he is a tryannt when the same type of actions are directed in a way we don’t like and he gets in our way.

      Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

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        Isa Almisry says:

        You can always use a two edged sword. You just have to exercise caution.

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          Michael Bauman says:

          First, Met. Philip’s approach is more akin to a bludgeon than a sword.

          Second: I agree with T.S. Eliot’s observation, to do the right deed for the wrong reason is the greatest treason.

          I either have to believe that Met. Philip is no longer acting out of self-interest and really has the interest of the Church and her communicants in mind OR realize that such an attitude from him at this stage would be nothing short of a miracle.

          As far as I can see, all he wants to do is torpedo the EA because he dosen’t like it. He dosen’t like it because, if successful, it would curtail his power.

          The incredible lack of humility in all of the the public statements saddens me–but that’s why we are still in the fix we are in. We often seem to be fancy dress protestants in our approach to our polity–each with our own private interpretation of the Church which we are prepared to defend with extensive ‘proof-texting’.

          God help us!

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            Scott Pennington says:

            I have to agree with Michael here. Notice how things would be better if the Phanar adopted his idea to move to America. Also, while much of what he said reflects reality, it is not a statement about reality which threatens his power in anyway. He doesn’t want the Church in America to be united and autocephalous – - his statements play into that. He doesn’t want the Church in America to be under Constantinople (unless Pat. Bartholomew moves here, which isn’t going to happen) – - and his statements play into that. Yes, he said it in a way as to thumb his nose at the Phanar, but if he’d made dispassionate statements amounting to the same thing, would anyone be shouting “Bravo!”:

            “I don’t believe it is feasible to have an autocephalous church in America. I don’t know why this Assembly was called and how it differs from SCOBA. I don’t believe that the American Church should be united under the Pat. of Constantinople unless he moves his see, defacto, to America.”

            That’s the relevant substance of what he said and, apart from style, it really has nothing in it to inspire anyone. He did use the word “hypocrisy” to describe the non-recognition of the OCA by Constantinople and Antioch. However, words are cheap. He too is a hypocrite if, having said that, he does not himself support the recognition of the OCA as autocephalous. Bear in mind that the logical consequence of this recognition is that all jurisdictions here in America would have to unite with the OCA or continue the hypocrisy.

            He hissed at the Phanar. So what?

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            Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

            Michael, you anger toward Met. Philip is bleeding through and it causes you to question his motives — something you or anyone else doesn’t really know anything about and which emotionalizes the topic to the point where the dispassionate facts get lost.

            Met. Philips statement is a direct rebuff of the project to disenfranchise the Ligonier Council. He’s the man with the authority to do it, and he is right in doing it. Don’t lose sight of that.

            BTW, he does not want to “torpedo the EA.” It’s quite the opposite. Read the interview again. He sees the authority resting in the synod, precisely where it is supposed to rest. Ligonier, in Met. Philip’s view (any many, including myself, agree), has canonical legitimacy because canonical bishops decreed it. He’s right. This is proper the foundation for all further talks on the American Orthodox Church.

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            Isa Almisry says:

            Never was an Eliot fan. Prefer Joseph. Genesis 50:20.

            I was extremely critical of Met. Phillip over the recent unpleasantness, perhaps more so because he has done a lot to further Orthodoxy in the New World, Orthodox unity and eventual autocephaly. Maybe that wasn’t in spite of his shortcomings, but because of them.

            His Beatitude has hit on the means of redireting the EA from its intended course, to the course it should go: rejection of “Diaspora” per Ligonier.

            He was not in a position to recognize the OCA at the time of the Tomos: he was the head of the faction that had sided with Antioch over the Russian Archdiocese in the fragmentation of that jurisdiction, a schism that was not healed until Met. Philip did so 5 years after the 1970 Tomos. That, and the Archdiocese Charter I presume had the same clause that the present one does, reserving Pan-Orthodox relations to Antioch. The new one that +Philip got, however, does have a clause about the Archdiocese being released for jurisdictional merger (but with Antioch still having the final say).

            Neither Arb. Demetrios nor Met. Jonah are in a position to say things people do not want to hear. Thank God Met. Philip has taken on that thankless task. I’m afraid you are not considering what a shot across the bow the mere mention of Ligonier and predicated the EA on it is, nor the stinging slap across the face the word “hypocrisy” as to the diptychs is to those who want to stand in the way of the united Autocephalous Church in North America.

            (Btw the way, I’ve decided to harp on a leitmotif, that the OCA change its name to OCNA Orthodox Church in North America).

            Btw, the GOA site is talking instead about the EP’s visit to Moscow, rather than the EA here. Typical. Does anyone know who said the diptychs at the pontifical DL, where the EP, PoM and the OCA rep. Archm. Zacchaeus concelebrated? Would be insteresting how they handled the reality of the OCA on the diptychs and the Phanar’s state of denial.

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            Scott Pennington says:

            Fr. Johannes, et al.,

            I’m just curious, what do you see as the canonical authority of Ligonier? It was not a council of the local American Orthodox Church. If there is a local American Orthodox Church it is the OCA. But the bishops of Ligonier were from a number of jurisdictions. Moreover, if they had wished to (read: had the courage) they could have simply broken their ties with the mother churches and merged with the OCA. They did not do so which means they continue to recognize the jurisdiction of their mother churches. Therefore, Ligonier was . . . nothing – - bishops from different jurisdictions who could have proclaimed themselves a synod (i.e. an autocephalous church), even spoke as if they wanted to, but foolishly relied on the mother churches to allow them to do so.

            Who do you think is going to change the status quo if it is going to be changed at all? Personally, I’m fine with the status quo jurisdictionally and certainly nothing Met. Phillip said suggests to me he has any intention whatsoever of breaking with the synod of Antioch. However, it seems to me that the only thing that can actually make news is if bishops begin defying their mother churches – - decisively.

            Other than that I would be interested to hear what concrete developments you think will come out of the EA and precisely which bishops, by name, would support what you want or think could occur. And please, no vacuous talk about “continuing Ligonier” or rejecting “diaspora” status. All of that is meaningless, indefinite semantics.

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            George Michalopulos says:

            Scott, Michael, I totally understand your anger towards +Philip and distrust, etc. as well. However, when all is said and done, his critique of Ligonier still stands (even if I do think his offer to the EP to relocate is questionable). Let’s not forget, Ligonier was a creature of canonical bishops. It has ecclesiastical standing. And even though it’s not honored in reality, it is still the reality. Every Orthodox bishop in America today, whether he signed it or not, has to abide by its findings or call for another council to repudiate it.

            If Ligonier has no force, then the bishops who authorized it were not canonical bishops. It’s that simple.

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            George Michalopulos says:

            If you don’t mind, I’d like to add the following historical comparison: We honor the fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, which restored the icons to the Church, but we forget that it was another hundred years before the state allowed its findings to take effect. In other words, Iconoclasm was ruled to be a heresy theologically speaking, but Byzantium continued to be ruled by iconoclastic emperors who ignored its findings and who were thus beholden to a heresy. (This raises an interesting question: were these emperors commemorated in the litanies of the Church?)

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            George Michalopulos says:

            Sorry for these incessant interruptions.

            Let us assume that +Philip wants to derail the EA thereby augmenting his power. Given that the EP did not even want the OCA invited (because his boy Lightbearer called it “barely canonical”), then why should the American Church plunge headlong into a unification that is nothing but subjugaation? The bad faith that he has displayed hither and yon since Ligonier is nothing less than breathtaking.

            As much as I’ve desired and worked for administrative unity in America, SCOBA with all its fecklessness was a better proposition than Balkanized ghetto-jurisdictions all under the EP. He has that now with his four eparchies here in the US. How’s that worked out as a recipe for success? These four jurisdictions (Ukr, ACROD, Albanian) have absolutely nothing to do with each other. When I talk to my friends and family in the GOA, they are completely unaware of their existence even.

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            Isa Almisry says:

            Balkanize: now that’s a term.

            Btw, Arcb. Demetrios’ speech is on the GOA site.

            Now for Ligonier, it was a meeting that included all the clergy of these lands, including the Autocephalous primate. That some of the other bishops did not recognize them doesn’t matter much for most, because at the time I believe they were titular bishops anyway. Their have been many, many, many Councils of a local Church where visiting bishops participated. That is the origin of the Standing Synod of Constantinople (canons had to be made to stop bishops from lagging about the capital to sit on it). They were not free to just jump ship to the OCA or form their own synod: you must be canonically released to be canonically received.

            That said, the autocephalous primate and his synod, per Apostolic canon 34, participated in a valid synod. As in any council, often the representative of senior patriarch is often invited to chair the synod. That is, for instance, how we know that canon III of Constantinople I was applied, as a synod a decade later in the capital had its archbishop preside, not the Pope of Alexandria nor the Patriarch of Antioch, both of whom were present. That is why the foreign patriarchs presided over the synods that elevated Moscow to a Patriarchate (it was already autocephalous), approve the Nikonian reforms, etc. The senior cleric by rank presides. That was also another reason why the EP did not go to Moscow for the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion between the PoM and ROCOR. If he had, he, and not Pat. Alexei would have presdied. I bring this all up, lest someone bring up that Arcbh. Iakovos of blessed memory, not Met. Theodosios presided over Ligonier.

            So we have a valid council, including the autocephalous primate and his synod, and all the resident/visiting canonical bishops making a conciliar decision. The OCA hasn’t repudiated it, and she alone has the competence to do so. So it stands. The fact that Arcb. Demetrios refers to it, despite the Phanar’s desire to cast it into oblivion, reveals where he wants things to go. If Met. Jonah is placed on the executive committee, the fate of the term “diaspora” is sealed and Ligonier will continue.

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            Scott Pennington says:

            “If Ligonier has no force, then the bishops who authorized it were not canonical bishops. It’s that simple.”

            No, it’s not that simple. A synod’s authority is limited to its canonical territory unless its decisions are recognized throughout the church. Did anyone at Ligonier think they were attending a synod of the OCA? Has it been referred to as such since then? Even if it were a synod of the OCA, how could it be binding on any synod besides the OCA when most of the other jurisdictions did not recognize the autocephaly of the OCA?

            If you want to suggest that Ligonier was a synod of the OCA, and the OCA’s bishops agree, then I guess that’s all fine and well. But at the end of the day you’re left with an OCA synod, with guests, stating that there should be an autocephalous church in America. The non-OCA bishops had no authority to speak for their synods. So we have OCA reaffirming its own existence. Heady stuff. So what more does that add? Did anyone doubt before Ligonier that the OCA was in favor of a united autocephalous church in America?

            It was not a valid synod of a local church (other than the OCA, maybe); i.e., being a synod composed of bishops of a local church, because the bishops present belonged to other jurisdictions. Nothing the non-OCA bishops stated or agreed to was binding in any way on anyone.

            Other than the OCA reaffirming its own existence and suggesting that other churches join it, what is the actual canonical significance, specifically, based on tradition? On what basis, assuming that the OCA claimed Ligonier as its synod, could it bind anyone else regarding anything? To be even more specific, unless the synods of Antioch, Constantinople, etc. authorized their representatives (their American bishops) to endorse an autocephalous church in America, how could the agreement of these non-OCA bishops bind even themselves? The question is moot, of course, since the non-OCA bishops were forced to repudiate their Ligonier statement. If they had refused to repudiate Ligonier, then we might be talking. That may have been tantamount to leaving their mother churches to merge with the OCA.

            It’s not about the non-OCA bishops at Ligonier not being “free” to move forward. As a number of commentors here have pointed out, autocephaly is more often taken than given. The fact is that the non-OCA bishops lacked the will to leave their mother churches against these mother churches’ will, ergo, at (doubtfully) best, Ligonier was a local council of the OCA, binding on no one else.

            And, truthfully, at the end of the day, invoking Ligonier seems to me not to be particularly useful anyway. First, because it was a failure. Second, the only thing that really matters is how many bishops today (and tomorrow, and the next day, etc.) are willing to break with their mother churches and merge with the OCA. Not how many were not willing in 1994. Since the mother churches (besides Moscow) are not willing to let their daughters go, the will of bishops to defect, against their vows, is the only real variable. The rest is hype and moving sideways. And really, just to take this to its logical conclusion, what would happen if even all of the Antiochian and Greek bishops defected to the OCA? Would there not be profoundly hostile property battles? Where would the laity go? Who would get the church property? If you want a preview, look at the Episcopal Church.

            PS: I’m not angry at Metropolitan Phillip as George suggests. I don’t have a lot of respect for him given his recent attempt to depose his bishops (which defacto may have been successful). I just sincerely don’t see that he said anything of any significance beyond emotional catharsis.

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            George Michalopulos says:

            Scott, you raise several interesting points, many which require great consideration, but if I may briefly say, theological and/or ecclesiological statements of the type made by the Ligonier confreres carry much canonical weight. The charisms of the office of the bishop reside in his person, it’s his duty to teach, preach, and ordain. He is as Cyprian of Carthage said an alter Christus (another Christ). That’s heady stuff. His judgment therefore is going to be more severe than that of a priest, deacon or layman. Ligonier was not just a walk in the park.

            That’s why many of us get vexed when we see our bishops at interfaith conferences, issuing vapid declarations about this, that or the other thing. That’s why The Manhattan Declaration was such a huge thing. Truth be told, I respect those bishops who for whatever reason felt that they couldn’t sign it (although I really respect those that did). In a backhanded way, the non-signing of it proves my point.

            I don’t want to get pedantic about it and please forgive any offense, but I just don’t see how any foreign synod (and this includes the Chambesy signatories) can “unring the bell” that was rung back in 1994. Perhaps only by admitting that their exarchs here in America weren’t canonical (which I don’t believe). And even for the sake of argument we believe the ethnic exarchs were uncanonical, that still leaves aside the question of the OCA bishops, who you yourself admit, had standing.

            Let’s follows this some more. Let’s admit that the foreign exarchs (+Iakovos, +Philip, etc.) had no standing, that they were merely titular bishops and/or auxiliaries. They would have to give account of their presence at Ligonier to their respective synods. Probably be taken to the eccliastical woodshed. They would be asked why there were there, in just the same way that that Romanian bishop was chastised about 2 years ago when he communed with RC bishops. In fact, something like this happened, when the EP forced the GOA bishops to rescind their signatures from the Ligonier Statement. If it was inconsequential and they had no canonical authority, then why this severe reprimand?

            This of course brings up several other questions, particularly how can one bishop force another bishop to disavow his actions?

            P.S. Scott, I didn’t think that you were angry at +Philip. For what it’s worth, I’ve had more than a few issues with him myself. Last year’s actions were particularly egregious. The only reason I’m defending him at present is because he’s stated the truth: that SCOBA was a conference of canonical Orthodox bishops and that it had standing. And in the interests of being logically consistent, I believe that the local EA meeting presently has all the “competency” it needs to go forward and do whatever it wants. This includes uphold Ligonier, repudiate Ligonier, declare autocephaly, or even disband their respective jurisidictions.

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            George Michalopulos says:

            P.S. Scott, I’m sorry, I did say you were “angry” towards +Philip. My bsd. Just for the record, the idea of the EP moving to DC is an execrable idea, I don’t care who makes it. And I’d say this if Photius the Great happened to be EP at present. If, after five generations (12 if we’re talking OCA) we don’t have enough native talent to raise up our own bishops, then we’d best fold up our tents and tents and go home.

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    Paul Stasson says:

    Met. Philip has been touting this since before 1970 yet, he has not taken serious action on his own. At the early meetings of SCOBA in 1961, it was decided to work toward an autocephalous Orthodox Church in N.Am. where all would join. They even chose the name: “Orthodox Church in America.” The idea was that all the ethnic bishops would compose a sobor choosing their own Metropolitan while ruling over their own dioceses. Well, Fr. Schmemann made this happen and in 1970 gave the gift of a canonical, indigenous, autocephalous church to America, the OCA. Both + Iakavos and + Philip reneged on joining the OCA. Easily they could have joined it taking most all their parishes with them. Yes, court suits would have been filed, but by today, 40 years later, we would have had a united, American church. From the very beginning of the OCA in 1970, the Pat. of Istanbul rejected it and proclaimed Canon 28 and other ridiculous arguments to reject the OCA. The Pat. of Istanbul ONLY wanted unity in N. Am. if it were under him. So, here we go with his try to put the entire world under himself with the Episcopal Assemblies – ridiculous. As + Jonah said in the Spring of 2009, “If we wanted to be under a Pope, we would have chosen the real one!”

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      George Michalopulos says:

      Paul, your assessment is overall correct, but re the “canon 28″ thing, +Athenagoras did not bring it up at that time. That little chestnutt was dusted off by the incumbent patriarch and thanks to Chambesy, has been finally laid to rest.

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    Michael Bauman says:

    Father Hans, I’ve gotten past my anger toward Met. Philip. He was put in a position and we allow him to remain in a position in which there is no concrete accountablity to anyone for anything. I appreciate what his drive, intelligence and dedication have produced. It is unlikely that I would be Orthodox were it not for the fruits of his labors. However, I also lament how much more it would have been, could still be if he were more conciliar in nature and actually worked with his bishops.

    He is a man with a character that does not easily play well with others it seems. He expects and even demands that his point of view carry the day–his idea of a ‘local synod’ is everybody voting his way. That always limits the success and growth of any organization once it reaches a certain point of growth. The force of his personality coupled with the grace of God has seemingly brought a great deal of growth to the Antiochian Archdiocese, but new leadership or a new leadership style will be required to capitalize on that growth, deepen it and realize it. The same can be said for all of the jurisdictions.

    Mostly I find it strange that people extravagently praise Met. Philip when they agree with him and extravagently condemn him when they don’t agree with him. IMO neither are warranted. Perhaps it’s the lawyer syndrome: people often decry the tactics of ‘pit bull’ lawyers until they need one, then he’s their pit bull and just fine thank you. The nature of the dog has not changed. When I first read his statments, I had to laugh because it is classic Met. Philip. Its kinda fun in a twisted sort of way. That does not make it right or productive.

    You are correct about one thing, I don’t trust his motives, but that is not the same as anger. In part I don’t trust his motives because of the contact I’ve had with the man, directly and indirectly. In part I don’t trust his motives because I’ve been conditioned not to. I’ve been Antiochian for 23 years. During the entire time the view I have gotten of the man from people who have far more direct knowledge than I do is one of fear and mistrust. I’ve been told repeately to “just wait, he’ll die soon, then things will be better”. Sort of reminds me of Fiddler on the Roof, “God bless and keep the Czar…..far away from us.” No wonder he would say at the convention, “I’ll die when I want to.” What else would a man of his personality and authority say when a lot of folks are apparently rooting for his death.

    That too is tragic and speaks of spiritual problems in the archdiocese that have never been addressed.

    Finally: to say that my post ‘emotionalizes’ the issue is really disingenuous. While I have a mistrust of most of our leaders when it comes to meetings such as this, apparently you do too. Most of the folks who post here do as well, especially if the leaders are Greek. Do you not think that the attitude of the majority of posts concering the Greek leaders and their motives are not ‘emotionalized’?

    Whatever the perceived reality of or the human motives behind the Episcopal Assembly, it could become an instrument of God if the bishops allow it to be; if we allow it to be. Met. Philip’s attitude will not help IMO–even if he is absolutely accurate in everything he says. Without genuine humility and seeking the Holy Spirit, the failure will occur. With it……………..

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    Scott asks:

    I’m just curious, what do you see as the canonical authority of Ligonier? It was not a council of the local American Orthodox Church. If there is a local American Orthodox Church it is the OCA. But the bishops of Ligonier were from a number of jurisdictions. Moreover, if they had wished to (read: had the courage) they could have simply broken their ties with the mother churches and merged with the OCA. They did not do so which means they continue to recognize the jurisdiction of their mother churches.

    The authority rests in the fact they are bishops of dioceses, not in the fact that they are bishops of particular jurisdictions. Their authority IOW, extends beyond their jurisdictional association which is why the decided it was proper to sign the Ligonier Declaration thereby rendering it canonically valid. Ironically, even the Patriarch of Constantinople affirmed this point (probably to its regret) by forcing the GOA bishops to rescind their signatures rather than dismiss the document as irrelevant. For this reason I think the document still has force.

    In the American situation of course the jurisdictional anomalies makes the execution of the document a very difficult and complex affair. Things get confused such as the origins of authority. Clearly the Bishops who signed drew their authority from their ordination as Bishops. OTOH, the other apologetic (expressed as authority is derived from one’s proximity Constantinople) also informs your conclusion that Ligonier is a failure since the Bishops did not immediately break ties with their Mother Churches. My view is that such a break would be rash and cause great harm to the Church. We have to be patient here. Much is at stake and the transition has to handled decently and in order.

    The Episcopal Assemblies then, in order to be fruitful (even if that fruit is a slow growth variety) must build on Ligonier, which I think is inevitable because it as a benchmark in the emerging narrative (the emerging self-identity) of American Orthodoxy. The horse is out of the barn even if it walks at a slow gait.

    Who do you think is going to change the status quo if it is going to be changed at all? Personally, I’m fine with the status quo jurisdictionally and certainly nothing Met. Phillip said suggests to me he has any intention whatsoever of breaking with the synod of Antioch. However, it seems to me that the only thing that can actually make news is if bishops begin defying their mother churches – – decisively.

    Breaking with the synod of Antioch at this point would probably be a foolish thing to do, and certainly if it were done just to prove a point. I’m not fine with the jurisdictional divisions at all (I think it casts a pall over the Church that suppresses its creativity) but I also recognize that things take time to change.

    Other than that I would be interested to hear what concrete developments you think will come out of the EA and precisely which bishops, by name, would support what you want or think could occur. And please, no vacuous talk about “continuing Ligonier” or rejecting “diaspora” status. All of that is meaningless, indefinite semantics.

    I’ve never really bought the idea that words are just “semantics.” Words are either true or a lie. Yes, lots of words are wasted, but this discussion is not a wasteful one. So, despite your objection to “vacuous talk about ‘continuing Ligonier’ or rejecting ‘diaspora’ status” I think that these ideas are critical in supporting (Ligonier) and dispersing (diaspora) ideas that form American Orthodox self-identity. It is the development of that identity that will make the political actions (the ones you are impatient about) possible. And, when unity happens, it will probably happen very quickly.

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      Scott Pennington says:

      Fr. Johannes,

      Whether the churches in America are called diaspora or not does not change the jurisdictional or canonical situation. Therefore, we’re talking about the various subjective emotional reactions that the word elicits from different people. That seems to me to be semantics. As far as “continuing Ligonier” is concerned, what more needs to be “continued” than pressing the mother churches to recognize American autocephaly? How is that “continued” by the EA? It all has the air of “spirit of Vatican II” talk in the RCC which means whatever you want it to mean but objectively means nothing.

      Respectfully, I do understand that a bishop has inherent authority. It is also true that a local synod of an autocephalous church has authority within its own jurisdiction, and more widely if it is recognized by the whole Church. Moreover, bishops in surrounding dioceses can have authority over another bishop if that bishop is being tried for some offense.

      You all are assuming what is to be proved. If the OCA is autocephalous then Ligonier was unnecessary since all other jurisdictions have a canonical obligation to merge with it or exit. If it is not an autocephalous church then Ligonier was meaningless. The question is not whether an individual bishop has authority. The question is when does a gathering of bishops constitute a canonical synod. What type of a synod is a gathering of a limited number of bishops from several disparate jurisdictions? Precisely what authority to bind, based on tradition, does such a synod have? If you’re suggesting that the non-OCA bishops had the authority to bind the sees of Antioch, Constantinople, etc. to recognizing an autocephalous American Church, absent having been authorized in advance to do so, then what is your reasoning based on tradition? Perhaps Isa could help us out here.

      I would be interested to know.

      It seems to me that the Phanar insisted on its bishops repudiating Ligonier because it was seen as an act of abandoning Constantinople. If a bishop cannot repudiate such statements then some of us must still be under the Council of Florence.

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        Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

        You all are assuming what is to be proved.

        In a way, yes. It’s more an analysis of the factors that lead to policy, rather than an analysis of policy itself which, as you indicate, is still undetermined.

        The question is not whether an individual bishop has authority. The question is when does a gathering of bishops constitute a canonical synod. What type of a synod is a gathering of a limited number of bishops from several disparate jurisdictions?

        Sure, this is a given. I don’t think the question has a ready-made answer however. It will be answered alongside and with the emergence of American Orthodox self-identity. No outside authority can answer it for us. Moreover, even if one were imposed by foreign patriarchates, I doubt if it even could “stick.”

        Thus, I don’t see the lack of a specific answer as debilitating or a cause of frustration. Rather, I think working out these problems and emerging as an American Church work hand in hand.

        Take off your lawyer’s hat for a moment. This can’t be resolved by an imperial or legal decree. This has more to do with the internalizing of a tradition by a people who, in internalizing it, also shape it to fit their circumstances thus creating cultural expressions of the faith — Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Romanian Orthodox, and now American Orthodox. That’s the process I am talking about.

        It seems to me that the Phanar insisted on its bishops repudiating Ligonier because it was seen as an act of abandoning Constantinople.

        No doubt. But in doing so, the canonical force of the Ligonier document was inadvertently affirmed. “Force” is the important term here. It’s vague and imprecise, but only because it describes an ecclesiological reality that precedes and underlies legal precision and certainties. I’m arguing in other words, that a unity pre-exists and underlies the jurisdictional divisions not in theory, but in reality, and that this reality conforms to Orthodox tradition although it has yet to find the proper canonical expression in the American context. SCOBA and the EA’s are merely vehicles by which this unity is being worked out within the anomalies. Ligonier, however, as a conciliar decree, was a document the gave us the glimpse at that underlying ecclesiological reality and brought it into view.

        There’s also potential irony here. Constantinople, in spite of assertions of universal supremacy, set the American Church to independence through one of its sons. People a century from now might see Abp. Iakovos and Met. Philip as the early architects of American church, continuing the tradition of mission started by the Alaskan missionaries.

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          Harry Coin says:

          Who knows who Philip is when it makes a difference? We’ve seen he can serve up in speech exactly what motivates people here when the cameras are rolling. When the tire meets the street in meetings where decisions are taken, we later saw, well, other, choices.

          He once famously criticized Archbishop Iakovos for ‘blinking’ at Ligonier. But then why isn’t Charles Ajalat still chancellor?

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        Isa Almisry says:

        You all are assuming what is to be proved. If the OCA is autocephalous then Ligonier was unnecessary since all other jurisdictions have a canonical obligation to merge with it or exit. If it is not an autocephalous church then Ligonier was meaningless. The question is not whether an individual bishop has authority. The question is when does a gathering of bishops constitute a canonical synod. What type of a synod is a gathering of a limited number of bishops from several disparate jurisdictions? Precisely what authority to bind, based on tradition, does such a synod have? If you’re suggesting that the non-OCA bishops had the authority to bind the sees of Antioch, Constantinople, etc. to recognizing an autocephalous American Church, absent having been authorized in advance to do so, then what is your reasoning based on tradition? Perhaps Isa could help us out here.

        Sorry, didn’t see this earlier.

        I’m already beginning to shift through this on OC.net. I already know where it is going, but for an argument like this, I want to go bit by bit, and hopefully get (and answer criticsm as we go along). But to give you an idea in partial answer to your question: there are plenty of canons that require the bishops of a land to meet biannually, starting with Apostolic Canon 37: “Twice a year let a council of bishops be held, and let them examine one another in regard to dogmas of piety, and let incidental ecclesiastical contradictions be eliminated: the first one, in the fourth week of Pentecost, the second one, on the twelfth of Hyperberetaeus.” Do all Churches have a council of bishops twice every year? No, the other canons make that clear and go over the reasons for not etc. Now, do the canons invalidate a local Church whose bishops do not meet twice a year? No. But what the canons do is empower and authorize bishops of a “province” (the term usually used in these canons) to meet in council to “examine one another in regard to dogmas of piety and let incidental eccelsiastical contradictions be eliminated.” The right of the OCA to act in North America is a given (if its autocephaly is accepted). However, the right and duty of the other bishops to meet in this province (i.e. the other jurisdictons) to “eliminate incidetal ecclesiastical contradictions” is also a given, given the canons. It doesn’t depend on the OCA’s autocephaly or the “Mother Churches” authorization, because if the Mother Church is negligent in her duty to “eliminate incidental ecclesistical contradictions,” the bishops of this province are not bound by this negligence.

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          George Michalopulos says:

          Isa, great point. If I may add, the other bishops do not have a mandatory duty to merge with the OCA at present as even the OCA’s tomos of autocephaly does not invalidate their canonicity. I.E., the tomos did not state that the other jurisdictions were not valid and that the OCA’s duty was to engage them until such a point that a complete merger could take place.

          I guess this means that the current EA just concluded is canonical since it was attended by canonical bishops. If so however, then all previous episcopals assemblies were canonical as well, this includes Ligonier.

          If I may offer a prediction, and provided that all other things being equal, when the history of the American Orthodox Church is written, Ligonier will be viewed as the First Continental Congress, which in its own day was the legitimate body that governed the United States. It declared independence from Britain, raised an Army and Navy, treated with foreign countries, minted money, etc.

          It’s too soon to say what this Episcopal Assembly will be compared to. I hope the Constitutional Convention which codified the laws that would govern the new nation, maintain the standing Army, and ensure the debts that were raised to fight the war. Time will tell.

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            Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

            I guess this means that the current EA just concluded is canonical since it was attended by canonical bishops. If so however, then all previous episcopals assemblies were canonical as well, this includes Ligonier.

            Yes. The authority lies in the fact canonical bishops comprised the assembly. The authority was not conferred by a “Mother Church” even though the mother churches were instrumental in calling it.

            This, as you say, makes Ligonier a legitimate synod. It also renders Constantinople’s interference (in maneuvering not to seat Met. Jonah) as illegitimate and entirely out of place. Constantinople has no authority over the synod of American bishops and Abp. Demetrios’ refusal to brook the interference was both honorable and canonically proper.

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            George Michalopulos says:

            I just realized I made a mistake. It was the Second Continental Congress which declared independence and thence, nationhood.

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    Michael asks:

    Finally: to say that my post ‘emotionalizes’ the issue is really disingenuous. While I have a mistrust of most of our leaders when it comes to meetings such as this, apparently you do too. Most of the folks who post here do as well, especially if the leaders are Greek. Do you not think that the attitude of the majority of posts concering the Greek leaders and their motives are not ‘emotionalized’?

    I didn’t say that. I said:

    Michael, you anger toward Met. Philip is bleeding through and it causes you to question his motives — something you or anyone else doesn’t really know anything about and which emotionalizes the topic to the point where the dispassionate facts get lost.

    I’m interested in the dispassionate facts rather than reports on whether or not this is that person likes this or that Bishop. And no, I do not think that the discussions are emotionalized — strongly held perhaps, but not emotionalized.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    If I may add, it’s way to early to say that Ligonier was a “failure.” Remember, once C’pole achieved its autocephaly, its bishops were Arian heretics. Also the patriarchate of Moscow was suppressed for over 2 centuries. Things move slowly in the Church.

    BTW, I read +Demetrios’ opening remarks. Quite remarkable and sober. Especially towards the last page or so when he talks about the liturgical and canonical variances that exist and how it’s going to be very diffircult to reconcile them. If nothing else, I saw no goarch triumphalism but serious consideration of extremely serious matters.

Care to comment?

*