Episcopal Assembly Executive Board at Holy Patriarchate of Constantinople

Source: St. Andrew House Forum

“Meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew had Tuesday afternoon members of the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of America Hierarchs led by Archbishop Demetrios of America, chairman of Synelefeseos. The meeting was attended by Vice President of the Assembly, Russian Archbishop Narofominsk Justinian, Archbishop Antony of Hierapolis of Ukrainian Diaspora (treasurer), Bishop Basil of the Antiochian Orthodox Church of America, based in Wichita, Kansas. The Assembly of the Orthodox Hierarchs of America was constituted and met for the first time last May in New York. The first meeting attended fifty-five bishops who minister to Orthodox Christians of various nationalities in the New World.”


  1. The Assembly of the Orthodox Hierarchs of America was constituted and met for the first time last May in New York. The first meeting attended {by} fifty-five bishops who minister to Orthodox Christians of various nationalities in the New World.

    So, no Church at all, just a bunch of rag-tag immigrants? Certainly nothing that would lead one to suspect that there is even any interest in have the Church united, vibrant and strong in the “new world” Lord where is Columbus when you need him.

    • George Michalopulos :

      Michael, your observation leads me to say to all those who had a “gee whiz!” attitude about these EAs to say: “I told you so!” But I will refrain from such gloating, because in the end, we’re all the losers, aren’t we?

  2. Michael,

    I thought it was particularly ironic that the story was really broken by the website of the DECR Moscow patriarchate! See http://www.mospat.ru/en/2010/09/22/news26774/

    Think of that for a minute…the home of Pravda, informing the Americans about a meeting in Istanbul concerning their American Church.

    Wow…”who’s on first? third base!”

    Best Regards,

  3. Anyone read Drezhlo’s gloat over this yet?
    I have to say that this summer, heck this last year, has left me completely deflated about prospects for a functional Orthodoxy in America. Let alone all pretensions toward unity; simple functionality seems to be out of reach. Sorry, that’s just what I get from all this.

    • George Michalopulos :

      Fr, can you point me to Drezhlo? Never heard of him. You and Dean are both right: the EA is Son of SCOBA, now it’s up to the OCA to continue righting its ship. It is the Orthodox Church of America and not only will half of the AOA “beat a path to its door” but a significant number of GOA as well (at least those that don’t by into the “All-holiness” type of cultishness).

    • Barb D had been unusually quiet. Nothing on her site on it yet (I suspect I’ve seen her elsewhere).

  4. Dear Fr. John,

    Don’t despair. God is just getting warmed up. Read Fr. Ted Bobosh’s article…he got it right. That’s the path the OCA needs to take.

    All they have to do is present a workable Local Church and half of the AOCA will beat a path to his door at this point.

    Meanwhile, the EA was 120 days ago…no website, no information, and secret meetings in Istanbul.

    Wouldn’t hold my breath for those folks.

    best regards,

    PS and stop reading that Drezhlo stuff…at least not while sober!

    • Dean, you are correct on many levels. I would like to toss out this question for our readers.

      If an comprehensive pro-life/anti-abortion epistle was placed before the Episcopal Assembly what percentage of the bishops would sign this letter?

      If a pro-marriage/pro-chastity epistle was placed before the Episcopal Assembly what percentage of the bishops would sign this letter?

      That being said I am of the belief that real pressure has to be placed on the EA for complete transparency. The proceedings of each EA should be broadcast and taped. Budgets and working documents should be made readily available. There is no canonical, moral or spiritual reason for secrecy. Let America see how her bishops work.

      • George Michalopulos :

        Andrew, you raise an interesting pastoral point about the EAs which I haven’t considered but must be. If nothing else, the inability and unwillingness of the EA even broaching these subjects in council shows the unseriousness of this body’s origin. And hence its eventual and inevitable obsolescence.

  5. So dogs are barking at the moon. So, what’s new? The caravan moves on.

    I’m not sure, why all the pessimism?

    It’s been a while, and after SCOBA’s alleged abolishment, the website is still up. Where is the EA’s?

    Something in HAH’s opening remarks caught my eye:

    “The unity of our Orthodox Church does not depend on any centralized or external authority that can impose anys decision.”

    I don’t for a moment think that HAH has changed his opinion on his authority, but, besides the other prattle we have been hearing for decades, this off hand admission is a genie of reality he wouldn’t have wanted out of the bottle.

    I’m waiting to see those “Patriarchal Letters,” to see what the Phanar means by consensus. We are still waiting for its exarch in Australia to call a EA for “Australia, New Zealand and Oceania.”

    In the meantime, the EP has a catch 22 on his hands in North America. According to Chambesy:

    Article 1.

    1. All Orthodox Bishops of each region, from those regions defined by the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference, who are in canonical communion with all the local Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, form each Episcopal Assembly.

    Article 6.

    1. The Episcopal Assembly receives and records the election of Bishops of the Region, and their reference to the most holy autocephalous Orthodox Churches.

    2. It examines and determines the canonical status of local communities in the Region that have no reference to the most holy autocephalous Orthodox Churches.

    3. It must record every decision relating to clerics promulgated by their bishops, in order that this decision is applied among all the Orthodox Churches in the Region.

    IIRC, the EA here accepted the OCA bishops as canonical, although Chambesy decision says

    2. a) This Conference proposes that, for the transitional period where the canonical solution of the issue will be prepared, “Episcopal Assemblies” of all canonically recognized bishops in each region should be created (or founded) in each of the regions defined below. The bishops will continue to be subject to the same canonical jurisdictions to which they are subject today.b) These Assemblies will consist of all the bishops in each region who are in canonical communion with all of the most holy Orthodox Churches, and will be chaired by the first among the prelates of the Church of Constantinople and, in the absence of thereof, in accordance with the order of the Diptychs. These Assemblies will have an Executive Committee composed of the first hierarchs of the different jurisdictions that exist in the region.

    The legal fiction that the Phanar was depending on, no doubt, was that Met. Jonah has his Holy Synod is subject to the Patriarchate of Moscow. The EA here made its list of canonical Orthodox bishops, and including the OCA as bishops on it, thereby thereby examining and determining the canonical status of the OCA,having “no reference to the most holy autocephalous Orthodox Churches” (i.e. autocephalous with the plurality, but not all, of the other autocephalous Churches), and found it canonical. This would be among the “tremendous effort and parrallel success” over which HAH was expressing his “our sincere pleasure and paternal satisfaction.”

    But the catch is that the OCA, although accepted and seated as Orthodox bishops, were not among the Russian delegation, as it would have to be if it were being found canonical on that basis. Further, Abp. Justinian took his place as vice-president of the EA and the Phanar here has welcomed his grace as such. The problem, however, is that if the EA was to adopt the idea that the OCA is part of the Russian Church, then, according to the Russia Statute and the Tomos of Autocephaly, Met. Jonah outranks Abp. Justinian (a fact Abp. Justinian points out by commemorating Met. Jonah at every DL), and as such, would be vice-president.

    So Met. Jonah, cannot be a member of the Russian Church (or he would be vice-president of the EA) but he cannot be non-canonical either (or he and the rest of the Holy Synod of the OCA wouldn’t be in the EA at all).

    So the EA was a little pregnant with the OCA back in May. It’s now going into the fifth month and will begin to show (something I think behind this meeting and the one at St. Vlad’s that preceeded it). The due date is approaching, and pretty soon they won’t be able to abort without killing Mother Church EA in the process, if that point hasn’t been passed already.

    • George Michalopulos :

      Isa, I know you’re not a lawyer, but if ever I’m on trial for something serious, I want you representing me. Fantastic analysis! If nothing else, it shows the vapidity of the entire Chambesy process, or as I’ve been saying lo these many months, the complete lack of good faith in the process that set up the EAs in the first place. (Perhaps we could start a ticker on this website entitled: “Days since EA’s first accomplishment”?

  6. Isa,

    Also, take a look at the coverage of the recent Patriarch Theodoros visit to Moscow and see what you think. It is at http://www.mospat.ru/en/2010/09/07/news25530/

    Do you notice a difference in tone between the coverage of “His Beatitude Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria” and the “Patriarch of Constantinople” from the same DECR site just weeks ago?

    I’m beginning to wonder if the shutting down of Chambesy – first of many budget enforced changes for the EP (the Greek govt has always been the #1 supporter) isn’t going to force some long overdue realism on the EP.

    Here’s another one – this article http://www.jp-newsgate.net/en/2010/08/01/910/ reports that there are 50,000 Orthodox Russians now living in Israel due to immigration. This population dwarfs the members of the Jerusalem patriarchate. Could this (also Greek) patriarchate be next on the MP’s hit list?

    I’m beginning to think there is a worldwide “press” on the Greeks by the MP – now seeking to take his rightful place as the real “first among equals”.

    What do you think?

    Best Regards,

    PS My apologies if I’m beginning to sound like Drezhlo

    • LOL. Well, I have to agree, although it sounds like Barb D: the tone is more respectful of Pope Theodoros than EP (or rather Patriarch, as he is refered in the Russian sources) Bartholomew.

      I think that the EP’s time for using Chambesy to bring in the canon 28 myth has passed. HAH is going to try harder, but present reality is going to press even harder.

      Unrest in Ukraine and mistrust in Romania is going to prevent Moscow from replacing Constantinople. At least as long as they hold oto the Phanar.

      Jerusalem is long overdue to follow the same path as Antioch took a century ago. Pat. Theophilos saying “it is a matter of time” is the first time I have seen that admission from the Phanariots. I wonder if he will renig on on the deal with GOARCH, since the Greek gov’t won’t be greasing the wheels.

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