Harry Coin: Wag the Dog

By Harry Coin

How much grand significance and control is due the old world churches? Consider these few arial photography offerings by the BCC offering a unique perspective by superimposing the old world places aiming to direct the future of Orthodoxy …onto …. well … see for yourself (link opens new tab):

Rome’s boundaries laid over Duluth, Minnesota:

How big really? Rome over Duluth, Minnesota

Constantinople’s boundaries laid over Bettendorf, Iowa:

How big really? Constantinople over Bettendorf, Iowa

Alexandria’s boundaries laid over Dallas, Texas. Well, if putting one blanket on the beach can be called ‘laid over’:

How big really? Alexandria over Dallas, Texas

Seriously people. Foreign controlled churches or ‘episcopal assemblies’? Doing that will lead to our growth, why?

The mayor of Minneapolis has more people to oversee than the above ever had in a good century– combined.

Wakey Wakey, as they say in England.


  1. Geo Michalopulos :

    Perspective is a great clarifyer. Thanks for the research!

  2. Scott Pennington :

    Very nice, Harry. Love the picture of the dogs too.

    • As I was exploring this BBC offering, the astounding disconnect visually explodes our present Orthodox situation in the USA. Can’t take credit for the BBC’s work or that apropos picture, though. What a pickle we are in here. Talk about truth being stranger than fiction. Nobody could have made our situation up. We have to take some action here right soon or we are headed for either cult-dom or extinction as those who stay for ethnic origin reasons age and pass on.

  3. I’m not sure how “quality of leadership” can be extrapolated from “size of the city one lives in”. The fact that some of these ancient cities ruled the known world in their day says “size does not matter” either in politics nor religion. By this logic Moses, David, etc. were losers and incompetent to rule, Jesus as a religious leader is not worthy of a listen, etc. etc. Sorry Harry, it looks like a non-sequitur to me.

    • Well, I see more of a difference between comparing chosen of God Moses and His son Christ with church administration 2,000 years later, as you suggest on the one hand, and church administration from oceans away drawing from a talent pool in cities that almost, but not quite cover a small Iowa town, not even close to a smallish Minnesota town, and not even cover the downtown area of one of dozens of the larger US cities.

      • Hi Harry, I guess I don’t see Church administration as equivalent to secular governmental resumes based on population census. By your reasoning Obama (and we all know what most AOI folks think of Obama) would be an administrative godsend and genius. Size and political system has not shown itself to be a precursor to competence in government nor a prophylactic against corruption. I’m not trying to be snarky, the implied logic just doesn’t work for me. But that’s just me.

        • Steve, I struggle to tie the equivalency you don’t see to the message in the map overlays. Here we see our Orthodox activity in the USA, having operated for a century, operating as if we think giving a very few folk overseas authority over us will lead to a better result here on the basis they overseas are the remnants of grand towns with long and productive Orthodox histories. As if they themselves are that old and therefore somehow wise. This is an example of ‘drinking the kool-aid’ writ large. Here the maps show, the entire bunch of them, lock, stock and barrel, wouldn’t add up to the tiniest fraction of our local resources. Looking there for growth and leadership is not part of Orthodox Tradition and will not work out at all well for us. Some there will gain money for a while in exchange for offering career protections to those here whose record of arranging matters to lead to growth these many decades we presently see.

          Those who think overseas control by a strong authority in a military style hierarchy is a good thing are already Roman/Vatican Catholics.

          How’s that been working out lately? Plainly the vast preponderance of the news and sorry legal and criminal events demonstrate their problems exist both at the parish and administration level that we see mostly at the administration level. Looking for the common element there, and noticing it didn’t happen so much earlier in the 1900’s the question comes, what changed? Why now?

          I’ve written about that before, careful studies anyone can check show plainly a thing has happened that never before in human history happened: everyone is living on balance four times longer and women don’t die in childbirth anymore, so widowers who became priests and bishops no longer exist. Therefore keeping the rule that prevented the creation of clergy orphans and widows in those days has led to the result we presently see. What that rule in those times aimed to preserve in our time is threatening us quite seriously. It is causing clergy to not be expected to model a Christian life, but merely to be administrators of the rules that keep them in a secure career position. As if being clergy is an award you get for good church attendance and a passable voice. What do you think a good plan is?

        • Hang in there, Steve. You’re are not alone in thinking the logic here is a bit off. For me, this talk of Duluth over Rome, Dallas over Alexandria just brings to mind an old nugget from Weber about the American spirit: “Specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of, civilization never before achieved.” There are arguments for ending the jurisdictional divide in Orthodox America. This is not one of them. On a lighter note, here’s a fun place to compare and contrast lifestyle by country.

  4. Harry,

    Whether your comparison is completely valid or not, this points out the astonishing talent which is in this Church, which anyone else would have figured out how to harness by now. You continue to amaze me.

    Meanwhile, the website of the Episcopal Assembly (http://www.episcopalassembly.org/), which we are undoubtedly paying for, is down. LOL

    Keep the faith…because the Church “lives” out here…in us!

    Best Regards

    • Geo Michalopulos :

      Dean, for what it’s worth, Stokoe reports rumblings that the entire EA process is in danger of collapse because both Moscow and Damascus are more than a little disappointed. Seems like they figured out that Istanbul wasn’t acting in good faith. If they had given one of a call we could have told them that and saved them the time and money. I’d have even taken a collect call.

  5. As events in Astoria unfold, it may be difficult for 79th Street to find donors to fund the continued operation of the episcopal assembly when the possibility of big payouts to possible abuse victims looms large. You can only dial for so many dollars.

  6. Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

    It raises very serious problems of moral credibility as well.

    • Fr. Hans writes: ‘Moral Credibility’. What’s the opposite of that? I’m thinking ‘Actor’ or ‘acting as if’. The Greeks have a word for that.

      • Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

        There must be some word in English too but I can’t think of a noun, only a verb describing the action of someone towards the actor that lost their credibility.

        I’m thinking of the Episcopalians here. Someone who has lost their moral credibility is called a ______________. Pejorative are easy (dunce, fool, poseur, etc.). Is there any non-pejorative that works?

        • Licensee? Begs the question of what required a license beyond the perimeter of ‘normal’, by whence came such a license (answer: look in the mirror), etc.

Care to Comment?