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 Patriarchate and the other autocephalous Orthodox Churches.
In the same article, Fr. FitzGerald notes:
Viewed from the perspective of Orthodox ecclesiology, the proliferation of parallel and often competing jurisdictions on the same geographical territory is a serious anomaly. The establishment of “ethnic” and even “political” dioceses rather than territorial dioceses may have served the short-term needs of the immigrants. However, the ecclesiastical requirements for canonical order, integrity, and the unity of the episcopacy in a given region were sacrificed. This led to an undue emphasis upon a policy of “congregationalism” which is alien to Orthodoxy, and to an attitude of phyletism, both of which have greatly diminished the mission and salutary message of the Orthodox Church in the United States until very recently.