Keep your eye on the prize

By George E. Matsoukas, Executive Director of Orthodox Christian Laity

To all constant bloggers, ecclesiastical colonialists, ecclesiastical bureaucrats, enablers of foreign domination — i.e. journalists, lobbyists, and other special interest groups dedicated to keeping the church in disunity, disorder and dependent — I say: KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE PRIZE that Christ’s Orthodox Christian Church would be free to become the Church in the Americas. 

The real heroes bringing integrity to the Chambesy process and meaning to the Episcopal Assembly are Archbishop Demetrios and His Beatitude Jonah.  Archbishop Demetrios is a man of prayer, who personifies the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.  He is wise and worthy to convene the Assembly of Bishops.  

So too is His Beatitude Jonah, who was born and nurtured in America and not a prisoner of Old World History and the Roman Empire, and free of foreign domination.  He is an example of the servant Bishop and through humility brought the bishops of the OCA to the discussion as canonical bishops. 

Archbishop Demetrios and His Beatitude Jonah, by their example of love by giving something up for the greater good, have made the assembly representative of the Bishops of America so that the first steps can be taken to develop the blueprint for a unified multicultural Orthodox Church in the Americas. 

We must remember whatever is decided must be accepted by the People of God who so far are not part of the process which is just beginning.  Renewal of the Church is the work of all the People of God especially in our pluralistic world that is free of kings and emperors.  

So for all of this to come together we must pray together that the Holy Spirit fills the meeting rooms of the bishops with the Light  so that the integrity of the Chambesy process is revealed to all of the People of God.  If there is no integrity in the process of developing the blueprint the  consequences will be far reaching and far lasting.  

George E. Matsoukas   


  1. George Michalopulos :

    That being said, the words of +Philip are not without merit. Where were the people of God –the Royal Priesthood–at Chambesy? Why were none of the “diaspora” bishops there? Is it because they are not canonical? I believe this in fact is the elephant in the room that some people are resolutely trying to ignore. Where in fact was Christ in the Chambesy protocols? Contrast these documents with the original Ligonier Statement. The divergence is stunning.

  2. Isa Almisry :

    The fact that one of the above mentioned men of prayer (actually both) had nothing to do with Chambesy, but were shut out, means we are not bound by them, should the powers that be in the world act against Christ’s Church.

    • George Michalopulos :

      Well said, Isa. When the history of the Americna Orthodox Church is written in the final analysis, the people of God then reading it will why supposedly canonical bishops in North America were left out of the process. They will probably come to unsettling conclusions about the character of the men in charge.

  3. Scott Pennington :

    The problem is that the parameters laid out by Chambesy restrict the EA to being, as Met. Phillip and a number of those on this site have commented, SCOBA II. All the EA has power to do is make recommendations to some future Great Synod. Since, we would hope, the agenda of a Great Synod would include something regarding the Orthodox presence outside traditionally Orthodox lands, it’s not clear that the EA in fact is anything other than a redux of SCOBA. I mean, the bishops at the EA would presumably attend a Great Synod and could present their recommendations there anyway, right? Could not SCOBA study the situation in preparation for the Great Synod?

    What this means is that for the EA to actually bear any fruit whatsoever; i.e., for it to have any relevance at all, it would need to be taken over by pro-autocephaly bishops and “exceed the breadth of its portfolio”.

    Now, I’m not a cheerleader for a united autocephalous church in America. But if I were, I wouldn’t get too excited about the EA. I’m trying to imagine a situation where any but a very few bishops outside the OCA (maybe a couple from the AOCNA) would push for united autocephaly. I doubt any of the Greeks would. Most of the Antiochians would not. There are parallel jurisdictions among some of the Slavs and Romanians (one in OCA, one under the national Patriarch). We know the Romanians aren’t interested and any of the non-OCA, Slavic jurisdictions wouldn’t need an EA to merge with their OCA counterparts if they wished. Even ROCOR, in all likelihood, would proceed outside the frame of the EA if it wished to merge with the OCA.

    Now, what is equally clear to me is that GOARCH will find itself alone in any enthusiasm regarding forging jurisdictional unity under Constantinople. Few if any of the bishops of the other jurisdictions here or their patriarchs and synods would climb on board that bus.

    So . . . I’m at a loss as to what can result from this EA. Met. Phillip seems to be as well. I once remarked that the purpose – – the entire purpose – – of having this EA, at least from Constantinople’s standpoint, was to give the appearance of forward movement while simply moving sideways.

    I would encourage those here and those writing the cheerleading articles for united autocephaly or about the profound significance of the EA to calm themselves and try to imagine a practical scenario that would yield any real news from this process. I’m not sure the EA even has the potential to do anything of significance.

    • Or, as I like to say: motion masquerading as progress.

      … to give the appearance of forward movement while simply moving sideways.

    • George Michalopulos :

      Scott, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Speaking as a “cheerleader for unity” myself, I don’t believe in unity for the sake of unity. Jesus in the High Priestly prayer prayed that his disciples might “be as one” as a manifestation of their love for one another, even as “he and his Father were one.” True unity will proceed because the Orthodox people in the various naitions (not “regions”) wish to overcomee their differences and come together in a spirit of unity and love. And not because of fear of some chimeral “great and holy synod” which will “impose” a structure upon them. What a terribly unChristian terminology that is being used to frighten the people of God into “unity.” (Especially when we know that many of these patriarchates want nothing of the kind. Woe.)

  4. Scott,

    Agreed. – or as I said the other day, if they are not going to continue the work of the first American Council of Orthodox bishops, Ligonier, they should all stay home and give the money to the poor.

    And Greg – re: motion masquerading as progress. I’m just plain stealing that one…!!!

    Best Regards,

  5. Scott Pennington :


    I like that too, “motion masquerading as progress”.

    Dean, yeah, it may well be a waste of money.

    George, I wasn’t denigrating the “cheerleaders for unity”, just suggesting caution. It’s a matter of good faith divergence, I believe, as to how best to proceed. Some want unity soon, to others like myself praxis is a greater concern. Regardless, God will lead us where He wants us to go in His own good time.

    • George Michalopulos :

      Scott, I know you weren’t. Your post gave me a chance to clarify my own position, that’s all.

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