OCL Laments “Few tangible results” at Episcopal Assembly

Source: Orthodox Christian Laity

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Rev. 3:16-17,

The tone of the meeting was polite. The meeting had the feeling of a classroom. The Professor directed the class, and the students sat quietly and listened. The meeting was organized and tightly controlled. Formal addresses were presented by Archbishop Demetrios (GOA), Metropolitan Philip (AOCA) and Archbishop Justinian (MP). To his credit, Archbishop Demetrios suggested that lay involvement in committees is essential and should be increased. The committees need to make use of the talents of the laity. Metropolitan Philip lamented that we are still disunited. Orthodoxy in North America cannot live with this disunity. He lamented the continued loss of youth.

The students/Bishops did not receive written committee reports in advance. Thirteen Committees needed to provide reports. Some of the committee chairpersons had written prepared remarks, but they were not distributed. Some presented oral reports when their turn came. Some provided no reports or partial reports.

The Assembly reviewed the status of the seven Agencies – former SCOBA Agencies. The goal is to incorporate them into the Assembly of Bishops. How will they fit into the work of the Bishops? How will the Bishops provide Episcopal oversight? Will these agencies give up their non-profit status to be incorporated by the Assembly of Bishops? Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico wants the Endorsed Organization, “Project Mexico,” to become an Agency of the Assembly of Bishops. Does he also want Episcopal oversight of Project Mexico?

A very brief report was presented by the Planning for the Future Structure of the Church Committee headed by Archbishop Nicolae of the Patriarchate of Romania. His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah is also on this committee. The committee has hired Alexei D. Krindatch to assist it in gathering data. Mr. Krindatch has just completed The Atlas of American Orthodox Christian Churches published by Holy Cross Press. Those interested in the issues of unity should purchase this volume.

What was accomplished? The Bishops of the United States met. Canadian Bishops did not attend. They want an Assembly of Bishops of Canada. The Serbian Bishops were not present, because they were called to meet with the Synod in Serbia for important business. The Bishops heard committee reports. The meeting was passive. There was no discussion or recognition that the Church in the USA is a local Church and these are local bishops serving a local Church. The Bishops did not indicate that they understand that the churches outside the Roman Empire are not state-sponsored and supported churches. There was no guided discussion and interaction by the Bishops on the crucial question of what should the Church in the USA look like. Becoming a church community is not the same as becoming and autocephalous Church. Does the meeting of the four ancient Patriarchs without the rest of the Old World Patriarchs take us back to the issue of recognizing the autocephaly of Moscow and the other Patriarchs, as the Patriarch of Alexandria long ago stated? Has the fast track to a Council of all Bishops been slowed down, because there is an impasse among the Old World Patriarchs on how to grant autocephaly and an impasse on the Diptychs?

There were few tangible results from this meeting that kept our bishops in a straightjacket. Where is the leadership? Where is the renewal of Orthodoxy in the United States? There is no passion for the Church in this geographical area called America on the part of the servant Bishops. How can this be, in the Season of Pentecost?

George Matsoukas, Editor


  1. Isa Almisry :

    The Serbian Bishops were not present, because they were called to meet with the Synod in Serbia for important business…There was no discussion or recognition that the Church in the USA is a local Church and these are local bishops serving a local Church.

    You cannot serve two masters. What a way to underline that the Church of North America has to act like the local Church she is.

    The Bishops of the United States met. Canadian Bishops did not attend. They want an Assembly of Bishops of Canada.

    Met. Soterios I know wants it, so he can preserve the ethnic ghetto. Did the OCA and Antiochian bishops not attend?

  2. Geo Michalopulos :

    Isa, I was told by a certain correspondent that the Serbian bishops actually boycotted the EA. No reason was given. You’re right: one can’t serve two masters.

    I think the writing on the wall for the EA in general (and the USA in particular) was written back in April when all agreement broke down in Chambessy and the Russians walked out. I’m wondering if the Leadership 100 types are going to bankroll the next one.

    Even with the Serbian boycott, the EA could have done some real good. For one thing, they could have officially chastised the two OCA bishops who have caused the recent tumult in the OCA. I for one, think that the various jurisdictions should be actively involved in each others’ business if it touches upon theological and ecclesiological matters. In so doing, it would function as a de facto Holy Synod since bishops are to be responsible for each other.

  3. Fellow readers, I think we are missing out on a big story. Right now the Legislature in the State of New York is working to pass legislation that would legalize same sex marriage. Archbishop Dolan of New York has been very active in defending the historical definition of marriage and the religious freedom of individuals.

    However, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and its office of Church and Society have been silent on this legislation. Likewise, every major Orthodox jurisdiction has a episcopal presence in the New York. Is it not time for the Episcopal Assembly to advocate for an Orthodox understanding of marriage intervene so this legislation does not pass as it will no doubt curtail the religious freedom of Orthodox Christians in New York State.

    I think its time to ask what Orthodox Christian leaders in New York are doing about this bill and what is their position on it.

  4. And by the Way Greek Orthodox assemblywoman Avarella Simotas of New York has voted in support of same sex marriage.

  5. Geo Michalopulos :

    Andrew, this is truly shocking as all Orthodox jurisdictions are either headquartered in NYC or have a diocese there. Of course, if we adhere to the Stokovite doctrine, then the Metropolitan of the OCA won’t be able to say anything unless he gets permission from the Lesser Synod and their ober-prokurator.

  6. Breaking News fron the Episopal Assembly! Members of the Episcopal Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of the United States have joined with the Office of Church and Society of the Greek Archdiocese to respond to the radical redefinition of marriage in the State of New York.

    Check it out HERE!

  7. I don’t see where they are going with the assembly except “blah, blah, blah”. What happened to the ascetic bishops and the Eastern approach to solving pastoral concerns? I’m not suprised the Serbians “couldn’t make it” or that Russians didn’t show any support. The Greek Archdiose is supporting AHEPA like the Catholics support Knights of Columbus. The assembly is described in the address almost as a “fraternity”. I can’t help but wonder if the whole thing has to do will false unity to the Catholic Church and is being supported by fraternities that are related to the freemasons?! May it not be. I hope that’s just a terribly bad imagination. I hope that these bishops truly want to return to the same awesome and holy cannonical orthodox way that the eastern church has struggled to preserve for the last 2000 years. I hope they are going to sit down and declare that they have gotten too slack in spiritual matters and caught up in many secular matters that have threatened the life of Orthodoxy in America. I hope the decide they are going to stop dressing their clergy like Catholics and that they’re going to take catechism and baptism in they church a little more seriously for the poor converts who are being starved by reception of only Chrismation. Today’s society keeps mentioning that we do things in the ‘name of love’. Today’s society promotes same sex marriage in the ‘name of love’…and we certainly know it’s anything but true love that promotes homosexuality. These assemblies in the ‘name of love’ will not retain the true Love of Christ if the truth of Chirst and His Church is compromised.
    “Unless the Lord builds the house, in vain do we labor.”

Care to Comment?