SCOBA: Sunday of Orthodoxy Encyclical

The Feast of the Sunday of Orthodoxy – February 21, 2010 (Encyclical here)

Now to Him Who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we can ask or think, to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen. (Eph. 3:20-21).

The Hierarchs of the Standing Conference
of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas

To all the Clergy and the Laity of the Holy Orthodox Churches in the Americas

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We, the Hierarchs of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas, greet you on the Feast of the Sunday of Orthodoxy with words of the Holy Apostle Paul that were selected by the Primates of the worldwide Orthodox Church to close their Message proclaimed on October 12, 2008. Indeed, we glory in our God whose love for us exceeds every thought or imagining that could enter our minds or hearts. As the Apostle Paul says in another place: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him (I Cor. 2:9).

In the historic Synaxis and in the Message that was declared by it, the Primates of worldwide Orthodox Christianity proclaimed the following with one voice and one heart:

As the Primates and the Representatives of the Most Holy Orthodox Churches, fully aware of the gravity of the aforementioned problems, and laboring to confront them directly as “servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries” (1 Cor. 4:1), we proclaim from this See of the First-throne among the Churches and we re-affirm: … our desire for the swift healing of every canonical anomaly that has arisen from historical circumstances and pastoral requirements, such as in the so-called Orthodox Diaspora, with a view to overcoming every possible influence that is foreign to Orthodox ecclesiology. In this respect we welcome the proposal by the Ecumenical Patriarchate to convene Pan-Orthodox Consultations within the coming year 2009 on this subject, as well as for the continuation of preparations for the Holy and Great Council. In accordance with the standing order and practice of the Pan-Orthodox Consultations in Rhodes (beginning in 1960), all Autocephalous Churches will be invited.

With this common declaration, and the subsequent consensus achieved at the Pan-Orthodox Consultations that took place last year in June and December in Chambésy, Switzerland, the way forward to Orthodox canonical order and unity in the Western Hemisphere has been mapped out in a substantive way. This should be a cause for joy among all the faithful, as it demonstrates the kind of progress that SCOBA has always looked for, but by itself, never could achieve. SCOBA has had great accomplishments in its fifty-year history, and the growth of Pan-Orthodox Agencies and ministries shows the willingness and the need to work together. Nevertheless, SCOBA has always been an organization without the mechanism and authority to forge a comprehensive way forward.

Now we have arrived at a truly watershed moment in the life of the Church in the Western Hemisphere. In the week in which we celebrate the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the glorious Feast of Pentecost, the canonical Orthodox Bishops who live in North and Central America will gather in order to proceed with the roadmap that has been agreed to by world-wide Orthodox Christianity (see material at The issues are many and complex, but SCOBA is fully committed to the process that will form a successor body, an Assembly of Bishops of the Holy Orthodox Church in the Americas that will have both the authority and methodology to effectuate real progress in the establishment of canonical Church order in the Americas.

This Sunday of Orthodoxy, as we gather throughout our communities and parishes, let us with fervent prayer entreat the Lord of all to grant us His grace and His wisdom. Let us pray for this coming Assembly of Orthodox Christian Bishops, that it will bring forth the fruits of unity and Orthodox faithfulness. Let us pray for the pious and Orthodox Christians everywhere, and for our unity in Christ, power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we can ask or think, to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

With paternal blessings and love in Christ,

+Archbishop DEMETRIOS, Chairman
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

+Metropolitan PHILIP, Vice Chairman
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

+Metropolitan CHRISTOPHER, Secretary
Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America

+Metropolitan NICHOLAS of Amissos, Treasurer
American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese in the USA

+Archbishop NICOLAE
Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas

+Metropolitan JOSEPH
Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church

+Metropolitan JONAH
Orthodox Church in America

+Metropolitan CONSTANTINE
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA

+Archpriest Alexander Abramov
Acting Representative of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USA

+Bishop ILIA of Philomelion
Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America


  1. “In accordance with the standing order and practice of the Pan-Orthodox Consultations in Rhodes (beginning in 1960), all Autocephalous Churches will be invited.”
    Met. Jonah’s must have gotten lost in the mail.

  2. George Michalopulos :

    Isa, Lord have mercy.

    • I heard today that Greece basically has been stripped of sovereignty by the EU. I have a bad feeling that that is going to play into this dynamic that is going on.

  3. George Michalopulos :

    This is not good. This is what happens when a nations gives up its birthright (sovereignty) for a bowl of lentils as did Esaw.

  4. Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

    This is huge. This should make the Brits even more skittish about converting their currency to the Euro. I suppose stripping Greece of its sovereignty is necessary to keep the Euro afloat. Anything less would portend collapse.

    Greece has been overspending for decades and it took every Euro it could during the gravy years. Still, even with its corruption, the humiliation at the hands of EU bureaucrats has got to be a tough pill to swallow.

    What the statists can’t do with manufactured crises like global warming, they will do with real ones like Greece’s economic collapse.

    The Demise of the European Welfare Nation

    Greece loses EU voting power in blow to sovereignty

  5. This article caught my attention

    TIME Magazine: The Party is Over for Spendthrift Greeks,8599,1964689,00.html

    Now if I remember correctly Greece also has a very low birth rate so this crisis is also one of civilizational morale. There may be a place called Greece in the future but despite the myth of the big greek family there may not be many Greek people in the future.

    I also think the socialists are going to stoke anger towards the Church and use the Crisis to tax and impose legal restrictions on the Church.

    • Scott Pennington :

      I read that Greece’s birthrate is 1.3 per couple. That’s near the bottom in Europe. I think Spain’s is lower at 1.1. It’s tragic, but predictable.

  6. Wow! This is a real shining moment for the omogenia. Now the Greeks want reparations from WWII. Hey, maybe other countries can sue Greece for reparations for the actions of Alexander the Great.

    Greek Politicians want Germany to Pay Reparations for Debt Disaster.

  7. Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

    Victor Davis Hanson writes that Greece’s problems are a warning to us:

    Where Did Our Real Wealth Go?

  8. George Michalopulos :

    Andrew, Scott, Fr, et al: Another way to look at this is how will this play into the Greco-triumphalism of the GOA? As an Hellene, I cry for what is probably going to happen to Greece, what the loss of sovereignty portends. But think how foolish the GOA with its parish propaganda plays and ethnic festivals will look. Does this mean that once Greece goes the way of Kurdistan or Tibet, that the raison d’etre of the GOA will be to even more fervently maintain an ethnic identity? AFter all, that’s what it has been for 80 or so years.

    I guess non-Greeks will come to food festivals to acquaint themselves with a quaint, almost-extinct culture of an obscure mountain people. Get to know their folkways, dances, cuisine, and tribal religion. Lord have mercy.

    On the other hand, Nicole Gelinas wrote a piece on RealClearPolitics two days ago showing how the Greeks can voluntarily get off the Euro, get back on the Drachma (incidentally, the oldest-used currency in the world), start privatizing social welfare plans, restrict their borders and get back to being a nation. It’s possible, but I don’t believe their globalist elites want this. Thought experiment: I wonder if any of this would have happened if the king was still reigning? England and Denmark both refused to go on the Euro, both of them have strong monarchies. I tend to think not. Thoughts anyone?

  9. Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

    Well, Greece had it coming with its profligate ways, deficit spending, high abortion rates — a lot like us actually although there seems to be a larger reservoir of clarity in the US. But this is certainly a time to straighten out their own house if they can muster the will and leadership to do it. If not, they will become a vassal state to EU bureaucrats. Any nation that values its freedom and does not want to be captive to the German economic machine should watch the Greek collapse very closely. Holland, before going on the euro, printed guilders and is storing them in a warehouse just in case the entire system collapses. That might turn out to be prescient foresight.

    How will this play into the Greco triumphalism? Hard to say. The Patriarch, in playing the global warming card, revealed a too-cozy alliance with the Euro-statists — the same people now threatening Greece with the loss of its sovereignty. If Greco triumphalism is still high on the agenda, then the Greek economic collapse will force Constantinople to turn on the people it was trying to cultivate. If that happens, Constantinople will retrench and we will see an increase in authoritarian dictates and a ramping up of the PR machine, but no new ideas will be offered and no moral leadership of the kind you see with Pope Benedict and Patriarch Kirill will be developed.

    We might be witnessing a slow-motion collapse. Climategate reveals that the Green Patriarch campaign was morally hollow, little more than a public relations gambit. The insolvency of the Greek economy also brings into the focus Constantinople’s silence on the moral issues that contributed to it. Things don’t look that good overall.

    Of course this could change overnight if we saw some moral leadership emerge from Constantinople instead of these constant blunders. But they seem to be masters of the misstep; too preoccupied with things that leaders of their stature should leave to others. I used to believe Constantinople understood this. Now I’m not so sure.

  10. Here is a quote somewhat related to the situation in Greece, it shows how the Western money powers think of us.

    As reported in the popular Greek magazine, Oikonomikos Tachydromos on 14 Aug. l997, Henry Kissinger, while addressing a group of Washington, D.C. businessmen in Sept.1974, said:

    “The Greek people are anarchic and difficult to tame. For this reason we must strike deep into their cultural roots: Perhaps then we can force them to conform. I mean, of course, to strike at their language, their religion, their cultural and historical reserves, so that we can neutralize their ability to develop, to distinguish themselves, or to prevail; thereby removing them as an obstacle to our strategically vital plans in the Balkans, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.”

    35 years later, the money powers seem to be achieving their goal. Greece has been infiltrated by powers set to destroy them. Remember the World hates us.

    • George Michalopulos :


      I’ve seen this quote a couple of other times and always on the internet. As much as I’ve had my differences with Kissinger, something tells me that it’s not authentic. For one thing, the paper in question reported on it twenty years after the fact. Does anybody know of a contemporaneous reporting of this event? Something like a video/audio or a newspaper/magazine account from 1974?

  11. Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

    Euro-statists think of all nation-states that way. Greece is just the first to fall. Its fall, just like the others if it comes to pass, is because of internal corruption. Greece chose to borrow those Euros when the party was in high gear and ignored the strings tied to them. It chose abortion over family and imported immigrants to do their work when the population fell. It embraced the ideologies that justified the corruption of values that foster and protect stability — just like most European countries have done. This isn’t a conspiracy, it’s an internal collapse, and many Western countries are not that far behind, including the US.

  12. George Michalopulos :

    Fr, I agree with you. There is no conspiracy here, just normal human lassitude. I think America is/was on the same tangent but with the arousal of the Tea Party movement and the election of a filibuster-enhanced Senate, then it’s possible that the entire statist/socialist system and its energizing ethos will collapse.

    This is more than just the incumbent President, there is a a culture of indolence that has brought us to this point. As someone one said, “there are two kinds of people, those who work for a living and those who vote for a living.” Hopefully, the collapse of the liberal mindset as manifested by the failures of the Administration will dispirit those who voted for a living and the unnatural but temporary marjority that won in 2008 will dissipate.

  13. While we are all laughing at the Greeks, the data below should be a wake up call. Source

    Deficit as a % of GDP
    United States

    * Figures from OCED forecast in November 2009.

    By my figuring, the Greeks are an entire 1.5% (of GDP) higher than we are. Keep in mind that Iceland, with 15.7% of GDP, recently suffered a currency meltdown, in which interest rates were jacked up to 18% in order to stem the currency outflows. The government ultimately resigned.

    Nah…that couldn’t happen here…our “Chicagoans” are much too adroit and capable… 🙂

    What the Greeks and Constantinople are going to do with a loss of Greek sovereignty should be the least of our concerns.

    Best Regards

  14. Michael Bauman :

    Dean, I don’t think anyone is laughing. I am not. It is sad and scary both because of the historical greatness of the Greek people, and what it protends for all of us.

    It speaks strongly to the futility of trusting in governments and the chiliastic vision so many offer.

    Where is our faith? To whom to we look in hope? If it is in politics, economics, even theoloy we are deluded.

  15. Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

    Yup. We are not that far behind.

  16. Michael,

    For those of us who really know the Greeks (btw – I’m 100% Greek), their joining the EU was a mistake waiting to happen from the get-go. How the (northern) Europeans could have been so stupid is beyond me.

    My father-in-law used to tell the story of the first traffic light installed in Athens. In other parts of the world, people simply respected the color of the light…red/yellow/green.

    In Athens, the Greeks looked up at the contraption, pointed to it, and started laughing…”THAT is going to tell ME when to go? Ha-ha-ha-ha.”

    2500 years ago – Xenophon told the Persian king, in the Anabasis, something to the effect of, “With your [Persian] troops, kill the general and they flee. With the Greeks, kill me, and you will have 10,000 generals on your hands.”

    Nothing has really changed.

    There’s a genetic reason those city-states never coalesced into one nation…today we describe it as, “three Greeks, five opinions.”

    Best Regards,

    PS and don’t worry about Greece…they will do just fine!

  17. George Michalopulos :

    Dean, all, what is happening to Greece is a wake-up call to us here in the US. Believe me, I’m not laughing at Greece but crying for the US. On a side note, I wonder who’s going to keep the Phanar afloat once Greece goes into receivership?

  18. cynthia curran :

    Good point about Greece and a city state form of government. First they suffered under Alexander and later on the Romans. During the 1st and 2nd centuries B.C., the Romans destroy cities like Corinth and sack the temples. Corinth was rebuilt as a Roman town. And the poor Greeks of course heavy influence by the Romans since the 2nd century B.C. adopted the Roman politcal system that led to Byzantium. The Greeks after the Turkish yoke still didn’t know where to start the old city states system of Athens or Sparta or the Roman system of Byzantium.

  19. cynthia curran :

    Well, I agree changing from the drachima to the euro is bad for a country like Greece. Italy also suffered from going from the Lira to the euro. And Greeks acting alot like Western Europeans. Well, of all the Orthodox countries Greece has always had more ties to the West. Greeks was in Italy around the year 1,000 B.C., so the ties go back centuries even before the Orthodox Faith. Remember Southern Italy, the Romans called Magna Grecia. And lot of Byzantines fled to Italy and a few others to other parts of Western Europe, after the fall of Constantinople. So, Greek Orthodox are more closely woven with the west.

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