SCOBA’s Fr. Arey on Chambesy

On the Orthodox Christian Network, Fr. Mark Arey, the General Secretary of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), discusses the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference that met in Chambésy, Switzerland, in June, in an interview with Fr. Chris Metropulos.

“If we’re serious, really serious about Orthodox unity, well my friends, we have to do the hard work and put it together,” says Fr. Arey. “You can’t just snap your fingers and everybody says each bishop can have his own title and then we’re done.”

Fr. Arey talks about SCOBA’s future, in light of the move toward a new episcopal assembly, and how that would affect current governance of American Orthodoxy.

“It’s easy to talk about Orthodox unity when you don’t have to actually do it,” Fr. Arey says.


From the Chambesy announcement on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Web site:

Acting as formal representatives of the Autocephalous Churches, the members of the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Conference in Chambésy affirmed “that is the common will of all of the most holy Orthodox Churches that the problem of the Orthodox Diaspora be resolved as quickly as possible, and that it be organized in accordance with Orthodox ecclesiology, and the canonical tradition and practice of the Orthodox Church.” The Conference decided to establish an “Episcopal Assembly” in specific regions which are beyond the boundaries of the Autocephalous Churches. The Conference initially identified twelve regions throughout the world. The Episcopal Assembly will include all the canonical Orthodox bishops in a given region such as North America. The representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch (in this case, Archbishop Demetrios of America) will chair the Episcopal Assembly in each region. The Assembly will meet yearly and will have an Executive Committee which will meet every three months. Other committees, composed of clergy and laity, will be established to address particular concerns.


  1. George Michalopulos :

    I think everyone should take a lissen to this. I think Fr Mark is sincere but I’m not sure SCOBA or the Old World patriarchates are. Because let’s face it, if Chambesy was decided correctly and was done in good faith, then at the end of the day that all of the jurisdictions are going to unite and become autocephalous. I’m not so sure that the Old World wants that for North America.

  2. angela damianakis m.s.w :

    “Old World” who are they aliens or something? They are the champions of the faith, the true beacons of the church who live the faith under the shadow of religious persecution and oppression. Their belief and positions are not chosen for convenience but from devotion. You continue to spew hatred and project your own agenda and malcontent on to those you know virtually nothing of. ‘For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning him.” This reading from the Books of Acts can easily explain your disrespect. You study (perhaps) and you learn but you lack wisdom and understanding. You will also help to fulfill the your destiny by the suspicion and condemnation you quickly proclaim on the Holy Fathers.

  3. George Michalopulos :


    may I kindly suggest that perhaps we here in the New World are viewed as “foreigners” by these self-same “champions of the faith”? Otherwise, why weren’t we invited? It’s just a simple question, one asked without vitriol. A simple answer would be sufficient. Otherwise, “methinks thou dost protest too much.”

  4. angela damianakis m.s.w :

    I do not protest too much. I simply am irritated with the constant barrage of insults flung at the church. Putting them down doesn’t raise you up or make you right.

    I do not presume to speak for the Patriarchs but I would venture to say it’s basic math:

    Do not recognize OCA autocephalyEcumenical Patriarchate
    Patriarchate of Alexandria
    Patriarchate of Jerusalem
    Patriarchate of Antioch
    Patriarchate of Romania
    Patriarchate of Serbia

    Patriarchate of Georgia
    Patriarchate of Albania
    Church of Greece
    Church of Cyprus
    Church of Ukraine
    Church of Finland
    Church of Japan

    OCA’s autocephaly is fully recognized byThe OCA
    Moscow PatriarchateBulgarian (parts)
    Polish (parts aligned w/Moscow)

  5. John Couretas :

    Angela: You haven’t said anything about the substance of Fr. Arey’s talk. That’s what these comments are for.

    I’m going to have to ask you to stay on topic, and avoid these absurd, vituperative personal attacks. If you persist, you’ll be invited to leave. You have your own blog, after all.

  6. George Michalopulos :

    Angela, I’d love to get on your blog! I didn’t know you had one. For the record, there are FIVE churches that recognize the OCA’s autocephaly. So it’s important that you get your facts right, otherwise somebody might mistake you for a hysteric. (And that would be unfortunate.) Besides, all I did was comment of Fr Arey’s interview.

  7. angela damianakis m.s.w :

    George you are welcome to post on my blog anytime. I only monitor posts for profantiy which has never been an issue.George I am certainly not a hysteric my facts will be rechecked I think that some of the five churches who recognize oca may be in question themselves but I will double back and recheck.

    John, you are also welcome to make any comments you’d find appropriate to my blog space. I was on task responding to George. I love your use of vituperative it must have taken you quite a while to find a usage for it. very entertaining.It would appear that John is kicking me out of the sandbox.

  8. cynthia curran :

    This is my biggest criticism of some of the churches in the old world, they don’t permit religious freedom as much as we do in the States. Some people here may not like what I’m about to say. Their suffering under the Turks or the Communists does not excuse them. I remember reading about a Jehovah Witness that was sentence to spend three years in prison since they knock on a door of a Greek Priest’s house in Greece about 20 years ago. The sentence was knock down because of an attorney that brought their case to the European Court. While I don’t agree with Jehovah Witnesses on Theology, I believe that Greece and Russia and some of Eastern Countries need to change their mind on religious freedom. Many in the old country like the fact that Protestants and Catholics are converting to Orthodoxy in the United States and Canada. But in their own countries they don’t allow for the same freedom of religion. So, yes, the church leadership in the old countries are not infallable in their judgement.

  9. Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

    I listened to the podcast but am more interested in what was omitted than what was said. Basically it was a simple introduction to the Chambesy protocols and to that end it was adequate.

    Left untouched however was any reference to the EP’s claim to jurisdictional hegemony over the American Church by his legate, Fr. Elpidophoros, at Holy Cross a few months back (EP: American ‘Diaspora’ must submit to Mother Church). While the Primacy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was gently but unquestionably affirmed in the interview, the question is still open whether centralization under Constantinople remains the official policy.

    Chembesy seems to have put the entire Hellenism apologetic that is used to justify the centralization to bed (and deservedly so), but no indication was given in the interview that this is indeed the case.

    Given it is not resolved, it would be prudent to assume that appeals to the Primacy of Constantinople may include assumptions of jurisdictional authority that exceed the honor that is rightfully afforded the office.

    The claims by Fr. Elpidophoros need to be addressed. This was not done.

  10. Where shall I begin?

    “So called autocephaly” The well meaning fish doesn’t know it’s wet. At least he recognized Met. Jonah was a head of a jurisdiction. Btw, the EP has his ethnic bishops on SCOBA in addition to the uberethnic Greek exarch. That includes his Albanian bishop, whose has what, 2 parishes? as opposed to the successor of Arch. Fan Noli in the OCA, who has scores more, and is enthroned in the Mother Church of Albanian Autocephaly.

    All Autocephalous Churches? No. The OCA was not there, that “exception” that was mentioned but not addressed. As secretary of SCOBA, he should know that. Or is that “plugging the Greek Archdioces?” And as of August 15, 2009 Met. Jonah has not been officailly informed of Chambesy nor invited to its implementation. If we are serious about Orthodox unity, ignoring a major member is not an auspicious start. Its participation is not “obvious.” Met. Jonah is not bound by agreements he had nothing to do with. Estonia wasn’t there because Moscow, after the nonsense at Ravenna, made it clear that they would force the issue of the OCA to the top of the agenda at Chambesy.

    The OCA, unlike the “diaspora,” is what it is: an autocephalous local indigenous Church. That is the “church reality which serves [our] needs…in accord with Orthodox Ecclesiology.” Not indefinite colonialism under exarchs.

    I’m not a big fan of English myself, but the fact that the majority of those whose fate Chambesy presumes to decide speak it, well, is a sign that we are not speaking the same language. Not only the US but that “tremendous immigration to Australia.” Those “thousands you mention…who need it in the English language because that is what they speak.”

    Local imput. Isn’t that how the EP sent Arb. Sypridon? That went well.

    Unfortunately he is incorrect in saying all Orthodox are in SCOBA:the Old Calendarists (received by ROCOR) are not and all sorts of Ukrainians, Macedonians, etc.. And as for the Jerusalem patriarchate, the parishes have refused to go into GOARCH, no matter what deal the phanariots in Jerusalem and Constantinople have cut.

    Repeating the mantra “all” “unanimous” etc. will not make it so. We are Orthodox, not Hindus.

    The OCA is not as inconsequential as his tone implies. For one thing, it recognizes that the Orthodox here are also part of the Body of Christ, not some attatchment to some overseas bodies. It is basic math: the Churches of Russia, Georgia, Bulgaria Poland, the Czech and Slovak lands (btw, not recognized by the EP until 1998, 47 years after it was granted its autocephaly. It took the EP 75 years to recognize the reality of the Bulgarian Patiarchate) and the OCA recognize the OCA’s autcephaly. (by parts of Russia, Bulgaria and Poland, I take it that the poster is giving recognition to schismatics: is that extended to the Old Calendarists in CoG?). They also have the vast, overwhelming majority of the communicants of the Orthodox Church.

    Antioch, Serbia and Romania, and Albania have taken a neutral stance, but Romania may take a negative stance because the OCA’s Romania diocese won’t unite under Bucharest (more on that below):that deal is all but officially dead, and it make become official soon. Antioch freely admits that it recognized Russian jurisdiction in America, hence why the OCA, and not Antioch, was the one to canonize St. Raphael Hawaweeny, as did Serbia. And the Albanians can’t argue at all: the OCA Albanian diocese of Boston is actually the Mother Church of Albanian autocephaly.

    As Met. Jonah said, only the Greek Churches have put themselves against the OCA autocephaly: Constantinople, Alexndria, Jerusalem, where the Phanariot system is alive (if you can call that life) and well (if you can call that well), and the CoG and Cyprus. Irony of ironies! As I post elsewhere (I don’t know if I am allowed to link here) from original sources, at the time of the election of Meletios-who we have much to thank for our present mess-Alexandria, (and Antioch), Jerusalem, Cyprus, and the CoG were ADAMENT against his election, denouncing it as uncanonical along with a special synod of Constantinople, and refused to recognize him. He did get recognition as EP however, from those Russian bishops in America that he denounced as uncanonical and without jursiction, the proto-OCA!

    Btw, Alexandria, Jerusalem and the CoG have exercised jurisdictions in the New World: Alexandria has had exarchates at least twice, bought off to close them both times. Jerusalem I’ve mentioned above, but she was also in Australia before the 1908 Tomos (whose terms-control by the CoG, services in Greek-reveal its aim: part of the reason it was issued was the refusal of the Phanar and its ilk from recognizing the freely elected Arab Patriarch of Antioch). The CoG didn’t wait until 1908 to send priests into the “diaspora, and there was quite a rivalry with Constantinople over it, as bad as the two decades Constantinople refused to recognize the CoG. Many of those priests presented their credentials to the Russian bishop, and EP Ioachim III sent a letter to the Russian Mission priest Vladimir Alexandrov for his “zeal among the Greek people.” Btw, the deposed Meletios with his defrocked exarch Alexander decided to take America from the CoG, which had deposed and defrocked them. Meletios, aftewards, when he was elected as EP by an election all the Greek Churches and others denounced as “void,” transferred America to himself. He found the 1908 Tomos (as he later would canon 28) convenient to drop.

    Japan and Ukraine are not autocephalous, and don’t have a right to recognize or deny autocephaly: their Mother Church recognizes the OCA. Nor does Finland have the right, and when Constantinople last tried to push that (the OCA primate visited), Helsinki responsed by bringing up the issue of reassessing their relationship to the EP. Look at the OCA site for the warm letter from the Church of Finland at Met. Jonah’s elevation.

    It is only by economia that Moscow doesn’t prosecute the EP under canon 8 of Ephesus over Estonia.

    SCOBA recognizes both the OCA and the Moscow Patriarchate, as Father alluded to (he left out that Met. Jonah comes from a Patriarchal parish, not the OCA). Thus SCOBA recognizes the autocephaly (as Fr. also explained, only primates are on SCOBA) as well.

    So a plurality SIX, (btw: the OCA counts) recognize the Autocephaly of the OCA, and a minority (of Churches of which some call dying) are opposed, in phyletistic solidarity, much how the Phanar tried to shut out Antioch when the actual faithful of the Patriarchate chose their Patriarch.

    The fall out over the dealings between the OCA Romanian diocese and Bucharest show that the poster is right to question the mentality of Chambesy: Bucharest sees it as a question of +Nathaniel being with Romania or Russia. No concept of being part of the local, indigenous Church: for them the problem is no different from the squabble with Russia over Moldavia. Some in the Old World don’t want a local Church: they want to bicker over exarchates. Chambesy, Berlin Conference, Congress of Berlin: colonialism at its finest.

    Diaspora is not a place, it’s a mentality. Some jurisdictions embrace and promote it, and others try to cruch phyletism with Orthodox ecclessiolgy. You know who you are.

    No dogmatic issues? The Councils of Ravenna and Chambesy belie this: there is some seriously diseased ecclesiology going about. The Ultramontanism of the Phanar is unchanged: centralization remains not only policy but dogma (a dogma that curiously can’t point to an instance of its novel interpretation of canon 28 being promoted before a century ago). The Chief Secretary let that slip when he cited SCOBA as the model for the Episcopal Assmebly and stated that it was only an economia on the EP’s part, and that the chairmanship being confined to the EP’s exarch was necessary for canonicity: if you read SCOBA’s constition, the chairmanship rotates. Ooops.

    “We don’t have a pope” (actually we have the original in Alexandria), but we have a wanna be. Yes, we are the Body of Christ, but we have the Head, we don’t need another. Isn’t that what we have spent over a thousand years telling the Vatican, thanks but no thanks?

    Hence no mention whatsoever of Ligonier, though he talked about Chambesy around that time. Nothing like a local council to solve our problems: we need a group thousands of miles away to do it.

    The CS Elpidophoros also made a comment I found particularly amusing: that the proof of the c. 28 dogma was that the EP gave Alexandria all of Africa in 2002. Truth is, Pope Photios created metropolitans all over Africa nearly a century before, to create a synod with enough bishops so he could ban Constantinople from even having a legate set foot in Egypt. His successor, ex-EP Meletios himself, formalized it and took the title “Pope of Alexandria and All Africa,” without permission from his successor in Constantinople. Seems he lost interest in the “canonical order” of canon 28 after his deposition.

    Dominent Orthodox Church? How does the EP “dominate” the culture of Istanbul? His flock is mostly Russians now, an open secret just recently admitted. ROCOR isn’t the only one whose “rational for their existence has come to an end.”
    The reasons for canon 28 no longer exist.

    So they are going to decide how a Church becomes autocephalous next Dec.? Maybe they can wait until April, and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the OCA’s autocephaly. Though that depends on the Episcopal Assembly scheme doesn’t fall apart when the OCA’s existence on SCOBA comes to the fore.

    I like the central clearing house of credentials. It focuses the canonical issues. No more “Fr.” Honcharenkos. So too the idea of expanding things such as the Health plan etc. so as to stop duplicating the “actual physical work.”

  11. I forgot: no foreignors? How about Fr. Michael Andreades, one of the first Greek priests in America, who labored long in the vineyard throughout America. Himself from Constantinople, he went there to get a Greek bishop in 1912 for the Russian Mission. After the Bolshevik Revolution he joined the founding of the GOANSA, but had to complain that he was treated as a second class citizen (by upstarts, I’ll add), because he served the Russian Mission, the only canonical Church in America, long before the Meletios set foot in the New World, even before the 1908 Tomos.

    Look for him in the GOA’s narrative. Will you find his story?

  12. George Michaloupulos :

    Isa, you are extremely well-informed and possessed of an incisive mind.

    I’d like to try another tack however, one that is seemingly ingonred by the phanariotes: since the EP zealots like to talk about all the churches that don’t recognize the OCA, let’s examine the legitimacy of some of these Greek-dominated churches.

    First of all, let’s give the Church of Greece a pass –it really is made up of Greek Christians.

    As for the C’pole, it’s a dying diocese. Truth be told, the Russians in Istanbul outnumber the native Greeks by at least 5 to 1. Unlike the Arabs, they’ll take over, until then, nada moral authority.

    Alexandria: Greek-dominated but almost as small as C’pole. How many of that patriarchate are Egyptian and/or Arab Christian? I honestly don’t know. I fear it’s just another Greek colony in a foreign land. By Greeks, for Greeks. I’d love to be proven wrong, but I actually know some African Orthodox and what they tell me ain’t pretty.

    Jerusalem: Greek-dominated but 98% Arab with few Arab priests, and NO Arab bisops. (I may be wrong, but I believe that the Israelis forced the previous patriarch to consecrate an Arab priest as bishop. If true, how pathetic is that? The Israelis forcing the Greeks to appoint an Arab as bishop.) Also, because it’s caught in the tug of war between Israel and the Palestinians, withering on vine as we speak. Anyway, the indiginous Arabs are definately second class.

    Cyprus: like the CofG. Made up of Greeks, give them a pass.

    So, when the Phanariotes like to talk up “all the churches” that don’t recognize the OCA, three of the most venerable (C’pole, Alexandira, Jerusalem) are basically old boys clubs that have astonishingly little moral authority, as can can be gleaned by their treatment of the majority of their flocks.

  13. I unfortunately are a little out of things for a while: I haven’t been to the Middle East or Greece since the 90’s.

    The low point may have been Pope Christopher’s banning of Arabic in the 50’s. (btw, are friend Meletios is reported to have spoken Arabic),2259129
    Pope Nicholas VI had an Arab vicarate and an Arab bishop in Tanta (or was it Mansura). He had ordered that all DL, in Greek or Arab Churches be half in each language. Btw, HDH had an exarchate in the New World at the time, targeted to African Americans. Under Pope Parthenios III, there was a noticible Arabization in some places: some Churches had the entire DL in Arabic. The situation was something like the non-Greeks under in the EP’s North American exarchate. The Patriarchate used to have an Arabic version of its website, up unto this year. Some work is done in Arabic, e.g.

    I get the impression all is not well as it may have been before. Hasn’t sunk to the level of Jerusalem, though. Were are your African Orthodox from, and what do they say? I’ve heard some good things about the missions, but that was under Pope Peter VII.

    In Jerusalem, the old Patriarchal school was opened to the Palestinians when the Greek students from Greece dried up from the Infifadah. Instead of switching to Arabic, they made them learn Greek, and modern Greek at that (so no “language of the NT” excuse). I was befriended by a number of the monks, who knew I was Arab (though I don’t “look” it), and I was suprised to find out that the bishops actually could conduct a conversation in Arabic. But I was an international Arab, and not a local. There had been an Arab bishop (of Tabor?), but more a token. There were about 500 Greeks from Greece or Cyprus who lived there, and they were like Americans abroad: totally fixed on what was going on back home, not aware of anything going on next door. They seemed quite fine with the idea of it become a museum for pilgrims. The Arab Orthodox were doing well in Jordan, but I was told that the Crown Prince (who, as it turned out, didn’t succeed his brother) took a liking to them. In general, the situation of the Christians in Jordan is better then elsewhere in the neighborhood.

    Constantinople, well, it can be depressing. And it is not just being a minority: I went to Antioch and it was a totally different feeling (although they too feared for their future). There are Turks who convert, but they say that there is some suspicion from the Greeks towards them, which can be understandable. Once the Russians take over, perhaps Greeks buying summer homes can repopulate it.

    Jerusalem and Constantinople definitely have not gotten that the Ottoman empire is gone, and moving the absentee Phanariot to Jerusalem doesn’t change much. Alexandria could do more, but at least it’s not (at least wasn’t when I was in Egypt) strangling the Church.

    The point I make is that Alexandria, Jerusalem and the CoG all expanded their juridictions in defiance to the EP, even into the New World. If they don’t follow Meletios’ interpretation of canon 28 (and his expansion of his title as Pope of Alexandria and All Africa, without the EP’s OK shows he dropped it as he dropped the 1908 Tomos), why should we?

  14. George Michaloupulos :

    excellent point Isa. my contacts in Africa are in Kenya, and what they tell me is that all mission donations first go through Alexandria where a substantial cut is taken. Crumbs are left for the Kenyans.

  15. I think the discussion is off track. Nothing seems to satisfy the nay-sayers when it comes to Chambesy. Has anyone actually studied the decision. In that regard, I offer the following:

  16. I’ve only had a little time to skim through, but just one comment for now: the idea that we can now prove to the Mother Churches that we can play together nicely. That’s not where they are at, at least some of them. Bucharest doesn’t see the fall out over the OCA Romanian diocese as Bp. Nathaniel not being able to get along with the American bishops, but chosing Russia over Romania. It seems there is no difference in their mind between America and Moldova. And the “so called autocephaly” by the GOA secretary seems to indicate that they aren’t there either.

  17. George Michalopulos :

    Nick, please don’t place me in the “nay-sayers” category regarding Chambesy. If I must categorized, put me in the “hard-eyed realist” category.

    I really liked your essay, very erudite and thought-provoking. My own ruminations regarding IV Chambesy will hopefully be posted soon. People can make their own decisions. However, I don’t intend to say that mine own upcoming essay will be the last word on the subject. If anything, I caution us from being too hasty in accepting anything. We’re big boys and we’ve started churches here and building programs without an ounce of help from the Old World.

    Having said that, there is no reason why we have to wait with baited breath for a perhaps chimerical episcopal synod, or an even more fanciful “Great and Holy Synod.” Why not go ahead and meet now? But wait, we did that already, at Ligonier in 1994 and had our hats handed to us. Then again in 2006, at a specially convened episcopal assembly in which any talk of unity was embargoed. How demeaning for our bishops to accede to such a demand. If anything, it showed that they acted like a bunch of castrati unworthy of the title “bishop.”

    There are so many other things we can do without having to wait for approval from the Old World. The “clearing house” for all priests that Arey proposed can be set up immediately. That’s just a start. The question is: why not already?

    One reason said clearing house doesn’t exist is because of cases like Fr Daniel Byantaro who was defrocked unjustly by the Phanar because he blew the whistle on the Greek metropolitan of Hong Kong. Had such a clearing house existed, he’d still be a layman. Instead, he was accepted by the MP into ROCOR, safe from the clutches of the GOA.

    (This of course leads us into perilous territory [or at least myself]: do we really want administrative unity, especially if one or more of the constituent jurisdictions are themselves corrupt?)

    Arey of course is sincere when he says that the episcopal assembly will have to deal with matters of real estate, endowments, pension plans, etc. The question is not whether Arey is sincere but whether his superiours are. And he says we have Orthodox attorneys, to which I concur. But let’s be honest with ourselves, one reason the OCA didn’t pursue unification with Antioch in the recent (pre-Jonah) past was because the financial skeletons would have come hurtling out of the closet. (They did anyway.) The OCA wasn’t the only ones with their hands dirty. Philip and his gang of merry men tried their dead level best to put the kibosh on hiring an auditor for the AOCNA. So far they’ve succeeded but it may blow up in Troy, Michigan. And we still don’t know the true financial health of the GOA with the five recent pedophile scandals and the multi-million dollar payouts. (Also the “$24 million in pledges” to the Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism raises more than a few eyebrows. I’ve been involved in church fundraising and I know the difference between a “pledge” and cash on hand.)

    Forgive for going off on a tangent, but we must be very realistic about our prospects and about the good faith of our hierarchs. And the money men behind them. I still have this sinking feeling in my gut that the real purpose for any episcopal assembly will be to covertly frustrate real unity and most definately, autocephaly.

  18. George: You and I share a lot of the same feelings and there is little I can disagree with in your response. Those closest to me think I’m an optimist (or perhaps Dostoyevski would say “Idiot”) for my Chambesy essay. I have my reasons for advancing the optimistic outlook at this time. I have read and admired your recent writings and would like to engage you in dialouge. My email is If you want to correspond privately, send me an email and we can engage further on this topic.

  19. Nick, don’t paste you email: the ‘bots can snatch it.

    Hate to burst your bubble, but certain rumblings which ostensively have nothing to do with Chambesy might sink it: the UAOC has petitioned the EP to be joined to Constantinople with autonomy. The UAOC is in Ukraine, i.e. within the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Moscow.,23093.msg352232/topicseen.html#msg352232

    Rather than rejecting it outright, the EP’s Chief Secretary, our friend Arch. Elpidophoros Lambriniadis told the Ukrainian Press (not, as far as I can tell, the PoM or the Met. of Kiev, that the Holy Synod;31319/

    The Metropolitan of Kiev Volodymyr stated “The UAOC has practically no chances – during Patriarch Bartholomew’s visit to Kyiv he clearly made it understood that he will only converse with a canonical Church, thus with us.” Read: take this up, and you will pay.

    This is enough for the Patriarch of Moscow to hold a synod, officially declare the UAOC schismatic and force the EP’s resignation.

    Its been done before:

    As EP Sophronios III found out, such uncanonical actions can cost you.

    Needless to say, any nominal support of the PoM for Chambesy will be the first causualty.

  20. George Michalopulos :

    Isa, thanks for the update on this. I admit, I’m rather hazy on the details of the whole Ukrainian thing. I’ve asked this question before, maybe you know the answer: there are three Ukrainian jurisdictions in Ukraine, correct?

    1. MP’s jurisdiction
    2. EP’s jurisdiction
    3. independent(?)

    what are the populations of each? I understand that the MP’s jurisdiction is by far the largest, but I don’t know for sure.

  21. LOL. You’re not the only one.

    There is the MP. There is NO EP jurisdiction (not at least that he will admit), but there are several in category 3 (which I, and the rest of Orthodoxy call uncharitably “uncanonical”) who want to be in the EP’s jurisdiction to get away from Moscow. Several Ukrainian groups in the US became canonical (as far as the EP’s presence in the US is canonical) that route. The largest of number three is the “Kievan Patriarchate,” which rivals the MP in size and influence in Ukraine.

    There is much dispute over the numbers: the MP has the largest number of actually church buildings etc, a fact not disputed.

    This EP struck the late Archbishop of Athens from the diptychs 5 years ago for a similar infraction that he himself committed in Estonia 8 years before, for which the PoM Alexei of blessed memory (himself born, baptized ordained and consecrated Estonian) struck the EP’s name from the diptychs. As PoM Kyrill’s remarks in Kiev calling it Jerusalem for Moscow show, Ukraine isn’t Estonia.

  22. George Michalopulos :


    all this jockeying for position is so sad. It makes evangelism very difficult. I pray that the Lord forgives our hierarchs and us laity for allowing this nonsense to continue.

  23. Hi George and all,

    I just (finally) had a chance to listen to Fr Mark’s interview. To be honest, while I’m attempting to retain an open mind, the rewriting of history and the arrogance it implies is astonishing to me.

    I particularly liked his comment about “It’s easy to talk about Orthodox unity when you don’t have to do it,” implying that he, the GOA and SCOBA have been advocates of unity all along, but for the heavy lifting involved in the practical considerations.

    I guess it’s even easier not to talk about Orthodox unity at all, which is the strategy that his jurisdiction has pursued, having prevented even the discussion of unity at more than one SCOBA meeting. Let’s not forget that the GOA has been the chairman of SCOBA throughout it’s 50 years.

    That said, I’m attempting to digest his comments as objectively as possible – at the same time, not allowing nice words to erase years of antipathy (at best) or hostility (at worst) toward Orthodox unity by his jurisdiction on this continent.

    It should be a compliment to this forum that this was the first place I came to, to read the opinions of others, as to their thinking about the interview. And, as usual, I was not disappointed. Nick, George and Isa…great comments all…very thought provoking as usual.

    On the one hand, I suppose this may be a serious effort by the Old World patriarchates to address the problems of overlapping jurisdictions throughout the world…problems which I would add have been caused, or at least tolerated, due to a lack of leadership by the same Old World patriarchates.

    On the other hand, one must be at least cautious about the possibility of deceit, duplicity and the self serving nature of these comments – coming as they do from groups (such as the GOA) which have done everything humanly possible to prevent the same unity they now claim to support.

    There is clearly a lot to think about. We must pray about this – and not be swayed, for good or bad, by the lack of bona fides of the messenger.

    Best Regards,

  24. George Michalopulos :

    A lot there Dean. Your words are direct. We should never forget the duplicity of the past.

  25. George,

    The words of Ronald Reagan are echoing in my ears..

    TRUST….but verify.

    Best Regards,

  26. I remember my priest (Antiochian) stating back in, was it 2006? when talk of unity and autocephaly supposedly was taken off, or rather banned, from an episcopal meeting. He said that his contacts told him that the Phanar was saying that independence from the Phanar “‘was never going to happen.’ Which can mean only one thing, it’s coming.” I can’t help but think that this abrupt turn about by some (you know who you are, and so do we) isn’t trying to stick their finger in the dyke.

    The stack seems to have been heavily stacked in their favor. Why does the EP’s Albanian bishop (note, not Tirana’s) have a seat on SCOBA and it would seem would have one on the executive committee of Chambesy with 2 parishes, while the primate of the OCA Albanian episcopacy, Fan Noli’s successor over the Mother Church of Albanian autocephaly with dozens of parishes, does not and will not?

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