George Michalopulos, prolific contributor to the Orthodox blog, essayist, and keen critic of Orthodox culture and politics wrote an essay challenging some of the conclusions offered by Matthew Namee at the Symposium on Orthodox Unity held at St. Vladimir Seminary on June, 20, 2009. Read his abstract below. The full article can be found on Orthodoxy Today. Read it, then return here for discussion.
By George Michalopulos
ABSTRACT: Last year, a symposium entitled The Council and the Tomos: 20th Century Landmarks Towards a 21st Century Church, was held at St Vladimir’s Seminary (Crestwood, June 18-20, 2009). One of the speakers, Matthew Namee, presented an expanded version of a paper he delivered the previous year at the Orthodox Theological Society in America. His paper was titled, “The Myth of Unity and the Origins of Jurisdictional Pluralism in North America.” Namee expanded an earlier thesis to argue that the story of the Russian Mission and the implicit unity it fostered in the early years of the Orthodox presence in America was largely mythical. Rather, the history is one of jurisdictional rivalry and division from which we can draw little or no guidance for our present situation or the future. Namee implicitly issued a challenge: Which historical narrative that describes the Orthodoxy presence in America is correct? Is it the Russian Mission narrative which prescribes a Church guided by the Orthodox missionary imperative? Or is it the narrative of ethnic protection that has little interest in engaging American society and culture? The resolution of this question will impact the future of Orthodoxy in America. Will American Orthodoxy become a local church in the canonical tradition of mission-minded Orthodoxy, or will it remain divided by ethnic interests, essentially a Balkanized entity subject to overseas leadership and political interests? What follows is my response.
Read the entire essay on OrthodoxyToday.org.