Unraveling Chambesy — Administrative Unity In Our Time

Presented by Ancient Faith Radio

Presented by Ancient Faith Radio

Our canons call for there to be one bishop in one place but here in America as well as other countries of the so called “diaspora” immigration and pastoral concerns have served to violate those canons. To address this issue, the leaders and representatives of all of the autocephalous Mother Churches were convened by HIs All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew first in Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) and later in Chambesy, Geneva, Switzerland to commission certain Episcopal Assemblies who will in turn develop regional plans to correct this anomaly.

To help you sort through this complicated process, Ancient Faith Radio has produced a 2-part documentary featuring Fr. Mark Arey, General Secretary of SCOBA (The Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America), Charles Ajalat, former chancellor of the Antiochian Archdiocese and long time champion of Administrative Unity, Metropolitan Jonah, primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and Nick Katich, an attorney who helped orchestrate the healing of the Serbian schism in the United States several years ago. We would encourage you to read the documents referenced on the SCOBA website.


In this first installment, John Maddex talks with Fr. Mark Arey, General Secretary of the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America (SCOBA) about past efforts at bringing about Administrative Unity, including the so called Ligonier conference in 1994. We will also hear from Charles Ajalat, Metropolitan Jonah, and Nick Katich.

Listen to Part 1:

In this second part, we learn more about the actual process and related complications of unifying all of the Orthodox churches administratively. In this episode we hear from all of our guests in the first part plus Matthew Namee of the American Orthodox History podcast.

Listen to Part 2:


  1. I’ve have to listen later, but for now: any news of if and when SCOBA is supposedt to get around to trying to implement Chambesy?

  2. Isa: SCOBA is meeting today. They will also meet with Pat. Bartholomew next month. Fr. Arey in the interview indicated he
    hoped the first Episcopal Assembly will meet in the Spring.

  3. I haven’t seen anything on the EP’s official schedule for SCOBA, though I last checked two weeks ago.

  4. It is rather telling that SCOBA’s site just links to the Chambesy documents on the GOARCH website. Not difficult to read and understand, but the devil in the details. And fine print.

    Fr. harps on “unanimous,” skipping the obvious exception. No indigenous local Orthodox Church? That was addressed at ’93 Ligonier.

    Father muddled, again, the question of OCA: not a few but a plurality of the Orthodox Churches and the vast majority of the Orthodox Faithful recognize the OCA’s autocephaly, as Met. Philip puts it, the “great bulk.” The EP is dragging his heals, just like his interference in other Churches delayed his recognition of the Czech and Slovak lands until a decade ago, almost a half century after it became autocephalous. The reference to the autonomous churches, of course, is to put us off the scent (or stench): after the EP’s stunt with Estonia at Ravenia, Moscow made it quite clear it would force recognition of the OCA by the EP. And the down play of an Antiochian and OCA merger. It would, if down with the blessing (or at least recognition) of Antioch according to the constitution the Patriarch granted (which explicitely contemplates such a union), change the dynamic considerably. For one thing, it will remove the no-ancient-patrirachate-recognizes excuse to refuse OCA recognition, and yet further undermining the canon 28 myth. And throwing in the Romanian unification was a digression (with the seeming leitmotif that ethnic unification can move away from a united autocephalous Church in North Ameerica). That process is all but officially dead. And I heard that from the lips of someone who has a say on the matter. I notice that he skipped why Moscow was out of SCOBA, namely the autocephaly of the OCA. There seems to be a hope (which the PoM keeps dashing) that Moscow will rescind the tomos of autocephaly (one only need to think of that precedent and its usefulness vis-a-vis Constantinople over Moscow, to see why that won’t happen), and the ethnic “diaspora” model can again be unanimous, with obvious benefits for you know who. He uses Ukraine as an excuse: fact is that the Metropolitan of Kiev was autocephalous in less than 500 years, when Constantinople submitted to the Vatican. And Constantinople was only really 50 years old when it became autocephalous.

    So, the “Mother Church” energized the process it killed at Ligonier? Why is it talking? Look at Ravenna for the answer (note the admission that Ligonier was called by SCOBA. Can’t have the natives decide their own destiny). No Canadians (the EP’s Greeks and Ukrainians: he ignores, again, the OCA) on SCOBA since the 90’s? Whose fault is that? Perhaps the foreign primate who dismembered his jurisdiction so he might retain control. Doesn’t know what a North American is? Take a geography class.

    America is a special case,and down playing that fact isn’t going to make it go away. It is the only region with an autocephalous Church. And father is also incorrect in stating there are other areas working for Orthodox unity longer outside the canonical boundaries of the invited Churches (which do have their battles still). The North American Church dates to 1794, and solving the unity problem from c. 1865, once the Greeks broke unity. What area predates that?

    Btw, North America is not entirely a new situation: Old and New Rome battled over jurisdiction of the Balkans for centuries.

    If the the EP wanted canonical normalcy, it would have stopped duplicating dioceses in the “diaspora” long ago. As for the present EP, that PhD in canon law does divest the EP of an axe to grind. Didn’t he get that PhD from the Vatican (no wonder the ULtramontanism)?

    If it wasn’t useful to speculate on things, then the Chief Secretary should have kept quiet.

    No, canon 28 doesn’t give the EP jurisdiction. But he is right about focusing on the canonical anomoly. And yes, it’s going to get back to canon 28, so ignoring it isn’t going to solve the problem. As Ajalat stated, if this degenerates into just who has the presidency of SCOBA, and everything else remains the same, this is going to be a lng “drought,” the way out of which is referenced by Met. Jonah to “another process.”

    Btw, the regions not being based on political boundaries is uncanonical. Chalcedon canon 17. Quintsext canon 38.

    Ajalat is spot on about shutting the North Americans out: it shows “non-seriousness.”

    Were it not for Met. Jonah’s making a silk purse out of this sow’s ear, I’d want nothing to do with this scheme.

  5. Isa,

    I just listened to as much of Fr. Arey as I could on AFR. While I admire John Maddex’s efforts, I’m finding it just a little much to stomach..listening to the representative of the biggest obstacle to unity – the original murderers of Ligonier if you will…pontificate about the process….just a little too much to take if you ask me.

    I am thinking Charles is right as well…the more I hear (and read), the more I’m leaning toward the belief that this whole thing is a charade….designed to prevent America from taking things into it’s own hands. I almost wonder if a sincere fear of Metropolitan Jonah, leading a re-energized OCA isn’t really driving this whole process.

    I had a chance to go thru all the documents today, as John Maddex suggested in the interviews. I thought they were an study in sophistry.

    I thought it was particularly interesting to note that the regulations call for an executive board to be set up, consisting of the primates of the jurisdictions, essetentially a SCOBA redux…as if that process has been a sterling prototype to be duplicated.

    I also caught a comment by Fr. Mark, saying that the decisions of the assembly will be made by a consensus of the Churches represented…NOT A MAJORITY VOTE??? when I went to the regulations, I was surprised to see that is what they state (Decisions, section 2 (c)):

    c) The work and the responsibility of these Episcopal Assemblies will be the concern
    for manifesting the unity of Orthodoxy, the development of common action of all
    the Orthodox of each region to address the pastoral needs of Orthodox living in the
    region, a common representation of all Orthodox vis-à-vis other faiths and the wider
    society in the region, the cultivation of theological scholarship and ecclesiastical
    education, etc. Decisions on these subjects will be taken by consensus of the

    So, in other words, it’s an episcopal assembly to be controlled by the primates? Just super.

    I’m beginning to agree with you…we need this like we need a hole in the head.

    Best Regards,

    • “I thought it was particularly interesting to note that the regulations call for an executive board to be set up, consisting of the primates of the jurisdictions, essetentially a SCOBA redux…as if that process has been a sterling prototype to be duplicated.”

      Yeah, that was my tip off on this whole “process,” and the slip of the Chief Secretary/Mouthpiece of the EP:

      “The submission of the diaspora to the Ecumenical Patriarchate does not mean either Hellenization or violation of the canonical order, because it is only in this way that both the letter and the spirit of the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils is respected. The Mother Church knows, however, that such a submission is difficult to be accomplished under the present historical conditions. For this reason, and by employing the principle of economy, it was suggested and it has now become accepted in Pan-Orthodox level, that there will be local Pan-Orthodox Episcopal Assemblies in the diaspora (like SCOBA in the US). The principle of presidency is followed, namely the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate presides over these Episcopal Assemblies in order to preserve the necessary element of canonicity…With regards to the United States, the submission to the First Throne of the Church, that is, to the Ecumenical Patriarchate is not only fitting with the American society and mentality but also it opens up the horizons of possibilities for this much-promising region, which is capable of becoming an example of Pan-Orthodox unity and witness.”

      Knowing, of course, that according to the SCOBA’s constitution the chairmanship rotates, but Antioch et alia (as Met. Philip refered to in his speech, which the Chief Secretary also criticized) have defered their rights, I see what the Phanar is up to. Want to play King of the Hill? I, nor as far as I can tell Met. Jonah, not interested.

      Like you said, sterling prototype….just super.

      I have a related question: why does the EP’s Albanian bishop, with his two parishes, get a seat on SCOBA (and I assume, will on the “executaive board”), whereas no seat goes to the Albanian Archbishop (the successor of Fan Noli) in the OCA, whose archdiocese not only has dozens of parishes but also in fact is the Mother Church of the Albanian Church, and during communism was in fact THE Albanian Church. Nothing like stacking the deck: is it 4 out of 9 votes that the EP has in SCOBA?

      • Hi Isa,

        You’re right about stacking the deck. Out of the 9 jurisdictions participating, four were eparchies of the EP (GOA, Albanian, Ukrainian, ACROD). Now, with the addition of the Moscow patriarchate, it’s down to 4 out of 10…LOL

        Why the Albanian diocese of the OCA is excluded (the successor to Fan Noli) is at least understandable, since they are a diocese of the OCA. Perhaps the real question is: “why would we allow an eparchy with 3 parishes to participate in SCOBA…having a vote equal to the GOA/AOCA/OCA?” What’s next, allow the Georgians to also participate (I think they just established a couple of parishes, and have a bishop)? It’s clearly a preposterous setup, designed to fail…in the best of Ottoman tradition.

        To be honest, I have no problem going along with these Episcopal Assemblies IF it is a sincere effort. However, I think we should participate with the clear understanding that “the boat is leaving the dock: get on, get off, or get out of the way.” We should in no way allow Chambesy to retard our progress toward unity…not one minute, not one second.

        The more I think about it, I think we must also be honest about confronting some of these characters who now purport to “support” unity. These include the EP, the GOA, Fr. Mark Arey and SCOBA.

        The fact is that the present EP torpedoed the original Ligonier Conference. I said it before: they were the murderers of Ligonier. They fired Abp Iakovos because of his participation. Signatures were supposedly “withdrawn” even though they are all present on the document…for all to see. Thank God Charles Ajalat filmed the conference, or the GOA would be saying they didn’t go at all.

        I’m thrilled that the Old World patriarchates are coming around to the notion that we must return to Orthodox traditions of governance…i.e. one bishop in one city, and locally elected bishops sitting in synod.

        However, that does not change the facts. The EP, through it’s GOA eparchy has been the biggest obstacle to unity in this country for a very long time. They fired Abp Iakovos for participating in Ligonier, and forced the “unity” issue from the agenda in the follow-on SCOBA meetings of the bishops…at one of those meetings unity was not even on the agenda!

        So let’s get serious. Fr. Mark Arey might be a great guy, and well intentioned..I don’t know him. But the thought that SCOBA has been some grand supporter of Orthodox unity on this continent, or that “it’s easy for those who don’t have to do the work to talk about unity,”…sorry but that doesn’t fly.

        Spare me the sermons Fr Mark. You, SCOBA, have a lot to answer for: how many souls were LOST to this church because of your reticence and obstructionism during the past 15 years (since Ligonier)? I place that directly on the doorstep of both EP and SCOBA. God will be their judge.

        As Christians, we are taught to hate evil, “abhor it” – according to a sermon of Fr. Pat Reardon. Well, the behavior of both the EP and SCOBA with regard to unity has been a tremendous evil during the past 15 years…and no amount of Chambesy whitewashing is going to change that.

        Think about it: How many souls were lost? 100,000? 200,000? How many millions of Americans would have been Orthodox right now, but for the obstructionism?

        As I said, I’m all for moving forward…with a coalition of the willing. If Chambesy means the Old World is suddenly a willing partner…GREAT. You can begin by recognizing the existence of the OCA, and by holding the subtle, but repeated “so called autocephaly” comments.

        But we don’t waste ONE MINUTE…we don’t slow down one bit….we strive to make Chambesy moot by our actions…not our talk.

        While I am not in a position to know, I think THAT is the what Metropolitan Jonah is trying to convey to us all.

        And if I know Metropolitan Jonah….it’s not because of “proteia” or “presvia”…it’s about SOULS.

        Best Regards,

        • Yes, I agree. We are making up for lost time. We do not have a moment for “wait and see.”

          There seems to be some issues, perceived or real, about the OCA from our recent unpleasantness in the Antiochian Archdiocese. But if a union can be induced, perhaps by Met. Jonah stepping down as primate of a united, autocephalous Holy Synod in favor of Met. Philip (something I can see Met. Jonah doing) with Antioch’s blessing according to the Constitution it granted, it should be done. If not done before Met. Philip is called (only God is immortal), immediately upon his departure the move should be made for the Patriarch in Antioch to recognize the OCA Metropolitan officially and to merge the two synods. In fact, the move should be made now by Patriarch Ignatius to recognize the OCA just as his predecessors Patriarch Meletios did by translating St. Raphael, and as HH Patriarch Ignatius himself did by having the OCA canonize St. Raphael.

          I think in the very least, Met. Philip should act on the idea he brought forth in his speach on canon 28, reiterated by Met. Jonah: SCOBA’s chairmanship is rotated. It is not ex oficio EP.

          Of course, if evangelization strikes SCOBA, they will move May’s meeting of the “Episcopal Assembly” to Ligonier, and pick up where they left off.

          • Met. Philip has no business being primate of a dog house.

          • Isa,

            You touch on an issue I was discussing with someone only this morning at church. I’d like to hear your thoughts..either here or privately.

            The Chambesy formula would seem to imply the “coming together” of each region (North America, South America, W Europe etc) into administrative unity…presumably each jurisdiction in each area would want to retain some ties to the original Mother Church…ie, AOCA would want some sort of ties with Antioch, GOA with C’nople, Bulgarians with Sofia etc.

            At the end of the day, whatever structure is arrived at for unity, some accomodation must be made for these ties. Unity will be a lot easier if the Romanians don’t have to become Russians, or the Arabs don’t have to become Greeks. Furthermore, I don’t think anyone is in favor of removing all bonds with the Old Countries…there’s no reason those ties should not continue, cultural and otherwise. It will add to the rich tapestry that we can offer America.

            So, in this day of “Tsars”, make yourself the American Orthodox Tsar for a moment, with the freedom to do anything you like…how would you set this up?

            I’m honestly interested to hear everyone’s thoughts..because this is going to have to be settled.

            Best Regards,

            PS I learned a long time ago that expertise in any area is generally a function of the “brain time” you’ve dedicated to the topic. Like it or not, the folks on this blog may have dedicated a lot more time to thinking about unity than many of our bishops (unfortunately). At the risk of scaring you all…that might mean YOU are the real “unity” experts…not these Johnny-come-lately SCOBA folks.

  6. George Michalopulos :

    Dean, Isa, Nick, et al: I’ll say this til I’m blue in the face: this episcopal assembly is nothing but a ruse to derail actual unity and most definately, autocephaly. Although I’ve tried to tone it down, I feel that my gut instinct is correct, that we should just ignore the upcoming assembly and begin the process of merging the jurisdictions that want to merge. I see nothing good coming out of Chambesy as far as North America is concerned. At best, just more of the same.

  7. Just some thoughts, but still, this is going to be long.

    First, a disclaimer: I don’t know if ultimately Canada and Mexico should be autocephalous Churches on its own. That would change some of the below, but the principles would remain the same.

    Second, I’m a big supporter of the WRO.

    Third, I don’t think ethnicity is something that has to go away. Back in the days of the Latin Mass (ooops. I forgot. We’re back in the day), even though the mass was the same, in the same (foreign) language, you would go into a parish and could tell immediately if said parish was Spanish, Polish, German, Irish, Italian etc. That is the goal: having it when anyone can go to a DL and follow it, but although each parish being open to all, still reflecting is roots.

    Fourth, the schism from Chalcedon should be healed in our day, but is still in the future (that might make some of my comments clearer).

    Saying that the US, Canada and Mexico form the jurisdiction of this unified Orthodox Church in North America (I would so call it). I am working with the idea that there are unhyphanated Americans, Canadians, and Mexicans, in addition to ethnic Orthodox (Greek/Cypriot, Arab, Russian, Ukrainian, Ruthenian/Rusyn/Carpatho-Russian, Serbian, Romanian/Moldavian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Albanian and Macedonian. I am aware of Finnish, Polish, Byelorussian, Estonian, Latvian, Chinese and Japanese Orthodox here), and ethnic non-Orthodox (just play with English, Irish, German, Spanish/Hispanic, French for starters), and Aleuts, Eskimos and Amerindians. There are also the Oriental Orthodox (Coptic, Armenian, Ethiopian/Eritrean, Syriac, Indian). There is Constantinople Rite, WRO (Gregorian, Tikhonian, Gallican), and Old Ritualist Russian Rite, with the other ethnic usages.

    First, I would have an Archbishop for primate (I don’t think we are ready for patriarch status just yet) in Washington. I am using the term in the Romaic, non-Slavic sense. I’ll return to him.

    I would have a Greek Metropolitan in New Orleans, an Arab Metropolitan in Brooklyn, a Russian Metropolitan in San Francisco,a Ukrainian Metropolitan in Winnipeg, a Serbian Metropolitan in Chicago, a Romanian Metropolitan in Detroit, a Ruthenian/Rusyn/Carpatho-Russian Metropolitan in Minneapolis (St. Mary’s), an Albanian Metropolitan in Boston, a Bulgarian Metropolitan in Pittsburgh, an Old Ritualist Metropolitan in Seattle, a French Metropolitan in Montreal (I prefer Quebec city myself), a Canadian Metropolitan in Toronto or Ottawa (to keep an eye on the Americans), a Mexican Metropolitan in Mexico City, a WRO Metropolitan in Wichita, an Amerinidan/Aleut Metropolitan in Sitka. I wouldn’t have a Macedonian Metropolitan yet, until that internal matter of the Serbian Church is resolved.

    Each of these Metropolitans would actually be the bishop of their see. New Orleans would be, for instance “Metropolitan of New Orleans and All the South” I would be adding however, “Defender of the Greek Usage.” (I got the idea from the ROCOR and PoM bishops who serve as “Defender of the Old Ritual” for those of the Edinoveria). What that would mean is that that Metropolitan would be charged with approval of all Greek liturgical texts in use for the whole of North America, would serve as the point many on Greek affairs, a liason of the Holy Synod to the Greek Churches, etc. and would serve as an ombudsman to which any Greek or ethnic Greek or Hellenophile could ask for appeal if they feel the local bishop is slighting the Greeks, Greek traditions, etc. The Metropolitan will not be able to try the case himself, but will be charged to bring it before the Holy Synod. Of course, someone could also appeal to the Archbishop, but at least someone is charged specifically for looking out for the best interests of the Greeks. He would also serve as advisor to the other Metropolitans about Greek issues in their own Metropolitanates. And mission work to bring back Greek uniates (not so numerous, but this will be a big duty, say, for the Metropolitans of Winnipeg and Minneapolis). I choose New Orleans, given the history of the first continous GO parish there, Holy Trinity, which would serve as the Metropol. I make the choices on sees for similar reasons of history etc. for the others.

    Under these Metropolitans will be suffragan bishops, so they will be real Metropolitans. In areas where there is a need, their may be a second tier of bishops with “ethnic” responsibilities. For instance, for the “Metropolitan of Boston and All New England, Defender of the Albanian Usage,” there are more than enough Greeks that a suffragan at, say, Lowell could be “Bishop of Lowell, Vicar of the Greek Usage in New England.” There will be some bishops that will not have such responsibilities, and will just be local bishops. In some areas, a priest can be designated vicar. For instance, how many Greeks are in Alaska? There a priest can be appointed vicar by the Metropolitan of Sitka, with the advice of the Metropolitan of New Orleans.

    Btw, I justify these ethnic bishops by canon 28: it refers to bishops among the “barbarians” i.e. ethnicities not Roman in the geographical dioceses.

    The Greek Metropolitan will also help coordinate things such as immigration services for those from Greece etc. The Metropolitan of Sitka, for instance will be specially charged with missions among the Amerindians, and if the proposed mission in Guatamala goes through, maybe anotehr Metropolitan for the Maya and other Meso-American Amerindians could be set up. The Mexican Metropolitan will approve Spanish texts, the Metropolitan of Montreal French texts, etc. and be charged with helping missions to those ethnic groups, and if a Gallican rite is approved, it would be under Montreal’s provinance and not Wichita’s. The Arab Metropolitan of Brooklyn will serve as pointman on relations and issues with the Syriac Orthodox Church, and similar responsibilies would be parcelled out for the links to the other OOs.

    The Archbishop will have no ethnic responsibilities (in fact, it should be barred, and that includes American vs. Canadian or Mexican), but it would be nice if there was a mix of backgrounds in those who are elevated.

    Constantinople will have Holy Trinity in NYC as its Metochion, Antioch some Church in the Detroit area, Russia will retain the Cathedral in New York it has now, Georgian can change the parish it just founded into its metochia (btw, if there are enough Georgians for a Metropolitan, they should by all means have one. Otherwise a suffragan to the Archbishop sould be appointed), Serbia can have Libertyville (the King is buried there anyway), Romania can keep the Cathedral it has in Chicago, the Church of Greece will have Annunciation SF as its metochian, Albania have St. Nicholas in Chicago, Czech and Slovak lands a parish in Western Pennsylvania, etc. The Metochia, besides serving as ambassadors to the Archbishop of North America, will also serve as consulates to their respective ethnicities and the Metropolitans who are designated their defenders. I purposely put the Metochia outside of the Metropolitanates of their ethnicity: that way each group can feel all the more that all bases across the continent are being covered in their interests, i.e. someone on all three coasts are looking out for the Greeks,etc.

    I think that’s enough for starters.

  8. Oh, I forgot: I know we take a special collection for Antioch once a year. It might be nice if we have a continent wide collection for Constantinople on St. Andrews day (or the Sunday closest), one for Alexandria on St. Mark’s day, for Russia on St. Tikhon’s, for the Metropolitan of Kiev on St. Vladimir, for Serbia on St. Sava’s day etc. Sort of like that Sunday evening phone call to mom just to let her know you haven’t forgotten her.

    • Isa,

      Fascinating…you are proving the point i raised above…many on this blog have devoted a LOT more brain time to Orthodox unity than many of our bishops.

      Ok…so I understand your domestic setup. I really like many of the elements of the system…very balanced, very comprehensive.

      Now tell me this: would there be any formal connection, by the various ethnic metropolitans, with the Old Country? I understand (and like the idea of) the concept of the ethnic metropolitan being the “point man” on all matters Greek/Arab/Romanian etc. makes sense…guarantees that this will not be a homogenization process in disguise. At the same time, this may result in a serendipitous creation of an American Orthodoxy..pulling on the best of all the traditions…WOW..what a thought! An American Orthodoxy inspired by both Romanos, Rachmaninoff, and Tchaikovsky. The possibilities here are endless and exciting.

      But tell me about what kind of formal/informal/other connection there might be with the Old Countries?

      The reason I raise this – in the absence of some sort of “representation” or formal connection – aren’t we simply asking all the Old World patriarchates to turn over their eparchies to the American Church? I can’t imagine them doing that without some formal “link” – be that an agreement, formal representation…something. This is the part I can’t figure out.

      There are many possible mechanisms…Your metochia idea…do we establish stavropegial institutions of each Old Country somewhere (a la representation church of St. Catherine’s in Moscow)…or does the chrism come from the Old Country? Is there some sort of representation on the Synod of the Old Country? Does it go both ways?

      I’m looking for a mechanism which could be held out…seriously…to the various ethnic jurisdictions (as well as to the Mother Churches) and allow us to say “And this is how we guarantee the link will remain for as long as you and they (the eparchy) wish.”

      Any thoughts? Am I on the wrong track?

      You and I really need to have lunch/dinner sometime. We can pull Michalopulos in by telephone (and maybe Fr. Pat too)…LOL

      Thanks in advance.


  9. Isa,

    Sorry…hadn’t read your response carefully enough.

    Constantinople will have Holy Trinity in NYC as its Metochion, Antioch some Church in the Detroit area, Russia will retain the Cathedral in New York it has now, Georgian can change the parish it just founded into its metochia (btw, if there are enough Georgians for a Metropolitan, they should by all means have one. Otherwise a suffragan to the Archbishop sould be appointed), Serbia can have Libertyville (the King is buried there anyway), Romania can keep the Cathedral it has in Chicago, the Church of Greece will have Annunciation SF as its metochian, Albania have St. Nicholas in Chicago, Czech and Slovak lands a parish in Western Pennsylvania, etc. The Metochia, besides serving as ambassadors to the Archbishop of North America, will also serve as consulates to their respective ethnicities and the Metropolitans who are designated their defenders. I purposely put the Metochia outside of the Metropolitanates of their ethnicity: that way each group can feel all the more that !
    all bases across the continent are being covered in their interests, i.e. someone on all three coasts are looking out for the Greeks,etc.

    Interesting…so you would have representation churches of ALL the Mother Churches in various “homeland” areas of that ethnic group..here in America? I see.

    What about the reverse? Would there be institutions over there, from here?

    This is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. It’s a GREAT start.

    What else?

    Best Regards,

  10. I knew I was forgetting something: yes, the Church will have metochia in each of the other Churches, and I expect the responsible Metropolitian would have a hand it that, perhaps being commemorated along with the Archbishop.

    As for the eparchies, yes, we are of course asking for them to be turned over. What might be done, however, rather than a full takeover, would be what Patriarchate of Moscow did with the Patriarchal Parishes in the Tomos of Autocephaly. Condemned as uncanonical by some (basically those who don’t like the Tomos and look for any excuse), I think it a rather good use of economia to solve problems. A number of parishes who were not sure about autocephaly were given the option of staying under Moscow and were exempt from the Tomos, being Stavropegial. The Tomos states that Moscow would not force them into union with the OCA without their consent. However, it also said that it would not release them to any other jurisdiction besides the OCA, and that they would be headed by a vicar bishop of the Patriarchal parish who did not hold the title of a see in North America, specially appointed for this purpose. They could only be received by the OCA on the parish’s own initiative and bilateral agreements in each case between Moscow and the OCA. Moscow also stated it would not receive any canonical Orthodox on the territory of the OCA (uncanonical groups were exempt: I think this was a veiled reference to the Ukrainians). On OC.net we tried tracing the fates of these parishes. Some have still remained under Moscow, but that might not mean anyting: Met. Jonah was received and grew in Orthodoxy in one such parish. The parishes are directed to commemorate Met. Jonah right after the PoM (this I believe was right after the EP’s Chief Secretary’s speech, but I may be remembering incorrectly). Many, perhaps most (I dont’ recall) joined the OCA (though I think one jumped and left Moscow and joined an uncanonical group). The Tomos also requires Moscow and the OCA to maintain “sincere fraternal relations..guided by the bilateral agreements” which had already been signed. Finally, Moscow abolished its exarchate in North and South America and its dioceses.

    A similar deal could be worked out with all the Mother Churches.

    Of course, we know not all Mother Churches are equal. Problems that is.

    Starting with the Czcech and Slovak lands, she recognizes the OCA, and really has no claims at all in North America, her children being from the uniates. I think she would be thrilled being asked to take a metochia, and having a CR/Rusyn/Ruthenian Metropolitan being enthroned in North America.

    Poland recognizes the OCA, and likewise doesn’t seem to have any claims. The Polish Orthodox I’ve known in the US are integrated into other parishes and not together. I’d like to have a suffragan bishop around Chicago, Polish capital of the world, for mission purposes. Also to hopefully bring the Polish National Catholic Church, now that it has been expelled from the Union of Utrecht for upholding traditional Christianity (the Nordic Catholic Church, when rebuffed by the GO bishop (another lost opportunity: he said he didn’t want to give the idea that Orthodoxy was for Scandinavians), got its orders from the PNCC (I don’t comment on their validity, just note that unlike the talks with the Episcopalians, this dialogue isn’t a waste of time). No problems here.

    Albania doesn’t officially recognize the OCA, but the OCA’s diocese of Boston is the Mother Church of Albania. If Fan Noli is canonized, there might be closer relations. I was just speaking with missionaries in Albania, and they said that there has been no real linkage between the Albanians in North America because of the EP’s appointment of a Greek as Archbishop of Albania. Arch. Anastasios, however, is no Phanariot. Hopefully the Albanians here can appreciate him as much as those in Albania do. I am still rather unclear on the set up with Archbp. Ilia: who sends him to be primate of the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America? The EP? What connection does he have with the Albanian Church? Frankly, I’m sure the Albanian Church would like to have better links to the Albanians here, and should. I don’t see much problem here.

    Ah, the Church of Greece. The 800 pound gorilla in the room. Let’s face it, this is GOARCH’s Mother Church, not Constantinople, and should be treated as such. Perhaps by having a metochion in SF, and a Greek American one in Athens, she can be persuaded to deal directly and not viacriously through Constantinople. Saying such can be the third rail however. Since no chrism is received from the CoG, nor bishops officially, etc. there is not much to be done here. Maybe a collection for Constantinople in honor of the CoG (which has reached a point where it doesn’t need the money) on Annunciation, the metochia and the treatment of the Athonite monasteries as stavoropegial, might be enticing. But make no mistake:this is Constantinople (not so) silent partner. (and ironically, this daughter of Constantinople I argue is more Apostolic than the EP)

    The Church of Cyprus, from what I’ve seen, has no independent voice outside Cyprus. It votes with the EP (i.e. with Greece), although it makes a large part of the Greek diaspora (no quotation marks, as they see it), but not so much in North America (Britain and Australia is a different story). They are well representated among the general Greek population, but dispersed. A collection might be had for Cyprus on St. Barnabas day, and more active pressure on the US government from a United North American Orthodox Church to pressure Turkey on resolution of the Cyprus issue, which would help with the “Greek Question” all around (and being quite Orthodox and right to boot). A Metochion of its own where ever the highest concentration of Cypriots are in North America might sweeten the Baklava for the Greeks in general to the deal.

    The Bulgarians recognize the OCA, and in fact the Bulgarians form one of the OCA’s constituent dioceses. Bulgaria does have its exarchate here, which it says is an integral part of the Bulgarian Church. But since it doesn’t much interfere with the functioning of the OCA as far as I can see, it’s not a problem. Doing to the Bulgarian exarchate as Moscow did with its exarchate, even if all the parishes stay with Bulgaria, it would regularize the situation somewhat.

    Romania is more of a problem as there is more history. Bucharest doesn’t recognize the OCA, but hasn’t been implacably hostile: when I was in Romania in 1992, there was contigents from the OCA working with the Church in Romania (my ex wife is Romanian, so I’m VERY familiar with this. I take our sons to the Exarchate Cathedral every month). But the Romanian version of ROCOR joined up in the OCA as a constituent diocese. There might be some sore feelings on the refusal of the OCA Romanian Episcopate, and Bucharest seeing no difference between that and the Moldovan Church under the Patriarch of Moscow (they see both as being “with the Russian,” a VERY bad thing in Romanian mentality). They can be very ethnic, and is an example of what Met. Jonah said was the third view of “diaspora” (vs. the OCA and the EP’s), basically phyletism, but at least if the DL is in Romania, you can be sure that the coffee hour will be too. The last service I was at the exarch cathedral the exarch switched to some parts to English, I suspect because he saw some non-Romanians in the congregation. In constrast, someone has called Dormition Monastery the bleeding edge of Orthodox Unity. Anyway, I don’t think much can be done here, but thankfully I’m not sure much has to be done. Romania will play along, especially if the stavropegial set up is approved for its exarchate.

    Serbia also doesn’t recognize the OCA’s autocephaly, although it recognized the Russian Archdiocese’s jurisdiction, and the Serbs were canonically transfered to Belgrade. They also have a sort of phyletist view of Orthodoxy, although they also are not hostile to the OCA. A problem was that Serbia had its own problems overcoming its own schism. I think if some deal like the Moscow stavropegial solution is worked out, it might tip the scales: I’ve heard that there are rumblings among the native born North American Serbs vis-a-vis the those born in Serbia and the headquarters in Belgrade. Then there’s the Macedonian problem (which I don’t think we should preempt Serbia’s solution). Btw, this issue of Touchstone has a good article by Fr. Pat. on the Serbs, and the vision of the Decani Monastery. In any case, I think if the ball gets rolling, Serbia won’t get in the way.

    Georgia just recently entered the jurisdiction game. If their sole, new parish is made a metochion, and better accommodations made for the Georgians here (I don’t know, maybe there is enough of them here for a Metropolitan or at least a suffragan bishop), I would expect no problem, especially as it is an ancient Patriarchate which DOES recognize the OCA.

    For Russia, most problems have been solved. The sole exception is ROCOR. The best course here, given the history, would be to let ROCOR continue in North America as is, and let that unification take its natural course.

    Jerusalem makes me sick what it does in the name of tomb worship. I’d rather not speak of it. It won’t be able to stand in the way once the ball gets rolling.

    Antioch doesn’t officially recognize the OCA, but in many ways unofficially does. Because of all the talk already on union, I’ll not dwell on it here.

    Alexandria basically follows the EP and CoG’s lead, when it is not circumventing it (Alexandria has tried to have an exarch here twice). If given a metochion, and maybe a Metropolitian being earmarked for the African Americans, a collection on St. Marks day by the whole OCNA (Orthodox Church North America) for missions in Africa might, which other incentives to the Greeks as a whole, win her over.

    Then there’s Constantinople.

    To start off there are two things: the EP is in an existential struggle to survive which we should support any way possible.

    It is also trying to promote its dogma of the neo-canon 28. We must resist this in any way possible.

    This is basically in a class by itself, the highest hurdle. Maybe I should wait for response for the foregoing before continuing.

    To sum up, the deal can be that which Moscow fashioned for itself. I would only require that decisions to unite or stay under a foreign patriarch (but not exarch, which would all be abolished) be made on a parish by parish level. We mady not get the majority of the parishes, but I think we would get enough of a critical core to make a go of it, and allay the fears and prove our point to the extent that if we build the united Orthodox Church in North America, the rest will come.

    PS I didn’t comment on the chrism quesiton because I recruse myself. I firmly beleive every autocephalous Church should consecrate its own chrism, but I realize not all do, and I don’t want to digress/be hung up on that issue.

  11. George Michalopulos :

    Isa, whatever happens, I hope you’re involved in the setting up of dioceses!

    Here’s my take, tell me what you think:

    1. Archbishop of Washington, DC, Metropolitan of the United States and Patriarch of North America. (states: VA, DE, MD)

    a. Archbishop of Boston and metropolitan of New England (defender of Albanian usage) (states: ME, MA, CT, NH, VT)
    i. Bishop of Lowell (defender of Greek usage)
    ii. Bishop of Stamford (defender of Russian/Ukrainian usage)
    iii. Bishop of Portland

    b. Archbishop of Albany and metropolitan of the Mid-Atlantic
    i. Bishop of Manhattan (NY, NJ)
    ii. Bishop of Brooklyn (defender of Arabic usage)
    iii. Bishop of Queensboro (defender of Greek usage)
    iv. Bishop of Utica (defender of Italo-Greek usage)
    v. Bishop of Trenton (defender of the Ukrainian usage)
    vi. Bishop of Newark

    c. Archbishop of Atlanta and metropolitan of the South (states: AL, AR, GA, MS, FL, OK, TN, SC, NC, TX
    i. Bishop of Miami (defender of the Cuban usage)
    ii. Bishop of Birmingham
    iii. Bishop of Charleston
    iv. Bishop of Dallas
    v . Bishop of Houston (defender of the Mexican usage
    vi. Bishop of New Orleans
    vii. Bishop of Oklahoma City (defender of the Amerindian usage)

    d. Archbishop of Springfield and metropolitan of the Midwest (IL, WI, IN, MO)
    i. Bishop of New Gracanica (defender of the Serbian usage)
    ii. Bishop of Chicago (defender of the Greek usage)
    iii. Bishop of St Louis
    iv. Bishop of Kansas City,
    v. Bishop of St Paul/Minneapolis (defender of the Ruthenian usage)
    vi. Bishop of Indiannapolis

    e. Archbishop of Denver and metropolitan of the West (CO, KS, NM, SD, NB, ND, WY, MT, UT)
    i. Bishop of Wichita (defender of the Arab usage)
    ii. Bishop of Sioux Falls (defender of the Serb usage)
    iii. Bishop of Albaquerque (defender of the Hispanic usage)

    f. Archbishop of Philadelphia and metropolitan of the Monangahela Valley (WVa, OH, KY, MI)
    i. Bishop of Charleston, WVa
    ii. Bishop of Louisville, KY
    iii. Bishop of Pittsburgh
    iv. Bishop of Wilkes-Barre (defender of the Carpatho-Rusyn usage)
    v. Bishop of Detroit (defender of the Romanian usage)
    vi. Bishop of Toledo (defender of the Arab usage)
    vii. Bishop of Cincinnati
    viii. Bishop of Cleveland

    g. Archbishop of Sacramento and metropolitan of the West Coast (CA, AZ, WA, OR, NV
    i. Bishop of Los Angeles
    ii. Bishop of San Francisco
    iii. Bishop of San Diego
    iv. Bishop of Phoenix
    v. Bishop of Portland
    vi. Bishop of Seattle
    vii. Bishop of Las Vegas

    h. Archbishop of Fairbanks and metropolitan of Alaska (AK)
    i. Bishop of Sitka (defender of the Amerindian usage)
    ii. Bishop of Juneau
    ii. Bishop of Anchorage


    2. Archbishop of Ottawa and metropolitan of Canada, Defender of Ninuvit usage
    a. Bishop of Montreal (and defender of French usage)
    b. Bishop of Winnipeg (and defender of Ukrainian usage)
    c. Bishop of Vancouver
    d. Bishop of Toronto (and defender of Greek usage)


    3. Archbishop of Mexico City and metropolitan of Central America
    a. Bishop of Tegucigalpa
    b. Bishop of Vera Cruz
    c. Bishop of Managua

    What do you think? I like your idea of “defender of [ethnic] usage” but I wanted to make it more territorially compact. There’s really no reason why a Palestinian immigrant living in Chicago should have to go all the way to Brooklyn to air his grievances when there’s a huge Arab concentration nearby in Toledo or Dearborn.

  12. LOL. There’s a large Arab concentration in Chicago. I’m part of it.

    Just for want of Space I didn’t go through all the sees, just sketch the general idea. I didn’t touch, for instance, what should be the set up if it is decided that Canada and Mexico should be their own Churches.

    I just happened to be awakened. Hopefully I’ll get back to this to comment when I have time.

  13. George Michalopulos :

    Isa, I think that was my point. Why should Arab-Americans in (say) Chicago have to plead there case to the Bishop of Brookly when the Bishop of Toledo could be a “defender of the Arab usage”?

    Or, instead, how about this: Each diocese should have as many ethnic auxiliaries as needed. Chicago alone could have one for the Greeks, one for the Serbs, the Arabs, the Romanians, the Bulgarians, etc. These auxiliaries could be protopresbyters and they could meet regularly with auxiliaries from the other dioceses to coordinate their activities (whatever those might be). Of course, they would have to coordinate with their respective bishops as well. A good check-and-balances system that could prevent the further ghettoization of American Orthodox.

    My very real fear is that by having the metropolitan of New England be the defender of the Albanian usage (for example), this would lead to two problems: 1) An Albanian-American in Los Angeles would look to him as his “real” bishop instead the bishop in LA. And 2) What would happen upon the death of the Albanian bishop in Boston? This would force the Church to find another Albanian to be his successor. In effect, this would marginalize Boston as an “Albanian seat,” Atlanta as a “Greek seat,” and Chicago as a “Serbian seat.” Kinda like the nonsense that said when Thurgood Marshall died: we were told that this was the “black seat” and it could only be filled by an African-American. This strikes me as tokenism.

    Anyway, I like your thinking. I just hope that the episcopal assembly (should it meet) will be as serious about this as we are.

  14. George Michalopulos :

    PS, I forgot to add, the Archbishop of Washington should have these ordinaries as suffragans:

    1. Bishop of Richmond
    2. Bishop of Baltimore
    3. Bishop of Georgetown (he could be his auxiliary/chancellor)

    Also, I know I’m forgeting some states.

    How about this challenge: to all who are interested in this, let’s put our heads together and come up with some guidelines, and then proceed to draw real, territorial boundaries. For openers: I would like to suggest that the parameters should be:

    1. canonical (dioceses should follow/respect political boundaries (i.e. respect the territorial integrity of the existing states).
    2. singular (no more than one bishop per city)
    3. find out exactly how many bishops there are in North America
    4. draw out as many dioceses as necessary to accommodate these bishops
    5. keep an eye on the possibility of dividing up dioceses based on future growth, all the while respecting the borders of states. (In other words, should Orthodoxy grow sufficiently in TX or Fl, they can be split off at a future date from the diocese of the South and become their own dioceses.

    What do y’all say?

  15. George Michalopulos :

    Isa, you brought up another point which has vexed me: what exactly is the status of the Palestinian/Jordanian parishes here in America? I know the Phanar and its minion say that they created a special exarchate for them, but over on the goarch website, I don’t see one listed. I also don’t see any vicar-general for them. Do you know if they commemorate Arb Demetrius like they were told to do? I’m curious as I think that this is germane to the discussion at hand.

    If you and Dean ever do go out for lunch, call me, I’d be glad to have a conference call. Dean knows my no.

  16. LOL. Yes, the Palestinian/Jordanians and the converts have seem to have taken matters in their own hand, and refuse to submit to the EP. The charter the EP forced on GOARCH seems to preclude their admission: it says that those who “volutnary” come and recognize the EP are part. Chattle don’t count.

    Yes, for me at least it’s germanine: it’s the only issue involving the PoJ that I care to address. Since he has already divested himself formally of the exarchate, why not let them be PoJ parishes with the same deal the PoM parishes had, and let us move on to unity.

    Dean, PM at orthodoxchristianity.net (I don’t put personal info. on the net, lest the ‘bots get it). Or just come to Vespers/DL at All Saints.

    To briefly review:

    I didn’t go much into Canada or Mexico much, to be conservative (my natural bent). I think that they should either autcephalous themselves or put on the road to that. But I’m not Canadian nor Mexican, nor live there, so I don’t want to speak for them, nor let my own feelings on the matter muddle things.

    The sticking point is titles (isnt’ this what it is all about?). If we can introduce the novelty of “Archmetropolitan” (because I think giving our primate the title “patriarch” will send off all sorts of bells and whistles and digress into all sorts of unnecessary arguments), and restore the rank of Metropolitan-Archbishop then that would change my provisional plan. The question is, how much will people fight something new but canonical just because it is canonical?

    That’s why I floated the balloon about Antioch getting involved: if a merger can be made with its auspices and blessing, her ancient title of “catholicos” can be put to use and used instead of “archmetropolitan” and avoiding the title “patriarch” which those adamently opposed to autocephaly and unity (you/we know who you are) will/do go apoplectic about.

    I basically see 4 levels of episcopal authority: I am not hung up on what titles they have, but many are. For the sake of argument, I’ll leave the objections behind and posit: Archmetropolitan, Metropolitan, Archbishop, Bishop

    “Archmetropolitan of All North America”: enthroining him in New York may make more sense if we posit seperate Metropolitanates for Canada, the US, and Mexico. This would approximate not only the Mother Church Russian Model (which now has a seperate Metropolitan for Ukraine, Estonia, etc. within the Russian Church, btw I favor autocephaly for them as I do for Canada and Mexico, but I’m not Russian, Ukranian, Estonian, etc. so I don’t want to press that issue),but also Constantiople’s (e.g. the status of Crete) and that envisioned in canon 28 (with the ancient, proper, interpretation) of the Metropolitans of Pontus, Thrace, and Asia under the EP. It also resembles the old set up of Antioch with its Catholicates in Georgia (now autcephalous), Armenia (ditto), Mesopotomia (now in the Nestorian heresy) and India (status now in dispute). New York may be more neutral to Canadians and Mexicans, but I say that not to speak for them, but to show we in the North American elephant should be open to such objections to Washington and to possible solutions.

    “Metropolitan of All America/All Canada/All Mexico”:if we have this next level, then my concern of a Canadian (and Mexican) primate to keep an eye on the Americans would be fulfilled, and the decision of whether they will remove or eventually become autocephalous themselves will be on firm footing, not matter which course is taken. This would also make the added bonus that the Archmetropolitan will be transethnic, but all transnational. Like the Archmetropolitans, these Metropolitans should be barred from having any ethnic defender status, and of course, it would be nice if a rotation of background would build up in each metropolitanate. This would have reprocussions on the next level: as long as Canada, for instance stays in union with America, the Archbishop of Winnipeg will continue as Defender of Ukrainian usage for all of North America (there will, of course, be need for a Ukrainian vicar at the bishop leval at least in America, but should be in any case): he will be on the Holy Synod along with the American bishops. Ukrainians seem more orientated to Canada in any case, a function of history and demographics. If and when Canada becomes autocephalous in its own right, that would have to be reassessed. Ditto with a French bishop if Montreal is in another Holy Synod.

    It is perhaps the place here to interject, that just like the Tomos of the OCA on the patriarchal parishes says, the Statute of the Orthodox Church in North America (OCNA) should specify that any such moves, and any moves to abolish a “defender status,” translate/move it, etc. must come from the initiative of those Orthodox affected, and effected only through multilateral agreement of the Orthodox affected, the Archbishop, the Metropolitans and the Archmetropolitan and Holy Synod, and perhaps the Mother Church affected. Actually, I think having the final point in black and white would be a very good thing. It seems to have worked in the case of the PoM.

    ‘Archbishop of X, Defender of the Y Usage.” I think that I stated elsewhere here somewhere why I have this, as opposed to just a priest serving as pointman: a priest can’t serve as big enough a security blanket. And let’s face it, as there is no shame in admitting it asit reflects valid concerns, we are talking about the need of security blankets to get this going: no one wants to be blanched and homogenized into a general American Church, nor should they have to. Hyphenated Americans/Canadians/Mexicans function quite well in general American/Canadian/Mexican society, they can function in the Church as well. To say otherwise is to ignore the makeup of societies in North America. Hence I place the responsibility on defenders on this level. I think any lower would not give the feeling of security needed, any higher would defeat the purpose of balanace. This is not unprecedented: besides being instituted by St. Tikhon such things are done in Alexandria and Jerusalem (the former much better IMHO than the latter, at least when I was there in the 80’s and 90’s).

    Which brings up the concern of tokenism. Let me make the bizarre comparison with the contrast between racism with the 1/8 rule in America and the Classification Bureaucracy in Apartheid. In the former biology was destiny, and not just in the South (I recall someone in Indiana showing his school record which stated “despite student white appearance [he was totally caucasian in appearance], student is colored” because of a black grandmother). In the latter, genealogy wasn’t considered, if one could pass, one could register as white-members of the same family and siblings found themselves in different race groups. So the qualifications for the Defender position need not, indeed should not, be a phyletist determination of parentage and a quota system. If shold be more the way the Antiochian constituion states its qualification for bishops: they have to have a command of English and a familiarity of Arabic. The Defender of the Arab Usage need not be an Arab. My Bishop Mark is not, and I was/am a vociforous defender of his position as my diocesan bishop, although his Arabic is rudimentary. He is not, however, anti-Arab. Many Greeks I see criticize how Russian Met. Jonah is, unaware that he is not Russian at all (I am sure if His Beatitude was made aware of any problem in this area, he would modify if possible. But some criticisms, such as wearing Russian vestments and not Greek ones, are petty as being unavoidable: he has to wear some vestment, and the difference is not his fault. I’m sure he’d don Greek vestments if it would satisfy some folk). But best of all, we have the example of that living saint, Arb. Anastasios. There is a rift (healing slowly I’m told) that he, a Greek, was appointed to head the Church and not an Albanian. However, he is not a Phanariot, and has stood as a bulwark against Hellenization of the Albanians Church. He has not run the Church (like Jerusalem) for the benefit of the Greek Albanian minority. Rather he has explicitly and forcely pushed a program of bringing the Albanian Church out of the ashes up to a level where the Albanians, in Albanian, are masters of their own house. In fact, a constitution for Albania (the country, not the Church) which would have forced his departure was rejected. btw, he refers to his Church as the “Orthodox Church in Albania,” and not the “Albanian Church.” When he celebrated DL at Saranda, near the Greek border and in site of Greek Corfu and well within the Greek minority of Albania, it was suggested that he serve entirely in his native Greek, as nearly everyone there would understand. “No,” his Beatitude replied,”if only two persons need Albanian, we shall have Albanian.” Many Years!

    So no, I don’t see it as a token position, but a position that makes clear that being the Defender and its responsibilities are part of the package. St. Tikhon had imput from Antioch on the appointment of St. Raphael and his consecration. I think that is a wise precedent to follow, and will go a long way to making this palatable to the Mother Churches, and assuage the fears of the ethnics. And should things procede smoothly, and people feel confortable enough that they don’t need the security blanket and want to abolish it (although Boston will always have its Albanian history, New Orleans its Greek, etc.), so much that better. In the meantime, a mechanism can opperate (which is canonical: Russian used the same mechanism with the Edinoverie, GOARCH with the Old Calendar groups who have gone canonical, Moscow with the stravropegial patriarchal parishes, etc.)to built good will. Another thing is that I don’t think that tokenism for most groups will be a problem: there will be plenty of Greek, Russian, Arab, CarpathoRussian, etc. candidates for the episcopacy. Why not put one in this place as Defender? The policy of one per need (both at the Archbishop and bishop levels) doesn’t mean the rest can’t serve in sees that don’t have “defender” responsibilities (and I envision a few of those too). The Albanians are heavily concentrated in the Northeast, with only a mission outside in CA (and the EP’s Albanian bishop’s residence, NOT parish, in Las Vegas). The idea would be that at least some bishop, as opposed to the generic All bishops, are on the lookout for the best interests of the group in question, so we can get on with the business of evangelization.

    As for people looking to other bishops as their “real bishop,” that happens enough already. I can’t claim innocence:I was born and live in the US and see Bishop Job as the “real” bishop here, but in the Antiochian archdiocese and an Arab (not why I am in the Archdiocese btw) vigorously defend Bishop Mark as my diocesan bishop, but, as an Egyptian, pray for Pope Theodore (and Pope Shenoudah, although I am not Copt). I envision, for instance, coordination of the episcopal visit of the Archbishop of SF (Russian Defender) to the Albanin CA mission as a concelebration of the two hierachs either the Archbishop of Boston (Albanian defender) or the a suffragan of SF who serves as vicar for the Albanians to SF, and am not against a dual mention in the diptychs (something like what goes on in the Moscow patriarchal parishes). The SF Archbishop, as required by the canons, will get top billing. But some econonia wouldn’t hurt and might grease the wheels.

    So now, going to “Bishop of X, Vicar of Y Usage in the Archdiocese of Z.” These would be the suffragan bishops, make the Archbishops real archbishops, just as the Archbishops make the Metropolitans real metropolitans. Say we have about 50 bishops in North America. Say that the Archmetropolitan, Metropolitans and Archbishops take up 20 sees (I think it will be less, but just to give enough for positions demanded by “ethnic” needs and for non-ethnic geographical needs). That leaves 30 sees open. They can be spread as geography and ethnicity needs. I suspect every archdiocese will need a suffragan for vicar of the Greeks of the Archdiocese, whereas there will not be such a great need for Albanians, for instance. And if there is some leftover without a need for ethnic defenders, then they can round out the Holy Synod by serving just as geographical bishops. I dont’ favor auxillaries: the titular see bishops should be suppllied by the Mother Churches through their metochia. A vicar can defend interests, while underlining the canonical concept of geography as the basis of the sees.

    Some might ask, why not just limit it to one Archbishop and be done with it. Couple of reasons: it puts a lot on one Archbishop. That might not be a problem for the Archbishop of Boston, Defender of Albanian Usage, as most Albanians are concentrated within a days drive of Boston. For the Greeks, that’s not enough: the needs of those in Tarpan Springs is not like those in Seattle. There is another fear I have, and it is based on the experience of a certain uniate bishop here who vowed to squeeze the garlic out of every onion dome, and tried to Latinize his flock into oblivion (some were saved by ACROD). Putting all the defense in one basket can be dangerous. Greeks are not monolithic, nor are anyone else. A wider sharing of responsibility, and a wider geographical spread of that responsibility rather than on one see.

    Which is also why, for instance, I would encourage metochia not only for Constantinople, but also for the CoG, Alexandria, Jerusalem and even Cyprus, and why I would have them all OUTSIDE of the Archdioces of New Orleans and All the South, see of the Defender of the Greek Usage. And if Alexandria wanted a second Metochion reflecting its Arab makeup, and another for the African Orthodox perhaps for mission among African Americans (Its been down before. Its a small, small world. Let’s make it smaller for Orthodoxy); and if Jerusalem wants one for its Palestinians and Jordanian Arabs, and if Consatninople wanted to set one up connected to a Turkish vicarate (Turkish Orthodox do exist, and not the schismatic papa Eftimites), that should be encouraged. Any

    ALSO balance of oppposite schools also among the greeks metochion athonite

    As a side note, I would have some deal worked out by Serbia and the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishoprick with the OCNA on something being setup for the Macedonians, who are numerous enough to warrant their own defender. Perhaps that might help heal the schism of the Macedonian Orthodox in Macedonia. (I’m thinking of the UOCUSA model).

    Basically, the set up goes with a basic philosophy of mind which crops up in various situations: if you wait until you are ready to have kids, you will never have them; if you wait until you can afford to give, your wallet will remain forever closed to charity; if we wait until the perfect situation when all disagreements and problems with the juridiction mess are worked out in order to do something, it will never happen.

    • oops. got posted by mistake. I’ll take it as a sign “that’s enough Isa for now.” But to finish my thought:

      (Turkish Orthodox do exist, and not the schismatic papa Eftimites), that should be encouraged. Anything to give the Mother Churches a vested interest in success. That goes for stavropegial status like the OCA Tomos has.

      The geographical spread of many bishops within the Holy Synod of the OCNA, and metochia of Mother Churches without but in the OCNA territory in a canonical matter is ment to set up a system of checks and balances that can by its own operation bring the situation into conformity with the canons without undue stress and upheaval.

      In short, if all the Mother Churches could sign onto a deal as the Moscow Patriarchate did in the OCA Tomos, abolishing their exarchates and even if they retained 90+% of their parishes as “patriarchal parishes,” it still would be better than what I see comeing from Chambesy.

  17. Btw, dated, but still useful:
    Rev. Dn. John Zarras


  18. George Michalopulos :

    Isa, re #16. WHEW! That’a a lot. You definately have given this a lot of though. I like your idea of “Catholicos,” much more so than “Archmetroplitan” which is too much of a mouthful. (Plus it puts too much emphasis on titles which is ultimately a pissing contest [pardon my French]).

    I still think that the Archbishop of Washington, DC should be the Catholicos. Personally, I don’t think we should get too hung up on what the Old World feels, that is if the Archbishop of DC is prolaimed as “Patriarch of North America.” They’ll get over it in time.

    Also, I’m just as vehement in making the metropolitans of Canada and Central America semi-autonomous immediately and fully autonomous eventually. (Probably 10 years for Canada, 30 years for Central America.)

  19. Yes, I lean towards Autocephaly for Canada and Central America (by bench mark rather than by time table). But not belonging to either policy, I don’t want to speak for them. It they want it soon, then yes locating the Metropolitan of America to Washington would make sense. My idea of it being in New York is purely on Canada/Mexico concerns.

    As for Patriarch, I’m a little leary, because the nay sayers can make a valid arguement. For one thing, the see wasn’t moved to Washington until 1981. I’d rather not get into unnecessary fights (especially when the opponent can prove his point): we have plenty of necessary ones to fight.

  20. George Michalopulos :

    Then Catholicos is is. (Please let’s leave “archmetropolitan” out of this. Ugh.)

  21. George Michalopulos :

    I’m stunned by how quickly Arey backed away from canon 28 in all its faded glory. He did so not once, but twice in Part one.

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