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GOARCH elects letter-forging defrocked archimandrite to episcopate

LizaSymonenko

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Why?!? Even if there is merely a hint of impropriety... why rock the boat? Is the Greek Church is such desperate need of bishops? Are there no other men who are candidates? Ugh.

This just adds to all the chaos in the Church as a whole.
 

RaphaCam

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Why?!? Even if there is merely a hint of impropriety... why rock the boat? Is the Greek Church is such desperate need of bishops? Are there no other men who are candidates? Ugh.

This just adds to all the chaos in the Church as a whole.
At this point it seems like they're literally trying. It's like they're testing limits...
 

StanislavU

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Why?!? Even if there is merely a hint of impropriety... why rock the boat? Is the Greek Church is such desperate need of bishops? Are there no other men who are candidates? Ugh.

This just adds to all the chaos in the Church as a whole.
I think this is because there is no commandment " Thou shalt not rock the boat", now is it?

Here's my take: Abp. Athenagoras made the right decision - the most merciful one. Christ didn't come to those without any hint of impropriety. It is about time someone shakes off the illusion that keeping peace in the Church means caving to folks who actually broke communion.

One observation: ROCOR placed Belya under sanction before the investigation, not after. I don't think anyone's hands are clean here.
 

RaphaCam

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I think this is because there is no commandment " Thou shalt not rock the boat", now is it?
Try the seventh beatitude... :rolleyes: The very fact you're thinking in terms of commandments (law) rather than beatitudes (love) speaks volumes on your take on this situation.

Here's my take: Abp. Athenagoras made the right decision - the most merciful one. Christ didn't come to those without any hint of impropriety. It is about time someone shakes off the illusion that keeping peace in the Church means caving to folks who actually broke communion.
Yeah, that's the reasoning that got Africa tore up in two.

One observation: ROCOR placed Belya under sanction before the investigation, not after. I don't think anyone's hands are clean here.
That's what suspensions are meant for. It's like injunctions in secular law.
 

StanislavU

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Try the seventh beatitude... :rolleyes: The very fact you're thinking in terms of commandments (law) rather than beatitudes (love) speaks volumes on your take on this situation.

Yeah, that's the reasoning that got Africa tore up in two.
Again, I had just enough of people seeking to shift the blame to anyone BUT the people tearing Africa up in two. Also, the very fact that you are thinking in terms of jurisdictional peace rather than access to Sacraments speaks volumes on your take on this and similar situations.

That's what suspensions are meant for. It's like injunctions in secular law.
De-facto, it is a sanction. The very MP-like language on invalid prayers, sort of anathema without an actual anathema, is very telling as well.

MP will be MPing, always. It's like in Ukraine, where MP is 100% in the wrong, no matter how big a piece of work Patr. Emer. Philaret always was.
 

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Africa got torn up in two? Is that a reference to P. kirill setting up a parallel structure in Egypt to punish the Patriarch of Alexandria for recognizing the canonicity of the OCU?
 

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That's what suspensions are meant for. It's like injunctions in secular law.
Though I've not worked with a suspension situation before, my understanding is that suspensions are permanent, unlike with excommunication and deposition. When there is a suspension, the suspended clergy gets to keep their rank and some of the benefits of that rank (such as garb), but they are forever restricted in 2 ways:

1. They may not perform any holy mysteries.
2. They may not advance to any higher rank.

In some situations, there is an additional penance imposed (such as not even being able to read for a specific length of time, such as in canon Basil.69—yes, that's the actual number!), but those do not lift the suspension. Can you clarify in which canons that suspensions are temporary, or are linked in some way to a civil injunction?
 

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Again, I had just enough of people seeking to shift the blame to anyone BUT the people tearing Africa up in two. Also, the very fact that you are thinking in terms of jurisdictional peace rather than access to Sacraments speaks volumes on your take on this and similar situations.
If there isn't anyone better than a defrocked priest implicated in fraud in the Slavic Vicariate, it shouldn't exist at all. At least he's not worse than his brother, Fr. Ivan Belya, who was implicated in human trafficking. This bizarre jurisdiction is a parody of the Orthodox Church that seems to be mostly intended for trolling purposes. If you think Archbishop Elpidophoros is actually worried about the purity of Orthodoxy, there's a bridge across the Bosphoros I want to sell you.

People want the right to sacraments (including ordinations), not access. Access without certain rights requires humility. It's amazing how people can be blind to this fiasco. It's so ugly that, if someone were making it up, it would be blasphemous.

Africa got torn up in two? Is that a reference to P. kirill setting up a parallel structure in Egypt to punish the Patriarch of Alexandria for recognizing the canonicity of the OCU?
Of course.

Can you clarify in which canons that suspensions are temporary, or are linked in some way to a civil injunction?
I was apparently wrong regarding suspensions. I took the term "suspension" literally.
 

Pravoslavbob

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Thread re-opened.
 
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Pravoslavbob

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Though I've not worked with a suspension situation before, my understanding is that suspensions are perma
Though I've not worked with a suspension situation before, my understanding is that suspensions are permanent...
This is simply an incorrect understanding.

Also:

 

ilyazhito

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The letter by Metropolitan Hilarion gave a term of the suspensions to the Belya brothers ("not more than one year"). This means that the suspensions were intended to be temporary.

What turned the suspensions into Alexander Belya being defrocked and his brother excommunicated was the refusal of the Belya brothers to respond to summons and appear before Spiritual Court to answer for their actions. Because the defrocking happened while Belya was a suspended ROCOR cleric, it is valid, and thus Alexander Belya may not be ordained to the episcopate.
 

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Try the seventh beatitude... :rolleyes: The very fact you're thinking in terms of commandments (law) rather than beatitudes (love) speaks volumes on your take on this situation.

Yeah, that's the reasoning that got Africa tore up in two.

That's what suspensions are meant for. It's like injunctions in secular law.
 

varnakis

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Amen on the 7th beatitude. I’m new to this forum (first post). What I don’t understand is why people are surprised at the current condition of the Church. Is it not to be expected? Did not the Lord say that He will “separate the sheep from the goats”? Also, are we not to pray for our enemies? I’m not saying this comes natural (Romans 8:7), but by the grace and mercy of God as we seek Him in repentance.
 

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Defrocked by who for what, do you know????
Does it really matter “by who or for what”? Is this not considered gossip? (Ephesians 4:9). I’m confused as a new Orthodox Christian.
 

LizaSymonenko

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Have you seen Archbishop Elpidophorus's reply?


Perhaps he actually does know more than we do. He seems to believe that this individual has been officially released from his previous jurisdiction, etc.

I mean... if he has the paperwork... and he is convinced it is legitimate... then...

It just seems there might have been better candidates to choose from... someone with less baggage... but... perhaps the Lord is working behind the scenes and has a plan that we are not cognizant of.
 

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Seems to be yet another case of the MP and/or the EP actively crumbling Eastern Orthodoxy into two different denominations. I wonder what the conventional names for these denominations are going to be, perhaps True Ancient Eastern Orthodox Church vs. Super Extra True Eastern Orthodox Church.
 

RaphaCam

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Perhaps he actually does know more than we do. He seems to believe that this individual has been officially released from his previous jurisdiction, etc.

I mean... if he has the paperwork... and he is convinced it is legitimate... then...
That's why I commented "We didn't find the original forged letter and there's a new letter, so it's okay."

It just seems there might have been better candidates to choose from... someone with less baggage... but... perhaps the Lord is working behind the scenes and has a plan that we are not cognizant of.
It's always better to presume the best from our hierarchs, but, in the context this is happening, it seems that pressing on the confusion is the endgame. I mean, how many celibate priests all across North America have had problems directly with Moscow (the see, not the jurisdiction as a whole)? It seems there's a bit of "trolling" involved.

I don't want to pretend I have a lot of insight, but I don't think the idea that he was secretly released makes much sense, since, when Metropolitan Hilarion reposed, he was still being sued by Fr. Alexander. The same canon that, observing St. Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 6, forbids bringing bishops to secular courts, is the one that establishes Constantinople's universal appelate jurisdiction (c. IX of the 4th), so it's bizarre that it's being ignored exactly in a context that ultimately goes back to a disagreement on Constantinople's privileges... It speaks volumes to how messy this all became.
 

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The jurisdictions directly, brazenly make a mockery of our canons and supposed unity as Orthodox Christians, so perhaps you should seek and pray more about why you think our bickering, divided, Old World-oriented, oftentimes racist jurisdictions are so very holy when they openly blaspheme the very Person of Christ and His Church.

If by the quotation marks you wish to insinuate a jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church isn't inherently holy, maybe you should seek and pray more about the mystery of the Church before bothering yourself with the technicalities of ecclesiology. It was very hard for the apostles to remember Christ's miracles when they saw him on the cross.
 

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Thank you, Kijabe.

Christ came into the world to save sinners. The well do not need a physician.
 

RaphaCam

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The jurisdictions directly, brazenly make a mockery of our canons and supposed unity as Orthodox Christians, so perhaps you should seek and pray more about why you think our bickering, divided, Old World-oriented, oftentimes racist jurisdictions are so very holy when they openly blaspheme the very Person of Christ and His Church.
Despite having a structure that's way more complex than just bishops meeting (and often these complexities are more problematic than not), autocephalous/autonomous jurisdictions are still essentially just a midway between the jurisdiction of the bishop and the Catholic Church. The jurisdiction of the bishop is heavenly (St. Matthew 18:18), and their sins do not contaminate their bishophood, which is not a privilege, but rather their personal position in the incarnation of Christ, whose body is immaculate, even though it has the likeness of sin (Romans 8:3).

Also, there's a strictly logical way to arrive at the same conclusion. Catholicity is accordance between the parts and the whole. If the Church is holy and catholic, the parts cannot be unholy.

Let's just not revive Donatism.

Christ came into the world to save sinners. The well do not need a physician.
Christ saves us sinners by "becoming sin", but he's still holy.
 

RaphaCam

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still essentially just a midway between the jurisdiction of the bishop and the Catholic Church
Not only that, but the sum of the holy jurisdiction of each individual bishop. Which is why the name is the same... St. Ignatius of Antioch has some words about episcopal jurisdiction in his Epistle to the Smyrnaeans:

See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.

Moreover, it is in accordance with reason that we should return to soberness [of conduct], and, while yet we have opportunity, exercise repentance towards God. It is well to reverence both God and the bishop. He who honours the bishop has been honoured by God; he who does anything without the knowledge of the bishop, does [in reality] serve the devil. Let all things, then, abound to you through grace, for you are worthy. You have refreshed me in all things, and Jesus Christ [shall refresh] you. You have loved me when absent as well as when present. May God recompense you, for whose sake, while you endure all things, you shall attain unto Him.
 
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Not only that, but the sum of the holy jurisdiction of each individual bishop. Which is why the name is the same... St. Ignatius of Antioch has some words about episcopal jurisdiction in his Epistle to the Smyrnaeans:
GOARCH episcopal candidate Belya is in disobedience to the ROCOR Synod. A suspension lasts as long as the Synod says so. Whether it is permanent or not.He could have appealed, but it appears he didn't; he simply ran away.
 

RaphaCam

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GOARCH episcopal candidate Belya is in disobedience to the ROCOR Synod. A suspension lasts as long as the Synod says so. Whether it is permanent or not.He could have appealed, but it appears he didn't; he simply ran away.
Yes! I was just getting to episcopal theology in a more abstract level, though. I'm no one to judge individual laymen who may walk out of their respective parishes after this travesty, but no one should judge those who stay either, and the very fact there's an option is because the Orthodox Church is far from observing proper episcopal theology in the US.
 

kijabeboy03

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What a pleasantly wordy justification of calling our divisive, squabbling, uncanonical jurisdictions "holy." Christ would be flipping tables if He were still here in the flesh.

Despite having a structure that's way more complex than just bishops meeting (and often these complexities are more problematic than not), autocephalous/autonomous jurisdictions are still essentially just a midway between the jurisdiction of the bishop and the Catholic Church. The jurisdiction of the bishop is heavenly (St. Matthew 18:18), and their sins do not contaminate their bishophood, which is not a privilege, but rather their personal position in the incarnation of Christ, whose body is immaculate, even though it has the likeness of sin (Romans 8:3).

Also, there's a strictly logical way to arrive at the same conclusion. Catholicity is accordance between the parts and the whole. If the Church is holy and catholic, the parts cannot be unholy.

Let's just not revive Donatism.

Christ saves us sinners by "becoming sin", but he's still holy.
 

RaphaCam

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What a pleasantly wordy justification of calling our divisive, squabbling, uncanonical jurisdictions "holy." Christ would be flipping tables if He were still here in the flesh.
Don't you think Christ is still here in the flesh, constantly cleansing the temple? Do you think your imitation of Christ would be more perfect if you joined the vandals that are defacing Russian Orthodox parishes across the world?

I don't want to twist your words, I just think you're arguing for a view of the Church that's more intuitive than Orthodox. I don't mean to be wordy either, but I speak English as a second language, so it naturally comes off as bookish sometimes. But sure, attack how I express myself and repeat what everyone already knows, that will make your point Orthodox...
 

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Alexander Belya is not in good standing with the Orthodox Church. He was laicized for failing to abide by the decision of the Synod he was under, impersonating a clergyman while he was suspended, and for not appearing before the Spiritual Court when ordered to. Because he is not in good standing, he cannot be a candidate for episcopal ordination. This is what everyone is protesting.
 
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What a pleasantly wordy justification of calling our divisive, squabbling, uncanonical jurisdictions "holy." Christ would be flipping tables if He were still here in the flesh.
Maybe we should have the Holy administrative unity of the Roman Catholic church. Things would be way better and holier, don't you think?
 

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Why?!? Even if there is merely a hint of impropriety... why rock the boat? Is the Greek Church is such desperate need of bishops? Are there no other men who are candidates? Ugh.

This just adds to all the chaos in the Church as a whole.
+++
 

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Why?!? Even if there is merely a hint of impropriety... why rock the boat? Is the Greek Church is such desperate need of bishops? Are there no other men who are candidates? Ugh.

This just adds to all the chaos in the Church as a whole.
+++
 

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What an interesting thought - I've always considered that ignorance lashing out myself, but perhaps it is Christ returned? Let me know when you've worked through the kinks.

And I didn't look at where you from, so my apologies if you felt attacked by my phrasing! But goodness, why justify the unjustifiable? And why call the unholy holy? 'Let your yes be yes' et alia...

Don't you think Christ is still here in the flesh, constantly cleansing the temple? Do you think your imitation of Christ would be more perfect if you joined the vandals that are defacing Russian Orthodox parishes across the world?

I don't want to twist your words, I just think you're arguing for a view of the Church that's more intuitive than Orthodox. I don't mean to be wordy either, but I speak English as a second language, so it naturally comes off as bookish sometimes. But sure, attack how I express myself and repeat what everyone already knows, that will make your point Orthodox...
 

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Not my thing, but if you want to be Roman Catholic you should give it a try.

Sidebar: The sheer ridiculousness of suggesting someone become Roman Catholic because they believe in the Orthodox Faith and not being Greek, Russian, et cetera, really is something else.

Maybe we should have the Holy administrative unity of the Roman Catholic church. Things would be way better and holier, don't you think?
 

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What an interesting thought - I've always considered that ignorance lashing out myself, but perhaps it is Christ returned? Let me know when you've worked through the kinks.

And I didn't look at where you from, so my apologies if you felt attacked by my phrasing! But goodness, why justify the unjustifiable? And why call the unholy holy? 'Let your yes be yes' et alia...
My whole point is that the Church is Christ incarnate and present. Now, Christ's literal body is transfigured in Heaven, but the Church, like Christ, is immaculate even though it bears the resemblance of sin and suffers through the world, until it's also transfigured and its full glory is manifested. I don't have more information on the tip of my tongue, but at a certain point the idea that Christ couldn't get sick or die of old age was condemned as heretical. This is also how the holiness of each bishop (not from himself, but from Christ through his episcopacy) lives through terrible sins. It's not just wordplay. A bad bishop is profaning his own episcopacy, and he will be held accountable for exactly that if not through God's mercy (St. James 3:1).

About Christ constantly cleansing the Temple, I'm talking about how he governs the Church through the Holy Spirit, not allowing the gates of hell to prevail. It takes time, yes, but Christ was already on his thirties when he did it in the Gospels...

And well, I didn't feel personally attacked, I'm actually flattered that you didn't realise it's not my first language, lol...
 
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Not my thing, but if you want to be Roman Catholic you should give it a try.

Sidebar: The sheer ridiculousness of suggesting someone become Roman Catholic because they believe in the Orthodox Faith and not being Greek, Russian, et cetera, really is something else.
It's not ridiculous when there are people that go through it all the time.

 

RaphaCam

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I don't have more information on the tip of my tongue, but at a certain point the idea that Christ couldn't get sick or die of old age was condemned as heretical.
Julianism. It was not condemned in a council, but St. Eutychius of Constantinople, who presided over the Second Council of Constantinople, denounced it, as did both rival claimants of the Patriarchate of Antioch: Anastasius (EO) and Severus (OO).
 
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Alexander Belya is not in good standing with the Orthodox Church. He was laicized for failing to abide by the decision of the Synod he was under, impersonating a clergyman while he was suspended, and for not appearing before the Spiritual Court when ordered to. Because he is not in good standing, he cannot be a candidate for episcopal ordination. This is what everyone is protesting.
Nope. The letter explicitly says GOARCH is well within its rights to choose its bishops as it sees fit. They are protesting the loss of "Orthodox unity" because ROCOR (which is not commemorating the EP) will be unhappy.
 

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If there isn't anyone better than a defrocked priest implicated in fraud in the Slavic Vicariate, it shouldn't exist at all. At least he's not worse than his brother, Fr. Ivan Belya, who was implicated in human trafficking. This bizarre jurisdiction is a parody of the Orthodox Church that seems to be mostly intended for trolling purposes. If you think Archbishop Elpidophoros is actually worried about the purity of Orthodoxy, there's a bridge across the Bosphoros I want to sell you.
Well, see, there are these parishes, with their flock (fresh off the boat, mainly female, Russians). They need to be administered somehow and do not neatly fit into subdivisions of GOARCH. So rationale for the Vicariate is quite separate from the Belyas; whether or not it's a SUFFICIENT rationale is up for debate but also none of any of our bee's wax. Similarly, since Fr. Belya basically created this whole structure, he's a clear candidate to lead it. I am not at all convinced he's a good candidate to be raised to Bishop (although, no, there isn't an overabundance of senior monastic candidates - just look at any non-Greek jurisdiction), but it's well above my (and your's) paygrade.

Compared to the most obvious recent precedent (which would be Moscow's so called "African Vicariate"), this whole thing is practically a model of canonical propriety and pastoral restraint. Which is why no one at the top of the Assembly will do anything about it beyond "expressing concern".

Also, it is VERY telling that we all have to discuss the detailed account published on Credo, of all places. In keeping with that resource's theme, it is sharply critical of both sides, as representing things typical in the MP. Hmm, let's see: clergy overreach, lack of accountability, reliance on lightly churched occasional visitors, ritualism, big sponsors with questionable business ethics (up to and including the local mob)? That's stereotypical MP issues. Credo is outside of the World Orthodox community and was recently shut down as a dissident resource. One of it's leaders was Bishop Gregory of ROAC (a remnant of the anti-MP ROCOR ministries in Russia from the early 1990ies), also known as Dr. Vadim Lourie, a noted scholar (really). He is not in favor of either Belyas' self-promotion or the KGB sell out ROCOR. Neither am I, BTW, but unlike him I don't think the shenanigans put either outside of the Church. Unless and until Patr. Kirill is condemned for Russian World heresy (in this case Belya clan would have dodged the bullet).
 

RaphaCam

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Well, see, there are these parishes, with their flock (fresh off the boat, mainly female, Russians). They need to be administered somehow and do not neatly fit into subdivisions of GOARCH. So rationale for the Vicariate is quite separate from the Belyas; whether or not it's a SUFFICIENT rationale is up for debate but also none of any of our bee's wax. Similarly, since Fr. Belya basically created this whole structure, he's a clear candidate to lead it. I am not at all convinced he's a good candidate to be raised to Bishop (although, no, there isn't an overabundance of senior monastic candidates - just look at any non-Greek jurisdiction), but it's well above my (and your's) paygrade.
Your explanation is coherent, but after this happened, plus the commentaries on how the Orthodox Church (not the GOARCH, not Archbishop Elpidophoros) supports abortion in January, I don't think it's wise to take what's happening here out of context.

Compared to the most obvious recent precedent (which would be Moscow's so called "African Vicariate"), this whole thing is practically a model of canonical propriety and pastoral restraint. Which is why no one at the top of the Assembly will do anything about it beyond "expressing concern".
Why should an American organisation take it easy with the GOARCH attacking ROCOR because of how the ROC attacked Alexandria, though?
 

ICXCNIKA

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Sounds like GOARCH would have no problem with the other Jurisdictions creating Greek Vicariates.
 

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Your explanation is coherent
Although ethnic vicariates are something that should be avoided, of course. They have become a common practice in the Orthodox Church, so honestly they're not per se worth commenting on every time they're created. In this case, the context and the details make everything much worse. It's mistake upon mistake...
 

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Your explanation is coherent, but after this happened, plus the commentaries on how the Orthodox Church (not the GOARCH, not Archbishop Elpidophoros) supports abortion in January, I don't think it's wise to take what's happening here out of context.
I see this and raise you Russian pop matriarch Alla Pugachova and her three Holy Matrimony sacraments, at least one at MP outpost in Jerusalem. If you wish to imply a bigger point, go ahead and make it.

Actually, US Orthodox have it good. Some of all y'all may dislike GOARCH and it's "modernism" or whatnot - and have a home in ROCOR. Others might look at how Patr. Kirill seeing civilians indiscriminately bombed in Ukraine (see how I concede all the war crimes in Bucha, Irpin' and whatnot, well-documented but treated by some as "disputed"? Charity!) and go ahead preaching how RF AF carry out a "holy mission" and their country "is not doing anything wrong". Those who look at that and say "ick!" can have a home with GOARCH, Antiochians or, I suppose, the Belya Vicariate (if they cherish the images of St. Matrona of Moscow and that type of spirituality more widely). Which is good, because all kinds of people need a place within the Church, and Christ came to sinners not saints.


Of course, it becomes harder to justify staying separated from the Catholic Church, because how is what separates us from them any more significant than what separates us from other Orthodox? I don't think it is. Even here, y'all speak of Rome with more respect than you can spare for Archbishop Elpidophoros or Patriarch Bartholomew.

Why should an American organisation take it easy with the GOARCH attacking ROCOR because of how the ROC attacked Alexandria, though?
I missed where an American "organisation" reacts to either act. Because they didn't. A few individuals, in their individual capacities, wrote a poorly reasoned letter (on one act but not the other). I didn't make an argument on whether they should or should not react, btw. Merely noted how a new structure within "the biggest Orthodox Church in the world" is a much, much bigger joke than the Florida - Brooklyn thing. BTW GOARCH and EP has ethnic dioceses and vicariates since forever, and it's not any more or less canonical than pretty much anything within the diasporas. Certainly no worse than ROCOR even having these parishes in the first place (with MP ceding jurisdiction to OCA back in what, 1980?).
 
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