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GOARCH elects letter-forging defrocked archimandrite to episcopate

StanislavU

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There are many clerics, even in MP, who are uncomfortable with the forms cult of St. Matrona takes in Russia. But it attracts, for example, women seeking help with conception, pregnancy and childbirth. Like, for example, the clientele of Miami Mama company. No judgement.
 
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RaphaCam

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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.
Has Patriarch Kirill personally travelled to Jerusalem and taken happy pictures with her three husbands?

If you wish to imply a bigger point, go ahead and make it.
My bigger point is in first reply to the linked thread, and also in this very thread: Archbishop Elpidophoros is being divisive to a point in which calling his actions extremely reckless would be the most merciful thing to do.

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.
I'm Brazilian. Here, we just thank God for the nearest Orthodox church and attend the community with easiest access, preferrably with the entire liturgy in Portuguese. I guess we just don't have as much of a consumerist culture as North America, which fits well with traditional teachings against church-shopping.

I'm not being "gringophobic". I believe in cultural criticism and I've been to both the US and Canada (where my sister has lived), so it's hard not to make an association. This posture of yours is only familiar for me because I've been on the English-speaking Orthodox side of the internet for many years, but, as far as talking to Brazilian Orthodox Christians go, the concept of choosing between jurisdictions by their respective spiritual particularities or widespread ideologies is strange.

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.
You obviously overestimate the differences between Orthodox jurisdictions, which may be why you're suffering from heretical temptations. There are no theological differences between both churches, just different perspectives and forms of administration. Right now, there are clashes happening because the post-modern globalised world makes all social and institutional processes happen too fast, too boldly and too connectedly, so different perspectives became dramatically different courses of action and too many people in charge reactively replaced dialogue for lawyering. Plus there are some bad apples here and then.

Or perhaps your personal reasons behind your temptations are different and you're just rationalising. That's someone you should definitely talk to your priest about as soon as possible, without fear of being sincere about what you're thinking.

Even here, y'all speak of Rome with more respect than you can spare for Archbishop Elpidophoros or Patriarch Bartholomew.
We take Patriarch Bartholomew seriously enough to criticise his actions. The Pope is the leader of a different religion who rarely affects us.

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?).
As I said, "honestly they're not per se worth commenting on every time they're created".
 
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StanislavU

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Has Patriarch Kirill personally travelled to Jerusalem and taken happy pictures with her three husbands?
Even if he did, as you could already have guessed, it would not discredit him or his Church in my eyes more than his many, many, many other actions, and stances. As photo-ops go, nothing beats his picture with Putin and Shoigu (a possible title for which could be "three war criminals").

It's a lame excuse; there is no person more high-profile in Russia than Pugacheva, and her 5 marriages (at least 3 in church, with the latest husband 5 years younger than her daughter) are well known. Also, there is no Patriarch more micro-managing than Kirill, so...

My bigger point is in first reply to the linked thread, and also in this very thread: Archbishop Elpidophoros is being divisive to a point in which calling his actions extremely reckless would be the most merciful thing to do.
It's an opinion. Honestly, I do not see his potential issues as so out of line as to single him out. To me, it's more of an extension of the wider "geopolitical" squabble in the world OC. And I'm on "his" side in that squabble. Ultimately, this too shall pass.

I'm Brazilian. Here, we just thank God for the nearest Orthodox church and attend the community with easiest access, preferrably with the entire liturgy in Portuguese. I guess we just don't have as much of a consumerist culture as North America, which fits well with traditional teachings against church-shopping.

I'm not being "gringophobic". I believe in cultural criticism and I've been to both the US and Canada (where my sister has lived), so it's hard not to make an association. This posture of yours is only familiar for me because I've been on the English-speaking Orthodox side of the internet for many years, but, as far as talking to Brazilian Orthodox Christians go, the concept of choosing between jurisdictions by their respective spiritual particularities or widespread ideologies is strange.
Sure. I have lived in Toronto for a decade. Toronto has three Russian Orthodox parishes, all in 3 different jurisdictions - result of splits in the one initial parish. So yeah, don't tell me Athenagoras or the "Greeks" invented conflict and/or scandals.

You obviously overestimate the differences between Orthodox jurisdictions, which may be why you're suffering from heretical temptations. There are no theological differences between both churches, just different perspectives and forms of administration. Right now, there are clashes happening because the post-modern globalised world makes all social and institutional processes happen too fast, too boldly and too connectedly, so different perspectives became dramatically different courses of action and too many people in charge reactively replaced dialogue for lawyering. Plus there are some bad apples here and then.
Or, alternatively, you are over-estimating the extent of unity. But my point was not inter-jurisdictional differences as much as the amount of stuff we are willing to tolerate in our churches. Which is, you know, not necessarily bad; you'd need a very good reason to kick groups of people out of the Church (unless you're MP and excommunicate people on the Tsar's command). I have more in common with the views of many Catholics compared to many Orthodox (including hierarchs and the whole Churches). So why continue to perpetuate a divide happened 1000 ago, 10 levels above my pay grade, as a result of a political issue within the decaying Roman Empire? The opposite approach would be rigorism not unlike what Old Calendarist schisms teach.

Or perhaps your personal reasons behind your temptations are different and you're just rationalising. That's someone you should definitely talk to your priest about as soon as possible, without fear of being sincere about what you're thinking.
You may very well be right. Or not.

We take Patriarch Bartholomew seriously enough to criticise his actions. The Pope is the leader of a different religion who rarely affects us.
That's a fair point. To which my take is - sure, but Patriarch Bartholomew is doing a very good job, on balance.

As I said, "honestly they're not per se worth commenting on every time they're created".
Yes. It's my overall take on the whole situation; a juicy rumor, but ultimately a molehill rather than a mountain.
 

RaphaCam

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It's a lame excuse; there is no person more high-profile in Russia than Pugacheva, and her 5 marriages (at least 3 in church, with the latest husband 5 years younger than her daughter) are well known. Also, there is no Patriarch more micro-managing than Kirill, so...
It doesn't matter, I'm not judging particular actions, I'm talking about clear patterns of pressing for change, as the poster of the picture said himself.

Sure. I have lived in Toronto for a decade. Toronto has three Russian Orthodox parishes, all in 3 different jurisdictions - result of splits in the one initial parish. So yeah, don't tell me Athenagoras or the "Greeks" invented conflict and/or scandals.
I don't know what you mean, I think you misunderstood my comment that was merely against church-shopping.

So why continue to perpetuate a divide happened 1000 ago, 10 levels above my pay grade, as a result of a political issue within the decaying Roman Empire?
This was above may paygrade once too, so I simply read the history of the Papacy and realised it was better to submit to a church as chaotic as that of Late Antiquity than to the remnants of the bureaucratically optimal international empire of some Italian priest-kings. You don't have to be a scholar or a saint to read The Papacy by Abbot Wladimir (Guettée) and the shorter and more precise My Exodus from Roman Catholicism, by St. Paul of Nazianzus, who was a former Franciscan friar sympathetic to the ecumenism of his Greek Orthodox Church. To be honest, I don't think either scholars nor saints worry about these things that much.

Roman Catholics are commanded to believe in many doctrines often very different from the things Orthodox Christians learn in Church, including some about the Papacy. Their magisterium is centered on the more affirmative teachings of the Pope (as the Vicar of Christ), while ours is centered on a collective tradition that keeps more negative definitions (which avoids imagination, innovation, exclusivity...). They're incompatible.

The opposite approach would be rigorism not unlike what Old Calendarist schisms teach.
No, the opposite approach is seeing the Orthodox Church with Orthodoxy rather than with agnosticism. Both positions you mention lack faith to believe that Christ leads the same church that proclaimed the four marks the Creed (one, holy, catholic/universal and apostolic) and feel they have to save the faith from the Church. Whether they'll do this by joining a cult or deep down thinking the Orthodox Church shouldn't exist is just a matter of their own respective opinions on what the faith is.

Roman Catholics have similar movements on both sides, although in very different proportions. It's just a human thing to do.

You may very well be right. Or not.
This is why you should talk to your priest. I'm just some guy online. But I'm also your brother in faith, despite our many disagreements.
 

hurrrah

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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.
It is the people, the parishioners, who proclaim "axios" at ordination. Or "anaxios".

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.
lol. In the Central African Republic there was, as it were, an Orthodox community with a self-proclaimed "bishop" and "priests". They turned to the ROC for admission to the Church. All the "clergy" renounced their "sacred dignities" and were accepted as laypeople. This is propriety. But to ordain defrocked is the height of outrage.

Also, it is VERY telling that we all have to discuss the detailed account published on Credo, of all places.
Substitution of the subject of discussion. And then - a mess of Russophobic propaganda. Medicine is powerless here.
 

hurrrah

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hurrah, this is at the very least polemic in Christian News. You are receiving 100 points for 1 month. Feel free to appeal via PM. --Ainnir
Or perhaps your personal reasons behind your temptations are different
Ukrainianism. It is generally recognized that the Ukrainian - is it possessed, or disfigured, russian, with a corroding the soul hatred of the russian - and, therefore, of himself.
 

LizaSymonenko

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Ukrainianism. It is generally recognized that the Ukrainian - is it possessed, or disfigured, russian, with a corroding the soul hatred of the russian - and, therefore, of himself.
What a disgusting and hateful comment... your comments are the epitome of what is wrong in the Russian Church and Russia.

Glory to God... and Glory to Ukraine... and victory over her adversaries! 🇺🇦☦🇺🇦
 

RaphaCam

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There are many clerics, even in MP, who are uncomfortable with the forms cult of St. Matrona takes in Russia. But it attracts, for example, women seeking help with conception, pregnancy and childbirth. Like, for example, the clientele of Miami Mama company. No judgement.
Just paid attention to this now...

St. Matrona of Moscow is not a Russian saint, she's an ecumenical saint... She's in the Great Synaxarion of the Greek Orthodox Church. She personally showed her intercession for my fiancée in labour through the amazing coincidences of Divine Providence, along with St. Seraphim of Sarov, whose glorification took almost a hundred years before people were comfortable enough, and even then the tsar had to intervene directly. These miracles I'm talking about weren't something natural, there was a lot of context and many people were involved in ways they couldn't even understand before we started talking about it. This is real Orthodoxy: direct experience with God. Not speculation on what the saints should do to appease some theories... Many of these people will be uncomfortable with St. Paisios the Athonite, too, including Greeks.

Christ didn't make the Pharisees comfortable, so I don't see why saints would make all Orthodox priests comfortable. Being the New Israel brings all the pros and cons of the Old Israel. Look at where these people studied and/or taught. I bet you'll find a lot of them went to Western academies, or very specific places in the East like the University of Athens. You'll also find that a disproportionate amount of them trim their beards, wear cufflinks, etc. This is not a judgement, it's just an interjurisdictional stereotype that I'm specifically pointing out to shrug off this opposition between churches.
 

LizaSymonenko

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So I could go out there and find and post images of Russian fascists, and the atrocities committed historically and currently by the KGB. I could even mention that your Holy Mother Russia... so staunch in Orthodox principles is not only supporting and encouraging the murder of innocent people in Ukraine, but, leads the world in abortions, and the murder of the innocent unborn... yes... it would seem that Russians kill their own unborn Russian children.

...but, I what would be the point? You have chosen your side and staunchly defend it, and would never fathom that you might be even a little bit wrong.

May the Lord bless you and grant you good health and a long and happy life.
 

hurrrah

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It's not about who is better and who is worse. It's about that you talk with slogans and think with myths. As a result, you can be ignored, you can be ridiculed, but it is absolutely impossible to talk to you.
And yes, hypocrisy is a sin.
 

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It's not about who is better and who is worse. It's about that you talk with slogans and think with myths. As a result, you can be ignored, you can be ridiculed, but it is absolutely impossible to talk to you.
And yes, hypocrisy is a sin.
You are speaking of yourself? ...because YOU are the one who is impossible to talk to. You are blinded by your own opinions and nationalistic tendencies.

It seems from your posts that you value Russia over God.
 

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The Assembly of Bishops is, remarkably, not backing down on this issue. Their newest letter:

Your Eminence, Beloved Brother in Christ,


Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!


We have received your individual letters to us in response to our common request for reconsideration of the planned consecration of Alexander Belya. We delayed answering you because we did not want to detract from the joy felt by all Orthodox Christians in this land at the consecration of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and Shrine at the World Trade Center and the celebration of the Greek Archdiocese’s centenary during your recent Clergy-Laity Congress. We pray, despite this difficult situation we face, that those occasions were full of blessings for you and all the hierarchs, clergy, and faithful of your Archdiocese.


Since you have often expressed concern that our Orthodox witness is hampered by acting as a confederation of churches rather than one Body of Christ, we were disappointed that you replied to us not as a unifying Chairman to the Assembly partners but merely as the head of one jurisdiction to the individual presiding hierarchs of other jurisdictions. This disappointment is compounded by Your Eminence’s choice to disregard the impact this proposed episcopal consecration will have on all of us, not just the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.


Beloved Brother in Christ, our letter acknowledged the right of your Mother Church to elect Alexander Belya but, at the same time, lovingly asked you to reconsider this decision in light of the consequences for Orthodox unity. Curiously, your letters to us merely restated this right (which we have never disputed) while completely ignoring our concerns. In the words of the holy Apostle Paul, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but the other’s wellbeing” (1 Corinthians 10:23-24).


Our letter asked Your Eminence to remember, as Chairman of the Assembly, that your actions impact all our jurisdictions. Surprisingly, your letters in response reprimanded us for our choice of letterhead. Yet it is precisely because we wish to maintain our unity in the Assembly that we are expressing our concerns in this way. As a majority of the


Executive Committee, we are addressing our Chairman in order to prevent harm to the Assembly. This is a matter of vital importance to this body, and it should indeed be addressed in this way – corporately and in an official context – regardless of nitpicks over procedure.


Our previous letter expressed concern that creating even more nationalistic ecclesial bodies would further confuse the faithful and muddy our canonical situation in this land. Your response to us, in turn, made a passing reference to preexisting ethnic jurisdictions that joined the OCA during the chaotic era of the Cold War (not dissimilar to the ethnic Albanian, Carpatho-Russian, and Ukrainian jurisdictions in America that exist within your own Patriarchate). Your justification for creating your own new ethnic vicariates – if the OCA has something similar, why can’t we? – is not pastorally sound logic and ignores the historical context that gave rise to those realities.


Likewise, establishing a vicariate within an existing ethnic jurisdiction with the sole intent of poaching dissatisfied people of another canonical jurisdiction is unprecedented and could prove to be destructive and undermine our stated goal of unity. In this particular case, the so-called Slavic Vicariate is actively soliciting churches and clergymen from other canonical jurisdictions to join it (see their webpage, www.slavonic.org/en/requirements). This is uncanonical and, frankly, offensive to all of us. Needless to say, Your Eminence would not appreciate one of our jurisdictions creating a Greek or Cypriot vicariate in order to take advantage of discord among members of your own community. We are painfully aware of your very recent attempt to procure a blessing from your Patriarchate to create a Moldovan/Romanian vicariate under your Archdiocese, based in Chicago, despite the existence of two Romanian Orthodox jurisdictions in America. We are grateful to the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for its wisdom in declining to bless your proposal.


Our letter asked Your Eminence to reconsider a decision that would further complicate the return of our Russian brothers to the Assembly. Instead of addressing this concern, your letters deflected and changed the subject to whether or not individual jurisdictions have condemned the invasion of Ukraine strongly enough. Let us, however, focus on the matter at hand.


Our letter charitably refrained from detailing our concerns about Alexander Belya. Your replies seem to discard all of our concerns as mere hearsay, so we are compelled to specify the two most glaring examples, putting aside some of the more personal ones. First, you received Belya in October 2019, after he was canonically suspended by his competent church authority on September 3, 2019. Any prior “general” letter of release (which itself is not canonically normative) purportedly signed by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, our brother of blessed memory, would thus mean little to nothing from a canonical perspective, even if it were authentic. The fact of Belya’s suspension is beyond dispute, and (to our knowledge) he has not even appealed the canonical judgment as provided in the canons. You often point out that, while the Russian Church broke communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has not reciprocated this action and thus remains in communion with the Russian Orthodox Church. If this is so, how do you explain receiving a clergyman from a Church with which you are in communion without first resolving with that Church the matter of his canonical discipline? You stated that Metropolitan Hilarion (and ROCOR, more generally) never contacted you, but did you bother to make inquiries with them in light of this strange letter of release and knowing that the former Archimandrite was under suspension and investigation for serious canonical and ethical charges?


Second, Belya has brought a civil lawsuit against the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in direct violations of both Holy Scripture (1 Corinthians 6:1-8) and the Holy Canons (Canon 9 of the Council of Chalcedon and Canon 6 of the First Council of Constantinople). This fact alone should prevent him from becoming a bishop. We cannot recall another instance in which a man has been proposed for consecration to the episcopacy in America and, by extension, membership in our Assembly of Bishops while carrying on such a clear and public violation of the canons. In addition to being blatantly uncanonical, this lawsuit threatens the legal interests of all our jurisdictions and, indeed, all hierarchical churches in the United States. The Roman Catholic Church has even offered their legal services to ROCOR because they realize the devastating consequences of such a lawsuit as this, which is being actively prosecuted by a cleric supposedly under your omophorion. We do not understand how you can endorse the episcopal consecration of the very man who is pursuing such an anti-hierarchical action against a fellow Orthodox jurisdiction, which could be detrimental to all of us – first of all, to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America!


Your Eminence, Beloved Brother in Christ, the issue we have brought to you is a simple one: will we function merely as a confederation of jurisdictions or as the Body of Christ in America? We are called to rise up to the challenges of this historical moment rife with civil discord, rejection of the evangelical commandments, famine, pestilence, and war. Our broken culture needs the Orthodox Faith, not a broken Orthodox Church in this land. This moment requires more from us hierarchs than simply a reassertion of our jurisdictional rights, especially when doing so harms our united witness to a land thirsting for the life-giving Faith “once and for all delivered to the saints.”


Once again, we ask Your Eminence and the Ecumenical Patriarchate to show an example of love and service, for the sake of all the Orthodox Christians of this land, and to uphold the canonical order bequeathed to us by the Holy Fathers, particularly when it comes to such a fearsome responsibility as choosing men for the Sacred Episcopacy. We reiterate our position, which cannot be compromised, that we cannot and will not concelebrate with Alexander Belya or his vicariate, and we cannot continue to participate in the Assembly if this man is elevated to the episcopacy and thereby, according to the Chambésy rules, joins the Assembly as a member. You are, of course, free to consecrate him; we, in turn, are free to avoid any dealings with him.


We offer our fervent prayers to the Holy Apostles for a renewal of the conciliar spirit manifest when they met in Jerusalem and declared, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.” We ask Your Eminence to join us in this spirit of conciliarity and to work together in a manner that transcends the narrow interests of our separate jurisdictions.
 

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The Assembly of Bishops is, remarkably, not backing down on this issue. Their newest letter:
It would be more accurate to say that the same bishops (5) out of over 50 are not backing down, but continue to talk about the dissolution of the AOB if things do not go the way they wish.

The linked webpage (at the time I viewed it) only provided 4 requirements to begin the dialog about reception. The claim that it is not canonical to receive clergymen is, by itself, unbelievable, as some of the 5 bishops in the letter not only receive clergy all the time, but keep up-to-date records of such receptions. It sounds like some detail is missing, and the claim that the OCA's case of nested ethnic jurisdiction has special "historical context" is not really explained.

As to the civil case, at least we have some specific canons finally. But I do not know the details of the case so it is not clear how those apply. Other canons explicitly allow the use of civil authority (eg, canon 9 of the First-Second), so to call any use of civil authority "uncanonical" would be an extraordinary claim.

By ending the letter with the statement "We reiterate our position, which cannot be compromised", it seems as though no amount of canonical work can bring a resolution to this situation, which would be what I've noted before: this does not seem to be about canons, but personalities. Perhaps this hard statement is not what is literally meant (maybe they are willing to compromise), but this attitude, if taken at face value (and particularly when it follows the claim of "uphold[ing] the canonical order", while that is already quite broken by the jurisdictional situation), shows where the real threats to unity come from. It also shows that it isn't even about the candidate (note the phrase "or his vicariate"), so one must wonder what precisely is at issue and why there are so many layers of obfuscation from a handful of bishops who are, again, all but openly calling for an ecclesial break.
 

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The claim that it is not canonical to receive clergymen is, by itself, unbelievable, as some of the 5 bishops in the letter not only receive clergy all the time, but keep up-to-date records of such receptions.
As you once said, the canons are meant to be followed faithfully in order to avoid situations like that from ever happening. Outside the forum I once commented that this whole ordeal with the EP and the GOARCH may end up teaching the Church how important canonicity really is. Let's leave "they were all doing this anyway" to partisan canon lawyers.

It sounds like some detail is missing, and the claim that the OCA's case of nested ethnic jurisdiction has special "historical context" is not really explained.
Even if "historical context" doesn't justify uncanonical acts, uncanonical acts happen historically. You are aware that the GOARCH setting up a Slavic Vicariate after trying to set up a Romanian one is not the same as the OCA problem being left unresolved. Are you forgetting that Archbishop Elpidophoros is the same person who wrote that infamous primus sine paribus text?

As to the civil case, at least we have some specific canons finally. But I do not know the details of the case so it is not clear how those apply. Other canons explicitly allow the use of civil authority (eg, canon 9 of the First-Second), so to call any use of civil authority "uncanonical" would be an extraordinary claim.
Do we seriously need to argue the difference between allowing people to call the police on priests who refuse to stop physically harming the faithful and a defrocked priest suing his hierarchs and jurisdiction? You're reading the canons like they're hadith or something.
 

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Simple solution. Dissolve the assembly and bring back SCOBA.
SCOBA is not coming back either. There will be cooperation where bishops want to cooperate, but no one is going to trust the Phanar any more after all that has been happening. Things are gearing up for a schism.
 

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It would be more accurate to say that the same bishops (5) out of over 50 are not backing down, but continue to talk about the dissolution of the AOB if things do not go the way they wish.
Those 5 bishops represent and speak for their respective synods, so it would not be accurate to say not only 5 are not backing down. Together, they represent all non-EP bishops in America, with the exception of the Georgian bishop, who is oddly silent on this issue.
 

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Those 5 bishops represent and speak for their respective synods, so it would not be accurate to say not only 5 are not backing down. Together, they represent all non-EP bishops in America, with the exception of the Georgian bishop, who is oddly silent on this issue.
Their synod can't take a decision on that, things have gone wild since the OCU council. Patriarch Ilia II has explicitly condemned it while many hierarchs openly support it. One of them has gone as far as sending his own representatives to congratulate Metropolitan Epifany. Along with the smear campaign undertaken by Georgian media, I fear for the image that has been sent to the people.

BTW, after googling about this particular hierarch (Metropolitan Job of Urbnisi and Ruisi), I quickly found out some of his diocese falls under South Ossetian control. That speaks volumes about the situation of the country as a whole...
 
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It would be more accurate to say that the same bishops (5) out of over 50 are not backing down, but continue to talk about the dissolution of the AOB if things do not go the way they wish.
I can only speak to what I have seen, but in the Antiochian Archdiocese, Metropolitan Joseph enjoys a great deal of respect and admiration in our synod, and I don't see a scenario where any of our bishops would go in a different direction. I suspect that the other jurisdictions would see similar support for their Metropolitans particularly on this issue. Just because an archdiocese has a spokesperson doesn't mean that there isn't widespread support for the position.
 

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As you once said, the canons are meant to be followed faithfully in order to avoid situations like that from ever happening. Outside the forum I once commented that this whole ordeal with the EP and the GOARCH may end up teaching the Church how important canonicity really is. Let's leave "they were all doing this anyway" to partisan canon lawyers.
Agreed!

Even if "historical context" doesn't justify uncanonical acts, uncanonical acts happen historically. You are aware that the GOARCH setting up a Slavic Vicariate after trying to set up a Romanian one is not the same as the OCA problem being left unresolved. Are you forgetting that Archbishop Elpidophoros is the same person who wrote that infamous primus sine paribus text?
Is the OCA's act historical but Abp Elpidophoros's not? Anyways, I know a little of the Romanian situation from reading, but it is not clear what about the OCA's case justifies it, vs what about the current case does not. More generally, to co-opt a famous saying about planting trees, the best time to have followed the canons would have been at the beginning of this situation (eg, such as at the time where suspension was used apart from any particular Ecumenical canon that allowed for suspension), but the second best time to follow them is now.

Do we seriously need to argue the difference between allowing people to call the police on priests who refuse to stop physically harming the faithful and a defrocked priest suing his hierarchs and jurisdiction? You're reading the canons like they're hadith or something.
I'm not arguing a particular way about the court case, as I have not read it; post it here, if it adds to the discussion and is permissible. What I am trying to do is head off any unspoken belief that the Church can act in a vacuum, that the different parts of the Kingdom have no connection to Church (which would be plain secularism), etc. Not sure what you mean by brining up hadith: it is well known that the canons come from a wide variety of sources, not a single individual, so this is quite unlike Islamic hadith, AFAIK.
 

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Those 5 bishops represent and speak for their respective synods, so it would not be accurate to say not only 5 are not backing down. Together, they represent all non-EP bishops in America, with the exception of the Georgian bishop, who is oddly silent on this issue.
I think it is indeed more complicated than just 5 vs 50, and the recent mystery statements from the AOB, the differences within the jurisdictions, and even the current case (which seems to be at least partly about the power of jurisdictions to retain power almost indefinitely, meaning that a reception and episcopal ordination in this case could upset the entire non-canonical jurisdictional situation at once, making the whole idea of "represent and speak for their respective synods" somewhat moot) suggest that there are fault lines all over the place. I also think there is a lot of "speak[ing] for" going on now that is covering over a great deal of nuance and small groups of individuals who may not actually be speaking so representatively. We'll probably find out a lot more later this month, either way!
 

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Is the OCA's act historical but Abp Elpidophoros's not? Anyways, I know a little of the Romanian situation from reading, but it is not clear what about the OCA's case justifies it, vs what about the current case does not. More generally, to co-opt a famous saying about planting trees, the best time to have followed the canons would have been at the beginning of this situation (eg, such as at the time where suspension was used apart from any particular Ecumenical canon that allowed for suspension), but the second best time to follow them is now.
It's all historical, which is why I'm stating the difference. Anyway, agreed.

I'm not arguing a particular way about the court case, as I have not read it; post it here, if it adds to the discussion and is permissible. What I am trying to do is head off any unspoken belief that the Church can act in a vacuum, that the different parts of the Kingdom have no connection to Church (which would be plain secularism), etc. Not sure what you mean by brining up hadith: it is well known that the canons come from a wide variety of sources, not a single individual, so this is quite unlike Islamic hadith, AFAIK.
I meant that the canon you quoted is really, really extreme, so I don't think it adds any nuance to the blanket prohibition of St. Paul. I hadn't looked at the court case until now, but only because that's how extreme your counter-example is. I'll post observations further to make differences very clear, since they're shed some light over things other than this little sub-thread of ours.

On a side note, I totally see your point on secularism, and I wanted the point on hadith to come off as a lighthearted joke. It seems we have both sperged each other.
 

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An interesting excerpt of the defendants' opening statement in Fr. Alexander Belya's appeal against the Holy Synod of ROCOR, the Eastern Diocese, Metropolitan Hilarion of New York, and nine other people.

Belya v. Kapral said:
Father Alexander Belya, the Plaintiff, was a Russian Orthodox Priest. He claims he was elected Bishop of Miami. But other priests and key leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church disagreed. As a matter of church procedure, they wrote a letter to church leaders asserting that Father Alexander had not been properly elected Bishop of Miami. The letter also called for investigation of serious allegations of priestly malfeasance, including breaking the seal of the confessional, manipulating parishioners, and financial improprieties. Church leadership responded ith an investigation, concluded Father Alexander had not been elected bishop, and removed him from all priestly duties.

Father Alexander has now sued the Russian Orthodox Church and its leaders, alleging that the letter — an ecclesiastical communication contesting his supposed election and calling for his investigation — constitutes defamation. And he seeks millions of dollars in damages for his alleged “loss of standing” within the Russian Orthodox Church.
That's a typical relatively neutral summary of what happened. It goes back to what they stated previously:

Belya v. Kapral said:
The Supreme Court has long held that disgruntled clergy members cannot sue their churches over matters of church discipline or appointment to ecclesiastical office. [...] Ever since, disgruntled clergy members have tried to evade this rule by repackaging ecclesiastical disputes as church property, breach of contract, or tort claims. Yet the result has been the same: Courts have repeatedly held that when a minister’s claim implicates the authority of churches to handle matters of internal governance and selection of clergy, it is barred by the First Amendment.
Well, my knowledge from US law is very basic, but looking from the optics of arbitration law (which can have a more international outlook) it's an extremely convoluted case. Maybe in the future I should actually publish an academic article about it.
 
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Katechon, this is an ad hominem attack and not permitted in the public fora. You've received 100 points for 2 weeks. Feel free to appeal via PM. --Ainnir
More generally, to co-opt a famous saying about planting trees, the best time to have followed the canons would have been at the beginning of this situation (eg, such as at the time where suspension was used apart from any particular Ecumenical canon that allowed for suspension), but the second best time to follow them is now.
Lmao don't play up yourself as a canonist when you are indeed a fraud, as has been documented on this forum.
 

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On the surface, what the Assembly Bishops are doing is worse than what GOARCH did. Even the letters read strange... "we use Assembly letterhead because we feel like it", "we acknowledge each jurisdiction is independent in internal governance; here are our demands in your internal affairs - OR ELSE".
Moreover, this protest has the esteemed Metropolitans standing up for ROCOR's interests. For their right to kick people out of the Christ's Church for administrative disobedience, MP-style, I might add. Why isn't ROCOR speaking for itself? I see two reasons: because even in this situation, their own conduct is not ideal. And second - because they are in a self-inflicted semi-schism and align with MP and all the ...problematic... things it does (and teaches). So maybe, just maybe, the Assembly should try to remove that log first.
 

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On the surface, what the Assembly Bishops are doing is worse than what GOARCH did. Even the letters read strange... "we use Assembly letterhead because we feel like it", "we acknowledge each jurisdiction is independent in internal governance; here are our demands in your internal affairs - OR ELSE".
Moreover, this protest has the esteemed Metropolitans standing up for ROCOR's interests. For their right to kick people out of the Christ's Church for administrative disobedience, MP-style, I might add. Why isn't ROCOR speaking for itself? I see two reasons: because even in this situation, their own conduct is not ideal. And second - because they are in a self-inflicted semi-schism and align with MP and all the ...problematic... things it does (and teaches). So maybe, just maybe, the Assembly should try to remove that log first.
Pretty much the entire Assembly has taken one position, the Greek Metropolitan has taken another position, and you're worried about who gets to use what letterhead? That seems like nonsense.

It isn't "internal affairs" if he wasn't granted canonical release. That is pretty much the definition of "inter-jurisdictional affairs".

No one is talking about kicking anyone out of the Church. They are quite reasonably stating that a jurisdiction has defrocked a priest and for the Greeks to take him and make him a bishop is inappropriate. Are there no other qualified candidates that the Greek Archdiocese could elevate to bishop that they need to dig down and pull up a guy that they know will cause a significant rift in relations?

What "log" do you suggest the Assembly remove? They are asking that the canons be followed. Not sure that qualifies as a "log".
 

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An interesting excerpt of the defendants' opening statement in Fr. Alexander Belya's appeal against the Holy Synod of ROCOR, the Eastern Diocese, Metropolitan Hilarion of New York, and nine other people.

That's a typical relatively neutral summary of what happened. It goes back to what they stated previously:

Well, my knowledge from US law is very basic, but looking from the optics of arbitration law (which can have a more international outlook) it's an extremely convoluted case. Maybe in the future I should actually publish an academic article about it.
Very helpful—I haven't really followed the case, but it seems to be of interest here on the forum (at least inasmuch as the case seems to be a locus for the venting of unrelated feelings). It was unclear to me whether the investigation into Pr Alexander was ecclesial or civil: if the former, that would seem to make the current civil case appear to be in problematic territory (eg, canon 4.9). Either way, a messy situation, and it doesn't sound like a whole lot of people want healing (much less canonicity), just a (very worldly) "win".
 

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On the surface, what the Assembly Bishops are doing is worse than what GOARCH did. Even the letters read strange... "we use Assembly letterhead because we feel like it", "we acknowledge each jurisdiction is independent in internal governance; here are our demands in your internal affairs - OR ELSE".
Moreover, this protest has the esteemed Metropolitans standing up for ROCOR's interests. For their right to kick people out of the Christ's Church for administrative disobedience, MP-style, I might add. Why isn't ROCOR speaking for itself? I see two reasons: because even in this situation, their own conduct is not ideal. And second - because they are in a self-inflicted semi-schism and align with MP and all the ...problematic... things it does (and teaches). So maybe, just maybe, the Assembly should try to remove that log first.
Very much this: it isn't a conflict between right and wrong, order or chaos, good vs evil (at least, not in a way that favors any "side"). It is just more personal and jurisdictional power plays, with the Cross of Jesus Christ all but forgotten, the canons barely consulted (except when convenient), and evangelizing North America relegated to myth while ecclesial "politics" becomes the only "reality". I do not see any clean hands here, just more grabbing at mud.
 

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"we acknowledge each jurisdiction is independent in internal pan-Orthodox governance; here are our demands in your internal affairs - OR ELSE"
FTFY

Moreover, this protest has the esteemed Metropolitans standing up for ROCOR's interests. For their right to kick people out of the Christ's Church priesthood for administrative disobedience, MP Orthodox-style, I might add.
FTFY

Apostolic Canon XV said:
If any presbyter, or deacon, or any other of the list of the clergy, shall leave his own parish, and go into another, and having entirely forsaken his own, shall make his abode in the other parish without the permission of his own bishop, we ordain that he shall no longer perform divine service; more especially if his own bishop having exhorted him to return he has refused to do so, and persists in his disorderly conduct. But let him communicate there as a layman.
Canons XV and XVI of the Council of Nicaea said:
Because of much disturbance and the mutinies which took place, it has seemed best to do away altogether with the custom which obtained contrary to the Apostolical Canon in some places, so as riot to allow either a Bishop or a Presbyter or a Deacon to go from one city to another. If, after the holy and great Council’s definition, anyone should attempt to do such a thing, or has actually undertaken to do such a thing, let the resulting affair be invalidated by all means, and let him be reinstated in the church in which the Bishop or Presbyter in question was ordained.

Any Presbyters or Deacons, or other persons covered by the Canon, who take the risk, without having the fear of God before their eyes, or keeping aware of the ecclesiastical Canon, of departing from their own church, they must not be admitted at all in another church, but they must be stringently forced to return to their own parish, or, in case they insist, it is proper for them to be excluded from communion. If, on the other hand, anyone should surreptitiously snatch away one belonging to another and ordain him in his own church, without the consent of his Bishop, from whom the one covered by the Canon departed, let the ordination be invalid.
Canon XX of the Council of Chalcedon would actually extend the excommunication to Archbishop Elpidophoros himself, although these situations have been tolerated since the history of trying to apply these rules in the US is extremely traumatic and these situations never involve someone who claims their jurisdiction to be "first without equals" trying to set a new ethnic diocese for the second time at the height of the greatest church crisis of the century, while also teaching other innovations:

As we have already decreed, it is not permissible for clergymen officiating in a church to be given a church in another city; but, on the contrary, they must rest content with the one in which they were originally deemed worthy to conduct divine services: except those who have gone over to another church as a result of their having been forced to flee from their own country. If any Bishop nevertheless admits a clergyman belonging to another Bishop, after promulgation of this rule, it has been decided that both of them, i.e., the Clergyman so admitted and the Bishop admitting him, are to be excluded from communion until such time as the Clergyman who has left his own city see fit to return to his own church.
 

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Very much this: it isn't a conflict between right and wrong, order or chaos, good vs evil (at least, not in a way that favors any "side"). It is just more personal and jurisdictional power plays, with the Cross of Jesus Christ all but forgotten, the canons barely consulted (except when convenient), and evangelizing North America relegated to myth while ecclesial "politics" becomes the only "reality". I do not see any clean hands here, just more grabbing at mud.
Even in the secular world, it's usually not obvious whether individual politicians are being more on the Platonic side of the spectrum or the Machiavellian one. I know you've followed these people and their handling of church politics for a long time, but I doubt you can make a bold claim that these hierarchs and all the otheres they're representing are being Machiavellian when looking out for what those on both sides of the spectrum would: church order.
 

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Even in the secular world, it's usually not obvious whether individual politicians are being more on the Platonic side of the spectrum or the Machiavellian one. I know you've followed these people and their handling of church politics for a long time, but I doubt you can make a bold claim that these hierarchs and all the otheres they're representing are being Machiavellian when looking out for what those on both sides of the spectrum would: church order.
The problem with "church order" is that it is a misnomer here: at best, there is a push to keep the status quo of overlapping jurisdictions, which everyone (at least occasionally) seems to admit is non-canonical...only to proceed to do little to nothing about. If the AOB were anywhere close to resolving the *real* canonical situation, the current case with Pr Alexander would not matter: there would be no overlapping jurisdiction into which people could come or go, no jurisdictional "boss" (domestically or otherwise), etc, so everything about him and his parish would only matter locally. The fact that his case remains such a *huge* issue suggests that the AOB (inasmuch as it can be spoken of as a united thing, which I think is inaccurate) is *not* close to resolving the jurisdictional issue and rather seems to be comfortable with the uncanonical mess continuing on in perpetuity. That gets us back to the phrase "church order", and the real AOB motives. I don't think "church order" is the goal, even though some uncanonical version of it may occasionally be used as a tool.

As for the above canons you sent @StanislavU, a traditional reading would suggest moving from one community to another, since it is the local Church *as a community* that creates historical continuity (not the bishop and/or their own particular succession). But this does not seem to be the case here, as I understand the situation: it is rather that the people are staying exactly where they are, but the jurisdiction is changing. Since the jurisdiction situation is far beyond canonical as it is, it's hard to say what canons would apply. Maybe the creation of new provinces (4.12)? But again, this is not a new thing (or a subdivision, despite the "on paper" fiction), but a change in status of a thing. So that doesn't fully fit either. And it is all the more complicated by the EP–MP situation, which the recently-leaked letter tries to play both sides of (whichever is currently most convenient). But since interpreting these canons traditionally (as meaning that the local Church's integrity takes precedence over a foreign bishop) would then invalidate many AOB members's (and their bosses's) own claims, I expect a "switcharoo" to take place and for the discussion to remain at the level of "personal" episcopal power (which, canonically, is not even a thing—episcopacy is *always* tied to a local community).
 

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The problem with "church order" is that it is a misnomer here: at best, there is a push to keep the status quo of overlapping jurisdictions, which everyone (at least occasionally) seems to admit is non-canonical...only to proceed to do little to nothing about. If the AOB were anywhere close to resolving the *real* canonical situation, the current case with Pr Alexander would not matter: there would be no overlapping jurisdiction into which people could come or go, no jurisdictional "boss" (domestically or otherwise), etc, so everything about him and his parish would only matter locally. The fact that his case remains such a *huge* issue suggests that the AOB (inasmuch as it can be spoken of as a united thing, which I think is inaccurate) is *not* close to resolving the jurisdictional issue and rather seems to be comfortable with the uncanonical mess continuing on in perpetuity. That gets us back to the phrase "church order", and the real AOB motives. I don't think "church order" is the goal, even though some uncanonical version of it may occasionally be used as a tool.
IDK, I can't just take a point of yours and refute it, but everything you say on this matter sounds so binary and idealistic... Please take no offence, brother.
 

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IDK, I can't just take a point of yours and refute it, but everything you say on this matter sounds so binary and idealistic... Please take no offence, brother.
Heh, binary is odd because I am not taking a side—I would rate many of the posts that mention "canonicity" in a vague sense as binary, as they're usually about pushing one side vs another. Serious about truth? Sure. But I think there are plenty of options going forward, if we're talking about an overall fix. It's just that the Overton window has shifted so far to tribalism I haven't heard anyone talk about such an option for a long time, and anyone not suggesting a binary form of tribalism (eg, "yay bishop 1" or "boo bishop 2") is, ironically, considered extreme (cf St Anthony The Great on the last days).

Idealistic fits more, if we mean in the looser sense of the word—no offense taken! What we strive for is not of this world, so we always need to push forward as if to win the prize (cf 1 Corinthians: 9.24). That does not mean randomly beating people down, acting uncharitably, and taking sides (as is so very common). But it does mean that every step has a direction, and that some steps are therefore not towards Christ. It is in that context that I comment on this matter (and hopefully on any matter), read the canons, and continually (to some's chagrin) immerse myself in the teachings of the holy saints: to push everything towards Christ.
 

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What "log" do you suggest the Assembly remove? They are asking that the canons be followed. Not sure that qualifies as a "log".
Really?
Let me, again, hint at an elephant in the room. This morning (night, here), 3 Russian cruise missiles hit a residential area in Vinnytsya, Ukraine. Current body count of this one event is 23 people dead, innocent civilians. 64 wounded. All part of a "special military operation" a man ROCOR owes allegiance to repeatedly praised. Called a "holy war", provided a "spiritual" justification in the form of "Russkii Mir" nonsense. Still does. Sanctioned by several countries for it. So it is a bit bizarre for me to see all this interest in canonical order of a group that, had ROC followed their own canons in that 2008 KGB takeo... pardon me, "reunification", would have to join OCA and not go under MP - or at the very least without means to erect new "deaneries" in Florida.

On a micro level, there is a reason the only kind-of clear account of the whole affair cited here came from a vagante resource. It's because ROCOR was trying to get Belya on trial for the things they tolerated, and rewarded, when it brought them results. NO ONE looks good here. Coming under GOARCH is actually a blessing, the way to keep these very flawed (but no more flawed than many of their "canon-abiding" brethren) people (clergy and laity) in the Church. Again, I am not as confident of the need to make the guy a Bishop, but it's their decision to make (and it's not like he'll be the most ethically questionable member of the Order, not by a long shot).
 
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