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How Does Decisionmaking at GOARCH Assemblies Work?

biro

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I am gravely sorry, but all this is more and more confusing for me.

I hope all these problems will be sorted out by the Holy Spirit.

Good night (I’ll try to get some sleep).
 

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I am gravely sorry, but all this is more and more confusing for me.

I hope all these problems will be sorted out by the Holy Spirit.

Good night (I’ll try to get some sleep).
The Holy Spirit has sorted through a lot worse problems in the Church's history, so that gives me hope.
 

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Yeah I know, I just wanted to do a rant and get it out of my system. I think it's completely understandable why the MP broke Communion with the EP. I just hope it doesn't splinter the Orthodox Church into a Venn Diagram.
I’m with you on that. I desperately hope and pray that it doesn’t. It would mean the cleaving off of the entirety of Greek-Speaking Orthodoxy. Patriarch Bartholomew wants to be the ethnarc of all Greeks and lead them into schism. Luckily there are bishops, priests and I’m sure plenty of laity that are fighting against this.
Unfortunately, even the rot has reached Athos
 

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Probably you don't realize, Tzimis, that these kinds of rather mistaken, simplistic, exaggerated pro-EP statements make the EP side in these debates look worse.
I legit think Tzimis is a meme
 

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The OCA will be last one standing.
Nothing against the OCA but I think it will be ROCOR (Serbians, etc) who will be the last one standing.

Im basing this off of the study that came out over the past year. ROCOR was the only jurisdiction (of those surveyed) that showed a marked growth. Even in my own parish there were over 20 baptisms in the past year.

The OCA didn’t do so hot, even in regards to priests questioning their vocations.
 

Tzimis

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Nothing against the OCA but I think it will be ROCOR (Serbians, etc) who will be the last one standing.

Im basing this off of the study that came out over the past year. ROCOR was the only jurisdiction (of those surveyed) that showed a marked growth. Even in my own parish there were over 20 baptisms in the past year.

The OCA didn’t do so hot, even in regards to priests questioning their vocations.
This isn't a soccer club. You do know there is a health degree of competitiveness and beyond that can lead to destruction. The church is a network and without the EP you're not going to get any air time.
 

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The church is a network and without the EP you're not going to get any air time.
This is what I mean when I say you’re a meme Tzimis. Other than saying this, you’re not even worth trying to talk to or reason with
 

rakovsky

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This is what I mean when I say you’re a meme Tzimis. Other than saying this, you’re not even worth trying to talk to or reason with
I think he actually turns people off even more to the CP's already bad positions.
 

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The church is a network and without the EP you're not going to get any air time.
If the Church is a spiritual network of patriarchates like a TV network, and Constantinople leaves the spiritual network of Churches for the sake of hunger for power, then Constantinople and its subjects are the ones who lose real spiritual air time.

In the Acacian Schism, the Constantinople Patriarch thought uniting with antiChalcedonians and declaring Chalcedon nonecumemical would bring the church together, but unfortunately it created worse problems and civil war, and it failed to address the Christological issues.

That is the same kind of thing Constantinople is doing now. He claims that unilaterally recognizing the OCU over Moscow's objections with his papal style supremacy claims creates more unity and makes more people Orthodox. But instead, it only creates more conflicts in the Orthodox world and leaves unresolved the underlying supremacy claims. The OCU is happy to get recognition from Constantinople, but the "Kiev Patriarch" Filaret openly rejects P. Bartholomew's supremacy claims. So the underlying conflict is unresolved and simmering even for people in unity with P. Bartholomew, from the OCA to the OCU to the Serbian Church to Jerusalem. P. Bartholomew's vertical supremacy claims are a simmering boil for the rest of the Orthodox world because they don't accept his boasts of power over them.
 

biro

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I thought about saying “We mostly yell” but then again, that’s just at the parish level.

;)
 

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If the OCA is dependent on the MP. Why isn't the MP dependent on the EP in the same fashion?
Weren't you the one claiming that once Autocephaly is achieved, you can ignore the one that gave it to you?
The OCA is in practice dependant on being in communion with the MP for Constantinople's recognition because Constantinople rejects the OCA's autocephaly.

The MP is not dependant on being in Communion with Pat. Bartholomew for its recognition by other EO Churches because they have all long ago recognized the MP's autocephaly from Constantinople.

In Orthodoxy, we aren't to ignore other EO churches, like P. Bartholomew now believes he can ignore other EO Churches' equal authority to his.
 

Tzimis

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The OCA is in practice dependant on being in communion with the MP for Constantinople's recognition because Constantinople rejects the OCA's autocephaly.

The MP is not dependant on being in Communion with Pat. Bartholomew for its recognition by other EO Churches because they have all long ago recognized the MP's autocephaly from Constantinople.

In Orthodoxy, we aren't to ignore other EO churches, like P. Bartholomew now believes he can ignore other EO Churches' equal authority to his.
Constantinople doesn't reject the OCA's Orthodox, it rejects the manner and from who it received Autocephaly from. Im sure if your church would have directly petitioned the EP., Your church would have been on better footing, than the non canonical approach.
It would have been in the better interests of both.
Still, I believe its probably going to be worked out within the next decade or so.
 

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Constantinople doesn't reject the OCA's Orthodox, it rejects the manner and from who it received Autocephaly from. Im sure if your church would have directly petitioned the EP., Your church would have been on better footing, than the non canonical approach.
It would have been in the better interests of both.
Constantinople considers the OCA to be part of the MP and thus considers the OCA to be in the CP's communion to the extent that it is in communion with Moscow. Were the OCA to go along with P. Bartholomew and recognize the OCU, Moscow would suspend communion with the OCA like it has suspended communion with those Greek hierarchs who have recognized the OCU. With Moscow out of communion with the OCA, Constantinople would no longer consider the OCA to be a part of the MP. Thus, Constantinople would not have a basis from its own perspective to be in communion with the OCA.

A Serbian-Macedonian hypothetical analogy
By analogy, imagine that the Serbian Church gave autocephaly to the Macedonian Church, but Constantinople considered the Macedonian Church to still be part of the Serbian Church. Later, the Serbian Church rejected the Macedonian Church. The result would be that Constantinople would no longer be in communion with the Macedonian Church, since Constantinople never recognized it to begin with. Plus, Constantinople's comunion with those Macedonians had only been relying on the fiction that the Macedonian Church was part of the Serbian Church.

Why Constantinople would have a hard time finding a way to go back into communion with the OCA
Constantinople might want to issue something like a "Papal Bull" claiming to "reinstate" the OCA's hierarchs if Moscow excommunicated them. However, this solution would not be very workable for Constantinople because Moscow would not in this situation "depose" the OCA for the same reason that the MP did not "despose" P. Bartholomew: The MP considers both Constantinople and the OCA to be autocephalous and at most might excommunicate them, but not "depose" them just as it did not depose Alexandria, Greece, etc.

Thus in this situation, P. Bartholomew would not have an easy solution. He could not "reinstate" the OCA's hierarchs like he reinstated the deposed "Kiev Patriarch," because the MP would not have "deposed" the OCA. Instead, P. Bartholomew's challenge would be to restore communion with the OCA in a situation whereby the MP's communion with the OCA had been relying on being circuited through the MP. P. Bartholomew's recognition of the OCA's hierarchs' legitimacy runs through the MP. This is because Pat. Bartholomew recognizes the OCA as being a part of the MP and recognizes the MP but not the OCA per se. P. Bartholomew recognizes the MP and the OCA's hierarchs, but not the OCA.

Were Constantinople to recognize the OCA's hierarchs as canonical merely by virtue of their past, disconnected connection with Moscow, he would be taking a step that he did not take in the 20th century for those MP clergy who left the MP during the Cold War. That is, Constantinople during the Cold War was able to bring in some former MP clergy under its Omophorion like the "Russian Exarchate of Western Europe" (EP), but it was not willing to recognize clergy like those of the OCA who were under NEITHER Constantinople's omophorion nor the MP's.

Conclusion
Thus, were the OCA to accept Constantinople's decision to recognize the OCU, the natural result would be that the MP would suspend communion with the OCA. And automatically this decision would put the OCA out of communion with Constantinople too because Constantinople rejects the OCA as if it were an uncanonical organization and a mere collection of clergy entirely under the purview of the MP.
 

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Constantinople doesn't reject the OCA's Orthodox, it rejects the manner and from who it received Autocephaly from. Im sure if your church would have directly petitioned the EP., Your church would have been on better footing, than the non canonical approach.
It would have been in the better interests of both.
Why are you sure that it would have been in the interests of Constantinople to give autocephaly to the OCA or to accept it under its omophorion as you suggest?

Autocephaly in America
...
In May 1966 this church [the "Metropolia," the future OCA] attempted to seek refuge within the Ecumenical Patriarchate, but Patriarch Athenagoras insisted that the Metropolia had to address itself to the Moscow Patriarchate. In June 1967 the Ecumenical Patriarch ate instructed the Greek Orthodox archdiocese in the USA to suspend eucharistic communion with the Metropolia. ... In 1968 and 1969, therefore, the leaders of the Metropolia entered into negotiations with the Moscow Patriarchate. The result [The MP's granting of autocephaly to the Metropolia/OCA] came as a shock to the Ecumenical Patriarchate...

SOURCE:
biblicalstudies.gospelstudies.org.uk/pdf/rss/25-2_125.pdf
 

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The need of Turkish citizens that are Christians is a necessary for the EP to exist.
Under Turkish law the EP has to be a Turkish citizen.
So Its a constant struggle for the EP to exist due to this. The turks are trying to extinguish Turkish citizens that are Christians. Its not exactly friendly environment.
Which makes a very strong argument about placing so much emphasis on the Phanar as ‘crucial to world Orthodoxy’ etc. They are unreliable because they are beseiged. Should have moved to Geneva or New York by now.
 

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Nothing against the OCA but I think it will be ROCOR (Serbians, etc) who will be the last one standing.

Im basing this off of the study that came out over the past year. ROCOR was the only jurisdiction (of those surveyed) that showed a marked growth. Even in my own parish there were over 20 baptisms in the past year.

The OCA didn’t do so hot, even in regards to priests questioning their vocations.
ROCOR and Serbian exarchate are completely different entities, and minuscule jurisdictions compared to the OCA. They are only foreign exarchate and can never fulfill the role of Local Church. They are ‘diasporic’ by nature amd always refer back to foreign locus of meaning and context. The MP granted autocephaly to the OCA 51 years ago and that’s permanent.
 

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Fulk Nera,

Do you have a link to that "infamous address"? I'd like to read it.

Thanks!
The section below in his 2009 speech is very relevant to this thread because he advocates a more top-down style of decisionmaking and administration. He starts his speech with a constructive task - the goal of addressing challenges of Orthodoxy in the US. His more vertical administrative approach to GOARCH comes up in his discussion on the "third challenge".
Challenges of Orthodoxy in America and the Role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

Metropolitan Elpidophoros

By Very Reverend Archimandrite Dr. Elpidophoros Lambriniadis
Chief Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod

(Chapel of the Holy Cross, March 16, 2009)

The first and main challenge that American Orthodoxy faces is that it has been developed in a region which, from an administrative and technical point, is that of diaspora. By the term “diaspora” we indicate that region whose ecclesiastical jurisdiction is been unfortunately claimed by a variety of “Mother” Churches, which wish to maintain their pastoral care over their respective flocks, comprised by the people who, over the years, immigrated to the superpower called USA.

A second challenge of the Church in America is that it was brought here by people who left their homelands at a time that these homelands were economically underdeveloped. Economic immigration created, from the very first moment, the need for these people to assimilate to their adopted land in order to achieve, as soon as possible, the high living standards of the privileged Americans and therefore to enjoy the fruits of the American dream.

The third challenge of Orthodoxy in America concerns the manner of its ecclesiastical organization. The Orthodox faithful organized themselves in communities of lay people, who, in turn, became identified with the ecclesiastical community in the manner of the traditional organization of Christian communities. Thus, the parish (κοινότητα) being now governed by lay elected members, builds its own church, school and other such institutions, and provides the priest’s salary. On the other hand, however, four very concrete dangers lurk behind such a communal organization of the local Church:

  1. a) That the priest might become alienated from his administrative duties, and from being the spiritual leader of the parish would become a clerk of the parish council, (etc.
  2. b) That the parishioners would find it difficult to comprehend the rules according to which the Church is governed and instead they would follow their own secular reasoning,
  3. c) That the structures of the parish would become influenced by the prevalent Protestant models and thus they would replicate and imitate practices that are foreign to the Spirit of Orthodoxy, and
  4. d) That the parishes would degenerate into nothing more than membership clubs, invested with some ecclesiastical resemblance.

SOURCE:
I agree with his listing of the first two "challenges": Having multiple ethnic immigration sources was a factor that led to overlapping jurisdictions in the US, but it was not really an inevitable result. For example, the original Metropolia system under the Russian Church in the US covered multiple ethnic groups in the period before its break-apart around the early 1920's. Theoretically, the Greek churches in the US could have stayed as one jurisdiction in the US.

But I'm inclined to disagree that the third "challenge" on his list is a problem, that is what he calls "the traditional organization of Christian communities" and "a communal organization of the local Church". Since Orthodoxy is based on tradition, one's immediate reaction should seem to tend to be to sympathize with the "traditional organization". But Abp. Elpidophoros complains about it and favors a more top-down administrative model.

To give some background, my understanding is that the Roman Catholic model is relatively very top-down, and the dioceses directly own the RC church buildings. As a result, there is an occasional practice of the RC dioceses today "combining" and closing parishes where the parishioners don't want them to close and have enough funds to keep them running. Further, the RC priest runs the parish, not a parish council. At the top, the Pope is the head of the RC churches in the US.

In contrast, I heard that the OCA model for many parishes has been considered to run kind of like a "labor union" model, where the individual parishes own their own buildings and parish members pay dues. This has an influence from immigrants coming to work in Industry in the Rust Belt at a time when labor unions were an important aspect of their lives, social, and work experiences. Further, the OCA at the top is run by the All-American Assembly made of delegates voting at the assemblies, and between Assemblies the Metropolitan Council is autocephalous as the head of a Local Church (OCA).

GOARCH on the other hand is under the EP, who appoints the head of GOARCH, in this case Abp. Elpidophoros who is advocating for a more top-down model. One way in which a top-down model shows itself is the ownership of parishes. As I understand it, GOARCH has been going in the direction of owning its own parish properties. I am not sure how widespread this is.

Let me illustrate with a recent court case. The Episcopalian Church USA recently had a series of legal challenges because it adopted some new controversial policies. As I recall, they related to homosexual marriages or homosexual clergy. As a result, some Episcopalian churches in the US South like in Fort Worth decided to leave the national Episcopalian Church USA for the ACNA and wanted to take their parish properties with them. Here is a brief article about the split in the ECUSA.

The issue went to court and this past November, GOARCH submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the national Episcopalian USA and against the Forth Worth ACNA parishes. GOARCH's position that the courts should agree with the national EC USA because parishes should not be allowed to take parish properties with them if they leave a national Church.
BRIEF OF THE GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA AS AMICUS CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH’S PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI in Episcopal Church v. Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth
The GOARCH amicus brief is arguing that GOARCH should be considered to own all its parishes' properties because "Only the church hierarchy is vested with the authority to determine if a parish is carrying out the faith and purpose of the Greek Orthodox Church".

In any case, the point I want to make is that GOARCH's new leadership is arguing here for an increasingly top-down administrative model, and this reflects Abp. Elpidophoros' point of view in his 2009 speech that seems to see parish-level control over churches to be one of the main "challenges" for Orthodoxy in the US.

Further, the individual "dangers" that he lists from the parish-based ownership model seem very doubtful. For Danger #1, he is complaining that in the traditional communal arrangement (like the OCA has), priests cease to be "spiritual leaders" and become just mere "parish council" "clerks." But whatever the problems of the OCA, I do not consider this to be one of them. In fact, I find OCA priests to typically be very good spiritual counselors for people, and NOT just mere administrative secretaries.

Dangers #2-3 historically seemed to come about as much from GOARCH's hierarchy as from GOARCH's lay membership and clergy. For example, one of his main complaints regarding these two Dangers is what he calls "secularization". As an example, he notes that in the 20th century, "Orthodox clergymen became indistinguishable from the clergy of other denomination; choirs in the western style were adopted". But in fact it was only a few weeks ago that a priest of Greek heritage who studied at a US Greek seminary decades ago told me that the regional bishop (I believe it was Bishop Iakovos) told an immigrant priest at that time that he would have to lose his beard and cassock if he wanted to be a priest in his GOARCH diocese. So this process of what the Archbishop is labeling "secularization" of GOARCH Church life was in fact something advocated by the GOARCH hierarchy, even over and against the wishes of individual GOARCH clergy and laity.

That is, historically, the GOARCH hierarchy was part of Dangers #2-3, and in fact a more communal, traditional based administrative style could in fact have addressed these dangers better by allowing individual clergy to at least resist the problems that Abp. Elpidophoros is complaining about.

As a result, Abp. Elpidophoros is attributing dangers that were historically worsened by a hierarchical authority to a more traditional, communal model. It is like attributing a problem ("secularization") to a solution and labeling a cause of the problem (hierarchical heavy handedness) as its solution.

To be clear, I am not advocating some kind of bottom up church model like the UCC has. Rather, I am disagreeing that "traditional" "communal" parish-level management of the workings of Orthodox parishes is one of the top problems damaging Orthodoxy in the US.

Abp. Elpidophoros goes on in his speech to address other issues in ways that you will probably find even more polemical.

Here is a response addressing and critiquing Abp. Elpidophoros' speech from an opposing Orthodox POV:
 

Tzimis

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Which makes a very strong argument about placing so much emphasis on the Phanar as ‘crucial to world Orthodoxy’ etc. They are unreliable because they are beseiged. Should have moved to Geneva or New York by now.
I don't think anyone likes to leave there home unless there forced to. In that case martyrdom may be a solution.
 

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When the new Abp. was installed he spoke to the GOARCH clergy by conference call. One of the topics he was quick to broach was the need to open the churches in all regards to non-Greeks. This shows a change and growth of mindset from his infamous address to HCHC grads back in 2009, (when he was only a teacher) complaining about non-Hellene HDHC grads being ordained and yet incapable of sharing the wealth of Hellenism, which they don’t have, in their parishes.
Despite all the emphasis on Greekness that is the ideology of GOARCH, some 90% of descendants of Greek emigres to the US disdain Orthodoxy, and the exarchate continues to shrink. Now as Abp., Elpidophoros sees that chasing after Greek-Americans who’ve already proven their lack of interest is pointless, and that all comers (especially in clergy) must be made to feel welcome and valued. The preference for and privileging of the Greek language and culture is not going away, this is abundantly clear, and the consistent denial of anything that leads to autocephaly is too. Hierarchs for the exarchate will all be ethnically Greek and preferably Turkish citizens so that they may be able to take a seat on the synod endemousa of Constantinople. But lay and low-ranking clergy coming from τα εθνοι ought to be encouraged, because Greeks here aren’t interested in sufficient numbers.

Please translate the following word: τα εθνοι. Thanks. --Ainnir
Oops, I misspelt! It’s <<τα έθνη>>, “the nations” in the sense of ´οι βάρβαροι, the ones who say ‘var-var’.
 

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I don't think anyone likes to leave there home unless there forced to. In that case martyrdom may be a solution.
Then in the meanwhile they Pugh to quit prating about how crucial the Phanar is to World Orthodoxy, because they don’t function in a healthy, salutary way, for the last century and more now. All they do is engage turf wars with Moscow and flirt with Rome reminiscing about Florence-Ferrara. Not a good way to ‘run World Orthodoxy’. You already read my quote about the coffee cups…
 

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Then in the meanwhile they Pugh to quit prating about how crucial the Phanar is to World Orthodoxy, because they don’t function in a healthy, salutary way, for the last century and more now. All they do is engage turf wars with Moscow and flirt with Rome reminiscing about Florence-Ferrara. Not a good way to ‘run World Orthodoxy’. You already read my quote about the coffee cups…
I disagree. Would you consider relocating Jerusalem? It's the nostalgia factor.
 

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The section below in his 2009 speech is very relevant to this thread because he advocates a more top-down style of decisionmaking and administration. He starts his speech with a constructive task - the goal of addressing challenges of Orthodoxy in the US. His more vertical administrative approach to GOARCH comes up in his discussion on the "third challenge".

I agree with his listing of the first two "challenges": Having multiple ethnic immigration sources was a factor that led to overlapping jurisdictions in the US, but it was not really an inevitable result. For example, the original Metropolia system under the Russian Church in the US covered multiple ethnic groups in the period before its break-apart around the early 1920's. Theoretically, the Greek churches in the US could have stayed as one jurisdiction in the US.

But I'm inclined to disagree that the third "challenge" on his list is a problem, that is what he calls "the traditional organization of Christian communities" and "a communal organization of the local Church". Since Orthodoxy is based on tradition, one's immediate reaction should seem to tend to be to sympathize with the "traditional organization". But Abp. Elpidophoros complains about it and favors a more top-down administrative model.

To give some background, my understanding is that the Roman Catholic model is relatively very top-down, and the dioceses directly own the RC church buildings. As a result, there is an occasional practice of the RC dioceses today "combining" and closing parishes where the parishioners don't want them to close and have enough funds to keep them running. Further, the RC priest runs the parish, not a parish council. At the top, the Pope is the head of the RC churches in the US.

In contrast, I heard that the OCA model for many parishes has been considered to run kind of like a "labor union" model, where the individual parishes own their own buildings and parish members pay dues. This has an influence from immigrants coming to work in Industry in the Rust Belt at a time when labor unions were an important aspect of their lives, social, and work experiences. Further, the OCA at the top is run by the All-American Assembly made of delegates voting at the assemblies, and between Assemblies the Metropolitan Council is autocephalous as the head of a Local Church (OCA).

GOARCH on the other hand is under the EP, who appoints the head of GOARCH, in this case Abp. Elpidophoros who is advocating for a more top-down model. One way in which a top-down model shows itself is the ownership of parishes. As I understand it, GOARCH has been going in the direction of owning its own parish properties. I am not sure how widespread this is.

Let me illustrate with a recent court case. The Episcopalian Church USA recently had a series of legal challenges because it adopted some new controversial policies. As I recall, they related to homosexual marriages or homosexual clergy. As a result, some Episcopalian churches in the US South like in Fort Worth decided to leave the national Episcopalian Church USA for the ACNA and wanted to take their parish properties with them. Here is a brief article about the split in the ECUSA.

The issue went to court and this past November, GOARCH submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the national Episcopalian USA and against the Forth Worth ACNA parishes. GOARCH's position that the courts should agree with the national EC USA because parishes should not be allowed to take parish properties with them if they leave a national Church.
BRIEF OF THE GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA AS AMICUS CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH’S PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI in Episcopal Church v. Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth
The GOARCH amicus brief is arguing that GOARCH should be considered to own all its parishes' properties because "Only the church hierarchy is vested with the authority to determine if a parish is carrying out the faith and purpose of the Greek Orthodox Church".

In any case, the point I want to make is that GOARCH's new leadership is arguing here for an increasingly top-down administrative model, and this reflects Abp. Elpidophoros' point of view in his 2009 speech that seems to see parish-level control over churches to be one of the main "challenges" for Orthodoxy in the US.

Further, the individual "dangers" that he lists from the parish-based ownership model seem very doubtful. For Danger #1, he is complaining that in the traditional communal arrangement (like the OCA has), priests cease to be "spiritual leaders" and become just mere "parish council" "clerks." But whatever the problems of the OCA, I do not consider this to be one of them. In fact, I find OCA priests to typically be very good spiritual counselors for people, and NOT just mere administrative secretaries.

Dangers #2-3 historically seemed to come about as much from GOARCH's hierarchy as from GOARCH's lay membership and clergy. For example, one of his main complaints regarding these two Dangers is what he calls "secularization". As an example, he notes that in the 20th century, "Orthodox clergymen became indistinguishable from the clergy of other denomination; choirs in the western style were adopted". But in fact it was only a few weeks ago that a priest of Greek heritage who studied at a US Greek seminary decades ago told me that the regional bishop (I believe it was Bishop Iakovos) told an immigrant priest at that time that he would have to lose his beard and cassock if he wanted to be a priest in his GOARCH diocese. So this process of what the Archbishop is labeling "secularization" of GOARCH Church life was in fact something advocated by the GOARCH hierarchy, even over and against the wishes of individual GOARCH clergy and laity.

That is, historically, the GOARCH hierarchy was part of Dangers #2-3, and in fact a more communal, traditional based administrative style could in fact have addressed these dangers better by allowing individual clergy to at least resist the problems that Abp. Elpidophoros is complaining about.

As a result, Abp. Elpidophoros is attributing dangers that were historically worsened by a hierarchical authority to a more traditional, communal model. It is like attributing a problem ("secularization") to a solution and labeling a cause of the problem (hierarchical heavy handedness) as its solution.

To be clear, I am not advocating some kind of bottom up church model like the UCC has. Rather, I am disagreeing that "traditional" "communal" parish-level management of the workings of Orthodox parishes is one of the top problems damaging Orthodoxy in the US.

Abp. Elpidophoros goes on in his speech to address other issues in ways that you will probably find even more polemical.

Here is a response addressing and critiquing Abp. Elpidophoros' speech from an opposing Orthodox POV:
Thanks for the diligence I was unwilling to muster. I just assume people have long memories like I do.
The GOARCH high handed governance leaves rank-and-file clergy and laity as veritable mushrooms in the dark, where they are fed sterilized manure. To my view, Clergy-Laity Congresses are just rubber-stamp committees with no power to do anything other than talk. For example witness how the very Archbishop was selected: GOARCH Charter was ignored by Phanar to void process of election. Governance of parishes and the Ownership of their titles puts Metropolitan bishops in total control of parishes that voluntarily hand over titles. This is actually traditional and the OCA pattern of Parish Council ownership of properties is an innovation in response to a historical crisis.

The historical dimension gives meaning to legal structures that now confront us. I would not be surprised if Abp. Elpidophoros remains ignorant of OCA history, since the church culture he loves in basically denies the existence of the OCA. In brief, the Metropolia, the temporary church structure elaborated after the collapse of the Russian Missionary Diocese in North America, was vulnerable to lawsuits by the Renovationists in Moscow who legally took a cathedral in Manhattan. The Metropolia then changed its charter and instructed Parish Councils to purchase parishes for $1 from it. This devolved ownership of properties to the parish level where it remains. Dioceses are legally prevented from owning parishes and this makes them invulnerable to alienation.

(I know a GOARCH parish that organized itself and even built a temple prior to affiliation with GOARCH. Because of their Greek identity, they overlooked any alternatives and willingly gave the title to the Metropolitan. As an American I cannot fathom this strange loyalty to foreign heads, especially since their archpastoral oversight is so manifestly lacking.)

The Phanar relies on traditionalism in a context of a vanished imperialism to argue its relevance, its dominance and its methods. The OCA with its adaptive structures follows the model of соборност (sobornost, conciliarity) that was elaborated at the 1917-1918 All Russia Sobor that saw the reestablishment of the Moscow Patriarchate with the election of Patriarch St. Tikhon (Bellavin), former Metropolitan of New York and All America. Sobornost actually implements bottom-up decision-making that has benefited the OCA with transparency and advised consent completely lacking in the traditional GOARCH method of governing. Time and again GOARCH proves its inability to hear parishes out, because its ear is tuned only to the Phanar’s frequency.
 

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I disagree. Would you consider relocating Jerusalem? It's the nostalgia factor.
Once again you help me prove my point despite yourself. Nostalgia is the last sentiment according to which you govern something as important as the Church. You can’t even run a football team on nostalgia, because it denotes a weakness in the present moment with a preference for the bygone. It means literally, a painful regret at leaving home. This may explain why 90% of Greek-descended Americans don’t give a fig about Greek Orthodoxy.
As to Jerusalem Patriarchate, it’s a totally inapposite comparison since Jerusalem, the true Mother Church, never had imperial pretensions or enjoyed such status, since it was established late not In regards to political importance as with Rome I and II, Antioch or Alexandria, but to honor Christ’s ministry that was established there. Jerusalem did establish parishes abroad, because Palestinians with roots in it emigrated worldwide, though its appeal as the Mother Church of Orthodoxy has a much more realistic ring to it than the prating of the Phanar these days. Hardly anyone besides the tiny circle of rich Hellenes known as the Order of St. Andrew bears particularly warm feelings toward the Phanar. When Aghia Sophia was reopened as a mosque, the world rolled over in its sleep.

The bathetic nostalgia appeal of this small dependency of the US State Dept. and Fr. Alex Karloutsos’ purse, located in Istanbul‘s Fener is not the stuff that inspires and engages converts.
 

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Once again you help me prove my point despite yourself. Nostalgia is the last sentiment according to which you govern something as important as the Church. You can’t even run a football team on nostalgia, because it denotes a weakness in the present moment with a preference for the bygone. It means literally, a painful regret at leaving home. This may explain why 90% of Greek-descended Americans don’t give a fig about Greek Orthodoxy.
As to Jerusalem Patriarchate, it’s a totally inapposite comparison since Jerusalem, the true Mother Church, never had imperial pretensions or enjoyed such status, since it was established late not In regards to political importance as with Rome I and II, Antioch or Alexandria, but to honor Christ’s ministry that was established there. Jerusalem did establish parishes abroad, because Palestinians with roots in it emigrated worldwide, though its appeal as the Mother Church of Orthodoxy has a much more realistic ring to it than the prating of the Phanar these days. Hardly anyone besides the tiny circle of rich Hellenes known as the Order of St. Andrew bears particularly warm feelings toward the Phanar. When Aghia Sophia was reopened as a mosque, the world rolled over in its sleep.

The bathetic nostalgia appeal of this small dependency of the US State Dept. and Fr. Alex Karloutsos’ purse, located in Istanbul‘s Fener is not the stuff that inspires and engages converts.
You have no clue what cosmology is do you? The historical accounts of millions of people forgotten through time, waiting to be vindicated at the second coming of Christ.
These rocks have memories embedded in them with blood.
You have to make your own history for your church to be noticed. Sitting behind a computer complaining that you aren't, isn't going to get you there.
BTW: I met one of your OCA clergy this weekend. Gave me a blessing also. Nice man.
 

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You have no clue what cosmology is do you? The historical accounts of millions of people forgotten through time, waiting to be vindicated at the second coming of Christ.
These rocks have memories embedded in them with blood.
You have to make your own history for your church to be noticed. Sitting behind a computer complaining that you aren't, isn't going to get you there.
BTW: I met one of your OCA clergy this weekend. Gave me a blessing also. Nice man.
Sacred Memory is the reality, Nostalgia is the sappy doggerel poem penned to sell it at Walgreens.
There is a saying about GOARCH and OCA clergy. Greeks are undereducated and overpaid while OCA underplayed and overeducated. Of course there are holy men and women in all the churches. I like the style of OCA church life, where (at least outside places like Joisey and Joilet) clergy are honored as spiritual leaders.
 

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Sacred Memory is the reality, Nostalgia is the sappy doggerel poem penned to sell it at Walgreens.
There is a saying about GOARCH and OCA clergy. Greeks are undereducated and overpaid while OCA underplayed and overeducated. Of course there are holy men and women in all the churches. I like the style of OCA church life, where (at least outside places like Joisey and Joilet) clergy are honored as spiritual leaders.
 

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You already read my quote about the coffee cups…
I went to Fener in Istanbul and saw elderly Greek gentlemen disposing the affaires of the Church over little cups of Turkish coffee. I went to Moscow and saw them running orphanages, colleges and hospitals.
Where did you hear this? I could not find it online. Maybe it's a French source since they spelled one word "affaires."
 

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Which makes a very strong argument about placing so much emphasis on the Phanar as ‘crucial to world Orthodoxy’ etc. They are unreliable because they are beseiged. Should have moved to Geneva or New York by now.
I don't think anyone likes to leave there home unless there forced to. In that case martyrdom may be a solution.
There are two chief considerations, IMO. One is whether Turkey is allowing the Patriarchate to stay there, which it is. The other is whether Turkey is messing secretly with the Patriarchate to achieve ends going against Orthodoxy, like if they are manipulating the Patriarchate to announce itself as the masters of the Orthodox world. I'm inclined to think that Turkey's government per se is not responsible for this problem and that something similar could have happened if the Patriarchate was based in Greece, or for that matter Switzerland. Soon after the Cold War began, when Pat. Athenagoras came in from the US, his patriarchal predecessor Maximus V (who had a more neutral stance during the Cold War) was in effect shipped to a mental asylum in Switzerland. It seems that one factor though is that due to being in Turkey with its pressures against Christianity, the Patriarchate is highly dependent on Western benefactors for political protection, and this in turn could serve as a pressure on Patriarch to take stances reflecting geopolitical preferences more than canon law, like in the Ukraine.
 

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Sobornost actually implements bottom-up decision-making that has benefited the OCA with transparency and advised consent completely lacking in the traditional GOARCH method of governing. Time and again GOARCH proves its inability to hear parishes out, because its ear is tuned only to the Phanar’s frequency.
I'm not really trying to argue for "bottom up" decisionmaking. On one hand, the Roman Catholic model with a dictatorial Pope at the top and bishops and priests dictating parishes seems too heavy handed for me. The UCC model on the other hand seems extremely decentralized. It's like a loose confederation of congregations whose teachings may not be very similar. I think that to a big extent the UCC was originally "Congregationalist."

For that matter, I don't think that the OCA is truly "bottom up" either. The Metropolitan Council plays a big role.

One of the main points that I wanted to make about the speech was that I don't see a relatively "balanced" or "communal" administrative model like the OCA has as one of the top "challenges" or problems of Orthodoxy in the US as Abp. Elpidophoros portrayed it. In his article criticizing the latter's speech, George Michalopolous claimed that this was one of the few things that the speaker got right, but I don't agree with Michalopolous on this point. In hindsight, a "communal" model might be a challenge from the perspective of a hierarch with a heavy handed style who adheres to a Papal-style ecclesiology. But Abp. Elpidophoros is mistaken to cast onto the communal model the shortfalls of Orthodoxy in the US as if it's one of the main problems to be "solved" by arbitrary authoritarianism.
 
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Sacred Memory is the reality, Nostalgia is the sappy doggerel poem penned to sell it at Walgreens.
There is a saying about GOARCH and OCA clergy. Greeks are undereducated and overpaid while OCA underplayed and overeducated. Of course there are holy men and women in all the churches. I like the style of OCA church life, where (at least outside places like Joisey and Joilet) clergy are honored as spiritual leaders.
It's nice to see you love your church.
There are two chief considerations, IMO. One is whether Turkey is allowing the Patriarchate to stay there, which it is. The other is whether Turkey is messing secretly with the Patriarchate to achieve ends going against Orthodoxy, like if they are manipulating the Patriarchate to announce itself as the masters of the Orthodox world. I'm inclined to think that Turkey's government per se is not responsible for this problem and that something similar could have happened if the Patriarchate was based in Greece, or for that matter Switzerland. Soon after the Cold War began, when Pat. Athenagoras came in from the US, his patriarchal predecessor Maximus V (who had a more neutral stance during the Cold War) was in effect shipped to a mental asylum in Switzerland. It seems that one factor though is that due to being in Turkey with its pressures against Christianity, the Patriarchate is highly dependent on Western benefactors for political protection, and this in turn could serve as a pressure on Patriarch to take stances reflecting geopolitical preferences more than canon law, like in the Ukraine.
Or maybe, god has him under protection.
 

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I'm not really trying to argue for "bottom up" decisionmaking. On one hand, the Roman Catholic model with a dictatorial Pope at the top and bishops and priests dictating parishes seems too heavy handed for me. The UCC model on the other hand seems extremely decentralized. It's like a loose confederation of congregations whose teachings may not be very similar. I think that to a big extent the UCC was originally "Congregationalist."

For that matter, I don't think that the OCA is truly "bottom up" either. The Metropolitan Council plays a big role.

One of the main points that I wanted to make about the speech was that I don't see a relatively "balanced" or "communal" administrative model like the OCA has as one of the top "challenges" or problems of Orthodoxy in the US as Abp. Elpidophoros portrayed it. In his article criticizing the latter's speech, George Michalopolous claimed that this was one of the few things that the speaker got right, but I don't agree with Michalopolous on this point. In hindsight, a "communal" model might be a challenge from the perspective of a hierarch with a heavy handed style who adheres to a Papal-style ecclesiology. But Abp. Elpidophoros is mistaken to cast onto the communal model the shortfalls of Orthodoxy in the US as if it's one of the main problems to be "solved" by arbitrary authoritarianism.
Any model that aligns with extreme positions is going to fail.
Churches need to protect their orthodoxy and the EP needs too just say enough with infringing on liberty. This way everyone is happy.
 

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Any model that aligns with extreme positions is going to fail.
Churches need to protect their orthodoxy and the EP needs too just say enough with infringing on liberty. This way everyone is happy.
GOARCH's November 2020 Supreme Court legal brief seems to be asserting that GOARCH, not the parishes, using this logic:
Since its beginnings, the Greek Orthodox Church has been a hierarchical church. Accordingly, it holds all church property in a manner that reflects this longstanding hierarchy. All church property – regardless of which church entity it is held by – is held expressly for carrying out the faith and purpose of the Greek Orthodox Church. See Regulations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (“Regulations”), Art. 16 § 1 (2007). Only the church hierarchy is vested with the authority to determine if a parish is carrying out the faith and purpose of the Greek Orthodox Church, so any property dispute is inherently entwined with ecclesiastical matters.

SOURCE: https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/20/20-534/161111/20201118143332016_20-534 Amicus Brief.pdf
I don't know whether in this statement (A) GOARCH is trying to make the argument that it should legally be entitled to all parish properties, or if (B) it is just matter of factly informing the Supreme Court that GOARCH and its parishes are already aware that GOARCH owns all parish lands and assets. My guess is that (A) is the case in reality.

De Facto what GOARCH argues in the brief is that if a religious conflict comes up and causes a property dispute, then the court cannot investigate the religious conflict to see which side is correct. GOARCH is saying that the court ALWAYS has to side with the hierarchy against the parishes.

In the case at hand, many decades ago, when parishes in the lawsuit were part of the Episcopalian Church (EC USA), the EC USA nationally was against openly gay clergy. Now, the ECUSA has reversed its position and some parishes wanted to leave with their properties. In this case, GOARCH is saying that in these kinds of cases, the courts always have to side with the hierarchy because courts can't be allowed to decide which side in a faction battle is right. In other words, even if GOARCH's hierarchy were to endorse a very bad religious position (pick anything that you want here), GOARCH is saying that its parishes should still not be allowed to take their assets with them if they leave GOARCH over it.

Further, GOARCH is calling itself "hierarchical" as a Church and saying that nobody - not the Church at large, not any council, not any national GOARCH assembly - can judge if parishes are carrying out the Greek Orthodox Church's purpose like GOARCH's regulations say that church property is meant to do.
 

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GOARCH's November 2020 Supreme Court legal brief seems to be asserting that GOARCH, not the parishes, using this logic:

I don't know whether in this statement (A) GOARCH is trying to make the argument that it should legally be entitled to all parish properties, or if (B) it is just matter of factly informing the Supreme Court that GOARCH and its parishes are already aware that GOARCH owns all parish lands and assets. My guess is that (A) is the case in reality.

De Facto what GOARCH argues in the brief is that if a religious conflict comes up and causes a property dispute, then the court cannot investigate the religious conflict to see which side is correct. GOARCH is saying that the court ALWAYS has to side with the hierarchy against the parishes.

In the case at hand, many decades ago, when parishes in the lawsuit were part of the Episcopalian Church (EC USA), the EC USA nationally was against openly gay clergy. Now, the ECUSA has reversed its position and some parishes wanted to leave with their properties. In this case, GOARCH is saying that in these kinds of cases, the courts always have to side with the hierarchy because courts can't be allowed to decide which side in a faction battle is right. In other words, even if GOARCH's hierarchy were to endorse a very bad religious position (pick anything that you want here), GOARCH is saying that its parishes should still not be allowed to take their assets with them if they leave GOARCH over it.

Further, GOARCH is calling itself "hierarchical" as a Church and saying that nobody - not the Church at large, not any council, not any national GOARCH assembly - can judge if parishes are carrying out the Greek Orthodox Church's purpose like GOARCH's regulations say that church property is meant to do.
Didn't the archdiocese recently bailout some churches in the US and Canada that were in bankruptcy?
Might be they are just protecting their investment.
 

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This thread is an excellent reminder of why I dialed my participation in this forum way back. I hope you all spend as much time praying that God will guide these hierarchs you idly prattle on about as you spend writing these posts.
 

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ROCOR and Serbian exarchate are completely different entities, and minuscule jurisdictions compared to the OCA. They are only foreign exarchate and can never fulfill the role of Local Church. They are ‘diasporic’ by nature amd always refer back to foreign locus of meaning and context. The MP granted autocephaly to the OCA 51 years ago and that’s permanent.
I'd love for the OCA to take the helm, and I believe as the autecephelous Church in America they should indeed be doing that.
But, it doesn't really seem like they are, and the number of members of the OCA is just as minuscule as ROCOR or the Serbians, as the OCA was granted autocephaly over 50 years ago, why are they still minuscule?
They aren't even the largest Orthodox jurisdiction in America. Please don't take this the wrong way as it is more of a condemnation of Orthodoxy as a whole in America rather than just the OCA, but, just anecdotally based on that study, people I have seen online, and a couple of people I have met at my parish (admittedly a small person), they have left the OCA either because the harsh Covid restrictions (even by local government standards) or creeping modernism within the OCA.
I split my time between the Antiochians & ROCOR and feel this is a pretty common sentiment (albeit, again, from my small circle of people I've talked to about it)
 

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I'd love for the OCA to take the helm, and I believe as the autecephelous Church in America they should indeed be doing that.
But, it doesn't really seem like they are, and the number of members of the OCA is just as minuscule as ROCOR or the Serbians, as the OCA was granted autocephaly over 50 years ago, why are they still minuscule?
They aren't even the largest Orthodox jurisdiction in America. Please don't take this the wrong way as it is more of a condemnation of Orthodoxy as a whole in America rather than just the OCA, but, just anecdotally based on that study, people I have seen online, and a couple of people I have met at my parish (admittedly a small person), they have left the OCA either because the harsh Covid restrictions (even by local government standards) or creeping modernism within the OCA.
I split my time between the Antiochians & ROCOR and feel this is a pretty common sentiment (albeit, again, from my small circle of people I've talked to about it)
Last time I checked OCA was the 2nd largest jurisdiction, after GOARCH. ROCOR is way down the list and is only big in San Francisco. A small fraction of the size of the OCA.
 

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It's nice to see you love your church.

Or maybe, god has him under protection.
Which doesn’t translate into approbation of Phanar overlordship over the whole Orthodox commonwealth. It’s clear though that being Rûm milet başı for all those centuries and then losing it with the Ottoman collapse really hobbles the Phanar.
 

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I'm not really trying to argue for "bottom up" decisionmaking. On one hand, the Roman Catholic model with a dictatorial Pope at the top and bishops and priests dictating parishes seems too heavy handed for me. The UCC model on the other hand seems extremely decentralized. It's like a loose confederation of congregations whose teachings may not be very similar. I think that to a big extent the UCC was originally "Congregationalist."

For that matter, I don't think that the OCA is truly "bottom up" either. The Metropolitan Council plays a big role.

One of the main points that I wanted to make about the speech was that I don't see a relatively "balanced" or "communal" administrative model like the OCA has as one of the top "challenges" or problems of Orthodoxy in the US as Abp. Elpidophoros portrayed it. In his article criticizing the latter's speech, George Michalopolous claimed that this was one of the few things that the speaker got right, but I don't agree with Michalopolous on this point. In hindsight, a "communal" model might be a challenge from the perspective of a hierarch with a heavy handed style who adheres to a Papal-style ecclesiology. But Abp. Elpidophoros is mistaken to cast onto the communal model the shortfalls of Orthodoxy in the US as if it's one of the main problems to be "solved" by arbitrary authoritarianism.
When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. It’s too late for Phanar autocracy in America. GOARCH is shriveling on the vine and is enormously corrupt with no ability to correct itself because transparent governance is anathema to their autocracy. It will eventually collapse as do all poorly-managed edifices. The OCA has health of good practices and few of the vices of the larger jurisdiction.
 

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I'd love for the OCA to take the helm, and I believe as the autecephelous Church in America they should indeed be doing that.
But, it doesn't really seem like they are, and the number of members of the OCA is just as minuscule as ROCOR or the Serbians, as the OCA was granted autocephaly over 50 years ago, why are they still minuscule?
FYI, the OCA nationally has about 5 to 10 times as many members as ROCOR. Compared to any other EO Church in the US, the OCA is not miniscule. The problem for the OCA in terms of membership nationally has rather to do with declining membership. My guess is that the main cause for the decline are assimilation to the majority religions (Protestantism and Catholicism), partly through marriages over generations, and declining religiosity in general.
 
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