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How Does Decisionmaking at GOARCH Assemblies Work?

FULK NERA

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And it isn't breaking canon law to grant autocephaly without said meeting?
Istanbul, uh C’ple, does not own the other autocephalous Patriarchates and cannot compel them to attend a council it convenes if they object to the terms. Antioch, Bulgaria, Georgia and Russia all had their separate legitimate reasons not to participate in a meeting that was a failure before it began.
 

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For the sake of argument - even if GOARCH's Hellenism were an ethnophyletist mistake, I think it's not in itself a crucial problem injuring the Orthodox Church. By analogy, If the Armenian Churches wanted to devote a lot of attention on being Armenian, understandably trying to preserve their culture in the wake of the Armenian genocide, it wouldn't hurt the OOs.

Instead, the crucial harmful problem is that P. Bartholomew and Ap. Elpidophoros are claiming that the C.P. is the vertical supreme head of Orthodoxy, and then based on these mistaken assertions they strongly infringe on local autocephalous Churches, wrecking division and damage in Orthodoxy.
True but recall that only C’ple declared ‘ethnophyletism’ to be heresy and they are far and away the most ethnophylestist of Churches.
 

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True but recall that only C’ple declared ‘ethnophyletism’ to be heresy and they are far and away the most ethnophylestist of Churches. Also, the Armenian Apostolic Church is very much hurt by its ethnic isolation and limited mission.
 

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For the sake of argument - even if GOARCH's Hellenism were an ethnophyletist mistake, I think it's not in itself a crucial problem injuring the Orthodox Church. By analogy, If the Armenian Churches wanted to devote a lot of attention on being Armenian, understandably trying to preserve their culture in the wake of the Armenian genocide, it wouldn't hurt the OOs.

Instead, the crucial harmful problem is that P. Bartholomew and Ap. Elpidophoros are claiming that the C.P. is the vertical supreme head of Orthodoxy, and then based on these mistaken assertions they strongly infringe on local autocephalous Churches, wrecking division and damage in Orthodoxy.
I think in the Greek case both are sides of the same coin.
The Armenians also haven't canonized another saint in 600 years, save for the martyrs that died in the genocide facilitated by the Young Turks.
 

Tzimis

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True but recall that only C’ple declared ‘ethnophyletism’ to be heresy and they are far and away the most ethnophylestist of Churches.
I think its more about survival than anything else. With only about 10 million Greek nationals, the population is shrinking at an alarming rate.
What you view as ethnophyletism is actually a attempt to expand or at least maintain current populations.
I recently heard a prominent historian that claimed, that in 70 years there will no longer be any Greeks.
The Greek Government has issued some monetary stimulus to try and avert the situation. Like reward programs that incentivize adults with two and three children.
Plus, The European laws also classify third generation Europeans that live in the diaspora as citizens of Europe. if they ever want to reverse migrate.
It's not only a Greek problem.
 

rakovsky

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Instead, the crucial harmful problem is that P. Bartholomew and Ap. Elpidophoros are claiming that the C.P. is the vertical supreme head of Orthodoxy, and then based on these mistaken assertions they strongly infringe on local autocephalous Churches, wrecking division and damage in Orthodoxy.
It would be a little like if the MP in the time of the Russian empire claimed that he was the supreme primate of the Orthodox world because Moscow has been called by saints the "3rd Rome", as if it were the new Byzantium; then, based on these claims of power, the MP and most of the Slavic Churches recognized the schismatic Turkish Orthodox Church as the canonical jurisdiction in Turkey with the support of the Turkish government.

I am inclined to think that Abp. Elpidophoros and P. Bartholomew are smart enough to realize that Canon 28 does not directly give Constantinople purview over ALL "barbarian lands" (eg. supposely North America), instead of just those "barbarian" dioceses enumerated in the canon. Further, P. Bartholomew himself has explained explicitly that his supposed power to decide Church affairs in Ukraine is not based on the C.P.'s specific historic jurisdiction there, but rather based on his supposed status as the supreme primate over all Orthodox.

It's harder for me to tell if P. Bartholomew and Abp. Elpidophoros know that Orthodoxy does not teach that Constantinople is the vertically supreme head of Orthodoxy. If I were to generalize, the Western Christian tradition from maybe the late 2nd century might suggest that the See of Rome is the head of all Christians (although Irenaeus is not that specific), but the Eastern Tradition does not have the teaching that a single Patriarch is the supreme head over all Christians. P. Bartholomew in the last several years has implemented some noncanonical innovations like letting clergy remarry, and Abp. Elpiodophoros has announced that marriage counts as conversion for nonOrthodox spouses. So they apparently are not very strictly guided by what they know to be actual Orthodox Tradition when making their decisions affecting the Orthodox world. Soon after Elpidophoros became Archbishop in the US, GOARCH announced that the archdiocese's intellectual youth contest would be the place of Constantinople in the Orthodox world. It could be a mix of a fishing expedition and an attempt to encourage GOARCH's youth to think more along the lines of Constantinople being the supreme primate over all.
 

rakovsky

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True but recall that only C’ple declared ‘ethnophyletism’ to be heresy and they are far and away the most ethnophylestist of Churches.
The C.P. arguably isolates and hermitizes itself into a "museum chapel" with the Greek culture line because it's based in a practically Turkish-speaking nation (Turkey) with a historic policy of "Turkification" and very few Greeks. It doesn't look like Greece is going to get Istanbul back any time soon, and even if it did, there would still be the issue of how to evangelize the Turkish-speaking population of Turkey from Kurdistan to Smyrna.

Nonetheless, the Hellenistic based policy is not a problem for the Orthodox world in the same way or extent that its current claims to be the vertical supreme head over all Orthodox are. The Roman Pope's claims to supremacy over all Christians were the practical cause of the Great Schism 1000 years ago. This kind of power claim by P. Bartholomew for himself has the same disastrous divisive character.
 

rakovsky

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I think its more about survival than anything else. With only about 10 million Greek nationals, the population is shrinking at an alarming rate.
What you view as ethnophyletism is actually a attempt to expand or at least maintain current populations.
I recently heard a prominent historian that claimed, that in 70 years there will no longer be any Greeks.
The Greek Government has issued some monetary stimulus to try and avert the situation. Like reward programs that incentivize adults with two and three children.
Plus, The European laws also classify third generation Europeans that live in the diaspora as citizens of Europe. if they ever want to reverse migrate.
It's not only a Greek problem.
There are good arguments for GOARCH parishes having Hellenistic culture, like you wrote above. A downside is that it can make things harder to bringing some non-Greeks into ORTHODOXY, whereas ORTHOXY teaches that you should do this. It's doubtful that you can make a non-Greek into an actual Greek, but Orthodoxy teaches that you can and should bring non-EOs into being EOs.

In any case, regardless of whether you are right or wrong about the benefits of Hellenism for GOARCH, it wouldn't change the way that the COP (Constantinople Orthodox Church) is hurting the rest of the Orthodox world by declaring itself the practical equivalent of the medieval Pope of Orthodoxy.
 

rakovsky

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Istanbul, uh C’ple, does not own the other autocephalous Patriarchates
The COP is saying that it does not "own" the other autocephalous churches, but that it de facto can rule them as it so chooses, bestowing and removing autocephaly as it pleases, judging internal matters of those churches against them if their clergy "appeal" to the COP, etc. I am trying to think of an analogy to this system in the real world. Maybe it's like a corporation having subsidiary companies where the subsidiary owns and rules its own properties, but the head corporation can do anything it wants in controlling the subsidiaries. It is kind of like how the Roman Pope sees his relationship to Catholic "Patriarchates" like the Melkites, except that the Pope has been seemingly loosening his grip on them at least since Vatican II.
 
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Tzimis

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There are good arguments for GOARCH parishes having Hellenistic culture, like you wrote above. A downside is that it can make things harder to bringing some non-Greeks into ORTHODOXY, whereas ORTHOXY teaches that you should do this. It's doubtful that you can make a non-Greek into an actual Greek, but Orthodoxy teaches that you can and should bring non-EOs into being EOs.

In any case, regardless of whether you are right or wrong about the benefits of Hellenism for GOARCH, it wouldn't change the way that the COP (Constantinople Orthodox Church) is hurting the rest of the Orthodox world by declaring itself the practical equivalent of the medieval Pope of Orthodoxy.
I think the EP's argument is centered around the unbroken chain of apostolic succession and how it relates, moves through time, from its foundations in the Church of Constantinople. It's relevancy not so much as a ruling agent, but as a fatherly figure.
 

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I think the EP's argument is centered around the unbroken chain of apostolic succession and how it relates, moves through time, from its foundations in the Church of Constantinople. It's relevancy not so much as a ruling agent, but as a fatherly figure.
Ap. Elpidophoros openly asserted below that the CP derives its supremacy from Rome being now outside of Orthodoxy. Were Rome in communion with Orthodoxy, it follows that Rome would have these supremacy powers. But Constantinople and the rest of Orthodoxy historically rejected Rome's supremacy powers over them. So the entire argument is a non-sequitor.

THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH: FIRST WITHOUT EQUALS by Metropolitan Elpidophoros (Lambriniadis) of Bursa
...

In the long history of the Church, the presiding hierarch of the universal Church was the bishop of Rome. After Eucharistic communion with Rome was broken, canonically the presiding hierarch of the Orthodox Church is the archbishop of Constantinople. In the case of the archbishop of Constantinople, we observe the unique concomitance of all three levels of primacy, namely the local (as Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome), the regional (as Patriarch), and the universal or worldwide (as Ecumenical Patriarch). This threefold primacy translates into specific privileges, such as the right of appeal and the right to grant or remove autocephaly (examples of the latter are the Archdioceses-Patriarchates of Ochrid, Pec and Turnavo, etc.), a privilege that the Ecumenical Patriarch exercised even in cases of some modern Patriarchates, not yet validated by decisions of the Ecumenical Councils, the first of which is that of Moscow.
That is, the CP is not just arguing that it has supremacy from succession to the apostles. After all, other patriarchates from Rome to Jerusalem to Antioch have apostolic succession, and Byzantium got apostolic succession via older Sees. Rather, the CP is arguing that it has supremacy over all by "inheriting" it from Rome due to the CP being second in diptychs after Rome. And the argument that the CP gets Rome's powers that the CP rejected Rome having in the first place is an inherently illogical argument.

Further, if one looks critically at his quote above, Ap. Elpidophoros is saying that the first time that the first time that the CP excercized his supposed supremacy powers over another Patriarch was his recent interference in Moscow. For someone familiar with how real Orthodoxy is dedicated to Tradition, the internal logic screams that the CP is not following Tradition but making up "Orthodoxy" for itself as it goes along arbitrarily.
 
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Tzimis

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All of the Orthodox churches except for Russia agree with the Ravenna Document.
 

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All of the Orthodox churches except for Russia agree with the Ravenna Document.
If so, then I am guessing that the Ravenna document does not say that the Pope is the vertical supreme head of all orthodox Christians like he claimed to be since medieval times and like the CP is claiming to be now. Feel free to correct me on that.
 

Tzimis

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Does the Ravenna document say that the Pope is the vertical supreme head of all orthodox Christians like he claimed to be since medieval times and like the CP is claiming to be now?
Do you deny that Russia recieved its orthodoxy from Constantinople?
 

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Do you deny that Russia recieved its orthodoxy from Constantinople?
I like you, so please try to be decent and sensible.
Russia getting Orthodoxy from Constantinople doesn't equate to Constantinople eternally ruling all Orthodox Churches of the world.
 

Tzimis

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I like you, so please try to be decent and sensible.
Russia getting Orthodoxy from Constantinople doesn't equate to Constantinople eternally ruling all Orthodox Churches of the world.
Just the ones under him.
Its by freak occuance that there are no other one's.
 

Ainnir

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I'm a little of both. I like to stick things like paper pages in as bookmarks.
I put bookmarks in my Bible and books I don't own. Otherwise, lots of dogearing. :giggle:
 

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5+ pages of a hot garbage thread... Yuk. That's time I won't get back in my life. To the OP:

What is the highest decisionmaking body in the Ecumenical Patriarchate?

In the OCA and the MP, the highest decisionmaking body is the All-American Assembly and Local "Sobor" assembly, respectively. The voting delegates are clergy and a few laity from the parishes. For example, an Assembly in 2008 voted to install Met. Jonah as the OCA's Metropolitan. Between assemblies, the Metropolitan Council or Holy Synod implements decisions and it's made of the primate (eg. Met. Jonah in 2008-2012) and leading bishops.
I think that's over-simplifying things. Generally speaking, Synods are the highest bodies within their respective autocephalous Churches, with specific functions possibly delegated to other groups (like the OCA's nomination for Primate).

I'm not familiar with the voting process in the EP for choosing Patriarchs. In the early years of the Cold War, the US arranged for a plane to bring Met. Athenagoras (an American bishop) to replace the contemporary Ecumenical Patriarch.
The US applied pressure on the election of that particular EP (who was Abp, not Met.), the Turkish state applied pressure also. In the subsequent election (of Pat. Athenagoras's successor) the US's pressure was rebuffed (both internally and externally). Generally, the prefect of Istanbul reviews the candidate list on behalf of the Turkish state and has the ability to strike names from the list; that list is then used by the Holy Synod to perform the election. (If you don't think that Athens, Jerusalem, and Moscow don't have similar issues / processes, I have a bridge to sell you...)

I can see that GOARCH might not elect its own hierarchs because GOARCH is under the EP instead of being autocephalous like the OCA is. The EP's leading hierarch Pat. Bartholomew appointed Abp. Elpidophoros to replace Abp. Demetrios as the GOARCH's hierarch in 2019.
Elections for Hierarchs within the family of the EP are the exclusive provenance of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate. While the Patriarch can nominate and express (strongly) his preferences, there is still an election process that takes place.

This October, GOARCH is having Metropolitan-Clergy-Laity conferences on Zoom. The Metropolis of Chicago is having their Clergy-Laity Assembly in early October (https://www.chicago.goarch.org/-/2021-clergy-laity). The Diocese of the Southeast is having their Fall General Assembly in October in South Carolina.
The GOA has a multi-level governance structure - for the Archdiocese/Eparchy as a whole:
- The Eparchial Synod, with the Archbishop as its President. (Remember - in the Greek practice Archbishops are presidents of Synods, the opposite of the Slavic practice.)
- The Archdiocesan Council (which includes all the members of the Eparchial Synod, and another 110-or-so persons)
- The Archdiocesan Clergy-Laity Congress (meets every other year)

Then each Metropolis has:
- Ruling Metropolitan
- Metropolis Council (26 voting members)
- Metropolis Clergy-Laity Assembly (meets either every year or every-other)

Each body has responsibilities delineated through the Charter (which, although we know it's being reissued, is still in effect mostly for the time being) and the Regulations.

What kinds of decisions and voting processes occur in these assemblies?

I am guessing that a lot of the decisions are budgetary. Maybe they would discuss how much money to put into the shrine at the WTC.
Differentiating between the Assemblies (in each Metropolis) and the Congress (the whole Archdiocese/Eparchy):

Metropolis Assemblies generally tackle their respective Metropolis budgets, audits of the prior years, elections to the Metropolis Council (16 of the 26 seats are elected, 11 appointed, and 1 is the Metropolitan himself), review of the Metropolis ministries, approval of purchase/sale/renovation of property (which must be ratified by the Archdiocese), etc.

The Archdiocesan Congress deals with budgets, audits, the Archdiocesan ministries, Regulations (amendments must come from either the Metropolis Assemblies or the Archdiocesan Council), etc.

Matters of Dogma / Faith, the operation of the Eparchial Synod, etc. are only dealt with by the Eparchial Synod & the Patriarchal Synod.

I heard a Q&A of a Laity conference where Abp. Elpidophoros stated that nonOrthodox spouses could commune. Since it was in a Q&A format, people asked about this, but there was no input as to whether members were agreeing with the new policy. In effect, the Archbishop was announcing the policy and people were asking for clarification instead of approving or rejecting the policy.
The Q&A was at the annual conference of Leadership 100 (an endowment supporting Archdiocesan ministries) - and his statement was surprise that we allow the non-Orthodox to participate in one sacrament (marriage) and not others. It doesn't make sense to him (as it doesn't make sense to a lot of Eastern Europeans). But no policy was issued or furthered.

In a recent decision, Abp. Elpidophoros announced that GOARCH was annulling any religious exemptions that its priests gave for vaccines. Before his decision, there had been some religious exemptions that GOARCH priests had given people who wanted to avoid the vaccines.
He announced a decision of the Eparchial Synod - which was basically to undercut the foundation of a religious exemption by saying that none existed. The priests who were issuing such exemptions were doing so without the blessing of their hierarchs (in most cases).

In the case of the EP's assertion of being the vertical supreme primate over the Orthodox world and the EP's use of this asserted power to recognize the Kiev Patriarch clergy and O.C. of Ukraine as canonical, I doubt that the GOARCH assemblies voted on these policies. It looks like the decisions would have been made in a top down fashion. Apparently the EP and the top EP synod of bishops would have made the decision and then GOARCH obeyed it. Some laity might agree, disagree, or not care, but they were not the decisionmakers.

I talked with a ROCOR priest of Greek heritage who studied in a GOARCH seminary in the US decades ago. He said that he and a major fraction of seminarians left the seminary the year that the seminary forced out Fr. John Romanides for teaching more traditional Orthodoxy. The priest told me that GOARCH was trying to make accommodations with the Protestant world at that time and he listed examples like Abp. Iakovos requiring priests to stop wearing beards and cassocks. I asked him if he could have gone to a GOARCH assembly and told people there about his concerns in order to address them, and he replied that GOARCH assemblies did not work like I was suggesting. He said that Greek Orthodox in the US could instead be informed about issues over time.
All of the above is a mess. Abp. Iakovos's "westernization" measures were not accommodations to Protestantism, but were trying to make the clergy seem less strange to the Americans they were supposed to be ministering to. I personally believe it was misguided - but I have the luxury of doing so, having grown up in a largely RC area where people see me in my cassock and assume I'm a Roman priest (and then I get to surprise them with my wedding ring). For clergy ministering in largely Baptist or Evangelical areas, and especially when the KKK was more menacing, it could be problematic (and this includes the incident from not-too-many years ago when a priest was assaulted within an inch of his life by a retired solider with PTSD who assumed he was an islamic terrorist).

So are GOARCH assemblies and clergy-lay conferences a top-down matter of the leadership informing the delegates about the policies that the leadership has already decided on and then the delegates get to vote on some issues where the outcome of votes are already practically decided?

I am guessing that the assembly decisions are not pre-decided or top-down on all issues. It seems that there could be budgetary issues where the leadership could leave it up to the delegates as to how much money they want to put in certain projects.

Suppose theoretically that the GOARCH leadership or EP holy synod was taking a strong, mistaken position on some issue or policy. Would the GOARCH membership have an opportunity to change course at Assemblies or Clergy-Laity Conferences?
I just think you're blurring the delineation between the matters of Church operation and the matters of dogma/faith. The All-American Council of the OCA can't make faith decisions, just as the GOA's Clergy-Laity Congress cannot. Synods make certain types of decisions, and Clergy-Lay bodies make other types. While some of the particulars are different between the GOA, OCA, AOA, etc., the larger principle is relatively stable here in the US.
 

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Where can I read more about this?
I'll look for it again this weekend and see if I can get it to you. I want to say it was on the Assembly of Bishops website but can't remember
 

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(If you don't think that Athens, Jerusalem, and Moscow don't have similar issues / processes, I have a bridge to sell you...)
I'm sure they do, but, I doubt anyone questions the Orthodoxy of those Patriarchates like many do with the Ecumenical Patriarch and your own Archbishop. As well, you're Metropolitan of Pittsburg seems to be quite the fan of Marx..enough said.
 
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Yes, it’s pathetic. Even though Abp. Elpidophoros is no dummy and openly calls recently for more non-Greek involvement, they will have Greek leaders kneeling on the neck of the archdiocese until it is dead. That’s just how ‘baked-in’ the Hellenism is. Because the Leadership 100 insists.
It's very sad, and it's unfortunate that this is the death knell of the Greek Archdiocese. They want to cater to a group that either doesn't exist, or, is a very small portion of the GOA. Outside of New England/Northeast (possibly Chicago, FL), the Archdiocese is not an ethnic ghetto of Greeks. Many of these people are converts to the GOA.

To think they won't get tired of it (if they already aren't) and to shove Hellenism down their throats will be, and is, a fools errand.

Covid has also done a lot, and I think more than we can see, to further the decline of the GOA. Many people have left for the Antiochians, ROCOR, etc., and the GOA's days of being the largest jurisdiction in America are numbered, if not already very close. Why the other bishops from the other jurisdictions don't realize that is far beyond me.
 

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I'm sure they do, but, I doubt anyone questions the Orthodoxy of those Patriarchates like many do with the Ecumenical Patriarch and your own Archbishop.
Hierarchs have to account on their own for their words and actions - I'm not in the real business of defending them, especially if the matter is not over mere context (like the Archbishop's question to the L100 group). The point wasn't defending the "Orthodoxy" of any of the Patriarchates - I don't know that any of us are in the position to either affirm or deny any of it - but to bring up the matter of state involvement in Hierarchical elections. In every place where the Church is intertwined with the state by choice (Greece, Cyprus, Russia, etc.) or by force (C'nople, Jerusalem, etc.) there is generally some kind of interference (at varying levels at varying times). I'm not a romanticist when it comes to this - having an Orthodox nation allows for beautiful engagement between the wider culture and the faith, usually producing beautiful art, literature, and a populace thoroughly enmeshed with the Church, but it only works if the Church is free to be prophetic, calling the State to account for the myriad of ways it falls short of the Gospel's standards. In many of our Orthodox countries, this doesn't happen.
 

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The following should be considered as based on my observations...

It's very sad, and it's unfortunate that this is the death knell of the Greek Archdiocese. They want to cater to a group that either doesn't exist, or, is a very small portion of the GOA. Outside of New England/Northeast (possibly Chicago, FL), the Archdiocese is not an ethnic ghetto of Greeks. Many of these people are converts to the GOA.

To think they won't get tired of it (if they already aren't) and to shove Hellenism down their throats will be, and is, a fools errand.
Eh, the GOA is a big tent. The culture in Pittsburgh, Denver, Detroit, and even Atlanta is certainly different than that in Chicago, San Fran, and NYC. There are a lot of folks outside the more ethnic enclaves who are OK with Hellenism in small measure, as an act of kindness to their forbears who continue to worship faithfully - but many of the parishes have already moved on, and at least in our Metropolis we only have 1-2 where a Greek sermon is preached, and maybe a handful where the Liturgy is still 50/50 (instead of majority English). The movement toward the demographic continues.

Covid has also done a lot, and I think more than we can see, to further the decline of the GOA. Many people have left for the Antiochians, ROCOR, etc., and the GOA's days of being the largest jurisdiction in America are numbered, if not already very close. Why the other bishops from the other jurisdictions don't realize that is far beyond me.
I'm not sure how significant the movements between jurisdictions are (besides the mask protesters)... but the place where the GOA is definitely seeing a decline is in nominal membership. 50 years ago Greeks who at best could be termed "deists" or "agnostics" would be parish members because it was the center of cultural life (and the dues were reasonable). Now they don't feel compelled to remain (which is probably good), so we're seeing limited declines in membership (being partially offset by adult conversions in healthy parishes) but increases in both total stewardship and average stewardship/family.
 

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I’m a monster. 😊
I very occasionally dogear, but generally prefer bookmarks or post-it notes... But there is, in my mind, a certain charm to a dogeared book - it kinda screams "I've been loved" to me.
 

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, you're Metropolitan of Pittsburg seems to be quite the fan of Marx.
I like Pittsburgh and Marx. The peace-shattering practical problem for the Orthodox world has not been P. Bartholomew being cozy with Pope Francis or for that matter the medieval Pope's endorsement of teachings like inheritance of original sin. The practical problem has arisen when P. Bartholomew today and the medieval Pope during the Great Schism decided that they were the supreme rulers over all churches and then began to impose their uncanonical decisions infringing on the rest of the Church.
 

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It's very sad, and it's unfortunate that this is the death knell of the Greek Archdiocese. They want to cater to a group that either doesn't exist, or, is a very small portion of the GOA. Outside of New England/Northeast (possibly Chicago, FL), the Archdiocese is not an ethnic ghetto of Greeks. Many of these people are converts to the GOA.

To think they won't get tired of it (if they already aren't) and to shove Hellenism down their throats will be, and is, a fools errand.

Covid has also done a lot, and I think more than we can see, to further the decline of the GOA. Many people have left for the Antiochians, ROCOR, etc., and the GOA's days of being the largest jurisdiction in America are numbered, if not already very close. Why the other bishops from the other jurisdictions don't realize that is far beyond me.
They don’t recognize it because the numbers aren’t in yet. The Ecumenical Patriarch is coming next month. That will fix everything, especially when he opens the doors of the St. Nicholas Shrine where each seat cost nearly $1,000,000. Just wait! It’ll be EPIC.
 

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It would be a little like if the MP in the time of the Russian empire claimed that he was the supreme primate of the Orthodox world because Moscow has been called by saints the "3rd Rome", as if it were the new Byzantium; then, based on these claims of power, the MP and most of the Slavic Churches recognized the schismatic Turkish Orthodox Church as the canonical jurisdiction in Turkey with the support of the Turkish government.

I am inclined to think that Abp. Elpidophoros and P. Bartholomew are smart enough to realize that Canon 28 does not directly give Constantinople purview over ALL "barbarian lands" (eg. supposely North America), instead of just those "barbarian" dioceses enumerated in the canon. Further, P. Bartholomew himself has explained explicitly that his supposed power to decide Church affairs in Ukraine is not based on the C.P.'s specific historic jurisdiction there, but rather based on his supposed status as the supreme primate over all Orthodox.

It's harder for me to tell if P. Bartholomew and Abp. Elpidophoros know that Orthodoxy does not teach that Constantinople is the vertically supreme head of Orthodoxy. If I were to generalize, the Western Christian tradition from maybe the late 2nd century might suggest that the See of Rome is the head of all Christians (although Irenaeus is not that specific), but the Eastern Tradition does not have the teaching that a single Patriarch is the supreme head over all Christians. P. Bartholomew in the last several years has implemented some noncanonical innovations like letting clergy remarry, and Abp. Elpiodophoros has announced that marriage counts as conversion for nonOrthodox spouses. So they apparently are not very strictly guided by what they know to be actual Orthodox Tradition when making their decisions affecting the Orthodox world. Soon after Elpidophoros became Archbishop in the US, GOARCH announced that the archdiocese's intellectual youth contest would be the place of Constantinople in the Orthodox world. It could be a mix of a fishing expedition and an attempt to encourage GOARCH's youth to think more along the lines of Constantinople being the supreme primate over all.
It is common in argumentation to assume innocence of one‘s interlocutor, that he is not lying, to take his words at face value. So when the Phanar tendentiously interprets Chalcedon 28 we do not second guess him but we argue back that he is wrong to assume leadership over the whole Orthodox commonwealth. This is well-established by both sides. If anything, the pretensions of the Phanar are growing: Abp. Elpidophoros authoring an article calling Bartholomew ‘primus sine paribus’ with the novel theology that His All-Holiness ’images forth the Father’. The terms of each successive Tomos pile up new privileges to the Ecumenical Throne, so that now any church authority that recognizes the new creation of the Phanar in Ukraine is also welcoming the establishment of EP churches on its own territory with no consultation, the reliance on the Phanar for chrism and several other elements of church relations policy that add up to recognition of universal Phanar supremacy. And they wonder why only Greek-run churches agree to those terms and recognize Epiphany Dumenko as Primate of Ukraine.
 

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Eh, the GOA is a big tent. The culture in Pittsburgh, Denver, Detroit, and even Atlanta is certainly different than that in Chicago, San Fran, and NYC. There are a lot of folks outside the more ethnic enclaves who are OK with Hellenism in small measure, as an act of kindness to their forbears who continue to worship faithfully
Personally I like it when a language like Greek is mixed in, like 1/3 in the other language.
Even while there are Orthodox converts who want less "Greek"-centricity, there are fervent convert Orthodox who love the Ephraimite monasteries, and those seem even more Greek-minded, since their services are all in Greek, not just Greek with a smattering of English. A monastery can also seem like an isolating place.

I do think there is a problem if you are focused on nationality X that you are not doing outreach to the local nation even though you are a well-sized 2nd-4th generation Church like GOARCH is.

But even then, it's not as big a problem as your hierarchs announcing that their patriarch and patriarchate are the supreme ruler of all other orthodox Christians, and then infringing on them.
 

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I'm sure they do, but, I doubt anyone questions the Orthodoxy of those Patriarchates like many do with the Ecumenical Patriarch and your own Archbishop. As well, you're Metropolitan of Pittsburg seems to be quite the fan of Marx..enough said.
This is hardly the way one should speak to a priest.
 

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The following should be considered as based on my observations...



Eh, the GOA is a big tent. The culture in Pittsburgh, Denver, Detroit, and even Atlanta is certainly different than that in Chicago, San Fran, and NYC. There are a lot of folks outside the more ethnic enclaves who are OK with Hellenism in small measure, as an act of kindness to their forbears who continue to worship faithfully - but many of the parishes have already moved on, and at least in our Metropolis we only have 1-2 where a Greek sermon is preached, and maybe a handful where the Liturgy is still 50/50 (instead of majority English). The movement toward the demographic continues.



I'm not sure how significant the movements between jurisdictions are (besides the mask protesters)... but the place where the GOA is definitely seeing a decline is in nominal membership. 50 years ago Greeks who at best could be termed "deists" or "agnostics" would be parish members because it was the center of cultural life (and the dues were reasonable). Now they don't feel compelled to remain (which is probably good), so we're seeing limited declines in membership (being partially offset by adult conversions in healthy parishes) but increases in both total stewardship and average stewardship/family.
sorry, Father, demographic studies show steep decline of numbers of parishioners in the last decade, especially among Greek Orthodox. This is what Greek clergy have reported to Alexei Krindach.
 

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sorry, Father, demographic studies show steep decline of numbers of parishioners in the last decade, especially among Greek Orthodox. This is what Greek clergy have reported to Alexei Krindach.
Demographic data are perhaps too broad to be useful for this discussion, and they also do not assess measures of parish health (like stewardship) which may be more indicative than pure head-counting. What Fr. George says seems consistent with how it is here where I live. I have heard that the situation is worse in the Northeast where churches were slow to adopt a stewardship model over dues-paying model, and where they were more heavily reliant on Hellenic identity as a way to keep members engaged.
 

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sorry, Father, demographic studies show steep decline of numbers of parishioners in the last decade, especially among Greek Orthodox. This is what Greek clergy have reported to Alexei Krindach.
He was kind of alluding to this here:
the place where the GOA is definitely seeing a decline is in nominal membership. 50 years ago Greeks who at best could be termed "deists" or "agnostics" would be parish members because it was the center of cultural life. Now they don't feel compelled to remain, so we're seeing limited declines in membership
To be fair, OCA has probably had demographic decline in the US Rust Belt and Mid-West Canada for a long time too though - The physical populations in those places are probably themselves treading water due to stagnant/"Rusting" economies.
 

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I can see the emphasis on Greek working both ways. I think it would be neat if Palestinian Christians spoke Aramaic like in Jesus' time and Antiochians used Aramaic in their liturgy like the Maronites. It would be neat if more OCA churches used more Slavonic or their members knew slavic languages as a second one. Look at how the Jewish populations kept Hebrew alive through Yiddish and their liturgy and their community survived through the centuries. But... at the same time the Jewish population hasn't converted large groups of converts of foreign nations. Sure, they don't try to, but the focus on a single ETHNICITY by itself cuts against spreading the Word to THE NATIONS.

When I was in highschool a few decades ago, one of the most enjoyable activities I did was take a trip to Greece for a week with an art class. People were nice, but there was a strong language barrier that I would have liked to get through. I read that today, about 30 percent of Greeks know some English, which strikes me as relatively high compared to a lot of other nations' rates.

I can't agree with Abp. Elpidophoros' 2009 declaration that Hellenism is inherently ecumenical or nonphyletistic. The most intense xenophobia happened when my art teacher, a nice blond in her 30's took us, a group of about a dozen nice teenagers happily chirping about our Greek trip, onto the second floor of an Athens cafe, and there was a table of older Greek men. They got quiet and one of them turned and stared at us. It was a super intense stare. He was NOT happy. Then another guy at their table did it too. They were owls. 🦉🦉My sense was they HATED people talking anything but Greek. He didn't just stare for like a few minutes. He meant to stare at us until we finished our meals and left. I recall something like that happening at another cafe.
 

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He was kind of alluding to this here:

To be fair, OCA has probably had demographic decline in the US Rust Belt and Mid-West Canada for a long time too though - The physical populations in those places are probably themselves treading water due to stagnant/"Rusting" economies.
Totally depressing how much the Rust Belt defines the core of the OCA. Economic history in America has not been kind to a people who relied on industrial labor. The growth is in the south now as people who can’t afford to live elsewhere pour into Dixie, hopefully watering down its culture.
 

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I can see the emphasis on Greek working both ways. I think it would be neat if Palestinian Christians spoke Aramaic like in Jesus' time and Antiochians used Aramaic in their liturgy like the Maronites. It would be neat if more OCA churches used more Slavonic or their members knew slavic languages as a second one. Look at how the Jewish populations kept Hebrew alive through Yiddish and their liturgy and their community survived through the centuries. But... at the same time the Jewish population hasn't converted large groups of converts of foreign nations. Sure, they don't try to, but the focus on a single ETHNICITY by itself cuts against spreading the Word to THE NATIONS.

When I was in highschool a few decades ago, one of the most enjoyable activities I did was take a trip to Greece for a week with an art class. People were nice, but there was a strong language barrier that I would have liked to get through. I read that today, about 30 percent of Greeks know some English, which strikes me as relatively high compared to a lot of other nations' rates.

I can't agree with Abp. Elpidophoros' 2009 declaration that Hellenism is inherently ecumenical or nonphyletistic. The most intense xenophobia happened when my art teacher, a nice blond in her 30's took us, a group of about a dozen nice teenagers happily chirping about our Greek trip, onto the second floor of an Athens cafe, and there was a table of older Greek men. They got quiet and one of them turned and stared at us. It was a super intense stare. He was NOT happy. Then another guy at their table did it too. They were owls. 🦉🦉My sense was they HATED people talking anything but Greek. He didn't just stare for like a few minutes. He meant to stare at us until we finished our meals and left. I recall something like that happening at another cafe.
Wow that sucks. Turks were never so mean when I stayed in Izmir and visited istanbul. They were curious about the yabanci and wanted to chat in English.
 

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Totally depressing how much the Rust Belt defines the core of the OCA. Economic history in America has not been kind to a people who relied on industrial labor. The growth is in the south now as people who can’t afford to live elsewhere pour into Dixie, hopefully watering down its culture.
I feel that the Rust belt is kind of the homey heart of the OCA, with St. Alexis Toth having been in Minneapolis and Wilkes Barre, PA, and St. Tikhon's being not too far from the latter.

Then after WWII, alot of Ukrainian Americans (read OCA base) started moving to NY state and NJ. Hence St. Vladimir's. As I recall, the UOC USA has a seminary in north NJ.
 
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